Liberty Bell: Journey to Boston

Providence (R.I.) Daily Journal, June 17, 1903

The Composite American

No thoughtful person who watched the crowd that assembled at the Union Station yesterday afternoon to welcome the Liberty Bell could fail to be impressed by the heterogeneity of the children in the throng.  There were Irish children, Scandinavians, Jews, Poles, Russians, Germans, Scotch, French and Italians; there were also children whose ancestors have been American born and bred from the days of the Mayflower.  A narrow patriotism, cherished by some descendants of the Puritans and Pilgrims, resents this intrusion of “aliens” into the body of American citizenship.  It eels that something has been lost when the Anglo-Saxon domination of other days gives way to a mingled breed in which no one element is confessedly predominant.  There are parts of the United States in which the present population is mainly descended from people who emigrated to this country in Colonial days, but in New England there has been such an infusion of foreign strains that in Rhode Island, fr instance, the census of 1900 shows 124,519 foreign-born inhabitants to 294,027 of native birth.  When we ask how many of these native-born inhabitants had one or both parents who were foreign born, we realize that the old order has change and that Rhode Island is no longer an English State.

It would be idle to grieve over the changed condition of affairs, whether or not we happen to be, individually, of English ancestry or of some other blood.  The alteration in the racial elements of New England has taken place and we must accept it as a fact.  And we must understand that the composite American—the American of the coming years—is to be the result of a mingling of diverse elements, though how far the mingling will go in the early future is a nice sociological question.  The optimist says that the new American is to be stronger and better than the New Englanders of the days when the Liberty Bell proclaimed the Declaration of Independence.  Perhaps so.  In any event, we should be foolish to refuse to admit the plain facts of the case and to fail to to do our part toward solving the problems of this composite American citizenship with which, more and more, we are being confronted.

Boston Daily Globe, June 18, 1903


Thirteen Horses, Representing Original States, Haul it to the Monument Grounds.

Eloquent Tongues Tell of Historic Relic and For What It Stands Before the World.

Mayor Weaver and Other Philadelphians Entertained at a Banquet by Mayor Collins—10,000 Persons Pay Homage to the Emblem of Freedom on the Common.

Liberty bell, guarded by a detail of the Ancient and Honorable artillery company, was accorded a welcome in Charlestown yesterday unequalled in a long and glorious career.  “Our greatest living hero could not have wished for a more hearty and enthusiastic welcome than that accorded our treasured Liberty bell by the people of Boston today.  “It surpasses all the glorious welcomes it has received in all its travels, and we Philadelphians are prouder  than ever of our sacred relic of American history,” is Mayor Weaver’s opinion of the Hubs reception of the Liberty bell

At 11 o’clock yesterday forenoon J. A. W. Silver, in command of a detail of the ancients, made up of H. H. Newcomb, Wilbur F. Adams, W. J. Miller, Aaron Wolfson, J. D. Auerbach; Samuel A. Weill, E. R. Graves and H. A Gilman of the Ancients reported for escort duty at the south station yard, where the bell had remained overnight.

One of P. O’Riorden & Sons’ heavy trucks, drawn by 13 handsome bays, coach gaily decorated in blue and buff for the occasion and bearing the name of the 13 original states, was on hand an hour earlier to convey the bell to a point opposte the training field in Charlestown.  The horse labeled Pennsylvania acted as leader.

A safe-moving concern had been engaged to dismount the bell from its frame on the flat car.  This work was done under the supervision of the custodian of the bell, Isaac Elliot.

When the bell was properly secured Daniel H. O’Riorden of Charlestwon, dressed a Uncle Sam, gather up the reins and the bell began its journey to the shrine of Bunker hill, escorted by the Ancients, a police detail and several hundred people.

Tots Sat on the Bell.

On the way over to Charlestown from the south station yard, the bell was cheered again and again.  It arrived at the training field about 12:30 and was received with cheers, hand clapping and waving of flags by several thousand people.

As soon as the bell arrived opposite the training field, it was surrounded by an eager throng.  For nearly two hours the crowd kept coming and going, taking a look at the famous old bell.  Thousands insisted on placing their hand upon it, and hundreds of little children were lifted up and proudly sat on the top of the bell.

Shortly after the truck bearing the bell came to a standstill a man dressed in the uniform of a letter carrier was seen struggling through the crowd toward the truck.  High above his head he held a wee little girl dressed in red, white and blue.  He was letter carrier Weinstock, bearing his little 2-year-old daughter.

“Put her on the bell!” shouted the crowd, and a gap was made through which Weinstock found his way.  When he reached the truck, almost breathless, one of the big Philadelphia policemen who is detailed to accompany the bell, reached out his brawny arms and took the little tot.

“There,” said he, as he sat her on top of the bell,  “You’re it.”  The little girl smiled and clapped her tiny hands.  A mighty shout went up from the crowd, followed by hand-clapping and more cheering.

Little Edith Weinstock sat contentedly on old Liberty bell until several newspaper photographers made pictures of her.

Entertained by Mr. Barr.

Mayor Collins and Mayor Weaver, accompanied by the city government committee escorting the visiting Philadelphians, left the Parker house at noon and drove to the house of Ex-Alderman Michael Barr in Monument sq.  Mr. Barr gave a luncheon to his guests, and shortly after 2 p m line was formed for the afternoon parade.

The old bell was given a prominent place in the first division of the afternoon parade, the immediate escort being the Ancients, commanded by Col Hedges.  Behind the Ancients came the mayors of Boston and Philadelphia, the city government 17th of June committee and the Philadelphia visitors, all in carriages.

