March of the Flag

by Albert J. Beveridge
Campaign speech given during the Indiana senatorial elections
September 16, 1898

Fellow citizens, it is a noble land that God has given us; a land that can feed and clothe the world; a land whose coast lines would enclose half the countries of Europe; a land set like a sentinel between the two imperial oceans of the globe, a greater England with a nobler destiny. It is a mighty people that he has planted on this soil; a people sprung from the most masterful blood of history; a people perpetually revitalized by the virile, man-producing workingfolk of all the earth; a people imperial by virtue of their power, by right of their institutions, by authority of their heaven-directed purposes - the propagandists and not the misers of liberty. It is a glorious history our God has bestowed upon his chosen people; a history whose keynote was struck by Liberty Bell; a history heroic with faith in our mission and our future; a history of statesmen who flung the boundaries of the Republic out into unexplored lands and savage wildernesses; a history of soldiers who carried the flag across the blazing deserts and through the ranks of hostile mountains, even to the gates of sunset; a history of a multiplying people who overran a continent in half a century; a history of prophets who saw the consequences of evils inherited from the past and of martyrs who died to save us from them; a history divinely logical, in the process of whose tremendous reasoning we find ourselves to-day.

Therefore, in this campaign, the question is larger than a party question. It is an American question. It is a world question. Shall the American people continue their resistless march toward the commercial supremacy of the world? Shall free institutions broaden their blessed reign as the children of liberty wax in strength, until the empire of our principles is established over the hearts of all mankind?

Have we no mission to perform, no duty to discharge to our fellow-man? Has the Almighty Father endowed us with gifts beyond our deserts and marked us as the people of his peculiar favor, merely to rot in our own selfishness, as men and nations must, who take cowardice for their companion and self for their Deity - as China has, as India has, as Egypt has?

Shall we be as the man who had one talent and hid it, or as he who had ten talents and used them until they grew to riches? And shall we reap the reward that waits on our discharge of our high duty as the sovereign power of earth; shall we occupy new markets for what our farmers raise, new markets for what our factories make, new markets for what our merchants sell - aye, and, please God, new markets for what our ships shall carry?

Shall we avail ourselves of new sources of supply of what we do not raise or make, so that what are luxuries to-day will be necessities to-morrow? Shall our commerce be encouraged until, with Oceanica, the Orient, and the world, American trade shall be the imperial trade of the entire globe?

Shall we conduct the mightiest commerce of history with the best money known to man, or shall we use the pauper money of Mexico, of China, and of the Chicago platform?...

What are the great facts of this administration? Not a failure of revenue; not a perpetual battle between the executive and legislative departments of government; not a rescue from dishonor by European syndicates at the price of tens of millions in cash and national humiliation unspeakable. These have not marked the past two years - the past two years, which have blossomed into four splendid months of glory!

But a war has marked it, the most holy ever waged by one nation against another - a war for civilization, a war for a permanent peace, a war which, under God, although we knew it not, swung open to the Republic the portals of the commerce of the world. And the first question you must answer with your vote is, whether you indorse that war? We are told that all citizens and every platform indorses the war, and I admit, with the joy of patriotism that this is true. But that is only among ourselves - and we are of and to ourselves no longer. This election takes place on the stage of the world, with all earth's nations for our auditors. If the administration is defeated at the polls, will England believe that we accept the results of the war?

Will Germany, that sleepless searcher for new markets for her factories and fields, and therefore the effective meddler in all international complications - will Germany be discouraged from interfering with our settlement of the war, if the administration is defeated at the polls?

Will Russia, that weaver of the webs of commerce into which province after province and people after people falls, regard us as a steadfast people if the administration is defeated at the polls?

The world is observing us to-day. Not a Foreign Office in Europe that is not studying the American republic and watching the American elections of 1898 as it never watched an American election before. Are the American people the chameleon of the nations? "If so, we can easily handle them," say the diplomats of the world.

