PRESIDENTIAL MIDWESTERN TOUR

 

September 24, 1879

Parsons, KS

 

FELLOW CITIZENS: After traveling 150 to 200 miles today and meeting a considerable number of our fellow citizens, all of them anxious from motives of curiosity to hear and see us, if but only to say a single word. You will hardly expect me to enter upon any extended talk to-day. The very large number of topics suggested by my friend Mr. Cory would furnish material for a long speech; so long, if I were to follow it out, than I think my Kansas friends would rather regret it than otherwise, I assure you that my journey thus far has been a very agreeable one. We have seen all around us of very great prosperity and a productiveness of soil throughout the country.

 

There is perhaps as much interest in this State of Kansas as in any of the new States. Without going into the history of Kansas, celebrated at Lawrence recently by a meeting of the pioneers of the State, I am inclined to think that it is the best advertised community in the United States. In the matter of advertising, your greatest success was at the Centennial in Philadelphia. The world gathered there to learn what they could by judgment. After having gone rather hastily through it, for I was not allow to choose my time and place of seeing things any more than I am now, I was running hastily through that great Exposition; great in every way – great in its results, for it has done an immense good throughout the civilized world. In looking at the Spanish, Japanese, and Chinese displays, I was much pleased, but the best of all was the display of the State of Kansas. Beginning with that, you kept it up with a series of advertisements, one of which was the issue of a volume of reports that beats any other volume that I have met with any from the other States.  I am in the habit of looking at the statistical reports, and after having my mind directed in this way by reading these reports, giving me information of the products and conditions of the country, I came to visit your State, so that, you see, I am right upon the whole in saying that you are an exceedingly well advertised community. I have come to see you to learn if you come up to the advertisement. I have come to see if the thing itself was as good as the advertisement. There is sometimes a little failure in coming up to the mark. I am not going to pass judgment on that yet. I will wait until I see a little more; though what I have seen already is very satisfactory. The first introduction I had to Kansas struck me favorably. When you go anywhere the people naturally show you the best thing they have. I know a city where it was fashionable to take you to a cemetery. I remember several cemeteries very much blessed in that way.

 

I was in a city a few weeks ago where they took me to see the pin factory; that was the best thing they had. When I got to Kansas I wondered what would be the best thing they had to show me. They took me to see a school house. There is nothing better than that to show any where; that is a good thing. Simply as an advertisement, there is no better advertisement for a community or city. The best classes of emigrants don’t go to countries where they have no good schools. On the other hand the very best class of emigrants do go where they have good schools, and so you have done right with me. I don’t know what you are going to do with me in Parsons, but what I see here I am pleased with, I will relieve your patience now by introducing you to the gentleman who lead our armies from Atlanta to the sea, Gen. Sherman.

 

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