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Full text of "[City documents, 1847-1867]"

BOSTON PUBLIC LIBRARY 



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CityDbcument — JYo. 1 



ADDRESS 



Hon. H. A. S. DEARBORN, Mayor, 



CITY COUNCIL OF ROXBUIIY : 

DELIVERED BEFORE THE 

TWO BRANCHES IN CONVENTION, 

APRIL 5, 1847. 







PRINTED BY ORDER OF THE CITY COUNCIL. 



ROXBURY: 

JOSEPH G. TORREY, CITY PRINTER 
1847. 



mo 



CITY OF ROXBURY 



In Common Council, April 5, 1847. 
Ordered, That a Joint Committee, consisting of one member from each 
Board, be appointed to cause the Address of the Mayor to be printed ; and to 
take charge of any matter relating to printing until otherwise ordered. 
Passed, and sent up for concurrence. 

JOSHUA SEAVER, Clerk. 
In Board of Aldermen, April 5, 1847. 

Concurred. JOSEPH W. TUCKER, City Clerk. 



Committee appointed under the above order — Mr. BREWER of Ward 4, on 
the part of the Council ; and Alderman KINGSBURY on the part of the Board 
of Aldermen. 



ADDRESS. 



Fellow Citizens of the Board of Aldermen 
and Common Council: 

I am fully aware of the responsibilities of the of- 
fice to which I have been elected ; and however 
anxious may be my disposition, or zealous my ef- 
forts, to discharge its duties in an acceptable man- 
ner, I have neither that definite information, in re- 
lation to the diversified affairs of the city, or that 
practical experience in their administration, which 
are so indispensably requisite for the satisfactory ac- 
complishment of that desirable object, and must, 
therefore, rely upon your indulgent guidance and 
generous support, in the novel and difficult position 
in which I am placed. 

While the whole power of deciding upon the 
measures which it may be considered expedient to 
adopt, and of providing and appropriating the funds 
for carrying them into effect, has been vested in the 
Council, " the Chief Executive Officer " is restrict- 
ed to " the enforcement of the laws and regulations 
of the city, and the communication of such informa- 
tion, and the recommendation of such measures, as 
in his opinion, the interests of the city may require." 
It, therefore, will not be inappropriate to allude to 



4 MAYOR'S ADDRESS. [April, 

some of the most important subjects, which must 
claim our unceasing attention. 

There is not any expenditure made, which is more 
directly and universally beneficial to the whole 
people, than that for the construction and repair 
of the highways ; for it is not merely the inhabitants 
of the city whose convenience is subserved, by well 
formed lines of communication with all parts of their 
municipal territory, but those of an extensive region 
of country, whose routes of intercourse with the cap- 
ital, and other portions of the State, are connected 
with them ; and although, from the large area of 
Roxbury, and the rapid increase of the population, 
the number and length of the roads and streets have 
been, and must long continue to be, extended, and 
thus require a proportional augmentation of the ap- 
propriations; still, as these indispensable avenues are 
equally the cause, as well as the effect, of our pros- 
perous condition, it is as much for the interest of the 
proprietors of land, as it is beneficial to every in- 
habitant, that they should receive that grave consid- 
eration, which the people have a right to claim of the 
government, not only for the immediate advantage 
of the present, but the prospective demand of all fu- 
ture generations. The condition of the public roads 
of all countries, is a more conclusive illustration of 
their advancement in the arts of civilization, afflu- 
ence and grandeur, than the most majestic monu- 
ments which have been reared by the ostentatious 
ambition of their sovereigns. 

Sidewalks having become as necessary for the 



1847.] CITY DOCUMENT.— No. 1. 5 

convenience of the inhabitants, in several sections of 
the city, as are the main portions of the streets for 
the accommodation of all kinds of vehicles, it is de- 
sirable that some plan should be devised for their 
gradual construction, — if it possibly can be done, 
without involving such a large expense as to render 
it inexpedient, until sufficient means can be better 
forded. 

