On this occasion, I am, of course, aware that you pay no compliment to a citizen, and present no personal tribute, but that you have come to demonstrate your loyalty and devotion to a cause in which you are heartily enlisted.
The American people are about to exercise, in its highest sense, their power of right and sovereignty. They are to call in review before them their public servants and the representatives of political parties, and demand of them an account of their stewardship.
Parties may be so long in power, and may become so arrogant and careless of the interests of the people, as to grow heedless of their responsibility to their masters. But the time comes, as certainly as death, when the people weigh them in the balance.
The issues to be adjudicated by the nation's great assize are made up and are about to be submitted.
We believe that the people are not receiving at the hands of the party which, for nearly twenty-four years, has directed the affairs of the nation, the full benefits to which they are entitled—of a pure, just, and economical rule—and we believe that the ascendency of genuine Democratic principles will insure a better government, and greater happiness and prosperity to all the people.
To reach the sober thought of the nation, and to dislodge an enemy intrenched behind spoils and patronage, involve a struggle, which, if we under-estimate, we invite defeat. I am profoundly impressed with the responsibility of the assigned to me in this contest. My heart, I know, is in the cause, and I pledge you that no effort of mine shall be wanting to secure the victory which I believe to be within the achievement of the Democratic hosts.
Let us, then, enter upon the campaign, now fairly opened, each one appreciating well the part he has to perform, ready, with solid front, to do battle for better government, confidently, courageously, always honorably, and with a firm reliance upon the intelligence and patriotism of the American people.