This document, property of
Mrs Jannice Saint-Pierre Westfall,
great-grand-daughter of Henri Césaire Saint-Pierre,
has been copied by Jacques Beaulieu,
great-grand-son of same and
Richard Beaulieu, great-great-grand-son of same.
by H.C. Saint-Pierre Q.C.
at the Protestant Cemetery of Mount-Royal
on the 30th May 1895,
at the gathering of the Montreal
branch Hancock Post of G.A.R.
Every year, upon each recurring springtime,
when nature robes herself in her garment of verdure
bespangled with flowers of the brighest hues;
when the winds are murmuring in the forest trees their
songs of love; when the birds are everywhere filling
the air with glee and happiness,
your thoughts are carried back to days of sadness
With that fidelity which becomes soldiers and friends
each year you have repaired to
"the silent camping ground," where our departed
companions are now sleeping in their last repose,
in order to offer to their graves your tribute of
flowery gifts together with the renewed expression
of your undying love and of your sorrow.
We have again met this year to perform this pious
True, the lips of our fallen friends are closed for
ever, and their voices can no longer be heard,
but it seems to me that their spirits hovering over
their tombs are today moving amongst us,
and that upon our recalling to our memories the
great deeds which they have achieved and the great
cause which they have defended, we will
again feel their encouraging influence.
It seems to me that prompted by their secret
whisperings, we will on leaving this field of the dead,
walk away impressed with a higher resolve to imitate
their example and so do for our country, if calls
of that duty which they have so nobly performed in
the service of the friendly republic which has been
the witness of their heroism and their devotion.
What was it which in 1861, brought together so many
around the flag of Washington and Franklin? Was the
soil of the fatherland threatened by the undisciplined
and untutered savage of the Wild West? Was it polluted
by the feet of foreign invaders? Had England, France
or Germany threatened with their mighty fleets the
shores of the Republic which one of its presidents
has proclaimed "the sacred home of the American
people"? No, Comrades, the strife was between
brothers. - The fathers of the Country had proclaimed
it as the fondamental principle of the Constitution
that man was born equal and free and the question
at issue was whether a republic founded upon such a
principle could subsist.
I cannot define this question to you
in more impressive and more eloquent language
than that which feel from the lips of the man who
was at the same time the greatest hero of the war
and its last martyr, the good and noble Abraham
Let me quote his own words pronounced on the occasion
of the inauguration of the Gettysburg Cemetery
where so many of our dear
comrades had fallen.
"Four scores and seven years ago, our fathers brought
forth upon this continent a new nation, conceived in
liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all
men are created equal. Now we are engaged in a great
civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation,
so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We
are met on a great battlefield of that war. We are
met to dedicate a portion of it as the final resting
place of those who here gave their lives that that
nation might live. It is altogether fitting and
proper that we should do this. But, in a larger sense,
we cannot dedicate, we cannot consecrate, we cannot
hallow this ground. The brave men living and dead,
who struggled here, have consecrated it for above our
power to add or detract. The world will little note
nor long remember what we say here, but it can never
forget what they did here. It is for us, the living
to be dedicated here to the unfinished work that they
have thus far so nobly carried on. It is rather for
us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining
before us - that from those honored dead we take
increased devotion to the cause for which they, here,
gave the last full measure of devotion - that we have
resolve that the dead shall not have died in vain -
that the nation shall, under God, have a new birth of
freedom, and that the Government of the people,
for the people, by
the people, shall not perish from the earth."
What was it then, I again repeat, which brought so
many combatants from so many various lands to share
in the struggle for the maintenance of the Union?
I am aware that the rebellious population of
the Southern States had friends and sympathisers.
I am not at all surprised at the
joyful hopes expressed by the men who held power
of the Government in several countries in Europe
when they predicted the downfall of the
These men belonged to the aristocraty and
aristocrats are the natural enemies of the people.
The kings and the aristocratic classes may have
proved unfriendly to the cause of the
Union, but the men of the people were not.
