« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »
ago. And they did crowd us. But Governor Lounsbury told me that if they really had their rights Manhattan Island would belong to Connecticut. So you see they are crowding the Dutch still. [Laughter.]
Now, every once in a while, one of these New Englanders that owns the earth, especially that little stone portion called Plymouth Rock, which we never begrudged them, gets up at a great dinner and reads a fine speech and talks about civil and religious liberty which the Puritan came over to cause to flourish. Why, the poor Puritan did not know any more about religious liberty than an ordinary horse does about astronomy. What the Puritan came over here for, was to get a place to do what he liked, in his own way, without interference from anybody else, with power to keep everybody out that wanted to do anything the least bit different from his way. [Great laughter and applause. A voice-" I'm glad I voted for you."] I never can get elected from New England.
I want to tell you just a thing or two about this business. The Dutch tried very hard to teach them civil and religious liberty before they came over, and then they put the Yankees in a ship and sent them over from Leyden and Delfshaven, saying: “It is utterly useless; we cannot teach you.” [Great laughter.] But we came over to New Amsterdam and we had free schools in New York until the English took the city by treachery when there was only Peter Stuyvesant to fire one gun against the invaders, and then they abolished free schools and had their church ones, and they are fighting over that question in England now. Free schools! New York established them when we were free again, years and years afterwards, but they are an invention of the Dutch
Civil and religious liberty! it was born in Holland, it was nourished by the valor of the Beggars of the Sea, and finally it began to grow into the minds of the peoples of the earth, that it was not only right to enjoy your own religion, but it was also right to let your neighbor enjoy his. [Applause.)
Then there is another story, that the English conquered Manhattan Island, and that we are here by the grace of any people on earth except our own. That is another mistake. Just read Theodore Roosevelt's “ Rise of New York."
[Great laughter.] Now I am going to tell you this story because you must go up to Ulster County and up to Dutchess and Albany Counties, and you must tell every Yankee you meet the truth about this, and not let him talk any more about the English having subjugated the Dutch.
It is true the English captured Manhattan Island, but nine years afterwards Admiral Evertsen and another Admiral whose name escapes me, came up the harbor in two frigates with guns well shotted, got beyond Staten Island, and gave the military authorities of New York notice that they were going to take that town, and granted them thirty minutes to make up their minds whether they would give it up or not. When the thirty minutes elapsed, six hundred Dutch troops were landed just back of where Trinity Church now is, and New York became New Amsterdam again. Then how did we lose it? Because the Dutch States-General, which did not know enough, in deciding between New York and Surinam, to choose New York, took Surinam, and they have been wishing ever since they never had been born. Now talk about anybody conquering the Dutch! We generally get there. They sometimes say: “That is all very well, they were very brave people and all that, but they don't do anything now.” Waterloo, Van Speyk, Majuba Hill, and the Boers of the Transvaal show what their courage has been in the later generations. What are the Dutch? Why, we are the salt of the earth! We do not pretend to be the bread and butter and the cheese, but we are the salt [laughter], and I think the Boers in South Africa very lately salted some people I know of. [Great laughter and applause.)
If you want to see a city that is well salted, look at New York. Go to the St. Nicholas Society dinner and see that grand assembly; if there is ever a society in New York that is well salted with Dutch, that is, and we are all proud of it. And so it is with every other society, New York society, but not on the paternal side! [Great laughter and applause.)
But if you want to see a place where the Yankee is salt, pepper, bread, butter, and everything, go to Boston. It is a great city. That is all right. But we prefer New York, and we prefer just what God has ordained us to be—the people not always getting the credit of it, but always accomplishing all the good that is ever accomplished on the face of the earth! [Laughter and applause.] Now you may think that I have not whooped it up enough for the Dutch [great laughter), so I will go on, just for a minute.
The State of North Carolina is always talking about having had a Declaration of Independence in Mecklenburg County, about six months before they had one in Philadelphia. Why, the Dutch farmers up in the Mamacotting Valley of Ulster County signed a Declaration of Independence in April, 1775, and they would have signed it six months before if the New York Council of Safety had given it to them! [Laughter.] This same New England gentleman to whom I have alluded—I have it rather mixed up in my mind which gentleman said it—but some one said that the New Englanders were very unwilling to part from the English, who were patronizing them with tea and stamps. Why, the liberty boys of New York had made up their minds many months before the Declaration of Independence. The Dutch, and notably the Scotch-Irish, had made up their minds. As I say, up in Ulster County they circulated that Declaration of Independence a year and three months before it was really signed in Philadelphia. They knew what they meant. They said, “We shall never be slaves." If you will excuse the fact that I did have a great-grandfather -I am happy to say that my great-grandfather signed that paper and he had a commission in the Continental Army, which I possess, signed by John Hancock, and he was at Saratoga. He was in the 2d New York Line. The Dutch knew that what we wanted was to be a free and independent
a people, even if our friends over there had not made up their minds. The Dutch are satisfied with a very modest position in the world—so that they have the goods and control its destinies. [Great laughter.] Others may call it New York, if they like, or Manhattan, but we call it Dutch.
