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City Document. — JV*o. 7. 



In Common Council, Sept. 6, 1847. 

Report read, laid upon the table, and ordered to 
be printed. Attest, 


% » 



City Council, September 6, 1847. 

The Joint Standing Committee on Burial Grounds, 
respectfully submit the following 


From the very limited extent of the several Burial * 
Grounds in Roxbury, and the rapid increase of in- 
habitants, it has become necessary that a tract of 
land should be procured, in as nearly a central posi- 
tion of the City, as is practicable, for a public Cem- 
etery, and of a sufficient size to meet the prospective 
requirements of a population which must be vastly 
augmented within less than thirty years. 

Confined places of sepulchre, of the character of 
which now exist, in the midst of a large and dense 
population, are not only considered deleterious in 
their effects upon the public health, but incompati- 
ble with a proper respect for the dead, as well as 
unpleasant and objectionable appendages to the hab- 
itations of the living. 

While modern nations have rivalled those of anti- 
quity, that were most distinguished for their advance- 
ment in letters, science and the arts, in intelligence, 
enterprise and grandeur ; and far surpassed them in 
the establishment of numerous important institutions 
for ameliorating the condition, elevating the character, 
improving the morals and extending the advantages 
of instruction and refinement to all classes of the 
people ; and notwithstanding the immense benefits 
which have been derived from the glorious revela- 
tions of the Messiah, as contrasted with the infinite- 

1847.] CITY DOCUMENT— No. 7. 3 

ly various mythologies of antecedent ages, for a more 
perfect development of the affections of the heart, 
the guidance of enlightened reason, and a knowledge 
of the higher duties incumbent upon the faithful dis- 
ciples of the Sacred Messenger of Omnipotence ; 
still have they remained far in the rear of Pagan 
empires, in appropriate manifestations of respect 
for the memory of deceased relatives and friends, 
and the names, characters and services of their illus- 
trious benefactors in peace and war. 

The ancients not considering it either decorous 
or reverential to the dead, to deposit their remains 
in the midst of the living, while a proper regard to 
sanitory principles, rendered such a custom highly 
objectionable ; therefore, they were induced to lo- 
cate their sepulchres beyond the walls of the cities. 

The cemeteries of the ever memorable city of 
Thebes, were excavated in the distant mountains ; 
and that of Memphis, the last regal capital of the 
Pharaohs of Egypt, was on the borders of lake Me- 
oris. There expensive catacombs were cut in the 
solid rock, and richly embellished with sculptures, 
paintings, and inscriptions, illustrative of the rank 
and memorable events, in the lives of the individu- 
als, whose remains were there deposited, after 
having been embalmed in such a perfect manner as 
to yet exist in an undecayed condition, after the 
lapse of more than three thousand years. 

The chief burial places of Jerusalem were in the 
valley of Jehoshaphat, and in the sides of the adjacent 
hills. There the " Potters Field" was located, which 
was purchased by the priests with the returned 
" pieces of silver" which the compunctious and re- 
pentant Judas had received as " the price of blood ;" 


and on the borders of Mount Calvary was the " new 
sepulchre" of Joseph of Arimathea, in which the 
body of the crucified Saviour of the World was laid. 

The Cemetery of Athens was in the Ceramicus, 
which extended from the gate opposite the Forum 
to the garden of the academy, and included the 
residence and school of Plato. Within that spacious 
area were not only interred the citizens of the most 
superb city of Greece, but the ashes of every officer, 
soldier, and mariner, who fell in battle in distant re- 
gions, were brought back, and there deposited. Pro- 
cessions, formed by each of the ten tribes to which 
they belonged, accompanied the funeral car. Ora- 
tors were appointed to deliver eulogiums, and richly 
sculptured cenotaphs were erected at the public ex- 
pense, to commemorate their names and gallant deeds 
in defence of the rights and honor of their country. 

The Greeks, instead of desecrating their splendid 
temples, as we do our churches, by the inhumation 
of dead bodies within their hallowed walls, allowed 
no tomb to be made within sight of the magnificent 
national temple of Apollo at Delos, or even within 
sight of the island, which had been solemnly dedi- 
cated to that divinity. 

