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EXTRACTS FROM THE RECORDS OF THE TOWN OF BOSTON. At a legal meeting of the inhabitants of the town of Boston, holden on the 11th day of Feb., A. D. 1795.
The article in the Warrant, viz: to take the sense of the town, on the propriety of adopring any further measures for the accommodation of the General Court with a piece of land for the purpose of erecting a new Court House,-.read: as also the request for calling this meeting; and after debate had thereon,
Voted, almost unanimously,—That William Tudor, William Eustis, Charles Jarvis, Perez Morton, John C. Jones, Esquires, Mr. Treasurer Russell, Thomas Dawes, Harrison G. Ous, and William Little, Esquires, be a Committee for the purpose of procaring for the Commonwealth a piece of land proper for building a State House, and that they be authorized to make any contract for the purchase of it, for that purpose; or to convey any piece of the land owned by the town, within the same, to the Commonwealth, which they may deem expedient for the interest of the town, for the purpose of erecting a State House; not alienating any part of the Common, unless the accommodation cannot be had on any other terms.
At a legal meeting of the inhabitants of the town of Boston, holden on the 13th day of May, A. D. 1795.
The Committee appointed at a town meeting, on the 11th day of February last, for the purpose of procuring for the Commonwealth a piece of land for building a State House, and that they be authorized to make any contract for the purchase of it, for that purpose ; to convey any piece of lands owned by the town, within the same, to the Commonwealth, which they may deem expedient for the interest of the town, for the purpose of erecting a State House; not alienating any part of the Common, unless the accommodation cannot be had on any other terms,
REPORT That they have, in compliance with the aforesaid vote, purchased from the heirs of the late Gov. Hancock a piece of land, on the north-easterly side of the mansionhouse of the late Gov. Hancock, commonly called the Governor's Pasture, at the price of Four Thousand Pounds,—and after receiving a deed of the same, have executed a deed in fee of the same premises to the Commonwealth, for the purpose aforesaid ; that, in order to effect the purpose aforesaid, your Committee found it necessary to borrow of the Massachusetıs and Union Banks, the Sum of £1000, and, on the same day, viz. the 6th of April last, gave their notes, on interest, for the remainder of the purchase-money, payable by instalments of three, six and nine months.
All which is submitted for the consideration and confirmation of the inhabitants of the Town.
By Order, Boston, May 13, 1795.
WILLIAM TUDOR, CHAIRMAN. The above Report was read, and accepted, and thereupon Voted : That the purchase of the premises therein mentioned, and the grant of the same to the Commonwealth, be, and hereby is confirmed.
To all people to whom these presents shall come : We, William Tudor, Charles Jarvis, John C. Jones, William Eustis, William Little, Thomas Dawes, Joseph Russell, Harrison G. Otis, and Perez Morton, all of Busion, in the County of Suffolk, and Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Esquires, a Committee of the town of Boston aforesaid, and in behalf of the inhabitants of said town, hereto lawfully authorized, send greeting:
Whereas the Legislature of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts did, at their last session, by a resolution passed the fifteenth day of February last, resolve to erect, build, and finish a new State House, for the accommodation of all the Legislative and Executive branches of Government, on a spot of ground in Boston, commonly called the Governor's Pasture, provided the town of Boston would, at their expense, purchase, and cause the same to be conveyed in fee simple to the Commonwealth and did appoint the Hon. Thomas Dawes, Edward H. Robbins, and Charles Bulfinch, Esq., Agents on the part of said Commonwealth, to erect the said buildings; and to receive a deed of said land. And Whereas, the aforenamed Committee, being thereto duly authorized by the inhabitants of said town of Boston, have purchased the said pasture, in fee to the inhabitants of said town, for the sum of Four Thousand Pounds, lawful money; and are also authorized to convey the same to the Commonwealth, in fee simple, agreeably to the proviso in the resolution aforesaid :
Now therefore, know ye that we, the aforesaid Committee, under the authority aforesaid, in the name and on the behalf of the inhabitants of said town; in consideration of the premises, and of five shillings paid us by the Agents of the Commonwealth aforesaid, do hereby give, grant, and convey to ihe Commonwealth of Massaehusetts a certain piece of land, situate in Beacon Street aforesaid, commonly called
