What we gave, we have;
What we spent, we had;
What we left, we lost.
These words of Edward Courtenay, Earl of Devonshire, cut on his gravestone, may serve me as a text. That nothing is of the best advantage to the human race until well used, may also serve as a text.
In the early fifties, when I was a very young man, we fellows constantly speculated and discussed as to the methods of making our lives successful. By ‘success’ we did not mean riches, houses and lands, high place and honors, but something of real value to the world. We wished to make our lives tell by good work—a selfish wish perhaps, but it had its good side. We knew that our nation was in the making, and that it was our task to help. It never occurred to us that our nation was without faults; on the contrary, we saw many things to correct. The field was large and called for knowledge and careful thought in the tilling.
The slavery question was to the fore, and, being vital, it grew daily in prominence, arousing deep feeling on all sides. The lawyers and courts cited the Constitution. The manufacturers begged for peace, as they needed the cotton, on which many workmen depended for their daily bread. The clergy were lukewarm or divided. The Southerners bitterly resented any comment on their property, whether land or slaves. Mr. Frederick Law Olmsted, by personal examination of the Southern plantations and conditions and habits, taught the American people that the land and the men, white and black, were not being used to advantage, and that slavery was bad economy. Only then arose the conviction that slavery must rule the land or be overthrown; only then did men awaken to the absolute, the vital need of ridding the land of the national burden and the national disgrace. It may be noted, by the way, that hard names and vituperation delayed and thwarted the efforts peacefully to get rid of slavery. The slave-owners were, as a rule, high-minded gentlefolk who had grown up under a false system and believed it good, but it was against the law of the universe.
During those years our feeling of patriotism was growing stronger, and when the Civil War broke out it became with us a true passion. It was the ruling motive. Our American people of both sides showed such devotion of an ideal, such steadfast, strong feeling about our country, such high civic virtue, that the duty of those of us who survived to work for the common welfare and happiness became clearer than ever. It indeed seemed a behest, sanctified and strengthened by the memory of our dead friends.
When the war was over, and slavery done away with, the great problem of the Negro yet remained, and, affecting as it did the white race quite as much as the black race, it demanded constant effort and patience as a condition of national life. The answer to the question of a slavery stem was simple, but the answer to the problems of the rapidly widening industrial system was far more difficult, and lay before us, a life-work.
We lads had wondered whether the men and women of the workshops and of the field were getting fair treatment and giving a fair return. We were sure that such conditions must be diligently sought, and we believed that fair treatment would bring fair returns, and only so. On such mutual relations depended the moral welfare of our country. The way to this goal lay through education—education of the largest kind, and fitted to all the ends to be gained. The adjustments between labor and capital, between men of different occupations, were pressing, and were not easy to understand or to settle. Education and experience, tempered by sympathy, alone could bring a solution for the time, and ever and again changes must and would follow changed conditions. This education could never cease to grow as men with new ideas and new wants advanced, and it was sure to bear rich fruits, — indeed, was essential to the safety of the world. Any one who could and would achieve these results, or help toward their achievement, would be successful and, therefore, happy. We believed ‘that the State, like the individual, should rest on an ideal basis. Not only man but nature is injured by the imputation that man exists only to be fattened with bread, but he lives in such connection with thought and fact that his bread is surely involved as one element thereof, but is not its end and aim.’ Such had been our ideal before the Civil War, and such it remained after the war was over.
Mankind always needs ideals which loom so large in the sight of men that they cannot fail to see them clearly. More than ever is this true of to-day, for the turmoil and the hurry of modern life raise a great dust which oftentimes hides the skies. Enthusiasm, dreams, hopes are to be encouraged, and belong to youth, which ever renews itself in warm hearts, although reason is needed to cool and guide them. The fact that we believe that our ideal is beautiful and holy is not ground for forcing it on our mates. To win success a man must not be a pure idealist, else in practical things he will fail; but he must have ideals, and he must obey them.
