September 9, 1880
Mr. Mayor and Fellow-Citizens of Oakland: I am glad to meet you. I was told that my presence here to-day was especially desirable because there was to be a celebration of the admission of the State of California into the Union, that this day was called Admission Day. It naturally occurred to me that instead of being called upon as a speaker I should find myself entertained by some citizens here who would give us an historical address, and although all who are at all well-informed in the history of our country are likely to be tolerably instructed in the history of California. I did hope and respect to receive a great deal of those most interesting events in American history. I am not sure but you are putting off upon me that which I supposed to be prepared as part of the feast which I was to partake of. I do not complain of this. I believe in pioneer days and celebrations of the earlier settlements of our various States, that lead to going back to the smaller days, perhaps
THE FORMER DAYS OF OUR COUNTRY’S HISTORY.
It has been remarked that a man who does not regard his ancestors is not likely to be of much importance to his posterity; and, although this State is rather young to have an extensive talk about ancestors, yet I have been here with my friend General Sherman a little too much of late not to know that the forty-niners and the Argonauts were a considerable people. Indeed, as we approached the line of California, more and more General Sherman drifted away from the events of the recent war, with which we connect his name, and commenced to entertain us with descriptions of the society and of the scenes about 1846 and’7 and ‘8 and ‘9 in California. And not to be outdone by the General of the Army, the Secretary of War, also a pioneer, not of California, but of Minnesota, has given us his experiences in the early settlement of that State, and it is a noticeable fact that, probably from the first - from the first settlement of Jamestown, in Virginia, the settlement at Plymouth Rock, the settlement in that good old State at Marietta – that the history of all those periods and your own early settlement is surrounded by trails and difficulties for the exhibition of traits of character not altogether dissimilar. Therefore, my friends, I am glad to join with you in this pioneer and historical celebration of the anniversary of the admission of California into the Union. The people of that part of the United States from which I have recently come – the States east of the Rocky Mountains and the States of the Atlantic coast – have not commissioned me to represent them here, but I think I am authorized to say that the good people of the region all feel an interest in that which interests you. They are glad to hear of your prosperity. They are
PROUD OF YOUR ACHIEVEMENTS.
They admire you for what you have accomplished and they look to you on the Pacific coast to build up a community here that shall dominate the Pacific, that green ocean for commerce whose trade in the past has always made great the nations that commanded its trade. I do not doubt that you will be equal to what is expected of you by your friends at the East. I assure you that you are talked of, and that, too, perhaps more than you suppose. From every neighborhood, from almost every family there has gone some favorite son or daughter to California, and whatever touches California, touches the whole United States. The only regret I have to-day in connection with my visit to you is to learn that you have not as yet begun to share, at least in full measure, in the prosperity, the restored prosperity which the United States over the mountains everywhere has begun to enjoy. You know, I suppose, as well as I do, perhaps better, that it may now be truthfully said that in no country in any age was there a prosperity more solid, more full of hope in the future, more widely extended, reaching to all classes of society, than the prosperity enjoyed by the great body of the United States. And I say to you, as I have said ones before to-day, that I believe it is the wish and the prayer of the people to the east of you everywhere, that soon California and the whole Pacific coast States and Territories may come to enjoy in full measure the prosperity with which Providence is now blessing the rest of America. And now, my friends, having detained you very much longer than I expected to do, I have pleasure in introducing to you one whom I suspect to be the oldest Argonaut of you all; General William T. Sherman.