Closing Arguments for Remonstrants

                                                                 By J. H. Benton, Jun.


    Chairman and Gentlemen: —

    It is my privilege to speak to you on behalf of more than twelve hundred voters and tax-payers of
    Milford, who protest against the proposed mutilation of their ancient and honored town merely to
    gratify the' personal pride, and promote the personal interest, of one wealthy man and his family.
    Stripped of the disguises which the ingenuity of counsel have sought to throw about it, the question
    before you is simply whether one of the most flourishing towns in the Commonwealth shall be
    mutilated and permanently injured, that the Draper family may be incorporated as a town and
    relieved from the fair burdens of-just and equal taxation.

    I ask your attention for a moment to what the town of Milford is. It is situated in the southerly part of
    Worcester County, thirty-one miles from Boston and eighteen miles from Worcester. It was created
    in 1780 from a part of the old town of Mendon, the proprietors of which purchased it of the Indians
    for about forty-five dollars; and the range of hills, now popularly known as Mendon Hills, was
    naturally taken as the dividing line between the old town and the new. Upon its compact and well-
    balanced territory of about twelve thousand acres, bounded by Upton, Hopkinton, Holliston,
    Medway, Bellingham, and Mendon with its range of hills, there has grown up a population of
    between nine and ten thousand persons. Probably no population of equal size in the
    Commonwealth is more tied together in its businesss and social interests, more thoroughly
    unified in all matters out of which the necessity for town government grows, and upon which town
    government operates, than this population. For more than a hundred years it has administered its
    municipal affairs wisely and well. It has fulfilled every duty of a well-ordered town community, not
    only to the people within its limits, but to the Commonwealth and to the nation.

    From this community, in its feeble infancy, even before its incorporation as a separate town, two
    companies of minutemen went to the Continental army, one of which marched from their home to
    Roxbury before the sun had set on the opening conflict at Lexington. It gave liberally of its scanty
    means to maintain the war for independence. It kept its credit unimpaired, and its name
    untarnished, during the weary days of poverty and bankruptcy which followed the Revolution. It bore
    its full share in the war of 1812, and in the war of the Rebellion it enlisted and sent from within its
    own borders 1,205 men (195 more than its quota) to the Union army. It furnished a general and a
    trusted staff-officer of Washington to the Revolutionary army, while the names and the fame of its
    sons in the war for the Union need no mention here.

    Writing of this town in 1880, Gov. Bullock said: — . "The hundredth anniversary of so important a
    town as Milford is an occasion of deepest interest to every citizen of this ancient county of
    Worcester. The people of your town have indeed much to awaken their pride and satisfaction in its
    present large population, in its vigorous prosperity, and in its prospects for the future. But your past
    history should excite not less pride than your present condition. No town can point to a more
    patriotic, public-spirited, and every way honorable record, than Milford. In all past popular
    emergencies your people have been faithful and forceful, without ostentation and without boasting.
    No town in Massachusetts presents a more honorable or a more successful history."

    In common with all patriotic towns of the Commonwealth, it incurred heavy expenses during the
    war; but, by wise management of its town affairs, its debt has been reduced to two and one-tenth
    per cent of its taxable valuation, which is one and a half per cent less than the average percentage
    of indebtedness to the valuation of the cities and towns in the Commonwealth.

    It has six churches, a town library of some seven thousand volumes, two national banks, a savings
    bank, a comprehensive and efficient system of schools, including an evening school and a
    flourishing high school, with a larger number of pupils relative to the population than any large town
    or city in the Commonwealth. Two-thirds of the teachers in its schools are graduates of this high
    school. It has a beautiful memorial hall and commodious opera-house, an efficient fire
    department, a town park, a successful and satisfactory water-supply company and gas company,
    large and successful manufacturing and business interests, a central railroad-station upon
    railroads connecting it with Boston, Worcester, and Providence, and is in all respects a united,
    sound, vigorous, and growing town community. Four hundred rods from the centre of business and
    population of the whole town are the factories of George Draper & Sons, the Hopedale Machine
    Company, and the Dutcher Temple Company, substantially owned, and all absolutely controlled, by
    the Draper family, which, if not a royal family, may almost be termed an incorporated family, as it
    holds a large part of its great wealth in the form of corporate capital. Between these factories and
    the business centre are the beautiful residences of the Drapers and their business associates,
    and the modest, well-kept cottages of their operatives and employees; making a little hamlet of 154
    dwellings and 660 inhabitants. If it had not received the fanciful name of Hopedale some forty years
    ago when a company of religious visionaries attempted to maintain there a community,— the
    members of which claimed all the benefits of citizenship, while they refused to perform any of its
    duties, — it would have long ago been called in name, what it is in fact, — Drapersville.

    North of this is a territory of about six hundred acres, with six houses and eighteen inhabitants, who
    have no communication with Hopedale except through Milford Centre.

    About one mile south is a small spindle factory, the product of which is substantially all used by the
    Drapers. Here are eighteen houses and about seventy-five inhabitants.

    South of this is a sparsely settled farming territory of some 1,300 acres, with 38 houses and about
    214 inhabitants, most of whom are in the south-east corner of the town, called South Milford. The
    social and business interests of these people are in no way connected with the manufacturing
    interests of the Drapers. They have now no occasion whatever to go to Hopedale ; and, if
    compelled to do so, their most convenient way would be through the centre of the town. Each
    portion of this territory, thus divided into three parts, has its social and business centre at the centre
    of business and population of the whole town. It has an area of about 3,500 acres, 93 real-estate
    owners, 244 tax-payers (160 of whom pay only a poll-tax), a valuation of $778,446, a population of
    896, and 164 voters. Between Hopedale and Milford Centre the connection is so intimate that the
    houses and streets of Hopedale, and the houses and streets of the Centre, are supplied with
    water, and lighted with gas, from the same source, by the same systems of pipes ; and a central
    railroad-station and telegraph-office, only a mile and a half from the centre of Hopedale, afford
    adequate facilities for the business of them both. Perhaps no stronger proof of the substantial unity
    of Hopedale and the Centre could be had than the fact that men as independent and enterprising
    as the Drapers have managed their extensive business for so many years without finding it
    necessary to have even a telegraph-office separate from the one at the Centre. Indeed, Hopedale
    and the Centre are so united in all social and business relations, the connection between them is
    so convenient and easy, that no lawyer or doctor has hitherto found it necessary to establish
    himself anywhere except in the Centre to fully accommodate clients or patients in Hopedale. Nay,
    more, of the six churches in Milford, five — and these the largest — are located in the Centre, and
    have never found it necessary to establish any place of worship in Hopedale for the convenience of
    the numerous attendants from Hopedale.
    The town fire department sends its engine from the engine house at the Centre to a fire in the
    centre of Hopedale in seven minutes from the alarm. The same banks and the same churches, the
    same high school and the same town library, the same opera house and the same railroad-
    station, the same telegraph-office and the same dry-goods stores, the same lawyers and the
    same physicians, even the same provision shops and the same markets, all situated at the
    Centre, supply all the needs of the people of this community.

