Posts Tagged ‘1898’
Father Christmas with a British helmet walks through London, 1940
A terrible moment….
As most of you know, today is the 50th anniversary of the Kennedy assassination. Honestly, it has ben in the news so much that I didn’t see the point of doing anything here other than marking the day (you’ll note I posted on something completely differently). Here, though, is a nice list of some resources if you want them.
This article, titled “Manila Bay in 1898″ and written by Captain Edward L. Beach, was published in the April 1920 issue of Proceedings.
Recently I have read journals and letters I wrote in 1898 while attached to the U. S. S. Baltimore in Manila Bay. The events of those stirring days come vividly to mind and are fresh in memory as if they had happened yesterday. What follows is a narrative of those events as they seemed at the time to a participant, so this article is not history. No attempt is made to give a connected account or description of Admiral Dewey’s campaign. A person in a battle, particularly if he plays a subordinate part, sees but a small part of the actual battle, and his mental vision generally is limited. All that is offered in this paper are the views and ideas of a subordinate officer whose own part was not large, and these views are given as they existed at the time, uninfluenced and unmodified by knowledge gained later. Here goes!
Late in April, 1898, the U. S. S. Baltimore, in company with other ships of Commodore Dewey’s squadron, left Mirs Bay, China, bound for Manila.
The captain of the Baltimore was Nehemiah Mayo Dyer, who was then 60 years old. Captain Dyer had entered the navy during the Civil War as a volunteer officer. Previous to this he had seen rough service in whaling ships. I think that by nature he had a vehement temper, and that this had been accentuated by his early training in merchant ships where the crews frequently were rough and disorderly and understood better the meaning of hard knocks than of soft words. Aboard the Baltimore Captain Dyer sometimes seemed unnecessarily harsh. His standards of character and duty were high. And when, as happened at times, he believed officers and crew did not measure up to his standards, his reproofs and reprimands were expressed in violent language. His uncompromising intolerance, his harsh temper, caused us to fear him at all times, and sometimes to carry with us a sense of injury. But in time we came to know he was magnificent in his efforts to keep his ship and his officers and crew high in efficiency and high in morale. Though not gentle in methods he was withal an officer and a gentleman of the highest, truest type; and in remembrance of his sterling character the Navy Department has recently named a new destroyer Dyer.
When we steamed away from Mirs Bay, that April day, we knew but little of the Philippine Islands, not even that Manila was spelled with but one “l.” Rumor, eagerly believed, told us that the narrow entrances leading from the outside to Manila Bay were filled with mines and defended by high-powered modern coast defense cannon, all of which added to the intense interest that was with us.
On the second day out “all hands” were called aft to the quarterdeck. Here Captain Dyer made a speech to his ship’s company.
“Men of the Baltimore,” he began, ” I will read to you a proclamation recently made by the Spanish Governor General at Manila. It is as follows:
Spaniards, the North American people, constituted of all the social excrescences, have exhausted our patience and provoked war with their perfidious machinations, with their acts of treachery, with their against the law of nations and international conventions.
The struggle will be short and decisive. The God of victories will give us one as brilliant as the justice of our cause demands. Spain will emerge triumphantly from this new test, humiliating and blasting the adventures from those states that, without cohesion and without a history, offer to humanity only infamous traditions and the ungrateful spectacle of chambers in which appear united insolence and defamation, cowardice and cynicism.
A squadron manned by foreigners, possessing neither instruction nor discipline, is preparing to come to this archipelago with the ruffianly intention of robbing us of all that means life, honor, and liberty. to be inspired by a courage of which they are incapable, the North American seamen undertake as an enterprise capable of realization the substitution of Protestantism for the Catholic religion you possess, to you as tribes refractory to civilization, to take possession of your riches, and to kidnap those persons whom they consider useful to man their or to be exploited in agricultural or industrial labor.
Vain designs! Ridiculous boastings!
Your indomitable bravery will frustrate these attempts. You will not allow the faith you profess to be made a mock of impious hands. The aggressors shall not profane the tombs of your fathers, they shall not gratify their lustful passions at the cost of your wives’ and daughters’ honor, nor appropriate the property that your industry has accumulated. No! They shall not perpetrate any of the crimes inspired by their wickedness and covetousness, because your valor and patriotism will suffice to punish them and abase them.
There was more to this proclamation. Captain Dyer’s clear, penetrating voice, rang out with increasing indignation. He also read, though not as part of this proclamation, a Spanish statement which said that “the American President, McKinley, is a naturalized Chinaman from Canton.”
I laugh now as I recall the picture of Captain Dyer stamping on that paper as if it were a Spaniard, but the effect then was to carry officers and crew headlong with him. We were all as mad as he was.
We now began to make preparation for the battle that we knew awaited us. After the Baltimore had been built particular attention had been called by writers on naval subjects to the fact that in sea battles much damage was always caused by wooden splinters flying about, killing and wounding men, and spreading fires. So one of our drills had been, when the order “Clear ship for action” was given, to tie tags marked “overboard” to all sorts of wooden articles, such as chairs, desks, ladders, tables, etc. So now we were engaged in “clearing ship” in earnest, stripping her, getting her ready for battle, and throwing overboard hundreds of different articles. I’ll always remember the grief displayed by our chaplain when he saw his pulpit heaved overboard.
At about 1 o’clock Sunday morning, May the first, we slowly steamed into the South Channel entrance to Manila Bay. The night was dark. The sky overcast with clouds. The ships were all completely darkened. We were now but 25 miles from Manila. Everybody except those on duty below was on deck. No one wished to sleep. We all knew that soon we would be in battle and a tense expectancy possessed us. So we gathered in groups about the deck and talked in low tones. Ahead of us could be seen the dim shape of Commodore Dewey’s flagship, the Olympia. Astern of the Baltimore were the other four ships of squadron. I was in the starboard waist, amidships, looking towards the shadowy shore, less than a mile distant. Suddenly, in the direction I was looking, there was a vivid streak of fire, the reverberating roar of a great gun, and a violent rush of wind. I was wild with delight. Always had I hoped that some time I might have the sensation of being “under fire.” I had longed to know just how I would feel. Would I be scared or excited? Or would I be “cool, calm, and collected” ? Such had been boyish thoughts, and finally this desired experience had come. Again and again the fort fired at us, at me, I felt in my heart, the shots all missing me by but a narrow margin, passing directly over my head. First I estimated the shots had cleared me by 50 feet. But the more I thought of the distance, the closer I felt each shot had come. So I reduced my first estimate to 40 feet, then to 20, and finally, with further thought, came down to two. I thought of taking off these two feet, but realized that this would have taken off my head, so I felt that two feet was about right. And I had been no more scared than when throwing the chaplain’s pulpit overboard.
While engaged in these delightful, exultant estimates, officer ran up from forward. “Say Beach,” he exclaimed, ” I was on the forecastle, each one of those shots passed right over head, the last one was so close the wind of it blew my cap off.”
I was just about to make an indignant rejoinder when an officer came up from aft. “You don’t know what you’re talking about,” he shouted. “I was on the poop deck, not one of those shots passed 10 feet away from me.” I later quarrelled with officers from the five other ships, each of them foolishly maintaining that each shot had passed close to him. So this question was never settled.
We were now headed for Cavite, which is seven miles by from Manila, 20 miles by land. Here the Spanish Navy Yard was located, and here the Spanish warships were awaiting us.
The Baltimore began to shoot at 20 minutes before 6 that Sunday morning, May 1, 1898. I shall describe only that part of the battle, of which, when it was over, I had intimate, personal knowledge. So I shall not, in learned fashion, describe the tactics employed, because I was in the Baltimore‘s engine room and didn’t see any tactics nor did I know anything about them. Nor will I tell about the relative power of the opposing forces, hits per gun per minute, nor of the thousands of incidents that give life and vividness to a battle and which bring victory or defeat. All that I saw of the battle of Manila Bay was the inside of the Baltimore‘s engine room, with its hot steam valves, and cylinders, and pumps. The oilers and machinists, dripping with perspiration, rushing about. And I saw something else—Irwin’s shoes; and kept on seeing them throughout the fight.
I was at my station in the after engine room, operating the reversing and starting levers and throttle valves of the starboard engine. Assistant Engineer Brice had the same duty for the port engine; Assistant Engineer Cone was in the forward fireroom. Chief Engineer Ford was with me. Captain Dyer was on the bridge. My station was directly under the engine-room hatch. Looking up, through the hatch gratings, I could see the bottoms of the soles of Ensign Irwin’s shoes. Vertically upward from these shoes for a distance of six feet and three inches, extended one hundred and ninety pounds of vibrant Americanism, known as Irwin. He had taken a place which gave him a clear view of the enemy’s ships, and where he could advantageously direct the fire of his four 6-inch guns.
