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Remarks to Ninety-One Veterans Who Had Voted for General William Henry Harrison in 1836 or 1840 in Indianapolis, Indiana

July 04, 1888

Mr. President and Gentlemen of the Tippecanoe Club of Marion County—I am very deeply touched by your visit to-day. The respect and confidence of such a body of men is a crown. Many of you I have known since I first came to Indianapolis. I count you my friends. [Cries of "Yes, sir, we are!"] You have not only shown your friendliness and respect in the political contests in which my name has been used, but very many of you in the social and business relations of life extended to me, when I came a young man among you, encouragement and help. I know that at the beginning your respect and confidence was builded upon the respect, and even affection—may I not say, which you bore to my grandfather. [A voice, "Yes, that is true!"] May I not, without self laudation, now say that upon that foundation you have since created a modest structure of respect for me? [Cries of "Yes, sir!" "We have!" "That's the talk!"] I came among you with the heritage, I trust, of a good name [cries of "That's so!" "Good stock !"], such as all of you enjoy. It was the only inheritance that has been transmitted in our family. [Cries of "It has been !"] I think you recollect, and, perhaps, it was that as much as aught else that drew your choice in 1840 to the Whig candidate for the presidency; that he came out of Virginia to the West with no fortune but the sword he bore, and unsheathed it here in the defence of our frontier homes. He transmitted little to his descendants but the respect he had won from his fellow-citizens. It seems to be the settled habit in our family to leave nothing else to our children. [Laughter and cries of "That's enough!"] My friends, I am a thorough believer in the American test of character [cries of "That's right!"]; the rule must be applied to a man's own life when his stature is taken He will not build high who does not build for himself. [Applause and cries of "That's true!"] I believe also in the American opportunity which puts the starry sky above every boy's head, and sets his foot upon a ladder which he may climb until his strength gives out.

I thank you cordially for your greeting, and for this tender of your help in this campaign. It will add dignity and strength to the campaign when it is found that the zealous, earnest, and intelligent co-operation of men of mature years like you is given to it. The Whig party to which you belonged had but one serious fault —there were not enough of them after 1840. [Laughter and applause.] We have since received to our ranks in the new and greater party to which you now belong accessions from those who were then our opponents, and we now unite with them in the defence of principles which were dear to you as Whigs, which were indeed the cherished and distinguishing principles of the Whig party; and in the olden and better time, of the Democratic party also. Chief among these were a reverent devotion to the Constitution and the flag, and a firm faith in the benefits of a protective tariff. If, in some of the States, under a sudden and mad impulse some of the old Whigs who stood with you in the campaign of 1840, to which you have referred, wandered from us, may we not send to them to-day the greetings of these their old associates, and invite them to come again into the fold?

And now, gentlemen, I thank you again for your visit, and would be glad if you would remain with us for a little personal intercourse.

Benjamin Harrison, Remarks to Ninety-One Veterans Who Had Voted for General William Henry Harrison in 1836 or 1840 in Indianapolis, Indiana Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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