As the security of the lives and property of the 
citizens against the appalling ravages of conflagra- 
tion, is almost entirely dependent upon a well es- 
tablished fire department, it is of the utmost conse- 
quence, that such measures should be adopted, as will 
enable the engineers and members of the engine 
companies to discharge their laborious duties, in such 
a manner, as shall be creditable to their fidelity and 
enterprise, and most beneficial to the community. To 
accomplish those objects, not only sufficient means 
must be furnished, but such a system of organization 
matured, as will secure the services of men for offi- 
cers and members who are the best qualified for sta- 
tions involving such high responsibilities. 

For the maintenance of order, an efficient police 
has been deemed of the utmost importance, and the 
offices of marshals, constables and watchmen have 
been established for that purpose. The incumbents 
now constitute the civil guard of the city, and on 
their ability, vigilance and integrity, are the people 
dependent for their safety and quietude, during the 
day and night, and for the prompt and certain execu- 



6 MAYOR'S ADDRESS. [April, 

tion of the public laws and municipal ordinances ; 
but to enable those officers to act with confidence 
and energy, their authority must be respected, and 
such assistance promptly afforded, as may be at any 
time required, on those extraordinary emergencies, 
which have been fully provided for, by the statutes of 
the Commonwealth. 

It is, therefore, to be seriously considered, by ev- 
ery citizen, that one of the chief objects of all forms of 
government, is the preservation of peace and se- 
curity of society, by the protection of the person, 
rights, and property of each individual, against inter- 
nal outrage and foreign aggression. For these pur- 
poses laws are established to define and prevent the 
commission of crimes, and power conferred upon ex- 
ecutive and judicial officers, for the apprehension 
and punishment of offenders. But to render any 
system of jurisprudence effectual, there must be an 
unhesitating deference for its rightful authority, and 
a patriotic disposition to aid in a rigid enforcement 
of its decrees. In the United States, there are 
reasons and motives for a more respectful and un- 
doubting submission to the requirements of the civil 
and military codes, than in any other nation which 
has ever existed ; for they are formed by the repre- 
sentatives of freemen, in conformity to constitutions 
which they have deliberately instituted, as citizens of 
the State and National governments ; and it should 
ever be recollected that they are based on that fun- 
damental principle of all republics, which requires a 



1847.] CITY DOCUMENT.— No. 1. 7 

cheerful acquiescence in the decisions of the major- 

ity. 

So long, therefore, as these principles are acknowl- 
edged, and the laws universally regarded with pro- 
found deference, tranquillity will be maintained, and 
the morals of the people preserved. But whenever 
individual insubordination, or combinations of the 
vicious and reckless can violate them with impunity, 
and assert an unrestrained liberty of action, as a right, 
freedom degenerates into licentiousness, and the 
worst form of despotism, is inevitably and speedily 
developed, in the unjust, vindictive, and barbarous 
decretals of an ungoverned and ungovernable multi- 
tude. 

If any measure of the government is considered, 
by any portion of the people, as either unnecessary, 
impolitic or impressive, the means of correction and 
for obtaining redress for alleged wrongs, are period- 
ically presented in the Halls of Legislation ; and it 
is there alone, that efforts can be properly made for 
their modification or repeal ; while all attempts to 
impede their enforcement is as dishonorable as it is 
culpable ; for they excite that dangerous insurrec- 
tionary spirit, which madly denounces and furiously 
opposes every legal effort for the restoration of tran- 
quillity, and ultimately triumphs, in the utter pros- 
tration of all the venerated institutions of govern- 
ment, piety and learning. 

As a military force may be required, on occasions 
of excitement and violence, in aid of the civil author- 



8 MAYOR'S ADDRESS. [April, 

ity, " to execute the laws and suppress insurrection," 
it is proper that such attention should be extended 
to the two volunteer companies, which have been 
organized in this city for many years, and have ever 
sustained a high character for their discipline and 
martial appearance, as will best tend to render their 
services available, should they unfortunately become 
necessary. By the Constitution and laws of the 
United States, and of this Commonwealth, they bear 
the sword of justice; and if, from the culpable 
neglect of the general government, this important 
and chief reliable arm of our protection, in rebellion 
and war, has gradually been reduced in vigor and 
consequence, it becomes much more necessary, that 
the municipal authority should do what may be 
deemed most expedient and possible, for perpetu- 
ating its undiminished efficiency, as a very essential 
auxiliary portion of the police department. 