Gov. Hancock's Pasture : the same being butted and bounded as follows: beginning at the south-easterly corner of the garden of the la'e Gov. Hancock, and thence running an easterly course on Beacon Street, about two hundred and forly three feet, three inches, more or less, to the corner of a street or passage-way, leading up Beacon Hill; thence running a noriberly course upon said passage-way, towards the summit of said hill, iwo hundred and forty-nine feet, more or less; thence running a westerly course upon another passage-way leading round said hill, two hundred and thirty-five feet, and ihree inches, more or less, unul it meets the north-easterly corner of the said late governor's garden; thence, running on a line with said garden, nearly straighi, about three hundred and seventy-one feet, to the first-mentioned bounds :—The above description being intended to comprise the said pas:ure, as it is now senced in; to have, and to hold, the above given and granted premises, and appurtenances, to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts aforesaid, in see simple, forever, for the purpose of erecting, building, and finishing thereon a Slate House, for the accommodation of all the Legislative and Executive branches of the Government, and such other public buildings or offices, with the appurienances, as may be necessary and convenient, and may be required for the sunable accommodation of the several departments of Government.
In witness whereof, we, the said Committee of the said town of Boston, in behalf of the said inhabitants of said town, by them hereto authorized, have hereunio set our hands and seals, this second day of May, in the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and ninety five. Signed, Sealed, in presence of
JOHN C. JONES,
H. G. OTIS.
STATE HOUSE. The corner-stone of this edifice was laid July 4th, 1795, on land formerly owned by Governor Hancock, near the top of Beacon Hill. (This hill, which was originally 150 feet above high-water mark, was in 1804 levelled, the monument taken down, and the four slabs which formed the base, now remain to be seen at the foot of the stairs leading to the cupola.) This building is of an oblong form, 173 feet front and 51 deep. It consists of a basement story 20 feet high, and a principal story 30 feet. This is the centre of the front; is covered with an attic 60 feet wide, 20 feet high, which is covered with a pediment. Immediately above this, rises a dome 52 feet in diameter, and 35 feet high; the whule terminates with an elegant circular lantern, 25 feet high, supporting a gilded pine-cone. The lower story is finished plain on the wings, wiih square windows. The centre is 94 feet in lengih, and formed of arches which project 14 feet; they form a covered walk below, and support a colonnade of Corinthian columns of the same extent above. The outside walls are of large pateni bricks.
The lower story is divided into a large hall, or public walk, in thc centre, 50 feet square and 20 feet high, supported by Doric columns. In the centre, and on the north side of this story, is placed the highly finished STATUE OF WASHINGTON, which will be noticed in another place.
Two entries open ai each end, 16 feet wide, with two lights of stairs in each ; on both sides of which are offices. On the west wing, the secretary's department in front, and the adjutant-general's in the rear. On the east wing, the treasurer's department in front, and the land agent's and library in the rear.
In 1846, for the further accommodation of the library, the legislature made an appropriation for the finishing of a room in the basement story, under the west wing. The library is accessible to the members of the general couri, at all times.
The rooms above are, the representatives' hall in the centre, 55 feet square. This hall is finished with Doric coluinns on two sides, 12 feet from the floor, forming galleries; the Doric entablatures surround the whole ; from this spring four flat arches on the side, which, being united by a circular cornice above, form in the angles four large pendants to a bold and well-proportioned dome. The pendants are ornamented with emblems of commerce, agriculture, peace, and war. Directly over the speaker's chair, on the north side of the hall, is placed the state arms, and, a little above, may be seen the gilded eagle, just ready to fly, having in his beak a large scroll, with the
following inscription, in large gilt letters: “God save the Commonwealth of Massachu
On the south side, opposite to the eagle, is the mammoth codfish, an emblem of the fisheries of Massachusetts, formerly in the old State House.
