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   Chapter 36 THE PALO ALTO BALL

54-40 or Fight By Emerson Hough Characters: 31952

Updated: 2017-11-30 00:04

A beautiful woman pleases the eye, a good woman pleases the heart; one is a jewel, the other a treasure.-Napoleon I.

On the evening of that following day in May, the sun hung red and round over a distant unknown land along the Rio Grande. In that country, no iron trails as yet had come. The magic of the wire, so recently applied to the service of man, was as yet there unknown. Word traveled slowly by horses and mules and carts. There came small news from that far-off country, half tropic, covered with palms and crooked dwarfed growth of mesquite and chaparral. The long-horned cattle lived in these dense thickets, the spotted jaguar, the wolf, the ocelot, the javelina, many smaller creatures not known in our northern lands. In the loam along the stream the deer left their tracks, mingled with those of the wild turkeys and of countless water fowl. It was a far-off, unknown, unvalued land. Our flag, long past the Sabine, had halted at the Nueces. Now it was to advance across this wild region to the Rio Grande. Thus did smug James Polk keep his promises!

Among these tangled mesquite thickets ran sometimes long bayous, made from the overflow of the greater rivers-resacas, as the natives call them. Tall palms sometimes grew along the bayous, for the country is half tropic. Again, on the drier ridges, there might be taller detached trees, heavier forests-palo alto, the natives call them. In some such place as this, where the trees were tall, there was fired the first gun of our war in the Southwest. There were strange noises heard here in the wilderness, followed by lesser noises, and by human groans. Some faces that night were upturned to the moon-the same moon which swam so gloriously over Washington. Taylor camped closer to the Rio Grande. The fight was next to begin by the lagoon called the Resaca de la Palma. But that night at the capital that same moon told us nothing of all this. We did not hear the guns. It was far from Palo Alto to our ports of Galveston or New Orleans. Our cockaded army made its own history in its own unreported way.

We at the White House ball that night also made history in our own unrecorded way. As our army was adding to our confines on the Southwest, so there were other, though secret, forces which added to our territory in the far Northwest. As to this and as to the means by which it came about, I have already been somewhat plain.

It was a goodly company that assembled for the grand ball, the first one in the second season of Mr. Polk's somewhat confused and discordant administration. Social matters had started off dour enough. Mrs. Polk was herself of strict religious practice, and I imagine it had taken somewhat of finesse to get her consent to these festivities. It was called sometimes the diplomats' ball. At least there was diplomacy back of it. It was mere accident which set this celebration upon the very evening of the battle of Palo Alto, May eighth, 1846.

By ten o'clock there were many in the great room which had been made ready for the dancing, and rather a brave company it might have been called. We had at least the splendor of the foreign diplomats' uniforms for our background, and to this we added the bravest of our attire, each one in his own individual fashion, I fear. Thus my friend Jack Dandridge was wholly resplendent in a new waistcoat of his own devising, and an evening coat which almost swept the floor as he executed the evolutions of his western style of dancing. Other gentlemen were, perhaps, more grave and staid. We had with us at least one man, old in government service, who dared the silk stockings and knee breeches of an earlier generation. Yet another wore the white powdered queue, which might have been more suited for his grandfather. The younger men of the day wore their hair long, in fashion quite different, yet this did not detract from the distinction of some of the faces which one might have seen among them-some of them to sleep all too soon upturned to the moon in another and yet more bitter war, aftermath of this with Mexico. The tall stock was still in evidence at that time, and the ruffled shirts gave something of a formal and old-fashioned touch to the assembly. Such as they were, in their somewhat varied but not uninteresting attire, the best of Washington were present. Invitation was wholly by card. Some said that Mrs. Polk wrote these invitations in her own hand, though this we may be permitted to doubt.

