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Full text of "Good citizenship"

GOOD 




GOOD 
CITIZENSHIP 

BY 

G ROVER 
CLEVELAND 





PHILADELPHIA 

HENRY ALTEMUS COMPANY 






Copyright, 1908, by Howard E. Altemiu 
Published June, 1908 



CONTENTS 



Introduction 5 

Good Citizenship 1 1 

Patriotism and Holiday Observ- 
ance 37 




INTRODUCTION 

TT is not of the author's own 
*- motion that the following 
essays are given to the 
public in this form. With 
characteristic modesty, Mr. 
Cleveland was willing that 
these addresses should lie un- 
discovered and unread in the 
limbo of pigeonholes or of 
yellowing newspaper-file; and 
yet the thoughtful reader will 
be the first to proclaim that 
these utterances are neither in- 
significant nor ephemeral. 
Their very themes are age-old. 
Before Rome was, Patriotism 
and Good Citizenship were the 
purest and loftiest ideals of the 
ancient world; and, through 

5 



INTRODUCTION 





the ages that have followed, 
those nations have been noblest, 
bravest and most enduring in 
which love of home and love of 
country have been most deep- 
seated. 

Mr. Cleveland's address on 
Good Citizenship was delivered 
before the Commercial Club of 
Chicago in October, 1903; and 
that on Patriotism and Holiday 
Observance before the Union 
League Club, of the same city, 
on Washington's Birthday, 
1907. Now, with Mr. Cleve- 
land's sanction, they appear for 
the first time in book form. 

No one can scan these pages, 
however hastily, without saying 
to himself, "Here is a man who 
preaches what, for a lifetime, 
he has been practicing." 

Not all patriotism finds ex- 
6 









INTRODUCTION 






pression in the heat and joy of 
the battlefield ; nor does good 
citizenship begin and end on 
election day. Mr. Cleveland 
has, in himself, proved that an 
upright and fearless chief mag- 
istrate in the White House may 
be as true a patriot as the leader 
of a forlorn hope, as lofty a 
type of citizen as a Garrison or 
a Phillips. No public man of 
this generation has been more 
bitterly assailed than Grover 
Cleveland; none has met with 
more unswerving serenity the 
attacks, fair and foul, of those 
whose selfish interests have 
made them his sworn foes. 

That famous phrase, uttered 
years ago, "We love him for 
the enemies he has made," is a 
true saying. 

THE PUBLISHERS. 

r 



GOOD CITIZENSHIP 






GOOD CITIZENSHIP 

THERE is danger that my 
subject of American 
good citizenship is so 
familiar and so trite as to lack 
interest. This does not neces- 
sarily result from a want of 
appreciation of the importance 
of good citizenship, nor from 
a denial of the duty resting 
upon every American to be a 
good citizen. There is, how- 
ever, abroad in our land a self- 
satisfied and perfunctory no- 
tion that we do all that is re- 
quired of us in this direction 



GOOD CITIZENSHIP 



when we make profession of 
our faith in the creed of good 
citizenship and abstain from the 
commission of palpably un- 
patriotic sins. 

We ought not to be badgered 
and annoyed by the preaching 
and exhortation of a restless, 
troublesome set of men, who 
continually urge upon us the 
duty of active and affirmative 
participation in public affairs. 
Why should we be charged 
with neglect of political obliga- 
tions? We go to the polls on 
election day, when not too busy 
with other things, and vote the 
ticket our party managers have 
prepared for us. Sometimes, 
when conditions grow to be so 



GOOD CITIZENSHIP 



bad politically that a revival or 
stirring-up becomes necessary, 
a goodly number of us actually 
devote considerable time and 
effort to better the situation. 
Of course, we cannot do this 
always, because we must not 
neglect money-getting and 
the promotion of great enter- 
prises, "which, as everybody 
knows, are the evidence of 
a nation's prosperity and 
influence. 

It seems to me that within 
our citizenship there are many 
whose disposition and charac- 
teristics very often resemble 
those found in the membership 
of our churches. In this mem- 
bership there is a considerable 
13 






GOOD CITIZENSHIP 









proportion composed of those 
who, having made profession 
of their faith and joined the 
church, appear to think their 
duty done when they live hon- 
estly, attend worship regularly, 
and contribute liberally to 
church support. In complacent 
satisfaction, and certain of their 
respectability, they do not care 
to hear sermonizing concern- 
ing the sinfulness of human 
nature, or the wrath to come; 
and if haply they are some- 
times roused by the truths of 
vital Christianity, they soon 
relapse again to their tranquil 
and easy condition of listless- 
ness. A description of these, 
found in the Holy Writ, may 






. 



GOOD CITIZENSHIP 




fitly apply to many in the State 
as well as in the church : 

"For if any be a hearer of 
the word, and not a doer, he is 
like unto a man beholding his 
natural face in a glass : for he 
beholdeth himself, and goeth 
his way, and straightway for- 
getteth what manner of man 
he was." 

