Page images



[Address by William McKinley, twen y-fourth President of the United States (born in Niles, O., January 24, 1843; died in Buffalo, N. Y., September 14, 1901), delivered at the unveiling of the Washington Statue, by the Society of Cincinnati, in Philadelphia, May 15, 1897.]

FELLOW CITIZENS :—There is a peculiar and tender sentiment connected with this memorial. It expresses not only the gratitude and reverence of the living, but is a testimonial of affection and homage from the dead.

The comrades of Washington projected this monument. Their love inspired it. Their contributions helped to build it. Past and present share in its completion, and future generations will profit by its lessons. To participate in the dedication of such a monument is a rare and precious privilege. Every monument to Washington is a tribute to patriotism. Every shaft and statue to his memory helps to inculcate love of country, encourage loyalty and establish a better citizenship. God bless every undertaking which revives patriotism and rebukes the indifferent and lawless! A critical study of Washington's career only enhances our estimation of his vast and varied abilities.

As Commander-in-Chief of the Colonial armies from the beginning of the war to the proclamation of peace, as president of the convention which framed the Constitution of the United States, and as the first President of the United States under that Constitution, Washington has a distinction differing from that of all other illustrious Americans. No other name bears or can bear such a relation to the Government. Not only by his military

genius—his patience, his sagacity, his courage, and his skill—was our national independence won, but he helped in largest measure to draft the chart by which the Nation was guided; and he was the first chosen of the people to put in motion the new Government. His was not the boldness of martial display or the charm of captivating oratory, but his calm and steady judgment won men's support and commanded their confidence by appealing to their best and noblest aspirations. And withal Washington was ever so modest that at no time in his career did his personality seem in the least intrusive. He was above the temptation of power. He spurned the suggested crown. He would have no honor which the people did not bestow.

An interesting fact—and one which I love to recall-is that the only time Washington formally addressed the Constitutional Convention during all its sessions over which he presided in this city, he appealed for a larger representation of the people in the National House of Representatives, and his appeal was instantly heeded. Thus was he ever keenly watchful of the rights of the people in whose hands was the destiny of our Government then as now.

Masterful as were his military campaigns, his civil administration commands equal admiration. His foresight was marvelous; his conception of the philosophy of government, his insistence upon the necessity of education, morality, and enlightened citizenship to the progress and permanence of the Republic cannot be contemplated even at this period without filling us with astonishment at the breadth of his comprehension and the sweep of his vision. His was no narrow view of government. The immediate present was not his sole concern, but our future good his constant theme of study. He blazed the path of liberty. He laid the foundation upon which we have grown from weak and scattered Colonial governments to a united Republic whose domains and power as well as whose liberty and freedom have become the admiration of the world. Distance and time have not detracted from the fame and force of his achievements or diminished the grandeur of his life and work. Great deeds do not stop in their growth, and those of Washington will expand in influence in all the centuries to follow.

The bequest Washington has made to civilization is rich beyond computation. The obligations under which he has placed mankind are sacred and commanding. The responsibility he has left for the American people to preserve and perfect what he accomplished is exacting and solemn. Let us rejoice in every new evidence that the people realize what they enjoy and cherish with affection the illustrious heroes of Revolutionary story whose valor and sacrifices made us a nation. They live in us, and their memory will help us keep the covenant entered into for the maintenance of the freest Government of earth.

The Nation and the name of Washington are inseparable. One is linked indissolubly with the other. Both are glorious, both triumphant. Washington lives and will live because what he did was for the exaltation of man, the enthronement of conscience, and the establishment of a Government which recognizes all the governed. And so, too, will the Nation live victorious over all obstacles, adhering to the immortal principles which Washington taught and Lincoln sustained.


(Address by William McKinley, delivered at the dedication of the Cuyahoga County Soldiers' and Sailors' Monument at Cleveland, O., July 4, 1894. Mayor Robert Blee, Chairman of the Committee of Arrangements, introduced Mr. McKinley, then Governor of Ohio. Previous to the address, “Our Bonnie Flag” was sung by children who in singing the chorus beat the time of the music with flags.]

