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

City Document.^ No. 1. 



ADDRESS 

OF THE 

HON. GEORGE LEWIS, MAYOR, 



\ \ r I; 



CITY COUNCIL or ROXBURY, 



DELIVERED TO THE 



TWO BRANCHES IN CONVENTION, 
JANUARY 5, 1863. 




PRINTED BY ORDER OF THE CITY COUNCIL. 



ROXBURY: 
L. B. & O. E. WESTON, PRINTERS, GUILD ROW. 

1863. 



Citg of llo^Hrij. 



In Boakd of Aldeemen, January 5, 1863. 

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

Sent down for concurrence. 

JOSEPH W. TUCKEE, City Clerk. 



In Common Council, January 5, 1863. 

Concurred. 

JOSHUA SEAVER, Clerk. 



ADDRESS. 



Gentlemen of the City Council: 

Through the favor of our fellow citizens, we are assem- 
bled to organize the government of this city, for the 
present year; a year which opens with our country still 
involved in civil war, the result of which is only known to 
the Supreme Ruler of <the Universe. May He, in his infi- 
nite wisdom, vindicate the justice of our cause, through the 
success of our arms; allow the scourge of war to cease its 
inhuman work ; reunite our whole country under one gov- 
ernment ; and grant us again the blessings of peace. 

The patriotism of our community has been fully tested, 
and I have faith to believe, that the sacrifices, trials and 
sorrows, they have thus far borne, are slight, in compari- 
son with those they would gladly bear, to sustain the gov- 
ernment in its efforts to restore the Union to its former 
grandeur; thus enabling the nation to resume its rank as 
one of the great powers of the world : its people respected 
for their love of country, and their adhesion to the princi- 
ples of self-government, as well as for their industry, 
intelligence and self-reliance. 

During the past year it has been our lot to mourn the 
loss of a larger proportion of our soldiers than may have 



4 CITt DOCUMENT.— No. 1. 

been the fortune of any otKer city. The lives of these were 
valuable to the general community, and precious to the 
immediate circle of family connections and friends from 
whom they were taken. 

The military funerals passing through our streets to the 
" place of graves ;" the maimed and emaciated forms of 
those who have sought their homes to recuperate, afford 
ample evidence that the spirit of patriotism which inspired 
our Fathers is not extinct. 

Let us not, while so many of our relatives and friends 
are in the ranks of the army, cheerfally submitting to the 
privations of the camp and the dangers of the battle-field, 
omit any opportunity of acknowledging their claims to our 
sympathy, gratitude and aid. 

While the community gladly recognize this duty, there 
is a responsibility of a far higher nature, which they have 
assumed, in the charge of the wives and children of those 
who have died in the defence of our country. I am confi- 
dent that our people will render thoee all necessary assist- 
ance and protection. 

Gentlemen, — You will expect from me at this time 
but a cursory glance at the affairs of the city. I shall in 
as brief a manner as possible ask your attention to but a 
few topics, and those of prominent public interest. 

As the demands on the city treasury for military pur- 
poses during the past year were not only large in them- 
selves, but were in addition to the usual expenses, the 
government refrained from outlays which they considered 
could be postponed without prejudice to the interests of 
the city. This course I consider to have been judicious ; 
and as there is no immediate prospect of a reduction in our 
military expenditures, I think that we should adopt the 
same policy. 



MAYOR'S ADDRESS. 5 

MILITARY MATTERS. 

The labors of the Military Committee the past year were 
more arduous than those of any other ; during the present, 
as the business is systematized, I hope less time will be re- 
quired of its members. 

The number of soldiers sent into the service of the Uni- 
ted States from Roxbury since the commencement of the 
war is fifteen hundred and ten, that being eighteen in ad- 
vance of our quota. Of this number thirteen hundred and 
thirty-one are enlisted for three years, and the balance for 
nine months' service. All these soldiers have been obtain- 
ed by voluntary enlistment, and, as I am informed, at an 
expense less than in most other places in the Common- 
wealth, and none have been borrowed from other cities and 
towns. 

It is to be hoped we shall not be called upon for more 
soldiers ; but should such an event occur, I doubt not that 
the patriotism of our people will be equal to the occasion, 
and that a forced levy may be avoided. 

