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Legion of Honor. Let me, my dear friend, attach to you this ribbon (the Baron here placed the order about the neck of Mr. Carnegie), let me consider now that you are an American, as well as an Englishman, an Englishman as well as a Frenchman, a citizen of the world. You have done a great work and we thank you. (At this point there was great applause, the audience rising en masse.)
MY FRIENDS; BARON D'ESTOURNELLES DE CONSTANT: This honor is as surprising as it is overwhelming. None knows better than I that it is not deserved. No, it is not deserved for anything that I have done; but if a heart that keeps on enlarging as I grow older (applause and cries of "Bravo!"), embracing more and more of the world and the people of the world, if that merits the cross of the Legion of Honor, I believe that I do deserve it. For I do find with every successive year of my life. that I take higher and higher views, that I think more and more of humanity, that I have brighter and brighter visions of its future. (Great applause.)
That this honor comes from France makes it doubly acceptable. (Applause.) I remember what France was to this Republic when she needed a friend. (Applause.) I remember what the French people are capable of sacrificing for an ideal. (Applause.) I know what France has done for the world of art. And I know what the Legion of Honor means. It embraces the men of distinction in every field of human endeavor. The great man of France to-day has been selected by a vote of several millions of her people recently. The soldier? No. Napoleon himself was seventh on the list. Pasteur, the hero of civilization, as Napoleon is the hero of barbarism, was first, followed by two scientists and then by two authors; and Napoleon, who was like some huge Colossus, is seventh already in the estimation of that intelligent people, the French, and with every successive vote destined to fall lower and lower in the list until his name be remembered no more except as a monster who killed his fellowman for his own glory. I love France for her idealism; I love her because she was the friend of this, my country; I love her because she was a friend of my native land,
for Scotland and France were ever good friends. (Applause.) None knows so well as I that I do not deserve this honor, but it is so great an honor it doesn't exalt; it humbles, when I compare it with the small service that I have rendered. But it does this also it furnishes another bond binding me still more strictly so to live my life that France, who bestowed it upon me, shall never have cause to regret that she was generous enough to embrace me in that circle of men who have won her august approval. (Great applause.)
I will now call upon a man who has risen to the highest position he can attain in his department of work, a man who has been trusted by his fellow men, who enjoys the confidence of the workingmen of the Republic and who has earned the respect and the confidence of the employers, with whom he comes in contact as an equal; a name highly respected, one you will be glad to hear; one whose voice in the cause of Peace is a potential voice, because he reaches the great masses upon whom, in a republican country, we must depend for success in any cause we embrace. I have great pleasure in introducing to you Samuel Gompers, Esq., President of the American Federation of Labor. (Applause.)
MR. TOASTMASTER, LADIES AND GENTLEMEN: It is quite in keeping with the great cause of labor, which I have the honor to represent here, for me to have accepted the invitation to address this magnificent assemblage upon the subject now so conspicuously occupying the minds of the earnest, thinking, humane men of our time—the horrors of war, and the movement to substitute for them the more humane methods, for the establishment and maintenance of Peace among the nations of the world. For quite apart from the altruistic and humane sentiments which the working men share with others in the effort to abolish the arbitrament of international disputes by resort to war, the workmen recognize that though others may fall, the brunt of war is borne by them, not only upon the battlefield itself, but in bearing the burdens which follow war.
Of all the people who suffer from war, the toilers are most intensely interested. They are the great burden-bearers of its
resultant horrors and sufferings. It is, therefore, not difficult to discern why they have from their first gatherings, and at almost every gathering thereafter, committed themselves unalterably and vitally to the abolition of war, through a duly constituted international court of arbitration for the adjudication of all international contentions which cannot be settled through the ordinary channels of conciliation and diplomacy.
It is a source of satisfaction and pride to recall the fact that the American Federation of Labor, in its convention in 1887 at Baltimore, heartily welcomed that pioneer of international arbitration, William Randal Cremer, the union stonecutter, member of Parliament of England, and unanimously declared in favor of an arbitration treaty between that country and the United States, a course which labor has, through our organized movement since that time, consistently and persistently pressed home upon the conscience of our people.
