men, who have funded thirty years of work in that statute, and who claim of the community this, that, at least, the plan shall have a trial,--as I said at the beginning, a trial, and nothing more,--ask that some other means be substituted.
Suppose this plan is tried twenty years, and fails; we will give it up. Suppose you try it, and it does not work even the miracles that we hope; we will surrender it. But long argument, patient debate, constant experiment, have lifted it into the statute-book, and now, certainly, we may rightfully claim, that the State
shall provide the machinery to try it before it is taken off that statute-book.
Is there anything hard, anything unfair, anything undemocratic in that claim?
But the city says, “You cannot execute a law that has not public opinion behind it.”
Granted, I have no wish to execute a law that has not public opinion behind it. I have no wish to execute a law that has not a preponderating public opinion behind it. But the opinion of what public?
Is it the opinion of the City Hall?
Is it the opinion of the grog-shops of Boston
Is it the opinion of Beacon Street and the clubs?
Is it the opinion of Ann Street and North Street? Is it the opinion of the criminals in the dock?
No; the law rests on the public opinion of the Commonwealth
; and if the liquor interests of Boston
wish to appear before that tribunal, we are ready, always ready.
We welcome them to that great debate.
All we claim is, that* when they are beaten in that court, they shall submit.
[Applause.] Is that too much to ask?
If they conquer us, we will submit.
But we have not been at boys' play for thirty years. We have converted the Commonwealth
; it has accepted this idea, and made it into a statute; and if there be a law in Massachusetts
, we mean it shall have a fair trial.