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The members were called to order at twelve o'clock noon by Fred W. Hammond, Clerk of the last Assembly.
The proceedings were opened with prayer by Rev. Charles Graves.
The Clerk then called the roll as presented by the Secretary of State, and the following members responded:
Taylor F J
Wells L H
A quorum having answered to their names, the Clerk announced the first business was the election of Speaker.
Mr. Machold offered for the consideration of the House a resolution, in the words following:
Resolved, That the House do now proceed to the election of Speaker; that the roll of members be called by the Clerk, and that each member, as his name is called, rise in his place and openly name his choice for such office.
The Clerk put the question whether the House would agree to said resolution, and it was determined in the affirmative.
The House then proceeded to the election of Speaker.
The Clerk called the roll of members, whereupon each member, as his name was called, arose in his place and nominated as follows:
FOR THADDEUS C. SWEET
Thaddeus C. Sweet having received a majority of all the votes cast, the Clerk declared him duly elected Speaker of the Assembly of 1918 and appointed Messrs. Machold and Donohue a committee to conduct the Speaker-elect to the chair.
Mr. Speaker on taking the chair addressed the House as follows:
Gentlemen of the Assembly. For the compliment conveyed and the confidence displayed in your action to-day, you have my warmest thanks and my sincerest gratitude. I approach the duties of Speaker for the fifth consecutive term, conscious of the responsibilities which it imposes, but with a determination to serve you and the State to the utmost of my ability. You need not be told that the position carries with it no little amount of care and labor involving a large supply of patience, and if the duties are performed to your satisfaction, reliance must be placed at all times upon your indulgence and forbearance. If this spirit actuates us all we may look forward to a busy and satisfactory
Not since the Civil War has the Legislature met under conditions in State and Nation approaching those that exist to-day. Courage, fortitude and loyalty are required to meet these conditions. The world is war mad, driven so by the ambition and jealousy of a barbarous monarch who is a scourge to the throne and to civilization. The world now sees that war can be planned in the mind of one man, or family of despots, and wrench the flower of every nation in the world from its sphere of usefulness and grandeur of life, and hurl it into a maelstrom of hate, murder and death. And for what? Not the ambition to rule a nation, but an ambition to rule the world. If this ambition be not crushed there is no country in the world safe from the political iniquities which to-day disturb civilization.
The closing year has been crowded with great events. The world war with all its horror holds the center of interest and anxiety, and the United States has taken her place among the Allies in the interest of the freedom of the world.
The government has incurred obligations extending into the billions to provide for equipment on sea and land to prosecute this war.
Hundreds of thousands of the best blood of the land coming from all our homes have come forward to make the greatest army this country has ever seen.
The government has taken over the railroads of the country, comprising a quarter of a million miles, and representing a value of billions of dollars.
Successful liberty loans representing ten times the national debt following the Civil War have followed each other, war chest plans have followed quickly after, the Red Cross has attained a membership of millions, and has raised millions of money to carry on it great work here and abroad. Thrift and war saving stamps have placed it in the power of the average citizen to help the national cause in this crisis.
In the State we have by a large majority given the right of suffrage to millions of women.
There has been a State Constabulary organized and fully equipped and the force is actively engaged in various parts of the State.
Congress has voted a constitutional amendment on prohibition to be presented for action by the several States.
So the year has been one of great activity along many lines, and we are confronted with great problems.
The business of the country is war, a war into which the country has been forced in the interest of pure humanity, a war against unrelenting cruelty and barbarism. The first business of the State is to assume its full share of the responsibility and co-operation. Whether the war continues or ends, we Americans approach the New Year as no other in our national history. It is not only a national but a world's crisis. We may not yet comprehend the magnitude of this world's struggle, or the sacrifices which it may demand. Great battles are to be fought, and the lists of casualties on the battlefields may come to us and stir us to a realization of what war means. We like to continue in peaceful paths and overlook the serious phase, but duty calls for every endeavor.
But there is a feeling of satisfaction in the thought that although the nation has incurred obligations that extend into the billions, there is still all around us the unmistakable evidence of vitality and prosperity. We are still a nation of happy homes. The loyalty of our people cannot be questioned. We can best serve our country in this critical period of our nation's existence by contributing such wisdom as we possess to the enactment of measures which will supplement the efforts of the National Government in its determination to give to the world a stable system of governments founded alone upon the rights of the people, justice, freedom and humanity. The Empire State has done and will continue to do its full share.
With great gallantry the male citizens of our State have conferred upon women the right to vote. It is for us now to perfect such legislation as may be required to give our newly enfranchised citizens the opportunity of registration, with an earnest hope that