Wit, Humor, Reason, Rhetoric, Prose, Poetry and Story woven into
Eight Popular Lectures.
George W. Bain.
PUBLISHED BY THE PENTECOSTAL PUBLISHING COMPANY LOUISVILLE, KY.
GEO. W. BAIN,
Anna M. Bain.
So far as this life is concerned, I can express no better wish for any young man who reads this book, than that he may be wedded to a wife as loyal, loving and helpful to him as mine has been to me.
In offering this book to the public no claim is made to literary merit or originality of thought. It is published with the same purpose its contents were spoken from the platform, namely, to do good.
With the testimony of many, that hearing these lectures helped to shape their lives, came the thought that reading them might help others when the tongue that spoke them is silent.
As a public speaker the author admits, that how to get a grip on his hearers outweighed the grammar of language; that the ring of sincerity and truth in presenting a proposition appealed to him more than relation of pronoun or preposition; besides in the "high school of hard knocks" from which he graduated artistic taste in literature was not taught.
If it is true that "tongue is more potent than pen," then the mysterious power of personality and delivery will be missed in the reading, yet it is hoped the simplicity of the setting of anecdote and argument, incident and experience, facts and figures, story, poetry and appeal will suffice to make this volume attractive and helpful to those who read it, and thus the lives of many may be made brighter and better by the life work of the author.
George W. Bain.
I. Among The Masses, or Traits of Character 9
II. A Searchlight of the Twentieth Century 59
III. Our Country, Our Homes and Our Duty 101
IV. The New Woman and The Old Man 137
V. The Safe Side of Life for Young Men 187
VI. Platform Experiences 233
VII. The Defeat of The Nation's Dragon 273
VIII. If I Could Live Life Over 307
AMONG THE MASSES, OR TRAITS OF CHARACTER.
Whatever criticism I choose to make on human character, I hope to soften the criticism with the "milk of human kindness." As rude rough rocks on mountain peaks wear button-hole bouquets so there are intervening traits in the rudest human character, which, if the clouds could only part, would show out in redeeming beauty.
To begin with, I believe prejudice to be one of the most unreasonable traits in character. It is said: "One of the most difficult things in science is to invent a lense that will not distort the object it reflects; the least deviation in the lines of the mirror will destroy the beauty of a star." How unreliable then must be the distorting lense of human prejudice.
I had a bit of experience during the Civil War which gave me something of that whole-heartedness necessary to the service of my kind. In the twilight of a summer evening, making a sharp curve in a road, about a dozen men confronted me. They were dressed in blue, a color I was not very partial to at that time. I had read that "he that fights and runs away may live to fight another day." It occurred to me that he who would run without fighting might have a still better chance, but the click of gun locks and an order to surrender changed my mind to "safety first" and I was a prisoner of the blue-coated cavalry.
The commanding officer who had me in charge (during my visit) was a Kentucky Colonel. He afterward became a major-general. I looked at him during the remainder of the war from the narrow standpoint of prejudice and cherished revenge in my heart for his having exposed me to the flying bullets of the Confederate pickets, a peril he was not responsible for and of which he knew nothing until I informed him in after years.
A few years after the war our barks met upon the same wave of life's ocean. We became engaged in the same work of reform, I as an advocate of temperance, he as candidate for the presidency of the United States on the prohibition ticket. From the warmth of friendship, my prejudice melted like mist before the morning sun and I found in General Green Clay Smith a combination of the noblest traits in human character.
Whoever would graduate in the highest franchise of being, and realize the royalty that comes of partnership with sovereignty, must have respectfulness of bearing and feeling toward those from whom they differ. We are greatly creatures of education and environment anyway, and until we can unlock the alphabet of a life and sum up the mingling, blending, reciprocal forces that have been playing upon that life, we have no more right to abuse persons for honest convictions than we have to blame them for their parentage.
You do not know the forces that have given direction to the lives of others; if so, you might know why one is a member of this or that church, this or that political party, why one lives north, another south, one on the land, another on the sea.
Some of you may differ with me, but I believe if General Grant had been born in the South, reared and educated in the South, his father had owned a cotton plantation and many slaves, General Grant would have been a Confederate General in the Civil War; while Robert E. Lee if born, reared and educated in New England would have been a Union General. If my opinion is correct, if all you northern people had lived down south, and we southern people had lived north, we would have gotten the better of the conflict instead of you.
If yonder oak, that came from the finest acorn and promised to be the monarch of the forest, was dwarfed by simply a drop of dew; if yonder rolling river, bearing its commerce to sea, was turned seaward, instead of lakeward, by simply a pebble thrown in the fountain-head; why not have consideration for those whose circumstances and early training set in motion convictions differing from ours. God did not intend all the trees to be oaks, or that all the rivers should run in one direction, but He did intend all to make up at last His one great purpose.
Thomas F. Marshall in an address many years ago, to illustrate the differences between people of different sections, said: "If you call a Mississippian a liar, he will challenge you to a duel; call a Kentuckian a liar, he will stab you with a bowie-knife or shoot you down; call an Indianian a liar, he will say, 'You're another;' call a New Englander a liar, he will say, 'I bet you a dollar you can't prove it.'"
Mr. Marshall intended his compliment for the Mississippian and Kentuckian, but really his compliment was to the New Englander. If a man calls you a liar, and you are not a liar, the manliest thing to do is to say, "I challenge you, sir, not on to a field of dishonor, where the better aimed bullet will tell who's a murderer, but I challenge you out into the sunlight of God's truth where I'll prove myself a man and you a slanderer."
I use this to show it is not just to look at character or questions from the narrow standpoint of prejudice.
Then again, we should not judge a person by one trait. There are persons for whom you may do fifty favors, yet make one mistake and they will never forgive you. George Dewey went to the Philippine Islands, remained in the harbor for months, never made a mistake and returned to this country the naval hero of the world; and never were so many babies, horses and dogs named for one man in the same length of time. But one morning the papers came out with the statement that he had deeded to his wife a piece of property some friends had presented to him, and within three days after, when his picture was thrown on a canvas in an opera house in Washington City it was hissed from the audience, and when later on he dared to allow his name used as a candidate for the presidency of the United States, we were ready to smash the hero at once. But we must remember there are very few men able to withstand the world's praises. Indeed there never was but one man who could be successfully lionized and that man was Daniel.
Captain Smith of the Titanic was held responsible by public opinion for the sinking of the great ship and was harshly criticised by the press. His forty years of faithful, careful service on the sea was erased by the one mistake. It was a tremendous one, but let it be said to his credit that experts had declared that a ship with fifteen air-tight compartments could not sink, that if cut into halves both ends would ride the sea. The bulk-head was made to withstand any contact, and Captain Smith never dreamt of danger from icebergs. But when he saw his idol shattered, he did all a brave seaman could do to save human lives. When the last life-boat was launched he came upon a little child who was lost from its parents. He seized a life-belt, buckled it about his waist and taking the child in his arms, jumped into the icy ocean. Holding the child above the water with one hand, he used the other as an oar, and reaching a boat he placed the little one in the arms of a woman. Then returning to his sinking ship, he threw off the life-belt and went down to his death. Who knows but in the great reckoning day, his reward will be "inasmuch as ye did it unto that little one on the sea, ye did it unto me."
The great Joseph Cook had a reputation that caused many to look upon him as one who was all brains and no heart. Before meeting Mr. Cook I was very much prejudiced against him because of what I had heard. I lectured for a teachers' institute at New Wilmington, Pennsylvania, when the great preacher was to follow me the next evening. As I was leaving the county superintendent said to me: "When you reach the main line Joseph Cook will get off the train which you are to take. I wish you would speak to him and give him the name of the hotel where I have reserved a room for him." When I reached the junction, and the great savage looking lecturer stepped from the train, I said to myself: "You can go to any hotel you please, I'll tell you nothing."
Some months later I lectured in Cooper Union Hall in New York City. Just about time to begin the lecture Joseph Cook entered the door and took a seat just inside. When I had talked about ten minutes, he arose and passed out. I thought he was not pleased and the incident did not lessen my unfavorable estimate of the great thinker.