This engine-room hatch was a veritable sounding box. The roars from our own guns came reverberating down this hatch, tremendously magnified. Near to one of the Baltimore‘s 8-inch or 6-inch guns the sound of the report was muffled compared with the crashing, smashing, banging reverberations that came blasting down the engine-room hatch. Although our ships were all firing, and were all close to the Baltimore, I never heard a shot from any of them. At the end of the battle my impressions were a dripping, sweating engine room, a series of hundreds of deafening, ear-bursting explosions, and Irwin’s shoes.
In battle it is only the leaders who have occasion to see things in a big sense. The rest of us are there to obey orders, to shoot and hit what we shoot at, to steer the ship, to work the engines as directed. We are not attending a show as spectators; the vision of each of us is small. And at a battle’s conclusion a man’s mind is too intent on what he is doing to take mental note of matters outside of his own duties. Later, for months, the battle is the chief topic of conversation, it is in the atmosphere he breathes, he absorbs all sorts of information and acquires intimate knowledge of the battle, obtains a clear mental picture of all details. I remember that after the battle of Manila Bay I wanted to write home all I saw of the fight, and of how little I had at first to write about. I believe that in the Battle of Manila Bay I made a record never equalled in the history of warfare, that of looking steadily, hour after hour, through the ear-blasting roar of great guns, at the bottom of a man’s shoes. I was constantly interrupted by signals from the bridge, to increase or decrease speed of the starboard engine, to reverse it, and stop it, and occasionally gave
orders to machinists and oilers. But when not so employed, was constantly looking upward and shoeward.
At my station were the speaking tubes connecting with the bridge and with different places, amongst them the fire-rooms. Price and I were the only means of communication between the firerooms, which for protection against bursting shell were down by heavy armored gratings, and the rest of the world.
Some minutes after the shooting began I was called up by forward fireroom.
” What is it?” I shouted through the speaking tube.
“Hello, Beach. This is Cone, speaking. Send me some newsto cheer up my men.”
” No one has sent me any news, Cone, but I’ll bet that Irwin’s shoes—.”
“I’m not interested in Irwin’s shoes nor in excuses. Send me news of the fight right away.”
Down the hatch crashed the language of 8-inch guns, stopping the conversation for the moment. Then I called up the forward fireroom.
“Hello!” I shouted, “report to Mr. Cone that the Olympia has just sunk the Spanish flagship.” I kept my ear to the tube. “Hooray,” was all the answer me. But I heard my message repeated. Then a wild cheer. Then a furnace door slammed shut, and an Irish voice sang out; “Take that, ye damn durrry dago.”
A few minutes later I was again called up.
” Hello, Beach, send me some news of the fight! ”
” Say, Cone. Irwin’s shoes—.”
” Drop that. What other Spanish ships have we sunk.”
I had received no pews of any description, not one word. They were too busy on deck with the guns to bother about news bulletins. And in fact, at the time, the effect of our shots on the Spanish ships was not known. But explanations would not have been interesting in the fireroom. So I shouted: “The Baltimore has just sunk a Spanish cruiser.” Loud hurrahs came back to me through the speaking tube when Cone repeated this.
Five minutes later I was again called by Cone. “The temperature here is 170°,” he said. “Send more news, lots of news, omit all reference to Irwin’s shoes.”
And then I started in in earnest. Every few minutes I sent a bulletin to the forward fireroom. My ferocity was ungovernable. I sank Spanish battleships, cruisers, gunboats, and torpedo boats, without count. For four hours, at from five-to ten-minute intervals, I destroyed Spanish warships. Commodore Dewey that day sank 11 ships. My record was afterward counted up to be 96.
It was boiling hot in the fireroom. We were running slowly, so there was but little to do, and as all three watches were at their stations the firerooms were crowded with men. My bulletins served to keep them interested and contented. I may have, in the excitement of the moment, not sent in accurate bulletins. But it is quite certain that 100 per cent of the Spanish ships that fought us were sunk.
At different times I would ask the chief engineer, Mr. Ford, a fine old veteran of the Civil War, questions. He had been with Farragut in the latter’s battles, and therefore was an authority.
“Chief,” I asked, ” is this a real battle? ”
Mr. Ford smiled. “Yes,” he replied, ” this is a real fight, and a big one, too.” And to accentuate his remark, deafening answers came down the hatch.
” Chief,” I later asked, ” do you think that Irwin’s shoes—.”
But my question was lost in a wild, overwhelming uproar. I knew we had been hit. Right over my head was a terrific crash. The effect was so shattering that I momentarily thought a tremendous shell had burst in the hatch. It afterwards developed that a 4.7 solid shot from the Isla de Cuba had pierced the Baltimore‘s starboard bulkhead, the sides of the engine-room hatch, passing 18 inches below Irwin’s shoes; it struck the curved inside of the shield of a port 6-inch gun, carromed as a billiard ball, and at the end of its mad flight lay spinning in the starboard waterway. It had entirely encircled one of Irwin’s gun crews but had hit none of them.
The Baltimore was struck in all seven times and had eight men slightly wounded. Most of the other ships were struck, but none received injuries that were serious. I did not hear of any incidents that happened aboard any of the other ships, except the Raleigh. Here, as I was told later, the “powder division officer,” who had charge of supplying all of the guns with ammunition, and whose men were servants, bandsmen, coal passers, and others, had not nearly enough work to do to keep his men busy. It does not take many men to hoist up 5-inch shell and powder charges. So, after using every man he could, he formed the leftovers, colored servants and other colored men, into a dancing party below decks. And while bombs were bursting in air, and the Raleigh‘s guns were vomiting destruction into Spanish ships, deep down in the Raleigh, as fiddles were scraping, it was:
“Balance yo’ pahdnahs,
Dos y dos,
Chassy toe yo’ right,
Gran’ right ‘n left.”
This ends my description of the Battle of Manila Bay. I fear it will never be referred to as an historical document. In vain will one look in it for statistics and ponderous facts, for the number of misses per gun per minute, for the strategy and tactics and for that awful thing, logistics. At the end of the fight all I knew was that we had met the Spaniards and had destroyed them. For further technical information the reader is referred to official reports. For further infonnation concerning Irwin’s shoes, apply to the captain of the super-dreadnaught Oklahoma.
The next day the Baltimore proceeded to Mariveles, a town to the entrance of Manila Bay, where a Spanish fort was located. Captain Dyer demanded the surrender of this fort. The Spanish colonel, whose name was Cáramba, or Miranda, was most anxious to surrender, but in worried tones he informed Captain Dyer that the Baltimore had anchored in the midst of a mine field and was in imminent danger of being blown into the Spanish equivalent of smithereens; he could not be responsible for the safety of the Baltimore, nor, should she be torpedoed, could he bear the
of being accused of treachery by the Americans after he had surrendered. Would Captain Dyer please withdraw to a place not far away, which he would guarantee was free from mines? And, because thousands of hostile natives were gathering around the fort, animated by the purpose of wreaking vengeance against the hated Spanish soldiers, would Captain Dyer please, for protection, allow his wife and daughter, Señora and Señorita Cáramba, to come aboard the Baltimore?
Captain Dyer would. So the Baltimore moved to a place of safety, and Señora Cáramba and her daughter then came on board and were given the admiral’s cabin to live in.
That night Ellicott had the middle watch as officer of the deck. It was a pleasant, peaceful night; the stars were bright, the breezes balmy; but there was a Spanish fort on shore, not far away. True, the colonel commanding had agreed to surrender, but we had not taken possession; and in it were stores of mines and torpedoes. It was conceivable that some fanatic might try to attach a torpedo or mine to the Baltimore and destroy the hated American ship, or gain access to a magazine and there start a fire. Less than three months previously the Maine had been destroyed. Or, under cover of darkness, some desperate Spanish soldiers might man some boats and pull to the Baltimore and attempt to steal aboard, overwhelm the watch on deck, and get possession of the ship.
Ellicott had all of these things in mind, careful officer that he was. He did not propose that any surprise of any nature should be worked off on him that night. So he had armed picket boats constantly steam around the ship, and sentries posted in many places about the decks, all keeping a wary lookout. The exciting and stirring event that occurred that night in no way caught Ellicott off his guard—he was prepared for it.
At 1 o’clock everything seemed peaceful. Far forward on the forecastle, the marine sentry, at the stroke of the bell, called out, in slow, singing tones, “Post number one, and all’s well!” Each sentry, in his turn, passed the hail. It was reassuring. The sentries were wide awake, and on their jobs. Yet Ellicott was not lulled into security. Suddenly he thought he detected a faint but pungent odor of something burning. Ellicott sniffed slowly, carefully. “That is certainly something burning,” he remarked, “and of a most strange and peculiar flavor.” So quietly he called the quartermaster. The latter sniffed, and smiled in superior disbelief. Then suddenly exclaimed: “Mr. Ellicott! You’re right! I smell something burning, a most remarkable smell, I never smelled nothin’ like that, sorr, in all me life!”
