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Full text of "Proceedings before a joint special committee of the Massachusetts legislature, upon the petition of the city of Boston, for leave to introduce a supply of pure water into that city, from Long Pond, February and March, 1845"

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In Common Council, March 20, 1845. 

Ordered, That the Standing Committee on Water be 
authorized, so far as they deem expedient, to cause 
the proceedings had upon the petition of the City be- 
fore a Committee of the Legislature, for the introduc- 
tion of water from Long Pond into said city, to be 
printed and distributed for the information of the citi- 

Sent up for concurrence. 

P. W. CHANDLER, President. 

In the Board of Aldermen, March 24, 1 845. 
Read and concurred. 

A true copy. 

Attest, S. F. McCleary, City Clerk. 


The Committee of the City Council who were in- 
structed to present to the Legislature the petition of 
the City praying for the grant of authority to introduce 
the water of Long Pond for the use of the inhabitants, 
and to take the necessary measures for promoting the 
success of that object, deemed it expedient, in addition 
to the able services of the City Solicitor, to engage 
other eminent counsel to assist in promoting their call, 
in the hearing before the Joint Special Committee of 
the Legislature to whom the petition was referred. 
The petition was accordingly entrusted to the charge 
of the Hon. John Pickering, Richard Fletcher, and 
Charles H. Warren, Esqrs. who gave a constant attend- 
ance during twenty-six laborious sessions of the Com- 
mittee and ably presented the wants and wishes of the 
petitioners supported by such testimony as was necessary 
to establish the facts on which the claim of the city 
properly rested and replied to the objections of the re- 
monstrants. In the course of the hearing it became 
necessary to go into a thorough investigation of facts 
and elaborate arguments in reply to testimony pro- 
duced by the remonstrants and to the grounds assumed 
by them in opposition to the petition. The result of 
the inquiry was the unanimous concurrence of the 

Committee, consisting of seven members of the two 
branches of the Legislature in a report, in which all 
the grounds taken by the petitioners were sustained, 
and an opinion expressed that the prayer of the peti- 
tioners ought to be granted, and in reporting a bill con- 
forming in all respects with the views of the Com- 

This bill in its passage through the Legislature was 
amended in some particulars, but not in a manner con- 
sidered by the Committee very material. It has be- 
come a law, subject to the determination of the citi- 
zens to accept it by a vote to be given at ward meet- 
ings to be called for the purpose. 

The Committee, regarding the question to be deter- 
mined as one which would require the intelhgent ac- 
tion of the legal voters of the city as well as of the 
Legislature, and considering that for the purpose of 
coming to a correct decision an accurate knowledge 
of facts would be necessary, employed a reporter to 
take notes of the proceedings before the Legislative 
Committee, and under the authority of a vote of the 
City Council they now report in print ; presenting a 
full report of the hearing before the Committee of the 
Legislature, with a copy of the report of that Commit- 
tee and the bill thereto appended. 


The following is the petition which was referred to 
he Committee : 

To the Honorable the Senate and House of Representa- 
tives, in General Court assembled. 

The petition of the undersigned, Mayor of the City 
of Boston, on behalf of the City Council of said city, 
respectfully shows : 

That the legal voters of the City of Boston duly as- 
sembled in their respective wards, have recently instruct- 
ed and advised the City Council to take measures for 
the introduction of pure soft water into the city ; 

That accordingly by a resolve of the City Council, it 
was decided to be expedient to procure a supply of such 
water, to be brought at the expense of the city from 
Long Pond, so called in the towns of Natick, Wayland 
and Framingham, or from any of the sources adjacent 
thereto, on the condition mentioned in said resolve, and 
by an order of the City Council, the Mayor was instruct- 
ed to make immediate application to the Legislature, 
for the grant of such powers to the City of Boston as 
may be necessary to carry the said resolve into effect. 
In pursuance, therefore, of the said resolve and order, 
the undersigned, on behalf of the City Council of Bos- 
ton, respectfully makes application directed as aforesaid, 
in manner following, that is to say : 

First. That the City of Boston may be authorised 
to construct a suitable aqueduct from Long Pond, in 
the towns of Natick and Wayland, to pass through the 
towns of Wayland, Weston, Natick, Newton, Brighton, 
Brookline or Roxbury, as may be found expedient, for 
the purpose of conveying into and through the said city 
the waters of said Pond, and those which may flow into 
the same, and to take and hold the said Long Pond, and 
the waters flowing into and from the same, and also any 
other ponds and streams within the distance of four 
miles of said Long Pond, for the purpose of furnishing 


a supply of water for the wants of the inhabitants of 
said city. 

Secondly. That in case the said city should not think 
it advisable to take the water of said Long Pond, the 
city may be authorized to take the water of Sudbury 
River, at or near Saxonville, so called, within the town 
of Framingham, or such portion of said water as shall 
be sufficient to afford a full supply for the use of the 
said inhabitants of Boston ; and in case the waters of 
said Long Pond should be taken for the purpose afore- 
said, but the quantity thereof should be found insufficient, 
then that the city may take from the surplus or waste 
waters of Sudbury River such quantity as the city may 
find expedient to divert into said Long Pond and aque- 

Thirdly. That the city may be authorized to take 
and hold land along the line of said aqueduct and Res- 
ervoir, sufficient for the convenient erection, protection 
and use of the same, and also for such reservoirs, gates, 
waterways, drains and water courses, as shall from time 
to time be found necessary for the preservation and re- 
tention of the waters, and the security of said aqueduct, 
and the works that may be connected therewith. 

The undersigned therefore prays that after due pro- 
ceedings had, such powers may be granted to the City 
of Boston as shall be requisite in the premises. 

On behalf of the City Council of the City of Boston, 

Boston^ January 1, 1845. 


The following is a copy of the certificate on the back 
of the petition of the City of Boston for powers to in- 
troduce soft water : 

Laid on the table. 

Senate, January 2, 1846. 

Senate, January 7, 1845. 
Referred to Messrs. Lawrence, Newhall and Hall, 
with such as the House may join. 
Sent down for concurrence. 


House of Representatives, /anwar?/ 8, 1845. 
Concurred, and Messrs. Perkins of Salem, Willard of 
Millbury, Dwight of Boston, and Galpin of Stock- 
bridge, are joined. 

C. W. STOREY, Jr., Clerk, 

Secretary^ Office, April 19, 1845. 

A true copy, Wm. Tufts, Dep^y Sec^y, 

The several remonstrances against this petition were 
referred to the same Committee, and notice was given 
to those interested to appear before it on Wednesday, 
the 5th day of February, 1845, 


Joint Special Committee on the petition of the City 
of Boston for leave to introduce Pure Water into the 
City from Long Pond. 

In this case there were a number of remonstrances, to wit : — 

1st — Joseph Tilden and others of Boston, represented by 
WiUiam J. Hubbard, Esq. 

2d — Charles W. Cartwright and others of Boston, represent- 
ed by Derby & Fuller. 

3d — Paul Curtis and others of Medford. 

4th — Proprietors of Middlesex Canal, represented by B. R. 
Curtis, Esq. 

5th — J. B- Faulkner and others of Billerica, represented by 
B. R Curtis, Esq. 

6th — R. G. Shaw and others, on behalf of East Boston, rep- 
resented by T>. S. Greenough, Esq. 

7th — Oliver M. Whipple of Lowell. 

[Several other remonstrances were handed in the course of 
the hearing at later sessions of the Committee.] 

Mr. Pickering, the City Solicitor, appeared for the City of 
Boston, assisted by Charles H. Warren and Richard Fletcher, 

Friday, Jan. 31, 1845. 

The Committee met and was called to order by Hon. Myron 
Lawrence, Chairman, and after the appearances of the petition- 
ers and the several remonstrants had been made, the Committee 
adjourned until Wednesday afternoon, February 6th, at 3^ 

Second and Third Sessions. Wednesday and Friday, 
February bth and 7th. 

C. H.Warren, Esq. opened the case for the petitioners. He 
read the petition of the city signed by Hon. Martin Brimmer, its 
Mayor. He said that this petition was a very simple one, and 
there was nothing upon the face of it, nothing in its general aspect, 
nothing in its inherent character which would seem to account 
for the delays and disappointments to which the city had been 


subjected, in its attempt to procure a supply of water ; or for the 
present array against this petition. Jt was the petition of the 
City Government, acting as such under the clause of the Charter 
which made it their duty to " provide for the health, security, 
cleanliness and comfort of the city." It was not the petition of 
speculating individuals seeking to accumulate wealth to them- 
selves outof the wants of the many, but that of the City Gov- 
ernment acting for and under the instruction of 110,000 people, 
a constituency forming one-seventh part of the whole population 
of Massachusetts. It simply asked for powers to do a work that 
should operate for the security of property, the preservation of 
health, the promotion of cleanliness, and the extension of com- 
fort. It did not ask for aid from the government of the Com- 
monwealth, nor for powers to trample on any rights of individu- 
als or of the public, but simply for leave to do what should be 
necessary for the supply of a great public want, making proper 
compensation for every injury which might be caused in so doing. 

There vv^ere but two questions arising under this petition for 
the consideration of the Committee ; viz : — 

1st — Is there a necessity for such a supply of water as is 
asked for .'' 

2d — Is the proposed plan expedient .'* 

And as to the first question he might ask the Committee who 
knew best the extent of this want .'' Was it not conclusively shown 
as by seven thousand witnesses by the vote directing the City 
Government to present this petition ? This was a vote given 
in no sudden excitement but after long and patient deliberation. 
It was not the result of appeals to classes or parties — it had no 
admixture of politics— it was the direct, solemn and deliberate 
assurance of those best qualified to judge of the want, that such 
a want existed. 

To show the nature of the examination which had been made 
upon this subject, the extent to which the want of water was felt 
in the city, and the extreme deliberation with which the city had 
proceeded up to the time when this petition was presented, Mr. 
Warren then went into a detailed history of the movement from 
1S25 up to that time, quoting from the records of the city to 
show that in almost every year there had been petitions upon the 
subject to the City Councils, allusions to it by several Mayors in 
their annual communications, and in many Committees appointed 
to examine it ; that several surveys had been made and full 
reports presented and printed. 

He thus brought the history of the matter down to 1844, in 
the spring or summer of which year he said, a movement or se- 
ries of movements was commenced which showed a determina- 
tion on the part of the citizens either to have a supply of water. 

or to go away from the Legislature unsucessful beggars. From 
the last July till September a series of public meetings was held 
in the city, at which the Mayor presided, to discuss the merits 
of the question. They were not caucusses to unite the friends 
or opponents of any particular measure, but meetings for deliber- 
ation and examination of the whole question. The largest lib- 
erty was allowed to all. No vote was taken at the earlier 
meetin2;s, but they were adjourned day after day through the 
summer to give time for a full and careful examination and they 
were enlightened by the views and information of every one who 
chose to enlighten them. 

Such was the state of public opinion in the city that the City 
Council again took the matter under consideration. This met 
the objection that the Council and not the citizens were those 
who should take measures for this purpose, if that ultra consti- 
tutional conservative ground was to be taken. For the City 
Council themselves asked the opinion of the citizens upon the 
question. They saw the importance of it, and considered it 
one of those cases where it was their duty to shift the responsi- 
bility to a certain extent and to ask for the decision of their 
constituents. Accordingly in December last they submitted 
four propositions to the people for their decision. 

The first of these asked the question of the voter whether he 
wished to have a supply of water brought in at the expense of 
the city from Long Pond and the sources adjacent to it. The 
warrants had been issued regularly, there was a deliberate vote 
uninfluenced by tumult or by party divisions which resulted in 
6269 yeas and 2204 nays. The next question was whether the 
voter would request the City Government to take the measures 
necessary to carry out the plan indicated by the first ; it was a 
test of the confidence in the opinions held by those who had 
voted in the affirmative on that. The replies were : — yeas 
6252 nays 2207, and the vote on these two questions showed a 
majority of three to one in favor of bringing in the water from 
Long Pond, and even that of course did not fully express the 
majority desirous of introducing water from some source. 

The next question was whether the voter was in favor of in- 
troducing water from any source the Council might select. To 
vote in the affirmative would lead to farther delay and the vote 
was yeas 1206 nays 70S I. It was apparent that all the 
"yeas" were in favor of bringing water from some source and 
formed a part of the negative vote on the two first propositions, 
so that the vote in favor of the introduction of water from some 
source would be brought up to over 7000. The fourth question 
whether the voter would advise the Council to apply for a 


charter under the 3d proposition was answered by yeas 1194, 
nays 7144. 

As the result of these proceedings the City Council of the 
previous year presented the petition now before the Committee, 
and a new City Council having, gone into power on the first of 
January, by their authority he (Mr. Warren) and his associates 
appeared in support of that petition. 

This general statement which would be substantiated by the 
City Records, was all that they proposed to adduce in support 
of the first point, that there was a necessity for some new sup- 
ply of water for the city. No attempt would be made to appeal 
to the feelings of the Committee. The citizens did not pretend 
to be in a dying state, demanding immediate action to preserve 
their Hves. He had intimated that the water was needed on the 
score of health ; — it was so more or less, the Committee could 
judge how far. As to property ; it would save 100,000 dollars 
in insurance, if there was the same reduction in rates as there 
had been in New York. The saving of expenses now necessary 
for the increase of the fire department would be very large ; ac- 
cording to the estimate of Mayor Eliot in 1839, about $20,000 
annually. The city itself held a large amount of real estate, 
which would be increased in value by the greater security — 
perhaps 10 per cent, or ^^ 1,000, 000. 

These were strong grounds for the support of the project, but 
they were not the strongest. The daily comfort of almost all 
the inhabitants of the city demanded this interference in their 
favor — and of this the most stringent evidence had been offered 
in their calls repeated year after year, and the full votes which 
had just been stated. He was not advised that this point would 
be contested. He could not anticipate what objections were to 
be made, but he did not suppose that the Legislature would be 
asked to inquire into the necessity of something being done by 
somebody to supply the existing want. If this were so, the city 
asked to be allowed to supply it according to the plan of their 
Commissioners. They came as beggars for a cup of cold wa- 
ter, and hoped that this slight boon — which they felt to be ne- 
cessary to their health, comfort and prosperity would not be re- 
fused. He should call no witnesses to this point of necessity. 
If it was to be examined in all its details the length of the legis- 
lative life would not suffice for the examination. Every inhabit- 
ant of the city might be put upon the stand. 

Mr. Warren said that he agreed that if this point was not 
made out, that there was no case for the petitioners — but he 
should take it for the present as settled that this was a great pub- 
lic necessity, and that it was a great public object, for the bene- 
fit of one-seventh of the people of Massachusetts, that something 


should be done, in some way, and by somebody to relieve this 
necessity. He said that to grant the prayer of this petition was 
the thing to be done, that it was to be done in the way recom- 
mended by the Commissioners, and by this Legislature. 

The only remaining question then was as to the expediency of 
this plan. But what was this question really? The expediency 
of what was to be examined ? Not the expediency of involving 
the Commonwealth in an enterprize without counting the cost ; 
not of supplying a want of the people at the expense of the 
State ; but simply of conferring certain authority on one of the 
municipal corporations of the Commonwealth, for a purpose 
which was felt to be necessary. He was not aware that he 
should be met by the assertion that this was a singular power, or 
that it would be wresting the authority of the vState to an improper 
or doubtful purpose ; but to show that the powers asked had 
been granted again and again to the people of the Common- 
wealth, he referred to the act of incorporation granted to Luther 
Eames and others, for the Jamaica Pond Aqueduct in 1795, a 
period of fifty years since, (Special Laws, 2 vol. p. 19.) This 
power had not been confined to the City of Boston. It was ex- 
tended in 1796, to the town of Greenfield, (Special Laws, 2 
vol. p. 93.) There was another case in 1837, (Statutes 1837, 
p. 160) giving power to the Cambridgeport Aqueduct to lay 
pipes, take and hold land, &c., just as the city now wished to 
do, and the damages were to be assessed according to the 116th 
chapter of the Revised Statutes. 

Now before considering this subject further, and without look- 
ing into the nature of the objections to this project, or asking 
who were its opponents, he would ask the Committee if this was 
not the situation of the petitioners. The water was wanted — 
the city was the party to bring in the supply — at its own expense 
— without asking the Commonwealth for one farthing. It had 
settled down on a project, and declared in favor of it deliberately 
and advisedly, by a vote of three fourths of those who chose to 
vote. Who then should gainsay it in this matter ? Would the 
Committee or the Legislature object on the ground that it was a 
hazardous speculation that the city ought not to undertake ? 
Would they take the city under guardianship and undertake to 
direct the form of its enterprizes .'' If it asked for railroads, 
would they bid it invest its money in ships — or if it wished to 
manufacture cotton would the Legislature overlook its judg- 
ment and compel it to manufacture pins ! The citizens were 
not the wards in chancery of the Legislature, with their judg- 
ments under its care and protection. They were able to judge 
for themselves ; and if the Legislature undertook to look into 
the details of this matter at all, aad to base its decision upon the 

idea of controlling the judgment of the citizens as to the pru- 
dence and expediency of the plan, it would be establishing a 
principle which could not be carried out without the greatest in- 
convenience. If the object was a worthy, necessary and pub- 
lic object, — if it was not indeed a praiseworthy and necessary 
one, let us attain it in our own way, so far as our means went and 
we trampled upon no man's rights. A municipal corporation 
was even less to be dictated to in such a matter than individuals ; 
what it had deliberately decided upon was to be held prima facie 
to be a wise and proper course. If the Committee knew the 
waters of Long Pond to be poisonous, and not to be drunk with- 
out death or danger, of course they would not give the power 
asked ; but he might assume that neither the Committee or Leg- 
islature knew whether this was the best plan or not, and it was 
safe to leave the c:ty to judge. 

Then as to the expense. The city wanted the water and the 
city would be obliged to pay for it. Suppose it would cost ten 
millions more than was proposed, the Legislature need not be 
concerned, for the money would not go out of the Common- 
wealth. But this case had no such features of recklessness. The 
city was now taxed for 130 or 140 millions of property. Of 
this the citizens were willing to expend 2 or 2| millions for this 
purpose. They said that they were satisfied that the work could 
be done for that amount ; tliei/ said so who would alone suffer 
by the result of an erroneous estimate. To refuse the powers 
asked from a doubt that the ciiy ought to bear this expense, 
would be reducing Boston to a state of pupilage ; stultifying its 
citizens by saying that its opinions thus deliberately formed were 
worth nothing. 

It was next to be considered that this plan must be carried 
out or nothing could be done. In this might be seen one reason 
for so strong a vote in its favor. It was a great subject, on 
which much required to be done before a result could be obtain- 
ed. The people were united upon the great subject, but there 
would always be on such occasions various plans and projectors. 
And so in this case, whenever one source had been proposed, 
the friends of all others rose up against it ; and in the considera- 
tion of Spot Pond and Long Pond, and Charles River, Dug 
Pond, Punkapog Pond, and Neponset River, and discussions as 
to whether each contain six animalculae or five and a half, and 
arguments for and against every stream or pond, whether stag- 
nant or otherwise, within twenty miles of the city, might be 
found a reason for the series of vexatious disappointments with 
which the history of that matter was full. The people were 
now tired of this want of concentration of effort, and with six 
surveys before them, made by distingushed men, with the results 

of information gathered together by the authority of successive 
City Governments, with the benefit of ample discussion and de- 
liberation, they now said that they had settled down upon this 
point and would have the water from this source. There could 
be no doubt that this was the deliberate opinion of the citizens of 
Boston. They were to pay the expense of the work, and they 
had not decided upon it without every opportunity for forming a 
correct judgment. If they were wrong they must be responsible 
for their own negligence. 

Who were the remonstrants against this project ? First, 
there were some who said that their pecuniary interests would be 
injuriously affected by the grant of such powers as the Legisla- 
ture was asked to confer upon the city. Such suggestions ought 
to be respectfully heard. The city wished to lay no strong 
hand upon the property or rights of others, and did not ask the 
Legislature for assistance in any such purpose. But the extent 
of such injury could not be examined there. The city desired 
to make the most ample remuneration for all property they might 
take, all damage they might cause. They wished no help from 
the Legislature to drive sharp bargains ; but this was no place to 
decide what the damages in each case would be. The Legisla- 
ture would name the tribunals which would decide these points, 
and the city would abide their decisions. 

Who else were the remonstrants. There were some 5 or 600 
citizens of Boston.* The signatures had been obtained to 
printed forms, and with the usual industry exerted for such pur- 
poses, and with the full assistance of that class of busy men who 
like to gain importance by carrying about petitions. He had 
said that these remonstrants, who felt that their property and 
rights were to be attacked, were entitled to a respectful hearing. 
These stood on a very different footing. He meant no disre- 
spect to the individuals, or to their rights, or their mode of exer- 
cising them ; — but he did say that when a town had acted on a 
mooted question as Boston had done upon this, when it had 
come to a decision in an open and legal manner, upon a matter 
in which every citizen was concerned, — that if gentlemen who 
had found that they had failed to convince their fellow citizens 
when they had the matter under consideration, then came up to 
the Legislature — by hundreds and not by thousands — he would 
not say that they ought not to be heard, but if a deaf ear were 
turned to them no one could not complain. They had had their 

*This was about the number at the time this opening was made. More sig- 
natures were obtained during the time occupied by the hearing, and the report- 
er believes the number of remonstrants from the city by the time the case 
was closed before the Committee to have been nearly double the number here 


day of opposition and had failed. This was not an extreme case 
of mob violence, or thoughtless radicalism to be guarded against, 
for it was one of the pleasant circumstances with regard to this 
matter, that it was the result of the movement of no particular 
class. There no occasion to raise a clamor of poor against 
rich or rich against poor. This was not the project of mer- 
chants alone, or mechanics alone, or of any class alone, but all 
had united on what they considered the common good of all. 

He would willingly admit that if this measure had prevailed 
simply by a majority of one or two or ten the minority might 
well appeal and ought be heard. But these remonstrants were 
not replying to a still small voice, they were resisting an over- 
whelming flood. Nothing had been done in this matter in disre- 
gard to the rights of any part of the community, and these 
remonstrants could not be heard with any degree of favor here 
unless this was to be a place of appeal for minorities against ma- 
jorities and where any party dissatisfied with the result of any 
question of City Government might come to have that question 
tried over. The true course would be for the Legislature to 
tell the people of the city to settle these questions among them- 
selves before coming there. The Legislature could not adjudi- 
cate upon these family quarrels. 

Who were the next class of remonstrants .'' They were 
gentlemen owning land in East Boston who objected to having 
that part of the city bear any part of the expense of the pro- 
posed work. If they were serious in this objection it showed a 
poor conception of the duties of a good citizen. But if the 
objection were tenable it would lie against every city tax. As 
well might a man who should choose to live in the cupola of 
that building object to the project because the water would not 
reach his abode. It would be a monstrous doctrine to maintain 
that every part of land in the city must be individually benefited 
by every public expense or the owner was not liable for its tax. 
As well might persons without children object to paying their 
share of the school tax. The remonstrants seemed to be for- 
getful that what was for the benefit of the corporation is for the 
benefit of all. The city pays for the lights, pavements and 
engines at East Boston. He might as well say that as he was 
not benefited by the engine at East Boston, he would save his 
three cents paid towards its support. 

Who were the next class of remonstrants .'' They were gen- 
tlemen afraid of being overtaxed, and on this point every man 
had a right to be heard, and the Legislature was bound to be 
careful of the interests of all. But property was well repre- 
sented by this petition. Five ninths of the voters of Boston 
pay a property tax. This then was no foray of the poor against 

die rich. This class of remonstrances was not to be heard. 
The people of Boston came in a body, and threw themselves at 
the feet of the Legislature, askins; a simple boon. Never was 
(here a more considerate regard for individual rights. He be- 
lieved indeed that a vast proportion of the wealth of the city- 
was in favor of the jjroject. The condition was self-imposed, 
that those who used the water should pay for it. There was no 
proposition to tax farther than that. The petitioners asked that 
they might have the water upon paying for it. They were 
willing that the condition that those who used it should pay, 
should be guarded as strongly as the Legislature saw fit. They 
had no objection that the water rents sliould be pledged to the 
holders of scrip, so that no power on earth could deprive cred- 
itors of that lien, or release the users of the waier from that 
debt. He would not contend that at first the rents would pay the 
whole interest, though there was no doubt that they would even- 
tually. Un this ground he might refer them to the opinions of 
Mayor Eliot on the subject and the example of Philadelphia. 
If the income in New York had not been sufficient, it arose from 
peculiarities in the circumstances attending her works to which 
he need not then advert. 

It was said that this was a time of great excitement, and that 
great efforts had been made. Excitement and efforts about 
what ? Why, about bringing in water at the expense of those 
who were to use it, which had been determined upon by a vote 
of 7000 to 1000. How was this excitement got up and by 
whom .'' If the citizens did not want the water it was singular 
that they should ask for it. Great efforts had been made, be- 
cause it was a great object. The remonstrants also made great 
effort — if they had not it would show they were indifferent — 
and the result was three to one against them. The printed form 
of remonstrance stated that the plan was proposed " without 
regard to the magnitude of the expense." How did they know 
this ? What right had they to say it ? There was a degree of 
assumption in taking this ground rather remarkable, and one 
petition said that it was "hastily" proposed. He might recur 
to the whole history of the movement to show that there had 
been no haste, and now that the Council were acting under the 
instruction and express direction of the citizens, voting deliber- 
ately upon the proposal, and sending the Mayor and others of 
their body to urge its acceptance here, and employing counsel to 
support it, and this was called hasty action. What time would 
satisfy these remonstrants ? It appeared that the city had been 
striving for this object since 1795, and was no nearer to it now 
than then, and yet it was accused of acting in a hurry. 
A r^ipaining class of remonstraots consisted of persons already 


well supplied with water. We were told that seven out of the 
3000 wells of the city furnished water that would wash. The own- 
ers of these probably voted against the project. Others did not 
care for a little chalk and a few animalcules. Others left the 
city and did not have to drink it at the season it was most injur- 
ious. Others did not have their washing done at home. But to 
all this class of remonstrants we might say, that if any man ob- 
jected because he was not in want of the water himself, he was 
entirely forgetful of the duties of a good neighbor, and shewed a 
selfishness which was unworthy of the privileges of the commu- 
nity in which he lived. And he might tell all such, that if ihey 
now felt no compunction for such selfishness, they might soon 
feel it, when as repeatedly happened, from the digging of new 
wells, their own sources of supply became worthless. 

Many of the signatures to these remonstrances were those of 
that class of people who sign anything. They discharged 
important duties, and were often called to exercise them. Those 
who knew anything of such papers would make an allowance of 
a large per centage for these persons. 

Another ground of objection was from those who, though they 
wanted water, and sincerely wished that it might be introduced, 
thought that it had better be done by a private corporation than 
by the city. This question he did not propose to discuss. It 
was a proper ground to be taken before the people of the city, 
and it had been so taken, and failed. They could not now ask 
the Legislature to advise, but must ask it to say to the citizens ; 
You shall not do this thing, but others shall do it for you. [Mr. 
Warren then cited a passage from Mayor Eliot's message in 
1839 (City Document for 1S39, No. 10) urging that it was better 
that water should be introduced by the city than by a private 

This course might, or might not be best, but the citizens 
were the best judges. 

These were the principal objections to the prayer of the peti- 
tion. They did not shake the case of the petitioners. There 
was a want that must be supplied, unless the Legislature would 
abandon its care for the interests of its constituents. Who then 
should supply this want .'' The city did not come here for pur- 
poses of speculation. It asked no money of them. It had con- 
sidered the matter and wished to do it in a certain way. This 
might cost the sum estimated, or more, but the Legislature need 
not investigate that, because the city would have to pay. This 
was their case. They did not ask the Legislature to examine 
the estimates then, but if the remonstrants chose to say they 
were enormous and preposterous, and that the citizens ought to 
be sent away as fools incapable of understanding their interests 


or disregardful of maintaining tiiem, and made that out, they 
must abide the consequences. Whatever proof they might put 
in, on these or other points, he beUeved the city was prepared 
to meet. 

Mr. Warren then put in the certificate of the City Clerk to a 
copy of the votes on the four propositions, and the city records 
which had been cited. 

After some conversation about the order which should be 
adopted, with regard to arguments and evidence, the Committee 
adjourned to Monday afternoon, February 10th. 

Fourth Day. Monday^ February lOi/i, 1845. 

After some farther discussion with regard to the order of busi- 
ness, E. H. Derby, Esq. proceeded to open the case on the part of 
the remonstrants. He said that he did not intend to fritter away 
time by the introduction of evidence in detail, but was prepared 
to meet the case upon its merits. His evidence would be taken 
chiefly from the mouth of the city itself, and he would hand to 
the Committee a number of documents, to which he should refer 
them, and which he wished to consider in the case. These were : — 

All the City Reports on the subject of W^ater. 

Two Western Rail Road Reports, January 1S41 and 1S43. 

List of persons taxed in Boston, in 1839. 

Mr. Coffin's statement of repairs and income of the Croton 

Mr. Wilkins's Pamphlet. 

City Document, No. 24. 

Water Reports of 1837, '38, and '39. 

Illustrations of the Croton Water Works. 

Report of Loammi Baldwin, 1834. 

Report of the Commissioners, 1837. 

Description of the Croton Aqueduct, by Jarvis. 

All the Reports on the subject of the Croton Aqueduct, by 
the Engineers of that work. 

Letter from J. P. Hasty, Engineer of the Croton Aqueduct. 

Statement of evidence before the Legislative Committee, 
printed in 1839. 

Letter from Hinkley and Drury on the cost of steam engines. 

Letter from Cyrus A.lger to the City Government. 

Report of Robert H. Eddy, jr. 

Copy of a vote to print the Reports of the two Water Com- 

S. M. Felton's Report. 

Mr. Wilkins's addition to his pamphlet. 

The New York Herald of Oct. 9 and Dec. 24, 1S44. 

Mr. Derby read the remonstrance of Jonathan French and 
217 others, and then proceeded to say that he was not the advo- 


cate of any particular pond or other source as opposed to Long 
Pond, but he represented the remonstrants from the city, — who 
now numbered 600, and he hoped before the end of the hearing 
would be not far from 1000, — and the town of Framingliam. 
The city remonstrances came from Merchants' Hall and the In- 
surance offices, protesting against what they considered an inva- 
sion of private rights, and he proposed to show by the schedule 
of property taxed in the city in 1843, that these remonstrances 
represented a large proportion of the wealth of the city. The 
whole number of voters in the city at the time of the last elec- 
tion was over 19,000. The largest number of votes ever thrown 
was about 13 or 14 00. Now by the schedule above referred to it 
would appear that, — 176 individuals paid $172,000 in taxes upon 
30 millions of real estate ; 2200 individuals own over $90,000,000 
and 4 073 individuals own $107,000,000, while the residue of 
the taxable properly was only $10,000,000, the whole being 
$117,000,000. If then you should deduct from the 19,000 
voters whose name are on the ward lists, the 4073 who pay the 
taxes on the $107,000,000 of property, there would still remain 
nearly 15,000 voters who pay little more than the poll tax. 
[Mr. Derby stated in reply to a question from one of the Com- 
mittee, that he had no means of showing which way persons vot- 
ed upon the water question, or whether those who voted were 
the poll tax voters to which he referred.] 

He represented a large proportion of the wealth and property 
of the city, men who anticipated a failure if this great Work was 
commenced, and who if it resulted in the manner a similar work 
had in New York, would be obliged to pay the interest on the 
outlay, which they believed would add 50 per cent, to their 
taxes. They believed that the action taken in this matter had 
been precipitate and founded upon erroneous statements ; and in 
order to show that the citizens had acted unadvisedly, he pro- 
posed to ))rove that notwithstanding the Common Council had 
voted to distribute together the Reports of the Water Commis- 
sioners of 1833 and 1844, one of which was in favor of Spot 
Pond as a source, and the other of Long Pond, the latter only, 
which was in favor of Long Pond was circulated before the elec- 
tion, and the former was kept back until after the vole was tak- 
en. He believed that this fact had great bearing upon the de- 
cision, and that in consequence of it the citizens had voted in the 
dark upon the propositions. 

This was not a matter in which the popular will was decisive 
upon the subject of a popular want. The city was not associated 
together, or clothed with municipal authority, for such a purpose 
as the l)u Iding of aqueducts. Thei-e were other necessaries of 
life which it might as well undertake to supply, as water. There 


were air, light, heat, clothing. Next year the city might come 
in there and ask for powers, under a vote of the citizens, to carry 
out some new project for supplying heat and gas from the interior 
of the earth ; or to borrow money at four per cent, to supply 
clothing for the poor, that the manufacturers need not charge 
them tliirty per cent. 

Where were the minority, in such a case, to find a refuge, if 
not with the Legislature ? That was the high court of appeals 
which was to stand between the minority and the majority for the 
protection of the rights of the minority. The counsel had spok- 
en of this merely as an investment, and had said that the money 
was to be spent by the City of Boston, and spent at home. But 
were not the Legislatnre the guardians of capital ? Was it not 
to consider carefully before enlarging the powers of an existing 
corporation ? Was not the State interested ? Boston was a 
part of the State, and the Slate was interested in every village 
and every villager. The guardianship of capital which the Leg- 
islature holds was shown by its establishment of Savings Banks ; 
it was a fundamental princi|)le of civilized policy, and the Slate 
would not look on and see the City of Boston waste its capital. 

This was spoken of as a small requisition ; it was said that 
" a cup of cold water" only was asked for. But it was for all 
of Long Pond, Sudbury River, and the Middlesex Canal. In 
one sweeping request, it asked for lake, river and stream. The 
city came there without defining the limit or the expenses of its 
proposed operations. Tt only named its termini ; Boston on the 
one hand, and Long Pond and Sudbury River on the other. 
There was no plan of the route, — no statement of what roads 
were to be crossed ; the Committee could not know even that 
churchyards were not to be disturbed. It was a bold and start- 
ling proposal, at variance from all other calls of the kind for leg- 
islative aid. If a road or street was to be laid out, it must have 
submitted clear and accurate plans. But here was not even a 
calculation of income to show whether the work would pay. He 
had called for the production of a detailed plan of the route, and 
nothing was produced but the sketch attached to the Commis- 
sioners' Report, published by the city. Was it not the duty of 
the city to have submitted accurate surveys and plans, with ac- 
curate calculations of cost and income ? Here was nothing but 
a request for a roving license to pass through a certain part of the 
State with an aqueduct, and nothing definite by which the good 
or evil of the plan could be judged. 

The only proof of the public want that had been offered, was 
the popular vote. Nothing had been said of the three thousand 
tenants supplied by the Jamaica Pond aqueduct, and from the 
opening of this case no one would have known that there was 


now any aqueduct in Boston, and yet the Croton aqueduct only 
supplied nine tiiousand tenants out of three times as many inhab- 
itants as Boston liad. 

The Legislature was now called upon to exercise the power of 
eminent domain. It was necessary that a great public exigency 
should be shown, and that then the Committee should strike the 
balance between that exigency and the evils which occur in satis- 
fying it. He (Mr. Derby) did not understand that the exigency 
had been at all established, or that any sufficient evidence had 
been adduced to make out this part of the case ; but he should 
nevertheless analyse the matter somewhat farther, that the posi- 
tion of the question might be fully understood. 

It had been said that the income would be pledged to meet the 
expense of the work. But those whom he represented did not 
believe that there would be any income, and therefore such a 
pledge would be no protection. Some caution was certainly 
necessary to protect the pecuniary interest of those concerned. 
To show that they were not sufficiently cared for by the proposed 
project, since the counsel for the petitioners had gone into no 
particulars, he should put into the case the report of the City 
Water Commissioners in 1844, in which the Long Pond project 
was developed. Upon this project he wished to make some 
general remarks, which he should attempt to support by proof- 
He should maintain that the city would not require for a whole 
generation to come, so large a supply of water as that proposed 
to be introduced from Long Pond. That water could be intro- 
duced from nearer and better sources, and of superior quality, 
at little more than one-tenth of the expense that would attend the 
proposed project. That this might be done by the enterprise of 
a private corporation, which would take the risk, and yet give 
tlie city a right to assume the benefit of the work upon fair 
terms ; and in the charter of this corporation, conditions might 
be introduced for free hydrants, and the use of the water in case 
of fire. That the city was constantly changing its position, the 
inhabitants moving out into the suburbs, and street after street 
changing from dwelling houses to places of business. That mod- 
ern arts and improvements dictated the use of pipes of iron in- 
stead of a conduit of brick or masonry. That the price of 
iron was decreasing, while that of earth work and mason work 
was advancing. That the expense of the annual repairs of an 
aqueduct of iron pipes would be far below that of one of masonry. 
He would not trouble the Committee with the whole descrip- 
tion of the proposed aqueduct, as it was to be found in the Com- 
missioners' Report of 1844. It was to consist of an aqueduct 
of masonry, to bring the water from Long Pond to Corey's Hill. 
It was to be built of brick, with two breaks or gaps of iron pipe 


to cross vallies. This was the plan which was submitted to tlie 
citizens, and under which the city was acting. It was in the re- 
port of Nathan Hale, Patrick T. Jackson, and James F. Bald- 
win, and the plan accompanying that report was the only one 
which was presented to show the course of the jiroposed aque- 
duct. It was so small that it was nearly impossible to criticise it. 

The action upon this matter had been most precipitate. The 
city had not the benefit of full experience upon this subject. It 
was well known that Railroads had generally cost triple their esti- 
mate. There had already been one aqueduct built in New York, 
and the city might have sent to New York for the Chief Engineer 
of that work, and got his estimate of the cost of this, with the 
benefit of his full experience. But they had neglected to do this. 
It was customary in preparing estimates for any public work to 
employ a person conversant with the business. But what had 
the city done ? They had taken two Railroad Directors and a 
Railroad Engineer for Commissioners, and had relied upon their 
estimates ; and there were such serious differences and errors to 
be found in comparing these with the cost of the work on the 
Croton aqueduct, that he felt bound to call the attention of the 
Committee to them. 

There never was such a masonry aqueduct as this proposed 
constructed before, and the Commissioners' Report of IS.37, 
(p. 29,) signed by two of the same Commissioners who now 
recommended this plan, acknowledged that they "cannot speak 
of it" (the brick structure,) " with the entire confidence we can 
speak of an iron pipe, because we are not aware that any work, 
precisely similar to either of them, has ever been constructed 
and proved experimentally to answer the end designed," which 
was enough to show that they were not properly informed, and 
that the action of the city was precipitate. Such a shell of brick 
work as this proposed, for such a purpose, resting on an embank- 
ment of from thirty to thirty-six feet high, was without precedent 
in ancient or modern times. 