Official duty, as well as the dictates of religion and 
humanity, demand that the necessities of the poor 
should be regarded with that real compassion, which 
is emphatically evinced by the tender of relief, and 
that those which are received into the Alms-house 
should not only be provided with suitable clothing, 
beds, and food, but that there should be apartments 
for the sick and lame, sufficiently spacious, and so 
far removed from those of the other inmates, as to 
render the condition of both more comfortable, and 
the recovery of the former more certain and speedy, 
besides precluding the danger of disease being ex- 
tended among the healthy. 



1847.] CITY DOCUMENT.— No. 1. 9 

Having recently visited that establishment, it was 
apparent, from the great number of persons which it 
now contains, and has during the winter, and the 
unusual proportion of patients, that a convenient 
hospital had become necessary, and must soon be 
erected, as has been recommended by the Overseers 
of the Poor and the City Physician ; especially, if the 
operation of the causes which have occasioned such 
an unprecedented augmentation of paupers, during 
the past year, should unfortunately be continued in 
undiminished activity. 

Some additional expenditures may also be found 
necessary, for finishing portions of the edifice, which 
have not, hitherto, been required for the use of the 
establishment, and for such other purposes as will 
enable the Superintendent to do all that is practica- 
ble for the comfortable accommodation of the desti- 
tute, who find a home in that charitable institution ; 
and for the management of its industrial, school, po- 
lice, and other departments, in the most convenient, 
useful, and creditable manner. 

As the health of the city does not more depend 
upon its cleanliness than a free circulation of pure air, 
it has been the enlightened and sanitory policy of all 
governments to reserve areas of land, in the midst of 
their populous capitals, commercial emporiums, and 
interior cities, as spacious reservoirs of that vital el- 
ement, for the perpetual replenishment of the nu- 
merous streets which diverge from them, as well as 
appropriate places of exercise and innocent recrea- 
tion, for all classes of people. 



^ 



10 MAYOR'S ADDRESS. [April, 

If the prospective destinies of Roxbury may be 
conjectured, from the rapid increase of population 
during the past fifteen years, the number must be 
augmented to at least one hundred thousand, before 
the close of the present century. Does it not then 
merit inquiry, whether sufficient land should not be 
obtained in each of the parochial divisions of the 
city, for the purpose of being gradually formed into 
public squares, by the erection of enclosures, the 
construction of avenues, and the planting of trees ? 
It may be alleged, that even the expense of the pur- 
chase of the land will be too onerous upon the exist- 
ing generation ; but could not such an arrangement 
be made, as that most of it can be transferred to those 
of after ages for liquidation, since they cannot but be 
grateful for the precious advantages which will thus 
be secured to them by the prescience and benificent 
exertions of their ancestors ; while, on the other 
hand, would they not have just cause of complaint, 
should the most favorable opportunity of extending 
to them, such an important benefit, be utterly 
neglected. 

Among all the various trusts which have been con- 
fided to the municipal government, that of providing 
for the establishment, support, and supervision of the 
Public Schools is decidedly of the most immediate 
and future consequence. So liberal, thus far, has 
been the appropriation for these purposes, and so 
ably have the School Committee performed their du- 
ties in its expenditure, and in the organization and 
management of all the schools, that they can be favor- 



1847.] CITY DOCUMENT.— No. 1. 11 

ably compared, with those of the highest reputation, 
in any other part of our country ; while the mem- 
bers of that committee are deservedly entitled to the 
grateful acknowledgements of the government and 
the people, for their gratuitous, yet very respon- 
sible and laborious services. 

It is not merely the literary and scientific instruc- 
tions which is obtained in these juvenile seminaries, 
that render them so necessary and valuable ; but the 
moral principles which are there inculcated, the rec- 
titude of conduct which is superinduced, and the el- 
evation of character which is attained, that places 
them at the head of all the other institutions, which 
have been devised by man, for the early development 
and lasting establishment of those exalted qualities of 
the mind and heart, on which individual happiness 
and prosperity, the stability of governments and the 
glory of nations depend. 

There is no problem in ethics or political science, 
which has been so difficult to solve, as that of the 
manner by which crime may be prevented. Legis- 
lation and jurisprudence have in vain attempted to 
restrain the vicious, by the terrors of corporeal chas- 
tisement, incarceration, deportation and death. 

