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you to lay this proposal before the town, and if they shall agree to accept the money and the land upon the con.ditions already specified, then we will give a deed of the land, and pay over the money to whomsoever the town may authorize to receive it ;—the deed to provide that the land shall revert to us or to our heirs whenever the town shall cease to occupy it for a town-house.
"GEORGE A. WHITNEY. "Shirley, April 28th, 1847."
The committee reported, in addition, that they had estimated the expense of a building, like the one proposed, to be two thousand dollars.
Whereupon, "it was voted to accept the money and land offered to the town by Thomas Whitney and George A. Whitney, and [to] agree to the conditions by them stated. Also, to build a town-house of the description specified by them and recommended by the committee, and that the sum of ten hundred dollars be raised to carry the same into effect; and that five hundred of said sum be assessed the present year, and the remaining sum of five hundred dollars the next year.
"Voted, to choose a committee of five to build the town-house and to take all necessary measures to carry the foregoing vote into effect.
"Chose Hon. Leonard M. Parker, Stillman D. Benjamin, Capt. Jonas Holden, Stephen M. Longley and Charles Butler for said committee. Voted to add Col. Thomas Whitney and Jeremiah C. Hartwell to the above committee."
The proceedings of this committee were carefully recorded by the chairman, from whose papers we learn that it was early decided by them that the plan of Mr. Farrar was not upon a scale sufficiently large to secure all the purposes for which the proposed building had been designed. Whereupon the committee voted "to add two feet to the height, ten feet to the length, and one and a half
feet to the piazza or front part; it being understood that two hundred dollars would be contributed for the purpose, which sum the committee estimated would be sufficient to pay the full expense of the proposed enlargement.
The furnishing and laying the foundation was contracted for and executed by Mr. E. G. Adams of Lunenburg. The timber for the frame of the building was prepared and set up by Mr. Asher Jewett of Groton ; and the building was enclosed and finished by Mr. Jeremiah C. Hartwell of Shirley.
The filling of the trenches for the foundation and the grading about the building was accomplished by the voluntary labor of several citizens of the town.t
On the 17th of June the committee broke ground, each one throwing out a few shovelfuls of earth, (commencing with the chairman,) and on the 5th of July the corner-stone was laid with the following imposing ceremonies :
A procession was formed under the direction of Col. Thomas Whitney, marshal of the day, and proceeded to the site of the proposed building.
Here the deposits were placed under the southwest corner, and the foundation stone adjusted thereon by the building committee. The procession then moved to the meeting-house of the First Parish, where services were performed after the following order :
1. Anthem, "My country 'tis of thee.”
6. Declaration of Independence, read by Dr. J. O. Parker.
7. "Hail Columbia,” by the Band.
*This additional cost was contributed by the following named individuals : Geo. A. Whitney, $100, Tho. Whitney, $50, L. M. Parker, $50. * See Appendix P.
See Appendix Q.
At the close of the services in the church the procession reformed, under the direction of the marshal, and proceeded to the Parker Grove, where a bountiful entertainment had been made ready by Mr. Samuel Farnsworth. After the cloth was removed, regular and volunteer sentiments
introduced, together with speeches, music and songs that were appropriate to the festivities of the occasion.
Dr. Ebenezer P. Hills presided, assisted by Thomas Whitney, Jonas Holden, and Elisha F. Thayer, as vicepresidents. Mr. Charles Butler officiated as toast-master. The occasion called forth much social and patriotic feeling, and was truly a season of convivial and rational enjoyment.
It was the desire of the esteemed author of the address, if the premeditated history of Shirley should ever see the light, to have it introduced into the pages of that history. This seems to be the most appropriate place for such introduction.
ADDRESS OF HON. LEONARD M. PARKER.
"FELLOW-CITIZENS :—We have assembled to lay the corner-stone of our town-house. It is a building designed for the two-fold purpose of a town-house and a highschool. The occasion is a joyous and at the same time a solemn one. It is joyous because the work in which we are engaged furnishes conclusive evidence that we are free citizens, and duly realize it; and as such fully understand and justly appreciate our rights and privileges. It also shows that we are wise for ourselves and wise for posterity; that we not only understand our rights and privileges, but have resolved to enjoy them; and to this end it is essential, in our opinion, to be provided with a good building, having suitable rooms for books and records, and for the transaction of town business; and a commodious hall in which to assemble for deliberation, discussion and action, touching all the affairs of the town, the state and the nation.
"The occasion is also solemn; for it reminds us of by-gone times,—of the early settlement of the town,-of the perils, privations and hardships which our fathers had to encounter in here establishing their homes, and in obtaining their civil and religious rights,—and the inconveniences to which they were subjected in the exercise of them.
"It is solemn, too, in its admonitions and warnings in regard to the interests of knowledge. The ample accommodations which are here to be made for a high-school, show the estimation in which education is held by us of the present age; and how essential it is considered for the preservation of the rights and liberties of those who are to live after us. The school has ever been considered the palladium of the liberty of a state.
"The day chosen by us for this work is Monday the fifth, instead of Sunday the fourth of July, in this year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and forty-seven,this day being taken because the laws and usages of the age discountenance all assemblages of the people on the Sabbath for secular or holiday purposes. This day, then, the fourth of July, is a memorable day in the annals of our country, and in the annals of the world. The Declaration of American Independence, that immortal document, contains the great fundamental truth— that government is instituted for the safety and happiness of the people, deriving its just powers from their consent; that it is their right to choose their own law-makers, and to alter or abolish their form of government whenever it shall cease to answer the end for which it was created. Having thus clearly defined, and fearlessly laid the true foundation principle of all just government, the document proceeds to its solemn conclusion, that the United States, then colonies of Great Britain, were, and of right ought be, free and independent States. And to the support of this declaration, they pledged all the means and power which are valuable to man. And they were true to the pledge. The people, too, were true to themselves and
true to the declaration. They sustained it. In a war of more than seven years duration, they evinced their patriotism and devotion. Toils, perils, scars, privations, sacrifices, death,-all these were counted as nothing in comparison with the objects at which they aimed. The true patriot never falters, never tires. Their hearts were fixed on the great principle of the declaration. They had resolved on liberty,—and they resolved not in vain. They obtained liberty.
"The achievement of independence was followed by the adoption of the Constitution of the United States, which establishes a government truly republican in form and character. It embodies the principles set forth in the Declaration of Independence. It recognizes the people as social, moral and political beings; as men capable of moral and political wisdom; as the rightful framers of their own government and makers of their own laws; and it appeals to their understanding, their virtue and their patriotism for support. It acknowledges man, as he was designed by Deity, and as he ever should be, his own master,—and not the creature of monarchs, come they in the form of emperors or kings, or even in the robes of queens.
"But we forbear, for it is not our design to make this paper a common fourth of July oration; nor even to attempt an extended portrayal of the happy effects of our political institutions. It is our purpose merely to perambulate the lines of our political domain, and renew the marks on the monuments erected by our fathers; and in doing this we would especially avoid all allusions to the numerous parties which for various purposes now rally under different names. Still, we will take occasion to say, there is a moral sentiment and power in the name and character of liberty, acting in the form of a well regulated republic, which can sometimes humble the pride of the mighty, and disarm majesty of its terrors.
"This is well illustrated by the interesting sketch given by an American of his visit to San Marino, a small