I have, I fear, dwelt too long upon the story and tradition of the old town, which will doubtless be better told by the orator of the day. The theme is to me full of interest. Among the blessings which I would gratefully own is the fact that my lot has been cast in the beautiful valley of the Merrimac, within sight of Newbury steeples, Plum Island, and Crane Neck and Pipe Stave hills. Let me, in closing, pay something of the debt I have owed from boyhood, by expressing a sentiment in which I trust every son of the ancient town will unite: Joshua Coffin, historian of Newbury, teacher, scholar, and antiquarian, and one of the earliest advocates of slave emancipation: May his memory be kept green, to use the words of Judge Sewall, ‘so long as Plum Island keeps its post and a sturgeon leaps in Merrimac River.’
Amesbury, 6th Month, 1885.