Mr. Derby then proceeded to describe, in some detail, the 
structure of the Croton aqueduct, and then to argue that the struc- 
ture proposed by the Commissioners for the Long Pond aqueduct 
was not strong enough, and that their estimates were insufficient. 
He then went on to illustrate the precipitate action of the City of 
Boston, in this case, by comparing it with that of New York, with 
regard to the Croton aqueduct ; showing that the latter was made 
under the superintendence of the State ; that the original esti- 
mates of its cost proved insufficient ; that the income had not 
come up to that which was expected ; and that the annual ex- 
pense for its repairs had exceeded the estimates. He then urged 
that if the income here were no greater in proportion to the num» 


ber of inhabitants, than it was in New York, and the expenses 
were in the same ratio, the annual receipts would be only $34,000, 
the expenses $IG.500, and that consequently the net income 
would be only $16,500, or the interest on about $275,000. 

The number of persons who would take the water was much 
exaggerated. That of the Jamaica l^oiid aqueduct was not taken 
by one in three of the persons in Washington street, whose houses 
its pipes passed ; and he believed that a large portion of the inhab- 
itants would not take the trouble of introducing this water into 
their houses, even if it were brought into the city free. 'J'he im- 
purities in the water now used in the city were only a little lime 
and a little salt. Were these very injurious ? Could the human 
body live without salt? and lime might be really beneficial. The 
chemists told us that the bones of the body were made up of 
phosphate of lime, and if we got a little with our water, it could 
not be very deleterious. He understood that no case of the dis- 
ease of stone or gravel, which was that supposed to arise from 
these mineral substances in water, had originated here for a series 
of years. 

Mr. Derby proceeded to examine the damages which would 
be caused by the proposed work, arguing that the estimates 
therefore were insufficient. The freight to and from the village 
of Saxonville was 8 millions of tons a year, all of which was 
founded on the water power derived from Long Pond and Sud- 
bury River. Two factories had been built within the past year 
and were now in a highly flourishing condition. Forty buildings 
including a church and these factories had been erected within 
the same time. Would the $100,000 set down for land dam- 
ages more than pay for this village .'' It might pay Mr. Knight 
and the other holders of the water powers, but who was to pay 
the owners of the houses. Such consequential damage would 
not be compensated for by law, but ought not some compensa- 
tion be made? Only 10 years ago the Legislature inflicted a 
blow upon the town of Framingham by chartering the Worces- 
ter Railroad. It was now proposed to strike at its prosperity 
again and ought not the city to pay for the injury ? The city 
would not only take away the water power but destroy the prop- 
erly that depended upon it, and if this could not be restored by 
a jury it ought to be taken into consideration by the Legislature. 
Then there were the water powers at Billerica, Lowell, and 
Andover, and the interests of the Middlesex Canal to be 
provided for, and with all these he could not estimate the sum 
that would be required for water rights and land damages at less 
than $400,000. 

[At this point of Mr. Derby's remarks the Committee ad- 
journed to meet on Wednesday afierDoon.] 


Fifth Day. Wednesday ^ February 12, 1845. 

At the opening of the meeting of the Committee Mr. Derby 
gave way to Mr. Train, of Framingham, who commenced an 
argument to show that the town of Framingham would be injured 
by the proposed aqueduct. But it having been proposed by the 
Counsel for the city that they should probably agree to any 
statement of facts put in by that gentleman, the Committee di- 
rected Mr. Train to reduce to writing that which he intended to 
prove, and it was agreed that this statement, after being submit- 
ted to the Counsel for the city, should be put into the case. 

Mr. Derby then resumed his opening in behalf of the re- 
monstrants from the City of Boston, by recapitulating his argu- 
ment of Monday. 

Mr. Derby then proceeded to examine in detail the structure 
of the proposed aqueduct and the estimates of its cost, arguing 
that the structure was insufficient for the purpose and the esti- 
mates far too low. He urged that the slope of the aqueduct 
was not sufficient, and that the structure was too weak to sup- 
port the weight required, particularly on enbankments liable to 
sink or expand. As to the expense: — the N. Y. aqueduct had 
cost over ^100,000 per mile for construction while this was es- 
timated at only $27,500. Notwithstanding the flow of water 
would be less rapid in this than in the Croton, owing to the slope 
being less, the size of this was only about one-quarter of that, 
the area of the cross sections of the Croton being 42| square 
feet, while that of the cross sections of the Boston plan was 
less than 12 square feet. The estimate for ventilators, culverts 
and v/aste-weirs was insufficient, and that for the cost of bricks 
ought to be trebled. That for laying, sand, and puddling made 
no allowance for the increased expense which would arise from 
the sinking of embankments and was on too low a basis. There 
was no allowance for the increased expense of excavation and 
embankment if the surface of the pond should prove to be lower 
than in 1837, and yet the aqueduct must be made to meet the 
pond or the pond would have to be dammed up so as to meet 
the aqueduct, not much improving the water by flowing over 
peat-meadows. The estimate for excavation and embankment 
was too low and yet there had been no allowance made for 
the extra cost of back-filling and road crossing, or for the inci- 
dental expenses of filling, coffer dams, and pumping out of water 
which would be required in the course of the work. 

After examining in detail each of these points he gave the fol- 
lowing as his estimate of the cost of the work in place of that 
given by the Commissioners : — 
Water rights and land damages, ^400,000 

Brick aqueduct 16 miles, (at ^100,000 

per mile, which was cheaper than the 

Croton was built,) 1,600,000 


Excavation and embankment, 400,000 

Back filling, 100,000 

Staging, centering, pumping, founda- 
tions, &,c., 16,000 

Pipes and reservoirs west of Corey's 

Hill, as given by Commissioners, 81,000 

Expenses fiom Corey's Hill to Boston, 

also according to report, 382,000 

Distribution in the city, also according 

to report, 672,767 

made an aggregate of $3,651,767 

To which add ten per cent, for contingencies, 365,176 

And for the accumulation of interest during the 
construction of the work, which was 20 per 
cent, in New York, and might be estimated at 
the same here, ' 803,200 

and we should have as the aggregate of estimate, $4,820,143 
The subscribers for the water would of course not all take the 
water at once, and a very moderate period passing before income 
would be received, would raise the cost to five millions of dol- 
lars. To meet this there would be, if the calculations he had 
made from the New York receipts were correct, an income of 
but $16,000. 

Mr. Derby then proceeded to argue that there were other 
sources of supply which would be cheaper, urging that a private 
corporation was the proper body to provide this supply, but that 
if it was done by the city, the Legislature ought to restrict it to 
some reasonably moderate provision for its wants, and not allow 
it to calculate for a time so far distant, that the accumulation of 
interest upon the cost would make the expense enormous. He 
went into an analysis — in some detail — of the facilities of sup- 
plying the city, and the expenses of the several supplies from 
Charles River, Spot Pond, and Mystic Pond. He estimated 
the cost of introducing the water from Spot Pond, as follows : — 

Water rights, $60,000 

Seven miles of iron pipe, at $28,000 per mile, - 196,000 
Crossing Charles River, - - - . - 50,000 

Land Damages, 12,000 

Cost of distribution in Boston, [according to the re- 
port of Mr. Treadwell in 1825, (p. 31) which 
estimated 23 miles of pipe at $262,065, with 
the deduction of 1-3 on account of the reduced 
price of iron] 174,712 

Making a total of ---.,. $492,712 


The expense of Engineering, &c. might increase this sum to 
^500,000. There was no necessity for allowing for time and 
Joss of interest, because the pipes could be cast in four months, 
and it would only be necessary to tap the pond and lay them 
directly down and the work would be completed. 

As to Charles River, he referred to Mr. Wilkins's report to 
show that the water might be brought thence to great advantage 
and at small expense. If the water was brought from these 
sources there would be a reasonable prospect of income. The 
$16,000 which he had already estimated increased by the sav- 
ing of $12,000 which had been allowed for repairs of a brick 
aqueduct, would form an income of $28,000, and would be 
profitable on an investment of $500,000. 

As to security to be afforded against fire, either Spot Pond 
or Charles River would be more advantageous sources than 
Long Pond, because a higher head would be obtained. The 
progress of art indicated the propriety of using iron instead of 
stone, and he was surprised that the Commissioners who had 
recommended iron a few years since, when its price was high, 
should now when it was so much reduced, recommend masonry 
in its place, as it were, going back to barbarous times. 

The character of the streets of Boston was changing. Busi- 
ness buildings were increasing in many of them, while the popu- 
lation was decreasing and being drawn off into the suburbs. It 
would be in Brookline and Cambridge that the water would soon 
be wanted. If then this expense was entered upon, it would be 
equal to throwing away 4^ millions of dollars, which would in- 
crease taxes in the city 40 or 50 per cent. In the course of 20 
years, this would amount to a loss by the city of 12 millions, for 
an expense for that which is unnecessary was a loss. It was a 
proper exercise of the power of the Legislature to prevent this 
waste — which would be felt through the blow it would strike at 
the general prosperity of Boston — and to preserve the application 
of the capital proposed to be invested, for the purposes to which 
it ought to be applied. 

Mr. Derby here closed his opening remarks, and the Com- 
mittee adjourned to meet on Thursday afternoon. 

Sixth Day. Thursday^ February 13, 1845. 

Mr. Derby then commenced the examination of the witnesses 
for the remonstrants. 

Warren Nixon of Framingham. Is somewhat acquainted 
with Long Pond, has surveyed land in the vicinity of it, 1 drew 
the map which I hold in my hand ; a part of it I surveyed. There 
is woodland, I should think, on three-fourths of the distance 
about the pond. Some of it is decent sized wood, some of it 
small ; some of it considerably heavy. 


Mr. Nixon then showed the Committee by a pencil mark up- 
on the map, the basin which drained into Long Pond. There 
are 79 acres in the part of the pond which he surveyed, he sup- 
poses that there are 4 or 500 acres in the whole. There are 
two roads across the pond at different places, one is the Wor- 
cester turnpike, and the other at what was formerly called " the 
wading place." At these crossings the water is quite shallow. 
At the " wading place" the culvert is from 12 to 15 feet wide. 
It may be more but does not exactly know ; cannot tell exactly 
the width of the pond at the wading place. It is perhaps twenty 
or thirty rods. The causeway extends over most of this dis- 

Cross examined by Mr. Warren. Lives about 6 miles from 
the pond. Has had no particular reason for examining it. Mr. 
Knight employed him to set some marks around the meadows to 
show the extent to which the water would flow upon making an 
alteration of his dam — and afterwards he made some surveys in 
the neighborhood — can't tell the depth of the woodland about 
the pond. In some places it is very narrow, and in some it is 
much wider. The pond is in three divisions, and there is a cur- 
rent from the south to the north. Cannot tell what is the area 
within the pencil mark [showing the basin of the pond or the 
extent of country from which the water drains into Long Pond.] 
Cannot estimate it without going into a measurement and cal- 
culation. Attention has not been called to the subject till today. 

Henry Richardson, examined by Mr. Derby. Resides 
m Framingham, is a farmer and has been employed by Mr. 
Knight to purchase land. There is a good deal of meadow 
flowed by waters of Long Pond when it rises. I cannot say how 
much, my attention never having been called to it till today. I 
should say for a guess there were one hundred acres. There is 
a quantity owned by the Framingham company, and another 
quantity which I have purchased for Mr. Knight. We have 
given from ^75 to $125 per acre for it. One lot we bought for 
60 dollars. There is one peat meadow, in which I believe 
there is about 20 acres. It has been a good deal dug for peat. 
The water stands in the peat holes. 

On the Wayland side of the pond and down as far as to Na- 
tick, there is a good deal of wood on the borders of the pond — 
and so in the Framingham part. It does not run back so much 
as a quarter of mile, perhaps some places as much as 50 rods, 
in some only a few rods. Below the county road the margin is 
mostly meadow. I am not acquainted with the depth of the wa- 
ter. It is shoal in what is called the wading place, so far as I 
have observed. 

We had damage to pay last spring for flowing over the road at 


that place and one of the bridges had to be raised. Mr. Knight 
wished me lo examine what would be the consequence if he rais- 
ed the dam at the outlet two feet higher. I told him that the 
damage would be great and he would probably flow quite up 
into Sherburne. If the dam were raised two feet, we thought 
it would flow much meadow, and two travelled roads. The 
wash from these roads would go into the pond. We have very- 
few sheep in our neighborhood; but I don't know whether they 
wash them in the pond or not. I have not observed whether 
the quantity of water has increased or decreased in the pond 
since I have lived near it. 

By Mr. Hubbard. 1 made no estimate of the amount of land 
that would be flowed by raising the dam two feet. I only exam- 
ined far enough to decide that it was not for Mr. Knight's inter- 
est to raise it so. I should think if the dam were raised five feet 
it would flow as far up as the middle of the town of Natick. 

By Committee. The land about the woodland is a light san- 
dy pasture. The usual rise and fall I can hardly tell. I have 
seen it as much as two feet and a half above the bolt in the rock 
which is " water mark ;" this was a bolt put in to mark the level 
up to which the water might be kept in the pond by Mr. Knight 
by consent of the meadow owners. I have never been over the 
pond in a boat to ascertain the depth. 

[Mr. Warren stated that no proposal was made to raise the 
water higher than the present dam. 

tMr. Fuller of counsel for the remonstrants urged that if the 
water was not raised above its present height it would have to 
run up hill to Corey's hill.] 

JMr. Warren desired to ask one question of Mr. Richardson 
but he had left the house. 

Charles W. Cartwright (called.) Is president of the 
Manufacturers' Insurance Co. 

The lowest rate on first class risks of insurance in New York 
is 45 cents, in Boston 37^, being a difference of 33 per cent, in 
favor of Boston. In the grades below the difl^erence is 
greater in favor pf Boston. There is no deficiency of water in 
general in Boston to extinguish fires — sometimes there is in ihe 
outskirts. Salt water is as good as fresh for this purpose. An 
additional supply of water would not reduce risks much. If we 
had another supply, a head of 140 feet would be prefable to that 
of 120. 

By Mr. Bartlett. I have lived here 26 years. For gener- 
al purposes I believe it is generally considered that Boston is as 
well suppHed as almost any city with water. I do not know 
about the supply of water at South Boston. 

The premiums in N. Y, now are very much lower than they 

were at the time just after their great fire. The number of losses 
paid and the breaking up of many offices at that time temporarily 
raised the premiums. 

The question being asked "Do you know of any exigency for 
bringing water from Long Pond .'"' Objection was made that 
this course of examination might be carried to an unlimited ex- 
tent, and that the witness had expressed his opinion by signing 
a remonstrance. 

The Chairman of the Committee suggested that this kind of 
evidence could add nothing to the testimony furnished by the re- 

J\Ir. Fuller^ urged that at least such questions might be 
asked in behalf of the South Boston remonstiants. 

The Committee were willing that such questions should be 
asked of a few intelligent witnesses, but it must not be carried 
to an unreasonable extent. 

Examination continued. Witness believed that some sec- 
tions of ihe city might need more water. But he did not think 
that there was now an exigency — or that Long Pond was the 
best source. 

Cross-examined by Mr. Warren. Had no other interest in 
this subject than other citizens have. Had read most everything 
printed on the subjeet. Had nbt read the memorial of Wards 
eleven and twelve ; had made no particular inquiries about the 
city in this regard. Boston rates of insurance on furniture 
are 40 cents — don't know N. Y. rates — I compare our rates of 
Boston insurance with our own rates in New York. Ours 
there are the same as the N. Y. rates. We have an agent in 
N. Y. ; Mr. Asa Bigelow. I do not mean to say that there is 
an ample supply of water against fire. That would be very 
strong language. I do not believe that a large additional supply 
would materially reduce insurance. Boston is better supplied in 
this regard than N. Y. was before the Croton. Cisterns for this 
purpose are built by the city constantly, and there is an annual 
appropriation for the purpose of extending them. I do not 
know the annual expense of the fire department. Should think 
it more than 5^50,000 per annum. I do not think it would ma- 
terially decresae the expense of the fire department to intro- 
duce 300,000 gallons of water a day. I should think that it 
would decrease the cost of the fire department $25,000. The 
amount of property exposed to injury by fire in the city is 
about 100 millions. I think the plan now proposed to be a very 
bad one. If the best plan could be found it might be a tolera- 
ble one. I am not aware that 1 have said more here than I said 
in my remonstrance. 


Direct examination resumed by Mr. Derby. A large part of 
the taxable property of the city is land not subject to injury by 

By Fuller. Notwithstanding the Croton rates of insurance 
have never got down so low in New York as they were before 
the great fire, the extreme rise of rates just after that was in part 
owing to the decrease in the number of ofiices. 

Caleb Eddy (called.) Has been agent of the Middlesex 
Canal, and the Merrimac River Canal, for about twenty years. 

The question being asked what was the price of brick suitable 
to an aqueduct — 

Mr. Pickering inquired whether the Committee thought it 
necessary to go into an inquiry as to the expense of mate- 
rials, &c. 

Judge Warren urged that even if the Committee should be 
satisfied that the Commissioners of the city had under-estimated 
the work, it would not affect their inquiry. They were not to 
act as a Board of Engineers for the city. A great part of the 
opening of the counsel for remonstrants went upon the ground 
that the report of the Commissioners was binding in every detail 
of the estimates upon the city. If this course of examination 
was entered upon, the city would not follow it up ; and counsel 
wished to be understood that although they did not interpose a 
legal objection, this course of investigation was not entered upon 
with their consent. 

Mr. Derby., said that this course of examination was intended 
to be short, and to show the delusion of the citizens of Boston 
in asking for this plan. He urged that the city was concluded by 
the report of the Commissioners, since that was the plan which 
had been supported, if any, by the popular vote. 

In reply to question from Chairman, Mr. Derby said : We 
expect to show a very different state of facts from that reported 
by the Commissioners- 
Mr. Bartlelt followed on the same side. The burden lay upon 
those making an application like this, to show that an exigency 
existed, and to show the extent of that exigency, and this Gov- 
ernment could not give a greater power than was needed. We 
then came to the question whether the scheme proposed was suit- 
able for the exigency — on this question the errors and the fallacy 
of the plan were proper subjects for examination. The popular 
vote was not conclusive. He was tired of hearing it maintained 
that the minority in a municipal corporation, in such a case, were 
concluded by the action at the polls. The rights of the corpo- 
ration were limited. When the majority went beyond those lim- 
its, the minority could come to the Legislature for protection. 

Judge Warren^ repeated the ground taken, and maintained 


that when the people of Boston had decided to enter upon a pub- 
lic work, they were the best judges of its expense and mode. 
To be sure the public exigency must be made out ; but he asked 
the Committee if the remonstrants did not admit the exigency. 
They did not dare to deny that the want existed, and if ihe want 
existed, the exigency was as great, whatever might be the cost. 
[Mr. Bartletl asked leave to explain that he conceded that there 
was a Want of water in parts of the city, and that he wished the 
Legislature only to exercise the power of eminent domain to the 
extent of the exigency.] Mr. Warren resumed. It was at- 
tempted to be proved that the city was under a delusion, and that 
only the six or seven hundred remonstrants were sane upon the 
subject. Why should the Committee presume that the city did 
not know what it was about. But the true view of the question 
was this : The law granting this power would undoubtedly be 
referred to the people for acceptance by its own force. These 
detailed inquiries would then be gone into in their proper place. 
The city did not fear these inquiries about the price of brick, &c. 
They were prepared, in the most conclusive manner, to sustain 
their estimates ; but it was clear that in every step of this exam- 
ination we were getting away from the true objects of legislative 

Mr. Bartlett urged that the minority had a right to be protected 
by the Legislature on the question of taxation. 

[The Committee decided to hear a witness or two, with the 
intention of stopping this course of examination when they should 
see fit.] 

Mr. Eddyh examination was continued, as to the structure, as 
to the expense, and as to the sufficiency of the supply. Mr. 
Bartlett said that he wished to show by this witness that the 
Commissioners had proceeded so carelessly in their examination 
and estimates, that the project was unworthy the attention of the 

[Mr. Eddy having been questioned as to other sources of 
supply of water, 

Mr. Pickerings on behalf of the city, again objected to the 
course of the inquiry. 

Mr. Hubbard urged that the city asked for two powers which 
it does not now have as a municipal corporation ; the one, the 
right to take lands of individuals for this aqueduct, on giving re- 
muneration in such manner as the Legislature might direct ; and 
the second, the right to tax the citizens of Boston for this pur- 
pose. In this view he maintained that this examination was 

The Chairman said that the case appeared to stand thus : It 
was admitted, on all hands, that there was some want, at least, of 


water ; the city asked for power to bring it from a particular 
source. It seemed to him, therefore, proper to go into evidence 
to a reasonable extent, to show that there were sources from which 
the water might be brought at less trouble and expense. It 
seemed to him that it would be sufficient for their purpose mere- 
ly to show that there were such sources, without going, on this 
question of expediency, into details.] 

Mr. Eddy''s examination was resumed, and he went on to give 
his views of the expediency of bringing water from Spot Pond. 
According to his recollection of the survey and project of his 
son, for bringing water from that source, the expense was esti- 
mated at four or five hundred thousand dollars, exclusive of the 
distribution. The cost of iron pipe has decreased since then. 
He believes the supply from this source would be as great as 
could be sold for a fair price for twenty years to come. The 
reason for this belief is, that many citizens have constructed, re- 
cently, large and expensive cisterns. He himself had one which 
had cost three or four hundred dollars. Mystic Pond alone would 
furnish a full supply for the city, according to his observation, 
in the dryest time. There was a great deal more water poured 
from its outlet, every year, than there is from Long Pond. If 
the wants of future generations should require more than Spot 
Pond, this would be an abundant and desirable source. Be- 
lieved the water of Spot Pond to be as good as any in the vicin- 
ity of the city. Its height is one hundred and forty-three feet 
over marsh level. [The question being asked whether he con- 
sidered it the part of wisdom to make an outlay for such a pur- 
pose, for future generations, was objected to, and the Committee 
decided that it should not be asked.] Spot Pond would furnish 
an ample supply for the higher levels for all time. 

In reply to questions from the Committee, Mr. Eddy stated 
the comparative heights of the different ponds named. Spot 

Pond was 140 feet, Mystic Pond feet, and Long Pond 

123 feet above. 

Cross-examined by Judge Warren. I don't know how many 
embankments will be needed by the Long Pond aqueduct. I 
have not measured the height. I have run my eye over the plan. 
I have not been on the ground. I have gone into no estimate as 
to the embankments required. Do not know how much stone 
work would be required. [The cross examination was continued 
for some time, to show — and Mr. Eddy said — that he had no 
further knowledge of the facts with regard to Spot Pond, and the 
introduction of water from it, than that which was in the various 
printed reports.] 

The Committee then adjourned to the next afternoon, Friday, 
at 3Je p. M. 


Seventh Day. Friday, February 14, 1845. 

Mr. Josiah Mams, of Framinghara, read the following state- 
ment of facts, as what the Fiamingham remonstrants had ex- 
pected to prove, if their witnesses had been examined, and these 
facts, so far as they would have been evidence, were admitted 
as such by the counsel for the city : 

" In the case of the City Council of the City of Boston, Pe- 
titioners to the Legislature for a charter to take water from Long 
Pond and other ponds and streams in Framinghara and other 
towns ; 

" The inhabitants of said Framingham, remonstrants against 
the granting of said petition, by their agents, state the following 
facts, which they expect to prove : 

The population of said town, by the census of 1840, was 3,030 
Tt is now believed to be at least 4,000 

The population of Saxonville is behoved to be 1,600 

The taxed polls in Framingham were in 1 840 689 

" " " " " 1844 876 

The valuation of property in Framingham was in 

1844, $1,474,010 

The taxable property in Saxonville is now valued at 

I part, - 491,336 

The amount taxea on real estate in Framing- 
ham in 1844, was |5,861 
The amount taxed on personal estate in 

1844, was 2,117 

The amount taxed on polls, in 1844 was 1,306 

The whole amount of taxes being $9,284 

The Highway tax is not included in the above. 
The taxable polls in Saxonville are now believed to be 360 

" The factories of the New England Worsted Company are 
in Saxonville on Sudbury river. They are of great value and 
are in a very prosperous condition. In the dry season they are 
much benefited by the right to take the water of Farm Pond. 
Over 400 operatives are now employed there. The amount 
paid them each month is over $7,000. Its manufactures of the 
last year amounted to ^550,000. 

" Mr. Knight's carpet manufactories, (consisting of four large 
buildings and several others) are also in Saxonville, and the wa- 
ter power is derived from the outlet of Long Pond. They are 
all in a very prosperous condition. Two of them have been 
built during the last year, and the foundation is laid for another. 
More than 200 operatives are employed ; additional machinery 
is procured and 50 more men are wanted with families to supply 
the additional demand. The business done for the last year has 

amounted to $200,000. The araoant paid the operatives per 
month is about $4000. 

" Many of the operatives in both these establishments are the 
owners of houses either purchased or built by themselves, and 
several of them have paid but a part of their cost, and depend on 
the labor in the factories of themselves and their families to pay 
the remainder which is secured by mortgage. There are many 
other dwellins: houses in Saxonville which depend for tlieir value 
on the prosperity of the factories. There are three religious so- 
cieties, two of which have houses of worship ; there are five 
prosperous stores, doins; a business of at least §90,000 annually. 

" About equidistant between Saxonville and the Centre Vil- 
lage is a grist mill, on Sudburv' river, with which is connected a 
saw mill and a plaster mill. This is also benefited by the wa- 
ter of Farm Pond. In the summer season this has ot'ten tor a 
long time been the only grist mill in the town which is supplied 
with water; and there is no other within several miles. 

" Within four miles of Long Pond are Learned's Pond, 
Farm Pond, Shakum Pond, Dug Pond, and Gleason's Pond, 
and Sudbury River. By a dam of 4 or 5 feet, the water of the 
river south of the village may be turned into Farm Pond, thence 
into Shakum Pond, and thence into Long PoijJ. The water of 
Learned's Pond may also be easily turned into Gleason's Pond, 
and thence into Long Pond. Such variations in the waters 
would much injure the owners of the adjacent lands. The shores 
of Long Pond are principally woodland, and it is believed that if 
the wood should be taken off the water would be diminished in 
the increased evaporation. 

" If both, or either of the manufacturing establishments should 
cease, the injuries to the town of Framingham and its inhabitants 
would be incalculable. A valuable market for the farmers in the 
vicinity would be lost and the value of real estate much dimin- 
ished. The wood used annually at both these establishments 
costs over $5,500 ; and the wood used by the inhabitants of 
Saxonville costs them as much as $3,500 annually. It is com- 
puted that the article of milk alone amounts to over $4,000 an- 
nually. Potatoes in very great quantities, find a ready market 
at 30' cents the bushel, and produce annually at least $2,400. 
Hay is a still more important article, as there are two lively sta- 
bles, and its annual consumption cannot be less than 53.000. 
The vegetables and the various other productions of gardens and 
farms are sold in great quantities to an amount which cannot be 
computed with much certaintj'. 

" The taxable property in Saxonville being $200,000, ex- 
excluding the factories, the loss to the owners, for which no 
remedy is provided by law, would be as much as $100,000. 


" The loss to the town in taxes annually, would amount to 
about $2,000, leaving out of the account the depression of prop- 
erty in the other parts of Framingham, which would be greater 
or less, in proportion to its proximity to the Saxonville market. 

" The waters of Long Pond, though deep in some places, are 
very shallow in others. The Worcester turnpike crosses it at 
one such place, and a county road at another ; which last was 
called the wading place before the road was made." 

Mr. Fuller of counsel for the remonstrants, continued the evi- 
dence by putting in a statement as to the cost of the Haarlem 
river bridge, viz : that the cost of the whole of section 86 of the 
Croton Aqueduct, which includes that bridge, would be by the 
estimate of the report quoted $931,000. [Semi-annual Report 
of New York Water Commissioners, January 6, 1845.] 

Mr. Fuller went on to read from p. 121 of same reports to 
show the necessity of larger reservoirs than those proposed by 
the Commissioners ; from pp. 422 and 423, to show large amounts 
paid for land and water damages ; from the previous report, July 
1, 1844, p. 138, to show that the Croton works had required 
repairs ; and from p. 139 to show the general necessity of re- 
pairs on public works ; from pp. 140 et segg. to show the na- 
ture of expenses, which arose upon such works after they were 

Mr. Fuller put into the case some specimens of water from 
Jamaica, Spot, and Long Ponds, and read a letter from Hinck- 
ley and Drury, of January 31, 1845, in answer to some inquiries 
of Mr. Derby with regard to the cost of steam engines to pump 
water, and of working them. 

Also, a letter from Cyrus Alger & Co. to the same, February 
5, 1845, with regard to the price of iron pipe. 

Also, a vote of the City of Boston, November 25, 1844, or- 
dering the printing of the Report of the Water Commissioners 
of 1844, and also that of 1837 for distribution. 

Mr. Nathaniel Goddard of Boston was then sworn. Ex- 
amined by Mr. Fuller. With the exception of seven years, has 
resided in Boston since 1783. Know very little about the wa- 
ter in South Boston, with the exception of a living spring in a 
hill, which formerly supphed a brewery with which he was con- 
nected. Some shipping was supplied from there then, although 
I believe the water boats now get their water from Chelsea. I 
never have heard that there was a want of water here for ship- 
ping. I and connected with Union wharf and Constitution 
wharf. I have dug a well on Union wharf, and with the aid of 
a bore and iron pipes we now have water there. 

At Constitution wharf, we have a well which has an abundant 
supply and fifty families are supplied by it. It washes very well, 


much better than the water of a well opposite, which is much 
of the time hard, and cannot be used for washing. [In reply 
to questions, Mr. Goddard mentioned several wells in different 
parts of the city, where the deep natural springs — when the 
" surface water " could be kept out — furnishes good soft wa- 
ter. Had never heard of any want of water at the North 
End, when they dug a well. I now live in Pemberton Square. 
There is no want of water there.] 

Cross-examined by Mr. Warren. I have never heard that 
there was any want of water for ships. They are mostly 
supplied from Chelsea. I don't know that they don't pay a 
little something for it. On Constitution Wharf, I locked the 
pump once for a few days, because I had no drain to carry 
off the waste water. Since I prepared that, there have been 
plenty of people there to get it. 

I dug three wells in Summer street, to accommodate dif- 
ferent parts of my establishment. I don't know exactly the 
expense of my well at Constitution Wharf. It must have 
been over $500. 

Mr. Isaac Livermore, (sworn.) Knew the Bath House 
estate well. It is a very good well, and Mr. Lawrence, who 
has recently bought the estate, gave leave to the neighbors 
to lay pipes to it for their supplies. I availed myself of it, 
and many people come now daily to use my pump. I should 
think I have seen as many as twenty while I am there each 
day, which is, however, but for a short time. 

Noah Brooks, (affirmed. ) Examined by Mr. Fuller. Lives 
near the centre of South Boston, and as far as he knows, the 
whole of South Boston is generally well supplied with water. 
Thinks no foreign supply of water is needed there. Be- 
lieves population of South Boston to be about 8,000. Springs 
abound about the shores of South Boston, and several of the 
boats that supply shipping with water, get it from South Bos- 
ton. There have been two men engaged in this business 
there, and there is one there now. I know of no want of 
water in South Boston. 

Cross-examined by Mr. Warren. I don't know how many 
reservoirs for water, against fire, there are in South Boston. 
Should think there might be seven or eight. 

Direct examination resumed. Have lived in South Bos- 
ton twenty-seven years. I don't know of any persons there 
who would be likely to take foreign water introduced there 
for their family use. It might be taken for factories. 

William Wright, sworn. Examined by Mr. Fuller. Has 
lived in South Boston, and now owns vacant lands there. 


Always had the impression there was plenty of water there 
by digging. So far as I am concerned I would not give any- 
thing to have more water introduced there. 

Jonathan Preston, sworn. Examined by Mr. Fuller. 
Lives in Boston ; has been in both branches of the City Gov- 
ernment of Boston, in the Council three or four years, and in 
the Board of Aldermen two years. Paving brick costs, on 
the average, from nine to ten dollars. Brick to carry water 
would be more costly, because some required for paving would 
not answer for a culvert. Brick for an aqueduct would be 
worth from ten to twelve dollars, delivered in Boston. Hy- 
draulic cement is worth three dollars a cask. I have had 
some experience in building brick structures. An earth foim- 
dation is not so secure as a stone one, for brick work. We 
attempt, in laying a heavy structure, to get a secure founda- 
tion for it. Artificial embankments of earth have a tendency 
to settle in the course of years. I only know this as a gen- 
eral matter, not having had occasion to build embankments. 
I voted to instruct the Mayor to present the petition on which 
we are now acting. The reason I did so was, that I am in 
favor of water from some source, and voted according to my 
judgment, and not according to popular instruction. I thought 
that there ought to be farther examination of sources. I did 
not think that the people ought to be prevented from petition- 
ing the Legislature. 

I examined the Report of the Commissioners on this sub- 
ject with as much attention as I had time to before acting on 
this subject — and I have examined it since. I and others 
thought there were other sources that ought to have been 
more fully examined and I think so still. I have my doubts 
whether the estimates of the Commissioners would cover the 
expense of the Long Pond project. I don't think the work 
they propose would be so perfect as the Croton works. 

By Committee. I think there is a want of water in the 
city — ^but I don't think so large a quantity is needed as the 
Commissioners estimate, because I do not think that so large 
a number of persons will ever live within the lines of the city 
proper as they have estimated ; the number of stores increas- 
ing in many wards and the number of dwelling houses de- 

By Mr. Bartlett. I think that the quantity of water 
which the report of the Commissioners estimates for Spot 
Pond, with the aqueduct now existing, would be sufficient 
for the supply of the city for many years. 

By Cojivmittee, I should have been inclined to apply to 


the Legislature for leave to bring in water had there been no 
popular action. I should not have wished to confine the in- 
quiry to one source. 

Cross-examined by Mr. Warren. I should prefer that 
the city should bring in water from Long Pond than that its 
bringing in should be delayed four or five years, if I felt 
perfect confidence in the estimates. 

Lemuel Shattuck. Sworn and examined by counsel 
for remonstrants. Have lived in Boston 11 years — was in 
the City Council from 1836 to '42. My attention has been 
directed to the subject of bringing in water, and I have a se- 
ries of reports both of Boston and New York on this subject, 
and I have made an examination of the population with 
view to its wants. I was one of the Committee employed 
to take the State census of the city in 1840, and I also have 
the United States census. I have prepared a paper contain- 
ing the facts with regard to the population and its changes, 
with my conclusion on the subject. Mr. Shattuck then read 
from this document.* 

With regard to the necessity of a supply of water 
he first went into an investigation of what districts are 
now supplied. He considered the supply from Jamaica 
Pond sufficient for the supply of the Avhole section of 
the city south of Essex and Boylston streets, supposing 
that the water it now furnishes to persons north of that line 
were transferred to the section south of it. Next he consid- 
ered South Boston and East Boston as within the supplied 
section, the latter because the water from none of the foreign 
sources proposed would benefit them. He estimated the 
whole population of Boston in 1840 to be 85,000 — correct- 
ing a supposed error in the United States census which states 
it at 93,382 by a comparison with the State census made 
the same year. If we deducted from this number 26,000 as 
the population of the supplied section (24,043 for the district 
south of Essex and Boylston streets and 1,957 for East Bos- 
ton and the Islands,) we should then have 59,000 persons 
who lived here in 1840, among whom if any the necessity 
existed. These are distributed in 6179 dwellings according 
to the last State valuation when there were 8,902 dwelling- 
houses in the city, if the same proportion of inhabitants to 
dwellings exists in all sections of the city. 

*The facts and arguments of this document have since been embodied and 
published in a pamphlet under the title of " Letters from Lemuel Shattuck in 
answer to interrogatories of J. Preston in relation to tlie introduction of water 
into the City of Boston." 


With regard to the probable increase of the want for wa- 
ter the witness made a calculation upon the number of ratea- 
ble polls (as being an approximate guide to the number of 
inhabitants) in each section of the city. He submitted the 
following table : — 

In 1840. In 1844. Increase. Per cent. 

Polls in the whole city, 17,696 22,339 4,643 26 

Polls in the ' Supplied Section,' 4,800 7,273 2,473 14 

Polls in other sections, 12,896 15,066 2,170 12 

It appeared from this statement, that the polls in the sup- 
plied section had increased 14 per cent.; 2 per cent, more 
than in all the rest of the city. Estimating the increase of 
the population to be 26 per cent., on 85,000, the same ratio 
as the increase of the polls, we should have an increase of 
22,100, or 107,100, for the present population of the whole 
city; 14 twenty-sixths of this increase, being 11,900, was to 
be added to the 26,000 in the supplied sections, Avhich would 
give them 37,900, and 12 twenty-sixths being 10,200 to the 
59,000, which would give 69,200 to the rest of the city. 
He urged that there was no probability of an increase of the 
population of the city in the section north of Boylston and 
Essex streets, although the business would increase in a 
rapid ratio. 

Mr. Shattuck then passed to the history of the Croton aque- 
duct, and read the following passage : 

" The project of bringing the water of the Croton River 
into the City of New York was surveyed several times, by 
different boards of engineers ; and, finally, after the most care- 
ful estimates of the expenses, it was submitted to the citi- 
zens, for their approval or disapproval, in April, 1835, under 
the positive assurance that the expense should not exceed 
$4,250,000 for the aqueduct, and $1,261,629 for distribution ; 
and ' that the income which would accrue to the city, from 
very low charges for supplying the water, would overpay the 
interest on the cost of the work.' The vote was taken in 
April, 1835, and 17,330 voted 'yes,' and 5,963 'no.' The 
project was prosecuted, and water was introduced into the 
city in 1842, though the work is not yet entirely completed. 
The debt incurred on this account, May 1, 1841, was $7,- 
949,377; May 10, 1842, $10,838,562. The public docu- 
ments of the City of New York give the following account 
since then : 


Jan. 1, 1843. Jan. 1, 1844. 

Paid Water ^C^missioners on Con- 1 ^7^900,790.24 $8,173,003.74 

" Water pipes and laying, 1,804,149.53 2,087,2-51.87 

" Interestto August 1, 1842, 1,577,459.43 1,577,459.43 

Specie to pay interest in 1837 and ) ^ 031 1 a o 831 18 

1638, 5 

Water loan expenses, 6,840.81 8,290.13 

Preservation of works during riot, 3,146.56 3,146.56 

Discount on sale of stocks, 647,157.32 647,157.32 

Total pajments at those periods, $11,942,375.07 $12,499,140.23 

On the 10th of August, 1844, the water debt was as follows : 

At 5 per cent. $9,285,232 Annual Interest, $464,261.60 

At 7 per cent. 2,000,000 " " 140,000.00 

At 6 per cent. 1,062,973 " " 63,778.38 

At 4 per cent. 288,693 " " 11,-547.72 

Total debt, $12,636,898 Annual Interest, $679,587.70 

" Prior to August, 1842, the interest on this debt was added 
to the principal, and constituted a part of the debt ; since then, 
it has been paid by a tax on the people. For the three past 
years there has been raised, by tax, about f 1,800,000 to pay 
interest, which, added to the !| 12,636,898, will make about 
$14,500,000, which the city has paid, or become liable for, 
on this account. And the work is not yet done." 

