August 22, 1877

Weirs Station, New Hampshire


Friends and fellow citizens:  I wish to assure you that this kind welcome gives me very great gratification.  We do not, I am sure, mistake its meaning.  You are interested in me and those with me because of the great trust which under the Constitution and laws have devolved upon us.  You believe with Lincoln that in the performance of his duties the only safe reliance for your magistrate is that Divine assistance, without which he can not succeed, and with which he can not fail.  My earnest desire is, my prayer is, that in every difficult and grave emergency I may be so guided that all good citizens can approve the measures that may be adopted, and that all may conscientiously pray for their complete success.  My friends, we have three members of the Cabinet.  You will be glad to be introduced to each.  First allow me to introduce a distinguished soldier of Massachusetts, who has a high reputation as a lawyer, and who is known everywhere as a conscientiously upright man, General Devens.


It is not best for one bred to law to attempt to quote Scripture, but here is something like this: “There is more joy over the repenting one than over a hundred that have not gone astray.”  We have with us a friend who was for four years against us, and more recently mad e the mistake of voting against me, but now on the question of integrity and the maintenance of the Union, and on the question of freedom and equality to all men, no man is before Judge Key.


In a country like this, where there were differences of opinion upon so many subjects, all were able to agree upon one or two points, one of which was that a house so long divided against itself should be so no longer; that the contest over slavery, which lasted over 100 years, was now gone, and that peace should reign over the whole country. As an evidence that peace does reign, we have with us a gentleman who is a living witness of the truth I am about to utter.  We had a difference with the Southern States.  We thought we were right, they thought they were right; but now they are coming over to our side of the question, and they begin to rejoice with us that victory was on the side it was.  Judge Key, whom I wish to introduce, voted against me, but I hope he has repented.  I know that he has come to support the whole Constitution as it now is with its thirteenth and fourteenth amendments, both of which he regards as good things.