PRESIDENTIAL MIDWESTERN TOUR

 

October 2, 1879

Indianapolis, Indiana

 

Indiana soldiers, from the beginning to the end of the war, carrying the flag and keeping step to the music of the Union, were everywhere among the gallantest, bravest and sturdiest soldiers who maintained the Union cause and the constitution; and when we come to speak of Indiana among old friends and neighbors, Oliver P. Morton, we cannot pass without pausing for a moment to pay tribute to his memory.  Morton, as Senator and debater, absolutely matches Morton as leader of a political party, and as to this, my friends of the Democratic party will agree with my friends of the Republican party, there was not a living man in his time, the man who was above him.  But it is not as Senator, as debater, as leader of the party alone that we would speak of Oliver P. Morton, but his power before an audience like this was wonderful.  Crippled as he was, from necessity sitting in his chair, he was wont to hold spellbound thousands of his countrymen by the hour.  No other man under like circumstances could accomplish what he did in this respect, and yet it is not because of this that I mention his name, his distinction having no connection, whatever, officially, with the government of the United States, having no connection with the civil and military affairs of the government of the United States, he was simply Governor of a single State.  They have had great War Governors in other States.  I am not here to disparage the ability, patriotism or courage, or other great qualities of John Brough, of my own State, or of other War Governors of Ohio, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, Illinois, or in any other State, but to make this simple and truthful statement, that no other Governor in any other State, under such difficulties as he encountered, bore up the flag of the Union as it was born up by Oliver P. Morton.