Message on Reimbursing Certain Public Officials Because of Injuries

Title: Message on Reimbursing Certain Public Officials Because of Injuries

Date: June 5, 1919

Location: Boston, MA

Context: Coolidge addresses the responsibility of police, law, and courts to apprehend criminals and make compensation for damages 

(Original document available here)

To the Honorable Senate and House of Representatives.

During the night of June 2 the residences of two officials of this Commonwealth were damaged by explosions which were brought about by reason of their doing their public duties in accordance with the oaths of their offices. The obligation of apprehending the criminals and bringing them to punishment lies in the hands of the police and courts.

Compensation for the injury requires legislation. I am of the opinion that the injury which has been suffered in these two cases, — one of which was that of a Representative of the General Court, Leland Powers of Newton, and the other that of Albert F. Hayden, Justice of the Municipal Court of Roxbury, — having resulted from the performance of a public duty, should be borne by the public. There are many precedents for reimbursing those in the public employ who have suffered injury while in the performance of their duty, and I am of the opinion that the General Court should consider whether these do not fall within the same principle; and if in the opinion of the General Court such is the case, it is recommended that compensation be paid to these two public officers for the injury done their residences, for which no other compensation has been paid.

It cannot be made too plain that those in whom the people have reposed the responsibility of legislation and the administration of justice will be supported by the people in the conscientious performance of their duties. Any attack upon such performance is an attack on the sovereignty of the people which the people will repel by every possible means.

Citation: Messages to the General Court, Official Addresses, Proclamations and State Papers of His Excellency Governor Calvin Coolidge

The Coolidge Foundation gratefully acknowledges the volunteer efforts of Greg Harkenrider, who prepared this document for digital publication.

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