Mayor Frederick Octavius Prince
Second Administration, 1879-1881
"Born in Boston, January 18, 1818; died June 6, 1899; served as Boston Mayor during 1878 to 1881. His first administration was in 1877.
Mayor Pierce declined a re-election, and ex-Mayor Price again stood as a candidate of the Democrats, being opposed by Colonel Charles R. Codman, nominated by the citizens' group and the Republicans.
There was a feeling abroad that Mayor Prince had been badly used in the previous election, and the reaction in his favor which had set in brought him this time a plurality of about 700 votes. His second administration showed so far an improvement over the previous one that he was elected for a third term over the Republican candidate, Solomon B. Stebbins, by a majority of more than 2,000 votes.
The city government at this time was chiefly engaged in completing measures for municipal improvement that already had been begun, among them were the improvement of the sewerage system, park construction on the Back Bay, the enlargement of water-works, and the erection of a new building for the English High and Latin schools.
At the end of Mayor Prince's incumbency, the most important projects before the city were the erection of the new Court House, the Public Library building, and the establishment of public parks in different parts of the city. In 1880, the city government celebrated the 250th anniversary of the settlement of Boston. On this occasion the statue of John Winthrop was unveiled on Scollay Square.
Mayor Prince stood distinctly for retrenchment, but the prosperity beginning in 1880 created a demand for additional improvements. Expenditures increased; so did also the tax rate which reached $15.20 and enabled a reduction of the city debt.
Mayor Prince did not approve of the common attitude toward municipal expenditures. In his inaugural, he said that the citizens of Boston were 'disposed to regard many things, which elsewhere are considered municipal luxuries, as municipal necessaries, and yet they are unwilling to pay the cost of them.' The president of the Common Council stated the situation in regard to municipal expenditures clearly and concisely in saying, 'We plan and provide for the present only. Our policy leads to temporary expedients and make-shifts.' He, too, found that the demands of the citizens were too great and necessitated a cost above that to be found in other municipalities."