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RAISING CITY REVENUE
"And this presents a problem which is an exceedingly taxing one to those who to-day are in responsible positions in municipal life and State life, and a very pressing one in municipal life in Boston just now. That is, how to get revenue adequate for this widely extending and continually expanding responsibility on the part of the city. Why, the Mayor and the City Council were in conference yesterday afternoonyou would not hardly believe it was possible, that we were concerned for the necessity of finding somewhere $152,000 with which to meet an unexpected charge from the State for the care of the city's consumptive patients during the last three or four years, the same having been under dispute or litigation in that time, and the bill has just come into this present administration with $152,000 to pay, after our budget of millions of dollars has been laid out, and $2,000,000 has been carved out from the appropriations asked for the various heads of departments, until it has been pared down to the bone and even to the marrow, and yet, on the first of April, we will have to pay that $152,000. If we take it out of the appropriation of the Board of Health at the beginning of the year, we are going to come out that much short at the end of the year, and we do not know how to get it. Think of that condition and think of the things we ought to be doing. Think of our streets; think of the new sidewalks that need to be made and all that sort of thing which we have to forego. Then, bear in mind the proposition to raise our tax rate, and you see what an enormous problem we have to face in the way of revenues, and the young men who are here to-night, and those who are working with them in the days to come, have got to face the proposition—and no one can tell how soon it will come-of finding new sources of income for city and State, for you cannot load on them forever all these new responsibilities without finding some new sources of revenue. The only way in which we will ever meet these problems, which are coming upon us so rapidly is by carrying out throughout the city and in all our municipal and State affairs, the principle that this Club stands for, namely getting together.
"In the past the old families were rather indifferent to the newcomers and thought they could run things pretty much without them. They were strong through their having been here for several generations and having acquired culture and knowledge, family pride and ability, and all that sort of thing, and thought they did not need the newcomers, and now, that the newcomers have grown strong in knowledge, and ability, and character, there is a tendency on their part to feel that they can get along without the old ones, and thus there is the danger of the two elements becoming separated from each other when both are absolutely necessary for the solution of the difficult and intricate problems that are ahead of us.
"In closing, I say as I said in the beginning, that I envy those in this room to-night, who are young, because of the wonderful things they will
have an opportunity to do for this beloved city of ours. This little experiment that is being worked out in a neighboring town, in the way of a city manager, may possibly, who knows, be the indication that is pointing the way to the solution of some of the grave problems that are facing us. Other experiments will arise and you young men will have to pick and choose between these experiments as they have worked out their results, until you have found the solution for some of the grave problems that are threatening us in our municipal life." (Loud and continuous applause.)
The Toastmaster. "Our next speaker, relatively, is still a young man, splendidly equipped, a graduate of Dartmouth College and the Harvard Law School, who, in all seriousness of purpose, considered it his duty for the time being at least, to enter political life. He is on his sixth year of effective service for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. I apprehend that his friends, and they are legion, will be very importunate to the end that he continue his political career and go up higher, but, knowing him as I do, he will not be carried away by any position which will lead to depart from the straight, square game of political life, which has just as inexorable rules for honorably minded men to follow, and, therefore, he will make no misstep, and, rather than to make a mistake, will gladly resume the practice of this profession, and I, therefore, have the pleasure of introducing another man whom I personally can endorse, Honorable Channing Cox." (Applause.)
HON. CHANNING H. COX
"Mr. Toastmaster, Young Men, Fathers, and Fellow Members of the Club. When I received the invitation from Mr. Winship to come over here to-night, he told me that I would have the privilege of associating with some men of my own age and some younger.
"I have a speech assigned to me, and it is to say a word about the form of our Government in Massachusetts, and how we have gotten it. Of course you know that we have a Government, a Chief Executive of the State, in whom is entrusted the duty of enforcing the laws of the State. He is the Commander-in-Chief of our defenses, and he has the power of appointment to all those offices which are not elective. Then, he has another important power, the power of veto of legislation which is passed.
"Then we have the judiciary, the body which interprets the law and which deals out justice between man and man; and the third branch of our Government is the Legislature, and I want to say a word about the Legislature, because, after all, that is the body which makes all the laws under which you and I live.
"We have a Senate, composed of 40 members, elected from different districts. Then there is the House of Representatives, made of 240 members, coming from smaller districts.
"On the first Wednesday of each year the Legislature convenes.
Then the members sit each day, except Saturday, until their work is finished and they are prorogued by the Governor.
"Now every man and woman and child has the right to petition the Legislature for the enactment into law of any proposition which he or she may desire. That is a privilege which the citizens of no other State enjoy. Every man and woman in this State has the right to petition the Legislature for the enactment into law of any proposition that they think may be worthy. More than that, there are provisions which are peculiar to Massachusetts, because, after every one of these petitions is filed. before we can prorogue, every one of those matters has to be referred to a proper committee, and in the Legislature we have some thirty-six committees; a Committee on Agriculture, Banks and Banking, Insurance, Mercantile Affairs, Judiciary, etc. The committee advertises that on a certain day, at a certain hour, it will give a public hearing. At that hearing every one that is interested for or against the measure has a right to appear and is given a hearing. Each committee has to report back to the Legislature whether, in its opinion, the bill ought to pass or whether it ought to be defeated. This is a provision which we have here in Massachusetts which no other State has, compelling every matter to be reported upon. Moreover, every matter has to be acted on finally by both branches of the Legislature before we can adjourn. These are provisions, under our system here in Massachusetts, which do not obtain in any other State. To show you that this right of petition is freely availed of, let me say that this year we have over 2,000 petitions which we must act on before we prorogue. Last year there were some 2,500 petitions.
