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and centre, the old Whig watch-fires are once more kindled — the old Whig spirit once more roused!
/, The resolutions which have just been read, relate almost exclu
', sively to the politics of Massachusetts; and it has been thought
best, by those who have been selected to conduct the affairs of the Whig party during the present year, and to whose peculiar province it belongs to draw up the plan of our annual campaign, that the contest for which we are assembled to prepare, should be conducted mainly with reference to the administration of our own Commonwealth. There is a great and manifest propriety in this course. It is a plan of proceeding entirely reasonable and eminently seasonable. The present year affords us a peca
I / liarly fit and favorable opportunity for attending to the affairs of
i( / our own Commonwealth, and one which may not soon occur
again. The approaching election is exclusively a State election. i In some few of the districts, it is true, the people will be called
on to make fresh trials for the election of Representatives in Congress, owing to their unfortunate failures to effect a choice at the regular period. But here, certainly, — and I may take occasion to express my deep gratitude for any thing of personal confidence or kindness which may in any humble degree have contributed to the result, — here we have no such failures to l\ retrieve. The Whigs of Boston may sometimes be reproached
jj, 1 for not making their majority large enough to counterbalance
I the minorities of their neighbors, in the general returns of the
J ,( State,—a reproach which I trust they will not subject themselves
to again this year, — but they rarely fail to do up their own work fairly and fully on the regular day. In Boston, therefore, and in this part of the Commonwealth generally, the people will be called on, at the ensuing election, to vote exclusively for State officers. Next year, as I need hardly remind you, we shall enjoy no such unmixed opportunity of expressing our minds as to the administration of our State affairs. Next year, the great quadrennial contest of the Presidency will be upon us. I will not anticipate its arrival. "Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof." But this I may safely predict of it, — that it will come back to us under circumstances which more, even, than ever before, will
i \ absorb all our thoughts and engross our whole attention.
There will be no chance for looking after local politics, in the
hurly-burly of the next Presidential straggle. Not until that "hurly-burly's done," not until that " battle's lost or won," when it has once opened, shall we be in a condition to look to any issues less broad than those which concern the whole country. Now, then, while we have opportunity, let us look at home. Now, then, while we may, let us remember, that let what will happen to the Nation at large, — let who will be permitted, either by any dispensation of Providence, or by any delusion of the people, to defeat or disappoint the just expectations of the Nation, — we have here a community of our own, institutions of our own, an administration of our own, embracing within the sphere of its influence the nearest and dearest interests of ourselves and our children, for the purity and preservation of which we, and we alone, are responsible. Now then, I repeat it, if there be any thing wrong in the condition of old Massachusetts; if any breach has been made in the walls and fences of the old homestead; if any strip and waste has been committed on the old family premises; if any trespassers have invaded our firesides, and overthrown, or threatened to overthrow, our very altars and household gods; now, now is the time for restoration and redress.
And how is it with our beloved Commonwealth? How has it fared with her during the past year, and how is it with her now? Who are in possession of her high places, how have they come there, and how have they manifested their title to the continued support and confidence of the people?
Strange scenes — strange scenes, certainly, have been witnessed, and strange sounds heard, within the walls of the capitol of Massachusetts during the last year. It is my fortune, — I should rather say, I owe it to your favor, — to have witnessed these scenes from a distance; but distance, I assure you, has lent no enchantment to the view. No true son of Massachusetts, no one who has a true sense of what belongs to her character and her honor, could have read the proceedings of her Legislature, or of her Executive, during the last winter, however distant he may have been from the scene of action, and however free from any mere party preferences or prejudices, without feeling his blood burning in his cheek and tingling to his fingers' ends. The cir