" This aqueduct was estimated to produce a ' handsome in- 
come' on the expenditure. The following statement, for 
1844, will show how far that estimate has been realized : 

The gross income from the water rents for 1844, 

was $102,600 

From which deduct the annual cost of 
maintaining the aqueduct from the 
Croton River to the city, about 25,000 

Repairs of hydrants, stop-cocks, breaks 

in water-pipes, tools, &c., about 25,000 

Salaries of the ' Croton Aqueduct Board,' 
consisting of twenty-six individuals, 
exclusive of laborers, 20,919 


Net income of the water rents for 1844, $31,681 

" This is equal to six per cent, on a capital of $528,016, or 
about one quainter of one per cent, on the investment ; not so 
very ' handsome income ' as some may desire on capital. 
There were in November, 8,644 water takers, which gives a 
net income of $3.66 each. 6, 175 of these water takers are for 

private dwellings, varying from $5 to $27 gross each. Of 
the miscellaneous takers there are 76 steamboats, averaging 
$74.04 each, and 118 steam engines, averaging $50.50 each, 
both producingl0,586 ; but a small portion of which could be 
obtained in Boston." 

Mr. Shattuck then put in the following table, exhibiting 
the aggregate valuation of property in Boston ; real, personal, 
and total ; the polls, the tax assessed, and the number of 
cents in each $100 valuation, at the different periods speci- 
fied : 


Real Estate. 

Pers'l Estate 

Total Valuat'n 



On $100 


$ 3,550,500 

$ 4,097,350 

$ 7,647,850 


$ 73,428,75 









2] ,687,060 













































































67,673,400 | 42,372,600 







1 46,402,300 





From this table it appeared that the whole tax of the city 
in 1830, was 40| cents on $100 of the valuation; in 1844, 
it was 60 cents. This was a proportional increase of 50 per 
cent. The taxes, in 1830, were $4.25 to each inhabitant ; 
in 1844, they were $7,00 nearly, showing about the same 
relative increase on the population as on the valuation. 

The direct examination of Mr. Shattuck was continued 
by Mr. BartleU. 

The Reports of the Commissioners, with the exception 
of Mr. Baldwin's, and that of all the Mayors, have always 
been in favor of Spot Pond. My impressions have always 
been that to bring water from Long Pond would be ruinous 
to the city. I have been satisfied that the excess of the 
annual expenses of that project over the receipts, would be 
$200,000. I think Spot Pond would be sufficient for more 
than twenty years, from the view I have given that the in- 
crease of population in the unsupplied portion of the city 
must be small. 

Cross-examined by Mr. Pickering, I consider the inhab- 
itants who are supplied, to be 


The population of wards 10, 11, and 12, 21,762 inhabitants. 

One-third of ward 9, (between Essex 

and Beach streets,) 2,281 " 

Part of ward 4, (East Boston and Isl- 
ands,) 1,957 « 

Total supplied district, 26,000 inhabitants. 

I learn from Mr. Dexter that the Aqueduct Company supply 
3,500 tenants, 3,000 of whom are supplied perfectly, and 500 
imperfectly. 2,000 of those perfectly supplied, live South of 
Essex and Boylston streets, and the other 1,000 North. I 
estimate that if the water now used by these 1,000, and the 
600 imperfectly supplied, were transferred to the South of the 
line indicated, this aqueduct might be considered sufficient to 
supply that South portion for a long time. 

Allen Hinckley, examined for remonstrants by Mr. Hub- 
bard. Has care of Boston Aqueduct Company's works. The 
map before the Committee contained the routes of the logs of 
that company. There is not a full supply of water in the 
extreme north part, beyond Stillman street. They get water 
pretty well on the new made land by the Lowell rail road. 
We have about 3,500 customers — 3,000 well supplied and 
500 not fully supplied. 

Cross-examined by Mr. Warren. We do not limit our 
subscribers closely if they can get the water — we require 
great care that the water shall not be wasted — we charge ac- 
cording to the size of the family — 5 persons $10 and so up 
to $15. We have'nt raised the prices since I have known 
about them. We have raised on the Worcester rail road. I 
presume we have doubled. I don't know that the company 
have told that rail road that they cannot give it all the water 
it wants. Around Winter street and West street they get 
water pretty well. In Franklin place they get it pretty well. 
I know that recently it failed for a fortnight. There are al- 
ways complaints. The bills read that there will be a deduc- 
tion when the water fails for over three weeks. We laid a 
pipe to supply the Tremont House, but the water after a 
time failed to run through it. 

Direct resumed by Mr. Derby. There are some houses 
which are fully supplied all the time. 

Cross-examination resumed. A part of the time last sum- 
mer all our customers were supplied. Complaints come from 
people in Tremont street, between West and Boylston streets, 
but generally from the defects of their own pipes. The sup- 
ply at the North End is not large, it was injudicious to extend 


the enterprise so far. Last year the supply was cut off in 
some streets for a fortnight by the gates being shut down. I 
have known the water in the pond so low that it would not 
run into the pipes, and I have known it some nine feet 
above. The Jamaica pond is fed principally by springs. 
There is only one stream running into it, but it does not run 
into it ail the time. 

The Committee then adjourned to Monday, P. M. 

Eighth Day. Monday, February 17, 1845. 

The Committee met according to adjournment, and the re- 
monstrants evidence was continued. 

Joseph Balch, sworn. I am President of the Merchants' 
Insurance Company. That company owns the Dalton es- 
tate, so called, in Spring lane in this city. We have built 
upon it within some years. When we built there, the old 
well existing there troubled us much, because the water con- 
tinued to rise there after we filled it up. It cost the compa- 
ny ^1000 to stop it down. They still draw it there from a 
faucet. We offered it to the city if they would lay pipes to 
carry it where it was wanted. I presume it now runs off in 
the city sewer. I do not know the exact apparatus, but do 
not doubt that there is enough water running to waste there 
to supply all the inhabitants of Broad street, and all the reser- 
voirs below the spring. 

I have been connected with the Merchants' Insurance 
Company for 24 years. I think there are means enough of 
supplying water to extinguish fires around the margin of the 
city, in the tide water which could be brought into reservoirs 
and kept there by flood gates. At the fire in Doane street, 
the loss was wholly occasioned by want of water. I don't 
think the water from the roofs of stores, if reservoirs for it 
should be built, would be a safe reliance against fires, be- 
cause we have long periods without rain. I don't know the 
facts about the wells in the higher parts of the city. 

Mr. Bartlett here put in a copy of the vote under which 
the petition under consideration was presented ; with a certi- 
ficate of the City Clerk, as follows : 

"At a meeting of the Board of Aldermen of the City of 
Boston, December 23, 1844. On passing the order instruct- 
ing the Mayor to make immediate application to the Legisla- 
ture for the grants of such power to the city as may be 
necessary to carry the resolve into effect. The following 
voted in the affirmative : viz. the Mayor, Aldermen Wetrnpre, 
Crane, Longley, Parker and Rogers — 6. 


" Aldermen Lowe, Wilkinson and Robinson voted in the 
negative. The above complete the whole Board of Mayor 
and Aldermen. 

"Attest, S. F. McClearv, City Clerk." 

Larra Crane, sworn. Is an Alderman of the City of 
Boston — voted against the introduction of water at the polls, 
but thought it my duty as an Alderman to vote in favor of 
the City Council's petitioning for the water, because I thought 
the popular vote was such that the Council ought not to re- 
fuse so to do. I think there is a want of water in some por- 
tions of the city. My view of the question is that the wa- 
ter ought to be brought from some source where the supply 
would be better and the head higher than at Long Pond. 

Cross-examined by Mr. Warren. I should be glad to see 
the water brought in, but not by the City Government. My 
own consideration of the subject has led me to repent of my 
vote in the Board of Aldermen. I have learnt since how the 
vote was got from the people. I moved a reconsideration in 
the Aldermen, but I have withdrawn it. 1 live in South 
Boston and have a good well on my premises. 

Direct resiimed. I ascertained after the vote was taken 
that the people did not vote understandin^ly on the question, 
and I heard that the votes with " nay" on them were ab- 
stracted from two of the wards before the voting began. 

Cross-examination resum^ed. I can't say that any individ- 
ual has told me that he did not understand the question when 
he voted in the affirmative. I can't say that the general im- 
pression which I received that the question was not under- 
stood, has not come from those who voted in the negative. 
I have'nt changed my opinion about the propriety of bring- 
ing in the water by the city — ^but I thought myself bound to 
vote for the petition, on account of the strength of the popu- 
lar vote. 

Direct resumed. One reason why I changed my mind 
with regard to the effect of the popular vote, Avas that the 
Commissioners' Report of 1837 was not circulated before the 

Cross resumed. I do not know whether the printer had 
time to get it ready for distribution. I was not a party to 
prevent this report going to the people — I do not know that 
any of my associates in the City Government were parties to 
such a project. I do not mean to impute such motives to 
any of them. I am not satisfied with the estimates of the 
Commissioners. They have not made up the amount of 
damages with sufficient particularity. 


Benjamin P. Richardson, sworn. [Being asked about his 
vote in the Council on this subject, the question was object- 
ed to, and after an opinion expressed by the Committee was 
waived.] The messenger came to me for a copy of the re- 
port of 1837 to print from, a few days before the vote. I 
have been a member of the City Government for six years. 
From the action of the citizens, I judge that there is not a 
general want of water. If there had been, I think it would 
have been called for in a different way. [Mr. R. went on to 
give his recollection of the history of the matter since 1838, 
in the City Councils.] 

Cross-examined hy Mr. Warreti. I examined the report 
of the Commissioners of 1844, as a member of the City Gov- 
ernment. I thought that they had not had time to make suffi- 
cient examination on some points I considered important. I 
don't actually know that there is not a general want of wa- 
ter. From the indications I have alluded to, I suppose that 
there is not a general want. 

Direct resumed. One of the indications to which I allude 
is that three anti-water candidates were elected as Aldermen. 
By the Committee. The question of water or no water 
was not made a question at issue of the first Aldermen elec- 
tion. There was a " water ticket" at the second election, 
but I believe it did not get 100 votes. 

H. B. Rogers, sworn. Is an Alderman of the City of 
Boston. Had not examined the subject of water sufficiently 
to have a decided opinion upon the various sources. 

Jonathan Chapman, sworn. Was mayor of the city in 
the years 1840, 41, and '42. Was member of the Council 
from 1837 to 1840 — was member of the Water Committee in 
1837 — was during this time in favor of the Spot Pond 

[The Counsel for remonstrants were proceeding to inquire 
into Mr. Chapman's opinions of the various projects, when 
Mr. Warren, on the part of the city, objected on the ground 
that testimony as to opinions on one or the other side might 
be brought to an indefinite extent. The Committee decided 
that investigations with regard to fact might be inquired 

Mr. Chapman continued. He had seen Long Pond, and 
read the reports of 1837 and 1844. He had on this exam- 
ination preferred the Spot Pond to the Long Pond project. 

In answer to questions by the Committee. I had no doubt 
from my examination of Long Pond in 1838 that the water 
was good. I believe that there was no doubt that the water 


from all the sources was good enough. Spot Pond was con- 
sidered the purer, but the question did not turn upon that. 
I considered the want exaggerated. There is undoubtedly a 
want, but in many cases temporary, such as the individual 
can get along with — and a permanent supply would not be 
needed to supply it. It was believed in 1838 that much 
greater certainty existed with regard to the estimates con- 
cerning Spot Pond than those concerning other projects. I 
had no doubt that either would furnish a sufficient supply for 
the city for all time, and partly because the increase of the 
city, from the nature of that increase, would not require 
a commensurate increase in the ^upply of water. Spot Pond 
is more elevated than Long Pond, and although Mystic Pond 
is not high enough it was thought it might be brought in as 
an additional supply to furnish the lower level of the city. 

Cross-examined hy Mr. Warren. The expense of bring- 
ing a larger supply than is needed is one of my objections to 
Long Pond. I have made no estimate of what would be 
the reduced expense of bringing in a smaller amount. I 
think the tide does flow into Mystic Pond. Part of the 
project was to dam the water out. I presume such a dam 
would have the same effect as at Long Pond — It would 
however depend upon the level of the country about. I 
have not seen Spot Pond since 1838. I have no farther 
ground of opinion as to the facts than the Committee have. 
There never was a question made but that the water of 
Long Pond was perfectly good. 

My impression with regard to the cost of the city reser- 
voirs is, that the annual appropriation is $1000, and is in- 
tended to build two reservoirs. I cannot say that it is not 
$2000, but it is intended to build two reservoirs. They are 
built according to a report from the Chief Engineer which 
state, what reservoirs are needed in the order of their impor- 
tance. The annual cost of the fire department is from $50 
to 60,000. 

William Foster, (sworn.) Was examined as to the effect 
upon the irrigation of a country by cutting down forests, 
and testified to the drying up of certain rivers in Spain 
known to have been rivers at the time of the Roman inva- 
sion of that country, when the country was strictly wooded, 
and are now dry and have been since the time of Ferdinand 
and Isabella, the wood about them having now been cut 
off. He also gave some further facts and opinions of the 
same sort. He had no doubt that the quantity of water in 


ponds depended upon the wood upon the sides of the banks 
which sarround them. 

Cross-examined hy Warren. Thinks that the lower the 
level of the pond the more abundant will be the supply. I 
know nothing about Spot Pond or Long Pond. 

Robert H. Eddy. (Examined by Barilett.) Is a Civil 
Engineer. I made a report on this subject to the city in 
1836 — That concluded with a recommendation to take Spot 
and Mystic Ponds for the supply of the city. Spot Pond 
first and then Mystic when more water should be needed. 
The cost was stated in the report. I think it would be less 
now from the reduction in the cost of iron pipes and of 
steam engines. I am inclined to think the saving on the 
then estimated cost would be considerable. I endeavored to 
make my examination with care, and am inclined to think 
that Spot Pond would be sufficient for the supply of the 
city for many years. I do not mean to say that any materi- 
al advance has been made in the structure of engines for 
pumping water for 20 years. Many conjectures have how- 
ever been made certain in that time. I have not read the 
Commissioners' Report of 1844 very particularly. I did not 
perceive any recommendation of a stone structure to support 
the brick aquednct. I should not think the structure recom- 
mended sufficient. I cannot answer whether a descent of 
three inches in a mile is sufficient. There are formula to cal- 
culate this, and all disturbing elements are to be taken into 
consideration. I have not examined Long Pond particularly, 
and I do not know much of the water rights and privileges 
dependent upon it. I have no doubt that Spot Pond would 
be sufficient for the supply of the city for many years. I 
cannot say with regard to the adequacy of Mystic Pond for 
the time when more should be needed, for I cannot say how 
large the city will become, or the exact quantity of water 
that the Mystic would supply. At the time of my report I 
thought that the two ponds would be all sufficient. I had 
an analysis of the Mystic water, made by Dr. Jackson. It 
was very good water. I believe that at very high tide the 
sea water flows into Mystic Pond. I found nothing to lead 
me to suppose that the water was much affected by the salt 
water. The amount of flowage to arise from a dam to shut 
out the sea water, is exhibited in my report. 

By Mr. Huhhard. It is found now that the Cornwall en- 
gines will perform more with a certain amount of coal than 
was supposed at the time the Commissioners of '37 made their 
estimate. My estimates were higher than theirs. 


One engine is stated to have raised by 112 

lbs. of coal 1 foot, 108,109,102 lbs. 

Another engine, ^ 112,000,000 " 

" " 122,000,000 " 

[Wickstead on the Cornish Engines, London, 1841.] 

It struck me that the Commissioners' estimate was insuf- 
ficient. One ground for this opinion is, that a reservoir con- 
taining a supply for a single day only, was an unsafe resource. 

The Committee then adjourned until the next day, (Tues- 
day,) at 3 1 P. M. 

Ninth Day. Tuesday, February 18, 1845. 
The Committee met according to adjournment, but ad- 
journed without further action, to the next afternoon. 

Tenth Day. Wednesday, February 19, 1845. 

The remonstrants evidence was continued. 

Jonathan Robinson. Resides in Maiden, about two and 
a half miles from the outlet of Spot Pond. I occupy three- 
quarters of the water power from it in an undivided right. 
The other undivided fourth part is owned by another indi- 
vidual. My business is the iron and nail business. I have 
made a calculation of the amount of water in the pond by 
using my water wheel as a measure. The water wheel is 
22 feet in diameter ; it turns 9 times in a minute ; the length 
of its buckets is 12 feet ; the depth of apron or rim of wheel 
is one foot. 

This gives 792 cubic feet of water for each bucket every 
revolution, which, multiplied by 9, for the number of revolu- 
tions per minute, by 60 for the minutes in an hour, and by 
10 for the working hours per day, makes 

4,276,800 feet per day of 10 hours. 
Multiplying by 7| gallons to cubic foot. 

We have 32,076,000 gallons per day. 

Deduct ^, 4,009,500 for wood of buckets. 

28,066,500 gallons every day of 10 hours. 
My acquaintance with the pond commenced two years ago 
in October, and I have had the management of the gate since 
then. We did not draw much water in the first fall. But 
during the first winter we drew off nearly all the water to 
within a foot and a half of the sill. Early in March we shut 
down the gate, and it remained down until some days after 
the 17th of June. But on the 16th of May the pond was 


full, and the water began to run over the gate. There is a 
small leakage, about as much as would run through a two 
inch auger hole under a foot head. In this time the water, 
therefore, rose five feet. 

In the summer of 1843, we were running our mills night 
and day^ — both wheels, the one above spoken of, and another 
of about half its capacity. We drew the pond down quicker 
than it was ever drawn down before. We run thus, till about 
the 4th of July, when all parties finding that we were drain- 
ing it off too fast, we reduced the rate. Seven-eighths of the 
power we used during this time, was from Spot Pond. We 
were able to run one large wheel half the time during the 
summer of 1843. 

The average area of the pond I assume at 220 acres, (the 
lowest being 180, and the highest 280 acres,) and I consider 
that if this is so, the pond, when once filled up to the mark, 
seven feet above the bottom of the flume, would furnish 
1,800,000 gallons per day through the year. 

I have never seen the day when there did not some water 
run from the pond. The lowest I saw it last summer, there 
was about half an inch on the sill. That lasted about eight 
days. A moderate rain then raised it six inches, and it so re- 
mained, notwithstanding the gate was opened till more rains 
filled it higher. I have no doubt that the pond would fill 
twice in the year, if not obstructed. This I judge from the 
pond having filled, about March, 1843, five feet in a month. 
Last March (1844) we shut the gate again, and by Fast Day 
it had filled up to within eighteen inches. This season we 
shut the gate about Thanksgiving time, the water then being 
about six inches over the bottom flume, and we had occasion 
to use the water two weeks since, when it had risen to four 
feet six inches. 

The water is used to drink by our people, and during six 
months in the year it is preferred to any well water. I have 
been on all parts of the pond. The shores are shoal until the 
water has been drawn off six or seven feet, they then be- 
come more steep. The bottom is generally gravelly. There 
are but a few acres of swamp or peat meadow about it. The 
pond can be tapped ten feet below the present bottom of the 
flume. I believe the greatest depth of the pond to be forty 
feet, when the water is seven feet high in the flume. I be- 
lieve when the pond has been drawn down this additional ten 
feet, the area would be about one hundred acres. Two hun- 
dred rods from the present outlet of the pond is a convenient 
place for making a new dam, which would enlai'ge the area 


of the pond about sixty acres. [Mr. Robinson then exhibited 
on a map the area of the pond, and the character of the land 
about it, and summed up his estimate by saying that he had 
no doubt that the pond would fill up twice a year, so as to 
furnish 3,600,000 gallons a day.] 

I procured my water privilege from the owners of the pond 
by purchase. 

Cross-examined by Mr. Warren. I now hold my water 
rights as tenant at will of the Traders' and American Banks. 
Bringing the water into Boston would not destroy my works. 
We get from a third to a half of our water from Long Pond 
and other sources. All the sources together are not sufficient 
for our purposes. Within a short time I have put in steam 
power, which we can use economically. I doubt whether it 
would be an injury to me to have my water power taken 
away. I think the pond would fill twice a year, — in the 
spring and fall. It never did so fill, and I don't think it ever 
would fill, if the water was drawn off as I drew it. 

In answer to a question by the Committee, Mr. R. explained 
that the reason for his doubling the estimate of 1,800,000 
gallons a day, as the contents of the pond through the year, 
was, that he believed that the pond would fill twice in that 

Benjamin Adams, (called.) Resides in Boston; Avas pres- 
ent at the Faneuil Hall meeting. Thought at the first meet- 
ing — on calculation — that there were about two hundred peo- 
ple, more or less. I was at all the meetings but one. There 
were less after the first meeting until about the 22d of October, 
when there was a larger meeting. I should think over three, 
perhaps four hundred. Towards the end of November there 
was a good deal of feeling about the notification of the City 
Government, which was dated December 27, for the votes of 
citizens on this question. It dissatisfied the Committee of 
Twelve, and at the last meeting, they were directed to apply 
to the Mayor and Aldermen for a change in the questions to 
♦be put to the city. It looked to me like taking the business 
out of the hands of the City Government, where it belonged, 
and putting it into the hands of the Committee. 

I think there is plenty of water in the city. There are 
several springs on the high lands, on this hill, about the State 
House. [Mr. Adams, in reply to questions, went into some 
particulars as to water in different parts of the city.] 

Cross-examined by Mr. Warren. I live now in Pember^ 
ton Square ; I am well supplied. I think there is a want of 
water in some parts of the city. I think there is a limited 


necessity, — not a very pressing necessity. I think there is 
no necessity for introducing water if people would dig wells, 
and the city would do what it ought. I have always been 
of this opinion, I have never thought the city should bring 
it in. I should be willing to have a private corporation bring 
it in, and have the city take a quarter or half the interest in 
it. I should prefer to have them dig the wells I have spoken 
of. I have been somewhat active in remonstrating against 
this petition. When I observed the Faneuil Hall meetings, 
I thought it was time for the people to take care of their own 
interests. We do employ counsel here. I mean to say that 
I contribute to this opposition. I have been a witness m op- 
posing these petitions before. 

I believe the largest of the meetings at Faneuil Hall, was 
on Nov. 26. I should think there were not more than four 
hundred persons there at any time. There could not, in my 
judgment, have been twelve or fourteen hundred people there. 
Mr. Robert Ripley, who votes in my ward, has told me that 
he didn't understand the propositions on which he voted on 
the subject. Several others have told me that they didn't 
think that the people understood the propositions. 

I did petition the City Government last summer, to prevent 
the too free use of the public well in State street, below the 
old State House. I did not urge that this had been done be- 
cause it had injured my well, but because, among other rea- 
sons, I thought it might do so. 

Jonathan Robinson, (recalled.) Desired to explain that 
his calculation was founded on calling the depth of the pond 
8 feet. It had since proved that they usually only went to 
the depth of 7 feet. The calculation must therefore be re- 
duced ^. 

Samuel T. Armstrong, (called.) Was Chairman of the 
Committee which investigated this matter in 1839. Have 
been Mayor of this city — have read the Commissioners' Re- 
port of 1844. While I was Mayor the subject of water re- 
ceived my personal attentention and I had a survey and re- 
ports made. I never have thought that an entire supply of 
water for the whole city was necessary. I came to the opin- 
ion that Spot Pond in 1836 was ample for the then wants of 
the city. I have seen nothing since to alter my view of the 
extent of the wants of the city. I own real estate in Wash- 
ington street — and in the west part of the town, in Beacon 
street. I have found no want of water on any of these es- 

By Committee. I have had no personal acquaintance with 


Long Pond — from reading the report I judged as to the gen- 
eral project of bringing water therefrom that it would be un- 
wise to adopt it and I voted against it. 

Cross-examined hy Warren. I entertain as confidently as 
I did in 1836 the opinion that Spot Pond is now sufficient 
for the supply of the city. In 1836 I made a personal and la- 
borious investigation of the necessity, and of the capacity of 
that pond. 

By Mr. Brooks, (of the Citizens' Committee.) I have no 
estate where the well water answers all the purposes of the 
tenants. I suppose every house has a cistern for the rain wa- 
ter or aqueduct. Do not know the cost of wells. Never 
dug a well or had one cleaned out. Don't know the cost of, 
a cistern. Can't tell whether a full supply of water to every 
part of the house would make it let more readily. I am in 
no want of tenants. 

John P. Thorndike, (called.) Is a mason, have erected 
a few buildings within the two last years — between 20 and 
30 — principally near Essex street — (on Edingburgh near 
Beach street.) Should not be able to answer what would be 
the price of brick suitable for an aqueduct — for I do not know 
what kind would be suitable. I suppose that it would need 
what we call face brick — or pressed brick. Common brick 
would seem to me wholly insufficient. I think the suitable 
bricks would come high. From a quarter to a third of a 
kiln only would answer. The kind I speak of would cost 
about $12. It would be necessary to burn the bricks for the 
express purpose. 

I have not recently looked at the estimates of the Com.- 
missioners of '44. I haven't examined the project of having 
an 8 inch thick aqueduct enough to make an opinion. I 
thought that the gentleman hadn't looked into the matter 
exactly as I had done. I now hardly have an opinion of the 
plan. My impression was that the plan and estimate was 
unsafe. I never saw a building of any kind where there 
was not some settling, and I should think there would be dif- 
ferent degrees of settling by such work as it passed over 
, grounds of different character. My impression would be 
that such an aqueduct ought to be laid on piles all the way. 
The dry dock was built on piles. The transportation of the 
brick from Boston to the line of aqueduct would be an ex- 
pensive item in its cost. 

Cross-examined by Warren. Does not know particularly 
the size or construction of the city reservoirs in Boston. 
James Page, {hy Derby.) Has been a mason and builder 


in Boston for 40 years. Thinks the statement with regard 
to bricks by the last witness a very correct one. Should not 
think that the proposed aqueduct built with an 8 inch wall 
resting only on earth would be safe. We frequently have to 
dig some depth to get to earth which we consider solid 
enough to lay a foundation of a building upon. When this 
is not done piles are generally driven. I have been a brick 
and stone mason here 44 years. 

By Hubbard. Piles have been used both on new made 
land and old land. 

Cross-examined by Warren. I have never seen an exper- 
iment tried of an aqueduct like that recommended by the 

Mr. Hubbard at this stage put in the following certificate 
from the City Clerk : — 

" I hereby certify, that it appears by the records of the 

Mayor and Aldermen, that the vote on the water question in 

Ward 1, on the 9th of December last was as follows : — 

First proposition, Yeas 586 

it u ii 2 

" I hereby certify, that the whole number 
Mayor in the same ward, on the same day was 859, and that 
the whole number of votes for Mayor in all the wards of 
the city, on the same day was 10,818. 

(Signed) "S. F. McCLEARY, Ciiy Clerk." 

Robert Ripley, (called.) I am one of the inspectors of 
of ward 1. [Mr. Derby was then proceeding to ask ques- 
tions concerning an error in the return of the vote upon 
which this certificate was founded, when the evidence was 
objected to; but the counsel. for the city agreed to admit 
that there was an error in the return by which 145 votes 
"nay" on the 1st and 2d propositions were omitted from the 
return from that ward.] 

Cross-examined. I never told Mr. Adams that 1 voted 
ignorantly on this subject, I never told anybody that I voted 
one way or the other upon it. I may have said that I did 
not understand it at first. 

By the Committee. I did not vote either way upon the 
question. I have never told any body before whether I voted 
or not. I told Mr. Adams that I thought the voters didn't 
understand the propositions. 

1 have the votes by which I discover the error in the re- 









;r of votes for 


turn from my ward, from the constable of the ward who 
has kept them since the election. 

Mr. Derby put in the following statement from Mr. R. H. 
Eddy :— 

" Boston, February 25, 1845. 

" Sir : — In estimating the cost of various systems of works 
for supplying the City of Boston with water, the progressive 
increase in the number of tenants, or water takers, through a 
period of many successive years from the commencement of 
the distribution of the water, seems to have been either very 
much overrated, overlooked, or misunderstood by those who 
have given the subject their attention. The examples of 
Philadelphia and New York admonish us that some regard 
should be had to what will be the probable yearly increase in 
the consumption of the water, after the works shall have been 
completed. New York, with a population three times or more 
greater than that of Boston, has, thus far, (it being nearly 
three years since the distribution of the Croton was com- 
menced,) been able to sell water to about 9,000 takers, or at 
the rate of 3,000 per annum. 

" At the expiration of the year 1819, the City of PhiladeU 
phia supplied 3,805 tenants, at a charge of $21,993.50. In 
1822, 4,758, do. at a charge of $25,485.30. In 1826, the 
yearly income amounted to $30,326.75. The supply of the 
districts then commenced, and at the expiration of the year 
1827, the water rents in the city amounted to $32,521.50, 
and in the districts to $3,182. In 1831, the average quantity 
of water supplied per day to the city and districts, amounted 
to 2,000,000 gallons ; the water rents charged in the city 
being $43,682.25, and in the districts to $26,721.50. In 
1835, there were in the city 10,059, and in the districts 
5,645 tenants who paid, besides 3,000 who did not pay, or 
were supplied by free hydrants. These received an average 
supply of 3,497,648 gallons per day. 




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From the above it will be seen that Philadelphia, starting 
at the end of 1819, with 3,805 water takers, was ^z^;eZfe years 
before she obtained a number sufficient to consume 2,000,000 
of gallons per day. That it required the succeeding ten 
years to acquire the number sufficient to consume 4,445,630 
gallons per day. At the expiration of this time, the popula- 
tion of the city and districts was 212,000. The average 
yearly increase of water takers for the last ten years has been, 
say 1036, and for the first twelve years, say 657. 

The fair inference from the data above given would seem 
to be, that with the population of Boston, as it is at present, 
(viz: 100,000,) the rate per annum of her increase for ten 
years after the distribution of water is commenced, would 
not amount to more than 1,000 tenants, or water takers ; so 
that before 2,100,000 gahons would be likely to be consumed, 
from ten to twelve years Avould elapse. Consequently, in 
1857, when the population will have reached about 141,000, 
and according to the estimates of the present Water Commis- 
sioners, will consume 4,000,000 gallons per day, but about 
one half that quantity will in all probability be the amount 
actually necessary. Twenty or more years afterwards would 
probably elapse before a quantity approximating towards 
7,000,000 of gallons would be demanded by the population. 

If we suppose the present population of the city to be 
100,000, the following table will exhibit the increase at the 
periods therein given, as well as the quantity of water per day 
required, (according to the estimates of the present Commis- 
sioners,) to supply the inhabitants at such times ; the ratio of 
increase being 33| per cent, each ten years : 




The facts in regard to the consumption of water in Phila- 
delphia, as herein before adduced, do not seem to warrant us 
in the conclusion that at the expiration of the aforesaid pe- 
riods, Boston will consume the quantities as above estimated, 
according to the rate 28| gallons per individual. 

As we have above shown, that in all probability ten or 
twelve years must elapse before our city will afford water 



Gallons per day, 










takers sufficient to consume 2,100,000 gallons per day, (the 
amount which the Water Commissioners of 1837, estimated 
Spot Pond to furnish,) let us now proceed to ascertain what 
the city, by the adoption of Spot Pond, in preference to Long 
Pond, will have saved when it shall become necessary to re- 
sort to Mystic Pond for a further supply. 

It is a notorious fact, that since the Commissioners of 1837 
had the subject under consideration, iron has fallen in price 
at least one cent, and lead two and a half cents per pound. 
The estimates of the Commissioners were based on three and 
a half cents for iron, and six and a half cents for lead per 
pound. The most respectable iron founders are now ready 
to contract to furnish pipes at two and a half cents, and lead 
can be had in any quantity at four cents per pound. In iron 
pipes of twenty-two inches diameter, there would therefore 
be a saving of $2.20 per foot since 1837, or, what was esti- 
mated then to cost $9.02, can now be had for $6.83. As the 
distribution need not be taken into account, we have only to 
compare the cost of each kind of work, from the source from 
whence water is derived, to a supposed reservoir at Beacon 

Cost of aqueduct from Spot Pond to Beacon Hill, through 
Walnut Tree Hill, and thence through Cambridge and 
Roxbury to Beacon Hill, according to Report of Commis- 
sioners of 1837 ; $2.20 being deducted on each foot of 
main pipe : 
Main pipe, 22 in. diameter from Spot Pond to re- 
servoir on Walnut Tree Hill, 16,789 feet, at 
$6.82, $114,500.98 

Rock cutting, near Pond, 1,007.00 

Dam &c. at Pond, 1,200.00 

Stone Bridge over Medford River, 5,000.00 

Reservoir on Walnut Tree Hill, 13,000.00 

Main pipe from Walnut Tree Hill to Beacon Hill, 

22 in. diam. 39,707 ft. at $6.82, 270,801.74 

Crossing Charles River, 14,000.00 

Arches, etc. at the Middlesex Dam Sluices, 8,493.00 

Culverts, 1,000.00 

Cost of Spot Pond, and land on Walnut Tree 

Hill, etc. 80,000.00 

Contingencies, 10 per cent. 50,900.27 



The present Water Commissioners, Messrs. Jackson, Hale 
and Baldwin, estimate the cost of the brick aqueduct from 
Long Pond to Beacon Hill, to be $1,253,174.67 

And 10 per cent, for contingencies, 125,317.46 


Therefore, if from $1,378,492,13 (the cost of Long Pond 
aqueduct) we subtract $559,902,99 (the cost of one from Spot 
Pond,) there remains $818,-589,14. In about eleven years or 
by the time it would be necessary to resort to Mystic Pond or 
some other source for water, the sum of $818,589,14 — at 
compound interest will have doubled, or become $1,637,- 
178,28, or more than enough by $258,686,15, to hnild the 
tvhole works from Long Pond. 

By taking a more direct route for the pipe from Walnut 
Tree Hill Reservoir, or laying it through Charlestown, and 
crossing Charles River at or near the Charles River Bridge, 
upwards of $100,000 would be saved hi the expense of in- 
troducing the waters of Spot Pond, which could be effected 
for about $450,000 ; thereby saving to the city in eleven or 
twelve years the enormous sum of $1,856,984,26; or $478,- 
492,13 more than the estimate of the present Commission- 
ers to build the aqueduct from Long Pond. 

We will next examine the cost of steam works to supply 
2,500,000 gallons per day, the quantity which the city may 
require at the expiration of another ten years or say in 1867. 
Her population would then be 188,305. That of Philadel- 
phia is now about 230,000 and it consumes about 4,600,000 
gallons per day. Therefore, it will be perceived that we 
allow Boston in 1867 with a population 42,000 less than that 
of Philadelphia now to consume the same amount of water. 
Although a spirit of liberality governs us in making such an 
allowance, we do not concede that Boston will actually con- 
sume so much. 

Estimate of cost of Steam Works at Mystic Pond capable 
of supplying 2,500,000 gallons per day. 
Dam at Pond, $2,000,00 

Canal, Gates and Strainer, 2,000,00 

Main pipe 18 inch drain from Pond to Reservoir 

on Walnut Tree Hill— 8,250 feet, say, 50,000,00 

Main pipe from Reservoir to Beacon Hill, 270,801,74 

Two Steam Engines and pumps each capable of 

delivering 2,500,000 gallons per day, 70,000,00 

Buildings for do., 20,000,00 


Water Rights, 20,000,00 

Contingencies 10 per cent., 43,480,17 


For the ten years the population would average in its con- 
sumption 1,375,000 gallons of water per day. At the rate 
of duty of an engine assumed by the Commissioners of 1837 
(which is too low as subsequent experiments have proved, a 
ratio of 90,000,000 raised one foot by one bushel of coal 
having been effected by the engine of the East London Wa- 
ter Company — working through a year) viz : 60,000,000 
pounds raised one foot by a bushel of coal. 1,375,000 gal- 
lons will require 27,65 bushels of coal per day, or 284 chal- 
drons per year, to raise the water 100 feet ; the engine being 
supposed to be working against the pressure of a column of 
water 150 feet in height. 

Coal, 284 chaldrons at |7,00 $1,988,00 

Superintendent, 1,000,00 

Engineers and Firemen, 2,738,00 

Wear, tear, &c., Insurance, 3,000,00 


Capital at 6 per cent, to produce $8,726,00 per 

year, $145,433,33 

Add cost of Steam Works, 478,281,91 


Deducting $623,715,24 from $1,637,178,28, (the amount 
before proved to have been saved by the city by adopting 
the Spot Pond project in preference to that of Long Pond,) 
and we have $1,013,463,04; which, before further additions 
to the steam works would be requsite, would amount to 
about two millions of dollars. 

We might carry the calculation farther and thus exhibit at 
the expiration of the next decennial period a saving of over 
$3,000,000, but we do not deem it necessary. 

If, therefore, as many good judges have asserted, the pro- 
posed aqueduct from Long Pond cannot be constructed for 
the sum as estimated by the present Commissioners, but 
would cost nearer double their estimates, what an enormous 
loss must accrue to our city by the adoption of such a project 
in preference to the one recommended by the Commissioners 
of 1837. 

The cost of iron pipes and steam engines can be arrived at 


with great certainty ; whereas, structures of masonry for the 
conveyance of water, have generally, when completed, cost 
three times their original estimates. 

The daily working of the Cornwall Engines and those of 
the East London Water Works Company affords sure and 
certain data upon which to base our calculations of the cost 
of Steam Works for elevating water. It needs no great 
stretch of philosophicair easoning to demonstrate that what 
can be done in England by the Steam Engine, so far as the 
raising of water is concerned, can be effected in Massachu- 

Aqueducts of masonry are continually requiring expensive 
repairs; whereas, conduits of iron are permanent, and com- 
paritively speaking indestructible. Improvements in steam 
engines are constantly being made by which their consump- 
tion of fuel is lessened and their cost diminished. Iron pipes 
from year to year are becoming cheaper. Water flows 
through them uncontaminated ; whereas, in an aqueduct of 
masonry it is subject to the absorption of lime, particularly if 
the common American hydraulic lime is employed in its con- 
struction. There is, therefore, every reason for preferring an 
iron aqueduct to one of stone or brick laid in cement. 

The above statements of cost of the various kinds of wa- 
ter works, are based principally on the Reports of the Com- 
missioners of 1837 and 1844. So far as those taken from 
the report of 1837 exhibit the cost of iron pipes, lead and 
coal, they have been reduced to the present market prices of 
such articles. I will, however, by no means concede them 
to be the lowest prices at which such can be contracted for 
in large amounts, nor will I concede a duty of 60,000,000 
pounds raised one foot by the consumption of one bushel of 
coal (94 lbs.) to be the maximum average duty of an engine, 
for the engine of the London Water Works Company, at Old 
Ford — has, throughout the year, performed an average duty 
of 90,000,000 lbs. raised one foot by 94 lbs. of coal. 

