Carl Schurz was born at Liblar, Prussia, 1829. He was
educated in the gymnasium of Cologne, and the University of
Bonne. He entered the revolutionary army in 1848, and was
likewise the editor of a revolutionary paper. He was obliged
to flee to Switzerland, and his accounts of his narrow escapes
in getting across the border, as given in his Reminiscences, are
intensely thrilling. He came to America in 1852, and after
three years' residence in Philadelphia, he settled in Watertown,
in our own state. Though he was later a resident of Michigan,
Missouri, and New York, and indeed represented the second-named
state in the Senate of the United States, yet throughout
his Reminiscences he frequently speaks of Wisconsin in a manner
that shows he thought of it as his home.
His life as an American citizen was full of honor and responsibility.
He was made Minister to Spain by President Lincoln,
but soon resigned to come back home and serve in the
Civil War. He was a brigadier-general of volunteers and took
part in the battles of Chancellorsville, Gettysburg, and Chattanooga.
During all the rest of his life he was active in the
service of his country, both in and out of office. He was
strongly on the side of reconciliation with the South, and he
hoped and worked for a re-united country. His addresses and
his letters show his intense faith in Civil Service reform. His
Reminiscences indicate how thoroughly American this man
became, and how deeply he appreciated, and how jealously he
wished to guard, the freedom which he had failed to find in his
mother country, and which he had risked so much to obtain
The first selection here given is from
Volume I of his Reminiscences. It relates the escape from the prison at
Spandau of his dear friend, Professor Kinkel, in which Schurz played an
important part. We see here how closely organized this band of revolutionists
was, and the intensity of their love for each other, together with the sense of
fun and adventure in all they did.
The second selection is characteristic of
the oratory of Mr. Schurz during his later years. It shows an intense
patriotism, and emphasizes the fact that though he was not born here, for him
but one country had the slightest claim upon his devotion.