    Both the Centre and Hopedale are included within a territory two miles and a half in length by a
    mile and a half in width, which comprises at least ninety per cent of the entire population of the
    whole town. The unity of their social and business interests is conceded. Speaking of it, even Mr.
    George Draper says, —
    " Citizens of Hopedale own in your banks, in your gas-works, in your water-works, in your railroads,
    and will continue to patronize them all. They have an interest in your quarries, your shoe-shops,
    and other industries. They will continue to trade in your stores, markets, and other places of
    business; to employ your doctors, lawyers, and other professional men, and your skilled
    mechanics and other laboring-men. We may not attend your town-meetings, or visit your town
    library, or attend your high schools; but we will walk on your streets, visit your houses, and marry
    your daughters."

    All will agree that the associations which have grown out of the united action of such a community,
    working together for common purposes for more than a hundred years, ought not to be lightly
    disturbed, and that such a municipality ought not to be broken up without sound and sufficient
    reasons.

    Government is but the outward form of which society is the inward life: and it is difficult to see why a
    community who own and use the same banks, the same gas-works, the same waterworks, the
    same shops, and the same factories; who own and trade in the same stores ; who employ the
    same lawyers, the same doctors, the same mechanics, and the same laborers; who walk the
    same streets, visit in each other's houses, and marry each other's daughters, — can not and ought
    not to work together for the common purposes of a common municipal government.

    Never, until within a few months past, has there been a suggestion from any quarter that the best
    interests of the people of this community, or of any portion of them, required that it should be
    divided and placed under two municipal governments; nor, until this petition was presented, was it
    ever suggested that any portion of this community had an interest so diverse from the rest that it
    ought to be constituted a separate town.

    This petition of William F. Draper, George Draper, George Albert Draper, and seventy others, — all
    of whom are either directors, officers, employees, or in the pay of the Draper corporations and
    interests,—asks you to mutilate the town of Milford, and constitute Hopedale, or Drapersville, with
    the small territory at the north containing six voters, and South Milford containing thirty-one voters (a
    majority of whom remonstrate against if), into a new town, to be called Hopedale. We have seen
    what kind of a town they ask you to mutilate. Let us see what kind of a town they ask you to create.

    It will be a town with a valuation of $769,346, a population of 896, an area of 3,547 acres, 244 polls,
    and 166 voters.

    Let us compare it with the six surrounding towns of Upton, Hopkinton, Medway, Holliston,
    Bellingham, and Mendon, with the fifty-six towns in Worcester County, and with the 323 towns in the
    Commonwealth, in valuation, population, area, polls, and voters.

    The average valuation of the towns in the Commonwealth is $1,865,084, or nearly three times the
    valuation of the proposed town. The average valuation of the towns in Worcester County is
    $1,538,327, and the average valuation of the six surrounding towns is $1,307,602, or substantially
    double the valuation of the proposed town.

    The average population of the 323 towns in the Commonwealth is 2,524, or substantially three
    times the population of the proposed town. The average population of the six surrounding towns is
    2,666, or a little more than three times the population of the proposed town. The average
    population of the fifty-six towns of Worcester County is 2,787, or more than three times the
    population of the proposed town.

    The average area of towns in the Commonwealth is 13,198 acres, or nearly four times the area of
    the proposed town. The average area of the six surrounding towns is 11,508 acres, or considerably
    more than three times the area of the proposed town. The average area of the towns in Worcester
    County is 13,936 acres, or nearly four times the area of the proposed town.

    The average number of polls of the towns in the Commonwealth is 696, of the towns in Worcester
    County 747, and of the six surrounding towns 692; in each case substantially three times the
    number in the proposed town.

    The average number of voters in the six surrounding towns is 605, of the towns in Worcester
    County 628, of the towns in the Commonwealth 631; or in each case substantially four times that of
    the proposed town.
    We thus see that the proposed new town will have a valuation of about one-half the average
    valuation of the six towns about it, one-half of the average valuation of the other towns in Worcester
    County, and of a little more than one-third the average valuation of the towns in the Commonwealth.
    It will have a population of about one-third the average population of the towns in the
    Commonwealth, and of less than one-third of the average population of the six surrounding towns
    and of the average population of the towns in Worcester County. It will have an area of only about
    one-fourth the average area of the towns in the Commonwealth, of less than one-third the average
    area of the six surrounding towns, and of only about one-quarter the average area of towns in
    Worcester County. It will have only one-third of the average number of polls, and one-fourth of the
    average number of voters, in the six surrounding towns, in the towns in Worcester County, and in
    the towns in the Commonwealth.

    It would have an average width of about one mile and a quarter, and would lie wholly, with ample
    margin on either side, in the space of less than three miles from Milford Centre to Mendon Centre.

    The proposed town will be dependent for all connection with the outer world upon railroad facilities
    at Milford Centre. Its water-supply, its gas-supply, its telegraph facilities, its banking facilities, its
    church accommodations, and its social centre will be found in Milford, and not within its own
    borders. It will not have scholars enough for a high school, or an evening school for the operatives
    who now have the advantage of such a school in Milford. It will not have a pauper within its borders:
    the entire support of the poor of the whole town will be left upon Milford. It will, however, have about
    a hundred operatives working in the Drapers' factories, living in Milford, none of whom pay more
    than a poll-tax, and all of whom, in case of accident, sickness, or lack of employment, will be a
    possible burden to Milford. If one of these hundred operatives of the Drapers meets with an
    accident by the negligence of one of his fellow-laborers, whereby he becomes incapable of
    supporting himself, or is worn out in the service of the Drapers, the burden of his support will fall
    upon the town of Milford, and not upon the wealthy family in whose service he has been maimed or
    worn out.

    It will be a town of substantially one industry, — that of making machinery for manufacturing
    establishments. It will also be a town without natural advantages to retain this industry. Mr. George
    Draper tells you that the location is one of the worst for their business that can be picked out within
    forty miles of Boston. It will be a town composed substantially of the persons owning and engaged
    in this one industry: and if this industry fails from any cause, such as change in the tariff, which now
    protects and supports it largely; a change in the method of manufactures, so that the appliances
    which are there made are not required; the death, or the change of inclination, or the retirement
    from business, of the two or three persons controlling the business; or if this business fails from
    any one of the numerous causes which can now be stated, or which may hereafter arise, there will
    not be enough left of the town to support a town government of the feeblest and poorest land. Once
    let these industries be removed, once let this single business fail or become substantially
    depressed, and the people of the territory which you are now asked to set off would come
    clamoring to your doors to be re-annexed to the good old town of Milford.
    More than two-thirds of the entire taxable property of the town is now owned by this one family; and
    of the one hundred and sixty-six voters, one hundred and sixteen are either engaged in business
    with them, or are in their employment.

