Osborn H. (Osborn Hamiline) Oldroyd.

Public exercises by the citizens of Worcester, Massachusetts : in commemoration of the one-hundredth anniversary of the birth of Abraham Lincoln, held in Mechanics hall, Friday evening, February twelfth, nineteen hundred and nine online

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Online LibraryOsborn H. (Osborn Hamiline) OldroydPublic exercises by the citizens of Worcester, Massachusetts : in commemoration of the one-hundredth anniversary of the birth of Abraham Lincoln, held in Mechanics hall, Friday evening, February twelfth, nineteen hundred and nine → online text (page 1 of 3)
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Worcester, Massachusetts

Order of the City Council of Worcester, Massachusetts,
for Public Exercises by the Citizens in CommeTnoration of
the One-Hundredth Anniversary of the Birth of Abraham
Lincoln :


In City Council, November 23, 1908.

Ordered: That the Mayor be, and he is hereby, em-
powered and requested to appoint a committee of fifteen
citizens to arrange for a suitable public observance of the
one-hundredth anniversary of the birth of Abraham Lin-
coln, which occurs on the twelfth day of February, A. D.,

Received November 25, 1908.

James Logan, Mayor.

Approved November 27, 1908.

A Copy, Attest : W. Henry Towne, City Clerk.



The twelfth day of February, 1909, marks the one-
hundredth anniversary of the birth of Abraham Lincoln,
the typical American man of genius, and, perhaps the great-
est of all Americans. Its celebration throughout the land
with fitting memorial services and other observations of a
more or less public character testifies to the almost univer-
sal recognition of the greatness of his life and the signifi-
cance of his service to the Republic. In a unique way he sums
up and humanizes the deeds and achievements, the hopes
and ideals, that have given birth to and continue to sustain
the great American experiment in democracy. Massachu-
setts, the cradle of American liberty, celebrated this anni-
versary with her old-time zeal and enthusiasm ; and the
Heart of the Commonwealth added its tribute in the form
of appropriate public exercises held under the auspices of
the City Council and carried out as arranged for by a Com-
mittee of Citizens appointed by the Mayor for that purpose.

On petition of Alexander F. Chamberlain and others,
the City Council of Worcester passed, on November 23, 1908,
the following resolution :

"Ordered : That the Mayor be, and he is hereby, empow-
ered and requested to appoint a committee of fifteen citizens
to arrange for a suitable public observance of the one-hun-
dredth anniversary of the birth of Abraham Lincoln, which
occurs on the twelfth day of February, A. D., 1909."

In conformity with the vote of the City Council, Hon.
James Logan, Mayor, appointed the following citizens to
serve as such committee, and to make arrangements for such
celebration, and they were duly confirmed, Dec. 14, 1908 :

Alexander F. Chamberlain, Louis E. Feingold,

Charles T. Tatman, Alexander H. Bullock,


John F. McGrath, Thomas J. Cronin,

Edward J. McMahon, Francis Bergstrom,

W. Levi Bousquet, Mark N. Skerrett,

Emil Zaeder, George T. Dominis,

John J. Power, Reginald Washburn,

Victor E. Runo.

This Committee, as may be seen from the names of the
gentlemen composing it, was thoroughly representative of
that newer America made possible by the genius and the
sacrifices of Lincoln and his co-laborers in the task of sav-
ing the Union and extending the bounds of human liberty.

The Committee met, for purposes of organization, De-
cember 18, 1908, when the following officers were chosen:

Chairman: Alexander F. Chamberlain.

Secretary: Charles T. Tatman.

It was also voted that His Honor, the Mayor, be request-
ed to be present at all meetings of the Committee.

The following Sub-Committees were appointed :

On Speakers: Messrs. Bergstrom, Tatman and Cham-

On Exercises: Messrs. McMahon, Bousquet, Wash-
burn, Tatman and Chamberlain.

On Cooperation with the Public Schools, etc. : Messrs.
Bullock, Skerrett and Feingold.

On Lincolniana: Messrs. McGrath, Dominis, Runo.

On Decorations: Messrs. Power, Zaeder, Cronin.

The General Committee and these Sub-Committees,
with the efficient cooperation of the Mayor and City Mess-
enger William H. Pratt, made all arrangements for the cele-
bration on behalf of the City of Worcester.

