Robert Waterman

17th Governor, Republican

Inaugural Address

Delivered: September 13, 1887


One chosen by you as Chief Magistrate has passed away. Of him there is left to us the memory of an upright man, a true friend and faithful public officer. By nature gentle as a woman, he yet possessed the courage which decided convictions give, and never faltered in the discharge of his duty, public or private. For more than a quarter of a century he has been here identified with public affairs, and has always deserved and received the confidence of the people. As Clerk, Senator, Mayor and Governor, he leaves behind an untarnished record; as a man, he endeared himself to all with whom he came in contact. In life he was the representative of the best type of American citizen; in death, his example survives for the emulation of those who would deserve well of their fellow-men. Chosen at the last election by you to the office of Lieutenant-Governor, the duties of Governor now devolve upon, and must by me be exercised. Called suddenly and unexpectedly from the field and mine to this responsible position, I may be pardoned, if with misgivings I enter upon the discharge of its duties. If an earnest desire to do right, if a firm determination to carry out the obligations of the solemn oath which I have just taken avail to that end, I hope to discharge the duties of the high office in a manner to merit your approval. In the administration of office I shall always be willing to receive, indeed shall seek counsel and advice, and at all times with patience and pleasure, will hear any of my fellow-citizens whose right may be affected by official acts of mine. With the American doctrine, that governments are instituted to secure “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness,” I am in full accord. With the imported heresies of the Communist and Socialist I have no sympathy. Their doctrines are subversive of our State institutions, and those who promulgate them should be held as enemies of mankind. With these views, I can give you an assurance that my administration of the Executive Department will be within conservative lines. The enforcement of laws, preservation of the public peace, encouragement to great interests of this growing State, accountability on the part of public officers and economical administration of State finances ought to be leading objects of consideration, and shall be, so far as the Executive is concerned; but, above all, no act will ever receive my approval which may disturb the peace of society, or which invades any of the fundamental rights which are at the foundation of this and other just governments. Coming as I do to this office, I feel it is my duty to assure you that, during my term of office, the Government, so far as the Chief Executive is concerned, will be conducted in accordance with those principles which are dear to every true American citizen. This assurance I give, and invoking your favorable consideration for my official acts, I now assume the duties of Governor of this State.