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

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City Document. — No. 1. 



ADDRESS 



i^ I s 19: o nsr o lEi 



GEORGE LEWIS, MAYOR, 



TO THE 



CITY COUNCIL OF ROXBURT, 

DELIVEEED BEEOKE THE 

TWO BRANCHES IN CONVENTION, 
JANUARY 7, 1867. 




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pRiNTEp ■ Bif ' oiiDjjjij ' o|;;. iBn] ^City'^.OOtJNCIL. 



RO XBU R Y : 

L. B. WESTON, PRINTER, GUILD ROW. 

18 6 7. 



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itg of llo^burB. 



In Board of Aldermen, January 7, 1867. 

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. TUCKER, Citxj Clerk. 



Concurred. 



In Common Council, January 7, 1867. 
FRANKLIN WILLIAMS, Clerk. 



.:- ^... f) / X-v ^.-^ 






ADDRESS 



Gentlemen of the City Council : 

Custom having made it the duty of the Mayor at the 
organization of each City Government to impart to his 
associates his views on such matters of public interest as 
the occasion demands, I embrace this opportunity to 
recommend for your consideration certain measures, and 
to communicate such information as in my opinion the 
welfare of the city requires. 

Our city is now entering on its twenty-second year, 
with a population of nearly thirty thousand persons, and 
a property valuation of twenty-five millions of dollars, 
showing an increase since 1851, when the town of West 
Roxbury was organized, of one hundred percentum in 
both these respects. 

Roxbury is peculiarly fortunate in having a natural 
connection with the metropolis, and thereby offers supe- 
rior advantages over many of our neighboring cities for 



4 CITY DOCUMENT.— No. 1. 

the location of mechanical and manufacturing establish- 
ments, as well as for the residences of the business men 
of Boston. 

With wise legislation by our city officials, and judi- 
cious management on the part of our citizens, it cannot 
be otherwise than that the next decennial census will 
show a more rapid augmentation in population and prop- 
erty than we have heretofore witnessed. 

Our increase in population, during the past twenty 
years, warrants the belief that the prediction made by 
the late General Dearborn, when Mayor of this city in 
1847, that at the beginning of the next century our 
population would reach one hundred thousand persons, 
will be verified. 

In this connection, it cannot be inappropriate to con- 
sider for a moment the progress of Roxbury, in its tran- 
sition from an agricultural community to one largely 
engaged in almost every variety of manufacturing and 
mechanical pursuits. The rural portions of our territory 
are nowhere excelled in attractiveness; elegant dwellings 
are yearly erected on these ; and nowhere can be found 
a more intelligent and public-spirited population. 

Under the town government the interests of the people 
were almost entirely local. A large proportion of the 
soil being owned by wealthy farmers, it was the policy 
of these to authorize only such improvements as their 
interests required, and to keep the taxes at the lowest 
possible rates. Many of our citizens can contrast the 
appearance of Roxbury in 1846, when the town system 



MAYOR'S ADDRESS. 6 

of government was abandoned, with its greatly improved 
condition at the present time. • 

During the twenty-one years of our present system of 
government, our transition from a comparatively rural 
town to a populous and prosperous community has been 
rapid. We are now in the enjoyment of almost all the 
comforts necessary to the convenience of a populous and 
prospering community. Our highways are in excellent 
condition, and will compare favorably with those of any 
other community in the State. Sidewalks have been gen- 
erally constructed. Steam fire-engines have superseded 
the use of hand machines. Many new streets have been 
constructed ; others have been widened. Gas works have 
been erected, and our streets and dwellings are lighted 
therefrom. We have an efiEicient police department. Our 
schools sustain an enviable position. Our school-houses 
are of modern construction, and their increase has equalled 
all requirements. A sewerage system has been adopted. 
All necessary trunk sewers are or shortly will be com- 
pleted, and many lateral sewers are now built. Many 
reservoirs have been constructed. Tracts of land for 
use as public parks, or squares, have been purchased and 
appropriated. The sanitary condition of our city is 
vastly improved. And these, combined with the large 
sums of money which the city disbursed to assist in 
crushing the recent rebellion, have substantially been 
the means of creating the present city debt, and increas- 
ing the rates of taxation. Since the close of the rebel- 
lion we have yearly reduced our debt ; and I consider it 



6 CITY DOCUMENT.— No. 1. 

the settled policy of our people, that no further increase 
of the same §hall be permanently allowed (unless it be 
for the introduction of pure water) , and that each coming 
year a portion of the debt shall be paid. This, I am 
confident, can be accomplished, and our yearly expendi- 
tures be met without a material increase from the rate 
of taxation of the last year. 

