This section is from the book "Hill's Manual Of Social And Business Forms: A Guide To Correct Writing", by Thos. E. Hill. Also available from Amazon: Hill's Manual Of Social And Business Forms: The How-To-Do-Everything Book Of Victorian America.
Ladies and Gentlemen: The winter is past, the time of the singing of birds has come, and hot weather will soon be upon us. Everything betokens a heated term of considerable duration, and it is well, for the sake of our own comfort as citizens of this growing town, and that of our dumb animals, that we should provide a public fountain at the junction of two of our principal thoroughfares, where young and old, man and beast, may come and slake their thirst, freely and fully, until winter resumes its icy sway.
How has it been in the past with us in this respect? True, for years we had Collins' old well, at the corner of Main and Clay streets, but midsummer always made water scarce in it; the curb was high; the windlass was ungainly and even dangerous; the worn-out bucket leaked like a sieve, and the old thing creaked and dragged until it became a terror to all who undertook to draw water from it.
Then Phillips, at his own expense, tore away the old curb and windlass, and put in a log-pump, with a handle that tired out everybody who used it before the pail was full. Finally some one choked up the pump with potatoes, and nobody could use it any longer.
Carter was then hired by the council to take out the old pump and put in a chain-pump, with an iron casing, which worked much better and easier, but one day the bottom fell out of the well, and no more water could be had.
Last summer the farmers from the surrounding country, with their families, and horses, and dogs, together with our own citizens and teamsters, were put to great inconvenience, and some distress, for want of a public drinking resort, where pure, cold water - nature's own beverage! - could be obtained. In consequence, private wells and houses were visited, and much unnecessary trouble ensued.
In view of these difficulties, a few of our public-spirited citizens, whose generosity has more than once been successfully appealed to in behalf of suffering humanity, met together and discussed the feasibility of procuring a public fountain for the village, and the cost of so useful an ornament to our Main street. Correspondence with proper parties at the metropolis adduced the fact that a good substantial street fountain, properly placed, with all the machinery necessary to supply it freely with water for six months, would cost $800. This information led a number of us to call this meeting for the purpose of debating the subject of the contemplated fountain, to decide by our votes whether we shall have it, or not, and to ask each and every one present to subscribe to a fund for its purchase.
I have gone over the ground of our past failures of wells and pumps, and have endeavored to explain the necessity that exists for speedy action. Several of our prominent business men have pledged themselves to pay one-half of the expense out of their own pockets, in order to encourage this laudable enterprise, and we have prepared subscription papers for the balance of the fund, which we cordially ask you to sign this evening. We are sure that the sum is so small - $400.00 - that a limited subscription from each will ensure the entire sum and give us a lasting and beautiful monument to your liberality. I see many here who, we are satisfied, will keenly appreciate this public improvement as a benefit to themselves and their households, and these undoubtedly will feel greatly disposed to help others to participate in its purchase. The papers will now be circulated.