There is an habitual asso 
ciate of civic American indiffer- 
ence and listlessness, which 
reenforces their malign ten- 
dencies and adds tremendously 
to the dangers that threaten 
our body politic. This asso- 
ciate plays the role of smooth, 
insinuating confidence operator 
and, clothed in the garb of 



GOOD CITIZENSHIP 



immutable faith in the invulner- 
ability of our national great- 
ness, it invites our admiring 
gaze to the flight of the Ameri- 
can eagle, and assures us that 
no tempestuous weather can 
ever tire his wings. Thus many 
good and honest men are ap- 
proached through their patri- 
otic trust in our free institutions 
and immense national re- 
sources, and are insidiously 
led to a condition of mind 
which will not permit them to 
harbor the uncomfortable 
thought that any omission on 
their part can check American 
progress or endanger our 
country's continued develop- 
ment. Have we not lived as a 
16 



GOOD CITIZENSHIP 







nation more than a century; 
and have we not exhibited 
growth and achievement in 
every direction that discredit 
all parallels in history? After 
us the deluge. Why then need 
we bestir ourselves, and why 
disturb ourselves with public 
affairs ? 

Those of our citizens who 
are deluded by these notions, 
and who allow themselves to 
be brought to such a frame of 
mind, may well be reminded 
of the good old lady who was 
wont to impressively declare 
that she had always noticed if 
she lived until the first of 
March she lived all the rest of 
the year. It is quite likely she 
a-c. c. i 






GOOD CITIZENSHIP 



built a theory upon this ex- 
perience which induced her 
with the passing of each of 
these fateful days to defy 
coughs, colds and consumption 
and the attacks of germs and 
microbes in a million forms. 
However this may be, we know 
that with no design or inten- 
tion on her part, there came a 
first day of March which passed 
without her earthly notice. 

The withdrawal of whole- 
some sentiment and patriotic 
activity from political action on 
the part of those who are in- 
different to their duty, or fool- 
hardy in their optimism, opens 
the way for a ruthless and un- 
relenting enemy of our free in- 
18 



GOOD CITIZENSHIP 







stitutions. The abandonment 
of our country's watch-towers 
by those who should be on 
guard, and the slumber of the 



sentinels who should never 
sleep, directly invite the stealthy 
approach and the pillage and 
loot of the forces of selfishness 
and greed. These baleful 
enemies of patriotic effort will 
lurk everywhere as long as 
human nature remains unre- 

i ; A I 

generate; but nowhere in the 
world can they create such 
desolations as in free America, 
and nowhere can they so 
cruelly destroy man's highest 
and best aspirations for self- 
government. 

It is useless for us to blink 

.9 




GOOD CITIZENSHIP 



at the fact that our scheme of 
government is based upon a 
close interdependence of inter- 
est and purpose among those 
who make up the body of our 
people. Let us be honest with 
ourselves. If our nation was 
built too much upon sentiment, 
and if the rules of patriotism 
and benignity that were fol- 
lowed in the construction have 
proved too impractical, let us 
frankly admit it. But if love 
of country, equal opportunity 
and genuine brotherhood in 
citizenship are worth the pains 
and trials that gave them birth, 
and if we still believe them to 
be worth preservation and that 
they have the inherent vigor 

20 



GOOD CITIZENSHIP 








and beneficence to make our 
republic lasting and our people 
happy, let us strongly hold 
them in love and devotion. 
Then it shall be given us to 
plainly see that nothing is more 
unfriendly to the motives that 
underlie our national edifice 
than the selfishness and cupidity 
that look upon freedom and 
law and order only as so many 
agencies in aid of their designs. 
Our government was made 
by patriotic, unselfish, sober- 
minded men for the control or 
protection of a patriotic, un- 
selfish and sober-minded peo- 
ple. It is suited to such a peo- 
ple; but for those who are 
selfish, corrupt and unpatriotic 

21 




GOOD CITIZENSHIP 

it is the worst government on 
earth. It is so constructed that 
it needs for its successful opera- 
tion the constant care and 
guiding hand of the people's 
abiding faith and love, and not 
only is this unremitting guid- 
ance necessary to keep our na- 
tional mechanism true to its 
work, but the faith and love 
which prompt it are the best 
safeguards against selfish citi- 
zenship. 

Give to our people some- 
thing that will concentrate their 
common affection and solicit- 
ous care, and let them be their 
country's good; give them a 
purpose that stimulates them 
to unite in lofty endeavor, and 

22 







GOOD CITIZENSHIP 



let that purpose be a demon- 
stration of the sufficiency and 
beneficence of our popular rule, 
and we shall find that in their 
political thought there will be 
no place for the suggestions of 
sordidness and pelf. 