Which result, say you, will have the best effect for us upon the great Powers who watch us with the jealousy strength always inspires - a defeat, at the hand of the American people, of the administration which has conducted our foreign war to a world-embracing success, and which has in hand the most important foreign problems since the Revolution; or, such an endorsement of the administration by the American people as will swell to a national acclaim?

No matter what your views on the Dingley or the Wilson laws; no matter whether you favor Mexican money or the standard of this republic, we must deal from this day on with nations greedy of every market we are to invade; nations with statesmen trained in craft, nations with ships and guns and money and men. Will they sift out the motive for your vote, or will they consider the large result of the endorsement or rebuke of the administration? The world still rubs its eyes from its awakening to the resistless power and sure destiny of this republic. Which outcome of this election will be best for America's future which will most healthfully impress every people of the globe with the steadfastness of character and tenacity of purpose of the American people the triumph of the government at the polls, or the success of the Opposition?

I repeat, it is more than a party question. It is an American question. It is an issue in which history sleeps. It is a situation which will influence the destiny of the republic...

And yet have we peace? Does not the cloud of war linger on the horizon? If it does not - if only the tremendous problems of peace now under solution remain, ought not the administration be supported in its fateful work by the endorsement of the American people? Think of England abandoning its ministry at the moment it was securing the fruits of a successful war! Think of Germany rebuking Bismarck at the moment he was dictating peace to France! What would America say of them if they should do such a deed of mingled insanity, perfidy, and folly? What would the world say of America, if, in the very midst of peace negotiations upon which the nations are looking with jealousy, fear, and hatred, the American people should rebuke the administration in charge of those peace negotiations and place a hostile House and Senate in Washington? God forbid! When a people show such inconstancy, such childish fickleness as that, their career as a power among nations is a memory.

But, if possible war lurks in the future, what then? Shall we forsake our leaders at the close of a campaign of glory and on the eve of new campaigns for which it has prepared? Yet, that is what the success of the Opposition to the government means. What is that old saying about the idiocy of him who changed horses while crossing a stream? It would be like discharging a workman because he was efficient and true. It would be like court-martialing Grant and discharging his heroes in dishonor because they took Vicksburg.

Ah! the heroes of Vicksburg and Peach Tree Creek, Atlanta, Mission Ridge, the Wilderness, and all those fields of glory, of suffering, and of death!

Soldiers of 1861! A generation has passed and you have reared a race of heroes worthy of your blood - heroes of El Caney, San Juan, and Cavite, of Santiago and Manila - ay! and 200,000 more as brave as they, who waited in camp with the agony of impatience the call of battle, ready to count the hellish hardship of the trenches the very sweets of fate, if they could only fight for the flag.

For every tented field was full of Hobsons, of Roosevelts, of Wheelers, and their men; full of the kind of soldiers that in regiments of rags, starving, with bare feet in the snows of winters made Valley Forge immortal; full of the same kind of boys that endured the hideous hardships of the Civil War, drank from filthy roadside pools as they marched through swamps of death, ate food alive with weevils, and even corn picked from the horses' camp, slept in the blankets of the blast with sheets of sleet for covering, breakfasted with danger and dined with death, and came back - those who did come back - with a laugh and a shout and a song of joy, true American soldiers, pride of their county, and envy of the world.

For that is the kind of boys the soldiers of 1898 are, notwithstanding the slanders of politicians and the infamy of a leprous press that try to make the world believe our soldiers are suckling babes and womanish weaklings, and our government, in war, a corrupt machine, fattening off the suffering of our armies. In the name of the sturdy soldiery of America I denounce the hissing lies of politicians out of an issue, who are trying to disgrace American manhood in the eyes of the nations.

In the name of patriotism, I arraign these maligners of the soldierhood of our nation before the bar of the present and the past. I call to the witness stand that Bayard of our armies, General Joe Wheeler. I call that Hotspur of the South, Fitzhugh Lee. I call the 200,000 men, themselves, who went to war for the business of war.

