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Spanish-American War, October 4, 1904

Remarks by Governor Toole to Veterans of Spanish-American War

Your presence on this occasion recalls the action of Congress declaring war against the Kingdom of Spain, and the subsequent proclamation of Hon. Robert B. Smith, then Governor of this State, authorizing the organization of the First Regiment of Montana Volunteers under date of May 2. A. D. 1898.

The President of the United States asked for one hundred and twenty-five thousand men, which limited the apportionment to Montana to one regiment of Infantry and one squadron of Cavalry as her proper quota.

The response to the call of the President and the proclamation of the Governor was prompt and eager. Five times our quota could have been as promptly supplied as those who went into quarters at Camp Smith near this city, and subsequently shipped to the Philippines.

The bosom of the State swelled with patriotic pride when it was discovered that the First Regiment Montana Volunteers was the second if not the very first to respond to the call to arms and announce itself in readiness to march.

How well they sustained themselves in that Great War is a matter of history to which the most punctilious patriot can point with pride. Whether temporarily rendezvoused, on the march, or on the firing line, the same loyalty, courage and determined purpose abode with them.

When this regiment returned its ranks were decimated by death and depleted by disease. "There were cheers for the living and tears for the dead." Our fallen heroes were in a far off land and it did not seem probable that their sacred dust should mingle with their native soil. Perhaps it is just as well, for the philosophy of the soldier declares that

"The fittest place for man to die
Is where he dies for man."

The governor's voice trembled with emotion as he recorded the heroic action of the dead and praised their patriotism. As the governor concluded his address he stepped before the tablet and pulled a cord which released three flags and the national colors were drawn to one side, showing the tablet. The spectators broke into cheers.

The splendid sacrifice and gallant conduct of your regiment at Caloocan found fitting recognition in Senate Joint Resolution No. 3, Sixth Session of the Montana Legislature, and in further recognition the Legislature of this Strife at its Eighth Session passed a law authorizing the Governor to procure a suitable bronze tablet, to be placed in the main hall of the Capitol building and to have thereon an appropriate inscription showing the name, rank, company, date of enlistment and date of death of each soldier belonging to the First Montana Volunteers who lost his life in the Philippine war, and the name of said regiment.

It was provided that the size of the tablet, the lettering and figures thereon, and the arrangement of the names should be subject to the direction of the Governor, and that the same should be set in a conspicuous place, to be selected by him.

This tablet is now unveiled for your inspection.

Spanish-American War Tablet

The design was prepared by J. H. Kent, Esq., of this city, and the tablet was made by the American Bronze Foundry Company of Chicago, Illinois.

It is justly regarded as a work of art, creditable alike to the designer and makers.

The suggestion of the legislation that made its construction possible met with a prompt and hearty response upon the part of the law making and executive departments of the State, and touched a responsive chord in the great popular heart.

It will never be seen of men without awakening their patriotism and binding them closer to their country and the heroic dead.

It teaches a lesson of loyalty and love which liberty alone can inspire.

"Tis well to pause and ponder on heroic deeds,
And with the hero thrill in sympathy;
'Tis well to honor those whom Honor's self has crowned,
And teach our youths the price of liberty."

It will decorate these walls as long as this building endures, a testimonial of a grateful State to her devoted sons.

And as for you, my friends, the survivors of that great conflict, you are entitled to, and will receive, no less honors than your dead comrades, because Chance and Fate have rescued you from premature graves.

May your ranks continue unbroken until ripe old age has crowned and claimed you all.

House Bill No. 342

An Act Entitled "An Act making an Appropriation To Procure A Bronze Tablet To Be Placed In The Main Hall of The State Capitol Building, And Upon Which Shall Be Inscribed The Name, Bank, Company, Regiment, Date of Enlistment And Date Of Death, Of Each Member Of The First Montana Volunteers Who Lost His Life In The Philippine War." Be it Enacted by the Legislative Assembly of the State of Montana: ,

Section 1. There is hereby appropriated out of any money in the State Treasury, not otherwise appropriated, the sum of two thousand dollars ($2,000.00) or so much thereof as may be necessary, to procure a suitable Bronze Tablet to be placed in the Main Hall of the State Capitol Building, which shall have thereon an appropriate inscription showing the name, rank, company, date of enlistment, and date of death, of each soldier belonging to the First Montana Volunteers who lost his life in the Philippine war, and the name of said regiment.

Section 2. The size of the Tablet, the lettering and figures thereon, and the arrangement of the names, shall be subject to the direction of the Governor, and the Tablet shall be set in a conspicuous place to be selected by the Governor.

Section 3. The State Auditor is hereby authorized to draw his warrant for the amount of the cost of such Tablet and expenses connected therewith, not exceeding the said sum of two thousand dollars ($2,000.00) and the State Treasurer is directed to pay the same.

Section 4. This Act shall be in force and effect from and after its passage and approval.

Approved: March 6, 1903.

 

First Regiment of Montana Volunteers

Source: Montana Historical Society Contributions, Vol. VIII., 1876

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