Joseph Roswell Hawley.

Address at the dedication of the Soldiers' and sailors' monument online

. (page 1 of 2)
Online LibraryJoseph Roswell HawleyAddress at the dedication of the Soldiers' and sailors' monument → online text (page 1 of 2)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook


k* Hzi


014 109 653 9

pH 8.5

Mill Run F1.17TQ

F 129
\ .U8 H39
Copy 1





Soldiers' m Sailors' Monument


October 13, 1891.

By J. K. H^WLEY.


Pkess of The Case, Lockwood & Bkainard Company.



ADVANCE COPY. Not to be used until after
the delivery — between 11 A. 31. and 1 P.M.




OCTOBER 13, 1891.

2L\ President and Gentlemen of the Soldiers^ Monument
Association of I tica:

Many pleasing memories of the people and places
of Oneida and Madison counties, and especially of this
goodly city of Utica, led me to receive your invita-
tion to speak upon this interesting and memorable
occasion as a command, to be obeyed as a duty and
honor. All old soldiers and sailors, all their families
and friends, all lovers of the good cause and the dear
old flag, look toward you to-day with love and grati-
tude for your good work in raising this noble monu-
ment to your soldiers of the Union.

Comrades and Fellow Citizens : How wonderful
the story is ! Sometimes we plod along in the drudgery
of our tame and common life for weeks or months,
the memories of the war out of mind. Suddenly, per-
haps the sight of a maimed soldier, perhaps the roll of a
drum, the call of a bugle, even the leisurely rustle

of the old flag peacefully rustling, brings back in a
tumultuous rush the recollections of that magnificent
and awful time.

In our previous history there had been many skir-
mishes with Indians, the unsatisfactory but not alto-
gether inglorious war of 1812, and a short struggle with
Mexico; but we thought of war, — real, great, glorious,
desperate, prolonged war, straining the full energies of
thirty or forty millions of people and marshaling armies
by the hundred thousand, — as something of which sub-
stantially the last had probably been seen under Napo-
leon. How many boys read and read of great battles,
and wondered and wondered how it would seem ! As
their pulses leaped at the description o( the great thun-
derings of cannon, the rattle of musketry, the wild yelling
cheers of the charge, they asked: — "Could I go through
a battle:' How should I feel? How do wounded men
look and act \ What do they say ( And the long night
march, the bivouac on the wind-swept plain or in deep
woods! I wish I could see it all," said many a lad.

At half-past four on the afternoon of April 12, 1861,
a cannon-shot of devilish malignity, speeding from Mor-
ris Island, South Carolina, toward Fort Sumter, "slapped
the face of Liberty." The lightning carried the news.
Suddenly arose 7 5,1 >00 men — 300,000 — 300,000 more
— a million on one side only of a great war! Dying
men by the hundred thousand, blood in streams, debt by
the thousand million, a nation's life trembling in the
balance, black clouds of sorrow and despair covering the
whole land ! The boys who doubted their own hearts
forgot to ask questions. They stood up by regiments,

tL H^ Lr

fyv*.l*i t ft, t/ouu

/ a ' -at o

brigades, divisions, and grand armies, and t lie world
never saw braver soldiers nor more terrible battles. It
was an indescribable, astounding revelation of the true
soul of a nation.

It was the cause— the dear land we love — the Flag
— the Declaration — the Union — the foremost Republic
in the world's history — the grand experiment of govern-
ment by the people — a continent dedicated to Liberty

— a nation set apart of God to work out the great prob-
lem of self-government, of free government, education,
peace, justice, equal rights — good will among men —
all leading mankind toward a future nobler than our
richest dreams ! Should this vision of unutterable glory
be blotted out? Should we have disunion — two repub-
lics — a dozeu — with petty ambitious, factious, revo-
lutions, repudiation, dishonor, anarchy — a wretched,
crushed continent, begging for kings to take all and
give peace? For answer the grand "Fall in!' 1 rang
aud rolled day and night. The air quivered, hummed,
thrilled, and shuddered with multitudinous drumming.
By hundreds of thousands, young men, dropping all
works and thoughts but of war, stood erect, shoulder
to shoulder. From valleys and rocky hills, prairies and
towns, fresh from studies and shops, grimy from mines
aud furnaces — they came down in long swinging ranks,
with the "clash, clang, and roll of stormy war music," to
right the great wrong.