A lot has been purchased by the city, at Forest Hills, for 
the last resting place of our soldiers who have fViUen in de- 
fence of the country, and nine interments have been made 
therein. It will be your duty so to enclose and ornament 
this lot, as to render it an attractive spot for all, and also 
a lesson for our youth, that one of the greatest virtues is 
the love of country; and that a grateful people will ever 
hold in reverence the memory of those who die in its de- 
fence. 

Through authority of the State, and in common with 
other cities and towns, liberal provision has been made for 
the assistance of the families of those soldiers who are de- 
pendent on them for support. This aid I trust will be con- 
tinued. 

There has been paid as bounty to volunteers the past 
year, the sum of $51,945.17. 



6 CITY DOCUMENT.— No. 1. 

There has been paid as aid to the relatives of volunteers 
the past year the sum of $55,924.15. 

It is expected that two-thirds of the amount paid as aid 
to the families of volunteers, will be repaid by the State. 

The total amount expended for military affairs the past 
year is $107,869.32, the details of which will be laid before 
you by the Committee on Accounts, in their annual report. 

During the past year committees of the City Council 
have at two different times visited our soldiers in camp, 
contributing to their aid and comfort, and affording great 
satisfaction to their friends at home. 

Immediately following the battle of the Antietam,the Gov- 
ernment decided to send an agent to the relief of the 
invalid Eoxbury soldiers, who were lying in the various 
hospitals of Washington and its neighborhood. Mr. Rufus 
Wyman volunteered for that duty, declining compensation, 
other than for his personal expenses. Leaving Roxbury 
the iirst of October, he remained at his post until a few 
days since, devoting all his energies to the humane duty on 
which he was sent. Through the benevolence of our citi- 
zens, he has been enabled to render such assistance to the 
sufferers as has called forth their most heartfelt gratitude. 
The expense incurred by the city, through this agency, 
amounts to about $550. 

I learn that differing views are entertained in the com- 
munity relative to this agency — one portion conceiving 
that relief can be more quickly and certainly bestowed 
through such an agent j and the other that, as the Sanitary 
Association assumes to attend to all such cases, and has ex- 
tensive depositories and a multitude of agents, that it con- 
stitutes the proper channel through which assistance should 
be bestowed. It will be your duty to decide as to the 
propriety of continuing or discontinuing this ofifice. 

In this connection, I cannot refrain from referring to the 



MAYOR'S ADDRESS. 7 

sentiments of our people, as to the qualifications of Mr. 
Wyman. It is universally acknowledged, that he combines 
in a rare degree every requisite for that duty. How faith- 
fully he discharged the labors he assumed, is so well known 
and so generally appreciated, that no endorsement of mine 
is necessary. 

Should you decide to continue this ofl&ce, I doubt not 
you will agree with me, in hoping that Mr. Wyman will 
again consent to represent the city as its agent. 

Our citizens are much indebted to the volunteer military 
organizations of the city, for their valuable aid rendered 
the Government in procuring enlistments. I refer to the 
Horse Guard, Colonel Hodges, and the Reserve Guard, 
Captain Wyman. The members of these companies devot- 
ed their time, energies and money to this object, and, as 
the result shows, with entire success. Through their ef- 
forts the companies commanded by Captains King, Graham, 
and Swift, were entirely recruited, and that by Captain 
Sherive, in part. It may be safely asserted that not less 
than four hundred men were enlisted through their instru- 
mentality. 

The Horse Guard and the Reserve Guard have both 
reached a high state of military "discipline; they are a 
credit to the city, and should be sustained. If occasion re- 
quires, I recommend them to your favorable consideration. 

An association, independent of the city government, has 
been organized for the relief of disabled soldiers, and their 
families ; and its members are ready to assist all in accord- 
ance with its rules. 

Great attention has been paid by the Government, and 
also by our citizens, to the care of our troops in the camp 
and field. I learn from undoubted authority, that Roxbury 
is acknowledged by the soldiers to occupy the front rank 
in this respect. 



CITY DOCUMENT.— No. 1. 



SCHOOLS. 

The annual report of the School Committee has been 
published, and is before you. From it I learn that the for- 
mer high standing of the schools is sustained. 