The Committee was very fortunate in securing as the
orator of the occasion Hon. Arthur P. Rugg, Associate Jus-
tice of the Supreme Judicial Court, a distinguished citizen
of the Heart of the Commonwealth, whose eloquent and
patriotic address was thoroughly worthy the anniversary it
so fittingly commemorated.

As the clergyman to offer prayer at this great meeting
of the citizens of Worcester, the Committee unanimously
selected the Rt. Rev. Mgr. Thomas Griffin, D. D., senior in
length of service of all priests and ministers in the City,


whose noble Christian utterance added much to the dignity
and the solemnity of the exercises.

Through the generous cooperation of Mr. Charles I.
Rice, head of the Department of Music in the Public Schools
of the City, who acted as conductor, Mr. Walter W. Farmer,
who acted as organist, and Miss Mabelle G. Beals, who acted
as accompanist, with the assistance of a Chorus, composed
of Worcester singers, the large audience was enabled to en-
joy several appropriate and well-executed musical numbers
on the programme.

The Sub-Committee on cooperation with the Public
Schools had the happy thought of selecting by competition
among the pupils of the Public and Parochial Schools a boy
to declaim at the public meeting Lincoln's Address at the
Dedication of the Gettysburg Cemetery. The choice fell
upon William J. Heffren, Jr., who completely justified his
selection by his effective recital of this master-piece of Eng-

The meeting was presided over by the Hon. James Lo-
gan, Mayor of Worcester, whose address, in brief but elo-
quent words, did equal justice to the dead and to the living,
to hero and to nation, to the America of Lincoln's day
and the newer America of our own time.

From all points of view the Commemoration Services
in Worcester were a success, and the great audience showed
again and again their recognition of the significance of the
occasion and their appreciation of those who took part in
the services. A touching incident of the meeting occurred
when, as the members of Post 10 of the Grand Army of the
Republic began to retire from the hall, the entire audience
arose and, as a marked tribute to those who had been asso-
ciated with Lincoln in saving the Union, remained standing
until the last veteran had passed out.

Besides the great public meeting in Mechanics Hall, the
Superintendent of Public Schools in cooperation with the
Committee arranged for commemoration meetings for pupils
of the High and Grammar Schools throughout the City, at
which suitable programmes were carried out, including
addresses by members of the Lincoln Committee, members
of the School Committee, veterans of the G, A. R., and other


citizens. In all of these the boys and girls of the various
schools took their part.

The cooperation of Samuel S. Green (Librarian Emeri-
tus) and Robert K. Shaw, Librarian of the Worcester Free
Public Library, with the Lincoln Committee brought about
an interesting and extensive exhibit of Lincolniana of all
kinds (many things being altogether rare and valuable) in
the Art Rooms of the Library, which was visited by a large
number of people of every class in the community.

The decorations of the City Hall and of Mechanics Hall
were simple but effective and the decorations all over the
City showed a significant appreciation of the simplicity of
the great genius whom the day commemorated, as well as a
widespread evidence of genuine American patriotism.



1 The Soldier's Chorus ..... Gounod

2 Prayer

Rt. Rev. Mgr. Thomas Griffin, D. D.

3 Address

Hon. James Logan, Mayor of Worcester

4 O Captain, My Captain . . . Edgar Stillman Kelley

5 Declamation : Lincoln's Address at the Dedication of the
Gettysburg Cemetery

William J. Heffren, Jr.

6 Lincoln's Message: Final Chorus, "Caractacus" — Elgar

(Words Adapted)

7 Oration

Hon. Arthur P. Rugg,

Associate Justice of the Supreme Judicial Court

of Massachusetts

8 America Carey

(The audience is requested to join with the chorus
in singing America)

The chorus is composed of Worcester singers. Miss
Mabelle G. Reals, Accompanist ; Walter W. Farmer, Orga-
nist ; Charles I. Rice, Conductor.


Almighty God, Our Father, we humbly and reverently
bow before Thee, to pay our homages of love and duty. We
assemble here to-night to commemorate the one-hundredth
anniversary of the birthday of the great man, that Thou
didst raise up in our country's peril, to preserve, protect
and defend the Constitution given to us by the Fathers as a
precious heritage.