The wife thanked Heaven that her husband was a
man and a patriot. The mother asked (*od 1 s blessing
upon her boy, and proudly and tearfully sent him away.
The children knew they would not be ashamed of their

fathers. It was worth a century to live in those four

The enemies of free government looked with grim
delight for the coming fulfillment of their prophecies.
They said we had certainly thriven as to mere numbers.
They said we could fight like a mob; we were the
descendants of uneasy and rebellions colonists ; our land
was the refuge of the enemies of all government. They
said we had no history, no historic consciousness, no
cohesion. They said we were only a loose congeries
of States that would fall apart upon a quarrel, with
no central commanding power to compel organization
and obedience. They said we had lost faith in human
nature; we believed all men purchasable; we wor-
shiped the dollar ; we hungered for sensual and material
things. They believed that no democratic nation could
impose heavy taxes, create great debts and pay them,
or long endure self-imposed sorrow and pain. We
asserted that there is no power on earth equal to that of
a free people ; that all men together know more than
one man ; that whatever is to be done by a whole people
can best be done by a free people. It was for us
to show how a free people can carry on a long war,
and to exhibit unity, submission, organization, discipline,
obedience, perseverance, devotion, self-sacrifice, not be-
cause a king commanded, but because we felt and
willed it.

The struggle was of infinite importance, because the
failure of this Republic would have delayed the world a
century. There is not a year or page of subsequent
European history that is what it would have been if we

had failed. There is no measuring the influence of this
Republic on other nations. Our wonderful growth in
population, social, material, and educational develop-
ment, trade and commerce — our small standing army —
have been making their impress on the people of
the Old World. No graces of rhetoric can add strength
to the statistics that prove our material prosperity, our
elasticity, our burden-bearing and debt-paying capacity.
Call other governments what you will, public opinion
is rapidly coming to rule them. It will be more and
more felt as intelligence spreads ; and intelligence and
intellectual growth cannot be stopped. We were
fighting the battle of the centuries. It was not for
the North ; it was not against the South. It was
not for the southern slave or the black man or the
white man, nor against the slaveholders. It was for
the North, for the South, for the slave, for the master,
for the whole people and all people. It was the battle
of the World and of Humanity.

Not all men reasoned elaborately about it. That
combination of truths and traditions, feelings, beliefs,
intellectual and moral discovery and growth that we call
civilization, compelled us. The common soldier felt
it in his soul and gloried iu the drama, without waiting
for philosophic speculations.

The contest was worth all it cost. The world
could not have afforded to let it end otherwise. A
divided republic, several republics, would have meant
eternal war. And the nation determined to end the
question of unity then and forever.

The day of enduring peace is far away. Conflict is


the law of the universe. The mystery of the Divine
Government is beyond our comprehension. Everywhere
there are duality and strife. There are up and down,
right and left, heat and cold, light and darkness, day
and night. Growth and decay, good and evil, contend
for the mastery. There is no rest. The good cannoi
rest if it would. The bad is falsehood, selfishness,
hatred, malignity, destruction. They are the stronger
peoples who live where there is a well-balanced struggle
with nature. There will be peace only when all evil
shall have vanished. It is well said that "nothing is
settled that is not right, 1 ' and that "unsettled questions
have no pity for the repose of mankind. 11

What is this terrible and inevitable thing called
war? It is the sudden and violent disruption of all
peaceful industries. The air becomes tremulous with the
roll of drums, the resonant notes of bugles, and the clang;
of bells. There come the marshaling and arming of
myriads of men, the rumble and chuck of ponderous
artillery and endless trains of wagons. There come the
sundering of families, the weeping and the blessing of
fathers, mothers, wives, and sweethearts, the high flush
of noble emotions of pride, patriotism, and devotion.
And again the hasty instruction, the marching and camp-
ing under blazing suns, or in frost and snow; the delving
in mud ; some morning the quick sharp shots of the skir-
mish line; combats now at dawn, now in darkness; and,
in time, the full battle array; the rattling, swelling, and
diminishing volleys of musketry; the irregular boom of
cannon ; the whistling, humming rifle ball : the satanic
screech of heavy shot and shell ; tumultuous shmils and

yells, now near, now far. There come hospitals, crowded
by the wounds of battle, and the more deadly wounds of
disease; populous grave-yards; the muffled drum and
mourners going about the streets; debts, private and pub-
lic ; rags, starvation, and cripples.