The Romans were prohibited, by the twelve ta- 
bles of the laws, from burying, or burning any per- 
son upon the funeral pile, within the walls of their 
cities. The funereal monuments of the most distin- 
guished civil and military officers and noble and 
wealthy citizens were reared on the borders of the 
Appian, Claudian, Flaminian, and the other great 
highways which connected the Imperial city with 
distant parts of the empire ; and many of them still 
remain as imperishable memorials of the veneration 

1847.] CITY DOCUMENT— No. 7. 5 

of the people for their eminent men, and of parental 
and filial affection. The beautiful marble sarcopha- 
gus of Scipio Africanus, was removed from the 
majestic mausoleum of that eminent family, by one 
of the modern pontiffs, and is still to be seen in the 
Vatican, and has been often copied, as a sepulchral 
monument, in the cemeteries of Europe and this 
country. That of Spurzheim, near the gateway of 
Mount Auburn, is an example. 

Even the Turks have imitated the example of the 
Israelites, whose God and religion is so far acknowl- 
edged as to form the basis of Mahomet's Koran, and 
have established their cemetery for Constantinople 
on the Asiatic shore of the Bosphorus of Thrace ; 
and from the universal custom of planting trees at 
each end of the graves by the surviving relatives, 
the extensive grove which has thus been formed in 
the burial-place of Scutari, during the five centuries 
which have passed since the banner of the crescent 
was planted upon the Imperial palace of the last of 
the Csesars, forms one of the most interesting and 
picturesque features in the scenery of the Ottoman 
capital, and is a favorite place of visitation by all 
ranks of the people during the sultry months of sum- 

During the age of the Patriarchs, groves, hills, 
Vallies and other umbrageous situations were select- 
ed as the most appropriate localities for sepulchres. 
When Sarah died, Abraham purchased " the field of 
Ephron, in Machpela, with all the trees that were 
therein and the borders round about, as a burying- 
place," and there he deposited the remains of his 
wife, and " there they buried Abraham, Isaac, Re- 
bekah, and Leah ; " and when Jacob had blessed his 


sons, " he said unto them, I am to be gathered unto 
my people : bury me with my fathers in the cave 
that is in the field of Ephron." Eleazer was 
buried " in a hill that pertained to Phineas ; " Deb- 
orah " beneath Bethel under an oak ; " Saul and his 
sons " under a tree ; " and Menassah and Ammon " in 
the garden of Uzza." 

So general was the practice of all nations, both 
ancient and modern, to exclude cemeteries from 
cities, that no adverse example was presented in any 
portion of Europe, until the reign of Pope Gregory 
the Great, in the sixth century, when he allowed 
vaults to be constructed under the churches of Rome, 
and that unfortunate precedent was gradually fol- 
lowed by all Christian nations, with the addition of 
permitting inhumations within the enclosures of 
cathedrals, churches and chapels. 

At last, after the experience of twelve centuries, 
the same prudential considerations for the preserva- 
tion of the public health, and a returning recognition 
of that pious and respectful regard for the ashes and 
memory of the dead, which induced the Orientals to 
locate their cemeteries at a proper distance from their 
cities, combined with the difficulty of obtaining a suf- 
ficiently spacious tract of land within the limits of 
the thronged capital of the French empire, to meet 
the increasing demand for a place of interment, com- 
pelled the municipal government to seek an eligible 
site in the country ; and in 1804 the extensive park 
of Pere la Chaise was purchased for that purpose. 
The grounds were laid out by Broguiart, a celebra- 
ted artist, under the superintendence of Count 
Chrobrol de Valvie, Prefect of the department of 
the Seine. 

1847.] CITY DOCUMENT— No. 7. 7 

Causes adverse to the indulgence of agreeable 
recollections of departed friends, were combined in 
such a revolting manner in Paris, as to preclude the 
indulgence of a disposition to recur to the sad event 
of their dissolution. The places of inhumation were 
in confined, foetid and horrible situations, where the 
rays of the sun scarcely appeared, and in which 
broad, deep and dark pits were daily opened, into 
which the dead bodies were thrown that were re- 
moved from the houses in the night, unaccompanied 
by any one save the undertakers. The dead were 
not even enclosed in the meanest coffins, and often 
stript of all their vestments before the last act of the 
terrible rite was completed ; while against the high, 
damp and moss covered walls of the general enclo- 
sure, were promiscuously piled up the bones of 
thousands of men, women and children, which had 
been annually removed from the re-opened vaults to 
make room for the remains of other unfortunate be- 
ings, who were doomed to the same horrible exit 
from the midst of their relatives and friends. Like 
fearful charnel-houses existed in Rome, and many 
other European cities, and the humid, dreary, and 
inappropriate arches formed under the sanctuaries of 
religion, as well as the usual churchyards of all 
Christian countries, were but little less forbidding in 
their appearance and associations ; and consequently, 
so far from inviting frequent visits of friends to the 
" narrow houses " of their deceased companions, 
such was the deplorable array of delapidated monu- 
ments, nearly obscured by rank and noxious weeds 
and the lugrubrious aspect of the whole scene, that 
they were avoided with a kind of horror, approach- 
ing to a superstitious dread of the apprehended con- 