    Small town governments are praised by their admirers, largely upon the ground that they are
    educational in their character, and furnish opportunities for independent debate and discussion.
    When the property of the citizens of a town is substantially evenly divided, so that they are each is
    independent of the other pecuniarily, a small town is, no doubt, advantageous in this respect; but
    when the property of the citizens is unevenly divided, so that a small portion control a large part or
    substantially the whole of it, and a large portion of the citizens are in the employment and pay of a
    small portion, a small town government is decidedly disadvantageous. ' Imagine the independent
    debate that would spring up in a Hopedale town-meeting upon any proposition advanced by Mr.
    George Draper. He tells you that he desires " a little town-house where they can go in and do their
    voting, and go about their work quickly;" and he brings here a plan of a building which he has
    begun to erect, which will belong to him, and in which he will permit the citizens of the town to
    assemble and register his decrees. I would suggest, as an improvement on this method, that they
    be allowed to vote in the little office into which the operatives of the Drapers were called, one b}-
    one, and induced, by such arguments as capital can always bring to bear upon labor, to sign a
    petition for division against their own wishes. It would save time and money, and accomplish the
    same result. As for the six voters in the north part of the town, and the thirty-one in South Milford, it
    would be easier for them to come to Milford to vote than to go to Hopedale. It would be as
    unnecessary for them to go to Hopedale, where they would have a right to vote, without the power to
    accomplish any thing which the Drapers did not wish, as it would be for them to go to Milford, in
    which they would then have ceased to have any right to vote at all. Out upon such an autocracy!
    Shame upon the political party which attempts to create it in free Massachusetts! The manner in
    which this division project has been conducted, and the means and methods used to support it,
    are a very fair illustration of the way in which such a town would be managed.

    The first that is known about it was that, in May last, surveyors, employed by the Drapers, ran a line
    from one side of Milford to the other, where the Drapers directed, cutting in two every estate from
    side to side, — so that every owner, if the division is carried, will have his property in two towns,—
    and then a petition describing the line thus surveyed was drawn and sent by Mr. Draper, through
    his private secretary, to every workman in his employment, with instructions to "present it to them,
    and if any declined to sign it, to find out who they were, and to note if there were any to he
    conversed with, and that that should be a separate matter." This petition was naturally signed by a
    large number of the employees; and a large number, it is conceded, declined to sign it. It was then
    taken by Mr. Draper's private secretary to Mr. Westcott, with the request from Mr. Draper that he
    would have his workmen sign it; and Mr. Westcott took it into his shop, and personally asked his
    workmen to sign it, which they did. Then Mr. Draper took it to the Rev. Mr. Ballou, and after much
    urging induced him to sign it; for which act Mr. Ballou, pricked in his conscience, felt it necessary to
    come before you and make carefully worded apology. Mr. Draper took it to other citizens, notably to
    Mr. Patrick, one of the oldest and most respected citizens of that part of the town, and a member of
    his own church; and, when Mr. Patrick said he could not conscientiously sign it, he told him that he
    "regarded his refusal as a personal affront," that he " was a crank," and that he " considered him as
    his enemy."

    Then the employees who had declined to sign the petition were one by one called into the office,
    and with a greater or less degree of explanation, argument, and persuasion, they were
    substantially all induced to sign it. How many signed it unwillingly, we do not know. One of them,
    conceded to be a reputable, truthful, hard-working, honest man, who had been for sixteen years in
    their employ, was beset by his employers, and notably by Mr. Dutcher, upon three several
    occasions, until, as he says, he signed it, telling Mr. Dutcher that he did it under protest, and, as Mr.
    Dutcher admits, signed it unwillingly, and at a conversation when Mr. Dutcher intimated to him that
    it might be necessary to take a vacation, and that it was too bad that his family should be broken
    up, etc. This man has been before you and told his story. He has told you that many of his fellow-
    workmen signed it in the same way that he did. Mr. Wheeler, Mr. Patrick, Mr. Green, all citizens of
    high standing and character, testify that they have talked with many of the workmen, and have been
    told that they signed the petition because they feared that if they did not they should lose their
    places; and that they were really opposed to the division, which they feared would cut them off from
    the privileges of a library, high school, etc.

    Gen. Draper tells you, that, if any man has been coerced into signing this petition, it has been
    without his knowledge, and has not been countenanced by him, which I entirely believe; but he also
    says that Mr. Pilling, the workman who was clearly coerced into signing, is a man of excellent
    character, an orderly, quiet, industrious citizen, and does not question the statements made by the
    gentlemen who have conversed with the workmen, who say that they signed these petitions
    because they feared that they would lose their places if they did not, and who now fear to express
    their opposition to division lest they shall be turned out of work.

    The truth is that this division project is a movement by one incorporated family. Take two men out of
    it, yes, take one man out of it (for if George Draper were not in it, his son Gen. Draper would not be),
    and the movement would fall to the ground. The petition upon which the Committee have been
    acting, the only petition before them (although the Drapers' counsel say they have another which
    they have shown us, and which they propose to put in hereafter in some cunning way, which they
    think will aid their cause more than to put it in fairly and directly now), is a petition of such a
    character as was never before presented for the creation of a town, — a petition of one family and
    their servants and agents. The method in which this project has been conducted has shown that it
    is the petition of one man and bis family. Mr. George Draper is chairman of every committee raised
    in Hopedale to favor the project of division. Mr. George Draper, with his private secretary Mr.
    Dewing, Gen. Draper, and the lesser Drapers go to South Milford, hold a public meeting, and urge
    their project in the most personal manner. No individual in Hopedale has published any thing in
    favor of this division project, while George Draper and Gen. Draper have written nearly twenty
    published letters. The quiet air with which Gen. Draper says he told Mr. Dutcher to go to Mr. Pilling,
    and to take Mr. Filling's name off the petition, under certain circumstances, indicates the absolute
    authority they claim and exercise over even so competent a man as Mr. Dutcher. It is Mr. George
    Draper's private secretary, Mr. Dewing, who takes the petition through the shops for the employees
    to sign, and takes the petition to Mr. Westcott for his employees to sign. It is Mr. George Albert
    Draper who goes to see Mr. Smith, an employee who was opposed to division, but says he signed
    the petition because Mr. Dutcher asked him to, and would rather have signed a petition the other
    way, but whose name has been kept upon the petition to influence your action, and whom, but for
    his testimony before you, you would have supposed was in favor of division. It is Mr. George  Albert
    Draper who goes to see him, and who mis-states to him what Mr. Pilling says, and gets him to
    come here to deny a statement which was never made.

