The realities of life are not measured by dollars and cents. The skill of the physician, the divine eloquence of the clergyman, the courage of the soldier, that which we call character in all men, are not matters of hire and salary. No person was ever honored for what he received. Honor has been the reward for what he gave. Public acclaim and the ceremonious recognition paid to returning heroes are not on account of their government pay but of the service and sacrifice they gave their country. The place each member of the General Court will hold in the estimation of his constituents will never depend on his salary, but on the ability and integrity with which he does his duty; not on what he receives, but on what he gives; and only out of the bountifulness of his own giving will his constituents raise him to power. Not by indulging himself, but by denying himself, will he reach success.
It is because the General Court has recognized these principles in its past history that it has secured its high place as a legislative body. This act disregards all this and will ever appear to be an undertaking by members to raise their own salaries. The fact that many were thinking of the needs of others will remain unknown. Appearances cannot be disregarded. Those in whom is placed the solemn duty of caring for others ought to think of themselves last or their decisions will lack authority. There is apparent a disposition to deny the disinterestedness and impartiality of government. Such charges are the result of ignorance and an evil desire to destroy our institutions for personal profit. It is of infinite importance to demonstrate that legislation is used not for the benefit of the legislator, but of the public.
The General Court of Massachusetts is a legislative body noted for its fairness and ability. It has no superior. Its critics have for the most part come from the outside and have most frequently been those who have approached it with the purpose of securing selfish desires of their clients or themselves. A long familiarity with it increases respect for it. It is charged with expressing the abiding convictions and conscience of the people of the Commonwealth. The most solemn obligation placed by the Constitution on the Executive is the power to veto its actions. In all matters affecting it the General Court is entitled to his best judgment and carefully considered opinion. Anything less would be a mark of disrespect and disloyalty to its members. That judgment and opinion, arrived at after a wide counsel with members and others, is here expressed, in the light of an obligation which is not personal, “faithfully and impartially to discharge and perform” the duties of a public office.
FLAG DAY PROCLAMATION