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Fellow Citizens of the Senate and
of the House of Representatives:
The organization of the government of the Commonwealth, for another year, is a fitting occasion for a solemn and public recognition of the Power and Providence of the Supreme Ruler of the Universe. In entering upon the discharge of our respective duties, it becomes those, whom the People have clothed with important official trusts, to look to the great source of light for that wisdom, which is the only safe guide of public or private conduct.
The circumstances under which, in conformity with established
I address you, on the present occasion, will form my excuse for not entering into a minute detail of the affairs of the Commonwealth. The reports of several of the public officers, on the state of their respective departments, have been, and those of others will be duly submitted to you. As occasion may arise from time to time hereafter, your attention will be respectfully invited to those matters, which may require the action of the Legislature. In this, as in every
official duty, I am sensible that my conduct may often stand in
need of a charitable interpretation. Approaching this department of the public service, without experience in any branch of the State Government, I can promise nothing, but a zealous purpose to exert myself to the utmost for the public good, in the conscientious discharge of my duties, under the direction of the Constitution and the Law.
Among the reflections, which naturally present themselves to the mind, on an occasion like this, it is one of the most obvious, that there never has been a people more highly favored of Providence, than the citizens of our ancient Commonwealth. We derive from our ancestors an inestimable inheritance of civil and religious liberty. As citizens of an independent commonwealth and of a federative republic, we live under a political system of our choice, by which we are secured in the amplest enjoyment of the blessings of government, with the smallest admixture of its inseparable evils. The government of the State is a pure Democracy, unlike most of those falsely so called in ancient times, which,-perpetually convulsed by stormy factions and agitated by ambitious leaders,--sacrificed the great objects of civil society, the rights and the welfare of individuals, to projects of public aggrandizement. Our system looks to the People not merely as a whole, but as a society composed of individual men, whose happiness is the great design of the association. It consequently recognizes the greatest good of the greatest number, as the basis of the social compact. As the welfare of the People is the sole object of the Government, their deliberate will is the exclusive source of power. To enable the People conveniently and effectively to express their will, provision is made for an equal representation, in virtue of which, the entire power of making and executing the laws is confided to those, who