The Charlotte News

Sunday, November 20, 1938

FIVE EDITORIALS

Site Ed. Note: In "Lincoln in Pennsylvania", Cash confuses the name of Edward Everett Hale with the name of his uncle, Edward Everett, the orator preceding Lincoln at Gettysburg. Mr. Everett's words at Gettysburg were anything but conciliatory, lashing out at the South as "the invaders" and praising the Union Army for standing firm in the face of them. They stood in stark contrast to the more neutral words of Lincoln, which was probably why Lincoln's brief on the matter was less than impressive to the bulk of his Pennsylvania audience of the time, Mr. Everett's more calculated to stir the ire of flaming passions.

Still, when examined in light of the time, in light of the Emancipation Proclamation issued at the start of that year, in light of the ongoing war, the final strain especially of Lincoln's speech, "that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain... and that government of the people, by the people, for the people shall not perish from the earth," was certainly no call to compromise with the South but a determined exhortation to continue the fight at all costs to preserve the Union.

Little is remembered of Everett's speech, other than its length, while every school child is required to learn by heart Lincoln's short piece. Everett, as much as Lincoln, was a principled man who had resigned his post as Senator from Massachusetts in only the second year of his term in 1854 because of his Whig's Party's compromising stand on slavery. He toured the North regularly during the War speaking for the Union cause. Like his nephew, who authored a well-known short story, originally published in The Atlantic Monthly in July, 1863, The Man without a Country, Edward Everett was a Unitarian minister in Boston by original profession, before entering politics first as a Congressman, then as Governor, then Secretary of State to Millard Fillmore in the latter days of that Administration, before being elected to the Senate in 1852. Here, the first part of his speech, interesting for its analogy to the Athenian dedication of hallowed ground to the fallen soldier who had honorably defended the Republic:

Standing beneath this serene sky, overlooking these broad fields now reposing from the labors of the waning year, the mighty Alleghenies dimly towering before us, the graves of our brethren beneath our feet, it is with hesitation that I raise my poor voice to break the eloquent silence of God and Nature. But the duty to which you have called me must be performed;--grant me, I pray you, your indulgence and your sympathy.

It was appointed by law in Athens, that the obsequies of the citizens who fell in battle should be performed at the public expense, and in the most honorable manner. Their bones were carefully gathered up from the funeral pyre where their bodies were consumed, and brought home to the city. There, for three days before the interment, they lay in state, beneath tents of honor, to receive the votive offerings of friends and relatives,--flowers, weapons, precious ornaments, painted vases (wonders of art, which after two thousand years adorn the museums of modern Europe),--the last tributes of surviving affection. Ten coffins of funereal cypress received the honorable deposit, one for each of the tribes of the city, and an eleventh in memory of the unrecognized, but not therefore unhonored, dead, and of those whose remains could not be recovered. On the fourth day the mournful procession was formed: mothers, wives, sisters, daughters, led the way, and to them it was permitted by the simplicity of ancient manners to utter aloud their lamentations for the beloved and the lost; the male relatives and friends of the deceased followed; citizens and strangers closed the train. Thus marshalled, they moved to the place of interment in that famous Ceramicus, the most beautiful suburb of Athens, which had been adorned by Cimon, the son of Miltiades, with walks and fountains and columns,--whose groves were filled with altars, shrines, and temples,--whose gardens were kept forever green by the streams from the neighboring hills, and shaded with the trees sacred to Minerva and coëval with the foundation of the city,--whose circuit enclosed

"the olive grove of Academe,
Plato's retirement, where the Attic bird
Trilled his thick-warbled note the summer long,"--

whose pathways gleamed with the monuments of the illustrious dead, the work of the most consummate masters that ever gave life to marble. There, beneath the overarching plane-trees, upon a lofty stage erected for the purpose, it was ordained that a funeral oration should be pronounced by some citizen of Athens, in the presence of the assembled multitude.