sequences, of an attempt to identify the position 
where reposed the ashes of parents or children. To 
forget that they have thus been separated from the 
living and consigned to utter oblivion, was the awful 
alternative that devolved upon the bereaved rela- 

But the establishment of the rural cemetery of 
Pere la Chaise, had a powerful influence upon the 
whole people. Long suppressed sympathies have 
been resuscitated, devotion has been roused, and a 
generous interest experienced for the remains of de- 
parted kindred, and thus rendered often repeated 
visits to the graves of those who had been loved and 
revered, sources of sad, yet instructive meditation, 
of reminiscences that are " pleasant but mournful 
to the soul." It is in such consecrated grounds, — 
those umbrageous, picturesque and silent " Gardens 
of the Dead," that piety is excited, patriotism exalted, 
and the affections developed in such an emphatic 
manner, as to invest funereal rites with sanctity, 
refine the morals of society, dignify humanity, and 
add lustre to the character of nations. 

But such a great and novel change in the estab- 
lished customs of nations, and especially among the 
luxurious and pleasure-seeking people of the Euro- 
pean capital, required the potent influence of culti- 
vated reason, the sanction of imposing example, the 
embellishments of the arts, — the exciting effects of 
civil and military processions, — the requiems of 
"peace-parted souls," the far-resounding beat of the 
muffled drum, the occasional blasts of the war-trum- 
pet, the drooping banner of many a stricken field, 
the pomp of mustered legions bronzed in the smoke 
of battle, contrasted with the sad drapery of the 

1847.] CITY DOCUMENT— No. 7. 9 

grief-bowed and heart-stricken members of the 
mourning household, the thrilling appeals of elo- 
quence, the munificence of the affluent, and the ex- 
tended patronage of government, to render the long- 
required experiment as successful in its moralizing 
effects, as it was honorable and sublime in conception. 

Public opinion had not included in the number of 
essential virtues, a holy respect for the ashes and 
memory of relatives and friends. All melancholy 
reflections had been so long uniformly repulsed by the 
chilling influence of precedent, and whatever might 
cause reflection upon the instability of human hap- 
piness and the fragility of existence was studiously 
excluded from the mind, from the lamentable indif- 
ference which prevailed in relation to those unavoid- 
able and unceasing daily calamities, to which all are 
liable and must ultimately submit ; but could not 
anticipate their realization by a single prospective 
glance, in the full enjoyment of health, prosperity 
and the perpetual festivities of the community by 
which they were surrounded, from which grief and 
sorrow were conventionally excluded, as incompati- 
ble with the spirit and manners of the age. 

As late therefore as 1812, and after the expiration 
of eight years, from the foundation of the cemetery 
only about one hundred monuments had been reared ; 
but the following year an ardent zeal began to be 
evinced for venerating the memory of departed 
friends in the night of the tomb. The commanding 
site of Pere la Chaise, and the natural advantages 
which it combined, with the salutary measures and 
great efforts which were made to render it interest- 
ing and available for all the purposes for which it 
had been established, attracted the attention of all 


ranks of the people. A manufactory of every kind 
of funereal monuments was included within the 
grounds, which was supplied with granite, marble, 
free stone and other requisite materials ; the most 
perfect and admirable models, and workmen of the 
first talent to execute all orders with promptness and 
skill in the best manner, as well as bronze and iron 
palings of various beautiful patterns for protecting 
the sepulchres from outrage. The porter prepared 
wreaths and crowns, and daily supplied freshly 
gathered flowers for relatives and friends to decorate 
the tombs of the deceased members of their families. 

In 1814, the number of monuments was increased 
to five hundred, and in 1827 there were three thou- 
sand, and there had been deposited in all the compart- 
ments, including that appropriated to those persons 
who were so poor as not to be able to purchase per- 
petual graves, one hundred and sixty-six thousand 
eight hundred bodies. 