SOLDIERS AND SAILORS OF CUYAHOGA COUNTY, MY COMRADES AND Fellow CITIZENS:-I wish the whole world might have witnessed the sight we have just seen and have heard the song we have just listened to from the school children of the City of Cleveland. With patriotism in our hearts and with the flag of our country in our hands, there is no danger of anarchy and there is no danger to the American Union. [Applause.]

The place, the day, and the occasion upon which we assemble, fill us with patriotic emotion. They are happily and appropriately united. This old Monumental Square is filled with hallowed memories. This day registers the birthday of the Declaration of Independence. And this Monument that we dedicate to-day attests that every promise of that declaration has been kept and performed. [Applause.] Standing in this presence, I am reminded that this Public Square has witnessed many interesting and memorable events. The first I recall was on the roth day of September, 1860, when the monument

mmodore Perry was unveiled. It was a deeply interesting occasion. An immense crowd thronged this city as it throngs it to-day. Governor Sprague, of Rhode Island, with his staff and State officers, and the members of the Legislature of that State, and the Providence Light Infantry, participated in the interesting ceremony.

Governor Dennison, the first war governor Ohio ever had, delivered the address of welcome. General J. W. Fitch, remembered by the older citizens of Cleveland, was the Grand Marshal of the day; and General Barnett, whose distinguished services in the war are yet fresh in the memory of the people, and who now participates in these ceremonies, was in command of the Cleveland Light Artillery Regiment. The great historian, George Bancroft, delivered the principal address of the day. It was probably, my fellow citizens, the greatest celebration that Cuyahoga County had seen up to that time. It was on this ground, too, that the Soldiers' and Sailors' Aid Society of Northern Ohio, aye, of the whole country, was organized, and some of the noble mothers who were at the birth of that organization are seated upon this platform to-day. These noble women gave unselfish devotion to the country, and money from all this section of the State poured into the coffers of that association for the relief of the men at the front, who were sustaining the flag. It was in this Square, too, that the remains of the martyred Lincoln, the great emancipator, rested as they journeyed to his Western home. It was on this very spot, almost where we stand to-day, that the whole population of Northern Ohio viewed for the last time him who had been captain of all our armies under the Constitution, and whose death

was a sacrifice to the great cause of freedom and the Union. [Applause.]

Here, too, my fellow citizens, on this very spot, the remains of the immortal Garfield lay in state, attended by the Congress of the United States, by the supreme judiciary of the Nation, by the officers of the Army and the Navy of the United States, by the Governors and Legislators of all the surrounding States. The steady tread of a mourning State and Nation was uninterrupted through the entire night. It was here that the people looked upon his face for the last time forever.

Interesting, my fellow citizens, and patriotic as the scenes witnessed in the past have been, I venture to say that none of them has stirred so many memories or quickened such patriotic feeling as the services we perform to-day in the dedication of this beautiful structure to the memory of the loyal Soldiers and Sailors who contributed their lives to save the Government from dissolution. Cuyahoga County can well be proud of this great Memorial. It is a fitting tribute to the Soldiers living and the Soldiers dead. Cuyahoga's sons were represented in nearly every branch of the military service. Almost every Ohio regiment received some contribution from Cuyahoga County, whether in the infantry, cavalry, artillery, on land or on sea. Whether among white troops or colored troops Cuyahoga County's sons were to be found, they were always found at the post of greatest danger. [Applause.]

Nothing has so impressed me in the program to-day as the organization of the old Soldiers, carrying with them their tattered flags, which they bore a third of a century ago upon the fields of war. More than sixty of the old regimental flags will be carried by the survivors of their respective regiments, and the flag room at the capitol at Columbus could not supply the men of Cuyahoga County all the flags which they are entitled to bear. Is it any wonder that these old Soldiers love to carry the flags under which they fought and for which their brave comrades gave up their lives?

Is it any wonder that the old Soldier loves the flag under whose folds he fought and for which his comrades shed so much blood ? He loves it for what it is and for

« PreviousContinue »