Our present position cannot be other than a satisfac- 
tory one, and must lead to the belief that the prosperity 
we now enjoy will prove to be substantial and per- 
manent. 

SEWERAGE. 

The diversion of the waters of Stony Brook below 
Tremont street is nearly completed ; no doubt exists but 
that during the coming Spring the contract therefor will 
be fulfilled. That portion of this work lying between 
Orange and Culvert streets is being done by the city, 
owing to the peculiar interests involved therein. It is 
to be hoped that the condition of this brook will be such 
that the work will be resumed at an early day, so that 
the same may be completed the present year. I am of 
the opinion that the appropriation made to defray the 
expense of this diversion will be ample, and that no 
occasion will arise to increase our taxes on this account. 
When this work is finished, the trunk sewers of the 
city will be completed, and in condition to receive such 
lateral sewers as are desired by our citizens. 



MAYOR'S ADDRESS. 7 

During the past year sewers were constructed in por- 
tions of Tremont, Washington, Lowell, Orange, Ruggles, 
Warren, Webber, East, Eaton and Yeoman streets. 

I trust that each coming year will witness the building 
of sewers, until the whole city is properly drained. We 
have now expended nearly $200,000 on our sewers, and 
no better investment has been or could be made. 

The policy of constructing sewers, whenever a majority 
of the real estate owners on any street desire the same 
and an outlet exists, I consider as being equitable, 
and suggest thvat we adhere to like action in the future. 
Through the use of sewers, the sanitary condition of 
those sections of the city where the same are laid is 
greatly improved ; and a more general introduction of 
these will not only promote cleanliness and health, but 
advance the comfort and convenience of our people. 

In considering the outlay for sewers, our citizens often 
lose sight of the fact, that but one quarter of the cost 
of the same is borne by the city, the remainder being 
assessed on the property of those benefited thereby. 
The amount assumed by the city as its proportion of the 
cost of the lateral sewers constructed the last year is 
$9895.73. 

THE INTRODUCTION OF PURE WATER. 

It being apparent that the day is not far distant, when 
the introduction of aqueduct water must be undertaken, 
a committee of the last City Council were authorized to 
investigate the subject. Their report discloses the fact 



8 CITY DOCUMENT.— No. 1. 

that this most necessary element to the prosperity of this 
city can be attained with less expense from the works 
of one of our neighboring cities, than from an indepen- 
dent source. When the reservoir now being constructed 
in Brookline for the City of Boston is completed, and 
(if the necessity exists) certain ponds in the region of 
Lake Cochituate are connected therewith, there can be 
no reasonable doubts that the supply of water therefrom 
will not only be ample for the present demand of both 
cities, but also for any increase that there may be in 
their population. As the main water pipes of Boston 
are laid under Washington and Tremont streets, it seems 
to me that no reason exists why Eoxbury cannot be 
supplied from Lake Cochituate, and I trust that such 
arrangements can be made with the City of Boston as 
will enable us to attain water from that source. 

Should we fail to succeed in this direction, it is not 
unlikely that the City of Charlestown would grant us 
water from its works, as it is understood that its supply 
is almost unlimited, and the altitude at its source is 
sufficient to carry water over our highlands. 

In accordance with the recommendation of the com- 
mittee having this matter in charge, the last City Coun- 
cil adopted an order instructing the Mayor to petition the 
Legislature for authority to contract with any city or 
town for a supply of water. These instructions have 
been complied with as far as practicable, and the petition 
will be presented at the proper time. 



MAYOR'S ADDRESS. 



CITY DEBT. 

The funded debt of the city is $921,145 ; showing a 
reduction of the same during the past year of $27,000. 
Our floating debt is $50,000, and was contracted in 
equal amounts for the payment of "aid" to soldiers 
and sailors, and the construction of lateral sewers. I 
recommend that the amount borrowed for the payment 
of "aid," and also the amount due the city on sewerage 
account on the 30th of March next, be levied in our 
next annual tax, and that the debt be paid. 

As but $8000 of our city debt matures this year, and 
the same amount in 1868, and $136,500 in 1869, I 
recommend that authority be given to the Committee on 
Finance to anticipate the payment of $20,000 coming 
due in the last-named year, and that the sum anticipated 
be paid in the tax next following the purchase. 

SANITARY CONDITION OF THE CITY. 