Marshals Messena, Ney, Lefevre, and other re- 
nowned military chieftains, who were well known to 
all Europe by their brilliant achievements, there 
found the term of their glory, but not of their fame ; 
the companions of their victories were emulous to 
continue their homage in the eclipse of the sepulchre. 

Perpetual tombs having been ultimately forbidden 
in the other public and private burial places in Paris, 
and the doors of the Pantheon, which had been ded- 
icated for the reception of the ashes of illustrious 
men, at last closed against the grand dignataries of a 
government which no longer existed, the cemetery 
of Pere la Chaise, became the place of rendezvous 
for all the great and opulent personages of the city ; 
for the distinguished in letters, science and the arts ; 

1847.] CITY DOCUMENT— No 7. 11 

for men celebrated as active participants in remark- 
able political events or official stations ; with the suc- 
cessful in the hazardous career of commercial adven- 
ture, and all the branches of national industry. The 
spoils of the dead were there collected, families were 
re-united, all opinions were confounded, and stran- 
gers from all parts of the earth mingled their ashes 
with those of the inhabitants of France. Each sig- 
nalized his piety by monuments proportioned to his 
pecuniary means. No one was willing to be consid- 
ered wanting in gratitude, but rather to evince an em- 
ulous disposition to present memorials of an elevated 
conception of duty, and a profound respect for his 
departed kindred. Universal admiration was the 
natural appendage of good hearts, whose sensibility 
ceased not to offer a sincere homage to the manes of 
their friends by embellishing their monuments and 
crowning them with immortals.* The multitude 
imitated them by cultivating plants on the graves of 
their relatives, and bringing wreaths and garlands 
from a distance to ornament them. To devote a con- 
nection to oblivion became an opprobrium. 

In wandering over the grounds of Pere la Chaise, 
where repose so many persons of all countries in the 
long sleep of death, may be seen every variety of 
monument, used among all the nations of the earth, 
from the pyramid raised by Egyptian pride, to the 
basket of flowers, under which, the Turk and the 
Persian await the moment of being awakened to 
everlasting life. Near each other are beheld the 
sarcophagus of the Thebans, the stele and cenotaphs 
of the Greeks, the antique bourn of the Romans, 

* Peculiar formed chaplets made of flowers. 


the mausoleums of Asia Minor, the columbariums of 
the ancients, mortuary chapels, the architecture of 
Athens near that of the Arabs, the cinerary urn, the 
sable wing of the edifices on the banks of the Nile, 
the reversed flambeaux, the bird of death, crosses of 
every form, crowns of oak and myrtle, rose buds, the 
turf-covered mound at the base of a lofty column, 
and the humble grave stone, near the marble statue 
of some illustrious man. 

Foreigners, who beheld this revolution in the cus- 
toms and manners of a whole people, were anxious 
to verify it by visiting Pere la Chaise, and were filled 
with wonder and admiration on finding in a burial- 
place, whatever there was in nature which could give 
satisfaction to the mind, and every thing in the arts 
which could gratify a refined taste, as well as the 
most impressive lessons of an exalted appreciation of 
the dictates of philosophy, religion, morality and 
patriotism. All extolled it as a phenomenon, and in 
a few years it not only acquired an European dis- 
tinction, but became celebrated round the globe. 

The admirable example thus presented by France, 
of an ancient Necropolis,* was soon followed in 
England and other portions of Europe, and in 1831 
the cemetery of Mount Auburn was consecrated. 
The cemetery contains one hundred and ten acres. 

Within the brief period of sixteen years there 
have been sold 1402 cemetery lots, in which, more 
than three thousand persons have been buried, and 
upwards of five hundred monuments erected, of the 
most appropriate forms and materials, which ancient 
and modern artists have devised or employed, from 

* City of the dead. 

1847.] CITY DOCUMENT— No. 7. 13 

a plain block of granite, bearing merely a name, to 
the lofty obelisk, sculptured column, richly embel- 
lished marble temple and colossal bronze statue. A 
large portion of the burial lots are surrounded with 
decorated iron fences, and on the borders of them 
are cultivated trees, shrubs and flower plants. 

