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ADDRESS OF WELCOME.
BY THE PKESIDENT OF THE DAY, F. C. NASH, ESQ.
In behalf of the inhabitants of Acton, it is my privilege to welcome you, invited guests, from sister towns and cities, to these dedicatory exercises, and to extend to you, returning sons and daughters of our town, a fraternal welcome to these hallowed scenes of your youth, to the beautiful view of these fertile fields, conquered from the wilderness by the indomitable perseverance of your ancestors, to this historic eminence, which was the assembling place of those bold progenitors of yours, who put their names to one of the earliest written protests against British tyranny in the colonies; to these streets that resounded with the midnight alarm of Paul Revere's mounted messenger, and ere the morning sun tipped these hills with golden light, reverberated with the drum's loud beat, and the quick tread of your forefathers marching to the old North Bridge to fire the shot that " was heard round the world"; to the shadow of that monument, consecrated to the memory of those patriots, Davis, Hosmer, and Hayward, whose names many in our presence to-day bear with honor and honorable pride.
We welcome you to the presence of these survivors of that brave band of men who were as ready to give their lives, if need be, for the preservation of the Union, as our earlier patriots were for that liberty that made the Union possible; yes, we welcome you, some of you with sorrowing hearts, to the presence of yonder tablets, sacred to the memory of those dear ones of yours, whose eyes, closed it may be on Southern battlefields, or in rebel prisons, look not on the scenes of this joyous day. For them —
"The muffled drum's sad roll lias beat
The soldier's last tattoo;
"On Fame's eternal camping ground
Their silent tents are spread,
Finally, we thank you all, for coming to rejoice with us in our gladness, that one of our own sons, his youth and early manhood invigorated by the pure air of our hills and valleys, taught industry, economy, perseverance, and endurance by our rugged soil, panoplied in all the strong virtues that are born of the honest toil, plain living, .and high thinking, of New England country life, has gone down into the mart of trade, and, with the help of his companion, schooled in the same virtues, has won success, and with its fruits endowed his native town with yonder noble structure, which stands with its silent teachers, waiting to be dedicated to the service of humanity, in this and all coming ages of the Commonwealth.
He has not founded an institution that is mortgaged to the dead past, and condemned to teach forever some political, religious, or social theory, that science and untrammeled thought may explode ere its walls have gathered the vestiges of time; but has so wisely provided for the selection of its volumes by the representatives of the people, that its teachings may be moulded by the best thought of each suceeding age, ever higher, and wiser, and better than that of its predecessor, as the race moves on to its nobler destiny.
Rich as this gift is, one of its most precious values is the fact that Acton's own son gives it to her, and that the memory of such a son is hers to cherish with grateful pride forever.
In the shock and clash of conflicting classes and interests, when it almost seems that that wild dream of Bellamy must needs become a reality, it is an omen of good that men are coming more and more to recognize the great truth underlying all true Christianity and wise government, that great wealth is a public trust, which imposes on its custodian the duty of devoting it, not to selfish gratification, and ostentatious display, but to the uplifting of humanity, and by so doing put off, so far as may be, the need of the coming of that day when the rivers of the nation's wealth will, by judicious laws, be silently and gradually turned aside from those channels that build up colossal fortunes, and taught to flow in beneficent rills by the side of the honest toiler's humble home.
But I must give way to one whose speech is golden, for he is the founder and donor of Acton's Memorial Library, the Hon. Wm. A. Wilde, of Maiden.
presentation of 23uiloing, oBrounfcg, ano
BY THE DONOR, WM. A. WILDE.
Ladies and Gentlemen and Members of Isaac Davis Post, Grrand Army of the Republic: —
One of our own poets has truly said: —
"We may build more splendid habitations,
But we cannot
Never do I come to Acton — drive through these roads so well known to me for the first twenty years of my life, look abroad over the pleasant fields and hills, occasionally meet a face which time has so lightly touched that I can stretch forth my hand and call the owner by name — that my heart does not thrill with recollections of the past, and I thank God for the old associations, and pray that so long as life is given me my mind may retain and my heart cherish them. Friends of my boyhood days, I greet you to-day. Memories of the olden times will throng your hearts as they do mine, and you will miss, as I do, "some who were, but are not"; yet I hope this meeting will renew and strengthen the old ties. It gives me also great pleasure to see so many of the Boys in Blue here to-day. I well remember the enthusiastic meeting in yonder hall, when the first call for troops came to us, how quickly our quota was filled ; and I remember also the promises made to these boys, that, if they would fight their country's battles, their families should be tenderly cared for, and their services held in grateful remembrance by those who could not go with them. To-day we meet to redeem one of those pledges; and so long as one stone remains above another in yonder Memorial Library, so long shall old Acton remember the heroic deeds of those brave men who sacrificed health, strength, and, many of them, life itself, that we might still have a united country. Gentlemen of the Board of Selectmen, it would have been a gratification to all of us, if, in accordance with your original design, the exercises of this day could have taken place upon that anniversary, which has been twice hallowed by the noble deeds of Acton men, the historical 19th of April. Many circumstances, however, combined to render this impossible. But I am happy that, by your indulgence and co-operation, I am afforded the opportunity on this later occasion, as a part of the ceremonies to which this day is dedicated, to consummate, and carry into full effect, a long-cherished purpose. That purpose was, to express by some gift which might be found acceptable, my love for the town which I am proud to call my birthplace, and especially to express my gratitude to those brave men, my former schoolmates and fellow-townsmen, who fell in the War of the Rebellion. As the result of much thought on my own part, and of consultation with those most nearly interested, it seemed best that my intentions should take the form which it now assumes, that of a memorial hall and free public library — the memorial hall to preserve the memory of those dead soldiers who offered up their lives on the field of battle—worthy descendants and successors of Davis, Hosmer, and Hayward, and dedicated to the use of the surviving vet erans who entered their country's service from this town ; the library to be, and to remain, for the free use of all the citizens of the town. I have called this a gift, but it is not a gift without a consideration; nor does it cancel the debt which I, in common with every son of Acton, owe to those men who have made the name of Acton illustrious. We are told that seven cities of Europe and Asia Minor claim the honor of being the birthplace of Homer, but there is no modern Homer who would not feel honored to be able to call Acton his