I believe an engine can be constructed whose daily per- 
formance will average 100,000,000 lbs. raised one foot by 94 
lbs of coal. Neither do I wish to be understood as believ- 
ing the route of conduits from Spot and Mystic Ponds — as 
recommended by the Commissioners of 1837, to be that 
which good judgment would decide to be the best. On 
the contrary, I think a far better and cheaper route can be 
selected, one, which, when its cost is compared with that 
of the Long Pond project, will be much more favorable, as 
regards a saving of expenditure, than the one recommended 
by the Commissioners of 1837. 


My object has been, not to " split hairs," but to exhibit a 
comparison of the Long Pond project in its best, with that of 
Spot and Mystic Ponds in its worst light, and in conclusion 
I cannot but think that were our city to embark in the enter- 
prise of introducing water from Long Pond, an immense 
debt must be entailed upon ourselves and posterity from 
which there appears to be no prospect of relief, through any 
future income to be derived from the sale of the water. 

" Yours respectfully, " R. H. EDDY." 

" Wm. J. Hubbard, Es^." 

The Committee after reading this document adjourned to 
meet on Thursday afternoon. 

Eleventh Session, Thursday, Fehrtiary Wth, 1845. 

Mr. Bartlett, (for the remonstrants.) Read the remon- 
strance of certain inhabitants of Lowell against the petition 
of the city, signed by A. L. Brooks, and 190 others — and 
made a brief argument to show its connection with the gen- 
eral question — taking the ground that the injury to water 
rights which would be effected by taking water for the city 
from Long Pond, had not been sufficiently estimated by the 
Committee, and that the injuries to existing rights which 
such a course would produce which would not be remuner- 
ated by legal damages ought to be especially guarded against 
by the Legislature. 

Mr. Bartlett added that he wished to show the value of 
the water power investments, dependent upon the waters of 
the Concord River. There were the Whipple Powder Mills 
Valued at $80,000 

Massic Falls Mills, 40,000 

Fall on East side, near the mouth of Concord 

River, owned by Middlesex Co. and others, 100,000 

Making $220,000 

He stated that there was a population then of between 5 
and 600 people dependent upon these works. 

O. M. Whipple and Thomas Hopkinsoti testiJ&ed in detail, 
pointing to a plan of Lowell and its vicinity, to ten general 
facts in this statement, stating that if the water power were 
so reduced as to stop the works for two or three months in 
the year, the works would be abandoned, or conducted solely 
by steam power. 

Mr. Caleb Eddy, (called.) Cannot tell how large a por- 
tion of the supply of Concord River is from Long Pond. 

John A. Knowles, of Lowell, (called.) Supposed the 


value of the works at " Belvidere" to be about $100,000. The 
population dependant upon these works is from 600 to 1000. 
Cannot tell the value of Mr. Whipple's property. Have heard 
it estimated from $50 to $100,000. Don't know what it is tax- 
ed at. Wm. Richmond has some property at the Massic mills, 
valued at about $25,000. 

Cross-examined by J\Ir. Warren. T do not know that bring- 
ing the water from Long Pond would have any effect upon these 

Mr. Bartlett now proposed to put in some testimony to show 
how the petitions for this object were got up. He asked Mr. 
Henry Williams of Boston, who was present, if the petition of 
Walter Channing and others, were in his hand writing, and Mr. 
Williams not being put upon the stand or sworn, said it was. 
In the absence of other witnesses, however, he first introduced 

Enoch Baldwin — who had had some knowledge of Ne- 
ponset river. Supposed it would produce a sufficient supply 
of water for the City of Boston — as much as Charles river in a 
dry time — supposed it to be good water — knew it as agent of the 
mills there. The distance from the city is from five to six 
miles. Is president of the Shoe and Leather Dealers' Bank. 

Examined by the Committee. There are a few hills between 
here and the Neponset, and then there is a general descent to 
the town. 

Cross-examined by Mr. Warren. There are a great many 
manufacturing establishments on the river. I have made now 
no calculations as to the amount of the water. 

Direct resumed. The lowest dam on the Neponset is at tide 
water, the water there being used only at low water, and there 
are mills all the way up — the whole water-power of the stream 
is used. 

Perez Gill. By Mr. Bartlett. I did not sign a petition 
to the city to bring in water from Long Pond. 

By Mr. Derby. I do not recollect whether I signed a peti- 
tion for the use of Faneuil Hall for meetings concerning this 
project. I voted for the Long Pond project. I am not in fa- 
vor of it now. 

Alvah Crocker. Have given but very little attention to 
the introduction of water into this city. 

The elevation of Magog Pond will probably not vary much 
from 200 feet. It is from 4 to 500 acres in size. It is esti- 
mated by people in the vicinity at about 700 acres. It lies in 
Acton, a portion of it in Mlddleton, about 23 miles from the 
city. The water is very clear and cold ; its shores are rocky and 
sandy ; the whole country in hs vicinity is of that character ; the 
soil hard. During the dryest portion of the year people are in 


the habit of going to the mill there to get their grain ground. 
Mr. Weatherbee of the Fitchburg rail road, is able to state more 
accurately than 1 as to these facts. The pond may be raised 
ten feet without great expense. There are three other ponds, 
Long, Fort and Grass ponds, in its immediate vicinity. Long 
Pond contains about 100 acres, Fort pond about as much. 
There are no expensive establishments upon any of the outlets. 
The discharge of Magog, Long and Fort ponds enter into Con- 
cord river a little above Concord. Stony Brook's elevation is 
118 to 120 feet. There is a considerable fall from Sandy pond 
to Stony brook. This is in Weston. It is not over 11 miles 
from the city. From 11 to 14 miles, according to the part of 
the brook whence you take the water. There is a large mill 
there, which is run very constantly in the summer. There are 
several smaller mills above. The value of the establishments 
i-s not great. The volume of water is enough to drive six or 
seven hundred cotton spindles at a head of 15 feet. The basin 
is larger than Long pond I should think. 

I have seen Sandy pond only once. The other ponds have 
very pure water. A place for a reservoir might, I should think, 
be found in West Cambridge, and I saw a good basin on Pros- 
pect hill in Waltham. 

I have been connected somewhat with mills. I should feel no 
safety in carrying water without a very permanent foundation. 
In the construction of a dam at Crockersville, the abutment be- 
ing 100 feet long we sought for a ledge and thought that we 
must find it for a foundation. If you should take a single brick 
for the width of your dam, there would be great danger of find- 
ing a single defective brick, which would let out the water. The 
thickness of the culverts under the Fitchburg rail road is from 2| 
to 5 feet. 

I am perfectly well acquainted with the Nashua river. I live 
on its banks. The wood on its banks has been very materially 
diminished of late years ; below Fitchburg 50 per cent, in last 
20 years. This has materially diminished water in the river. I 
should think it had reduced the stream very nearly an eighth at 
those points. For instance at Leominster. We have been at 
great expense in establishing reservoirs. 

I have not a doubt but that more water and more abundant 
may be found northwest of the city than elsewhere. At least a 
quarter more water is discharged from the ponds near Acton 
than from Long pond. Sandy pond in Groton, a very pure 
pond. Then there are the ponds in Westford and Littleton, 
Fort Pond in Littleton and Spectacle pond. Northwest of the 
city there is a constant succession of ponds — and the soil there 
is qualified to render the water pure. 


Cross-examined by Mr. Warren. Magog Pond empties into 
Concord river or Elzabet river rather, but it is the same thing. 
[ should not be wiUing to give an opinion as to the quantity of 
water discharged by it. Could not say how many millions of 
gallons a day it is. Do not like to form an opinion so hastily. 
I should rather not give an opinion without looking. A very 
constant but not very large stream goes from the pond into Con- 
cord river. The river is not so dependant on the pond as it 
would be if it were raised 10 feet. A considerable supply might 
be raised in that way. The country is very clear about there. 
The waters from Sandy pond go to Stony brook and thence to 
Charles river. There are no ponds so near the city that I know 
of, that I think so favorably of. 

Samuel M. Felton, called. Am an engineer. Know 
Stony brook, it throws out a considerable discharge — in the 
spring very abundant. It is quite a rapid stream. There are 
several falls on it. There are two falls occupied by mills — I 
never knew it dry. I should judge from the map, though I do 
not know that that is a reliable indication, that the basin of 
Stony brook is larger than that of Long pond. In building cul- 
verts we always try to get a hard foundation, when we cannot 
we take great precautions to make solid foundations. These cul- 
verts are sometimes carried away. We have no walls less than 
three feet thick for our culverts. We prepare the foundation by 
throwing in stones or driving piles. 

Cross-examined by Mr. Warren. There are four mills on 
Stony brook. There is a machine shop and a cotton factory on 
it, and a saw mill and an old mill. The elevation at Jenkins's 
factory is 140 or 150 feet. Ther^ is not much power there. 
At this season there would be an abundant power there. Sib- 
ley & Coolidge's factory is about a mile from Charles river. 
The brook has several branches. 

Direct resumed by Mr. Derby. I have no doubt a good deal 
of surplus water might be saved by dams. Sandy pond is very 
pure water. The soil is sandy and gravelly. The discharge of 
Stony brook at this season, I should judge to be 30 or 40 cubic 
feet per second, to speak within bounds. 

By Mr. Williams. I have only measured it by my eye. 

CoL. Thomas C. Amory, (sworn.) I am President of 
one of the insurance offices ; was head of the fire department 
some years ago. The annual expenses of the fire department 
would not be diminished that I know of by t'he introduction of 
water. I think it would operate variously on the rates of fire 
insurance. On stores which have not valuable finishing, the 
abundance of water would diminish the rates, or at any rate keep 
them as they are. But where there are valuable goods the 


abundance of water might increase the risk. Do not know that 
it would increase it, but think it would not diminish it. The water 
loss on goods is frequently much greater than the loss by fire. 
The cold in winter might freeze the hydrants and so prevent 
them being as useful as reservoirs. I was at the head of the fire 
department about six years. 

Cross-examined by Mr. Warren. I left the department in 
1835. Think the greater flow of water would not be beneficial 
to a stock of goods, though it might be to stores. I generally 
have been to all the fires in the city of late years. I was at the 
Dover street fire. It was a very peculiar one, such as you sel- 
dom see anywhere. A great part of the time there was an abun- 
dance of water, but during a part of it there was not. 

Mr. Whipple was recalled and stated that he owned the 
Magog pond in Acton. 

The Committee then adjourned to meet next day. 

On the Twelfth Day, Friday., February 21, the Com- 
mittee met, but for want of a quorum, adjourned to Tuesday, 
the 25th. 

Thirteenth Session. Tuesday., February 2b.) IQAb. 

Caleb Eddy, recalled. Nearly every summer it has been 
necessary to stop the mills on the Concord river, that the canal 
might take all the water of the river. 

Cross-examined by Mr. Fletcher. The Middlesex Canal 
owns the mills at Billerica, which are now related out. Faulk- 
ner and others own two rights there, subject to a condition that 
when the water is reduced tcf a certain level the gates shall be 
shut. Our mills do not run throughout the whole season. 

Mr. Whipple recalled. I bought Magog pond with a view 
to have an additional supply of water if Long pond should be 
taken by the city. We now use it for a reservoir and additional 
supply in the dry season. The supply is small, and we have 
felt in doubt whether we could increase the supply by raising 
the dam ; whether the water would rise. 

Mr. B. R. Curtis., in behalf of the Middlesex Canal, said that 
he was instructed not to oppose the petition of the city, provided 
the act asked for should contain provisions for suitable compen- 
sation to the canal proprietors ; and to make the position of the 
canal clear, and with some hope of effecting a compromise, he 
had some days since submitted to the counsel for the city, the 
following propositions : — 

" Messrs. John Pickering, Richard Fletcher, Charles H. 
Warren, Counsel for City, &c. 

" Gentlemen — In the matter of the petition of the City of 


Boston, now in hearing before a Committee of the Legislature, 
it is my intention in behalf of the Proprietors of the Middlesex 
Canal, to ask the Committee to insert in the bill, if any is re- 
ported, provisions to the effect following : — 

" 1st — To authorize the proprietors of the canal to discon- 
tinue the canal and make sale of their property. 

" 2d — That the city shall pay to the proprietors of the canal 
such a sum for the right of diverting the waters of Concord river 
now vested in the canal, as Commissioners shall find to be its 
just value. 

" 3d — That the water shall be excluded from the canal. 

" 4th — That if any claim for damages shall be made by any 
mill owner on this city, by reason of the diversion of the waters 
of Long Pond, &c. the jury, &c. shall take into the account the 
benefit received by such mill owner by reason of the exclusion 
of the water from the canal. 

" These I believe embrace the substance of the provisions 
which are desired. As I shall not have the opportunity to reply 
to you, and no opening has been made on your part respecting 
these provisions, it would seem fit that you should state to me 
what points, if any, you shall make in opposition to the request 
of the proprietors of the canal." 

Mr. Curtis had received no answer to these propositions, and 
he therefore felt compelled to urge them upon the Committee. 
He made no complaint of having received no answer, as he un- 
derstood that the condition of the City Government had prevented 
it from instructing counsel upon the point of the required con- 

He urged that it was impossible to assess in any gross sum, 
the damages which the canal would sustain by reason of the di- 
version of the water asked for. In the first place, it was left 
uncertain what amount of water the city would draw. The seven 
millions of gallons a day, estimated by the Committee, was only 
the ultimate want of the city, and it was mere matter of guess how 
much would be wanted immediately, and how soon this whole 
amount would be wanted. Then there were certain seasons of 
the year when this amount could be taken without injury to the 
canal, while there were others at which it would be highly detri- 
mental. The amount of business of the canal at the time when 
the water was diverted from it, would also come into the calcu- 
lation of damages. 

The canal was also entitled to the benefit which might accrue 
to it from improvements in canal navigation, which may hereafter 
be made. This was another element which would make it im- 
possible for any tribunal to calculate the indirect damages to the 
canal from a diversion of its water. Unless it were intended to 


fix a gross sum, which the canal should he compelled to take, it 
would be necessary to have an annual assessment of damages 
which would be requiring an annual lawsuit. 

Mr. Curtis premised that the position of the two parties were 
such, with I'egard to this subject, that the city could not complain 
of the request of the canal. 

First. Because the city asked for a new power. In no in- 
stance had our Legislature granted power to divert water, except 
in the case where the State provided for the supply of its own 
hospital at Worcester.* He believed that while power to take 
land and other property had been so often granted, that this dis- 
tinction in the case of water was not a casual one, but arose from 
the large indirect damages that would result from the diversion 
of streams of water. He thought that the Commonwealth would 
be slow to change this policy. It would be impossible to see to 
what extent the policy so changed might reach. 

Secondly. This property, — so he considered the right to di- 
vert the water, — was already held for public uses. The canal 
now held these waters as a highway for the transportation of pas- 
sengers and merchandise. If the Legislature should give the 
right to divert these waters to another corporation, it would be a 
transfer of the right to take this property from one public use to 
another public use. The right of the Legislature to do this had 
been doubted. The better opinion was doubtless now that it had 
that right, but it was the universal opinion that an extreme case 
of public exigency must be made out. And to this point Mr. 
C. cited the opinion (23 Pickering's Reports, 393) in the case 
of the Roxbury Water Company vs. Boston and Worcester 

Mr. Curtis urged that it was the duty of the Legislature to 
use extreme caution to prevent the waste of private property by 
powers granted to a corporation. In this case such waste would 
be prevented by the adoption of the propositions of the canal. It 
was in evidence that at the season when the canal was most busy 
it required all the water ; but if an arrangement could be made, 
by which the mills could be supported by closing the canal, it 
was the duty of the Legislature to require this. If it were true 
that the amount of filtration and evaporation of a canal is 50 
cubic feet per mile per day — this on twenty-seven miles would 
be seven or eight million gallons per day, which, vt'ith the amount 
used for lockage &c., would more than compensate the mill- 
owners for the water taken by the city, if the canal should be 
closed, so that this waste could not accrue. To compensate the 
canal proprietors for shutting out the water from the canal, would 

*Mr. Curtis subsequently corrected this statement by referring to the incor- 
poration of the Hydraulic Company in 1836. 


therefore be a simple and satisfactory way of indemnifying the 
mill-owners, and saving the city any farther litigation upon the 

Mr. Curtis now urged that as he had not, in reply to his prop- 
ositions received from the counsel to the city, the points of fact 
or law which they should raise in objection to these propositions, 
it was to be taken that the city had no objection. 

[Mr. "Warren, in behalf of the city, remarked that he was 
sorry if there had been any misunderstanding with regard to these 
propositions ; that he considered the demand for a specification 
of objections as at least an unusual one. That the city would 
contend that the injury to the canal would not be essential, and 
that whatever it might he, it could be supplied from other sources; 
that he did not consider that the counsel for the canal was enti- 
tled to have been informed of this heretofore, but that if it oper- 
ated as a surprise upon him, all would be desirous that he should 
have time to prepare to meet it either by evidence or argument. 

Mr. Pickering added an explanation that he supposed that the 
request for a reply, was only for the objections which would be 
made to the proposition of the proprietors, and not for those to 
the grounds on which they rested ; and that he had informed 
the counsel that from the imperfect organization of the City Gov- 
ernment at that time, he had not been able to enter upon any 
agreement as to what would or would not be consented to as a 
part of the charter. After he had stated that he was thus unable 
to answer the proposition, he had considered that matters stood 
as if no proposition had been made. 

Mr. Curtis said, that reserving the right to introduce evidence 
hereafter, should it be found necessary, he would briefly con- 
clude what he had to say.] 

Mr. Curtis resumed. The city came here to do an act which 
would undoubtedly affect the canal property to some extent. 
They ought to have been prepared to show how they would meet 
this injury. He should therefore leave his argument upon the 
legal objections until after the city had further developed its case. 
He should then only state the grounds upon which the proprie- 
tors of the canal stood. 
The whole cost of the canal, reckoning interest until 

1819, when dividends were first made, was ^1,112,797 

The cost of each share was, at that time, 1,455 

The dividends last year were on each share, 1 

The shares were very generally held by the original proprie- 
tors and their descendants. The canal lost about one-third of 
its receipts by the Lowell Railroad, and had been still further af- 
fected by the Nashua Railroad. 

There was also a dividend of $60 last year, which was the 


proceeds of property sold, and did not accrue from the earnings 
of the canal, as such. 

Mr. Curtis said he had a few words to say on behalf of the 
owners of property in East Boston. Their remonstrance set 
forth that while it was not proposed to carry the water to East 
Boston, their property would be taxed to pay a proportion of 
the expense, and that injustice would thus be done. Mr. Curtis 
urged that all property in East Boston would be forever deprived 
of any benefit from this work directly, and he could see but two 
ways in which they could be indirectly benefited One of these 
was, that they are interested in the public property of the city, 
whose security from fire, it was said, would be increased ; and 
the other, that the expense of the fire department was expected 
to be reduced. These benefits would not be sufficient to war- 
rant the inhabitants of East Boston in incurring their share of the 
large expense proposed. But farther, if the fire department were 
reduced, it would only be as efficient as now, where the supply 
of water existed, and on the other side of the channel, insurance 
would rise rather than fall. There were now 4,500 inhabitants 
at East Boston. It was estimated that there were 1,200 dwel- 
ling houses, that 300 buildings were erected last year, and that 
150 were now erecting. The valuation of real estate, 1844, 
was $1,317,000. Several extensive factories and mills, which 
would much increase the business and population of East Bos- 
ton, were now building. From these statements it would be ap- 
parent that this was a case of much magnitude, and it would be no 
more reasonable to tax East Boston, than it would to tax Chel- 
sea, for the same purpose, if this petition came from the County 
of Suffolk. It might be as well urged that this project was not one 
forming a part of the duty of the city, as that it would not be a 
part of the duty of the county, the burden of which would of 
course have to be shared by Chelsea. 

It had been urged that this objection was like that of a person 
without children objecting to pay a school tax. But that was an 
accidental, and not a permanent and local objection, and the 
whole community derived the benefit of the school tax from the 
greater civilization and good order of the community. It had 
also been suggested that if East Boston was dissatisfied it might 
be set off. But the inhabitants of East Boston had a right to re- 
main citizens of Boston, and to tell them they might go, was 
adding an insult to their injury. They might not be told that if 
they chose to live where the water could not come, they must 
lake the burden of their situation ; for they had a right to protect 
themselves against those burdens when they were extraordinary. 
He thought this a case in which the Legislature should interfere 
to prevent injustice, because it was of such magnitude, and of 
increasing magnitude. 


If the interest on the cost of this work was really to be paid 
by the water rents, there could be no harm in absolving East 
Boston from Its share of the expense. Those whom Mr. Curtis 
represented, had not much confidence that this would be the 

The New York Legislature limited the " water district," on 
the part of the city, to be taxed for this purpose, to those parts 
in which the pipes were laid down. (New York act of 1843, 
ch. 241.) So in Massachusetts, (act of 1844, ch. — ,) provid- 
ing for village fire departments, this principle had been adopted, 
that those who have the benefit shall bear the burden of an en- 

Mr. Curtis here rested his case for the present, saying that 
after the city should have put in its evidence with regard to the 
diversion of water from the Middlesex Canal, he should offer to 
put in evidence to establish his views of that subject, and hoped 
that the Committee would enable him to introduce it. 

The Committee then adjourned to meet the next day at 9 
A. M. 

Fourteenth Session. Wednesday^ February 26th^ 1845. 

Judge Warren stated that he should proceed to introduce the 
evidence for the petitioners without any further introductory re- 
marks, as its application would be easily made after the extend- 
ed explanations already made. 

First, Mr. W. read the petition of Benjamin Adams and 
others in 1842 for the closing of the pump in State street, 
on account of its drawing the water from the wells in Pember- 
ton square ; and the order upon it reported hy Larra Crane, 
another witness, August 1st, 1842. 

He next read a certificate signed by a number of the leading 
masons and builders of the city expressing confidence in the es- 
timate of the Commissioners for the cost of the brick work of 
the aqueduct, and their willingness to contract for it at the esti- 
mated price. 

He then called a witness, somewhat out of the order he had 
intended, because that gentleman wished to leave town. 

Martin Brimmer, (sworn.) I was Mayor of the city for 
the last two years — was a member of the City Government in 
1838 — as Alderman. My attention has been called to this sub- 
ject of introducing water, as an Alderman in 1838, as a member 
of the House of Representatives in 1837, '38, and '39. 

Last autumn I was invited by a party of gentlemen to go to 
Spot Pond for the purpose of examining it. It was in Septem- 
ber. A number of gentlemen went. We were taken in a boat 
and carried to the place whence it was understood the water 


would be drawn if taken from the pond and also to other parts 
of the pond. The water was beautiful as is the pond itself. 
I inquired where the outlet of the pond was, and asked Mr. 
Odiorne who was with us for how long a season the water 
did not run out of the pond. He said he believed that 
summer it had been about six weeks ; and referred me to a man 
who lived in the house then, who he said would know bet- 
ter. This man said that there had been between six or 
seven weqks when no water run out of the pond. We then 
went down to examine the outlet. It is a sluice way in an 
embankment of from seven to eight feet high. I measured the 
sluice way and found that it was two feet by one. It was so 
constructed that it could be closed by a gate. The water was 
then running out about five inches above the sill of the sluice 

The eastern and south-eastern parts of the pond are deep. 
The western part is shallow. It was thought not to be deep 
enough to float the boat we were in. My opinion is that as a 
source of supply for Boston, Spot Pond is totally inadequate, 
and not to be depended upon at all seasons of the year. My 
opinion was, from this examination, that it is supplied by rain and 
snow water and not by springs. I do not know that any water 
flows into it except from one small source on the northern side. 
I suppose it not to be supplied by springs because its water runs 
so low in the Summer time. 

As to the necessity of a further supply of water in the city ; — 
I suppose that around the three hills there is a good supply of 
water for those who reside there, such as it is. It is in general 
however, hard water. The wells are required to be very deep. 
On the easterly side of Beacon Hill there is constant complaint 
of the failure of wells from the effect of new ones which have 
been dug. There is a constant war going on under ground and 
many wells have to be deepened from time to time. Last sum- 
mer we were obliged to deepen two wells in the cellar of the 
court house. These three hills are an exception to the gener- 
al necessity in the city. On the lower level water is very 
scarce. On the Mill Pond, South Cove and the Neck there is 
hardly any water to be obtained except by Artesian wells, and 
water is wanted as well for drinking as for washing and other do- 
mestic purposes. 

The fire department costs the city about |^40,000 a year. A 
small reservoir costs about $300 and a large one from $800 to 
1000. The water in these is stagnant, and that in the salt wa- 
ter reservoirs is so filthy that when thrown upon goods it des- 
troys them nearly as certainly as fire would do. It is also des- 
tructive to the clothes of the firemen, so that we prefer the fresh 


water reservoirs, when they can be obtained. There are fifty- 
six reservoirs in the city, holding from 3 to 400 hogsheads each. 
VVe have nevertheless been much alarmed at several times for 
the* want of water and it is my opinion that we have not the 
means to extinguish a fire of any magnitude, if it should occur 
at a place or time when the tide water would not be available. 
Witness then described the fire in Dover street the preceding 
year, at which the Franklin school-house was consumed. The 
great want at that time was of water. It was necessary to bring 
it through three or four engines which much diminished the force 
that the department could bring to bear directly upon the fire, 
and disabled it although engines were brought into town from as 
far as Waltham. If there had been then as there are now 
houses on the eastern side of Dover street, there would have 
been no means of stopping the fire short of South Cove. In 
my opinion we have no means of stopping a serious fire that 
should break out in the centre of the city, or even nearer the 
water at a time when the tide is down. 

At the south part of the town we have nine mains from the 
Jamaica Pond aqueduct to be used in case of fire. There are 
mains also in other parts of the city, but they are never depend- 
ed upon south of Boylston street. 

x\t the fire by which the crockery store in School street was 
destroyed some time ago there was a great want of water, and I 
was told that some of the nearest reservoirs were exhausted. I 
do not now remember the particulars. 

Wells are built for $1,25 a foot for the digging and stoning, 
the owner supplying the materials. My reservoir, is a double 
one and more expensive than usual and would not be a fair crite- 
rion. It cost a good deal of money. I do not recollect the 
exact sum. I have no doubt that a great mass of the people of 
Boston wish to have water brought into the city, they paying for 
its use. I was not accessary to any unfairness in producing the 
popular vote. I don't know that any body was and I don't be- 
lieve there was any. 

I have no doubt that water at a fair price would be paid for. I 
think this because it would be for the people's interest, and 
cheaper than keeping their pumps in repair. At 6 or 8 dollars a 
year I believe it would be for their interest to take it. It would 
undoubtedly be taken in the part of the city which has been call- 
ed the supplied district. I should be willing to pay 20 dollars a 
year for it if it could not be got for less — although I have now 
every convenience for the supply of water that the city now 
affords. I presided at several meetings at Faneuil Hull on this 
subject. I saw no attempt to overawe me. This could hardly 
have been, as seven-eights of the people there were on my side. 


At the last meeting, I should think there were 800 or a 1000 
present, possibly 1200. This was the meeting after the Com- 
missioners reported. There were several meetings adjourned 
from time to time, awating the report of the Commissioners. 
The meeting in the morning was very small, it having been an- 
nounced in the papers that it would only meet to adjourn. I 
know of no unfairness at these meetings, and no one interfered 
with my duties as chairman. 

By Committee. South Boston is well supphed with water for 
domestic purposes, but there would be great danger there in 
case of fire. There is no dependance there in such a case, but 
three small reservoirs, and the salt water from the river and bay. 

Direct resumed. I think the fire department is now too small. 
If a supply of water is not introduced from out of the city it 
must be increased. If this should be the case it might be re- 
duced ; perhaps from 14 engines to 12. 

There are many persons who have a sufficient supply of well 
water who are obliged to purchase soft water in the summer time. 
Large quantities were brought into the city from Charlestown 
last summer and sold at high prices. 

The reason why the report of 1844 was printed and circulat- 
ed, according to the order of the City Government before that 
of 1837 was, that the Water Committee having been directed 
to report in print, the former report was already in type, and up- 
on the new order being passed the type was kept standing, and 
the 7 or 8000 copies ordered were struck off immediately. 
The report of 1837 was 95 pages long, and it took some time 
to set it up and prepare it for delivery — but there was no unne- 
cessary delay, and I frequently called upon the printer to hasten 
it. It has been distributed long before now. 

Cross-examined by Mr. Bartlett. I have frequently visited 
Spot Pond at other times than that of my visit in last September. 
My opinion as to the way in which it is supplied arose from the 
fact that the water is so low there in summer. I often drive in 
that direction in summer time, and have observed that it was 
very low at that season. I inquired of the man who lived in the 
house then and kept boats there, if there were any springs, and 
his answers were not satisfactory. There had been heavy rains 
(before my visit there in September. I was invited to go there 
on that occasion by the trustees, who I suppose held a mortgage 
on the pond — several gentlemen went with us. There were Mr. 
Hayward, the Engineer, Mr. Darracott, Mr. P. W. Chandler, 
the President of the Common Council, Mr. Buckingham, of the 
Courier, Mr. R. H. Eddy, and perhaps half a dozen others. 

Mr. Brimmer was then cross-examined with regard to the 
existing supply of water in the city. The circumstances of 
the Dover street fire, and the meetings at Faneuil Hall, but no 


new facts were elicited. With regard to a statement which had 
been made by a witness before the Committee that the nomina- 
tions of a Committee at one of these meetings had been furnish- 
ed him by other persons, he stated that he had made those nom- 
inations himself. 

The Committee then adjourned to meet the next morning. 

Fifteenth Session. Thursday, February 27, 1845. 
Continuing the rebutting evidence for the city, Mr. Warren 
put in a table showing the amount of tax raised in each ward of 
the city. This showed that the greatest amount of wealth was 
in the wards 4 and 7. 

The whole city tax for last year was ^744,210. 
Of this ward 4 paid - - - • - - $133,000 
" 7 " 118,847 

These two wards together paying - - - $251,847 
yet these wards were strongly in favor of the introduction of wa- 
ter, according to the present petition ; for it would be seen by 
the certified copy of votes already in the case that they voted : 

Ward 4. Ward 7. 

On the question of bringing ) Yeas. Nays. Yeas. Nays. 

water from Long Pond, I 586 278 538 247 

On the question of leaving the ^ 

matter to the further action > 149 709 203 540 

of the City Council, ) 

Mr. Warren then put in a letter from Zebedee Cook, Presi- 
dent of the United States Insurance Company in New York, to 
Joseph Bradlee, Esq., dated January 9, 1845, as to the effect 
of the introduction of the Croton water on the rates of insurance 
in that city. The rates had fallen 40 per cent, within a few 
years, of which in his opinion 30 per cent, was to be attributed to 
the introduction of the water, and 10 per cent, to competition. 

Also, a letter from James A. Coffin, of New York, President 
of the Croton Aqueduct, to L. Norcross, Esq., dated February 
14, 1845, speaking of the advantages which had accrued from 
that work, and stating that he believed that the opinion of the 
citizens was that they would not now be without it even if the 
debt that it had cost were trebled. 

Mr. Warren then read several of the remonstrances which had 
been presented to the Legislature, when the city petitioned for 
leave to introduce water from Spot Pond in 1839, (to show that 
objections of the same character were raised then as now, al- 
though the remonstrants, now that the city wished to take Long 
Pond, urged that it ought to go to Spot Pond or some other 
source,) viz : 


The remonstrance of the town of Stoneham, representing that 
it contained valuable mills that would be ruined by the execution 
of the project, that it would cause great damage to the lands ad- 
joining, and that the Legislature ought not to jeopardize for such 
a purpose the property and rights of individuals and towns. A 
similar petition from a Committee of the town o( Maiden ; from 
Abel Baldwin and others of Stoneham ; from William BarretVs 
heirs ; from Thomas Gould and others, and from the town of 
Medford^ referring to the damage expected from damming up 
the outlet of Mystic Pond. 

Thomas B. Curtis was then called. Ras been In the 
Common Council for four years. My attention has been thus 
called officially to the subject of introducing a foreign supply of 
water into the city. My opinion is that there is a very urgent 
want for such a supply, both for domestic purposes and as a pro- 
tection against fire. It is also needed as a supply for the ship- 
ping. There are about 7000 vessels cleared at our custom 
house annually for the foreign and coastwise trade, each of 
which is obliged to have a certain amount of water. I have ob- 
tained from the custom house, the following statement of clear- 
ances in 1844 : — 


Ships and Barques, - - . 
Brigs, - - - - 
Schooners, - - - - - 



2000 5009 

This gives 7009 vessels in all. If we suppose the cost of 
water for each to be at the rate of $6 a vessel, which is a small 
average, it would make a cost of ^^35,000 per annum. The 
water is now brought from the adjoining towns and from South 
Boston. If there were an abundant supply they could all obtain 
it from jets at the wharves and quays. The price varies from 
50 cents to 75 cents a hogshead, and have paid ^45 for water- 
ing a single vessel. 

I have lived nearly fifty years in Boston, and have visited 
every part of it frequently, and of late with particular attention to 
this subject. I think that this want of water is a pressing want. 
I myself am as well supplied as anybody, I have a well twenty 
feet deep, of which the water is pleasant to the taste and ap- 
pears pure to the eye. I have had it analysed by a chemist, 
and the result was such that now I do not like to drink it. [Mr. 
Curtis here gave some amusing anecdotes of some tests of city 
water considered the purest, had before a previous Legislative 












Committee which had shown ihem to contain animal, mineral 
and vegetable matter. He also described a rain water cistern 
which had been made to leak by a series of " pin holes" eaten 
through its metallic lining by the chemical impurities of the 

Examined by the Committee. I do not know of any well 
water in the city which will wash. I have heard that there are 
two or three wells that furnish water which will. 

Direct resumed. Mr. Hayes the chemist, who made the for- 
mer analyses, said that he did not know of a single well of good 
water in Boston. 1 am interested in some property at the North 
End. From that 100 to 150 persons have to go a long distance 
to get water. There is a well in Bartlett street to which they 
go, which the proprietor has dug to the depth of 90 feet, and 
from which he sells the water. It is a well in a small yard, sur- 
rounded by a box which is kept locked, so that no one may get 
water from it without paying for it — and even this sometimes 

By the Committee. T have no question that the water if in- 
troduced would be used in all new houses built in any part of the 
city, because the aqueduct arrangements are cheaper than cis- 
terns, wells and pumps. 

Direct resumed. I have known many instances of the " un- 
derground war" caused by a new well sunk to a greater depth 
than the older ones in the neighborhood, exhausting them. 
[Witness went into the particulars of a case of this kind with 
regard to Parker & Whitney's well in Court square.] I reside 
in ward 4. When the water vote was taken 1 was at the ward 
room from the opening to the close of the polls. Saw no un- 
fairness with regard to the vote. There were people present on 
both sides urging the voters, but there was perfect openness and 
I believe the citizens voted as understandingly as on any other 
question. According to my knowledge, the desire for the intro- 
duction of water runs through all clases of people, from richest 
to poorest, without any distinction from lines of property. The 
objection seemed to come from a small number of gentlemen, 
who were however exceedingly active. They are the same 
now as were formerly active against introducing water from 
Spot Pond. A few have died or resigned, (laughter) but they 
are in general the same, and employ the same counsel. 

By the Committee. I have no question that owners of real 
estate would procure this water for their houses, because if it 
were supplied for 5 or 6 dollars annually, it would be cheaper 
than to keep their pumps and cisterns in order. The Croton 
engineers considered the saving in insurance by the structure of 
that work, to be from 30 to 50 per cent. The rates are lower 


and the safety greater. Our rates are now about the same as In 
New York, but would be decreased by the introduction of wa- 
ter. Our insurance stocks are now high, the business having 
been very profitable here. One reason that our rates were for- 
merly lower than those in New York, was that our fire depart- 
ment was better than theirs. The Croton aqueduct has equaliz- 
ed this somewhat. 

Mr. Curtis was then cross-examined as to the extent of the 
want of water in the different districts in detail, and the number 
of vessels requiring supply, but no new facts were elicited. He 
said that he believed that he did vote for the Spot Pond project 
in 183S. He then thought that source of supply sufficient. 

The Committee then adjourned to meet the next day. 

Sixteenth Session. Friday^ February 28, 1845. 

The rebutting evidence for the petitioners was resumed. 

George W. Cram, (called.) Is a builder — has built houses 
in all parts of the city. Has not generally put the aqueduct wa- 
ter in the houses he built ; on account of the expense and want 
of certainty. Uses the aqueduct water himself. Lives on the 
east side of Warren street — have lived there 2^ years. The 
well water there is called very good water, but I found after using 
it for about 18 months that it corroded the kettles used &c., and 
I was advised to use the aqueduct. But my well water is con- 
sidered good and a great many people from the neighborhood 
come to take it. The introduction of the aqueduct water cost 
me $27 in cash and I did part of the work myself beside. The 
annual charge from the company for ray family is ten dollars. I 
know of 269 famihes in wards 10, 11, and South Boston who 
are not supplied with water. These are South of Boylston 
street. I traced those who were supplied from the Artesian 
well at the corner of Dedham and Suffolk streets, and made in- 
quiries as to their wants. I found myself forty-three families 
dependant on that well. There is a great deficiency in the 
neighborhood of No. 600 Washington street. This I know be- 
cause there is a pump in the street from which a large number of 
people are supplied. I have seen them coming from as far as 
Tremont street. 

As a builder I have frequently had to buy water to mix mor- 
ter with — and have paid a great deal of money for it. 

I visited South Boston some few days since and called at 
several houses and found on First street five Artesian wells — 
but the water was so bad that they could not use it at all except 
at particular times. I found thirty-four families entirely destitute 
of water having to go great distances, and sometimes had to 
come across the bridge and get water from Mr. Wright's well in 


Sea street. I paced the distance to that well and found it 1700 
feet. When Mr. Alger's gate was open they got water there 
and sometimes at Mr. Thatcher's and Mr. Harding's well. 

I knew a well dug at the corner of Broadway and Dorches- 
ter street, South Boston and at first the water was very good, 
but by degrees it became worse and worse till now it is decided- 
ly bad. I know of people who reside in South Boston who 
have told me that they had bad water. 

I went yesterday co Williams' Court. I found there 22 fami- 
lies who were unprovided with water. Deacon Foster owns 
one or two of the houses there. Mr. Francis, of the firm of 
Monroe & Francis, owns one or two. Mr. Carlton of Dor- 
chester, owns tenements in which eleven families reside. A 
Mr. Scott owns one. There is no well attached to any of 
these houses. 

[The Chairman indicated that it seemed to be unnecessary to 
press this class of evidence farther, as the want of water was 
pretty clearly made out. A partial want had been conceded by 
all parties and the evidence for the two last days seemed to have 
established that even the parts of the city which had been 
thought tolerably supplied were not so.] 

As a general rule the lumber vessels supply themselves here 
for their home voyages. 

Cross-examined. Mr. Benjamin Gould who lives in Dedham 
street and takes the aqueduct water said that he was frequently 
out of water. I have frequently heard complaints. Mr. Jere- 
my Morey whose store is on Washington street, near Pleasant 
street who also takes it told me that he had to draw water before 
hand if he wished to be secure of it. There has been a gen- 
eral complaint of want of water. 