Now this Society, gentlemen, has a great work before it; our President, who is very much like the President of the French Republic, goes around with a big ribbon, but he has no authority of any kind whatever. He might have some at the Board of Trustees meeting, but that is such an orderly set that there is no use for authority there, and as for the dinner, Judge Van Hoesen and Mr. Van Schaick manage it very well. But the President does not wish any authority, and glories in the great honor, which it seems to him to be one that any one in this Society might be proud of. We have, however, work to do, and in that your President, by your grace, as a private member and as a trustee, hopes to co-operate with you.
It is a strange thing that this great city of New York has allowed the Puritans first to commemorate the virtues of their heroic race which we all admire, and all love to speak of in terms of praise in our serious moments. It is strange that Central Park is adorned by them with that beautiful statue, while the Dutch have no monument. I well remember the day that that silver-tongued orator, George William Curtis, made the dedication address. But why is it that on this Hudson, which was first ploughed by a Dutch keel, over which first of all a Dutch flag floated, along this Hudson which was first discovered and explored and made habitable by Dutch industry and Dutch thrift, there is no Dutch monument to which we may proudly point as we pass by. There ought to be a statue of that great Dutchman, William the Silent, on Riverside Drive. [Great applause.] Do you ever think of him? Do you ever think of his career, that of the prototype of our own Washington? At fifteen years of age the companion of an emperor; at twenty-one years of age, the commander of a great army, and later giving up wealth and pomp and power, preferring to be among the people of God, than to dwell at ease in the tents of wickedness; giving up everything for a life of tedious struggle in the cold marshes of the Netherlands, finally to die at the hand of an assassin with a prayer for his country upon his lips as he passed away. He was the first human being on the face of this earth, who fairly and fully understood the principles of religious and civic freedom. This great city, the exemplifier of those principles to which it owes so much for its prosperity and magnificence, has not yet commemorated that man. How long shall it be, sons of Hollanders, before William the Silent shall be there looking out upon the Hudson and lifted on high as an example for all time? I hope our eyes will see the day! [Great applause.)
THE HOLLANDER AS AN AMERICAN
(Speech of Theodore Roosevelt at the eleventh annual dinner of the Holland Society of New York, January 15, 1896. The President, Dr. D. B. St. John Roosa, said: “The next regular toast is: 'The Hollander as an American,' and I shall have the pleasure of introducing a gentleman who is a member of this Society, and, therefore, descended on the male line (laughter) from some one who came here before 1675, is it not? (A voice" That is right; 1675.") One of the first Roosevelts came very near outstripping Robert Fulton and inventing the steamboat. He did invent a steamboat, and you know the Roosevelts have had something of a steamboat in them ever since. Now there is another thing I want you Dutchmen to teach the Yankees to do-pronounce his name Rosavelt and not Rusevelt. And, by the way, mine is pronounced Rosa too. Now Mr. Roosevelt is a man, evidently, who has the courage of his convictions (A Voice—“That is right." Applause), and it will be a cold day for the party to which he belongs if they undertake to turn him down. I hoped that you all thought so. There was an old darky that used to say about the Commandments: 'Yes, preacher, they are all right, but in this here neighborhood the eighth Commandment ought to be taught with some discreetions.' (Great laughter.) [A Voice: “Which is the eighth Commandment?") 'Thou shalt not steal.' Now in New York there are some people who think there are some commandments that ought to be taught with some 'discreetions.' But they had better alter their law if they don't like it, and they had better not put a Dutchman in office after an oath to enforce the law and then ask him why he does enforce it. (Great applause.) This gentleman does not need any introduction, evidently—the Hon. Theodore Roosevelt.” (Great applause. Three cheers were proposed and given for Mr. Roosevelt. A Voice: “ Tiger !") Mr. Roosevelt: “ In the presence of the judiciary, no!" (Laughter.] There was great cheering when Mr. Roosevelt rose to respond.]
MR. PRESIDENT, GENTLEMEN, AND BRETHREN OF THE HOLLAND SOCIETY:-I am more than touched, if you will permit me to begin rather seriously, by the way you have greeted me to-night. When I was in Washington, there