And I put all these against the vandals of politics who are blackening their fame as soldiers and as men. I call history to the witness stand. In the Mexican war the lass from every cause was twenty-five per cent, and this is on incomplete returns; in the present war the loss from every cause is only three per cent. In the Mexican war the sick lay naked on the ground with only blankets over them and were buried with only a blanket around them. Of the volunteer force 5,423 were discharged for disability, and 3,229 died from disease. When Scott marched to Mexico, only 96 men were left out of one regiment of 1,000. The average of a Mississippi company was reduced from 90 to 30 men. From Vera Cruz to Mexico a line of sick and dying marked his line of march.

General Taylor publicly declared that, in his army, five men died from sickness for every man killed in battle. Scott demanded surgeons. The government refused to give them. The three-months men lost nearly nine per cent; the six months men lost fourteen per cent; the twelve-months men twenty-nine per cent; the men enlisted for the war lost thirty-seven per cent; 31,914 soldiers enlisted for the war, and 11,914 of these were lost, of whom 7,369 are unaccounted for.

In the war for the Union - no, there is no need of figures there. Go to the field of Gettysburg and ask. Go ask that old veteran how fever's fetid breath breathed on them and disease rotted their blood. And in the present war, thank God, the loss and suffering is less than in any war in all the history of the world!

And if any needless suffering there has been, if any deaths from criminal neglect, if any hard condition not a usual incident of sudden war by a peaceful people has been permitted, William McKinley will see that the responsible ones are punished. Although our loss was less than the world ever knew before; although the condition of our troops was better than in any conflict of our history, McKinley the Just, has appointed, from both parties, a commission of the most eminent men in the nation to lay the facts before him.

Let the investigation go on, and when the report is made the people of America will know how black as midnight is the sin of those who, for the purpose of politics, have shamed the hardihood of the American soldiers before the world, attempted to demoralize our army in the face of the enemy, and libeled the government at Washington to delighted and envious nations.

And think of what was done! Two hundred and fifty thousand men suddenly called to arms; men unused to the life of camps; men fresh from the soft comforts of the best homes of the richest people on earth. Those men, equipped, transported to camps convenient for instant call to battle; waiting there the command which any moment might have brought; supplies purchased in every quarter of the land and carried hundreds, even thousands of miles; uniforms procured, arms purchased, ammunition bought, citizens drilled into the finest soldiers on the globe; a war fought in the deadliest climate in the world, beneath a sun whose rays mean madness, and in Spanish surroundings - festering with fever - and yet the least suffering and the lowest loss ever known in all the chronicles of war.

What would have been the result if those who would have plunged us into war before we could have prepared at all, could have had their way? What would have happened if these warriors of peace, who denounced the President as a traitor when he would not send the flower of our youth against Havana, with its steaming swamps of fever, its splendid outworks and its 150,000 desperate defenders - what would have happened if they could have had their way?

The mind shrinks and sickens at the thought. Those regiments, which we greeted the other day with our cheers of pride, would not have marched back again. All over this weeping land the tender song, "We shall meet but we shall miss him; there will be one vacant chair," would have risen once again from desolated homes. And the men who would have done this are the men who are assailing the government at Washington to-day and blaspheming the reputation of the American soldier.

But the wrath of the people will pursue them. The scorpion whips of the furies will be as a caress to the deep damnation of those who seek a political issue in defaming the manhood of the republic. God bless the soldiers of 1898, children of the heroes of 1861, descendants of the heroes of 1776! In the halls of history they will stand side by side with those elder sons of glory, and the Opposition to the government at Washington shall not deny them.

No! they shall not be robbed of the honor due them, nor shall the republic be robbed of what they won for their country. For William McKinley is continuing the policy that Jefferson began, Monroe continued, Seward advanced, Grant promoted, Harrison championed, and the growth of the republic has demanded. Hawaii is ours; Porto Rico is to be ours; at the prayer of the people Cuba will finally be ours; in the islands of the East, even to the gates-of Asia, coaling stations are to be ours; at the very least the flag of a liberal government is to float over the Philippines, and I pray God it may be the banner that Taylor unfurled in Texas and Fremont carried to the coast - the Stars and Stripes of glory.