” Keep quiet,” ordered Ellicott, who was not to be rattled in spite of the hundreds of tons of ammunition in the magazine directly beneath him.
So Ellicott, accompanied by the quartermaster, went to different sentries near by; soon they all smelt this pungent, delicate burning odor; but it was difficult to locate where it came from. Then Ellicott quietly made a careful inspection. The odor grew stronger and stronger. Ellicott awakened Gunner Connelly; the magazines were opened—there was no smell in any of them. Gradually officers and men were awakened and got up; some were worried and begged Ellicott to sound the general alarm, which would have turned everybody out and sent him to his station. “Not yet,” said Ellicott, tersely. He was not to be stampeded and had the situation in hand.
The strength of this burning odor constantly augmented. Finally Ellicott located it in the stairway leading below to the admiral’s cabin. It was unmistakably here. I’ll never forget the excitement that existed amongst us as we saw Ellicott disappear down that black hole, nor the calm way in which he said, as he was descending, “Do not sound the general alarm unless something happens below that should make it necessary.” Many of us never expected to see him again, and all 0f us believed the would be blown up within a minute. An intense excitement existed; but not a word was spoken. Complete silence reigned.
Ellicott followed the smell to the door of the room where Señora Cáramba and her daughter were sleeping. He knocked on the door, steadily but gently, and in kindly, rather soft tones said: “Open the door, please.”
“Quien es? Oh, Santa Maria! Quien es? Que quiere? ”
“Only Lieutenant Ellicott, ma’am; something is burning in room. Please open your door.”
“Oh, Dios mio! Maria Santissima! No comprendo! Que quiere? ” came in affrighted exclamation from the inside of the room.
Then Ellicott replied in Spanish, “No tenga miedo, Señora; alga esta quemando en su cuarto. Hagame el favor de abrir la puerta.”
Ellicott spoke so kindly that evidently Señora Cáramba gathered confidence, for here she opened wide the door. But one couldn’t say “Darkness there, and nothing more”; because there was sufficient light in the room clearly to explain (observe the proper use of the unsplit infinitive, please, and the quotation from Poe’s Raven) the terrible, sinister, threatening mystery.
When Señorita Cáramba went to bed she did not know how to turn out the electric light, so, to dim it, she wound her black stocking about it.
The heat of this light scorched and charred the stocking, producing this strange burning odor. But for Ellicott’s good, clear sense, the general alarm would have been sounded, and every man in the ship would have believed that thousands of Spaniards were attacking us. It was amazing that such a little, innocent, harmless thing as a stocking could have caused such an uproar. I remember the relief we then experienced, as if we had narrowly escaped from a great danger.
But I must proceed with my tale of inconsequential happenings. The unimportant things that occurred at Manila have been too long neglected.
The Baltimore returned to her anchorage off Cavite. In my letters written at the time there is constant reference to the heat. Pitch boiled out of the deck seams. Steam was kept up on all boilers, the engines were kept in constant readiness to move. No awnings were spread. So the ship never had an opportunity to cool off. At night all battle ports were in place, so even then there was no relief below. The days were hot and listless, there was but little work going on, mail seldom came to the ship, so we had but little to do except to think of our physical discomforts, the heat, the uninviting food, the lack of clean linen. At night we would gather in gun sponsons and eagerly discuss rumors, and talk of immediate probabilities.
A few days after the battle, before the 8 a. m. colors were hoisted, a little Spanish gunboat, hardly bigger than a good-sized launch, steamed proudly past our ships towards the Cavite Naval Station; her Spanish ensign dancing gaily to the breeze. A shot across her bow gave her a painful surprise. It was the Callao. She had been amongst the Southern Islands and her captain had brought her to Cavite not knowing that war existed between Spain and the United States. So Admiral Dewey cabled to Washington that the Callao had surrendered to him.
Secretary of the Navy Long had been much interested in colleges and had evidenced this, when the war broke out, by renaming two merchant ships chartered by the navy as the Yale and the Harvard. So, in response to Admiral Dewey’s report about the Callao, he cabled directions to the Admiral to suggest the name of some American educational institution for the Callao. Admiral Dewey answered, recommending the Callao be renamed The United States Ship Massachusetts Institute of Technology. As the Callao would hardly have been long enough to have painted this name on her side, she remained the Callao.
Soon warships of other nations came to Manila Bay—British, French, German, and Japanese. We felt the Germans did not have good sea manners. When, during war, a blockade is established, foreign warships by international custom and courtesy recognize the authority of the blockading Admiral, and always go the form of asking permission to anchor, and to communicate with the blockaded city. This is granted, because a foreign warship is on honor to observe the rules of the blockade, such as not to take anything in or out of the blockaded city, or to deliver or receive mail. But the German ships were careless of such courtesies. I do not know they ever violated the blockade rules instituted by Admiral Dewey, but they violated the usual courtesies accorded the blockading admiral, by anchoring without permission, by having their officers visit the city of Manila without permission. We knew the Germans sympathized with Spain, and we felt they were insolent. On August 12, in response to Admiral Dewey’s notification that he would summon Manila to surrender the next day, the German Admiral Von Diedrichs sent word to Admiral asking where the latter wished the German ships placed during the expected bombardment.
“Anywhere outside of the reach of my guns,” was the Dewey-esque reply. It was said that von Diedrichs, in true German fashion, scratched his head over this reply and never did understand it.
On Thursday, June 30, the Baltimore, which had left previously to meet transports carrying American soldiers, steamed into Manila Bay, leading these army transports. As we passed Mariveles the German squadron, which had steam up, weighed anchor, tailed on to our line, and followed us into Cavite. This was an instance of the German manners of the time. Considering the tense, strained conditions, these manners were resented by
were considered insolent and unfriendly.
At one time, months later, when the Baltimore was blockading the city of Illailo, the German cruiser Irene sent a large landing force, infantry and artillery both, into the city. On that occasion Captain Dyer’s language to the German captain was so clear and so expressive that the German captain apologized profusely and hurriedly recalled his men.
No one ever had occasion to misunderstand either Captain Dyer’s words or his meaning. There were a number of instances illustrating the bad “sea manners” of the Germans.
On May 19 the Filipino leader, Aguinaldo, had arrived at Cavite. He immediately organized a military force of Filipinos and proceeded to attack the Spanish forts between Cavite and Manila. There were eight of these forts in a distance of 22 miles. One by one they were captured by Aguinaldo, and in a few weeks all eight were in his possession. At this time Aguinaldo was 28 years old. His remarkable victories over the Spaniards were due to his intrepid leadership and the devotion of his Filipino soldiers. Judging the Filipinos by the warfare they conducted against the Spaniards and later against our own forces, with full knowledge of some atrocities committed by them, one may say justly, that on the whole they were and are Christians and gentlemen, true men, and loyal friends.
American soldiers were now arriving in great numbers. It was evident that a campaign was being planned, but no information came to us. And we spent the hot days idly speculating on what was to happen. The Filipinos were now surrounding Manila. Every night we could see the flash of Spanish guns, mounted on the walls of Manila, and hear musketry firing. We were always prepared for an attack on our ships, and had picket boats steaming out, and sentries on board ship on the alert. Every night there were small boats passing about which were frequently fired at.
One night I was sitting in the port after 6-inch gun sponson, talking with Briggs, the executive officer. At about 11 o’clock we heard the reports of several rifle shots.
” Some foolish soldier is loose,” remarked Briggs. And then, in the silence of the night, we heard the dip of oars; and soon, dimly off the port quarter, we could see a small rowboat, headed to pass the Baltimore‘s stern.
“Who goes there?” rang out, in stentorian tones, the hail of the sentry. At the same instant a Baltimore searchlight was turned on the boat, vividly lighting it up, and showing in it an American soldier.
“Ogotoel,” came from the soldier, in tired disgusted tones. Probably he had not enjoyed being fired at.
” Pass, Ogotoel! ” shouted our sentry.
” Sentry,” called out Briggs, “What was the answer to your hail? ”
“He shpoke in Shpanish, sorr,” replied the marine, resuming his watchful beat.
The days were long and hot, and but little news was stirring. But plans were maturing, thousands of soldiers had arrived, and on August 13 Admiral Dewey hoisted orders, and the ships of his squadron got under way and proceeded to attack Manila, following the flagship Olympia. From the Baltimore we saw American soldiers marching up the beach from the south towards Manila, much of the time wading in water. The monitor Monterey preceded these soldiers, firing occasional shells which landed ahead of them and which would have cleared their path if clearing were needed. From the Baltimore’s deck it looked as if we were to have an interesting day. Slowly we steamed towards the great wall that surrounds Manila. At different parts of this wall were forts armed with modern 9.4-inch Krupp guns of great power. Manned by trained crews these Krupp cannon could easily and with certainty in a few moments, have sunk everyone of Admiral Dewey’s small unarmored ships. So we eagerly watched this wall, expecting each moment to see these big guns begin to fire.