Whatever might have been said as to the democratic appearance of our gentlemen in Washington, our women were always our great reliance, and these at least never failed to meet the approval of the most sneering of our foreign visitors. Thus we had present that night, as I remember, two young girls both later to become famous in Washington society; tall and slender young Térèse Chalfant, later to become Mrs. Pugh of Ohio, and to receive at the hands of Denmark's minister, who knelt before her at a later public ball, that jeweled clasp which his wife had bade him present to the most beautiful woman he found in America. Here also was Miss Harriet Williams of Georgetown, later to become the second wife of that Baron Bodisco of Russia who had represented his government with us since the year 1838-a tall, robust, blonde lady she later grew to be. Brown's Hotel, home of many of our statesmen and their ladies, turned out a full complement. Mr. Clay was there, smiling, though I fear none too happy. Mr. Edward Everett, as it chanced, was with us at that time. We had Sam Houston of Texas, who would not, until he appeared upon the floor, relinquish the striped blanket which distinguished him-though a splendid figure of a man he appeared when he paced forth in evening dress, a part of which was a waistcoat embroidered in such fancy as might have delighted the eye of his erstwhile Indian wife had she been there to see it. Here and there, scattered about the floor, there might have been seen many of the public figures of America at that time, men from North and South and East and West, and from many other nations beside our own.

Under Mrs. Polk's social administration, we did not waltz, but our ball began with a stately march, really a grand procession, in its way distinctly interesting, in scarlet and gold and blue and silks, and all the flowered circumstance of brocades and laces of our ladies. And after our march we had our own polite Virginia reel, merry as any dance, yet stately too.

I was late in arriving that night, for it must be remembered that this was but my second day in town, and I had had small chance to take my chief's advice, and to make myself presentable for an occasion such as this. I was fresh from my tailor, and very new-made when I entered the room. I came just in time to see what I was glad to see; that is to say, the keeping of John Calhoun's promise to Helena von Ritz.

It was not to be denied that there had been talk regarding this lady, and that Calhoun knew it, though not from me. Much of it was idle talk, based largely upon her mysterious life. Beyond that, a woman beautiful as she has many enemies among her sex. There were dark glances for her that night, I do not deny, before Mr. Calhoun changed them. For, however John Calhoun was rated by his enemies, the worst of these knew well his austerely spotless private life, and his scrupulous concern for decorum.

Beautiful she surely was. Her ball gown was of light golden stuff, and there was a coral wreath upon her hair, and her dancing slippers were of coral hue. There was no more striking figure upon the floor than she. Jewels blazed at her throat and caught here and there the filmy folds of her gown. She was radiant, beautiful, apparently happy. She came mysteriously enough; but I knew that Mr. Calhoun's carriage had been sent for her. I learned also that he had waited for her arrival.

As I first saw Helena von Ritz, there stood by her side Doctor Samuel Ward, his square and stocky figure not undignified in his dancing dress, the stiff gray mane of his hair waggling after its custom as he spoke emphatically over something with her. A gruff man, Doctor Ward, but under his gray mane there was a clear brain, and in his broad breast there beat a large and kindly heart.

Even as I began to edge my way towards these two, I saw Mr. Calhoun himself approach, tall, gray and thin.

He was very pale that night; and I knew well enough what effort it cost him to attend any of these functions. Yet he bowed with the grace of a younger man and offered the baroness an arm. Then, methinks, all Washington gasped a bit. Not all Washington knew what had gone forward between these two. Not all Washington knew what that couple meant as they marched in the grand procession that night-what they meant for America. Of all those who saw, I alone understood.

So they danced; he with the dignity of his years, she with the grace which was the perfection of dancing, the perfection of courtesy and of dignity also, as though she knew and valued to the full what was offered to her now by John Calhoun. Grave, sweet and sad Helena von Ritz seemed to me that night. She was wholly unconscious of those who looked and whispered. Her face was pale and rapt as that of some devotee.

Mr. Polk himself stood apart, and plainly enough saw this little matter go forward. When Mr. Calhoun approached with the Baroness von Ritz upon his arm, Mr. Polk was too much politician to hesitate or to inquire. He knew that it was safe to follow where John Calhoun led! These two conversed for a few moments. Thus, I fancy, Helena von Ritz had her first and last acquaintance with one of our politicians to whom fate gave far more than his deserts. It was the fortune of Mr. Polk to gain for this country Texas, California and Oregon-not one of them by desert of his own! My heart has often been bitter when I have recalled that little scene. Politics so unscrupulous can not always have a John Calhoun, a Helena von Ritz, to correct, guard and guide.

After this the card of Helena von Ritz might well enough indeed been full had she cared further to dance. She excused herself gracefully, saying that after the honor which had been done her she could not ask more. Still, Washington buzzed; somewhat of Europe as well. That might have been called the triumph of Helena von Ritz. She felt it not. But I could see that she gloried in some other thing.