After going over a part of the parade route, through some mistake the man in charge of the leading horse on the Liberty bell truck turned up one of the side streets from Main st, instead of continuing on to Sullivan sq.  The result was that the Liberty bell reached the speakers’ stand, opposite the monument, one hour ahead of time.

There was an immense crowd to greet both bell and speakers.  After several efforts the music and marching were stopped sufficiently to permit the exercises on the monument grounds to begin.

Mayors Collins and Weaver occupied two front seats, reserved for them, and at 2:5 p m Alderman Edward L. Quigley, the father of the idea of bringing Liberty bell to Boston, arose and briefly welcomed the visitors.  He introduced Pres. Arthur W. Dolan of the common council as the master of ceremonies.  Mr. Dolan introduced the speakers.

Mayor Collins Cheered.

Mayor Collins and Mayor Weaver made brief patriotic speeches.  When Mayor Collins arose he was lustily cheered.  He said his work was simply to welcome the Philadelphians, but in doing so he recalled the words of Webster at the monument 78 years ago, when the great orator declared that this is the most interesting day Charlestown ever knew.  “Today,” said the mayor.  “Liberty bell kisses the sacred soil of Bunker hill, making it more sacred than ever.

“Philadelphia and Boston are twin cities.  Here the cradle of liberty was made and it was Philadelphia that rocked it.”

Mayor Weaver’s Greeting.

Mayor Weaver was enthusiastically received.  “Philadelphia today sends greetings to Boston,” said he, “and I now clasp the hand of Mayor Collins as a pledge of Philadelphia’s friendship for her sister city.

“This has been a red-letter day, not only for Philadelphia and her famous old Liberty bell, but for Boston as well.  The soil of Bunker Hill is more sacred than ever after it has been touched by Liberty bell.

“When Boston asked for our bell we were all of one mind.  “She should have it,” was the answer of every Philadelphian.  In return we only ask that the two cities may be more closely united and bound together than ever before.”

Joseph A. Dennison.

The next speaker was Joseph A Dennison, the orator of the day, who said:

“It was a happy inspiration that came to him who first suggested the pilgrimage of our distinguished guests from patriotic Pennsylvania, with their sacred and historic charge, to rebel Boston’s noblest shrine, beloved Bunker Hill.  Welcome, ye guardians of the Liberty bell—a hundred hearty welcomes we give you, our brethren.

“The shaft of Bunker Hill is a beacon of promise to the oppressed in every land of Europe.  It lures to our shores, year after year, aspiring and industrious thousands from the old world.  Such is its magic and its potency.  Let us see to it that because of its nearness to us we shall not forget what it stands for.

“Let each generation worthily and bravely perform the duty that comes to it.  In 1776 that duty sent the patriot to the battle ranks and held his arm steady and his nerve true while he shot into the whites of British eyes.  In 1860 that duty sent the patriot to the front to cement in the blood of warring brothers the union founded by the fathers.  But the epochs of battle and slaughter are few and far between in the life of a people.  The civic duty is daily making its calls upon us, and a worthy performance of the civic obligation calls for constant vigilance and persistent patriotism.”

The last speaker was Henry Clay, chairman of the joint Liberty bell committee.

The exercises were brought to a close by the singing of “America” and “The Star Spangled Banner” by the people, accompanied by the band.

Miss Louise Cole, the 6-year-old daughter of Lieut. Cole of the navy, presented Mayor Collins with a small silk flag, for which he gracefully thanked her.

At the close off the exercises at the monument the bell was escorted to the Common by the Ancients.


Informal Dinner to the Philadelphians at the Hotel Somerset Was a Delightful Affair.

Mayor Collins’ informal dinner to Mayor Weaver of Philadelphia and the joint special committee of the city, who accompanied Liberty bell to Boston, given at the Somerset last evening was a delightful affair.

It was a continuation of the celebration of the 128th anniversary of the battle of Bunker hill.

The menu was a plain, beautifully-engraved four-page affair.  The outside cover contained a pen reproduction of the old Liberty bell, the tower of Independence hall in Philadelphia and Bunker hill monument.

Mayor Collins, the host, presided in his usual graceful manner.  His felicitous reference to topics of the day, his tribute to the founders of the republic, and his eulogy of Jefferson, “the blue-eyed, freckled-faced Welshman’s son,” were cheered to the echo.

Mayor Weaver in his speech referred to Mayor Collins as one of “the most charming companions he had ever met.”

At the invitation of both mayors, the health of both cities were drunk,

Mayor Weaver said: “In the affairs of men, when they are tempted or seem disposed to fall from virtue, they are prompted by a ‘still, silent monitor’ we call conscience that calls them back to the paths of rectitude and virtue.

“Are not the affairs of men en masse, as a nation controlled in the same way as the individual man, and shall we not find this sacred old Liberty bell a silent monitor to call us back to the paths of rectitude and virtue—the rectitude and virtue that dominated the lives of those old patriots whose self-sacrifice and devotion to the cause of Liberty made these United States possible?”

Dr. Edward Martin, director of public health and charities of Philadelphia made a hit with what he termed “a little overheated oxygen.”

Alderman Charles H. Slatter, the next speaker, said he didn’t know what to talk about, whereupon somebody suggested that he talk about a minute.  He did so, and sat down amid applause.

1 Comment

  1. Kaaren Lynch says:

    This was very enlightening, and delightful to read. This was an earlier time. My grandfather, Augustus J Migell, was is a past Commander of the Ancient and Honorable Society. Some years ago, a neighbor brought me downtown Boston to see the Liberty Bell! Very exciting! .

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