Some three years later Mr. Cook was on our chautauqua program at Lexington, Kentucky. Doctor W.L. Davidson, superintendent of the assembly, requested me to call at the hotel and inform our distinguished visitor of his hour and see to his reaching the chautauqua grounds. With reluctance I went to the hotel and sent my card to his room. He ordered me to be shown up to the room at once. Approaching the door I found it open and Mr. Cook stood facing me. My impression is that politeness was sacrificed in my haste to explain that I was sent to inform him as to the hour of his lecture and to offer to call for him in time to escort him to the grounds.
Extending his hand he said: "Come in and let me make my best bow to you for the service you have rendered the temperance cause. I heard you once for about ten minutes in Cooper Union, when I had an engagement and had to leave. I see you are on the program tomorrow and I shall be there."
After his first lecture, returning to the hotel I said: "Mr. Cook, if I can be of any service to you while you are in our city, please feel at liberty to command me at any time."
He replied: "I order you at once. I am anxious to see the home of Henry Clay and the monument erected to his memory."
Next morning we went to Ashland and then to the cemetery. After visiting the Clay monument, we were passing near where my daughter had been buried only a few months before. When I had called his attention to the sacred spot, Mr. Cook said: "I read Miss Willard's account of her death, and the beautiful tribute paid her in the Union Signal. Please stop a moment."
He left the carriage and going to the grave, took off his hat and stood with uncovered head for a few moments. Then taking his seat beside me in the carriage, he laid his hand on mine and said: "Blessed are the dead that die in the Lord."
With tears rolling down my cheeks I said to myself: "Under the great brain of Joseph Cook beats a tender heart." Not to know him was to misjudge him, while the close touch of friendship revealed one of God's noblemen.
Unity in variety is the order of nature. Out of what seems to us a medley of contradictions come amendments and reconstructions that illustrate the benevolent guardianship of God in working out the problem of creation. Out of the most discordant elements God can bring the most harmonious results. Out of the bitterness and bloodshed of our Civil War has come a more harmonious, united, happy and prosperous people.
It was said of General Grant: "He's an artist in human slaughter. He cares nothing for the loss of men, so he wins the battle." But, General Grant believed the harder the battle the sooner it would be over. When the end came he gave back the sword of Lee, and said to the worn-out Confederate soldiers: "Take your horses with you, you'll need them on your farms. Go back to your homes and peace go with you." That manly strength of character that enables a man to face shot and shell on the battlefield, is not any more sublime than the manly weakness of heart which "weeps with those who weep."
While we should not judge one by a single trait in character we must not overlook the importance of little traits. In this age of great movements, great schemes and great combinations, our young people are disposed to ignore little things. A little thing in this great big age is too insignificant. Yet, we are told it was the cackling of a goose that saved Rome; the cry of a babe in the bull-rushes gave a law-giver to the Jews; the kick of a cow caused the great Chicago fire; the omission of a comma in preparing a bill that passed Congress cost this republic a half million dollars; while the ignoring of a comma in reading a church notice cost a minister quite a bit of embarrassment. Among his announcements was one which ran thus: "A husband going to sea, his wife desires the prayers of this church." The preacher read: "A husband going to see his wife, desires the prayers of this church."
Little things are suggestive of great things. We read that a ship-worm, working its way through a dry stick of wood, suggested to Brunell a plan by which the Thames river could be tunneled. The twitching of a frog's flesh as it touched a certain kind of metal led Galvani to invent the electric battery. The swinging of a spider's web across a garden walk led to the invention of the suspension bridge. The oscillation of a lamp in the temple of Pisa led Galileo to invent the measurement of time by a pendulum. A butterfly's wing suggested the combination of colors. So little things are suggestive of great things in character.
"Boy wanted" was the sign at the entrance to a store. A boy took the sign down and with it in his hand entered the store.
"What are you doing with that sign?" asked the proprietor.
The boy replied: "Well, I'm here, so I brought in the sign."
That boy was given the place. Attention to small things has made many a successful man, while a little temper, a little indifference, a little cigarette, a little drink or some other little thing has been the undoing of many a young man.
What are these little traits in human character? They are matches struck in the dark. Do you know what that means, a match struck in the dark? If not, get up some night when it's pitch dark in the room, run your face up against a half open door, knock the pitcher off the table and spill the cold water on your bare feet, sit down on a chair that's not there, and you'll realize what it means to strike a match. If I were to go into a parlor of one of your finest homes at midnight with all the lights out, I would see nothing, but let me strike a match and beautifully decorated walls, fine paintings, and furniture will meet and greet my vision.
You cannot be very long in the company of anyone until a match will be struck. Of one you will say, "that's good; I'm glad to find such a trait in that person," but directly another match will flare up and you will find another trait as disappointing as the other was commendable, and you are at a loss to know what "manner of man" you are with.
It's a wonder to me when so many characters are so difficult to solve that many young people rush headlong into matrimony without striking a match, except the match they strike at the marriage altar. A girl sees a young man today; he's handsome, talks well, and she falls in love with him, dreams about him tonight, sighs about him tomorrow and thinks she'll surely die if he doesn't ask her to marry him. Yet she knows nothing about his parentage or his character. No wonder we have so many unhappy marriages, so many homes like the one where a stranger knocked at the front door and receiving no response went around to the rear where he found a very small husband and a very large wife in a fight, with the wife getting the better of the battle.
The stranger said: "Hello! who runs this house?"
"That's what we are trying to settle now," shouted the little husband.
My young friends, I will admit love is a kind of spontaneous, impulsive, natural affinity, something after the order of molecular attraction or chemical affinity, but while by the natural law of love, a young woman may see in the object of her affection her ideal of perfection in humanity, she owes volitional conformity to a higher law than natural affinity. She owes to herself, to posterity and to her country a careful study of the character of the young man to whom she should link her life and love.
I believe two dark clouds hanging upon the horizon of this republic to be the recklessness with which life is linked with life at the marriage altar, and the recklessness with which we elect men to offices of public trust. While we have many public men, schooled in the science of government, whom the spoils of office cannot corrupt, we have an army of demagogues who rely upon saloon politics for promotion, and on all moral questions reason with their stomachs instead of their brains. This is especially true in the government of our large cities.
Sam Jones, lecturing in a city noted for its corrupt government said: "Take the political gang you have running this city, put them in a cage, then let the devil pass along and look in and he would say, 'That beats anything I have in my show.'"
We don't seem to realize that every public man is a teacher, every home is a school, and the education received outside the schoolroom is often more effective than the education inside. All the forces and elements of the organism of society are teachers and all life is learning. The birth of an infant into this world is its matriculation into a university, where it graduates in successive degrees. And do you know in this great school of human life, where I come with you to study the traits of our kind, that we never reach a grade that we are not influenced by what touches us? Here I am past fifty years of age (and then "some"), yet I am constantly being influenced by what touches me.
Start a new song with a popular air and it will spread throughout the whole country. Boys will whistle it and girls will sing it. A number of years ago, when at the station ready to leave home for New England, a lad near me began to whistle and then to sing a new song. It was a catchy tune and took hold of me. On the train I found myself trying to hum that tune, then I tried to whistle it, and failing in both attempts I finally gave it up. Two days after I left the train up in a New Hampshire town and took a street car for the hotel. A blizzard was on, but there stood the motorman, muffled to his ears, whistling the same tune I had heard down in Kentucky, "There'll be a hot time in the old town tonight."
When the telephone made its appearance a good Christian man had one installed in his store and during the morning hours of the first day he called up all his friends who had phones, and "Hello! Hello!" took hold of him. He went home to lunch and being a little late he hurried into his chair at the table. With the telephone still on his mind, he bowed his head to return thanks and said: "Hello." He was a good Christian man, but the telephone had taken hold of him.
The very tone of the voice has a tendency to influence and control character. I wonder so many parents train their voices as they do. They have a kind of snap to the tone which they evidently think makes the children and the servants "get a move" on them. Perhaps it does, but at the same time it falls upon a family like frost upon a field of flowers. You pay three dollars to have your piano tuned, yet you train your voice to sound harsh and hard.
How the tone of the voice controls was illustrated in my own home several years ago. I went home in the early spring and found some one had been among my bees and had left the lids of the hives lifted at the time the bees were making brood. Going to the house I said to my wife:
"Where is Charlie?" He was the colored man in charge of the barn and garden.
Mrs. Bain replied: "I suppose he is about the barn; he doesn't stay in the house." I knew that, but somehow we Adams will go to our Eves with anything that goes wrong.
"What's the trouble?" my wife asked.
