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PROCEEDINGS



AT



THE SEVENTEENTH
ANNUAL LINCOLN DINNER



OF THE

REPUBLICAN CLUB



OF THE



CITY OF NEW YORK



Celebrated at the Waldorf-Astoria, the Ninety-Fourth

Anniversary of the birthday of Abraham Lincoln,

Thursday, February i2Th 1903



NEW YORK

PRESS OF THE FREYTAG PRINTING CO., I18-126 WALKER ST.
1903



p.

Author.



ET^s-f






Abraham Lincoln

EMANCIPATOR

MARTYR

BORN FEBRUARY 12TH, 1809

ADMITTED TO THE BAR 1837 ELECTED TO CONGRESS 1846

ELECTED SIXTEENTH PRESIDENT

OF THE
UNITED STATES, NOVEMBER, i860

EMANCIPATION PROCLAMATION JANUARY, iST, 1863

RE-ELECTED PRESIDENT

OF THE

UNITED STATES, NOVEMBER, 1864

ASSASSINATED APRIL 14TH, 1865



OFFICERS 1903



LOUIS STERN, PRESIDENT

Vice-Presidents

ALEXANDER CALDWELL
ALEXANDER P. KETCHUM SAMUEL W. BOWNE

Secretaries
JOHN HENRY HAMMOND CHARLES S. WHITMAN

T^ecordittg Secretary Corresponding Secretary

treasurer
J. EDGAR LEAYCRAFT



LINCOLN DINNER COMMITTEE

CHARLES H. TREAT, Chairman
W. JENKS MERRITT, Treasurer
HENRY BIRRELL, Secretary
ALEXANDER CALDWELL
ARTHUR L. MERRIAM
E. A. NEWELL
LEOPOLD STERN
WILLIAM C. BEER
LOUIS STERN, Ex-officio



TOASTS



Hon. LOUIS STERN, President of the Club, Presiding



GRACE, - - - Rev. WILLIAM MERLE SMITH, D.D.

ABRAHAM LINCOLN, - - - Hon. FRANK S. BLACK



ABRAHAM LINCOLN-WENDELL

PHILLIPS, A CONTRAST AND Judge WENDELL P. STAFFORD
A PARALLEL



THE REPUBLICAN PARTY - - Hon. FRANCIS W. CUSHMAN

LINCOLN'S WAR SECRETARY - Hon. ROBERT W. TAYLER



THE LINCOLN DINNER



OF THE



REPUBLICAN CLUB



The Seventeenth Annual Dinner of the Republican

Club of the City of New York was given at the

Waldorf-Astoria, Thursday, February, 12,

1903, on the Ninety-fourth Anniversary

of the Birthday of Abraham Lincoln



The President of the Club, Hon. Louis Stern, called
upon the Rev. William Merle Smith, D.D., to say grace.



INTRODUCTORY ADDRESS

OF

HON. LOUIS STERN

PRESIDENT OF THE CLUB
PRESIDING



The Toastmaster: I will ask the Rev. Wilton Merle Smith
to say grace.

Grace. Rev. Wilton Merle Smith, D. D. : O Lord, our God,
sanctify unto us our fellowship and the memory of Thy servant
whose work and life we honor to-night. May we here take
increased devotion to the things for which He lived and died,
for Christ's sake, Amen.

The Toastmaster : Ladies and Gentlemen, it is with un-
feigned pleasure that I welcome all the guests who have honored
the Republican Club by their presence on this anniversary of
the birth of that greatest of Americans, Abraham Lincoln.
(Applause.) Surely the day of all days in the calendar when
Republicans should come together and commune with one an-
other, with patriotic ardor, is the birthday of him whose blessed
memory we have met to celebrate.

In his time he was the cherished leader of our party ; he
was the representative in whom Republicans entrusted, with fear
and trembling and yet with confidence, the most momentous
problems that a free people ever called upon one of their number
to solve.

Abraham Lincoln no longer belongs exclusively to the party
to which in life he was affiliated and which ever tenderly cher-
ishes his memory. So wide and broad is his fame, that all
the American people now claim him as their own.

The men produced by the crisis of 1861 stand out sharply
in silhouette against the sky of history. (Applause.) Examine
the career of each, the great civilians and the great soldiers.
Bear in mind the fever and impatience of those times, the varied
and various influences to which Mr. Lincoln referred as the
"pressure from the people of the North, and from Congress



10 THE REPUBLICAN CLUB

which was always with him." Ask yourself, who, of all these,
could have taken the place of Abraham Lincoln ?

