July 1, 2016
July 4 Speech, 1827
Quaker Farmhouse, 34 George Street, Mendon
Dedication of the basketball court at Memorial Field, Mendon, to the Byrne family.
Recent additions to existing pages on hope1842.com include: Draper and Dutcher Temples (Portrait of Ira
Draper, and first newspaper ad for the sale of Draper temples.) Deaths
Twenty-five years ago - July 1991 - Boris Yeltsin begins his 5-year term as the first elected president of
Serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer is arrested after the remains of 11 men and boys are found in his Milwaukee,
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The Warsaw Treaty Organization is officially dissolved in accordance with a protocol calling for a “transition
to all-European structures."
Fifty years ago - July 1966 - President Lyndon B. Johnson signs the Freedom of Information Act, which goes
into effect the following year.
Richard Speck murders 8 student nurses in their Chicago dormitory. He is arrested on July 17.
The U.S. announces that a Lockheed U-2 reconnaissance plane has disappeared over Cuba.
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on the lower half of this page.
Oration by Rev. Ballou
Library Gets Copy of July 4 Address He Made in 1827
One of the most interesting additions to the Milford Public Library, at least from a local viewpoint, was that
which Librarian N. F. Blake placed on the shelves a day or so ago as a celebration of the July 4 anniversary.
The document in question is probably the only copy extant of the earliest July 4 addresses delivered here,
and it was only by chance that Mr. Blake saw in a Cleveland, Ohio book catalogue, an offer to sell a printed
copy of a patriotic address on July 4, 1827, by the late Rev. Adin Ballou, then pastor of the Universalist
Church on Pearl Street, Milford, and worshiping in the old brick church.
Rev. Mr. Ballou was then a young man of 24, and ardent in his expressions, a quality that soon after led him
into doctrinal controversies in his denomination that much lessened his field of activities. He began his
address with a fervid resume of the causes and course of the Revolution and of the character of Washington
and then with much vigor outlined what seemed to him the danger point to the young republic. In his
discourse he gave evidence of much eloquence that must have impressed his hearers greatly, for after its
close a committee waited on the revered speaker and secured a copy of the address for publication.
This committee included Maj. Pearley Hunt, one of the prominent Democrats of this county in his day, and
was very prominent in the Universalist Church. He was also an exponent of the liberal faction in town affairs,
as opposed to the church party, most of whom were members of the Congregational Church.
The pamphlet contains 35 pages of usual report size with title-page, from the press of True & Greene,
printers, Boston. It is in excellent preservation, bound in stiff board and its contents are well worth reading,
and when delivered with the earnestness and elevating diction that always marked Mr. Ballou's addresses,
must have made as impressive a memory on those present as to warrant it being called an oration. That
there were veterans of the revolution in his audience seems certain from his allusion to "the scattered
remnant of those heroes, standing with decrepit limbs and hoary hair over the grave into which the last of
their number will soon descend." As the War of Independence closed in 1783, 44 years before his address,
it is not singular that some were present.
The latter part of Mr. Ballou's address is directed toward a review of those civic dangers that may bring to
destruction the "fair fabric of the forefathers" and much of what he warns against might well be paraphrased
from the political speeches and campaign appeals of the past 10 years, the dangers he specifies being
quite identical with those decried by those seeking public office now, as possessed by those in public life
they seek to replace. He depicts in detail the qualities making up the demagogue and also the insidious
effects that will, if unrestrained, wreck the republic. His peroration is a solemn adjuration for the preservation
of the principles of state and federal constitutions.
As an interesting sidelight on this address it may be noted that Rev. Mr. Ballou, three years after that
address, married Maj. Hunt's daughter, Miss Lucy, who must have been an interested listener that July 4 to
the eloquent young man. He did not become pastor of the church until April 1, 1824, when 21 years old, and
had been married to his first wife two years then. She died in 1829. He accepted a call to the Prince Street
Universalist Church in New York City, the September following. Tradition avers that his call to New York was
the direct result of his July 4 address. He became again pastor of the Milford church July 4, 1828. Milford
Daily News, July 14, 1914
The final paragraph is a bit misleading about when Ballou was at the Prince Street church. Here's what I
found of him during the 1820s in the Gale Biography in Context website. "The Universalists received him
gladly, and during 1823 he preached successively in Mendon, Bellingham, Medway, and Boston. In 1824 he
was over the Universalist society in Milford, in 1827 over the Prince St. association in New York, and in 1828
back in Milford again." You can find more on him in those years in the Dictionary of Unitarian & Universalist
Rev. Ballou's very patriotic 1827 speech, focused on the Revolution and independence, was quite different
from the speeches he made just a few years later. One example of that is that it didn't include a demand for
the abolition of slavery. By the 1830s, he was praising England for abolishing slavery in the British West
Indies, and comparing that to the United States, which had declared independence, while leaving millions in
slavery. When I decided to use the Milford News article on the speech, I didn't intend to do any more about it.
Then I found that Ballou had included two pages about the circumstances of it in his autobiography, so I'll be
sending that in the next ezine.
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Below are a few of the 35 pages of the 1827 speech. Thanks to Deborah
at the Milford Library for finding it for me in the Paul Curran Milford Room.
Rev. Adin Ballou