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ADDRESS TO GRATIOT COUNTY 0. A.
R. ASSOCIATION. By R,-v. Go. F. IPntin-, D. D. Sum:.-! : "I'm-le S mi's preferred creditors and tin' rest of us." CoMK VIH.s ol Gl.Wi C'ol N TV: L Mill:- am 4 J i; n 1 1 i:mi.: - It is ;i common custom among men, in the event of lm-iiu-s fail ures, t, classify those to whom they are indebted, and anions the classes i one known as j,nfrrf creditois. These are paid or in full, by reason of some relationship or s) ee ial claim, while others, whose de nial). U an- perhaps equally just, hut of a dilTerent character, are left un paid, or paid only in part. It has occurred to nie, and in some cases with emphasis, that in the ar rangement for the payment of our national debt, we have followed this business custom, to the neglect of some claims which ought to have had attention. Don't lie frightened at those words, National Debt, nor fancy that I am about to bore v ou w ith an array of figures and statistics, for 1 assuie you 1 have no idea of doing so. In the first place I never had any taste for arithmetic myself, and I have learned by observation that other people are as little entertained as I am with columns of figures, ex eept, indeed, they represent dollars, and are on the credit side of their own ledger. Put there is another, beside the financial side of the national debt, and I want to call your attention to that other side, a little while, and to what I conceive to be an injiMice t certain classes, to w hom wc, a- a na tion arc greatly indebted, in connec tion with the war of W to t'..j. 1 re fer to the matter of personal etVort and sacrifice for our country which has never been recognized, and can not be, as it deserves, for there is a kind of service which dollars do not pay for, and for which an occasional newspaper notice, i a very meagre return. In the payment of that na tional debt which gold and green backs can reach, we have done grandly, and have, in the main, I sup p se, done cipial justice to all to whom we were indebted, but in this other branch of obligation, which I have said, dollars cannot pay, we have, perhaps unconsciously, done only partial justice. We have, without wrong intention I suspect, selected a few )n firrt'l creditors, and lavished upon them our wort Is of praise, and our political b n social honors, to the utter hc- f ' gleet of whole legions of equally di serv ing men, who according to their ability, and in their sphere, helped to win :he tight for freedom. 1 havt no dispos'n ion to pluck one leaf from the laurels of those whom we circ honored, not one, they deserve them all, but while these jrj'trral citdit ors have shared in the rich assets of our hearty thanks, and the materia tokens of our regard, and I sav amen to it all, I w ant to speak for a little to-day, as the attorney of that great body of creditors, w hose names am claims have largely been forgotten That 1 may, at the outset, disabuse vour minds ofanv thought that I am an interested party in this cac, let me say, just hi re, I held, during tlu war, tiie position of a lieutenant o artilerv, and so am not counted at all among those to whom I refer. liCt ine hlsi speak ol inose who did dutv in the ranks and before the mast, in that four year's fight. Tlu men who wore the shoulder straps and those who walked the quarte deck, were, in the main, a noble : sei oi men as ever oniceivii an arinv or a navv. We m7st gladlv, am most heartilv doff our hats to Grant and Farragut, Sherman and Porter, Sheridan and Footc, and to all their subordinates who did their duty like nun, and we grudge them nothing which they have received at tlu hands ol our people, but we onlv ask, that while they are picferrct creditors, in the distribution of tlu honors and the gratitude, there In. also, a jut remembrance of the rank and file, through whose pluck am blood and muscle, these leaders b I .... 1 1 I I . I laiiw aii'i sea. wen- iuic: into im-ir prominence and supported then 1 .. 