Military Order of the Loyal Legion of the United S.

Ceremonies in commemoration of the one hundredth anniversary of the birth of Abraham Lincoln, Philadelphia, February 12, 1909 (Volume 1) online

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Online LibraryMilitary Order of the Loyal Legion of the United SCeremonies in commemoration of the one hundredth anniversary of the birth of Abraham Lincoln, Philadelphia, February 12, 1909 (Volume 1) → online text (page 1 of 3)
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Brevet Lieut. -Colonel John P. Nicholson Compiler

Military Order of the Loyal Legion of tlie
United States


Celebration of the One Hundredth Anniversary


Birth of Abraham Lincoln

American Academy of Music
February 12 1909 P. M.

" I am not bound to win
But I am bound to be true."

— Abraham Lincoln

Concert from 7.15 P. M. to 8.15 P. M.

The Band of the United States Marine Corps
Professor WM. H. SANTELMANN Leader


8.15 p. M.


The Birthplace of Lincoln

Hardin (La Rue Co.) Kentucky February 12 1809


Rear-Admiral George W. Melville U. S. N.

Commander of the Commandery

"Call all hands."


Captain J. Richards Boylb D. D.

Chaplain of the Commandery

"Columbia, the Gem of the Ocean"

The Band of the United States Marine Corps


Brevet Major-General Joshua h. Chamberlain

Commander of First Division Fifth Corps Army of the Potomac

Awarded the "Medal of Honor" under the resolution of Congress
"for daring heroism, and great tenacity in holding his position on
the Little Round Top, and carrying the advance position on the
Great Round Top, at the Battle of Gettysburg, Pa., July 2, 1863."

" The Battle Hymn of the Republic "

The Band of the United States Marine Corps


Captain John P. Green U. S. V.

Of the Commandery

"America "

The Band of the United States Marine Corps


Hermann Hagedorn Esq.

Read by the Author


Brevet Major R. Dale Benson U. S. V.
Of the Commandery

"The Star Spangled Banner"

The Band of the United States Marine Corps




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Commemoration of the One Hundredth

Anniversary of the Birth of

Abraham Lincoln.

Rear Admiral George W. Melville; U. S. N. Presiding.

Companions, Shipmates, and Ladies:

It is not necessary for me to announce to you the reasons for
our meeting here tonight.

I am pleased to say that the Nation has set apart this day
in commemoration of the birth of the greatest American of
modern times. We have had our Washington, Hamilton, Cal-
houn, and Webster of more modern times. Men of all shades
of poHtics and policies, but it remained for the greatest glory
to fall upon the head and shoulders of the great emancipator,
and though republican in name, the greatest democrat in all
that it means as a man of the people, Abraham Lincoln.

We are here to add our meed of praise and show our apprecia-
tion of America's greatest statesman, and who is better quahfied,
or more appreciative of Abraham Lincoln, than these old
warriors of the Army and Navy. Men old and worn, who in
the glad young days of their youth gave all we had, of life and
limb, to uphold the hands of our President and save a Nation
and the Liberties of our people for all time.


Captain J. Richards BoycB D. D.

Almighty and Most Merciful God, Our Heavenly Father,
before the mountains were brought forth, or ever Thou hadst
formed the earth and the world, even from everlasting to ever-
lasting Thou art God ! Thou art the blessed and only Potentate,
the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, who alone hath immortal-
ity, and who dwelleth in the light that no man can approach
unto! Heaven is Thy throne, the earth is Thy footstool, and
Thy Kingdom ruleth over all!

In the presence and in the name of this great outpouring
of American patriotism and brotherhood, and on this inspiring
Centennial Anniversary, we humbly and reverently adore and
worship Thee, and solemnly await Thy divine presence and

We thank Thee, O God, for Thy gracious and manifest Provi-
dence which has been vouchsafed our Nation from its birth in
this fair city nearly a century and a third ago. We thank Thee
for the sagacious and sacrificial men who here and then gave
to mankind a new civilization, consecrated to human liberty,
and — appealing to Thee for guidance, — pledged to its defence
their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor. We thank
Thee for our brave forefathers who with bleeding feet bore the
new flag over the sanguinary fields of the War of Independence;
and for that glorious soldier and patriot, the noble Washington,
who led them to final victory, and whose character and fame
are enshrined in our hearts forever. We thank Thee for the long
and unbroken line of statesmen, educators and heroes who,
under Thy Providence, have guided our public destinies on
from that early day until the present hour, in ever increasing
honor and power and glory.

