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City Document 



—No. 1. I 



ADDRESS 



OF THE 



HON. SAMUEL WALKER, MAYOR, 



CITY COUNCIL OF ROXBURY, 



DELIVERED BEFORE THE 



TWO BRANCHES IN CONVENTION, 



JANUARY 3d, 1853, 




PRINTED BY ORDER OF THE CITY COUNCIL. 



ROXBURY : 

THOMAS PRINCE, CITY PRINTER. 

1853. 




CITY OF ROXBURY. 



In Board of Mdermen, Januury 3, 1853. 
Ordered, That the Address of His Honor the Mayor, delivered this day 
before the two branches of the City Council, in convention, be printed for the 
use of the City Council. 

Passed, and sent down for concurrence. 

JOSEPH W. TUCKER, City Clerk. 



Concurred. 



In Common Council, January 3, 1853. 
JOSHUA SEAVER, Clerk. 



i ^ i 






'" ••^v^' '^'^.&^4i f I' 



ADDRESS. 



Gentlemen of the Board of Aldermen, 
AND of the Common Council : 

We have assembled together to-day, agreeably to the pro- 
visions of the City Charter, for the purpose of organizing 
the government for the year, and to commence the duties 
assigned to us by our fellow-citizens. The past year, by 
the blessings of a kind Providence, has been to our city one 
of general health and prosperity, and I earnestly hope that 
in the year before us we may recognize a continuance of 
these favors. 

For this repeated manifestation of their confidence, I ten- 
der my grateful acknowledgments to my fellow-citizens, and 
can only say, that it will be my endeavor to discharge the 
duties of the office to which their suffrages have again 
called me, according to the best of my ability and judg- 
ment, and with a single eye to the best interests of the city. 

As the chosen agents of the people of this city, the fiscal, 
prudential and municipal affairs are committed to our hands. 
Upon us will rest the responsibility of their management, 
and I trust that we shall endeavor to discharge all the 
duties and responsibilities incumbent upon us, in a manner 
that shall be honorable to ourselves and acceptable to our 
fellow-citizens. 

The finances of the city, I am happy to say, are in a 
healthy condition. 



4 MAYOR'S ADDRESS. [Jan. 

The amount of the ordinary City Debt, Jan. 

1, 1852, was, .... $128,387 05 

Of which there has been paid the past year, 

and interest, .... 11,300 00 



Which reduced the debt to . . $117,087 05 

And the same has been increased during the 
year, for the following purposes, viz. : 
For Support of Poor, $3,000 00 

For Dearborn School House, 2,000 00 
For West Roxbury, 8,000 00 

For Stony Brook Lands, 41,000 00 

For additional Appropriation 

for Streets, . . 5,000 00 59,000 00 



Which leaves the debt at this time, . $176,087 05 

By an order of the City Council, passed early in the 
year, the proceeds of the sales of land on " Munroe Farm," 
are to be appropriated to the liquidation of this debt. 
There has been received from this source the sum of 
$9,637 93, and applied accordingly ; and there is due from 
sundry individuals $17,373 98, which will be appropriated 
to this purpose as the instalments become due. There has 
been reserved a portion of this land for a public square, and 
another portion, of several acres, which may be offered for 
sale whenever it shall be deemed for the interest of the city 
so to do. 

This debt is comparatively trifling, considering our ability 
to meet it. The public property not immediately required 
for the uses of the city, is nearly sufficient to liquidate it. 
A debt at any time is not desirable, yet a wise economy and 
sound policy have pointed out no other method to provide 
for the wants and necessities of government, than temporary 
or permament loans, to be provided for in such a manner 
as circumstances may justify, to meet the public necessities. 
In my communication last year, I suggested the import- 
ance of taking measures for adding to our present system, 
advantages that would more nearly than any wc then pos- 



1853. J CITY DOCUMENT.— No. 1. 5 

sessed, meet the demand which the State had upon us for 
the estabhshment of an Enghsh High School; and I am 
happy in being able to state, that during the past year 
an arrangement has been made witb the " Trustees of the 
Roxbury Grammar School," by which an English High 
School has been established and is now in successful opera- 
tion. The standard of qualification for admission to this 
school is the same as the High School in Boston. 