And the burning question of this campaign is, whether the American people will accept the gifts of events; whether they will rise as lifts their soaring destiny; whether they will proceed upon the lines of national development surveyed by the statesmen of our past; or whether for the first American people doubt their mission, question fate, prove apostate to the spirit of their race, and halt the ceaseless march of free institutions.

The Opposition tells us that we ought not to govern a people without their consent. I answer, The rule of liberty that all just government derives its authority from the consent of the governed, applies only to those who are capable of self- government. I answer, We govern the Indians without their consent, we govern our territories without their consent, we govern our children without their consent. I answer, How do you assume that our government would be without their consent? Would not the people of the Philippines prefer the just, humane, civilizing government of this republic to the savage, bloody rule of pillage and extortion from which we have rescued them?

Do not the blazing fires of joy and the ringing bells of gladness in Porto Rico prove the welcome of our flag?

And, regardless of this formula of words made only for enlightened, self-governing peoples, do we owe no duty to the world? Shall we turn these peoples back to the reeking hands from which we have taken them? Shall we abandon them to their fate, with the wolves of conquest all about them - with Germany, Russia, France, even Japan, hungering for them? Shall we save them from those nations, to give them a self-rule of tragedy? It would be like giving a razor to a babe and telling it to shave itself. It would be like giving a typewriter to an Eskimo and telling him to publish one of the great dailies of the world. This proposition of the Opposition makes the Declaration of Independence preposterous, like the reading of Job's lamentations would be at a wedding or an Altgeld speech on the Fourth of July.

They ask us how we will govern these new possessions. I answer: Out of local conditions and the necessities of the case methods of government will grow. If England can govern foreign lands, so can America. If Germany can govern foreign lands, so can America. If they can supervise protectorates, so can America. Why is it more difficult to administer Hawaii than New Mexico or California? Both had a savage and an alien population; both were more remote from the seat of government when they came under our dominion than Hawaii is to-day.

Will you say by your vote that American ability to govern has decayed; that a century's experience in self-rule has failed of a result? Will you affirm by your vote that you are an infidel to American vigor and power and practical sense? Or, that we are of the ruling race of the world; that ours is the blood of government; ours the heart of dominion; ours the brain and genius of administration? Will you remember that we do but what our fathers did - we but pitch the tents of liberty further westward, further southward - we only continue the march of the flag?

The march of the flag!

In 1789 the flag of the republic waved over 4,000,000 souls in thirteen states, and their savage territory which stretched to the Mississippi, to Canada, to the Floridas. The timid minds of that day said that no new territory was needed, and, for the hour, they were right. But Jefferson, through whose intellect the centuries marched; Jefferson, whose blood was Saxon but whose schooling was French, and therefore whose deeds negatived his words; Jefferson, who dreamed of Cuba as a state of the Union; Jefferson, the first imperialist of the republic - Jefferson acquired that imperial territory which swept from the Mississippi to the mountains, from Texas to the British possessions, and the march of the flag began!

The infidels to the gospel of liberty raved, but the flag swept on! The title to that noble land out of which Oregon, Washington, Idaho, and Montana have been carved was uncertain; Jefferson, strict constructionist of constitutional power though he was, obeyed the Anglo-Saxon impulse within him, whose watchword then and whose watchword throughout the world to-day is, "Forward," another empire was added to the republic, and the march of the flag went on!

Those who deny the power of free institutions to expand urged every argument, and more, that we hear, to-day; but the people's judgment approved the command of their blood, and the march of the flag went on!

A screen of land from New Orleans to Florida shut us from the gulf, and over this and the Everglade Peninsula waved the saffron flag of Spain; Andrew Jackson seized both, the American people stood at his back, and, under Monroe, the Floridas came under the dominion of the republic, and the march of the flag went on!

The Cassandras prophesied every prophecy of despair we hear, to-day, but the march of the flag went on! Then Texas responded to the bugle calls of liberty, and the march of the flag went on! And, at last, we waged war with Mexico, and the flag swept over the Southwest, over peerless California, past the Gate of Gold, to Oregon on the north, and from ocean to ocean its folds of glory blazed.