They felt that in the mighty struggle which was going
on, there was a cause to defend which was their cause,
the cause of democracy, and under the inspiring strains
of the patriotic songs "Hail Columbia" and "Three
cheers for the Red, White and Blue", from almost
every quarter of the globe, thousands and thousands
hastened to flock around the glorious stars &
stripes, the emblem of popular rights, to fight and
fall, if necessary, in the defence
of the American Republic.
In those days as well as now, there were in our
free Canada, men of the people with strong arms and
stout hearts, who did not think that they would proved
disloyal to their country by giving a friendly help
in the defence of the cause of the people and of
humanity, and who cheerfully joined the ranks of
their American brothers.
We were among the number,
Comrades. Carried away by the enthousiasm of our
youth, we fought and bled for the sacred cause of
the people and for the abolition of slavery; and
after the bloody strife once over we came back to our
own homes as loyal as ever to the land of our birth, but
proud of having contributed to the triumph
of freedom and to the maintenance of the government
of the people, by the people and for the people.
a little over a hundred years ago, thirteen
States which then formed the nucleus of the mighty
republic now known to the world
as the United States of America
confederated together and
united their strenght to lay the
foundation of a Government such as the world had never
witnessed before. They proclaimed as the first article
of their creed that every man was born free and that
in the eyes of the law, in the eyes
of the constitution every
man was the equal of any other man. No privileged
classes, no aristocratic distinction were admitted.
The American citizen was instructed to believe himself
the peer of any man, and like the Roman citizen of old
who could make even a king tremble by stating
his title the inhabitants of the
American Union was aware that he
could command the respect of the world by calling
himself "an American citizen".
"Civis Romanus sum" would proudly
say the Roman in the days of the olden times - with
no less pride and with as much assurance to command
respect the man of the people
from the American Republic
can say, "I am an American citizen."
I have just stated that this new
republic was unlike any
one ever known to the world
before, and History will prove my assertion.
was a republic, but the extend of its territory was so
restricted that its citizens instead of confiding their
interests to the calm discussion of a house of
representatives would even in the most momentous
occasions constitute themselves into a deliberating
council, and in boisterous assemblies would
pronounce upon the most vital questions concerning
the welfare of the state.
Rome was the mightiest Republic known to antiquity; but
remember that one third of its
population was composed of patrician families who
would gaze with a disdainful look upon their plebeian
The power of Government was centered into the
aristocratic Senate, the authority of which was
supreme. The rights of the people were limited
to the election of their tribunes whose duty was
to protect when abuses of authority on the part
of the senate became excessive.
There was no equality there. The Patricians were
the masters and the Plebeians the slaves.
Venice was a Republic and for
a considerable period of time was admitted to be the
Queen of the seas, but it was governed by an
oligarchy, and the people had no voice in the
Government of the nation.
To America was reserved the honor of being the cradle
of the first exclusively democratic Government which
ever existed in the world. The birth place of true
Democracy was America. Any man born under the
shadow of its flag,
no matter if he sprung from the poorest and lowest,
has the right to aspire to the proudest
station in the land.
There no titled scape-grace,
no aristocratic idiot can expect to command influence
nor even respect, but Grant the tanner became
the commanding General of an army of over one
million of men and Abraham Lincoln a toiler of the
soil, the "rail splitter" as his ennemies
sometimes called him in derision, became the president
of a mighty nation; the former proved himself a
general who may be compared with the most
illustrious of either ancient or modern times and the
second was proclaimed the greatest man of the age.
The birth of democracy in America became a natural one,
the moment the Americans had conquered the right
to chose their
own form of Government.
Their fathers had hailed from
old England that classic land of liberty where from
their very infancy they had been taught
that "No Briton should ever be
slave." The evolution therefore from a popular
government tempered by the authority of a King
and that of
House of Lord such as
existed in England to a purely democratic
government without any King or aristocracy
became a natural one and was operated almost
without effort. But it was not so in other countries.
Fourteen years had hardly elapsed since
the American constitution had been signed, when the
most sweeping revolution
known to the world broke out in Europe. -
Democracy resolved to assert the rights of the people
and encouraged by the example set by the Americans
she rose in
her might like the athlete of old in the
Olympian games, bearing the arms for the deadly conflict
the world ever witnessed.
