Nicholas Murray Butler.

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kind has ever seen !

I submit that it requires not only a large measure
of ignorance, but a total lack of the sense of humor,
to propose such a programme in the name of advance.
This new programme may be a wise one, but then
put upon it the name that belongs to it reaction !
Say frankly that we have gone ahead too fast; that we
have staked out territory that man is still incompetent
to occupy; that we are not ready for liberty; that we


should go back to the days of Francis I and Henry IV
and Henry VIII, and, substituting the many for the
one, turn over our civil liberty to the tender mercies
of a tyrant. That is what is seriously proposed to
the American people to-day.

This is not a party question; it rises far above fac-
tion or names or personalities or political parties. I
beg you to believe that I should not speak of this matter
in this presence, on an occasion such as this, did I
not believe that it goes to the very roots of our Ameri-
can life, and that those things with which the great
names of Hamilton and Jefferson and Washington
and Madison and Marshall and Webster and Lincoln
are associated are at stake. They are all at stake in
the issues that are being debated before the American
people to-day.

You may, if you choose, solace yourselves with the
optimistic thought that everything will come out well.
Hamilton never did. He saw to it that it came out
well. He addressed himself to the Constitutional Con-
vention lest error be made. He later addressed him-
self to the New York convention at Poughkecpsie
lest the Constitution be rejected. He addressed him-
self to the Congress of the United States lest we have
no adequate financial system, no national income, and
no properly ordered system of taxation. He was never
content to let matters drift. He saw to it trusting
as he did, and as every American must, in the good
faith, the honor, and the intelligence of the American
people he saw to it that the facts were laid before


them with such clearness, the arguments adduced
with such cogency, the objections answered with such
overwhelming force, that they were led to walk in the
strait and narrow path of national safety.

The building of this nation has been a long, a solemn,
and a sacred task. It is the work of four generations
of men who have conceived lofty ideals, and who,
without regard to party, religious faith, or section,
whether up in the pine-forests of Maine or over across
the continent in the orange-fields of California or down
on the plantations of the sunny South, have wrought
for freedom, for liberty, for stability, for justice. The
American people have, in a singular sense, regarded
themselves as the instruments of Providence in the
working out of a great government and a mighty
civilization. Almost alone among the governments
of the world, they have been in the habit, from the
beginning, of invoking the Divine blessing upon the
deliberations of their legislative bodies, and they have
seen to it that religion has been represented on every
great occasion of national festivity or rejoicing. They
have felt that here in this Western world, with an
endowment by Nature the like of which history has
never recorded, the opportunity has been given to
try on a huge scale, opening their arms to all who would
come, the fateful experiment of self-government.
Many men of all types and kinds, soldiers and sailors,
jurists and teachers, legislators and executives, phi-
losophers and popular leaders, have contributed to that
great end. But out of them all I name six men who


stand forever in the American Pantheon as supremely
important among those who have builded the na-
tion's government. I do not speak now of those who
have made other and important contributions; I have
not in mind those who have led great parties, who have
accomplished important acts, or have set in motion
great and fine and lasting currents of thought; but I
speak of six men who, one after another, have struck
the blows that were necessary to the construction of
our great American ship of state the nation's builders.

The first is George Washington. Without his calm
and even temper, without his serene and unruffled
mind, which was as influential because of what he re-
frained from doing as because of what he did, the exist-
ence of this American nation is unthinkable. His is,
beyond all comparison, the great self-sacrificing char-
acter in political history. Washington, through his
personality, drew the people of these colonies together,
made them feel loyalty to a single person, and, through
that person, to the idea which he represented, and then
he deftly withdrew his personality and left them to
worship the new and beautiful ideal that he had given

By his side and with him was Hamilton, the supreme
constructive genius in political philosophy and in states-
manship. He showed what to do and how to do it;
how the executive and the legislature could be adjusted
to each other; how the nation's business could be car-
ried on, and how the various departments of govern-
ment should be organized. He taught the great mass


of the American people what the fundamental princi-
ples were which underlay this new and fateful project.