The land was first enclosed with a wooden fence, 
but that has been replaced on the whole front, by one 
of iron, of the most substantial and beautiful kind 
ever built in the United States, and a granite gate- 
way, with a porter's lodge and office annexed, of the 
Egyptian style of architecture, at an expense of 
$24,000. A superb gothic chapel has just been 
completed, which cost nearly $30,000. In the pur- 
chase of the land, laying out the avenues and paths, 
building a cottage for the superintendent and all other 
work, there has been expended about $110,000, and 
there remains in the treasury about $30,000. There 
has, besides, been paid to the Horticultural Society 
$20,000. The whole of the funds to meet this large 
expenditure, except donations to the amount of 
$7,000, have been derived from the sale of burial 
lots ; and not more than a quarter of the whole num- 
ber which can be formed, have been disposed of. 

All the income derivable from the sale of lots is to 
be expended upon the cemetery, in the excavation 
of small lakes, the establishment of fountains, ex- 
tending the iron fence on the three other sides of the 
grounds, the erection of a grand cenotaph to Wash- 
ington, on the summit of the highest hill, in the form 
of the Chorogic monument, the Temple of the Winds, 
or some other celebrated Grecian edifice, and exten- 
sive improvements both for convenience and embel- 


Since the cemetery of Mount Auburn was com- 
menced, like rural cemeteries have been established 
at Salem, Worcester, Springfield, Philadelphia, on 
Long Island, and in many other parts of the Union. 
Our Committee are of opinion that the period has 
arrived when Roxbury should hasten to find a burial- 
place, that shall be as creditable to the city, as any 
which have been established in this country, when 
the limited means at its command, for the accomplish- 
ment of such a work are taken into consideration, 
with the present limited amount of population. The 
Committee, therefore, have made extensive recon- 
noissences during the past summer, for the purpose 
of discovering a site that would the most perfectly 
combine all the requisite qualities in natural features, 
capabilities of improvement, and a central position, 
so far as it was possible to do so ; and they confident- 
ly believe that they have been fortunate by being 
able to select a tract of land, which not only includes 
most of the important elements for the fulfilment of 
those conditions ; but which can be obtained on 
terms that may be deemed favorable. 

This site is the Seavern's Farm, which fronts on 
Canterbury street ; there is also a small tract of about 
seven acres that is owned by Doctor Warren, which 
it is desirable should be obtained, and it is believed, 
ultimately may be, for the purpose of opening an 
avenue into Walk Hill street. The whole farm 
contains about eighty -five acres, an outline plan of 
which, and the adjacent estates in part, accompanies 
this report, for the purpose of presenting the exact 
position of the land and its sub -divisions. 

The Warren lot with a portion of the tract which 
Includes about fifty-five acres and is defined in the 

1847.] CITY DOCUMENT— No. 7. 15 

plan, has been selected for the cemetery, The price 
demanded is three hundred and fifty dollars per acre, 
for the payment of which, the notes of the city re- 
deemable in ten years, and bearing an interest of six 
per cent, will be taken ; the Committee, therefore, 
recommend that the purchase be immediately made. 
The remainder of the farm which contains thirty 
acres, it is considered by several members of the Com- 
mittee, important to purchase ; but as it includes the 
dwelling-house, barns and other edifices, the orchard, 
garden, and the most valuable part of the cultivated 
land, the price asked is six hundred dollars per acre ; 
the Committee, therefore, have not been willing to 
take the responsibility of urging the purchase, but 
submit the subject to the deliberation and decision of 
the City Council. 

By the annexed statement, it will appear, that if 
the cemetery should contain sixty -two acres, it will 
form 6,751 burial lots of 300 square feet each, after 
deducting one quarter of the land for carriage ave- 
nues and foot-paths. If then, one fourth of the num- 
ber of lots be sold for fifty dollars, and the remainder 
at the average price of one hundred dollars, they will 
produce an income of $590,750, which can be grad- 
ually appropriated for the erection of an iron fence, 
a granite gatewa} r , a chapel, a cottage for the super- 
intendent, and other appropriate and necessary struc- 
tures, and leave a fund, the interest of which will 
keep the grounds in the best possible condition for- 

Although the cost of the land will amount to about 
twenty-two thousand dollars, the sale of four hundred 
and forty lots will afford a sum more than suf- 
ficient to liquidate the debt incurred in its purchase, 


and the income from an annual sale of twenty-seven 
lots will pay the interest. 