Who will say that this is now 
our happy condition? Is not 
our public life saturated with 
the indecent demands of self- 
ishness? More than this, can 
any of us doubt the existence 
of still more odious and de- 
testable evils which, with 
steady, cankering growth, are 
more directly than all others 
threatening our safety and na- 
tional life? I speak of the cor- 
ruption of our suffrage, open 
23 





GOOD CITIZENSHIP 





and notorious, of the buying 
and selling of political places 
for money, the purchase of 
political favors and privileges, 
and the traffic in official duty 
for personal gain. These things 
are confessedly common. Every 
intelligent man knows that they 
have grown from small begin- 
nings until they have reached 
frightful proportions of malev- 
olence; and yet respectable 
citizens by the thousands have 
looked on with perfect calm- 
ness, and with hypocritical cant 
have declared they are not 
politicians, or with silly pre- 
tensions of faith in our strength 
and luck have languidly claimed 
that the country was prosper- 
24 








GOOD CITIZENSHIP 




ous, equal to any emergency 
and proof against all dangers. 
Resulting from these condi- 
tions in a manner not difficult 
to trace, wholesome national 
sentiment is threatened with 
utter perversion. All sorts of 
misconceptions pervade the pub- 
lic thought, and jealousies, 
rapidly taking on the complex- 
ion of class hatred, are found 
in every corner of the land. A 
new meaning has been given to 
national prosperity. With a 
hardihood that savors of in- 
solence, an old pretext, which 
has preceded the doom of an- 
cient experiments in popular 
vote, is daily and hourly dinned 
in our ears. We are told that 
25 














GOOD CITIZENSHIP 



the national splendor we have 
built upon the showy ventures 
of speculative wealth is a badge 
of our success. Unsharing 
contentment is enjoined upon 
the masses of our people, and 
they are invited, in the bare 
subsistence of their scanty 
homes, to patriotically rejoice 
in their country's prosperity. 

This is too unsubstantial an 
enjoyment of benefits to satisfy 
those who have been taught 

American equality, and thus 

-i j ' 

has arisen, by a perfectly nat- 
ural process, a dissatisfied in- 
sistence upon a better distribu- 
tion of the results of our 
vaunted prosperity. We now 
see its worst manifestation in 
26 



GOOD CITIZENSHIP 




the apparently incorrigible dis- 
location of the proper relations 
between labor and capital. This 
of itself is sufficiently distress- 
ing; but thoughtful men are 
not without dread of sadder 
developments yet to come. 

There has also grown up 
among our people a disregard 
for the restraints of law and a 
disposition to evade its limita- 
tions, while querulous strictures 
concerning the actions of our 
courts tend to undermine pop- 
ular faith in the course of 
justice, and, last but by no 
means least, complaints of im- 
aginary or exaggerated short- 
comings in our financial policies 
furnish an excuse for the flip- 
27 




GOOD CITIZENSHIP 



pant exploitation of all sorts of 
monetary nostrums. 

I hasten to give assurance 
that I have not spoken in a 
spirit of gloomy pessimism. I 
have faith that the awakening 
is forthcoming, and on this 
faith I build a cheerful hope 
for the healing of all the 
wounds inflicted in slumber and 
neglect. 

It is true that there should 
be an end of self-satisfied 
gratification, or pretense of 
virtue, in the phrase, "I am nol 
a politician," and it is time to 
forbid the prostitution of the 
word to a sinister use. Every 
citizen should be politician 
enough to bring himself within 
28 






GOOD CITIZENSHIP 




the true meaning of the term, 
as one who concerns himself 
with "the regulation or govern- 
ment of a nation or State for 
the preservation of its safety, 
peace and prosperity." This 
is politics in its best sense, and 
this is good citizenship. 

If good men are to interfere 
to make political action what 
it should be, they must not 
suppose they will come upon an 
open field unoccupied by an 
opposing force. On the ground 
they neglected they will find a 
host of those who engage in 
politics for personal ends and 
selfish purposes, and this 
ground cannot be taken with- 
out a hand-to-hand conflict. 
29 




GOOD CITIZENSHIP 






The attack must be made under 
the banner of disinterested 
good citizenship, by soldiers 
drilled in lessons of patriotism. 
They must be enlisted for life 
and constantly on duty. 

Their creed should bind to- 
gether in generous cooperation 
all who are willing to fight to 
make our government what the 
fathers intended it to be a 
depository of benefits which, 
in equal current and volume, 
should flow out to all the peo- 
ple. This creed should teach 
the wickedness of attempting 
to make free opportunity the 
occasion for seizing especial 
advantages, and should warn 
against the danger of ruthless 
30 





GOOD CITIZENSHIP 



rapacity. It should deprecate 
ostentation and extravagance in 
the life of our people, and de- 
mand in the management of 
public affairs simplicity and 
strict economy. It should teach 
toleration in all things save 
dishonesty and infidelity to pub- 
lic trusts. 

It should insist that our fi- 
nance and currency concern not 
alone the large traders, mer- 
chants and bankers of our land, 
but that they are intimately and 
every day related to the well- 
being of our people in all con- 
ditions of life, and that, there- 
fore, if any adjustments are 
necessary they should be made 
in such manner as shall cer- 
31 






GOOD CITIZENSHIP 











tainly maintain the soundness 
of our people's earnings and the 
security of their savings. It 
should enjoin respect for the 
law as the quality that cements 
the fabric of organized society 
and makes possible a govern- 
ment by the people. And in 
every sentence and every line 
of this creed of good citizen- 
ship the lesson should be taught 
that our country is a beautiful 
and productive field to be cul- 
tivated by loyal Americans, 
who, with weapons near at 
hand, whether they sow and 
reap or whether they rest, will 
always be prepared to resist 
those who attempt to despoil by 
day and pilfer in the night. 
32 






GOOD CITIZENSHIP 






In the day when all shadows 
shall have passed away and 
when good citizenship shall 
have made sure the safety, per- 
manence and happiness of our 
nation, how small will appear 
the strifes of selfishness in our 
civic life, and how petty will 
seem the machinations of de- 
graded politics. 