Next comes John Marshall, who, from his great
place as Chief Justice of the United States, gave to the
new Constitution that interpretation at a time when
two interpretations were possible which welded the
nation together in unity and gave to it supreme power
and legal control over its several parts. But Marshall's
work was challenged. Thomas Jefferson petulantly
put obstacles in his way, and no less a man than
Andrew Jackson said: "John Marshall has made the
decision, now let him execute it." The people of the
United States had to be taught that when the nation
spoke whether by voice of the President, the Con-
gress, or the Supreme Court when a constitutional in-
terpretation was made, it was to be obeyed, even if it
took the whole of the nation's power to compel obedi-

That great act of public education was performed
by this same rugged Andrew Jackson of Tennessee in
his great proclamation to the nullifiers of South Caro-
lina. When the distinguished gentlemen of South
Carolina said they would not enforce the tariff act,
that they did not approve of it, that they would not
accept it for their State, Andrew Jackson speaking
perhaps by the pen of the great jurist Edward Living-
ston of Louisiana made a famous proclamation to
the nullifiers in which was conveyed the substance of
his reported personal message to John C. Calhoun,
one of the greatest of all American statesmen and


political philosophers. This was that if one drop of
blood was shed in defiance of the laws of the United
States, he, Andrew Jackson, would hang the first nulli-
fier he could lay his hands on to the first tree he could
find. And so the laws of the United States were not
nullified in South Carolina. There was a compro-
mise ? Perhaps, but there was also no nullification.
The decisions of the Supreme Court were undisputed
thereafter, and this nation took a long step forward
toward real nationality.

Then came the eloquent voice of Daniel Webster,
who, for thirty years at the bar, on the platform, and
in the Senate of the United States, educated public
opinion to a point where resistance to the secession
movement that had to come was both natural and
necessary. We need not blink the fact that without
Daniel Webster the Civil War could not have been
fought to a successful conclusion. It was not possible
to rest our national contention in that war upon a
purely legal basis, even upon legal propositions so clear
and firm; for they were cold and rational only. Daniel
Webster had for thirty years made them live. He
burned into the hearts of the American people the idea
of nationality. Whether you take one great speech
at Plymouth, another at Boston, another in New
York, or the great and conclusive reply to Hayne in
the Senate, it makes no difference; they are all part
of one great going to school by the people of the
United States to Daniel Webster. He taught them
not alone in terms of constitutional law and of legal


definitions, but in terms of every-day thought and feel-
ing and action, that this nation was one. It was he
who prepared the way for what followed.

Daniel Webster made it possible for Abraham Lin-
coln that sad, patient, long-suffering man to carry
this nation through the final crisis of its birth throes;
because he had put under him and behind him the
great body of opinion which believed that this nation
was one, was to be kept one, was to live as one, and
was to live as a free people.

These six men are both the symbols and the mov-
ing forces of the constructive nation-building of the
American people. They are drawn from all parts of
the United States, from different classes of society,
with varying political views, touching the people
with different interests and at different points. These
six men are the most prominent in the galaxy of our
nation-building heroes. Each one of them would be
affrighted could he know from his place in high heaven
that at this late day it is seriously proposed in the name
of greater justice, of more effective advance, to under-
mine and to break down the very foundations on which
this government and the civilization of this people

And so, as we mark this anniversary of Hamilton's
birth and pay to him the highest tribute, we can give
him his most just and well-earned recognition only if
we remember not alone what he was, not alone what
he did, but what bearing all that has upon the America
of to-day; what lessons his career and his teachings


have in relation to the great problems of politics, of
economics, and of the development of civil liberty that
are to be solved in the future. There is no safe guide
for the future but the experience of the past. When
we know what has happened under certain conditions
we may with some assurance predict what will happen
when those conditions are repeated. When we see out
of what a morass of mediaevalism, out of what a morass
of injustice and ignorance and squalor, the people of
the United States and their ancestors have come; to
what heights they have mounted under their Consti-
tution and their laws, their civil institutions, their
liberty and their freedom, it is to me inconceivable
that as these people come to know what the issue of the
moment really is, they will turn their backs on Wash-
ington and Hamilton and Marshall and Jackson and
Webster and Lincoln, and tear their governmental
structure down just to see what will happen.



