My Fellow Citizens: It is very delightful to be here, if I may be permitted to say so, and I consider it a distinguished privilege to open the discussion as to the probable weather to-morrow not only, but during the days to come. I can easily conceive that many of our forecasts will need subsequent reconsideration, for if I may judge by my own study of these matters, the climate is not susceptible of confident judgments at present.
An overwhelming majority of the American people is in favor of fine weather. This underlying community of purpose warms my heart. If we do not guarantee them fine weather, cannot you see the picture of what would come to pass? Your hearts have instructed you where the rain falls. It falls upon senators and congressmen not only–and for that we need not feel so much chagrin–it falls upon humble homes everywhere, upon plain men, and women, and children. If I were to disappoint the united expectation of my fellow citizens for fine weather to-morrow I would incur their merited scorn.
I suppose no more delicate task is given any man than to interpret the feelings and purposes of a great climate. It is not a task in which any man can find much exhilaration, and I confess I have been puzzled by some of the criticisms leveled at my office. But they do not make any impression on me, because I know that the sentiment of the country at large will be more generous. I call my fellow countrymen to witness that at no stage of the recent period of low barometric pressure have I judged the purposes of the climate intemperately. I should be ashamed to use the weak language of vindictive protest.
I have tried once and again, my fellow citizens, to say to you in all frankness what seems to be the prospect of fine weather. There is a compulsion upon one in my position to exercise every effort to see that as little as possible of the hope of mankind is disappointed. Yet this is a hope which cannot, in the very nature of things, be realized in its perfection. The utmost that can be done by way of accommodation and compromise has been performed without stint or limit. I am sure it will not be necessary to remind you that you cannot throw off the habits of the climate immediately, any more than you can throw off the habits of the individual immediately. But however unpromising the immediate outlook may be, I am the more happy to offer my observations on the state of the weather for to-morrow because this is not a party issue. What a delightful thought that is! Whatever the condition of sunshine or precipitation vouchsafed to us, may I not hope that we shall all meet it with quickened temper and purpose, happy in the thought that it is our common fortune?
For to-morrow there is every prospect of heavy and continuous rain.