1 . r . i i ror Mini oi uies,. m;ie men as have been properly pensioned, and provided for, by government, of course their friend can a. k nothing more of pecuniary sort, but let me suggest that there is due to these who suffered for us, if they conduct themselves like men, a respect which ii" loyal citizen cm, or will ignore. Our children are looking on, and they are learning from our treat men of these veteran, what estimate their fathers place upon that service by which our country was preserved. If we would have a true patriotism take root and grow in the hearts of our young nun, let them see that we onor thoe, who bore for us, and for them the perils of the tight, the long xposure to the death bearing atmos phere of Southern swamps, the hor- ors of the prison pen, and who are till bearing wounds, diseases and ains untold, consequent upon the nirdships of those four years. When we who are gray-haired were toys, we were taught to respect the ged and tho infirm, and to lend a lclping hand to the feble and sick and destitute, but I am afraid the ids of our time have, not been very arefully instructed in this direction, it least the rudeness and impudence oo often seen among them, do not indicate very faithful home training. n this matter, we fathers and moth rs are blame-worthy, and if we do not suffer for our folly, it will be cry strange. When our boys are lisrespectful to us, let us remember, we are reaping just what we have own, and I do plead with you oungcr men, whose children are yet within your control, let your manage ment of your households be better than ours has been. Teach vour ehil- 1 rt'ii to respect those who are older, md wiser, and especially do I urge upon you, teach your enmiren u jonor the gray-haired, broken old men who once mei ior inein, aim while they enjoy the fruits of that ong struggle, teach them gratitude to those by whose labor and Moo. I m l treasure wee purchased, the good things they enjoy. liovs! Don't ignore, imr despise the old soldier. To be sure, he can ake care of himself now, but in a little time he will be dependent. Be atient with his garrulous old age, et him tell his stories over, and when he "shoulders his crutch and shows how fields were won" don't augh at him, but recall the fact, he eft that leg at Gettysburg!!, that inn was shot awav at Corinth, and ic was maimed and crippled for you, that you, boys, might enjoy the liber- tics of this fair land. Will some of vou sav: The old soldiers don't ask nor need any such plea as this, for they are yet vigorous and abundantly able to keep up w ith the column of lift-. True, and I am glad so many of them are hale and heartv, but our young folks are being educated, and I would have them begin in season, to honor those to whom honor is due. Don't get the idea, young folks, that the men who wore the shoulder straps did all the lighting, nor that all the heroes were commissioned. There is an unwritten hhdorv of that four years' war, which, could it be written, would bring to the front manv a name which never found its way into the newspapers, and was never mentioned in orders among those who were distinguished for gallantry. The best and bravest w ere not always brevetted, and if the true story of that long agony vonJd be told, "many" that arc now "first would be last and the last first." Let me read just here from a slip cut from an old newspaper. It is only a straw, but it shows just a lit tle, which way the wind blows. At the last meeting of the post the following resolutions, which arc self ex planatory, were adopted: Wukkkas. More than -0 years have elapsed since the war of the rebellion, and Wiikkkas, TIih suffering and deeds of the soldiers of the bnion seem to be rapidly failing from the memory of tlu people of this nation. !fiolinl. That we express our pro found respect and gratitude to the ladies of the . C. T. I'., who voluntarily visited our post fin Memorial day and so kindly expressed their love and sym pathy. for the cause in which we Mutter ed, and sacrificed so much. .V.io(Vm7, That the beautiful flowers they so generously donated to strew upon the graves of our departed com rades, we accept as an emblem of the givers patriotism and. further, that w all sav "(iod bless the ladies." i'.voio. That a copy of the foregoing lie piesented to the YV. 1 . U. Now my fellow citizens, then ought never to exist a state of feeling in any community of the United States which could at all justify the second paragraph of that preamble. Just think of it! Wl WV IT..'. 1.1 1 it in n'.i', i ue mi u ei i iiu ;iuu occicv ' -h , of the soi, hers ot tlic l-nion seem tf be rapidly fading from the memory of the people of this nation." Is it possible that there is truth in this? Is 20 years the limit of America's , . . ... . ! remembrance ot the heroes who i.mi j and died in her defense? I cannot, j nay I w ill not believe it. Our peo ple are so busy in commercial affairs, so busy in pushing the railroad, the telegraph and the telephone, so busy in trying to calm the troubled sea where the opposing currents of capi tal and labor meet, that they have for a little forgotten their duty, and their privilege, and they only need a bit of a reminder, and we shall see them doing again as they have done, and responding (Mice more to what I am sure is the prompting of the American heart. In the meantime