Stringent measures in reference to improving the 
sanitary condition of the city were instituted by the last 
Board of Health, with beneficial results. Our people 
generally acquiesced in the requirements of that board 
willingly and promptly. Instances have, however, oc- 
curred where the Board were obliged to exercise their 
authority in the matter of filling low lands where stag- 
nant water existed. Although much has been done in 
the matter of purification, more remains to be done. 
Neither individual perversity nor self-interest can be 



10 CITY DOCUMENT.— No. 1. 

allowed to interfere with the public good. Anticipating 
that the Asiatic cholera will again visit us the coming 
Summer, and, as is often the case, with greater violence 
than in the preceding year, I trust renewed exertions 
will be at once resorted to, and such nuisances, sources of 
filth, and causes of sickness, as may exist within the 
city, may be forthwith abated. 

ANNEXATION OF KOXBURY TO BOSTON. 

In accordance with my recommendation, and in con- 
formity with the provisions of an order adopted by the 
City Council of Boston, the last City Council of Eox- 
bury elected Messrs. William Gtaston, Theodore Otis 
and James Ritchie, and the Mayor of Boston appointed 
Messrs. William Gray, Moses Kimball and A. S. 
Wheeler, as Commissioners for the purpose of consider- 
ing the subject of the union of the two cities under one 
municipal government. The report of this commission 
will shortly be laid before you, and without doubt the 
conclusions arrived at therein will be such as to decide 
this most important question, or to dispose of it for a 
number of years. Should this report favor annexation, 
I trust that the government of this city will at once 
petition the Legislature for the passage of a bill author- 
izing such union, provided the voters of both cities shall 
approve the same. 

I consider it a matter of congratulation that this long- 
mooted question is so near its settlement ; and whatever 
may be the result, I am confident that no investigation 



MAYOR'S ADDRESS. 11 

can be made of the condition of this city, from which it 
will appear to be unworthy of the proposed union, or of 
retaining its proud position as one of the oldest and most 
prosperous cities of our State. 

FIRE DEPARTMENT. 

Our Fire Department is in an eflScient condition, and 
with ample power for ordinary occasions. In case of 
great conflagrations, we can rely on the kindness of the 
authorities of our neighboring municipalities, as we 
have heretofore done. For some years past the house of 
Hose Company No. 1 has been inconvenient, and unfit 
for the purpose for which it is used. I recommend that 
arrangements be made through which proper accommoda- 
tions will be obtained for the use of this company, and 
that the upper rooms of the building be appropriated 
for the use of the citizens of Ward Two as a ward-room. 

It may be that when the school-house now being built 
on Smith street is finished, the School Committee will 
deem it expedient to abandon the use of the Orange 
street school-house, as the same is badly located ; in 
which event I suggest that the building be moved into 
Ward Two, and adapted for uses referred to above. 

In consequence of the great increase of manufacturing 
property in the region of East street, an increased sup- 
ply of water for use in case of fires must be provided 
without delay. As any reasonable number of reservoirs 
would be inadequate in case of large conflagrations to 
supply an abundance of water, I recommend that the 



12 CITY DOCUMENT.— No. 1. 

City of Boston be requested to lay a branch of their 
water pipes through said street, to be used in case of 
fires only, and that the expense of the same be borne 
by this city. 

The Chief Engineer informs me that in the opinion of 
the Board of Engineers it would be expedient to substi- 
tute a hose carriage to be drawn by horse, for hand hose 
carriage No. 1. The consideration of this subject is 
requested by that board. 

I refer you to the annual report of the Chief Engineer 
of this department for the details of the doings of that 
branch of the public service the past year. 

MONUMENT IN HONOR OF OUE SOLDIEES AND SAILORS. 
The question of the erection of a memorial in honor 
of our soldiers and sailors who served in the National 
army and navy during the recent rebellion, was consid- 
ered by a committee of the City Council of last year, 
and by them referred to you, with the recommendation 
that an appropriate monument be erected on the Soldiers' 
and Sailors' Burial-Lot at Forest Hills Cemetery, in 
memory of those who died in the service of our country. 
I cordially concur in that suggestion, and trust that im- 
mediate steps will be taken to carry the same into effect. 

PUBLIC HALL. 

A growing necessity exists for a public hall, in which 
a larger number of persons can be accommodated than 
is the case in any hall now in the city. The suggestion 
has been made that the city co-operate with the Trustees 



MAYOR'S ADDRESS. 13 

of the Fellowes Fund, in the erection of such a building 
as will conform to the requirements of the trust, and 
also accomplish this desirable result. I consider this 
matter worthy of consideration, and suggest the appoint- 
ment of a committee in reference thereto. 