The arrangement between the Trustees and the city, 
though not in all respects such as might be desired by the 
city, yet is one that afibrds us important advantages, which 
we could obtain in no other way except at far greater cost. 
The Trustees, I am confident, are desirous of expending 
the income from their fund in accordance with the will of 
the donors, in such manner as will best subserve the in- 
terest of the city in the cause of education. 

The condition of the Schools of our city is represented by 
the committee to be highly satisfactory, and for details I 
refer you to their report, which will soon be laid before you, 
and also distributed among the inhabitants of the city. 

Roxbury has always enjoyed a high reputation for the 
excellence of her Public Schools, and the government has 
never been backward in furnishing the means required for 
their maintenance and support. Our expenditures for this 
department are large, and are constantly increasing, and 
our citizens, while they cheerfully pay any reasonable 
amount for their support, expect them to be of a high char- 
acter and worth all their cost. The charter vests the care 
and superintendence of the schools in the School Committee, 
and upon that Board, and that Board alone, rests the re- 
sponsibility of their management and condition. Not only 
does this responsibility rest upon the School Committee, but 
also the expenditure of a large portion of the appropriations 
annually made — for it has been decided by the highest 
court in our Commonwealth, that the power conferred on 
School Committees by Statute 1838, chap. 105, to select and 
contract with the teachers for the town and district schools, 
includes the power to fix the compensation to be paid them. 



6 MAYOR'S ADDRESS. [Jan. 

and to bind the city or town to pay the same. The City 
Council, therefore, are reheved from the responsibihty, in a 
measure, of the expenditures for schools, at least so far as 
regards the pay of teachers, which is the largest item of 
expenditure. 

Economy is desirable in every department of the govern- 
ment, and I trust that the School Committee will, so far as 
they have control, exercise a wise discretion, and bring the 
expenditures within a limit consistent with the character and 
standing of the schools. 

The condition of our Highways, the past year, has been 
greatly improved. This has been done at a considerable ex- 
pense over former years, yet the results attained in my opin- 
ion fully justify the outlay. I think it is not too much to 
say, that our public streets and sidewalks will compare fa- 
vorably with those of any town or city in our Common- 
wealth. In the early part of the year many of our streets 
were surveyed, their lines more accurately defined, and their 
grades established ; and I respectfully recommend that all 
our streets (not already done) be surveyed as soon as prac- 
ticable. This will to a great extent prevent encroachments, 
or if encroachments be made, they can be removed without 
delay, and abutters will be enabled to erect buildings with 
reference to the grade of the street. 

We have about twenty-four miles of accepted streets, and 
twelve miles belonging to private individuals. Many of these 
private streets are in a bad condition — some are dangerous, 
and others are so narrow and so imperfectly constructed, 
that they cannot be accepted by the city until they shall have 
been widened and put into good repair at the expense of the 
owners or abutters. The safety of travellers requires that 
many of these private streets should be put in better condi- 
tion, and as no power exists in the government to compel 
this to be done, an order was adopted in July last, authoriz- 
ing the Mayor to petition the next General Court for an act 
giving additional powers to the Mayor and Aldermen over 
private streets already opened, and over those which may 
hereafter be opened and dedicated to. or bo permitted to be 



1853.] CITY DOCUMENT.— No. 1. 7 

used by the public. Application will be made to the Legis- 
lature as indicated in the order, unless otherwise directed by 
you. 

I learn from the Commissioner of Streets that 18,421 feet, 
or nearly three and one-half miles of edge-stones have been 
laid and sidewalks constructed the past year. This, I be- 
lieve, is a greater number of feet than has been laid in any 
one year since the organization of the government. The 
rule early adopted by the Board of Aldermen- — of setting the 
edge-stones, when found by the abutters and constructing 
the sidewalk at the expense of the city — works well in 
practice. 