I too, thank the W. C. T. U. that they remembered our 'soldier dead at least one year. I nl let me turn to another fact which w e all too often forget. Among those who are especially deserving of recognition for honorable service during our last, war, are a great mul titude w ho were noncombatauts. In the old days when King David is sued his army regulations, this was one of the articles. In ease of a vic tory, the political doctrine of our time seems to have obtained. "To the victors belong the spoils," but with the farther provision that all should share alike, whether they were in front or rear, in action or in re serve. This is the way it reads: "As his part is that goeth dow n to the battle, so shall his part be that tarrieth by the stuff; they shall part alike." No preferred creditors under that regulation. The guard of the bag gage train, vmi see, was deemed equally worthy of honor, with those who fought at the front. And this is just what I am plead ing for. Give every man his due. Vou know, and I know, that the chief quarter-master of such a body of nu n as the army of the Potomac had no sinecure, if help in his duty, and so of the chief comniissarv and their respective departments, and their sub ordinate officers in each. No other set of men in the whole army were harder worked than these men, and yet who ever heard of a quartermaster or a commissary being pushed to the front in any place where men do honor to the old sol diers? Hurry up the clothing and the hardtack, the tents and the haver racks, the beans and the bacon, and then curse him if he didn't get there, that was the sort of honor and thanks the poor fellows received. You fellows who marched through Yirginia mud, think you had a tough time of it. but what about tlu bovs who had to git your rations and your forage to you, wherever you were, through that same mud? To be sure they had teams, yes and I do just here and now put in a special claim for the efficient mem mcrs of that corps who bore the eu phoninos M. D. which translated into tin. vj't-tcieiilnr ine.int mule driver. . ... . . lor it ever a poor ienow on cann ue- served a pension of the first cla, it was the chap who pushed a six mule team through the mud of the Chicka hominy. Some of the grainiest successes of the war, came about through the agency of those teamsters. Tired o out and disheartened, the boys lay down at night on their arms, too thoroughly used up, even to get out their blankets and dog tents, if they had any, and yet itwas of great im portance that they be forty miles far ther on, at daybreak Put the boys were hungry and no rations at hand. Put hark! Just as they began to grumble, the familiar lie-haw ! of a distant mule breaks on the ear, and the dinner bell at Delmonico's was never one-half so welcome, as it in vited men to turtle soup and cham pagne, as was that lie-haw! which told of coffee and hardtack. Old Sancho Panza cried out "God bless the man who first invented sleep," ami while the old soldiers would all heartily second that, I sus pect they would be ready to add with emphasis, God bless the man who first invented coffee. It is, I believe, above all others, ti' drink for an army. Let us put the two together, as they are coupled in our affections. "Tired nature's utrrtt restorer, balmy sleep," and "tired nature's chirf restorer, fragrant coffee." And here they come tumbling into park vvith a thousand more discord ant lie-haws, and a thousand more discordant yelb, with words a deal more forcible than elegant, and out come the camp-kettles, and tin cups, I ,UI" and dow n they sit by the hast ily i n i . i kindled camp-fires, and when UnjT piping hot, they drank 'their pint, with Mich a relidi as Jupi - tcr never dreamed of, when he and I uno took nectar and ambrosia at the handsof I lebe, or ( ionvmede in the back parlors of Klvsiuiu. Uovs ir, , ( t,s JM.vi.r aMVthing st rongcr. There are no headaches, nor dreams of monk cys and snakes, in a tin cup full of coffee, but there's lots of "git and pluck," and so w hen the bugler blew "fall in," the rested army sprangto its feet and by a forced march of forty miles, met the enemy at daybreak, and won a light, which helped to break the shackles off four million slav es ami make our land "tlu? land of the free," and all this because those mule drivers "got there" with the coffee. Oh yes, when I get into congress vou may bet I'll vote to pension the mule drivers. And just here, while we are talk ing about quarter-masters, did you ever know old "Pucker" chief quarter-master of the army of the Poto mac, the roughest old chap in Ameri ca, but a better quarter-master never issued a canteen. Well the Depart