Funding from the State Library of North Carolina
supported the electronic publication of this title.
Text transcribed by
Apex Data Services, Inc.
Images scanned by Leslie Sult
Text encoded by Apex Data Services, Inc., Leslie Sult, and Jill Kuhn Sexton
First edition, 2002
Academic Affairs Library, UNC-CH
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill,
© This work is the property of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. It may be used freely by individuals for research, teaching and personal use as long as this statement of availability is included in the text.
(title page) How War Came to America and What it Means to Us. Address Delivered at a Patriotic Meeting of Soldiers and Citizens, Held at Raleigh, N. C., on August 14, 1917
James H. Pou
Washington, D. C.
Government Printing Office
Call number Cp970.9 P87h c. 3 (North Carolina Collection, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill)
The electronic edition is a part of the UNC-CH
digitization project, Documenting the American South.
The text has been entered using double-keying and verified against the original.
The text has been encoded using the recommendations for Level 4 of the TEI in Libraries Guidelines.
Original grammar, punctuation, and spelling have been preserved. Encountered typographical errors have been preserved, and appear in red type.
Any hyphens occurring in line breaks have been removed, and the trailing part of a word has been joined to the preceding line.
All quotation marks, em dashes and ampersand have been transcribed as entity references.
All double right and left quotation marks are encoded as " and " respectively.
All single right and left quotation marks are encoded as ' and ' respectively.
All em dashes are encoded as --
Indentation in lines has not been preserved.
Spell-check and verification made against printed text using Author/Editor (SoftQuad) and Microsoft Word spell check programs.
LC Subject Headings:
[Title Page Image]
Mr. OVERMAN. Mr. President, I ask to have printed in the RECORD a copy of an address delivered by Hon. James H. Pou, August 14, 1917, at a patriotic meeting of citizens of Raleigh, N. C., under the auspices of the Red Cross.
The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
The matter referred to is as follows:
"A great war applies the acid test to the people of the countries involved. Like an X-ray picture, war makes manifest things which during peace were not disclosed, and whose existence was often not suspected. Many plain citizens during peace follow the even tenor of their ways and are regarded as commonplace ordinary men.
"War comes, and unconsciously to themselves and unexpectedly to the public, these men assume new habits and a totally different attitude. They cease to be plain men and they become heroes. They promptly answer the call to duty, and in answering they achieve that nobility of soul which comes only from the performance of a patriotic and unselfish duty. And some attain immortality.
"The Rhode Island Quaker blacksmith toiled at his forge for years before his neighbors suspected what the Revolution would make of Nathanael Greene.
"Joseph Warren was a physician, well known in his own town, but scarcely heard of elsewhere. The Revolution came. He did a man's part. He did not believe the Americans had munitions sufficient to hold Bunker Hill. He advised against the attempt. He was overruled, and the effort to fortify and hold the heights was determined upon. He was offered chief command. He declined, but volunteered as a private, and was killed in the battle fighting as a private, with a commission as general in his pocket. At a stride he left the ranks on Bunker Hill for a place in the temple of immortality.
"Probably more places are named for these two men--Greene and Warren--than for any other men of the Revolution, Washington alone excepted.
"War is the great solvent. It separates the pure from the base metal and presents men as they are and not as they seem.
"War gives, along with its trials, hardships, and sacrifices, opportunities never available in peace. It gives the man who may have made a bad, unfortunate, or ineffective start in life a chance to begin again under different conditions. He has a second chance with the promise if he makes good in the second effort his former failure shall be forgotten, and the glory of his latter effort shall become a patent of nobility.
"When our Civil War began, two of the least promising of men were Grant and Sherman. Both men were West Point graduates. Both had served in the Regulary Army and had left it. Both went into other business and had not succeeded. Grant had farmed; then worked as a tanner; clerked in a store; then hauled wood. Bad habits chained him, and bad luck seemed his twin brother. He volunteered, and went to Spring-field to offer his services. His record and his appearance were against him. His attitude was that of the conscious failure. He was given slight encouragement and was put to work copying muster rolls in the basement of the capitol. Civilian officers who could not drill their companies or regiments learned that a West Point graduate was working in the basement. They asked him to help in getting their troops in shape. His work immediately put new life and an altogether different appearance on these companies. His own worth was demonstrated and he was quickly given a regiment. Eight years later he was inaugurated President of the United States, the youngest man to attain that honor.