The amount expended for setting edge-stones, paving side- 
walks (with brick), paving cross walks, and gutters, 

is, |5,333 

For materials and repair of streets, . . . 7,667 



Making a total for the 3'^ear of $13,000 

The public safety and convenience, in the opinion of the 
City Council, required that several streets should be widen- 
ed, by taking land belonging to the abutters. This has been 
done, and a suitable compensation has been awarded to them 
for the land thus taken. Many more streets should be 
widened, and whenever the public safety and convenience 
require it to be done, I trust that the work may be accom- 
plished without delay. 

I recommend that the thorough improvements commenced 
on our streets and sidewalks the past year, be continued, 
and for that purpose a larger appropriation than was made 
last year will be necessary. Money judiciously expended 
for this purpose is well laid out, and in my judgment the 
best economy; — for when once put in the best condition, 
they will require but a small amount to keep them in repair 
for many years. 

The Fire Department is efficient and under good disci- 
pline. The duties of the Chief and Assistant Engineers, as 
well as of the officers and members, have been performed in 
a manner that reflects great credit upon the service ; and I 



8 MAYOR'S ADDRESS. [Jan. 

venture to say, that nowhere in our Commonwealth can 
there be found a department more ef&cient, in better order 
or condition, than the department of the City of Roxbury. 
The duties the past year have been comparatively light. 
The department has been called out eighteen times from 
fires within the city, eight times from fires out of the city, 
and eight times from other causes. And the total amount 
of loss by fire, as nearly as could be ascertained, has been 
^23,700, which was covered by insurance to the amount of 
$11,150. 

There are four engines and hose carriages, one hook and 
ladder carriage, and one hose cart, in use ; and two engines 
with hose carriages, not in use. The engines, apparatus 
and houses are in good condition. The several companies 
are full, consisting of one hundred and ninety-two men, 
and I have the authority of the Chief Engineer for saying 
that " they have performed their duty in a manner credita- 
ble to themselves and to the city." 

Liable as we are at any moment to be visited with a se- 
vere conflagration, in consequence of the number of wooden 
buildings in immediate proximity, and the scarcity of water 
in many parts of the city, I respectfully direct your attention 
to the importance of increasing the efiiciency of the depart- 
ment, by providing additional facilities of obtaining water. 
There are twenty-four reservoirs and nine hydrants, all in 
good condition, located in different parts of the city, and 
should you deem it expedient to increase the number of 
reservoirs, as has been the practice heretofore, or provide 
other means, you will of course make the necessary appro- 
priations for the same. 

We have an active, energetic and efficient Police. The 
officers have been prompt in the discharge of their duties, 
I learn from the Annual Report of the City Marshal, that at 
the present term of the Court of Common Pleas, now in ses- 
sion at Dedham, " there was not a single person confined in 
the jail from Roxbury, awaiting an examination by the 
Grand Jury." I am happy to learn from the same source 
that there has been a great decrease in crime the past year, 



1853.] CITY DOCUMENT.— No. 1. 9 

and that the services of the poUce have not been so much 
required as in former years. 

Twenty-five new lamps have been located on streets 
where they were much needed. We have, altogether, but 
ten lamps lighted with gas, and one hundred and forty-two 
lighted with oil and burning fluid — making a total of one 
hundred and fifty-two. It was the practice in former times, 
under the town government, and it has prevailed until the 
past year, under the city, to furnish oil and provide for the 
lighting and repair of lamps, where they might be located 
by private individuals. In some cases, doubtless, lamps so 
located were a public convenience, but in many others they 
were far from being such ; I therefore recommend that this 
practice be abandoned, and that lamps be placed in our 
main streets, at the expense of the city, at such places as 
the public safety and convenience may require ; and that 
the location of such lamps as have been erected previous to 
the past year, be changed if necessary. 

