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There is much less need of genius or of any special brilliancy in the administration of our government than there is need of such homely virtues and qualities as common sense, honesty and courage. There are very many difficult problems to face, some of which are as old as government itself, while others have sprung into being in consequence of the growing complexity and steadily increasing tension of our social life for the last two generations. It is not given to any man, or to any set of men, to see with absolutely clear vision into the future. All that can be done is to face the facts as we find them, to meet each difficulty in practical fashion and to strive steadily for the betterment both of our civic and our social conditions.
We must realize on the one hand, that we can do little if we do not set ourselves a high ideal, and, on the other, that we will fail in accomplishing even this little if we do not work through practical methods and with a readiness ^to face life as it is, and not as we think it ought to be. Under no form of government is it so necessary thus to combine efficiency and morality, high principle and rough common sense, justice and the sturdiest physical and moral courage, as in a republic. It is absolutely impossible for a republic long to endure if it becomes either corrupt or cowardly; if its public men, no less than its private men, lose the indispensable virtue of honesty, if its leaders of thought become visionary doctrinaires, or if it shows a lack of courage in dealing with the many grave problems which it must surely face, both at home and abroad, as it .strives to work out the destiny meet for a mighty nation.
It is only through the party system that free governments are now successfully carried on, and yet we must keep ever vividly before us that the usefulness of a party is gtrictly limited by its usefulness to the State, and that in the long run, he serves his party best who most helps to make it instantly responsive to every need of the people and to the highest demands of that spirit which tends to , drive us onward and upward.
It shall be my purpose, so far as I am given strength, to administer my office with an eye single to the welfare of all the people of this great commonwealth.
Immediately after leaving the Assembly Chamber, the Governor, accompanied by those officers whom he had designated as his Military Staff, retired to the Executive Chamber. The first official act of the Governor after his inauguration, was the acceptance of the resignation of William J. Youngs as District Attorney of the county of Queens, and the appointment of the said William J. Youngs to be his Private Secretary.
Response To The Toast "The State Of New York," At The State Bar Association Banquet, January 8, i899
Mr. President, And Gentlemen: I am particularly glad to have the chance of speaking to you to-night, because you represent that kind of citizenship which more than any other has weight and influence in shaping the conduct of our social and legislative development. I do not say that to compliment you. I say it because I wish you would realize the responsibility that it puts upon you. Would it were in my power to make each of vou feel how dependent the public servant is in the way
of doing good work upon popular opinion, which you, and the men like you, must shape. A public man can learn to a certain extent, but he has got to keep in touch with the people whom he represents. If he gets too far away from them, so that he is out of touch with them, then his usefulness is almost as much impaired, as if he were too far behind. All that can be done is this: he can get a certain distance away, and he must take care that that certain distance is in the right direction. It is not possible for any man ever to do or to get all that he would like to do, or all that he would like to get in the way of good government and in the way of striving to see his ideals realized.
Mr. President, you have spoken very kindly of the fact that you believed I would be' a good Governor. Now I intend to try. But the measure of my success is going to largely depend upon the support that I get from just such men as I see before me tonight. I am a loyal party man, but I believe very firmly that I can best render aid to my party by doing all that in me lies to make that party responsive to the needs of the State, responsive to the needs of the people, and just so far as I work along those lines I have the right to challenge the support of every decent man, no matter what his party may be. It is not an easy thing, when you come down to the practical realities, to work for the best; it is a good deal easier to sit at home in one's parlor and decide what the best is than to get out in the field and try to win it. When one is in the midst of the strife, with the dust, and the blood and the rough handling, and is receiving blows, (and if he is worth anything, is returning them) it is difficult always to see perfectly straight in the direction the right lies. Perhaps we must always advance a little by zig-zags; only we must always advance; and the zig-zags should go toward the right goal. One thing I believe that we are realizing more and more, and that is the valuelessness of mere virtue that does not take a tangible and efficient shape. I do not give the snap of my finger for a very good man who possesses that peculiar kind of goodness that benefits only himself, in his own home. I think we all understand more and more that the virtue that is worth having is the virtue that can sustain the rough shock of actual living; the virtue that can achieve practical results, that finds expression in actual life. There may be a more objectionable class in the community than the timid good, but I do not know it. I earnestly hope that all of you here will thoroughly appreciate what you now know' in the abstract, but what we none of us realize entirely in practice, that here in this government it is not the public officials that really govern, it is the people themselves. It is the people who must make their ideals take tangible shape. You govern just as much if you decline to let your weight be felt for decency, as if you make it felt outright for what is bad. You are just as responsible. You, the leaders of the people, you, the people, are just as responsible for what goes wrong, whether it is because you actively favor the wrong or because you sit supinely by, and let the wrong triumph, without checking it. Appreciating to the full the heavy weight of responsibility that rests upon me, as it does upon every other servant of the commonwealth, appreciating the weight of responsibility that rests upon the executive officers of the State, a weight only less heavy than that which rests upon the judges, appreciating all that, I ask you in turn to appreciate that an even heavier load of responsibility rests upon each citizen and all the private citizens of this commonwealth, to see that decency, that honesty, that righteousness, that courage are triumphant in the government of this State.
Address On The Occasion Of The Presentation Of A Sword To Commodore Philip, February 3, i899
Commodore Philip: It is peculiarly pleasant to me to present you with this sword, for one of my last official acts, as Assistant Secretary of the Navy, was to break through regulations in order to give you the chance to have the turrets of the Texas so geared that her great guns could be used to the best possible advantage; and the sequel showed how well it was for the service, that you should be given the opportunity to get the utmost service from the mighty war-engine entrusted to your care.
When a commander-in-chief, afloat or ashore, has done the best possible with his forces, then rightly the chief -credit belongs to him, and wise and patriotic students of the Santiago sea-campaign gladly pay their homage first to Admiral Sampson. It was Admiral Sampson who initiated and carried on the extraordinary blockade, letting up even less by night than by day, that will stand as the example for all similar blockades in the future. It was owing to the closeness and admirable management of the system of night blockades which he introduced, that Cervera's fleet was forced to come out by day light. In