And, now, obeying the same voice that Jefferson heard and obeyed, that Jackson heard and obeyed, that Monroe heard and obeyed, that Seward heard and obeyed, that Ulysses S. Grant heard and obeyed, that Benjamin Harrison heard and obeyed, William McKinley plants the flag over the islands of the seas, outposts of commerce, citadels of national security, and the march of the flag goes on! Bryan, Bailey, Bland, and Blackburn command it to stand still, but the march of the flag goes on! And the question you will answer at the polls is, whether you stand with this quartet of disbelief in the American people, or whether you are marching onward with the flag.

Distance and oceans are no arguments. The fact that all the territory our fathers bought and seized is contiguous, is no argument. In 1819 Florida was further from New York than Porto Rico is from Chicago to-day; Texas, further from Washington in 1845 than Hawaii is from Boston in 1898; California, more inaccessible in 1847 than the Philippines are now. Gibraltar is further from London than Havana is from Washington; Melbourne is further from Liverpool than Manila is from San Francisco. The ocean does not separate us from lands of our duty and desire - the oceans join us, a river never to be dredged, a canal never to be repaired.

Steam joins us; electricity joins us - the very elements are in league with our destiny. Cuba not contiguous! Porto Rico not contiguous! Hawaii and the Philippines not contiguous! Our navy will make them contiguous. Dewey and Sampson and Schley have made them contiguous, and American speed, American guns, American heart and brain and nerve will keep them contiguous forever.

But the Opposition is right - there is a difference. We did not need the western Mississippi Valley when we acquired it, nor Florida, nor Texas, nor California, nor the royal provinces of the far Northwest. We had no emigrants to people this imperial wilderness, no money to develop it, even no highways to cover it. No trade awaited us in its savage fastnesses. Our productions were not greater than our trade. There was not one reason for the land-lust of our statesmen from Jefferson to Grant, other than the prophet and the Saxon within them.

But, to-day, we are raising more than we can consume. To-day, we are making more than we can use. To-day, our industrial society is congested; there are more workers than there is work; there is more capital than there is investment. We do not need more money - we need more circulation, more employment. Therefore we must find new markets for our produce, new occupation for our capital, new work for our labor. And so, while we did not need the territory taken during the past century at the time it was acquired, we do need what we have taken in 1898, and we need it now.

Think of the thousands of Americans who will pour into Hawaii and Porto Rico when the republic's laws cover those islands with justice and safety! Think of the tens of thousands of Americans who will invade mine and field and forest in the Philippines when a liberal government, protected and controlled by this republic, if not the government of the republic itself, shall establish order and equity there! Think of the hundreds of thousands of Americans who will build a soap-and-water, common-school civilization of energy and industry in Cuba, when a government of law replaces the double reign of anarchy and tyranny! - think of the prosperous millions that Empress of Islands will support when, obedient to the law of political gravitation, her people ask for the highest honor liberty can bestow, the sacred Order of the Stars and Stripes, the citizenship of the Great Republic!

What does all this mean for every one of us? It means opportunity for all the glorious young manhood of the republic - the most virile, ambitious, impatient, militant manhood the world has ever seen. It means that the resources and the commerce of these immensely rich dominions will be increased as much as American energy is greater than Spanish sloth; for Americans henceforth will monopolize those resources and that commerce.

In Cuba, alone, there are 15,000,000 acres of forest unacquainted with the axe. There are exhaustless mines of iron. There are priceless deposits of manganese, millions of dollars of which we must buy to-day from the Black Sea districts. There are millions of acres yet unexplored.

The resources of Porto Rico have only been trifled with. The riches of the Philippines have hardly been touched by the finger-tips of modern methods. And they produce what we cannot, and they consume what we produce - the very predestination of reciprocity - a reciprocity "not made with hands, eternal in the heavens." They sell hemp, silk, sugar, coconuts, coffee, fruits of the tropics, timber of price like mahogany; they buy flour, clothing, tools, implements, machinery, and all that we can raise and make. And William McKinley intends that their trade shall be ours.

