« AnteriorContinua »
rather than for the nation's honor; and in time of peace how few there are who "look beyond their selfish well-being, how many, who.'in office, serve their friends, but not justice and truth, how many that confound party success or provincial prosperity, with the true wellfare of the whole land, and sacrifice this to that, the public interest to the private or sectional mess of pottage.'
On some accounts it appears to many thoughtful minds, that we are in the most dangerous and eventful period of our history at the present time and that the next two decades will decide more for our true glory or shame, than did ever the decade of civil war. The vast material prosperity of to-day has more elements in it to cause fear for the purity of our institutions than should arise were we straightened by a foreign conflict, or the maintenance of a European army. We have reached that place which a boy reaches when he feels too old to obey, and is too young for his father's companion; and when he inherits estates which he had no share in making; that age so well described by a great writer, reflecting upon a period of England's history, « _ ''between national honor and complete degeneracy, when there is an interval ^JV*vvt« of national variety, during which examples are recounted and admired without 'being imitated." I received a letter lately from a distinguished Englishman, in which he spoke of their troublous times since the new year, and adds: "Happy you of America who have no politics, nothing to disturb your beneficent task of developing the natural resources of your country." Happy indeed are we of America—I thought as I read his words—by contrast with precedent-loaded, army-crowded Europe; happy in the elasticity of our institutions, the hopefulness with which we face every problem, and happy perhaps in the measure of material prosperity which offers every one bread and peace for his honest labor, a competence for his frugal effort. But not happy in the oversunshine, which is teaching us too easy credulity and tempting us, as a nation, and as citizens, off our guard, while tares are" sown in the wheat. There are elements at work to-day in our country that are throwing an unknown quantity into the problem of our republican liberty. The vast, uncontrolled immigration on our eastern coast is one, bringing as it does a class whose hereditary attitude toward government, teaches it to look upon all law and all government as an oppressor, and who may long lie in our midst an undigested mass, assimilating us to them as well as them to us, and so lowering the standards. The drinking habit, with its waste of six hundred millions annually; its crime record and its political "vested interest," is another problem which no patriot or statesman can look on without feaO
C-The vast consolidations of corporate power, which end by controlling legislative action to the injury of private enterprise and personal liberty, and which always mark their presence by the enforced servility of press anil platform to their uses; the vast machinery of civil service, which is yoked to evil traditions—traditions of our own making, the fruit of our own subordinations of national principles to provincial greed--are other incalculable elements of disturbance, not, indeed, pointing to civil war, except through long social degradations, but procuring the condition of unstable equilibrium, which a touch may overturn with disasters and wide-reaching calamity.
History has often shown us nations seemingly at the height of their influence and wealth, topple down at the slightest accident, or what seemed total inadequate causes. Mercenariness can infest a nation, and civic virtue be gone, although it is gilded all over with art and is prosperous in every material sense. Such was Italy at the end of the 18th century, which, according to Sismondi; "had soldiers, riches, a large population, flourishing agriculture, commerce and manufactures—but feeling and life were missing, there was neither the will nor power to maintain independent national existence, which, therefore disappeared at the first threatened storm." It was overprosperity that ruined Venice, and took the crown from the low countries. When they were poor and winning their soil from the sullen sea, patriotism was the master motive. No sacrifice was too great to save the national honor.
When their horses eat from golden cribs and their ships spread sails of silk,
Finally, let me say, that to those who fought and bled for their country
I can conceive of no more alluring and sacred privilege to-day, especially for the young men of the nation, than that of an unpartizan devotion to the interests, the problems, which are beginning to agitate this fifty millions of people. Distrust, young men, above all things, those advisers, even if they are gray-haired, who would turn you away from politics, because of their demoralization. That is the imperative reason why you should enter them— not as office seekers—God forbid! but as office makers, if I may so ie«n the word. Now, i\ witness, a thing which would have terrified a Hamilton or a Jefferson, that they are most interested, most active in politics, who have something personal, something selfish to gain; whereas those should be most active who want no office, whose motives cannot be suspected, and who represent the people in their search for patriotic, incorruptible ministers and administration of public affairs. What an opportunity is there to-day for clubs of young men and organizations of citizens, inside or outside of parties, who shall meet for instruction in American history, for lectures upon political science, for honorable and unbiased action at primaries and the polls. I can almost envy the men who are soon to cast a first presidential vote. They are coming upon a great stage of action. When Mr. Sumner took his place first in the senate, old Thomas Benton said, "you have come upon the stage too late, sir. All our great men have passed away—the great issues, too, raised from our form of government, have been settled also. Nothing is left for you, sir, but puny, sectional questions and petty strifes about slavery and fugitive slave laws, involving no national interests." So short-sighted could a man be, himself for thirty years on the active field of duty! The chief crisis in our history was then making up, and Sumner lived as senator through the J most electwe and eventful of our years. So, many ■ now conceive of things, I in the lull of the present hour, as if our eventful history was in the past, but it scarcely takes a prophet to know that we are facing questions in the near future which will tax the finest powers in our land, and make politics as they always should be in a republic—the main duty of its citizens.