The question of reducing the salaries of the teachers is 
therein alluded to, and arguments are advanced why this 
measure should not be adopted. Statistics are presented 
to show that the cost of educating a child in Roxbury is 
not so large as in most of the places around us. Increased 
accommodations in certain localities are again indicated as 
necessary, and reasons are advanced why they should be 
granted, even in the existing condition of our national af- 
fairs and of our overburdened city treasury. 

I ask your examination of that document, and shall glad- 
ly cooperate with you in all matters necessary to advance 
the welfare of those institutions, which exercise so great 
an influence on the well-being of the community. 

Our schools cannot be too highly valued, offering as they 
do to all classes the opportunity of acquiring in early life 
those advantages which contribute to the happiness and 
good citizenship of the individual. The expenditures for 
them are scarcely less essential than those for our sol- 
diers. 

While the necessities of the country give to military ob- 
jects our first thought, nothing should induce us to deny 
the calls for education. 

These departments are both of primary importance, and 
other matters of public utility may well be postponed in 
aid of either of them. 



MAYOR'S ADDRESS. 



CITY DEBT. 



The Treasurer informs me that the city debt February 
1st, 1862, was $721,215.00. It is now $829,565.00, show- 
ing an increase of $108,350.00. This increase has been 
devoted to the following uses : 

For aid to families of volunteers, - - - - $60,000.00 

" bounty to volunteers, 40,000.00 

" grading Madison Square, ----- 6,000.00 

" support of poor, ------- 2,000.00 

" deposit by Commissioners of Forest Hills Cemetery, 350.00 

The city debt draws interest as follows : 

At 6 per cent, per annum, ----- $285,565.00 

" 5^ " " 153,000.00 

«< 5,i " " 2,000.00 

«< 5 '« u 386,000.00 

The loans contracted the past year, with one exception, 
and that of small amount, draw interest at the rate of five 
per cent, per annum. 

Our city debt is too large ; and if, while the war contin- 
ues, we cannot be expected to reduce it, yet we should not 
increase it for any purposes but for such as are of perma- 
nent utility. All other objects »of expenditure are of such 
a nature, that they should be paid for by those to whom 
they are immediately beneficial. 

As each year must present new and constantly increas- 
ing demands, it cannot be right to entail upon posterity a 
class of debts for which they will receive no benefit. No 
good reason exists why the city should not pay its ordi- 
nary expenses, when individual members of the community 
are expected to do the same thing in their personal trans- 
actions ; and could the increase of our municipal debt be 
stopped, except in outlays for matters which will not have 
to be repeated or renewed, I should decidedly favor that 
instalments of our debt be raised by taxation and paid 
yearly. 

2 



10 CITY DOCUMENT.— No. 1. 

SEWERAGE. 

During the past year, there has been but slight exten- 
sion of sewerage in the city. The work done in this 
department has been confined to constructing a sewer from 
Sumner Street, through Short Street, to Zeigler Street, — 
that being the extent, in this direction, of the privilege en- 
joyed of entering the City of Boston's sewer in Plymouth 
Street, — and also a connection between our sewer and that 
of Boston in Plymouth Street. 

A number of cesspools have been built for conveying the 
street water into the sewers. 

There are portions of Wards One, Two and Three, 
where sewerage is necessary, not only as a convenience, 
but as a sanitary measure. Owing to the continual raising 
of the low lands, the natural flow of the water is diverted, 
and either remains stagTiant on the surface of the ground, 
or finds its way into cellars and wells. 

It must be apparent that unless sewerage is generally in- 
troduced, thereby discontinuing the use of cesspools and 
other receptacles for ofial, the spring water will shortly 
become impure throughout the city ; and the day is not far 
distant when we shall be obliged to incur the expense of 
introducing pure water. In each section of the city wells 
have been, without doubt, rendered unfit for use by the 
present system of drainage, and the number of these is con- 
stantly on the increase. 

Some years since, levels were taken, and i ilans drawn by 
competent engineers, for sewerage through all our principal 
streets j the correctness of these plans I have never heard 
questioned. 

Various plans have been considered by former govern- 
ments with reference to an outlet for the sewerage of 
Wards Two and Three, but none have been decided upon. 

