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The banquet was one of the largest ever given in Chicago. The great Auditorium theater, in which it was held, was a mass of color and light. The decorations were all suggestive of a reunited union. President Hope Reed Cody, in introducing the speakers, said:
“Ladies and Gentlemen, -Fellow Americans: The Hamilton Club welcomes you and joins you in extending most cordial greetings to our honored guests. As an organization the Hamilton Club is not ashamed of its partisanship, but it is proud of its patriotism. It stands not for candidates, not for the selfish ambitions of any man, but for undying principle. In the past it has many times found great pleasure in calling together vast audiences of Chicago citizens, in the heat of bitterly contested political battles, and discussing with them party policies, upon which we could not all agree. To-night it finds infinitely greater pleasure in having brought together this magnificent concourse of patriotic citizens, knowing that to the theme of this evening's celebration every heart in this hall beats in unison.
“Thirty-four years ago to-night it would, of course, have been impossible for the two sections
of the country to join in celebrating Appomattox Day, but every day during the past generation the North and the South have been slowly but surely coming closer and closer and closer together, until in the year 1898 the attack of a foreign enemy tore down the curtain of sectional prejudice, and disclosed a united country. “Thus is it possible for us to-night to entertain side by side at this banquet board, this General of the Northern army (General Black), this true representative of the loyal South (Mr. Settle), this statesman (Mr. Smith), member of the President's official family, representative here of the great patriot whose head and heart have so wisely guided us during the troublesome months just past, the President of these truly United States, William McKinley; and this American soldier, who was, during the Spanish War, the most notable and typical representative of the united arm , our honorary member, who, though dealing in ideals in American politics, is ever practical, whose leadership the Hamilton Club delights to follow, Colonel Roosevelt, the Governor of New York.” No man was ever given a more enthusiastic welcome than Governor Roosevelt on this occa
sion. It was fully twenty minutes after he arose to speak before the cheering ceased. In his address Mr. Roosevelt stated clearly his position at that time on the questions that were dividing the parties of the country and forming new combinations in the political world. At this time, too, he enunciated the gospel of work with which his name has since been so closely associated. Mr. Roosevelt spoke as follows:
“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 preëminently 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