It seems that the last poem of Longfellow, only given to the public within a few days, is in honor of Decoration Day. As it is therefore new to the large majority of my hearers, \ shall close by reading it. The words are a fitting end to the patriotic lip«-of tl*»-greatest poet, who knew so well how to write in one devotion, country and home.
~*-"- "Sleep, comrades, sleep and rest.
On this fleld of the grounded arms
Ye have slept on the ground before,
And started to your feet
Or the drum's redoubling beat.
But in this camp of death
Here is no fevered breath-
All is-H* repose and peace,
Untrampled lies the sod;
It is the truce of God!'
Kest. comrades, rest and sleep !—
As sentinels to keep
Your silent tents of green
Yours has the suffering been —
After conclusion of the sermon, the congregation joined in singing the "Battle Hymn of the Republic;" the Benediction was then pronounced, and the Comrades returned to their headquarters and were dispersed.
Decoration Day Ceremonies.
The several Posts assembled at their headquarters as per announced programme at 1:30 o'clock p. M., May 30th, for the purpose of properly celebrating Memorial Day. Meade Post No. 24, of Oregon City, under charge of Post Commander L. T. Barin, came down on- an excursion boat at U o'clock A. M., to take part in the ceremonies and were received by a delegation from George Wright Post. The weather was fine and streets dusty. Business houses generally were closed at 12 M. All the. United States, county and city offices were closed. It was as general a holiday as the Fourth of July. It is estimated that 8,000 persons crossed by the Stark Street Ferry alone and went to Lone Fir Cemetery, more than half of the number carrying flowers.
Was formed under direction of Past Post Commander N. S. Pierce, as Marshal. Comrades W. C. Powers, T. B. McDevitt and A. E. Borthwick acted as Aids.
Promptly at 2 o'clock (the hour appointed) the procession took up the line of march in the following order:
Four members of the Portland Police in full uniform.
Grand Marshal and Aids.
Washington Guard, Capt. Horatio Cooke.
Emmet Guard, Capt. Wm. McCarthy.
City Rifles, Capt. Geo. Wilson.
Portland Light Guard, Capt. J. Rush Bronson, composed principally of sons of members of the Grand Army, which was a pleasant feature of the procession and attracted much attention.
East Portland Band.
Washington Camp No. 1, Patriotic Order Sons of America, under command of L. B. Ind, President.
Washington Camp No. 2, P. 0. S. of A., East Portland, under command of S. R. Harrington, Prest.; J. W. Kern, Marshal.
Washington Camp No. 3, P. 0. S. of A., G. W. McCoy, VicePresident.
George Wright Post No. 1, G. A. R., G. C. Sears, Commander.
Meade Post No. 24, G. A. R., L. T. Barin, Commander.
Garfield Post, No. 28, G. A. R., F. K. Arnold, Commander.
Stoneman Post No. 31, G. A. R., T. G. Davison, Commander.
Members of Ancient Order of Foresters, B. Weymouth, G. C. R.
Car containing thirty little girls dressed in white, daughters of members of the Grand Army, and bearing emblems, army corps flags, etc.
Portland Light Battery, Capt. Thos. Adams, mounted, and with two brass twelve-pounder field guns.
Carriages containing Orator, Poet, Chaplain, Old Soldiers, Citizens, etc.
After marching through the principal streets, the procession crossed at Stark Street Ferry and marched thence to the cemetery.
