« PreviousContinue »
purity of life as an example for our youths, who aspire to high and heroic things; and we patiently and confidently await the time when just public judgment will assign to him the place he deserves among the world's great men.
Resolved, That we tender to his bereaved family the sincere assurance of our sympathy.
W. E. HEMINGWAY,
In accordance with a custom that has now been consecrated by time and a long approval, we meet on this anniversary to pay a tribute of respect and honor to the gallant dead, who, gathered here from all parts of our wide territorial empire, now rest, peacefully, side by side, under the spell of that last sleep which no magician's wand can break.
Nearly a quarter of a century has elapsed since the American people, in an hour of enthusiasm such as serves to mark an epoch in the history of a nation, appealed to the arbitrament of the sword and dared to invoke the dread name of the God of Battles.
The contest that ensued was of a magnitude commensurate with the destiny of our people. Never before in the annals of mankind had war been waged on a scale so gigantic. From one end of the land to the other there was a marshaling of hostile forces, and the continent seemed to reel under the tread of contending armies. In every village was heard the martial drum-beat, and the glittering ensigns of war floated on every breeze.
To this fell work of mutual destruction the American people brought to bear all of that directness, earnestness and energy which had characterized them in civil life. The carnage was immense. The fields, the rivers and the seas were incarnadined with fraternal blood, and for four long years of the agony of our national Gethsemane the cry of anguish arose from millions of breaking hearts to the unrelenting heavens; and at last when the combat was over and the rainbow of peace revealed itself on the retreating clouds of war, and we had leisure to count the cost of our audacious experiment, we found that we had expended an amount of treasure which, being judiciously applied, would easily have solved all the difficulties of a pecuniary or material sort for which the war was begun, and would still have left an immense fund which might have been wisely employed in educating the masses of the poor, in providing for the wants of the sons and daughters of affliction, in hastening the march of national progress and in promoting that general welfare of the people for which our government was organized.
Instead of these beneficial results, which might have been achieved with the treasure expended, we found an empty exchequer, a public debt of alarming proportions, lonely and desolated landscapes, the wrecked homestead and the ruined city, a disorganized society, all that tremendous variety and accumulation of sorrow and affliction that follows wherever the red plowshare of war has been driven.
Certainly, it may well be concluded that the science of government is still in its infancy, since, though long foreseen, it could not avert such a terrible calamity.
But, on the other hand, let us not repine. “Paradise,” said Mahomet, “lies beneath the shadow of swords.” If material and pecuniary interests alone had been at stake, the war would have been easily prevented. Whatever may be said of the depravity of man, it should be some consolation to reflect that no great war between civilized nations or communities has ever been waged for material interests alone. To move great masses of mankind, to render them forgetful of the pleasures and security of home, and insensible to the hardships and dangers of war, it is necessary to appeal to some intellectual or moral ideal, some principle of right to be defended, some feeling of injustice to be avenged. To them must be proclaimed the necessity of a belief in the unity of God, or they must be told that the sepulchre of Christ is being defiled by infidels, that liberty is in