Saturday, January 17, 2009

Raise the Rutherford!

In Memory
Former President Hayes Died January 17, 1893

I wanted to mark the 116th Anniversary of Rutherford B. Hayes’s death in some manor. So here are two timely excerpts about or by Hayes.

The first is an excerpt, the final paragraph, from Hayes’s obituary in the New York Times, January 18, 1893.

"The purity of his private and personal life was never questioned, and during his term of office at Washington there was a distinct elevating of the tone and standard of official life. There is no doubt that his Administrations served a very useful purpose in the transition from sectional antagonism to national harmony, and from the old methods of dealing with the public service as party spoils to the new method of placing ascertained merit and demonstrated fitness above party service or requirements. It was an inevitable consequence that he should lose popularity and political influence in serving these important ends, but the value of his services will nevertheless be permanently recognized."

The second piece is the final paragraph from Hayes’s Inaugural Address on Monday, March 5, 1877. With Barack Obama being sworn in on January 20, I thought it fitting to include some words from Hayes and how he ended his first and only inaugural speech.

"Looking for the guidance of that Divine Hand by which the destinies of nations and individuals are shaped, I call upon you, Senators, Representatives, judges, fellow-citizens, here and everywhere, to unite with me in an earnest effort to secure to our country the blessings, not only of material prosperity, but of justice, peace, and union—a union depending not upon the constraint of force, but upon the loving devotion of a free people; 'and that all things may be so ordered and settled upon the best and surest foundations that peace and happiness, truth and justice, religion and piety, may be established among us for all generations."

Note that prior to 1937, Inauguration Day was March 4. Because March 4 was on a Sunday in 1877, Hayes was first sworn in to office in the Red Room of the White House on Saturday, March 3. His public ceremony was not until Monday, March 5.

Photo of Hayes's grave at Spiegle Grove and the Rutherford B. Hayes Presidential Center.

"Raise the Rutherford!" is a continuing, slightly humorous series to raise awareness of Rutherford B. Hayes and erect a statue of him in Cincinnati.

No comments: