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with decimated ranks and tattered standards, would have passed in review - all past suffering, sacrifice, humiliation, and defeat forgotten in the hour of splendid triumph. Yet later, and in the great convention over which Washington presided, and in which Madison was the chief factor, they would have witnessed the deathless principles of the historic Declaration crystallized into the Federal compact, which was destined forever to hold States and people in fraternal union. They would have seen a gallant people of the Old World — catching inspiration from the New-casting off the oppression of centuries and, through baptism of blood, fashioning a Republic upon that whose liberties they had so signally aided to establish. Yet later, and not France alone, but Mexcio and States extending far to the southward, substituting for monarchical rule that of the people under written Constitutions modeled after that of the great American Republic. And yet more marvellous, in Great Britain the divine right of kings an exploded dogma; the royal successor to the Stuarts and George the Third only a ceremonial figurehead in government; the House of Lords in its death struggle; all real political power centred in the Commons, and England — though still under the guise of monarchy-essentially a republic.
"And what a grand factor Virginia has been in all that pertains to human government in this Western world during the past three centuries. From the pen of one of her illustrious sons, George Mason, came the 'Bill of Rights' now in its essentials embedded by the early amendments into our Federal Constitution; from that of another, not alone the great Declaration, but the statutes securing for his own State religious freedom, and the abolition of primogeniture — the detested legacy of British ancestors. His sword returned to its scabbard with the achievement of the independence of the colonies, and the mission of Washington was yet but half accomplished. To garner up the fruits of successful revolution by enduring stable government was the task demanding the loftiest statesmanship. The five years immediately succeeding our first treaty of peace with Great Britain have been truly defined, 'our period of greatest peril.' It was fortunate,
indeed, that Washington was called to preside over the historic convention of '87, and that his spirit a yearning for an indissoluble union of the States-permeated all its deliberations. Fortunate, indeed, that in its councils was his colleague and friend, the constructive statesman, James Madison. Inseparably associated for all time with the formulation and interpretation of the great covenant are the names of two illustrious Virginians—for all the ages illustrious Americans—Madison, the father, and Marshall, the expounder of the Constitution. "It remained to another son of this first commonwealth, from the high place to which he had been chosen, to enunciate in trenchant words, at a crucial moment, a national policy which, under the designation of 'the Monroe doctrine,' has been the common faith of three generations of his countrymen and is to remain the enduring bar to the establishment of monarchial government upon this western hemisphere.
"Four decades later, at the striking of the hour that noted the inevitable 'breaking with the past,' it remained to still another illustrious successor of Jefferson-alike of Virginian ancestry, and born within her original domain - by authoritative proclamation to liberate a race, and thereby, for all time, to give enlarged and grander meaning to our imperishable declaration of human rights.
"My countrymen, the little settlement planted just three centuries ago near the spot upon which we have to-day assembled has under divine guidance grown into a mighty nation. Eighty millions of people, proud of local traditions and achievements, yet looking beyond the mere confines of their distinctive commonwealths, find their chief glory in being citizens of the great Republic. The mantle of peace is over our own land, and our accredited representatives in the world's conference, at this auspicious hour, are outlining a policy that looks to the establishment of enduring peace among all the nations. To-day, inspired by the sublime lessons of the event we celebrate and with hearts of gratitude to God for all he hath vouchsafed to our fathers and to us in the past, let us take courage, and turn our faces hopefully, reverently, trustingly to the future."
A NEW DAY ADDED TO THE CALENDAR
THE HIGH CHARACTER OF STERLING MORTON AS A MAN AND A PUBLIC SERVANT HONORED BY CLEVELAND ORIGINATOR
OF ARBOR DAY.
RECALL with pleasure years of close personal friendship with J. Sterling Morton. He was a gentleman of lofty character and recognized ability. Much of his life was given to the public service. As Secretary of Agriculture he was in close touch with President Cleveland during his last official term.
At the dedication of the monument erected to his memory at his home, Nebraska City, October 28, 1905, I spoke as follows:
"I count it high privilege to speak a few words upon an occasion so fraught with interest to this State, and to the entire country. I gladly bear my humble tribute to the man whom I honored in life, and whose memory I cherish. A manlier man than Sterling Morton, one more thoughtful, kind, considerate, self-reliant, hopeful, I have not known. Truly
"A man he seemed, of cheerful yesterdays,
And confident to-morrows.'
Of few men could it more truly be said, 'He took counsel ever of his courage never of his fears.' With firm convictions upon pending vital issues, he did not shrink from the conflict. His antagonist he met in the open. In the words of Lord Brougham, 'His weapons were ever those of the warrior never of the assassin."
"This, is indeed no ordinary occasion. Here and now, we unveil a monument erected in honor of the memory of one who, alike in private life and in public station, illustrated the noblest characteristics of the American citizen. Something of his life and achievements we have heard with
profound interest from the lips of the chosen orator of this great occasion, ex-President Cleveland - one indeed eminently fitted for the task. The orator was worthy the subject; the subject — honoring the memory of one of the benefactors of his age-worthy the orator.
"In all the relations of life, the man whose memory we honor this day was worthy the emulation of the young men who succeed him upon the stage of the world. With clear brain and clean hands he ably and faithfully administered high public trusts. He was in the loftiest sense worthy the personal and official association of the eminent Chief Magistrate at whose Council Board he sat, and whose confidence he fully shared.
"Fortune, indeed, came with both hands full to Nebraska, when J. Sterling Morton, in early manhood, selected this struggling frontier State for his home. How well, and with what large interest, he repaid Nebraska for a confidence that knew no abatement, this noble monument is the enduring witness.
"Under his guiding hand, a new day was added to the calendar. The glory is his of having called Arbor Day into being. Touched by his magic wand, millions of trees now beautify and adorn this magnificent State. It is no mere figure of speech to say that the wilderness by transition almost miraculous has become a garden, the desolate places been made to blossom as the rose. 'Tree-planting day' is now one of the sacred days of this commonwealth. Henceforth, upon its annual recurrence, ordinary avocations are to be suspended, and this day wholly set apart to pursuits which tend to beautify the home, make glorious the landscape, and gladden the hearts of all the people. Inseparably associated in all the coming years with this day and its memories will be the name of J. Sterling Morton. That he was its inspiration, is his abiding fame.
"In other times, monuments have been erected to men whose chief distinction was, that desolation and human slaughter had marked their pathways. The hour has struck, and a new era dawned. The monument we now unveil is to
one whose name brings no thoughts of decimated ranks, or of desolated provinces, no memories of beleagured cities, of starving peoples, or of orphans' tears. In all the years, it will be associated with glorious peace. Peace, 'that hath her victories no less renowned than war'; peace, in whose train are happy homes, songs of rejoicing, the glad laughter of children, the planting of trees, and the golden harvest. 'Soft peace she brings; wherever she arrives, She builds our quiet as she forms our lives; Lays the rough paths of peevish nature even, And opens in each heart a little heaven.'”