We thank Thee most especially tonight for our heroes of the
War of the Rebellion, in the field, the state, and the church, who
amid sufferings incredible and with fortitude invincible rescued


our beloved Nation when it was violently threatened with dis-
memberment and death. And above all these we thank Thee
now and always for that supreme and colossal man, Abraham
Lincoln, who stands forth forever among these later heroes, taller
than the tallest, greater than the greatest, better than the best.
Thine own Infinite Hand fashioned him from the clay of our
common humanity. Thy ministry trained him in the severe
struggles of his early life for his high responsibilities and his
unexampled burdens and achievements. The light of Thy
Spirit baptized his mighty brain. The love of Thy heart filled
his great soul. The rectitude of Thy eternal law was enthroned
within his incorruptible conscience. He was Thine own chosen
Apostle of patriotism and liberty to our imperilled people.
We most devoutly thank Thee for his providential call and ap-
pearance in the hour of our deep darkness and cruel trial; and
for the magnetism of his person, the eloquence of his tongue and
pen, the wisdom of his mind, and the boundless tenderness and
toleration of his loving heart. We thank Thee for the freedom
he gave to a race long oppressed in bondage, for the civic and
moral regeneration he wrought out for the whole Nation, and
for the fact that his sacred blood, — so foully and wickedly shed —
has cemented for all time the foundations of our Republic.
Like Abraham of old this modern Abraham was the friend
of God and he is the father of new generations of faithful men.
He was Thy servant ,and he is our beloved Chief.

We pray Thy blessing to rest upon his name, his memory,
his deeds and his influence forevermore. We implore Thy
favor upon his only living son and his family; upon all the
survivors of the Civil War and their loved ones; upon the dis-
tinguished and partiotic Order under whose auspices we are
here assembled; upon their Companions throughout the land;
and upon all similar assemblages of our people who are commem-
orating this anniversary. We beseech Thee to bless the President
of the United States who is so soon to lay aside the cares of State,
and his chosen successor who within a few days is to assume his
high and responsible duties. Grant, we pray Thee, that inter-
national peace, domestic tranquility, and great prosperity may
abound under his administration. Bless all our States, — their
officers, their people, their business, their schools, their charities
and their homes. Bless this great and kindly city and all our

communities. Lead our Nation forward through all coming
years in the unfolding of manly and womanly character, in
undisturbed brotherhood, and in Thy faith and love, and save
our children's children through all generations. And unto Thee,
Father, Son and Holy Ghost, we shall ascribe praise, and honor,
and glory, world without end. Amen.


Brevet Major-Geaeral Joshua L. Chamberlain.

Great crises in human affairs call out the great in men.
They call for great men. This greatness is of quality rather
than quantity. It is not intensified selfhood, nor multiplied
possessions. It implies extraordinary powers to cope with diffi-
cult situations; but it implies still more, high purpose — the
intent to turn these powers to the service of man. Its essence
is of magnanimity. Some have indeed thought it great to seize
occasion in troubled times to aggrandize themselves. And
something slavish in the lower instincts of human nature seems
to grant their claim. Kings and conquerors have been named
"great" because of the magnificence of the servitude they have
been able to command, or the vastness of their conquests, or
even of the ruin they have wrought.

But true greatness is not in nor of the single self; it is of
that larger personality, that shared and sharing life with others,
in which, each giving of his best for their betterment, we are
greater than ourselves; and self-surrender for the sake of that
great belonging, is the true nobility.

