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right to take pride; and that so, on the other hand, every act of military or civic virtue, every deed of courage of soldiers, of good conduct in our men of public affairs, reflects honor upon the people as a whole. It is important that we shall have material well being; it is important that we should have material prosperity; it is more important that we shall have that upon which ultimately, material well being must rest, that we shall have the moral well being, that we shall feel that moral lift toward things higher, for the lack of which nothing else can atone, either in the life of a nation or in the life of an individual. We are ending this century; we are about to enter upon another, increasing the range of our responsibilities. If we are indeed the nation we claim to be, that will not make us shrink from the future. If we are, indeed, as we claim to be, the men who stand foremost in the ranks to-day, the nation that is entitled to take the lead in shaping the progress of the world, we will not shrink from the duty that is before us, we will not shrink from doing great things merely because thereby we entail upon ourselves great responsibilities. No great victory was ever won save by those who were willing to take some risk in winning it, and this applies not only to our military life, but to our civil life.
We must uphold the honor of the nation abroad, and we cannot ultimately do it if we do not uphold the cause of civic honesty at home. You have a right to demand in your public servants that they shall serve the public with an eye single to their duty, and in return any public servant striving to do his duty has a right to ask of you that you uphold him in so doing, no matter what your particular politics may be.
Now, gentlemen, I am glad to have had the honor and the pleasure of being present to-day. I want to assure you how much pleased I have been, not merely at coming here to see the Home, in which the veterans who worked and fought and suffered through the four long years that followed the firing on Sumter, are now passing the last days of their lives, but to have the chance of seeing you of this town and this county. Just one personal allusion before I close. I have not had the chance since I have been inaugurated as Governor of meeting face to face the men who were responsible for my being Governor, because it is you who are so — (Applause) — because I owe my position to you of the country districts and the smaller towns, and I appreciate what I owe you and shall strive to show you that I do appreciate it.
SPEECH BEFORE THE YOUNG MEN'S CHRISTIAN ASSOCIA
TION, ALBANY, FEBRUARY 11, 1899
MR. PRESIDENT, LADIES AND GENTLEMEN: I have a certain ancestral sympathy in the work that you have done, and in the work you are doing, for my father with Mr. William E. Dodge, and one or two others of the same way of thinking, in New York were among the earliest in this country, to take a keen and deep interest in the work of the Young Men's Christian Associations, exactly as during the civil war my father took an immense interest in the work of the Allotment Commission, the commission which tried to secure for the wives and children at home that portion of the soldier's salary which. he did not need for his own immediate wants. I think
that all of us, who have had much or little experience in war, realize that the heaviest strain comes not upon the man, who usually is buoyed up by the mere fact of action, and who, if he faces risk, at least faces also the chance of greatly benefiting by the risk; but upon the women and children and those who are helpless at home. I know that while I sympathize very much with those troops with whom I was brought in actual contact, I never felt that my dominant feeling for them was that kind of sympathy, which is akin to pity. I knew that as they were men they were only too glad to balance by the deed, the suffering; that they were glad to have had the chance to have taken both so long as they could get both; and I have scant feeling indeed for the man who, because of hardship or danger of any kind, shrinks from taking part in campaigns that redound to the honor and interest of his country. If you go to war, you must expect to be shot at. It's part of the game. You have got to expect to meet hardship and disease and suffering; and the men of the great civil war went through ten-fold as much as we did, for they fought years where we fought months. And so while everything should be done to minimize the suffering and hardship, and while those accountable for needless suffering and hardship should be held to a rigid reckoning, it yet remains true that we need not waste over-much sympathy upon the men themselves. They endured greatly but they did greatly, and looked at from the standpoint of the ages, looked at from the standpoint of our national life, which must be the standpoint of strenuous life, how infinitely better it is for all of us, how infinitely better it is in the long run, even for those who fell gloriously, that there should have been victory, though bought by suffering and death; that to offset the loss of life last summer we should this winter be able, all of us, to hold our heads higher as Americans, because America has taken a long stride forward, because she has freed certain oppressed peoples, because she has waged the most righteous foreign war that has been waged within the lifetime of this generation and has brought it to a successful close.
My sympathy goes out to the women, to those who staved at home, more than it does to the men who went. Nevertheless, there is an immense amount of work that should be done for the men that go. The great lesson taught by bodies such as those you represent is, that the way to fight evil is by association; by the substitution of something that is attractive and good for something that is attractive and evil. You can fight the influence of the saloon and all that is basest and worst in our social life, not merely by the earnest work of good and high-minded men and women, but by providing some counter attraction, by remembering that Satan always does find not only mischief for idle hands but evil pleasures for idle moments. If you don't fill up the hours with something that is good they will be filled up with something that is bad. Nature abhors a vacuum. I think that one of the reasons for the great advance, the great revival of late years in what you might call practical or applied Christianity, is the fact that we have gotten to understand that together with work there must come rational pleasure, rational enjoyment. Mind you, the enjoyment will come in as part of the work; the work itself gives enjoyment of a very high kind. And the fact that there are provided for the young men in our great cities who are peculiarly exposed
to temptation, places where they can enjoy themselves in proper and sober manner, places where they can get the strength that comes by touch with others like them and with others more fortunate who want to help them along, is one of the most important parts of your work. That was the side of the work that was so important in connection with dealing with the army.
In the active campaign, out in front of the enemy, there isn't so much need for the work because people are middling busy. Until Santiago had fallen, I hadn't the least anxiety about any man in my regiment misusing his leisure, because he didn't have any. If he did not spend his spare time in sleeping, I found something for him to do; if he could not do anything else I would march him to the coast and get beans and tomatoes for those at work. The minute you strike a time that there is leisure you always have a certain number of men who haven't got quite the brains and quite the fixity of purpose to amuse themselves; who are first-rate fellows but who suffer from exuberance of animal spirits. It is then that the best possible work can be done, as was done by associations like yours in the army.
I don't sympathize at all with that view of morality which would teach merely the inactive virtues and, looking at this audience, I don't think you sympathize with it. I believe in decent men cultivating the strong virile qualities, the qualities which will tell in strife civic as well as strife military. I think it was Wesley who said he wasn't going to leave all the good tunes for the devil. I trust most sincerely that no really good man, that no sincere Christian will leave to the representatives of evil the strong qualities. I want to see cultivated what your associa