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our subjugation been effected, and we pleaded for pardon — represented that we defended the most valuable rights of human nature, and thought they were wrong
would our petition have availed? I feel myself impelled, from what has passed, to ask this question. I would not wished to have lived to see the sad scenes we should have experienced. Needy avarice and savage cruelty would have had full scope. Hungry Germans,
, blood-thirsty Indians, and nations of another color would have been let loose upon us.
The sad effects of such warfare have had their full influence on a number of our fellow-citizens. Sir, if you
had seen the sad scenes which I have known; if you had seen the simple but tranquil felicity of helpless and unoffending women and children, in little log huts on the frontiers, disturbed and destroyed by the sad effects of British warfare and Indian butchery, your soul would have been struck with horror! Even those helpless women and children were the objects of the most shocking barbarity.
If it be allowed to the British nation to put to death, to forfeit and confiscate debts and every thing else, may we not (having an equal right) confiscate not life, for we never desire it - but that which is the common object of confiscation; property, goods, and debts, which strengthen ourselves and weaken our enemies ? I trust that this short recapitulation of events shows that, if there ever was in the history of man a case requiring the full use of all human means, it was our case in the last contest; and we were, therefore, warranted to confiscate the British debts.
THE STRENUOUS LIFE
Theodore Roosevelt, twenty-sixth President of the United States, was born in New York City, October 27, 1858. His literary style is excellent, being clear, simple, and forceful, and his delivery, while lacking in oratorical grace, is strong and convincing. He has the faculty of getting to the root of the matter under discussion, making his meaning clear, and impressing his convictions on his listeners. His personality is reflected in his speeches, which possess to a marked degree the main requisite of an oration - action. The following extract is from a speech delivered at Chicago, April 10, 1899.
IN speaking to you, men of the greatest city of
the West, men of the State which gave to the country Lincoln and Grant, men who pre-eminently and distinctly embody all that is most American in the American character, I wish to preach, not the doctrine of ignoble ease, but the doctrine of the strenuous life, the life of toil and effort, of labor and strife; to preach that highest form of success which comes, not to the man who desires mere easy peace, but to the man who does not shrink from danger, from hardship, or from bitter toil, and who out of these wins the splendid ultimate triumph.
A life of ignoble ease, a life of that peace which springs merely from lack either of desire or of power to strive after great things, is as little worthy of a nation as of an individual. I ask only that what every self-respecting American demands from himself and from his sons shall be demanded of the American nation as a whole. Who among you would teach your boys that ease, that peace is to be the first consideration in their eyes
to be the ultimate goal after which they strive?
You men of Chicago have made this city great, you men of Illinois have done your share, and more than your share, in making America great, because you neither preach nor practise such a doctrine. You work yourselves, and you bring up your sons to work. If you are rich and are worth your salt, you will teach your sons that though they may have leisure it is not to be spent in idleness; for wisely used leisure merely means that those who possess it, being free from the necessity of working for their livelihood, are all the more bound to carry on some kind of non-remunerative work in science, in letters, in art, in exploration, in historical research — work of the type we most need in this country, the successful carrying out of which reflects most honor upon the nation.
We do not admire the man of timid peace. We admire the man who embodies victorious efforts, the man who never wrongs his neighbor, who is prompt to help a friend, but who has those virile qualities necessary to win in the stern strife of actual life. It is hard to fail, but it is worse never to have tried to succeed. In this life we get nothing save by effort. Freedom from effort in the present merely means that there has been stored up effort in the past. A man can be freed from the necessity of work only by the fact that he or his fathers before him have worked to good purpose. If the freedom thus purchased is used aright, and the man still does actual work, though of a different kind, whether as a writer or a general, whether in the field of politics or in the field of exploration and adventure, he shows he deserves his good fortune.
But if he treats this period of freedom from the need of actual labor as a period not of preparation, but of mere enjoyment, even though perhaps not of vicious enjoyment, he shows that he is
simply a cumberer on the earth's surface; and he surely unfits himself to hold his own with his fellows, if the need to do so should again arise. A mere life of ease is not in the end a very satisfactory life, and, above all, it is a life which ultimately unfits those who follow it for serious work in the world.
As it is with the individual, so it is with the nation. It is a base untruth to say that happy is the nation that has no history. Thrice happy is the nation that has a glorious history. Far better is it to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure, than to take rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy much nor suffer much, because they live in the gray twilight that knows neither victory nor defeat. If, in 1861, the men who loved the Union had believed that peace was at the end of all things, and war and strife the worst of all things, and had acted up to their belief, we would have saved hundreds of thousands of lives; we would have saved hundreds of millions of dollars. Moreover, besides saving all the blood and treasure we then lavished we would have prevented the heartbreak of many women, the dissolution of many homes, and we would have spared the country those months of