The heroes of history are not self-seekers; they are saviors.
They give of their strength to the weak, the wronged, the
imperilled. Suffering and sacrifice they take on themselves.
Summoned by troubles, they have brought more than peace;
they have brought better standing and understanding for human
aspirations. Their mastery is for truth and right; that is for
man. Hence they are reverenced and beloved through the
ages. If we mourn the passing of the heroic age, all the more
conspicuous and honored is heroic example, still vouchsafed to

There are crises yet, when powers and susceptibilities of
good fevered with blind unrest and trembling for embodiment
seem turned to mutual destruction. Happy then the hour when
comes the strong spirit, master because holding self to a higher

obedience, the impress of whose character is command. He
comes to mould these elemental forces not to his own will, but
to their place in the appointed order of the ongoing world. For
lack of such men the march of human right has so many times
been halted — hence the dire waste of noble endeavor; grandeur
of martyrdoms upUfted in vain; high moments of possibiUty
lost to mankind.

There came upon our country, in our day, a crisis, a momen-
tous peril, a maddened strife such as no description can portray,
nor simile shadow forth; volcanic eruption, earthquake, up-
whelming seas of human force involving in their sweep agonies
and destruction such as the catastrophies of Italy never wrought;
not merely the measurable material loss, but the immeasurable
spiritual cost; the maddened attempt to rend asunder this or-
dained Union, this People of the United States of America,
a government by divine right, if anything on earth can be so.
The shock was deep and vast. It was the convulsion of a historic
and commissioned people. It was the dissolution of covenants
that had held diverse rights and powers in poise; colUsion of
forces correlated to secure unity and order, — now set loose
against each other, working destruction. It was more than the
conflict of laws, clash of interests, disharmony of ideas and prin-
ciples. It was the sundering of being; war of self against self;
of sphere against sphere in the concentric order of this great
composite national life of ours.

For us the aggregate human wisdom had been found wanting.
Conventions, Congresses and compromises had failed; the
heights of argument, sentiment and eloquence had been scaled
in vain; the mighty bond of historic memories, patriotism and
christian fellowship had been dissolved in that ferment. Had
a committee of wisest men been chosen, — expert doctors of law,
medicine and divinity, — nay the twelve apostles themselves
been summoned, — to determine what combination of quaUties
must mark the man who could mount above this storm, make
his voice heard amidst these jarring elements, and command
the "law of the mind" to prevail over the "law in the members,"
they could not have completed their inventory, nor have found
the man of such composition.

It was a divine providence which brought forth the man, to
execute the divine decree, in a crisis of human history.


It was a strange presentment and personality, — this deliverer
this servant and master, this follower and leader of the law; —
strange, and not readily accepted of men. Out of the unknown,
and by ways that even he knew not, came to this place of power,
Abraham Lincoln.

He came mysteriously chosen ; not by the custom of hereditary
descent, not by the concurrence of his peers, but by the instinc-
tive voice of a predestined people. Called because he was chosen ;
chosen, because he was already choice. The voice came to him
as to the deliverer of old: ''Be strong, and of a good courage,
for thou must go with this people unto the land which the Lord
hath sworn to their fathers to give them. And thoti shalt cause
them to inherit it!"

This one man called to the task. MilHons of them could not
meet it. He could. The order to be strong and of a good
courage came to him because he was that already. There was
that in him which this order appealed to and rested on. A
weak man could uot even receive it.

So, this dehverer of ours. Courtly manners and culture of the
schools he did not bring. But moulded and seasoned strength,
calm courage, robust sense, he brought; and a heart to humanize
it all. His inherent and potential greatness was his power of
reason and sense of right, and a magnanimity which regarded
the large and long interests of man more than the near and small
of self. Strength and courage are much the same; in essence,
in action, and in passion, — the abiUty to bear. These quahties
were of the whole man; — mind, heart and will. Intellect keen
yet broad ; able in both insight and comprehension ; taking in
at once the details of a situation, and also its unity and larger
relations. He knew men in their common aspects, and he knew
man in his potential excellence. Courage of will was his: power
to face dangers without and within; to resist the pressure of
force or of false suggestion; standing to his conviction; firm
against minor persuasions; silencing temptation. Courage
of the heart; power to resolve, and to endure; to suffer and to
wait. His patience was pathetic.

