No. 445.
Mr. Turner to Mr. Fish.

No. 106.]

Sir: I have the honor to inform the Department that I have this day had the honor to be a guest at a “dinner of state” given by the postmaster-general of Liberia, in honor of the legislative and executive branches of said government. The dinner was well attended. The President and vice-president, together (with very few exceptions) with the members of the legislature, were present. Among other sentiments the following was proposed: “The United States is a nation to which we feel slightly related, and we therefore propose the health of Ulysses S. Grant, chief magistrate of that nation.” To this expression I responded by saying that, although the President of the United States occupies the first place in the great American heart, one attempting to speak for him must, seeing that the President is known as seldom consenting to make speeches for himself, find the task, however pleasant, a somewhat difficult duty. But while it may be difficult to speak for [Page 700] the President, there can be assigned to an American citizen no more pleasant duty than that of speaking of President Grant: that since his elevation to the Presidency of the United States his administration has evidenced one fixed object, viz, the utilization of every national capacity to the advancement, prosperity, and amelioration of the great American masses. In this connection I referred to the thriving condition of American agriculture, the restoration of American commerce, the rapid payment of our national debt, and general sufficiency of the system of finance adopted by the Government of the United States; the success of the Government’s policy toward the Indians; and especially to the impetus given to that palladium of American institutions of government, the public-school system. In alluding to our relations with other powers, I made mention of the increased respect and preference throughout the world for American institutions of government. In conclusion, I spoke of the great desire evinced by both the people and the Government of the United States for the prosperous development of Liberia, and alluded to the fact deduced from the experience of the United States, that it is impossible to perpetuate democratic institutions of government without the general diffusion among the masses of at least a common-school education. I also expressed thanks for this extension of courtesy to the President of the United States.

I have, &c.,