    It is George Draper & Sons who send circulars to the members of the Legislature. It is George
    Draper who sends a circular giving reasons for division, saying, "ask your attention to this
    statement."

    It is George Draper & Sons who take the remarkable step (which Gen. Draper disowns) of sending
    a circular to the Grand Army posts throughout the Commonwealth, asking them to use their
    influence in favor of this town division, a step which was an insult to every member of every post of
    the Grand Army to whom the circular was sent; for it asked them to do that which the rules of the
    order forbid to be done, that is, to take part in a legislative controversy. It was also an insult to the
    loyal voters of Milford, who, by a more than two-thirds vote, borrowed twenty thousand dollars, and
    erected one of the most beautiful memorial halls in the Commonwealth. (Chap. 119, Laws 1883.)

    It is Mr. George Draper who projects a town-hall for Hopedale before the petition for division is even
    signed, or the Legislature to pass on the question elected; and then comes before you, and shows
    you the plan of the hall which he has begun to build for the town he commands you to create for his
    uses and purposes.

    At every step in this scheme for the creation of a new town, from its inception at a private meeting of
    the Draper family, when one of the daughters wanted to know why they could not have a town of
    their own, to the day when George Draper and Gen. Draper, backed by the lesser Drapers, took
    their seats at the counsel-table in this committee-room, and have constantly dominated and
    directed their side of this hearing, the potent personality of this powerful family has been constantly
    seen and felt. Take them out of it, and the project for division would dissolve into thin air. There is
    nothing to justify it, there is nothing to sustain it, except the personal ambition and self-interest of
    one strong, persistent, obstinate man.
    The petitioners told you, in the opening argument of their counsel, what they should prove; and I
    think you must have been constantly impressed, during the progress of the case, with the fact that"
    the vigor of the war has not come up to the sounding phrases of the manifesto." They told you that
    they should show grievances extending over a term of years ; but, although for a time they struggled
    to show slight grievances, they soon abandoned the attempt, and frankly conceded that no
    grievances existed. They told you that they expected to prove, and relied upon, "the hostility and
    bitterness of feeling existing between the two sections of the town, so great as to make it
    impossible that these people should ever live in peace again, either in town-meeting or
    elsewhere;" but from the beginning to the end of this protracted hearing, from the mouth of every
    witness, on both sides, it has been proved that the town has been harmonious and united, and that
    cordial and friendly relations have always existed, and now exist, between all parts of its
    community. The absence of grievances proves it. The conduct of this hearing before you
    demonstrates it.

    John Adams said that that people was fit to be free who could conduct an orderly public meeting. It
    may well be said that that community is fit and competent to work together under one town
    government which can conduct a controversy between themselves in so orderly and cordial a
    manner as this hearing has been conducted before you.

    They told you that they wanted the new town, so that schools could be "maintained upon a higher
    plane : " but the testimony from all the witnesses on both sides is, that the present schools are
    excellent, and give entire satisfaction to the people of all parts of the town ; and it is conceded that
    the high school is one of the very best in the Commonwealth, and amply meets the wants of the
    whole town. And so well do the schools accommodate the scholars, that no request has ever been
    made to the town even to provide conveyance for any of them to the schools.

    They told you that the citizens in the proposed new town desired a town which would act more
    according to their views upon certain moral questions, — an obscure way of telling you that they did
    not wish to live in a license town. But the evidence shows that no license has ever been granted to
    sell liquors in their part of the town, and also shows that the success of the license-ticket in the
    town has been mainly due to the combination of Hopedale voters, under the lead of Gen. Draper,
    with the license voters of the central part of the town. For years the license-ticket for town-officers
    has been made up at a "kitchen caucus" of Gen. Draper and a few others, ratified at a people's or
    citizens'- caucus over which Gen. Draper has always presided, and has been elected, with one of
    the leading citizens of Hopedale, a brother-in-law of Mr. George Draper, and one of the present
    petitioners, at its head as first selectman, by the unbroken support of the voters of Hopedale. I will
    not say that it was hypocritical for them to bring the license question here to attempt to prejudice
    your minds upon this matter of town division, for that might be offensive ; but I will say that nothing
    but severe stress of weather, nothing but the exigencies of a case which he knows has no real
    foundation, could have induced the genial General, after thus having combined with his license
    friends of the town, to turn about and urge the results of his combination as a reason for setting
    himself and his family off as a separate town.

    It is absurd, however, to try to mix the license question up with this case. It has no possible bearing
    on the matter before you. At the last election, the voters of the Commonwealth cast 11,312 votes in
    favor of license, and 12,050 against it. A large number of the towns are about equally divided on the
    question. If the anti-license people are to be set off into separate towns, Hingham, Plymouth,
    Leominster, North Brookfield, Spencer, and many other of our most important towns, must be at
    once divided nearly in the middle; while Warren, with its 201 votes for license and 201 votes
    against it, must be cut into exactly two parts; and West Springfield, with its majority of 134 votes
    against license, must certainly not be annexed to Springfield, with its majority of 452 votes for
    license.

    They told you that Hopedale was an "isolated village, separated from the Centre by a range of hills."
    The evidence shows that it is but four hundred rods from the Centre, that all its social and
    business facilities are amply supplied at the Centre, that it has always grown towards the Centre,
    and the Centre has constantly grown towards it; that the only elevation between them is crossed by
    three streets, is so slight that one of Mr. Draper's family is building his house upon the top of it; and
    that, at the present rate of progress, the whole space between Hopedale and the Centre will soon
    be a compactly built street. And so little do they really regard this elevation as a natural division, that
    they have not even attempted to follow it in the line of their proposed town, but have put the line
    across it at two points.

    They told you that the citizens of Hopedale had not had their fair share of influence in town affairs.
    The evidence has shown that no portion of the town has had as much influence, or has so
    uniformly carried its points in town-meeting, as Hopedale ; and neither George Draper or Gen.
    Draper can tell you of any thing that either of them has ever advocated in town meeting which has
    not been carried, or of any thing which either of them has opposed that has not been defeated.

    Their counsel insinuated, rather than openly stated, that the people of the other parts of the town
    were of such a character that they ought not to be compelled to submit to association with them in
    the same town. The evidence has shown that they are pleasantly associated with them in all the
    business and social relations of life; and the appearance and conduct of the citizens of Milford, who
    have come before you to oppose this separation from those of their neighbors and friend* whom
    they so much respect, has been a credit to the town. No more excellent representatives of a sound,
    sensible, business community can be furnished from any town within the Commonwealth.
    Hopedale would exhaust the panel of its property-holders, and not match half the list of solid,
    substantial citizens from Milford Centre who have appeared against this Draper project.

