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the duty of the hour that is imposed on us? The duty of the hour that is imposed upon us is simply this, as I look at it, in the words of that petition which was drawn with care, "What action, if any, should our city government take for the purpose of laying out a public park for the people?" Who are the people? A writer on this subject has said, in the Advertiser of this week, that all Boston is a park. I would ask that man to take the people of this city—the ninety -the ninety-to his bosom, and to go forth and give them air, and breath, and recreation and where will he do it? He says, "I cannot move them; there are not horses, there are not carriages, there are not highways; I cannot move them." He cannot comprehend what it is to move the great mass of the people, and give them air and breath, and a place where the laborer and his children, after he has done his work, may go in the afternoon for recreation. I would ask you just this question: Are we not, in New England, a little apt to hug the Almighty Dollar too close, and are we not, with this intense stimulating air that God has given us to breathe here, are we not apt to err in the direction of intense application to business, and to leave very little room for recreation? Recreation! It is recreation that leads the man to work his eight hours, and from his work to go forth and breathe the fresh air, and drink in new life to bring to-morrow to the task of the lawyer and the doctor, and the man that carries the hod. Are we not apt to err in not taking recreation enough,-in not having the means of honest, jovial recreation? I say we of New England err in that particular, and I would to God that I to-day could transport the 1,200,000 citizens of this State, and cast them into the great West, from which they would come home with expanded ideas, with the knowledge that there is something in this world worth more than money. What? A manly, honest, straight-forward, bold, self-reliant people are worth more than all the gold in yonder hills in California. How can we have it? Gentlemen, let the citizens of Boston, the men of wealth, open
let them cast their bread upon the waters, and it will be returned to them again, compounded, repleted and in
creased an hundred fold.
It is a principle of God's government in this world, that if a man goes out, and with a heart and a will tries to elevate the human race, it comes back to him (where, to be sure, he may not see it); and what he sows in faith, believing it a simple act of duty to do to his neighbor what he would like to have his neighbor do unto him, will come back increased beyond measure. Let that one principle fill the hearts of the people and pervade the community, and we shall hear less of this infernal legislation trying to make men better by putting them in a pillory of law. Give us a little more mercy, and not this eternal justice, where none of us can stand; and I say to-day, let it begin here, by this city government laying out a park for the people.
What is a park for the people? A park for the people is one that is accessible in point of time. A park an hour's distance from Boston is just as futile as though it was in Worcester, forty miles away. There is no laboring man or clerk in one of our stores, or a girl who works in any of our lofts, where they are hid away by thousands, that could afford to take an hour to go and come from a park; such a park would be useless to them. Time is an element, then; and in regard to time, the thing requisite is this, that the man who fulfils the duty of carrying a hod, or the woman that works in the lofts or the factories throughout the city can jump into the cars and in fifteen minutes be in a park where they can walk, ride and move as they please. I would bring the park so near the centre of population that they can leave the city, and in fifteen minutes be borne by thousands into the public grounds. And I would have these public grounds under the government of the city of Boston. I would not leave it to the surrounding towns
to govern these parks, but I would have them within the police regulation of the city; and I would not establish a park that was not within the entire control of the city for police regulations, and kept for the benefit of its own citizens. I would bring it within a ride of fifteen or twenty minutes, at the outside, of the mass of the people. Then I would bring it within the pecuniary means of the poorer class, so that with their means they may reach those grounds quickly and cheaply. Money is important as well as time. Therefore, I would select such a location as would enable the mass of the people, — looking at the population not only as it is to-day, but as it will be twenty, thirty, forty years hence, to find its way into the public grounds with less and less expense, and less and less time required to reach it as the city works towards it. I would fix that limit to the expense, so that it should not exceed five cents to and from the park by public conveyance.
The next point that I would require would be this: that it should be accessible to East Boston, accessible to that great ward of the city, South Boston, accessible to the great north end, that within the next twenty years will give place to warehouses as Winthrop square, Franklin square, and Pearl street have done, driving out the population. I would make it accessible to the people that live there to-day; and I would make it accessible to the people at the south end and in Roxbury, and the sixteenth ward that now forms the southern boundary and limit of the city on Neponset River, where the population must increase rapidly as you tear down the buildings on Fort Hill and about Summer street, and the north end. The population of this city is all tending between these two rivers, the Charles and Neponset, southward. I will tell you frankly what my own views are in regard to the location of this park, I would constitute my park to accommodate two classes; first, the people, the ninety; next, I would have it so that the ten who
have carriages and servants and livery may drive to that park over a smooth highway without a paving-stone in it; and to accomplish those ends, I would locate it on the line of a steam railroad, so that the length and boundary of that park may be reached by steam, and at a price not exceeding five or six cents, with hourly trains running, and that number continually increased as the park commissioners should demand greater accommodation for the people.
Commencing near Grove Hall, following the line of the Boston, Hartford and Erie Railroad to Mattapan, two and a half miles, then following a line running northwest along the boundary of Hyde Park into the town of West Roxbury; taking from that town about one hundred and twenty acres of land, you could get a park two and a half miles in length, and at the widest part a little more than a mile in width, with a country surrounding it capable of being made into ponds, skating places, boating places, with one hundred acres that you can make as level as a floor for military parades and encampments. By thus following the line of that road, and having four stations placed by the act that creates that park, the organic act of the legislature, you will have four stations, the farthest being accessible from the foot of Summer street in twenty minutes. About 30,000 feet brings it to the southwest corner of Boston, near Hyde Park, which enables you to reach it by steam from the Old Colony Depot and from Washington Village and the shore line of the sixteenth ward, and enables people in those localities to be carried inside the park in twenty minutes. Then, look at the Providence Railroad. With a slight branch, three-quarters of a mile, or a mile, in length, pushed up to the park, running near Forest Hill Cemetery, the Providence Railroad may run in twenty minutes to the park. You can thus surround your park by five stations on the south, west, and east; and on the west it can be reached by Grove Hall avenue and Albany street; pushing that through to
its junction at Grove Hall, making a drive-way from Beach
street to the entrance of the park. You may then take Warren street, commencing at Washington street in Boston, and push that about a mile to Grove Hall (the Metropolitan cars are now running on that road); and by running a double track and extending that avenue to Columbia street, you can let the cars of the Metropolitan Railroad run into that end of the park,- and you thus have all these means of reaching it, by horse railroad, by the Providence, the Old Colony, and the Boston, Hartford and Erie. This park would be accessible to the whole south end of the city, to the whole South Boston ward, and with a little co-operation on the part of the city of Boston, by running one of those two ferry boats directly to the foot of Summer street, instead of running both to the north end, it will be accessible to East Boston. If that ferry boat should be run from East Boston to the foot of Summer street, the goods that are brought to East Boston by steamships and ferried over to the north part of the city and teamed through the streets of the north end would be landed near their destination. It would save each man that travels by way of the ferries to his work in the south part of the city a half hour in going to and coming from his work, which would be a great public saving; and it would enable the people of that ward to be put down where they can be transferred to Mount Bowdoin, and to the end of the park, in twenty-five minutes from the time they leave their homes. With the means of ferriage, of taking the population of the whole Island ward, with the means of taking the whole population of the north end, with the means of doing the same at the south end, with the Providence and Old Colony and Hartford and Erie Railroad, and the Metropolitan and Dorchester Horse Railroads, you can transport the entire population of this city into their own grounds, and give them a home where they can ramble at their pleasure. There is not such another spot, not another city on this continent, where you can start from