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BY this time probably all of us are aware of the vote of the Boston Board of Aldermen, which, unless vetoed by the Mayor, will cause the destruction of the Old Granary elms. From consideration of this vote may be drawn some not unprofitable instruction.
There those grand old trees have stood for nearly a century and a half! Through the years which witnessed the struggle for emancipation from the tyranny of the mother country, the war of 1812, and, lastly, the great fight for the equal rights of the whole human race, the elms by the Granary Burying-Ground have continued to increase in beauty and strength, until they have come to be to many of us a much-loved memorial of our forefathers and their times; and in their gnarled trunks, as in the furrows of an aged warrior's face, we seem to read of deeds of which they are the silent witness.
It is a sad illustration of how and by whom we are governed. A small and unprincipled clique of politicians determines that such and such buildings and trees must be destroyed. The ostensible reason is that they are antiquated and interfere with the public convenience. The real reason, that a lot of speculators want to make money.
The destruction of the Paddock elms is only a stepping-stone to the appropriation of the Burying-Ground, and so on until there is nothing left to seize. And yet this is against the wishes of the majority of the citizens of Boston. Why, then, is it permitted to be done? Because the intelligent men of the country are too much occupied with the promotion of their own ends to trouble themselves about the welfare of the city, state, or nation. They do not attend public meetings, they are wanting at the polls, they make no attempt to fill the public offices of the country. And the consequence is that our government is daily becoming more and more neglectful of the interests and wishes of its citizens. In our hands and in those of the other educated young men of the country lies the remedy. It is for us to come forward, and by our efforts and example demonstrate to the people the possibility of self-government and the means by which they may be freed from the rule of political rings. Within five months more than one hundred and sixty men will be graduated from Harvard College and will be scattered throughout the country. Let these men employ the knowledge obtained here for the public good. Let them give time and thought and strength to the advancement of the welfare of their country. Let them resist strongly all political corruption, and then, and not till then, may we hope to see our country delivered from the hands of political intriguers and petty office-seekers.
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