    They told you it was the unanimous, unquestioned wish of the people in this territory to be made a
    new town. The facts are, that, in South Milford alone, twenty of the forty taxable polls, sixteen of the
    thirty-one registered voters, and thirty of the forty real-estate owners have remonstrated against
    division. While ten property-owners in South Milford, owning 154 acres valued at $5,375. ask for
    division, thirty property-holders, owning 1,145 acres valued at $32,355, are opposed to division.
    Nearly one-fifth of all the registered voters in the proposed new town have remonstrated against
    division. Excluding the legal voters who are either engaged in business interests with the Drapers,
    or are in their employ, more than two-thirds of the remaining voters are opposed to division, and
    have either remonstrated against it, or refused to sign the petition for it. Of the real-estate owners in
    the north part of the proposed town, three only, owning 141 acres valued at $2,300, have asked for
    division; while twenty, owning 466 acres valued at $13,765, are either opposed to division, or have
    not asked for it. Of the 157 real-estate owners in the proposed town, 53 only, owning real estate
    valued at $62,000, ask for division; while 104, owning real estate at $92,1130, have either
    remonstrated against division, or have declined to sign a petition for it.
    Of the one hundred and ninety-one dwelling-houses in the proposed town, seventy-four are owned
    by the Drapers or their family and business connections.

    Of the 117 others, the owners of 41 only are in favor of division, while the owners of 76 are
    opposed. Including the dwelling houses owned or controlled by the Draper interest, the owners of
    only 115 are in favor of division, while the owners of 76 are opposed.

    Of the 19 tax-payers in the proposed town who pay a tax of $50 or more, four are opposed to
    division.
    Of the 219 petitioners for division, 12 have moved away since it was signed; and of the 207
    remaining, 128 pay only a poll tax, and 166 — or all but 47 — are either in business with, or in' the
    employment of, the Drapers.

    Of the seven largest individual tax-payers in the proposed town, three are in favor of division, three
    are opposed to it, and one has declined to take sides, though, as I am advised, really opposed to it.
    Exclude the Draper family and their connections, and a large majority are opposed to a new town.

    Thus, one by one, have the reasons given by them been disproved or abandoned, and the only
    possible reason left is that the Drapers' want it. " We are twenty-one, and want to go," says Mr.
    Draper. The South was more than twenty-one, and it wanted to go badly; but Gen. Draper risked his
    life, and fought for years, to keep them from going.

    The Drapers say that the territory of the proposed town has only village requirements, while the
    centre of the town has other and larger requirements.

    They tell you that Hopedale does not need many expenses for streets, sewers, police, etc., which
    are required at the Centre. To a certain degree this is true, but it is also true of the north part of the
    town. It is true of a large part of every considerable town and city in the Commonwealth. Will you
    therefore set off such parts from the Centre? It is true, to a marked degree, as between Springfield
    and West Springfield, which you are asked to unite. This suggestion is, in reality, only a claim that
    taxes should only be paid in proportion to direct benefits received, which is substantially a claim
    that taxes should be paid per capita, and not according to property.

    It is in this suggestion that the real reason for this division project creeps out. A reason that
    counsel cunningly attempted to keep in the background as far as possible before you is the
    reduction of taxation upon the property of this wealthy family, who are even now, by reason of their
    carrying a large part of their property in a corporate form, bearing a less burden of taxation than
    their neighbors. The hundreds of thousands of dollars of their corporation stock, returned to the
    State by them at a value of $100 per share, when, as is stated and not denied, it has been sold for
    $250 a share, is taxed at only $14.14 on a thousand, the average rate throughout the
    Commonwealth, while the tax-rate in Milford is $15.50; and if by creating them a separate town the
    taxes can be reduced upon their other property, they will, as Gen. Draper says in a published
    speech to which he permits me to refer, " have more money to expend in the erection of new
    works," and the further development of their already large and prosperous business.

    Mr. George Draper says he " does not look at the matter in a sentimental manner, but in a purely
    business light; " that he "considers that they can get along better by themselves than they can with
    Milford; that they are twenty-one, and therefore they have a right to go," which, being interpreted,
    means that if incorporated into a separate town they can largely reduce their taxes, and have a town
    which they can absolutely control.
    The figures show that this will be the result. The present tax-rate of Milford is $15.50. Gen. Draper
    concedes that the tax-rate in the new town, even with the expenditures, which it is not at all likely will
    be made, for a high school, for extra town offices, and for improved roads, will be not more than
    $10, and that the rate in the old town will be at least $17.80. Other estimates, equally reliable, give
    a rate of $17.80 in Milford, as against $9 in the proposed town the first year. There will then be an
    immediate difference in the rate of taxation within this territory of two miles in length by a mile and a
    half in width (which includes four-fifths of the inhabitants of the whole town, more than four-fifths of
    the total valuation of the town, and substantially all the manufacturing, commercial, and business
    interests of the town), of about one-half between the portion which would be left in Milford, and the
    portion which would be set off in the proposed town.

    Stated in another form, which will show, perhaps, more clearly the disparity, the condition will be
    this, that, in order to raise the same amount of money per capita in each town, a tax will be required
    of only $5 in Hopedale, and of $17.50 in Milford, exclusive of corporation taxes; or to raise $16,000
    in Hopedale, will require a tax of only $10 per thousand, or $16 per capita, while to raise the same
    amount in Milford will require a tax of $27 per capita. Indeed, Mr. George Draper claimed to Mr.
    Delano Patrick that the corporation tax would alone pay the expenses of the new town.

    Of the towns surrounding Milford, Mendon has a tax-rate of $11.40, Holliston of $13.50, Bellinghain
    of $14, Upton of $17, Hopkinton of $19.40, and Medway of $i0. The average rate of the six towns is
    $15.88.
    The average rate of taxation in the fifty-six towns of Worcester County is $13.77. The average rate in
    all the cities and towns of the Commonwealth is $14.14.

    The Drapers' new town, if created, will have a tax-rate at once of $6.88 less than the average rate of
    the towns surrounding it, $4.77 less than the average rate of the fifty-six towns in Worcester County,
    and $5.14 less than the average rate of all the towns and cities in the Commonwealth, of about $9
    less than Milford, and will rank in its attraction for wealthy persons seeking light taxation with
    Belmont, Nahant, Milton, and Wellesley.

    The close proximity of the low-tax town of Hopedale to its business and social centres in Milford will
    be a constant influence to draw the owners of personal property from Milford to Hopedale. The
    same process will go on between them that has gone on between Boston and the low tax-rate
    towns near it, and which is illustrated in the case of Nahant, where from 1865 to 1873 the valuation
    of personal property increased from $12,710 to $5,085,795, and the tax-rate decreased from $15 to
    $4.20.