Courage of faith; belief in the empowering force of his obU-
gation. Wise to adjust policies to necessity, he kept sight of
his ideal. Amidst mockeries of truth, he was "obedient unto
the heavenly vision." Through the maze of false beacons

and bewildering beckonings, he steered by the star. Above the
recalling bugles of disaster and defeat he heard the voice of his
consecration, and held it pledge and prophecy. These qualities,
coordinated and commanded by wise judgment, and sustained
by a peculiar buoyancy of temperament, constituted a personal-
ity remarkable, if not solitary, among the great men of our time.

Before this assembly of the Loyal Legion it is natural to con-
sider Abraham Lincoln as he was presented to our observation
and experience in the military sphere; not as Chief Executive
in the common phrase of ordinary times, but as representative
of the nation before the v/orld, and clothed with its power.
That is, as Commander-in-Chief of the army and navy of the
United States, in an insurrection so vast as to involve nations
over the seas. A secondary title might be: The Revelation of
the War Powers of the President.

The situation Lincoln confronted was without parallel; in
magnitude, in complexity, in consequence. The immediate
and pressing object was manifest. To overcome the embattled
hostile forces; to quell the rebellion; to restore the honor and
authority of the American Union; to preserve the existence of
the people of the United States.

But this involved much more. There are no single lines in
human affairs. Cross-currents of interest, sentiment and
passion confused the motives, embarrassed the movements,
and clouded the issues, of this new declaration that this people
should be one and free.

Much had to be met that force could not manage; much that
sharpest insight and outlook could not foresee. Not only the
direct event of battle was involved, but the collateral effects
and continuing consequences; the far-reaching interests of a great
people yet to be ; the interests of related nations, and of humanity

Little experienced in administrative functions and unfamiliar
with the art of war, he had to take the chief responsibility in
both. He had much to learn, and was willing to learn it. But
not in haste. In some matters he came slowly to the execution
of his conviction, as possibly to the conviction itself. But
his judgments were based on what was sincere in his nature,
and large in motive. That he took no counsel from fear is mani-
fest. Evading the assassins hired to waylay his path to the

place of duty, and the no less infamous plots to prevent the count-
ing of the electoral vote and the announcement of his election,
he stood up and faced the menacing, cleaving masses in the
beleagured capital.

He chose his cabinet of official advisers in a novel way, and, one
might think, hazardous; but it showed the breadth of his patriot-
ism and the courage of his independence. Instead of seeking
those of Hke thinking with himself, or likely to make a unity
among themselves on public questions, he called men who were
rival candidates or popular in their respective localities; even
offering places to distinguished statesmen in Virginia and North
Carolina. And Seward, Chase, Cameron, Welles, Bates, Blair
and Smith, and afterwards Stanton, — what measure of agree-
ment with him or each other, on any point of public policy,
could be expected from a council like this! Most of these men,
no doubt, at first thought slightingly of him. But he converted
or over-awed them all. He went straight on.

He found more trouble in the military sphere. The popular,
or political principle of appointment would not work so well
here. It took some time and trial to rectify this, and make
practical tests of ability the basis. It was unfortunate that it
took so long to secure a nominal military chief, who had the
soldierly brain and eye and hand to command the confidence
of his subordinates as well as of his superiors.

But even among his generals in the field there was a lack of
harmony and a redundance of personality. He had to over-
rule this. He was their responsible commander. He made him-
self their practical adviser. This latter function some of them
undertook to make reciprocal. They did not gain much by
it. His sharp rejoinders, winged with wit and feathered with
humor, — as apposite as unexpected, — stirred the smiles of all
but the immediate recipients. But they commanded the sober
respect of all, as uncommon lessons of good common sense, —
which is also and always good tactics.

We behold him solitary in the arena; surrounded by various
antagonists and unsympathising spectators. He had to deal
with cabinet. Congress, committees, diplomatists, cranks,
wiseacres, as well as the embattled enemy on land and sea.

