« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »
by your country and its flag, glory in the achievements of your ancestors, and forever—and to a day beyond forever, if necessary, giving you time to make the journey to your last resting-place-honor your blood, honor your Forefathers, honor yourselves, and treasure the memories of those who have gone before you. [Enthusiastic applause.)
THE PRESS OF THE SOUTH
(Speech of Ballard Smith at the annual banquet given by the Southern Society of New York, February 22, 1888. John C. Calhoun, one of the Vice-Presidents of the Society, presided. Mr. Smith spoke to the toast, “ The Press of the South.”]
MR. PRESIDENT AND GENTLEMEN :The newspaper has always been a potent factor in the South—for many years almost exclusively political, but since the war occupying its more proper sphere and assisting more largely in the material development of the country. I think every Southern man will agree with me that the change of procession has been to the very great advantage of our section. The columns of the ante-bellum newspaper were too often the opportunity for the indulgence of excited passions, political and social, and I doubt if our people could not have better spared the newspaper altogether than to have permitted the license of accusation, political incitement, and personal rancor which characterized so largely the journals of thirty years ago. [Applause.) But they were virile hands which held editorial pens in those days and the faults were doubtless faults of the period rather than of the men themselves. It was a splendid galaxy—that company which included George D. Prentiss, Rhett, Forsythe, Hughes, Henry D. Wise, John Mitchell, and Thomas Ritchie.
But it is of Southern journalism during these last twenty years of which I would speak. I have known something of it because my own apprenticeship was served in one of the most brilliant journals of this or any other time and of this or any other country. The services of Henry Watterson to the South and to the country are a part of the history of our time. [Applause.] His loyalty toward his section could never have been doubted, and his firmness and broad patriotism served it at a time of need to a degree which perhaps the firmness and patriotism of no other man in the South could have equalled. He had for the vehicle of his eloquent fervor a newspaper which commanded the affection of his own people and the respect of the North. [Applause.) With the restoration of order great newspapers-fair rivals to their great contemporaries in the Eastern and Northern States—have grown to prosperity in the various centres of the South, and they have acted out a mission which is in some respects peculiar to themselves.
More important than politics to the South, more important than the advocacy of good morals—for of that our people took good care themselves in city as in country—has been the material development of our resources. The War left us very poor. The carpet-bag governments stole a very large part of the little that was left. Injudicious speculations in cotton during a few years of madness almost completed our bankruptcy. With fertile fields, cheap labor, extraordinary mineral resources, our almost undisputed control of one of the great staples of the world, the year 1876 found us a prostrate people almost beyond precedent. To this breach came several thoughtful, public-spirited, eloquent men of the newspaper guild. It was our good fortune that in Dawson of the “ Charleston News and Courier," in Major Burke, Page M. Baker, and Colonel Nicholson of New Orleans; in Major Belo of Galveston; in the editors of “The Nashville Banner," "The American," “ The Memphis Appeal," “ The Richmond Dispatch and State," and above all, in Henry W. Grady, of “The Atlanta Constitution ” [applause], we had spokesmen who, day in and day out, in season and out, year after year devoted their thoughts, their study, and their abilities to showing the world, first, the sturdy intention of our people to recuperate their lost fortunes; and second, the extraordinary resources of their section. [Applause.) Certainly not in the history of my profession and perhaps not in any history of such endeavor, have men, sinking mere personal interests and ignoring the allurements of ambition, through a more dramatic exercise of their talents so devoted themselves to the practical interests of their people. [Applause.) We saw the results in the awakened curiosity of the world, and in the speedy influx of capital to aid us in our recuperation. [Applause.]
CHARLES EMORY SMITH
(Speech of Charles Emory Smith at the banquet given by the Hibernian Society of Philadelphia, St. Patrick's Day, March 17, 1887. Mr. Smith was introduced by the Society's President, John Field, and called upon to speak to the toast, “ The Press.”]
MR. PRESIDENT AND GENTLEMEN :- These annual dinners of the Hibernian Society, several of which I have had the honor of attending, are distinguished by a peculiar association and spirit. The sons of other nationalities, Englishmen, Welshmen, Scotchmen, Germans, and those among whom I count myself—the sons of New England—are accustomed to meet annually on the anniversary of a patron saint or on some great historic occasion as you do. And those of us who have the opportunity of going from one to the other will, I am sure, agree with me that nowhere else do we find the patriotic fire and the deep moving spirit which we find here. Something of this, Mr. President, is due to the buoyant quality of blood which flows in every Irishman's veins—a quality which makes the Irishman, wherever he may be and under all circumstances, absolutely irrepressible. Something, I say, is due to this buoyant quality of the Irish blood. Still, some of it is due to the fact that he is moved by a deep sense of the woes and the wrongs, of the sadness and the sorrows of his native land. Oppression and injustice only inflame the spirit of nationality. The heel of the oppressor may crush and tear the form or reduce the strength, but nothing crushes the inward resolve of the heart. The Americans were never so American as when they revolted against England and threw the tea overboard into Boston harbor, and punished the RedCoats at Bunker Hill. The heavy yoke of Austria rested grievously upon Hungary, but they raised themselves in revolt and fought fearlessly for their home rule, for their freedom and their rights. And they were defeated by treason in their camps and by the combined forces of Austria and Russia. Yet, sir, they persevered until they achieved home rule-as will Ireland at no distant day.
The long history of oppression and injustice in Ireland has not only not extinguished the flame of Irish patriotism and feeling, but has served to kindle it, to make it more glowing to-day than ever before. For seven centuries Ireland has wrestled with and been subjected to misrule—to England's misrule: a rule great and noble in many things, as her priceless statesman says, but with this one dark, terrible stain upon an otherwise noble history. Only a day or two ago there reached our shores the last number of an English periodical, containing an article from the pen of that great statesman, to whom not only all Ireland, but all the civilized world is looking to-day to battle for freedom in England. The article presents, in the most striking form that I have ever seen, statements of what is properly called Ireland's demands. And I was struck there with the most extraordinary statement coming from this great statesman of England, of the character of England's rule, or rather England's misrule, of Ireland during those seven centuries. For all those centuries, he says, were centuries not only of subjection, but of extreme oppression. The fifth century was the century of confiscation; the sixth was a century of penal laws-penal laws, which, he says, “we cannot defend and which we must condemn and wash our hands of the whole proceedings "-a century of penal laws, except from 1778 to 1795, which he calls the golden age of Ireland. And as I stop for a moment to recollect what had distinguished that period, and as you stop here to-night and recollect for a single moment what had distinguished that short period of that century and made it the golden age of Ireland, you will understand why it was so called. It was the period when Henry Grattan, the great leader of the first battle for home rule, poured forth his learned and masterly eloquence; when Curran made his powerful plea for religious emancipation. The period when Robert Emmet-to whom such