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The New York Times, October 19, 1879



ELMIRA, N. Y., Oct. 18. - The largest political meeting of the campaign was held in this city by the Republicans last evening. The Opera house was densely packed to hear Gen. Joseph R. Hawley, of Connecticut. Gen. Hawley was introduced by Mark Twain, (Samuel L. Clemens,) who said:

"I see I am advertised to introduce the speaker of the evening, Gen. Hawley, of Connecticut, and I see it is the report that I am to make a political speech. Now, I must say this is an error. I wasn't constructed to make stump speeches, and on that head (politics) I have only this to say: First, see that you vote. Second, see that your neighbor votes. Lastly, see that yourself or neighbor don't scratch the ticket. General Hawley was President of the Centennial Commission. He was a gallant soldier in the war. He has been Governor of Connecticut, member of Congress, and was President of the convention that nominated Abraham Lincoln."

General Hawley - That nominated Grant.

Twain - He says it was Grant, but I know better. He is a member of my church at Hartford and the author of "Beautiful Snow." Maybe he will deny that. It is not my province to enlarge upon matters generally. I am here simply to give him a character from his last place. As a fellow-townsman and dutiful citizen, I have a high respect for him; as a personal friend of years, I have the warmest regard for him; as a neighbor whose vegetable garden adjoins my own, why - why, I watch him. But that is nothing - we all do that with any neighbor. General Hawley is a man who keeps his promises; he is a man who always speaks the truth, and not only in private life but in politics; he is an editor who believes what he says in his own newspaper. As author of "Beautiful Snow," he has given us a poem which has added a new pang to winter. He is broad-souled, generous, noble, liberal, alive to his moral and religious responsibilities. Whenever the contribution box was passed, I never knew him to take out a cent. He is a square, true, honest man in politics, and I must say he occupies an almighty lonesome position. He has never shirked a duty or backed down from any position taken in public life. He has been right every time and stood there. As Governor, as Congressman, as a soldier, as the head of the Centennial Commission, which increased our trade in every port and pushed American production into all the known world, he has conferred honor and credit upon the United States. He is an American of Americans. Would we had more such men! So broad, so bountiful is his character that he never turned a tramp empty handed from his door, but always gave him a letter of introduction to me. His public trusts have been many, and never in the slightest did he prove unfaithful. Pure, honest, incorruptible, that is Joe Hawley. Such a man in politics is like a vase of attar of roses in a glue factory - it may modify the stench if it doesn't destroy it. And now, in speaking thus highly of the speaker of the evening, I have not meant to flatter, but only to speak the plain and simple truth. I haven't said anything more of him than I would say of myself. Ladies and gentlemen, this is General Hawley."

Mr. Clemens was frequently interrupted by applause an laughter. At the close of his remarks, Gen. Hawley stepped forward and, for an hour and a half, spoke on the issues of the day.

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