A year or two since gas pipes were laid by the Boston 
Gas Light Company, from the line to Guild Hall, and it 
was supposed that the pipes would be continued to other 
parts of the city ; but it is now understood that the Compa- 
ny do not intend to extend them beyond their present limit. 
An act of incorporation was obtained from the Legislature 
at its last session, by several gentlemen of this city, for a 
Gas Company, but as yet no organization has been made. 
An effort will soon be made, I am informed, to organize the 
Company, and should it prove successful, as I trust it may, 
we shall be able to furnish better lights for many of our 
streets, and our citizens probably will avail themselves of 
the opportunity to take and use it in their dwellings. 
* It was by the earnest efforts of my immediate predecessor 
that our beautiful cemetery was established at Forest Hills. 
With the most assiduous toil and self-denying devotion, he 
watched over the interests of this new and sacred enter- 
prise. He " traced in graceful lines the avenues and foot- 
paths among its rocks and heights, and he now rests from 
his labors amidst the lasting monuments of his own rearing, 
2 



10 MAYOR'S ADDRESS. [Jan. 

more significant and enduring than the marble cohimn and 
the beautiful vase which grateful respect has consecrated to 
mark the place of his repose." 

The Board of Commissioners who have the care and su- 
perintendence of the grounds, have discharged the duties 
devolving upon them in a manner that calls forth the warm- 
est expressions of gratitude from their fellow-citizens. 

About one hundred and twenty lots have been disposed of 
during the year, which is a larger number than has been sold 
in any previous year since its consecration. Additional aven- 
ues and paths have been constructed in the most thorough 
and perfect manner, and various improvements have been 
made about the grounds. A large nursery containing many 
thousands of hardy trees and evergreens, is attached to the 
grounds, from which many of the avenues and lots are or- 
namented. 

Upon the recommendation of the Commissioners, the City 
Council authorized the purchase of thirty-one acres of land 
adjoining, at a cost of $9,000. The Cemetery now con- 
tains upwards of one hundred and two acres. 

The act relating to the establishment of the Cemetery, 
provides that "the proceeds of sales of lots or rights of burial 
in said Cemetery shall be paid into the City Treasury, to be 
kept separate from any funds of the City, and subject to the 
order of said Commissioners, and such proceeds shall be de- 
voted to the liquidation of the debt incurred in the purchase 
of the land for said Cemetery, and to the improvement 
and embellishment thereof, under the direction of the Board 
of Commissioners. And no other monies shall be appropri- 
ated from the City Treasury by the City Council, for such 
improvement and embellishment." 

The debt of the Cemetery, Jan. 1, 1852, was $27,551 5^ 
Of which there has been paid (besides the in- 
terest) of principal, . . . 1,000 00 

Reducing the debt to ... 26,551 55 

And the same has been increased during the 

year, by the purchase of 31 acres, additional, 9,000 00 

Making the debt at this time, . . $35,551 55 



1852.] CITY DOCUMENT.— No. 1. 11 

In addition to the payments of interest, there have been 
expended for labor and materials alone, but principally for 
labor, {not including that paid by private individuals upon 
their lots) in the past four years, upwards of fifty-eight 
thousand dollars ; and not a dollar has ever been taken from 
the ordinary monies in the treasury of the city for this pur- 
pose. I am informed that provision has been made for the 
payment of a portion of the principal the present year. 
The report of the Commissioners will be laid before you in. 
February, and your attention is respectfuly directed to its 
details. 

The expenses for the support of the poor have been 
diminished the past year. Experience has fully proved 
that the removal of the Almshouse establishment from 
Highland Street to Brook Farm, was a wise project, and 
has been attended with beneficial results. The expenses of 
the establishment have been much reduced, the condition of 
the inmates greatly improved, and their number considera- 
bly lessened. For the last few years, Roxbury supported 
more State paupers than Cambridge, Charlestown, Chelsea, 
Brookline, Dorchester and Dedham combined. This state 
of things ceased to exist upon the removal of the establish- 
ment to Brook Farm. In my communication to the two 
branches last year, I stated that " there could be no rea- 
sonable doubt that with a proper economy and a judicious 
management of affairs, the change would be a beneficial 
one to the city in a pecuniary point of view, while full and 
varied employment could be found at all times for the in- 
mates who were able to perform labor." All this has been 
realized. The project has been entirely successful. 
The average number of inmates supported during 

Ihe year 1851, when in Highland Street, was 227 

The average number supported at Brook Farm in 

1852, was . .... 185 

Showing a difference of forty-two in number, or eighteen 
and a half per cent. 
The cost of supporting the establishment in 1851, 

when in Highland Street, was . . ^7,887 53 



12 MAYOR'S ADDRESS. [Jan. 

The cost of supporting the same at Brook Farm 

in 1852, was ..... 5,147 11 

Showing a reduction of $2,740 42, or thirty-four and 
three-fourths per cent. 

