National Geographic : 1909 Jan
THE NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC MAGAZINE The theme of the evening, I under stand, is the American Navy. It is a great theme, indeed, and one worthy of the contemplation of this great organiza tion. The United States has had much to do with the geography of the world in the past few years. It has changed the map of the republic, and it has changed the map of the world. And the change was largely accomplished through the genius and courage of the American Navy. There is one thing about the American Navy I like above all others, and that is that it has never brought other than glory and honor to the flag of the great republic. It is not a navy aggres sive against right. It is a navy that has always been summoned, whenever sum moned, to vindicate right and justice, the honor and good name of the great re public. I sat with President McKinley soon after the breaking out of the Spanish War. It was at the time the Oregon was making her tremendous sweep from the Pacific around South America into the Atlantic Ocean to aid our navy upon our eastern coast. It was rumored that the Spanish fleet was lying in wait and with multiplied numbers was expected to over come the Oregon, seize possession of her, and turn her guns against the United States herself. The President wore upon his face evidence of the great stress and strain through which he was passing. He knew better than the American people the gravity of the situation. He said to the Secretary of the Navy, who was dis cussing the trip of the Oregon with him: "Mr. Secretary, if the Spanish fleet overpowers Captain Clark, will he go down with the Oregon?" "Yes, Mr. President; if Captain Clark finds himself outnumbered by the enemy he will carry his ship to the bottom of the sea rather than surrender." And in that he voiced the sentiment of every man who wore the naval uniform or who wears it today. We take pride in our war vessels, majestic, powerful, and invincible as they are. But the thing that most stimulates our pride is the char acter of the men who man our vessels of war. I met an English lady who had recently returned from Australia, and who honored our city with a visit a few days ago. She said to me, "What is the most magnificent spectacle you ever saw?" I answered her, and then turned the inquiry to her and asked, "What is the most magnificent spectacle you ever rested your eyes upon?" And said she, "The most sublime thing I ever saw or ever expect to see was the great Ameri can squadron as it entered and anchored in Sydney Bay. Thousands and thou sands of Australians had gathered there, and with loud cheers welcomed the great fleet, which was the visible evidence of the majesty and power of the Republic of the United States." We indulge the hope that our Navy will always be regarded among the peo ples of the earth as a harbinger of peace. We also entertain the confident hope that the cause of international arbitration may increase more rapidly than the navies of the world may develop, and that differ ences between nations may be honorably adjusted in arbitral tribunals. While we delight to honor the Navy, we also de light to honor those who seek to advance the cause of peace without a resort to the sword. I want to again extend to you a greet ing here. It is a delightful privilege we enjoy to gather here and meet and mingle as guests of this great Geographic Soci ety. I thank you, Mr Toastmaster, ladies and gentlemen, for your courtesy and your kindness. THE TOASTMASTER The navies of the world have pro tected and made free the highways of marine commerce. They have brought together the East and the West; they have distributed the civilizations of the more enlightened nations, and have im pressed them upon less rigorous peoples, to the great benefit of the latter. Our own Navy may be properly celebrated for the things that it has done in peace as well as those that it has accomplished in war, and the Hon. Truman H. New berry will speak to the toast, "The Navy in Peace."