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INTRODUCTION BY THE CHAIRMAN.
I shall invite to respond to this toast an old and honored citizen of Roxbury, the first Mayor of the municipality, the Hon. John J. CLARKE. [Applause.]
RESPONSE OF THE HON. JOHN J. CLARKE.
I can hardly realize, gentlemen, that I am an old man. [Laughter.] Yet still I am called upon to respond to the toast of Old Roxbury. It would be more than superfluous for me to talk about what happened in Roxbury in old times, as it has been so eloquently spoken of by the orator to-day. It is true that I have known it for over fifty years.
When I came here there were about 5,000 inhabitants; Boston was an island; there was no public conveyance between Boston and Roxbury at that time, and at high tide we could hardly get to Boston dry-shod. Now the same territory, which then was populated by about five thousand inhabitants, has probably from thirty to forty thousand, and, as my eloquent friend said to-day, it was then a place of farms and gardens, with here and there a house. It is now built up with blocks of buildings, and there is hardly a garden, and very few of the old houses left. What a change! But although there is change in every other respect, in one I think there is not. The spirit that animates the young men of to-day is the same spirit that animated their ancestors of 1776. [Applause ] As I said, it would be superfluous to speak of old Roxbury more than I have, or detain you with a longer speech; but, as one of its oldest inhabitants, - I believe I could count on my fingers those living here when I came,
I don't know that it would be improper for me to toast the young men of to-day ; and with your permission I will give you this sentiment:- “ The young men of the Roxbury District, — worthy successors of its citizens in 1776, manifested by their action in the late Rebellion, and illustrated by their hearty recognition of the Centennial year of our national independence,
may God bless them !” [Applause.]
6. THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES."
It is the sentiment and voice of old Roxbury that forty millions of intelligent American citizens know neither partisanship or prejudice, only respect and obedience to the National Chief Magistrate, whoever he is, or whoever he is to be.
[Cries of "Good,” and long applause.]
INTRODUCTION BY THE CHAIRMAN.
GENTLEMEN :-I shall have the pleasure of inviting to respond to this toast a gentleman who is a resident of Roxbury, and whose eloquence is adequate to the occasion of responding for the Chief Magistrate of the United States Mr. Collector SIMMONS. [Applause.]
RESPONSE OF HON. WILLIAM A. SIMMONS.
MR. PRESIDENT AND GENTLEMEN :- I rejoice that I am privileged to participate in the very impressive and pleasurable ceremonies of this Roxbury Centennial observance. I rejoice, too, sir, that we of the present time are privileged to stand, as it were, upon the very threshold of the second century of our national existence, and feel our hearts thrilling with emotions of patriotic pride and pleasure over the magnificent outlook which the unparalleled prosperity of the country in the past indicates as the destiny of the republic in the future. [Applause.]
As has been well said, the President of these United States does represent forty millions of free people, a large majority of whom, happily, are loyal, peaceful, patriotic, liberty-loving people, who believe in the great underlying principles upon which our whole fabric of government rests; who believe in the widest dissemination of education and information among the masses; who believe in the spirit of religious toleration which the Constitution inculcates ; who believe in that freedom of speech and of the press which has convinced the world that for more than a century we have been among the foremost of the nations of the earth ; and it is because of the almost universal belief of our people in these great principles, these fundamental principles of free government, that we are, to-day, permitted to enjoy the privileges, the liberties and the blessings of the Union in which we live. Push aside for a moment the curtain which hides from our view the glorious labors of the century which has passed ; look at the almost fabulous results of our national researches, at the marvellous developments of our industrial interests — 250,000 manufacturing establishments; 3,000,000 farms, each one, with rare exception, cultivated by its owner ; 75,000 miles of railroad, half the number in the whole world ; 3,000,000 tons of shipping upon our inland lakes alone, and a mercantile marine larger, with one exception, than that of any other nation on the civilized globe; and all these wonderful evidences of thrift and wealth and power are simply the logical results, the natural outgrowth of the efforts and labors of those heroic men who gathered upon these Roxbury hills one hundred years ago as volunteers in the sacred cause of human freedom. [Applause and cheers.]
The loyal men of this time, sir, are the direct inheritors of the faith and principles of their fathers. They have endeavored to live up to the full measure and spirit of the genius of our institutions. They have established all over this fair land of ours free schools in which to educate the youth of the nation [Applause] ; Christian churches in which to worship God; free libraries to enrich the minds; newspapers to enlarge the information and understanding ; society in which law, order and justice prevail, and where, thank God, labor is considered honorable ; and all these taken together have made possible that magnificent American citizenship which has developed the wonderful wealth, power and thrift of the American continent; which has attracted 500,000 new settlers to our shores each recurring year; and which, better than that, has convinced the world that the broadening influences of American civilization will continue to give, in all the centuries that lie before us, power, wealth, union, liberty, peace and grandeur to this republic as long as human liberty shall find name and place among the children of men.
And for these reasons, sir, I am led irresistibly to the conclusion that notwithstanding the unfortunate complications of the present, the intelligence, the patriotism, the good sense, the loyalty of the American people will elevate them above and beyond the narrow sphere of political prejudice and partisanship, and will lead them, in the language of your sentiment, to accord to the President of the United States, whoever he may be, the same unswerving, patriotic devotion, which has characterized the American people for more than a century. [Loud and long-continued applause.]
in conclusion, let me express the hope that when the smoke of these transitory battles shall have lifted and faded into air, we may find the North, the South, the East, the West, keeping step to the music of the Union, and marching in accord and harmony with the patriotic utterances of our own great poet, when he sings :
" Thou, too, sail on, O ship of State;
Sail on, O Union, strong and great;
Is hanging breathless on thy fate!
" We know what master laid thy keel,
What workman wrought thy ribs of steel,
Were shaped the anchors of thy fate.
• In spite of rock and tempest's roar,
In spite of false lights on the shore,
Are all with thee are all with thee!
[Loud and long-continued applause, ending with cheers for the speaker.]
“THE COMMONWEALTH OF MASSACHUSETTS.”
The Old Bay State is proud of her glorious past and her triumphant present. She is proud of the memories which cluster about Plymouth Rock, Faneuil Hall and Bunker Hill. She is proud of her staples of granite, ice, and sterling men and women, and she is also proud of her magnificent Chief Magistrate.
REMARKS BY THE CHAIRMAN.
GENTLEMEN :- - I regret that His Excellency the Governor has been prevented from attending and responding to this toast in honor of our old Commonwealth ; and as she has no one to respond for her to-night, I invite you, men of Roxbury, to rise in your places and give three cheers in her honor.
The announcement was greeted with loud applause, and three rousing cheers and a "tiger ” were given by the entire company in response to the sentiment.
6 THE CITY OF Boston.”
Boston, beside her commercial, patriotic and intellectual renown, is famous as the City of Notions. One of her best notions was to come to old Roxbury and take our fellow-citizen, SAMUEL C. Cobb, for her model Mayor.
INTRODUCTION BY THE CHAIRMAN.
GENTLEMEN : - I regret that His Honor Mayor Cobb is not present to respond; but, fortunately, we have the next officer of the City Government, the Chairman of the Board of Aldermen, and I now take pleasure in introducing to you Alderman CLARK. [Applause.]