These facts of themselves, to say nothing of other con- 
siderations, practically demonstrate that the removal of the 
estabhshment was a measure of good economy, and fully 
illustrate the wisdom of the change. 

By an act of the Legislature, passed at its last session, 
the State paupers will hereafter be supported directly by 
the Commonwealth, instead of the cities and towns that 
have heretofore received of the State a compensation of a 
certain amount per week for their support. Buildings are 
now being erected for their reception, and when completed 
and ready for occupancy, most of the inmates of our estab- 
lishment will be removed, and but a small number will 
remain, who will be chargeable to the city. 

The suggestion has been made, that after the removal of 
the State paupers, the estabhshment should be removed back 
to Highland Street. I must be allowed to differ in opinion 
from those who think the interests of the city will be pro- 
moted by any change. It is a question whether or not the 
establishment cannot be sustained with greater economy to 
the city at Brook Farm, even after the State shall have re- 
moved the greater portion of the inmates, than at any other 
place. The farm is of great value, and under the judicious 
management of the Superintendent, it has been greatly im- 
proved, and brought into a better state of cultivation ; and 
with the facilities possessed by the city, a few years only 
will be required to make it — if not the best farm — certain- 
ly equal to the best, in the county of Norfolk. And I think 
it is my duty to say, in justice to the Joint Special Com- 
mittee of the City Council, who purchased this property for 
the city, that notwithstanding the objections urged against 
the project, and the opinions expressed as to the value of 
the farm, and the quality of the soil, even by a few of our 
"practical farmers," as well as others, time has fully vindi- 
cated the wisdom of the measure, and the recorded views 



1853.] CITY DOCUMENT.— No. 1. 13 

and opinions of the committee have been trimnphantly 
sustained. 

The farm has been greatly improved the past year. The 
crops have been abundant, and I learn from the Superin- 
tendent, that a portion of the meadow has been converted 
into good English grass land. In his opinion, within a very 
few years, four- fifths of the grass cut on the farm will be of 
the best quality. The improvements have consisted prin- 
cipally in clearing up bushes, removing stone, building 
walls, putting the high grounds in a better state of cultiva- 
tion, setting out fruit trees, improving those previously 
planted upon the grounds, and preparing the soil by deep 
tillage and the application of manures for root crops. There 
are but very few acres, he says, of the meadow land, but 
what can be improved and made to produce grass of a good 
quality, and these few acres are very valuable for the vege- 
table matter or muck, which is from six to twelve feet deep, 
and which can be removed to advantage to the high ground. 

In consequence of a public nuisance, which was deemed 
prejudicial to the health of the inhabitants of the city, the 
attention of the City Council was called to the condition of 
Stony Brook, in the vicinity of Ruggles street. Upon a 
careful examination of the premises, it was found that the 
brook was in a state of nuisance between Waitt's Mill and 
the Tremont street bridge. The testimony was such, be- 
fore the Board of Health, that it became necessary for the 
city to take immediate action. I have good reason to be- 
lieve that had the city failed to have acted promptly, the 
matter would have been presented to the Grand Jury, and 
an indictment found against the city, to which we could 
have made no good defence. 

Ample powers are vested in Boards of Health for the re- 
moval or abatement of nuisances, which aifect the public 
health, and no reasonable excuse can be made by any town 
or city in permitting a nuisance to exist, after it shall have 
been declared to be such by competent authority. To abate 
the nuisance existing in the locality before mentioned, it 
became necessary to change the course of the stream, and 



14 MAYOR'S ADDRESS. [Jan. 

fill up the flats on both sides. To accomplish this eflectu- 

ally, the city purchased the property on both sides of the 

broolc, from a point where it was deemed expedient to 

change the direction of the channel. This being done, the 

work of filling up and constructing the culverts commenced. 

