« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »
The lines put on the programme underneath my toast begin: “America! half-brother of the world!” America, half-brother of the world and all Americans full brothers one to the other. That is the way that the line should be concluded. The prime virtue of the Hollander here in America and the way in which he has most done credit to his stock as a Hollander, is that he has ceased to be a Hollander and has become an American, absolutely. [Great applause.) We are not Dutch-Americans. We are not “ Americans " with a hyphen before it. We are Americans pure and simple, and we have a right to demand that the other people whose stocks go to compose our great nation, like ourselves, shall cease to be aught else and shall become Americans. [Cries of “ Hear! Hear!” and applause.]
And further than that, we have another thing to demand, and that is that if they do honestly and in good faith become Americans, those shall be regarded as infamous who dare to discriminate against them because of creed or because of birthplace. When New Amsterdam had but a few hundred souls, among those few hundred souls no less than eighteen different race-stocks were represented, and almost as many creeds as there were race-stocks, and the great contribution that the Hollander gave to the American people was, as your President has so ably said, the inestimable lesson of complete civil and religious liberty. It would be honor enough for this stock to have been the first to put on American soil the public school, the great engine for grinding out American citizens, the one institution for which Americans should stand more stiffly than for aught other. [Great applause.]
Whenever America has demanded of her sons that they should come to her aid, whether in time of peace or in time of war, the Americans of Dutch stock have been among the first to spring to the aid of the country. We earnestly hope that there will not in the future be any war with any power, but assuredly if there should be such a war one thing may be taken for certain, and that is that every American of Dutch descent will be found on the side of the United States. We give the amplest credit, that some people now, to their shame, grudge to the profession of arms, which we have here to-night represented by a man, who, when he has
the title of a Major-General of the Army of the United States [Thomas H. Ruger), has a title as honorable as any that there is on the wide earth. [Applause.) We also need to teach the lesson, that the Hollander taught, of not refusing to do the small things because the day of large things had not yet come or was in the past; of not waiting until the chance may come to distinguish ourselves in arms, and meanwhile neglecting the plain, prosaic duties of citizenship which call upon us every hour, every day of our lives.
The Dutch kept their freedom in the great contest with Spain, not merely because they warred valiantly, but because they did their duty as burghers in their cities, because they strove according to the light that was in them to be good citizens and to act as such. And we all here to-night should strive so to live that we Americans of Dutch descent shall not seem to have shrunk in this respect, compared to our fathers who spoke another tongue and lived under other laws beyond the ocean; so that it shall be acknowledged in the end to be what it is, a discredit to a man if he does not in times of peace do all that in him lies to make the government of the city, the government of the country, better and cleaner by his efforts. [Great applause.)
I spoke of the militant spirit as if it may only be shown in time of war. I think that if any of you gentlemen, no matter how peaceful you may naturally be, and I am very peaceful naturally [laughter), if you would undertake the administration of the Police Department you would have plenty of fighting on hand before you would get through (renewed laughter]; and if you are true to your blood you will try to do the best you can, fighting or not fighting. You will make up your mind that you will make mistakes, because you won't make anything if you don't make some mistakes, and you will go forward according to your lights, utterly heedless of what either politicians or newspapers may say, knowing that if you act as you feel bound according to your conscience to act, you will then at least have the right when you go out of office, however soon (laughter), to feel that you go out without any regret, and to feel that you have, according to your capacity, warred valiantly for what you
deemed to be the right. (Great applause.] These, then, are the qualities that I should claim for the
Hollander as an American: In the first place, that he has cast himself without reservation into the current of American life; that he is an American, pure and simple, and nothing else. In the next place, that he works hand in hand and shoulder to shoulder with his fellow Americans, without any regard to differences of creed or to differences of race and religion, if only they are good Americans. [Great applause.] In the third place, that he is willing, when the need shall arise, to fight for his country; and in the fourth place, and finally, that he recognizes that this is a country of laws and not men, that it is his duty as an honest citizen to uphold the laws, to strive for honesty, to strive for a decent administration, and to do all that in him lies, by incessant, patient work in our government, municipal or national, to bring about the day when it shall be taken as a matter of course that every public official is to execute a law honestly, and that no capacity in a public officer shall atone if he is personally dishonest. [Tremendous applause.]