But they never began. Our ships moved slowly, stopping at times. I was upon deck. After I had spent some time in wondering why the big guns defending Manila did not open fire upon the Olympia hoisted a signal; ” surely,” we thought, “this is the order to begin shooting.” But the signal, translated, read: “Do not fire upon walled city unless walled city fires upon us.” We were disappointed and wondered what it meant. Then came another signal from the flagship, reading: “Examine southwest bastion of walled city for a white flag.”
Officers looked’at each other in disgust. “Say,” remarked one to me, “this is a joke, a fake, a put-up job.” We now that the whole thing was a pre-arranged affair; later we learned that the Spanish governor wished to surrender, but insisted on a show of force. At the time we did not appreciate the fact that the victory is greater if it is accomplished without bloodshed or destruction of property.
The interest in this capture of Manila suddenly left us. It was as tame an affair as could be imagined. I walked disconsolately about the decks. I found a gigantic negro coal passer, Higgins by name, sound asleep in a starboard waterway. I aroused him. “What do you mean,” I severely demanded, “by being asleep wben your ship is in battle.”
“Is this a battle, Mistah Beach? Lawd bless yo! Suh, beggin’ yo’ pahdon, suh, I thought I heard taps go some time ago, an’ it was so quiet I thought everybody had done turned in an’ gone to sleep. ‘Scuse me, suh, meanin’ no disrespec’, suh, but I’s losing mah respec’ fo’ Mistah George Dewey. Yes, suh, he suttinly am depreachingating, suh. I kin make mo’ noise in a Baptis’ camp meeting than Mistah George Dewey is amakin’ in this misrable battle. I sholy am dispointed in Mistah Dewey, suh.”
Higgins voiced the feeling in the ship.
The soldiers marched into Manila unopposed; Manila immediately surrendered to Admiral Dewey and General Merritt. And the beautiful battle-flag that had been flown from the Olympia’s mainmast was hoisted over the city. There had been some rifle firing at our soldiers as they entered Manila, but it was not learned who did this.
Previous to the surrender of Manila the Filipinos had organized a government and had proclaimed themselves an independent republic. And they were apparently making good their claim. Fort after fort, city after city, island after island, surrendered to Aguinaldo’s forces. Soon there was no Spanish authority anywhere in the Philippine Archipelago.
We ruled and possessed Manila and Cavite with the area of a few square miles, perhaps 50, and a population of 360,000. Aguinaldo ruled and possessed all the rest of the Philippines, with an area of 50,000 square miles, and a population of 7,000,000. Spain ruled and possessed nothing, neither land nor inhabitants. The United States would not recognize the Républica Filipina, which was a bitter, heart-breaking disappointment to the Filipinos.
I am not intending in any way to criticize our action in assuming title over the Philippine Islands because one who was conversant with all conditions knows our government did what was right and what it had to do. But I am trying to portray the feelings of the Filipinos, as given me in talks by many Filipinos, and by Aguinaldo, both when we were friends, and later, when, for a day, I was his prisoner at the Filipino capitol, Malolos. At the latter time I was a bit concerned, not knowing whether Aguinaldo would shoot me or hang me. I was suspicious of his attentions because of a good lunch he gave me; and of his kindly, gentle words and manner. And still more so, when, after giving me a warm handshake and his autographed photograph, he dismissed me and had me conducted to American lines near Manila. I pondered deeply over this and completely lost my confidence in Aguinaldo and the Filipinos as savages. They weren’t living up to what was expected of them.
We now had to conquer the Philippine Islands from the Filipinos, which of course we did. The significant thing that characterized those two years of warfare was that the Filipino Government maintained its organization, and, in large measure, though not towards the end, its power over its troops. These troops fought earnestly, and bravely, and hopelessly to the end. The course of the short-lived Républica Filipina was creditable honorable, and Filipinos for all time will regard their ancestors of 1898 with pride and affection.
The Filipinos accepted the peace terms laid down by the United States. A most comforting fact is that since then the Filipinos have believed in the beneficent intentions of the United States. They have learned that the rule of the United States is entirely unselfish; there is no underlying purpose to exploit the Philippine Islands for the benefit of the American interests.
Year by year the Filipinos have seen themselves granted more power in self-government. To-day they control theGovernor’s Council, the Senate, the House of Representatives, the courts, practically all details of government administration. They are almost as self-governing as is Canada. They long for complete independence and are confidently looking forward to that being granted them in the near future.
And when the free and independent Républica Filipina takes an honored place amongst the nations of the earth, the United States of America will have accomplished one of the most unselfish, noble works recorded in history.
On St. Patrick’s Day, 1898, the USS Holland (SS-1) made her first successful submerged run. Irish-born American schoolteacher and inventor, John Phillip Holland (1842-1914) is often considered the man who contributed most to the development of the submarine. The Story of the Holland Submarine by Richard Knowles Morris was told in the January 1960 [...]
USS Oregon (BB-3) was commissioned in San Francisco, California, in 1896, and was serving on the West Coast in 1898 when she was ordered to the Atlantic for service in the impending Spanish-American War. Departing San Francisco on 19 March, Oregon coaled in Peru, Chile, Brazil, and Barbados, and experienced severe weather along the way [...]
November 1, 1898
I know that there are a great many of our people who look for a final solution of the Jewish question in what they call “assimilation.” The more the Jews assimilate themselves to their surroundings, they think, the more completely will the causes for anti-Jewish feeling cease to exist. But have you ever for a moment stopped to consider what assimilation means? It has very pertinently been pointed out that the use of the word is borrowed from the dictionary of physiology. But in physiology it is not the food which assimilates itself into the body. It is the body which assimilates the food. The Jew may wish to be assimilated; he may do all he will towards this end. But if the great mass in which he lives does not wish to assimilate him – what then? If demands are made upon the Jew which practically mean extermination, which practically mean his total effacement from among the nations of the globe and from among the religious forces of the world, – what answer will you give? And the demands made are practically of that nature.
I can imagine it possible for a people who are possessed of an active and aggressive charity which it expresses, not only in words, but also in deeds, to contain and live at peace with men of the most varied habits. But, unfortunately, such people do not exist; nations are swayed by feelings which are dictated solely by their own self-interests; and the Zionists in meeting this state of things, are the most practical as well as the most ideal of the Jews.
It is quite useless to tell the English workingman that his Jewish fellow-laborer from Russia has actually increased the riches of the United Kingdom; that he has created quite a new industry, – that of making ladies’ cloaks, for which formerly England sent £2,000,000 to the continent every year. He sees in him some one who is different to himself, and unfortunately successful, though different. And until that difference entirely ceases, whether of habit, of way, or of religious observance, he will look upon him and treat him as an enemy.
For the Jew has this especial disadvantage. There is no place where that which is distinctively Jewish in his manner or in his way of life is à la mode. We may well laugh at the Irishman’s brogue; but in Ireland, he knows, his brogue is at home. We may poke fun at the Frenchman as he shrugs his shoulders and speaks with every member of his body. The Frenchman feels that in France it is the proper thing so to do. Even the Turk will wear his fez, and feel little the worse for the occasional jibes with which the street boy may greet it. But this consciousness, this ennobling consciousness, is all denied the Jew. What he does is nowhere à la mode; no, not even his features; and if he can disguise these by parting his hair in the middle or cutting his beard to a point, he feels he is on the road towards assimilation. He is even ready to use the term “Jewish” for what he considers uncouth and low.
For such as these amongst us, Zionism also has its message. It wishes to give back to the Jew that nobleness of spirit, that confidence in himself, that belief in his own powers which only perfect freedom can give. With a home of his own, he will no longer feel himself a pariah among the nations, he will nowhere hide his own peculiarities, – peculiarities to which he has a right as much as any one, – but will see that those peculiarities carry with them a message which will force for them the admiration of the world. He will feel that he belongs somewhere and not everywhere. He will try to be something and not everything. The great word which Zionism preaches is conciliation of conflicting aims, of conflicting lines of action; conciliation of Jew to Jew. It means conciliation of the non-Jewish world to the Jew as well. It wishes to heal old wounds; and by frankly confessing differences which do exist, however much we try to explain them away, to work out its own salvation upon its own ground, and from these to send forth its spiritual message to a conciliated world.
But, you will ask, if Zionism is able to find a permanent home in Palestine for those Jews who are forced to go there as well as those who wish to go, what is to become of us who have entered, to such a degree, into the life around us, and who feel able to continue as we have begun? What is to be our relation to the new Jewish polity? I can only answer: Exactly the same as is the relation of people of other nationalities all the world over to their parent home. What becomes of the Englishman in every corner of the globe? What becomes of the German? Does the fact that the great mass of their people live in their own land prevent them from doing their whole duty towards the land in which they happen to live? Is the German-American considered less of an American because he cultivates the German language and is interested in the fate of his fellow-Germans at home? Is the Irish-American less of an American because he gathers money to help his struggling brethren in the Green Isle? Or are the Scandinavian- Americans less worthy of the title Americans, because they consider precious the bonds which bind them to the land of their birth, as well as those which bind them to the land of their adoption?