AT LONE FIR CEMETERY.
Arriving at the consecrated ground the policemen were stationed at the four corners of the hollow square, and, inarching in reversed order, the G. A. R. formed one side of the square, the military and civic societies the other sides.
The services for Decoration Day as laid down in the G. A. R. Ritual were then had, the several Posts of the G. A. R. acting as one organization.
Comrade R. C. White, as Chaplain of the Day, offered prayer.
The band played a solemn dirge.
Comrade G. E. Caukin, as Adjutant, read the following orders from Department Headquarters:
Headquarters Department Op California,
GRAND ARMY OF THE REPUBLIC,
320 Sansome St., San Francisco, April 15, 1882. General Orders (.
NO. 4. (
Under the Rules of the National Encampment of the Grand Army of the Republic it will be the duty of every Post in this Department, on the 30th dav of May next, to participate in the decoration of the graves of Soldiers and Sailors who served in the War of the Rebellion."
It is hereby ordered that the Commanders of Posts will, as soon as possible, make the necessary arrangements for the proper observance of the day. As the 30th day of May has been declared a legal holiday in this State, there will be no interference with business, and all will be at liberty to assist. Let us remember that it is not simply that we strew flowers over the graves of individuals whose memory we desire to keep green, but that it is an offering of love we, as comrades, pay to our Dead, and a tribute from a grateful people to that self-sacrificing patriotism which resulted in the perpetuity of our liberties and the integrity of the Nation.
Therefore, whether there are graves of Veterans to be decorated or not, it is desired that wherever in this department a Post of the G. A. R. is located, some fitting memorial service will be observed.
While these memorial exercises are under the auspices of the Grand Army of the Republic, it is no less the duty of all to unite with the G. A. R. in the observance of the day, and all organized bodies, military and civic, are invited to join with the G. A. R. in making the observance universal.
As the years roll by our labors on this day becomeincreased, and our roll of honor shows added names on each anniversary of this day of grateful offerings, and as our numbers become less, let our devotion to the memories of the past grow stronger, and our loyalty to our dead never grow cold.
Clergymen in the different localities are respectfully requested to conduct appropriate memorial service in their respective churches on Sabbath preceding 30th of May, and the Press are requested to give the day and its duties notice in their columns.
By command of W. A. ROBINSON,
Geo. M. Mccarty,
Assistant Adjutant General. Comrade G. C. Sears, as Commander, gave the following address from the Ritual:
To-day is the festival of our dead. We unite to honor the memory of our brave and our beloved; to enrich and ennoble our lives by recalling a public heroism and a private worth that are immortal, to encourage by our solemn service, a more zealous and stalwart patriotism. Festival of the dead! Yes, though many eyes are clouded with tears, though many hearts are clouded with regret, though many lives are still desolate because of the father or brother, the husband or lover, who did not come back; though every grave, which a tender reverence or love adorns with flowers, is the shrine of a sorrow whose influence is still potent, though its first keen poignancy has been dulled,—despite of all, to-day is a festival because it is full of solemnity. And now, as in this silent camping ground of our dead, with soldierly tenderness .and love, we garland these passionless mounds, let us recall those who made their breasts a barricade between our country and its foes: Let us recall their toils, their sufferings, their heroism, their supreme fidelity in camp, in prison pen, on the battle field, and in hospital, that the flag under which they fought, and from the shadows of whose folds they were promoted, may never be dishonored; that the country for whose union and supremacy they surrendered life, may have the fervent and enthusiastic devotion of every citizen ; that as we stand by every grave as before an altar, we may pledge our manhood that, so help us God, the memory of our dead shall encourage and strengthen in us all a more loyal patriotism.
C. G. Staples, the Officer of the Day, then took up some flowers and scattering them on the memorial grave, said:
In your name, my comrades, I scatter these memorial flowers upon this grave, which represents the graves of all who died in the sacred cause of our country. Our floral tribute shall wither. Let the tender, fraternal love for which it stands, endure until the touch of death shall chill the warm pulsebeat of your hearts.
Chaplain R. C. White then spoke as follows:
Comrades, by this service, without distinction of race or creed, we renew our pledge to exercise a spirit of fraternity among ourselves, of charity to the destitute wards of the Grand Army, and of loyalty to the authority and union