Do you indorse that policy with your vote? It means creative investment for every dollar of idle capital in the land - an opportunity for the rich man to do something with his money besides hoarding it or lending it. It means occupation for every workingman in the country at wages which the development of new resources, the launching of new enterprises, the monopoly of new markets always brings.

Thus Cuba is as large as Pennsylvania, and is the richest spot on all the globe. Hawaii is as large as New Jersey; Porto Rico half as large as Hawaii; the Philippines larger than all New England, New York, New Jersey, and Delaware. All these are larger than the British Isles, larger than France, larger than Germany, larger than Japan. The trade of these islands, developed as we will develop it by developing their resources, monopolized as we will monopolize it, will set every reaper in this republic singing, every spindle whirling, every furnace spouting the flames of industry.

I ask each one of you this personal question: Do you believe that these resources will be better developed and that commerce best secured; do you believe that all these priceless advantages will be better availed of for the benefit of this republic by Bryan, Bailey, Bland, and Blackburn and the Opposition; or, by William McKinley and a House and Senate that will help and not hinder him?

Which do you think will get the most good for you and the American people out of the opportunities which Providence has given us - the Government at Washington or the Opposition in Nebraska, Texas, Kentucky, and Missouri? Which side will you belong to - those who pull forward in the traces of national prosperity and destiny, or those who pull back in those traces, balk at every step of advancement, and bray at every milepost of progress?

If any man tells you that trade depends on cheapness and not on government influence, ask him why England does not abandon South Africa, Egypt, India. Why does France seize South China, Germany the vast region whose port is Kiouchou? Consider the commerce of the Spanish islands. In 1897 we bought of the Philippines $4,383,740, and we sold them only $94,597. Great Britain, that national expert in trade, did little better, for, in 1896, she bought $6,223,426 and sold only $2,063,598. But Spain - Spain, the paralytic of commerce - Spain bought only $4,818,344 and sold $4,973,589! Fellow citizens, from this day on that proportion of trade, increased and multiplied, must belong to the American republic. I repeat, increased and multiplied, for with American brains and energy, with American methods and American government, does anyone here, tonight, doubt that American exports will exceed Spain's imports twenty times over? Does any one of you doubt that $100,000,000 of food and clothing and tools and implements and machinery will ultimately be shipped every year from the United States to that archipelago of tremendous possibilities? And will anyone of you refuse to welcome that golden trade with your vote?

What lesson does Cuba teach? Cuba can raise no cereals - no wheat, no corn, no oats, no barley, and no rye. What we make and raise Cuba consumes, and what she makes and raises we consume; and this order of commerce, is fixed forever by the unalterable decrees of nature. And she is at our doors, too - only an ocean river between us.

Yet, in 1896, we bought $40,017,703 of her products, and we sold her only $7,193,173 of our products; while Spain bought only $4,257,360 and sold her $26,145,800 - and that proportion existed before the insurrection. Fellow citizens, from this day on, that order must be reversed and increased. Cuba's present population is only about 1,000,000; her proper population is about 10,000,000. Tens of millions of acres of her soil are yet untouched by enterprise. If Spain sells Cuba $21,000,000 in 1891, and $26,000,000 in 1896, America will sell Cuba $200,000,000 in 1906. In 1896 we bought of Porto Rico $2,296,653, and sold her only $1,985,888, and yet Spain bought only $5,423,760 and sold her $7,328,880. William McKinley proposes that those figures shall be increased and reversed, and the question is, whether you will indorse him in that resolution of prosperity. The practical question, for each one of us, is, whether we had better leave the development of all this tremendous commerce to the administration which liberated these island continents and now has the settlement of their government under way; or, risk the future in the hands of those who oppose the government at Washington and the commercial supremacy of the republic.

How will all this help each one of us. Our trade with Porto Rico and Hawaii will be as free as between the States of the Union, while every other nation on earth must pay our tariff before they can compete with us. Until Cuba and the Philippines shall ask for annexation, our trade with them will, at the very least, be like the preferential trade of Canada with England - a trade which gives the republic the preference over the rest of the world - a trade which applies the principle of protection to colonial commerce, the principle which all the world employs, to-day; the principle which England uses whenever she fears for a market and which she has put into practice against us in Canada. That, and the excellence of our goods and products; that, and the convenience of traffic; that, and the kinship of interests and destiny, will give the monopoly of these markets to the American people.

