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A Toast

Admiral Heihachio Togo, whose brilliant tactics had destroyed the Russian fleet at the battle of the Sea of Japan in 1905, visited the United States shortly after the Russo-Japanese War. At a state dinner in Admiral Togo’s honor, William Jennings Bryan was asked to propose a toast. Because Bryan was well known as a strict teetotaler, it was feared that an embarrassing breakdown of protocol was about to occur. But as Bryan stood to propose his toast, he held up his glass and said, “Admiral Togo has won a great victory on water, and I will therefore toast him in water. When Admiral Togo wins a victory on champagne I will toast him in champagne.”

Today in the Word, September 17, 1992