Nay! it would seem to me that just those who are so afraid that our action will be misinterpreted should be among the greatest helpers in the Zionist cause. For those who feel no racial and national communion with the life from which they have sprung should greet with joy the turning of Jewish immigration to some place other than the land in which they dwell. They must feel, for example, that a continual influx of Jews who are not Americans is a continual menace to the more or less complete absorption for which they are striving.
But I must not detain you much longer. Will you permit me to sum up for you the position which we Zionists take in the following statements:
We believe that the Jews are something more than a purely religious body; that they are not only a race, but also a nation; though a nation without as yet two important requisites – a common home and a common language.
We believe that if an end is to be made to Jewish misery and to the exceptional position which the Jews occupy, – which is the primary cause of Jewish misery, – the Jewish nation must be placed once again in a home of its own.
We believe that such a national regeneration is the fulfillment of the hope which has been present to the Jew throughout his long and painful history.
We believe that only by means of such a national regeneration can the religious regeneration of the Jews take place, and they be put in a position to do that work in the religious world which Providence has appointed for them.
We believe that such a home can only naturally, and without violence to their whole past, be found in the land of their fathers – in Palestine.
We believe that such a return must have the guarantee of the great powers of the world in order to secure for the Jews a stable future.
And we hold that this does not mean that all Jews must return to Palestine.
This, ladies and gentlemen, is the Zionist program. Shall we be able to carry it through? I cannot believe that the Jewish people have been preserved throughout these centuries either for eternal misery or for total absorption at this stage of the world’s history. I cannot think that our people have so far misunderstood their own purpose in life, as now to give the lie to their own past and to every hope which has animated their suffering body.
Bear with me but a few moments longer while I read the words which a Christian writer puts into the mouth of a Jew. “The effect of our separateness will not be completed and have its hightest transformation, unless our race takes on again the character of a nationality. That is the fulfillment of the religious trust that molded them into a people, whose life has made half the inspiration of the world…Revive the organic centre; let the unity of Israel which has made the growth and form of its religion be an outward reality. Looking toward a land and a polity, our dispersed people in all the ends of the earth may share the dignity of a national life which has a voice among the peoples of the East and the West – which will plant the wisdom and skill of our race so that it may be, as of old, a medium of transmission and understanding. Let that come to pass, and the living warmth will spread to the weak extremities of Israel. Let the central fire be kindled again, and the light will reach afar. The degraded and scorned of the race will learn to think of their sacred land, not as a place for saintly beggary to await death in loathsome idleness, but as a republic, where the Jewish spirit manifests itself in a new order founded on the old, purified, enriched by the experiences which our greatest sons have gathered from the life of the ages. A new Judea, poised between East and West – a covenant of reconciliation. The sons of Judah have to choose, that God may again choose them. The Messianic time is the time when Israel shall will the planting of the national ensign. The divine principle of our race is action, choice, resolved memory. Let us help to will our own better future of the world – not renounce our higher gift and say: ‘Let us be as if we were not among the populations,’ but choose our full heritage, claim the brotherhood of our nation, and carry into it a new brotherhood with the nations of the Gentiles. The vision is there; it will be fulfilled.”
These are the words of the non-Jewish Zionist, George Eliot. We take hope, for has not that Jewish Zionist said: “We belong to a race that can do everything but fail.”
September 16, 1898
Fellow citizens, it is a noble land that God has given us; a land that can feed and clothe the world; a land whose coast lines would enclose half the countries of Europe; a land set like a sentinel between the two imperial oceans of the globe, a greater England with a nobler destiny. It is a mighty people that he has planted on this soil; a people sprung from the most masterful blood of history; a people perpetually revitalized by the virile, man-producing workingfolk of all the earth; a people imperial by virtue of their power, by right of their institutions, by authority of their heaven-directed purposes – the propagandists and not the misers of liberty. It is a glorious history our God has bestowed upon his chosen people; a history whose keynote was struck by Liberty Bell; a history heroic with faith in our mission and our future; a history of statesmen who flung the boundaries of the Republic out into unexplored lands and savage wildernesses; a history of soldiers who carried the flag across the blazing deserts and through the ranks of hostile mountains, even to the gates of sunset; a history of a multiplying people who overran a continent in half a century; a history of prophets who saw the consequences of evils inherited from the past and of martyrs who died to save us from them; a history divinely logical, in the process of whose tremendous reasoning we find ourselves to-day.
Therefore, in this campaign, the question is larger than a party question. It is an American question. It is a world question. Shall the American people continue their resistless march toward the commercial supremacy of the world? Shall free institutions broaden their blessed reign as the children of liberty wax in strength, until the empire of our principles is established over the hearts of all mankind?
Have we no mission to perform, no duty to discharge to our fellow-man? Has the Almighty Father endowed us with gifts beyond our deserts and marked us as the people of his peculiar favor, merely to rot in our own selfishness, as men and nations must, who take cowardice for their companion and self for their Deity – as China has, as India has, as Egypt has?
Shall we be as the man who had one talent and hid it, or as he who had ten talents and used them until they grew to riches? And shall we reap the reward that waits on our discharge of our high duty as the sovereign power of earth; shall we occupy new markets for what our farmers raise, new markets for what our factories make, new markets for what our merchants sell – aye, and, please God, new markets for what our ships shall carry?
Shall we avail ourselves of new sources of supply of what we do not raise or make, so that what are luxuries to-day will be necessities to-morrow? Shall our commerce be encouraged until, with Oceanica, the Orient, and the world, American trade shall be the imperial trade of the entire globe?
Shall we conduct the mightiest commerce of history with the best money known to man, or shall we use the pauper money of Mexico, of China, and of the Chicago platform?…
What are the great facts of this administration? Not a failure of revenue; not a perpetual battle between the executive and legislative departments of government; not a rescue from dishonor by European syndicates at the price of tens of millions in cash and national humiliation unspeakable. These have not marked the past two years – the past two years, which have blossomed into four splendid months of glory!
But a war has marked it, the most holy ever waged by one nation against another – a war for civilization, a war for a permanent peace, a war which, under God, although we knew it not, swung open to the Republic the portals of the commerce of the world. And the first question you must answer with your vote is, whether you indorse that war? We are told that all citizens and every platform indorses the war, and I admit, with the joy of patriotism that this is true. But that is only among ourselves – and we are of and to ourselves no longer. This election takes place on the stage of the world, with all earth’s nations for our auditors. If the administration is defeated at the polls, will England believe that we accept the results of the war?
Will Germany, that sleepless searcher for new markets for her factories and fields, and therefore the effective meddler in all international complications – will Germany be discouraged from interfering with our settlement of the war, if the administration is defeated at the polls?
Will Russia, that weaver of the webs of commerce into which province after province and people after people falls, regard us as a steadfast people if the administration is defeated at the polls?
The world is observing us to-day. Not a Foreign Office in Europe that is not studying the American republic and watching the American elections of 1898 as it never watched an American election before. Are the American people the chameleon of the nations? “If so, we can easily handle them,” say the diplomats of the world.
Which result, say you, will have the best effect for us upon the great Powers who watch us with the jealousy strength always inspires – a defeat, at the hand of the American people, of the administration which has conducted our foreign war to a world-embracing success, and which has in hand the most important foreign problems since the Revolution; or, such an endorsement of the administration by the American people as will swell to a national acclaim?
No matter what your views on the Dingley or the Wilson laws; no matter whether you favor Mexican money or the standard of this republic, we must deal from this day on with nations greedy of every market we are to invade; nations with statesmen trained in craft, nations with ships and guns and money and men. Will they sift out the motive for your vote, or will they consider the large result of the endorsement or rebuke of the administration? The world still rubs its eyes from its awakening to the resistless power and sure destiny of this republic. Which outcome of this election will be best for America’s future which will most healthfully impress every people of the globe with the steadfastness of character and tenacity of purpose of the American people the triumph of the government at the polls, or the success of the Opposition?
I repeat, it is more than a party question. It is an American question. It is an issue in which history sleeps. It is a situation which will influence the destiny of the republic…
And yet have we peace? Does not the cloud of war linger on the horizon? If it does not – if only the tremendous problems of peace now under solution remain, ought not the administration be supported in its fateful work by the endorsement of the American people? Think of England abandoning its ministry at the moment it was securing the fruits of a successful war! Think of Germany rebuking Bismarck at the moment he was dictating peace to France! What would America say of them if they should do such a deed of mingled insanity, perfidy, and folly? What would the world say of America, if, in the very midst of peace negotiations upon which the nations are looking with jealousy, fear, and hatred, the American people should rebuke the administration in charge of those peace negotiations and place a hostile House and Senate in Washington? God forbid! When a people show such inconstancy, such childish fickleness as that, their career as a power among nations is a memory.