Should it be considered expedient to purchase the 
whole farm, the portion which may be appropriated 
for a cemetery could be better located, if not aug- 
mented to advantage, and the entrance to it from 
Canterbury street be more conveniently and symmet- 
rically arranged, while the remainder of the land, 
not included in the Cemetery, can be laid out into 
cottage lots, in such a manner as to render them in- 
teresting and valuable as places of residence, from 
the spacious extent of open grounds in their imme- 
diate vicinity, which will be embellished with forest 
trees, shrubs and flowering plants, and thus render- 
ed an important and diversified feature in the sur- 
rounding landscape. 

Even if the additional land cannot be obtained for 
less than six hundred dollars per acre, it is highly 
probable that in less than five years the house lots 
can be sold for more than double their cost to the 
city, if the causes that have so remarkably tended to 
increase the business, population, and resources of 
Boston and the surrounding towns during the last ten 
years should continue. Three cents per square foot 
would amount to over thirteen hundred dollars per 
acre ; and it is to be remembered, that all the land in 
this city must necessarily be enhanced in value, in a 
ratio equal, at least, to that of the population, com- 
merce, manufactures, the mechanic arts, and all other 
branches of industry and trade in the capital of the 

It is also to be borne in mind, that Walk Hill 
street is not so distant from a large portion of Bos- 
ton, as are the residences of many of the merchants 

1847.] CITY DOCUMENT— No. 7. 17 

of New York from their places of business ; and when 
land can be procured for, from ten to fifty cents a 
square foot, thus near the principal commercial 
streets of Boston, when from one to eight dollars per 
foot must be paid for a house lot, is it not evident that 
those who wish to build, will go two or three miles 
from the Squares on Washington street, when they 
have the facilities of conveyance afforded by rail- 
roads and omnibuses, where land can be much cheap- 
er acquired 1 Besides the peninsula which is occu- 
pied by that city, is so limited in its area, that the 
period is not far distant, when the whole of it will 
be required for warehouses and stores, and the res- 
idences of those who transact their business in them, 
must necessarily be established on the main land ; 
and in what direction can they be so conveniently 
and pleasantly located as in Roxbury, connected as 
it is by three great avenues, which are not interrupt- 
ed by either bridges or ferries, and several others 
can, and will be constructed when required. The 
natural direction therefore, of the extension of the 
dwellings of the population, connected with the com- 
merce of Boston, must be into Roxbury, which will 
consequently become as much a portion of Boston, 
as are the several out parishes of the metropolis of 

It is not difficult to anticipate the prospective des- 
tinies of our great and flourishing maritime empori- 
um, if we seek instruction from its past history, and 
the characteristic industry and enterprise of the Yan- 
kee race, and examine into the existing causes which 
must have such a favorable influence upon its future 
aggrandizement. It is only necessary to look upon 
the map of the United States, suspended upon the 


walls of this Hall, and contrast the area of territory, 
included between the Atlantic Ocean and the bounds 
of the old thirteen States, from the northern fron- 
tiers of New York, where it touches the St. Law- 
rence, to the south western angle of Georgia, on the 
Appalachicola, with that immense region which ex- 
tends, from the last named line of demarcation, to the 
flanks of the Rocky Mountains, to obtain an approx- 
imate conception of the vast amount of trade which 
must be maintained, through the medium of steam- 
boats and railroads, between our northern Atlantic 
cities, and those which are, or will be founded on 
Lakes Ontario, Erie, Huron, Michigan and Superi- 
or, and the Mississippi, Missouri and their numerous 
far-reaching tributary rivers. 

These rivers afford a continuous navigation of up- 
wards of 15,000 miles, and the tract of country which 
they drain, contains within its limits, 1 ,200,000 square 
miles, which embraces all the various climates of the 
temperate zone, and is unequalled in fertility and the 
diversity of its productions. 

There are now employed in the valley of the Mis- 
sissippi, 1,190 steamboats, and 4,000 keel and flat- 
boats, which employ 60,000 men. The annual ex- 
ports from the different points on the western waters 
amount to 262,825,620 dollars; and the return of 
imports in merchandize and specie is equivalent to 
the national exports of domestic products ; thus mak- 
ing the grand aggregate value of the annual com- 
merce of the navigable waters in the valley of the 
Mississippi, amount to 432,654,240 dollars ; being 
nearly double the amount of the whole foreign com- 
merce of the United States ; and when the lines of 
intercommunication between St. Louis and Boston, 

1847.] CITY DOCUMENT— No. 7. 19 

shall be fully opened, by an extension of the West- 
ern Rail Road from Buffalo through Ohio, Indiana 
and Illinois to a point opposite that city, the comple- 
tion of the canal from Chicago to the Illinois river, 
and the rail road through Vermont, to Lake Cham- 
plain and Ogdensburgh on the St. Lawrence, Boston 
will divide with New York a large portion of that 
immense and ever augmenting commerce. 