Two of my friends stand out as having done especially well in the industrial field. The first built up slowly and surely a great railroad system of seven thousand miles, and while busy with his work, taught by precept and by example many younger men the true, wise method of handling material and human problems with success. He held that the men of the railroad should be treated as individuals, who had their views, their rights and duties, and who should get and give full value for their work. He always had excellent help from friends and stockholders. From the outset, he had taken a deep interest in public affairs, and made his influence for the good felt. He had begun from absolute poverty, was most free with his earnings, and late in life came against a large problem. A bank in some straits, for which he was in no wise responsible, lay down on him for help, and he resolutely, and against the best advice, took up the load and quietly carried it, until a happy conclusion was reached. It cost him half of his fortune, which was at best none too large, and gave him weeks, months, years of terrible anguish and shortened a useful life. He did it to save many people from suffering, and to guard a great state against serious danger. About the facts he was as silent as the grave. He saw the danger to others and to himself, and he chose the noble course, never counting the cost. His pupils hold the highest positions on great railroads to-day, and have proved the quality of their teacher and their teaching. When Charles Elliott Perkins died, the men and the trains stopped all work for an hour. To-day, as the railroad trains pass the field in Burlington, Iowa, where his monument stands, the men lift their hats in memory of him.
The second man undertook a mining enterprise in the wilderness and, gifted with a fine body and a finer mind and spirit, labored day and night until he had built the enterprise into a great corporation. Like Charles Perkins, Alexander Agassiz began with no capital but his education and his character. With unflagging energy, he devoted himself to the great work of which Quincy A. Shaw was the founder. Side by side they shared the great risks and labor, and together they won success. Each was indispensable to the other.
For the use of the workmen, Alexander Agassiz and his stanch ally built houses, school-houses, churches, a club-house, a dance-hall, a hospital, and a school for industrial training, and established a fund wherewith to meet illness and accidents. He chose his workmen carefully, and treated them well. The result has been a steady, strong feeling among the workmen, which has kept away labor troubles, with but two short intervals, for forty-five years, and has caused a deep feeling of affection and reliance from the workmen to the employers.
In each case these men kept clearly before them great objects; they used without stint their money as it rolled in; they worked wisely for the good of mankind. They had drawn inspiration from their forbears and their times.
The world is very busy with work, and agog with ideas and plans and wishes, which have been kept back and are now rushing on us. The tremendous industries have called forth talents and energy, and have brought results, heretofore undreamed of. They have given new work to many people, and have enriched our nation. Everybody has prospered by them, but more especially the leaders have piled up riches to a huge extent, and have sometimes caused in the breasts of the multitude envy and jealousy. Men who started together in the race of life have lost sight of one another, because of their difference in power, in character, in industry, or ideals. And the man who has not made speed in the race thinks hardly of his favored mate. He forgets the self-control, the ceaseless toil, the constant thought which his old companion has used, while he has gone to a ball-game or a bar, or simply smoked his pipe after a day of work. He ignores the difference in ability. He forgets, too, the failures which may have preceded success. A man makes vive ventures and loses entirely on two. Can he be blamed for asking a large return on the other three? Such has been the history of almost all the railroads in the United States, of many mills, water-powers, farms, forests, and often it is only the second or third set of men who succeed with the enterprises which have opened our fertile lands of great forests to a thrifty, energetic population.
The strong man has won his pile, but has he succeeded? This thought, dating back sixty years, continually comes to an old man who has earned his bread and gingerbread and has sometimes tried to feed a hungry wayfarer. After all, who were these strong men and whence did they spring? For the most part they began as farm-hands, sailors, mechanics, clerk, shop-keepers, who had been raised in thrifty, careful, often penurious ways which were essential to their lives. Many of their ancestors, as Emerson says, were Orthodox Calvinists mighty in the Scriptures, and had learned that life was a preparation, a ‘probation’ (to use their word), for a higher world, and that it was to be spent in loving and serving mankind. They had been taught to save every possible penny, to eat plain food, to wear out their clothes and shoes, and to regard such a life as virtuous, — as, indeed, the only life. Perhaps they were not always careful to give full value for services rendered or goods sold, that being the ‘other man’s affair.’ While honest according to their own standards, they might have been more regardful of their neighbors; but loose customs are as old as the hills, and apparently still obtain.
No excuse may be offered for dishonesty or greed, but mention of the reason for its existence is not amiss. All men sometimes do wrong, and at the end of a long life few can declare that they have always been perfectly honest, always fair and considerate of others. Selfishness is the great sin of which we all are in some degree guilty. Therefore, one is surprised at the harsh words of our great national preacher, and the stinging sentences of some magazines and newspapers about the wickedness of business men, and wonders whether the words of the Lord’s Prayer mean anything to these writers, and whether they have abjured the forgiveness of sins. Is charity unknown to them?
