October 7, 1868
Fellow-Citizens of the Second Congressional District:
We have assembled here this evening for the purpose of congratulating our friend Stevenson, who has been chosen as the Representative of the people of the Second Congressional District in the Forty-first Congress of the United States.
It is unnecessary that I should spend any time in talking to you about Mr. Stevenson. It is unnecessary that I should introduce him to you, or you to him.
Before introducing him, however, I propose to say a few words to you in regard to the topic which I now occupying the attention of every intelligent person in the United States. I mean the result of the very closely and hotly contested elections of yesterday.
In speaking of this election, we will refer first to the details, and then to the general results.
In the details of all such bitter and close contests as this has been, we necessarily come upon some facts which are not very pleasant to contemplate. In all political contests of this kind there must be some disappointments. This, too, is to be expected. I remember, four years ago, to have heard a speech delivered by our friend Stevenson, in which he remarked that he did not know why a Cincinnati audience should call on him, except it was to show that somebody had been defeated. In 1864, he was an unsuccessful candidate for Congress. That was one of the unpleasant features in the details of that election. Now we have to regret the defeat of that able, experienced and faithful representative of the First District, Mr. Benjamin Eggleston. We have also to regret that other gentlemen of the Republican Party, who have represented the people in other parts of the country, have been defeated.
But when we look through all the details of this election, we find much to rejoice over. For example, such counties as Stark, Lawrence, Scioto, and a long list of their counties which were carried last year by the Democracy, have been redeemed, and in this election have voted the Union ticket.
Besides, we should all be filled with a feeling of real delight when we listen to the returns from the Third District of Ohio, and learn that that noble soldier and patriotic statesman, Robt. C. Schenck, in spite of opposition unparalleled as to bitterness and activity, is elected again, over C. L. Vallandigham.
In looking over the result in Pennsylvania, if the results as we have them are correct, we find that we have the Legislature of that State. If this is the case, that very able Democratic lawyer who now occupies a seat in the United States Senate, Mr. Buckalew, will be relieved from duty in the national Legislature, and a loyal Republican will take his place. And it is at least among the possibilities, if not entirely certain, that the ablest Western politician, with a few exceptions, Senator Hendricks, of Indiana, will be relieved from serving as Senator from that State for the next six years to come.
Frank Blair was, it seems, from present indications, perfectly right in saying in his famous letter, that it would be impossible to make the United States Senate Democratic at an early day.
And so we might go over the details of this election, but the matter of greatest importance is the general result. The thing of greatest importance to consider now is the effect this election is to have in determining the election on the 3rd of November next. You have read the speeches of Frank Blair, at Columbus, and elsewhere, in which he assured his friends that the Democrats would carry, by large majorities, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana and Nebraska. Will you ask him now which of these States they have carried? This election shows that the tide which last year seemed to be against us is turning and swelling strongly in our favor. Pennsylvania determines their result of the Presidential election, sustained as she is by Ohio, Nebraska, and probably Indiana. This election settles the question, and assures us that on the 3rd of November next we shall elect U.S. Grant President of the United States.
It is true the loss of a few Congressmen is a matter to be regretted, but it is no longer of importance to have a hundred majority in the House. It was of importance two years ago, when we had Andrew Johnson’s vetoes to contend with. But hereafter we shall have no more vetoes. General Grant will sign the bills passed by a loyal Congress.
I was asked by friends on the street today, “Do you think the Democrats will fight for the Presidency, or will they give it up?” I can not make an answer to this question as far as the Democrats are concerned. Perhaps they will; but whether they do so or not, there is one thing I can say, the Union men of this country propose to fight it out on this line until November, when Sheridan, after the battle of Five Forks, sent that famous dispatch to General Grant, saying “I believe if things are pushed we can compel Lee to surrender.” Grant’s answer was, “Then things had better be pushed.” That is just what I say now. We gained yesterday our battle of Five Forks, and now things had better be pushed. Let us, with renewed energy and increased vigor, continue their fight, and I can assure you that in November, if we do our whole duty, we will gain a complete Appomattox victory which will deliver this country again into the hands of loyal people.
Now, fellow-citizens, I will not detain you any longer. I propose to introduce your Representative, elected from the Second District to a seat in the Forty- first Congress.
I need not say we shall have in Mr. Job E. Stevenson, a man who, by his honor, integrity and patriotism, will be a fit representative of the Second Congressional District.