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




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City Document — No. 7. 



MINORITY REPORT 



JOINT SPECIAL COMMITTEE 



ON THE SUBJECT OF TUB 



DONATION OF HON. LINUS B. COMINS 



TO Q2IE OF THE PUBLIC SCHOOLS OF EOXBUSY. 




R X B U R Y : 
NORFOLK COUNTY JOURNAL PRESS. 

18 5 6. 



CITY OF ROXBURY. 



In Common Council, Feb. 25, 1856. 

Ordered, That Messrs. Nichols, Bumstead, and Perkins be a Com- 
mittee, -with such as the Board of Aldermen may join, to ascertain 
what sum of money, if any, may be in the hands of the Government, 
or may have been expended in any manner, being the whole or a por- 
tion of any donation from the Hon. Linus B. Comins. 

Sent up for concurrence. 

JOSHUA SEAVER, Clerk. 

In Board or Aldermen, March 17, 1856. 
Concurred. And the Mayor and Alderman Robinson were joined. 

JOSEPH W. TUCKER, City Clerk. 

In Board of Aldermen, March 31, 1856. 

Report read ; and it was ordered that it be laid upon the table, and 
twelve hundred copies be printed for distribution. 

JOSEPH W. TUCKER, City Clerk. 



In Common Council, April 14th, 1856. 

Mr. Bumstead, from the Minority of the Committee, submitted the 
following Report, which was read, and, on motion of Mr. Williams, 
laid on the table, and twelve hundred copies ordered to be printed for 
distribution. 

JOSHUA SEAVER. Clerk. 



The undersigned, a member of the Joint Special Commit- 
tee, to whom was referred an order " to ascertain what 
sum of money, if any, may be in the hands of the Gov- 
ernment, or may have been expended in any manner, 
being the whole or a portion of any donation from the 
Hon. Linus B. Comins," would respectfully submit a 

MINOEITY EEPOET: 

With the statement of facts, as submitted by the Com- 
mittee, the undersigned has no serious objections ; and if 
the committee had been willing that the mere facts in the 
case should alone be presented, without giving their opinion 
on the same, there would have arisen no necessity for a 
minority report; for whilst they acknowledge the fact, 
that the sum of one hundred and thirty dollars, being " a 
portion of a donation from the Hon. Linus B. Comins," for 
the benefit of " The Comins Grammar School for Girls," 
has been expended by the Board of School Committee and 
Trustees, and the books thus purchased are now in posses- 
sion of the school, and yet come to the conclusion, that 
" whatever may have been the action of the School Com- 
mittee, such action cannot affect the relation of the City 
Council towards this donation," is a statement not war- 
ranted by the facts in the case, nor is it in accordance 
with that spirit of equity, that should at all times govern 
the actions of the City Government in all their intercourse 
with their fellow-citizens. 



4 MINORITY REPORT. 

It appears by the records of the School Committee, that 
the Hon. Linus B. Comins made a donation of six hundred 
dollars for the benefit of "The Comins Grammar School 
for Girls," as an acknowledgment of his appreciation of a 
" compliment, than which none other could be more grateful 
to his feelings ;" and that the sum of one hundred dollars 
was to be expended for Books of Reference, for the teach- 
ers and pupils, and the sum of five hundred dollars, to 
constitute a permanent fund, the interest accruing on the 
same, to be expended on the library of the school ; and that 
this sum of five hundred dollars was to be held in trust by 
the Chairman of the Board of School Committee, the 
Mayor of the city, and the President of the Common Coun- 
cil as ex officio. 

It appears by evidence submitted to the committee, that 
the amount of five hundred dollars has never been in the 
hands of either branch of the City Council, and conse- 
quently, has never been invested by them, or have they 
had any control over it ; but that the Board of Trustees 
temporarily invested it, in the Sunday School Union So- 
ciety, taking their note for the same, and depositing it 
in the hands of the City Treasurer, subject to delivery, 
at any time, on presentation of his receipt for the same. 
It is thus apparent, the City Council has no control over 
the five hundred dollars ; for when it becomes necessary 
to return to the donor this portion of his donation, it can 
be done without the action of the City Council. 

But in regard to the sum of one hundred and thirty 
dollars, being a portion of the donation, with interest on 
the same, which has been expended for books by the 
School Committee and Trustees, is now the property of 
the City, and as such, is in the care of the Joint Standing 
Committee on Public Property, and under the control of 
the City Council, for the safe keeping of which, the city has 
provided a suitable book-case, or shelves, and that these 
books have been, and are, accessible to the teachers and 



CITY DOCUMENT, — No. 7. 5 

pupils of the public schools of this city, and they are now 
enjoying' the advantages of this portion of a donation from 
the Hon. Linus B. Comins. 