I recommend that we investigate the questions connected 
with the sewerage of this locality ; and hope that the result 



MAYOR'S ADDRESS. U, 

of our investigations will be such as to enable us to pro- 
ceed with the work. 

On all ordinary-sized sewers the city has assumed, as its 
proportion, one-quarter of the cost of construction, and the 
balance has been assessed upon the estates benefited thereby. 

I agree with my predecessor, " that the existing troubles 
furnish no excuse for discontinuing the work," and shall 
gladly unite with you in furthering the extension of sewer- 
age, where desired by a majority of the owners of real 
estate, on any street where the interest of the city warrants 
the construction. 

FOREST HILLS. 

The labor at Forest Hills has been continued the past 
year as usual, adding greatly to its constantly increasing 
attractiveness. The number of lots sold in the 3^ear 1862 
was about ninety. 

For details of the condition of the Cemetery, I refer you 
to the annual report of the Commissioners, which will 
shortly be laid before you. 

ALMSHOUSE. 

The Almshouse is almost exclusively under the control 
of the Overseers of the Poor, the Mayor being ex-officio 
Chairman of the Board. I am informed that its manage- 
ment is satisfactory, and that the inmates are humanely 
treated and faithfully cared for. 

The reports emanating from the various officers con- 
nected with this institution will be shortly published, and 
submitted for your examination. 

FIRE DEPARTMENT. 

I am informed by the Chief Engineer, that the effective- 
ness of the Fire Department never was greater than at 
present. Its ranks are full, and harmony exists among its 
members. 



12 CITY DOCUMENT.— No. 1. 

Our city has been highly favored, the past year, in its 
exemption from serious iires. 

Two reservoirs of large capacity have been built, one on 
Grove Hall Avenue, and one on Highland Street. I recom- 
mend that the same number of reservoirs be constructed 
this year as the last. This most valuable branch of the 
public service calls for, and I doubt not will receive, your 
continued care and attention. 

POLICE DEPARTMENT. 

This important branch of our municipal organization is 
in the highly efficient condition which it has sustained for 
some years past. Few changes have been made in its 
ranks, and I believe its members to be vigilant, temperate, 
and humane. 

PUBLIC SQUARES. 

Nothing has been done on the public squares, the past 
year, except the partial fulfilment of the contract to grade 
Madison Square by May next. The engineer informs me 
that about two thousand squares of earth will be necessary 
to raise it to the grade required. 

After this work is completed, I recommend that no ex- 
penditures be made upon them this year. 

HIGHWAYS. 

The Superintendent of Streets informs me that the labors 
of the past year, in his department, were mostly devoted to 
the repairs of highways, and that these are in their usual 
condition. 

No expense was incurred in the widening of streets, and 
I hope we may be equally fortunate the present year in this 
respect. 

A number of matters relating to both Streets and Sewer- 
age have been referred to you, by your predecessors, for 
final action. 



MAYOR'S ADDRESS. 13 

Our citizens feel great interest in the condition of our 
highways, and true economy requires that these should be 
kept in good order. 

EMPLOYMENT FOR THE POOR. 

1 concur with the plan, which has heretofore been 
adopted, of providing such employment for our poor, during 
the winter months, as shall be profitable to the city, and, 
at the same time, of aid to those who are dependent upon 
us for labor, through which to obtain the means for their 
support. 

I know no reason why the calls for charity, this winter, 
should exceed those of the last, as labor has been in demand, 
and at remunerative prices. 

Gentlemen of the Board of Aldermeii, and of the Com- 
mon Council, — We are invested with the administration 
of the affairs of the city of Roxbury, for the year on which 
we enter : its interests are in our hands. 

The year may be one of comparative quiet; it may be 
one which requires the exercise of those traits of character 
which are most appropriate to times of trial and anxiety. 

1 assume the labors of my office with a full appreciation 
of its honorable position, and of its arduous duties. 

It shall be my aim to give whatever time is required, and 
whatever ability I possess to their performance; and I 
rely upon you all for that generous support and advice, 
which I am confident you will afford me. 

The government which preceded us has left a record 
which has secured the public approval; let us strive for a 
similar endorsement. 

And may God, the Father of all, who guides us through 
the years of our earthly pilgrimage, look with especial favor 
on our city, during that season on which we are now to 
enter.