This may be said with force: The moral tone among lawyers, physicians, manufacturers and traders, among the leaders and the followers in business, has gradually risen, and is to-day higher than ever. This fact gives us hope that men will presently sin less and show more altruism. It is ‘good business,’ and by and by it will be essential to our self-respect.
While enriching themselves, the great enterprisers have wrought great service to their country. These men have cared to win in their game. They have enjoyed the effort, the strain on their faculties. They have gloried in their success, and, at the end, perhaps they enjoy the power thus acquired far more than the money. They would equally enjoy the planning and execution of great educational schemes, from which they would reap equal renown. That field grows wider each day.
To the strong man of great wealth the question may be put: ‘What are you getting out of it?’ — ‘A fine house, a country house, with gardens, horses, clothes, jewels, food and wine of the best, plenty of good company, and the power to increase my pile.’ That means pleasures but not happiness, not contentment of spirit, not the peace of mind which will follow thought and aid of others; it does not promote the cause of education, which is and must remain the keystone of civilization. Such a result is not true success.
The question of true success is of world-wide interest, yet it remains unanswered. Socialism can give no reply, because it cripples and destroys individual effort, — and individuals make the world. Government can do little, for it accomplishes far less than individuals. Education, which strengthens each unit and binds all together, can alone bring us in sight of our goal, and education may be immeasurably widened in extent and raised in value by our able men, who have conquered in their own field, and who are ready now to work for the common weal. Is not this the key to true success?
This man has slowly gathered his riches with toil, thought anxiety, and he cannot easily part with pennies so hardly earned. Yet he wishes to do good, and subscribes to this and that charity or school, in the hope of accomplishing something. He has attuned himself to acquisition, and therefore spends with difficulty. He means to establish a family with a good name, but he does not recognize that he is doing the worst possible thing for his children in giving them every pleasure, and demanding little from them in the way of training or sacrifice. Much of the father’s training these children must of necessity miss; they cannot know his excellent teacher, adversity; they cannot learn through the day’s work to endure hardships, and to overcome great obstacles.
Dear me! What a pity! How much happiness this man has missed in failing to build up noble works of benefit to our nation, and in failing to use for others the faculties which have already enriched him! And what a poor example he has set both to his children and to the world! ‘Power,’ said Emerson, ‘can be generous. The very grandeur of the means which offer themselves to us should suggest grandeur in the direction of our expenditure. If our mechanic arts are unsurpassed in usefulness, if we have taught the river to make shoes and nails and carpets, and the bolt of Heaven to write our letters like a Gillott pen, let these wonders work for honest humanity, for the poor, for justice, genius, and the public good. Let us realize that this country, the last found, is the great charity of God to the human race.’
How can a man expect success in a difficult and unknown field when only through strenuous efforts he has met success in his own chosen business? Then why should he wait for death to cut off such effort as is needed to win success in this new business? To use millions and millions of money well is hard. Is any considerable task easy, and do we wish it to be easy? A man almost despises an easy task, and a strong man seeks a hard task for the very joy of the struggle. We of this day can never expect to sit quietly and watch the world seethe, struggle, boil over, — and be scalded. It is costly, dangerous, in truth wicked, and we cannot suffer in silence mistakes which we can avoid.
Here is a suggestion. Let a man gifted with very great ability, who has used every talent to develop large enterprises with success, and won great riches, set an example of high civic virtue, and help in the making of our nation by the use of his talents in spending all his fortune during his lifetime. He has won his spurs on one field, and every conqueror seeks fresh victories. Why not try anther field? It will give him full occupation for his remaining years, and thus round out his life. ‘What I gave, I have.’ He does infinite good, wins great trust and love, purifies himself of the selfishness which comes from thinking overlong of his own interests, and changes a feeling of envy into one of friendliness. He has given his family a fame hitherto unknown, — and what has it cost? What has he given? — Simply all that has lain in his power, — just what many men have done who have given all their talents and their lives, never asking a reward. See George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Charles Eliot, William James, our great soldiers, judges, statesmen, teachers, artists, poets, inventors, physicians, men like Major Walter Reed, who gave his life to teach us about the yellow-fever mosquito, and the private soldier who offered his body for poisonous experiments, which paralyzed him. The instances are numberless. Whether a man gives life itself, or his life-work, or all his money accumulated in his lifetime, what does it matter? Each is doing, in a wise, unselfish spirit, his utmost for his fellow men.
