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IN COMMON COUNCIL, MAY 1, 1824. Resolved, That Messrs. Cdolidge, Frothingham and Stone, with such as the Board of Aldermen may join, be a Committee to wait upon the Mayor, and present him the thanks of the City Council, for the able and instructive Address delivered by him this day, and to request a copy for the press. Sent up for concurrence. /
FRANCIS J. OLIVER, President.
In the Board of Aldermen, May 3, 1824....Read and concurred, and Aldermen Baxter and Dorr are joined.
JOSIAH QUINCY, Mayor.
THE first impulse of my heart, on thus entering, a second
time, upon the duties of Chief Magistrate of this City, is to express my deep sense of gratitude, for the distinguished support, I have received from the suffrages of my fellow citizens. It has been, I am conscious, as much beyond my deserts, as beyond my hopes. May these marks of public confidence produce their genuine fruits—truer zeal,—greater activity, and more entire self-devotion to the interests of the city
To you, Gentlemen of the Board of Aldermen, who have received such gratifying proofs of the approbation of your fellow citizens, permit me thus publicly to express the greatness of my own obligations. You have shunned no labor. You have evaded no responsibility. You have sought with a single eye, and a firm, undeviating purpose the best interests of the city. It is my honor and happiness to have been associated with such men. Whatsoever success has attended the administration of the past year, may justly be attributed to the spirit and intelligence, which characterized your labors and councils.
The Gentlemen of the last Common Council are also entitled to a public expression of my gratitude, for their undeviating personal support, as well as the zeal and fidelity which distinguished their public services.
It is proper, on the present occasion, to speak of the administration of the past year, with reference to the principles by which it was actuated. If in doing this, I enter more into detail than may seem suitable, in a general discourse, it is because I deem such an elucidation conformable to the nature of the City Government, and connected with its success. Whatever there is peculiar in the character of the inhabitants of Boston, is chiefly owing to the freedom of its ancient form of government, which had planted and fostered, among its people, a keen, active, inquisitive spirit; taking an interest in all public affairs, and exacting a strict and frequent account from all, who have the charge of their concerns. (This is a healthy condition of a community, be it a city, state, or nation. It indicates the existence of the only true foundation of public prosperity, the intelligence and virtue of the people, and their consequent capacity to govern themselves.) Such a people have a right to expect a particular elucidation of conduct from public functionaries; whose incumbent duty it is to foster, on all occasions, among their fellow citizens, a faithful and inquisitive spirit touching public conCern S. s The acts of the administration of the past year had reference to morals;–to comfort; and convenience; and ornament. A
- very brief statement of the chief of these, which had any thing
novel in their character, will be made, with reference to principle and to expense. If more prominence be given to this last than may be thought necessary, it is because in relation to this, discontent is most likely to appear. In the organizing of new, systems, and in the early stages of beneficial and even economical arrangements outlays must occur. These expenditures are inseparable from the first years. The resulting benefit must be expected and averaged among many future years. No obscurity ought to be permitted, concerning conduct and views in this respect. In a republic, the strength of every administration, in public opinion, ought to be in proportion to the willingness with which it submits to a rigorous accountability. With respect to morals;—there existed at the commencement of last year, in one section of the city, an audacious obtrusiveness of vice, notorious and lamentable; setting at defiance, not only the decencies of life, but the authority of the laws. Repeated attempts to subdue this combination had failed. An opinion was entertained by some, that it was invincible. There were those, who recommended a tampering and palliative, rather than eradicating course of measures. Those entrusted with the affairs of the city, were of a different temper. The evil was met in the face. In spite of clamor, of threat, of insult; of the certificates of those who were interested to maintain, or willing to countenance vice, in this quarter, a determined course was pursued. The whole section was put under the ban of authority.
All licenses in it were denied—a vigorous police was organized, which, aided by the Courts of Justice, and the House of Correction, effected its purpose. For three months past, the daily reports of our city officers have represented that section as peaceable as any other. Those connected with courts of justice, both as ministers and officers, assert that the effect has been plainly discernible in the registers of the jail and of prosecution.
These measures did not originate in any theories, or visions of ideal purity, attainable in the existing state of human society, but in a single sense of duty and respect for the character of the city; proceeding upon the principle that if in great cities the existence of vice is inevitable, that its course should be in secret, like other filth, in drains, and in darkness; not obtrusive; not powerful; not prowling publicly in the streets for the innocent and unwary.
The expense, by which this effect has been produced, has been somewhat less than one thousand dollars. An amount already perhaps saved to the community in the diminution of those prosecutions and of their costs, which the continuance of the former unobstructed course of predominating vice, in that section, would have occasioned.
The next object of attention of the City Government was cleansing the streets. In cities as well as among individuals, cleanliness has reference to morals as well as to comfort. Sense of dignity and self-respect are essentially connected with purity; physical and moral. And a city is as much elevated as an individual by self-respect.
To remove from our streets whatever might offend the sense, or endanger the health, was the first duty. To do it as economicaily as was consistent with doing it well, was the second.
How it has been done, whether satisfactorily as could be ex pected, in the first year and by incipient operations, our fellowcitizens are the judges. As far as the knowledge of the Mayor and Aldermen has extended, the course pursued has met with unqualified approbation and given entire content.
In respect to economy, there were but two modes-By contract,-or by teams and laborers provided and employed by the city. The latter course was adopted; and for several reasons. The value of what was annually taken from the surface of the