February 28, 1877


Mr. President, Ladies and Gentlemen:--I shall make no attempt to describe what I have felt during the progress of this reception, nor what I feel now that it is drawing to a close.  I wish, in the simplest way and with the fewest words, to thank the citizens of Columbus, the members of the General Assembly, the State officers and the people of Ohio who have taken part in it, for their very great kindness to me and to my family on this and many other occasions.  The city of Columbus and its people have very many and great claims to our affection and gratitude.  It is more than forty years since I became acquainted in my boyhood with Columbus, and from that day to this many of my most intimate friends have been among its citizens.  Many are gone, I look in vain among those we have met this evening for some who were once numbered with my most familiar acquaintances.  A few are here whose acquaintance I made during that first well remembered year of the cholera—the year 1833.  Among these are the Chairman of your Executive Committee, Mr. William Deshler, and I then saw for the first time his older brother.  But very many of my early friends of Columbus are gone.  Among those I knew and remember for their friendliness to me as a boy, and who are no longer living, are such well known citizens of earlier days in this city as Joseph Ridgeway, Sr.; Joseph Ridgeway, Jr.; Samuel Medary, Alfred Kelly, Gustavus Swan, Dr. J.G. Jones, John Noble, M.J. Gilbert, and many who were nearer my own age, such as Thomas Sparrow Fitch, James Matthews, Albert B. Butler, and Dr. Douglas Case, with whom I was on terms of intimate friendship.  We are reminded by the absence of these friends of the changes we must expect in the years which are before us.  As for myself and family, we go perhaps to return in a few days to occupy our accustomed place in this community; possibly we go to other scenes and duties, not to meet you again.  In that event I wish to say, as Mr. Lincoln said on parting with his friends at Springfield sixteen years ago, that “I trust you will pray that I may have that Divine assistance and guidance without which I cannot succeed and with which I cannot fail.”