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PRESIDENT GENERAL. Notice will have to be given of that as a By-Law. Do you give that as a notice? The motion is withdrawn for the time. Order of the day has been called for. (Cries of "Order of the Day.") If there are no further corrections the minutes will stand approved. They are approved.
Mrs. KEMPSTER. I would like to ask for a suspension of the rules.
PRESIDENT GENERAL. We will listen to the report on the Desecration of the Flag, Chairman, Mrs. Kempster.
REPORT OF THE FLAG COMMITTEE OF THE NATIONAL SOCIETY, DAUGH
TERS OF THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION. Daughters of the American Revolution and Sisters of one Country and of one Flag: I wish to reach not only the hearing of all, but the hearts of all.
I am to report to you the work of the Flag Committee, and it has seemed best to give a brief review of the work from the beginning.
First let me say for all the workers in this effort for a law, that we want the flag used as freely as possible. We want it upon the school houses and national buildings. We want the flag with its symbolism of loyalty and fidelity—like the unchanging stars in the sky-with its purity of devotion, with all it typifies of agony and of sublime self-sacrifice, held free and pure and sacred as the cross. It has been contaminated by the greed of gain until it has been dragged down to the vilest associations. It has been used as a trade mark of party patriotism. It has been a frequent participant of street broils and riots, and the recipient of rotten eggs, tobacco juice and street filth. Are we able to realize that even we, the women of America, should bear our share of responsibility for that which is about us, and that it cannot be cast off. We reverence the heroism of our patriots, but do we protect the dearly-bought benefits? We shed tears of sympathy as we hear of the deeds of the lion-hearted of our land, and then do we look on serene and unmoved at the daily and hourly mockery and degredation of the emblem of all the bloodshed and glory of our national history?
Long years ago the great powers of the earth found'it necessary to protect the symbol of their sovereignty from the vicious and lawless, and to secure for it the deference due to a representative of the Government. Even the earliest known enactments of the very early times, fifteen centuries before Christ, 3,300 years ago, the laws of Manu, the great Hindoo law-giver (whose institutes are probably the fountain head of modern law) including the following: “The breaker of a foot bridge, of a public flag, of a palisade and of the idols made of clay, shall repair what he has broken and pay a mulct of 500 panas." Thus, thirty-three centuries ago, the power of law protected life, and with the same sentence, the emblem of religion and of nationality.
At the present time there are few great nations but have laws to preserve their flag from desecration, and all consider their national ensign sacred, not to be sullied by love of gain, not to be at the mercy of the reckless, the evil-minded nor the anarchist.
The first effort to induce the United States Government to protect its flag seems to have been made in 1880, when a bill was introduced in Congress for that purpose. It died in the committee room, and ten years appear to have elapsed before the introduction of the next flag bill in 1890; since that time some similar bill has been before Congress almost continually.
In 1896, during the political campaign which resulted in the election of President McKinley, many of you must have noticed small paragraphs in the daily press recounting various forms of insult and vandalism offered the national flag. And then it came to some of the Daughters with intense force that the banner of the Stars and Stripes was the emblem of their country, that it represented the Government which protected them, and that deliberate, malicious assault upon the flag was disloyalty, and when unpunished taught disloyalty to others. That to stand by, indifferent to such maltreatment of our flag, was like watching undisturbed while sacred altars were dishonored, for upon what altar has greater, richer sacrifices been poured than upon this altar of our country, in defense of this flag of freedom?
In November, 1896, a member of the Milwaukee Chapter, of Wisconsin, read a number of these newspaper extracts, to the assembled Chapter, and offered a resolution, which was unanimously adopted, inviting all Chapters of the National Society to join in a petition to the Congress of the United States for a federal enactment to protect the flag from desecration.
The subject was not a new one to many loyal-hearted men, but never before had it been brought to the minds of the women of our country that they had a special, personal duty to the familiar and beautiful old banner that we all hold dear. The endorsement of the petition of eighty-one Chapters with a form of bill (approved by eminent menibers of the bar and by a Judge of a United States Court of Appeals), was presented to the National Society, Daughters of the American Revolution, at their Continental Congress, in February, 1897, and received the cordial endorsement of that Congress.
The bill and memorial were then placed in the care of a committee, Frances S. Kempster, chairman, appointed for that purpose by the President General, Mrs. Stevenson, and were duly presented to the Congress of the United States in behalf of the National Society, Daughters of the American Revolution, in December, 1897, and January, 1898. They were referred by Congress to the Judiciary
Committee of the Senate and House of Representatives, and have remained "referred" from that day.
The bill is not without companionship--many other patriotic societies, the Sons of the American Revolution, the Grand Army of the Republic, the Military Order of the Loyal Legion, the Society of Colonial Wars, doubtless others—have presented bills embodying the hopes and wishes of many thousands of members for some form of protection for our flag. Petitions containing this request from hundreds of thousands have asked for such a law during this FiftyFifth Congress, and have asked in vain.
The supreme demands of legislation in connection with the war with Spain, were a fair and sufficient reason for inaction concerning less pressing matters, during its first session; and questions following and contingent upon the war have been, if not a reason, at least a very plausible excuse, for the death-like silence which brocds over the flag bills during its close.
And now, Daughters of the American Revolution, it is for you to consider whether you are not passing this question by "on the other side," and whether you have done your whole share in this work, which is for your country's dignity and honor, but which depends wholly upon disinterested patriotism.