We thank Thee with all our hearts, for the blessings
which Thou didst bestow on the country, when as a Nation,
the Colonies formed that Union of States, which strength-
ened and prospered the government of the people, and made
the United States a power for good in the world.

To the valiant Captain, successful organizer, wise and
most prudent administrator, who stood sponsor at the birth
of our nation upon its career of political independence, we
render sincere thanks and are grateful that his memory is
enshrined in the hearts of the people in the endearing term.
Father of His Country.

We are mindful of the great favors, which Thou didst
confer upon the pioneers of the early time, in inspiring them
to plant a nation in the sound and underlying principles of
liberty. Under Thy direction, they brought forth the model
of safe and orderly government, challenging the admiration
of the world, and providing a shelter land for the oppressed
and homeless of the nations of the earth. But, oh, how
great and unbounded our joy, our love, our gratitude and
thanksgiving for having preserved to us and to generations
yet to follow the precious heritage of liberty, which was
won and fostered and cherished by those sturdy and brave
men of that day.

In our subsequent development, in the days of dissen-
sion and strife, in the days that tried men's souls, the


days when the strong man and seer was needed, Thou, O
Merciful God, earnest to our assistance. Thou didst send that
man, first having prepared him by causing him to pass
through all the phases of hard and rugged life, strengthen-
ing his body and making him capable of great endurance.
To mental power of ever growing brightness, Thou didst
unite a heart that throbbed in its every beat for the welfare
of his countrymen, reaching in his paternal solicitude to the
remotest hamlet in the land. To Washington and his com-
peers, we are indebted for the creation under God
of the Republic of the United States. To Lincoln, above all
men, are we indebted for the redemption of the nation, its
return to the enjoyment of its norm.al liberty.

All great things are achieved by sacrifice, and he, the
chosen of God, elected and endorsed by the people, became
the willing victim. Strong in the consciousness of right
doing, he was potent before the people and their represen-
tatives. He leaned upon the principle and acted upon it,
that right always makes might. He valued his life only in
so far as he could carry out his oath to preserve, protect and
defend the government of the nation. He stands to-day be-
fore the world, the Redeemer of the land.

If we call Washington the Father of his country, wc
lovingly look upon the face of Abraham Lincoln and salute
him as the Saviour of theRepublic. Millions of treasure and
hecatombs of human lives have been sacrificed to preserve
the Union, but the culmination is reached in the awful trag-
edy, which cuts off without warning the loved President of
the people. Had he then a moment of consciousness, we
might hear the whisper : "It is finished, for you, my country,
for you, my people."

We listen to his words on the battlefield of Gettysburg.
It is the voice of his inmost soul; it is a prayer; it is a
prophecy. This nation shall have a new birth of freedom,
its star of destiny shall not be extinguished, and government
of the people, by the people, and for the people shall not
perish from the earth.

To Thee, God, in whose hands are the destinies of na-
tions, we lift up our hearts and humbly pray that our Na-
tion may live on forever.



We have met tonight to pay our tribute of love and re-
spect to the memory of a man who fills a large place in

A man who was the product of republican institutions,
without a titled ancestry, without the learning of the
schools, poor in purse and with no claims to greatness but
his own God-given qualities of mind and heart and soul.

But true greatness after all, in spite of its name, is not
so much a certain size, as a certain quality in human lives,
and, measured by that standard, Abraham Lincoln was a
great man.

It is fitting and proper that such a gathering as this
should be held in this hall, filled as it is with the fragrant
memories of the past.

Here we have listened to the strains of the sublime
symphony which has lifted us upward toward heaven, and
standing on this platform, some of the noblest and brightest
minds of earth have delivered their message.

In this hall, in the years which preceded the mighty
struggle that ended on the field of Appomattox, we listened
to the trumpet tones of Wendell Phillips and William Lloyd
Garrison, as they eloquently pleaded for the cause of liberty.

Here was the ralljdng point of patriotism in those aw-
ful years when this man did his mighty work, while the life
of the nation seemed to hang trembling in the balance.

Those years when his Excellency, Hon. John A. An-
drew, the great war governor of Massachusetts the friend
of Lincoln, was the incarnation of the highest type of pat-

Those years when Lincoln stood as the great High
Priest of freedom and made decisions which wrung his sad


heart and which he knew would drench the altar of liberty
with the best blood of the nation.