ment sent into his otlice a little state ment of differences one day, to the effect, that his accounts showed a trifling shortage of a million and a hall or such a matter. The old man looked at the sum total a half a min ute, and then with an explosive ex pletive, dashed off an indorsement across the paper: "Please stop it against my pay. Yours ie., Hi ( ki:i:." And now, I fancy I hear the sj,-k-call, and that suggests tw o or three classes more, who art- deserving of honarahlc mention. There were cowards and shirks among the soldiers, and here and there an officer who showed the white feather, or who was a petty tyrant with his men, ami a poltroon before the enemy. None of them were without fault, and so I suppose tlu- doctors were not all just what they should have been. Some who dealt out quinine down there, ought to have been hoeing corn, and here and there a chap was cutting off legs and arms, with the title of Surgeon, who oughi to have been shaking a bucksaw. Put on the whole our me. in-ai corps was an eiucieni one, and to most of us our memories of the Doctor are grateful memories, lie helped some of Us through more than one tight place, and not a few of the boys are on earth to-day, through the will and kindness of some faithful surgeon. They had to cut and slash sometimes without mueh time to consider whether they couldn't save a leg or an arm, for so many poor fellows lay bleeding ami moaning, waiting for their turn, that there wasn't tinu- for deliberate con sultation. Hurry was the order of the day, whether on the field or in the hospital. Put even so, with all the inconveniences and discomforts and amid all the rush, many a vete ran has occasion to thank some kind old surgeon that he is spared to his family instead of lying in a nameless grave down yonder. Yes, I fancy t tin thufiio of a wooden le" m:iv of- u., V(.n. oft,,n ti. translated into a thanks, thanks, thanks, and the grati tude belongs to the doctor. And then the nurses, fn,m the sweet-faced Sister of Charity to the benevolent old maid from Yanki e - dom, from the trained and skilled graduate of some eastern hosptial to the kind hearted old gent whom na - ture had taught just how to lift a fellow, or help him to turn over, M itln.nl liiirlinif linn (.ml lil.. I . , hm , , 'itheinone ami an. 1 hey, each Ue - - M.m. a tiU)i (lf pralM. a sw-et as this from our loved Longfellow: "When'eer a noble died is wrought When'eer is spoken a noble thought Our hearts in glad surprise, 1 o higher levels rise. The tidal wave of deeper sou's Into our inmost being rolls, And lifts us unawares ( hit of all meaner cares. Honor to those whose words or deeds 1 mis neip us ui our uawy neeus. And by their overflow Pise us from w hat is low. Thus thought I. as by night I read ( )f the great army of the dead, The trendies cold and damp. The starved and frozen camp. The wounded from the battle plain. In dieary hospitals of pain, The cheerless condors. The cold ami stony floors. Lo! in that home of misery A lady with a lamp I ses Passthroughthe glimmering gloom. And flit from room to room. ; And slow-as in a dream of bliss, j The speechless sufferer turns, to kiss Per shadow, as it falls fpoii the darkening walls. As if a door in Heaven, shoul lie j Opened and then closed suddenly, : Theyismn caineand went. I J he light shone and was spent. ! ' i On I'nuland'sannalsdhniugl.thelong: Hereafter of her speech and song. 1 That light its rays shall last , From portals of the past. ; A lady with a lamp shall stand In thegieat history of the land. A lioble type of good Heroic womanhood. Nor even shall be wauling here The palm, the lil and the spear, The sv tnbols that of Voir Saint 1'i'oiiuna boie." Yes, bicthn n, I know we are ready to re-ei ho the prayer, (iod bless the j irnn , ami the men as well, the doctors and the nurses who came to the front in the tight w ill. death, and 1 helped so many of us back from the brink of the grave, and gave us to our friends again. And some of us are better men to day, because of those weeks or months in the hospital. That L'cntle hand which fell like a benediction upon the aching brow, proved to us, the hand of an angel, and we are not so far away from (iod and Heaven to day, as we used to be, and all through the the thrilling touch, and soft spoken words of one, who though then and now, a stranger to us, some how got down under a fellow's jack et, and made him ashamed of his rough ways, and so we are better men, cleaner nu n, to-dav, because that pure white soul touched us, and virtue passed out from her life into ours, and again we say, (Iod bless her. And again I see a wagon train, yes, there are two, and they are marked