"Sherman, after leaving the Army, tried banking in California and commission business in New York without success. Then he opened a law office in the Middle West. No clients. Like many other competent lawyers, despite talents, character, and industry, he did not succeed. His office dried up and he blew away. The war found him teaching school in Louisiana, the very picture and image of a man without any bad habits who had failed to make good, 'He had gone up against it and bounced back.'
"He was so hard up that it was assumed that he would be glad to take any job offered to him, and without asking him where he stood in the contest a commission as an officer of Louisiana State troops was made out and tendered him. He declined, frankly stated his position, went North, joined the Army, rose rapidly, stated that 200,000 men were necessary to break the lines of the Confederacy in the West, was believed to be crazy, and was so regarded for a while.
"And when Grant became President he delivered the command of the Army to Gen. Sherman. Except for the war these two men would probably have been written down as complete failures; sore disappointments to friends and relatives.
"This war will develop many Greenes, Warrens, Grants, and Shermans, and countless thousands of less distinguished heroes.
"The men who shall render service in this war will, during the balance of their lives, rule the Nation, both in politics and in business. And better still, many a man who heretofore has not been able to control himself will hereafter become master of himself, his habits, and his circumstances. Many a man now regarded by himself and his friends as a failure, with nothing to hope for in the future, will come back from the war with head erect, eye steady, grip firm, and an air of confidence in himself never seen before. We will see the unsuccessful boy transformed into a seasoned, disciplined, efficient man.
"Horrible as it is this war has some compensation for those who shall do their part. And many men will find their success in life began the day they took their places in the ranks of the American Army. I never knew a man who went to the Civil War on either side and who returned with an honorable discharge
or worthy record express regret that he went to the Army. I have heard many who did not go express the keenest regret that they did not.
"The acid test of war likewise shows what is mean, unpatriotic, and vicious in our natures. It discloses the yellow in us, if there be any. It gives the bad citizen an opportunity to show how unpatriotic he can be. It enables the citizen of low, selfish, and grovelling ideas an opportunity to register his name and call his true number. It enables every man to grade and register his peculiar and personal standard of citizenship. And these strange and unfortunate creatures, who by nature are against all things and particularly against their own Government, are given opportunity to show how closely their ideals of citizenship approximate what the law calls treason.
"You hear these men whispering words false in fact and approaching treason in purpose and intent. They are saying that the war is wrong and that the draft is unconstitutional. They say that we can not send our armies beyond the bounds of this country without their consent. They say that we should wait until the Germans land on American soil, then declare war. France, Belgium, Russia, and Serbia all waited until Germany attacked them. You see the result--destruction of life and property unheard of heretofore; old men, priests, children murdered--women outraged by countless thousands, shaming the dark ages. This is what it means to wait for the Germans to invade. The men who advise us to wait for the Germans to invade America mean that after American cities have been burned, after American farms have been turned into deserts, after American citizens not engaged in war have been butchered or enslaved, and after American women have been ravished, then they will be men enough to fight. But they are mistaken. They will not fight even then. They will grovel at the feet of the enemy, or they will hide in the swamps.
"We will fight to prevent these things, and we will fight now, that a German Army may never invade America. The man who will not fight now will never fight. Count on that and watch the man.
"These men say that this is a rich man's war, when never before in any war has America placed so nearly the entire cost of the war on the rich. They say it is a bondholders' war, when bonds were sold for par, at a low rate of interest, and are held by the largest number of people who ever participated in a bond issue.
"They say they can not approve of the draft and of universal military service, when they know this to be the only way to preserve equality of service. The sons of the poor and the unknown have the same rights and the same chances as the sons of the rich and the influential. The man who would keep his son out of the Army is the very man who would send his neighbor's son to the front. Universal service makes impossible the bounty soldier, the hired substitute, the 20-negro law exempt, and the other subterfuges behind which many cowards sought shelter in the Civil War, while better men went to the front.
"They say that in establishing a food control the Government--claiming to be against trusts--has established the greatest of all trusts. True; but Uncle Sam is the trustee, and all
his children are beneficiaries. It is a trust to protect the public, not a trust to oppress. Uncle Sam is determined that none of his children shall suffer for the necessities of life, while those necessities remain abundant in the land. Speculation shall not corner the market and fix high prices for the millions. The Government has decreed that the man with money shall not forestall the market, take over the food supply, and dictate prices to the man who buys next week's supplies with this week's wages.