Justly, then, may the Republican party be proud of the
sagacity of its leaders who selected from its ranks this noble
American, whose unselfish patriotism was united to surpassing
ability. The conditions which confronted the first Republican
President were many and varied, and only a many sided man
could meet and face them all. Abraham Lincoln was that man.
(Applause.) He was a statesman, and he was a politician ; he
was an orator, and he was reticent. He was the saddest man in
the nation, and he was the most humorous. He was firm, and he
was yielding ; but in the main policy of preserving the unity of
the States and establishing a government under the Constitu-
tion, he was the incarnation of inflexibility. Few saw him
through the same eyes, yet all beheld in Abraham Lincoln the
marvelous leader who inspired confidence.

It takes time and distance and new conditions to appreciate
the height and breadth of a simple, tender, God-fearing man
like Abraham Lincoln. (Applause.) His was the pure, lofty
soul shining in the seething cauldron of every kind of intrigue,
of every description of human ambition and human emotion.
His simplicity and purity, his faith in God, in the people, in the
Constitution and the righteousness of the cause ; his noble
single-mindedness, zeal and eternal vigilance, made him shine
in the political firmament of those historic days with the con-
stancy of the North Star by which the loyal people steered the
storm tossed ship of state.

Now, gentlemen, before I close and give way for the galaxy
of orators, for whom you are eagerly waiting. I cannot resist
mentioning the fact that the Republican Club, since its last
Lincoln Dinner, has erected a new club house, which it is about
to occupy, on the south side of 40th Street, between 5th and 6th
Avenues. Don't mistake the location, gentlemen — an eleven
story structure, with all the modern improvements. Our new
home is worthy of the Club's past achievements and its present
large measure of prosperity. Its distinguished membership in-
cludes the President of the United States (applause) ; a member
of the Cabinet (applause) ; United States Senators and Congress-
men, and the Governor of the State (applause) ; and last, but not
least, four judges now in active service. With such a member-
ship and such a record, the Club may well enter upon a new stage
of its existence in its new club house, determined to be more
faithful than ever to the robust and progressive Republicanism
of which Abraham Lincoln was the great exponent.

Gentlemen, T will now ask you to have your glasses filled,



ADDRESS OF HON. LOUIS STERN II

and propose the toast to his excellency, Theodore Roosevelt,
President of the United States.

(Toast drunk standing).

Gentlemen, before we proceed with the speechmaking of the
evening, I will ask the Chairman of the Dinner Committee.
Colonel Treat, to read letters that we have received from
eminent men throughout the country, and who, for various
reasons, are unable to be with us to-night.

(Colonel Treat then read letters from President Theodore
Roosevelt, Secretary of War Elihu Root, Attorney-General
Philander Chase Knox, Hon. Robert T. Lincoln, Senators
Thomas C. Piatt, Chauncey M. Depew, Marcus A. Hanna,
Nathan B. Scott, John B. Spooner, Joseph R, Burton, Governor
Benjamin B. Odell, Governor Franklin Murphy, Cornelius N.
Bliss, Whitelaw Reid, J. Pierpont Morgan and Andrew Car-
negie.)



WHITE HOUSE,

WASHINGTON.



January 26 » 1903



My dear Mr, Caldw^l^

Will you present to the members of the Club my very
sincere regret that I cannot be with you at the Lincoln
birthday dinner? I feel that not merely all lovers of
the Republican party but all believers in the country
should do everything in their power to keep alive the
memory of Abraham Lincoln. The problems we have to
solve as a nation now are not the same as those he had to
face; but they can be solved aright only if we bring to
the solution exactly his principles and his methods, his
iron resolutioti, his keen good sense, his broad kindli-
ness, his practical ability, and his lofty idealism.
Faithfully jours,



Mr, Alexander Caldwell,
568 Broadway,

.New York, N. Y.



ADDRESS OF

EX-GOVERNOR FRANK S. BLACK



The Toastmaster: Ladies and Gentlemen, the first of the
orators of the evening whom I have now the pleasure of pre-
senting to you is one of the illustrious sons of the Empire State,
an ex-Congressman and an ex-Governor, who has made his
mark both as a legislator and as an executive, while his career
at the bar has been so successful that to-day, although, compara-
tively speaking, still a young man, he stands in the front rank of
his profession. His fame as an orator has preceded him here
to-night ; he is a master of "the art of putting things," and is
always forceful, keen and incisive. It will be a great treat to
hear of Abraham Lincoln from his point of view.

