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Constitutional coveritiera, 1967,
REVISE THE CONSTITUTION
CONCORD, N. H.:
Univedi liore! 6.12.1939
CONCORD, N. H., December 2, 1902.
The delegates of the Constitutional Convention assembled in the hall of the House of Representatives on Tuesday, December 2, 1902, at 11 o'clock a. m., and were called to order by the Hon. Isaac N. Blodgett of Franklin.
On motion of James F. Briggs of Manchester, Henry 0. Kent of Lancaster was chosen temporary chairman.
Messrs. Sanborn of Franklin and Briggs of Manchester were chosen a committee to escort the temporary presiding officer to the chair.
On assuming the chair, Mr. Kent addressed the Convention as follows:
There can no higher duty come to citizens of a state than to be charged by its people with examination and revision of its organic law-that instrument that has unified government and the elements of prosperity; that has voiced the stern integrity, reverence of Deity, and crowding energy that from feeble beginnings have developed a prosperous commonwealth.
It is an instrument to be approached almost with reverence. So abounding is it in the evidences, the incentives, the experiences of the past, that it is to be considered in those points only, wherein changes in the world's progress or developing demands, require restriction or expansion at any point, with wise care and a sense of profound responsibility.
Its consideration brings to us faces and memories from the past. Patriots and soldiers of the early days of privation, daring and elemental heroism look down upon us from these walls. Memories of noble and worthy events come to us adown the aisles of memory—from Louisbourg, Bunker Hill, Bennington, Yorktown, Lundy's Lane, Chapultepec, Gettysburg, and from the isles of the ocean.
We love our state! We are here to do her service. Her mountains, her valleys, her clear air and alternations of shade and sun upon her hillsides or lakes—they are ours in memory and fond recollection, wherever we are dispersed. The old New Hampshire character, too, abides with us. The stern, self-denying, persistent, patient, helpful lives, revering Deity and sustaining law and order, have found the commonwealth expanding into the life of the federal republic, embracing an empire of freemen, existing by right for the advancement, elevation, comfort, and content of humanity.
To have in charge the original charter and promise of this result is no light or unmeaning formalism. Hasty action may strike at the root of fundamental truths; untoward results will follow superficial conclusions.
It is natural that her people should send up to such a grand council as is here assembled, from among her best and wisest sons. Not young men chiefly, in the heyday of youth, with all the world before them from which to choose their course; but grave men, who have borne the burden of life's affairs, who have seen illusions fade before experiment, who desire of all things to preserve as intact as changes of environment will permit, that grand charter of our liberties under which our present well being has been secured.
I do not think it invidious to any prior convention to sug
gest that probably on no occasion since our fathers assembled at the feeble colonial capitals under the shadow of the forests surrounding them for purposes of statecraft, was there ever a better representation of her sons, strong in brain and brawn, gathered to consider great political truths than that which the old commonwealth has sent up for the present purpose to this assembly.
There are here representatives of the majesty of law, from the pulpit, the press, the centres of trade, all men proven in affairs, gathered with steady purpose to hear thoughtfully, weigh prudently and act carefully in all things concerning the honor, the prosperity, and the content of the state.
It is not for me to discuss pending legislation; in due course, through regular channels, all matters pertinent to this gathering will be presented, discussed, decided. It is mine to direct your formal action until the permanent organization of this convention shall have been reached and then to give way to your chosen agents.
It only remains to me as a member of the historic political party to which I have the honor to belong, to thank the majority party of this non-partisan Convention for its wise and generous action in according to that minority the courtesies so generously extended on this occasion, and to acknowledge to the members of my own party, my abiding appreciation of the continued confidence and regard which has placed me in this present place of responsibility; perhaps the crowning honor of my career, in behalf of the Democracy of New Hampshire.
I should be false to my impulses and an essential part of the pleasure of this hour did I not acknowledge the courtesies extended me on all sides on this occasion, alike from oldtime veterans in the control of the state, and from oncoming active participants who are later to direct her affairs. Especially do I recognize the introduction accorded me by my old-time friend, one of the ablest of our sons upon a bench always honored, and one of our first citizens during a long and useful life, who voluntarily retires as chief justice to en