Such were the tokens of respect required to be paid at Athens to the memory of those who had fallen in the cause of their country. For those alone who fell at Marathon a peculiar honor was reserved. As the battle fought upon that immortal field was distinguished from all others in Grecian history for its influence over the fortunes of Hellas,--as it depended upon the event of that day whether Greece should live, a glory and a light to all coming time, or should expire, like the meteor of a moment; so the honors awarded to its martyr-heroes were such as were bestowed by Athens on no other occasion. They alone of all her sons were entombed upon the spot which they had forever rendered famous. Their names were inscribed upon ten pillars erected upon the monumental tumulus which covered their ashes (where, after six hundred years, they were read by the traveller Pausanias), and although the columns, beneath the hand of time and barbaric violence, have long since disappeared, the venerable mound still marks the spot where they fought and fell,--

"That battle-field where Persia's victim-horde
First bowed beneath the brunt of Hellas' sword."

And shall I, fellow-citizens, who, after an interval of twenty-three centuries, a youthful pilgrim from the world unknown to ancient Greece, have wandered over that illustrious plain, ready to put off the shoes from off my feet, as one that stands on holy ground,--who have gazed with respectful emotion on the mound which still protects the dust of those who rolled back the tide of Persian invasion, and rescued the land of popular liberty, of letters, and of arts, from the ruthless foe,--stand unmoved over the graves of our dear brethren, who so lately, on three of those all--important days which decide a nation's history,--days on whose issue it depended whether this august republican Union, founded by some of the wisest statesmen that ever lived, cemented with the blood of some of the purest patriots that ever died, should perish or endure,--rolled back the tide of an invasion, not less unprovoked, not less ruthless, than that which came to plant the dark banner of Asiatic despotism and slavery on the free soil of Greece? Heaven forbid! And could I prove so insensible to every prompting of patriotic duty and affection, not only would you, fellow-citizens, gathered many of you from distant States, who have come to take part in these pious offices of gratitude,--you, respected fathers, brethren, matrons, sisters, who surround me,--cry out for shame, but the forms of brave and patriotic men who fill these honored graves would heave with indignation beneath the sod.

We have assembled, friends, fellow-citizens, at the invitation of the Executive of the great central State of Pennsylvania, seconded by the Governors of seventeen other loyal States of the Union, to pay the last tribute of respect to the brave men who, in the hard-fought battles of the first, second, and third days of July last, laid down their lives for the country on these hillsides and the plains before us, and whose remains have been gathered into the cemetery which we consecrate this day. As my eye ranges over the fields whose sods were so lately moistened by the blood of gallant and loyal men, I feel, as never before, how truly it was said of old that it is sweet and becoming to die for one's country. I feel, as never before, how justly, from the dawn of history to the present time, men have paid the homage of their gratitude and admiration to the memory of those who nobly sacrifice their lives, that their fellow-men may live in safety and in honor. And if this tribute were ever due, to whom could it be more justly paid than to those whose last resting-place we this day commend to the blessing of Heaven and of men?

For consider, my friends, what would have been the consequences to the country, to yourselves, and to all you hold dear, if those who sleep beneath our feet, and their gallant comrades who survive to serve their country on other fields of danger, had failed in their duty on those memorable days. Consider what, at this moment, would be the condition of the United States, if that noble Army of the Potomac, instead of gallantly and for the second time beating back the tide of invasion from Maryland and Pennsylvania, had been itself driven from these well-contested heights, thrown back in confusion on Baltimore, or trampled down, discomfited, scattered to the four winds. What, in that sad event, would not have been the fate of the Monumental City, of Harrisburg, of Philadelphia, of Washington, the Capital of the Union, each and every one of which would have lain at the mercy of the enemy, accordingly as it might have pleased him, spurred by passion, flushed with victory, and confident of continued success, to direct his course?

