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The New York Times, October 2, 1876



Special Dispatch to the New York Times.

HARTFORD, Oct. 1. - The Republican meeting in this city last night was great both in attendance and enthusiasm. Before hand there was a fine torchlight parade of Boys in Blue. The meeting was presided over by Samuel L. Clemens (Mark Twain.) It was his introduction on the political rostrum, and he was received with much favor. He spoke as follows:

LADIES AND GENTLEMEN: I feel very greatly honored in being chosen to preside at this meeting. This employment is new to me. I never have taken any part in a political canvass before, except to vote. The tribe of which I am the humblest member - the literary tribe - is one which is not given to bothering about politics, but there are times when even the strangest departures are justified, and such a season, I take it, is the present canvass. Some one asked me the other day, why it was that nearly all the people who write books and magazines had lately come to the front and proclaimed their political preference, since such a thing had probably never occurred before in America; and why it was that almost all of this strange, new band of volunteers marched under the banner of Hayes and Wheeler. I think these people have come to the front mainly because they think they see at last a chance to make this government a good government; because they think they see a chance to institute an honest and sensible system of civil service which shall so amply prove its worth and worthiness that no succeeding President can ever venture to put his foot upon it. Our present civil System, born of General Jackson and the Democratic party, is so idiotic, so contemptible, so grotesque, that it would make the very savages of Dahomey jeer and the very gods of solemnity laugh.

We will not hire a blacksmith who never lifted a sledge. We will not hire a school teacher who does not know the alphabet. We will not have a man about us in our business life - in any walk of life, low or high - unless he has served an apprenticeship and can prove that he is capable of doing the work he offers to do. We even require a plumber to know something [laughter, and a pause by the speaker] about his business, [renewed laughter] so that he shall at least know which side of a pipe is the inside. [Roars of laughter.] But when you come to our civil service, we serenely fill great numbers of our minor public offices with ignoramuses; we put the vast business of a Custom-house in the hands of a flathead who does not know a bill of lading from a transit of Venus, [laughter and a pause] never having heard of either of them before. [Laughter.] Under a Treasury appointment we pour oceans of money, and accompanying statistics, through the hands and brain of an ignorant villager who never before could wrestle with a two-weeks' wash bill without getting thrown. [Great laughter.] Under our consular system we send creatures all over the world who speak no language but their own, and even when it comes to that, go wading all their days through the floods of moods and tenses, and flourishing the scalps of mutilated parts of speech. When forced to it we order home a foreign ambassador who is frescoed all over with - with - with - indiscreetnesses, [laughter] but we immediately send one in his place whose moral ceiling has a perceptible shady tint to it, and then he brays when we supposed he was going to roar. We carefully train and educate our naval officers and military men, and we ripen and perfect their capabilities through long service and experience, and keep hold of these excellent servants through a just system of promotion. This is exactly what we hope to do with our civil service under Mr. Hayes. [Applause.] We hope and expect to sever that service as utterly from politics as is the naval and military service, and we hope to make it as respectable, too. We hope to make worth and capacity the sole requirements of the civil service, in the place of the amount of party dirty work the candidate has done. By the time General Hawley has finished his speech, I think you will know why we, in this matter, put our trust in Hayes in preference to any other man. I am not going to say anything about our candidates for state offices, because you know them, honor them, and will vote for them, but General Hawley, being comparatively a stranger, I will say a single word in commendation of him, and it will furnish one of the many reasons why I am going to vote for him for Congress. I ask you to look seriously and thoughtfully at just one almost incredible fact. General Hawley, in his official capacity as President of the Centennial Commission, has done one thing which you may not have heard commented upon and yet it is one of the most astounding performances of this decade - an act almost impossible, perhaps, to any other public officer in this nation. General Hawley has taken as high as $121,000 gate money at the Centennial in a single day - and never stole a cent of it! [Great laughter and long continued applause.]

Gen. Hawley then spoke for about an hour and a half, making a very effective speech, and covering all the leading points of the campaign. It was one of the most powerful speeches he has ever made here. He spoke in New Britain, the home of Congressman Langer, the night before and while being escorted by the boys in Blue the procession was stoned, and the color-bearer alone was struck nine times. Alluding to this outrage, Gen. Hawley, in summing up the reasons why the mission of the Republican Party was not ended, said that it would not end till it was possible not only in the South for men to exercise all the right of citizenship without interference, but possible, also, for Republicans in Hartford County and Connecticut, to peruse a peaceable march, and he added: "We will have this right in Connecticut if we have to march the whole State through to secure it," and this declaration was greeted with prolonged applause.

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