In those awful years from '61 to '65 when the nation
needed defenders, sons of Massachusetts standing on the
platform in this hall looking down into the faces of Wor-
cester men, stretched out their arms and made their appeal
for men to make this man's work effective, saying not "go",
but "come", and nobly did the men of Worcester join in that
mighty chorus which went up from school and store, office,
farm and factory,

"We are coming father Abraham,
three hundred thousand strong."

Then came that day in *65 when the war was over and
at last there was peace.

These men who fought the battles for the Union had
nobly done their part, they had seen the standard that repre-
sented rebellion go down in eternal defeat.

They had suffered, they had endured, but they had been
spared to see the end. That noble army closing up on its
tattered colors which had been, through four long bloody
years, the pillar of cloud by day and fire by night, marching
up Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington, passed in review
and said good-bye to the great leaders who had led them and
who had written their names into the history of the nation.

Then, having finished their work, that line of blue faded
out of sight in the distance as soldiers, once more to take
their places in the ranks of industry as humble citizens of
the nation they had helped to save, and with a joy that men
of the present generation can never know, these veterans
turned their faces toward their northern and western
homes, once more to clasp in a warm and loving embrace
those mothers, wives, sisters and sweethearts who, out of
their bitter experience, could bear testimony to the truth of
that saying of Milton's

"They also serve who only stand and wait."

While we have met tonight to do honor to the memory
of our great war president, great honor should also be given
to the soldier by whose aid Lincoln was enabled to write his
name high on the roll of fame.


And, when in imagination we see the picture of the vic«
torious army, we need to be reminded that there were other
actors in the great drama who must not be forgotten to-

The noble wife and mother with her family of little ones
about her, dependent for daily bread on the strong right arm
that was now needed by the nation, and yet, and yet, know-
ing that want and privation was to be the portion for herself
and helpless little ones, could say to the husband and father
"Go" and after he had gone, and the music of the fife and
drum had died away in the distance, she turned to her hard
task, solitary and alone, facing the hard battle of life with no
•strains of martial music to cheer and inspire her to fight a
battle which in many cases required more courage, more real
heroism than to face the shotted guns which thundered in
the wilderness.

It was not woman's part in that great conflict to storm
Marye's Heights at Fredericksburg, where the gallant Plun-
kett, whose face looks down upon us tonight from yonder
wall, baptized the colors of the 21st Mass. with his life blood,
nor yet to stand, a living wall of blue, to hold in check and
finally beat back that tidal wave of gray that broke upon
the slopes of Gettysburg ; but she had done her part, she had
been no stranger to sorrow and privation.

And, while at the end she may not wear the badge of the
Grand Army upon her breast, nor the service chevron on her
sleeve, that agonizing heart, which through four long years
had throbbed as though it would surely break, and those
bitter tears of anguish that had coursed down her cheeks,
had set the lines of a diviner service chevron in the fair and
beautiful face.

So tonight our thought is turned backward to Lincoln,
let us remember the sacrifices of the women who also helped
to make Lincoln's work effective.

There is still another picture which ought not to be for-
gotten. The war is over and that other army in gray which
faced the north is also to fade away in the distance, but in
the opposite direction, but this one goes to wasted fields and
ruined homes. Men brought up in luxury and unused to
work are to take up the burdens of life anew, but they go


from Appomattox with the most kindly and magnanimous
message that victor ever gave to vanquished.

When, on the field of Appomattox, Gen. Grant gave or-
ders to issue food to Gen. Lee's starving soldiers and told the
men to return to their homes and take with them theiy
horses to plow the fields laid waste by war thus to provide
bread and shelter for loved ones in the southland, he was as
truly inspired of God as was Isaiah of old, and on the field
of Appomattox the first step was taken which made possible
&. united nation today.


We do well to observe these memorial days, these mile-
stones which mark the great highway of human progress,
and so we have met here tonight to listen to one of our most
honored citizens who, looking through the perspective of
years, will bring to our view a clearer vision of this sad-
faced kindly man, whose homely face was an index to a
great and beautiful soul.