It likewise appears by an ordinance of the City Council, 
that the School Committee have no power to expend over 
fifty dollars, at any one time, for expenditures on the 
property of the city, and they have no power to dispose, 
bargain, pledge, or give away any of the property in their 
possession ; and, since it is very evident that the books thus 
purchased from a portion of the donation has become the 
property of the city, and as such, is under the control of 
the City Council, that when it becomes necessary to return 
this portion of the donation, it can only be done by the 
joint action of the City Council, consequently, the action 
of the School Committee does " affect the relation of the 
City Council towards this donation for the Comins Gram- 
mar School for Girls." 

On the 10th of March, the City Council adopted an order, 
giving the name of " Eliot School" to the building on Gore 
Avenue, and by this act, jeopardise the benefit to be derived 
from an annual appropriation to the library of the school ; 
but before the donation is returned, it is important to 
ascertain if the school has forfeited its claims to the dona- 
tion, by the late action of the City Council ; if it should 
appear there is no " Comins Grammar School for Girls 
in the City " of Roxbury, it is very plain, that, as an act 
of justice, the donation should be returned, since there 
would cease to be an object for which the donation was 
made. If the City Council take away the consideration 
for which the donation was made, they are in duty bound, 
on the grounds of equity, at least, to see that the money is 
returned, at any rate, such portion of it as is under their 
control. 

The cause of education is dear to the hearts of our 
citizens, as is apparent by the fact, that for the past year 
more than $43,000 was expended, being more than one- 



6 MINORITY REPORT. 

fourth part of the whole expenses of the City Govern- 
ment during the year, and as the population of the city 
increases, the annual appropriation for schools must be 
enlarged, which will, no doubt, be as liberally provided 
for in the future, as they have been willing in the past, to 
meet the wants of the School Committee, well knowing 
they are a body of men selected for their intelligence, 
their talent, and their peculiar adaptedness to fill the sacred 
and responsible station of "the care and superintendence 
of the public schools,"— being elected to office by the 
suffrages of their fellow citizens — responsible to their 
constituents, and amenable to the laws of the Common- 
wealth, especially provided for their guidance. From this 
intelligent body of men, Mr. Comins received the com- 
pliment of having his name given to one of the public 
schools under their charge, and acknowledged his appreci- 
ation of the compliment by a donation, especially made 
for the benefit of the school thus bearing his name ; if, 
then, the City Council take away, or substitute any other 
name than that through which they can only receive the 
benefit of this donation, it must be apparent, there is but 
one course of action for the City Council to pursue, and it 
should be, such as the claims of right and justice would 
dictate. 

In order to ascertain what control the City Council 
have over this donation, we have only to ask; — can the 
donation, or any portion of it, be returned to the donor 
without the action of the City Council ? 

The note of five hundred dollars given by the Sunday 
School Union Society, now in possession of the City 
Treasurer, can be obtained, at any time, on presentation 
of his receipt, now held by the chairman of the School 
Committee, and can be returned to the donor without the 
action of the City Council. 

In regard to the one hundred and thirty dollars, it is 
very evident that the School Committee have no power 



CITY DOCUMENT. — No. 7. 7 

to return this amount, and the only power that can be 
called to exercise this act, is the joint action of the City 
Council ; and " the conclusion is inevitable," that at least 
the amount of one hundred and thirty dollars, being "a 
portion of a donation from the Hon. Linus B. Comins," is 
in possession of the City Government, and cannot be 
returned except by the joint action of the City Council. 

EBEN'R W. BUMSTEAD. 



PUBLIC LIBRARY 

OK Tntt 

CITY OF BOSTON 



ABBREVIATED REGULATIONS. 

One volume can be taken at a time from the 
Lower Hall, and one from the Bates Hall. 
Books can be kept out 14 clays. 

A line of 2 cents for each volume will be 
incurred for each day a book is detained more 
than 14 days. 

Any book detained more than a week be- 
yond the time/limited, will be sent for at the 
expense of the delinquent. 

jS t o book is to be lenv, out of the household 
of the borrower. 

The Library hours for the delivery and re- 
turn of books are from 10 o'clock, A.M., to 
8 o'clock, P. M., in the Lower Hall ; and from 
10 o'clock, A. M., until one half hour before 
sunset in the Bates Hall.- 

Every book must, under penalty of one dol- 
lar, be returned to the Library at such time 
in August as shall be publicly announced. 

The card must be presented whenever a 
book is returned. For renewing a book the 
card must be presented, together with the 
book, or with the shelf-numbers of the book.