PRESIDENTIAL MIDWESTERN TOUR, AURORA, ILLINOIS
September 23, 1879
Fellow Citizens--In this brief interview which we have with the people who assembled as you have assembled to greet us as we pass, I cannot hope to say anything that will be useful. I cannot hope to say anything that will be worthy of your remembrance. The general topics of time is changed, the condition of the country, as compared with the last five or six years. The purport of what I undertake to say, even when speaking in the brightest period, is mainly this:--I wish to impress upon our people, as far as I am able, and the young school children and laborers, and capitalists and men of business, this one great fact, and that is that in this free country we are all thoroughly connected together; that there can be no great injury to any one part of our country or to any one class of citizens, that does not in its fatal result reach every part of the country and all sections of citizens. This is the great fact. A foot injured or crippled destroys the ability or usefulness of the whole man. If any section of our country is crippled, then the whole country, more or less, is crippled. If any class of society is oppressed and suffers injustice, the whole of society must sooner or later suffer with it. Necessarily, the great body of our citizens are laboring men. The general prosperity of the country rests more with the prosperity of the laborers than with any other class. Therefore, my friends, what I wish to say is, let us see to it that in all of our pleasure, whatever may be remembered and whoever may be forgotten, we should not fail to remember that. We shall not forget the laborers of the country, and that so large a number honor me now with their presence. Don’t let any one misunderstand me. I say that, in the long fun, what is good for the capitalists, what is good for the business man, what is good for the laborer, is good for all the rest. I am sure you will be glad to see and hear, for a moment, Gen. Sherman and Gen. Sheridan, who are with me. I will introduce you to Gen. Sherman.