I told her about the exposure of the bees, (about the effect of which I knew very little) and said:
"I want Charlie to keep out of that apiary. He'll kill every bee I have."
Mrs. Bain in a very gentle manner said: "I did that myself. That's the way father used to do. I was afraid your bees might starve during the long cold spell, so I made some syrup and placed it in the upper compartments. I lifted the lids so that the light would attract the bees up to the syrup. I'm very sorry I did it, but I thought it would please you."
I said: "Well, I believe you did the right thing, my dear, and I am very much obliged to you."
If my wife had said in a harsh tone: "I did that, sir. What are you going to do about it?" then I would have said something.
A little bit of anger let loose in a field of human nature is as destructible to noble impulses and generous feelings as a cyclone is to a town. I was in an Iowa cyclone some years ago and I noticed when it was approaching the people didn't run out of their homes and throw stones at it. They ran for the storm cellars. When you see a bit of anger coming toward you from brother, sister, husband, wife or friend, don't throw a dictionary of aggravating words at it; get out of the way and it will quiet down like the troubled waters of Galilee when "Peace be still" fell upon them.
When we realize how sensitive character is to the touch of influences, and how uncertain the character of the influence that may touch us, how very careful we should be as parents as to what shall touch us, how we shall touch others, who may be fed by our fulness, starved by our emptiness, uplifted by our righteousness or tainted by our sins.
Sometimes a boy is sent to school with the idea that the influence of the teacher will mold the character of the boy, when the magnetic touch by which the faculties of the boy are sprung doesn't come from the teacher, but from some boy on the playground and perhaps not the best boy. Some boys are as potent on the playground as a major-general on a battle-field. Some persons are like loadstones, they draw, others are like loads of stone, they have to be drawn.
I have known down South in the days of slavery, coal black queens of the domestic circle. The cows would come to the cupping as if it were a spiritual devotion. Maiden mistresses would tell them their love stories, when they wouldn't tell their own mothers. I am a southern man, born and reared mid slavery, and I pay this tribute to the black "mammies" of the South before the war. Down there in that hale, hearty colored motherhood was laid the foundation of future health and strength for many a white baby, when otherwise its mother would have had to see it die. Frail, delicate mothers, who because of slavery had not done sufficient work to develop physical womanhood, were not able to nurse their own infants and gave them to the care of vigorous, healthy colored mothers, who took them to their bosoms and nursed them into strength. But for that supplemental supply of vigor, but for that sympathetic partnership in motherhood, much of the most potent manhood of the South would never have been known.
You who lived in the North before the war, and you who are younger and have read about the auction block, the slave driver and the cottonfield cannot understand the attachment between one of these colored mothers and the white boy or girl she nursed. I know whereof I speak, for I revere the memory of my old black mammy.
There are verses, written by whom I do not know, the words of which I cannot recall except a line here and there, hence I take the liberty to supply the missing lines and revise the verses to express my feelings for the slave mammy of my childhood.
"She was only a dear old darkey, In a cabin far away, Down in the sunny Southland, Where sunbeams dance and play. Yet oft in dreams I hear her crooning, Crooning soft and low: 'Sleep on, baby boy, The sleep will make you grow.'
"Oft when tired of fighting In a world so full of wrong; When wearied and worried With the tumult and the throng, I seek again the cabin, Where dwelt a heart of gold And in dreams she loves and pets me, As she did in days of old.
"Oh, my dear old colored mammy, In the cabin far away, Since you rocked me in the cradle Seems forever and a day. Yet in dreams I hear you crooning Above my cradle nest; 'Sleep on, baby boy, Mammy watches while you rest.'"
A white baby, whose mother was ill for months, was given to one of these colored mothers to nurse. After the war the white family moved west. As their child grew up the father and mother often told her about Aunt Hannah, how she loved her, petted her, cooked for her, and drove away her own pickaninnies to let "mammy's baby" sleep.
The girl, when she had grown to womanhood, heard that Aunt Hannah was still living and she longed to see her devoted old colored mammy. Her parents had the same desire, and with other attachments for the old southern home, they went back to Georgia on a visit and to the village where the old woman lived. She was sent for and the old black mammy and the beautiful young girl faced each other. The young lady was disappointed. She expected to see a nice, comely old woman, but there she stod, crippled with rheumatism, gray headed, wrinkled, and poorly clad. The old woman was surprised, for there before her stood a beautiful young woman, with rosy cheeks, blue eyes, auburn locks and queenly form. The father and mother stood near, with tears rolling down their cheeks as memory came surging up like successive waves from out a past hallowed to them, for they could see in that old woman the health and strength of their child.
The old woman broke the silence, saying: "Is dat my chile? Is dat de chile I loved and laid wake wif so many nights and cooked so many sweet things for? Why, bless yo' heart, honey; dese old hands ust to take yo' and hug yo' to dis bosom, but yo's too nice now for dese old hands to eber touch agin."
The young girl said: "No, I'm not, Aunt Hannah. You shall take me in your arms as when I was a little child," and she gave a bound into the old woman's arms.
That does not mean social equality, but it does mean gratitude neither condition nor color can ever bound. If the reciprocities of that old woman and that beautiful girl were such as to weave enrichments into both hearts, why should not all peoples, and all individuals, see in all others but a multiplication of the one each of us is, and that each is enhanced or diminished in value according to the concentrated worth of the whole? If man would stand in his lot of conformity to man, as that old colored woman stood in her lot, it would lift this world to that height from which we could see the one interest, one reciprocal, interdependent, together-woven, God-allied and God-saved humanity.
But in this we fail. Several men, one of them an Irishman, were standing on a street corner when a negro passed. The Irishman said: "Faith, and if I had been makin' humanity for a world, I would niver have made a nager." I suppose in return the negro would not have made the Irishman, nor would the white man have made the Indian or Chinaman, but God made them all and in proportion as we have the philanthropic comprehensiveness to accept them all, and benevolently try to serve them in their places, do we honor the place assigned us in the world's creation. It is not for us to know why God made this or that; He made everything for a purpose.
A father took his boy to an animal show. The lad had never seen a monkey and as they played their pranks about the cage he said: "Father, did God make monkeys?"
When the father replied: "Yes," the boy said: "Well, don't you guess God laughed when he made the first monkey?"
I don't know about that, but if God made the monkey for a joke it was certainly a success. If God had made the monkey for no other purpose than to create laughter it wouldn't have been a mistake. The lachrymal glands were placed in us for sorrow to play upon; we are commanded to "weep with those who weep." In antithesis to this the risable nerves were placed in us for mirthful music, and I pity the one who has broken the keys and cannot laugh.
I believe we owe the Irishman a vote of thanks for the ringing laughs he has sent around the world. An Irishman said to a rich English land-owner:
"Me Lord, I think the world is very unaqually divided; it should be portioned out and each one given an aqual share with ivery other one?"
The Englishman replied: "Well, Pat, if we were to divide today, in ten years I would have ten thousand pounds and you wouldn't have a shilling."
"Then we would divide again," said the Irishman.
On an electric car going out of New York City, a man, who occupied a seat next to the aisle, had a pet monkey in a cage on the seat with him, next to the window. An Irishman boarded the car and seeing all the seats taken he remained standing, holding on to a strap, when suddenly he spied the monkey in the cage. He immediately addressed the man who had the monkey:
"Sir, is that gintleman in the cage paying his fare? If not, I'd like to have the sate."
The owner of the monkey lifted the cage to his lap and moved over, giving the Irishman a seat.
"What's the nationality of that gintleman, anyway?" asked Pat.
By this time the other man was very much out of humor and said: "He's half ape and half Irish."
"Faith, then he's related to both of us," replied the witty son of Erin, and there were two monkeys on that car.
I'll admit this trait of humor comes in sometimes when it is quite embarrassing, as it was to Sam Jones upon one occasion, when in the midst of a sermon before a large audience, he said:
"All you who want to go to heaven, stand up; I'd like to take a look at you."
The audience arose in great numbers. When seated again Mr. Jones said: "Now all you who want to go to the devil, stand and let's have a look at you."
All was silent for a moment and then a tall, lank, lean fellow from the backwoods arose and said: "Well, parson, I don't care anything special about seeing the old chap, but I never desert a friend in trouble, specially a minister, so I guess I'll have to stand with you."
