From the 20 January 1899 issue of The New York Times.

CONFEDERATE CAMP DINNER


Eulogies Upon Our Navy and the Memory of Lee.


GEN. WHEELER SENDS REGRETS


Ex-Assistant Secretary of the Navy McAdoo Responds to the Toast, “The American Sailor.”


The COnfederate Veterans’ Camp of New York held its ninth annual dinner at the Windsor Hotel last night and toasted the new unity of the Nation as they recalled the memory of Robert E. Lee. The diners numbered about 350, and nearly half of them were daughters of the South whose affection and enthusiasm for Dixie were no less manifest than was the case with their husbands, brothers, and sweethearts. The big dining hall was draped with American flags, and the emblem of the camp was hung opposite the Stars and Stripes behind the table of honor. At this table Col. Edward Owen, Commander of the camp, presided, and Bishop Potter, Bishop Cheshire of North Carolina, and J. Hampden Robb were among those seated near him. Among the other guests were Major S. Ellis Briggs, T. P. Ochiltree, Abner McKinley, and George Gordon Battle.

The fact that the fair faces and dainty gowns of Southern women graced the tables lent an added charm to the dinner and was accorded due recognition. The toasts of the evening were interspersed with singing and entertaining recitations.

The diners drank the toast to the President standing, while the orchestra played the “Star-Spangled Banner,” and then drank a reverent toast to the memory of Gen. Lee. Gen. Joseph Wheeler was to have been the first speaker, the toast allotted the him being “The American Soldier—Invisible in Peace, Invincible in War,” but he was unable to be present and sent a letter of regret. J. E. Graybill, a Confederate veteran, read Gen. Wheeler’s speech. In it the former old Confederate soldier spoke in terms of praise of his former leader, Lee, which made those who had never known him wonder what manner of man he must have been to inspire such words and aroused those who listened to the keenest enthusiasm of the evening. Gen. Wheeler also praised the Southern chivalry which had enabled the sons of the South to account so well for themselves on every battlefield, and spoke of the reunited Nation as forming “an unbroken phalanx of united hearts which is able to defend the country against any power that may arise against it.”

The reading of Gen. Wheeler’s speech was followed by J. H. Child’s tenor solos, “I’se Gwine Back to Dixie” and “My Old Kentucky Home,” which were rendered with much feeling and were enthusiastically applauded. Ex-Assistant Secretary of the Navy William McAdoo was then introduced to respond to “The American Sailor.” He said, in part:

“The American Navy was not built yesterday or the day before. It was not trained to its present state of marvelous efficiency in a month or a year. It is the result of long, persistent effort and of a sploended system of discipline. Dewey did not learn to take Manila the day he started for Hongkong, and Schley and Sampson were masters of their profession long before Mr. Woodford left Madrid. [Applause.]

“Every rivet of these splendid ships of ours has been driven under the protest of men in public and private life. Even twelve years ago it required courage to speak for the navy in Congress, and at a public dinner no subject was greeted with more indifference. When a naval vessel struck bottom where merchant vessels had struck fifty times before, how the caricatures of the press reveled in it, and the National indignation was only equaled by the National disgust. If one of these new guns of ours had burst at the start, as dozens of guns have in Europe, we would never have built another. [Laughter]

“In the splendid national work of building up the navy the South has borne a glorious part. It is needless to speak of the navy’s many true and tried friends, without regard to party, everywhere. Wise and prudent statesmen have come to realize that the guns of a navy are never trained against the liberties of the people. Unfortunately Congress did not always recognize that the 14,000 miles of our coast line needed a navy to protect it.”

Mr. McAdoo here took up the subject of the representation in the navy of the South and aroused enthusism by his reference to “that splendid naval officer Admiral Winfield Scott Schley,” also mentioning Admiral Watson, Capt. Evans of Virginia, the late Ensign WOrth Bagley, and “that noble hero, Richmond Pearson Hobson, whom we are glad to honor notwithstanding the levity of a sensational press.”

Hobson’s name did not arouse such applause as that of Schley.

“I wish to say,” continued Mr. McAdoo with growing ardor, “that the navy of the United States will do its duty to the constituted authority, whatever that may be. It is the grand badge of the navy that it takes its orders from the constituted authority and asks no questions. It obeys the President without respect of party. It is for you, gentlemen, who form public opinion, and for the Congress, which makes our laws, to decide what shall be our policy to the American Navy. But let me say that if the wisdom of the wise people of this Nation or the voice of Congress is determined that our flag shall remain wherever it may go, and the navy shall be ordered to keep it there, it will keep it there to the last drop of its blood and the last nail in a ship.

“Whatever we do we must be sure to do the right and honorable thing. I do not care so much as to what territory we gain, but the one thing of importance above every other question is that the 70,000,000 of the freest, the most intelligent, and the most conscientious people of the world do to all others that which is above all the honorable thing, and the just. It will be a tarnish on the blood which was spilled at Santiago, and a blot on the victory of Manila, if the civil administrators of our country do not show the same devotion to the country that was manifested by the brave men who died for her on the field and on the flood! it will be a blot upon this war if in the aftermanth justice, liberty, and unselfishness are not the badges of the Nation that waged it.

“And I believe they will be. I am not a pessimist. I know the weaknesses of the machinery of our Government, but I am optimistic enough to believe—and I have the courage to confess it—in the good sense and the honor of the people of this Nation. One thing is certain, that wherever that flag has gone liberty and civilization go hand in hand with it. And they go to stay.”

Mr. McAdoo’s speech was followed by a hearty and prolonged burst of applause.

Lieut. Gov. Timothy L. Woodruff was then called on to respond to the toast “A Nation Reunited.” He spoke fo the time when he was a guest at the Atlanta Exposition, and said that when he went down he noticed that Mason and Dixon’s line was plainly in evidence, but when he came back every vestige of it was gone. Mrs. Henry Gielow followed him with negro dialect recitations.