    It is idle to say that this will work no injury to Milford. It will add to the taxes upon all its business
    interests; it will add to the taxes upon every laboring-man's home, whether he owns it, or pays rent
    to a landlord who includes the taxes in the rent; it will drive capital out, and prevent capital from
    coming in; it will render Milford less able to keep up her schools, her town library, and her streets,
    less able to afford good government to her people, and perform her duty towards the county and
    the Commonwealth ; and the injury thus caused will constantly increase.

    The constantly increasing inequality in local taxation is a great and growing evil. Our system of town
    government, which grew up when there was but little disparity of pecuniary condition among the
    people, has, since property came to be unequally divided, been constantly taken advantage of to -
    enable wealth to avoid its fair share of the burdens of taxation. Rich men have either moved into
    small towns and taken possession of them, or have induced the Legislature to create small towns
    for them, and then have assessed their property at less than its real value, and thus avoided
    payment of a fair share of the State tax, and, by massing great wealth in a small territory, have
    secured an exceedingly low tax-rate. This has induced other rich men to come into these towns;
    and the result has been a constantly decreasing tax-rate in these towns, with a consequent
    constantly increasing tax-rate in others. This has been the case in a marked degree between the
    new towns and those from which they have been created.

    A few illustrations are instructive.

    In 1880 a portion of the town of Needham asked to be incorporated as the town of Wellesley. The
    rate of taxation in Needham was then $10.20, and the average rate for the five years preceding that
    time had been only $10.24. The Legislature divided Needham, and created the town of Wellesley.
    Since then the tax-rate in Needham has year by year increased, until it is now $14; while the tax-
    rate in Wellesley has year by year decreased, until it is now but $8, — $6 difference.

    Swampscott was set off from Lynn in 1852. The tax-rate in Lynn is now $17.80, in Swampscott $9.
    The average rate of taxation in Lynn for the past five years has been $18.56, the average rate in
    Swampscott $8.34, — $10.22 difference. Nahant was also set off from Lynn in 1853; and to-day the
    rate of Nahant is $5.50, as against $17.80 in Lynn. The average rate in Nahant for the past five
    years has been $5.20 against $18.50 in Lynn, —$13.30 difference. Belmont was constituted in
    1859 from West Cambridge (now Arlington), Watertown, and Waltham. In that year the rate in
    Arlington was $6.50, and the average rate for the five preceding years had been $5.64. The rate of
    Belmont is now $8, while the rate in Arlington is $18.40,—difference $10.40. The average rate in
    Belmont for the last five years has been $10.30, as against the average rate for the same time in
    Arlington of $16.26, — diference $5.96. The average rate in the three towns of Watertown, Waltham,
    and Arlington, from which Belmont was formed, is now $15.33 against a rate of $8 in Belmont,—a
    difference of $7.33.

    In 1885 the Legislature saw fit to divide-the town of Medway, and constitute the town of Millis. The
    average rate of taxation in Med way for five years preceding the division was $15; this year the rate
    is $20, while the rate in Millis is $13.75. Taking into account the fact that Medway has to raise about
    $750, which will be refunded by Millis on account of its proportion of the town debt, you will still have
    a difference between the rate in the old town and in the new of over $6.

    In 1884 the Legislature divided the town of Sandwich, and created the town of Bourne. There were
    as few causes, probably, in this case as in any division which has taken place to produce a
    reduction of taxes in the new town ; and yet we find that the tax-rate in Bourne this year is $11.80,
    against the taxrate of $14 in Sandwich.

    Wellesley, Belmont, Nahant, and Swampscott, all created by the division of old towns, have to-day
    an average rate of taxation of a fraction more than one-half the average rate in the Commonwealth,
    and of less than one-half the average rate in the old towns.

    But Gen. Draper says they ought to be set off to get lower taxes.

    They say they are paying in taxes more than they get directly back in expenditures in their part of the
    town. " We are paying a subsidy to Milford." And this is true of them in the same way it is true of all
    rich men who pay taxes upon what thejr have, but in no other. They do not say they pay upon more
    than they have, but they say they are unfortunately so rich that they pay more than others who are
    poorer. Is this a reason for setting them off into a town. If so, a similar reason exists for cutting up
    nearly all the cities and towns in the Commonwealth. The rich people of a city or town usually live in
    the same locality. You cannot find a city or town, of any considerable importance, where the richest
    people are not so located that they can be set off into a separate town or city ; and it is difficult to
    see where the division would stop. There is no fixed standard of area or population for a town.
    There are single streets in Boston, Worcester, and other cities which have more population than
    the average towns in the Commonwealth. Suppose the people on these streets ask to be set off as
    towns, that they may have the taxes they pay expended upon those streets. In that portion of Boston
    bounded by Arlington Street, Boylston Street, West Chester Park, and Charles River, on a territory
    one mile long and about a third of a mile wide, there is to-day nearly one hundred millions of
    dollars of taxable property, besides at least thirty millions of stock in corporations, the tax on which
    is collected by the State and paid to the city. Nearly two millions of dollars are paid into the treasury
    of the city of Boston each year as taxes upon the property of residents on this territory. If these tax-
    payers could only have the privilege, which Mr. Draper says he demands as a right, of expending
    the money they pay in taxes on the territory on which they live, they could have a private teacher for
    each child, and give each boy a collegiate course. Give them the power to levy taxes to enable their
    citizens to travel, which the wealthy citizens of Nahant now ask for, and they could send one-half the
    population to Europe each year at public expense.

    They now pay largely for the support of schools in East Boston and South Boston, for police at the
    North End and the South Cove, and by such payments render their own property safe and valuable.
    According to its population, Boston should pay twenty per cent of the State tax; according to its
    valuation, it should pay, and does pay, thirty-nine per cent, and this in spite of the continually
    increasing exodus of its wealthy citizens to the comfortable retreats of exclusive tastes and low
    taxes. Should it, therefore, be set off from the rest of the Commonwealth? The suggestion that
    taxes are only to be paid on property in proportion to the direct and immediate benefit received by
    that property is shallow and mischievous. Logically carried out, it is the doctrine of the Devil take the
    hindmost. It would set off every rich man, or clique of rich men, from those not so rich, in constant
    gradations, till society would break up, and all safeguards of property be destroyed. No, Mr.
    Chairman, rich men can least of all afford to make this suggestion. The value of their property
    depends upon the education of the children of the poor, upon the health and well-being of all. Have
    the Draper family no interest in the education of the children of their hundred operatives who live at
    the Centre, no interest in the health, morality, and well-being of the community with which they are
    so united as with the Centre ? If so, they have none at all in South Milford; and the same reasons
    which they urge for a division from the Centre apply with conclusive reasoning in favor of dividing
    them from South Milford.