I approached her as soon as possible. "I am about to go," she said. "Say good-by to me, now, here! We shall not meet again. Say good-by to me, now, quickly! My father and I are going to leave. The treaty for Oregon is prepared. Now I am done. Yes. Tell me good-by."

"I will not say it," said I. "I can not."

She smiled at me. Others might see her lips, her smile. I saw what was in her eyes. "We must not be selfish," said she. "Come, I must go."

"Do not go," I insisted. "Wait."

She caught my meaning. "Surely," she said, "I will stay a little longer for that one thing. Yes, I wish to see her again, Miss Elisabeth Churchill. I hated her. I wish that I might love her now, do you know? Would-would she let me-if she knew?"

"They say that love is not possible between women," said I. "For my own part, I wish with you."

She interrupted with a light tap of her fan upon my arm. "Look, is not that she?"

I turned. A little circle of people were bowing before Mr. Polk, who held a sort of levee at one side of the hall. I saw the tall young girl who at the moment swept a graceful curtsey to the president. My heart sprang to my mouth. Yes, it was Elisabeth! Ah, yes, there flamed up on the altar of my heart the one fire, lit long ago for her. So we came now to meet, silently, with small show, in such way as to thrill none but our two selves. She, too, had served, and that largely. And my constant altar fire had done its part also, strangely, in all this long coil of large events. Love-ah, true love wins and rules. It makes our maps. It makes our world.

Among all these distinguished men, these beautiful women, she had her own tribute of admiration. I felt rather than saw that she was in some pale, filmy green, some crêpe of China, with skirts and sleeves looped up with pearls. In her hair were green leaves, simple and sweet and cool. To me she seemed graver, sweeter, than when I last had seen her. I say, my heart came up into my throat. All I could think was that I wanted to take her into my arms. All I did was to stand and stare.

My companion was more expert in social maneuvers. She waited until the crowd had somewhat thinned about the young lady and her escort. I saw now with certain qualms that this latter was none other than my whilom friend Jack Dandridge. For a wonder, he was most unduly sober, and he made, as I have said, no bad figure in his finery. He was very merry and just a trifle loud of speech, but, being very intimate in Mr. Polk's household, he was warmly welcomed by that gentleman and by all around him.

"She is beautiful!" I heard the lady at my arm whisper.

"Is she beautiful to you?" I asked.

"Very beautiful!" I heard her catch her breath. "She is good. I wish I could love her. I wish, I wish-"

I saw her hands beat together as they did when she was agitated. I turned then to look at her, and what I saw left me silent. "Come," said I at last, "let us go to her." We edged across the floor.

When Elisabeth saw me she straightened, a pallor came across her face. It was not her way to betray much of her emotions. If her head was a trifle more erect, if indeed she paled, she too lacked not in quiet self-possession. She waited, with wide straight eyes fixed upon me. I found myself unable to make much intelligent speech. I turned to see Helena von Ritz gazing with wistful eyes at Elisabeth, and I saw the eyes of Elisabeth make some answer. So they spoke some language which I suppose men never will understand-the language of one woman to another.

I have known few happier moments in my life than that. Perhaps, after all, I caught something of the speech between their eyes. Perhaps not all cheap and cynical maxims are true, at least when applied to noble women.

Elisabeth regained her wonted color and more.

"I was very wrong in many ways," I heard her whisper. For almost the first time I saw her perturbed. Helena von Ritz stepped close to her. Amid the crash of the reeds and brasses, amid all the broken conversation which swept around us, I knew what she said. Low down in the flounces of the wide embroidered silks, I saw their two hands meet, silently, and cling. This made me happy.

Of course it was Jack Dandridge who broke in between us. "Ah!" said he, "you jealous beggar, could you not leave me to be happy for one minute? Here you come back, a mere heathen, and proceed to monopolize all our ladies. I have been making the most of my time, you see. I have proposed half a dozen times more to Miss Elisabeth, have I not?"

"Has she given you any answer?" I asked him, smiling.

"The same answer!"

"Jack," said I, "I ought to call you out."

"Don't," said he. "I don't want to be called out. I am getting found out. That's worse. Well-Miss Elisabeth, may I be the first to congratulate?"

"I am glad," said I, with just a slight trace of severity, "that you have managed again to get into the good graces of Elmhurst. When I last saw you, I was not sure that either of us would ever be invited there again."