The great patriotic work done by all the Daughters in the past year has shown how deep and wide is their love and reverence for our country, how national and all-embracing is their conception of our duty as a National Society. The glory and beauty of our organization is the fact that we are all banded together as sisters of one land. There is no North, no South, no East, no West. We have not even the slight dividing line of State Societies and we stand together shoulder to shoulder, a union of 28,000 earnest women, helping to uphold the great principles from which our forefathers made liberty for us.
In your several States are many thousands of men and women with hearts but recently stirred to their depths by love of the flag, ready to aid you, if you will but ask them. Will you not unite? America knows that in union there is strength, and by your union and organization, help to convince Congress that “the people” want the flag protected from desecration.
It is difficult to accomplish much singly; it is hard, too, when done to keep our enthusiasm burning. The flag bill endorsed by the National Society, Daughters of the American Revolution, will be introduced into the United States Congress at its session next winter, and the Flag Committee asks you to bring every possible influence to bear upon your members of Congress. Do not be led into discussion over phraseology and small details. It is the province of Congress to reconcile the minor differences in bills. The Daughters ask for a law, "to prevent the use of the flag for advertisement, toprevent placing upon it or attaching to it, devices and inscriptions, and to punish those who treat it with indignity, or wantonly injure or destroy it." The Flag Committee for the Daughters appeals to you for your interest in this bill, not because it is a work begun by the Daughters, but because no other flag bill before Congress, or indeed, ever presented to Congress, has provided against the three forms of desecration which prevail, and without these three provisions, no law can preserve our flag from desecration.
The terms in which it is expressed are of small moment. We ask .for the substance; we do not care for its shadow; we ask Congress to take our flag, held in such reverence by our soldiers and sailors, out of the depths to which it has been dragged by the various forms of advertisement; out of the associations which invite wanton insult. We ask them to declare to the fomenter of sedition and to the anarchist, that the flag must be respected, and to show to the children of those new to our country and its institutions that it is a standard to be loved and honored.
From the beginning of this work, the Milwaukee Chapter, of Wisconsin, has most joyfully borne as a part of its patriotic work, the expense incident to it. But Wisconsin men and women have little influence with the members of Congress from other States. The women from Georgia, for instance, can have no influence with the members from California. The work must be done in your own States. The only means by which members of Congress can be influenced is by their own constituents.
We ask that the 28,000 Daughters, scattered through all the States, form a body of workers, so earnest and determined that our appeal to Congress will no longer go unheeded.
This is not a monument to past heroic deeds—the Society is not neglecting them-but the flag is the symbol of our great Nation, beckoning on the glorious possibilities of our future, the symbol of liberty, enlightening the world. Let us keep pure and uncontaminated that which has been christened and hallowed by such prodigal outpouring of noble blood.
We ask you to rescue our flag from its position, as a coiner of patriots' blood into traders' gold, to shield it from indecent and insulting treatment which follow its seizure for political profit and which are unavoidable when the Nation's banner is brought into street fights, and used as a trade-nark of party patriotism.
We plead with you as Daughters descended from those who kept all sacred things pure and holy, who suffered and endured all things to give us a flag and a country, that you go back to all parts of this great land and arouse your people in each corner and district of your State with such ardor, that our representatives in Congress cannot another year refuse to grant our prayer, that the Government itself shall respect the dignity of our flag, shall hold aloof its ensign, pure
and unsullied, demanding respect and honor from all who are sheltered by its folds. Respectfuily submitted,
FRANCES SAUNDERS KEMPSTER,
Chairman Flag Committee. February 21, 1899.
Miss VANDERPOEL. I have a communication from the President of the American Flag Association of the Sons of the American Revolution, which he has requested me to read:
YONKERS, NEW YORK, February 23, 1899. To the President General, Daughters of the American Revolution.
The several flag committees of the patriotic societies allied and coördinating their efforts through the American Flag Association, have for two years been seeking in Congress and in the States, legislation to protect the flag of our country from desecration. The State of Vermont enacted the law last fall. The bill in the Legislature of the State of New York passed the Assembly last week, passed the Senate on Tuesday, the 21st instant, and Governor Roosevelt celebrated Washington's Birthday yesterday by signing the bill, and it is now the law in the great Empire State. The same bill is pending in Massachusetts, in Connecticut, in New Jersey, in Illinois, in Missouri and in Colorado. It ought to be before the Legislature of every State. Will not the Chapters of the Daughters of the American Revolution aid us in this patriotic effort and help push along the legislation in the States named, and get the flag bill before all the States in the same form as adopted in New York State?
I shall be glad to furnish copies of the New York law and all needed information to all who desire it. The danger is in divided effort. No bill should allow anything to be written upon the flag except only the names of battles participated in by regiments carrying the flag. All other writing without any exception whatever should be condemned and forbidden,
Very truly yours,
Ralph E. Prime.
Yonkers, New York.
PRESIDENT GENERAL. The report is before you.
Miss VANDERPOEL. of New York. I wish to send this amendment to the bill already before us.
READER. Amendment offered by Mrs. Hazen, of New York, Chairman of the Flag Committee of the Mary Washington Colonial Chapter, of New York City: Strike out the last clause of section 2 and substitute "except such inscriptions,