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As a result of this row we have assumed a great burden. Shame to us had we hesitated; but let us undertake it with an appreciation that it is a serious matter. Having driven out the mediæval tyranny of Spain from those islands we are under bonds of honor to supplant it with something better; to govern them with firmness and righteousness for their own interest. Let us so carry out this task that the generations to come shall point with pride to the history made in the last of the nineteenth and the first of the twentieth centuries.
At Grant's Tomb, New York City, MAY 30, 1899
MEN OF THE GRAND ARMY: I regard the opportunity to speak to you to-day, on such an occasion, before this tomb of all tombs in the world, save that containing the body of Abraham Lincoln, as a special honor, and in what I have to say I shall pay special homage to you by seeking to apply to our needs of the present day the lessons you taught in the past. We can best pay reverence to the name and memory of General Grant by living to-day up to the principles he taught, fought and lived for. We caii do our duties as citizens best by taking to our hearts the principles of citizenship for which you gave your youth and thousands of your comrades gave their lives.
I think the history of the great Captain on the civil war should be studied by all citizens, especially for two points. One was the note of unyielding resolution in the face of an armed foe, the other the note of firm and generous magnanimity once that foe was disarmed. I think we can afford to practice the lesson taught by these things to-day.
I think we will do well to remember that our flag cannot go back before an armed foe, that we can only treat with an armed foe when the supremacy of our flag is acknowledged. But once that is acknowledged, then we are bound to see that wherever that fag floats justice, mercy and peace shall prevail. I don't have to ask you men of the great war to remember that the two things must go hand in hand. I don't need to tell you, if General Grant had said at Fort Donelson, “Yes, I am a man of peace; go back in your lines and take your horses and your guns with you,” that if he had shown mercy there, it would have meant years more of grief and bloodshed. But again, if he had not shown mercy and justice afterward at Appomattox, it would have meant a widening, perhaps a perpetual widening, of the breach between us and our brethren.
There is a time to be just and there is a time to be merciful, there is a time for unyielding resolution and a time for the hand of fellowship and brotherly love. The great man is the man who knows the time for one and the time for the other. In facing the difficulties the republic now has before it, it must follow the example of General Grant. It must insist that no armed enemy within the territory that has come into our possession through the war with Spain must be permitted to dictate terms to it. To show weakness now would be to invite trouble in the future. When once we have carried the point that peace must come and that our flag must wave over that peace, then we are in honor bound to see that that peace is of the same advantage to the people of the tropical islands of the sea as it is
to us. We are in honor bound to see that our flag is the symbol of justice in peace as well as in war.
Here we stand to-day at home in our own country in the midst of this glorious spring weather and with prosperity around us, while in the sweltering heat of the Philippines our men are fighting for the flag, the same as you fought for it from 1861 to 1865. These men have the right to demand of us that we think of them, that we shall know what they are doing and what they are suffering, but not with maudlin sympathy or regret. Small is my respect for any young American who, with the opportunity before him and no ties to keep him home, would not hasten out to serve under Otis, Lawton and MacArthur, to follow gallant Funston, as they strive to add new laurels to the flag that you men fought for. Let us uphold these men who are fighting in the Philippines in everything. Let us realize that they are showing in this generation the qualities you showed in the one before them. Let us show that we appreciate these qualities — qualities that make us proud of our American citizenship — and remember that they are now contending with the same things that you contended with in your time.
It has not been a great war that we have just gone through. Our volunteers and regulars fought for months where you fought for years. They fought tens of thousands of men where you fought hundreds of thousands. But they are now giving the best of their courage, hopes, faith and blood for the flag, as you gave yours thirty-five years ago. Uphold their hands as yours were upheld. You had your Vallandighams, we have ours now; but the Vallandighams of to-day are a feeble foe and cannot do as much as they would like to do.
Remember that when final victory comes, as come it must, we then have the heavier duties of peace upon us. Remember, when order is restored in these islands, that we are responsible for them. It will be a bitter shame to us if peace, prosperity and well-being do not follow the restoration of order. We must learn our duties as much by the lessons we are not proud of as by those that we are proud of. Let us not be afraid of facts, be they pleasant or unpleasant.
I saw in a newspaper report the other day that a town in Alaska had petitioned to be taken out from under our flag and annexed to Canada, because for years it has struggled in vain to get a proper Government from us. Every American must bow his head in shame when he thinks of such a request coming from a place under our control, that such a request should be born of our negligence in the past. Let us through our Representatives in Congress, by the constant stirring up of public opinion, see that our new dependencies get proper treatment. You men fought for two principles, union and liberty – that our nation would be a mighty one and a free one. You fought for and established the principle that each man should be treated according to his individual merits, and not according to race or creed. Until this is done in the present crisis we will not have learned the lesson you taught us. Let us make our flag in deed, and not merely in name, a flag of freedom for all orderly and law-abiding men.
We have serious problems abroad, but more serious ones at home. Ultimately no nation can be great unless its greatness is laid on foundations of righteousness and decency. We cannot do great deeds as a nation unless we are willing to do the small things that make up the sum of greatness, unless we believe in energy and thrift, unless we believe that we have more to do than simply accomplish material prosperity, unless, in short, we do our full duty as private citizens interested alike in the honor of the State. We can play our part properly only by preparing to play it in advance. Out in the river here you can see one of the ships that did such noble work in the fight off Santiago. Remember that this ship, like all the others, did its work so well in war because it was prepared for it in time of peace. .
Men of the Grand Army, I speak to you to-day as citizens who have been citizen soldiers. I speak to you as Americans, who know that all Americans are ready for any sacrifices to protect the nation from domestic malice or foreign levy, and I congratulate you on your yearly tribute to your great Captain and comrade of the civil war.
AT THE HUNGARIAN ROOSEVELT CLUB, NEW YORK CITY,
May 31, 1899 GENTLEMEN: I have heard one of your .speakers tonight say that you supported me because you believed in politics, not for any low and unworthy motive nor for any material reward which politics may bring, but because through politics you may accomplish that for which your great leader Kossuth stood and for which he said America stood, the regeneration of the world.
I am a good party man. I have striven to be a good party man, and I have striven to accomplish that by being a good citizen, first and foremost. If you bring into American life the spirit of the heroes of Hungary you have done your share. There is nothing this country needs more than that there shall be put before its men and its