There shall be set over 
against them in that time a 
reverent sense of cooperation 
in Heaven's plans for our peo- 
ple's greatness, and the joyous 
pride of standing among those 
who, in the comradeship of 
American good citizenship, 
have so protected and defended 
our heritage of self-govern- 
3-c. c. 






GOOD CITIZENSHIP 





ment that our treasures are safe 
in the citadel of patriotism, 
"where neither moth nor rust 
doth corrupt, and where thieves 
do not break through nor steal." 








PATRIOTISM AND 
HOLIDAY OBSERVANCE 

THE American people are 
but little given to the 
observance of public 
holidays. This statement can- 
not be disposed of by the 
allegation that our national 
history is too brief to allow the 
accumulation of days deserving 
civic commemoration. Though 
it is true that our life as a peo- 
ple, according to the standard 
measuring the existence of na- 
tions, has been a short one, it 
has been filled with glorious 
37 








PATRIOTIS-M 



AND 



achievements; and, though it 
must be conceded that it is not 
given to us to see in the magni- 
fying mirage of antiquity the 
exaggerated forms of Ameri- 
can heroes, yet in the bright and 
normal light shed upon our be- 
ginning and growth are seen 
grand and heroic men who have 
won imperishable honor and 
deserve our everlasting remem- 
brance. We cannot, therefore, 
excuse a lack of commemorative 
inclination and a languid inter- 
est in recalling the notable in- 
cidents of our country's past 
under the plea of a lack of 
commemorative material; nor 
can we in this way explain our 
neglect adequately to observe 
38 




HOLIDAY OBSERVANCE 



days which have actually been 
set apart for the especial mani- 
festation of our loving appre- 
ciation of the lives and the 
deeds of Americans who, in 
crises of our birth and develop- 
ment, have sublimely wrought 
and nobly endured. 

If we are inclined to look for 
other excuses, one may occur 
to us which, though by no 
means satisfying, may appear 
to gain a somewhat fanciful 
plausibility by reason of its 
reference to the law of heredity. 
It rests upon the theory that 
those who secured for Ameri- 
can nationality its first foot- 
hold, and watched over its weak 
infancy were so engrossed with 

39 



PATRIOTISM 



AND 



the persistent and unescapable 
labors that pressed upon them, 
and that their hopes and aspira- 
tions led them so constantly to 
thoughts of the future, that re- 
trospection nearly became with 
them an extinct faculty, and 
that thus it may have happened 
that exclusive absorption in 
things pertaining to the present 
and future became so embedded 
in their natures as to constitute 
a trait of character descendible 
to their posterity, even to the 
present generation. The tolera- 
tion of this theory leads to the 
suggestion that an inheritance 
of disposition has made it diffi- 
cult for the generation of to- 
day to resist the temptation 
40 










HOLIDAY OBSERVANCE 

inordinately to strive for im- 
mediate material advantages, 
to the exclusion of the whole- 
some sentiment that recalls the 
high achievements and noble 
lives which have illumined our 
national career. Some support 
is given to this suggestion by 
the concession, which we can- 
not escape, that there is abroad 
in our land an inclination to 
use to the point of abuse the 
opportunities of personal bet- 
terment, given under a scheme 
of rule which permits the great- 
est individual liberty, and inter- 
poses the least hindrance to 
individual acquisition ; and 
that in the pursuit of this 
we are apt to carry in our 




PATRIOTISM 



AND 







minds, if not upon our lips, 
the legend : 

"Things done are won ; joy's 
soul lies in the doing." 

But the question is whether 
all this accounts for our indif- 
ference to the proper observ- 
ance of public holidays which 
deserve observance. 

There is another reason 
which might be advanced in 
mitigation of our lack of com- 
memorative enthusiasm, which 
is so related to our pride of 
Americanism that, if we could 
be certain of its sufficiency, we 
would gladly accept it as con- 
clusive. It has to do with the 
underlying qualities and mo- 
tives of our free institutions. 
42 




HOLIDAY OBSERVANCE 








Those institutions had their 
birth and nurture in unselfish 
patriotism and unreserved con- 
secration; and, by a decree of 
fate beyond recall or change, 
their perpetuity and beneficence 
are conditioned on the constant 
devotion and single-hearted 
loyalty of those to whom their 
blessings are vouchsafed. It 
would be a joy if we could 
know that all the bright inci- 
dents in our history were so 
much in the expected order of 
events, and that patriotism and 
loving service are so familiar 
in our present surroundings, 
and so clear in their manifesta- 
tion, as to dull the edge of their 
especial commendation. If the 
43 






PATRIOTISM AND 



utmost of patriotism and un- 
selfish devotion in the promo- 
tion of our national interests 
have always been and still re- 
main universal, there would 
hardly be need of their com- 
memoration. 