On Sea street I found 53 families who got their water from 
Mr. Thomas Howe's pump. It does not look like new land 
there, I should think the houses had been built a long time. 
Near the corner of Tyler street, I found twenty-three families 
who had to go a distance for water. They have no wells in ac- 
tual use — one of them told me of a suction from an Artesian 
well. A Mr. Sawyer who lives in Beach street, who takes the 
aqueduct says that he is frequently put to it to get Avater ; that it 
would often take him several minutes to get a pail of water. 

The cases which I have spoken of in general, are those in 
which the families have neither wells, acqueduct or cisterns — I 
have built a great many houses, in almost all parts of the city, 
and I know that very many persons would be glad to take the 
aqueduct if it were not for its high cost, and if they could be 
sure of a supply. 

I remember another case of Mr. James Hendley, (south of 
Boylston street) who told me he took the aqueduct to supply a 


small engine on Front street, but it frequently failed. This, 
however, was before the new pipe was put in. 

Mr. Cram went on to give other cases in detail — and in reply 
to a question from the Committee, said he had heard similar 
complaints in general conversation at the south part of the city. 
He had heard many say that they should like to take the aque- 
duct, but could not afford the expense of the fixtures. 

Direct resumed. In ward ten, in many places it is impossible 
to use the aqueduct without a cistern. We could not get a drop 
of water unless we caught it in the cistern at the time that it hap- 
pened to run. 

J\Ir. Warren then put in a copy of a petition that was offered 
to the last Legislature, by the proprietors of the Middlesex Ca- 
nal, asking leave to close parts of their canal, and to bring in the 
water as a supply for the city. This petition represer.ted " that 
by reason of the charter heretofore granted by the General Court, 
to the Boston and Lowell Corporation, and the Nashua and 
Lowell Railroad Corporation, the receipts of the said proprie- 
tors have been so much diminished as to be inadequate to pay 
the expenses of the canal, which has now become nearly useless 
to the public as a means of transportation^ notwithstanding the 
utmost exertions of the proprietors to maintain the same in com- 
plete repair, and to furnish to the public every possible accom- 
modation. That the said canal is fed by the waters of Concord 
River, and your petitioners having caused the water to be an- 
alysed by skilful chemists, find that its qualities are such that it 
is eminently fit for the use of the inhabitants of the City of Bos- 
ton and neighboring towns." 

George Darracott, having been called, and questioned on 
the same point, the Chairman stated that the Committee con- 
ceived that the necessity of a further supply of water for the city 
was sufficiently proved. 

Mr. Warren said that he would then turn the Investigation into 
another course from that he had intended. 

J\Ir. Darracott. I am a citizen of Boston. Last September 
I went to Spot Pond with Mr. Wm. Thomas, Mr. Brimmer, 
the Mayor — and others. We made an examination of the pond, 
going over it in a boat. The water was not so high in the pond 
as it is sometimes, but higher than it had been. In two instances, 
when it was proposed that the boat should take a particular di- 
rection, the boatmen stated that the water would not be deep 
enough. We went to the outlet ; no objection was made, but 
it was said that it would be too dark before we returned, if we 
staid to see it. We found that the outlet measured 24 by 18 
inches. The water was a little above the sill of the gate. Mr. 
Thomas told me that the water had been raised a little by the 


fall rains. A man to whom he referred said that it had risen just 
seven inches. The water then stood four or five inches above the 
gate. My own impression is that it was four inches. Since that 
some persons have thought that it was five inches. But at any 
rate, we inferred that there must be some time in the season when 
on water ran through the sluice. It was said that it had been so 
that year for six weeks, and I remarked that if the aqueduct had 
been constructed the city would have had no water for that length 
of time. It was replied that the water had been previously 
wasted, but I observed that the pipe proposed was larger than 
the whole contents of the existing sluice-way. 

This examination changed my opinion. I had been previous- 
ly in favor of Spot Pond as a source. I knew its natural eleva- 
tion to be favorable. I now think that it would supply the re- 
mainder of the city as well as the Jamaica Pond aqueduct sup- 
plies its tenants, but it might not in a dry season. If the city 
had depended upon Spot Pond for a supply, it would last year 
have been entirely without water for a time, if the water was 
used as freely as it is in other cities. 

By Committee. I have not estimated the number of gallons 
that Spot Pond would supply. 

[Mr. Warren here remarked that he would ask no questions 
of this witness as to the want of water, as the Committee had 
intimated that that point had been made out, and the Chairman 
replied : " I do not think it is necessary, sir."] 

Cross-examined. The size of pipes proposed from Spot 
Pond, was thirty inches. Know that that pond was measured 
by a "guage." I have confidence in the measurement of Mr. 
Geo. Baldwin. I have not thoroughly examined Mr. Eddy's 
plan for enlarging the capacity of Spot Pond. I don't know 
whether our people would use water more freely than is done in 
Philadelphia. I think that much water is wasted in New York. 
I believe that if pure soft water were introduced here, every 
family would eventually use it. A few would for a time con- 
tinue to use their wells, cisterns and other contrivances, but they 
would soon get over their prejudices. 

I don't know anywhere in Boston where there is a copious 
supply of good water. Some persons get a good ordinary sup- 
ply, but there is nowhere the same free abundant supply that 
there is in New York and Philadelphia. So far as I know the 
supply furnished by the present aqueduct, it is deficient part of 
the time, and the tenants are never allowed to use it with free- 
dom. I know of nothing in the habits of our people that would 
lead them to use it more freely than at the South. I believe that 
Jamaica Pond is forty acres, and Spot Pond two hundred and 
eighty acres in area ; but Jamaica Pond is supplied by springs 



under the surface that surrounds it, being only a breathing hole 
for a large space. 

The Committee then adjourned to meet the next morning. 

Seventeenth Session. Saturday March \, 1345. 

The rebutting evidence for the petition was resumed. 

Nathan Hale, (called.) I reside in Boston. Have ex- 
amined the subject of the introduction of water, in consequence 
of having been appointed a Commissioner upon it in 1837, to fill 
the vacancy occasioned by a resignation in the Commission of 
that year. 1 was concerned in the reports of 1837 and '38, and 
was subsequently appointed on the new commission last summer ; 
acted with the Commissioners in all their investigations, and in 
framing their report. 

We spent much time in investigating what quantity of water 
ought to be provided, that being one question to be determined 
before a selection of a source could be made. We examined 
all the sources in the neighborhood of the city ; some of them 
only cursorily, but Spot Pond very particularly, because it con- 
sists of good water, is high, and is conveniently placed for the 
introduction of its water by pipes. If water is brought in through 
pipes, a much greater descent is required than by other modes. 
We gave particular attention, therefore, to the quantity of water 
in Spot Pond, and a guage was prepared to measure it, which is, 
I think, entitled to the utmost confidence. [Mr. Hale then pro- 
ceeded to describe this guage, and the manner of measuring the 
water by it.] The result of this measurement was stated in our 
report of 1838. We calculated that it would yield 1,444,120 
gallons a day, as the minimum supply. We had before estimated 
it larger; I think at 2,100,000 gallons in our report of 1837. 
The average we stated in 1838 at 1,700,000. 

During the investigation, neither member of the Commission 
expressed an opinion as to the source. We thought that the 
water of Charles River was not so good, but that if it was cheap- 
er, we ought to report in favor of it, and therefore investigated 
with regard to all three sources. Spot Pond would have been 
the cheapest if there had been water enough. But it was neces- 
sary to provide some supplemental supply. Mystic Pond was 
the most convenient for this purpose, because it was in the line 
from Spot Pond to the city, and Mr. Treadwell and I thought 
ihat the cheapest plan would be to bring in the water from these 
two ponds. At that time we were not satisfied of the efficiency 
of a brick aqueduct, laid in American hydraulic cement. There 
was some reason then to suppose that the water would be injured 
and the cement softened. That doubt is now entirely removed 
by the use of the cement in the New York aqueduct, and in re- 


servoirs here and elsewhere. We, however, on these grounds, 
recommended the water from Spot Pond with a supplemental 
supply from Mystic. We estimated the population of the city 
then at 80,000, and entered into a calculation, perhaps an ab- 
struse one, to prove that the supply from Spot Pond being sup- 
posed to be sufficient for the then want, the fund would be so 
increasing as to pay for pumping up the water from the Mystic 
to supply future wants ; that as the want increased the means for 
furnishing the supplemental supply would increase. But the pop- 
ulation is already beyond the limit of the extreme of our calcula- 
tion, and it would now be a great saving to supply the whole 
without going to the expense of pumping. The estimate of the 
cost of introducing the Spot Pond water, with a provision for 
using the Mystic as it should be needed, was in the report of 
1838, $839,806. I have revised this estimate, putting in the 
reduced prices of iron and lead, and should now deduct $89,759, 
which would make the present estimate of the cost of mtroducing 
2,500,000 gallons, $750,047. The water from Long Pond, 
introducing 7,000,000 gallons, would, according to this, have 
cost $220,000 more. [Mr. Hale read from the report as to the 
prospective increase of the Spot Pond supply by the use of the 
water of Mystic Pond, showing that the estimate for the supply 
of 4,200,000 from the two, would be only $27,000 less than 
that for the full supply from Long Pond.] 

We had a good deal of discussion about the means and ex- 
pense of crossing Charles river with the pipes from Spot Pond, 
but we were of opinion that there was no mode which could be 
safely relied upon. Any mode would have been experimental, 
with doubtful expense and uncertain results. It was therefore 
thought it would be necessary to come round through Cambridge, 
crossing that river higher up over the Brighton bridge. The 
Legislature have since authorized the construction of a draw in 
that bridge, which would make even that passage more expensive. 
' As to Long Pond, we did not have the same facilities for 
measuring it in 1837 as we had with Spot Pond. [Mr. Hale 
here stated the means taken for this measurement, referring to 
page 9 of the Report of 1837.] We by these means settled on 
5 feet a second as the natural resource of the pond, without de- 
pending upon the accumulation, and we have now no facts to 
change this opinion. This, with a!l due allowances, gives the 
result of 7,000,000 gallons a day, as we now estimate ii. 

Witness was then examined as to the character of the struc- 
ture. In 1 837 we proposed a structure .similar to that now re- 
commended, in case the water was taken from Long Pond. 
We have however changed the form from a circular one to an 
oval for satisfactory reasons. We were then satisfied that it 


would be very strong, provided the cement was to be depended 
upon, of which I have said we had then some doubts, which 
have since been removed. I had no occasion to examine this 
matter again until appointed on the connmission of last year. 
We then visited New York for the purpose of obtaining informa- 
tion generally upon this subject, and particularly with regard to 
the efficiency of brick and cement for such purposes. The gen- 
tlemen connected with the New York work were very obliging 
to us, and afforded us every facility, and answered every inquiry 
as fully as possible. We found that there was nothing more 
durable than brick laid in^hydraulic cement. I believe it would 
last forever. The cement gets as hard as the brick itself, 
and when a mass of it is broken by extreme force it is found that 
the hard-burnt brick breaks as easily as the cement. I do not 
know its strength in comparison with mortar. The proposed 
Long Pond aqueduct is 8 inches thick, precisely the same as the 
Croton. [Mr. Hale here briefly compared the two structures.] 
Ours is a different structure from the Croton, but I believe that it 
is the strongest structure. It is fully as strong as the Croton, and 
none of the scientific men whom we consulted in New York 
spoke otherwise of it. 

We shall have very few embankments and those very low. 
Mr. Baldwin and I were both of opinion that on these the foun- 
dation could be made as solid as on natural earth. But if a stone 
foundation is necessary at all, it is only on the embankments, 
and the whole distance where we have any embankments is only 
8000 feet, and much of that is only one foot high. The soil is 
very favorable, most of it gravel. I have made a calculation of 
the expense of a stone foundation in these places should it be 
found necessary. Making it 9 feet wide, it would require 18,- 
194 perches of stone, which can be laid at ^1.50 per perch, and 
deducting 17 cents a perch for earth, (for if the place is filled 
with stone the expense already allowed for earth may be deduct- 
ed) this will amount to an additional expense of only $24,198. 

»Q.s to water rights. We put the water rights and land dama- 
ges down at $100,000. We have looked at the subject in every 
point of view, and are satisfied that this sum is enough. Mr. 
Knight may be compensated by furnishing him the means to car- 
ry on his works by steam ; it will not be necessary to abandon 
them. He is content to be furnished by steam power, with 
which indeed his works can be carried on somewhat better than 
by water, if he can only have water enough to wash his wool. 
The most serious claim in 1837 was supposed to be that of the 
Middlesex Canal Company. The reply to this claim will be 
found in the documents. We have not stated any particular 
sum as the amount of their damages, but are fully of opinion 


that a supply of water can be furnished them by artificial reser- 
voirs constructed to retain the water from the spring when there 
is an over-supply till the dry season, when it is needed. They 
could be easily supplied in this manner with all the water need- 
ed, even if they did a full business. Some of the proposed re- 
servoirs looked to for this purpose, have been since the Report 
of 1 837 bought up by individuals, but there are others, which it was 
not necessary — and it would not have been prudent — to indicate 
specifically in the Report. 

The Committee here adjourned to meet on Monday morning. 

Eighteenth Session. Monday, March 3, 1845. 

Nathan Hale. Direct resumed. We had before us the 
reports of the Croton works up to 1837, inclusive. We knew 
the plan of their work. And we adopted the circular form of 
aqueduct because we thought it more economical, and decidedly 
stronger than any other form, in proportion to the masonry used. 
It is very much stronger in proportion to the amount of masonry 
than the form used in the Croton works. 

We knew of no form of aqueduct like it, but we found that 
the city reservoirs in this city built on a similar principle, proved 
well adapted to their purpose and strong and firm. 

When last year it became necessary for us to prepare another 
estimate for an aqueduct, the question came up whether we 
should adopt the form proposed in 1837. We resolved to re- 
tain the general principle, but to change the form so far as to 
admit the passage of a man through it, to repair it when neces- 
sary. The former plan was for an aqueduct 4 6-10 feet in 
height. We made our new plan for an oval aqueduct. The 
old plan would carry all the water needed, but we did not wish 
it filled with water. There should be a circulation of air above 
the water. The section of the plan which we adopted gives a 
semi-circle at the bottom, the sides draw together above the hor- 
izontal diameter of this semi-circle, and unite at the top in a 
curve nearly the arc of a smaller circle. This gives most capa- 
city at the bottom and most strength at the top, where most 
strength is needed. The smaller the arch the stronger. We 
were satisfied that this was decidedly the best shape. We want- 
ed height but not width, and this gave it without waste of mate- 

To Mr. Dwight. In an aqueduct of this shape and size, the 
water can be drawn down and a man may pass through in a small 
boat to repair it. 

An aqueduct thus laid, with walls of double brick, laid in hy- 
draulic cement would be abundantly strong for every purpose re- 
quired. It rests on the natural earth where that is firm and 


solid. Where it is loose it must be made sound of course. 
But we are sure that such an arrangement is better than any of a 
single range of brick on concrete on any other foundation. 

The intel-nal section of the Croton work is 53 square feet, that 
of ours is 24 square feet. 

The drawings which I exhibit show the form of the Croton ; 
ours — instead of this expensive stone work at the bottom gives 
a curve, a stronger form, of brick laid in cement. 

Our views have since been entirely and exactly confirmed by 
testimony of English engineers examined before the Parliamen- 
tary Commission on Health in large cities, in the year 1843. 

Mr. H. then read from a large volume lately printed by order 
of the British Parliament containing minutes of evidence taken 
before " Commissioners of Inquiry into the state of large towns 
and populous districts, in regard to drainage, supply of water, 
&c." the following passages : — 

From the evidence of William Hoskins, Esq., Professor 
of Architecture in Kings College, June 10th, 1843, — the Earl 
of Lincoln in the Chair. 

" What do you consider the best form of drain ? I think the 
best form to be that of the longitudinal section of an egg, placed 
with its small end down. It confines the water when there is a 
small quantity, so that it may act upon the substances that pass 
into the drain with most effect, and it gives an increased space 
to the water as it increases in depth." 

June 17, 1843. Evidence of William D. Guthrie, Esq. 

" What form would you recommend for the secondary drains, 
such as are to receive a number of small ones ? I think the 
form adopted by the Holborn & Finsbury Commissioners is the 
better form. 

" You recommend the form of the different descriptions of 
drain adopted by the Finsbury District ? Yes ; they are egg- 

" That gives greater strength ? The greatest strength is by 
that form secured, and it has the additional advantage of render- 
ing efficient a small quantity of water, the apex being turned 

" June 24, 1843. The Duke of Buccleugh in the Chair. 
Evidence of Edward Cressy, Esq., an Architect of 30 years 

" With respect to the particular forms of sewers, have you 
turned your attention to that subject at all .'' I have often con- 
sidered the form used in the Borough District, and also the 
Westminister District, and in other districts, and my impression 
is that the form which would nearest approach an egg-shape, 
would be the preferable one. There is more economy in it, 
and greater strength. 


" With respect to the form of the sides of the drain, do you 
conceive the form of a curve to be stronger than an upright 
side ? If you were to take the section of an egg, I do not 
think it would be possible to have abetter form. You would 
have more strength by that than by any other form. 

" That would embrace a curve for the sides ? Instead of 
having a straight side, you would have a slight curve ; you 
might have a curve at the bottom, and a curve at the top. 

" That would enable you to have a resistance to the lateral 
pressure, which is a considerable object, where you have 
loose ground ? Exactly. 

" Would it also enable you in any given circumstance, to 
make the drain of greater strength with less material ? Cer- 
tainly ; there is less material required in that shape than in 
the Westminster sewer. If you have the same quantity of 
material to use with the egg-shape that you have with the 
section of the Westminster sewer, you will get a much great- 
er capacity." 

" March 21, 1844. Evidence of B. Williams, Esq., Civil 
Engineer and Professor at the College of Civil Engineers at 

" Have you had occasion to examine the forms of sewers ? 
I have examined, among others, the forms of some of the sew- 
ers in the metropolis, viz : those of the Westminster, the city, 
the Finsbury and Holborn district. 

'' Have you compared the qualities of those sewers, in respect 
of economy of materials, strength and adaptation to the pas- 
sage of water ? The difference between the Finsbury and 
Holborn and the city of London sewers is very inconsidera- 
ble ; both are designed on the same principles, and with the 
same views towards the economy of materials. In answer- 
ing the question, I would therefore compare the Finsbury 
[Fig. 1.] and the Westminster sewers, [Fig. 2,] respecting 
the form, of which there exists a wide difference. First, as 
regards economy of materials, the upright sided sewers, with 
horizontal footings, requires for the same water way, a much 
greater number of bricks than the egg- Fig. 1. 

shaped sewer. Comparing sewers of the Finsbury Sewer. 
same class as in the Westminster district, it 
is found that the upright side sewer con- 
tains for one foot in length, 261 bricks. 
The egg-shaped, for one 

foot in length, 175 " 

One mile of the first would 

require therefore, 1,378,080 " 

One mile of the second 

would require 924,140 " 


" One mile of the sewerage of the Fig. 2. 

upright form would require upwards of Westminster Sewer. 
half a million of bricks more than one 
mile of the egg-shaped sewer, and the 
number of bricks that would complete 
one mile of the upright formed sewer- 
age would suffice for one mile and a 
half of the egg-shaped sewer. The 
number of cubic yards of brick work 
per mile of sewerage, would be for the 
upright sided sewer 3,888 cubic yards. 
For the egg-shaped 2,272 " " 
Giving an excess for 

the former of 1,116 " '^ 
Which, valued at 20s. a cubic yard, would amount to £1,116. 
But the excess of expenditure would not be with the brick 
work only. The width of the footings used in the upright 
sided sewer causes great additional expense in the excavation. 
The gullet must be excavated at least eighteen inches wider 
than for the egg-shaped sewer. The depths to which the ex- 
cavation of the main lines have to be carried, average gener- 
ally twenty feet." 

[Here the witness went into the comparative cost of the 
two kinds of structures, exhibiting a difference in favor of 
the egg-shaped of £1,660 3s. 3d. per mile, which, according 

Note. For the purpose of showing the analogy between the egg-shaped 
sewer, as described by the witness, and illustrated by a cut, and the egg-shaped 
aqueduct recommended by the Commission for conveying the water of Long 
Pond, and also between the Westminster form of sewer and the form of the 
Croton aqueduct, the following cuts are subjoined, exhibiting on the same scale 
[five feet to an inch] a section of the two aqueducts. 

Croton Aqueduct. 

Long Pond Aq,uEDucT 


to his computation, had the improved form been adopted dur- 
ing the last ten years in five districts of the City of London, 
would have produced a saving of expense to the amount of 
nearly a quarter of a million pounds sterling, and this he be- 
lieves would have been but a part of the benefit which would 
have resulted from the adoption of the improved mode.] 

" In respect of the strength, how have you found the sew- 
ers, with upright walls, and with arched walls, to stand ? No 
instance of the failure of the arched sewer has come to my 
knowledge. I have seen one instance, near Notting Hill, 
where the upright sewer had fallen in, been rebuilt, had again 
fallen, and was rebuilt a third time, with extraordinary pre- 
cautions of piling and stufiing to resist lateral pressure from 
a slip which was forcing in the upright side walls. Informed 
of this failure, and knowing that it would offer a useful les- 
son to the students of Putney College, I took them to exam- 
ine the work. In one place the whole culvert had slipped 
bodily with the clay, the form being at the same time distort- 
ed. This moving bodily would have occurred with any 
shaped sewer ; but the displacement in the mass was the ex- 
ception. Usually one of the upright sides, and sometimes 
both the uprights, were crushed inwards towards each other, 
the invert retaining its position in the longitudinal direction 
of the sewer. In one place I observed that the invert had 
been forced upwards when the resistance from the upright 
walls had been withdrawn. 

" In those portions which were not carried away bodily by 
the slip, do you think that the failure, either wholly or par- 
tially, arose from any defect in the principle of construction ? 
I think that the failure arose partially from the want of power 
in the upright walls to resist lateral pressure so effectually 
as may be done by arched sides." 

" If proper science were available, would there be any 
question as to the shape, in respect of strength ? I believe 
not. I am aware that there are certain physical questions 
which have been investigated scientifically, and about the re- 
sults of which investigations much difference of opinion still 
prevails. But a well known theory of the equilibrium of sus- 
taining walls on earth, is universally accepted as true, and is 
confirmed to be such by its repeated application in hydraulic 
works, and frequent adoption for culverts, retaining walls &c. 
The theory, the investigations of which were first pursued 
by Coulomb, indicates that a sewer, with an external convex 
form, to resist lateral pressure, is the most stable. With firni 


ground the egg shaped sewer would be the best. For known 
conditions of varying densities in the external earth, modifi- 
cations from the egg-shape would be required, but in no case 
departing from the application of the principle of the arch. 
With semi-fluid ground, it should approach more nearly to the 
form of the circle. The egg-shape, hoAvever, presents this 
important advantage for the conveyance of water, exclusive 
of its superior strength and economy, that when the water is 
small in amount, the narrowness of the lower part gives a 
greater hydraulic depth, and therefore produces increased ve- 
locity, and when the body of water is increased, more capaci- 
ty is obtained. The superiority of the egg-shaped sewer, in 
point of strength, is so self-evident, that it really appeared a 
work of supererogation to demonstrate it technically. All 
grant that the properties of the arch are such as to resist pres- 
sure, with the least consumption of materials, and, that , the 
outward batter or slope is useful to resist the lateral or inward 
pressure of the external earth, is an admitted principle, acted 
upon instinctively by every one. Whoever walks against the 
strong wind, instinctively leans forward against it, being well 
aware that, with the body in an inclining or sloping direc- 
tion, he can resist its force better than if he stood upright." 

The Commissioners had no doubt that the Avhole work 
could have been contracted for at a less price than they esti- 
mated, and I have had no reason to change that opinion. 
Unless there should be some material change in the price of 
labor or materials, I have not the least doubt that the work 
could be done for less than the cost estimated in the report. 
I consider the structure fully sufficient, whether there should 
be a foundation wall laid in the embankments or not. If 
there should, I have given my estimates of the stone work 
necessary, which would amount to but little over $25,000. 
I have here a table of embankments and excavations, which 
shows the amount of each. It will be seen that the greater 
part of the way the aqueduct will be in excavations, and con- 
sequently under ground. On the Croton work there has been 
a large expense for ornamental work, which we have not con- 
sidered necessary. Their expenses for rock cutting, both 
open cutting and tunnel cutting, were, from the nature of the 
ground, much greater than ours will be, even in proportion 
to the distance. The Croton work crosses several streams 
and deep ravines, while the ground between Long Pond and 
Boston is very favorable for such a work. 

My opinion upon the effect of this work upon rates of in- 


suraiice, is expressed in the Report of 1837 (p. 42 of the new 
edition, 34 of the old,) as follows: 

*' It is the opinion of persons conversant with the hazards 
and rates of insurance, that the risk of loss by fire, and, con- 
sequently the rates of insurance, which would be charged by 
insurance companies, if such a system for the supply of wa- 
ter as is now proposed were introduced, would be reduced 
about one third, — the present average rate, being not far from 
forty cents on a hundred dollars, per annum. The amount 
of property in the City of Boston, exposed to the hazard of 
destruction by fire, is probably not less than $75,000,000. 
Admitting therefore that the risk of insurance on this proper- 
ty is at this time equal to 4-10 of one per cent., and that the 
proposed supply of water would reduce this risk by one third, 
the saving which would then be made to the inhabitants of 
the city in the risk of loss by fire, would be equal to $100,- 
000 per annum. It is not material that this estimate should 
be scrutinized with great exactness. Whether the sum here 
named be too high or too low, will not be questioned, that 
the annual saving from loss by fire would be equivalent to a 
very large sum, and would go far to reduce the hazard of 
those distressing conflagrations, which sometimes occur, and 
which, from the amount of property destroyed, and the num- 
ber of persons deprived of employment give a sensible check 
to the growth and prosperity of the city." 

This opinion I took at the time from the gentlemen I sup- 
posed most able to form a judgment upon the subject, I re- 
member having consulted with Mr. Balch upon it. 

Mr. Hale was then examined, as to the amount of supply 
necessary. He took the amount used in Philadelphia as a 
good standard of the amount needed; better than the exam- 
ple of any foreign city, because the condition of the inhabit- 
ants, and their habits of living, more nearly resembled those 
of our own citizens. The Commissioners of 1837, for this 
reason, took the quantity supplied by the Philadelphia water 
works, in proportion to the population of the district supplied, 
as the basis of their calculation. This amounted, according 
to their estimate, to 28J wine gallons for each inhabitant. 
The last report of the Philadelphia Watering Committee 
shewed a little larger amount of supply. He referred to the 
following statement, at page 25 of the report of the Watering 
Committee of 1844. 

" The consumption of water in the city and districts, dur- 
ing the year 1844, were as follows : 



From January to April, a term of 13 weeks, an 

average daily supply of 3,654,517 

From April to July, a term of 13 weeks, an aver- 
age daily supply of 5,445,291 

From July to October, a term of 13 weeks, an 

average daily supply of 6,949,102 

Being an average daily supply of 5,330,455 gallons, equal 
to 189 gallons to each water tenant. 

The above supply of water was distributed as follows : 

To 14,021 tenants who pay for the water in the 
city, and to 3,500 families who receive a supply 
without charge, from public hydrant pumps, mak- 
ing together in the city 17,521 
And by private hydrants in Spring Garden, 3,470 
" " " Kensington, 735 
" " " Northern Liberties, 3,478 
" " " Moyamensing, 664 
" " " Southwark, 2,214 

Together^ ' 28,082 

The Philadelphia water works were constructed at the 
sole expense of the City of Philadelphia, independently of 
the districts. It was therefore supplied at a lower charge to 
each tenant, and more fully supplied, as appeared from the 
above statement, the population of the city according to the 
census of 1840 being 93,665, and that of the five districts 
126,758. The supply to the city he considered as the prop- 
er test of that which would be required for the City of Bos- 
ton. The number of tenants in the city, including 3,500 
families supplied without charge, was 17,521. The average 
daily supply for the year of this number of tenants, at 189 
gallons per tenant would be equal to 3,311,469 gallons for 
the inhabitants of the city, which quantity divided by 93,665 
the number of inhabitants, gives a fraction over 35 gallons 
to each. This was the average daily supply for the whole 
year. The daily supply for the summer months was nearly 
a third more. He said it would not be sufficient to provide 
means of supplying only the average demand daily. The 
demand would be very unequal, and the supply should be suf- 
ficient to meet daily the greatest demand likely to arise on 
any day. This would be in summer much greater than 
in winter, and on some days of the week much greater than 


on other days. He considered therefore the computation of 
28 or 30 gallons to each inhabitant, taking double the pres- 
ent population of the city, a very moderate estimate of the 
quantity of water which ought to be provided for. 

Cross-examined by B. R. Curtis, Esq. We did not in 
1837 make a definite plan for reservoirs to supply the defi- 
ciency created in Concord River. We had no authority to 
make purchases or do anything towards procuring that sup- 
ply and therefore could not take definite action. The recent 
Commission did not go at all into this inquiry. 

By the Committee. We were satisfied that there are 
sources of supply where water could be accumulated from 
the Spring season to be used in the dry season. Magog Pond 
is one of these. It was not desirable to point them out in 
the report so as to make them objects of speculation. Magog 
Pond is about ten miles from Long Pond, about twice 
as far from Boston. I did not go to it personally. Mr. Bald- 
win and Mr. George Bond thought that it would be worth 
while for the city to buy that pond for this purpose, but we 
had no power to make contracts. 

By Mr. Derby All the analyses of water which we 
thought material were made in 1837. I have heard that 
there has been one made by Mr. Jackson since our Commis- 
sion terminated but I do not know the result. The analysis 
showed a small quantity of impurity more in Long Pond 
than in Spot Pond. Mr. Odiorne has told me that there was 
water fraudulently drawn ofi" from Spot Pond in the night 
at the time we were making our measurement. We had no 
knowledge of any such thing, and had reason to suppose 
that the person whom we employed was faithful and meas- 
ured all the water that passed from the pond. 

I have not the information which would enable me to say 
accurately how deep the tide water flows back into Mystic 
Pond. I have known it to flow back for an hour or two and 
to the depth of one or two feet. It never flows back any 
deeper to my knowledge. I should think that the depth 
would depend more upon the quantity of water in the river 
than upon the state of the tides. At high spring tides I 
should think that it must rise much higher. We thought 
this water might be shut out by a dam of moderate height 
and did not think there were serious objections to it, but Mr. 
Baldwin gave more weight to it. 

I made an allowance for the fall of coal in my revised es- 
timate of the cost of pumping the water from Mystic 
Pond. There has been no substantial improvement in the 


machinery for pumping since the introduction of. the Cornish 
pump. Mr. Treadwell who made the estimates had Wick- 
stead's work which has been referred to. I have allowed 
10 per cent, for improvements in engines. 

As to Charles River my estimate is that the cost of pump- 
ing 7,000,000 gallons a day into the reservoir on Corey's Hill 
would be $905,745. To bring the same from Long Pond 
would cost only $749,200, being a saving of $196,500. If 
only 5,000,000 of gallons are taken it would save $188,000 
on the Charles River plan, but if the Long Pond works were 
reduced to the same standard there would be a similar 

NiNTEENTH Session, Tuesday Morning, March 4, 1845, 

Nathan Hale, cross-examination resumed. My computa- 
tion for the cost of pumping from Charles River to Corey's 
Hill is based on an estimate for two pipes that being the es- 
timate for the supply of the city from the reservoir. 

A 32 inch pipe would cost more than a 30 inch, and the 
increase of cost would be larger than the ratio of the in- 
crease of diameter. I do not think 10 per cent, additional 
would be a sufficient estimate for this increase. The metal 
must be thicker. I calculated the expense attending this on 
the same requisites as for carrying water in pipes to Corey's 
Hill, as in bringing it thence for distribution in the city. 

If you suppose it safe to rely on a single pipe, a large one 
will of course be cheaper than two of the same area. 

[The remonstrants here put in their estimate for pumping 
from Charles River at Watertown to Corey's Hill, supposing 
one pipe of 32 inches : — including cost of pipe, engines, 
waste weirs, and the principal of their estimate for the cost of 
pumping estimated at 5 per cent. The amount of this esti- 
mate was $857,010.] 

Cross-examination resumed. I suppose Anthracite coal 
can be carried from Boston to Watertown for a dollar a ton. 
Bituminous coal can be carried for a similar price. The 
price per chaldron will be in proportion to the weight of the 

Questions hy Mr. Derby. Can you not introduce at first 
a small pipe, and afterwards as the demand increases intro- 
duce a second ? 

Certainly. But not if you economise in pipe by using one 
large one instead of two of less diameter. 

If you raise the water to the height of 60 feet only instead 
of 120, you will reduce by one half the working expenses. 

Sixty feet head would suffice for household purposes in all 


the low lands in the outskirts of the city : — on the Neck, in 
the South Cove, on the Mill Pond. For the extinguishing 
fire the higher the head the better. 

Most of the houses on these lands are not more than 30 
feet high. 

To Mr. Hubbard. The reservoir which we propose on 
Corey's hill will raise water a little above the floor of the 
State House. 

Above that level it is of no use for economical purposes. 

We contemplated a reservoir on Beacon Hill, whose pres- 
sure could be applied to the distributing pipes or not as was 
necessary. In case of fire, where a full pressure would be 
needed and the pipes should be kept fully charged it would 
be applied. The reservoir would itself be filled by the slower 
flow from the large reservoir on Corey's Hill. 

In cases of fire a hose could then be attached to any stop- 
cock and water thrown to any part of any house in the city 
excepting those on Beacon Hill. 

It would throw water thus in four-fifths of the city. 

Spot Pond would supply all elevations in the same way, 
if a reservoir were thus arranged on Beacon Hill. 

Baptist Pond is good water but the supply is small. It 
empties above the Watertown dam. 

London is supplied by pumping. 

The Cornish Mines are drained by pumping. 

There are some sewers in Philadelphia in the larger streets 
and the system is enlarged from time to time. They have 
not a good system of sewers. The streets are washed with 

The water rent for a householder in Philadelphia is $5,00. 
For special uses he pays extra rates. The great body of 
householders pay $5,00. 

We computed at a similar rent here. 

There are 20,000 water tenants in Philadelphia. I do not 
think it would be extravagant to expect as many here. The 
average rent would be above $5,00. 

I have made no calculations as to the number of buildings 
in Boston. I should not suppose there would be more than 
one tenant to a building. 

I do not suppose that any less amount than that at Phila- 
delphia will satisfy our population. The experience of Ed- 
inburgh would not convince me that a less supply than that 
at Philadelphia would be amply sufiicient. 

Excepting that the population is not now so dense, South 
Boston needs the water as much as the city proper. The 
natural supply, of course, is not so largely drawn upon. 

There is an aqueduct from Jamaica Pond to Boston. The 
water is of the first class. Its supply of course comes as an 
element into any calculation as to the amount of water nec- 

The average distance to which the bricks for the aqueduct 
must be carried is between twelve and thirteen miles. 

The cost of carrying them would vary, from a variety of 
circumstances. For so large quantity as this I suppose you 
could contract on the average at about $1,50. Certainly not 
less than a dollar. 

Question by Mr. Derby. Why then do you estimate in 
your report of '37, this cost at two cents a thousand ? 

That is a misprint in the pamphlet. 

Mr. Derby. But the error is carried into the footing ? 

The error is not in the footing as may be seen by adding 
the items. It is in the printer's footing at the bottom of the 
page but not in the footing which is carried out into the gen- 
eral calculation. That amount contains the item stated, at 
an estimate of two dollars. 

We consider ten dollars a thousand a liberal estimate for 
brick and carting. 

Cement can be delivered for f 1.50 a cask at the spot. 
Brick can be laid for $2.50 a thousand for the best of ordi- 
nary work. This work is a peculiar shape, and we estimated 
therefore at $3.00 a thousand. 

If the preparations for this work were made in one season, 
I think it could be finished in two seasons more. 

There is clay on the borders of Long Pond, and an old 
kiln, at which brick has been made, of good quality. I can- 
not say whether such can now be made there, at a price suf- 
ficiently low. 

The width of the excavations at the bottom varies with 
that of the outside of the aqueduct. At a distance of two 
feet four inches from the bottom, the excavation will be six 
feet four inches wide. It is not intended that any earth shall 
be removed which must be replaced. 

At the bottom of the deep cuts, the work must be done 
with wheelbarrows. I do not doubt it can be contracted for, 
should the soil be favorable, at 12| cents a cubic yard. 

By Mr. Lawrence, of the Committee. I have always 
found that contracts for large amounts of brick or other simi- 
lar articles could be made at lower prices than for a smaller 

In reply to a question by Mr. Henry Williams. The Com- 
mittee, in making the estimate of cost of the proposed aque- 


duct, did not confine themselves to the price at which the 
principal articles, brick, iron and labor, might be contract- 
ed for at the time, but took a somewhat higher price, such 
as in their opinion would cover any probable increase of 
price, arising from an increased demand. Am decidedly of 
opinion that Long Pond is the most eligible source from 
which to obtain the supply, on the ground of the superior 
quality of the water to tliat of any other source which will 
afford it in sufficient quantity, and the less cost at which a 
sufficient supply can be obtained. 

JoTHAM B. MuNROE, Called by Mr. Derby. I am engaged 
in the watering business, and keep a boat for the supply of 
shipping in the harbor. There are in all six boats employed 
in the business, the proprietors of which have an agreement 
with one another to keep an account of all our earnings, and 
meet monthly and divide them equally. We do all the busi- 
ness of supplying the shipping in the harbor. The whole 
amount received during the last five years was between $37,- 
000 and $38,000. This includes the city proper. East Bos- 
ton, and Charlestown, The quantity sold annually the two 
last years, was about $6,000. The water is obtained chiefly 
at Chelsea, where it is pumped by them, by hand. It is of 
good quality. They pay a small price for it, about $250 or 
$300 a year. Think that if water were introduced to the 
city the shipping would continue to be chiefly supplied by 

Mr. Derby here put in a statement, made up from the tax 
book, to show that the property of the Boston remonstrants 
amounted to $23,780,000, the whole city valuation being 
$118,000, He also put in a report of R. H. Eddy to Abbott 
Lawrence, with regard to the Middlesex Canal. 

The Committee then adjourned to meet the next afternoon. 

Twentieth Session. Tuesday, March 4, 1845. 

Nathan Hale's cross-examination was resumed. 

Li answer to a question why the Commissioners had esti- 
mated for a smaller number of ventilators than were provided 
on the Croton aqueduct. Mr. H. said that they proposed to 
construct three waste weirs, with ventilation at convenient 
stations, which would divide the work into four sections, in 
each of which they proposed an additional ventilator, which 
they supposed would be sufficient, but it was a subject to 
which they had not given any great consideration. 