And then - then, the factories and mills and shops will call again to their hearts of fire the workingmen of the republic, to receive once more the wages and eat once more the bread of prosperous times; then the farmer will find at his door, once more, the golden home market of those who work in factory and mill, and who want flour and meat and butter and eggs and garments of wool, and who have once more the money to pay for it all.

It means new employment and better wages for every laboring man in the Union. It means higher prices for every bushel of wheat and corn, for every pound of butter and meat, for every item that the farmers of this republic produce. It means active, vigorous, constructive investment of every dollar of moldy and miserly capital in the land.

It means all this, to-morrow, and all this forever, because it means not only the trade of the prize provinces, but the beginning of the commercial empire of the republic. And, amid these great events, will you march forward with the endless column of prosperity, or, sit with Bryan, Bailey, Bland, and Blackburn on the rotten and crumbling rail-fence of dead issues and hoot at the procession as it passes by?

I said the commercial empire of the republic. That is the greatest fact of the future. And that is why these islands involve considerations larger than their own commerce. The commercial supremacy of the republic means that this nation is to be the sovereign factor in the peace of the world.

For the conflicts of the future are to be conflicts of trade struggles for markets - commercial wars for existence. And the golden rule of peace is impregnability of position and invincibility of preparation. So, we see England, the greatest strategist of history, plant her flag and her cannon on Gibraltar, at Quebec, the Bermudas, Vancouver, everywhere, until, from every point of vantage, her royal banner flashes in the sun. So Hawaii furnishes us a naval base in the heart of the Pacific; the Ladrones another, a voyage farther into the region of sunset and commerce; Manila, another, at the gates of Asia - Asia, to the trade of whose hundreds of millions American merchants, American manufacturers, American farmers, have as good a right as those of Germany or France or Russia or England; Asia, whose commerce with England alone, amounts to billions of dollars every year; Asia, to whom Germany looks to take the surplus of her factories and foundries and mills; Asia, whose doors shall not be shut against American trade. Within two decades the bulk of Oriental commerce will be ours, - the richest commerce in the world. In the light of that golden future, our chain of new-won stations rise like ocean sentinels from the night of waters, - Porto Rico, a nobler Gibraltar; the Isthmian canal, a greater Suez; Hawaii, the Ladrones, the Philippines, commanding the Pacific!

Ah! as our commerce spreads, the flag of liberty will circle the globe, and the highways of the ocean - carrying trade of all mankind, be guarded by the guns of the republic. And, as their thunders salute the flag, benighted peoples will know that the voice of Liberty is speaking, at last, for them; that civilization is dawning, at last, for them - Liberty and Civilization, those children of Christ's gospel, who follow and never precede, the preparing march of commerce!

It is the tide of God's great purposes made manifest in the instincts of our race, whose present phase is our personal profit, but whose far-off end is the redemption of the world and the Christianization of mankind. And he who throws himself before that current is like him who, with puny arm, tries to turn the gulf stream from its course, or stay, by idle incantations, the blessed processes of the sun.

Shall this future of the race be left with those who, under God, began this career of sacred duty and immortal glory; or, shall we risk it to those who would scuttle the ship of progress and build a dam in the current of destiny's large designs...

And now, on the threshold of our career as the first Power of earth, is the time to permanently adjust our system of finance. The American people have the most tremendous tasks of history to perform. They have the mightiest commerce of the world to conduct. They cannot halt their imperial progress of wealth and power and glory and Christian civilization to unsettle their money system every time some ardent imagination sees a vision and dreams a dream. Think of Great Britain becoming the commercial monarch of the world with her financial system periodically assailed! Think of Holland or Germany or France bearing their burdens, and, yet, sending their flag to every sea, with their money at the mercy of politicians out of an issue.