But, after all, why should we 
attempt to delude ourselves? 
I am confident that I voice your 
convictions when I say that no 
play of ingenuity and no 
amount of special pleading 
can frame an absolutely cred- 
itable excuse for our remiss- 
ness in appropriate holiday 
observance. 

You will notice that I use 
the words "holiday observ- 
ance." I have not in mind 
44 







merely the selection or appoint- 
ment of days which have been 
thought worthy of celebration. 
Such an appointment or selec- 
tion is easy, and very fre- 
quently it is the outcome of a 
perfunctory concession to ap- 
parent propriety, or of a tran- 
sient movement of affectionate 
sentiment. But I speak of the 
observance of holidays, and 
such holidays as not only have 
a substantial right to exist, but 
which ought to have a lasting 
hold upon the sentiment of our 
people days which, as often 
as they recur, should stimulate 
in the hearts of our country- 
men a grateful recognition of 
what God has done for man- 
45 












PATRIOTISM 



AND 









kind, and especially for the 
American nation; days which 
stir our consciences and sensi- 
bilities with prompting's to un- 
selfish and unadulterated love 
of country; days which warm 
and invigorate our devotion to 
the supreme ideals which gave 
life to our institutions and their 
only protection against death 
and decay. I speak of holidays 
which demand observance by 
our people in spirit and in 
truth. 

The commemoration of the 
day on which American inde- 
pendence was born has been 
allowed to lose much of its sig- 
nificance as a reminder of 
Providential favor and of the 
46 






HOLIDAY OBSERVANCE 



inflexible patriotism of the 
fathers of the republic, and has 
nearly degenerated into a revel 
of senseless noise and aimless 
explosion, leaving in its train 
far more of mishap and acci- 
dent than lessons of good citi- 
zenship or pride of country. 
The observance of Thanksgiv- 
ing Day is kept alive through 
its annual designation by Fed- 
eral and State authority. But 
it is worth our while to inquire 
whether its original meaning, 
as a day of united praise and 
gratitude to God for the bless- 
ings bestowed upon us as a 
people and as individuals, is not 
smothered in feasting and 
social indulgence. We, in com- 
47 







PATRIOTISM 



AND 






mon with Christian nations 
everywhere, celebrate Christ- 
mas, but how much less as a 
day commemorating the birth 
of the Redeemer of mankind 
than as a day of hilarity and 
the interchange of gifts. 

I will not, without decided 
protest, be accused of antago- 
nizing or deprecating light- 
hearted mirth and jollity. On 
the contrary, I am an earnest 
advocate of every kind of sane, 
decent, social enjoyment, and 
all sorts of recreation. But, 
nevertheless, I feel that the al- 
lowance of an incongruous 
possession by them of our com- 
memorative days is evidence of 
a. certain condition, and is 
48 




HOLIDAY OBSERVANCE 








symptomatic of a popular ten- 
dency, which are by no means 
reassuring. 

On the days these words are 
written, a prominent and 
widely read newspaper contains 
a communication in regard to 
the observance of the birthday 
of the late President McKinley. 
Its tone plainly indicates that 
the patriotic society which has 
for its primary purpose the 
promotion of this particular 
commemoration recognizes the 
need of a revival of interest in 
the observance of all other me- 
morial days, and it announces 
that "its broader object is to 
instil into the hearts and minds 
of the people a desire for real, 

4-G. C. 49 






PATRIOTISM 



AND 




patriotic observance of all of 
our national days." 

Beyond all doubt, the com- 
memorations of the birth of 
American heroes and statesmen 
who have rendered redemptive 
service to their country in 
emergencies of peace and war 
should be rescued from entire 
neglect and from fitful and dis- 
located remembrance. And, 
while it would be more gratify- 
ing to be assured that through- 
out our country there was such 
a spontaneous appreciation of 
this need, that in no part of our 
domain would there be a neces- 
sity of urging such commemo- 
rations by self-constituted or- 
ganizations, yet it is comforting 
so 



fejx 

p 

tfl 






to know that, in the midst of 
prevailing apathy, there are 
those among us who have de- 
termined that the memory of 
the events and lives we should 
commemorate shall not be 
smothered in the dust and 
smoke of sordidness, nor 
crushed out by ruthless mate- 
rialism. 

On this day the Union 
League Club of Chicago should 
especially rejoice in the con- 
sciousness of patriotic accom- 
plishment; and on this day, of 
all others, every one of its mem- 
bers should regard his member- 
ship as a badge of honor. 
Whatever else the organization 
may have done, it has justified 
Si 



r (f 






PATRIOTISM AND 

its existence, and earned the 
applause of those whose love of 
country is still unclouded, by 
the work it has done for the 
deliverance of Washington's 
birthday from neglect or in- 
dolent remembrance. I deem 
it a great privilege to be al- 
lowed to participate with the 
League in a commemoration so 
exactly designed, not only to 
remind those of mature years 
of the duty exacted by their 
heirship in American free in- 
stitutions, but to teach children 
the inestimable value of those 
institutions, to inspire them to 
emulation of the virtues in 
which our nation had its birth, 
and to lead them to know the 




HOLIDAY OBSERVANCE 






nobility of patriotic citizenship. 
The palpable and immediate 
good growing out of the com- 
memorations which for twenty 
years have occurred under the 
auspices of the League are less 
impressive than the assurance 
that, in generations yet to 
come, the seed thus sown in 
the hearts of children and 
youth will bear the fruit of dis- 
interested love of country and 
saving steadfastness to our na- 
tional mission. 