To that great source of our New England pros- 
perity, is to be added our participation in the exist- 
ing and increasing trade with the wide spreading 
lake region of the north west, which presents a coast 
and line of navigation of more than five thousand 
miles, and includes a population of nearly seven 
millions, that will be doubled in less than twenty 
years ; and nearly the whole of the imports and ex- 
ports, must be made from and to Boston and New 
York. But from the facilities which our railroads 
will soon afford, and which may be appropriately 
called the Iron Rivers of the north, Boston must be 
the grand entrepot for an important portion of the 
products sent to and from the shores of the ocean. 

There were employed on the great lakes in 1 846, 
452 steamers, brigs and schooners, whose aggregate 
capacity exceeded 100,000 tons. They cost six mil- 
lions of dolllars, and six thousand persons were em- 
ployed to navigate them. The arrivals at Buffalo 
from all the ports above that city, in the same year, 
were 3,857, and the clearances were about the 
same, making the total number 7,714, and an aggre- 
gate of 1,825,914 tons. The exports from Buffalo 
by the Erie canal, was 15,000,000, and the imports 
23,000,000. The value of the commerce on all the 
lakes was over 100,000,000 of dollars. 


Roxbury, which is destined to be the Westminster 
of the New England London, should therefore be 
governed in the adoption of its municipal measures, 
in such a manner as to take advantage of those devel- 
opments of prosperity, which will certainly be there 
realized to an extent, that it might seem extravagant 
to prognosticate, even to the most intelligent and 
sanguine, in the general advancement of the whole 
country, within the next quarter of a century, in 
population, agriculture, navigation, manufactures, the 
mechanic arts and wealth, in a manner unprecedent- 
ed in the annals of nations. 

In fifty years, Boston and the adjacent towns will 
contain more than a million of inhabitants, and this 
city will include at least, one tenth of that number. 
It therefore, may be confidently assumed, that in no 
portion of the Union can investments be made in 
real estate, with such confidence in the advantages 
which must be derived therefrom, by the increased 
value of the land, within the next ten or fifteen years, 
for within the past ten years it has advanced from 
four to thirteen hundred per cent ; and there are no 
causes that can be assigned why the same augment- 
ing enhancement should not continue. 

Should we not then act in such a manner for the 
benefit of succeeding generations, as that we shall 
escape being obnoxious to their censure for a gross 
dereliction of duty, as have been our predecessors of 
by-gone years, who conducted the municipal affairs 
of this ancient town, when sites for Cemeteries, 
Public Squares, Churches, School Houses, and other 
purposes, could have been purchased for one-twen- 
tieth of the sum now required, when time shall have 
made the like difference between the present price 

1847.] CITY DOCUMENT— No. 7. 21 

of land, and that which must be given twenty years 

There can be no danger of erring in our course, 
for it is only necessary to take a retrospective view 
of past ages to attain a knowledge of the future, 
since there, as in a vast mirror, are shadowed forth 
" coming events," in all their startling palpability and 
grandeur. Induction and demonstration, aided by 
arithmetical demonstration, with well authenticated 
statistical facts are the ample elements for reducing 
conjectures to certainty, and changing apparent chi- 
merical predictions into veritable prophecy. With 
such means should we ever endeavor to rightly di- 
rect our march, in the research for truth and the 
verification of fact. 

Now is the favorable time to act with promptness* 
decision and energy, for the benefit of the present* 
and all succeeding generations, and enable all classes 
of the people to indulge in the outpourings of their 
sorrows, and a generous expression of their gratitude 
and veneration for those who were most beloved and 
honored upon the earth, by assigning to them a rest- 
ing-place, from all the ills to which man is subjected 
during the pilgrimage of life, in the quiet and holy 
shade of a rural cemetery. 

