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MEN OF MANY INVENTIONS
(Speech of Horace Porter at the seventy-second annual dinner of the New England Society in the City of New York, December 22, 1877. The President, William Borden, said: “Gentlemen, in giving you the next toast, I will call upon one whom we are always glad to listen to. I suppose you have been waiting to hear him, and are surprised that he comes so late in the evening; but I will tell you in confidence, he is put there at his own request. (Applause.) I give you the eleventh regular toast: ‘Internal Improvements.'—The triumph of American invention. The modern palace runs on wheels.
When thy car is loaden with (dead) heads,
Good Porter, turn the key.' General Horace Porter will respond.")
MR. PRESIDENT AND GENTLEMEN OF THE NEW ENGLAND Society:- I suppose it was a matter of necessity, calling on some of us from other States to speak for you tonight, for we have learned from the history of Priscilla and John Alden, that a New Englander may be too modest to speak for himself. [Laughter.] But this modesty, like some of the greater blessings of the war, has been more or less disguised to-night.
We have heard from the eloquent gentleman (Noah Porter, D.D.) on my left all about the good-fellowship and the still better fellowships in the rival universities of Harvard and Yale. We have heard from my sculptor friend (W. W. Story) upon the extreme right all about Hawthorne's tales, and all the great Storys that have emanated from Salem; but I am not a little surprised that in this age, when speeches are made principally by those running for office, you should call upon one engaged only in running cars, and more par