August 23, 1877
Mr. Mayor and Fellow-Citizens: This is our fourth day in New Hampshire. We are now reaching the end of our tour through this interesting and patriotic State. Of all welcomes and receptions we have had, or shall have, I am sure, from lasting, from grateful, from agreeable recollections, your own being the last, will never be forced from our memory. Your Mayor tells us that the town of Nashua has been visited by four chief magistrates of the Nation—Monroe, Jackson, Pierce and Grant. Surely I do not wish to name these distinguished patriotic statesmen of the past with a view to provoke comparison. We all know what these men have accomplished, and of all they have accomplished for their country how little of it that is now best remembered is connected in any way with any political party. We remember Jackson because he said, and acted, according to his say, “The Union—it must and shall be preserved.” We remember Monroe because he gave to the country not victory for party, but gave it that era of good feeling which will never be forgotten. And so, my friends, if there is any reason why you should be interested in the present Administration of the country, I trust it will turn out to be that after four years are ended something, however small, will be found to have been done for the common good and common glory of the whole country, and of all of its inhabitants. Now, my fellow-citizens, I am quite sure you will be glad to make the acquaintance of some of the gentlemen who are associated with me at the Cabinet Councils in the administration of the Government. It so happens that we have with us of the Cabinet Ministers, the Postmaster-General, Attorney General, and Secretary of State. Our time to make your acquaintance is so limited that we cannot be expected to make to you any extended remarks. But all of these gentlemen have exhibited lately in New Hampshire capacity to say a great deal in a very short time. I wish first to introduce to you a gentleman who is himself living, tangible evidence that union, that conciliation, that harmony, that an era of good feeling is possible today in our country. I allude to Postmaster-General Judge Key, of Tennessee.
REAR OF TRAIN
August 23, 1877
I have spoken so often and so much in New Hampshire, and especially in this town of Nashua, that I hardly know how to start. I feel rather like going through that military evolution, which is sometimes necessary, of marking time; it makes no progress. There are a number of things on which we, I think, agree, and in this sort of miscellaneous assemblage, which is made up of Republicans, Democrats, and independents; made up of men of different sects, and possibly some, and many, who have no sect at all, of capitalists and laborers.
It is desirable to discuss rather those things in which we agree than those things in which we differ. We have occasion daily to meet and discuss our differences. Political meetings are for that purpose. These meetings are largely denominational, sectarian, but this is a gathering in which I trust the general spirit is a desire for harmony, for friendship, for agreement, and that really is the guiding sentiment so far as my purposes are concerned of this Administration to bring people together who have heretofore been divided. Among those ideas about which we agree are these—we are agreed that this territory embraced within the United States from the tropics almost to the frigid zone; from the Atlantic to the Pacific, is hereafter indestructibly one nation; and again, it is a nation composed of States, all of which States have equal rights, and it is crowded with inhabitants of different races, nationalities, employments, and differences of life, all of whom have equal rights.
Now, these are three great ideas, and the fourth is that the National Government has all within the sphere of its proper constitutional rights. It is supreme. All this I think we are agreed on, and if there be any chart on which any one shall attempt to mark out the course that this Administration is to take, they should mark it out in accordance with all four of these ideas if we succeed in what we desire. That there will be shortcomings; that there will be gross blunders sometimes; that there will be mistakes, is, no doubt, true, for the Government, like the people, is human in its origin, and may therefore err.
Our purpose is always to try to remember that while the National Government is supreme, while the Union is to be one forever, the rights of States and the rights of individuals are to be equally regarded forever. But this is altogether too sober, I see, for the temper of this crowd, and, for my own part, I would rather joke with you. And now as the locomotive is coming to end my speech, for which I am much obliged, I will bid you good evening.