This man criticized, abused, maligned and ridiculed,
who felt, as few men have been called upon to feel, the isola-
tion, the utter loneliness of high official position, while bear-
ing for you and me and for generations yet unborn, a burden
which God alone could correctly estimate.

But such a gathering as this will have little value unless
we are inspired by the record of his noble life of service, un-
less we incorporate into our lives the noble sentiment to
which he gave expression in that immortal address at Get-
tysburg, to which we have just listened, that unless we too

"highly resolve that this nation, under God, shall have

a new birth of freedom",

and that we of the present generation dedicate ourselves to

the unfinished work to which he gave

"the last full measure of devotion".

It is usual at a gathering of this character to introduce
the speaker, but the orator tonight needs no introduction to
a Worcester audience and I shall take the liberty to change
the usual order, and so. Justice Rugg, it comes to be my
happy privilege to present to you this splendid audience.




Mr. Mayor, Members of the City Council .
Ladies and Gentlemen:

Twice before have the people of Worcester assembled
in honor of Abraham Lincoln.

The first time it was to listen to him. That was on Sep-
tember 12, 1848. Before an audience which overflowed the
old City Hall, whose site is now marked by the statue of our
great Senator, he discussed the political issues of that day.
It was his first address in New England. But his striking
appearance, the novelty and freshness of his style, his apt
anecdote and his persuasive eloquence awakened warm en-
thusiasm. In this speech is found the promise of the clear
statement, lucid thought and convincing logic, which distin-
guish his later utterances.

Again, when the nation was overwhelmed in the fresh
grief and darkening gloom of his tragic death, in this hall
the city council and the people gathered to hear the eulogy
pronounced by Alexander H. Bullock. The profound and
universal lamentation for the wicked assassination which
took him from earth, and the dawning appreciation of the
surpassing grandeur of his service and preeminent place in
history were spoken in words of solemn beauty and power,
by one of the first orators of that day and generation.

And now, two score and four years after the dust of
the martyred president has mingled with the prairie he
loved, we join with a reunited nation, north and south, east
and west, to celebrate the centenary of his birth, in a rever-
ential but triumphal chorus of thanksgiving and praise that



this man has lived and has written his message of wisdom
and sacrifice where it shall be read by all men in all time to

There is nothing startling or miraculous about the de-
tails of his life. On the eve of the presidency, he himself
said that it was summed up in the single line, "The short and
simple annals of the poor". Kentucky has become dis-
tinguished for his birth. He first breathed in a log cabin of
a single room with no floor but the ground. His father, a
man of integrity though not of enterprise, was unable to
read, and could barely write his name. His mother taught
him the Bible, but her life went out when the child was on-
ly ten years old. No woman was ever paid nobler tribute
than this from her son long after her death : "All that I
am, or hope to be, I owe to my angel mother — Blessings on
her memory". Removed first to Indiana and then to Illi-
nois, the lad lived under the hard conditions which surround-
ed the home of the frontiersman. Felling the forest, build-
ing the cabin, breaking the soil, splitting the rails with
which to fence the new field, spending at school "by littles"
not more than a year all told, gaining experience in a flat
boat voyage to New Orleans, always pitifully poor — ^these
were the circumstances under which he came to manhood.
The books he read were few, but the best — ^the Bible, Aesop's
Fables, Pilgrim's Progress, a Life of Washington, Robinson
Crusoe. He studied composition by the light of the fire,
and practiced writing on a wooden shovel, whose surface
from time to time he made fresh with a knife. There was
another river trip to New Orleans,where his soul was burned
with the sight of a negro girl in a slave market. He was
silent, "said nothing much", but he there took before God
the oath, which lasted through life, that if he ever got a
chance he would hit hard the institution of slavery. He
worked in a store and was postmaster, grew in strength and
stature of bodj'', and meeting the customs of his neighbor-
hood defeated the champion fighters in hand to hand con-
tests. Elected captain of a militia company of his towns-
men, he served in the Black Hawk War. Returning he en-

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Online LibraryOsborn H. (Osborn Hamiline) OldroydPublic exercises by the citizens of Worcester, Massachusetts : in commemoration of the one-hundredth anniversary of the birth of Abraham Lincoln, held in Mechanics hall, Friday evening, February twelfth, nineteen hundred and nine → online text (page 1 of 3)