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Full text of "Address of Charles W. Fairbanks at the German day celebration, Indianapolis"

535 



GERMAN DAY CELEBRATION 



Address by Chari,es W. Fairbanks. 




Qass F 5 35 

Book . ^^ r? 



ADDRKSS 



CHARLES W. FAIRBANKS 



u 



AT THE 



GERMAN DAY CELEBRATION 



Indianapolis, September 3, 1899. 



WASHINGTON, D. C. : 

Gibson Bros., Printers and BooKBiNDERb. 

1899. 



535- 



yr. 



18 D '00 



Mr. Chairman, Ladies and Gentlemen : 

I wish in the first place to thank Captain Bieler and those 
associated with him for the magnificent success of to-day. 
I never have seen a celebration more perfect in all its 
appointments. My profound congratulations are extended 
to these gentlemen. 

You do well to celebrate German Day — the day when the 
first German emigrants landed on American soil. It was 
an event of great historical significance ; of importance to 
the emigrants themselves and of no less importance to the 
country ; and while gratitude (which is among the sweetest 
of human virtues) presides in our hearts, we should not 
cease to remember or fittingly to commemorate it. 

By celebrating it you do not thereby become less Ameri- 
cans ; for as much as you love the German fatherland, you 
nevertheless love the United States before and above all 
else, and cherish her beneficent institutions. 

This is indeed a fit occasion upon which to acknowledge 
the supremacy of American institutions and proclaim anew 
our undying pride and glory in American citizenship. 
Great and splendid it is to be a German citizen, but greater 
and still more splendid it is to be an American citizen. 
No matter whether you are from Germany or from Ireland 
or from England or from France ; no matter from what 
country you may come, your proudest boast is that you are 
an American citizen, and that you are enamoured of the 
institutions of the great republic. 

The celebration of this day serves to exalt our love for 
America rather than to diminish it. 

America ! The sublimest word in the human tongue ! 
What limitless opportunities are here. The way to place 
and power is alike open to the lowest and the highest ; to 

LofC. 



native and foreign-born alike. But one avenue of civic 
distinction is closed to those of alien birth, and that is the 
chief magistracy of the United States. 

Who can measure the beneficent influence of those of 
German blood in American life? No power short of 
Omnipotence can do this. There are in the United States 
eight million people who speak the German language. 
More citizens here trace their lineage to German parentage 
than the combined populations of the brave little republic 
of Switzerland and the Netherlands, which had such 
tremendous influence upon our institutions and political 
ideas ; or than the total populations of Norway and Sweden, 
whence have come some of our sturdiest and best citizens. 
There are in New York city, that great commercial 
metropolis of the Western continent, five hundred and 
eighty thousand Germans, or nearly one-third as many 
Germans as there are in the great capital of the German 
empire ; and almost as many as there are, all told, in the 
city of Hamburg. 

The principal German emigration to the port of New 
York occurred between 182 1 and July, 1899. During this 
period of seventy-eight years, the number of arrivals was 
5,010,880 souls. They came upon no temporary mission ; 
they came with no divided allegiance ; they came to become 
home builders ; they came to become republic builders. 
They brought here their attachment to country ; their de- 
votion to law ; their love of liberty, and their passion for 
music. The historian cannot write the history of our 
matchless and marvelous development and leave out the 
sturdy immigrants from all countries, and more especially 
from the German, the British, and the Scandinavian coun- 
tries. Here upon this Western continent, the best blood 
of the nations of the earth has met and fused into the 
American citizen. The transmutation has challenged the 
surprise and excited the admiration of the world. There 



has been no blood richer or more welcome than that which 
flows in German veins. 

Who takes more pride in our country than those of Ger- 
man birth who have given to it their allegiance? The 
Germans naturally loved independence and liberty, and 
came instinctively to love the flag. Thousands of the 
flower of German youth came here after the revolution of 
1848 in search of that liberty which was denied them in 
the fatherland. Brave, intelligent, loving liberty as the 
very air, they added to the great and honorable figures in 
American history. 