But, if possible war lurks in the future, what then? Shall we forsake our leaders at the close of a campaign of glory and on the eve of new campaigns for which it has prepared? Yet, that is what the success of the Opposition to the government means. What is that old saying about the idiocy of him who changed horses while crossing a stream? It would be like discharging a workman because he was efficient and true. It would be like court-martialing Grant and discharging his heroes in dishonor because they took Vicksburg.
Ah! the heroes of Vicksburg and Peach Tree Creek, Atlanta, Mission Ridge, the Wilderness, and all those fields of glory, of suffering, and of death!
Soldiers of 1861! A generation has passed and you have reared a race of heroes worthy of your blood – heroes of El Caney, San Juan, and Cavite, of Santiago and Manila – ay! and 200,000 more as brave as they, who waited in camp with the agony of impatience the call of battle, ready to count the hellish hardship of the trenches the very sweets of fate, if they could only fight for the flag.
For every tented field was full of Hobsons, of Roosevelts, of Wheelers, and their men; full of the kind of soldiers that in regiments of rags, starving, with bare feet in the snows of winters made Valley Forge immortal; full of the same kind of boys that endured the hideous hardships of the Civil War, drank from filthy roadside pools as they marched through swamps of death, ate food alive with weevils, and even corn picked from the horses’ camp, slept in the blankets of the blast with sheets of sleet for covering, breakfasted with danger and dined with death, and came back – those who did come back – with a laugh and a shout and a song of joy, true American soldiers, pride of their county, and envy of the world.
For that is the kind of boys the soldiers of 1898 are, notwithstanding the slanders of politicians and the infamy of a leprous press that try to make the world believe our soldiers are suckling babes and womanish weaklings, and our government, in war, a corrupt machine, fattening off the suffering of our armies. In the name of the sturdy soldiery of America I denounce the hissing lies of politicians out of an issue, who are trying to disgrace American manhood in the eyes of the nations.
In the name of patriotism, I arraign these maligners of the soldierhood of our nation before the bar of the present and the past. I call to the witness stand that Bayard of our armies, General Joe Wheeler. I call that Hotspur of the South, Fitzhugh Lee. I call the 200,000 men, themselves, who went to war for the business of war.
And I put all these against the vandals of politics who are blackening their fame as soldiers and as men. I call history to the witness stand. In the Mexican war the lass from every cause was twenty-five per cent, and this is on incomplete returns; in the present war the loss from every cause is only three per cent. In the Mexican war the sick lay naked on the ground with only blankets over them and were buried with only a blanket around them. Of the volunteer force 5,423 were discharged for disability, and 3,229 died from disease. When Scott marched to Mexico, only 96 men were left out of one regiment of 1,000. The average of a Mississippi company was reduced from 90 to 30 men. From Vera Cruz to Mexico a line of sick and dying marked his line of march.
General Taylor publicly declared that, in his army, five men died from sickness for every man killed in battle. Scott demanded surgeons. The government refused to give them. The three-months men lost nearly nine per cent; the six months men lost fourteen per cent; the twelve-months men twenty-nine per cent; the men enlisted for the war lost thirty-seven per cent; 31,914 soldiers enlisted for the war, and 11,914 of these were lost, of whom 7,369 are unaccounted for.
In the war for the Union – no, there is no need of figures there. Go to the field of Gettysburg and ask. Go ask that old veteran how fever’s fetid breath breathed on them and disease rotted their blood. And in the present war, thank God, the loss and suffering is less than in any war in all the history of the world!
And if any needless suffering there has been, if any deaths from criminal neglect, if any hard condition not a usual incident of sudden war by a peaceful people has been permitted, William McKinley will see that the responsible ones are punished. Although our loss was less than the world ever knew before; although the condition of our troops was better than in any conflict of our history, McKinley the Just, has appointed, from both parties, a commission of the most eminent men in the nation to lay the facts before him.
Let the investigation go on, and when the report is made the people of America will know how black as midnight is the sin of those who, for the purpose of politics, have shamed the hardihood of the American soldiers before the world, attempted to demoralize our army in the face of the enemy, and libeled the government at Washington to delighted and envious nations.
And think of what was done! Two hundred and fifty thousand men suddenly called to arms; men unused to the life of camps; men fresh from the soft comforts of the best homes of the richest people on earth. Those men, equipped, transported to camps convenient for instant call to battle; waiting there the command which any moment might have brought; supplies purchased in every quarter of the land and carried hundreds, even thousands of miles; uniforms procured, arms purchased, ammunition bought, citizens drilled into the finest soldiers on the globe; a war fought in the deadliest climate in the world, beneath a sun whose rays mean madness, and in Spanish surroundings – festering with fever – and yet the least suffering and the lowest loss ever known in all the chronicles of war.
What would have been the result if those who would have plunged us into war before we could have prepared at all, could have had their way? What would have happened if these warriors of peace, who denounced the President as a traitor when he would not send the flower of our youth against Havana, with its steaming swamps of fever, its splendid outworks and its 150,000 desperate defenders – what would have happened if they could have had their way?
The mind shrinks and sickens at the thought. Those regiments, which we greeted the other day with our cheers of pride, would not have marched back again. All over this weeping land the tender song, “We shall meet but we shall miss him; there will be one vacant chair,” would have risen once again from desolated homes. And the men who would have done this are the men who are assailing the government at Washington to-day and blaspheming the reputation of the American soldier.
But the wrath of the people will pursue them. The scorpion whips of the furies will be as a caress to the deep damnation of those who seek a political issue in defaming the manhood of the republic. God bless the soldiers of 1898, children of the heroes of 1861, descendants of the heroes of 1776! In the halls of history they will stand side by side with those elder sons of glory, and the Opposition to the government at Washington shall not deny them.
No! they shall not be robbed of the honor due them, nor shall the republic be robbed of what they won for their country. For William McKinley is continuing the policy that Jefferson began, Monroe continued, Seward advanced, Grant promoted, Harrison championed, and the growth of the republic has demanded. Hawaii is ours; Porto Rico is to be ours; at the prayer of the people Cuba will finally be ours; in the islands of the East, even to the gates-of Asia, coaling stations are to be ours; at the very least the flag of a liberal government is to float over the Philippines, and I pray God it may be the banner that Taylor unfurled in Texas and Fremont carried to the coast – the Stars and Stripes of glory.
And the burning question of this campaign is, whether the American people will accept the gifts of events; whether they will rise as lifts their soaring destiny; whether they will proceed upon the lines of national development surveyed by the statesmen of our past; or whether for the first American people doubt their mission, question fate, prove apostate to the spirit of their race, and halt the ceaseless march of free institutions.
The Opposition tells us that we ought not to govern a people without their consent. I answer, The rule of liberty that all just government derives its authority from the consent of the governed, applies only to those who are capable of self- government. I answer, We govern the Indians without their consent, we govern our territories without their consent, we govern our children without their consent. I answer, How do you assume that our government would be without their consent? Would not the people of the Philippines prefer the just, humane, civilizing government of this republic to the savage, bloody rule of pillage and extortion from which we have rescued them?
Do not the blazing fires of joy and the ringing bells of gladness in Porto Rico prove the welcome of our flag?
And, regardless of this formula of words made only for enlightened, self-governing peoples, do we owe no duty to the world? Shall we turn these peoples back to the reeking hands from which we have taken them? Shall we abandon them to their fate, with the wolves of conquest all about them – with Germany, Russia, France, even Japan, hungering for them? Shall we save them from those nations, to give them a self-rule of tragedy? It would be like giving a razor to a babe and telling it to shave itself. It would be like giving a typewriter to an Eskimo and telling him to publish one of the great dailies of the world. This proposition of the Opposition makes the Declaration of Independence preposterous, like the reading of Job’s lamentations would be at a wedding or an Altgeld speech on the Fourth of July.
They ask us how we will govern these new possessions. I answer: Out of local conditions and the necessities of the case methods of government will grow. If England can govern foreign lands, so can America. If Germany can govern foreign lands, so can America. If they can supervise protectorates, so can America. Why is it more difficult to administer Hawaii than New Mexico or California? Both had a savage and an alien population; both were more remote from the seat of government when they came under our dominion than Hawaii is to-day.
Will you say by your vote that American ability to govern has decayed; that a century’s experience in self-rule has failed of a result? Will you affirm by your vote that you are an infidel to American vigor and power and practical sense? Or, that we are of the ruling race of the world; that ours is the blood of government; ours the heart of dominion; ours the brain and genius of administration? Will you remember that we do but what our fathers did – we but pitch the tents of liberty further westward, further southward – we only continue the march of the flag?
The march of the flag!