Let us settle the whole financial question on principles so sound that a revolution cannot shake their firm foundations. And then, like men and not like children, let us on to our tasks - on to our mission and on to our destiny. We are speeding up the shining rails of an immortal history; yonder, in the rear, is the nightmare swamp of free silver. Why go back to it; like the victim of opium to his deadly pipe?

Why not accept the gifts of nature and events - events, which have made the oceans our servants, the trade winds our allies, and the stars in their courses our champions?

Nature, which has thrown the wealth of Klondike, the new found gold of the Philippines, the unsuspected and exhaustless mines of Colorado and the Cape into the crucible of financial agitation, and thus dissolved the last excuse for war upon the golden standard of civilization, - the excuse that the gold supply is insufficient and is failing.

Now, when new rivers of gold are pouring through the fields of business, the foundations of all silver-standard arguments are swept away. Why mumble the meaningless phrases of a tale that is told, when the golden future is before us, the world calls us, its wealth awaits us, and God's command is upon us?

Why stand in the fatal stupor of financial fallacies muttering old sophistries that time has exploded, when opportunity beckons you all over the world - in Cuba, Hawaii, the Philippines, on the waters of commerce, in every market of Occident and Orient, and in your factories and stores and fields, here in our own beloved country, holy America, land of God's promise and home of God's providence?

There are so many real things to be done - canals to be dug, railways to be laid, forests to be felled, cities to be builded, unviolated fields to be tilled, priceless markets to be won, ships to be launched, peoples to be saved, civilization to be proclaimed and the flag of liberty flung to the eager air of every sea. Is this an hour to waste upon triflers with nature's laws? Is this a season to give our destiny over to word-mongers and prosperity-wreckers? Is this a day to think of office-seekers, to be cajoled by the politician's smile, or seduced by the handshake of hypocrisy? No! No! my fellow citizens!

It is an hour to remember your duty to the home. It is a moment to realize the opportunities fate has opened to this favored people and to you. It is a time to bethink you of the conquering march of the flag. It is a time to bethink you of your nation and its sovereignty of the seas. It is a time to remember that the God of our fathers is our God and that the gifts and the duties he gave to them, enriched and multiplied, he renews to us, their children.

And so it is an hour for us to stand by the government at Washington, now confronting the enemy in diplomacy, as our loyal hearts on land and sea stood to their guns and stood by the Jag when they faced the enemy in war. It is a time to strengthen and sustain that devoted man, servant of the people and of the Most High God, who, patiently, silently, safely is guiding the republic out into the ocean of world interests and possibilities infinite. It is a time to cheer the beloved President of God's chosen people, till the whole world is vocal with American loyalty to the American government.

Fellow Americans, we are God's chosen people. Yonder at Bunker Hill and Yorktown his providence was above us. At New Orleans and on ensanguined seas his hand sustained us. Abraham Lincoln was his minister and his was the Altar of Freedom, the boys in blue set on a hundred battlefields. His power directed Dewey in the East and delivered the Spanish fleet into our hands on the eve of Liberty's natal day, as he delivered the elder Armada into the hands of our English sires two centuries ago. His great purposes are revealed in the progress of the flag, which surpasses the intentions of Congresses and Cabinets, and leads us like a holier pillar of cloud by day and pillar of fire by night into situations unforeseen by finite wisdom, and duties unexpected by the unprophetic heart of selfishness. The American people cannot use a dishonest medium of exchange; it is ours to set the world its example of right and honor. We cannot fly from our world duties; it is ours to execute the purpose of a fate that has driven us to be greater than our small intentions. We cannot retreat from any soil where Providence has unfurled our banner; it is ours to save that soil for Liberty and Civilization. For Liberty and Civilization and God's promise fulfilled, the flag must henceforth be the symbol and the sign to all mankind - the flag! -

"Flag of the free heart's hope and home
By angel hands to valor given,
Thy stars have lit the welkin dome,
And all their hues were born in heaven!
Forever wave that standard sheet,
Where breathes the toe but falls before us
With freedom's soil beneath our feet
And freedom's banner streaming o'er us!" |