Dr. Frank Gunsaulus told me of a time when he had to laugh under embarrassing circumstances. He was called upon to preach the funeral of a man who had died from the effects of drink. His friends had made a box for the corpse and had placed in the top a ten by twelve window glass to go over the face, but when the time came to put the top on the box, being double-sighted from drink, they reversed the top and had the glass at the foot of the coffin instead of the head.
The preacher took his place, as he supposed, at the head of the deceased, when looking down his eyes fell upon a pair of feet. With great effort he kept his face straight and conducted the service. At the close he invited the friends to view the remains. One stimulated friend walked up to the coffin, shook his head and turning to another said: "Don't look at him, Jim. He's changing very fast and you won't know him."
The great preacher is to be excused if he did laught at that funeral.
It's good to laugh, and yet, while I pay tribute to the trait of humor, I would have the undergirding trait of all traits of character, the trait of principle. Though you may use policy now and then, never use a policy you must get off the heaven-bound express train of principle to use.
I don't like that word policy. There is another and better name for the trait I would present just here, and that is tact. It means the doing of a right thing at the right time and in the right place. Some young men win first honors in college and fail in the business of life for want of tact. Here is where the Yankee excels. The Southerner is genial, generous and has many traits of character to be admired, but he must doff his hat to Yankee character for the development of tact.
Sam Jones, who rarely ever failed to get the best of whoever tried repartee with him, met more than his match when he ran up against Yankee tact. He was raising money to pay off the debt on a church.
A liberal member said: "Mr. Jones, I have given about all I can afford to give, but if you will get one dollar from that old man on the end of the back bench of the 'amen corner,' I'll give you ten dollars more."
"Has he any money, and is he a member of the church?"
"Yes," was the answer to both questions.
The great evangelist said: "Well, that's easy," and started for the dollar.
Approaching the old man he said: "Brother, I'm collecting money for the Lord. You owe him a dollar. I'm told you are an honest man and always pay your debts, so hand over that dollar."
"How old are you, sir?" asked the old man.
When Sam gave his age at about forty, the old brother said: "I'm nearly double your age, sir, and will very likely see the Lord before you do, so I'll just give him the dollar myself."
I lectured in New England a few years ago when before me sat a Yankee with his two sons. He sat between them and when I made a point which he approved, he would nudge the boys. He seemed to be driving my advice in with his elbows. At the close of the lecture I took his hand and said: "I see you have your boys with you."
He replied: "Yes, I always take the two boys with me when I attend a lecture. I presume when a speaker has prepared himself he is going to get about the best things out of his subject, and will put them in a way to take hold and benefit young men. If I were going to get the same information out of books I might have to spend a dollar or two, when I only paid fifteen cents each for them to hear your lecture."
This trait of tact, however, is moving south, and even the colored race is getting hold of it. An old negro who was born on the plantation where he lived when set free, remained after the war in his cabin and worked for the son of his old master. In his old age his memory began to fail and he would neglect to do things he was told to do. The young man was patient with the old negro for quite a while but finally said to him:
"Uncle Dan, you must do better or you and I will have to separate."
The old servant said: "Mars Jim, I does the best I can. I is mighty sorry I forgits things and I'se gwine to try to do better."
But he grew worse and one evening when he failed to do a very important chore, the young man said: "I told you what would happen if you did not do better and the time has come when you and I separate."
Uncle Dan replied: "I'se mighty sorry, Marse Jim. I was here when you was born, and when you growed big enuf I ust to take you on de mule out to de field wif me, and I members how you ust to take de lines and dribe de ole mule. Den when de war broke out and ole Master jined de army, I stayed here and took care ob ole Missus and you chilluns. I shore is mighty sorry we's got to part, but if you says so den its got to be, but look here, Mars Jim, if we's got to part, whar's you counting on moving to?"
By this time tact had done its work, aggravation had melted into forgiveness and the young man said: "I'm not going to move anywhere, Uncle Dan, nor shall you. We'll both stay here on the old plantation together." That was certainly tact on the old man's part.
A young negro, who craved a ride on a railroad train but had no money, crept under the baggage car and fixed himself on the truck. The train started and when at full speed the engine struck a mule and tore the animal to pieces. Part of the mangled remains was carried into the running gear of the baggage car. The engineer stopped the train and commenced pulling out pieces of mule here and there until he reached the baggage car, when, looking under for more of the mule, he saw the white eyes of the negro.
"Come out, you imp, what are you doing under there?" said the engineer.
Back came the tactful reply: "Boss, I wus de fellow what wus ridin' dat mule."
The engineer said: "Well, I guess you've paid your fare; climb into the cab and help me run this train."
I commend to you the cultivation of tact, but don't let it lead you into the meanest trait of character—selfishness. To say,
"Of all my father's family I love myself the best, If Providence takes care of me, who cares what takes the rest?"
In the days when there was a community hearse in a country neighborhood, and carpenters made the coffins, a young man, who was ashamed of the old worn-out hearse, went about soliciting money to purchase a new one. Presenting the purpose to an old man of means, he received from this selfish citizen the reply:
"I won't give you a dollar. I helped to buy the old hearse twenty years ago, and neither me nor my family have ever had any benefit from it."
Against this trait of selfishness I place the most beautiful of all traits—sympathy. I would rather have the record of Clara Barton in the great reckoning day than that of any statesman whose portrait hangs in a hall of fame.
During our Civil War she went from battlefield to battlefield, and was just as kind to the boy in gray as she was to the boy in blue.
After the Civil War Queen Victoria desired to communicate with Clara Barton regarding the same mission of mercy for the German army, where the Queen's daughter was then engaged. But Clara Barton was already on the ocean, and soon after was in the war zone with the German army. She was with the first who climbed the defenses of Strassburg, where she ministered to the wounded and dying. At the close of her work there she took ten thousand garments with her to France. There she waited till the Commune fell and again she was with the first to reach the suffering. In our own war with Spain she went to Cuba, and though then past sixty years of age, she stood among the cots of our wounded and sick soldiers, soothing their sufferings and cheering their hearts.
Still later on in storm-swept Galveston, Texas, she fell at her post of duty and was borne back by loving hands to her home, where she recovered and again resumed her work of love and mercy, to carry it on to the end of her long and useful life.
No wonder the King and court of Germany bestowed upon her medals of remembrance; no wonder the Grand Duchess of Baden placed upon her the "Red Cross of Geneva;" and in the great day of reward, He who bore the cross for us all will place upon Clara Barton the crown of eternal life.
When my wife was president of the House of Mercy, in Lexington, Kentucky, a home for the rescue of fallen girls, she went in her carriage to a dentist with one of the unfortunate inmates.
Soon after a business man of the city said to me: "I hardly see how you can give your consent to have your wife do such work. I saw her recently in her carriage with a girl I would not have my wife seen with for any amount of money."
My reply was: "I would rather my wife should go through the golden gates, bearing in her arms the spirit of a poor girl, snatched from the hell of a harlot's home, than to be the leader of the fashionable four hundred of New York City."
There is a beautiful story told of one of the most influential and wealthy men of England. He inherited fame as well as fortune, had an Oxford education and early in life he was elected a member of Parliament. One evening he sat in his fine library, watching the wood fire build its temples of flame around the great andirons, and as he heard the beating of the wild winter storm against the window pane, his heart went out to the homeless hungry poor of the city. Ordering his carriage he went to the city mission and asked for a helper, and then drove to London Bridge, under the shelter of which the penniless poor gather in time of storms. He took them two by two to shelter, gave them food, and cots on which to sleep, and then returned to his princely home. We are told that for years after, when Parliament would adjourn at midnight, this young man would go through the slums on his way home, that he might relieve some poor child of misfortune.
On Sunday afternoons, while aristocracy lined the boulevards, this son of fortune would take his physician in his carriage and go through the slums, seeking the sick and suffering. One afternoon, while he stood outside a tenement door, awaiting the return of the doctor from a visit to a poor sick soul inside the tenement, he became deeply moved by the ragged children playing in the gutters and reaching into garbage barrels for crusts of bread. He said: "Ah! here's the riddle of civilization. I wish I could help to solve it; perhaps I can."
He began the establishment of "ragged schools" and into these ware gathered thousands of poor children. Then followed night schools for boys who had to work by day. To these schools he added homes for working women, and for these women he persuaded Parliament to give shorter hours of service. He tore down old rookeries, built neat dwellings instead, beneath the windows planted little flower gardens, and rented them to the poor at the same price they had paid for the rookeries.
