April 7, 1868

Cincinnati, Ohio


I am afraid you would not excuse me if I were to occupy the few moments you are together, in making a speech.  You wish to hear each other talk.  If, considering myself one of the company, I were to undertake to talk of old times, what should I say to you?  For example, should I speak of my boyhood—why, there are men here who were well grown when my father was born.  Shall I talk to you of my professional life?  I am a lawyer. Why, there is a lawyer here who fifty years ago knew more of his profession, understood better the science, the principles and the practice of law than I ever expect to.  Shall I talk to you of my life as a soldier?  Why, there are soldiers here who in 1812-13-14 suffered all the hardships of a campaign in this wild country, and passed through scenes far more interesting than any I have seen.  Shall I talk to you of my experience as a chief magistrate, as an executive officer of the State of Ohio?  So well have the women and the men of pioneer days laid the foundations of our institutions, that I really believe that in this day of peace it requires less of knowledge, less of talent, to administer tolerably well the office of Governor of Ohio, than was required in the early days to be a good sheriff, of whom we have several here; or to be a good justice of the peace, of whom there are many here; and therefore, it is not for me to come and talk to the pioneers about any experience of mine.  Let me close by saying that I appreciate very highly the invitation you gave me to attend here.  I shall be very glad to see you at the Governor’s office.  I shall have very little to show you there; but I am proud to be able to tell you that by the generosity of Mr. Jno. D. Jones, I am trying to do what was attempted to be done by my predecessor, to obtain the portraits of the first Governors of Ohio.   We have secured the promise of, and will soon have, the portrait of Governor Tiffin, and expect to obtain the portraits of Governor Meigs, and other early Governors.  This is all that I can show you that can interest these old pioneers; but if you will come and see me, I will try and make you welcome there.