FAREWELL SPEECH AT RAILWAY STATION, COLUMBUS, OHIO
March 1, 1877
My Fellow Citizens.--I appear to say a few words in bidding good-bye to you. I understand very well the uncertainty of public affairs at Washington; I understand very well that possibly next week I may be with you again to resume my place in the Governor’s office and as your fellow citizen. But I also understand that it is my duty to be at Washington, prepared to assume another position higher and more responsible and with more difficult duties. I have thought, as I looked upon this great audience and as today I gazed on the people who thronged our route to this depot, of a similar occurrence sixteen years ago. A little less than sixteen years ago I marched down High Street with one thousand men to pass to the East and to the South to do what we could to restore the Union of the States, and to reestablish the authority of the Constitution. In that work we were eminently successful, so far as it was possible to be successful by force of arms.
I am not here to say a word in disparagement of what was accomplished by the brave men who went with me from different parts of the country. Of my comrades, one third and over never returned to their homes. They perished in the discharge of their duty, that the Republic might live. But there was something that force could not do. We would have our Union to be a union of hearts, and we would have our Constitution obeyed, not merely because of force that compels obedience, but obeyed because the people love the principles of the Constitution
And today I am called to the work to which Abraham Lincoln was called sixteen years ago. It is under brighter skies and more favorable auspices. I do hope, I do fervently believe, that by the aid of Divine Providence, we may do something in this day of peace, by works of peace, toward reestablishing in the hearts of our countrymen a real, a hearty attachment to the Constitution as it is and to the Union as it is.