When he began to fade, as the leaf fades in its autumn beauty, and the day of his departure was at hand, he said: "I am sorry to leave the world with so much misery in it, but I have lived to prove that every kind word spoken, and every good deed done, sooner or later returns to bless the giver."
As the end drew near he said to his daughter: "Read me the twenty-third Psalm, for 'though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil.'"
A few days later Westminster Abbey was crowded with England's nobility to do him honor. When the funeral procession reached Trafalgar Square, thousands of working women stood, with uncovered heads and tearful eyes, to pay their tribute. Children came from the "ragged schools" bearing banners with the motto: "I was naked and ye clothed me." From the hospitals came the motto: "I was sick and ye visited me," while the working girls came with a silk flag on which they had embroidered with their own fingers: "Inasmuch as ye did it unto the least of these, ye did it unto me."
Thus loaded down with the fruits of the Spirit, Lord Shaftsbury died, and yet lives in memory as the noblest embodiment of Christian charity.
That's sweet music when nature hangs her wind-harps in the trees for autumn breezes to play thereon; that must have been sweet music when Jenny Lind so charmed the world with her voice, and when Ole Bull rosined the bow and touched the strings of his violin; that was sweet music when I sat in the twilight on the stoop of my childhood's home and heard the welkin ring with the songs of the old plantation; but the sweetest music in this old world is that which thrills the soul when spoken in "words of love and deeds of kindness." Cultivate the trait of sympathy. The good things you are going to say of your friend when he's dead, say them to him while he's alive. Take care of the living; God will care for the dead.
To the trait of sympathy I would add two grand traits—decision and courage.
"Tender handed touch a nettle. And it stings you for your pains; Grasp it like a man of mettle, Silk it in your hand remains."
The decision to throw over the tea in Boston harbor, to write "Charles Carroll of Carrolton," and the courage to say, "Give me liberty or give me death," gave us this government by and for the people.
"If you come to a river deep and wide, And you've no canoe to skim it; If your duty's on the other side, Jump in, my boy, and swim it."
Have the courage to stand for what you believe to be right. You may have to go ahead of public sentiment at times, but you will be rewarded in having your conviction and conscience with you.
A number of years ago in Boston, I gave a temperance address on Sunday afternoon in Music Hall. At the close of the lecture a friend said to me: "You said some good things but though from the old bourbon State of Kentucky, you are ahead of public sentiment in Boston."
I replied: "Public sentiment does not always indicate what is right even in Boston. On your beautiful Commonwealth Avenue yesterday afternoon I met an elegantly dressed lady, I suppose a wealthy one from her jewels and dress. She had a poodle dog in her arms, with a blue ribbon on its neck. Yet, the same woman wouldn't be caught carrying her six-weeks' old baby down the street for any consideration."
Such is public sentiment in fashionable society in our cities, and yet the highest type of the world's creation is a pure, sweet mother with a babe in her arms, and another holding her apron strings. I think it would be a blessing to home life if an avenging angel should go through this country, smiting every English pug and poodle dog bought to take the place of babies. In their places I would put bright-eyed, rosy cheeked children to greet fathers when they return home from their day's labor.
Battle for the right, remembering that far better is a fiery furnace with an angel for company, than worshiping a brazen image on the plains of Dura.
Some young man may now be saying in his mind, "For me to always stand for the right would be to meet difficulties at every step of the way." Don't get alarmed over difficulties. Half of them are imaginary.
I made my first trip to California thirty-five years ago. One morning I stood on the eastern edge of the plains with a sleeping car berth at my service and a through ticket to San Francisco in my pocket, while the iron horse stood there all harnessed and ready for the journey. Wasn't I in good condition for the trip? Yes, but I saw trouble before me. One can always see trouble who looks for it. I had never been across the plains and before the time for the train to start I walked to the front of the engine and looking along the track as it reached out across the prairie I saw trouble. What was it? Why, six miles ahead the track wasn't wide enough. Yes, I saw it. Then on six miles more the rails came together, with my destination nineteen hundred miles away. Soon the train moved and as we neared the difficulty, the track opened to welcome us. Not a pin was torn up nor a rail displaced. Again I looked ahead and a mountain was on the track, but before I had time to get off the mountain got off. Next came a precipice and the engine making directly for it, but we dodged that and I concluded our train had right of way, so I stuck to the Pullman car and went through all right.
Ever since God made the world principle has had right of way. Get you a through ticket, get on the train, battle for the right and you'll come out victorious in the end.
Napoleon said: "God is on the side of the strongest battalions." He entered Moscow with one hundred and twenty thousand men. Snow began to fall several weeks earlier than usual, the highways were blocked, frost fiends ruled the air, the great French army was broken into pieces and Napoleon had to fly for his life. God taught Napoleon as well as the commander of the great Spanish Armada, that victory is in the hands of Him who rules weather and waves.
The next trait I would mention is contentment. Many persons make themselves miserable by contrasting the little they have with the much that others have, when if they would compare their blessings with the miseries of others it would add to their contentment. Let me give you an old but a good motto: "Never anything so bad, but it might have been worse!"
It is told of a happy hearted old man that no matter what would happen he would say: "It might have been worse." A friend, who wanted to see if the old man would say the same under all circumstances, went into a grocery store where he was seated by a big fire and said:
"Uncle Jim, last night I dreamt I died and was sent to perdition."
Prompt the reply came: "Well, it might have been worse."
When some one asked, "How could it have been worse," he answered: "It might have been true."
Doctor A.A. Willetts, "the Apostle of Sunshine," used to say: "There are two things I never worry over; one is the thing I can help, the other is the thing I can't help." "Count your blessings," was a favorite expression of the same beloved old man.
There are more bright days than cloudy ones, a thousand song birds for every rain-crow, a whole acre of green grass for every grave, more persons outside the penitentiary than inside, more good men than bad, more good women than good men; slavery, dueling, lottery and polygamy are outlawed, the saloon is on the run, the wide world will soon be so sick of war that universal peace, with "good will among men," will prevail, labor and capital will be peaceful partners and human brotherhood will rule in righteousness throughout the world.
"O, this is not so bad a world, As some would like to make it, And whether it is good or bad, Depends on how we take it."
Fanny Crosby, whose gospel hymns are continually singing souls into the kingdom, when but six weeks old lost her sight and for ninety-two years made her way in literal darkness, without seeing the beauties of nature about her, the blue sky with its sun, moon and stars above her, the faces of her loved ones, and yet at ninety-two she said: "I never worry, never think disagreeable things, never find fault with anything or anybody. If in all the world there is a happier being than myself, I would like to shake that one's hand." No wonder out of such contentment came such songs as, "Jesus is calling," "I am Thine, O Lord," "Safe in the arms of Jesus."
How different the cultured young woman, with all her senses preserved, who after passing through a flower garden where perfect sight had feasted on the beauty of the scene said:
"To think of summers yet to come, That I am not to see; To think a weed is yet to bloom, From dust that I shall be."
Poor soul! Instead of enjoying the summer she had, she was coveting all the summers between her and eternity. Instead of thanking God for the immortality of the soul when done with the body, she was disappointed because she couldn't carry the old body along with her. Don't let these things trouble you. Live one summer so you will be worthy to breathe the air of the next if you live to see it; take care of your body so it will make a decent weed if God chooses to make one out of your remains.
Enjoy what you have, don't covet what you have not, thank God for your home on earth, follow Fanny Crosby's receipt for contentment and you will be happy enough to shake hands with her in the "Land of the Leal."
Before I close would you like to have me point you to greatness? In attempting to do so, I would not point you to Congress hall or Senate chamber. You can find greatness anywhere.
That was greatness when John Bartholamew held the throttle of an engine going over the Sierra mountains, with a train load of passengers depending upon his skill and caution, and swinging round a curve he saw the wood-work of a tunnel before him on fire. To attempt to stop the train then, would be to halt in the flames. He threw on more steam and sent the train whizzing through the furnace of fire. Passing out on the other end he was badly burned, but still held the rein of his iron horse. A poem dedicated to this brave engineer closes with the verse:
"I 'spose I might have jumped the train, In thought of saving sinew and bone, And left them women and children To take the ride alone.
"But I thought on a day of recknin', And whatever old John done here, The Lord ain't going to say to him there, 'You went back as an engineer.'"