The strong man has reached his goal, but it is not time for resting. The day has come for him to show to other men that his life and his work are henceforth for them, and not for his own gratification. He must prove that he has labored for the common good, and that he knows the rightful, wise use of his profits. He has worked diligently and skillfully in his great cornfield, and has reveled in his tasks; now he is to learn the comfort of a garden blooming with flowers, which fills tired women with happiness, and gives the children a place to romp in to their hearts’ content, and breathe in health and strength. He is building for the future of the race just as he has built his mills and his railroads; he is educating the nation, and presently he will find the task so pleasant that his difficulty will be to resist the temptation to toil unceasingly.
Does such a plan seem too large? Do men who have built and who manage railroads across our continent balk at anything? These men build steamers twenty times the size of the large boats in which we used to cross the ocean. They bore miles underground, — whether below great warehouses of rivers is immaterial. They dig a mile or two into the bowels of the earth to mine for iron and copper. Are they to hesitate at any problem when it may help their fellows to a higher plane of life, and may teach them the eternal laws?
The question may be asked: ‘How shall a man spend a great fortune during his lifetime?’ Many ways lie open, many are already being tried. Preventive medicine is the quest of the day. Physicians are working hard to discover the causes of diseases, and to prevent the causes of diseases, and to prevent sickness through healthier living conditions obtainable by all. These conditions come about more quickly if men stand ready to pay for the experiments which lead to public action in the future. To buy a tract of high pasture and woodland and build shacks upon it; to fill these shacks with patients, who would otherwise suffer and presently die in wretchedness; to multiply these camps until all the patients of the United States are happily cared for, would be a noble feat calling for real ability. Tuberculosis may be wiped out if our rich men strive to that end as hard as our physicians.
We need clean and well-ventilated club-rooms in our towns, where men can find food, pleasant talk, and books and pipes. Instruction in cooking is an imperative requirement of our people, who spoil more food than they eat. Industrial schools to teach the mechanic arts, business habits, and the household arts, are needed everywhere, for men and women taught in these subjects are more effective in daily labor.
Our national supply of food depends upon good agriculture. Our present wasteful methods could be improved by a man who would establish model farms where good methods were in use on a large scale. Our farms are yearly impoverished for lack of manure, while the sewage of our cities, now wasted in poisoning fishes, would go far to enrich those lands on which we rely for bread and meat and fruit and clothing. Our universities are beginning to teach the right methods of agriculture, — the selection of land, the breeding of cattle, pigs, and horses; but these same universities are always in dire need of money for tuition and research. They must have the ablest teachers and scientists.
All our cities and towns should have better, healthier, and sunnier playgrounds, under skilled instructors, who will teach games, gymnastics, and, where it is possible, swimming. It is pathetic to see the health and the joy which our poor children get in their present playgrounds; but more and better are greatly needed. Simple music twice a week at these playgrounds would add much to the lives of the children, and of their parents also. See the crowds of work-people who flock to the art museums, and yet all these museums are poor in collections and in money.
In seeking chances for the good use of money, it should not be forgotten that over our broad land, in city and in village, is heard the cry for refreshment, for amusement, as a relief from the toil of our lives. The cry is just, and no more grateful task is offered us than to answer this cry by giving health amusement in the line of concerts and modest theatres. We live in a great cornfield, which is rich but dry. Let us plant flowers in it. Every day the men and women who look after and counsel the poor have fresh cases calling for money to be wisely expended. Mrs. Booth tells us of the men whom she has met in prison and reformed, thus giving the country useful citizens in place of costly criminals. No need to seek channels in which money would double, treble, the efficiency of the charities.
This plan gives occupation and happiness to the giver, explains, and, if you please, atones to his fellows for his success. It blesses the receiver and the giver; it cultivates kindly relations and feelings between the lucky and the less lucky men; it takes a long step toward the making of a great, healthy nation; and what higher, what more pressing duty can the citizen have than this task?
My question has a very practical bearing. It may well be claimed that, as a people, we have been slow in the regulation of our corporations. Such regulation has now been established, and, if wisely and kindly enforced, will do good; but the danger arising from the management of our public-service corporations by our government is before our eyes, and would ruin the government. The sure result of government control is greater cost, greater confusion, less effectiveness, and, possibly, less honesty. If the government loses money by the railroad we, the people, pay it; for be it well understood that the government has no money except that which it draws from our earnings. If, by a large scheme of this nature, followed by many more of the same nature, our people see that in effect they themselves are the stock-holders, the owners, of these corporations, because they enjoy the returns coming from them, they will prefer private to public ownership.
