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[284] the strongest. Gunboats officered and manned by Massachusetts men kept watch and ward on the Southern coast, or carried the flag upon far-off seas. Officers remained here on recruiting service; and enlistments were made to complete new regiments, and to fill the depleted ranks of those at the seat of war. Wounded officers and soldiers were at home on furlough or discharged for disability. The ‘empty sleeve’ was seen daily in our streets; and maimed veterans hobbled up the steps of the State House on crutches, on their return from distant hospitals, to show their honorable discharge papers, and tell in modest words of their toils and dangers.

The Legislature met at the State House, on Wednesday, Jan. 1, 1862. Hon. John H. Clifford, of New Bedford, formerly Governor of the State, was chosen President of the Senate, and Stephen N. Gifford, clerk. On taking the chair, Mr. Clifford referred to the present state of the country, to the war which existed, and to the duties which were imposed upon the Legislature. They were then in a new and untried exigency of public affairs, and subject to the solemn and momentous responsibilities which attach themselves to every position of public trust.

We should fail, I am sure, to reflect the prevailing sentiment of the people of Massachusetts, and show ourselves unworthy the generous confidence of our respective constituents, if we could permit a word of party strife to be uttered within these walls. Whatever may be his professions, he is no true patriot, who, in this season of his country's peril, cannot rise to such a height as to lose sight of all those lines of political difference, which, in more peaceful and prosperous times, have divided the people of the Commonwealth, or who is not ready to sacrifice every thing but principle to make and keep them a united people. Already have the gallant sons of Massachusetts, native and adopted, of every class and condition, and holding every variety of opinion upon controverted questions of policy and principle, marched as a band of brothers to the field to uphold the common flag, or to fall in its defence.

Hon. Caleb Cushing, of Newburyport, senior member, called the House to order; in doing which, he made a short address, and referred to his services as a member in years that were past, and said,—

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