History of life on the ocean tells us of a ship doomed to go down with four hundred human beings on board. The pumps were not equal to the task of holding the water down to the safety line. The captain said: "We will draw lots for the life-boats, one hundred and twenty will go in them and the remainder must go down with the ship."
One after another drew his lot. A sailor, who had drawn the lot of death, walked to the railing and said to a comrade in a life-boat: "When you reach the shore, see my wife, tell her good-bye for me and help her in getting my back pay, for she will need it," and he stepped back and took his place with the doomed.
Finally the old mate thrust in his brawny hand and drew a lot for the life-boats. He stepped aside to watch those to follow in the drawing, when a very popular officer of the ship drew his lot. He was doomed to go down with the ship. Though a brave man, the thought of his loved ones at home overcame him, and dropping upon his knees he said: "O God, have mercy upon my wife and little children."
The old mate went up to him and taking his hand said: "We have been in many storms together and have been good friends for years. You have a wife and three sweet little children, while I have no one that will rejoice at my coming, nor will any one weep if I never return. It might have been my fate to go down instead of you, and it shall be. You take my lot, and I'll take yours."
The offer was refused, but the mate forced his friend into a boat saying, "Good-bye, I'll die for you like a man."
The greatness of this world doesn't all belong to your Solons, Solomons, Washingtons, Napoleons, Grants, Lees or Gladstones, but yonder in the humbler walks of life are heroes and heroines, who in the final reckoning day, will pale the lustre of some whose names are engraved on marble monuments and whose praises are perpetuated in poetry and song.
If you ask me to point you to greatness I do not direct your minds to historic heights, but that you may win your share of greatness I close this address by saying, wherever your lot in life be cast,
"In the name of God advancing, Plow, sow and labor now; Let there be when evening cometh, Honest sweat upon thy brow.
Then will come the Master, When work stops at set of sun, Saying, as He pays the wages, 'Good and faithful one, well done.'"
A SEARCHLIGHT OF THE TWENTIETH CENTURY.
But a little more than a century ago, the old world laughed at the new. Writers of the old world called our American eagle, "a paper bird, brooding over a barren waste;" yet in what they then called a barren waste, railroads now carry more of the products of the earth, than all the railroads of all the lands, of all the peoples on the face of the earth.
When New England people believed there would never be anything worth having west of the Connecticut River, what if some seer had prophesied that in nineteen hundred there would be a city on Manhattan Island named New York that would rival London, two southwest, Baltimore and Washington to equal Venice, Philadelphia to match Liverpool, Pittsburg and Buffalo to surpass Birmingham, and beyond these a city called Chicago, which in grit and growth would beat anything the old world ever dreamt of; while on still farther west, would be a State named Iowa, in which in nineteen hundred and fourteen, would be produced enough cattle to beef England, enough potatoes to feed Ireland and hogs to "beat the Jews."
What if he had continued; that in the libraries of the barren waste, there would be ten million more books, than in the combined libraries of Europe; that its college students would outnumber the college students of England, France and Germany combined; that its wealth would be great enough to purchase the empires of Russia and Turkey, the kingdoms of Norway, Sweden, Denmark and Switzerland, with South Africa and all her diamond mines thrown in, and then have enough left to buy a dozen archipelagoes at twenty millions each, and still have the wealth of the republic growing at the rate of five millions of dollars every twenty-four hours. What a land in which to live! Think of it; less than a century and a half ago, Liberty and England's runaway daughter, Columbia, took each other "for better or for worse, forever and for aye" and started down time's rugged stream of years. George Washington, then Chief Magistrate, performed the ceremony, and what he joined together time has not put asunder. It was not a wedding in high life, such as shakes the foundation of fashionable society today, but rather more like the swearing away of a verdant country couple, in some Gretna Green, with no other capital than youth, health and trusting confidence. We have had some domestic discords; once a very serious family row, but I of the South, join you of the North, in thanks to God, the application for divorce was not granted, and we are still a united republic.
The memories which followed that civil strife were so bitter, doubtless many of you northern brethren believed the men who surrendered at Appomattox were not any too sincere, and if we should ever have war with any foreign country, the north, east and west would have to furnish the patriotism, for the South would never again march under the stars and stripes. But when the Spanish-American war broke out, the first boy to pour out his heart's blood for his country's flag, was Ensign Bagley, of North Carolina. The young man who penetrated the Island of Cuba, 'mid Spanish bayonets and bullets, and searched out Cevera and his fleet in the harbor was Victor Blue, the son of a Confederate soldier. The young man who sank the Merrimac, Captain Richmond Pearson Hobson, was the son of another Confederate. Our Consul in Cuba, whose patriotism no one ever doubted, was General Fitzhugh Lee, and the old man who planted the flag in the tree-tops around Santiago, and led two negro regiments into the battle, was fighting Joe Wheeler of the Confederate army.
If I were to close here, what an optimistic picture would be left in the glow of the century's searchlight. But alas! we have unsolved problems of imperial moment, and my purpose is to throw the searchlight upon a few of these unsolved problems.
First, being a southern man, I shall turn it upon the Race Problem.
A century ago the Indian question was a perplexing problem, but it cuts but little figure now, for the Indian is nightly pitching his moving tepee a day's march nearer the sunset shore, where one more shove, and,
"Mad to life's history Glad to death's mystery,"
the red race will go, to where the pale face will cease from troubling, and the weary spirit will find its rest at last.
The Chinese question is of equal insignificance, since our doors are closed and barred against the almond eyes of the Orient.
The Negro question seems to be the race riddle of our civilization and it will take much tact, patience and wisdom to solve the problem. It may be a revelation to some of you to know, that at the rate the negro race has grown since the Civil War, when the twentieth century goes out, there will be sixty millions of negroes in one black belt across the Southland. I say across the Southland because, the main body of the negro race will never leave the track of the southern sun. The South held the negro in slavery, the North set him free. We supposed at the close of the war, he would leave the South and go to live among his liberators. But after half a century, he is still clinging to the cotton and the cane, or sitting in his log house home, the "shadowed livery of the burning sun" upon his brow, the plantation song still lingering on his lips, the banjo tuned to memory's melodies on his knee, a clump of kinky-headed pickaninnies playing in the sand about his cabin door, and there he sits multiplying the Southland and problemizing the century.
I have not time to discuss at length the solution of the problems before us, but I hope to present them in such a manner as will help you to appreciate their importance and how they are linked with the destiny of the republic.
It seems to me exaltation of character, dignification of labor, material prosperity, leaving social equality to take care of itself, makes up the best solution of the negro problem. Social equality does take care of itself even among the white races. Some of you may have a white servant who is a good woman, a Christian woman, you expect to meet her in heaven (if you get there), but she is not admitted to your social set.
There is a vast difference between social rights and civil rights. Near Lexington, Ky., where I claim my home, is the country residence of J.B. Haggin, the multi-millionaire horseman. Soon after the completion of his mansion home, he gave a reception which cost thousands of dollars. The "first cut" of society came from far and near, but I was not invited, nor did I feel slighted, for I had no claim upon the millionaire magnate socially. But when I meet the great turf-king on the turnpike, he in his limozine and I in my little runabout, I say, "Mr. Haggin, give me half the road, sir." Inside his gates I have no claim, but outside, the turnpike's free, and J.B. Haggin can't run over me. So the negro has no claim on the white man for social equality, but he has a right to the key of knowledge and a chance in the world.
Slavery was not an unmixed evil. Like the famed shield it had two sides. While it had its blighting effects it had its blessings. In bondage the negro was taught to speak the English language, and in childhood had the association of white children with their southern home training. They were taught two valuable lessons, industry and obedience, without which liberty means license. The negro was compelled to work and obey, two lessons the Indian never had and never respected. Beside these valuable lessons the negro was taught the fundamental principles of Christianity and at the opening of the war nearly every negro belonged to some church. Their preachers used to get their dictionary and Bible very amusingly mixed at times. Elder Barton exhorting his hearers said: "Paul may plant and Apolinarus water, but if you keeps on tradin' off your birthright for a pot of Messapotamia you'se gwine to git lost. You may go down into de water and come up out ob de water like dat Ethiopian Unitarium, but if you keeps on ossifyin' from one saloon to another; if you keeps on breakin' the ten commandments to satisfy your appetite for chicken; if you keeps on spendin' your time playing craps, the fourteenth amendment ain't gwine to save you. Seben come elebin never took a man to Heben. I want you to understand dat." Yet from such crudeness of expression has come preaching, remarkable for thought as well as scholarship and eloquence, while out of the suffering of slavery, through the law of compensation, we have matchless melodies in negro choirs and negro concert companies.