I have the honor of introducing to you ex-Governor Frank
S. Black. (Applause and three cheers.)

Ex-Gov. Frank S. Black : Mr. President, Ladies and Gen-
tlemen, there are subjects upon which nothing new can be
said, but which still arouse the fervor awakened at their first
enunciation. If the song was true when it started on its journey
it will be sung as long as human hearts vibrate and human
tongues retain the power of speech ; it will be lisped by those
tottering on toward the end and echoed by those whose hearts
are filled with the promise and the glow of youth. (Applause.)
If the product was genuine when it passed from the Creator's
hand, it will neither be dimmed by age nor cheapened by
familiarity ; for honor is not decreased by contact, and truth is
never out of tune. If none of the old stories are ever to be
retold, many a noble inspiration must be lost and many a tender
chord must remain untouched.

This is the age, I know, when the search is at its height
for the new and marvelous, and in this eagerness the primeval
forests are swept away, the bowels of the earth are punctured,
and even on the remotest sea the observant eye detects the
flutter of a sail. The watchword is energy, the goal is success,
but in the fever of modern enterprise a moment's rest can do
no harm. We must not only acquire, we must retain. We
must not onlv learn, we must remember. The newest is not



l6 THE REPUBLICAN CLUB

always the best. The date or lustre of the coin does not
determine its metal. The substance may be plain and unob-
trusive and still be- gold. Whoever chooses without a proper
test may die both a pauper and a fool. The paintings of
recent times have evoked the praise of critics, and yet thou-
sands still pay their homage to an older genius. Modern litera-
ture is ablaze with beauty and with power, and yet millions are
still going to one old and thumbworn text for their final conso-
lation. (Applause.)

Remembering the force of these examples, it will be profit-
able sometimes to step one side for the serious contemplation
of rugged, lasting qualities, in whatever age or garb they have
appeared. The hero of an hour will pass as quickly as he came.
The flashlight will dazzle and blind, but when the eyes are rubbed
the impression has passed away, but the landscape that comes
slowly into view with the rising sun, growing more resplendent
and distinct with his ascending power, and fading gently from
the vision at the approach of night, will remain in the mind
forever to illuminate, to strengthen and to cheer. And men are
like impressions. There are more examples of the flashlight
kind than there are fireflies on a summer's night (laughter),
but there is no nobler representative of the enduring and
immortal than he in whose name this event is celebrated.
(Applause.) Wheover imparts a new view of his character must
tell it to the newborn, to whom all things are new, for to the
intelligent and mature his name and virtues have been long
familiar. His was the power that commanded admiration and
the humanity that invited love ; mild but inflexible, just but
merciful, great but simple, he possessed a head that commanded
men and a heart that attracted babes. (Applause.) His con-
science was strong enough to bear continual use. (Cries of
"Good !" and applause.) It was not alone for public occasions
nor great emergencies. It was never a capital, but always a
chart. It was never his servant, to be dismissed at will, but his
companion, to be always at his side. It was with him, but never
behind him, for he knew that a pursuing conscience is an
accuser, and not a guide, and brings remorse instead of com-
fort. (Applause.) His greatness did not depend upon his title,
for greatness was his when the title was bestowed. He leaned
upon no fiction of aristocracy, and kissed no hand to obtain his
rank, but the stamp of nobility and power which he wore was
confercd upon him in that log hut in Kentucky that day in 1809
when the eyes that first beheld that sad and homely face were
the eyes of Nancy Hanks — (applause)— and it was conferred by
a power which, unlike earthly potentates, never confers a title



ADDRESS OF EX-GOVERNOR FRANK S. BLACK 17

without a character that will adorn it. When we understand
the tremendous advantages of a humble birth, when we
realize that the privations of youth are the pillars of strength to
maturer years, then we shall cease to wonder that out of such
obscure surroundings as watched the coming of Abraham Lin-
coln should spring the colossal and supreme figure of modern
history.

Groves are better than temples, fields are better than gor-
geous carpetings, rail fences are better than lines of kneeling
slaves, and the winds are better than music if you are raising
heroes and founding governments. (Applause.)

Those who understand these things and have felt the heart
of nature beat will not wonder that this man could stand the
shock and fury of war, and yet maintain that calm serenity
which enabled him to hear above the roar of the storm that
enveloped him the low, smothered cry that demanded the free-
dom of a race.