In a gathering of this character it is not necessary to dwell in detail, or in figures, upon the almost fabulous sums of money entailed in the cost of wars, the cost of standing armies and navies, not even their cost when maintained upon what is ludicrously termed a "Peace footing." These figures can be obtained by any one who cares to know. It is sufficient for us to know the immense increase within the past ten years in the cost of our own army, navy and armaments. It suffices us to know that it saps the very life-blood of industry and the standards of life of the people of other countries. If the barracks, armories and navy yards were transformed into school houses, colleges, universities, university extensions, manual training schools, schools of technology, libraries, museums of natural history, to air space, to breathing places, to improved homes, factories, and workshops, it would be found that the ravages of the white plague and its kindred ills which decimate so large a number of the human family, would be greatly decreased; if the thought of man were devoted to spreading the knowledge of the arts and sciences; to instilling into the minds of the masses the love of the good, the beautiful, the useful; to teaching man to emulate and vie with the best; to render to his fellows, and hence to himself and his, the greatest public service; it would make for the social uplift of all mankind.
War is the practice of the most consummate skill in the art of destruction-destruction of human life and human product. Peace affords the opportunity to develop the best that is in man, both productive and constructive. It is the noblest attribute of man's duty to man, the world over.
It is a travesty upon intelligence to assert that men trained in the art of, and organized for, war and destruction, make for Peace. Incidentally in every occupation or profession, an individual may see the wrong in it and protest against the tendency; but the men who have given either their whole lives or many years thereof to the study of the art of war must be expected to hope and work and bend every effort for the creation of an opportunity by which they can bring their art and profession into practice. It is as unthinkable for financiers to exist long without money, doctors without patients, lawyers without clients, wage-earners without work, as soldiers without war.
If we hope to reach the time when wars among nations shall be no longer, efforts toward its attainment must be made, not by those trained in the profession of the soldier nor by those who bind their faith in his influence for Peace, but by the men who love Peace for the sake of Peace and for the sake of humanity.
The working men of all countries often note with impatience the platonic declarations for the maintenance of international Peace, and for the spread of civilizing influences throughout the world, because they recognize that there is little foundation in them upon which to pin their faith.
Labor welcomes, without being carpingly critical, any effort which may be made to bring Peace to all the peoples of the world. Labor sincerely declares that the time must come, and come soon, when the world will recognize that Peace is as essential to the full development of industry, to commercial and civilized life, as is air to human life.
Organized labor recognizes that primarily the interests of the workers and generally of all the peoples of the world, are identical, and it constantly cultivates the spirit and bond of brotherhood.
Labor realizes the fact that industry and commercial competition constantly becomes keener the world over; that standing armies are often used for the purpose of opening up new markets
for so-called "surplus products"; that these entail the dangers of fratricidal wars between international competitors, and that, therefore, upon the shoulders of the intelligent, working wealth-producers, the wage-earners of all countries, devolves the larger responsibility for the preservation of Peace; that the voice of labor must become more potent in the formation of a great international public opinion, such a public opinion as before whose supreme tribunal both monarch and merchant must inevitably bow, and that wars of aggrandizement and greed must be relegated to the oblivion of the barbaric ages.
The expedient so often resorted to by rulers of foreign nations to stifle internal discontent is now no longer tenable. The people have tasted freedom; their lives are intensely interwoven in the world movement for its attainment; their souls yearn for its fullest fruition; their hopes cannot longer be diverted, nor their aspirations thwarted.
Among the masses there is an eternal verity in their aspirations for liberty; their historic struggles to emerge from slavery and serfdom into free men, and neither tyranny nor greed can long continue to overcome them. The bondman and the vassal of the past, typified by the man with the hoe, stand to-day upright, intelligent, with head erect, stout-hearted and determined to take their places among the men of the nations of the earth, no longer to be armed by a master or goaded on to venture their own lives in the effort to destroy the life of their brother man.
In all civilized countries there is an earnest effort afoot among people for national development to solve along evolutionary lines the material, political, moral and social problems confronting them. These must no longer be retarded or interrupted by brutal wars.
I come to you with the credential of the latest declaration of the organized labor movement of America, which, in the convention of the American Federation of Labor a few weeks ago averred: "We reaffirm the doctrine of international brotherhood and urge the trade unionists of America to join in promoting all movements having for their purpose the elimination of the cruel barbarism of war."
With that declaration clearly ringing forth the hopes, the aspirations, and the determined purpose of America's workers, I join with you and all others pledged to the high resolve that