August 29, 1891

Fremont, Ohio




When I enter a room where there are more than two people, I always expect to be called on and feel very much disappointed if I am not; so it is to be assumed when you call on me you get me. But it is now and then a great satisfaction in calling on a man when you know, almost to a certainty, he will not speak; and you feel rather disappointed if he does.


Gen. Buckland: We expect to hear you this afternoon, too.


Gen. Hayes: Am I to make another? That isn’t according to my expectation, I am safe on that however. I am in earnest now, I am not joking. We have Patrick Henry with us, I wish he wasn’t here for a minute, I would like to talk about Gibson. That is a good topic.


I have read a great deal about Patrick Henry and some seven or eight years ago I was casting about in my mind to know whether there was any one living that was like him in talents and character, and in that wonderful eloquence he possessed. The more I read of him, the more I was satisfied that we had here in Ohio, in this Sandusky Valley, a Patrick Henry.


If our friend, William H. Gibson, had lived in those days which tried men’s souls, in the days of the Revolution, I think he would have had the place Patrick Henry has. He was born a little too late, but I know he doesn’t think so; he has a notion he was born just at the right time. He thinks it is an advantage to have lived during an interval of time when good men were needed during the last thirty or forty years, a time when men could do so much good by work, and speech, and character. At this time there is a certain sense in which that is true and there is a certain sense in which that is not true. The present had a beginning, and to have lived during the foundation, the creative period of this great country of ours, would have been the best, fortune, and it is the chief advantage and the only advantage Patrick Henry had over Wm. H. Gibson.


Among the famous things Patrick Henry did and said, take the case of the law-suit, in which a distinguish Scotchman brought suit against a quartermaster of the revolutionary army, who, it seems, had taken one of his steers to feed the starving soldiers. The quartermaster, under orders, must gather in provisions. One day he found a terribly mean little steer and he gathered him in and fed him to the revolutionary solders.


The Quartermaster was a rather thrifty man afterwards, although he did not make anything out of his office as quartermaster; but he had a farm and the Scotchman brought suit against him for the price of the steer after the war was over. Patrick Henry defended him, and during the trial he says: “Look at this man here, (pointing to the quartermaster). He and his men were on the march to join the army, which was to capture Burgoyne and close successfully the revolutionary war. His men were starving and this man’s (Scotchman’s) steer was taken, and now he prosecutes the man who did his duty, gathered food for the starving soldiers; and everybody else in the world, who are the friends of freedom are rejoicing because the war is over, everybody except this Scotchman. And when all are taking off their hats and cheering because of this great victory, here comes the Scotchman, crying “I want pay for my beef! I want pay for my beef! My beef! Shame on him!” Well, the Scotchman began to get his head down and finally sneaked through the door and was gone, and it was well that he was gone, because if he had stayed, they would have “skinned” him.


Now, I tell you, Gibson would have done that just as well as Patrick Henry did.


You all remember the time they were passing resolutions in the house of delegates in Virginia. They “Resolved that Great Britain cannot tax America, which has not representation, and hereafter America is to be independent of that despotic power.” Suppose Gibson had been there. You remember what Patrick Henry said - said he, “Gentlemen may cry peace, peace; but there is no peace. The war is actually begun. The next gale that sweeps from the north will bring to our ears the clash of resounding arms**I know not which course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death,” That was a pretty good speech and Gibson will make just as good a one. I think this is enough for an introduction.