POLICE DEPARTMENT. 

The efl&ciency of our police department is on the in- 
crease. I recommend a revision of the Rules and Regu- 
lations governing that body, with a view to yet further 
usefulness. 

The relations of the Policeman to the citizens are 
peculiar and important. It is only through a strict obe- 
dience to orders emanating from those superior in author- 
ity, and in refusing to participate in personal controver- 
sies or political discussions, that he can retain his use- 
fulness, and exhibit in himself an e"xample of that 
obedience to law and order which it is his duty to 
enforce. 

In conformity to the recommendation of the City 
Marshal, I suggest that the Day Policemen be relieved 
from night duty at the station-house. I would also 
recommend that the Officer of the Court and of the 
Lockup be charged with the performance of the same. 

STREETS. 

The condition of our streets is yearly improving ; 
almost all of these are in a satisfactory condition. The 
experiment of using broken stone in the repairs of high- 
ways is a success ; few complaints are now made of its 



14 CITY DOCUMENT.— No. 1. 

use. The suggestion is often made that Northampton, 
East, and Davis streets should be paved ; undoubtedly 
such is the case, but while the expense of paving is so 
great, this work must, I think, be delayed. I am aware 
of none other of our streets which will require paving, 
or which it would be considered desirable to have paved 
by our citizens. 

The duties of the office of Superintendent of Sewers 
are now performed by the Commissioner of Streets. 
Should the City Council authorize the construction of 
sewers, the present year, to an equal extent with that of 
the last, I suggest that both these offices be no longer 
filled by the same person, as the combined labor is too 
great to be borne by one individual. 

Complaint is often made that the condition of many of 
our sidewalks is such as is not creditable to the city ; 
without doubt, there is often cause for the same. This 
trouble arises from the fact that the city has no gravel 
adapted to this use, and the small quantity owned by 
our citizens is held at such a price as to forbid its 
purchase for such an object. 

The city has for many years past assumed the expense 
of setting edge-stones and laying brick on the sidewalks 
of the city, where the material is provided by the 
abutters. I trust that those owning real estate will at 
once avail themselves of this privilege ; otherwise I 
conceive that authority such as is now enjoyed by the 
City of Boston must soon be obtained to enforce the 
laying of brick on the sidewalks. 



MAYOR'S ADDRESS. . 15 

STATE AID TO SOLDIERS AND SAILORS. 

The last Legislature passed a law whereby it becomes 
our duty to allow "aid" in certain cases to the Soldiers 
and Sailors and their families, who served in the nation- 
al army and navy in the late rebellion. The sum paid 
by the city for this object the past year was $24,962. 
This law not being in force when the last appropriation 
bill was passed, no provision was therein made for this 
purpose, and the sum of $25,000 was temporarily bor- 
rowed therefor. Although these payments are repaid by 
the State, our State tax is thereby increased, so that the 
repayment is but nominal. 

FOREST HILLS CEMETERY. 
The condition of Forest Hills Cemetery compares 
favorably with former years. The receipts from sales and 
care of lots have exceeded the expenditures of the Com- 
missioners, except in the purchase of land. I respect- 
fully ask your attention to the annual report of the Com- 
missioners of the Cemetery for a detailed account of 
their transactions. 

SCHOOLS. 
The last City Council authorized the erection of a 
School-house on Smith street, capable of containing 
eight divisions of scholars. This building is now in 
process of construction, and will be ready for use the 
coming spring. An additional story was placed on the 
Dudley School-house, which accommodates two divisions. 



16 CITY DOCUMENT.— No. 1. 

The annual report of the School Committee asserts 
that notwithstanding these increased accommodations, 
many of our school-houses are overcrowded, and that 
the time is not far distant when others must be provided 
for the use of both Primary and Grammar Schools. It 
is to be hoped that no occasion will arise for additional 
School-houses the present year. 

The report of the School Committee favors an amend- 
ment to our City Charter, whereby that body shall be 
increased to fifteen members, and their term of service 
be three years, and suggests that the City Council adopt 
measures in reference thereto. If this recommendation 
be favorably considered by you, I suggest that a gener- 
al revision of our City Charter be made with reference 
to the term of office of our city officials, and such other 
changes as you may deem to be judicious, and that a bill 
authorizing such amendments be asked of the Legislature 
at its present session, and submitted to the voters for 
acceptance or rejection. 