"Been there every Sunday regularly since you went away," said Jack. "I am not one of the family in one way, and in another way I am. Honestly, I have tried my best to cut you out. Not that you have not played your game well enough, but there never was a game played so well that some other fellow could not win by coppering it. So I coppered everything you did-played it for just the reverse. No go-lost even that way. And I thought you were the most perennial fool of your age and generation.


I checked as gently as I could a joviality which I thought unsuited to the time. "Mr. Dandridge," said I to him, "you know the Baroness von Ritz?"

"Certainly! The particeps criminis of our bungled wedding-of course I know her!"

"I only want to say," I remarked, "that the Baroness von Ritz has that little shell clasp now all for her own, and that I have her slipper again, all for my own. So now, we three-no, four-at last understand one another, do we not? Jack, will you do two things for me?"

"All of them but two."

"When the Baroness von Ritz insists on her intention of leaving us-just at the height of all our happiness-I want you to hand her to her carriage. In the second place, I may need you again-"

"Well, what would any one think of that!" said Jack Dandridge.

I never knew when these two left us in the crowd. I never said good-by to Helena von Ritz. I did not catch that last look of her eye. I remember her as she stood there that night, grave, sweet and sad.

I turned to Elisabeth. There in the crash of the reeds and brasses, the rise and fall of the sweet and bitter conversation all around us, was the comedy and the tragedy of life.

"Elisabeth," I said to her, "are you not ashamed?"

She looked me full in the eye. "No!" she said, and smiled.

I have never seen a smile like Elisabeth's.


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"'Tis the Star Spangled Banner; O, long may it wave,

O'er the land of the free, and the home of the brave!"

-Francis Scott Key.

On the night that Miss Elisabeth Churchill gave me her hand and her heart for ever-for which I have not yet ceased to thank God-there began the guns of Palo Alto. Later, there came the fields of Monterey, Buena Vista, Cerro Gordo, Contreras, Cherubusco, Molino del Rey-at last the guns sounded at the gate of the old City of Mexico itself. Some of that fighting I myself saw; but much of the time I was employed in that manner of special work which had engaged me for the last few years. It was through Mr. Calhoun's agency that I reached a certain importance in these matters; and so I was chosen as the commissioner to negotiate a peace with Mexico.

This honor later proved to be a dangerous and questionable one. General Scott wanted no interference of this kind, especially since he knew Mr. Calhoun's influence in my choice. He thwarted all my attempts to reach the headquarters of the enemy, and did everything he could to secure a peace of his own, at the mouth of the cannon. I could offer no terms better than Mr. Buchanan, then our secretary of state, had prepared for me, and these were rejected by the Mexican government at last. I was ordered by Mr. Polk to state that we had no better terms to offer; and as for myself, I was told to return to Washington. At that time I could not make my way out through the lines, nor, in truth, did I much care to do so.

A certain event not written in history influenced me to remain for a time at the little village of Guadalupe Hidalgo. Here, in short, I received word from a lady whom I had formerly known, none less than Se?ora Yturrio, once a member of the Mexican legation at Washington. True to her record, she had again reached influential position in her country, using methods of her own. She told me now to pay no attention to what had been reported by Mexico. In fact, I was approached again by the Mexican commissioners, introduced by her! What was done then is history. We signed then and there the peace of Guadalupe Hidalgo, in accordance with the terms originally given me by our secretary of state. So, after all, Calhoun's kindness to a woman in distress was not lost; and so, after all, he unwittingly helped in the ending of the war he never wished begun.

Meantime, I had been recalled to Washington, but did not know the nature of that recall. When at last I arrived there I found myself disgraced and discredited. My actions were repudiated by the administration. I myself was dismissed from the service without pay-sad enough blow for a young man who had been married less than a year.

Mr. Polk's jealousy of John Calhoun was not the only cause of this. Calhoun's prophecy was right. Polk did not forget his revenge on me. Yet, none the less, after his usual fashion, he was not averse to receiving such credit as he could. He put the responsibility of the treaty upon the Senate! It was debated hotly there for some weeks, and at last, much to his surprise and my gratification, it was ratified!