In 1789 the flag of the republic waved over 4,000,000 souls in thirteen states, and their savage territory which stretched to the Mississippi, to Canada, to the Floridas. The timid minds of that day said that no new territory was needed, and, for the hour, they were right. But Jefferson, through whose intellect the centuries marched; Jefferson, whose blood was Saxon but whose schooling was French, and therefore whose deeds negatived his words; Jefferson, who dreamed of Cuba as a state of the Union; Jefferson, the first imperialist of the republic – Jefferson acquired that imperial territory which swept from the Mississippi to the mountains, from Texas to the British possessions, and the march of the flag began!
The infidels to the gospel of liberty raved, but the flag swept on! The title to that noble land out of which Oregon, Washington, Idaho, and Montana have been carved was uncertain; Jefferson, strict constructionist of constitutional power though he was, obeyed the Anglo-Saxon impulse within him, whose watchword then and whose watchword throughout the world to-day is, “Forward,” another empire was added to the republic, and the march of the flag went on!
Those who deny the power of free institutions to expand urged every argument, and more, that we hear, to-day; but the people’s judgment approved the command of their blood, and the march of the flag went on!
A screen of land from New Orleans to Florida shut us from the gulf, and over this and the Everglade Peninsula waved the saffron flag of Spain; Andrew Jackson seized both, the American people stood at his back, and, under Monroe, the Floridas came under the dominion of the republic, and the march of the flag went on!
The Cassandras prophesied every prophecy of despair we hear, to-day, but the march of the flag went on! Then Texas responded to the bugle calls of liberty, and the march of the flag went on! And, at last, we waged war with Mexico, and the flag swept over the Southwest, over peerless California, past the Gate of Gold, to Oregon on the north, and from ocean to ocean its folds of glory blazed.
And, now, obeying the same voice that Jefferson heard and obeyed, that Jackson heard and obeyed, that Monroe heard and obeyed, that Seward heard and obeyed, that Ulysses S. Grant heard and obeyed, that Benjamin Harrison heard and obeyed, William McKinley plants the flag over the islands of the seas, outposts of commerce, citadels of national security, and the march of the flag goes on! Bryan, Bailey, Bland, and Blackburn command it to stand still, but the march of the flag goes on! And the question you will answer at the polls is, whether you stand with this quartet of disbelief in the American people, or whether you are marching onward with the flag.
Distance and oceans are no arguments. The fact that all the territory our fathers bought and seized is contiguous, is no argument. In 1819 Florida was further from New York than Porto Rico is from Chicago to-day; Texas, further from Washington in 1845 than Hawaii is from Boston in 1898; California, more inaccessible in 1847 than the Philippines are now. Gibraltar is further from London than Havana is from Washington; Melbourne is further from Liverpool than Manila is from San Francisco. The ocean does not separate us from lands of our duty and desire – the oceans join us, a river never to be dredged, a canal never to be repaired.
Steam joins us; electricity joins us – the very elements are in league with our destiny. Cuba not contiguous! Porto Rico not contiguous! Hawaii and the Philippines not contiguous! Our navy will make them contiguous. Dewey and Sampson and Schley have made them contiguous, and American speed, American guns, American heart and brain and nerve will keep them contiguous forever.
But the Opposition is right – there is a difference. We did not need the western Mississippi Valley when we acquired it, nor Florida, nor Texas, nor California, nor the royal provinces of the far Northwest. We had no emigrants to people this imperial wilderness, no money to develop it, even no highways to cover it. No trade awaited us in its savage fastnesses. Our productions were not greater than our trade. There was not one reason for the land-lust of our statesmen from Jefferson to Grant, other than the prophet and the Saxon within them.
But, to-day, we are raising more than we can consume. To-day, we are making more than we can use. To-day, our industrial society is congested; there are more workers than there is work; there is more capital than there is investment. We do not need more money – we need more circulation, more employment. Therefore we must find new markets for our produce, new occupation for our capital, new work for our labor. And so, while we did not need the territory taken during the past century at the time it was acquired, we do need what we have taken in 1898, and we need it now.
Think of the thousands of Americans who will pour into Hawaii and Porto Rico when the republic’s laws cover those islands with justice and safety! Think of the tens of thousands of Americans who will invade mine and field and forest in the Philippines when a liberal government, protected and controlled by this republic, if not the government of the republic itself, shall establish order and equity there! Think of the hundreds of thousands of Americans who will build a soap-and-water, common-school civilization of energy and industry in Cuba, when a government of law replaces the double reign of anarchy and tyranny! – think of the prosperous millions that Empress of Islands will support when, obedient to the law of political gravitation, her people ask for the highest honor liberty can bestow, the sacred Order of the Stars and Stripes, the citizenship of the Great Republic!
What does all this mean for every one of us? It means opportunity for all the glorious young manhood of the republic – the most virile, ambitious, impatient, militant manhood the world has ever seen. It means that the resources and the commerce of these immensely rich dominions will be increased as much as American energy is greater than Spanish sloth; for Americans henceforth will monopolize those resources and that commerce.
In Cuba, alone, there are 15,000,000 acres of forest unacquainted with the axe. There are exhaustless mines of iron. There are priceless deposits of manganese, millions of dollars of which we must buy to-day from the Black Sea districts. There are millions of acres yet unexplored.
The resources of Porto Rico have only been trifled with. The riches of the Philippines have hardly been touched by the finger-tips of modern methods. And they produce what we cannot, and they consume what we produce – the very predestination of reciprocity – a reciprocity “not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.” They sell hemp, silk, sugar, coconuts, coffee, fruits of the tropics, timber of price like mahogany; they buy flour, clothing, tools, implements, machinery, and all that we can raise and make. And William McKinley intends that their trade shall be ours.
Do you indorse that policy with your vote? It means creative investment for every dollar of idle capital in the land – an opportunity for the rich man to do something with his money besides hoarding it or lending it. It means occupation for every workingman in the country at wages which the development of new resources, the launching of new enterprises, the monopoly of new markets always brings.
Thus Cuba is as large as Pennsylvania, and is the richest spot on all the globe. Hawaii is as large as New Jersey; Porto Rico half as large as Hawaii; the Philippines larger than all New England, New York, New Jersey, and Delaware. All these are larger than the British Isles, larger than France, larger than Germany, larger than Japan. The trade of these islands, developed as we will develop it by developing their resources, monopolized as we will monopolize it, will set every reaper in this republic singing, every spindle whirling, every furnace spouting the flames of industry.
I ask each one of you this personal question: Do you believe that these resources will be better developed and that commerce best secured; do you believe that all these priceless advantages will be better availed of for the benefit of this republic by Bryan, Bailey, Bland, and Blackburn and the Opposition; or, by William McKinley and a House and Senate that will help and not hinder him?
Which do you think will get the most good for you and the American people out of the opportunities which Providence has given us – the Government at Washington or the Opposition in Nebraska, Texas, Kentucky, and Missouri? Which side will you belong to – those who pull forward in the traces of national prosperity and destiny, or those who pull back in those traces, balk at every step of advancement, and bray at every milepost of progress?
If any man tells you that trade depends on cheapness and not on government influence, ask him why England does not abandon South Africa, Egypt, India. Why does France seize South China, Germany the vast region whose port is Kiouchou? Consider the commerce of the Spanish islands. In 1897 we bought of the Philippines $4,383,740, and we sold them only $94,597. Great Britain, that national expert in trade, did little better, for, in 1896, she bought $6,223,426 and sold only $2,063,598. But Spain – Spain, the paralytic of commerce – Spain bought only $4,818,344 and sold $4,973,589! Fellow citizens, from this day on that proportion of trade, increased and multiplied, must belong to the American republic. I repeat, increased and multiplied, for with American brains and energy, with American methods and American government, does anyone here, tonight, doubt that American exports will exceed Spain’s imports twenty times over? Does any one of you doubt that $100,000,000 of food and clothing and tools and implements and machinery will ultimately be shipped every year from the United States to that archipelago of tremendous possibilities? And will anyone of you refuse to welcome that golden trade with your vote?
What lesson does Cuba teach? Cuba can raise no cereals – no wheat, no corn, no oats, no barley, and no rye. What we make and raise Cuba consumes, and what she makes and raises we consume; and this order of commerce, is fixed forever by the unalterable decrees of nature. And she is at our doors, too – only an ocean river between us.
Yet, in 1896, we bought $40,017,703 of her products, and we sold her only $7,193,173 of our products; while Spain bought only $4,257,360 and sold her $26,145,800 – and that proportion existed before the insurrection. Fellow citizens, from this day on, that order must be reversed and increased. Cuba’s present population is only about 1,000,000; her proper population is about 10,000,000. Tens of millions of acres of her soil are yet untouched by enterprise. If Spain sells Cuba $21,000,000 in 1891, and $26,000,000 in 1896, America will sell Cuba $200,000,000 in 1906. In 1896 we bought of Porto Rico $2,296,653, and sold her only $1,985,888, and yet Spain bought only $5,423,760 and sold her $7,328,880. William McKinley proposes that those figures shall be increased and reversed, and the question is, whether you will indorse him in that resolution of prosperity. The practical question, for each one of us, is, whether we had better leave the development of all this tremendous commerce to the administration which liberated these island continents and now has the settlement of their government under way; or, risk the future in the hands of those who oppose the government at Washington and the commercial supremacy of the republic.