Sorely tried by long delays in the field, he was vexed by the
incessant clamor of the excited and unthinking, and of in-

fluential persons and papers that beset him with the demand
to free the slaves, and the reckless cry, "On to Richmond,"
which may have forced campaigns of disaster. Perils from
lurking traitors in the capital, pesterings of open or secret ene-
mies and rash and weak advisers, augmented the difficulties
of the momentous contention. All the while, with heart-crushing
things to bear, which he would not openly notice, — nor let us,
now! We cannot but wonder how he ever lived through, to
crown his work with a death so tragic, an ascension so trans-

But he was appointed for great ends; and this was his guaranty
of life!

Let us note more particularly some of the difficulties which
environed the president growing out of the magnitude and ex-
terior complications of this great rebellion.

At first we looked upon the rebellion as a domestic insurrection,
to be dealt with by the provisions and processes of municipal
law. But facts forced us from that theory. Laws, no less than
tactics, change with magnitudes. As the range and force of
the rebellion grew, and conditions became more complex, the
president had to enlarge his policy, and the grounds of its

One of the first warlike acts of the Confederate States was to
send forth armed cruisers, commissioned by "Letters of Marque"
to prey upon our merchant-ships and commerce on the seas.
We could not treat these cruisers as a domestic insurrectionary
force, because they were operating on the "high seas," — the
road of the nations; nor could we treat them as pirates,
and apply to their captured crews the summary process of a
short rope at the yard-arm, because they were only "domestic
enemies," and did not come under the "pirate" definition of
international law, as "enemies of mankind." So we had to
submit to their enjoying certain privileges recognized by the
law of nations, and admit their captured crews to exchange
as prisoners of war.

Nor could we treat the armed forces of the rebellion as a
"mob," because they were in such force and form that they had
to be treated under the laws of war, — presumed to be part of
the law of nations. Yet we could not recognize the Confederacy
as a nation, and a proper party to such agreement or practice.

Moreover, the president had instituted a blockade of Southern
ports, a measure better known to international, than to domestic
law. So it came about that the very magnitude of the rebellion,
and its extent on land and sea, compelled us, both on grounds
of pubhc law and on grounds of humanity, to extend to our
formidable antagonists some degree of the regulations known
as "belligerent rights." But belhgerents are presumed, in law
at least, to be aliens to each other; not fellow-citizens. Hence
great perplexity for the president.

But the situation now affected other nations. Here opens a
painful chapter of that sad experience. And I have to ask your
attention for a moment to difficulties outside the domestic
sphere, -which from the very first to the very last, were among
the most trying of the president's experiences. He was con-
fronted by an exterior circle of hostile intent and action in the
strange unfriendHness of nations, — perhaps I should say, gov-
ernments of nations, — historically and racially nearest to us,
and professing principles and sentiments deeply accordant with
our own.

The governments of England and France did not wait for a
distinct good understanding upon international relations.
They took the earliest possible occasion to declare their neutral-
ity, and to put the insurgents on the full footing of lawful belliger-
ents. They even denominated them as "States," thus ignoring
their character as insurgents. This was the more trying because
early in the discussion of the situation, our Government had dis-
tinctly declared to the British Government that "No proposition
would be considered w^hich did not regard this as a domestic
insurrection, with which foreign nations had no concern."

This recognition by England and France, followed by other
governments, gave the Confederate cruisers wnde privileges
on the "high seas," and in foreign ports, and a certain prestige
to the Confederate claim before the world,

Then came the severe trial for the president when Captain
Wilkes of our navy took from an English steamer on the high
seas Messieurs Mason and SHdell, — diplomatic agents of the Con-
federacy for France and England, — and conveyed them to Boston
in custody; our Secretary of the Navy officially congratulating
"Wilkes, and the House of Representatives voting him the thanks
of Congress; the British Government in a rage; Lord Russell in


imperious tones demanding an apology, the instant delivery
of Mason and Slidell, and the dismissal of Wilkes from our

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Online LibraryMilitary Order of the Loyal Legion of the United SCeremonies in commemoration of the one hundredth anniversary of the birth of Abraham Lincoln, Philadelphia, February 12, 1909 (Volume 1) → online text (page 1 of 3)