If you look for qualities that dazzle and bewilder you must
seek them elsewhere than in the character of Abraham Lincoln.
It was not by show or glitter, or by sound, that the great
moments of history were marked and the great deeds of man-
kind were wrought. The color counts for nothing. It is the
fibre alone that lasts. (Applause.) The precept will be for-
gotten unless the deed is remembered. The wildest strains of
martial music will pass away on the wind, while the grim and
deadly courage of the soldier, moving and acting without a word,
will mark the spot where pilgrims of every race will linger and
worship forever. (Applause.)

No character in the world more clearly saw the worth of
substance and the mockery of show, and no career ever set in
such everlasting light the doctrine that although vanity and pre-
tence may flourish for a day, there can be no lasting triumph
not founded on the truth.

The life of Lincoln moved upon that high, consistent
plane which the surroundings of his youth inspired. Poverty
is a hard but oftentimes a loving nurse. If Fortune denies the
luxury of wealth, she makes generous compensation in that
greater love which they alone can ever know who have faced
privations together. The child may shiver in the fury of the
blast which no maternal tenderness can shield him from, but
he may feel a helpless tear drop upon his cheek which will keep
him warm till the snows of time have covered his hair. (Ap-
plause.) It is not wealth that counts in the making of the
world, but character. (Applause.) And character is best formed
amid those surroundings where every waking hour is filled with



l8 THE REPUBLICAN CLUB

Struggle, where no flag of truce is ever sent, and only darkness
stays the conflict. Give me the hut that is small enough, the
poverty that is deep enough, the love that is great enough, and
I will raise from them the best there is in human character.
(Applause.)

This lad, uncouth and poor, without aid or accidental cir-
cumstance, rising as steadily as the sun, marked a path across
the sky so luminous and clear that there is not one to mate it
to be discovered in the heavens, and throughout its whole majes-
tic length there is no spot or blemish in it. (Applause.)

That love of justice and fair play, and that respect for order
and the law, which must underlie every nation that would long
endure, were deeply embedded in his nature. These, I know,
are qualities destitute of show and whose names are never set
to music, but unless there is in the people's heart a deep sense
of their everlasting value, that people will neither command
respect in times of their prosperity nor sympathy in the hour
of their decay. (Applause.) These are the qualities that stand
the test when hurricanes sweep by. These are the joints of oak
that ride the storm, and when the clouds have melted and the
waves are still, move on serenely in their course. Times will
come when nothing but the best can save us. Without warning
and without cause, out of a clear and smiling sky may descend
the bolt that will scatter the weaker qualities to the winds. We
have seen that bolt descend. There is danger at such a time.
The hurricane will pass like the rushing of the sea. Then is
the time to determine whether governments can stand amid such
perilous surroundings. The American character has been often
proved superior to any test. No danger can be so great and
no calamity so sudden as to throw it off its guard. This great
strength in times of trial and this self-restraint in times of wild
excitement have been attained by years of training, precept and
experience. Justice has been seen so often to emerge trium-
phant from obstacles which seemed to chain her limbs and make
the righteous path impossible, that there is now rooted in the
American heart the faith that, no matter how dark the night,
there will somehow break through at the appointed hour a
light, which shall reveal to eager eyes the upright forms of Jus-
tice and the Law, still moving hand in hand, still supreme over
chaos and despair, the image and the substance of the world's
sublime reliance.

I should not try, if all the time were mine, to present Lincoln
as an orator, lawyer, statesman or politician. His name and
his performances in the lines which he pursued have been cut



ADDRESS OF EX-GOVERNOR FRANK S. BLACK 19

into the rock of American history with the deepest chisel yet
made use of on this continent. (Applause.)

But it is not by the grandeur of his powers that he has
most appealed to me, but rather by those softer, homelier traits
which bring him down to a closer and more affectionate view.

The mountain that pushes its summit to the clouds is never
so magnificent to the observer on the plain below as when by
some clear and kindly light its smaller outlines are revealed.