How will all this help each one of us. Our trade with Porto Rico and Hawaii will be as free as between the States of the Union, while every other nation on earth must pay our tariff before they can compete with us. Until Cuba and the Philippines shall ask for annexation, our trade with them will, at the very least, be like the preferential trade of Canada with England – a trade which gives the republic the preference over the rest of the world – a trade which applies the principle of protection to colonial commerce, the principle which all the world employs, to-day; the principle which England uses whenever she fears for a market and which she has put into practice against us in Canada. That, and the excellence of our goods and products; that, and the convenience of traffic; that, and the kinship of interests and destiny, will give the monopoly of these markets to the American people.
And then – then, the factories and mills and shops will call again to their hearts of fire the workingmen of the republic, to receive once more the wages and eat once more the bread of prosperous times; then the farmer will find at his door, once more, the golden home market of those who work in factory and mill, and who want flour and meat and butter and eggs and garments of wool, and who have once more the money to pay for it all.
It means new employment and better wages for every laboring man in the Union. It means higher prices for every bushel of wheat and corn, for every pound of butter and meat, for every item that the farmers of this republic produce. It means active, vigorous, constructive investment of every dollar of moldy and miserly capital in the land.
It means all this, to-morrow, and all this forever, because it means not only the trade of the prize provinces, but the beginning of the commercial empire of the republic. And, amid these great events, will you march forward with the endless column of prosperity, or, sit with Bryan, Bailey, Bland, and Blackburn on the rotten and crumbling rail-fence of dead issues and hoot at the procession as it passes by?
I said the commercial empire of the republic. That is the greatest fact of the future. And that is why these islands involve considerations larger than their own commerce. The commercial supremacy of the republic means that this nation is to be the sovereign factor in the peace of the world.
For the conflicts of the future are to be conflicts of trade struggles for markets – commercial wars for existence. And the golden rule of peace is impregnability of position and invincibility of preparation. So, we see England, the greatest strategist of history, plant her flag and her cannon on Gibraltar, at Quebec, the Bermudas, Vancouver, everywhere, until, from every point of vantage, her royal banner flashes in the sun. So Hawaii furnishes us a naval base in the heart of the Pacific; the Ladrones another, a voyage farther into the region of sunset and commerce; Manila, another, at the gates of Asia – Asia, to the trade of whose hundreds of millions American merchants, American manufacturers, American farmers, have as good a right as those of Germany or France or Russia or England; Asia, whose commerce with England alone, amounts to billions of dollars every year; Asia, to whom Germany looks to take the surplus of her factories and foundries and mills; Asia, whose doors shall not be shut against American trade. Within two decades the bulk of Oriental commerce will be ours, – the richest commerce in the world. In the light of that golden future, our chain of new-won stations rise like ocean sentinels from the night of waters, – Porto Rico, a nobler Gibraltar; the Isthmian canal, a greater Suez; Hawaii, the Ladrones, the Philippines, commanding the Pacific!
Ah! as our commerce spreads, the flag of liberty will circle the globe, and the highways of the ocean – carrying trade of all mankind, be guarded by the guns of the republic. And, as their thunders salute the flag, benighted peoples will know that the voice of Liberty is speaking, at last, for them; that civilization is dawning, at last, for them – Liberty and Civilization, those children of Christ’s gospel, who follow and never precede, the preparing march of commerce!
It is the tide of God’s great purposes made manifest in the instincts of our race, whose present phase is our personal profit, but whose far-off end is the redemption of the world and the Christianization of mankind. And he who throws himself before that current is like him who, with puny arm, tries to turn the gulf stream from its course, or stay, by idle incantations, the blessed processes of the sun.
Shall this future of the race be left with those who, under God, began this career of sacred duty and immortal glory; or, shall we risk it to those who would scuttle the ship of progress and build a dam in the current of destiny’s large designs…
And now, on the threshold of our career as the first Power of earth, is the time to permanently adjust our system of finance. The American people have the most tremendous tasks of history to perform. They have the mightiest commerce of the world to conduct. They cannot halt their imperial progress of wealth and power and glory and Christian civilization to unsettle their money system every time some ardent imagination sees a vision and dreams a dream. Think of Great Britain becoming the commercial monarch of the world with her financial system periodically assailed! Think of Holland or Germany or France bearing their burdens, and, yet, sending their flag to every sea, with their money at the mercy of politicians out of an issue.
Let us settle the whole financial question on principles so sound that a revolution cannot shake their firm foundations. And then, like men and not like children, let us on to our tasks – on to our mission and on to our destiny. We are speeding up the shining rails of an immortal history; yonder, in the rear, is the nightmare swamp of free silver. Why go back to it; like the victim of opium to his deadly pipe?
Why not accept the gifts of nature and events – events, which have made the oceans our servants, the trade winds our allies, and the stars in their courses our champions?
Nature, which has thrown the wealth of Klondike, the new found gold of the Philippines, the unsuspected and exhaustless mines of Colorado and the Cape into the crucible of financial agitation, and thus dissolved the last excuse for war upon the golden standard of civilization, – the excuse that the gold supply is insufficient and is failing.
Now, when new rivers of gold are pouring through the fields of business, the foundations of all silver-standard arguments are swept away. Why mumble the meaningless phrases of a tale that is told, when the golden future is before us, the world calls us, its wealth awaits us, and God’s command is upon us?
Why stand in the fatal stupor of financial fallacies muttering old sophistries that time has exploded, when opportunity beckons you all over the world – in Cuba, Hawaii, the Philippines, on the waters of commerce, in every market of Occident and Orient, and in your factories and stores and fields, here in our own beloved country, holy America, land of God’s promise and home of God’s providence?
There are so many real things to be done – canals to be dug, railways to be laid, forests to be felled, cities to be builded, unviolated fields to be tilled, priceless markets to be won, ships to be launched, peoples to be saved, civilization to be proclaimed and the flag of liberty flung to the eager air of every sea. Is this an hour to waste upon triflers with nature’s laws? Is this a season to give our destiny over to word-mongers and prosperity-wreckers? Is this a day to think of office-seekers, to be cajoled by the politician’s smile, or seduced by the handshake of hypocrisy? No! No! my fellow citizens!
It is an hour to remember your duty to the home. It is a moment to realize the opportunities fate has opened to this favored people and to you. It is a time to bethink you of the conquering march of the flag. It is a time to bethink you of your nation and its sovereignty of the seas. It is a time to remember that the God of our fathers is our God and that the gifts and the duties he gave to them, enriched and multiplied, he renews to us, their children.
And so it is an hour for us to stand by the government at Washington, now confronting the enemy in diplomacy, as our loyal hearts on land and sea stood to their guns and stood by the Jag when they faced the enemy in war. It is a time to strengthen and sustain that devoted man, servant of the people and of the Most High God, who, patiently, silently, safely is guiding the republic out into the ocean of world interests and possibilities infinite. It is a time to cheer the beloved President of God’s chosen people, till the whole world is vocal with American loyalty to the American government.
Fellow Americans, we are God’s chosen people. Yonder at Bunker Hill and Yorktown his providence was above us. At New Orleans and on ensanguined seas his hand sustained us. Abraham Lincoln was his minister and his was the Altar of Freedom, the boys in blue set on a hundred battlefields. His power directed Dewey in the East and delivered the Spanish fleet into our hands on the eve of Liberty’s natal day, as he delivered the elder Armada into the hands of our English sires two centuries ago. His great purposes are revealed in the progress of the flag, which surpasses the intentions of Congresses and Cabinets, and leads us like a holier pillar of cloud by day and pillar of fire by night into situations unforeseen by finite wisdom, and duties unexpected by the unprophetic heart of selfishness. The American people cannot use a dishonest medium of exchange; it is ours to set the world its example of right and honor. We cannot fly from our world duties; it is ours to execute the purpose of a fate that has driven us to be greater than our small intentions. We cannot retreat from any soil where Providence has unfurled our banner; it is ours to save that soil for Liberty and Civilization. For Liberty and Civilization and God’s promise fulfilled, the flag must henceforth be the symbol and the sign to all mankind – the flag! -
“Flag of the free heart’s hope and home
By angel hands to valor given,
Thy stars have lit the welkin dome,
And all their hues were born in heaven!
Forever wave that standard sheet,
Where breathes the toe but falls before us
With freedom’s soil beneath our feet
And freedom’s banner streaming o’er us!”