In December, 1884, Alderman O’Brien was elected Mayor for the year 1885. During the first half of his term, the old charter being in force, he did many meritorious things which no other Mayor has done under that instrument. And now under the new city charter, which makes him directly responsible for the honest and efficient management of the city’s affairs, his actions are speaking loud enough to be heard even outside the city, and they challenge the admiration of all readers of the daily press of Boston.
In appearance, Mayor O’Brien is a little over the average height, of robust build, weighing over two hundred pounds; has a florid complexion, with keen blue eyes. He has what physiologists would call a well-balanced temperament, knows how to govern himself, has an indomitable will and pluck, and is a man for emergencies. He is an indefatigable worker, and the details of a large business do not prevent him from despatching work promptly. Above all, he possesses that rare virtue, tact. He is courteous and affable to all visitors, and makes new friends constantly because of his sterling qualities. As a public speaker, he is earnest, forcible and argumentative without being captious. If his opponent thinks he has a man to deal with who is not fully posted upon the subject under discussion, he quickly learns his error. While not an orator, Mayor O’Brien carries conviction to hearers by the force of his honest utterances and sound reasoning. At the same time he has risen to the heights of eloquence upon the floor of the Board of Aldermen when defending the cause of the laboring man. Himself a workingman all his life, he never allows those who earn their bread by the sweat of their brow to ask him twice for a favor which it is in his power to grant. He has been their unsolicited champion when they badly needed one, and his record will bear the minutest inspection.
Such then is a brief sketch of a remarkable Bostonian. The poor boy who landed in Boston a little over a half century ago has become its Chief Magistrate. Boston has honored him. He has shown, and is still showing, his appreciation of the high honor. Slowly, but surely, this modest gentleman has won his way to the front in the popular estimation of his fellow-citizens. A man who tries constantly to do right for the love of doing right, he has become more distinguished than many so-called brilliant men who, meteor-like, flash before people’s eyes once, and are heard of no more. There is a solidity about all his public acts which command attention and elicit approbation. It is too early to write the full history of Mayor O’Brien, because he is rapidly making history; but Boston’s history thus far does not record when the city has had a more efficient or more honest Mayor than the present Chief Magistrate.
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The news of the death of Mrs. Helen Jackson—better known as “H.H.”—will probably carry a pang of regret into more American homes than similar intelligence in regard to any other woman, with the possible exception of Mrs. H.B. Stowe, who belongs to an earlier literary generation.