October 12, 1870
The speaker of the National H of R, the Hon. J. G. Blaine of Augusta, Maine, was selected to preside over the deliberations of this National Congress on Penitentiary & Reformatory discipline. The death of an intimate friend & associate of Mr. Blaine has deprived the Congress of his presence and valuable assistance.
In compliance with the unexpected call of the Committee, I accept with unaffected diffidence the duty which Mr. B. was expected to perform. Without experience in the presence of the duties of a presiding officer I must rely on your friendly assistance and your charitable judgments.
No considered thought of mine on the interesting questions to be here discussed.
R. B. HAYES