"Some carping critics object to the food-production and conservation campaign. They say that the Government has no business trying to control the industries and habits of the people. All the Government is asking of us are the things we ought to do, which are to our advantage to do, without being asked. We are asked to make and save, as near as possible, what we eat, because of the world-wide scarcity of foodstuffs, and because of the difficulty of transporting food from one section where abundant to another where scarce. We have raised great crops of food--vegetables, fruits, and so forth. We are urging people to save these products against the time of certain need next winter. Instead of helping in this work these critics--who in the past have always advocated growing food supplies at home--are doing all they can to encourage waste. They write and talk against our movement, and advise that all food-producing and conservation work be stopped. They say that the people have all they can stand; that this is a bondholders' war; that the money powers are responsible, and so forth. I have seen the letter.
"They complain of railroad service, and forget that service has been reduced because the Government has taken over rolling stock and locomotives for use in France, and because vast amounts of rolling stock is being used and will be used for months yet in moving troops and their supplies.
"In all great wars of the past troops have been carried in freight or stock cars, and often on flat cars. Our Government is endeavoring to carry every soldier in a passenger car. To do this it must restrict civilian passenger service. We who do not go to war must consent to be crowded if we travel, and if sometime we fail to get a seat immediately, we should remember that our slight inconvenience is the result of an effort to make our soldiers more comfortable. We should be ashamed to complain. Our ladies should be willing to put their baggage on the floor when necessary to give other women seats beside them. Seats in a passenger car should not be piled with grips and bags, while a woman with a baby in her arms looks in vain for a seat until some man gives her his. Put the bags, grips, and so forth, on the floor, and let the woman have a seat, even though she be a stranger and be not fashionably dressed.
"These critics complain of the censorship, and say that free speech is denied. They prate of the inviolable rights of the citizen and assert the time-honored rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, and so forth. But they fail to draw the distinction between freedom of speech and advising the commission of crime. The first is lawful, the latter unlawful, now and always. Always unlawful, it becomes dangerous and even treasonable during war.
"These people may abuse the President, criticize Congress, berate our Army and Navy much as they please. They show a low citizenship, an absence of patriotism, and exceeding great folly. But they commit no crime. But the moment they advise a man to disobey any rule, law, or lawful order of the Government, they commit a crime, and may be punished for felony or possibly for treason.
"Thus, these people may abuse President Wilson to their heart's content, and they will be visited with nothing worse than public contempt. But the moment they advise a drafted man not to appear, or an enlisted man to desert, they become guilty of felony.
"There are some who are very near to, if in fact they have not already, crossed the line which separates folly from criminality.
"These critics tell us that this is not our war; that we have no business in it; that we are fighting other peoples' battles. True, we are fighting with a large part of the civilized world, but we are not fighting for them any more than they are fighting for us. The mad dog of the world is after them as he is after us. We and they are fighting for life. If they slay the dog we are blessed. If they slay him we are fortunate we are fighting together, but each one fights for himself, and any assistance he may render to another is secondary and consequential. Civilization is in danger and all her children are fighting.
"Three years ago when Germany went to war she had no immediate hostile design on the United States. She planned and arranged for the war on the hypothesis that England would not fight, and consequently Japan would not; that Italy would remain neutral or join with her; and that Turkey would act as Germany should order. With this plan outlined, Germany thought she could immediately isolate Russia by closing the outlet from the Baltic to the North Sea, while Turkey kept the Dardanelles. Germany knew her fleet was stronger than that of France, and she expected to destroy the French fleet. Her plan contemplated that Germany should be supreme at sea. She planned to use sea traffic as an asset and to deprive her greatest enemy of all access to the sea and to close all French ports with a powerful and effective blockade, while easy access to Germany north of Great Britain and to Italy and Turkey through the Mediterranean should be maintained by German, Austrian, and, if necessary, the Italian fleets. She had her fleets planted in every sea and scout ships and cruisers near many harbors ready to seize all French and Russian ships and to blockade their ports. The army and fleet at Kio Chau were to guard Vladivostock and blockade Russia's Pacific coast. The Pacific fleet was to scour that great ocean and leave no enemy ship afloat. So convinced was she of the success of her plans that she left on purpose, in all the great harbors of the world many of her finest ships. In English, American, Chinese, Portuguese harbors and in the ports of many other nations the finest and largest of Germany's merchant marine were purposely left when war was declared. Germany determined on war at the Potsdam conference early in July, 1914, and she could have drawn her ships home, but she wished them where they were, so they could be sent anywhere and converted into warships. They would first have swept the seas of French and Russian
ships and then they would have returned to peaceful commerce, carrying German trade to all the rest of the world, while Germany crushed France and Russia at her leisure. Germany planned to use the seas as an asset and as a weapon to defeat her enemies. She would have succeeded and she would have won the war before Christmas, 1914, but for the colossal crime and folly of the attack on Belgium.
