Mr. Wallace has had no ambitious longings for political life. And yet his fellow citizens would not be likely to let such a man remain wholly out of public life. So it is true to say that whatever office Mr. Wallace has held, has sought him. He was selectman of the town during the years 1864, 1865, and 1867. In 1873 he was representative to the Genral Court, to which office he was elected in the fall of 1872 by nearly every ballot cast. He was re-nominated the next year without dissent or opposition, but declined a re-election on account of ill health. While a member of the Legislature he was on the Committee on Manufactures, a position which his ability and experience fitted him to fill.
The most conspicuous political office he has held is that of Councillor. While holding that position he represented one of the largest and most important districts of the State. In it are included the thriving city of Worcester and the sister city of Fitchburg, which, with their varied industries, needed a man of large and ripe judgment to represent them. He served three terms, during the years 1880, 1881, and 1882, or throughout the entire administration of Governor Long. His election was so entirely unanimous that for the last two years he had no competitor in the field, Democrats as well as Republicans supporting him. While on the Council he was a member of the following important committees: on Pardons, on Harbors and Public Lands, on Military Affairs, and on Warrants.
At the close of Governor Long’s administration he refused to allow furthur use of his name for the office he had so ably filled for three years. He celebrated his retirement from this position as a servant of the public by a brilliant reception tendered to Governor Long in the City Hall, Fitchburg, December 7, 1882. He thus gave his fellow citizens and constituents an opportunity to look Massachusett’s popular Governor in the face and take him by the hand.
The following account of the reception, appeared in the Fitchburg Sentinel of Friday, December 8, which I quote:
“The reception tendered to Governor Long in City Hall, Thursday evening, by Councillor Rodney Wallace and wife, was the most enjoyable and brilliant entertainment ever given in this city, and will be long remembered with pleasure by all who participated. The reception was given by Mr. and Mrs. Wallace as a compliment to Governor Long, with whom Mr. Wallace has been associated as Councilor for three years, and to give their friends here an opportunity to spend an evening socially with His Excellency. Some 450 cards of invitation were sent out, including about 700 persons, and nearly 600 were present on Thursday evening. The storm and blizzard-like weather that reached this city early in the afternoon prevented the attendance of some of Mr. Wallace’s business associates from abroad. The intention was to give all a pleasant, social evening, and the result was a full realization of the pleasure anticipated for some days.
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