in words the boys learned to recognize with a shout of welcome. "Sanitary Commissioner and Chris tian Commissioner," twin sisters, or brothers as you will, of the (Jood Sa matrian family, and they always managed to get along down on the .lerieo Poad about the time when the boys needed them most. Soups and jellies, soft-tack and tea, just like your mother made in Michigan, and a real feather pillow, twice as soft as a knapsack, and a bed-quilt with the names of half the girls m some west ern town written on the blocks of patchwork, and the soups and jellies and the soft-tack and tea disappeared, and the sick lads began to mend, see! out under the trees they lie, their heads cushioned on the soft pillows, their couch draped with the light patchwork, and they, the boys, dream ing of the girls whose names were written there, and wondering if that Mary in Ithaca, or that Nellie in St. Louis would go back on a fellow, be cause lie hao hut one arm now, to hug her with. No! No! We didn't believe it then, and we don't believe it now. Th" girls always stood by us, and their arms and their hearts were open for us, "When Johnny came marching home." And so we say again, with our hearts full, God bless the Sanitary and the Christian Commissioners. May the noble men who managed and sustained them have a tirst-clas seat rcservel m Heaven. And God bless the girls who made the patch-work. They art old girls now, I suspect, but then w are old hoys too, and that makes it even, and here we are together to dav, and little Nellies and Johnnies and Marys will ask questions to-night when we get home, and we'll tell them again the storv of -' years ago. And now boys, once more. There are frauds and humbugs and hypo crites everywhere, but I suspect, on the w hole, you and I never met a no bier, kinder set of nun, than our chaplains, and some of them couh ride in a c harge r.nd handle a six shooter with the best of you. That Smith S: Weston didn't lose anything by being carried in the same pocket with a Pible, and there were gooi right hands among those chaplain- which could bring a rebel's bodv dow n at twenty paces, and then point his s,,ul to Heaven, so faithfully that the lad in gray, blessed in his heart, the ankee preacher, who count sing with erptal w ill, who couh ! hrh his country's foe out of thi : world with a bullet, and into the 1 '"-xt w ith a prayer, vvith equal fervor land hearty good will. j I recall old Chaplain Woodw ard , an old man when I was a bov, am 1 living yet, God bless him, among tlu irronn liillv of oniuint .... , q'),,. utX ,,f the iri Vermont ' Cavalry tell of their first experience , under tire. I hey were crossing C hain .bridge m Washington, ami their colonel somehow didn't seem anxiou ; to i,.a,l the regiment. It was a criti- cal moment, but see! just at the pinch old Parson Woodward spurred his big black to the front, and half way across the bridge before the boys could gather themselves, hear him. ', "( oine on, bovs, and thev came on, I and the robs had an errand farther jdown towaid Pichmond. I can fan j ey the rebels talking over the skir i mish that n'udit. and asking one an other, "I say, Jim did you see that old chaplain on the big black horse'' I stayed there 'till I saw the tire in his eye and then I made up my mind that inv mother wanted me, and I lit j out, right smart, for home." And j then the good old man, when the fight he had helped to will, was over. ! vvouiu iiearoinui ainongtiie. woiimiei. before the stretchers got there, and with a cheering word and a drink from his canteen, he fixed the boy up, and got them off to the rear, and tim. u tended them as though they were his own children. Pody and poiil, every man in the regiment w as j t f j (1 om, ,jav the oM . , , , man grew more tender and braver l,an 1vt,r iH.folv an,i lv,,ort a'u ,, - i . i i . .1 c i i i : w, was h"1 V" Uhl' "ly I remember John W oo.I- wanl w ell, a schoolmate oi nunc, aim for pluck and gallantry, a chip off the old block. The old chaplain's f yes were dim for a little, and his voice a trifle husky, but he didn't resign, nor leave his post, and when I tell you, the boys hived old Chap lain YVoodward, as they loved their j mothers, you won't doubt my word, ' nor their manliness. A few years ag igo I preached for the old man, and thinking he might have some choice as to the theme I should present to i his people, I said to him Sunday morning, w hat shall I preach to your eoide, l ather w oodward "1 reach the Gospel" replied the old veteran, and I shan't forget that lesson while live. And now I reckon, comrades, all things considered, you'll Kay with me, (tod bh$ the ctU(illl. And just here, somehow, my