The North, which had opposed this Mexican War-that same war which later led inevitably to the War of the Rebellion-now found itself unable to say much against the great additions to our domain which the treaty had secured. We paid fifteen millions, in addition to our territorial indemnity claim, and we got a realm whose wealth could not be computed. So much, it must be owned, did fortune do for that singular favorite, Mr. Polk. And, curiously enough, the smoke had hardly cleared from Palo Alto field before Abraham Lincoln, a young member in the House of Congress, was introducing a resolution which asked the marking of "the spot where that outrage was committed." Perhaps it was an outrage. Many still hold it so. But let us reflect what would have been Lincoln's life had matters not gone just as they did.

With the cessions from Mexico came the great domain of California. Now, look how strangely history sometimes works out itself. Had there been any suspicion of the discovery of gold in California, neither Mexico nor our republic ever would have owned it! England surely would have taken it. The very year that my treaty eventually was ratified was that in which gold was discovered in California! But it was too late then for England to interfere; too late then, also, for Mexico to claim it. We got untold millions of treasure there. Most of those millions went to the Northern States, into manufactures, into commerce. The North owned that gold; and it was that gold which gave the North the power to crush that rebellion which was born of the Mexican War-that same rebellion by which England, too late, would gladly have seen this Union disrupted, so that she might have yet another chance at these lands she now had lost for ever.

Fate seemed still to be with us, after all, as I have so often had occasion to believe may be a possible thing. That war of conquest which Mr. Calhoun opposed, that same war which grew out of the slavery tenets which he himself held-the great error of his otherwise splendid public life-found its own correction in the Civil War. It was the gold of California which put down slavery. Thenceforth slavery has existed legally only north of the Mason and Dixon line!

We have our problems yet. Perhaps some other war may come to settle them. Fortunate for us if there could be another California, another Texas, another Oregon, to help us pay for them!

I, who was intimately connected with many of these less known matters, claim for my master a reputation wholly different from that given to him in any garbled "history" of his life. I lay claim in his name for foresight beyond that of any man of his time. He made mistakes, but he made them bravely, grandly, and consistently. Where his convictions were enlisted, he had no reservations, and he used every means, every available weapon, as I have shown. But he was never self-seeking, never cheap, never insincere. A detester of all machine politicians, he was a statesman worthy to be called the William Pitt of the United States. The consistency of his career was a marvelous thing; because, though he changed in his beliefs, he was first to recognize the changing conditions of our country. He failed, and he is execrated. He won, and he is forgot.

My chief, Mr. Calhoun, did not die until some six years after that first evening when Doctor Ward and I had our talk with him. He was said to have died of a disease of the lungs, yet here again history is curiously mistaken. Mr. Calhoun slept himself away. I sometimes think with a shudder that perhaps this was the revenge which Nemesis took of him for his mistakes. His last days were dreamlike in their passing. His last speech in the Senate was read by one of his friends, as Doctor Ward had advised him. Some said afterwards that his illness was that accursed "sleeping sickness" imported from Africa with these same slaves: It were a strange thing had John Calhoun indeed died of his error! At least he slept away. At least, too, he made his atonement. The South, following his doctrines, itself was long accursed of this same sleeping sickness; but in the providence of God it was not lost to us, and is ours for a long and splendid history.

It was through John Calhoun, a grave and somber figure of our history, that we got the vast land of Texas. It was through him also-and not through Clay nor Jackson, nor any of the northern statesmen, who never could see a future for the West-that we got all of our vast Northwest realm. Within a few days after the Palo Alto ball, a memorandum of agreement was signed between Minister Pakenham and Mr. Buchanan, our secretary of state. This was done at the instance and by the aid of John Calhoun. It was he-he and Helena von Ritz-who brought about that treaty which, on June fifteenth, of the same year, was signed, and gladly signed, by the minister from Great Britain. The latter had been fully enough impressed (such was the story) by the reports of the columns of our west-bound farmers, with rifles leaning at their wagon seats and plows lashed to the tail-gates. Calhoun himself never ceased to regret that we could not delay a year or two years longer. In this he was thwarted by the impetuous war with the republic on the south, although, had that never been fought, we had lost California-lost also the South, and lost the Union!

Under one form or other, one name of government or another, the flag of democracy eventually must float over all this continent. Not a part, but all of this country must be ours, must be the people's. It may cost more blood and treasure now. Some time we shall see the wisdom of John Calhoun; but some time, too, I think, we shall see come true that prophecy of a strange and brilliant mentality, which in Calhoun's presence and in mine said that all of these northern lands and all Mexico as well must one day be ours-which is to say, the people's-for the sake of human opportunity, of human hope and happiness. Our battles are but partly fought. But at least they are not, then, lost.

