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especially when we consider that the city would probably purchase a great deal more land than they would want for that purpose, and dispose of that which they did not want for their park, which would enable them to pay for it, or else get it at a low rate from the proprietors for the purpose of putting so desirable an object right in the midst of their localities.
GEORGE B. UPTON, Esq., then addressed the committee as follows:
A friend of mine has handed me a few statistics upon this subject which I should like to place upon the records of the committee in relation to this matter of a park. I confess, for one, that I am in favor not only of a park, but a park of good dimensions. I think, sir, that it is due from the present generation that they should do for the generation that is to come after us what the preceding generation has done for us. With some people it would seem that if a new map of the world was to be made, it would include Europe, Asia and Boston Common; that would seem to include all the land there is. While Boston Common has remained of its present size, with a very little addition, for fifty years, the population of Boston has increased about ten-fold. Now, gentlemen can take that as the groundwork of statistics, and look forward fifty years. I see no reason why we should not have precisely the same pro rata of increase of population for the next fifty years that there has been for the last fifty years. Here will be a city of over two millions of inhabitants, while children who now go to school will be alive to see it. Why, therefore, while we are annexing all this territory, Dorchester and Roxbury, to Boston as a part of Boston proper, should not this generation lay out some of that land when it can be bought at a reasonable price, for a public park? I say, for one citizen, that I should like to be instrumental in doing it; and if the question has not already been answered why we should have a public park instead of private residences, I can only say when I tramp the street I don't want to go into anybody's
private residence. But if I go into one of the public grounds, I consider I have a right there as one of the community, and that, I think, answers the whole question.
Now, sir, what I rose for was to show a little of the value of land connected with public parks, particularly in New York. The assessed value of the three wards surrounding the park for thirteen years is as follows:
The rate of tax for the year 1868 is $2.66, yielding on the increased valuation above stated an increased tax of $2,438,
The total expenditure for construction from May 1, 1857, to January 1, 1869, is
The cost of the land of the park to the city is
Total cost of the park to this time.
Total increased tax in three wards
The annual interest on the cost of the land and improvement of the park up to this time, at $627,837.90
six per cent
Deduct one per cent on $3,993.00
of the above stock issued at five
Excess of increased tax in three wards over interest on cost of land and improvements
I should hope that the time is not far distant when the population of Boston would be equal to what the population of New York now is; and then we have this advantage over New York: The park in New York is between seven and eight miles from the city hall; while if we want a park of the same extent, we can have one between three and four miles from our city hall, showing conclusively that the large population round the city of Boston may be accommodated with a park at a much less distance than the same population in New York, growing out of the difference in the relative positions of the two cities, New York being long, and Boston more compact.
EDWARD CRANE, Esq., addressed the committee as follows: Mr. Chairman and Gentlemen: I think that, in order to a clear and concise understanding of our duties, it is important for us to understand the increase of population in our country; it is important for us to understand the mission that you, gentlemen, to-day have to perform in this community; it is important for every citizen to understand, as well as you, the importance of
this question of the increase of population; it is important for us to understand what we mean when we, the petitioners whose names are signed to that paper, ask that this city government may be called upon to purchase and lay out a public park for the people.
Boston in 1820 contained about 40,000 inhabitants; Boston in 1840 contained 60,000; Boston in 1860 contained about 177,000 inhabitants; Boston in 1870, that we now have to deal with in the next census, will contain, with the additions brought to us, about 300,000 inhabitants; or, in other words, the population of this city from 1820 to 1870 has doubled once in a little less than twenty years. Boston in 1890,- will it double again in the twenty years to come? Yes! In less than twenty years from the time we are now sitting here, there will surround this city hall within the city limits, irrespective of the additions to it from other towns, a population of about 600,000 souls.
Boston in forty years from now, a time which, as has been said by Mr. Upton, children that are now going to school will live to see, will surround this city hall with a population of over 1,200,000 souls, about as many as the whole State of Massachusetts now contains. Boston in eighty years, with the same relative increase that has taken place for the last eighty years of her history, will contain 4,800,000 souls, who will surround this city hall within the limits of Boston, the present limits of the city of Boston, without extending her territory.
It may provoke a smile on the part of some, but my reason for it is simply this (and if gentlemen will take their arithmetics and slates they will find it to be so), that as certain as the rule of three is this matter of progressive population. I recollect many years ago, when a report was made by Mr. Ruggles of New York, one of her most eminent citizens, to the legislature of New York-I think it was in the winter of '38, that he took up this subject and undertook to show the increase of
population as connected with the internal improvements of the State of New York, and from these premises drew his conclusions, and looked forward from 1838 to 1870, the period of time which we have to do with. He took up this question of the growth of the West in population, showing that the popula tion of this country was doubling once in twenty-two years. He carried that growth of population forward to 1870, and I remember, though I was then a boy, that his statement not only created a smile, but a smile of ridicule. His conclusion was regarded as preposterous, as a thing that was not to take place; and I recollect the public prints of that day in the State of New York ridiculed that report as the product of a visionary brain instead of a brain of clear, practical, good sense.
What is the fact? We are to-day standing, not where that report placed us in 1870, but we are ahead of it. New York city and its surroundings stand way ahead of his point in 1870. The public improvements of that State of New York have been taxed to their limit, and the State stands way beyond that point. What were his premises? I would ask each gentleman of this committee, and those who hear me this afternoon, to take the census and begin with 1800, 1810, 1820, 1830, 1840, 1850, 1860, and carry it forward by this same rule that comes from multiplication, this compound process which has gone on and will continue to go on just as irresistibly as the power of gravitation.
The question is, Where is this to end? That is for a higher power to determine, not for us. We have to deal with facts, indisputable facts. I say this fact of the growth of population none of us now on the stage can appreciate. It is beyond the power of any of us to comprehend the destiny that awaits the people on this continent in the future. All I can say is this: I feel it myself, and I hope every gentleman who hears me this afternoon will feel it, and take that serious view of the subject that becomes men in dealing with serious questions. What is