He was asked if the estimate of land damages was not very 
low, and on what principle the estimate was made. The 



ronte proposed for the aqiiodnct was chiefly through pasture 
land, of very little value, and much of it below the surface of 
the ground. In this respect it differed much from the New 
York work, much of which passed through villages, and land 
of great value, and the damages were accordingly high. A 
small part of the route in Newton and Brighton, for perhaps 
a mile or two, passes through quite valuable land, but the 
average of the route was through land of low value. 

Did not the Worcester Railroad, with which you are con- 
nected, cost much more than the estimate ? It did. But the 
estimate was for a very different work from that which was 
finally constructed. It was for a single track, without depots 
or land, except for the train, and including a very small num- 
ber of engines and cars. The present road embraces two 
tracks, adapted to a much larger amount of business than was 
originally provided for, and the land and buildings in Boston 
alone cost moio than half a million of dollars. 

Ill reply to a question by Mr. Hubbard, if he did not con- 
sider an aqueduct composed of iron pipe the best adapted for 
supplying the city, witness said that at the time of making 
the report of 1837, he was of opinion that a brick aqueduct, 
laid in American hydraulic cement, could not be so safely re- 
lied upon as iron pipe, for the reason that they were not then 
able to obtain satisfactory evidence that the cement had been 
sufficiently tested. There was some reason to apprehend, 
from such evidence as they had then obtained, that it might 
dissolve in process of time, and that it would injure the qual- 
ity of the water. But ample experience since that time had 
removed all apprehension on that point, and he considered a 
brick aqueduct, constructed like the Croton works, or like 
that proposed here, would be as durable, and as little liable to 
have a deleterious effect upon the water as iron pipes. 

Lemuel Shattuck, (recalled.) This table, exhibiting the 
miles of pipes laid, the number of water tenants, and the 
average number of gallons supplied daily to the whole and to 
each, by the Fairmount Water Works, is compiled from the 
Reports of the Watering Committee. 1 have no reports of 
the years not specified. 





.fi veiuge gciiioiib 




Free. Paying. 




supplied daily. 

























































































This gives an average for the last five years, of 175 gal- 
lons ; and the previous six years, 178 to each tenant. In 
1840, the population of the water districts was 220,423, and 
the number of water tenants 23,482, which gives one tenant 
to nearly 10 inhabitants, or 18 gallons to each, and not 28|, 
as stated above. There were then laid about 111 miles pipe, 
which gives 234 tenants to the mile. In 1844, there were 
120| miles of pipe laid, and 28,082 water tenants, averaging 
also 234 tenants to the mile. 

The quantity of water furnished by the Croton Works, in 
New York, is not measured. Last November, 155 miles of 
pipe was laid there, to accommodate about 40,000 dwelling- 
houses, and 310,000 inhabitants: and there were 8,644 pay- 
ing water takers, averaging 55 to every mile of o pe, one to 
every 4| dwelling houses, and o? o to 36 inhab. ants. 

I have compiled this table, exhibiting the total cost, (in- 
cluding only the distributing pipes and fixtures of the old 
works applicable to the new,) the gross income, the expendi- 
tures, and the net income of the whole of the P!v' .dtipiiia 
water works, and for each tenant, for such years as I nave re- 

Total Cost. 
$1,178,323 54 

Gross Income. 


Net Income. 

Each tenant. 


$ 66,766 72 

$63,009 57 

$ 3,757 15 

$ .32 


1,264,292 36 

90,631 00 

65,163 36 

25,467 64 



1,323,580 74 

92,116 82 

73,288 38 

18,828 44 



1,381,031 43 

101,266 39 

71,7116 57 

29,559 82 



not stated. 

109,826 06 

50,642 29 

59,183 77 



1,483,330 40 

134,634 67 

24,701 75 

109,932 92 



1,493,638 20 

139,682 97 

63,911 40 

75,771 57 



1,584,594 05 

144,765 74 

63,171 84 

81,-593 90 



1,610,000 00 

]51,.501 37 

24,332 10 

127,169 27 


From this table it appears that the average net income for 


the last four years has been $3.73 for each tenant ; the five 
previous years, $1.40 each. The City of Philadelphia has 
hitherto supplied the five adjoining districts, — having inde- 
pendent governments, but resembling the outer wards of the 
city, — Spring Garden, Kensington, and Northern Liberties, 
lying north of the city, in 1844, containing 7,683 water ten- 
ants; and Moyamensing and South wark, lying south of the 
city, containing 2,878 tenants. These districts have paid 50 
per cent, higher for water than was paid in the city, common 
dwellings paying in the former $7, 50, and in the latter $5,00 
each, and others in proportion. Objections have been made 
to paying these prices, and a contract has recently been con- 
cluded by which the southern districts will be supplied for 
the next ten years at the same rates as the city. The three 
northern districts, have, however, declined taking water even 
at these prices, and have erected steam works on Pratt's Hill, 
to supply themselves. This will reduce the number of wa- 
ter tenants, this year, to 20,399 ; the gross income to $92,- 
287.88 ; and the net income to $63,087.83, or $3.08 per ten- 

Nathan Hale, (recalled.) Witness was asked if he was 
acquainted with the manner in which the income and ex- 
penses of the Philadelphia water works are exhibited in the 
published reports. 

Mr. H. stated that he had had occasion to examine minute- 
ly the report of the last year, from which it appeared that the 
current expenses of the year for repairs and management, 
amounted to about $16,000, and that a further sum, exceeding 
$8,000, was expended for extending the works, by laying down 
new pipe in parts of the city and districts not previously sup- 
plied, which was also classed with the expenditures of the year. 
In some other years a much larger sum had been expended for 
new works, and the expenditures thus added to the capital, as 
well as the current expenses, were deducted from the receipts 
for water rents, for producing amounts stated as net income. 

Caleb Eddy, (recalled.) When the proprietors of the 
Middlesex Canal, last winter, presented their petition to the 
Legislature, they were discouraged by the state of the busi- 
ness of the canal during the preceding year. They lost a 
debt of $4,800, by the failure of one of their debtors. The 
Concord Watering Company left them, and sold off their boats 
to the Railroad Corporation. In the year 1843, the number 
of passports for boats passing through the locks was 6,000. 
The number fell off in the latter part of the year. The in- 
come amounted to $7,000, exclusive of the $4,800 not col- 


lected. The income is about the same amount this year. 
The actual receipts exchisive of proceeds of sales of some 
property, did not quite pay expenses. This year have paid 
a dividend of $10 a share and have a surplns of about $1U(J0. 
The boats last year were somewhat more than the year be- 
fore. From contracts which have been made for next year, 
particularly for a large number of railroad sleepers, thinks 
the business will be mnch increased. See no reason why it 
may not do as well as for some time past, since the railroad 
has been in operation. Am satisfied that if the water of 
Long Pond is diverted the canal cannot be kept in operation. 
Any uncertainty in regard to the regularity of the business 
of the owners will be fatal to it. All the timber that comes 
down the canal is floated directly to the ship yard. The fall 
of Concord River for a distance of 22 miles above the canal 
is 2.85 feet. Do not think it would be practicable to supply 
the deficiency arrising from the diversion of the water of 
Long Pond by means of a reservoir on the bank of the riv- 
er. The rise of water is four to five feet in the highest 
spring freshets. Water retained in a reservoir to a depth of 
three or four feet would be all gone by filtration and evapor- 
ation, by the latter part of the summer when it would be 

Twenty-first Session. Wednesday March 5th, 1845, 

Mr. Bartlett on the part of the remonstrants called two 
witnesses farther. 

Cyrus Alger. Has been somewhat acquainted with Spot 
Pond and its works. My opinion formerly — sometime be- 
tween 1816 and 1822 when 1 went twice to the pond with a 
view to mtroducing the water to the city — was, that there 
was an ample supply there. I have not been to the pond 
since, bnt have been at the works below where all the water 
is discharged, and have not perceived any dimunition of the 
amount of water. 1 should be willing to contract to bring 
in the water from Spot Pond by iron pipe — using the exist- 
ing bridges — and delivering it at a reservoir in South Boston 
for $500,000, taking ten per cent, of my pay in stock. 

Mr. Bartlett then put in a calculation to show that Spot 
Pond would furnish 3,364,000 gallons daily. 

Patrick T. Jackson has been connected with the use of 
water power for 33 years. Was one of the Commissioners of 
1844. Have paid a good deal of attention to the subject of 
introducing water. We were only directed to report on the 
best mode of bringing water from Long Pond. If I were 
made a Commissioner to bring in water from the best source, 


I should not make up opinion as to what the best source 
was, without examining for myself. 

The investigation made by the Commission as to the 
quantity of water in Long Pond is such as is quite satisfac- 
tory to me. I have no doubt that there is quite as much wa- 
ter there as is estimated by the report. 

I did sign a circular proposing a company to bring water 
from Spot Pond. I thought the estimates for damages and 
crossing the channel too low, but I thought the iron at 2| 
cents a pound was so much too high as to balance it. 

I consider the amount estimated for land damages and wa- 
ter damages and for reservoirs in Boston very uncertain. It 
is impossible to make accurate calculations on such subjects. 
We allowed about four times what we thought they were 

Cross-examined. Disregarding the land damages and the 
rise in price of iron, I have no doubt that the Long Pond 
aqueduct could be built for the estimate in the report of 

By Committee. I never went to Spot Pond but once. 
Then I took no measurement. I only know its size from 
the report of 1838. I had great confidence in the report of 
1838 ; — but it has been shaken by what Mr. Brimmer told 
me and what he has testified to here about the low condition 
of the water last summer. 

The evidence was closed with the testimony of this wit- 

B. R. Curtis, Esq. who represented the Middlesex Canal 
made the closing argument in its behalf. [Some discussion 
arose before he commenced upon his proposal that the coun- 
sel for the city should inform him what grounds they pro- 
posed to take with regard to the positions of the canal. Mr. 
Fletcher maintained that the city could not be required to 
look at the canal differently from the other remonstrants, but 
stated that they should object to putting the city under any 
obligations to the canal, and should maintain that the damage 
to the canal would be small. Mr. F. added in reply to a 
question from Mr. Curtis, that he was not prepared to admit 
that the canal had the legal power and right to transfer its 
water rights to the city, so that they might be used by the 
latter in settling any controversy with the mill owners.] 

Mr. Curtis then commenced his argument. The canal 
came here indeed to show cause why the request of the city 
should not be granted, but it was willing that that request 
should be granted if its own rights were protected. The 


question that arose was whether the Legislature would not 
insert a provision for this protection in any law they might 
pass in accordance with the petition. 

There were certain facts which were beyond dispute as 
between the city and the canal : — 

First : that the use of the waters of Long Pond was now 
enjoyed by the Middlesex Canal, 

Secondly : that the quantity of this water was large and 
important, — which was shown by the city's saying that it 
was sufficient for its full supply, 

Thirdhj^ that this water was essential to the profitable and 
convenient use of the canal if not replaced from other sourc- 
es_, and 

Fourthly^ that this water was already devoted to a public 

The question was whether the Legislature would thus take 
property already devoted to a public use for the purpose of 
devoting it to another. He did not deny the constitutional 
power of the Legislature to do this, but contended that those 
who asked for it must make out that a case of extreme ur- 
gency and necessity existed. To this point he cited the 
opinion of the Supreme Court (23 Pickering's Reports 393) 
in the case of the Boston Water Power Co. vs. the Boston &; 
Worcester R. R. The power of eminent domain was only 
to be exercised in an extreme case and upon the payment of 
a full equivalent for the property taken. The Committee 
ought therefore to inquire if it were proper to take the prop- 
erty of the canal against its will, when it was willing to give 
up this property upon reasonable terms. 

The canal was incorporated in 1793 and established by a 
number of public spirited individuals. It was not completed 
for many years and it was longer still before it became at all 
profitable, no dividends having been made until the year 1819. 
Most of the original holders however persevered in the enter- 
prise and the stock remained in their hands. It was from 
that time profitable until the construction of the liOwell Rail- 
road which greatly diminished its value. It had always 
seemed to him a great mistake both on the part of the Com- 
monwealth and that of the Railroad that no provision was 
made for compensating the canal for this injury. It was a 
road directly parallel to the course of the canal, having and 
intended to have a direct effect upon its business. It was a 
case where an existing franchise was directly affected by the 
grant of a new one. The principle was hurtful to the Rail- 
road itself. The State of New York compels Railroad com- 


panies to compensate parallel turnpikes and canals for the in- 
jury done to tlieir business. This however had not been the 
policy of Massachusetts, and the construction of the Railroad 
reduced the vahie of the canal one-third at once. The con- 
struction of the Nashua and Lowell Railroad soon after had 
a similar effect, and the extension of the road to Concord N. 
H. still farther injured the property. The Middlesex Canal 
did not come there to complain ; but it was the duty of the 
Legislature to see whether farther injury should be inflicted 
upon it and to provide it all reasonable and just protection. 

It was said that the Middlesex Canal stood here in the 
same position as any other party whose property was liable 
to be injured by the proposed work — for instance a mill 
owner — and must seek its remedies in the same way. But 
there were broad distinctions between the case of the canal 
and others. 

First, the magnitude and value of the work. There had 
been discouraging circumstances in 1843 which had led the 
proprietors to underrate the value of the canal, and they then 
applied for leave to change the mode of using their property. 
But time had proved that they were then mistaken and that 
it was really profitable and worth while for them to carry on 
their canal as such. During the past year their net income 
had been $9000, (they had divided $8000 and reserved 
$1000) which would represent a property of $150,000. 

Secondly : Their property was now held for a public use 
and it was important to the public that it should continue to 
be employed in that manner. Even in the year when they 
received no income, 6000 boats passed over the canal, and of 
course now that it was so profitable it was used by a still 
greater amount of navigation. 

Thirdly: If the request of the canal were complied with 
all the water would be used in the most advantageous man- 
ner to all parties concerned. The mill owners would be as 
well off as they are now, and no party would suffer any un- 
necessary damage. If this proposal was not accepted the ca- 
nal would be entirely crippled and the mill owners would 
have large claims for damages, — how large it was impossible 
to foresee. This seemed to be a strong reason to warrant 
the Legislature in putting into the act the provisions pro- 

What the canal asked was simply to be compensated for 
withdrawing all the water from the canal, and to be compen- 
sated for it either according to such bargain as it might make 
with the city, or according to the award of Commissioners. 


If the canal were nearly worthless as was represented there 
would of course be very little for the city to pay. The less 
valuable it was the less expensive it would be for the city to 
pay this, and have the whole water now used in it to set up 
against the claims of the mill owners. 

Only two objections which might be raised to this course 
on the part of the city occurred to him. The first was that 
the canal had not the right to dispose of the water in this 
way, because it held it for a particular public use, and that 
when that use ceased the property in it would revert to the 
mill owners. But where property had been under the au- 
thority of law taken for a public use, and paid for, it was 
competent afterwards to change that use. As if the Com- 
monwealth should take land for an arsenal and pay for it, 
and afterwards change the building so as to use it for a hos- 
pital, or should sell the land, its property would be sufficient 
for either of these purposes. The full property of the land 
being acquired it carried with it all the incidents of prop- 
erty, among which was the right of transfer or sale. Where 
an easement only was taken, the right of property would cease 
when the use ceased, for the original property is only coex- 
tensive with use. 

To apply these principles to the case of the canal — It had 
taken and paid for the right to divert the water of Concord 
River. It made no difference to the mill owners below to 
what use the water was converted. Suppose that the fran- 
chise should extend — as in fact it did in this case — to the 
double purpose of making a canal and running mills. The 
Corporation take Concord river and apply it to the construc- 
tion of their Canal and the supply of their water power. 
They have a right to do so. They increase their mills ; they 
are still in the right — they discontinue their canal in order to 
afford water to these mills ; — they are still doing what they 
have a right to do, nothing that they may not do under a 
perpetual charter to divert the waters of Concord River. 
Their right is as perfect as that of a person holding property 
in fee. 

Mr. Curtis in support of this doctrine referred to the case 
of Wellington petitioners vs. the town of Cambridge (16 
Pickering 87) and that of the Water Power Co. vs. B, & W. 
R. R. (23 Pick. 360.) 

He also referred to the act of the last session in favor of 
the Blackstone Canal, to show that the Legislature might 
change the use of the water rights, and the bill reported (by 


Judge Strong) at the same Session in favor of the Middlesex 
Canal, to show his opinion of the validity of the doctrine. 

In fact the canal held its present property not by its taking 
under the Charter, but as by a grant. It had no deed, but an 
undisputed possession for over forty years amounted to a 
grant in fee of the right to divert the waters of Concord Riv- 
er. He requested the Committee to consider seriously wheth- 
er this was not a case where the rights of the Middlesex Ca- 
nal ought to be protected and where some course ought to 
be devised so that it should not be driven to a jury to assess 
the damages done to it by the proposed work. 

Mr. Curtis having but a few words more to say, the Com- 
mittee adjourned to meet the same afternoon. 

Twenty-second Session. Wednesday, March 5th, 1845. 

Mr. Curtis closed his remarks on behalf of the Middle- 
sex Canal, by referring to the proposal to supply the water of 
Concord River from other sources. The means of furnishing 
this supply had only been indefinitely alluded to and had on- 
ly been shown to exist by evidence at second hand. Magog 
Pond, one of these sources already belonged to Mr. Whipple 
who might have used it to supply his mills for which water 
' had been needed could it be advantageously applied to such a 
purpose. The other source which had been pointed out was 
in Hopkinton above the Saxonville Factory ; and it was nat- 
ural to suppose that if it were available for such a purpose it 
would have been already used for that factory which was in 
want of water and had supplied its deficient power with 

Wm. J. Hubbard, Esq.. closed the case on behalf of the 

He did not intend to go over the details of the evidence 
on this matter which would undoubtedly be weighed by the 
Committee. He wished to draw their attention only to some 
of the points in controversy. The object of the petition was 
one of great interest to Boston — ^both to the city as such, and 
to its inhabitants, who had a right to have such an object ac- 
complished in the most prudent manner. It also concerned 
other towns and their inhabitants, who apprehended that their 
rights were about to be encroached upon, and that they 
should suffer damage for Avhich no adequate compensation 
could be made. He appeared on behalf of those who had 
signed the remonstrance called that " of Joseph Tilden and 
others," who thought that if the project were executed in 
the manner proposed, it would involve a needlessly large ex- 


penditure of money, bring upon the city a heavy debt, and 
subject them and coming generations to an onerous taxation 
to pay the annual interest on the debt, which would not for 
many years, if ever, be met by the income from water rents. 

The powers which the Mayor in his petition asked to have 
granted to the city were by no means simple. They were 
in fact, first, the power to take lands belonging to citizens of 
other towns without their consent, and against their will — to 
destroy their mill privileges — to divert streams from their nat- 
ural courses — and as a necessary consequence, to render near- 
ly valueless large amounts of property, the profitable im- 
provement of which depended upon the continuance of the 
manufacturing establishments erected on those streams and 
privileges. Secondly, the power of taxation to raise the 
money necessary for these objects. 

This last request was one made necessary by the fact that 
the power of the city as such did not extend to the building 
of an aqueduct. This was not a part of the intent of its 
Municipal Charter (Rev. Statutes ch. 15. sec. 12. Willard 
vs. Neioburyport, 12 Pickering 227, Stetson vs. Kempton, 13 
Mass. Rep. 272 ; Spaulding vs. the Inhabitants of Lowell, 
23 Pick. 76. ) Neither law nor usage made this an object 
which a town as such could undertake to effect. The size 
and importance of the city did not give it a greater right in 
this respect than the smallest municipal corporation. That 
a new power for the purposes of taxation was required had 
been allowed by the City Solicitor in a letter to the Mayor 
on this very subject. (City Doc. January 29, 1838.) 

The City Government in asking the Legislature for such 
extensive powers, — the right of eminent domain and the 
right to raise money for a purpose not now authorized by law 
' — ought to convince the Legislature that a plain and strong 
3ase of urgent necessity existed, requiring that such powers 
should be granted ; and even if a very large majority of the 
voters in the city asked for these powers, the Legislature 
would not be the less bound to guard the rights and interests 
of the minority. 

The petitioners were bound to make out four points, 
viz ; — 1st that there was not now an adequate supply of wa- 
ter in the city to meet its actual necessities ; secondly, that 
these actual necessities required additional corporate powers 
for their supply ; thirdly, that they required such extensive 
additional powers as were asked for ; and fourthly, that the 
proposed plan was the best and wisest for the purpose for 
which it was designed. The ground that the votes of the 


petitioners were the best evidence of the want could not be 
sustained ; if it were so, Legislative Committees might be 
discharged from most of their investigations. Neither was 
the vote of "the citizens of Boston in general meeting as- 
sembled" always to be considered evidence of the wisdom or 
necessity of what it recommended; as might be seen by votes 
of 1829 and 1830, urging by large majorities that either the 
State — or if not the State the City — should construct two 
railroads one from Boston to the Western line of the State 
and the other from Boston to Pawtucket. The Committee 
of the Legislature to whom the petition founded upon these 
votes was referred, reported that the petitioners have leave to 
withdraw, and that report was accepted, and this conclusion 
was a wise one, that the action of the citizens of Boston and 
the declaration of their wishes or opinions, was entitled to 
no more weight as evidence of the necessity or wisdom of 
any measure, than the actions or declarations of any other 
set of men, in regard to any' object which they desired to ac- 

Admitting that the rebutting evidence offered by the peti- 
tioners had proved that there was some want of water, it did 
not follow that the second proposition was made out, that 
new corporate powers were needed by the city in order to 
supply this want. On this point those whom he represented 
took this ground in their remonstrance : — 

" Your Memorialists also represent, that while they admit 
that the wants of certain parts of the peninsular portion of 
the city require the introduction of a copious supply of pure 
soft water, — they feel a confident assurance that those wants 
can be adequately supplied by a private corporation, at a 
much smaller expenditure than it can be done by the city. 
And they have no doubt that if a charter should be granted 
with suitable provisions, the necessary funds would be speed- 
ily raised to construct an aqueduct, Avhich with the one now 
in operation, will be amply adequate to supply the existing 
wants of the city and its increasing wants for many years to 
come. Your Memorialists therefore deem it an impolitic and 
wasteful expenditure of money to introduce a colossal aque- 
duct, whose magnificent provisions are to suffice for the city 
when its inhabitants shall number 300,000, when a compar- 
atively small expenditure will furnish an aqueduct which, 
with the supply of water now enjoyed, will abundantly meet 
the wants of the city for half a century — leaving a distant 
posterity to make some provision for their own wants." 

In support of the opinion that a private corporation was 
the proper resource to supply this want, he cited Mr. Quin- 


cy's report as Mayor, (June 13th, 1825,) and Mayor Arm- 
strong's Report as Chairman of the Committee on" this sub- 
ject in 1836. Most cities which had foreign supplies of wa- 
ter, — for instance, London, Liverpool, Greenock and Glas- 
gow, — were supplied by private corporations, and the remon- 
strants were of opinion that this mode of supply had decided 
advantages. They believed it could thus be done more eco- 
nomically than by the city — the city would incur no risk of 
loss — those who wanted water, would alone pay for it ; and 
if it proved a profitable undertaking, the city would have the 
power to take it from the company by paying them a reason- 
able compensation ; and if the city should decline taking it, 
the citizens would be safe against imposition or extortion on 
the part of the company, by the provision in their charter 
authorizing the Legislature to regulate the prices of water. 

The next question was — all the rest being granted — were 
so large an expenditure and so great powers needed ? In the 
words of some of the former petitioners, this work ought not 
to be undertaken until it was practicable, " consistently with 
prudence and reasonable economy." He did not think that 
the evidence showed that the natural wants of the citizens 
required so immense a supply. Much of the " want" spoken 
of was for the artificial wants for manufacturing purposes and 
the like, and for luxuries. If there were such a want, it was 
not one which had been long discovered, and the history of 
the action on the subject which had been appealed to, showed 
rather a disinclination to enter upon any such enterprise than 
the contrary. 

Mr. Hubbard then recapitulated, with this view, the histo- 
ry of the various movements on this subject, since the organ- 
ization of the city government, and then briefly summed up 
the evidence in the case, to show that it did not prove such a 
want as to require the supply asked for. He contended that 
the plan proposed was based upon a greatly exaggerated esti- 
mate of the amount of supply needed, both in respect to the 
nature of the wants for which provision ought to be made, 
and the amount of supply which would be needed to meet 
those wants. It did not look only to a supply of the present 
wants, but proposed that provision should be made immedi- 
ately for the wants of the city half a century hence, when, 
according to the Commissioners, the population of the city, 
including South Boston and East Boston, would be 215,000 ; 
and this supply they thought should be 7,000,000 gallons. 
He thought that the proper course to be pursued was that 
suggested by Mayor Chapman in his testimony, which was 


similar to that recommended by the Water Committee of 
1839, in the report made by Mayor Eliot, viz : to provide 
for existing wants and growing wants within a reasonable 
tiii(^, and by a plan which should be capable of enlargement, 
to meet the growing wants of the city in the distant future. 

He should endeavor to establish that an adequate supply 
of good water might be procured at less expense than by the 
plan reported by the Commissioners, from nearer sources, 
(thus decreasing the risk,) and by a safe mode of construction, 
(iron pipes. ) He should only direct the attention of the Com- 
mittee to two plans. 1st. Taking Spot Pond as the principal 
source of supply, with Mystic Pond as a supplemental source 
when the increased want of the city should require it ; and 
2d, taking Charles River as the sole source of supply. 

Mr. Hubbard went, in some detail, into the examination of 
the advantages of the several sources, citing the reports for an- 
alyses of the water, expense of construction, &c. ; but before 
he completed his argument, the Committee adjourned to meet 
again the next morning. 

Twenty-fourth Session. Friday, March 7, 1845. 

Mr. Hubbard resumed his argument on behalf of the re- 
monstrants, by reviewing the action of the City Government 
on this matter, in order to show that it had never expressed 
any deliberate opinion in behalf of the proposed measure. 

An explanation with regard to some points of this review 
was made by Mr. Edward Brooks, of the Citizens' Committee. 

Mr. Hubbard contended that the course of action during 
the past year, both of the citizens and the City Government, 
was characterized by haste and the want of such deliberation 
and investigation as the subject required, and that it afforded 
no sufficient evidence that the public necessity or the public 
interest required that authority should be granted to carry out 
the proposed plan. It had been suggested that the Commit- 
tee might decide to report a bill in accordance with the wishes 
of the petitioners, and leave it to the city hereafter to deter- 
mine whether it would avail itself of the authority given it 
to execute the proposed project. He urged that such a course 
would not be in accordance with established legislative usage, 
and that the Committee should not report a bill, unless the 
evidence submitted had been sufficient to satisfy their own 
judgments that the proposed measure was necessary and expe-^ 
dient, and that the interests of the city would be advanced by its 
adoption. He requested the Committee to consider whether 
they could adopt a wiser course than that taken by the Legisla- 


ture of 1839, whose resolve on this subject, expressed the opin- 
ion that it had not sufficient evidence to enable it to decide 
upon the proper source and best mode of supply for the wants 
of the city. It did not seem to him that the petitioners had 
made out a sufficient case to call for the exercise of the pow- 
ers the Legislature was asked to use. It was not reasonable 
to ask for a present supply for the wants of half a century 
hence, or for exaggerated demands of the present population. 
An adequate supply for all rational wants would be furnished 
by a private corporation, and then if that establishment should 
prove a projfitable one, the city might take it into its own 

Mr. Hubbard closed by asking to be excused if the heat of 
argument had led him into too harsh censure of men or meas- 

Richard Fletcher, Esq. closed the case on behalf of the 
petitioners. He said that the simple question submitted to 
the Committee was whether there should be a grant of the 
needful power to supply the City of Boston with pure and 
wholesome water. Although this question was so simple, 
however, and so easily stated, it was one of no ordinary im- 
portance. A question of deeper, or more serious interest was 
rarely submitted for legislative consideration and action. It 
did not relate to pecuniary speculation or enterprise, but to 
the comfort, health and lives of a large portion of the people 
of the Commonwealth. The want of pure and wholesome 
water was one that pressed not occasionally, or at intervals, 
but marred the comfort, and perilled the health and life of 
every living being, every hour and every minute. When a 
hundred thousand people, under the pressure of this want, 
come to the Legislature for aid and relief, it presented a sub- 
ject which rose in importance far above the ordinary topics of 
legislative attention. It seemed to him that the remonstrants 
and their counsel had signally failed in their conceptions of the 
nature of this subject. It was not to be placed in the same 
list with applications for railroads. A great want, like this, 
for water, the natural demands for bread, water and vital air, 
were not to be treated as the factitious and artificial wants of 
society were • and most of the topics suggested, in reply to 
the question, ranged altogether below the real importance of 
the petition. The struggle to supply such a want was not 
to be baffled and defeated by professional skill and tactics, 
and objections to form and circumstance, or by speculations, 
plans and theories. Suppose that a famine were desolating 
the city, and a plan of relief had been agreed upon, as by gen- 


eral consent, what would be thought of the objection that it 
would provide too much bread, or from the wrong place ? or 
that the carts and transportation would cost too much ? And 
yet this was a wasting famine. If such a want existed as was 
alleged, it must be supplied. It was in its very nature a want 
that would seek relief ; must and would find relief. It would 
not be baulked. That it did exist seemed manifest and un- 
deniable ; and that the people of this city had been strug- 
ling under this want for more than twenty years. As the 
population had increased, the want had increased, till it had 
now arrived at such a degree of urgency that it must and 
would have relief ; it sought relief lawfully and properly, but 
it must and would be relieved. 

The inability to obtain a sufficient supply of pure and 
wholesome water within its own limits, was by no means 
peculiar to the City of Boston. It had occurred to other 
cities in all ages, and the employment of sources of supply 
from abroad, with aqueducts connecting these with the city, 
commencing beyond the Christian Era, and coming down to 
our own time, existed all over the civilized Avorld. In our 
own day and country, these works had been constructed in 
Philadelphia, New York, Richmond, and other places ; and 
wherever they were, we found that at whatever cost or sac- 
rifices, they had been built, and however many mistakes and 
delays had occurred in their construction, they were clung to 
by the people with such a force of attachment, that nothing 
would compel them to give them up. The Croton aqueduct 
in New York had approved itself to the most intelligent and 
the most wealthy inhabitants, and nothing would now induce 
them to part with its benefits. 

That this necessity for a foreign supply of water Avould 
occur, might have been foreseen from the time of the settle- 
ment of the city, and it was amusing that the people of Bos- 
ton, suffering under this great want, should be told that his- 
tory showed that they were living in the midst of an abun- 
dant supply of pure water, and should be consoled by the 
statement that the original name of their territory meant 
" abounding in springs," — a statement in itself apocryphal. 
The probable necessity of such a supply might have been 
seen from the settlement of the city, for there were many 
things incident to a crowded city, that precluded the possi- 
bility of procuring a sufficient quantity of pure water within 
its limits. What then must the inhabitants of Boston — 
parched as they were — show to their rulers to insure the grant 
of the powers asked for. 


They must show : first, the existence of the want, and next, 
only, that the plan proposed was practicable and reasonable. 
He denied that they were bound to show anything else. They 
asked for a particular plan, and the Legislature must either grant 
that or not. They could not be compelled to show that this was 
the best possible plan, beyond a reasonable doubt, as if they 
were making out a criminal charge. The Legislature would go 
into no such inquiry. It would require it to be made to appear 
that the plan was practicable and reasonable, but it might well 
leave something to the discretion of the petitioners. The city 
might never get a supply of water if compelled to prove that 
one or another plan was the best possible plan. There was no 
pond or river as a source, no system of pipes or masonry as a 
means, to which some objection could not be found. These 
particulars and details must therefore be left to the discretion of 
the city. There was no objection to having the matter go back 
to the citizens. The act must be accepted by them and if they 
were satisfied with the source, the cost and the plan, and were 
willing to pay for the water in that way, who was to object .'' 
The Legislature ? He did not think so, or that the Committee 
would think so. They would require that the plan should ap- 
pear to be practicable and reasonable, and that was all. 

First, as to the want; it must be shown to exist. It was adr 
mitted even by the remonstrants that it existed to some extent, 
but it was material that what that extent was should be some- 
what fully defined and understood. He maintained that it was 
to a great extent, pressing and urgent. How were the wants of 
a community, — of a city or town, — to be ascertained ? How 
was such a want as this of water to be discovered or proved .'' 
The opinions of individuals, themselves well supplied, and who 
had no particular means of knowing the wants of others could be 
of but little weight. The remonstrants had called before the 
Committee, several respectable individuals, all of whom had 
testified to the existence of a partial want ; and he (Mr. F.) 
thought the weight of their testimony was that there was a ne- 
cessity for procuring an additional supply from some source with- 
out the city. But this gave nothing but the general fact ; the 
extent of the want was still not defined. 

[At this point of the argument the Committee adjourned to 
meet in the afternoon of the same day.] 

TwENTT-FiFTH Session. Friday, March 7th, 1845. 
Mr. Fletcher resumed : The best and perhaps the only 
way to get at the real extent of this want was to look at the 
efforts made to relieve it. This was the way in which commu- 
nities manifested their wants. In some countries the existence of 



a want like this would have been shown by riots and violence. 
Here we had the different course of resorting to petitions and to 
the ballot box. Exertions of this kind clearly showed the ex- 
istence of a want, and their generality proved the generality of 
a want. The declarations of the citizens to their constituted 
authorities, accompanying their acts were a part of the res gestae 
and were stringent evidence in such a case. He therefore briefly 
reviewed the history of movements upon this subject. 

The Jamaica Pond aqueduct was established in 1795 showing 
that there was a necessity to go out of the peninsula for its 
supply of water half a century ago. It had been said that no 
account had been made at this hearing of the existence of such 
a work. It had been referred to, but the evidence was suffi- 
cient to show that it was already used to the full extent of its 
powers of supply. 

In 1816, Mr. Alger testified that he and others had taken 
some measures to introduce water into the city from Spot Pond 
— which showed that even at that early dale this want was felt. 

In 1825, we found the government of the city — now organized 
as such, — inquiring into the practicability, expense and expedien- 
cy of introducing water from abroad. And that this was a 
movement of the government showed that it was a result of a 
general want and desire on the part of the whole city. Mr. 
Treadwell was appointed to make this examination and made 
his report the next year ; wisely advocating an enlarged work 
that should be sufficient for future years, and should not be con- 
fined to the mere temporary want. Mr. Quincy as Chairman 
of the Water Committee urged further that the work should be 
done and done by the city as such. 

In 1827, (February 1,) Mr. Odiorne made his proposal to 
supply the city with water, which was referred to a Committee 
who reported adversely on the 12th of November of the same 

Some years then passed until 1832, in which year a Commit- 
tee was appointed (January 9th,) of which the Chairman, May- 
or Wells, reported, (December 31st,) that there was then ''no 
difficulty in the way of carrying out the favorite object of intro- 
ducing a supply of water for the general use of the inhabitants 
and the extinguishment of fire." He urged in that report the 
utility and practicability of the proposed scheme, referring to 
Mr. Treadwell's report as authority, and stated that after mature 
deliberation the Committee were satisfied that the health as well 
as the convenience of the citizens required that the work should 
be commenced in the succeeding year. This was in 1832 ; in 
1833 another Committee was appointed, and in March the May- 
or was directed to ask for authority from the Legislature to take 


land, &c., for such a work, substantially as in the present case. 
There was some delay, and there was no effective action ; but in 
the fall of this year a petition (that of Warren Dution and oth- 
ers) was presented to the City Government urging direct and 
speedy action. In this petition the subscribers said that they 
acted under a deep impression of the necessity of the proposed 
supply. They said that they deemed it superfluous to go into 
the details of the insufficiency or impurity of the water then in 
use. They spoke of it as a matter of general complaint, and 
said that it was their belief and that of the community, that if the 
city did not act promptly, the matter would be taken in hand by 
private corporations. Mr. Fletcher, read this petition with the 
names of its signers, remarking that they were highly competent 
judges and entitled to great respect, and that this paper showed 
that in their judgment the public mind was decided on having 
this done, and on having it done by the public authorities. A 
Committee was appointed upon this petition and upon their re- 
port the sum of $2000 was appropriated for a new Commission, 
and Mr. Loammi Baldwin was selected to make a further sur- 
vey and examination of sources. When this Committee report* 
ed to the City Government the survey of Mr. Baldwin — a most 
thorough and capable engineer — they spoke of it as a " minute, 
full and valuable examination of the whole subject of introduc- 
ing water, a subject of much interest to the citizens of Boston, 
which had been long and mucii discussed and investigated ;" 
they said that the introduction of water from foreign sources was 
one of those improvements which must be sooner or later adopt- 
ed in this as in other great cities ; they believed that the report 
of Mr. Baldwin contained all the information which could be 
desired or obtained ; they considered his examination as com- 
plete and had great confidence in his judgment ; and therefore 
they said that they could see no reason to suppose that it would 
ever be necessary to make further surveys for this object. This 
was as far back as 1834. 

In 1835 the petition of Dr. Warren and others urging imme- 
diate action was presented to the government, and in the fall 
of the same ,year (October 13,) the Mayor, Mr. Lyman, re- 
ported a resolution favorably to it, but the city did not act upon 
it at that time. 

In 1836 the citizens rose more en masse, and we had the pe- 
tition (presented January 18,) of Isaac Parker and four hundred 
and thirty-five others urging that the water was needed, that the 
cost of introducing it was yearly more expensive, and that 
measures ought to be taken for its introduction at the public ex- 
pense or otherwise that very spring. Among the subscribers to 
this petition were Messrs. Isaac Parker, Cartwright & Balch. 


In June of this year Mr. Eddy's report was made (and Mr. 
F. read from pages 25 and 26 as to the necessity of a supply.) 

The same year (August 24,) the Mayor, Mr. Armstrong 
communicated to the City Council the resolutions adopted at a 
general meeting of the citizens at Faneuil Hall, advocating the 
measure, which was adopted by 2107 yeas and 136 nays. 

In 1837 a new Commission was appointed to explore and re- 
port, consisting of Messrs. Treadwell, Hale and J. F. Baldwin. 
They reported November 23d, after using constant effort and 
large means of information. They were divided as to the source 
which was to be selected ; two of them being in favor of Spot 
Pond, and one in favor of Long Pond. 

The Mayor's communication in 1838 recommended an appli- 
cation to the Legislature for owers to construct an aquduct. 
He stated the need of an abundant supply and the expediency of 
begining upon this work soon (page 4,) and expressed a firm 
opinion that it would pay for its interest and repairs, (page 
5.) Hosts of petitions poured in urging immediate action — ' 
among which, since it was urged that that part of the city 
was well supplied he might notice that, from wards 11 and 13 
which speaks of " feeling daily the want of pure water." There 
were also several remonstrances against the project, but none of 
them were based upon the absence of the want, but upon the 
bad times and the crippled and embarrassed slate of business and 
property. The remonstrants then thought the time inauspicious, 
when prosperity returned they should be glad to join their fellow 
citizens in this work. 