Heretofore, our people have relied on their individual powers, and have succeeded in their aims by force of them. To-day, some men are turning to the government for guidance and regulation in many directions. Government may do something, but often excites opposition, and in any case it will never have the high spirit which the private citizen can show, nor can it ever be so effective.
In short, while our nation may naturally profit through the action of government, it is the citizen’s function and privilege to set the step, to lead the way, and to mark the path in which education, civilization, and a fine national career shall follow. In the end, government of every kind must seek and reach morality, or fail. Water can rise no higher than its level; therefore, it is for the citizen to see that the level is high and steadily rising. ‘The community stagnates without the impulse of the individual; the impulse dies away without the sympathy of the community.’
Mr. Rockefeller has never invested money more profitably than in the great institution for the study and cure of disease, for disease is the most wasteful condition of life. He found able, trained men, who have devoted their lives to this work. He would easily find their equals in like establishments, and he would again invest money bearing a very great return. He is helping very largely the cause of education and of health in our Southern States, where the field is rich and almost untouched. He has been a patron saint in many directions, and he will never know the full result of his good works.
Mr. Carnegie is seeking to advance the causes of science and education by the institutions at Washington and at Pittsburg, and he has brought comfort and rest to many hard-working professors and their wives, through the Carnegie Foundation, which gives pensions to these professors. He has builded better than he knew.
Mrs. Sage is devoting her life and her money to a wise use in helping and housing labor people.
Many other people are doing much in the way of charity and education. One great man is constantly collecting art objects, paintings, sculpture, and the like, and bringing them to America; and the Metropolitan Museum in New York has a collection of which any nation may be proud, and which has come from the purses of these rich men, assisted by New York City.
Our manufacturers have laid out villages for their work-people, and have provided them with gardens and libraries and halls for meeting; they have built for them churches and hospitals. They might well do the same for the relief of the numerous people who live in the cities, and who, not being in the employ of any company, are all the more in need of outside help.
One manufacturer has bought fifty good saddle-horses, which his mill-hands have agreed to use, — and the comment of the superintendent is that none of his investments has brought such a large return. Many great corporations have instituted systems of pensions, of funds for the sick and the wounded, of profit-sharing and the like. Indeed, altruism is in the air, and it should be in active and large practice.
All this is good, but it is not enough, and if these men can bless the land in such degree, why may they not do it in a far greater and wider degree? If many citizens establish great charities for play-grounds, schools, colleges, — and all means of education are charities, — why not till the field more thoroughly? In the last analysis, if we regard it as a national, a world-wide question, we must consider it as a matter of civilization and of business and a wise investment. These givers are getting their money’s worth. Everything in this life costs, be it health, strength, happiness or wealth; and if a man craves a high character he cannot gather pennies so easily or so largely as a man who is careless of his character. Is this a hardship? Anyway, the Lord has arranged it so, and all this goes to the making of our nation, and the nations rise together.
It is a necessary part of any such plan as that here proposed that two points should not be overlooked, namely, that the rich man should keep a reasonable amount of money for his children, who have grown up in certain habits, and who can best continue his work; and that the tidings of his action should be known far and wide, in order that all men should recognize the spirit and the blessing of it. We are in a time of unrest, and such news would soothe men’s minds and counteract the sense of injustice. To see a very rich man parting with all his shares and bonds and houses, and doing it for the public good, would be an education to poor and to rich. Example is a good teacher, and the habit of giving, once formed, is sure to breed more wise gifts. All the material gifts which money can give are of far less value than the spiritual gift of everything—money, time, intelligence for the public welfare. ‘What are the causes that make communities change from generation to generation? The difference is due to the accumulated influences of individuals, of their examples, their initiatives, and their decisions.’
Our country has given birth to many geniuses in material affairs, who, boiling with imagination, energy, and resource, saw numberless chances for action, and in this spirit have developed the land. Using their powers to the best advantage for our country, these geniuses can work wonders in education and in civilization, wherein lies our national salvation.
