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

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City Document. — No. 15. 

VALEDICTORY ADDRESS 

OF THE 

HON. JOHN S. SLEEPER, 

MAYOR OF ROXBUEY, 



DELIVEEED BEFORE THE 



BOARD OF ALDERMEN, 

MONDAY EVENING, DEC. 28, 1857. 




PRINTED BY ORDER OF THE BOARD OF ALDERMEN. 



ROXBURY : 

L. B. & O. E. WESTON, PRINTERS, GUILD ROW. 
18 5 7. 



CITY OF ROXBURY. 



In Board of Aldermen, Dec. 28, 1857. 

Ordered, That one thousand copies of the Address of His Honor 
the Mayor, be printed for the use of the City Council. 

JOSEPH W. TUCKEE, City Clerk. 



Cits of llo^htii. 



In Board of Aldermen, December 28, 1857. 

Alderman Willis offered the following Resolution, which 
was passed unanimously : 

Resolved, That the thanks of this Board be presented to His Honor the 
Mayor, for the judicious and dignified manner in which he has presided 
over our deliberations during the present year, and for the fidelity and 
ability with which he has fulfilled the other arduous duties of Chief Mag- 
istrate of this City. 

His Honor the Mayor responded to the Resolve as fol- 
lows: 

Gentlemen, — 

I sincerely thank you for the kind manner, in which you 
are pleased to allude to my official proceedings and rela- 
tions with this Board during the present year. 

The sentiments expressed in the vote just passed are 
truly grateful to my feelings. You, gentlemen, have had 
opportunity to know my opinions, to appreciate my mo- 
tives and to judge of my conduct, while acting in behalf of 
the interest and honor of our good City. 

The office which I have held for two successive years, is 
one of importance, and of great responsibility. Indeed, 
the successful and satisfactory performance of all the du- 
ties connected with it, demands qualifications seldom found 
united in one individual. And I most heartily wish that 
an abler and a better man — and we can boast of many such 
— ^had been placed at the head of the Government. 



During the year wliicli is now rapidly drawing to a close, 
while some suggestions for expensive changes or improve- 
ments have met with no favor from the government, vari- 
ous measures of much public importance have been sugges- 
ted, planned, and in whole or in part executed, or adopted. 
Some of these measures have been devised by the City 
authorities : some by the County, and others by the State 
legislature ; but constituting in the gross an amount of ex- 
penditure, beyond what was contemplated at the beginning 
of the year, and causing a heavy and unexpected draft on 
the City Treasury. 

It may not be unprofitable nor uninteresting to review 
briefly the acts of the present administration, which will at 
least prove that it has not been altogether indifferent to 
the demands for improvements, which have been pressed 
from every quarter. 

Measures have been adopted for the prospective widen- 
ing of Tremont street, making it of an uniform width of 
eighty feet; and the work, by taking parcels of land and 
setting back buildings, has already been commenced. 

That portion of Brush Hill Turnpike which is in the City 
of Roxbury, has been laid out by the County Commission- 
ers as a public highway, its bounds established, and given 
to the city with all its imperfections. It has been found 
necessary to grade and repair it at a considerable expense. 

Two new School-houses have been constructed, and large 
additions made to a third to meet the pressing wants of 
an increasing population. 

The improvements of Eustis Street Burial Grround have 
been completed, the grounds graded, gravel walks con- 
structed, and forest trees planted. 

Three new reservoirs have been constructed in different 
parts of the city for the supply of water in cases of fire. 
Also, five hydrants have been inserted in the main pipe of 
the Jamaica Pond Aqueduct, which, by the enterprise of 
individuals, has been carried through our streets. Two 



hydrants, by permission of the Boston Water Commission- 
ers, have also been inserted in the Cochituate pipe on 
Tremont Street. 

Plymouth Street, which for years has been in very bad 
condition, has been raised, graded and put in excellent re- 
pair. The same may be said of Yeoman Street, an im- 
portant portion of Warren Street, Highland Street, and of 
various other streets in the city. 

Orders have been adopted for the grading and widening 
of the northern portion of Parker Street: the land has 
been taken and the work began. An order has also been 
adopted, which will, it is trusted, lead to a very important 
and desirable improvement on the southern extremity of 
the same street. 

Parcels of land have been taken on Eustis, Washington 
and Walnut Streets, with a view to promote the public 
convenience by widening those streets. 

Townsend Street has been raised and graded, and a sub- 
stantial bank wall constructed along the north side for a 
distance of several hundred feet. 

The important subject of sewerage has forced itself on 
the attention of the government, and means have been 
proposed, and considered, with a view to adopt the most 
practicable and economical mode of providing suitable 
drainage for different portions of the city. 