TRUE AMERICANISM AND EXPANSION
(Speech of Theodore Roosevelt at the nineteenth annual dinner of the New England Society in the City of Brooklyn, December 21, 1898. The President, William B. Davenport, in calling upon Theodore Roosevelt to speak to the toast, “ The Day we Celebrate," said: "For many years we have been celebrating this day and looking at ourselves through Yankee eyes. To-night it is to be given us to see ourselves as others
We have with us one of whom it may be said, to paraphrase the epitaph in the Welsh churchyard :
“A Dutchman born, at Harvard bred,
In Cuba travelled, but not yet dead.' In response to this toast, I have the honor of introducing Hon. Theodore Roosevelt.”]
MR. PRESIDENT, LADIES AND GENTLEMEN :- The gentleman on my right, with the unmistakably Puritan name of McKelway, in the issue of the “Eagle” to-night alluded to me as a Yankeeized Hollander. I am a middling good Yankee. I always felt that at these dinners of the New England Society, to which I come a trifle more readily than to any other like affairs, I and the president of the Friendly Sons of St. Patrick, who is also invariably in attendance, repre
sent, what you would say, the victims tied to the wheels of the Roman chariot of triumph. You see I am half Irish myself, and, as I told a New England Senator with whom I am intimate, when he remarked that the Dutch had been conquered by the New Englanders, “the Irish have avenged us."
I want to say to you seriously, and, singularly enough, right along the lines of the admirable speech made by your President, a few words on the day we celebrate and what it means.
As the years go by, this nation will realize more and more that the year that has just passed has given to every American the right to hold his head higher as a citizen of the great Republic, which has taken a long stride forward toward its proper place among the nations of the world. I have scant sympathy with this mock humanitarianism, a mock humanitarianism which is no more alien to the spirit of true religion than it is to the true spirit of civilization, which would prevent the great, free, liberty and order-loving races of the earth doing their duty in the world's waste spaces because there must needs be some rough surgery at the outset. I do not speak simply of my own country. I hold that throughout the world every man who strives to be both efficient and moral—and neither quality is worth anything without the other—that every man should realize that it is for the interests of mankind to have the higher supplant the lower life. Small indeed is my sympathy with those people who bemoan the fact, sometimes in prose, sometimes in even weaker verse, that the champions of civilization and of righteousness have overcome the champions of barbarism or of an outworn tyranny, whether the conflict be fought by the Russian heralds of civilization in Turkestan, by the English champion of the higher life in the Eastern world, or by the men who upheld the Stars and Stripes as they freed the people of the tropic islands of the sea from the mediæval tyranny of Spain.
I do not ask that you look at this policy from a merely national standpoint, although if you are good Americans you must look from the national standpoint first. I ask that you look at it from the standpoint of civilization, from the standpoint of righteousness, and realize that it is better for the men who are as yet ages behind us in the struggle upward that they be helped upward, and that it does not cease to be better for them, merely because it is better for us also. As I say, cast aside the selfish view. Consider whether or not it is better that the brutal barbarism of northern Asia should be supplanted by the civilization of Russia, which has not yet risen to what we of the Occident are proud to claim as our standard, but which, as it stands, is tens of centuries in advance of that of the races it supplants. Again, from the standpoint of the outsider, look at the improvement worked by the Englishmen in all the islands of the sea and all the places on the dark continents where the British flag has been planted; seriously consider the enormous, the incalculable betterment that comes at this moment to ninetyfive per cent. of the people who have been cowering under the inconceivably inhuman rule of Mahdism in the Sudan because it has been supplanted by the reign of law and of justice. I ask you to read the accounts of the Catholic missionary priests, the Austrian priests who suffered under Mahdism, to read in their words what they have suffered under conditions that have gone back to the stone age in the middle of the nineteenth century. Then you will realize that the Sirdar and his troops were fighting the battle of righteousness as truly as ever it was fought by your ancestors and mine two or three or four centuries ago.
I think you can now understand that I admire what other nations have done in this regard, and, therefore, that you will believe that I speak with sincerity when I speak of what we ourselves have done. Thank heaven that we of this generation, to whom was denied the chance of taking part in the greatest struggle for righteousness that this century has seen, the great Civil War, have at least been given the chance to see our country take part in the world movement that has gone on around about us. Of course it was partly for our own interest, but it was also largely a purely disinterested movement. It is a good thing for this nation that it should be lifted up beyond simply material matters. It is a good thing for us that we should have interests outside of our own borders. It is a good thing for us that we must look outward; that we must consider more than the question of exports and imports; that we must consider more