France became the battlefield wherein the question
was to be decided whether it was true as had been
affirmed in America
"that every man was born free and the equal of any
other man" or whether it was not better that
three-fourths of the population should be the slaves
of the one fourth.
Gentlemen, whilst giving this short historical analysis
of the march and
progress of Democracy throughout the world
in order to convince you that
when we fought for democracy we
were fighting for a holy cause, allow me to enter in
what you might call a short digression,
and permit me to put before your eyes
a small sketch of what the condition of France was
before the revolution swept away
the ancient order of things.
You will then judge for
yourselves whether we were right in fighting for the
maintenance of the Republic and of the great principle
of the sovereignty of the people upon which it was
made to rest.
King Louis XVI was sitting upon the throne of France
wearing a crown and weilding an absolute sway over the
nation by the authority of what he claimed to be the
divine rights of Kings. "Two thirds of the land of
the country" says the historian Chambers "belonged
to the nobility and the clergy, and both the
the clergy were exempted from taxation."
Judge from this statement of the condition of the
mass of the people, the toilers of the soil.
The taxes were not collected as they are here; they
were sold at public auction to the
highest bidder and bought by a class of men
called the King's farmers-general who
in their turn would collect them from the people
with unmerciful greediness. A tax was imposed
upon almost every article of absolute necessity
Intermarriages between the nobility and the rotheries
or the people were looked upon as a stain upon the
former, and the unfortunate youth who
would marry a maiden of the people was cast away from
his family as having brought shame and dishonor upon
the hearth and home. At a pinch he could
use her as his mistress however. There was hardly any
shame in that; but for him to take her to his
bosom as the woman of his love and the mother of his
children was a crime never to be condoned.
In the armies no man who was not a nobleman
could ever expect to
reach a higher post than that of sergeant.
In the navies
he had to be content with remaining a
Wars of the most disastrous character would be
undertaken not for the protection of the country but
for the benefit of the King's family connections.
The Commanders were frequently selected for
the most important posts by the whymsical fancy
of the mistress of the Sovereign; and the efforts and
used to obtain the good graces of the gracious lady were
not even attempted to be conceiled from the
observation of the public.
Officers' commissions were bought and sold to the
highest bidder, no matter how wreckless or unworthy
the applicant might be for the position.
The son of a craftsman had no right to aspire to any
higher occupation than that of his father,
and if shoemaker his father was,
shoemaker the son was bound to be.
Justice was shamelessly sold or influenced
still more shamelessly
by the King's mistress or
I should rather say mistresses,
for History tells us that there were many.
To crown all, upon a secret denonciation, a
citizen, the father of a family could be
suddenly pounced upon and lodged in the dungeons of
"La Bastille" by means of a warrant called "lettre
de cachet" signed by the King, without
any one of the friends or of his family
of the doomed man ever being
made aware of his fate. One of those unfortunate
victims of tyranny, Latude
was kept for thirty
years in that terrible prison.
Talk of Bell Island or of Andersonville,
Do not fancy, gentlemen, that I am portraying to you
a state of things which existed during the dark ages.
No, I am referring to the condition
of the people of France at the very time when
the great revolution burst forth about a
hundred years ago.
I have just spoken of the
condition of the French people but theirs was not
an exclusive one.
Had I made the picture a little broader
I might have included within its frame, Italy,
Spain, Austria, in fact all of Europe except
England and Switzerland. Every where, the people
was the slave of kings and of the nobility. Nowhere
except in the two countries just named were they
allowed the least share of influence
in the government of their respective countries.
One day the oppressed people of France felt that
they could bear oppression no longer; the nation
rose in a state of frenzy. The
chains broke from her wrists, she snapped
from the hands of her oppressors the weapons which
they had so long wielded for her destruction; she
picked up the sword yet crimsoned with the blood
of her children and with all the power that madness
inspired by fury and revenge can inspire she struck
to the right and to the left. Under her mightly
blows, la Bastille the hated prison crumbled
down to pieces, the King in spite of his divine
right feel on the scaffold never to rise again,
and the blood of
the nobility, (that head-strong nobility which
even then, would not consent to yield an inch of
its self-asserted priviledges) filled the gutters
The Kings of Europe took alarm and trembled
on their thrones at the sight of the rise of Democracy
in France. They all combined together to crush it down
but the vigorous French Republic was equal
to the task. Organised by the genius of Carnot
hastened to the
defence of the French soil and every where the
French soldier was victorious.