In 1838 the citizens held another public meeting on the sub- 
ject, at which two questions were presented ; and these constant 
meetings and reports were conclusive evidence that the people 
had had an opportunity to understand this question. Tvfo ques- 
tions were submitted to it. On the first, — asking the voters if 
it were expedient for the city to provide a supply of soft water 
at the public expense, the vote was 2541 yeas and 1621 nays 5 
on the second : "Is it expedient to begin the work next year if 
leave be granted ?" the vote was 2507 yeas 1652 nays. 

In 1839 the Commissioners made their supplemental report, 
Mr. Baldwin giving his reasons for differing from the others, and 
maintaining his opinion in favor of Long Pond. An application 
was made to the Legislature and a bill was reported ; but many 
remonstrances were brought in, and it was recommitted and 
lost for want of time. The whole evidence was heard on the 
part of the remonstrants but there was not time to finish the 
case on the part of the petitioners. In bis communication of 
April 29th, of that year (City Documents of 1839, No. 19,) 
Mayor Eliot gave a detailed account of this examination. He 


then argued that it was not necessary for the petitioners to go 
into any such proof. He urged that it was enough to show that 
it would contribute to the heahh, comfort and temperance of the 
people. As to the financial question he calculated that even if 
the work cost $4,500,000, its benefit to the city would be worth 
the interest on that sum, while he did not doubt that the water- 
rents would pay off the loan. 

After this commenced Mr. Chapman's administration, which 
was emphatically a reign of economy. Tn 1840 and 1841, a 
Committee was appointed, as usual, but no progress was made 
with this matter. In 1842 nothing at all was done. In 1843, 
Mr. Odiorne proposed his plan for supplying water from Spot 
Pond, by a private corporation, and a Committee of the City 
Government reported favorably to it, but it was not finally 

This brought us to the year 1844. There was pending be* 
fore the Legislature in 1843, the plan of Mr. Eddy to bring a 
supply of water from the Middlesex Canal, and that of Mr. 
Odiorne for Spot Pond. The public opinion was strong and 
decided, that this supply ought not to be in the hands of individ- 
uals or private corporations, but should be brought in by public 
expense. Seeing these proceedings pending, a petition was pre- 
sented, (Pet. of John Redman and others,) asking the City Gov- 
ernment to call a meeting of citizens in Faneuil Hall, to consider 
the subject. This was not done at that time, but a subsequent pe- 
tition (that of Walter Channing and others) was granted, the meet- 
ing was called and adjourned from day to day, and the whole sub- 
ject was thoroughly discussed, from September to December. 
These meetings were not large, but they were open ; every one 
might go, and every one might speak who chose, and the result 
^as that there was a strong vote in favor of introducing the water 
at the city expense, and requesting the City Government to apply 
for leave from the Legislature, as soon as might he. At the 
time of the fall elections, the most favorable opportunity for ob- 
taining a full expression of the opinion of the voters, proposi- 
tions were submitted, the result of which had been stated there. 
It was the largest majority ever given on any occasion by the 
votes of the citizens. Eight-ninths were in favor of bringing in 
the water at the public expense, and the vote was three to one 
in favor of Long Pond as a source. Unquestionably this was 
the true sense of the people of Boston, and had been for years. 
This decisive vote would prevent an attempt to accomplish the 
object by individual enterprise ; and public opinion had now so 
settled down upon Long Pond, as the proper source, that if the 
present petition were denied, all would be thrown into confusion, 
and it would be impossible to concentrate action upon any other 
plan of supply. 


Such was the evidence of the want of water, resuhlng from 
the votes and measures of the inhabitants of Boston during a 
long period of time. In support of this the petitioners had in- 
troduced that of a few individuals, and they would have brought 
more but for the intimation of the Committee that more were un- 
necessary, — persons familiar with the city and its wants, who 
had fully corroborated this. [Mr. F. here briefly recapitulated 
the evidence.] The result of all this was that there was a great 
and general, and constantly increasing want of water in the city ; 
a want that must be supplied ; not partial and indefinite, but a 
want felt by all persons at all times. If it were smaller, the 
Legislature should grant the supply asked for. People ought 
not to be put on short allowance of this necessary of life, but 
from dire necessity. It was no answer to tell them that they 
could possibly get along as they were, and that they would not 
actually perish without a further supply. They should have it 
freely and liberally, and without stint. A kind Providence 
had made ample provisions for all ; and all should have it in 
abundance. It should be seen all about us — in fountains before 
the State House, on the people's Common, in the public squares, 
it should be like the air we breathe, everywhere, in doors and 
out of doors, ministering to the comfort, cleanliness and health 
of every living thing. If the people, now limited to a scanty 
supply of impure water, could but once know the blessedness of 
an abundant supply of pure water, — of the little band who now 
oppose this measure, there could not a man be found, who would 
undertake to utter a single word against it, — even by attorney. 

Mr. Fletcher then passed to the objections that had been 
made to granting the prayer of the petition. It had been said 
that the people did not understand the propositions submitted to 
them, and some evidence had been introduced that individuals 
had changed their minds since the vote. This cry that the peo- 
ple " did not understand" was one which was a reproach to the 
institutions under which we live, founded on the principle that 
the people do understand their own affairs, and actunderstandingly. 
The votes upon these propositions showed that the people did" 
understand them, because there was perfect consistency in those 
on tlie several propositions. The vote of South Boston, the best 
supplied ward, was against the plan. How did this happen if the 
people did not miderstand .'' In fact this was the common com- 
plaint of a defeated party. The man who loses his case is sure 
that the jury didn't understand it, and that the judge didn't under- 
stand it ; and if that Committee should report against the remon- 
strants, the next cry that we should hear would be that the Com- 
mhtee didn't understand ! 

Then it seemed to be implied that this was an excited move- 


merit, and by people who would not have to pay if the work 
were carried on. If this were so, and a line of division had been 
drawn between the rich and the poor, it must have been that the 
rich were to blame, and the possessors of property had been un- 
faithful to their trust. This division could never be until the 
rich had forfeited their natural and rightful influence, by neglect- 
ing the duties which attached to their position. But it was not 
so. The little book of amounts of taxes which the remonstrants 
had put into the case, would prove that the wealth of the city 
was arrayed in favor of the measure. Wards seven and four, 
the two richest wards, had given strong and decided votes in its 
favor. Most of the large tax payers were in favor of it, and 
with the noble public spirit which eminently characterised the 
men of wealth of the city, had advocated this project, not as an 
advantage merely to themselves, but to all. Some few individ- 
uals, — few compared to the whole number, — held different views 
and opinions with regard to the measure. He could only say to 
these gentlemen, that they had fallen into a great error ; and that 
the time would assuredly come when no man would take either 
pride or pleasure in the reflection that he opposed the introduc- 
tion of water into the City of Boston. 

It was next said that the city had no power to tax for this pur- 
pose. Undoubtedly the jurisdiction of the city was limited, and 
there were cases in which towns had levied taxes beyond their 
powers, and the payment of such taxes had been successfully 
resisted. But a town might raise money to pay a fire depart- 
ment, and buy fire engines, (19 Pick. 488.) So it might build 
a market house. The tax levied to build the market house in 
Lowell was contested by a tax payer, and the court held that 
the city had power to build it, and to raise money for the pur- 
pose. To provide water for its inhabitants, was certainly as 
much the province of a city, as to provide a market house. But 
if there were any doubt upon this point, the Legislature could 
undoubtedly give the power. The question was nothing like 
that to which it had been compared, of asking for leave to tax 
for the purpose of investing the money in a railroad. He appre- 
hended that the Legislature would find no objection to granting 
the requisite power. It had been said that there was no precedent 
for authorizing the taking of private property for such a purpose. 
But there were repeated instances where towns and other corpo- 
rations had been authorized to take land, and he could see no 
difference between that and the authority to take water. But 
there were two instances where leave had been granted to take 
water also. That of the aqueduct to supply the Hospital at 
Worcester, and the recent act incorporating the Boston Hy- 
draulic Company. He had no doubt that this was one of the 


cases of public exigency, where the Legislature might exercise 
the right of eminent domain. If there were any case for it, it 
was this, and no objection to it came from any person whose 
property would be directly taken, on the whole line from the 
fountain head to the city. 

This concluded what he had to say upon the first point to be 
made out, and he thought that the Committee would feel satis- 
fied that there was a great, pressing and urgent want, for the whole 

The next and only question remaining was : Was the plan pro- 
posed for supplying this want practicable and reasonable ? If it 
were, he thought that the petitioners had established all that was 
necessary for their case. To show that the plan had not been 
adopted without consideration, Mr. F. reviewed the history of 
the proceedings since the survey of Loammi Baldwin, in 1834, 
to show that Long Pond had not been selected as a source 
without sufficient investigation and deliberation. The citizens 
had now adopted it by a vote of three to one. If this was 
not a reasonable and practicable plan which they had thus set- 
tled down upon, with such an approach to unanimity, after the 
exertions of so many years, it was hard to see how one was to 
be found. To refuse the powers now granted, would be to de- 
feat the object entirely. Why then should the city not have the 
needful power .'' 

There were objections made to this pl^n of course. There 
never was a public improvement made without opposition, and 
the most successful and useful works had often met with the most 
opposition. Such was the case with the N. Y. Canal, the pro- 
ject for the Worcester Railroad, and the Western ; and perhaps 
the greatest wonder was in this case, that the number of oppo- 
nents was so small. So great an unanimity in favor of this plan 
was almost conclusive at least of the generality of the want. 

The opponents might be divided into two classes ; the remon- 
strants from Boston itself, and those out of Boston, who were 
apprehensive that their property would be injured by the pro- 
posed work. With regard to each class, he should content him- 
self with some general remarks, without answering their objec- 
tions in detail. 

The several objections made by the Boston remonstrants all 
went to the whole object, for it was clear that the plan proposed 
must be adopted or none, and therefore though these might seem 
to be mere objections of form, they went necessarily to defeat 
the whole scheme. First, it was said that the proposed supply 
was too large. But the estimate had been made with care, and 
had ripened up to its present quantity, by the increasing informa- 
tion of successive years. It had been urged with much detail that 
the population had been set too high ; yet nothing could be plain- 


er ilian that Boston was hereafter to be a large and extensive 
city. It was at this moment increasing very rapidly. It had 
doubled in population in the last twenty years, had now nearly 
120,000 inhabitants, and was donbtless now increasing at a rate 
which would double that number again in less than twenty years. 
In that time it was more than probable it would have the whole 
215,000 estimated for ; and would it be wise to construct such a 
work so as to satisfy the wants of less than twenty years .'' 

Next, it was said that the expense would be greater than was 
supposed. Could not the estimates of Messrs. Hale, Jackson 
and Baldwin be depended upon ? They had made them with 
great care and deliberation ; had gone to New York, and there 
and elsewhere taken great pains to possess themselves of all 
available and proper means of forming safe opinions ; they had 
put up the estimates largely, in order to make allowances for un- 
expected increase in prices or the like ; had estimated the dam- 
ages at fourfold what they considered the real injury that would 
be caused ; and they now testified that they believed the esti- 
mates to be amply sufficient. Could there then be any fact in this 
objection .'* 

But he would take a simple test, which was quite satisfactory 
to his own mind. The New York aqueduct had cost $1 1 ,000,000, 
deducting the accumulated interest, which made it $13,000,000. 
That aqueduct was twice the length of the one proposed here, 
which might therefore be built in the same way for five and a 
half millions. But this structure was less than half the size be- 
ing intended to bring less than half the amount of water. This 
would reduce the cost to two and three-fourths millions. And 
if then we took the difference between the country through 
which the two structures were carried, and recollected that there 
had been large over expenditures in New York from mistakes of 
constructions that could now be avoided, and that their damages 
for passing through villages and over valuable land were necessa- 
rily much greater than ours could be, it seemed to be almost 
matter of demonstration that the estimate of our commission- 
ers was too high rather than too low. 

Then is was said that the proposed structure was not suffi-\ 
cient ; that w^e ought to have iron pipes ; that the city ought to 
have employed the engineers of the Croton work — and this with 
some inconsistency when it had been so much urged that those 
engineers made such very unsatisfactory estimates of the cost of 
their own structure ; — and that we had not deliberated long 
enough, that they began in New York in 1799. That long de- 
lay in New York it seemed only resulted in error. We hoped 
that we had got the truth partly through that experience. Our 
Commissioners had had the advantage of what was known by 


the engineers and men oi" science who built that work, and they 
were satisfied of the sufficiency of the structure proposed. 
Where was the evidence that could control this of the Commis- 
sioners upon this point ? He need not go into details, for the 
Committee would certainly not undertake to decide whether 
this were the best and cheapest plan or not. It was only 
necessary to show that due care had been taken, and that a reas- 
onable and practicable plan had been arrived at. After all, the 
details of this report were not conclusive, any necessary changes 
in the practical execution of the work could be made when the 
time arrived for its construction. 

Another objection was that the water ought to be brought from 
another source. To this the only necessary answer was that we 
had decided upon this. If we had taken any other it would 
have been equally objected that it was not the right one. When 
the city asked for Spot Pond the same objection was made. 
As to Spot Pond he hoped the Committee would read Mr. 
Baldwin's report. The fact was that the day of Spot Pond 
had gone by. Those who advocated it were personally interest- 
ed in it. Private companies had been got up to speculate upon it, 
and although he was willing that they should make money in any 
honest way, the people of Boston did'nt wish to have that money 
made out of their necessities. 

Next it was said that this work ought to be done by private 
companies. Now the large mass of the population of the city 
entertained a different opinion. The work would have been done 
long since by private companies if the people had not been so 
determined to do it themselves, that those companies were afraid 
to risk coming into competition with the city. Every where in 
this country where such supplies had fallen into the hands of 
private companies it had been a source of disappointment and 
regret. A. parliamentary examination — to a copy of which Mr. 
F. referred the Committee — had shown that in London great 
trouble had arisen from this cause. They had there thought to 
avoid the miseries and evils of permitting a monopoly of water 
by establishing a number of companies, thinking that competition 
would reduce the prices. But these companies combined 
together, each took a particular section of the city, and raised 
the prices by agreement. The monopoly was worse than before, 
and one witness said that he had been afraid to attend the com- 
mission until compelled, for fear that the company would stop 
his supply of water. [Mr. Fletcher then read extracts from 
several reports of Mayor Eliot, strongly urging the advantage of 
having the aqueduct constructed by the city instead of by indi- 
viduals or private corporations.] 

The objection of the inhabitants of East Boston and propria 


etors of land there was founded upon a false principle. It was 
not the principle of social life and the municipal compact, with- 
out which we could have neither streets, school-houses, fire 
apparatus or any of the like results of civilized combination of 
means. In such a community what was for the benefit of one 
was for the benefit of all. 

[At this stage of Mr. Fletcher's argument the Committee ad- 
journed to the next day.] 

Last Session. Saturday Mornings March 8, 1845. 

Mr. Bartlett, at the request of Mr. Hubbard, put in the 
remonstrance of the Jamaica Pond Aqueduct Company. 

Mr. Fletcher resumed his argument : — 

The next class of remonstrants were those out of the city. 
And first was the town of Framingham. It was not directly 
concerned as supposing that any of its property would be actu- 
ally destroyed, but looked to the contingent injury it expected 
from the destruction of two factories. But those two factories 
would not be destroyed. Mr. Knight who owned one of them 
was not a remonstrant, his property was valuable to him but he 
knew how to make good the loss of his water power by taking 
steam instead, and whatever expense he might be caused, the 
city would have to remunerate. The town of Framingham 
would receive no injury. Mr. Knight was even now building a 
new factory which showed that he did not expect to be dis- 
turbed. He undoubtedly expected to be paid for all his actual 
damage. Then they spoke as if Saxonville was to be des- 
troyed. But the water of Long Pond contributed nothing to 
Saxonville. Its outlet was some distance below. To be sure 
the city had asked for the waters of Sudbury River and the ad- 
jacent waters. But there was no expectation of wanting Sud- 
bury River for half a century to come if ever. And when they 
were wanted it would only be the surplus that vt^as required, tak- 
ing it when high and retaining it in reservoirs for the dry season. 
The aqueduct could never affect Saxonville. Here was an end 
of the evils of Framingham. They were wholly groundless and 
imaginary. Mr. Knight had no such ideas nor the proprietors 
of the factories on Sudbury River. 

How did the case of Middlesex Canal stand } Was it to be 
destroyed or even much injured .'' A little more than a year ago 
its proprietors had said, and put it in writing in their petition to 
the Legislature, that the Middlesex Canal was no longer of any 
use to the public or of any value to the proprietors, and they 
wished to supply it to the city of Boston. But now that the 
City of Boston wanted Long Pond the value of the canal was 
much increased, and its prospective value was greater still. The 


hearts of its proprietors were cheered and they were indulging in 
golden prospects. He was glad of this sudden and favorable 
change, and he was very glad that these apparently fine pros- 
pects would not be at all affected by the introduction of water 
from Long Pond. It appeared that the Commissioners had ful- 
ly understood the case of the canal and had provided for it, and 
had estimated the expense of it. Nobody had undertaken to 
show that the means that they would use to prevent injury to it 
would not be sufficient. 

As to the Concord River mills ; as the Middlesex Canal had 
the first claim to the water, if that were supplied the mills would 
be supphed also, and it appeared that the Commissioners had 
taken this into account. 

As to the Jamaica Pond aqueduct, the city had no disposi- 
tion to injure it. A part of its plan was to make a proper ar- 
rangement with that company, to buy it if it should be thought 
best, and at any rate make it available as far as possible. 

These were all the objections made to this particular source, 
and it appeared as if there were fewer objections to Long Pond 
than there could be to any other source, and yet the longer the 
delay should be, the greater would be the damage the introduc- 
tion of its water would cause. It was said by some that further 
inquiry was necessary ; but if the powers asked were granted, 
the subject would go back for the consideration of the citizens, 
and if there were any reason to believe that new light could be 
obtained upon the subject, there would be abundant opportuni- 
ty to make all the inquiry needed. 

There was another point that had been alluded to, and that 
was the expense to the city, and it was objected that it would 
run the city in debt. Those who moved in this matter were no 
friends to incurring either pubhc or private debt, but the reasons 
in favor of this measure seemed to entirely outweigh the objec- 
tion here. The city might suffer more by a single fire breaking 
out in its centre, than the whole cost of this work would be. 
He did not intend to go into the particulars, but in several of the 
reports of Mr. Eliot, as Mayor, there were careful calculations 
on the subject, which resulted in the statement that the city would 
be repaid for the whole outlay, even if it received nothing for the 
use of the water ; that if the water were furnished to the citizens 
/ree, the other advantages to the city, as such, would repay the 
expense. But it was not proposed that the water should be free. 
The citizens had shown great prudence, moderation and discre- 
tion, upon the subject. The people wanted this supply, but they 
did not want or desire to have it free. If they had come and 
demanded that it should be brought to them without charge, it 
would have looked as if there were a design to supply the poor 


at the expense of the wealthy. But they did not ask this. In 
aU these public meeimss nobody maintained that the water ought 
to come free of expense. On the contrary, the people had gone 
throughout on the principle that its use should be paid for. Tak- 
inz then into consideration all the other advantages, was there any 
reason to fear that injury would result to the city r Was there 
any such apparent and palpable injury as to induce the Leg^la- 
ture to overrule the discretion and judgment of the city as to the 
propriety of incurrinz a debt to supply this great and pressing 
want. Here were over a hundred thousand people knocking at 
their door, and for themselves, and in behalf of those who were 
to come after them, praying for the boon of pure water, and 
were there any reasons why this simple prayer should not be 
granted .' 

Mr. Adams, of Framinzham, made a few remarks, urging 
that a clause should be put into the bill, if any were reported, 
providing for a payment for any consequential damages that 
might occur to that town ; and the hearing was closed, and the 
Committee adjourned. 

At a subsequent day the Committee made the follow- 
ing Report, accompanied by a Bill. 



In Senate, March 13, 1845, 

The Joint Special Committee, to which was referred 
the petition of the City of Boston, and also, the Memo- 
rial of Edward Brooks and others in aid of the same, 
praying for authority to introduce into Boston, pure, 
soft water, from Long Pond, in the towns of Fram- 
ingham, Natick and Wayland, and the sources adja- 
cent thereto, having attended to the duties of their 
appointment, respectfully 


That, immediately, upon their organization, the peti- 
tioners were summoned before the Committee, and di- 
rected to give notice of the pendency of their petition 
to all towns, corporations, and persons, known, or sup- 
posed to have any interest in the matter of said peti- 
tion. Said order of notice was made returnable, Jan- 
uary the thirtieth, and by the endorsement thereon, ap- 
peared to have been duly served. The next day, the 
Committee met the petitioners and remonstrants and 
arranged the order of proceeding. 

The city appeared by its solicitor, Mr. Pickering, and 
Messrs. Warren and Fletcher. 

The remonstrants represented various interests and 
somewhat conflicting. Joseph Tilden and others ap- 
peared by W. J. Hubbard. 

C. Cartwright and others by Derby and Fuller ; Spot 
Pond Corporation by Mr. S. Bartlett ; Middlesex Canal 
by Mr. B. R. Curtis ; East Boston by Mr. D. S. Green- 
ough ; Concord River Mills by O. W. Whipple ; Fram- 
ingham by Messrs. Adams and Train. Sundry other 


remonstrances and memorials were referred to your 
Committee, urging various objections to the granting 
the prayer of the petition. The whole number of re- 
monstrants resident in the city was about 1,300. 

Your Committee entered upon this investigation, 
strongly impressed with the magnitude of the object, 
and with the great, and serious interests involved in its 
prosecution. From the day of the opening, to the close 
of the case, your Committee has devoted itself, faith- 
fully, to the consideration of the subject referred. 
Twenty-five pubHc hearings have been patiently en- 
dured, endeavoring to ascertain the true merits of the 
petitioners' prayer. A latitude of inquiry, much broad- 
er than is allowed by courts of justice, has been permit- 
ted, in the hope of eliciting the whole truth. The Com- 
mittee are happy to say, that after much deUberation 
and interchange of opinion, they are unanimous in the 
results and conclusions, to which they have arrived. 

The simple question, divested of all collateral issues, 
to be considered by the Legislature, is, ' Is it expedient 
to confer on the City of Boston, the necessary power, 
to introduce among her citizens, pure and wholesome 
water ? The question regards not the purposes of spec- 
ulation, nor the profitable investment of capital, nor the 
advancement of private enterprise, but looks, merely, to 
the health, comfort, security and prosperity of the city. 
If it shall appear, that there is a great and urgent want of 
this necessary of life, this element of health, cleanliness 
and comfort, and that the want can be supplied at rea- 
sonable cost, who would withhold the requisite power ? 
The petitioners ask to be empowered to expend their 
own money, for their own comfort, without inflicting 
irreparable injuries upon their neighbors. What ought 
they to show, to entitle them to this grant of power ? 
It seems to your Committee, that they should be required 
to show, in the first place, a great and increasing want 
of pure water in the city, and, in the second place, a 
practicable and reasonable plan of supplying that want. 
If they succeed in making out these two points to the 
satisfaction of the General Court, your Committee are 


unable to perceive any good reason for denying the 
prayer of the petition. 

What is the present and prospective want of pure, 
soft water in the City of Boston? This want was at- 
tempted to be shown to your Committee, both by oral 
and documentary evidence. It appeared, that through- 
out the peninsula generally, wells could be obtained, 
furnishing a palatable and tolerably pure water, though, 
on chemical analysis, it is found to contain considerable 
quantities of sahne and earthy substances. The water 
of these wells is chiefly relied on for drink and the pre- 
paration of food, but on account of its hardness, is unfit 
for washing. In the lower parts of the city, and par- 
ticularly, the extensive portions of it, reclaimed from 
the sea, wells can be obtained, only, by sinking them 
to a great depth, (some are as deep as 140 feet,) and 
when obtained, the water is of inferior quality. 

For all the purposes of washing, rehance is upon rain 
water, collected in cisterns from the roofs of buildings. 
This supply is of course Kable to a great degree of un- 
certainty, and for those families, which are not provided 
with rain water cisterns, the supply is either entirely in- 
sufficient, or extremely precarious. The witnesses, as 
well as the various reports offered in evidence, represent 
that the ordinary supply of water of both those descrip- 
tions, is becoming from year to year, with the increase 
of population, both more inadequate in quantity, and 
more impure. The greater accumulation of animal 
and other impure substances, through which the water 
suppHed from the heavens, must filtrate, for the supply 
of the springs, and the narrower span to which this fil- 
tration is confined, necessarily, deteriorates the charac- 
ter of the well water, and the great quantity of coal 
which is consumed for domestic and other purposes, 
the smoke and cinders of which settle on the roofs of 
buildings in all parts of the city, tends to give a sooty 
color, taste and odor to the water of the cisterns. It is 
apparent from this statement, that those families only, 
who are supplied with wells and rain water cisterns, are 
possessed of such a supply of water as is deemed neces- 
sary for domestic purposes. 


The supply of water for other than domestic purposes, 
such as the extinguishing of fires, the supply of steam 
engines, baths, the purifying of drains and sewers, and 
the cleansing of the streets, is still more inadequate. 
The chief rehance for the extinguishment of fires is 
upon reservoirs, provided in various parts of the city, 
the supply of which is found to be entirely insufficient. 
The fires in Dover street and at the corner of School 
and Washington streets were referred to, as^frightful in- 
stances of the destitution of water. 

The Boston Aqueduct is the only remaining means 
of supply. This corporation brings into the city an ex- 
cellent water from Jamaica Pond, but the source is at 
so low a level, that the water can be carried to only 
a hmited portion of the city. Though a most valuable 
resource to those inhabitants, who can avail themselves 
of it, it is entirely inaccessible to far the greater por- 
tion. It was also shown to be entirely unsafe as a reli- 
ance in the case of fire, even in parts of the city to 
which it is introduced. 

The remonstrants admit the existence of a partial 
want of water in certain portions of the city, but deny 
that it is general or urgent. They profess their willing- 
ness that the want should be supplied, but object to the 
city's embarking in the enterprise. They say it comes 
fairly within the reach of private or corporate enter- 
prise, and that the want is individual and not collective, 
and that it ought, therefore, to be supplied at the cost 
of those who are in need. They object entirely, to the 
imposition of taxes upon that portion of the citizens 
who are already supplied, or who object to the proposed 
mode of supply. They contend that the higher por- 
tions of the city proper, and South and East Boston are 
amply supplied, but they freely concede that the lower 
levels of the city, especially the reclaimed lands, are 
poorly supplied. They endeavored to show that every 
body south of Essex and Boylston streets might, if they 
would, be well supplied by the water of Jamaica Pond. 
The evidence however failed, fully to sustain this posi- 
tion. It was testified by the Superintendent of that 



Aqueduct, that it could supply that portion of the city 
' tolerably well,' yet he admitted, that there were fre- 
quent failures, that the water was distributed to the ut- 
most capacity of the fountain, that a reservoir, to secure 
a quantity against a time of need, was necessary to in- 
sure an adequate supply. Beyond this limit it was ad- 
mitted to be an unrehable source. 

It was proved to your Committee that Beacon, Copp's 
and Fort Hills were very well supplied with well water. 
Even these favored portions of the city are dependant 
upon rain water for washing and other purposes, when- 
ever soft water is preferable to hard. The best built 
parts of the city are generally supplied by means of 
wells, cisterns and reservoirs for the filtration of rain 
water. But in many populous portions of the city, large 
numbers of houses are destitute of one or both of these 
means of supply. It was also proved that wells which 
had heretofore afforded an abundant supply, had recent- 
ly become worthless ; other wells in the vicinity having 
been sunk below the level, on which they rested. 

The long acknowledged and generally pervading 
want of water, was attempted to be shown by certain 
acts of the City Government, and the circumstances 
therewith connected. It appeared that, during the last 
twenty years, this subject, the want of pure, soft water, 
had, from time to time, been brought into public discus- 
sion, in a great variety of ways. The expediency of 
providing a supply has frequently occupied the atten- 
tion of the City Council. The city authorities have 
constituted several commissions for the purpose of as- 
certaining the best source, or sources of supply. Their 
reports, embodying a fund of information on this sub- 
ject, are before the people. It is hardly supposable that 
any eligible source has escaped the attention of the 
Commissioners, and remains yet, to be discovered. 
The city authorities, therefore, are as well qualified to 
act on this great subject now, as they ever can be. 

As early as 1795, the Boston Aqueduct Company was 
incorporated for the purpose of bringing into the city, 
the water of Jamaica Pond, in Roxbury, thus declaring 


there was a natural deficiency of soft water in the city. 
In 1816, Cyrus Alger and others, contemplated bring- 
ing in water from Spot Pond in Stoneham, proving both 
the existence of a want, and the inadequacy of the sup- 
ply by the Boston Aqueduct Company. In May, 1825, 
a commission was constituted by the City Government, 
to make explorations and surveys, and inquire into the 
practicability and expense of introducing soft water into 
the city. Mr. Tread well the Commissioner, says, "there 
can be no question concerning the practicability or ex- 
pediency of bringing in pure, soft water, and that it 
ought to be done by the city." In 1826, a Committee 
of the Common Council was charged with this subject. 
In 1827, the proprietors of Spot Pond made proposals 
to the City Government to supply the city with water. 
The proposals were not accepted, on the ground that it 
ought to be done by the city, at its proper cost and 
charge. In 1832, Mr. Wells being Mayor, the subject 
underwent a new and thorough examination. He re- 
ports " that the health as well as the convenience of the 
citizens, requires the work to be commenced the ensu- 
ing year." In 1833, in March, the Mayor was directed, 
in behalf of the City Government, to petition the Leg- 
islature then in session, for a grant of the requisite pow- 
er to bring in water,' but so much of the session had 
passed ihat the necessary preliminaries, orders of no- 
tice, &c., could not be properly made, — the petition 
was therefore referred to the next General Court. In 
December, 1833, the requisite notices were given, agree- 
ably to the statutes, that the matter would be pursued 
at the coming session. This same year, Col. Loammi 
Baldwin, by appointment of the city authorities, made a 
minute, full and valuable survey and report, of the whole 
matter. He speaks of Long Pond as an available and 
proper source of supply, though he does not give that 
the exclusive preference. In 1835, Dr. Warren and 
others memorialized the City Government on the sub- 
ject. In 1836, a town meeting, holden for the purpose, 
voted as to the expediency of introducing pure water 
at the cost of the city, as follows — yeas, 2,107 ; nays, 


136. Robert H. Eddy, a well known engineer of this 
city, in a report on this subject, calls the well water bad, 
and the rain water totally unfit for use. In 1837, 
Messrs. Hale, Treadwell and Baldwin, were appointed 
Commissioners to make surveys and estimates, &c., 
and report the best source of supply. They reported 
that they had examined all the sources of supply which 
they deemed worthy of attention, and selected three of 
those sources of supply, as entitled to preference over 
all others. Long Pond they consider an adequate and 
available source. Charles River was another, and Spot 
Pond and Mystic Pond the other. A majority of the 
board recommended the last named source as the most 
expedient. Application was made to the Legislature 
for a grant of power to carry into effect their recom- 
mendation, but for want of time, no bill was passed. 
The estimate of needful supply was based upon the 
population of the city at that time being 80,000, with a 
prospective increase to 120,000. In consequence of 
the depressed state of business, and the indisposition of 
the citizens to incur heavy expenditures, the applica- 
tion was not renewed at the next session of the General 
Court. During the mayoralty of Mr. Eliot, the water 
question received unusual attention. In one of his 
messages he speaks decidedly of t^e great and growing 
want of water, and urges upon the City Government 
the adoption of measures for its immediate introduction. 
He considers it the interest as well as the duty of the 
City Government to undertake this supply, on the city's 
account, however easily it might be supplied by private 
corporations. The benefits that would accrue to the 
city from proprietorship of the works, from the use of 
the water in cleansing the streets, in aiding the fire de- 
department, and from appropriations to other useful 
public purposes, he thinks, should determine the citizens 
forever against a private supply. During this year, at 
a town meeting in Faneuil Hall, on the question, " Is it 
expedient for the city to acquire a supply of pure water 
at its own expense ?" the votes were, yeas 2,541 — nays 
1,621, and on the question, "Is it expedient to com- 


mence the work the ensuing year?" the yeas were 
2,507 — nays, 1,652. In 1839, this whole matter un- 
derwent an elaborate examination of a Committee of 
the Legislature, who concluded their labors by report- 
ing a resolve authorizing the Governor to appoint Com- 
missioners, &c. During the three years Mr. Chapman 
was mayor, in consequence of the depressed condition 
of affairs and the uncertain prospects for the future, 
this question was permitted to rest. In 1844, the pro- 
prietors of Middlesex Canal petitioned the Legislature 
for power to sell to the City of Boston, a portion of the 
waters of their canal. George Odiorne and others, in 
1843, obtained an act of incorporation to bring in the 
water of Spot Pond. In July 1844, Dr. Channing and 
others applied to the City Government for a town 
meeting in Faneuil Hall, for the purpose of discussing 
the necessity and expediency of introducing into the 
city, a full and ample supply of pure water. The meet- 
ing was organized by the appointment of the Mayor as 
Chairman, and the City Clerk as Secretary. The 
meeting was adjourned, from time to time, without be- 
ing fully attended, to the day of the city election. 
On that day the following propositions were submitted 
to the voters in their respective wards : 

First proposition. — Are you in favor of procuring a 
supply of water for the inhabitants of the city of Bos- 
ton, to be brought, at the expense of the City, from 
Long Pond in Natick and Framingham, or from any 
of the sources adjacent thereto, on the condition that 
those of the inhabitants who may elect to take and use 
the same, shall be required to pay for the water such 
reasonable tax as shall hereafter be fixed and estab- 
lished by a Board of Water Commissioners that shall be 
created ? 

Answer, Yeas^ 6,260 

Nays, 2,204 

Second proposition. Do you hereby vote to instruct 
the City Council to apply to the Legislature, in behalf 
of the city, for the grant of a suitable charter to carry 
into, effect the object expressed in the first proposition .^^ 


And do you hereby vote to instruct the senators and 
representatives elect, of the City of Boston, to exert 
their influence, at the ensuing session of the Legisla- 
ture, to obtain a just and liberal charter for the object, 
as above set forth ? 

Answer. Yeas, 6,252 

Nays, 2,207 

Third proposition, — Are you in favor of procuring a 
supply of water for the inhabitants of the City of Bos- 
ton, to be brought, at the expense of the city, from any 
sources which may hereafter be decided by the City 
Council to be the best, on condition that those of the 
inhabitants who may elect to take find use the same, 
shall be required to pay for the water such reasonable 
tax as shall hereafter be fixed and establisned by a 
Board of Water Commissioners that shall be created ? 

Answer. Yeas, 1,206 

Nays, 7,081 

Fourth proposition. — Do you hereby vote to advise 
the City Council to apply to the Legislature in be- 
half of the city, for the grant of a suitable charter to 
carry into effect the object expressed in the third prop- 
osition ? and do you hereby vote to instruct the Sena- 
tors and Representatives elect, of the City of Boston, to 
exert their influence at the ensuing session of the Leg- 
islature, to obtain a just and liberal charter for the ob- 
ject as above set forth ? 

Answer. Yeas, 1,194 

Nays, 7,144 

Such an overwhelming majority of votes, if under- 
standingly given, cannot be regarded, under the cir- 
cumstances, otherwise than as very convincing, not to 
say conclusive, evidence of a deep felt and generally 
pervading want of water. It is evidence, also, of a set- 
tled determination, on the part of the citizens, that 
when this work is done it shall be done by the city at 
its own expense. 

The remonstrants attempt to impeach this vote, and 
say that the voters did not rightly understand the force 


and effect of the several propositions. It is not im- 
possible that voters may, sometimes, be surprised or 
cajoled into casting their votes against their wishes and 
intentions, but how this could have happened to any 
material extent, under the peculiar circumstances of 
this case, passeth the understanding of your Commit- 
tee. They allege, further, that the vote of the city 
council was not according to the oaths and convictions 
of the members, but was forced upon them by the 
might of popular opinion. Certain aldermen were put 
upon the stand, who sustained, by their testimony, this 
view of the subject, so far as it applied to themselves. 
But this, instead of weakening the just form of the pop- 
ular vote, strengthens it, inasmuch as it shows aldermen, 
presumed to be conversant with city affairs and opinions, 
surrendering their preconceived notions to its influence 
and leaving themselves to its power. It is manifest 
that these gentlemen, at the time, considered this vote 
as pretty decisive evidence of public opinion. 

Preliminary to the primary meetings of the citizens, 
and the action of the City Council, above referred to, 
Messrs. Jackson, Hale and Baldwin were appointed 
Commissioners to examine and report upon the project, 
previously recommended, of introducing the waters of 
Long Pond. These Commissioners assumed, as the 
basis of their report, the expediency of introducing 
such a quantity of water as will be sufficient for the 
supply of the city for a long time to come, on the sup- 
position that there will be a continued increase of pop- 
ulation. According to their computation there has 
been, already, an increase of thirty thousand inhabit- 
ants since the date of their report referred to. 

The increased supply demanded by this increase of 
population, if procured by means of pumping, will re- 
quire a greater expense, according to their mode of 
calculation, than to obtain the same, or a greater sup- 
ply, in the mode which they propose from Long Pond. 

Is the plan proposed practicable, sufficient to sup- 
ply the want, and reasonable as to cost ? It will not 
be expected of the Committee to pronounce judgment, 
ex cathedra, upon the proposed structure, either as to 


its durability or cost. All that they can do is to report 
the opinions of competent engineers, who have exam- 
ined the subject, and subjected it to the test of science 
and experience. The Commissioners, who reported 
the plan, express themselves undoubtingly as to the du- 
rability of the structure, and their estimates of the cost 
of construction. Two of these gentlemen have testi- 
fied before your Committee, and strongly defend the 
calculations and doctrines of their report. We can 
safely say that we see no good reason for distrusting 
their opinions. 

As to the sufficiency, permanency and purity of the 
source recommended, no serious question was made 
before your Committee. The water of Long Pond, 
though not as pure as that of Spot or Jamaica Ponds, 
was conceded to be as good as most pond or river wa- 
ter. Chemical tests show it to be as free from impuri- 
ties as other water in the vicinity, and as unexception- 
able on this account. No serious objection was, there- 
fore, made as to the quality of the water. 

The Commissioners recommend the construction of 
works, that will supply, daily, 7,000,000 gallons of v/a- 
ter. This estimate is founded on the assumption, that 
provision should should be made for a population, that 
may amount, hereafter, to 250,000. The estimate of 
the quantity required for such a population, is founded 
on the statement given in one of the reports of the 
Philadelphia Water Works, of the quantity demanded, 
in proportion to the number of inhabitants, for the sup- 
ply of that city. The quantity allowed for each person 
is twenty-eight gallons daily. The Commissioners are 
of opinion, that a less quantity than is here proposed, 
will be inadequate for a prospective supply of the city, 
for the domestic uses of its inhabitants, for a constant 
resource for the extinguishment of fires, and for the 
various modes of purification of the city. 

