« AnteriorContinuar »
that it was not the practice to send letters to those post offices, unless specially directed to them.
The people on the ridge, and in Joppa generally, attend public worship in Newburyport, and some of the inhabitants of Newburyport are members of Mr. Withington's society.
The petitioners complained that the roads were not kept in good order, and much evidence was offered to shew, that the road by the sea shore was frequently out of order and overflowed. It appeared that it was an cxpensive road and much exposed, but that the sea wall had been raised and the road improved within a few years.
It was stated by the petitioners that real estate on the ridge was lower than on the lower side of the street, (in Newburyport) and one or two witnesses were of that opinion. The farm belonging to the estate of the late Jas. Pettingell, contains 270 acres of upland and marsh, and was lately appraised at $11,500. It is, at present, owned in Newburyport by persons, who are desirous that it should be annexed to that town, but the farm is for sale. The tax on that farm in 1831 was $106.
It was also stated by witnesses, that it was very important that Joppa should be annexed to Newburyport on account of the police of the place; that they would then have the benefit of the more vigilant police of the town of Newburyport, whereas now, immoral people sometimes resort there and produce riots and disturb
The agents for the town of Newbury, objected to the petition, for various reasons. They asserted that the schools in Newbury were in good order, and that a liberal appropriation of school money was made to the pe
titioners, and they further alleged that their situation in respect to schools, furnished no reason for a separation, as the petitioners had not applied to the town for relief. They also contended that it was not inconvenient for the petitioners to send their children to the schools in their districts, and that they were better accommodated than the other inhabitants of Newbury generally. It appeared, that for three years past, a school had been kept through the year in the turnpike district ; but part of each year by private subscription.
As to the petitioners being principally merchants, seafaring people, &c. and doing their business in Newburyport, they replied that most of the inhabitants of the village of Belleville were traders, shipwrights and other mechanics doing their business in Newburyport, and that the same reasons existed for annexing that part of the town to Newburyport, as the territory described in the petition. Some witnesses were produced, who testified that they did business in Newburyport, without any inconvenience from the circumstance of their being inhabitants of Newbury.
Newbury is one of the most ancient towns in Massachusetts, having been incorporated in 1635. Its population by the last census was 3,803. They opposed the petition, because it would take from Newbury about one third of the population and property of the town, which they said had already been much reduced by the incorporation of West Newbury in 1819.
It was objected on the part of Newbury, that the town would be left with an unreasonable portion of roads, the maintenance of which would be burdensome. On that subject, it appeared that the whole length of roads in Newbury is about 66 or 68 miles, only five of which are within the limits of the petition. But there
was evidence to shew, that the expense of maintaining the sea wall and Water Street, in Joppa, about one mile in length, is equal to an average of four or five miles of common roads. There are other roads in town, however, which are difficult to repair and require considerable expense, particularly the one leading to New Rowley.
There are several bridges in Newbury of different lengths, none of which are within the limits of the petition.
The agents for Newbury also objected, that the southern line would include two meeting houses,—the Methodist meeting-house in Joppa, and particularly the old town or first parish meeting-house, and the ancient grave yard adjoining, and that there would be left in Newbury only the meeting-house in Belleville, and that in Byfield on the Rowley line. They contended also, that it would be unreasonable to annex to Newburyport the farms lying south of the first parish meeting-house.
As to the business of the people engaged in the fisheries being done in Newburyport, it was answered, that there was generally an agent for each vessel, who made up the voyages and divided the proceeds, and that it was of no importance where the business was done.
It was stated that almost all the inhabitants not within the bounds described in the petition were opposed to the separation, and that the town would be left in a more inconvenient formi than at present,—that Newbury is about nine miles in length, and that the centre of the town will be changed. The town house was erected a few years since, and is situated on the southern side of the turnpike, near High Street, and it was stated that it was erected there for the accommodation of the petitioners.
As to the support of the poor, it was not denied, that the territory to be set off contained a full proportion.
But an objection was urged on the ground of the provision made for the support of the poor. The town have purchased a farm at an expense of $7,500, $2,000 of which has been paid. It was stated by the agents that it was large enough to accommodate all the poor of the present town, and too large, should the petition be granted.
It was also stated, that if this petition was granted, the Legislature could not refuse to separate Belleville, should the inhabitants petition; and that Newbury would then be nullified.
Having stated the allegations made, and the material facts, given in evidence, in support of, and against the petition, the Committee proceed to offer their own opinion upon the subject committed to them. After examining the premises, and hearing the parties and considering their allegations and the evidence submitted, they are all of opinion that it is expedient to make an addition to the town of Newbury.port.
A majority of the Committee are in favor of granting the prayer of the petition. One of the Committee is of opinion, that it is expedient that the southern line should be so run as to leave the meeting-house of the first parish in Newbury, and to annex to Newburyport the ridge, extending to some point near the meetinghouse, and also the settlement on the sea shore, and the flats before it.
The territorial limits of Newburyport are small, compared with those of other towns, and the addition of all the land described in the petition would not extend its limits beyond the convenience of a populous sea-port town. There will be a propriety and convenience in that town extending to the mouth of the river and the
ocean. The inhabitants of that part of Newbury called the ridge, and extending from the turnpike to the meeting-house, and also the village of Joppa are closely connected with the people of Newburyport. Their pursuits, their daily business lead them there. To a passing stranger, both places appear to be parts of the same town. Most of the buildings in High street have been erected since the incorporation of Newburyport, and Joppa has recently much increased in business and population. The residents in those parts of Newbury, generally, when they leave their houses to go about their daily business, pass at once into another town. Their business is there almost exclusively. They have an interest in all the institutions of Newburyport, and yet have no voice in the management or support of them ;-they enjoy no civil privileges there. Several of them are merchants, owning or hiring wharves or stores there, and of course are taxed there, in part. Their children go to school in another town. They generally attend public worship there ;-their associations of society-of social intercourse, are there. They have an equal interest in the police of Newburyport as the inhabitants of that town. Persons so situated must have a strong desire to become citizens of Newburyport, unless there should be some particular reasons against it. The petitioners are comparatively strangers in their own town, taking little interest in its concerns, and not ordinarily attending town meetings, unless to vote for State or National officers. There is also some inconvenience as to notice of meetings; at least, it was so stated by several witnesses,who testified that town meetings were frequently had without their knowledge. The notifications are posted on the meeting-houses.