the government and entire people of the United States
has vastly greater.
When it was proposed to me in Virginia
, in 1867, that I become a candidate for the United States Senate under the State
government which I was trying to ‘reconstruct,’ I replied that in my opinion the highest qualification I possessed for the difficult duty I was then required to perform resided in the fact that there was ‘nothing in the gift of Virginia
which I could afford to accept.’
I believe now that the highest external incentive to honorable conduct anywhere in the world is that of responsibility to the government and the whole people of the United States
There need be no apprehension that any American who has a national reputation at stake will be guilty of any of the crimes which are said to stain the administration of viceroys in some parts of the world.
The prejudice which still exists in this country in respect to military government is due solely to the fact that the people do not yet appreciate the legitimate influence which they themselves exercise over their public servants, military no less than civil.
Indeed, there is perhaps no other class of citizens so sensitive to public criticism as those in the military service, certainly none who value more highly their reputation for faithful and honorable conduct in the public service.
I do not hesitate to give it as my deliberate judgment, based upon the experience of half a century, that the best and most satisfactory government any island of the West Indies
can have in the next hundred years will be a military government under an officer of the United States army.
It is only an incident of despotic governments, past or present, that soldiers have been employed to execute despotic orders.
The common inference that military government is essentially despotic is absolutely false.
On the contrary, military men are, as a rule, the most humane.
This has been most notably so in the history