PRESIDENTIAL WESTERN TOUR, SAN JOSE, CALIFORNIA
September 15, 1880
Fellow Citizens of this beautiful town--I do not undertake to pronounce its name; I am rather doubtful about it. I am glad to know that you are described as the Garden City, a name which, so far as I can observe during the time I have been here, is entirely appropriate to your beautiful city. In appearing before you, I desire first, of course, to make my acknowledgement to the Mayor and to the people whom he represents, and especially to the escort of veterans and the military company, and the little bit of cavalry that was with them for their kindness in escorting me to this city. In conversations that I have had with the people of California I have been more in the habit of talking of what I expect to see, and then how completely my expectations have been realized! Naturally enough, in coming to this part of the United States, one thinks of San Francisco as the center of interest upon the Pacific Coast. We have all read in books, newspapers and magazines of the Western Coast, its people, and its wonderful progress; and I am glad to be able to say of the great city which dominates the commerce of the Pacific Ocean upon these western shores, that in all respects, so far as I can see, it comes fully up to the advertisement; and you know very well that in America we have a way of advertising rather better and rather more than we have on our shelves. One is greatly impressed by looking at the harbor of that city, with its islands and plans of defense exactly where a skillful engineer would have placed them, of a capacity safely to hold the navies of the world;--in the right latitude, in the right sort of climate;--and here I know I am treading on somewhat dangerous ground. For there are those who criticize the climate of California; but I got a great deal of it the first two hours after I got there. In fact, I know they have as much climate to the hour as any place I ever was in. But riding through its streets, looking at the crowds of people in that wind, I soon discovered that to the healthy man it does not bring cold or chill. It gives him energy and life, and prepares him for the great work which the people of that city are to do. But this is not San Francisco. I fear you think I am talking too much about that town and not enough about you. My friends, I will talk about your town at the next one. And I promise you, from what I have seen, that I am not likely to say anything that you would dislike to hear. And now, having said as much as perhaps ought to be in reason expected of me, and as much more interesting speakers than I have ever been are with me, I will make way for the Secretary of War, one of the early settlers of one of the great States of the Northwest, Gov. Ramsey, of Minnesota; and there is the oldest pioneer that California ever had—General Sherman. I see you know him. In that respect you are not alone, for every audience in the East knows him. He is known everywhere. Indeed, I think they would know him in Georgia. I see, my friends, I said enough, and now I have the pleasure to introduce to you Gov. Ramsey of Minnesota, Secretary of War.