More Acceptance Speeches Like This

I thank you kindly for this mark of your confidence. I hope I shall be able to meet your expectations but I fear that I will not for I bring with me to this position but little experience. To err I believe is the common lot; I cannot hope to escape it. I shall however throw myself upon your kind indulgence and ask your assistance; and I hope that you will give it to me not only as a duty but as a pleasure.

Order and decorum of the Assembly rests as much with you as with me and I sincerely hope that every member will aid the chair in reserving both. Let us have a short and economical session; short, that we may not squander away our own time in idle and useless legislation; economical, that we may not squander away the finances of the (state).

It is our duty as much as possible to reduce the expense of the state government and to lessen the burden of taxation, already too heavy upon our people.

But few new statutes are required. Some of the old ones need amendment; some ought to be repealed. The greatest evil that we shall have to contend against is the tendency to special legislation. Let us avoid this bane of California lawmaking for as much as possible. There are but few subjects or matters, which cannot be reached by general laws, and yet in some of our statute books a general law is an exception.

I sincerely hope that I may be wrong (but) the times portend the severest test of constitutional freedom that we have ever witnessed. Republican institutions and liberty according to law, are on their trial; let us hope that the verdict and judgment may be in their favor. It is the duty, as I understand it, the highest, most solemn duty of the citizen and especially of that citizen who is himself a lawmaker, to give his government an earnest and generous support.

Let us do this and lifting ourselves above the wild fanaticism of the hour, act from principle and not from motives of hatred or revenge. When we shall have discharged these obligations, performed these duties and disposed of such other matters of importance as are brought before us, let us adjourn and return to our constituents with the expectation of receiving their approval and if not theirs, we shall at least have our own.

I have no promises to make to you save that I will discharge the duties of this position to the best of my ability, always relying upon your good sense and kindness to aid me. Again, I thank you. 

— Caius Tacitus Ryland upon his election as Speaker of the California Assembly in 1867

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