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[174] so well the liberal and just mind of the author,—we mean his defence of the right of citizens to freely discuss the acts of public men and the policy of government:—

‘Let us never,’ he said, ‘under any conceivable circumstances of provocation or indignation, forget that the right of free discussion of all public questions is guaranteed to every individual on Massachusetts soil, by the settled convictions of her people, by the habits of her successive generations, and by express provisions of her Constitution. And let us therefore never seek to repress the criticism of a minority, however small, upon the character and conduct of any administration, whether State or national.’

It is probable that the occurrence spoken of in the following letter of Colonel Lee caused the Governor to incorporate in his address the paragraph quoted:—

Boston, May 13.
Messrs. Cartes, Hescock, Bird, and others, Quincy Market.
Dear Sirs,—The Sunday papers report the extortion of one hundred dollars from a produce-dealer named Walker, who seriously and jestingly expressed sympathy with the secessionists, and hoped that our troops would starve. The receipt of this money casts a slur upon the reputation of our State, and upon the sincerity of all the generous men who freely contributed. It must be returned at once, or we are disgraced: our cause is too good to be injured with illegal violence. While we fight for liberty and the law, let us respect them ourselves. I feel sure, upon reflection, you will agree with the Governor on the subject.

Yours truly,

Henry Lee, A. D. C.

When the Governor concluded his address, the Senate returned to its chamber, and the two branches entered at once upon the business of the session.

In the Senate, on the same day, on motion of Mr. Stone, of Essex, it was voted, that a committee of seven on the part of the Senate, and fifteen on the part of the House, be appointed, to whom the address of the Governor, and the accompanying documents, should be referred. The motion was adopted: and the committee appointed on the part of the Senate were Messrs. Stone of Essex, Bonney of Middlesex, Northend of Essex, Rogers of Suffolk, Davis of Bristol, Walker of Middlesex, and Cole of Berkshire; on the part of the House, Messrs. Bullock

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