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people combine, by a majority of their number, in calling upon a single individual to serve them as their executive officer, the responsibility assumes great and grave proportions. It is in this case keenly felt, and not lightly assumed.
It is also a service of accountability. The public servant who loses sight of the account which he must render to the constituency which has entrusted him with the power and authority of representing it, is not likely to realize either the obligations or the responsibility of the place to which he is called. For every act of administration in his responsible office, the Executive is accountable to you. This accountability must be kept in view each day and hour, with special reference to your general judgment upon the administration as a whole, when the obligations now assumed are laid down, and the power and authority, with which you now invest him, are returned to your hands for transmission to another. We must also, not forget that the relation, which is to-day finally consummated, is held under, and subordinated to, a higher Power to Whom all of us are alike fully and finally accountable.
The relation which we assume toward each other to-day, is one of such age, importance and dignity, that time and custom, as well as the Constitution and laws, have in a large measure defined and prescribed its duties. You have, yourselves, surrounded it with certain limitations in the Constitution of the Commonwealth which must be taken by the Executive as the letter of his instructions received at your hands.
The Executive is your creature, controlled by your will; but by that will formally expressed through the Constitution and the laws. So far as these are applicable to the discharge of any duties which confront him, they are binding and unbending. He must take them as they are, and must be governed by them in all things which concern his duty. The Constitution is to him a letter of limitation. The doubts in regard to its meaning, if any exist, must be by him resolved in its favor. Others may seek to be governed by its spirit; he must be governed by its letter. Individual [references and liberal construction must, alike, yield to literal and exact interpretation,
The Constitution fixes the place of the Executive, and he is bound to keep it. He must carefully see to it that the independence of the legislative and judicia i branches of the government is not in any way invaded by him.
The responsibility of the Legislature in making the laws and of the judiciary in expounding them must be, as it ought to be, carefully recognized. No slight motive, no personal feeling and no individual judg. ment should, therefore, move the Executive in the excrcise of the veto power. The Constitution has, it is true, vested that power in him; but it must be exercised in such a way as to recognize the independence and the responsibility of the Legislature. The Legislature is elected once in two years. Its members are responsible directly to their immediate constituencies. It is to be taken for granted therefore, that its members represent the will of the people; and that will is not to be lightly set aside. It is to be hoped that, with this view publicly expressed, the Legislature will maintain its independence and assume the responsibility which belongs to it as the law-making power; and that careful and well-considered legislation will prevent the exercise of the constitutional prerogative vested in the Executive, except in urgent, extreme or extraordinary cases.
As to the general policy of administration to be pursued, you will expect something to be said. Your views are sought to be reflected in the following general principles:
You expect efficiency in the public service. No man should be appointed to a place unless specially qualified for the duties of that place. Qualification is the first consideration, and to this all other considerations should yield.
You expect economy in the appropriation and expenditure of public moneys; and yet you believe that economy of administration does not consist necessarily in a minimum of expenditure. A revenue conveniently collected which bears equally upon all, and hardly upon none, should be so expended that the Commonwealth shall receive one hundred cents' worth of value for every dollar of expenditure. Our educational system and our charitable and penal institutions are to be generously sustained. Our industrial development is to be aided by the judicious expenditure of money. This is wise economy which expends it with a view to the future as well as the present. The State never dies; the State should never grow old; and, therefore, our foundations should be broadly and strongly laid, and our building upon them, so far as we progress, should be solid and enduring.
You expect ordinary honesty and ordinary prudence to be exercised in the conduct of your business. That which is dishonest in the confidential agent of an individual, or imprudent in the careful business man, is dishonest and imprudent in a public official. In a word, the same rules as to integrity and prudence which apply in the ordinary business intercourse of man with man, apply to the relation which public offi. cials bear to you.
You expect that the laws will be impartially admin. istered. The weakest are to be carefully guarded in the enjoyments of the rights, because they are weak; and the strongest are to be preserved from prejudice because they are strong. Persons, natural and artificial, are to be held alike amenable to law, and neither class is to be favored or prejudiced at the expense of the other. A corporation should receive just so much consideration as would be accorded to its humblest stockholder; and the poorest citizen of the Commonwealth should receive the same protection as the most powerful corporation.
You will expect the administration to be one of the people, and not of a party. Each citizen of the Commonwealth has a right to demand, at the hands of the administration, the same consideration as is accorded to every other. Emphasis is therefore, laid upon the fact, that although elected by a party, the Executive is the servant of the people, and every citizen of the Commonwealth, no matter what his views as to questions of public policy have been and are, has equal right to his time, attention and service.
Questions of popular interest and public importance have been passed upon by the people, through their suffrages at the election, which resulted in the choice of the present executive officers of the Commonwealth. There is no disposition to evade the responsibility which has thus been entailed. The majority of the people of the Commonwealth demand the right to pass upon the question of the prohibition of the manufacture and sale of intoxicating drinks, within its limits, by constitutional enactment. This is neither a questions of morals, solely, nor of partisan politics; nor is it believed that the people divide upon it by the ordinary lines of political thought and action. It is, therefore, due to them that the question should be submitted fairly, fully, frankly and in such a way, and at such a time, as will enable them to vote their individual sentiments upon it. In the ordinary course of events, such submission cannot take place until three months from and after the passage of a joint resolution covering the subject, by the Legislature which shall assemble in January, 1889. It is believed that the pledge and promise on this subject, which undoubtedly secured the votes of many citizens, will be most fairly met, and most fully carried out by the submission of such an amendment to the Constitution, at a special election, when no other question will engross public thought, and when each citizen may vote his sentiments upon that particular subject without reference to, or interference from, any other.
The general interests of labor have a large place in public thought, and are receiving much of public attiontion. The term "labor," thus used, is restricted to the employed classes which labor with their hands. It may be that all of the demands of labor, so called, are not wise. It may be that some of its demands should not be conceded. It must be true, however, that, with discontent so widespread and demand so general, there are wrongs to be righted and remedies to be applied, which shall, or ought to, lighten the load, and ease the burdens which labor has to carry. The labor market is overstocked. The supply is greater than the demand. The inevitable consequence is want of opportunity to work, for men who are able and willing to work; inadequate compensation to those who do work; and undue competition among those who are seeking for employment. In the present condition of the industrial development of our country, the remedy for this state of affairs is to be found largely in the diversification of our industries. This, under our form of government, is a question with which the general government, through its legislative and executive branches, must almost exclusively deal. This is not the time, nor is this the place, for a general discussion of this question so far as it relates to the policy to be pursued by the general government. But there are some questions coming exclusively with. in State control which demand attention, and to which scarcely more than an allusion can at present be made. Although the diversification of our industries depends