Appropriations to the amount of $74,047 83 have been 

made, and the cost of the work has been — 

For land and buildings, . . . $45,643 00 

'' earth filhng, . . . . 21,136 50 

" culverts, . . ... 7,984 55 

" incidental expenses, . . . 552 10 

Making a total of . . . . $75,316 15 

From which deduct amount received for buildings, 1,440 00 

Leaving the cost, .... $73,876 15 

The quantity of land embraced within the limits of this 
improvement, and belonging to the city, according to the 
plan, (after deducting for street and culvert,) is 230,000 
feet, or about five and a quarter acres, all of which has 
been filled up, with the exception of two small lots. 

During the last summer, and while the work was in pro- 
gress, application was made to the Supreme Judicial Court, 
by the Boston Water Power Company, for an injunction to 
restrain the city from filling up the flats, and praying for 
other relief, as set forth in their bill. Upon a hearing of 
the case, in chambers, an injunction was refused, and an 
answer has been filed to their complaint. It may be deem- 
ed proper that I should state, in this connection, that it was 
shown by the testimony of able and experienced engineers, 
that there were but two ways in which this nuisance could 
be abated — first, by removing the filth collected to some 
other place of deposit ; and secondly, by filling up in the 
manner as done by the city. The latter mode was deemed 
the best one, because it eflectually abated the nuisance. 

The nuisance having been abated, as far as the line of the 
City's land, at the point of changing the direction of the 
stream, a notice was served by order of the Board of Health, 
upon several owners of flats above this point to abate the 



1853.] CITY DOCUMENT.— No. 1. 15 

nuisance existing on their premises by filling np the flats. 
The work, I am happy to inform you, is about being com- 
menced, and will be prosecuted without delay. After this 
shall have been accomplished, the nuisance in Stony Brook 
will have been abated. And I recommend that the lands 
belonging to the City, which have been filled up, after re- 
serving such portions as may be deemed necessary, be sold 
in suitable and convenient lots, and that the proceeds of such 
sales be devoted towards the payment of the City debt. 

Further measures should be taken to prevent the drain- 
age of animal and vegetable matter into this brook ; for, if 
this practice is suffered to continue, it may in time cause 
another nuisance in the basin of the Water Power Company, 
by reason of the Mill Dam structure, which prevents the 
natural flow of the stream to Charles River. 

There has existed for some time past, in the opinion of 
many of our citizens, a great inequality in the valuation of 
estates, and consequently an inequality in the assessment of 
taxes ; and a considerable change has been made the past 
year by the Board of Assessors, in the valuation, with a 
view of placing the tax upon a more equal footing. Here- 
tofore, small lots of land, or dwelling-houses with a small 
quantity of land connected, have been valued at an amount 
approximating nearly to what they might bring under un- 
favorable circumstances, while large lots of land have been 
taxed at a nominal sum only, in comparison. The Board 
of Assessors, in the performance of their labors, considered 
it to be their duty to revise our valuation, and, if possible, to 
equalize it. It seems to be but fair and just, that lands 
which are held for a rise in value, should pay a proper pro- 
portion of our taxes. In former years, before our popula- 
tion had increased so greatly, most of our land was used for 
agricultural purposes, and as such, of course, paid a tax ac- 
cordingly. But I think I may safely say, that as a general 
thing, in Roxbury, West Roxbury, Brookline, Dorchester, 
as well as in Cambridge, Charlestown, Somerville and 
Chelsea, and possibly other towns in the vicinity of Boston, 
that lands are valued and held by the owners at such rates, 



16 MAYOR^S ADDRESS. [Jan. 

that agriculture cannot be carried on with any profit, and 
however much Ave may regret the fact, agriculture within 
our borders, as an interest, has nearly ceased to exist. 