And Lincoln was never more imposing than when the milder
attributes of his nature came in view. He was genuine, he
was affectionate, and after all is said and the end is reached
what is there without these two ? You may measure the heights
and sound the depths ; you may gain the great rewards of power
and renown ; you may quiver under the electric current of
applause — the time will come when these will fall from you
like the rags that cover your body. The robes of power and the
husks of pretense will alike be stripped away, and you must
stand at the end as you stood at the beginning, revealed. Under
such a test Abraham Lincoln might stand erect, for no man
loved the humbler, nobler traits more earnestl}^ than he.
Whatever he pretended to be, he was ; genuine and sincere, he
did not need embellishment. There is nothing in the world
which needs so little decoration or which can so well afford to
spurn it altogether as the absolutely genuine. Imitations are
likely to be exposed, unless carefully ornamented. Too much
embellishment generally covers a blemish in the construction.
It therefore happens that the first rate invariably rejects adorn-
ment and the second rate invariably puts it on. The difference
between the two can be discovered at short range, and safety
from exposure lies only in imperfect examination. If the vision
is clear and the inspection careful, there is no chance for the
sham ever to be taken for the genuine. And that is why it
happens that among all the forms of activity in this very active
age no struggle is more sharp than that of the first rate to be
found out and of the second not to be. (Laughter and ap-
plause.) It is easier to conceal what a thing is than to prove
it to be what it is not. The first requires only concealment, the
second requires demonstration. Sooner or later the truth will
appear. Some time the decorations will fall off, and then the
blemish will appear all the greater because of the surprise at
finding it.

None have less to fear from such a test than Abraham
Lincoln, and his strength in that regard arose, it seems to me,
from the preservation through all his life of that fondness for
his earlv home, of the tender recollections of his family and



20 THE REPUBLICAN CLUB

their struggles, which kept his sympathy always warm and
young. He was never so great but that the ties of his youth
still bound him. He was never so far away but that he could
still hear the note of the evening bird in the groves of his
nativity.

They say the tides of the ocean ebb and flow by a force
which, though remote, always retains its strength. And so with
this man, whether he rose or fell, whether he stood in that giant-
like repose that distinguished him among his fellow men, or
exercised that unequaled power, which, to my mind, made him
the foremost figure of the world, yet he always felt the tender
and invisible chord that chained him to his native rock. In
whatever field he stood he felt the benign and sobering influences
of his early recollections. They were the rock to which he
clung in storms, the anchor which kept his head to the wind,
the balm which sustained him in defeat and ennobled him in the
hour of triumph.

I shall not say he had his faults, for is there any hope that
man will pass through this vale of tears without them ? Is
there any danger tnat his fellow-men will fail to detect and
proclaim them ? He w'as not small in anything ; he was carved
in deep lines like all heroic figures, for dangerous altitudes and
great purposes. And as we move away from him, and years
and events pass between us, his form will still be visible and
distinct, for such characters, built upon courage and faith, and
that loyalty which is the seed of both, are not the playthings,
but the masters of time.

How long the names of men will last no human foresight
can discover, but I believe that even against the havoc and
confusion in which so many names go down, the fame of Lin-
coln will stand as immovable and as long as the pyramids
against the rustle of the Egyptian winds. (Great applause and
three cheers for ex-Governor Black.)



ADDRESS OF

Hon. Wendell Phillips Stafford



The Toastmaster : Ladies and Gentlemen, the great anti-
slavery orator, Wenden Phillips, has had a large number of boys
named after him, but none who has worn his great name more
creditably than the next speaker who will address you. He
hails from Vermont, that fine old State whose republicanism is as
immovable as her granite hills, one of V^ermont's justices, who
has adorned the bench with ample learning and a character as
spotless as the ermine. He is most welcome here in New
York and at this social board. Coming to us with the laurels
of an orator upon his brow, we greet him with pleasurable
anticipations. He will speak to you on the career of Abraham
Lincoln as compared with Wendell Phillips.

Gentlemen, I present to you Judge Wendell Phillips
Stafford.

Mr. Stafford : Mr. President, Members of the Republican
Club, and Fellow Guests, I thank you most heartily for this
welcome.

We are met in memory of a great man and a great move-
ment. It is always an impressive sight when an idea takes
possession of a multitude and "wields the living mass as if it
were its soul." We seem to watch the working of the invisible
Power that brings all things to pass, and understand what
Phillips meant when he said, "Marble, gold and granite are not
real : the only actual reality is an idea." You may find no moral
code in nature, no sign that she cares for man ; you may regard
the material universe as moving on its eternal way in sublime
indifference to our brief concerns ; but there is still a universe
of thought, in which we live and move and have our being, and
here ideas come forth at times like gods, shaping the destiny of


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Online LibraryNational Republical club incProceedings at the ... annual Lincoln dinner of the National Republican club, in commemoration of the birth of Abraham Lincoln .. (Volume 13) → online text (page 1 of 5)