A minute presented to the Chamber of Commerce of the
State of New York, February 6, 1919


With the suddenness of a thunderbolt forged in a
sky that had but just begun to darken, the life of
Theodore Roosevelt ended, without suffering or strug-
gle, at his home at Oyster Bay, on the early morning
of Monday, January 6, 1919.

The Chamber of Commerce of the State of New
York, whose roll of honorary membership was adorned
by his name and in whose halls he was a familiar
friend, halts the onward march of its business to pay
sorrowful and affectionate tribute of respect for his
memory and of admiration for his life and character.

Theodore Roosevelt was a native son of New York,
and in his training, his private life, his public service,
and his countless intellectual interests, represented
and reflected the life of the great metropolis to which
he was always proud to belong. He knew and loved the
New York of the early Knickerbockers, of the English
colonists, of the nation-builders, and of the long series
of splendid men who in church and state and trade
and commerce have made the name of this city honored
the whole world round. He knew and loved the New
York of vision, of constructive sagacity and foresight,
and of warm and generous sympathy for just causes,
for suffering peoples, and for stricken lands. He knew



and loved the New York which holds aloft the torch of
liberty at the nation's gateway, and which feels every
heart-throb in the life of a people whose homes stretch
from pine to palm and from the waters of the Atlantic
to the long rolling waves of the Pacific Ocean. He
knew and loved the New York which is proud to be
called the Empire State, since it is an empire of free-
men bent on keeping freemen free.

Theodore Roosevelt was called, while his young
manhood was yet in the making, to the service of his
city, his State, and his nation. At each successive
post of duty his alert human interest, his restless zeal
for action, and his quick appreciation of the thing that
needed immediately to be done, marked him in his
youth as a notable leader of Americans, and as a per-
sonality of quite unmatched attractiveness. Within
a few days of his fortieth birthday he was chosen to be
Governor of New York, and for two years filled with
distinction and high acceptance the post which had
been adorned by George Clinton, by John Jay, by
DeWitt Clinton, by Martin Van Buren, by William
L. Marcy, by William H. Seward, by Silas Wright, by
Hamilton Fish, by Edwin D. Morgan, by Samuel J.
Tilden, and by Grover Cleveland.

Elected at forty-two to be Vice-President of the
United States, Theodore Roosevelt ascended the steps
of the White House shortly thereafter under circum-
stances of tragic sorrow and amid a nation's mourning
for its murdered Chief Magistrate. Of native-born
New Yorkers only Martin Van Buren had before him


reached the chief magistracy of the republic, despite
the rich contribution of New York for a full century
and a quarter to the intellectual and moral leadership
of the nation. He found a rich and rapidly expanding
people forced to undertake the solution of new and
difficult problems that went to the very roots of their
economic and social life. He attacked these problems
with the ardent eagerness of a crusader. He had an
abiding faith in the American people and supreme
confidence in their right judgments, if only they could
be brought to see the facts, all the facts, and nothing
but the facts, precisely as they were. His adminis-
tration accompanied an era of large and rapid readjust-
ment in the public and the business life of America,
and at no instant was his firm grip upon the wheel
that steered the ship of state in any degree relaxed.
Not the voices of those who personally knew and loved
him, but the calm, clear voice of history, will appraise
the permanent value of his public service. Suffice it
to say that for us it is a landmark in the history of our

Theodore Roosevelt's ruling passion was love for
America, belief in America, and joyful purpose to serve
America to the utmost of his powers. Singularly en-
dowed with intellectual alertness, vital force, and rich
and deep emotions, he blended these attributes to-
gether in a personality dynamic both in its generating
power and in its popular attractiveness.