At the head of
those armies we find men who had sprung
from the people like Grant, Sheridan and
Thomas. We find Napoleon
Bonaparte, the son of a lawyer, Berthier a sergeant
in the old army,
Bessière, a private in the guards of Louis XVI,
Junot, Larmes, Mortier, Pechegre all from the lowest
ranks of society,
Soult, Suchet, Victor, Lefebvre,
Massena, all former privates in the old army.
Gentlemen, I am not ignorant of the fact that
Democracy was conquered, at least for a time in France.
There is however a
certain degree of satisfaction in knowing that
to the glittering charms of military Glory.
But see throughout the world the mighty
triumph secured by the American and French
The great principle laid down by Washington, Franklin
and Jefferson and again affirmed
by Mirabeau, Sieyes, Danton
and Vergue, that the people
should be governed by the people and for the people
was accepted in every civilized country of the world,
and both on the continent of
America and that of Europe there is hardly a
nation to-day in which
the sovereignty of the people has not been
recognized and in which the government
is not carried on
by means of a parliement or
house of assembly composed of elected
representatives of the people.
Some might say that the secession of the
Southern States from the Union and the disruption
of the Republic did not
necessarily entail the downfall of Democracy in
America, and that the dark forbodings of the late
President Lincoln were groundless.
Gentlemen, no one can say what result might
have flowed from the breaking up of the Union.
If the principle had been once accepted that the
pretented States Rights was to be allowed to prevail,
one can affirm that some day or other under
the flimsyest pretext the Western States might
not have followed the evil example set to them by
the Southern Confederacy. A house divided against
itself cannot stand and no
one can foretell what the final fate of
Democracy might have been in all those small
republics shorn of that strength
which resulted from their Union.
The motto of the United States is: "United we stand,
divided we fall."
Who can say that some foreign conquerors
might not have crossed the sea
to crush down under foot the work of the fathers of the
Republic and reduce to a state of thraldom the free
people of the United States? Have you forgotten that
thirty years ago a foreign army invaded Mexico, and
that a foreign potentate succeeded in subverting
the Mexican Republic to put its government
in the hands of an Emperor? Fortunately,
the people awoke to
their rights, and led by their republican chiefs,
they succeeded in repelling the invaders
and Maximilian paid with his
life the audacious enterprise of attempting to
become the master of a free people. But what might
not have happened had the Mexican Republic been
divided against itself or broken up by partial
the Union therefore
we were defending our cause, the cause
of the people, the cause of Democracy in America.
We fought for the Union in order that the
title of American Citizen should be
We fought for the Union in order that in that
land, the worker, the toiler
might continue to feel that there is more
nobility in honest labor than in glittering titles.
We fought for the cause of Democracy in order that
no man should one day assume the right to deprieve us
liberty or should dare to thrust any one of us into a
dongeon without cause and
without due process of law.
We fought for the cause of Democracy in order that
our virtuous sisters, wives and mothers
should not be looked down with
contempt by an insolent courtisan who would believe
herself a superior being from the fact that she
happened to have been born of patrician parents.
This is what brought so many helping hands and
devoted hearts around the flag of Washington.
But aside from the cause of Democracy, there was
another of no less importance, one in fact so
blended with it that
the two form but one thing in reality.
I am alluding to the question of slavery.
Slavery was preexistant in the
Southern States to the foundation of the Republic.
The difficulties which beset the path of the
framers of the constitution were by far too numerous
for them to undertake the settlement of the vexed
question of slavery with one stroke of the pen.