Leaders of thought may differ as to the methods of solution, but upon one thing all must agree. The net-work of our republic is such that if one suffers all suffer, and the negro is so interwoven with the various interests of our National life, we must level the race up or it will level the white race down. The lower classes must be lifted to the tableland of a better life, where they can breathe the pure air of intelligence and morality, or they will pollute the whole body politic. They must also acquire property. Economy is a lesson the negro race needs to learn. This lesson was well presented to a drunken white man by a sober old negro. The white man spent his money for liquor, and then started for home. Reaching a river he must cross by ferry, he found he had spent his last penny for drink. Seeing an old colored man seated at a cabin door near by, he turned toward the cabin. Nearing the old man he said:
"Uncle, would you loan me three cents to cross the ferry?"
"Boss, ain't you got three cents?"
"I ain't got one cent," replied the white man.
"Well, you can't git the three cents. Ef you ain't got three cents, you'se just as well off on one side de river as you is on de other."
I said we may differ as to methods for solving this race problem. Remembering as I do the days of slavery, how in Christian homes the most merciful masters and the most faithful slaves were found, I believe the best solution lies in the golden rule of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
I now give the searchlight a swing and it falls upon the City Problem.
At the opening of the nineteenth century three per cent. of the people of this country lived in cities, ninety-seven per cent. in the country. At the rate migration is now going from country to city in twenty years there will be ten millions more people in the cities than in the country. This means a change of civilization, and new problems to solve. It means a day when cities will control in state and national elections, and if ignorance and vice control our cities, then virtue and intelligence as saving influences will not suffice to save us. The ignorance prominent in the machinery of large cities is illustrated by the police force of New York City. When applicants for positions on the police force were being tested a few years ago, the question was asked: "Name four of the six New England States." Several replied: "England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales." Another question was: "Who was Abraham Lincoln?" As many as ten answered: "He was a great general." One said: "He discovered America;" another said: "He was killed by a man name Garfield;" and another's answer was, "He was shot by Ballington Booth."
The growth of large cities means the growth of slum-life. Hear me, you who live out in the uncrowded part of the country. Maud Ballington Booth tells of finding five families, living in one attic room in New York City, with no partitions between. Here they "cook, eat, sleep, wash, live and die," in the one room. In our large cities are armies of children, whose shoulders "droop with parental vice," whose feet are fast in the mire of miserable conditions, whose hovel homes line the sewers of social life, and who are cursed and doomed by inheritance.
Some twenty or more years ago, a Chicago paper that had money behind it, and could have been sued for damages said: "The man who controls the purse strings of this city, the school board and board of public works, is the vilest product of the slums, a saloon keeper, a gambler, a man a leading citizen of this city would not invite into his home." That man then controlled the purse strings of the great city of Chicago. I am glad to say a better man holds the place today. Hannibal could not save Carthage; Demosthenes could not save Greece; Jesus himself could not save Jerusalem. Can we save the cities of this republic?
Yet our lads and lassies are eager to leave the country and go to large cities, where gas-lit streets are thronged with humanity and entertainments provided every hour.
A country boy said to me: "Mr. Bain, you go everywhere; you see everything; I live out here in the country and see nothing." I have tried it all. For about twenty-eight years I lived in the country. Since then my life has been in cities and on railroad trains between the oceans. My experience is, there is no life that keeps the heart so pure and the mind so contented as life in the country.
Some years ago I gave two addresses at Ocean Grove, New Jersey, on Saturday evening a popular lecture, and on Sunday an address to young men. I had the popular lecture made but not the Sunday talk. For three months I promised myself to get that lecture but kept on delaying. As I neared the time I hoped something would prevent my going. The time came, I was at Ocean Grove, knew I would have a great audience, for the day was ideal, and still I did not have the lecture except in skeleton form. After breakfast Sunday I began to walk the floor, working out clothing for that skeleton and racking my brain for climaxes. My wife was with me and she never would worry over my having nothing to say. Into every sentence I would weave she would inject a piece of her mind about home or children or some woman's dress or bonnet. I said: "This is a trying time with me, won't you take a stroll along the beach and let me be alone today?" Like a good wife she gratified my request, and left me to work and worry over that lecture. At four o'clock p.m., I could not see daylight, and in the darkness cried out: "O Lord, if you will help me this time I won't ask you again for awhile." The Lord did help me. My friends said I never did so well as that evening. At the close of the lecture the audience arose and handkerchiefs, like so many white doves, fluttered in the air. In the midst of that scene, an old superannuated minister of the New York Methodist Conference planted a kiss on my cheek, and I have wondered often, why a man should have thought of that instead of a woman.
At the close of the service a friend said: "That must have been the proudest moment of your life, for surely I never witnessed such a scene."
I said: "No, I can recall one that was greater than the white lilies."
Away back in Bourbon county, Kentucky, when I was not quite twenty I was married to a girl of nineteen. Soon after, we went to housekeeping in a country home. It was supper time. I had fed the chickens and horses, and washed my face in a tin pan on the kitchen steps, when a sweet voice said: "Come, supper's ready." As I entered the dining room my young wife came through the kitchen door, the coffee pot in her hand, her cheeks the ruddier from the glow of the cook stove, her face all lit up with expectancy as to what her young husband would think of his first meal prepared by his wife. All the operas I have heard since, and all the cities I have seen, dwindle into insignificance compared with that pure, peaceful home in the country.
Another sweep of the searchlight brings us to the Immigration Problem. We are today the most cosmopolitan country of the world. At the rate of a million a year immigrants are pouring in upon us, and no wonder they come, when they read of the marvelous fortunes made in the new world; of Mackay a penniless boy in the old world, worth fifty millions at middle life in America; A.T. Stewart peddling lace at twenty, a merchant prince at fifty; Carnegie a poor Scotch lad at eighteen, a half billionaire at seventy. These with many more such results on a smaller scale, rainbow the sky that spans the sea, and from the other end, this end is seen pouring its gold and greatness into the lap of the land of the free. So they come, and though they do not find all they expected, they do find far more here than they left behind, and writing letters back over the ocean, they set others wild with a desire to live in America. Many of them are excellent people; their children go into our public schools and come out with ours, one in thought, one in purpose, one in feeling. A little boy in Chicago said:
"Papa, you were born in England?"
"And mama was born in Scotland?"
"And you had a king at the head of your armies?"
"Well! we licked you all the same."
The children of our foreign born citizens in our public schools are intensely American. A boy who was born in this country but whose parents were foreign born, was for some misdemeanor chastised by his father. When his playmates teased him he said: "Oh, the whipping didn't count for much, but I don't like being licked by a foreigner."
There is another class coming to our country not only injurious but dangerous. They bring with them the heresies of the lands they hail from. They do not come to be American citizens. There is not an American hair in their heads, or an American thought in their minds. Every drop of blood in their veins, beats to the music of continental customs, and they come prepared to sow and grow the seeds of anarchy. Many come with tags on their backs giving their destination; not to build American homes; not to learn our language; not to obey our laws, or honor our institutions, but to undermine the honest laboring classes who toil to build homes and educate and clothe their children. I say, take off their tags and let them tag back home. Out of this class came the men who cheered to the echo a speaker in Chicago when he said: "I am in favor of dynamiting every bank vault in this city and taking the money we are entitled to." Out of such schools of anarchy, came the man who crossed the sea from Patterson, New Jersey, to send a bullet through the heart of King Humbert, and out of this class came the teachers, who shrouded our land with shame and sorrow in Buffalo, New York.
Just here, I congratulate the spirit of William McKinley upon its auspicious flight to the spirit world. There is no better time and place for one to die, than at the summit of true greatness, "enshrined in the hearts of his countrymen, at peace with his God," the sun of his life going down, "before eye has grown dim or natural force has abated." Take him from the time he entered the army, where his commanding general said: "A night was never so dark, storm never so wild, weather never so cold as to interfere with his discharge of every duty." From this time on, as lawyer, commonwealth's attorney, congressman, governor, and president, he was a Jonathan to his friends, a Ruth to his kindred, a Jacob to his family, a Gideon to his country. Take him in private life where an intimate friend said: "I never heard him utter a word his wife or mother might not have heard; I never heard him speak evil of any man." Take him when stricken down by an assassin, hear him say: "Let no man harm him; let the law take its course; good-bye to all; God's will be done," and in his last conscious moments chanting "Nearer my God to Thee," and you have one of the most touching stories of this old world. All honor to our martyred president, William McKinley.