For this we must bear in mind,--it is one of the great lessons of the war, indeed of every war, that it is impossible for a people without military organization, inhabiting the cities, towns, and villages of an open country, including of course the natural proportion of non-combatants of either sex and of every age, to withstand the inroad of a veteran army. What defence can be made by the inhabitants of villages mostly built of wood, of cities unprotected by walls, nay, by a population of men, however high-toned and resolute, whose aged parents demand their care, whose wives and children are clustering about them, against the charge of the war-horse whose neck is clothed with thunder,-- against flying artillery and batteries of rifled cannon planted on every commanding eminence,--against the onset of trained veterans led by skilful chiefs? No, my friends, army must be met by army, battery by battery, squadron by squadron; and the shock of organized thousands must be encountered by the firm breasts and valiant arms of other thousands, as well organized and as skillfully led. It is no reproach, therefore, to the unarmed population of the country to say, that we owe it to the brave men who sleep in their beds of honor before us, and to their gallant surviving associates, not merely that your fertile fields, my friends of Pennsylvania and Maryland, were redeemed from the presence of the invader, but that your beautiful capitals were not given up to threatened plunder, perhaps laid in ashes, Washington seized by the enemy, and a blow struck at the heart of the nation.

Who that hears me has forgotten the thrill of joy that ran through the country on the Fourth of July,--auspicious day for the glorious tidings, and rendered still more so by the simultaneous fall of Vicksburg,--when the telegraph flashed through the land the assurance from the President of the United States that the Army of the Potomac, under General Meade, had again smitten the invader? Sure I am, that, with the ascriptions of praise that rose to Heaven from twenty millions of freemen, with the acknowledgments that breathed from patriotic lips throughout the length and breadth of America, to the surviving officers and men who had rendered the country this inestimable service, there beat in every loyal bosom a throb of tender and sorrowful gratitude to the martyrs who had fallen on the sternly contested field. Let a nation's fervent thanks make some amends for the toils and sufferings of those who survive. Would that the heartfelt tribute could penetrate these honored graves!

In order that we may comprehend, to their full extent, our obligations to the martyrs and surviving heroes of the Army of the Potomac, let us contemplate for a few moments the train of events which culminated in the battles of the first days of July. Of this stupendous rebellion, planned, as its originators boast, more than thirty years ago, matured and prepared for during an entire generation, finally commenced because, for the first time since the adoption of the Constitution, election of President had been effected without the votes of the South (which retained, however, the control of the two other branches of the government), the occupation of the national capital, with the seizure of the public archives and of the treaties with foreign powers, was an essential feature. This was in substance, within my personal knowledge, admitted, in the winter of 1860-61, by one of the most influential leaders of the rebellion; and it was fondly thought that this object could be effected by a bold and sudden movement on the 4th of March, 1861. There is abundant proof, also, that a darker project was contemplated, if not by the responsible chiefs of the rebellion, yet by nameless ruffians, willing to play a subsidiary and murderous part in the treasonable drama. It was accordingly maintained by the Rebel emissaries in England, in the circles to which they found access, that the new American Minister ought not, when he arrived, to be received as the envoy of the United States, inasmuch as before that time Washington would be captured, and the capital of the nation and the archives and muniments of the government would be in the possession of the Confederates. In full accordance also with this threat, it was declared by the Rebel Secretary of War, at Montgomery, in the presence of his Chief and of his colleagues, and of five thousand hearers, while the tidings of the assault on Sumter were travelling over the wires on that fatal 12th of April, 1861, that before the end of May "the flag which then flaunted the breeze," as he expressed it, "would float over the dome of the Capitol at Washington."...

The remainder of Everett's remarks may be read here.

And as to the story by his nephew of one Philip Nolan--tried by court martial for the sake of trial for some petty offense, uttered when asked to swear allegiance to his country that he wished never again to hear its name, thus as punishment consigned ship to ship to ride the high seas in his capacity as Naval Lieutenant, never again to hear the name of the United States, but being an especially good reader, read aloud to the crew during the first voyage, out of the Cape of Good Hope, from a book acquired in port, The Lay of the Last Minstrel, and reading it from the beginning of the Sixth Canto, choked up and could not finish the rest after this part:

Breathes there the man, with soul so dead,
Who never to himself hath said,
This is my own, my native land!
Whose heart hath ne'er within him burn'd,
As home his footsteps he hath turn'd,
From wandering on a foreign strand!
If such there breathe, go, mark him well;
For him no Minstrel raptures swell;
High though his titles, proud his name,
Boundless his wealth as wish can claim;
Despite those titles, power, and pelf,
The wretch, concentred all in self...