In furtherance of the high 
endeavor of your organization, 
it would have been impossible 
to select for observance any 
other civic holiday having as 
broad and fitting a significance 
53 








AND 






as this. It memorizes the birth 
of one whose glorious deeds 
are transcendently above all 
others recorded in our national 
annals ; and, in memorizing the 
birth of Washington, it com- 
memorates the incarnation of 
all the virtues and all the ideals 
that made our nationality pos- 
sible, and gave it promise of 
growth and strength. It is a 
holiday that belongs exclusively 
to the American people. All 
that Washington did was bound 
up in our national life, and be- 
came interwoven with the warp 
of our national destiny. The 
battles he fought were fought 
for American liberty, and the 
victories he won gave us 
54 



HOLIDAY OBSERVANCE 




national independence. His ex- 
ample of unselfish consecration 
and lofty patriotism made mani- 
fest, as in an open book, that 
those virtues were conditions 
not more vital to our nation's 
beginning than to its develop- 
ment and durability. His faith 
in God, and the fortitude of his 
faith, taught those for whom 
he wrought that the surest 
strength of nations comes from 
the support of God's almighty 
arm. His universal and un- 
affected sympathy with those 
in every sphere of American 
life, his thorough knowledge of 
existing American conditions, 
and his wonderful foresight of 
conditions yet to be, coupled 
55 



PATRIOTISM 



AND 







with his powerful influence in 
the councils of those who were 
to make or mar the fate of an 
infant nation, made him a tre- 
mendous factor in the construc- 
tion and adoption of the con- 
stitutional chart by which the 
course of the newly launched 
republic could be safely sailed. 
And it was he who first took 
the helm, and demonstrated, 
for the guidance of all who 
might succeed him, how and in 
what spirit and intent the re- 
sponsibilities of our chief mag- 
istracy should be discharged. 

If your observance of this 

day were intended to make 

more secure the immortal fame 

of Washington, or to add to 

56 





HOLIDAY OBSERVANCE 







the strength and beauty of his 
imperishable monument built 
upon a nation's affectionate re- 
membrance, your purpose 
would be useless. Washing- 
ton has no need of you. But 
in every moment, from the time 
he drew his sword in the cause 
of American independence to 
this hour, living or dead, the 
American people have needed 
him. It is not important now, 
nor will it be in all the coming 
years, to remind our country- 
men that Washington has lived, 
and that his achievements in 
his country's service are above 
all praise. But it is important 
and more important now 
than ever before that they 
57 




PATRIOTISM 



AND 










should clearly apprehend and 
adequately value the virtues 
and ideals of which he was the 
embodiment, and that they 
should realize how essential 
to our safety and perpetuity are 
the consecration and patriotism 
which he exemplified. The 
American people need to-day 
the example and teachings of 
Washington no less than those 
who fashioned our nation 
needed his labors and guidance ; 
and only so far as we com- 
memorate his birth with a 
sincere recognition of this need 
can our commemoration be use- 
ful to the present generation. 

It is, therefore, above all 
things, absolutely essential to 
58 








HOLIDAY OBSERVANCE 




an appropriately commemora- 
tive condition of mind that 
there should be no toleration 
of even the shade of a thought 
that what Washington did and 
said and wrote, in aid of the 
young American republic have 
become in the least outworn, or 
that in these later days of mate- 
rial advance and development 
they may be merely pleasantly 
recalled with a sort of affection- 
ate veneration, and with a kind 
of indulgent and loftily cour- 
teous concession of the value 
of Washington's example and 
precepts. These constitute the 
richest of all our crown jewels ; 
and, if we disregard them or de- 
preciate their value, we shall be 
59 






PATRIOTISM AND 

no better than "the base Indian 
who threw a pearl away richer 
than all his tribe." 

They are full of stimulation 
to do grand and noble things, 

and full of lessons enjoining 

J 

loyal adherence to public duty. 
But they teach nothing more 
impressive and nothing more 
needful by way of recalling our 
countrymen to a faith which 
has become somewhat faint and 
obscured than the necessity to 
national beneficence and the 
people's happiness of the 
homely, simple, personal vir- 
tues that grow and thrive in 
the hearts of men who, with 
high intent, illustrate the good- 
ness there is in human nature. 