"If a Committee reports that a bill ought not to pass, that is filed in the House and the House has to pass on it. Any member can debate whether it should pass, in spite of the Committee's report, and the House has to act on it finally, and after the House acts, it has to go to the Senate. On the other hand, if the Committee reports that the bill ought to pass it has one reading in the House, then it goes another day and it has another reading, and then it comes another day and the House decides whether the bill should be ordered to a third reading and if it passes the third reading then there comes another stage whether the bill should be enacted and on every one of these stages there is opportunity for debate. Every one in the Legislature has the right to express his views and urge passage or defeat at every one of these stages.
"After it has gone through that mill in the House, it has to go to the Senate and go through successive stages there. I have gone over these matters to show you how open and in detail how our proceedings are carried on and to show you that, if you are interested in any matter which is pending before us, the opportunities which you have on these successive days, if you follow Legislative proceedings to get in touch with your representative, and impress on him your views and explain to him your desires on the matter.
"It is after these stages in the House and in the Senate that a man
is likely to make his greatest impression, because it is in the open debate that a man makes himself most widely known.
"We never know how long it is going to take to enact a bill and we never know how quickly a matter is to be disposed of. The longest time that was consumed in debate here in Massachusetts was in 1885, and then the proposition before the Legislature was to take from the Mayor of the city of Boston the power to appoint the Police Commission. This was a measure in which the members from Boston were largely interested, and for three solid days they opposed the bill and they allowed no other business to be transacted. Governor Brackett was at that time Speaker of the House, and the former President of this Club, Mr. Elder, was at that time Chairman of the Committee on Judiciary and, after three days in which the public business had been held up by dilatory tactics, Mr. Brackett and Mr. Elder and one or two prominent members of the House got together. Coming in the next morning the Speaker only recognized those men and they put the necessary motions and the bill was disposed of, and that is the longest debate we have ever had in Massachusetts.
"The shortest time in which a matter ever became a law was in 1898, after war had been declared against Spain, when President McKinley sent out a call to the different States asking them to appropriate money. Governor Wolcott immediately on receipt of the President's letter sent a special message to the Legislature, asking Massachusetts to respond with an appropriation of $500,000. The message went to the House and the House received the message and, under a suspension of all rules, passed the bill. It went over to the Senate and the Senate, under a suspension of all rules, passed the bill. It was then taken to the office of the Secretary of State and written out on parchment in longhand, in pen and ink, came back to both branches and was enacted. In twenty-two minutes after the messenger left the Governor's office he returned with the bill, passed by both branches, and Massachusetts had been the first to respond to President McKinley's call. That was the shortest time that any measure had ever been enacted into law.
"Out of all these 2,000 propositions that have been pending this year, some are very serious. Of course, there are many that are ill-advised and express an individual grievance and many of them are matters which ought never to be there and take but little time to dispose of. You probably hear of them in the newspapers. We call them freak legislation.
"Massachusetts has led her sister States in humanitarian legislation. Massachusetts was the first State to provide free schools, the first State to provide free text-books for her pupils, the first State to build great asylums for the reception of her unsound, the first State to build great sanitaria for her consumptives, the first State to build great public parks and playgrounds, and the first State to stretch from one border to the other, great public highways, the first State to pass a corporation law, the first State to regulate her public service corporations,
and the first State to say to the employers of women, 'You must so employ those women that they may fulfill their duties as mothers and wives,' the first State to say to the employers of children, 'You must so treat these children that they may grow up and take their place in the future as healthy citizens.' All along the line Massachusetts has led in humanitarian legislation, and other States have been glad to follow. She has been able to do this and she is doing it to-day because the men and women of Massachusetts have taken an intelligent and a wholehearted interest in the proceedings of her Legislature.
"Now, my appeal to the young men to-night is that you interest yourselves in the affairs which most vitally concern you, that you acquaint yourselves with the methods of legislation, and more than that, that you acquaint yourselves with the men who are making your laws, because in this great American republic to-day, we must have leaders in whom the people have confidence, and then the men and women who have at heart the welfare of the State, must stand behind those leaders and when they act for the best interests of all, they must uphold them, and when those men are criticised without cause when they try to drive out those who are unwilling to be loyal to our flag, but go under a red flag, when your leaders are attacked for standing against such men as that, then the young man must stand by the leaders who are doing right. I ask you young men, if you go away with no other purpose, go away with this desire, to stand by your men in public life who are doing right, and make it possible for your sons to say, as did the great defender of Massachusetts, 'I shall enter upon no encomium upon Massachusetts; she needs none; there she is and behold her for yourselves.'" (Applause.)
The Toastmaster. "I hesitate to enter into an introduction of the next speaker because, in my personal affection I might say too much and, in his modesty, embarrass him. He is one of the greatest dairy raisers in Massachusetts; he conducts one of the greatest printing establishments in the United States; he is a Senator on Beacon Hill, and he comes much disinclined because he rather refrains from public speaking, but there are some men upon whose words we hang and forget the manner of their speech, and I, therefore, introduce to you a man whose public and private and business life rings true as steel, Senator George H. Ellis." (Applause.)
HON. GEORGE H. ELLIS
"Members and Sons of Members of the Boston City Club. First I want to say, Mr. Chairman, as a business man, that you want to be more careful of your endorsements or before the evening is over your credit will be no good.
"Your Chairman has stated truly that it was with the utmost hesitation that I accepted an invitation here this evening, and it was with the distinct understanding with Mr. Winship that I should come not to deliver an address, but simply to talk to the young men and boys here,