Since my boyhood in the early fifties I have seen wonderful changes of habits and fortunes, which have separated men more than in those years, while our ideal was to draw men more together. Mere material prosperity, or indeed prosperity of any kind, cannot make a great nation. Therefore, it seems that our old ideal of a true democracy has even greater value than of yore, but that the path toward it is harder than we had known.
A man may say: ‘Why fret about the present conditions of daily life? As a nation, we are flourishing and increasing daily, and growing rich. Let well alone.’ Is it possible that any thinking man can blind himself to the unrest which prevails over the whole world, and hope that good government can exist unless this unrest is tilled by a removal of the causes? Is it possible that the successful man, so-called, can fail to see and to feel the emptiness of his success? A serious man cannot be content with mere pleasures. The picture of a great captain of industries dreaming, struggling, and finally reaching his imagined goal of success, and then finding it empty and himself lonely, — envied and disliked because of his success, — is dismal. On the contrary, the picture of his possible true success glows with sunshine. ‘Science says that the best things are the eternal things, the overlapping things, the things in the universe that throw the last stone, so to speak, and say the final word.’ Our plan falls back on these final things—the wider outlook, morality, religion, love, true happiness and well-being.
To the writer there seems to be no other outcome, no other foundation for a happy mankind, for civilization, than a full, generous, wise use of our powers for the good of our fellow men, and a happy forgetfulness of ourselves. Is such an ideal as is here proposed absurd? Our forefathers left England because they did not like her ways, and when she wished to enforce her authority and to insist on her ideas, they objected—with success. To-day England is glad of our success, and has profited by our ideals and by our material gains. Shall we now go back to the old ways, forgetting our ideals of a certain equality, and of a good chance for all our men and women? Surely our fore-fathers did not come to this country to win material success alone.
After a long doubt and delay, we objected strenuously to slavery as material and spiritual ruin, and paid a great price for our opinion. In one sense at least we have proved our case, for the material prosperity of the slave states far exceeds the old conditions there. In both these cases sober, cautious, excellent men regarded our national course as foolish and wrong.
For good or for evil, we have come into this period of great material development in every direction, and we must guide the spirit aright or lose control. We Can do it by following high ideals. Let us remember that the world advances by ideals, and must hold fast to them. ‘Communities obey their ideals, and an accidental success fixes an ideal.’ Why not seek an accidental success, and risk the chance of failure?
It is true that many people have given, and are freely giving, of their money for public and private needs, and are unknown. Still more people give their time, which is more precious than money, for the one can be got again, but the other never can. All this is for good, and one warns us to ask for more of the very rich man, who, from his proved ability, is a leader, and who can to a superlative degree throw himself and his fortune into good works. Nor should the younger men wait until they can do great things. They should seize the daily chances to meet the daily needs. They will see their duty to provide for themselves and their dependents. This duty rests upon everybody, and the measure of it is only one of degree.
If it be objected that such plans as are here outlined draw capital away from the industries, and thus cripple business, it may be replied that investments already made may as well belong to a fund for industrial schools or hospitals as to a private citizen, and that the interest coming from education or greater health is very high. There is nothing more costly than disease, and wholesome homes give us better children, and draw the fathers back at night instead of sending them to the bar-rooms.
In so far as money is needed for development of new or old enterprises, no doubt somewhat less speed would ensue. Would not this loss be met by more efficient work, thorough knowledge, and better training? Old business men say that most of the failures and losses come from ignorance of true methods. If our Enterprises are lessened in number, we as a nation may grow more slowly and more healthily; but, in any case, it is toward that result that many public men are working, although they are ignorant of the fact. Yearly we pay an enormous sum of money for insurance of our houses and goods, and if this be worth while, surely it is wise to insure to ourselves a peaceful, happy, healthy nation. Is the price of insurance too high? The insurance lies in the good-will and the kind feelings of people by offering to them such treatment as we ask of them.
We have a nation to make—a nation which will last only through noble achievements and high deserts, and which thus may help forward other nations. Can we find a finer task? We must have a quiet country, a happy nation, and we must assure this blessing to ourselves; else of what avail are our riches and fine houses? It is for us to choose—a life of turmoil or of happiness.
Free from the traditions and customs which weigh down the old nations, we citizens of the United States can reach our ideals if we will. ‘Let us realize that this, the last country found, is the great charity of God to the human race’; and with such a blessing and behest from the Almighty to us, no effort toward true success can be too great.
What we gave, we have;
What we spent, we had;
What we left, we lost.