From the establishment of the laws of Judea, to 
those of modern times, the experiments to eradicate 
crime have uniformly been made upon the assump- 
tion, that it was to be accomplished by penal ex- 
actions, whose triple object was prevention, retribu- 
tion and reformation ; but all dependent in their re- 



12 MAYOR'S ADDRESS. [April, 

suits, upon the fear or the infliction of punishment. 
All those systems, however specious in theory, or 
diversified in form, have utterly failed in practice, 
and ever will, for they are founded upon false con- 
ceptions of the intimidating and reformatory influ- 
ence of punishment upon the human character. 

The history of past ages, and the annual statistics 
of criminal jurisprudence in Europe and this coun- 
try, but too conclusively confirm the deplorable fact, 
that when adults, and even minors, have pursued an 
uninterrupted course of vice, there is no hope of cor- 
rection ; and all that can be done for the safety of 
society, is to devise the most humane mode of pre- 
venting them from doing injury to their fellow-men ; 
for atonement cannot be exacted on earth, since the 
infliction of expiatory punishment belongs to God 
alone. 

The only system by which the moral and religious 
character of a people can be secured, is that which is 
based on juvenile instruction. Paley said, that " to 
send an uneducated child into the world, is little bet- 
ter than to turn a wild beast into the streets ; " and 
one of our most eminent philosophers and philan- 
thropists has declared, that " mothers and school- 
masters planted the seeds of nearly all the good 
which exists in the world, and therefore, its reforma- 
tion must be begun under the parental roof and in the 
school-house." Whenever and wherever proper at- 
tention is paid to the mind, heart, conduct and man- 
ners of children, by fathers, mothers, and school in- 



1847.] CITY DOCUMENT.— No. 1. 13 

structers, their future lives become admirable illus- 
trations of the glorious influence of such early incul- 
cations of virtue and piety. So mighty is the influ- 
ence of such tuition, that exemplary men have rarely 
been vile children, while uneducated, corrupt, and 
base children, seldom become meritorious men. 

To reform the character of nations, the process 
must be commenced at the fountain head ; for if that 
is preserved undefiled the whole current of life will 
glide on in sparkling purity and majestic grandeur. 

We must then rely upon correct parental guidance, 
and the salutary influence of well managed public 
schools, for the extinguishment of immortality and 
crime, and the extension of virtue and religion, 
throughout all ranks and conditions of the people ; 
for they, with the teachers of the Christian religion, 
have done more to civilize, refine, enlighten, and 
elevate the character of man and of nations, than the 
combined efforts of all the sovereigns, legislators, 
statesmen, and judicial tribunals, which have ever 
existed. 

It is in this manner that the ranks of crime are to 
be diminished; for the young, instead of going forth 
from the parental fireside as contaminated recruits, 
for filling the perpetually increasing vacancies in the 
infamous legions of licentiousness and depravity, they 
will bear aloft the unstained banner of intelligence, 
righteousness and honor, in their triumphal march, 
to the highest earthly position to which man can as- 
pire, — that of honest, faithful, patriotic, aud vene- 
rated citizens. 



14 MAYOR'S ADDRESS. [April. 

The funds of the city being almost exclusively de- 
rived from the taxes which are annually imposed up- 
on the people, the expenditures should be confined 
to such objects only, as are considered of primary 
consequence ; which requires such a wise and pru- 
dential circumspection in the management of the 
legislative and executive departments of the govern- 
ment, as shall unite a due regard to the ability of the 
people to furnish adequate means, with an entire 
confidence in the real importance of the purposes to 
which they are to be applied. 

As the promotion of the best interests of our fel- 
low-citizens entirely depends upon a harmonious 
discharge of our several trusts, I sincerely assure you 
that I shall cheerfully co-operate in the prosecution 
of all such measures, as you may determine upon, as 
being the most effectual for the accomplishment of 
that desirable object ; and with profound gratitude 
to the Almighty for the numerous blessings which he 
has so liberally conferred upon our whole county, it 
is my ardent prayer that they may be continued 
through all succeeding ages, and that we may be wor- 
thy of his merciful direction, in the execution of the 
duties which have devolved upon us. 

H. A. S. DEARBORN. 

Roxbury, April 5, 1847.