say that in consequence of that, or of something else, the city of Boston
says to us by the voice of her attorneys, her aldermen, her mayor, “We cannot execute your law.”
We take her at her word.
Year after year she comes to the legislature and says, “We cannot execute your law.”
Well, there are two paths open,--one path is, Repeal the law; the other path is, Try somebody else to execute it. Suppose the engineer of the Fitchburg
road should report to the directors, “I can't run your engine beyond Groton
Two courses would be open for the directors.
One would be to take up the rails west of Groton
, the other to get a new engineer.
Which do you suppose they would adopt?
[Applause.] The city of Boston
says to the Commonwealth
,--a Commonwealth that after thirty years of discussion, after two hundred years of patient experiment, announces a new plan, a plan successful to a marvellous extent elsewhere,--the city of Boston
says, “We cannot execute your law.”
We take her at her word, and we proceed to do,--what?
Why, to go back to the armory of democratic weapons to find whether democracy has any other means of carrying out a law.
Now, mark you, what is a city?
It is a body of inhabitants selected from the rest of the State
, which assembles together and goes to the legislature and says, “Grant
us a city government.”
Why do they want it?
They say, “We have large masses of criminal inhabitants, large, massed — up quantities of wealth; we need a more stringent machinery than a country town.”
The State says, “Yes; take that city charter, and with it take certain conditions and privileges and rights peculiar to a city.”
Now, the tendency of the last hundred years has been to what you may call no government,--that is, toward making the government light as possible; filing down all its powers, restricting all its old despotic qualities.