I particularly ask your attention to the able report of 
the School Committee, which is before you, as therein 
are to be found statistics in reference to the expense of 
conducting our schools, and other details of the manage- 
ment of these, from which a more satisfactory under- 
standing can be arrived at than is expected of me at this 
time. In conformity with my suggestion made two years 
since, the School Committee have assumed the charge of 
the Evening School. I am informed that the number of 
pupils is in excess of the accommodations provided there- 



MAYOR'S ADDRESS. 17 

for, and have no doubt that the time is not far distant 
when similar schools will be established in Wards One 
and Two. 

PAYMENT OF BILLS. 
The last City Council adopted an order whereby all 
demands against the city must be presented to the proper 
officials on or before the twentieth day of each month, 
or payment be refused by the Committee on Accounts 
until the succeeding draft. I consider this order as 
being judicious, and trust that the policy thus inaugurated 
will be continued in the future. 

DISCOUNT ON TAXES. 
I recommend that an ordinance of the city, entitled 
"An Ordinance relative to the Finances of the City," be 
so changed in Section 12 of the same, that a discount 
of four percentum shall be allowed to all persons who 
shall pay their taxes on or before the 15th day of Octo- 
ber, in place of the last day of September, as is therein 
provided. I consider this change a judicious one, as 
many of our tax-payers are dependent upon dividends 
and income received early in October for the payment of 
their taxes. Such are now often obliged to lose the 
discount or borrow the money for this object, and the 
proposed change is of slight importance to the city. 

POOR AND ALMS-HOUSE DEPARTMENTS. 

The condition of our Poor and Aims-House depart- 
ments is satisfactory ; their management is acknowledged 
by the proper officials to have no superior in the State. 



18 CITY DOCUMENT.— No. 1. 

There are now 38 inmates of the Aims-House who are 
supported at the public expense. This is largely below 
the average number of persons similarly supported by 
the other cities and towns of this State, when the ratio 
of population is considered. 

It is the policy of the Board of Overseers of the Poor 
to render assistance to such of our poor as are not in- 
mates of the Alras-House, when through their own ex- 
ertions, or from other sources, a partial support Can be 
obtained. The experience of many years in this line of 
action is satisfactory, and its policy is apparent. 

Connected with the Aims-House are eleven acres of 
land, whereas but three or four acres are required for 
the use of that institution. I am of the opinion that the 
balance of this land should be sold, thus converting it 
into taxable property. 

The Truant School, under the charge of the Board of 
Overseers of the Poor, has to a great extent lessened 
the evil of truancy in this city, and it is to be hoped that 
the time is not far distant when this school may be 
safely abandoned. The number of scholars committed 
to the Truant School since its organization is fifty, the 
average number in attendance is twenty-two, and the 
expense of supporting the same has been about $'5000. 

I refer you to the annual report of the School Com- 
mittee for the opinions entertained by that body in the 
matter of the Truant School. 



MAYOR'S ADDRESS. 19 

Gentlemen, — The solemn obligations we have this day 
assumed are not meaningless. The faithful discharge of 
duty must oftentimes involve a sacrifice of time, of 
business interests, and of social pleasures. 

Let us not forget that in accepting public office we 
become the servants of the people, and that the trust 
reposed in us is not for our honor alone, but for the 
general welfare. The opinions and wishes of others may 
be urged upon you ; these should be treated with respect, 
but it is upon yourselves only that the responsibilities 
of action must finally rest. 

I respectfully urge a constant and prompt attendance at 
the sessions of the government, and the meeting of com- 
mittees. It is only through such attention that you can 
successfully fulfil the expectations of your constituents, 
and the doings of this administration be crowned with 
success. 

The favorable opinion of our fellow-men is not an un- 
worthy aspiration. But it is only through an indepen- 
dent course of action, conforming strictly with our sense 
of right, that this can be permanently realized. Let us 
strive to reach the end of the year with the approbation 
of our constituents and approving consciences. 

Having been again elected to the Mayoralty of this 
city, I desire to thank my fellow-citizens for this renewed 
expression of their favorable consideration. I can only 
repeat the promise so often before made by me, that my 
oath of office shall be conscientiously remembered. 



20 CITY DOCUMENT.— No. 1. 

May He, whose name lias been so reverently spoken^ 
and whose divine assistance we have implored in the 
discharge of the important trusts this day assumed, grant 
to this favored city a continuance of its prosperity and 
health during the year upon which we so auspiciously 
enter. 



WAY 16 ^905