Appendix L. Speeches For Study And Practise. Part 6
I catch another vision. The crisis of battle - a soldier, struck, staggering, fallen. I see a slave, scuffing through the smoke, winding his black arms about the fallen form, reckless of hurtling death - bending his trusty face to catch the words that tremble on the stricken lips, so wrestling meantime with agony that he would lay down his life in his master's stead. I see him by the weary bedside, ministering with uncomplaining patience, praying with all his humble heart that God will lift his master up, until death comes in mercy and in honor to still the soldier's agony and seal the soldier's life. I see him by the open grave - mute, motionless, uncovered, suffering for the death of him who in life fought against his freedom, I see him, when the mold is heaped and the great drama of his life is closed, turn away and with downcast eyes and uncertain step start out into new and strange fields, faltering, struggling, but moving on, until his shambling figure is lost in the light of this better and brighter day. And from the grave comes a voice, saying, "Follow him! put your arms about him in his need, even as he put his about me. Be his friend as he was mine." And out into this new world - strange to me as to him, dazzling, bewildering both - I follow! And may God forget my people - when they forget these!
Whatever the future may hold for them, whether they plod along in the servitude from which they have never been lifted since the Cyrenian was laid hold upon by the Roman soldiers, and made to bear the cross of the fainting Christ - whether they find homes again in Africa, and thus hasten the prophecy of the psalmist, who said, "And suddenly Ethiopia shall hold out her hands unto God" - whether forever dislocated and separate, they remain a weak people, beset by stronger, and exist, as the Turk, who lives in the jealousy rather than in the conscience of Europe - or whether in this miraculous Republic they break through the caste of twenty centuries and, belying universal history, reach the full stature of citizenship, and m peace maintain it - we shall give them uttermost justice and abiding friendship. And whatever we do, into whatever seeming estrangement we may be driven, nothing shall disturb the love we bear this Republic, or mitigate our consecration to its service. I stand here, Mr. President, to profess no new loyalty. When General Lee, whose heart was the temple of our hopes, and whose arm was clothed with our strength, renewed his allegiance to this Government at Appomattox, he spoke from a heart too great to be false, and he spoke for every honest man from Maryland to Texas. From that day to this Hamilcar has nowhere in the South sworn young Hannibal to hatred and vengeance, but everywhere to loyalty and to love. Witness the veteran standing at the base of a Confederate monument, above the graves of his comrades, his empty sleeve tossing in the April wind, adjuring the young men about him to serve as earnest and loyal citizens the Government against which their fathers fought. This message, delivered from that sacred presence, has gone home to the hearts of my fellows! And, sir, I declare here, if physical courage be always equal to human aspiration, that they would die, sir, if need be, to restore this Republic their fathers fought to dissolve.
Such, Mr. President, is this problem as we see it, such is the temper in which we approach it, such the progress made. What do we ask of you? First, patience; out of this alone can come perfect work. Second, confidence; in this alone can you judge fairly. Third, sympathy; in this you can help us best. Fourth, give us your sons as hostages. When you plant your capital in millions, send your sons that they may know how true are our hearts and may help to swell the Caucasian current until it can carry without danger this black infusion. Fifth, loyalty to the Republic - for there is sectionalism in loyalty as in estrangement. This hour little needs the loyalty that is loyal to one section and yet holds the other in enduring suspicion and estrangement. Give us the broad and perfect loyalty that loves and trusts Georgia alike with Massachusetts - that knows no South, no North, no East, no West, but endears with equal and patriotic love every foot of our soil, every State of our Union.
A mighty duty, sir, and a mighty inspiration impels every one of us to-night to lose in patriotic consecration whatever estranges, whatever divides. We, sir, are Americans - and we stand for human liberty! The uplifting force of the American idea is under every throne on earth. France, Brazil - these are our victories. To redeem the earth from kingcraft and oppression - this is our mission! And we shall not fall. God has sown in our soil the seed of His millennial harvest, and He will not lay the sickle to the ripening crop until His full and perfect day has come. Our history, sir, has been a constant and expanding miracle, from Plymouth Rock and Jamestown, all the way - aye, even from the hour when from the voiceless and traceless ocean a new world rose to the sight of the inspired sailor. As we approach the fourth centennial of that stupendous day - when the old world will come to marvel and to learn amid our gathered treasures - let us resolve to crown the miracles of our past with the spectacle of a Republic, compact, united, indissoluble in the bonds of love - loving from the Lakes to the Gulf - the wounds of war healed in every heart as on every hill, serene and resplendent at the summit of human achievement and earthly glory, blazing out the path and making clear the way up which all the nations of the earth must come in God's appointed time!