Benjamin Harrison photo

Remarks on Receiving the Riggin Statuette

February 08, 1893

[Presented by George W. Turner, Executive Mansion]


The gift which you tender to me and the kind and appreciative words with which you accompany it, are very grateful to me. I have felt great interest and enthusiasm in the rebuilding of the American Navy. I have felt that it was not only essential as a matter of national defense, but that there was a prestige and influence for peace and good neighborhood between the nations of the earth in the completion and equipment of these great ships that nothing else could furnish. As to the incident to which you refer, I felt that the honor of our country and of the Navy had been touched, and that nothing was left to us but, in a quiet and dignified and yet firm way, to insist upon suitable redress. It was given in a generous spirit, and I think the result of it has been that our relations with that brave people, whose history is so full of martial achievements and prowess, as well as with the sister Republics of South America, are more friendly. International intercourse must always proceed upon the basis of mutual respect and a yielding of mutual right. No acquiescence in wrong, no tame and spiritless submission to injury, can be the basis of respect, and friendship must be founded upon respect.

I thank you, sir, and these generous donors, for this testimonial of an incident which I am sure will be regarded as valuable in our history.

Benjamin Harrison, Remarks on Receiving the Riggin Statuette Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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