\(& 



HOLIDAY OBSERVANCE 








Three months before his in- 
auguration as first President of 
the republic which he had done 
so much to create, Washington 
wrote a letter to Lafayette, his 
warm friend and Revolutionary 
ally, in which he expressed his 
unremitting desire to establish 
a general system of policy 
which, if pursued, would "en- 
sure permanent felicity to the 
commonwealth;" and he added 
these words: 

"I think I see a path as clear 
and as direct as a ray of light, 
which leads to the attainment 
of that object. Nothing but 
harmony, honesty, industry and 
frugality is necessary to make 
us a great and happy people 
61 




PATRIOTISM 



AND 





Happily, the present posture of 
affairs, and the prevailing dis- 
position of my countrymen 
promise to cooperate in estab- 
lishing those four great and 
essential pillars of public fe- 
licity." 

It is impossible for us to be 
in accord with the spirit which 
should pervade this occasion if 
we fail to realize the momen- 
tous import of this declaration, 
and if we doubt its conclusive- 
ness or its application to any 
stage of our national life, we 
are not in sympathy with a 
proper and improving observ- 
ance of the birthday of George 
Washington. 

Such considerations as these 
62 









HOLIDAY OBSERVANCE 






suggest the thought that this is 
a time for honest self-examina- 
tion. The question presses upon 
us with a demand for reply that 
will not be denied : 

Who among us all, if our 
hearts are purged of mislead- 
ing impulses and our minds 
freed from perverting pride, 
can be sure that to-day the 
posture of affairs and the pre- 
vailing disposition of our coun- 
trymen cooperate in the estab- 
lishment and promotion of 
harmony, honesty, industry and 
frugality ? 

When Washington wrote 

that nothing but these was 

necessary to make us a great 

and happy people, he had in 

63 




PATRIOTISM AND 



mind the harmony of Ameri- 
can brotherhood and unenvious 
good-will, the honesty that in- 
sures against the betrayal of 
public trust and hates devious 
ways and conscienceless prac- 
tices, the industry that recog- 
nizes in faithful work and 
intelligent endeavor abundant 
promise of well-earned com- 
petence and provident accumu- 
lation, and the frugality which 
outlaws waste and extravagant 
display as plunderers of thrift 
and promoters of covetous dis- 
content. 

The self-examination invited 
by this day's commemoration 
will be incomplete and super- 
ficial if we are not thereby 
64 








forced to the confession that 
there are signs of the times 
which indicate a weakness and 
relaxation of our hold upon 
these saving virtues. When 
thus forewarned, it is the 
height of recreancy for us ob- 
stinately to close our eyes to 
the needs of the situation, and 
refuse admission to the thought 
that evil can overtake us. If 
we are to deserve security, and 
make good our claim to sen- 
sible, patriotic Americanism, we 
will carefully and dutifully take 
our bearings, and discover, if 
we can, how far wind and tide 
have carried us away from safe 
waters. 

If we find that the wicked- 
5-G. c. 65 





PATRIOTISM 



AND 












ness of destructive agitators 
and the selfish depravity of 
demagogues have stirred up 
discontent and strife where 
there should be peace and har- 
mony, and have arrayed against 
each other interests which 
should dwell together in hearty 
cooperation ; if we find that 
the old standards of sturdy, un- 
compromising American hon- 
esty have become so corroded 
and weakened by a sordid 
atmosphere that our people are 
hardly startled by crime in high 
places and shameful betrayals 
of trust everywhere ; if we find 
a sadly prevalent disposition 
among us to turn from the 
highway of honorable industry 
66 








HOLIDAY OBSERVANCE 



into shorter crossroads leading 
to irresponsible and worthless 
ease; if we find that wide- 
spread wastefulness and ex- 
travagance have discredited the 
wholesome frugality which was 
once the pride of Americanism 
we should recall Washington's 
admonition that harmony, in- 
dustry and frugality are "es- 
sential pillars of public felicity," 
and forthwith endeavor to 
change our course. 

To neglect this is not only 
to neglect the admonition of 
Washington, but to miss or 
neglect the conditions which 
our self-examination has made 
plain to us. These conditions 
demand something more from 




AND 







us than warmth and zest in the 
tribute we pay to Washington, 
and something 1 more even than 
acceptance of his teachings, 
however reverent our accept- 
ance may be. 

The sooner we reach a state 
of mind which keeps constantly 
before us, as a living, active, 
impelling force, the truth that 
our people, good or bad, har- 
monious or with daggers 
drawn, honest or unscrupulous, 
industrious or idle, constitute 
the source of our nation's tem- 
perament and health, and that 
the traits and faults of our peo- 
ple must necessarily give qual- 
ity and color to our national 
behavior, the sooner we shall 
68 







H O L IDAY OBSERVANCE 




appreciate the importance of 
protecting this source from un- 
wholesome contamination. And 
the sooner all of us honestly 
acknowledge this to be an in- 
dividual duty that cannot be 
shifted or evaded, and the more 
thoroughly we purge ourselves 
from influences that hinder its 
conscientious performance, the 
sooner will our country be 
regenerated and made secure 
by the saving power of good 
citizenship. 