The suit in relation to the removal of the Chemical 
Works, an insufferable nuisance, which has existed for 
many years in the heart of our city, has been brought to 
trial, with a result, although not decidedly successful, yet 
of a character to give assurance of ultimate success. 

The suit in relation to the claim of the Commonwealth, 
to a very considerable portion of our soil and territory in 
the Back Bay, has also been prosecuted and acted on, and 
the result thus far gives reasonable prospect of belief that 
our right of possession will be confirmed by the decision 
of our highest tribunal. 



Several suits against the city, some of which have been 
pending for years, have been brought to a close, by com- 
promise, or in due course of law, and no claims for dama- 
ges from accidents arising from neglect of repairs of high- 
ways or similar causes, are now known to exist. 

Resolves have been adopted, and other measures taken, 
which must lead to the extension of Water Street to "Wash- 
ington Street, and to the grading and construction of that 
important avenue, without any unnecessary delay. 

By order of the County Commissioners, the Dedham 
Turnpike has been laid out as a public highway, and the 
city is bound to put the same in good condition, according 
to a new and proper grade. This highway has also been 
continued through the city to the boundary line at Shaw- 
mut Avenue in Boston, and the work of constructing cul- 
verts, and grading portions of this Avenue, and filling in 
over the marshes with a view to the immediate completion 
of the same, has already been commenced, and is vigorous- 
ly prosecuted. 

The street, known as Elm or Pilgrim Street, leading 
from the Punch Bowl Avenue, through Oakland Place to 
the Longwood Depot in Brookline, has, by order of the 
County Commissioners, been widened to the extent of fifty 
feet, — graded and completed at the expense of the city, — 
and a substantial wooden bridge, thirty-six feet in width, 
and two hundred and twenty feet in length, exclusive of 
abutments, and supported on piles, has been constructed 
across Longwood Creek, at the joint expense of Brookline 
and Roxbury, which must prove of great advantage to the 
public. 

The Metropolitan and West Roxbury Railroad Com- 
panies, having laid their tracks from the West Roxbury 
line to the boundary line on Tremont Street in Boston, an 
enterprise of incalculable benefit to Roxbury and West 
Roxbury, it has been not only expedient but necessary to 
newly grade the streets, and make extensive repairs along 



the "whole route, leading through Centre, Lowell and Tre- 
mont Streets. It was also necessary to construct new cul- 
verts, bank walls, railings, &c., requiring for the whole no 
small amount of labor and money. 

Stone crossings, edgestones, and sidewalks, for the con- 
venience of foot passengers, have also been greatly multi- 
plied in accordance with the increasing wants of the com- 
munity. 

These, gentlemen, are among the labors of the year; 
and while it may be a subject of regret that so many im- 
portant and expensive undertakings were considered ne- 
cessary in a single year, yet it must be generally acknowl- 
edged that they will be eminently conducive to the public 
good, and will contribute largely towards making the good 
city of Roxbury, already so highly favored in many re- 
spects, a still more desirable and attractive residence, for 
good and exemplary citizens. 

To you. Gentlemen, and also to the members of the 
Council, to the heads of the different departments of the 
Government, and the officers generally, I desire to express 
my acknowledgments for the support and assistance I 
have uniformly received, while engaged in the performance 
of my duties, and to which may be attributed the quiet and 
prosperity of our city, which in these respects holds a proud 
and elevated place among the cities of the Republic. 
Your counsels, gentlemen, have lightened my labors, and 
your approbation has cheered me while engaged in devi- 
sing means for the public good, and in carrying into execu- 
tion the expressed wishes of the City Council. 

Gentlemen, the year is passing away. In a few short 
days its knell will be tolled, and with it expires the pres- 
ent municipal administration. We have passed together 
many busy but pleasant hours, to which it will be grateful 
to recur, perhaps in years to come. Differences of opin- 
ion, of course, have existed in relation to various subjects, 
such differences as are calculated to produce discussion, 



always desirable for ascertaining the true merits of a ques- 
tion. And you now leave tins Board with the conscious- 
ness that you have responded to the confidence which your 
fellow citizens have reposed in you, by laboring honestly, 
conscientiously and faithfully, for the interests of the great 
body of the people, actuated by no selfish feelings, or per- 
sonal or political prejudices. While such is the case, you 
may well regard with indifference the misinterpretations 
which those who are ignorant of your motives or of facts, 
may have placed upon your acts, and the wilful misrepre- 
sentations of the envious and malignant, to which every 
man chosen to a public office, humble or elevated, in this 
" free and enlightened country," is inevitably exposed. 

And now, Gentlemen, allow me again to thank you for 
the kind and favorable view you have been pleased to take 
of my official course, and to express my earnest wish that 
unalloyed prosperity and happiness may attend you through 
life. 



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