The President of the United States of necessity owes his election to office to the suffrage and zealous labors of a political party, the members of which cherish with ardor and regard as of essential importance the principles of their party organization; but he should strive to be always mindful of the fact that he serves his party best who serves the country best.
The man of large and conspicuous public service in civil life must be content without the Presidency. Still more, the availability of a popular man in a doubtful State will secure him the prize in a close contest against the first statesman of the country whose State is safe.
We all agree that neither the Government nor political parties ought to interfere with religious sects. It is equally true that religious sects ought not to interfere with the Government or with political parties. We believe that the cause of good government and the cause of religion suffer by all such interference.
The real difficulty is with the vast wealth and power in the hands of the few and the unscrupulous who represent or control capital. Hundreds of laws of Congress and the state legislatures are in the interest of these men and against the interests of workingmen. These need to be exposed and repealed. All laws on corporations, on taxation, on trusts, wills, descent, and the like, need examination and extensive change. This is a government of the people, by the people, and for the people no longer. It is a government of corporations, by corporations, and for corporations.
We are in a period when old questions are settled and the new are not yet brought forward. Extreme party action, if continued in such a time, would ruin the party. Moderation is its only chance. The party out of power gains by all partisan conduct of those in power
Let me assure my countrymen of the Southern States that it is my earnest desire to regard and promote their truest interest the interests of the white and of the colored people both and equally and to put forth my best efforts in behalf of a civil policy which will forever wipe out in our political affairs the color line and the distinction between North and South, to the end that we may have not merely a united North or a united South, but a united country.
There can be no complete and permanent reform of the civil service until public opinion emancipates congressmen from all control and influence over government patronage. Legislation is required to establish the reform. No proper legislation is to be expected as long as members of Congress are engaged in procuring offices for their constituents.
Nobody ever left the presidency with less regret, less disappointment, fewer heart burnings, or any general content with the result of his term (in his own heart, I mean) than I do. Full of difficulty and trouble at first, I now find myself on smooth waters and under bright skies.
I see no reason why Indians who can give satisfactory proof of having by their own labor supported their families for a number of years, and who are willing to detach themselves from their tribal relations, should not be admitted to the benefit of the homestead act and the privileges of citizenship, and I recommend the passage of a law to that effect. It will be an act of justice as well as a measure of encouragement.
Honesty, good intentions and industry, you will have of course. Without these your career would soon end with the loss of your good name. But you must be ambitious to be a good deal more. Webb Hayes, his son, went on to found what had become the Union Carbide Corporation.