War is an unspeakable calamity, and the wickedest
thing in the universe is a selfish and wicked war between
wicked rulers and peoples, unless it be a cowardly peace
__a peace that will see justice and liberty stricken down
and stand by silent and idle. Wrong and oppression aie
a challenge' to Heaven and all just men. War rouses
men to great thoughts and deeds and calls men to sacri-
fice. Unbelief in human nature grows in peace, fostering
'a conviction that all men are selfish. With war and
sacrifice conies a sens, of the value of the country. Our
soldiers learned the incalculable worth of regularity,
fidelity, courage, cheerfulness, and the beauty of absolute
obedience to orders because they are orders, which is
next to doing right because it is right. Victor Hugo
says the soldier and the priest are at heart the same : one
is devoted to his country down here; the other to his

country up there.

See that young man as he enters the ranks, fresh
from the plow, the workshop, or counting-house. It
may be that at first his manly spirit rebels against the
sharp, peremptory order of an officer his equal, and noth-
ing more, at home. He shrugs his shoulder in reluctant
obedience. He may grumble over his hard-tack and
weary of the endless round of camp duty. But as the
months roll on, see him salute with head erect and flash-
ing eye. With what alacrity he springs to duty, wher-

ever and whenever be finds it — pjrotjd now of submis-
sion, obedience, and self-sacrifice. He lias learned to obey,
lie is ready to do and die. And that is the lesson we
taught two minion boys — a grand lesson to be learned,
even amid the carnage of bloody war. Nor did it end

There was with some a feeling of dread — born of
the old world's history — of the time when these soldiers,
trained in the rough routine of military camps and accus-
tomed to deeds of blood, should be turned back upon
society. But when the discharge came, the veterans
quietly stepped back into the ordinary vocations of
life, resuming its peaceful duties, all the better fitted
because of the sacrifices they had made. Multitudes
to-day are better citizens for having been soldiers.

They are to be found in every field and coiner of the
land from shore to shore, such as I see before me, in all
employments, professions, and grades, staunch lovers of
liberty, law, and order, worshipers of the glorious ideal
of what this land is to be. They have spread through
every distant territory, ever the truest and foremost
anion'-' the founders of future Stales.

Everywhere they stand a solid wall guarding the
civil power So loving the country that they could die
for it in the storm of war, they are not the men to destroy
its institutions.

It was a just war and no other was ever con-
ducted like it. Read the story of great European
campaigns, save as modified at times by special rela-
tions and to an increasing degree by our example.
"Fire and sword" was the cry. Desolation followed

tile soldier — not that the enemy might be starved into
defeat, but that the invader might divide plunder as
a legitimate portion of his pay, and an additional motive
for his service. The capture of cities was followed by in-
sane orgies trampling upon order and discipline, robbery,
nameless outrages upon the defenceless non-combatants,
fire, and brutal murders of the defeated enemy. On the
other hand, save where, as in the Shenandoah, or in
Sherman's march, the subsistence of the army was
drawn from the country, or the destruction of the
support of the enemy was demanded by military policy,
the army of the Union carried with it protection to prop-
erty, protection to life and person, and the punish-
ment of disorder. As various regions came again
under the old Hag, the starving were freely fed from
the army supplies, teachers and preachers opened
churches for a gospel free to all, and the Freedmen's
Bureau took charge of the black man, free, surely,
yet owning nothing but himself. With the Hag went
fair play and fair wages to all men. The Sanitary
Commission and the Christian Commission marched
with, or upon the heels of, the army, carrying 'bless-
ings without reservation or distinction. Never before
did war accompany its horrors with so much of the
mitigations of a christian civilization.

The political history of a few months that im-
mediately preceded the war are instructive if not
nattering. They were full of doubt and dread. So
much did loyal men love peace and union, and so
much, it must be confessed, did they doubt the great
hearts and high courage of the loyal millions, that



they offered terms of settlement which one wishes
could be forever blotted from the record, save that
they acquit the Slates that stood by the Union of
the crime of desiring war. And it was long before
the nation was driven, under the chastening hand of
the Almighty, to lift its hand against the under-
lying cause of its calamities, the belated barbarism,
human slavery struggling for a permanent entrench-
ment in the republic, and in despair striving for its

But as the poet hath it :

"Above the bayonets bloom the lilies and palms of God."