    The truth is, this suggestion that Hopedale pays a subsidy to Milford is selfish and short-sighted, in
    every way unworthy of those who make it. Mr. George Draper has told you constantly of how much
    he has done for Milford: did he ever think how much Milford has done for him? Where has the vast
    wealth of which he constantly boasts been accumulated? In Milford. How was his princely fortune
    acquired? By the constant toil of hundreds of operatives whose homes have been in Milford. The
    wealth which he says makes him and his strong enough to go alone, and on the basis of which he
    demands of you that they be created a town separate from the community in which they live, is but
    the profit which his ability and force have enabled him to make upon the labor of Milford operatives;
    and its continued value depends upon the prosperity of Milford and all its people. It is an ill time for
    the rich to demand that their taxes should be made lighter, and the taxes of the poor heavier; and
    any political party which, directly or indirectly, concedes such a demand may as well order its
    ascension robe for the evening of the next general election day.
    It is sometimes said that petitions for town divisions are always granted in the long-run, and
    therefore they may as well be granted in the first place, as to have the Legislature continually vexed
    with them until they are granted. This is the reasoning of the unjust judge who granted the request
    of the suitor, not because the cause was just, but because the suitor was persistent and
    uncomfortable.

    But as to town divisions, even this unworthy reasoning rests upon a false basis. Projects for town
    divisions are not, as a rule, successful. The petitioners tell you that the Legislature has been
    constantly creating new towns. The fact is, that it has been constantly refusing to create new towns.
    I have made a careful examination of the records of the General Court in this respect, and find that
    of the one hundred and twenty-two petitions for division of towns, and the creation of new towns,
    during the past twenty-one years, only forty-two have been granted, while eighty have been refused.
    I do not say that the General Court has always acted wisely in the creation of new towns ; for we all
    know that it has in some cases been induced, by the persistent personal influence and pressure
    which wealth and power can always bring to bear upon any body of men, to create new towns upon
    the basis of a fancied grievance, or in answer to a supposed popular demand, when no real
    necessity or sound reason existed for the act, and when the only result has been to decrease the
    burdens of the rich and increase the burdens of the poor.

    But in the main, and with but comparatively few exceptions, its action has been cautious,
    conservative, and wise. It has not been its practice to create a new town whenever and wherever it
    has been asked to do so by persons having sufficient numbers to fill the various town offices,
    sufficient wealth to pay its expenses, and sufficient area upon which to erect town buildings, which
    is substantially the proposition upon which the petitions here rely. It has not broken up towns
    because they had large area, population, and wealth ; nor has it constituted new towns simply
    because they would have population and wealth enough to maintain town government. It has
    recognized the fact that the value and efficiency of municipal government does not depend simply
    upon the area, population, and wealth within its borders, but upon the unity of its social and
    business interests. It has acted upon the principle that every community which has common
    business interests, common social interests, and can thus work together for the purposes for
    which towns are created, should have one town government; and that the larger the community
    which can thus work together, the better, upon the principle that strong towns are not only best for
    the interests of the people within their borders, but best for the interests of the whole
    Commonwealth. And not only has this principle been acted upon by the Legislature, but it has been
    for more than fifty years a part of the constitution under which we live. The constitutional provision
    for the creation of cities was framed by the convention of 1850, unquestionably the ablest body of
    men ever assembled in a representative capacity in New England. That provision, which was
    submitted to the people in 1851, and by them ratified, is, that a city government shall not be created
    in any town until the population has reached the number of twelve thousand. It was the deliberate
    judgment of that convention, and of the people of the Commonwealth, which has never been
    questioned since (although there was a constitutional convention in 1853), that it was wise and
    judicious to allow towns to grow until they reach a population of at least twelve thousand ; and it
    has  never yet been suggested that this constitutional provision should be practically nullified or
    made inoperative by cutting up large towns before they reached the constitutional limit for
    incorporation as cities, until Mr. George Draper advanced the idea before you.

    It is a stock argument always made by every rich man, or clique of rich men, who desire to have a
    town created for them, where they may enjoy low taxes, and exercise arbitrary power, that the ideal
    town government is that of a little town; and they tell all the committees of the General Court that
    they must make little towns for them, because they come within the first branch of a proposition
    which Richard Spofford (whose views on political economy and government have not, I believe,
    commended themselves to the approval of the citizens of the Commonwealth to any great extent)
    stated in a report in favor of the creation of the town of Belmont, in 1859. This proposition — which,
    by the way, was entirely unnecessary to support the report of the Committee, and the action of the
    Legislature, in that case — was, substantially, that the elements of a town consist of a sufficient
    area and population and wealth to support town government; and wherever these exist, the right to
    a town government exists, and should be granted, if the advantages to arise from it will counter-
    balance the disadvantages, taking into account all possible local and public relations. The whole of
    this proposition, fairly understood, amounts only to this, that wherever public policy — i.e., the
    greatest good to the greatest number — requires the creation of a town, it should be created, which
    is undoubtedly sound. But as the proposition is ingeniously used by town divisionists, it is
    unsound and misleading. They leave out the last branch of the proposition, which is the most
    important, and state the first in this way: —

    We have the elements of a town, — i.e., sufficient area, wealth and population, to maintain a town
    government, — and therefore we have a right to be a town ; or, as Mr. Draper tersely puts it, " We
    are twenty-one, and we have a right to go."

    But there is no standard by which to measure any one of the elements of a town. What is a
    sufficient area for a town? Is it 468 acres as in Nahant, or 32,375 acres as in Belchertown? What is
    a sufficient population for a town? Is it 203 as in New Ashford, or 13,364 as in Pittsfield? What is a
    sufficient valuation for a town? Is it $19,904 as in Gay Head, or $29,955,700 as in Brookline?

    Is a community twenty-one when it has an area of 468 acres, a population of 203, and a valuation
    of $19,904? or not until it has an area of 32,275 acres, a population of 13,364, and a valuation of
    $29,955,700?

    Area, population, and wealth, although to be properly taken into account, are not the controlling
    considerations in the creation of towns. The vital question is whether the people who will constitute
    the new town are so connected with the other people of the existing town that they can work
    together for the purposes for which town government exists, or are so disconnected from them that
    they cannot. The real question is not so much whether the proposed town will have sufficient area,
    population, and wealth to maintain a town government, or whether the portion of the old town which
    will be left will be a large or a small town, as whether there are two communities having such
    diverse social and business interests that they cannot work together under one town government.