"Germany planned to fight three wars in quick succession, using the gains in each to help win the next.
"She intended to crush France and Russia in 1914, then attack England, and if she would not trade with Japan, to attack Japan also, then to attack us. The Belgium crime combined all these wars into the struggle now being fought. Germany is now fighting for world mastery, and the fate of the whole world is at stake.
"Had Germany respected Belgium's neutrality and her own pledged word, attacked Russia in force while fighting France defensively, neither England nor Japan would have entered the war. The English harbors would have been open, likewise those of Belgium. Transportation would have gone on almost unimpeded in the Atlantic; absolutely so in the Pacific. The war would have ended on schedule time with an astounding victory for Germany. She would have stood across the world a very colossus, and no nation would have dared challenge or deny her supremacy. The world escaped this by the narrowest of margins. In blind, criminal folly and lust of blood Germany attacked Belgium. England grandly and heroically answered the challenge, and though unprepared, entered the war. Two weeks later Japan came in and Italy announced that she would never fight England or France. Germany, to her amazement, found that her plans had miscarried and that she could not use her fleets or ships purposely placed in every ocean and port. The seas were being used against her, not for her. German ships, not enemy ships, were driven from the ocean. She was not the hunter but the hunted. By Christmas, 1914, German sea commerce had disappeared and all German warships not in hiding in German ports had been captured or sunk. The great German ships in neutral harbors were afraid to leave. Instead of blockading and strangling her enemies, Germany was being blockaded and strangled. What did she do?
"For six months Germany had fought on the seas according to the laws of nations and the rules of civilized warfare, and she had lost the seas. On February 4, 1915, she announced the she had up to that time conformed on the seas to the rules of civilized warfare but that in the future it would declare a paper blockade around the British Isles and, by use of her submarines, sink vessels going to England, and that her submarines might by mistake sink neutral vessels. President Wilson answered with his note of February 10, 1915, signed by Bryan, in which due notice was given that the Government would hold the German Government to a strict accountability if any American life were lost because of the unlawful acts of the German Navy. On February 16, 1915, Germany replied and in her note used these pregnant words:
"Up to now Germany has scrupulously observed the existing provisions of international law relative to maritime war.
"But she claimed that because England had been able to establish an actual and effective (and therefore legal) blockade of all German ports, she, Germany, would declare a paper blockade around the British Islands and sink any vessel attempting to reach English shores. An effective blockade of an enemy port is always legal. But an ineffective blockade is never legal, because it allows some vessels to pass while others must not. It becomes not a blockade, stopping all traffic, and thereby becoming a recognized and efficient instrument of war, but an attempted regulation by one power of the right of all other powers, even though friendly and neutral, to use the free high seas for commerce. A paper blockade is a claim of the ownership of the seas by one power, and if other powers acquiesce the claiming power acquires title.
"Germany asserted this claim in February, 1915, after she had lost all hope of sea dominion. We denied her claim and asserted our rights. On May 1, 1915, Count Bernstorff inserted in New York papers advertisements officially warning Americans not to travel on certain ships--an unprecedented act--and on May 7 the
Lusitania was torpedoed, and over a hundred American citizens--many women and children--lost their lives. Germany had made war on us, and when she realized that war was imminent and that war with us was not at that time to her advantage she began a frantic effort to prevent, or at least postpone, the war she had begun. On May 9, 1915, she began to give President Wilson assurances that American lives would be safeguarded, all property damage paid for, and all disputed cases arbitrated. Germany's notes for 18 months after the sinking of the Lusitania demonstrate that she did not want war with us then. The German communications of May 9 and September 1, 1915, show this attitude clearly.
