City Document— No. 22.
WILLIAM ELLISON, ESQ.,
(tartoit dUMTtil of % €\b of Ijtosfajr,
J&ECEMBEK 31, 1855.
PRINTED POR THE CITY COUNCIL
The Common Council op the City of Roxbury for the
year 1855, held their last session on Monday evening, Dec. 31.
After the business of the evening had been disposed of, Henry P.
Shed, Esq. of Ward 5, rose and offered the following resolution :
Resolved, That the thanks of this Council be extended to
William Ellison, Esq., for the able, impartial and dignified
manner in which he has, during our sessions of the past year,
discharged his duties as President of the Council.
Remarks of an eloquent and appropriate character were made
by Jos. W. Robbins and Jas. W. Gushing, Esqs. of Ward 5,
and Franklin Williams, Esq. of Ward 1, heartily endorsing the
resolution; after which the vote of thanks was unanimously
The President of the Council then addressed the members in
the following speech.
Gentlemen op the Common Council, —
I hardly dare trust myself to the task of an extemporaneous
reply to the personal, but undeserved compliment contained in
the resolution you have this moment so unanimously passed. My
own full heart, full at this moment to overflowing, would prompt me
to cull the choicest flowers of language and of eloquence, had I the
power, and present them a free-will offering for your kind accept-
ance. But do we not all know, Gentlemen, how poorly eloquence
of words translates the gratitude of those inward emotions, which,
like some pent up Utica, seem confined within us. Your own
kindly feelings I know will prompt you to accept an unstudied
reply that comes warm and gushing from the inward man.
Gentlemen, we have been associated together, for the year that
is just expiring, in our capacity as legislators for this goodly City
of Roxbury ; but a few sands are yet to fall and the present City
Government will have passed into history. I trust that we may all
of us be enabled to look back upon that page of the past, that records
our official acts, with that inward satisfaction that arises from the
consciousness of having done our duty, and of having employed
our talent for the benefit and the welfare of an enlightened con-
4 CITY DOCUMENT.— No. 22.
Gentlemen, our labors here have in truth and in deed been
labors of love. Within this pleasant circle we have passed many
social and agreeable evenings, cultivating the friendship and re-
spect and esteem of each other. Now where so much harmony
and good feeling has always prevailed, our official actions cannot
be otherwise than acceptable and profitable to our constituents.
Gentlemen, the present City Government has been largely indoc-
trinated with the spirit of Young America. It has pushed from
their stools the ghosts of old antecedents, and has infused a re-
form element into the political history of Roxbury that our suc-
cessors need not fear to encounter.
The improvements that have been made around us, are of such
a character that no citizen need ask to have them pointed out.
They are seen and known and recognized by every one who walks
the streets of our fair city. They present themselves in widened
thoroughfares and well laid sidewalks ; and over the Egyptian
darkness that has always hung like a midnight pall over the city,
we have now well-lighted streets, cheering the pedestrian whose
business or whose pleasure prevents him from an early return to
I think, Gentlemen, it may very properly be said of a well-
lighted city, that it " hangs upon the cheek of night, like a rich
jewel in an Ethiop's ear." But, Gentlemen, we cannot but be
admonished by the political separation which is soon to part us,
that a new administration is soon to occupy the positions we now
occupy. To that new administration let us, like good citizens,
extend the right hand of fellowship and bir 1 ' v pm God speed in all
their efforts to advance the welfare and pi\. ^rity of our common
interests. These political changes cannot but bring forcibly to
our minds that important and wholesome truth, that the rulers
and the ruled are separated only by temporary barriers.
ADDRESS OF MR. ELLISON. 5
The recent municipal elections, both in this city and in our
neighboring City of Boston, have failed to shake my confidence in
the ultimate triumph of a true Americanism. The platform of
1844, that platform upon which my first political American offer-
ing was laid, had but two planks, — an extension of the naturaliza-
tion laws of the United States, and the national doctrine that
none but Americans should rule America. That platform is
broad enough and national enough, at the present day, to uphold
every true hearted American, who is willing " to march under the
flag and keep step to the music of the Union." I have a strong
and an abiding faith and belief, that the American party is yet
destined to act an important national part in the administration
of national affairs. Until that, no distant day, let us, as a party,
be content to " wait for the wagon," and in the meantime let us
burnish yet brighter our armor for the great national political
conflict in which we are to engage.
But, Gentlemen, permit me, at the risk of still trespassing upon
your indulgence, to make a few brief remarks more personal to
myself and to you. My labors in this exalted and important po-
sition, from Avhich I am about to retire, have been made pleasant
and easy and agreeable, by your unvarying kindness and indul-
gence to any errors of judgment I may have committed, or to
any short comings in wisdom and ability ; and if, in retiring from
this chair, I may be allowed to put off the harness of office, with-
out leaving behind me any of those unpleasant remembrances that
service in official capacity so often engenders, I shall be more
than amply comper^-ed for any personal sacrifices that I may
have been called o t# make.
But, Gentlemen, allow me to assure you that all your manifold
acts of kindness are registered upon that " tablet of memory
where every day I shall turn the leaf to read the account."
6 CITY DOCUMENT.— No. 22.
Amid the shifting scenes and uncertainties of life, it could hardly
be expected that even our little circle should be entirely exempt
during the past year from the common lot of mortality ; but by
the blessings and the bounty of a Divine Providence, we, who
entered upon our political labors at the commencement of the
present year, are now found at its close in the enjoyment of ap-
parent good health, if not all of us in the enjoyment of prosperity.
To that Giver of every good gift, who watches over governments
as well as individuals, let us return our silent, but sincere and
heartfelt thanks, and may we all be so prepared, that " when our
summons comes to join the innumerable caravan, that moves to
that mysterious realm, where each shall take his chamber in the
silent halls of death, that we go not like the quarry slave at night,
scourged to his dungeon, but sustained and soothed by an unfal-
tering trust, may we approach the grave like one who wraps the
drapery of his couch about him, and lies down to pleasant
Gentlemen, allow me to tender to you my best wishes for your
individual happiness and prosperity.