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A dinner in honor of the officers and members of the National Municipal League and of the American Civic Association was held in Hotel Sinton, Wednesday, November 17, 1909, under the auspices of the efficient committee on arrangements with the Hon. Rufus B. Smith as toastmaster, who, in the course of his introductory address said: “The men and women of these two bodies that are consecrating their lives to improve municipal conditions and city governments are worthy of all honor by all patriotic citizens. They have been welcomed by the official voice of the city. As a private citizen speaking for the private citizenship of the city, I wish to renew that welcome and to renew it in the heartiest and most cordial manner. We welcome them as able and distinguished men. We welcome them as disinterested, public-spirited citizens, whose work, as time goes on, is to come into higher appreciation by their fellowmen. We pay honor to whom honor is due; and by honoring them we honor ourselves.”
President Bonaparte in responding to the toast of the National Municipal League said: “Undoubtedly it is a very good thing that any man should know how to do his duty. It is necessary that the soldier should be trained to take care of himself and use his weapons, and to understand the methods which will make his movements, and those of many men, subject to the direction of his commanding officers; but if, after you have instructed him in all this, he runs away, you will find that your instruction has not paid you for the time, trouble and expense which you have given to it. So by all means let us instruct our children in civics; let us also make sure that they are the sort of children, and have before them the examples of such parents, as will assure to the country that has given them that instruction, some practical good when they come to show how much, or how little, they have profited from it.”
President J. Horace McFarland of the American Civic Association spoke persuasively on "The Vulgarity of Waste," and Dr. Charles W. Eliot, former President of Harvard University spoke on the conservation movement. In concluding his toast Dr. Eliot said: “Let us all, as we listen to the discussions of this week, in the American Civic Association and in the National Municipal League, resolve that we will do everything in our power to provide for the future the supplies which the greater needs of the future must have."
Mrs. Philip N. Moore, President of the General Federation of Women's Clubs, spoke convincingly of the work of that organization. She said: “We are not a reform organization per se, although interested and deeply sympathetic with reform, whenever it approaches the weaker
elements of society. We are not a sociological organization, and have no wish to supplant organizations which are engaged in uplift work. We are in no sense political, though we have an influence in national and state legislatures. We are not enthusiasts, yet a great impetus has been given to the study of art and literature, to history and science in hundreds of homes. We are working quietly for whatever place may come to us in the world, hoping to fill it with knowledge and judg. ment, with poise, with conservative but progressive action."
Horace E. Deming, Esq., Chairman of the Executive Committee of the League, responded to the toast Progress in City Government.” Mr. Deming spoke of the important part played by governmental action in accomplishing the reforms already achieved to which previous speakers had referred and of the need of governmental action in the future if their bright visions were to be transformed into accomplished every day facts. He said that leadership was necessary, but it must be leadership that recognized that political advance must be gained by the votes of the average American voter and illustrated this by a summary of progress that had been made in New York. He emphasized the importance in city government and in our political methods generally of substituting simplicity for complexity, clearness for obscurity, direct accountability for responsibility, diffused and dissipated.
Dr. Eliot was called upon for a few concluding remarks in the course of which he said: "Now the great lesson in the political progress in this country during the last fifty years is this that a few men working together conscientiously, of public spirit, of intelligence, of devotion to their cause, can bring great things to pass in a republican society. That is the most important lesson for us to learn to-day, that such are the possibilities in a republic, in a democracy, that the leadership of de voted men is not dead in a democracy.”
"Another lesson which is not at all new, but as old as the Bible, is that great public uplift comes from men who see visions. [Applause.) 'And the young men shall see visions, and the old men shall dream dreams;' and that is the way in which human welfare is advanced, in republics especially, it is the man that sees visions who lights the fires which bring the visions to pass."
The Baldwin Prize Essay.
Fifteen essays were submitted for the Baldwin Prize in 1909 on the subject, “The Practical Operation of Government in Some Large American City." The prize was awarded to Henry Warren Cleary, of the Junior Class, Harvard University, with honorable mention of Francis S. Wyner, Junior Class, Harvard University, the judges being Elliott Hunt Pendleton, Esq., Cincinnati; John A. Butler, Esq., Milwaukee, and Professor Augustus Raymond Hatton, Western Reserve University, Cleveland.
“ City Government by Commission” is the topic selected for the 1910 competition. The judges will be Mr. Elliot H. Goodwin, New York; Professor John A. Fairlie, University of Illinois, and Dante Barton, of the Kansas City Star.
Committees of the National Municipal
Hon. James Phinney Baxter, Portland, Maine.
J. M. Lawford, Baltimore, Md.
Hon. L. G. Powers, Washington, D. C.
Hon. John MacVicar, Des Moines, Ia.
COMMITTEE ON CITY CLUBS
Robert S. Binkerd, Chairman, City Club, 55 West 44th St., New York.
COMMITTEE ON CITY FINANCES AND BUDGETS
George Burnham, Jr., Chairman, President City Club, Philadelphia.
EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE, 1909-10
See pages 49, 50.