A distinguished feature of the procession was the fine appearance of the soldiers' orphans, who marched with remarkable precision and whose movements generally reflected the highest credit on themselves and instructors. They were nearly 800 in line, all of whom were neatly uniformed and comfortable clad. Nine schools were represented in the procession. White Hall, Cumberland county, Mount Joy, Lancaster; Soldiers' Orphan Institute in connection with the Northern Home, Philadelphia; Lincoln, Phildelphia; Chester Springs, Chester; Bridgewater (colored), Buck's Loysville, Perry; M'Allesterville, Juniata: Cassville, Huntingdom. The whole number of institutions in the state, in which soldiers' orphans are provided for is thirty-seven and the number of these wards of the state now in the above schools is 3, 600---2,000 boys and 1,600 girls.
After the inauguration of Governor Hartranft the orphans were marched to the Pennsylvania house, Second and Locust streets, and treated to a substantial dinner furnished by Mr. Gemmill at the instance of the soldiers' orphan school authorities, About thirty orphan girls waited on the boys.
The repast concluded the orphans took up their line of march for the court house in anticipation of addresses from Governor Hartranft and ex-Governor Geary---By the time they had become seated the room was filled to repletion.
At about four o'clock Professor Wickersham, state superintendent, called the boys to order and complimented them on their marching, equipments and good behaviour during the day. He felt exceedingly gratified at their appearance and general deportmen. In concluding his brief remarks the professor introduced ex -Governor Geary, who was received with loud and continued applause.
The retiring governor addressed the boys in a speech of about twenty minutes length. He spoke of the solicitude he had always felt for their welfare, of the fraternal care he had exercised over them of the heroic sacrifices their parents had made for the perpetuity of the government and of the great debt due those fallen heroes. Pennsylvania occupied a proud position. She had inaugurated the orphan school system, which feeds, clothes and educates the offspring of the dead soldiery of the state. The speaker then spoke of the perfection to which the system had arrived. For some time after Governor Curtin had originated the plan of education and providing for the physical wants of these children it was rather crude. It was his (the speaker's) privilege as governor to recommend measures to the legislature which have rendered the orphan school system as near perfect as it seems possible to make. Ex-Governor Geary then complimented the opponents of his administration and the republican party for the unaminity with which they voted to commence and continue these schools. After a few additonal remarks in which the speaker said he pour out his life's blood as a citizen to right any wrongs that might be inflicted on them, he gave way to Governor Hartranft, who was also received with protracted applause.
The governor heartily indorsed every word said by his predeasor, whom he knew to have been true to the interests of the soldiers orphans. The orphan school system originated with Pennsylvania and enough had been done to show its great success. The young men turned out by these institution had generally behaved themselves with credit, and the exceptations were so few as not to be worth talking about. The governor then assured the orphans that during his administration nothing less would be done for them than had been done by other administrations--if anything more.
One of the boys connected with the Soldiers' Orphans institute, of Philadelphia, then ascended a chair and made the following remarks:
Dear Friends: As one of the soldiers' orphans of Philadelphia, connected with the institution attached to the 'Northern Home, "I wish to express my very great delight to be present; Oh, how it rejoices our hearts to see our noble friend, Governor Geary, who has done so much for us. Oh, Lord bless him in his retirement and grant him peace, plenty and prosperity, The Lord bless, also, our new Governor, the brave and patriotic General Hartranft, who fought so gallantly for his country during the rebellion. and our able and solicitous superintendent, Dr. Wickerham The boy closed by calling for three cheers for Governor Hartranft, ex-Governor Geary and State Superintendent Wickersham, which were given with a will.
The conclusion of Governor Hartranft's inaugural was followed by applause, after which the benediction was pronounced.
A national salute, indicative of a change of the chief magistracy of the state, was then fired, in the midst of which Governor Hartranft was escorted to the executive mansion by the chief marshal, aids and assistant marshals.