One thing newspapers of old sometimes did was publish speeches in their entirety.
In a modern context, this translates to quite boring column inches. But in 1910, there really wasn’t any other way to hear what was being said – unless you were there – without reading it in print.
Charles Warren Stone was the keynote speaker. He had been lieutenant governor and congressman, but by 1910 he was in his late 60s and had retired, living in Warren.
The Warren Evening Mirror published the text of his speech on July 6, 1910, two days after it was delivered.
“Today, the Tidioute Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution will unveil in the borough of Warren a statue of Major General Joseph Warren, after whom the city and county were named,” Peter started. “This is intended not only to perpetuate the memory and virtues of the first prominent martyr in the great struggle which brought this government into existence, but also as a permanent memorial to the soldiers buried in Warren County who took part in this great conflict.”
In addition to the statue of Warren, there is a plaque on the side that identifies all Revolutionary veterans buried in Warren County.
The statue was made by the Tidioute Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution.
“The ladies,” Stone said: “To the patriotism, energy and enterprise to which this community is indebted for the magnificent monument which they have erected, I have thought fit on this occasion to recall to your attention the highlights of the career and the salient features of the character of the man whose statue is to be unveiled and to repeat again the lesson of that noble life and that tragic death, and have assigned this duty to me.
“Conscious of my inability in all circumstances, and especially in the short time allocated to me to prepare myself, to do justice to this subject and on this occasion, I nevertheless accepted this mission in order to show my best admiration for the character of the man whom we especially honor today – my life for the city which I spent all the years of my adult life, and my appreciation for the patriotic public service rendered to this city and this county by the Daughters of the American Revolution.
Stone then went into a general biography of Warren’s life, beginning with his birth in 1741.
“General Warren’s immediate ancestry was distinctly that of ordinary people. His father was a farmer, his grandfather a carpenter and his great-grandfather a sailor. he said. “However, they were men of intelligence, uprightness, high morality and exemplary and useful citizens. His mother was a woman of exceptional strength of character.
Warren went to Harvard at the age of 14 and “was recognized as a young man of rectitude of purpose and conduct; of exemplary habits, of manly bearing, of personal courage and of generous and independent disposition.
“It is recorded of him that he was particularly considerate of the poor, a stranger to avarice, and indifferent and negligent as to the remuneration of his services. Perfectly versed in the apprenticeship of his profession, graceful and attractive in figure and radiating elegant address and thorough culture, open, sympathetic, cordial in manner, he had all the qualities which would have assured him success. and eminence unequaled in his profession.
Stone devoted much time to Warren’s pre-revolutionary agitation efforts.
“While faithfully tending the sick by day, Warren diligently studied the principles of government by night, and especially the right of Parliament to tax the colonies.” he said, calling the taxed tea answer “the first step towards a solidarity action essential to success. It woke people up from their sluggishness.
He said it’s “uncertain” if Warren was in the Boston Tea Party. “He was accused by conservatives but never proven or denied. As one eminent historian put it: ‘It is rather complimentary to say of Warren that he is constantly seen alongside Samuel Adams at through all of these interesting events.”
He discussed the Suffolk Resolves and his orations on the Boston Massacre, then his role in sending Revere before Lexington & Concord.
“His character, his conduct and his presence greatly animated and encouraged his compatriots. His heroic soul sparked a kinship…. His lofty spirit gave them confidence,” Peter said.
He then told the story of Warren’s death at Bunker Hill.
“My friends, I have therefore hurried, for fear of trying your patience too much and I do not know how I have referred to some of the most important events in Warren’s life. If, judging by this, I were to say that he was one of the purest and greatest men America has produced, ranking well at the head of her great galaxy of patriots, you might -to be thinking that I overestimated its merits”, Stone said, then citing several other historians and witnesses who spoke positively about Warren.
“Fellow citizens of Warren Borough and County: – You may be proud of the name which has come to you by adoption”, Peter said. “It is an honorable name, which is no more in the annals of American history and on which there is neither stain nor cloud. It is typical of courage, candor, independence self-respecting, patriotism, purity. It should inspire high thinking and righteous living. It should remind us of the cost, and therefore value, of the freedom we enjoy. Warren’s life and death should be a source of inspiration for fidelity to the principles he defended and for patriotic devotion to the government he gave his life to found.
He used Warren to justify the need to protect freedom and he said it can only be done with an “intelligent, pure, independent, self-reliant and uncorrupted electorate….
“But, my fellow citizens,” He continued, “I must not, I will not digress but I would like those people, if not another, those who collectively bear the honored name of Warren and are therefore bound to his memory and fame and who in the years to come will face his image almost telling in among them, I would have this people faithful to the high ideals which their character represents, faithful to the rules of conduct which their example prescribes.Writing to General Gage, the royal governor, the day after the battle of Lexington, he stated : “I have always despised disguise. I think I did my duty.
“What better epitaph to place on his monument! No pretense in life, no hypocrisy, no disguise, but open and direct devotion to duty, and a martyr’s crown in the end. Peter said, “These people should be proud to bear in their city and county the name of such a man.”