--As to the story of this poor sea-wandering wretch, finish reading the verses for him.

And remember never to forswear allegiance to a democracy, no matter how imperfect, in favor of somebody's confederacy.

This date, incidentally, marked the thirteenth birthday of someone who would go on to be a brilliant young statesman, and, while running for the presidency on principled stands--againt the continuation of hunger and poverty, against inequality of opportunity, against the continuation of a killing field for which some even sought to blame his own brother, for nurturing of freedom, freedom of speech, freedom to worship, freedom from want, freedom from fear, for peace--was felled in a hotel kitchen pantry at the hand of forces dark and dismal, unable to understand the concept of freedom as anything more than a threat to a narrow view of life, a concentred view of all emanating only from and orbiting about that old self-delimiter, self. Today, in 2005, this statesman would have been 80. But what might have been, often, in spirit, becomes more than what could have been, even in life left to be lived--as no one has within their feeble power to kill the spirit of that which is.

Two Who Remembered

Most people have forgotten, if they ever knew, that the City has laws against noise. Quite so--real laws, with a fine for their violation, against "loud, excessive or unusual noise in the operation of motor vehicles;" against the operation of motor vehicles unless "equipped with a proper muffler," and against any horn or noise-making device which "emits an excessively loud, unnecessary noise."

Most people, we say, have forgotten, if they ever knew, that the City has such specific laws against noise. But Officers Tennant and Severs haven't forgotten. They pulled four drivers of motor vehicles this week for violating the anti-noise ordinance, and City Police Court did the rest.

Lincoln in Pennsylvania

It is a strange story which comes out of Gettysburg on the anniversary of Lincoln's celebrated speech at the dedication of the National Cemetery, November 19, 1863. The President had not at first been asked to speak, the principal speaker being Edward Everett Hale, who talked for two hours to Lincoln's two minutes. And out of all that crowd Hale, almost alone, seems to have thought particularly well of the speech. All that an old, old man, and an old, old woman who were there as children, can remember themselves or anybody else's remarking was the grotesque appearance of the gaunt old man riding a horse too small for him, with the stovepipe hat on his head.

Strange. "Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth upon this continent a new nation, conceived in liberty, dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal..." You'd have thought that every man there, hearing the simplicity of these words falling through the gray Pennsylvania afternoon, would have guessed that he was listening to an immortal masterpiece.

But, then, they did not much care for simplicity in orators in that time. And they did not much care for Lincoln in that territory. He was not a popular man ever. And to these Pennsylvanians he seemed merely another uncouth and outlandish Westerner. More still, it was only a few months ago that Lee's army's had been in their country, and passion burned hot within them. But there was no anger, no hate, no soaring boast in this man's speech. "The men who struggled here," he said, and drew no distinction, knowing that the gray lay buried there too, forever a part of that soil.

And so, without enthusiasm they heard him, and marveled only at his ungainly appearance as he rode away...

A Long Procession

For 25 years, which would take the century back to '13, Judge William F. Harding has sat on the Superior Court bench. Last Spring, he decided against offering for re-election, and we made our manners to him and his long service on that occasion. This last week he held his final regular term of court.

An assorted lot of cases were tried on his day of departure. They included these charges:

Non-support of illegitimate child
Forgery
Assault
Manslaughter
Storebreaking and larceny
Drunkenness

It would be interesting, if the records were available, to go back to Judge Harding's first day on the bench and find out the nature of the crimes in the cases he heard that day. Probably they ran--

Non-support of illegitimate child
Forgery
Assault
Manslaughter
Storebreaking and larceny
Drunkenness

Judge Harding has had a long and full experience in appraising human nature in distress, and we can't help wondering if he thinks (1) that people as a whole are a pretty sorry lot, or on the whole admirable; (2) that they are getting worse, or getting better, or barely holding their own.

Something to Think About

Cotton is on the way out, was the gist of a speech that Dr. Claudius T. Murchison, president of the Cotton-Textile Institute, made Friday to Duke University's symposium on the economics of the South. He could have added, if it had concerned him, that silk was on the way out, both silk and cotton before synthetic fibers which the chemists have learned to make better than the original natural fibers.