The centre of the dome is 50 feet from the floor; the speaker's chair is placed on the north side; the clerk on the righ: of the speaker; the permanent seats, in a semicircular form, are so arranged as to accommodate 300 members on the floor; The front west gallery is for the use of members of the legislature; the rear gallery for the use of the public; east front gallery for the ladies; the rear gallery for the public.
In the east wing is the senate chamber, 55 feet long, 33 wide, and 30 high, highly finished in the Ionic order; two screens support, with entablatures, a rich and elegant arched ceiling. This room is also ornamented with lonic pilasters, and with the arms of the State, and of the United States, placed in opposite panels.' Directly opposite the door, is placed the president's chair; on the right and left, are seated the members, beginning with the oldest member in office on the right of the president. Forty members in this branch of the legislature.
In the west wing is the council chamber, 27 feet square, and 20 high, with a flat ceiling; the walls are finished with Corinthian pilasters, and panels of stucco. These panels are enriched with state arms, with emblems of executive power, the scale and sword of justice, and the insignia of arts and freedom, the caduceus and cap of liberty; the whole decorated with wreaths of oak and laurel. In the rear of this room, on the same floor, is a small room, called the governor's room, and the antechamber for the use of the committees of the council.
Besides these principal rooms, there are twenty-five smaller, for the use of the several committees. The cost of this building amounted to
$133,333 33 It was first occupied by the legislature on the 11th January, 1798.
The foundation of this edifice is 110 feet above the level of the sea; its elevation and size make it a very conspicuous object. Two flights of stairs lead to the top of the outer dome, 170 steps from the lower floor. The view from this dome, which is 230 feet above the level of the sea, affords one of the most interesting and beautiful spectacles. The eye embraces, at once, every avenue and every public building in the city, and overlooks the towns adjacent, all speckled with white houses and country-seats, amidst groves and luxuriant fields. At our feet, on the right, we see the mansion-house of Hancock, (a venerable stone building, of over one hundred years' standing,) and in front is the beautiful common, like a splendid carpet of green, bounded on all sides by the malls, and enclosed by a magnificent iron fence, in the year 1837, at the expense of the city, of $100,000. The malls are mostly shaded by irees of various growth, over which, the great elm in the centre, (near the crescent pond,) seems to command the whole, with the majestic waving of his huge branches, the growth of more than one century. East, lie in full view the ocean and the harbor, bespangled with islands, almost as numerous, and said to be equally as charming, as those which beautify the Bay of Naples; which makes this view one of the most delightful panoramas that the world affords. Turning to the north, you have in view East Boston, Chelsea, Lynn, the city of Charlestown, (with the navy-yard, Bunker Hill and monument;) to the west you have in view Somerville, the city of Cambridge, (with Harvard University,) West Cambridge, and Brighton; and to the south, you have in view Brookline, the city of Roxbury, Dorchester, and Quincy. Visiters to the cupola, for three last years, 1845, 6, and 7, average 50,000 per annum.
THE STATUE OF WASHINGTON. The plan for erecting a monument to the memory of Washington, in Boston, first originated wi:h gentlemen who had been associated with him in early life.
A meeting was called, and a society organized, under the title of the Washington Monument Association, April 27, 1811.
The sum of $ 16,000 was subscribed by the time the statue was finished. It cost, together with the pedestal and the temple in which it is placed, $15,000.
As the visiter enters the State House, at the south front, he beholds the statue, through the arched passage-way that leads from the Doric hall to the apartment where it is placed. It is free to the public at all times, with the exception of Sundays, Thanksgiving and Fast days, on which the house is closed, in obedience to an order of the general court.
The authorities of the state signified their acceptance of the statue, on the 8th of January, 1828, when it was “Resolved, that the legislature of this Commonwealth accept the Statue of Washington, upon the terms and conditions on which it is offered by the trustees of the Washingion Monument Association, and entertain a just sense of the patriotic feeling of those individuals who have done honor to the state, by placing in it a statue of the man whose life was among the greatest of his country's blessings, and whose fame is her proudest inheritance.