PRESIDENTIAL WESTERN TOUR - ASHLAND COLLEGE

 

September 27, 1880

Ashland, Oregon

 

Ladies and Gentlemen:

If, under the present circumstances, we do not speak at length in responses to your kind welcome, do not attribute it to lack of appreciation. We are wearied and covered with the dust of travel. It is not possible for us to express at length our gratification at first meeting an audience of the people of Oregon. We have yet seen but little of your state, but are pleased with that little. We all like to know that when strangers visit our neighborhood they carry away a good impression. I expect that when we shall have seen Oregon we shall be able, at some future time, to express of it an opinion exceedingly favorable. We have seen California and caught the California fever. I expect we shall also take the Oregon fever. I remember when it prevailed in Ohio thirty years ago. Perhaps some before me had the fever in that state at that time, and yet have not received from it. Your valley would be called anywhere a beautiful country. You, as the people of the Pacific coast, have a great future, a great work to do. If you build up here, a country of similar and equal population and power to that of the Atlantic states, our nation will control and virtually own the great Pacific Ocean, with its vast commerce and influence. I believe you will do this, and am encouraged in the belief by the evidence of the growth of industry, education and temperance in the first town we have found in Oregon. We were advised to go to Portland by water; we were told ladies could not travel by the stage route but General Sherman said: “Let us come this way”, and we are glad we came, ladies and all.