I shall use my best endeavor to dispatch the business which you shall lay before me. And it is my cordial wish that all your decisions may tend to the prosperity of the Commonwealth, and afford to you the most agreeable reflections.
May 31, 1796.
[Independent Chronicle, June 2, 1796; two texts are in the Massachusetts Archives.]
It is not my intention to interrupt your business by a lengthy Address. I have requested a meeting with you at this time, principally with a view of familiarizing the several branches of government with each other, of cultivating harmony in sentiment upon constitutional principles, and cherishing that mutual friendship which always invites a free discussion in matters of important concern.
The Union of the States is not less important than that of the several departments of each of them. We have all of us recently laid ourselves under a sacred obligation to defend and support our Federal and State Constitutions: A principal object in the establishment of the former, as it is expressed in the preamble, was “to form a more perfect Union:” To preserve this Union entire, and transmit it unbroken to posterity, is the duty of the People of United America, and it is for their lasting interest, their public safety and welfare. Let us then be watchful for the preservation of the Union, attentive to the fundamental principles of our free Constitutions, and careful in the application of those principles in the formation of our laws, lest that great object which the people had in view in establishing the independence of our country, may be imperceptibly lost.
The Members of the General Court, coming from all parts of the Commonwealth, must be well acquainted with the local circumstances and wants of the citizens; to alleviate and provide for which, it is presumed you will diligently enquire into the state of the Commonwealth, and render such Legislative aid as may be found necessary, for the promoting of useful improvements, and the advancement of those kinds of industry among the people, which contribute to their individual happiness, as well as that of the public.—Honest industry, tends to the increase of sobriety, temperance and all the moral and political virtues—I trust also that you will attend to the general police of the Commonwealth, by revising and making such laws and ordinances, conformably to our Constitution, as in your wisdom you may think further necessary to secure as far as possible, the safety and prosperity of the people at large.
It is yours, Fellow Citizens, to legislate, and mine only to revise your bills, under limited and qualified powers; and I rejoice, that they are thus limited:— These are features which belong to a free government alone.