With the restored Union came universal liberty.
And of the terms granted our conquered brethren
of the South, Gen. Lee said : " Gen. Grant's treat-
ment of the Army of Southern Virginia is without
a parallel in the history of the civilized world. 11 Con-
fiscation ceased. There were no executions for treason.
No ungovernable army remained to dominate the
government and justify the prophecies of our enemies,
nor did roving bands of guerillas harrass a wean-
people. It was indeed a great war, and in noth-
ing greater than in its close, and in the results that
justify it. Its gigantic labors, sorrows, debts, and deaths
won something, and whatever was thus won is to be pre-
served and maintained. Upon this much we can all
agree :

An indissoluble union was restored. The theory of
secession appealed to the last dread tribunal within the
reach of man. It lost, and it is dead, as a rule of possible
action. No man asserts to the contrary.


Universal liberty was established. Human slavery
vanished. No man is heard to lament it, and most of
its former champions rejoice.

By constitution and statute, the equality of rights
has been established, for the ballot box, the jury box,
the witness box, and the cartridge box. There are
mourners, but they are helpless.

There is but one theory of political society. In
theory, at least, there shall hereafter be no master and no
slave ; no noble, no peasant; no dominant class, no infe-
rior class. Every man has a right to be all that he can
be. Even our late enemies concede all this, and most of
it most cordially and sincerely. For it our dead brothers
gave their lives. Failure to maintain it would be an
infinite shame.

One of our high duties has been thus far nobly dis-
charged. Every dollar of the debt has been held as
sacred as a soldier's grave. More than two thousand
million of it has been paid. Had it been treated with
dishonor or trifling;, there would have been lacking one
large element in the demonstration that a free people can
endure and govern.

Let us all remember that "Liberty is a burden, not
a release. 1 ' It is easier to live under a reasonable des-
potism than in a republic. Where one man rules, it is
the paradise of those who lament the existence of parties
and political agitations. The American citizen has
assumed the sovereignty and cannot escape its duties.
All political thoughts, debates, and conflicts concern him,
and he can never reach the end of his care.

We have the unspeakable happiness to have lived


twenty-flix years after the close of the war, and to see
the great changes in fundamental law and statute neces-
sary to confirm the judgment thereof; to see our coun-
try first in financial credit, first in the harmonious justice
and freedom of its institutions, and soon to be first in
numbers and wealth. No man who has contributed,
however humbly, to this wonderful advance has lived
altogether in vain.

By immeasurable sacrifices in war and peace a new
and solemn sanction has been sriven to the duties of
citizens]]!}). Let no man trifle with the honor of the
great Republic, or deny its authority, or corrupt its
ballot boxes.

We read in the Scriptures that when King David
was encamped over against Bethlehem, which was in the
hands of the Philistines, three of his thirty chieftains
came down to see him.

"And David longed, and said: 'Oh that one would give
me to drink of the water of the well of Bethlehem which is
by the gate ! '

" And the three mighty men brake through the host of
the Philistines, and drew water out of the well of Bethlehem
which is by the gate, and took it, and brought it to David ;
nevertheless, be would not drink thereof, but poured it out
unto the Lord.

" And he said : ' Be it far from me, Lord, that I should
do this ; is not this the blood of the men that went in jeopardy
of their lives?' Therefore he would not drink it."

More than three hundred thousand men went in
jeopardy of their lives and shed their blood for the

When the moralist dw< lis upon the beauty of peace


and the sin and barbarism of war, lie too often paints
tlie soldier only as one divested of all fine, pure elements
of humanity, going out to kill his fellow-men, and lay
waste their homes. Such are some warriors ; such were
not ours. Before the contest opened, and during its
earlier years, the defenders of the Union had less of
hatred than ever prevailed in a people going to battle.
They longed for signs of changed conviction, or dying
passion, and returning amity. At any moment, the news
that our opponents had abandoned strife and stretched
out right hands would have been received with joy inde-
scribable and far surpassing that of the capture and en-
forced surrender of Appomattox. It was the stroi
brother restraining the weaker from the destruction of
tilings of old dear to both, and the heavy hand of re-
lentless war, more deadly to the attacking force than to
the defenders, was really not raised in the East until the
campaign s of 1 8C4.