For myself, the close of the Mexican War found me somewhat worn by travel and illy equipped in financial matters. I had been discredited, I say, by my own government. My pay was withheld. Elisabeth, by that time my wife, was a girl reared in all the luxury that our country then could offer. Shall I say whether or not I prized her more when gladly she gave up all this and joined me for one more long and final journey out across that great trail which I had seen-the trail of democracy, of America, of the world?

At last we reached Oregon. It holds the grave of one of ours; it is the home of others. We were happy; we asked favor of no man; fear of no one did we feel. Elisabeth has in her time slept on a bed of husks. She has cooked at a sooty fireplace of her own; and at her cabin door I myself have been the guard. We made our way by ourselves and for ourselves, as did those who conquered America for our flag. "The citizen standing in the doorway of his home, shall save the Republic." So wrote a later pen.

It was not until long after the discovery of gold in California had set us all to thinking that I was reminded of the strange story of the old German, Von Rittenhofen, of finding some pieces of gold while on one of his hunts for butterflies. I followed out his vague directions as best I might. We found gold enough to make us rich without our land. That claim is staked legally. Half of it awaits an owner who perhaps will never come.

There are those who will accept always the solemn asseverations of politicians, who by word of mouth or pen assert that this or that party made our country, wrote its history. Such as they might smile if told that not even men, much less politicians, have written all our story as a nation; yet any who smile at woman's influence in American history do so in ignorance of the truth. Mr. Webster and Lord Ashburton have credit for determining our boundary on the northeast-England called it Ashburton's capitulation to the Yankee. Did you never hear the other gossip? England laid all that to Ashburton's American wife! Look at that poor, hot-tempered devil, Yrujo, minister from Spain with us, who saw his king's holdings on this continent juggled from hand to hand between us all. His wife was daughter of Governor McKean in Pennsylvania yonder. If she had no influence with her husband, so much the worse for her. In important times a generation ago M. Genêt, of France, as all know, was the husband of the daughter of Governor Clinton of New York. Did that hurt our chances with France? My Lord Oswald, of Great Britain, who negotiated our treaty of peace in 1782-was not his worldly fortune made by virtue of his American wife? All of us should remember that Marbois, Napoleon's minister, who signed the great treaty for him with us, married his wife while he was a mere chargé here in Washington; and she, too, was an American. Erskine, of England, when times were strained in 1808, and later-and our friend for the most part-was not he also husband of an American? It was as John Calhoun said-our history, like that of England and France, like that of Rome and Troy, was made in large part by women.

Of that strange woman, Helena, Baroness von Ritz, I have never definitely heard since then. But all of us have heard of that great uplift of Central Europe, that ferment of revolution, most noticeable in Germany, in 1848. Out of that revolutionary spirit there came to us thousands and thousands of our best population, the sturdiest and the most liberty-loving citizens this country ever had. They gave us scores of generals in our late war, and gave us at least one cabinet officer. But whence came that spirit of revolution in Europe? Why does it live, grow, increase, even now? Why does it sound now, close to the oldest thrones? Where originated that germ of liberty which did its work so well? I am at least one who believes that I could guess something of its source.

The revolution in Hungary failed for the time. Kossuth came to see us with pleas that we might aid Hungary. But republics forget. We gave no aid to Hungary. I was far away and did not meet Kossuth. I should have been glad to question him. I did not forget Helena von Ritz, nor doubt that she worked out in full that strange destiny for which, indeed, she was born and prepared, to which she devoted herself, made clean by sacrifice. She was not one to leave her work undone. She, I know, passed on her torch of principle.

Elisabeth and I speak often of Helena von Ritz. I remember her still-brilliant, beautiful, fascinating, compelling, pathetic, tragic. If it was asked of her, I know that she still paid it gladly-all that sacrifice through which alone there can be worked out the progress of humanity, under that idea which blindly we attempted to express in our Declaration; that idea which at times we may forget, but which eventually must triumph for the good of all the world. She helped us make our map. Shall not that for which she stood help us hold it?

At least, let me say, I have thought this little story might be set down; and, though some to-day may smile at flags and principles, I should like, if I may be allowed, to close with the words of yet another man of those earlier times: "The old flag of the Union was my protector in infancy and the pride and glory of my riper years; and, by the grace of God, under its shadow I shall die!" N.T.

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