We have needed their plain, practical and conservative 
habits. In business they have been laborious and indus- 
trious ; they have succeeded in the face of great obstacles 
and serious discouragements. They have educated their 
children — it has been a part of the German creed to edu- 
cate — herein lies the secret of their power. The German 
policy has been to lay up something against the rainy day ; 
to provide against old age and its inevitable infirmities. 
The helpfulness of the Germans toward each other has 
been one of the splendid lessons they have taught. Fidelity 
is always an admirable trait. The fidelity of Germans 
toward each other has been to me always one of their strik- 
ing and admirable characteristics. 

The Germans are found in every avenue of usefulness — 
doing their full duty as loyal American citizens. They 
have taken a conspicuous place at the bar ; they preside in 
our courts of justice ; they participate in politics ; they 
have contributed some of the foremost statesmen in the 
history of the Government ; they fill chairs in our great 
universities ; they occupy the pulpit ; they have increased 
the power of the press ; they have added to our literature ; 
they have helped to fell the forest and reclaim the waste 
places ; they have been upon the frontier line of civiliza- 
tion, and. in brief, they are found in every branch of in- 



tellectual and commercial activity. Whenever the call to 
arms has come, they have marched down to the battlefields 
of the republic, and shown the world how patriots can do 
and die. 

We have been engaged in no war in which those of Ger- 
man ancestry have not borne their full share of the burden. 
They have never failed to respond to the first call to arms. 
They won the gratitude of Washington and the country in 
the war of the Revolution. Their spirit was personified by 
the intrepid patriot, the young German minister, Peter G. 
Muhlenberg, who exchanged the dress of his high and holy 
calling for a colonel's uniform, and for his bravery became 
a major-general in the Continental army. You have well 
recalled his services to his country to-day. No monument 
can be too imposing for him ; no tribute too lofty. And 
there were Baron de Kalb and Baron von Steuben — whose 
names will ever be gratefully remembered as among the 
most illustrious of our Revolutionary heroes. 

The war of 1812 witnessed the heroic allegiance of those 
of German parentage. In 1846 they marched with our vic- 
torious armies into Mexico. 

The muster rolls of the civil war contain the names of a 
mighty army of German extraction. About one hundred 
and eighty-seven thousand offered their services to their 
country in the field, and many of them gave the last full 
measure of their devotion in support of the cause of the 
Union in every heroic charge from Bull Run to Appomattox. 

When the war with Spain came, there were no more 
stalwart supporters of the Government than our German 
fellovz-citizens. They knew that the issues of the war were 
not party issues. They knew that the President had sought, 
by every means consistent with the national honor, to effect 
a peaceful settlement of the troubles in Cuba, and when noth- 
ing was left but war, they offered their services. All of their 
hopes, all of their prayers were for the triumph of our arms. 



As one of the results of the war, our flag was carried into 
the Philippines. It went upon no mission of vengeance 
against the Filipinos. It v/ent to overthrow Spanish au- 
thority, which had been maintained for upward of three 
hundred years. Our flag went as the symbol of the power 
and authority of the Government. It is there lawfully in 
pursuance of the cession of the treaty of peace. The treaty 
of peace was ratified by the Senate of the United States, after 
full debate, after deliberate consideration, and by virtue of 
its ratification and exchange the possession of the islands 
passed to the jurisdiction of the United States. 

While the treaty of peace was under consideration, and 
before its ratification, Aguinaldo and his deluded followers 
fired upon our soldiers, and undertook to drive them from 
the islands. They fired upon the flag, which meant to them 
deliverance from Spanish tyranny, all of which was in direct 
and positive rebellion against the authority of the Govern- 
ment. No course, therefore, was left open to the President 
but to subdue the rebellion and compel recognition of the 
authority and jurisdiction of the United States. This pre- 
sents no party question. It is a question that is far above and 
beyond party. It is purely and simply a question as to 
whether or not the United States shall maintain its right and 
supremacy in the territory which has been lawfully com- 
mitted to its authority and keeping. 