"But the seas remained closed to Germany, and she gained many victories on land. She broke the Russian lines in May. 1915, and later captured almost all of Poland, Courland, and Livonia. Still later she overran Serbia, Montenegro, and Albania. Bulgaria came to Germany's aid, and the line to Constantinople was opened. The allies, though now aided by Italy, Portugal, and later by Roumania, could gain no great victory. All the combatants were getting tired. In the fall of 1916, in the high tide of success, Gen. Brousiloff was stopped by orders from Petrograd, and it became apparent that terms had been arranged or were being arranged for a separate peace between Russia and Germany. All fighting between these countries had ceased since September, except a little deceptive and fraudulent aid rendered by Russia to Roumania. The offensive on the Somme in the summer and fall of 1916 had been a keen disappointment to the allies. With Belgium and the Balkans conquered, Russia quieted, Japan compensated, Germany thought she had only England, France, and Italy to fight. She believed the submarines, if given free hand, could beat England, and she believed her and the Austrian armies could then quickly destroy France and Italy. She concluded that if she withdrew all her promises to us, made and oft repeated since the
Lusitania, we might not fight. If we did not fight then, she knew we would never fight. We would be publicly acknowledging the supremacy of Germany. She was encouraged
in this belief by the campaign watchwords magnifying peace and the slogan "He kept us out of war." On the other hand she believed that if she entered the war she would win anyway, and she could collect out of us a huge indemnity, and she would be mistress of the world.
"Holding these views, Germany, without giving any notice, on the afternoon of January 31, 1917, curtly withdrew every promise she had heretofore made and with phrases of insult presented our minister at Berlin a note which contained a declaration of savage warfare against all mankind. In the note was this paragraph:
"Under these circumstances Germany will meet the illegal measures of her enemies by forcibly preventing after February 1, 1917, in a zone around Great Britain, France, Italy, and in the Eastern Mediterranean all navigation, that of neutrals included, from and to England and from and to France, etc. All ships met within that zone will be sunk.
"Before sending this note, and while pretending to be friendly with us, Germany proposed to Mexico to give her Texas and several other American States if she, Mexico, would join Germany in war upon the United States, and further requested Mexico to arrange with Japan to join Mexico and Germany in war upon us.
"Thus war came to America. Germany believed it was to her interest to avoid war in the spring of 1915, and she believed it was to her interest to force war in 1917. She did both. War in 1915 would have brought certain and quick defeat, and she made promises sufficient to preserve peace. In 1917 she believed war would not be to her disadvantage and she forced war with brutal frankness.
"President Wilson did not wish war. He ran great risk in preserving peace. The country ran grave risk in relying on German promises and in maintaining a precarious peace for two years. But the revolution in Russia may justify our cause. If we had entered the war in May, 1915, Germany would have been defeated but Russian tyranny would have been given a longer lease on life. Probably the greatest good has been accomplished and that all the world, including Russia and Germany, will hereafter be free.
"The war is our war, and it is not a Democratic or partisan war--Republicans and Progressives are just as earnest in their support of the war as Democrats. Roosevelt, Taft, and Hughes are as valiant and patriotic as Wilson and Parker, and these are all the men now living but one who have been nominated for the presidency by any party during this generation. It is a national war and the existence as well as the honor of the Nation is at issue.
"That our Army and our Navy will do their duty I do not for a moment doubt, and we who do not now go to the front have duties which we must perform with the same steadfastness, courage, and sacrifice that the soldier shows in battle.
"We must pay taxes willingly, promptly. We must produce, conserve, economize, and forego temporarily many rights we have heretofore exercised. Freedom of speech must be preserved. But to preserve freedom, it may be necessary to close the mouths and stop the presses of those who preach sedition and incite to treason. We may have to ask our railroad friends to forego temporarily the eight-hour law, but with the pledge to
restore it when the war ends. The Army must be moved and supplied at all hazards. Our railroad employees are patriots and they will make this sacrifice for the Nation's safety.
"So much for the general subject. Now, for home. Wake County has done everything she has been called upon to do. She has bought bonds. Her sons have enlisted or registered. She has given the war Y. M. C. A. and the Red Cross more than was asked. In every respect Wake has shown patriotic zeal.