Theodore Roosevelt had keenest joy in combat.
The sense of conflict, of overcoming difficulties and re-


moving obstacles, of beating down stupidity and malice,
gave him gladdest satisfaction. Into a combat he
carried every power of his being and for the battle he
used every resource in the great armory of argument
and cunning and skill. He hated a sneak, a coward,
or a trimmer, and he had no concern for him who,
knowing the truth, dared not maintain it.

In sixty quick years he lived the space of a Methu-
selah's life. So packed were those years with incident
and activity and accomplishment that each one of
them seems a decade. Yet sixty years are the years
not of old age, but of maturity. Theodore Roosevelt
did not live to grow old. His maturest years were
spent in contact with great questions that racked the
best brains of the world and taxed the stoutest hearts.
He saw clearly and true the underlying, and at first hid-
den, significance of the Great War. He seized quickly
upon the moral issues involved and loudly called upon
his countrymen to play the part of men when the world
was in flames. He lived to see one of the two great
enemies of freedom broken and vanquished on the field
of battle and its representatives and title-bearers in
flight from home and country. He died while the other
great enemy of freedom was hissing and raising its
head to strike. Who can doubt that, had his life been
spared, he would have been in the front rank of those
who fight to beat down anarchy and the forces of un-
reason and destruction, as he was ready to go into the
front rank of those who fought to beat back autocracy ?

Theodore Roosevelt's passionate love of humankind


was accompanied with an equally passionate love of
nature and all that nature had to offer for the pleasure
and the satisfaction of man. The animals of the house-
hold and the farm were his friends and constant com-
panions. He spoke to them with the familiar affec-
tion of a father talking to his children. The habits
and characteristics of the wild beasts and the history
of the animal dwellers in the distant and dangerous
places of the earth were well understood by him.
The flowers of the garden and the roadside he tended
with his own hand and the birds of the air he called
each by its familiar name and note.

With all this many-sided interest, and with all his
zest for constant action, Theodore Roosevelt was withal
a man of books and letters. He feasted alike upon
prose and poetry, upon travel and adventure, upon
history and fiction, and upon all that described and
revealed the world's humbler folk and children. From
his wide reading he drew an astonishingly rich and
varied vocabulary and he has given currency to many
striking and forceful phrases, bearing the stamp sterling,
that will continue in circulation for generations to
come wherever the English language is used as coin.
In the Bible and in Pilgrim s Progress he found more
than one word or phrase that his ingenuity as an ar-
tificer made directly to apply to conditions and hap-
penings of the moment.

Fully to comprehend the interests and affections of
Theodore Roosevelt, one must extend the scope of the
famous line of the Roman poet and say that he was


truly a living being, and that nothing which had life
was outside the range of his interest and his affection.

It is not yet possible to think of America with this
busy life ended and this ardent spirit gone from the
arena of combat and strife to its everlasting rest. In
the darkness of the early morning, while the dawn was
still awaiting its call to daily service, Theodore Roose-
velt set his feet in the path of silence that leads to those
golden gardens of memory where rich and ripening
spirits love constantly to dwell.

May the Light Everlasting shine upon him !