It is our habit to affiliate 
with political parties. Happily, 
the strength and solidity of our 
institutions can safely with- 
stand the utmost freedom and 
activity of political discussion 
69 




PATRIOTISM AND 



so far as it involves the adop- 
tion of governmental policies 
or the enforcement of good 
administration. But they can- 
not withstand the frenzy of 
hate which seeks, under the 
guise of political earnestness, 
to blot out American brother- 
hood, and cunningly to per- 
suade our people that a crusade 
of envy and malice is no more 
than a zealous insistence upon 
their manhood rights. 

Political parties are exceed- 
ingly human; and they more 
easily fall before temptation 
than individuals, by so much as 
partisan success is the law of 
their life, and because their re- 
sponsibility is impersonal. It 
70 



HOLIDAY OBSERVANCE 




is easily recalled that political 
organizations have been quite 
willing to utilize gusts of pop- 
ular prejudice and resentment; 
and I believe they have been 
known, as a matter of shrewd 
management, to encourage 
voters to hope for some meas- 
ure of relief from economic 
abuses, and yet to "stand pat" 
on the day appointed for reali- 
zation. 

We have fallen upon a time 
when it behooves every 
thoughtful citizen, whose politi- 
cal beliefs are based on reason 
and who cares enough for his 
manliness and duty to save 
them from barter, to realize 
that the organization of the 










PATRIOTISM AND 



party of his choice needs watch- 
ing, and that at times it is not 
amiss critically to observe its 
direction and tendency. This 
certainly ought to result in our 
country's gain; and it is only 
partisan impudence that con- 
demns a member of a political 
party who, on proper occasion, 
submits its conduct and the 
loyalty to principle of its leaders 
to a Court of Review, over 
which his conscience, his rea- 
son and his political under- 
standing preside. 

I protest that I have not 
spoken in a spirit of pessimism. 
I have and enjoy my full share 
of the pride and exultation 
which our country's material 

72 



HOLIDAY OBSERVANCE 





advancement so fully justifies. 
Its limitless resources, its as- 
tonishing growth, its unap- 
proachable industrial develop- 
ment and its irrepressible 
inventive genius have made it 
the wonder of the centuries. 
Nevertheless, these things do 
not complete the story of a 
people truly great. Our coun- 
try is infinitely more than a 
domain affording to those who 
dwell upon it immense mate- 
rial advantages and oppor- 
tunities. In such a country we 
live. But I love to think of a 
glorious nation built upon the 
will of free men, set apart for 
the propagation and cultivation 
of humanity's best ideal of a 
73 






PATRIOTISM AND 



free government, and made 
ready for the growth and fruit- 
age of the highest aspirations 
of patriotism. This is the 
country that lives in us. I in- 
dulge in no mere figure of 
speech when I say that our na- 
tion, the immortal spirit of our 
domain, lives in us in our 
hearts and minds and con- 
sciences. There it must find its 
nutriment or die. This thought 
more than any other presents 
to our minds the impressive- 
n e s s and responsibility of 
American citizenship. The land 
we live in seems to be strong 
and active. But how fares the 
land that lives in us? Are we 
sure that we are doing all we 
74 



HOLIDAY OBSERVANCE 



ought to keep it in vigor and 
health? Are we keeping its 
roots well surrounded by the 
fertile soil of loving allegiance, 
and are we furnishing them the 
invigorating moisture of un- 
selfish fidelity ? Are we as dili- 
gent as we ought to be to pro- 
tect this precious growth 
against the poison that must 
arise from the decay of har- 
mony and honesty and industry 
and frugality; and are we 
sufficiently watchful against the 
deadly, burrowing pests of con- 
suming greed and cankerous 
cupidity? Our answers to 
these questions make up the 
account of our stewardship as 
keepers of a sacred trust. 
75 



PATRIOTISM AND 




The land we live in is safe 
as long as we are dutifully care- 
ful of the land that lives in us. 
But good intentions and fine 
sentiments will not meet the 
emergency. If we would be- 
stow upon the land that lives 
in us the care it needs, it is 
indispensable that we should 
recognize the weakness of our 
human nature, and our sus- 
ceptibility to temptations and 
influences that interfere with a 
full conception of our obliga- 
tions ; and thereupon we should 
see to it that cupidity and self- 
ishness do not blind our con- 
sciences or dull our efforts. 

From different points of 
view I have invited you to con- 
76 










HOLIDAY OBSERVANCE 





sider with me what obligations 
and responsibilities rest upon 
those who in this country of 
ours are entitled to be called 
good citizens. The things I 
pointed out may be trite. I 
know I have spoken in the way 
of exhortation rather than with 
an attempt to say something 
new and striking. Perhaps you 
have suspected, what I am quite 
willing to confess, that, behind 
all that I have said, there is in 
my mind a sober conviction that 
we all can and ought to do more 
for the country that lives in us 
than it has been our habit to 
do; and that no better means 
to this end are at hand than a 
revival of pure patriotic affec- 
77 








HOLIDAY OBSERVANCE 




tion for our country for its own 
sake, and the acceptance, as 
permanent occupants in our 
hearts and minds, of the vir- 
tues which Washington re- 
garded as all that was necessary 
to make us a great and happy 
people, and which he declared 
to be "the great and essential 
pillars of public felicity" 
harmony, honesty, industry and 
frugality. 



. 






78 



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