    You will find more than a hundred towns in the Commonwealth in which villages having to a
    greater or less extent diverse interests, many of them widely separated and having no connection
    with each other except for town purposes, could be created new towns. The following are some of
    them:

    Templeton with Otter River, Templeton Centre, and Baldwinsville.
    Quincy with West Quincy, Quincy, and Wollaston, each having a railroad-station.
    Braintree with Braintree, East Braintree, and South Braintree, each with a railroad-station.
    Stoughton with East Stonghton, Stoughton, West Stoughton, and Belcher's Crossing, each with a
    railroad-station.
    Cohasset with Nantasket Beach, Cohasset, and the Glades.
    Medford with Medford and West Medford, each on a separate railroad.
    Framingham with Saxonville, South Framingham, and Framingham Centre, each with a railroad-
    station.
    Woburn with Cummingsville and Woburn.
    Concord with West Concord or Damonville.
    Gloucester with Gloucester and Magnolia.
    Williamsburg with Haydonville and Williamsburg.
    Leominster with Leominster and North Leominster.
    Barre with Barre Center, Barre Plains, and Smithville.
    Northbridge with Whitinsville, which is the larger.
    Upton with Upton and West Upton.
    Chicopee with Chicopee Falls.
    Chester with Chester, North Chester, Bayville, and Littleville, on different rivers, and widely
    separated.
    Beverly with Beverly Farms.
    Easton with North Easton, Easton Centre, Furnaceville, and South Easton.
    Taunton, with its eight wards, could be conveniently cut up into several small towns.
    West Fitchburg could be set off from Fitchburg.
    Springfield and New Bedford could be properly cut up into small towns, each having interests to a
    considerable degree diverse from the other.
    Newton certainly ought to be divided into four or five towns.

    The counsel who opened this case for the petition took great pains to tell you that Milford was a
    large town, and that after this proposed mutilation it would still be one of the largest towns in the
    county and in the Commonwealth. It is thought to be a popular thing to talk about the ideal town
    government being that of a small town rather than that of a large one. Of course, if this reason is a
    good one for the mutilation of Milford, it is a good one for the mutilation of Pittsfield, Attleborough,
    North Adams, Quincy, Woburn, Chicopee, Marlborough, Weymouth, Peabody, Brookline, Milton,
    Beverly, Medford, Watertown, Westfield, Framingham, Hyde Park, and Dedham, each of which is
    larger in area, polls, or valuation than Milford. And it is equally a reason for the mutilation or division
    of cities.

    If the best possible municipal government can be had only by'cutting up all the large towns into
    small ones, it is equally true that it can be had only by cutting up all the large cities into small ones;
    and of course, whenever any portion of any of the eighteen towns in the Commonwealth which
    exceed Milford in valuation, population, or polls, or of any of the twenty-three cities in the
    Commonwealth, come to the Legislature, and ask to be set off, it will be the duty of the Legislature
    to create them into a separate town or city. But this reason is not a sound one, because the
    character of municipal government is not governed by the size of the municipality. It is not true that
    the little towns are governed better than the large ones.
    Mr. Myrick named sixteen towns in the Commonwealth having a larger valuation than Milford. Their
    average rate of taxation is $13.40. The nine towns in the Commonwealth having the smallest
    valuation have an average rate of $ 15.81, — $2.41 greater.

    The highest rate of taxation in the State is found in the little town of Munroe in Franklin County, with
    but fifty-two polls, which pays a tax-rate of $33.33, a less rate than that for which the city of Chelsea
    is able to borrow money. The towns of Truro in Barnstable County, of Florida and Savoy in
    Berkshire County, of Erving and Hawley, Munroe, Shutesbury, and Wendell in Franklin County, of
    Plainfield in Hampshire County, have an average of 165 polls as against an average of 14,509 in
    the towns and cities of the Commonwealth, and an average tax-rate of $22.15 as against an
    average rate of $14.14 throughout the Commonwealth. Not one of them has sufficient population to
    support a high school; not one of them makes the large expenditures for education and for public
    convenience and necessity which are made in, and form a large part of the expenditures of, the
    larger cities and towns; and yet their tax-rate is more than one-third larger than the average rate of
    the Commonwealth.

    If you will turn to chapter thirty-five of the Resolves of the Legislature for the year 1882, you will find
    that the Commonwealth paid fifty-five thousand dollars to the three little towns of Otis, Sandisfield,
    and Tolland in Berkshire County, having an average of only one hundred and eighty-seven polls, to
    relieve them from the burden of their indebtedness, which amounted to substantially one-tenth of
    their valuation. The value of the property in these little towns had gone down fifty per cent; and,
    unless the Legislature had come to their aid, these towns would have been ruined beyond recovery.

    In the nine towns in the Commonwealth more populous than Milford, the average rate of taxation is
    $15.13. In the sixteen towns having a larger valuation, it is -113.40; and in the nine towns having a
    greater number of polls, it is $ 15.41, — giving an average rate in these towns which are larger in
    population, valuation, or polls than Milford of $14.66, or only fifty-two one-hundredths of one per
    cent more than the average rate of all the cities and towns in the Commonwealth. Tested by the
    rate of taxation, — i. e., by the burdens which the municipal government imposes upon its citizens,
    — small town governments will be found to be more burdensome, as a whole, than large ones.
    Tested by the benefits which the town government gives to its citizens, the large town governments
    are incomparably superior. The advantages of high schools and of libraries, of halls and public
    buildings, of improved streets and street-lights, of competent supervision and the preservation of
    good order, of the numberless conveniences which a large population always requires, the large
    towns furnish at less cost than the small towns furnish the scanty accommodations required of
    them.

    The underlying, controlling fact in this case is that Milford, as now constituted, is one community.
    Her people are one people; they have always worked together for good; they will continue to do so
    unless you break them up by this arbitrary and unjust division. Her citizens protest against it. Every
    reason of sound public policy is against it. In 1876 her people celebrated the national centennial,
    and in 1880 they called all her children together and celebrated the town centennial with
    thanksgiving and joy for all the good old town had done. At each of these gatherings Gen. Draper
    was marshal, and the Draper family took active and conspicuous parts. Even since this petty
    controversy arose, when her people came together to mourn the death, and do honor to the
    memory, of the great soldier and the first citizen of the Republic, George Draper, as the leading
    citizen of the town, was unanimously called to preside. While I speak, the graver's chisel carves
    upon the walls of Milford's Memorial Hall the names of more than twelve hundred Union soldiers,
    all enlisted within her own borders, — many of them of Irish birth and of Catholic faith, — whose
    achievements are the choicest heritage of the town; and at the head of that list the name of Gen.
    William F. Draper leads all the rest. Day by day his comrades, officers and privates of the Union
    army, are passing away. When he, too, after the years of usefulness and honor which lie before
    him, shall join the silent majority, I trust it will be within the walls of this beautiful hall that the people
    of a Milford unmutilated in its fair proportions, unimpaired in its prosperity, still united, vigorous, and
    strong, will gather to do honor to his memory and mourn him as one of her most illustrious sons.
    Google Books.

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    Main Street, Milford, about twenty years
    after the separation of Hopedale.

    The center of Hopedale, about ten years after
    becoming a town. Click on the picture to go
    to a page with more about the buildings.