What a shame that in a land whose constitution guarantees life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness to the humblest citizen, the life of its chief executive is not safe, though guarded by detectives and surrounded by devoted friends. Until the country is rid of organized anarchy it would be well to abandon free-for-all hand-shaking.
When Senator Hoar made his speech in the United States Senate against anarchy he said: "It would be well if the nations of the earth would combine together, purchase an island in the sea, place all anarchists on that island, and let them run a government of their own." An Irishman said: "I'm not in favor of any sich thing; I am in favor of gathering thim up all right, takin' thim out in the middle of the ocean, dumpin' them out, and letin' thim find their own island."
Out of the personal liberty league, which is but another form of anarchy, came the man who in an address a few years ago said: "This republic is our hunting ground and the American Sabbath shall be our hunting day. Down with the American Sabbath!"
It has been well said: "The Sabbath is the window of our week, the sky-light of our souls, opened by divine law and love, up through the murk and cloud and turmoil of earthly life to the divine life above." Whoever would destroy the Sabbath day is undermining the republic, and any man who does not like the restrictions of our Sabbath, can find a vessel leaving our ports about every day in the year. He can take passage any day he chooses, and as the vessel steams out we can afford to sing, "Praise God from whom all blessings flow."
Another move of the searchlight and we have The Expansion Problem.
Yonder in the Philippine Islands are seventy different tribes, speaking many languages. How to mold them into one common whole, loyal to one flag is a mighty problem; and yet I am one of those who believe God intends this American republic shall be a standard-bearer of civilization to the darkest corners of the earth. I do not mean by this that I advocate imperialism from the standpoint of wider domain. Indeed I am disposed to dodge the question of imperialism, as I dodged the money question in Colorado when the question was the issue in politics. I gave three addresses for the Boulder, Colorado, Chautauqua when the money question was the all-absorbing one in the west. At the close of my second address I was introduced to the superintendent of the railroad that runs over the Switzerland trail. He said: "I understand your wife is here, and I will be pleased to have you and Mrs. Bain as my guests tomorrow." I knew that meant a free ride and I accepted. The next morning we were at the station at the appointed hour and after a wonderful ride mid scenic grandeur up to where eagles nest, and blizzards hatch out their young, our host said: "I want you to have the most thrilling ride you ever had, and at the next station be ready to leave the train." As the brakes gripped the wheels, and the train rested on the eye-brow of the mountain height, we stepped off. A hand car was taken from the baggage car and the train moved on up the trail. While Mrs. Bain was captivated by the mountains, I was looking at that hand car, without any handles on it, a flat truck with four wheels. The superintendent said: "Will you help me lift this on to the track?" I said: "Yes, but what are you going to do with it?" When he said: "Going down the mountain to where we came from," I said, "What will we hold to?" "To each other," he replied, and I could see he was enjoying Mrs. Bain's placidness and my apprehension of trouble ahead.
Determined to sustain Kentucky's reputation for courage I said no more, but hoped Mrs. Bain would come to my relief since she knew her husband was given to dizziness when riding backwards or swinging round sudden curves. She said: "Isn't this a grand sight?" I said: "Yes, it's grand, but we are going down the mountain on this hand car." "That will be fine," was all the comfort she gave me.
Though I have traveled close to a million miles behind the iron horse I cannot ride backwards on a railroad train. In that respect I am like the husband who when about to die said to his wife: "I want to make a special request of you, and that is, see that I am buried face down; it always did make me sick to travel backwards." When a boy I could not swing as could other boys. My head is not level on my shoulders. I have never crossed the ocean and never will. I cannot ride the rolling waves. Some years ago when out on a little coast ride for pleasure, (if that's what you call it) I said to the captain: "How long till we reach the shore?" When he answered forty minutes, I felt I couldn't live that long. But I did, and when the boat touched the wharf I felt as the old lady did who landed from her first ocean trip saying: "Thank the Lord, I'm on vice-versa again."
When Mrs. Bain had seated herself on one side of that hand car I fixed myself on the other, gripping the edge of the car. Off went the brake and we started. In a few minutes I said to myself: "Farewell vain world, I'm going home." As we ran along the wrinkle of the mountain, and swung out toward the point of a crag with seemingly no way to dodge the mighty abyss below, I was reminded of the preacher's mistake, when in closing a meeting with the benediction he said: "To Thy name be ascribed all the praises in the world with the end out." Around frost-filed mountain crags, over spider bridges, through sunless gorges, we went down that mountain like an eagle swooping from a storm. When we reached Boulder, Mrs. Bain jumped from the car like a school-girl and while she was thanking our host, I was thanking kind Providence that we were back in Boulder. On our way to the hotel I said: "Were you not frightened when we started down that mountain?" "Why not at all," Mrs. Bain replied; "I knew the superintendent would not invite us to take the ride unless it was safe."
I said: "Well, you had more confidence in him than you have in me. When I call at the door with a new horse in the carriage or phaeton, you won't get in until you know all about the horse."
"Yes," she said, "but I know you."
I do not regret having had that thrilling experience, but I do feel by that hand car ride, as the Dutchman felt about his twin babies. He said: "I wouldn't take ten thousand dollars for dot pair of twins, and I wouldn't give ten cents for another pair."
That evening I gave my last lecture at Boulder and in closing said: "I suppose you who live mid these mines would like to know how I stand on the money question." They cheered, showing their desire to know my views on the then popular question, and I proceeded to dodge by saying: "Last evening I stood on yonder veranda watching the sun as it went down over the mountain's brow, leaving its golden slipper on Flag Staff Peak. Colorado clouds, shell-tinted by the golden glory of the setting sun, were hanging as rich embroideries upon the blue tapestry of the sky, and soon the full moon began to pour its silver on the scene. As I stood gazing at the picture painted by the gold of the sun, and silver of the moon, I felt whatever may have been my views on the money question, the sun's gold-standard glory, and the moon's free-silver coinage, as seen from these Colorado Chautauqua grounds make me henceforth a Boulder bi-metalist."
On leaving the platform an old miner said: "How do you stand on the money question? You got your views so mixed up with the sun and moon I couldn't understand you."
So if some one should say to me: "Do you believe in imperialism of humanity:" If asked: "Do you believe in expansion," my answer is; "I believe in the expansion of human brotherhood." "I believe there's a destiny that shapes our ends," and since the Philippine Islands were pitched into our lap in a night, it may be it was done that the home, the church and the school might have a chance under civil liberty in the Philippine Islands. With boundless resources and immense means, are linked great responsibilities, and we who live in freedom's land, and humanity's century, are under obligations to help carry the light of Christian civilization to the darkest corners of the earth.
Along with the Christian missionary goes that other "pathfinder of civilization," the commercial traveler, who is known as the "evangel of peaceful exchange" that makes the whole world kin. When the Filipinos are fit for self-government, let us do as we did Cuba, make them as free as the air they breathe, but keep the key to Manila Bay as our doorway to the Orient; for whatever may be said of the old "Joss House" kingdom with all her superstitions, she possesses today the "greatest combination of natural conditions for industrial activity of any undeveloped part of the globe." By building the Suez Canal England secured an advantage of three thousand miles, in her oriental trade over the United States. The Panama Canal wipes out this advantage and places the trade of New York a thousand miles nearer than that of Liverpool.
Now let the United States build her own merchant marine, then with her own ships, loaded with her own goods, in her own harbor at Manila, she has easy access to the Orient, with its seven hundred and fifty millions of people, who purchased last year more than a billion and a half dollars worth of the kind of goods we have to sell, and much of it cotton goods, which means future employment for the growing millions of negroes in the South. While it may be best to confine our territorial domain within our ocean ditches, we must encourage commercial expansion, for we have already one hundred millions of people; soon we will have one hundred and fifty millions, and experts tell us when the present century closes there will be three hundred millions in this country. If this republic would build for the future she must strive to create a world-wide business fraternity, through which will go and grow the spirit of the noblest civilization of the world.