"The State council of defense has appointed a committee of six men--Col. Charles E. Johnson, Messrs. B. S. Jerman, C. B. Barbee, Daniel Allen, J. Cooper Young, and the speaker--and has designated it 'The Soldiers' Business Aid Committee for Wake County.' A subcommittee, of which Col. James H. Young is chairman, will specially advise about colored soldiers.
"Its duties are to aid soldiers in their business affairs, by making loans on security which would not be accepted in banks, and allowing time after the end of service to repay. It is in no sense a charity. A soldier can avail himself of the committee's aid without loss of dignity or self-respect. He is required to give note, with such security as may be available; and he is expected to repay the loan. If he wishes the committee to pay interest on a mortgage and prevent foreclosure he will give security if he can. If he can not do better, he will be asked to give the committee a second mortgage on the land, to secure the interest the committee may pay on the first mortgage. If he wishes the committee to pay premiums on life insurance, he will give a note secured by a proper transfer of the policies so the committee can be safe for what it may advance. Other life arrangements will be made where business affairs require it. Other means of assistance will be offered as the different demand for them may arise. Help to dependents, while the soldier is away, will be made in deserving cases. If a soldier be disabled by wounds or disease he will be helped in obtaining special training, so he may enter any trade or profession open to one in his condition. In any legal proceedings in which a soldier may be interested, like partition of land, the committee will look after the soldier's interest if requested and without expense.
"After the war the committee will assist soldiers in getting jobs, and to that end will keep in touch with large employers and will ask them to give the soldier preference.
"Wake County lawyers will gladly prepare any legal papers, will, deeds, etc., for any soldier regardless of color on request.
"All soldiers are requested to register before the county election officers, so they may vote next year, even if they be out of the State. The absent voters law (Ch. 23, p. 78, Public Laws of 1917) provides for voting by men who may be away from home on election day provided the voter shall have personally registered before leaving. If he does not register before he leaves he can not vote. The law provides for absent voting but not for absent registration. If you wish to preserve your vote see the chairman of your county board of elections and see that you are properly registered. If you be registered, you can send your vote by mail. The chairman of the board of elections can register you now or at any time before you leave. Do not fail to register before you leave. Some man may be running for office next year on a yellow-dog platform, pro-German, pacifist, peace
at any price, and you will wish to vote against him. You will shoot against enemies in front and vote against enemies at home. Election officers will make no charge for registering, and I am sure will aid every soldier regardless of race in preserving his franchise. If the soldier can substantially comply with constitutional amendment he will be registered even if his spelling, punctuation, and pronunciation be a little substandard. If a man fight for his country, technicalities and rigid scrutiny of his educational qualifications must not be used to deprive him of his rights to vote. This principle must be upheld whether the applicant for registration be black or white.
"The committee will keep a book, and the book will contain a complete history of its work. Every contributor will be listed with the amount contributed. Every soldier assisted will be listed; and if he repays or shall fail to repay loan that fact will be entered. After the committee shall have completed its work, this book will be delivered to the State council of defense for examination and audit. All moneys on hand, including all loans repaid, will be returned pro rata to the contributors, and the book preserved in the State library as part of the State's permanent records. This book will often be referred to during the next hundred years by persons who may wish to prove that they or their ancestors render some valuable and noncompulsory service in this great war.
"The work of this committee will largely be confidential, and no soldier need fear that his affairs will be made public.
"We have granted assistance in one case so far. The soldier has given his consent that I may mention it to show the work and the method. He was making $25 per week at his trade and was getting along comfortably with a wife and one child. He belonged to the Coast Artillery. Soon after he was called to the colors, his wife was taken sick and had to go to the hospital for an operation. He arranged with a physician to wait for his pay, arranged for his child's board but told us that he did not see how he could meet the hospital charges out of his pay, $35 per month, as a soldier. We examined his case, conferred with the officers of his company, found him honorable and worthy. We promptly and gladly granted him the assistance he asked, will take care of the hospital bills, and allow him reasonable time after his service shall have ended to repay what we shall have advanced. He has given note to that effect. This is not charity. It is a business transaction, just like he would make at a bank, except that we take security which a bank could not lawfully take. I feel confident that this loan will be repaid, principal and interest. We are furnishing this patriotic soldier with credit to meet an unexpected and unavoidable expense.