mind ind my heart recall a few of tho forerunners, the John the Baptists of our war, and I must just mention b tew ol them, for I am persuaded they an not all among Undo Sam's referred creditors. Tho people of these states, and especially our col ored people will not altogether for get Wm. Lloyd Garrison and Gerritt Smith and John Prown, and yet I am sadly confident that they are not remembered as they ought to be. The prosperity ol our country, and especially of the South, is what it IS to-day, very largely because of tho iitohtion movement, inaugurated by Garrison, and by that intrepid leader nit upon the path to success. His radical measures startled the world, and men hated him for his fanati cism, but the years have ripened our thought, and our calm retrospect whispers sottly, the grand old man was right after all Of his co-worker and helper, Gcr ritt Smith, let me read you what I wrote when the old man died in 1874. The man w ho dared to do the right, The man who dared be true; AVho led the van in freedon'B fight, When freedom's friends were lew. The man who dared be friend the slave, At his own proper cost; And grew more confident and brave, When others whispered "lost." The man who never yielded ground To any vaunting foe, And who. to save another's wound, Himself received the blow. The man who lent a list'ning tar To every human moan; He held the stricken doubly dear, And made their cause his own. This is the man who died to-day, Ami died, a crovrn to win ; Wide open swung the gates of Zey, To let the hero in. "Put he had faults," go, cynic, go To Him w ho can atone: And who is sinless here below, lie first to cast a stone. Upward, along the shining street To where the angels wait, His noble spirit hied to greet Saint Peter, at the gate. Put scarce delaying there his way, Ke'h to receive ;i Cl ow n; The old man whispers, "tell me, pray, Where I may find John Prown." And this canies us back to Har per's Ferry and 1S.V., to find another who was not a preferred creditor. Do you remember how our hearts burned within us in those years? and how, under the liery eloquence of Wendell Phillips and Charles Sumner and Joshua Giddings and a score of others among the Poanerges of that time, our blood leaped through our veins. The mad excitement of the time must find vent in the sacri fice of some victim, and" John Prown came to the front. He said of him self, "I am worth more to hang than anything else," and they hung him on that gnd of December, lol, and from that day slavery was doomed. John Prown was not without faults but he will ever be counted among the stars of first magnitude, in the constellation of American heroes. I can say no more of him just now but some day, perhaps in the near future, I shall be glad to say of John Prown, in ir presence, what I think and feel. You may not agree with me. You may call him by some other name than hero, but we won't quar rel about that to-day. And now, comrades, I suppose you have some nj'trr(l creditors in Gratiot county, and perhaps a few, who are inn among that favored class. If there be any among you here to-day who have shared largely in the favors dispensed by our gov ernment, let me say, no one re joices more in your good fortune than your fellow citizens who hare not been so fortunate. We old soldiers are ow, and if one among us be honored we are all sharers in that honor, and on the oth er hand, if one be neglected, we all share in the regret and disappoint ment. We must stand by each other, not with the mistaken zeal of those who led by unwise counsels, are blocking the wheels of business, and bringing linhappiness and want to their ow n bonus and the homes of others, not as a political organization, for such an organization could only defeat its own wishes and hopes, but we can and nntut stand together, as a loyal band of brothers, whose first care is for our common country, and second to this is our care one for an other. We believe our government in tends to do for her old soldiers, all that is right and just. We love our country, and down deep in our hearts w e feel, that in the end upon the an nals of fame, jutice will be done to all classes, who, ought for the com mon good of our common country, In the final adjustments of history ,wc shall stand alike approved by man, and we trust approved also of God. Yes, we believe the time is coming when among all who served our country in whatever capacity, there will be no favoritism, except that to which all will gladly yield assent, and that touching the indebtedness of our people, to tnose w ho fought for them by land, or sea, there will be nothing offensive, in the suggestion of rijirrnl cmliturs.