Dr. Murchison didn't say that rayon would supplant cotton by day after tomorrow. Matter of fact, the value of manufactured cotton goods far exceeds the value of rayon and silk and rayon goods, and will for some time to come. But world production of rayon yarn and fiber has quadrupled within the last eight years, and whereas half the world's raw cotton used to come from the United States, nowadays Japan, Italy and Germany, among others, are spinning rayon as fast as they can, and becoming independent of cotton at that same rate.

Cotton retains one great advantage in that it is cheaper than rayon. But since 1929, rayon of an improved quality has come down from $2.13 a pound to 56 in 1936, at which point it compared with cotton yarn at around 30 cents.

Dr. Murchison didn't say, either, that the South's textile industry was acutely jeopardized. He said only that it might become less and less a cotton-textile industry, and that its restlessness and fluid quality might result in some further migration. But he did say that "the implications of this problem" should concern everybody who had anything to do with cotton--growers, shippers, transportation companies, banks, "above all, the men who control the legislative policies of our Government."

'Raus Mit Jehovah!

Adolf Hitler & Co. may save German civilization yet, and release the nations from the looming but highly unwelcome task of having to put down Nazism by the sword--by the simple and admirable device of making themselves so obnoxious to the German people that the latter will hang Adolf and friends out of hand. Certainly, they are heading that way now, and with a vengeance, when, no longer content with having made themselves hated by all the decent men on earth for their own example of cruelty to the Jews, they sail into the doctrines of the Christian religion at home. They have made attacks on churchmen before now, these Nazis; some of them, like Alfred Rosenberg, have roared for a return to the worship of Woden and blood-drinking Thor; some of them have even worked toward that end by introducing a primer into the schools which teach the little Heine's and Berthas to sneer at Jesus as a little Jew.

But they have never dared until yesterday officially to command the Christian church to give over open adherence to a portion of their fundamental creed. But that is exactly what they did command yesterday, when Werner, the Nazi who sits at the head of Supreme Evangelical Church Council, ordered all Protestant churches throughout the land to erase the name of Jehovah and all the Jewish prophets from their structures--from all lintels and altars and windows and pictures and statuary whatever--under the implied threat of having them burned as the Jewish synagogues were burned.

For 2,000 years the Old Testament has been a part of the Christian Bible as certainly as the New Testament. For 2,000 years its prophets, such as Isaiah, who is held by the Christian creed to have foretold the coming of Jesus, have been arranged side by side with the Twelve Apostles. And as for the name of Jehovah--it is not really Jewish at all, but a Christian creation out of the Tetragammaton--the letters, IHVH, which stood for the secret and never uttered name of the Lord God, and which the Jews rendered by means of such euphemisms as Elohim and Adonai. For 2,000 years it has stood for all the Western world as the proper and terrible name of that member of the Holy Trinity, which under the Athanasian Creed, is God the Father, as Jesus Christ is the name of the Son.

More, it is precisely the Protestant church which has always shown the greatest fondness for the Old Testament and its persons. And it is precisely Lutheran Germany which is the birthplace of and great primary home of the Protestant faith in Europe. Old Martin Luther took his great and thundering eloquence straight out of the mouths of the Isaiahs and Jeremiahs.

There had been men, certainly, who destroyed religions and replaced them with others. Constantine did it, despite the Julians. Charlemagne did it with the Saxons. But they were brutish or outworn religions. And do you think the Protestantism of Germany is really that? Do you think that they will really in the end yield to Hitler--the German Lutherans? Look about you at the American Methodists, Baptists, and Presbyterians, the American Lutherans, and imagine them confronted with a similar demand, and answer the question.

Adolf Hitler had better get himself down a book and read the grim words which the God whose name he would wipe out is reported therein once to have addressed to another:

And the heaven that is over thy head shall be brass, and the earth that is under thee shall be iron...

And thy carcase shall be meat unto all fowls of the air, and unto the beasts of the field, and no man shall fray them away...

 


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