"Now, two instances where we did not help. An insurance agent came with a note given him for the first premium on a policy he had just sold to a soldier. He wanted us to pay the note or buy it. In view of the intention of the United States to provide new insurance for all soldiers, we think we should restrict our efforts to taking care of premiums on policies already in existence. We told the agent that he had best hold his note.
"Another suggested that we take care of a mortgage on a drafted man's land and mules. But upon inquiry we found that
the seller of the land was the father of the drafted man, that almost nothing had been paid on the land or mules. We thought this man might never go to the Army, and if he did, his father should hold the land for him. And if he goes to the Army, he had best sell his mules, as his crop is finished. These three cases are given as an idea of what this committee will do and what it will not do.
"Our idea is to help those who can neither help themselves and who have no kin or friends who will keep them.
"If a soldier can make his own arrangements, or if he has family or friends who will attend to such matters for him, our advice is not to come to us, but if he needs emergency help and can not get it elsewhere, we will gladly help in all worthy cases. We will promptly turn down unworthy applications. We will be careful not to have anything 'put over us.' We depend entirely on voluntary contributions. We hope to repay a great part, possibly all that is put in our hands. We are determined that no worthy Wake County soldier shall suffer deprivation of property, nor his dependents suffer hardship, if we can prevent.
"The committee has money for all present needs, but calls may increase, and we wish to have enough always in the hands of our treasurer, Mr. B. S. Jerman, to meet promptly any call made on us. We must not wait to raise money. We must have the money ready for instant use. I now ask the people of Wake County to place at least a thousand dollars in our treasury for use in this work. We may hereafter need more; if so, we will ask for it with full assurances that it will be supplied. Whatever be left or repaid--and we expect most of it to be returned--will be paid as a dividend to all contributors pro rata. Pay to Mr. B. S. Jerman, treasurer, to-morrow what you wish to advance for Wake County soldiers.
"Out of the horrors of this war will arise a greater and better people, a stronger and freer citizenship, and higher ideals of government and of life. Out of bloody welter of this war will come many compensations. We will find a higher efficiency, and we will have a warmer sympathy for our fellow creatures and a greater willingness to share burdens. We will understand as we never have before understood the fatherhood of God and the brotherhood of man.
"There will be a fuller understanding and a deeper sympathy between the races here at home. Misfortune has prevented that heretofore. Black men fought bravely in the Civil War, but against us. Politics estranged us. Now we will fight together. A white regiment will save a black regiment when sorely pressed, and in like circumstance a black regiment will risk its life for a white one. We will be comrades in arms. After the war better friends than ever.
"We are fighting, not for love of war, but because we love peace well enough to fight for it. We are making war upon the idea and incarnation of war. We are fighting to make this the last war. If it ends right, it will be the last great war--the last war between civilized, enlightened nations. If we can have such a peace, the war will have been worth all its costs. Our soldiers have proven their patriotism. They have answered their country's call. They have pledged their lives. We ask no proof of their devotion. But I want to know if we who remain at
home be worthy of the men who go? I propose to this audience that we here and now take upon ourselves five simple but solemn pledges. I have personally taken each and all, and God being my helper I will keep all.
"Here they are.
"1. We pledge ourselves not to say or do anything during this war which will weaken the hands of our Government, or which could give aid, comfort, or encouragement to the enemy. Will you pledge this? If so, raise your hands and say, 'Yes.' If you will not, answer, 'No' and bow your heads.
"2. We pledge ourselves during this war to do promptly and cheerfully all which our Government shall ask us to do, the same being in our power.
"3. We pledge ourselves not to support any candidate for office who does not whole-heartedly support our country's cause in this war.
"4. We pledge ourselves not to let the family of a soldier suffer for want of anything we can supply.
"5. We pledge ourselves to give preference in all things, where practicable, to the soldier who went and did his duty over the man of military age and fitness who did not go.
"My soldier friends, you have heard these pledges. They speak for Raleigh, for Wake, for North Carolina, for America, for most of the civilized world. They are the voices of not only thousands here to-night but of a thousand million human beings in every quarter of the globe. You have the gratitude, prayers, and love of the human race. May the God of our fathers go with you, remain with you, sustain you, guard, preserve, and save you; and in His own good time bring you back safe. Amen."