Introductory remarks at the Fifteenth Anniversary Banquet
of the Pilgrims of the United States, at the Waldorf-
Astoria, New York, March 5, 1918


To mark the high significance of this night no words
of mine are needed. For fifteen years the Pilgrims
have been privileged to assemble to greet notable men
from all parts of the British Empire who have come
bearing eminence and fame. To-night we mark our
anniversary with unprecedented distinction by wel-
coming at one and the same time two of the most nota-
ble representatives of English public life, high digni-
taries of the English Church and of the English State.
What memories, what images, what visions are called
up by the names of their great posts ! The Arch-
bishop of York and the Lord Chief Justice of England
carry us back to those early morning hours in the his-
tory of free, Christian government when the dawn
was breaking that was to drive before it the darkness
of an outworn world and of a pagan worship. As the
dawn grew into day the light of liberty in church and
state steadily spread itself in ever-widening circles,
until to-day the whole free world is in arms for free-
dom against the last lingering obstacle to its extension

During that long bright day of liberty's life there has
been a great procession of Englishmen and men of
English blood, the like of which the history of no other



nation can record. Search the story of Greece and
there are not so many. Call the roll of ancient Rome
and it still falls short of this great galaxy. There are
Alfred the Great and Edward the Confessor, the second
Henry and the first Edward, Simon de Montfort and
Wyclif and Burghley, Hampden and Pym and Crom-
well and Milton, Chatham and Burke and Fox and
Canning and Gladstone; and their cousins-American,
Washington and Franklin, Hamilton and Jefferson,
Marshall and Webster, and last of all, marching alone,
Abraham Lincoln. Where else can the history of
liberty be so well read as in the story of the lives
of these heroes of English and American history ?
What other peoples have pursued liberty longer,
more earnestly, more steadfastly, and with greater
success ?

The British Empire is itself a marvellous model of a
community of free states. An empire, as Burke once
said, is an aggregate of many states under a common
head, and there is about the name no necessary im-
plication of either arbitrary or autocratic government,
or of any particular form of external policy. An empire
may be free and liberty-loving and world-wide, like that
of Britain, or it may be autocratic, severely disciplined,
and highly concentrated, like that of our Teuton
enemies. After the present war had begun to run its
course, a celebrated German historian announced that
the world would be healed by being Germanized. We
think not. Great Britain and America have already


stood witnesses of two notable triumphs of the mili-
taristic spirit and policy, and they are resolved that
there shall not be a third. They saw militarism tri-
umph with Metternich as a denial of the hopes and
aspirations of liberalism, and later they saw militarism
triumph with Bismarck in a positive victory over
liberalism and its ideals. In this present conflict it is
their stern and steady resolve that militarism shall
not conquer.

This fight and this stupendous sacrifice for an idea
are the answer of a new-born world of the spirit to
those sciolists who see in history nothing but a cunning
contest for material gain, and who weigh all effort
and all achievement in the scales of accumulated
wealth and of control over others. The power of the
spirit, armed with new and potent strength, has ac-
cepted the great challenge issued to it by the power of
material interest and of brute force in human affairs.
The end may yet be distant, but it is secure.

Our two eminent guests are in their persons the rep-
resentatives of Faith and of Justice, the two great
pillars of all civilization and of all progress. It is
Faith that lights the fires of the spirit and lifts man's
gaze to those high places where the real victories of
life, and the victory of life over death itself, are won.
Under the guidance of Faith, it is Justice which makes
liberty possible, which reveals opportunity, and which
protects the weak in his sincere effort to live side by
side with the strong. It is just these achievements


of Faith and of Justice which constitute Liberty; and
in Shelley's fine lines

"Yet were life a charnel, where
Hope lay coffined with Despair;
Yet were Truth a sacred lie,
. . . If Liberty
Lent not life its soul of light."

In the earliest hours of August, 1914, the govern-
ment of Great Britain was called upon to make a mo-
mentous decision. Belgium had been wantonly at-
tacked and its neutrality violated. Great Britain's
name was on the bond which pledged to Belgium pro-
tection and security. Britain was at peace and ab-
sorbed in grave problems of internal policy. Should
she turn aside from commerce, from industry, from the
examination of insistent domestic questions and stake
not only her prosperity but her very existence on
her plighted word ? History records the answer and
eternity will applaud it. There was only so much
hesitation as, was required fully to ascertain the facts

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