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Home > Civil War Sesquicentennial > William Willis Reply Transcript

William Willis Reply Transcript

Mr. Willis replied as follows.

The Electoral College will please accept my grateful acknowledgements for the kind and complimentary terms of the vote just adopted.

Gentlemen, we have discharged a great public duty: we have solemnly and peacefully driven official expression to the strong and decisive sentiment of the people of this Commonwealth in regard to the persons suitable for fill the highest offices in the gift of the people.  A similar expression will be uttered to day by a majority of the electoral colleges of the United States and by a large majority of the electoral ballots.

We are firm in the conviction that the persons thus designated for their high and important offices, are eminently qualified to fill them, and that they will faithfully and impartially, and in a conciliatory spirit, discharge their responsible duties.  We believe that the incoming President will administer the government according to the Constitution and the laws, justly, wisely and fearlessly, for ht best good of all the people and of their various and multifarious interests—that he will know no North, no South, no East, no West, but be true to all, in all parts, without distinction of section or party.

What a sublime spectacle does this day exhibit—thirty millions of people reorganizing an administration of government for themselves—no hereditary succession—no aristocratic distinction—one dynasty peacefully departs and mingles again with the mass of the people, another arises from the people to execute for a time the high & responsible trusteeship of the Commonweal, and which will again descend in its term, to the popular masses.

What Europe is now struggling in bitter agony for, we eminently enjoy; this high privilege and prerogative le us never consent to trifle with, nor abuse, nor fling away.

Gentlemen, let our devout aspirations arise to the Almighty Ruler of the Universe, that he will watch over, and guide and protect the administration of government soon to be inaugurated, that he will give to it wisdom and providence to shape all its counsels and its acts—that He will avert all the perils that now threaten the country, and restore peace and harmony through all our land.

And may the same Almighty power grant that this administration may, in its constitutional time and manner peacefully close its labors for our United Confederacy, no link broken or severed, no star struck from its bright firmament, but all continue to be bound in the silver bonds of Confidence, prosperity and peace.

Gentlemen, I have been happy on this occasion to renew my acquaintance with several of you, and to form a new acquaintance with the others.  We shall probably never be together again: I wish you a safe and happy return to your homes, and do not doubt that in all the coming time of our lives, the memory of the duties and pleasures of this day, will be an every recurring source of pride and satisfaction.