They felt contented with affirming the broad
principle that in the new born Republic "every man
should be free" and they left to the
care of the local government in each Southern State
the evil as time and circumstances would
The hopes expressed then were
not realised however, and slavery instead of gradually
disappearing was on the contrary increasing
rapidly until at last an
attempt was made to introduce it into the
Western States. You know the sequel, the election
of President Lincoln wich took place directly on
that issue, the refusal of the Slave States to
Mr. Lincoln as their president.
of the Southern States, the election of Mr.
Jefferson Davis as the president of the Southern
Confederacy, the attack upon fort Sumter
and the war.
Gentlemen, at the same time that we were defending
the cause of the Union, we also defended that of
Humanity itself by fighting for the abolition of
Is there any one of us who ever regretted it?
A man may sell his labor, his ability, his skill,
his learning, but he cannot sell his person.
Every man is
a creature of God born to do his will, but not to be
under the absolute authority of another man.
No one has the
right to become the absolute master of another,
no matter what country the latter hails from, no
matter what sun may have darken his face.
Have you ever travelled the Southern States
before the war? Have you ever seen a slave market?
If you have seen such a sight,
did you not feel your very temples throb
with the deepest indignation at the degrading
scenes? Dis you see the
husband separated from his wife, the father
from his son, the mother from her children and
even from her infant babe? Could any sight be more
revolting for a man harboring in
his breast some feeling of respect for man and for
humanity than that of those
purchasers of human beings patting with their
lascivious hands the forms and flesh of a young
woman, just as they would do those of a beast
My blood boils at the very thought. Methinks I am
present at such a scene with my old comrades of
Company F of the
76th, N. Y. V. Methinks I hear my brave captain
[see note at the end] swan
shout to us; "Boys are we going to allow such
abominations to take place before our very eyes?
Are we barbarians, savages or christian soldiers?
Do you not see that father taken away from his
weeping children? Do you not see that little
child five years old
torn from the arms of his distracted mother?
Do you not hear their screams, their
desperate appeal for help? Is there no hope
for them? Are we to remain idle in sight
of such a scene? Forward boys, sweep away
all that heartless crowd, seize those weeping
children and bring them back to their
With what alacrity would the order have been
obeyed? Who is the coward amongt us who would not
have risked a thousand lives for the sacred cause
"Not all the rebels in the South had born us backards
Gentlemen, I am done. We Canadians
have been born and brought
up in a free country wherein democracy
rules supreme. All we know
of nobility and aristocracy is only that
which is found to be
good in them, education, refinement of
manner, politness and devotion
& charity. It is though the chain of
nobility that we are linked
to the mother country, but that chain
is made of gold and covered
with flowers. Is there actually in
Canada a man who has more thoroughly
won the hearts of every Canadian than
our present Governor General the
noble Count of Aberdeen? Is there a
woman more amiable, more charitable,
more devoted to the interest of every
thing which is truly canadian
than our good Lady Aberdeen?
Ours is indeed a favored land and
on this day when we are
recalling to our memory what we did
elsewhere for the cause of the
people, we should thank heaven that
we also are a free people and
the inhabitants of a democratic
country. Let us remember that most
of our leading men have like
Grant & Lincoln, sprung from the
poorest of the land; that we also, w
e have had our great and good men
who without resources, without the
succour of even a primary
education have succeeded in
reaching the highest position within the gift
of our people, and that if
Abraham Lincoln after six months schooling
became the president of the
United States, our Alex. McKenzie, a stone mason,
without any schooling at all,
became the Premier of Canada.
Let us here resolve to cultivate
amongst us as a brotherly feeling
and let our ambition be to see
some day the star of Canada shine
amongst the brightest in the galaxy of nations.
The 76th New York Volunteers
Company F had two Captains during its existence.
John Barnard was the original
Captain of Company F. He
lasted for just one year, and was invalided
out in September 1862. He
was succeeded by James Goddard,
who served from September 1862
through July 1864, when Company F
was mustered out. He is the one
mentionned here. (This information comes from Mike Brown. The complete
roster of the regiment is found HERE
Copy of a
Single-lined typed document
of nine full-scap pages
Some spelling and syntax corrections were done
22 juillet 2019
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