RESPONSE TO GENERAL BUCKLAND’S INTRODUCTION
February 24, 1877
MY FRIENDS AND NEIGHBORS: The manner in which I am introduced makes it rather easy for me to speak without much embarrassment, but we had better stick to the old titles until we are sure of something new. In these times of uncertainty we are often disappointed. The good news of to-day is often dispelled by the evil news of to-morrow. During the few months since the 7th of November I have schooled myself so as to not be very much down, nor very much up, but to try and keep as near the even line as possible.
This kindly meeting this evening I do not take so much as honoring me as a congratulation upon the manner in which this strange and peculiar question is now being settled. No other country in the world could have endured such a struggle without suffering lasting calamities. In the event of remaining among you for the next two or three years, I will attend the next annual pioneer’s meeting and bring a bundle of letters and notes, many of which I am constantly receiving, such as curiously drawn sketches of knives, daggers, and revolvers, but I have not lost much sleep from any of them yet. One of the most amusing was received this week. It was a knife about two feet long, one edge hacked like a saw, probably for sawing the bones, and the other side for cutting the flesh. This was wrapped in several thicknesses of paper and inside was a note as follows:
“This is the knife with which the editor of the Capital was to assassinate you, as you went from the White House to the Capitol. It was taken from his pants leg while he was asleep.”
Well, friends, I think I have talked long enough. As I am in the habit of shaking hands, I would say that I am in excellent physical health, and if any of you wish to shake hands, I will be glad to do so, but I will step into the hall out of the cold.