No one need have fear that the Government will not deal 
justly and honorably with the Filipinos or that it will not 
give to them the fullest and amplest measure of self-govern- 
ment, consistent with their ability to enjoy it, and with 
honor and the utmost good faith. 

I think I correctly interpret the sentiments of our breth- 
ren of German blood when I say that they are willing to sup- 
port and uphold the Government of the United States in its 
duty and determination to compel every one in revolt against 
its authority to lay down his arms, and acknowledge the 



8 

sovereignty, the power and the justice of the great re- 
public. 

Since the occurrence of the great events of the last few 
months we have come to be recognized as one of the great 
powers of the earth. We have international responsibilities 
of vast moment. We have been moving forward in the 
extension of our commerce with foreign countries in a 
manner and to a degree unexcelled in all our past history. 
It is, therefore, the part of wisdom, it is a part of good 
business policy, to put it upon no higher ground, to culti- 
vate cordial relations with all countries with which we are 
engaged in commerce. Trade and traffic will be stimulated 
between friendly powers much more readily and more to 
the advantage of both, than is possible where friction and 
enmity exist between them. 

We have a large commerce with Germany, which good 
relations will tend to promote ; but beyond this, and above 
this, we are bound together by thousands of ties of kinship 
and association which should stimulate relations of endur- 
ing cordiality. 

I have no sort of sympathy with those who for some 
occult reason are attempting to foment discord between the 
United States and the German empire. There is no reason 
why these two great nations should not continue to exist 
upon terms of amity. We should cultivate friendly rela- 
tions not only with Germany, but with all the other great 
powers of the earth. We can never forget — at least we 
never should forget — that Frederick the Great was the first 
to recognize the birth of the republic out of the throes of 
the Revolution ; and that during the great civil war we 
had little to encourage us among many of the European 
powers, but Germany never ceased to manifest her belief 
in the eternal justice, and her faith in the ultimate triumph 
of our cause. 

The Germans are usually found on the side of good gov- 



ernment. They carry into the service of the state the 
same wholesome, practical ideas of economy and loyalty to 
trust which they practice in their domestic affairs. They 
hold public officials to a high accountability, and this is 
well. Official place is a trust of the highest moment, and 
should be executed not for the exploitation of personal 
selfish ends, or for personal aggrandizement, but for the 
advancement and promotion of the interests of the entire 
body politic, and for the glory of the state. Breach of 
public trust should rank among the unpardonable sins. 
An official who will win the public confidence and basely 
betray it, is unworthy to enjoy the priceless boon of Amer- 
ican citizenship, and should be whipped out of place and 
power. 

We hear much in these latter days of the tendency toward 
materialism. There is no doubt much foundation for this. 
The Germans have taught us, perhaps, as much, or more, 
than any one else, that there is much beyond that which 
is essentially materialistic. 

Though two hundred and sixteen years have passed since 
the landing of the first German immigrants, our country is 
but yet in its infancy ; its possibilities are yet unexplored ; 
a sublime destiny lies before us. Let us inculcate prin- 
ciples of justice and charity for each other, and an un- 
quenchable love of liberty, if we would attain to the 
highest possible progress. 

I trust that we shall retire from the interesting and im- 
pressive events of this holy day with a greater respect for 
all our countrymen, a greater love for the republic, and 
with a determination to preserve, unimpaired, its honor 
and glory. 

An incident of the day was a serenade by Director 
Ehrgott and the singing societies. Responding to the 
compliment, Mr. Fairbanks said : 



lO 

Gentlemen of the singing societies, I thank you from the 
depths of a grateful heart for this splendid serenade ; was 
there ever sweeter music ? I have wondered often why the 
Almighty, in His infinite and beneficent providence, dow- 
ered the Germans above all others with musical gifts — 
with the passion of music. If I have no voice such as 
yours, still I have an ear to hear and a heart to understand 
your inspiring music. Again I thank you. 




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