The estimated cost of the works, ^2,118,000, under- 
went severe scrutiny from the remonstrants. They 
endeavored to satisfy your Committee, that the estimate 
was much too small, and appealed to the cost of the 
Croton Water-works, as authority. The Croton cost 


some ^11,000,000, exclusive of interest. It is forty 
miles long. This is twenty miles, say ;^5,500,000. The 
Croton structure is about twice as large as this, and 
will, therefore, cost nearly twice as much, say for this, 
^2,750,000. Now deduct ^1,000,000 for the Harlem 
bridge, and it leaves us ^1,750,000. This course of 
demonstration, shows the estimate of the Commission- 
ers near the truth. At any rate, there is no reason, 
whatever, to doubt, that a durable work for the object 
proposed, can be constructed at an expense of mod- 
erate amount, compared with the magnitude of the 
object to be accomplished, and compared with the or- 
dinary cost of great works of this nature. The face 
of the country, over which the aqueduct is to be car- 
ried, presents no obstacles of a formidable nature, and 
no works but of a simple and ordinary character seem 
necessary, for the accomplishment of the object. 

The remonstrants contended, with much earnestness, 
that the petitioners were bound to show, that their source 
of supply was superior to all others. Spot Pond and 
Mystic Pond, Charles River, and Neponset River, Ma- 
gog Pond, and Stony Brook, each have their friends, 
and might each be- made to supply, in whole or in part, 
the want. Your Committee are of opinion, however, 
taking into the account the present and the future, the 
cost and permanency of such works, and the injurious 
consequences of an insufficient supply, that the peti- 
tioners acted wisely in preferring Long Pond. 

It was contended, that the wants of the city, in re- 
spect to water might and ought to be supplied by pri- 
vate corporations, at the charge of the persons using 
the water. It was said to be unjust, to tax those who 
were supplied for the benefit of those who were not. 
Were such persons to derive no benefit from the works, 
there would be much weight in the argument. But all 
the common benefits of this improvement, they, in 
common with their fellow citizens, will enjoy. This 
objection goes too far. It might relieve the childless 
from the payment of a school tax, and the thoughtless 
from contributing his share towar the support of the 


Gospel and other institutions, on which the salvation of 
our country depends. There are many reasons, why 
it seems to us, more appropriate to confer this power 
on the city, in its municipal capacity. Cheapness and 
uniformity of distribution, the laying down and repair 
of the pipe, the use of the water for the extinguish- 
ment of fires, and for the purification of the city, by 
cleansing its streets, drains and sewers, are among the 
reasons, that incline us to this preference, being better 
accomplished by municipal arrangement, than by any 

As to the matter of land and water damages, the 
Committee can give no opinion. The Commissioners 
still think their estimate amply sufficient. As to the Mid- 
dlesex Canal and Concord River Mills, both at Lowell 
and Billerica, if reservoirs be supplied as proposed by 
the city, to furnish as nmch water to the canal as it de- 
rives from Long Pond, no injury will be done to the 
canal or dependent mills by the diversion of the waters 
of Long Pond. Mr. Knight's factory in Framingham, 
is the most valuable property that will be disturbed by 
the aqueduct. It is said that he will be content with 
the substitution of steam power, and such other inci- 
dental damage as may be caused him by establishing 
the aqueduct. The lands over which it will pass to 
Corey's Hill, cannot be very expensive, being mostly 
pasture ground. 

The necessity of resorting to the most appropriate 
sources, for the supply of water for so important an ob- 
ject, as that of meeting the wants of the inhabitants of 
a large and populous city, for the purposes of food, 
health and security against fire, presents an exigency 
as urgent as almost any which can be imagined, for the 
exercise of the right of eminent domain, in taking pri- 
vate property for a public use, on awarding an ade- 
quate compensation therefor. It is manifest that the ob- 
ject can be obtained in no other way, but at the hazard 
of subjecting the city to unreasonable exactions for the 
water required, and for the right of passage over land 
on the route of the proposed works. The power asked 


for is precisely of the nature of that, which has been 
habitually granted for the construction of canals and 
rail-roads. The only novelty about it is, that the peti- 
tion asks leave to appropriate water as well as land, 
and your Committee can see no good reason why the 
one is not as liable to this kind of appropriation as the 

Your Committee has now examined the evidence, 
and arguments, and prominent points of the case, and 
conclude this report by saying, that, in consideration of 
the manifest want of water in the city, and the long 
protracted struggle to obtain a supply, and the practi- 
cabiUty and reasonableness of the proposed aqueduct, 
they are unanimously of opinion that the prayer of the 
petition ought to be granted, and accordingly report 
the accompanying Bill. 


Chairman of Committee. 


In the Year One Thousand Eight Hundred and Forty 



For supplying the City of Boston with Pure Water. 

BE it enacted by the Senate and House of Represen- 
tatives, in General Court assembled, and by the authority 
of the same, as follows : 

Sect. 1. The City of Boston is authorized, in the manner 
hereinafter provided, to convey into and through the said city, 
the waters of Long Pond, so called, in the towns of Natick, 
Wayland, and Framingham, and the waters which may flow into 
and from the same, and to take and hold the said Long Pond 
and the waters flowing into and from the same, and also any oth- 
er ponds and streams within the distance of four miles of said 
Long Pond, for the purpose of furnishing a supply of pure wa- 
ter for said city. 

Sect. 2. The said City of Boston may take the said 
ponds and streams, or either of them, and any water rights con- 
nected therewith, and may also take and hold any real estate 
necessary for laying aqueducts and forming reservoirs, and for 


any of the purposes of this act, and may build one or more per- 
manent aqueducts leading from the said water sources into and 
through the city, and secure and maintain the same by any prop- 
er works, and may connect the said water sources with one 
another, may erect and maintain dams to raise and retain the 
waters therein, and make and maintain reservoirs within and 
without the city, and in general may do any other act necessary 
or convenient for the purposes of this act, and may distribute 
the water throughout the city, regulate its use, and the price to 
be paid therefor, within and without the city ; and the said city, 
for the purposes aforesaid, may carry any works by them to be 
constructed, over or under any highway, town-way, street, turn- 
pike road, or rail-road, in such manner as not to obstruct or im- 
pede travel thereon ; and may enter upon and dig up any high- 
way, town-way, turnpike road or street for the purpose of laying 
down pipes beneath the surface thereof, or for the purpose of 
repairing the same. 

Sect. 3. The said city is also authorised to purchase and 
hold all the property, estates, rights and privileges of the aque- 
duct corporation, incorporated by an act passed February 27th, 
A. D. 1795, and by any convenient mode may connect the 
same with their other works. 

Sect. 4. All the authority hereinbefore given shall be ex- 
clusively exercised through and by commissioners to be appointed 
as hereinafter directed, until the office of Commissioners shall 
cease as hereinafter provided. 

Sect. 5. Three Commissioners shall be chosen by ballot 
by the Mayor, Aldermen and Common Council assembled in 
convention ; and any vacancy in the Board of Commissioners 
shall be filled in the same manner. Before the election of said 
Commissioners, the Mayor Aldermen and Common Council, in 
convention as aforesaid, shall establish and fix the compensation 
to be paid to the said Commissioners during the progress, and 
until the completion of the works herein provided for : provided, 
however, that such compensation shall not be fixed at a less sum 


than three thousand dollars or more than five thousand dollars a 
year for each Commissioner during said time ; and shall also fix 
and establish the compensation to be paid to each Commissioner 
after the completion of said works ; provided^ that such last 
mentioned compensation shall not be fixed at a less sum than 
one thousand dollars a year for each Commissioner. And whereas 
it may, after the completion of said works, be expedient that 
one of said Commissioners should be chiefly charged with the 
care and superintendence of the said works, the collection of 
rents, and the general executive duties of the board; one of the 
said board shall be designated as Chief Commissioner by the 
Mayor and Aldermen and Common Council in like manner as 
is herein provided for the original choice ; and the said Chief 
Commissioner shall be paid in addition to his other salary, a 
further sum not exceeding two thousand dollars a year ; and the 
respective salaries hereby provided for said Commissioners shall 
not be reduced during their continuance respectively in said 

Sect. 6. Every Commissioner appointed as aforesaid shall 
remain in office until removed by the Mayor and Aldermen and 
Common Council assembled in Convention as aforesaid ; and no 
Commissioner shall be liable to be removed except for incapac- 
ity, mismanagement or unfaithfulness in the discharge of the du- 
ties of his office, nor without having had an opportunity to be 
heard before such Convention, nor unless three-fourths of the 
persons elected as Aldermen and members of the Common Coun- 
cil in Convention as aforesaid shall vote for such removal. 

Sect. 7. If any owner of lands, waters, or water-rights, 
taken for the purposes of this act shall not agree with the said 
city upon the price to be paid therefor, he may at any time 
within, but not after three years from the time of such taking, 
apply by petition to the Court of Common Pleas holden within 
and for the county in which such lands, waters, or water-rights 
shall have been taken, either before or during any term of such 
court, and, after fourteen days' notice, which may be given by 
leaving a copy of such petition with the Mayor of said city, the 
court may proceed to the hearing of the petitioner upon the ap- 


pearance or default of the adverse party ; and the said court 
may thereupon appoint three disinterested persons, being free- 
holders and inhabitants of this Commonwealth, to determine the 
damages, if any, which such petitioner may have sustained ; and, 
after reasonable notice to the parties, to estimate such damages ; 
and the award of the persons so appointed, or of the major part 
of them, shall be binding and conclusive upon the parties, and 
shall be returned by them, as soon as may be, into the said 
court ; and upon the acceptance thereof by said court, judgment 
shall be rendered for the party prevailing, with costs, and exe- 
cution shall issue accordingly. Provided^ always, that if either 
party shall be dissatisfied with such award, such party may 
apply to the said court for a trial by jury at the bar of 
said court, to hear and determine all questions relating to such 
damages and to assess the amount thereof ; and the said court 
shall enter judgment and issue execution accordingly ; and costs 
shall be allowed to the parties respectively, in the same manner 
as is provided by law in regard to proceedings relating to the 
laying out of highways. Provided., that no complaint shall be 
made as aforesaid for the taking of any water-rights, until the 
waters aforesaid shall be actually withdrawn by the said city by 
virtue of the provisions of this act ; and any party whose rights 
may be thus affected, may make his complaint in manner afore- 
said, at any time within three years from the time when he first 
sustains such injury. 

Sect. 8. The said Commissioners shall exclusively exer- 
cise all the rights, powers and authority given by this act to the 
said city ; and in pursuance thereof, may make all suitable con- 
tracts, and employ all proper engineers, clerks and other agents 
in the premises, until the office of such Commissioners shall 
cease as hereinafter provided. 

Sect. 9. For the purpose of defraying all the expenses and 
cost of such lands, waters and water-rights as shall be taken or 
purchased for the purposes of this act, and of constructing all 
works necessary to the accomplishment of said purposes, and all 
expenses incidental thereto, the said Board of Commissioners 
shall have authority to issue, in the name of the said city, notes, 


or scrip, or certificates of debt, to be denominated on the face 
" Boston Aqueduct Scrip," to an amount, in the whole, not ex- 
ceeding the sum of two millions five hundred thousand dollars, 
and bearing an interest not exceeding five per cent, per annum ; 
and said interest shall be payable semi-annually, and the princi- 
pal of said debt shall be payable at periods of not less than fif- 
teen, or more than forty years from date ; and the said Commis- 
sioners may sell the same at public or private sale, and may 
pledge the same for money borrowed at a rate not exceeding six 
per cent, per annum, when such scrip cannot be sold at the par 
value thereof, or may so pledge the same for money borrowed at 
a higher rate of interest, if authorized so to do by said city. 
And in addition to the said sum of two millions five hundred 
thousand dollars, the said Commissioners may issue and dispose 
of scrip in the manner hereinbefore provided, to meet all pay- 
ments of interest accruing upon any scrip by them issued as 
aforesaid : provided^ however, that no such scrip shall be issued 
by said Commissioners beyond two years after the completion of 
said works ; but the payment of all accruing interest after that 
time shall be provided for by the City Government, in such man- 
ner as they may think proper. All certificates to be issued as 
aforesaid shall be signed by the said Commissioners, or a major- 
ity of them, and shall be countersigned by the Mayor of said 
city ; and a record of said certificates shall be made and kept 
by the treasurer of said city. 

All money received by said Commissioners shall be deposited 
to their credit, in some bank or banks of good credit, within 
said city, and subject to their order. The said Commissioners 
shall keep regular books of accounts, and books for the record- 
ing of their doings ; and the clerks employed therein shall be 
sworn to the faithful discharge of their duty ; and all such books 
shall be open to the examination of any person or persons ap- 
pointed therefor by the Mayor and Aldermen of said city. The 
said Commissioners shall, once in every six months, make to the 
City Council a report of their doings, accompanied with com- 
plete exhibits of all their receipts and expenditures of money in 
the premises. When the funds provided as aforesaid shall be 
exhausted, the said Commissioners shall report the fact to the 


City Council, and shall suspend the prosecution of the works 
until supphed with other funds, except so far as to secure and 
preserve what shall have been done. 

Sect. 10. The City of Boston shall have the exclusive right 
of using and disposing of such of the waters aforesaid as may be 
taken by them for the purposes aforesaid ; and an action of tres- 
pass on the case against any person, for using the same without 
the consent of said city, may be maintained by the said Com- 

Sect. 11. The said Board of Commissioners, for the time 
being, shall regulate the distribution and use of the water, within 
and without the city ; and, from time to time, shall fix the price 
for the use thereof; and they may establish such a number of 
pubhc hydrants, and in such pubhc places, as they shall see fit, 
and direct for what purposes the same shall be used ; all which 
they may change at their discretion. 

Sect. 12. The owner and occupier of any tenement, shall 
each be hable for the payment of the price or rent, for the use 
of the water by such occupier. 

Sect. 13. The said Commissioners shall make no contract 
for the price of using the water beyond the terra of five years ; 
and at the expiration of any term or lease, the price of the use 
shall be adjusted according to the regulations then established, 
and which may from time to time be established by the Com- 
missioners while in ofiice, or by the City Council afterwards. 

Sect. 14. It shall be the duty of the said Commissioners to 
regulate the price of the water, with reference ultimately, to pay- 
ing from the proceeds thereof the interest and principal of the 
Aqueduct Scrip aforesaid, as far as shall be found practicable, 
consistently with the purposes of this act. And the net pro- 
ceeds of the water rents, after paying all expenses for maintain- 
ing the distribution of the water, and for salaries, wages, and 
incidental charges, shall be a collateral security to the holders of 



said Aqueduct Scrip, in addition to the liability of the city, for 
the payment of the interest from time to time, and the final reim- 
bursement of the principal of said scrip ; and when any surplus 
of funds shall be on hand, the said Commissioners may buy up 
any of said scrip for the benefit of the said city, and the same 
shall then be cancelled. 

Sect. 15. Each of the said Commissioners shall, before 
entering upon his trust, give bond with sufficient surety or sure- 
ties to the said City of Boston, in the penal sum of fifty thou- 
sand dollars, conditioned for the faithful performance of the du- 
ties of his office. 

Sect. 16. A major part of said Commissioners shall con- 
stitute a quorum for doing and performing all things allowed or 
required by the powers or duties of their commission. And all 
contracts, engagements, acts and doings of the said Commission- 
ers, within the scope of their duty or authority, shall be obliga- 
tory upon, and be in law considered as done by said city. 

Sect. 17. When the said Aqueduct Scrip shall all have 
been paid or cancelled, all balances of money, books, records, 
and documents, and all property shall be disposed of in such 
manner as the said City Council may direct ; the office of Com- 
missioners shall cease, and all the rights, powers and duties 
touching the aqueduct ; the distribution of the water, and the 
price for its use, shall be exercised by the city in such manner, 
and by such servants and agents as the City Council may from 
time to time direct and appoint, — and all rights of action vested 
in said Commissioners, shall thereupon vest in said city. 

Sect. IS. The said Commissioners may prosecute and de- 
fend any action or process at law and in equity, on contract or 
tort, by the name of " the Water Commissioners of the City of 
Boston," against any person or persons for money due for the 
use of the water, for the breach of any contract express or im- 
plied, touching the execution or management of the works, or 
the distribution of the water, or of any other promise or contract 


made to or with them ; and also for any injury, trespass, or nui- 
sance, done or suffered to the water, water sources, works, or 
establishments within or without the said city ; and any vacancy 
in the Board of Commissioners, or the filling of any vacancy 
either before or after any such injury, trespass or nuisance, or 
before or after the making of any such contract, as aforesaid, or 
cause of action accruing, shall not cbange the right of said Com- 
missioners as a body to commence or maintain such action or 
process at law or in equity, but in all such cases, they shall be 
considered from the time of the organization of the board as a 

Sect. 19. If any person or persons shall maliciously divert 
the water of said ponds or water sources, or shall corrupt or ren- 
der impure the same, or any connected therewith, or shall des- 
troy or injure any dam, pipe, aqueduct, conduit, machinery, or 
other property used in the premises, such person or persons, 
and their aiders and abettors, shall forfeit to the said city, to be 
recovered in an action of trespass, or trespass on the case, by 
the said Commissioners, treble the amount of damage which 
shall appear on trial to have been sustained thereby ; and may, 
upon conviction, be further punished by a fine not exceeding 
one thousand dollars, or by imprisonment not exceeding one year. 

Sect. 20. The Mayor and Aldermen of said city, shall no- 
tify and warn the legal voters of said city, to meet in their res- 
pective wards, within sixty days from the passage of this act, for 
the purpose of voting upon the question, whether they will or will 
not accept the same ; and if a majority of the votes given in shall 
be in the negative, this act shall be void. 

Sect. 21. This act shall take effect from and after its pas- 

The foregoing is a correct copy of the bill as it was 
reported by the Committee. In its passage through the 
Legislature the following amendments were adopted ; 


In Sect. 1, by inserting after the word "city," line 
2, the words " the water of Charles River, at and from 
some point in the town of Watertown, with the consent 
of said town, to be determined upon by the Commis- 
sioners to be appointed under this act, or." Also at 
the end of the same section by inserting the words 
" and the City Government [shall determine by a ma- 
jority of votes in joint ballot, from which source to bring 
the water." 

In Sect. 2, first line, by inserting after " Boston," the 
words " water of Charles River, or of said." 

In Sect. 9, line 17, after "par value thereof," by 
striking out the following words, viz : " or may pledge 
the same for money borrowed at a higher rate of inter- 
est, if authorized so to do by said city." 

The first sentence of the second paragraph of the 
same section is so amended as to read, " All money 
received by said Commissioners shall be deposited to 
their joint credit, in some bank or banks of good credit, 
within said city, and subject only to their joint order." 

The same section is further amended by inserting af- 
ter the words "Mayor and Aldermen," at line 8 of 2d 
paragraph, " or by the Common Council." 

In Sect. 16, line 4, after "doings of," the words 
"majority of" are inserted. 

« In Sect. 20, line 4, after the word " voting," the 
words " by ballot," are inserted. 

With the foregoing amendments the act was adopted 
and approved by the Governor, March 25, 1 845. 





Boston, February 1st, 1845. 

Messrs. Wm. Parker, James Hayward, and T. B. Curtis, 

Gentlemen : 

At your request, I visited Long Pond, in Natick, on Tues- 
day last, and obtained specimens of the water from each of the 
three divisions of that pond, and have since made a chemical 
analysis of each sample, the results of which I now communi- 

Specimen No. 1, was taken thirty rods from the shore, and 
opposite the place where, according to the plan given me by 
Mr. James F. Baldwin, the proposed aqueduct is to com- 

No. 2, was taken near the middle of the central division of the 
pond, nearly opposite the house of Widow Coggins, and four 
hundred paces from the shore. 

No. 3, was taken from near the middle of the upper division 
of the pond, opposite the house of Mr. Morse, and about four 
hundred yards from the shore. 

The water was obtained by cutting holes through about ten 
inches of ice, and was drawn up by means of a clean tin bucket, 
and poured into clean glass jars and demijohns, which were 
closely stopped and brought to my Laboratory in Boston for 

Chemical analysis of the water of Long Pond. 
One Imperial English gallon, equal to 70,000 grains of dis- 


tilled water at 60° F, or to 277.274 cubic inches in bulk, of 
each sample, yield the following amounts of vegetable and mine- 
ral matters, when evaporated to entire dryness, and on separation 
of the ingredients. 

Long Pond Water JVo. 1, [Lower Pond.) 

Vegetable matter destructible by heat, 2.4 grains. 

Mineral matter (earths and salts,) 3.6 " 

Whole contents of one gallon of the water, 6.0 " 

Long Pond Water JVo. 2, {Middle Pond.) 

Vegetable matter destructible by heat, 1.64 grains. 

Mineral matter (earths and salts,) 3.88 " 

Whole contents of one gallon of the water, 5.52 " 

Long Pond Water JVo. 3, {Upper Pond.) 

Vegetable matter destructible by heat, 1.42 grains. 

Mineral matter (earths and salts,) 2.90 " 

Whole contents of one gallon of the water, 4.32 " 

The vegetable matter consists of the usual organic acids of the 
soil, which are combined with the earthy bases, lime, magnesia, 
and with oxides of manganese and iron. These bases are sepa- 
rated by combustion of the vegetable acids, the lime and magne- 
sia which they contained, being converted into carbonates of 
lime and magnesia. 

The salts are chloride of sodium, or sea salt, sulphate of lime 
or gypsum, and sulphate of soda, which are found in the mineral 
matter, mixed with a minute quantity of clay and phosphate oi 
lime, and the earthy bases derived from the combustion of the 
organic acid, compounds before noticed. 

The foreign matters in this water, are in such small propor- 
tions, as in no way to impair its healthfulness as a drink, nor will 
they prove injurious in washing clothing. 

It is somewhat remarkable that the water of the upper divis- 
ion of the pond should prove the purest, considering the fact oi 
its overflowing a small peat bog or cranberry meadow, during 
this season of the year. This must result from the influx of 
purer water from a neighboring pond, which empties into Long 
Pond, by a small stream, traversing the meadow. 

In riding around Long Pond, and viewing its steep, gravelly 
shores, I was favorably impressed with the plan of raising its wa- 
ters by means of a dam at the outlet, being satisfied that no dan- 


ger was to be apprehended from flowage of extensive bogs, as 
some have supposed w^ould resuh therefrom. 

The httle bog or cranberry meadow, at the head of the pond, 
may be dyked out, and saved from flowage, and the value of that 
kind of land will indicate the propriety of doing this. The bog 
comprises forty acres, and is worth $1.50 per square rod, for 
peat, taken three splittings deep. If this bog is dyked, the small 
stream which passes through it, may be turned and brought in 
through more elevated land. 

I would remark, in conclusion, that pond waters are always 
better that river waters, since they are free from admixture of 
earthy sedimentary matters, which are brought down by rivers 
during freshets, and require to be removed by allowing the water 
to remain at rest for some time in a settling pond, before conduct- 
ing the water to the city. 

Those who have seen the water from the Fairmount water 
works, in Philadelphia, in the spring season, must have observed 
in it a considerable proportion of fine earthy matter, which ren- 
ders the water milky at that season of the year. No such sedi- 
ment will ever be seen in the water drawn from the natural ponds 
in this vicinity, for those ponds are fed chiefly by subterranean 
springs, and all the earthy matter which washes in from the 
shores, subsides readily, where there is but little or no current. 

It must be obvious to every one, that inland ponds will fur- 
nish much purer water than can be obtained from wells sunk in 
the marine clays and sand of Boston, which charge the water 
with saline matters, while the surface waters not only become 
impure from this cause, but are also contaminated with various 
impurities from the drains and vaults so abundant in the top soil, 
or near the surface. 

Most of the well water of Boston is very impure, and is be- 
coming more so, from increased sources of filth, especially from 
the connection of vaults and water closets with the common sew- 
ers, which are far from being impervious at their bottoms and 
sides. I am therefore satisfied that it will soon be absolutely 
necessary to introduce an abundant supply of pure water into the 
city, and the neighboring ponds will furnish an adequate supply. 

At the request of the Committee, I have analysed a specimen 
of water, regarded as one of the purest in the city, and herewith 
present the results. It was furnished from a well in Tremont 
street, by Mr. Baldwin. One imperial gallon of this water was 
found to yield 26.6 grains of brown dihquescent matter, consisting 
of muriates of Ume and magnesia, sea salt, sulphates of soda 
and potash, and sulphate of lime, with organic matters from the 
soil, which gave the saUs a brown color. Few well waters in the 


city are so pure as this. Those on the low lands are often so 
highly charged with salts, as to be unfit to drink. 

The waters from Artesian wells in Boston have generally been 
found to contain more saline matter than that of ordinary wells 
of less depth. Hence it appears that ''since good water cannot 
be obtained from the soil of the city, we shall be obhged to seek 
for it elsewhere. 

Respectfully your obedient servant, 




The question is to be taken and decided in a few days, by- 
yeas and nays — whether you will accept the Act for 
supplying the city of Boston with pure water from Long 
Pond or Charles River. 

It appears that many reflecting and judicious persons, who 
are wholly opposed to the unusual provisions of the Act, may 
nevertheless vote for it — under the apprehension, that if 
the Act be rejected, no immediate or satisfactory measures 
will be resorted to, for such a supply of water as is 
imperatively demanded by the inhabitants of the city. 

To allay, and if possible to banish, all such apprehensions, 
we the undersigned, subscribers to the Spot Pond Aqueduct 
Company, and others, interested in the great question now 
before the public, are induced, unhesitatingly, to declare to 
you, that as soon as the question is settled, so that we can 
move in the matter — 

We will use our best endeavors to form and complete a 
Company to bring into the city, for immediate distribution, 
the waters of Spot Pond, under the act granted in 1843, 
and amended by the last Legislature, and we feel confi- 
dent in stating, that within one year after the work is 
commenced, the waters of Spot Pond will be flowing 
through the streets of the city. 

We will subscribe for shares in a Company, to be formed 
under that Act, and we will solicit others to subscribe 

We will offer the vjhole stock of the Spot Pond Company to 
the City, and if they decline to take the whole, they may 
have any part less than one -half The Act also enables the 
city to take the whole after the work has been completed by 
private enterprise. 

We hereby pledge ourselves, if the city refuse to take the 
whole stock, and leave the business of supplying the city 
(where having a regard to the public economy it belongs,) 
to a private company — in order to relieve all fears of ' a mer- 
cenary corporation' and 'grinding monopoly' that we will 
petition the Legislature, for an amendment of the Spot 
Pond Act, to the effect 

1 — That the Mayor and Aldermen shall forever be, by virtue 

of their office, but without compe^isation, a Board of Water 
Comptrollers, whose duty it shall be to supervise the in- 
come of the corporation, and to regulate the water rents, 
from time to time, so that the Stockholders shall not re- 
ceive a yearly profit of less than six per cent, if the net 
income of the works will yield so much — nor more than 
ten per ct. 

2 — That the said Board of Water Comptrollers, shall deter- 

mine, from time to time, how many, and when and where, 
public hydrants shall be placed in the street, for the 
accommodation of the poor, for the use of which an annual 
rent shall be paid by the city to the Corporation. 

3 — Said Board shall also determine how many, and when, 

and where, ornamental public fountains, not exceeding 
three, shall be placed, and the annual rent for the use of 
both hydrants and fountains (if the Water Comptrollers 
and the Corporation cannot agree upon a price) shall be 
fixed by three Commissioners, to be mutually chosen by 
the parties, from time to time, as occasion may require. 
4 — Said Board may notify the Agents of the Corporation — 
when and where they desire to have fire plugs inserted 
into the main pipes — and said Corporation shall be com- 
pelled forthwith to make such insertions, at the expense of 
the city — but the use of the water, for the suppression 

and extinguishment of fires and to fill the city reservoirs, 
shall at all times be free, and without any expense to 
the city — and one or more servants of the Company shall 
at all times be at hand, to aid the Chief Engineer of the 
Fire Department. 

If the result of your votes, fellow citizens, permit the un- 
dersigned, and others who may become their associates, to 
proceed under the Spot Pond charter, (a copy of which i» 
hereto subjoined for your information,) you will obtain 
without any cost to yourselves or to the City, beyond an an- 
nual charge to those who become consumers of the water — 
and for fifty years at least, as we firmly believe, that most 
desirable boon, a copious supply of the purest water for do- 
mestic uses — street hydrants to accomodate the poor — for 
manufacturing purposes — public baths — ornamental foun- 
tains — and the protection of your property from the ravages 
of fire ; and this great result may be effected within one 
year from the present time. 

We trust that the foregoing statement will assure to our 
fellow citizens, that the undersigned are solely influenced by 
a due regard to the public welfare, and not by a sordid desire, 
as has been so boldly imputed to us, — ' of filling our pockets 
from the hard earnings of the poor.' And when the A'oters 
of Boston reflect, that it has required many 3^ears to find a 
market for the waters of Jamaica Pond, that Spot Pond i.s 
nearly three times as high, and more than four times as 
large, and,, by the report of our Commissioners, has actually 

furnished for seven monllis of Spring, Summer, and Autumn, 
a snply of over two millions, five hundred thousand gallons of 
water per day, it will be a subject of deep regret, if Boston 
should vote for an Act that must delay the supply of water 
for several years, and involve the City in a large and unnec- 
essary debt. 

John D. Williams, 
E. A. & W. "Winchester, 
Ebenezer T. Andrews, 
Henry Codman, 
Richard S. Fay, 
L. M. Sargent, 
C. W. Cartwright, 
Simon "Wilkinson, 
Benj. Humphrey, 
Thomas B. "Wales, 
Josiah Bradlee, 
George B. Gary, 
James B. Bradlee, 
"Wm. Thomas, 
Caleb Reed, 

John A. Lowell, 
Robert G. Shaw & Co., 
J. Richardson & Brothers, 
Osmyn Brewster, 
Johnson, Sewall& Co^g 
Abel Adams, 
Moses "Williams, 
William W. Parrott, 
Cyrus Alger, 
Henry B. Stone, 
Thaddeus Nichols, 
John Ballard, 
Charles Amory, 
George M. Dexter„ 
George H Kuhn. 

Boston, May, 1845. 



Be it enacted hy the Senate and House of Representative fi, 
in General Court assembled, and hy the authority of the same, 
asfolloivs : 

Sect. 1. James C. Odiorne, George Odiome, Jr., Isaao 
Warren, their associates and successors, are hereby made a 
corporation, by the name of " The Spot Pond Aqueduct 
Company," with all the powers and privileges, and subject 
to all the duties, liabilities and provisions contained in the 
forty-fourth chapter of the Revised Statutes. 

Sect. 2, The capital stock of said company shall be 
five hundred thousand dollars, to be increased to one mil- 
lion dollars, if found to be necessary ; the same to be divid- 
ed into shares of one hundred dollars each ; and the stock- 
holders shall be individually liable for all debts of the 

Sect. 3. The said corporation may purchase, take and 
hold, in fee simple, or for any less estate, any lands neces- 
sary for the objects of this act, and for the convenient 
management of the concerns of said company, not ex- 
ceeding in value the sum of two hundred thousand dollars, 
and may purchase Spot Pond, so called, in Stoneham, for 
the purpose of conducting water therefrom into the city of 
Boston ; and to this end may take and hold any lands neces- 
sary for laying aqueducts, forming reservoirs, and any flats 
flowed by tide-waters, which may be required to carry the 
objects of this act into effect; and if the proprietors of such 
lands as the corporation may take, for the purpose of laying 
pipes or aqueducts, and constructing reservoirs, do not agree 


with said company on the price to be paid therefor, any such 
proprietor may have the damages assessed in the same man- 
ner as is provided in the one hundred and sixteenth chapter 
of the Revised Statutes ; and the said corporation, in all 
cases where it does not acquire title to any land by volunta- 
ry conveyance, shall cause a certificate, describing the land 
so taken, to be signed by the president of said company, and 
recorded in the registry of deeds in the county in which the 
land lies. 

Sect. 4. The said corporation is hereby authorized and 
empowered to lay its pipes, or aqueducts, under or over any 
rail-road, canal, highway or street, provided, always, that the 
same be done in such manner as not to obstruct or impede 
the passing thereon ; and said corporation may lay its pipes 
or aqueducts across Mystic and Charles rivers, by tunnel or 
oXhexwise, provided that said pipes and aqueducts be so laid 
in said rivers as not to rise above the bed of the channel of 
said rivers. Said corporation may also carry its pipes or 
aqueducts to South Boston, provided, as above, that said 
pipes or aqueducts be so laid as not to rise above the bed of 
the channel. 

Sect. 5. The said corporation, in laying its pipes, aque- 
ducts, or other apparatus, through the highways and streets 
of the town of Charlestown and in the city of Boston, and 
in repairing such pipes or aqueducts, from time to time, shall 
not unnecessarily obstruct such highways and streets ; and 
in every case of the removal of any earth or pavement, in 
any such highway or street, the said corporation, at its own 
expense, shall cause the earth to be replaced and the pave- 
ment to be laid anew, so that such highway or street shall 
be in as good condition as the same were in before such 
removal. The breaking up of the pavement, or any part of 
the streets of the city of Boston, and the times at which the 
same shall be done, shall be under the direction of the 
mayor and aldermen, or such persons as they shall appoint. 

Sect. 6. In the laying and construction of the pipes or 
aqueducts which may be laid in the town of Charlestown, 

and in the city of Boston, the same shall be so laid and 
constructed, that water can be drawn therefrom for the 
extinguishment of fires, and used by the persons thereto 
authorized by the town of Charlestown, and by the city of 
Boston respectively, and free access to the water in such 
pipes and aqueducts shall be had whenever the same shall 
be laid within the town of Charlestown and within the city 
of Boston ; and the said town and city shall have the right, 
at their own cost respectively, to place fire-plugs and all 
proper and necessary fixtures therefor upon any pipes or 
aqueducts of said corporation, and at as many different 
places, in the several highways and streets, as the select- 
men of the said town, and the mayor and aldermen of the 
said city shall deem needful for the purpose of drawing 
water for the extinguishment of any fires which may hap- 
pen in said town or city ; provided, that the said fire-plugs 
and fixtures shall not be used for the purpose of drawing 
water from said pipes for any other use than for the extin- 
guishment of fires, and shall be so constructed as to prevent 
the water in the pipes from rimning to waste ; and the said 
corporation shall not demand nor receive any compensation 
for water taken for the extinguishment of fires as aforesaid. 
The city of Boston shall also have the right, on such reason- 
able terms as shall be agreed upon, to draw water from said 
aqueduct for the use of the public buildings and establish- 
ments, and for ornamental purposes. 

Sect. 7. If any person shall wilfully and maliciously 
defile, corrupt, or make impure the pond or reservoirs used 
by said corporation as aforesaid, or destroy or injure any 
dam, pipe, aqueduct, machinery, or other property of said 
corporation, such person, and all who shall aid or abet in 
such trespass, shall forfeit to the use of said corporation, for 
every such offence, treble the amount of damages which 
shall appear, on the trial, to have been sustained thereby, 
and may further be punished by a fine not exceeding one 
thousand dollars, or may be imprisoned for a term not ex- 
ceeding one year. 


Sect. 8. "The said corporation is hereby empowered to 
sell the privilege of using the water which may be conduc- 
ted from the said Spot Pond to any corporation, person or 
persons ; provided, that no compensation shall be taken for 
the use thereof for the extinguishment of fires as aforesaid. 

Sect. 9. Whenever said corporation shall have pur- 
chased Spot Pond, and shall have purchased or taken any 
lands, which it may deem necessary and proper for carrying 
the purposes of this act into effect, no other corporation, 
person or persons, shall enter upon such pond or lands, for 
the purpose of drawing the waters from said pond, for any 
purpose whatever; but such waters shall be and remain 
to and for the use of said corporation. And said corporation 
shall furnish for the city of Boston all the water which the 
capacity of said pond shall be able to furnish, excepting so 
much as may be distributed in Charlestown, and the same 
shall be conveyed to the city in one or more iron pipes, each 
not less than twenty inches in diameter. 

Sect. 10. The city of Boston shall have a right to subscribe, 
in common with others, for one third part of the shares in said 
corporation, or any less proportion thereof. And the said city 
may, at any time, purchase of the said corporation, their fran- 
chise, and all their personal and real property by paying to said 
corporation the cost and charges for the construction of said 
aqueduct, and the source thereof, together with ten per cent, 
thereon, with six pier cent interest, first deducting from said in- 
terest any amount received by said Corporation for the use of 
the water of said aqueduct, or the sources thereof. And from 
and after the execution and delivery of the conveyance and 
transfer aforesaid, the said city of Boston shall have all the right 
and be subject to all the duties in this act expressed, as to said 

Sect. 11. The said corporation shall construct one or 
more reservoirs, within two miles of said city of Boston, at 
an elevation of not less than one hundred feet above high 
tide, which together shall contain not less than five hundred 
thousand gallons of water. 


Sect. 12. Said aqueduct shall be completed to Boston 
within three years ; and one mile, at least, of iron pipes, of 
the diameter of twenty inches, shall be laid within one year 
and a half after the passage of this act. 

Sect. 13. The said corporation shall make a report an- 
nually to the Legislature, of the amount of its receipts and 

Sect. 14. Nothing herein before provided shall be con- 
strued to restrain the Legislature from hereafter regulating 
the prices of the water to the inhabitants of said city of 
Boston and town of Charlestown, if the Legislature shall 
judge fit. Nor shall any thing before expressed in this act 
be construed to prevent the Legislature from granting any 
act of incorporation to any other company or corporation, 
now or hereafter to be established, to convey water into the 
city of Boston from other sources. 



In the year one thousand eight hundred and forty -Jive. 

An act in addition to an act to incorporate the Spot Pond 
Aqueduct Company. 

Be it enacted hy the Senate and House of Representatives 
in General Court assembled, and by the authority of the same, 
as follows : 

Sect. 1. So much of the second section of the act to 
which this is an addition, as is contained in the following 
words, ' and the stockholders shall be individually hable for 
all debts of the corporation ' is hereby repealed. 

Sect. 2. The time prescribed by the twelfth section of 
the act to which this act is an addition for completing the 
aqueduct therein named, is hereby extended two years : and 
the time prescribed in the said section of the said act for 
laying a portion of the iron pipes of said aqueduct, is hereby 
extended one year. 

Sect. 3. The said Spot Pond Aqueduct Company may 
exercise all the powers, and shall be subject to all the duties, 
liabilities, and provisions of the thirty-eighth and fortieth 
chapters of the Revised Statutes. 

House of Representatives, March 25, 1845. 

Passed to be enacted, Samuel H. Walley, Jr., Speaker. 

In Senate, March 25, 1845. 

Passed to be enacted, Levi Lincoln, President. 

March 25, 1845, Approved, 

Secretary's Office, March 27, 1845. 
A true copy, Attest, 

John G. Palfrey, Secretary. 


3 9999 06428 000 9 

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