Napoleon's dictum, " The worse the man the better
the soldier, 11 only reveals the character of his wars. He
would have discovered that it was not alone barbarous
in morals, but a blunder in true military science, had he
led in such causes that a truly intelligent people could
have daily wrestled in prayer with Almighty God for
bis success. Said David to Goliath, " Thou coinest to
me with a sword, a spear, and a shield ; but I come to
thee in the name of the Lord of Hosts, the God of the
armies of Israel, whom thou hast defied."

We venture to say that the great mass of our sol-
diery thought not so much of sending death to others as
of their belief that then, if never before, they were serv-


ing God and bheir country, and were willing to die for
the good cause, if need be.

The true soldier is not a boaster. Saving and ex-
cepting the few great leaders, lie well knows that he was
one among two and a quarter millions, only one, yet
proud to l»e counted there. When all was over, Dr.
Bushnell said, on an occasion similar to this, "The heroes
of the war are the dead men." True, but there were
other heroes than either dead or living soldiers. Remem-
ber the mothers and wives. While to the soldiers some
days and weeks were as holidays, to the beloved at
home nearly all days were days of battle, and every hour
carried the possibility of sorrowful tidings. Remember
such as the Massachusetts mother losing all her live sons:
to whom Abraham Lincoln wrote of the "solemn pride
that must be hers to have laid so costly a sacrifice upon
the altar of freedom."

Remember the little army of nurses who gave many
lives, with a courage not surpassed on the field.

Remember those whose work at home was indis-
pensable and who had faith. In 1864 Grant said the
Union would be saved if the North stood firm. The
army sometimes looked as anxiously northward as south-
ward. Remember the farmers and mechanics who could
not go ; who sent sous and brothers, staying at home to
maintain families; sending cheer and comfort to their
boys in the field ; voting as seemed best to them, but
always at heart voting for the Union. Remember our
Legislators, who ordered army after army, and debt after
debt, with a grand audacity, a splendid faith in Heaven
and the people, until 1864 saw the Union with the great-


est army the world ever saw, near a million and a quar-
ter of men, the best armed, equipped, clothed, fed, paid
— and pensioned — the world ever saw.

Forget not the true Union men of the border and
Southern States, who stood by Union and Liberty, while
neighbor was arrayed against neighbor, brother against
brother, son against father; where the soldier often
heard that his fields were ravaged, his home burned, his
family houseless, and on furlough he could only visit
them by stealth. What had we of New England to suf-
fer by the side of these our comrades of the South ? Re-
member among them the black man. Remember our
comrades of foreign birth who were "with us from Sumter
to the end, and those who came from foreign lands to
join us.

The New Testament, nowhere reflecting upon the
profession of the soldier, and full of the metaphors that
interchange easily between the campaigns of the evangel-
ist and the warrior, gives us a charming story of a
Roman captain, a pagan, engaged in the ungrateful work
of enforcing the dominion of Rome over the conquered
Hebrew^s. He had a servant who was dear unto him,
and who was sick and ready to die. The generous sol-
dier, having heard of one Jesus wdio was the friend of
sorrow and suffering, and did great wonders in healing
men, sent to Him certain elders of the Jews beseeching
him to come and heal the servant. The Scripture pro-
ceeds to say :

" And when they came to Jesus they besought him instant-
ly, saying, ' That he was worthy for whom he should do this,
for he loveth our nation, and he hath built us a synagogue.' "


Here was a broad and liberal, as well as wealthy,
soldier, possibly not a strong believer in tlie gods of
Rome and Greece, but still less likely to believe in a
gospel Prom Judea, and yet lie gave liberally to the
alien race over whom he was on guard.

" Then Jesus went with them, and when He was now not
far from the house, the centurion sent friends to Him, saying
unto Him: 'Lord, trouble not thyself, for I am not worthy that
thou shouldst enter under my roof ; wherefore, neither thought


Online LibraryJoseph Roswell HawleyAddress at the dedication of the Soldiers' and sailors' monument → online text (page 1 of 2)