PRESIDENTIAL NEW ENGLAND TOUR, HOOKSETT DEPOT ENROUTE TO MANCHESTER, NEW HAMPSHIRE

 

August 23, 1877

 

Ladies and Gentlemen:  There is some uncertainty as to how long this train will stop.  Therefore I will begin by the usual exchange of salutations of good morning, fellow citizens, and good by, if I should have no better opportunity to say that.  This is our fourth day in New Hampshire, entering the State rather in the northern part, crossing the Connecticut above Windsor, we passed into the mountains, spending two days there, and then from the mountains to Concord, via Plymouth, and there we have been greeted, with a reception so much warmer, so much better than we as individuals are entitled to have, that one is at a loss for an explanation for it, and yet I suppose it to mean that the people of New Hampshire are good American citizens in all things.  The State believes in government, believes in union, believes in equal human rights, and, therefore, you citizens are glad to meet those who are so connected with the government as to have influence in regard to those various questions.  I do not take it to be an endorsement of the views we have, all the measures we adopt, and yet we have a hope that the people of this town believe that we intend to do the right thing.  I do not fly into the discussion of the measures adopted nor into a defense of them.  That would be very idle.  If they are wrong, people will soon understand it, or they understand it already, and our arguments can not help it.  If they are right, they will of course be approved sooner or later, and for the judgment of the present and future I, for one, am compelled, and am willing to leave my public and official conduct.  And so I think, my friends, we are sufficiently acquainted.

 

Now, I will introduce to you some of the gentlemen who are associated with me in the management of this large piece of machinery which is called the government.  First, allow me to introduce to you the gentleman whose appointment in my Cabinet caused some disappointment and some disapproval, I doubt not, among my good Republican friends.  I did not consult any of you about it.  I think most of you would have said No.  But the longer I have associated with Judge Key, the Postmaster General, the more confident I have felt that I have made no mistake.  He was on the wrong side at a very important juncture.  He was on the wrong side at a less important juncture, but he is getting right.  Indeed, he is almost altogether right.  I think by the time we take him through New England he will be as good a Yankee as any of you.

 

As soon as we got inside of New England, at Bennington, we discovered that New Hampshire was a soldier State; indeed, that the battle of Benningon was fought largely by New Hampshire soldiers, under the leadership of a New Hampshire General.  I doubt not that in this audience there are a great many soldiers, and I propose to introduce to you next one of the most gallant of New England soldiers, Attorney General Devens, of Massachusetts.