Page images



MR. CHAIRMAN AND GENTLEMEN :- I exceedingly regret that His Honor the Mayor is not present to respond to the toast offered to the city ; but in his absence permit me to say that it affords me great pleasure to respond to a sentiment in honor of the city of Boston, especially upon this occasion, for I understand, sir, that this is the celebration of the anniversary of an association whose organization dates far back into the early history of the town of Roxbury, and has always held a conspicuous position among the cherished institutions of the past and present.

It is a good thing, Mr. Chairman, to keep alive the memory of these ancient associations. They are the landmarks which recall to us the memory of our fathers, and encourage us to imitate their virtues, and to strengthen and perpetuate the principles of good government for which they labored and helped to establish. These principles are alive in our midst to-day, sir, and they have preserved untarnished the fair fame of our city during its years of rapid growth and wonderful prosperity. Our municipal escutcheon has not suffered by any acts which have been the disgrace of other cities. The voice of our people is now, and ever has been, for the right, and I believe, sir, that as it has been in the past so it will be in the future. Others may excel us in rapid growth of population, but not in the elements of integrity and stability, the foundations of true prosperity. I believe, sir, that as we increase in population, and in everything which tends to build up a large and prosperous city, so also shall we strengthen the foundation of honor and virtue which our fathers laid with such tender regard for the welfare of their posterity, by remembering their early lessons and emulating their examples.

Mr. Chairman, it has been said that Boston has gained by the annexation of Roxbury. It certainly has, and in no small degree; and among those things by which it has been benefited, the evidence is before you this evening, in your chairman, an able and efficient Mayor of the city [Applause], an able and efficient Governor of the State [Applause], and before long, gentlemen, I hope, an able and efficient member of the Congress of the United States

[ocr errors]

[Loud applause]. You have also during the last three years had another man taken from your midst to preside over the city of Boston. No city has ever known a better executive officer, and I only regret that he will not allow his name to be used in the future as he has in the past. It is an exceedingly great loss for any city to lose the services of such an executive as Boston has been blessed with during the past three years. [Applause].

Fifth Sentiment.


Though our orator is simply a Sargent, his success to-day in the field of eloquence entitles him to immediate promotion. In the hearts of Roxbury he can take no higher rank.


I have the pleasure, gentlemen, of now presenting to you a gentleman whose eloquence has once charmed you to-day, General SARGENT. [Long applause.]


MR. CHAIRMAN AND GENTLEMEN :- I feel very much obliged to you for the kindness of your greeting. You will remember that, when the time was made up for the soldiers engaged in the war of the Rebellion, the three months were always counted into their time and credited to them. · I heard this morning that every speaker here was expected to speak just three minutes, and as I have already spoken so long to-day I think, if my time then is to be counted in now, my three minutes must be already up.

" But, gentlemen, it is an occasion for a man to be proud of, that he can recall the record of this old town and city, in such an assemblage as this to-night. I am sure it would gratify the heart of my old father if he could look upon this assembly of Roxbury men ; for he lived here near forty years, and here he died. He opposed annexation to Boston because he loved the old records and individual life of this venerable town. But I am sure he would be glad to see his old friends as the citizens of Boston to-night.

Gentlemen, I was gratified by the eloquence that has charmed me before, that of the Collector of the Port of Boston. He is younger than I am ; his view is very hopeful, and I hope his view is perfectly right. But it does seem to me that this is a solemn occasion as well as a gay one. I should be unwilling to suggest that at any time within the memory of this generation men may be compelled to meet their brothers in hostility on the field in defence of liberty, free government, and the will of the constitutional majority. I do not expect it; but I am not sorry that we keep up our old military traditions throughout the whole length and breadth of the land.

It is a pleasure to me to meet to-night the chairman of this assembly, who, as has been eloquently said, was an excellent Mayor of the city, and an admirable Governor of the State. Aș I had the honor of saying to you in the church, though I don't know that the allusion to him was exactly understood, he seenis to me to represent the Puritan virtue of equilibrium under pressure, selfcontrol, — and that is precisely what an executive of a free government should represent; he ought never to give up to party what is meant for mankind.” It is because this principle of equilibrium lies deep and strong in the hearts of the American people throughout the northern country, and I hope and believe, in the hearts of the majority of the South, that I look for a peaceful solution of the difficulty. I turn with confidence to the equilibrium of the country, — the old Puritan quality, the quiet steadiness of determination to demand nothing wrong, and to submit to nothing wrong

There is a story of an honest old trader on the border, who, dealing with some tricky customers in barter trade, weight for weight, found, after he had parcelled out just measure, that his side of the scale, when his back was turned, was a pound short of even weight, and putting his hard old hand into the deficient balance against the fraud in the other, he would bring the scales to the former equilibrium, saying, "My hand weighs just a pound.” In event of fraud or violence by any party or on either side, I want the common sense and decency of North and South, the equilibrium of the whole country, the nation's faith in God and man, to put the strong right hand of justice into the scale, and, demanding only what is right, suffering nothing that is wrong, insist that law, order, and an honest government shall prevail.

When speaking at the church, I thought of an incident which, though trivial for introduction there, might be properly introduced in connection with a toast that I suppose may come later in the dinner. I think we have never fully recognized our obligations to woman at Bunker Hill. But her service there, a hundred years ago, was important, if not conspicuous. It is of record that the British artillery, which ultimately was brought into close action, with grape sweeping the redoubt and contributing to our defeat and momentary submission to the British arms, was at first embarrassed by finding that twelve-pound balls had been provided for six-pounder guns. And some of the chroniclers, who know more about history than artillery, gravely say that the British necessa rily lost much time in ramming down such “disproportioned” shot into six-pounder guns.

A little note, in regard to this matter, states that the blunder in regard to ordnance was owing to a certain officer, who, instead of attending to his duties, spent his time “ in flirting with the schoolmaster's daughters.” Such was the influence of woman at Bunker Hill. And, certainly, she never used her powers of flirtation to greater national advantage !

Gentlemen, I have spoken so long at the church, and so long now, that I must extend my cordial thanks to you for your courtesy and patience, and bid you good-night.

[ocr errors]

Gen. Sargent was frequently interrupted by appreciative applause and laughter. At the conclusion of his remarks he was compelled to leave the hall, and was honored with three cheers as he passed off the platform.

Sixth Sentiment.


'Twas easy work to lead the van

When nothing did perplex us;
But how did Burrell feel that day

When they gobbled him in Texas?


GENTLEMEN :- I have the pleasure of now presenting to you my friend, and your friend, Gen. BURRELL. [Applause.]



-I assure you it gives me great pleasure to be here on this interesting occasion, and to meet so many whose faces are so very familiar to us all ; and in behalf of the committee and the associations who first instigated and moved to have this grand gathering, I heartily thank you all, gentlemen. I hope you will be pleased and satisfied, and go away hoping that next year, or at no very distant time, we shall have another just such gathering as this. It has been arranged, as you see, upon an economical scale ; for, taking into consideration the hard times, we did not intend to have anything very sumptuous set before you ; but we hope that real sociability, and the heartfelt shaking of the hand, will make up for the more expensive dinner which could have been provided.

Mr. Chairman and Gentlemen, I will take up but very few minutes more of your time, because I know there are so many that you wish to hear from who can speak to you so much better than I can. I feel that great and good results come from these gatherings, for they engender a patriotic feeling. I believe it is a mistake of New Englanders that they don't have more of them. They had them in the olden times, and there are but few of the old militia who would not come together on the celebrations

« PreviousContinue »