So universal is the inherent desire of an earthly 
immortality, that every human being is anxious to 
be remembered here, and to have his name perpetu- 
ated through all time. To pass from among the liv- 
ing, without the probability of the spot where one is 
laid being known, or the name ever again repeated ; 
to be forgotten forever, are reflections bordering up- 
on that which the thought of utter annihilation would 
produce in the mind of the dying, whether virtuous 


or vicious, rich or poor, debased or exalted, young or 
old. It is not sufficient that the Son of God has as- 
sured us that the soul is immortal ; but there is an 
unobliterable sentiment, a deep and strong solicitude 
that our brief and eventful life should be eternally 
perpetuated among the living ; and is it not as much 
a duty in a parent, child or friend to aid in the at- 
tempt to meet that demand upon their sympathies, 
and their conscience, as it is productive of moral, re- 
ligious and patriotic influences ? The scarred and 
rigid features of the aged Indian chieftain, are light- 
ed up with a smile of pride and ambition, in the be- 
lief that each passing warrior of his tribe will drop 
a pebble upon his grave. The expiring mariner is 
consoled by the assurance that funereal rites will be 
observed, as his lifeless body is plunged into " the 
ocean, and slowly sinks into the abyss of waters. 
The soldier's last moments of life, are cheered by 
the reflection that he shall be buried with military 

Such is human nature ; and why should we not 
follow the dictates of the heart, and act from the im- 
pressive teachings of the soul, which are derived 
from a source far higher and more holy than man 
can comprehend ; yet he doubts not they are as im- 
perative upon him, as the precepts and injunctions 
recorded in the sacred scriptures, for they have been 
written upon the tablets of the mind, and inscribed 
upon the sanctuary of the heart, by the hand of the 

The pyramids of Gizeh, many of the splendid 
architectural structures of Athens, the triumphal 
arches of Rome, the column of Austerlitz in Paris, 
the obelisk of Bunker Hill, and the collossal statue of 

1847.] CITY DOCUMENT— No. 7. 23 

Washington in the capital of this republic, are but 
so many majestic monuments to commemorate the 
names and services of the distinguished patriots, of 
the ages and nations in which they were reared ; and 
may be as appropriately considered funereal, as the 
rudest head-stone that designates the humble grave 
of " some village Hampden," or that where " some 
mute, inglorious Milton rests, " in the rustic church- 
yard of his native hamlet. 

Let us then emulate the enlightened and pious, 
the good and great, the affectionate and generous, 
the kind and magnanimous of all other nations and 
ages, that were most distinguished for their advance- 
ment in civilization, and enable our fellow citizens 
to pay all possible respect and honor to the remains 
of those whom they loved and revered when living. 

H. A. S. DEARBORN, Chairman. 
City of Roxbury, Sept. 6, 1847. 



There are 43,560 square feet in an acre. 
In 62 acres there are ... . 2,700,720 sq. ft. 
Deduct 1-4 for avenues and paths 675,180 " 

Leaving for burial lots 2,025,540 " 

Lots 15 by 20 contain 300 square feet each, = 6,- 
751 lots. A quarter of the number, viz. 1,687 be- 
ing sold at fifty dollars each, will yield 84,350 dolls. 
The remaining 5,064 lots being sold at an average 
price of one hundred dollars each, will yield 506,400 


dollars, making the total amount for all the lots 
590,750 dollars. Cost of 62 acres of land at 350 dls. 
per acre, is 21,700 dolls. Interest on the cost of the 
land 1302 dolls. 

The annual sale of 27 lots will pay the interest of 
the cost of the land. The sale of 440 lots, at fifty 
dollars each, will pay the cost of the land. 


Thirty acres will make One Hundred and Twen- 
ty Cottage Lots, of a quarter of an acre each, and 
every lot will contain 10,890 square feet, which, at 
three cents per foot, will yield $326 70. 

If 120 lots are sold, at three cents per 

foot, they will yield $39,204 

Cost of the thirty acres at $600 00 . . 18,000 

Profits on the purchase $21,204 

If half of the lots are sold in six years, at an aver- 
age price of 10 cts. per foot, they will yield $65,940. 

If the other half of the lots are sold in twenty 
years, at 20 cts. they will yield ... $ 131,880 

Add 60 lots sold at 10 cts. per foot . . 65,940 

Total income in twenty years . . $ 197,820 

But if all the lots are sold within five years, at 

five cents per foot, the income will be . $65,340 

Deduct the cost 18,000 

Profit on the purchase $47,340 

But it may be found best not to sell more than ten 
or fifteen acres in house lots, and probably none ; as 
all the land should be included in a Cemetery.