There is no matter connected with the administration of 
a municipal government, more difficult to adjust, or one in 
which there exists a wider difference of opinion, than the 
valuation of estates for taxation. To adopta valuation that 
would give entire satisfaction would be an utter impossi- 
bility, and although there may be cases where our Assessors 
have erred in judgment — and it would be difficult to find a 
Board not liable to do so — yet the principle they have adop- 
ted will be admitted by every candid mind to be correct. 

The rate of our tax the past year, was ^6,40 on the thou- 
sand dollars, less four per cent. ; and I trust that for many 
years to come, to meet our ordinary current expenses, that 
rate may not be exceeded. 

In the first year of the organization of the city govern- 
ment, the Board of Aldermen, after hearing testimony and 
making an examination of the premises, came to the conclu- 
sion that the safety of travellers required that the grade of 
Washington street, near Waitt's Mill, should be changed so 
as to conduct the public travel over the railroad instead of 
at grade; and the railroad corporation was notified to cause 
the change to be made agreeably to the statute in such cases 
provided. The Corporation objected, and appealed to the 
County Commissioners, who, after an examination and 
hearing of both parties, decided that the request of the Mayor 
and Aldermen was a reasonable one. The Corporation still 
refusing to comply with the request of the Board, a bill was 
filed in the Supreme Court, under the statute of 1849, to 
compel compliance with the order of the Commissioners. 
Distinguished counsel was employed by the corporation, and 
defended the case on divers grounds ; one of which was, 
that the Legislature, in passing the act, had exceeded its 
powers ; but after very full arguments the Court overruled 
all the objections in law, and ordered the corporation to file 
an answer to the merits of the bill. An answer was filed 
early in the summer, in which the corporation allege, that 



1853.] CITY DOCUMENT.— No. 1. 17 

the city is estopped from proceeding further in the suit, be- 
cause the selectmen, when the raih'oad was being built, re- 
fused to have such a bridge or grade as is sought by the bill, 
and agreed to have the road at the grade it now is ; that the 
raising of the road cannot be effected without blocking up 
Tremont Street ; and they allege that the order of the Com- 
missioners was imprudently made, and cannot be executed 
without great damage to the public, and therefore that a 
specific performance ought not to be decreed. A replication 
has been filed on behalf of the city, denying these allega- 
tions and averments in the answer, and the case is in a po- 
sition for taking evidence. No commission, I, believe, has 
as yet been taken out for testimony by the corporation — the 
delay having been occasioned, as is understood, by the ap- 
pointment of one of the counsel to the bench of the Supreme 
Court of the United States, and since ttien, by the absence 
of the other on account of ill health. 

For several months past the matter of the Flats in the 
the empty basin, has been pending before the third set of 
Commissioners of the Commonwealth, and the interests of 
the city have been carefully attended to by able counsel. 
The object of the present commission is, to adjust conflicting 
claims by compromise, references or otherwise, and to de- 
vise, if practicable, a plan suitable for filling up the empty 
basin. The counsel for the city filed an intimation, that 
Roxbury would consent to such improvements as should 
protect all her rights equally with others, in proportion to 
the extent of her land. The title of Roxbury has been 
sharply contested, and it may be that a resort to the judicial 
tribunals will become necessary. It is hoped however, that 
the commission may submit such a report to the General 
Court, as shall dispense with further litigation. 

The people of this city, gentlemen, expect us to be vigi- 
lant in the discharge of our duties, and faithful to the trusts 
committed to our hands : they expect the government will 
be wisely, prudently and economically administered, and 
that the public necessities will be provided for, without in- 
curring unnecessary burdens. Let us endeavor to discharge 
3 



IS MAYOR'S ADDRESS. [Jan. 

the duties incumbent upon us in such a manner, that at the 
close of the year we may be able to render a good account 
of our stewardship. 

And may that Almighty Being, who guided our fathers, 
direct and prosper us in all our undertakings : and may He 
continue to watch over us, and bestow upon us His choicest 
blessings. 

SAMUEL WALKER. 

Roxbtiry, January, 3, 1853.