For there was a new tone in those Massachusetts guns. It was not the old lust of conquest, not the sullen roar of hatred and revenge, but a higher, clearer note of a people asserting their inalienable sovereignty. It is a happy circumstance that one of our native-born, Benjamin Franklin, was instrumental in bringing Lafayette to America; but beyond that it is fitting at this time to give a thought to our Commonwealth because his ideals, his character, his life, were all in sympathy with that great Revolution which was begun within her borders and carried to a successful conclusion by the sacrifice of her treasure and her blood. It was not the able legal argument of James Otis against the British Writs of Assistance, nor the petitions and remonstrances of the Colonists to the British throne, admirable though they were, that aroused the approbation and brought his support to our cause. It was not alone that he agreed with the convictions of the Continental Congress. He saw in the example of Massachusetts a people who would shrink from no sacrifice to defend rights which were beyond price. It was not the Tories, fleeing to Canada, that attracted him. It was the patriots, bearing arms, and he brought them not a pen but a sword.
“Resistance to tyranny is obedience to law,” and “obedience to law is liberty.” Those are the foundations of the Commonwealth. It was these principles in action which appealed to that young captain of dragoons and brought the sword and resources of the aristocrat to battle for democracy. I love to think of his connection with our history. I love to think of him at the dedication of the Bunker Hill Monument receiving the approbation of the Nation from the lips of Daniel Webster. I love to think of the long line of American citizens of French blood in our Commonwealth to-day, ready to defend the principles he fought for, “Liberty under the Law,” citizens who, like him, look not with apology, but with respect and approval and admiration on that sentiment inscribed on the white flag of Massachusetts, “Ense petit placidam sub libertate quietem” (With a sword she seeks secure peace under liberty).
NORFOLK REPUBLICAN CLUB, BOSTON
OCTOBER 9, 1916
Last night at Somerville I spoke on some of the fundamental differences between the Republican and Democratic policies, and showed how we were dependent on Republican principles as a foundation on which to erect any advance in our social and economic welfare.