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Full text of "A brief memorial of Philip Marett"

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I 



A BRIEF MEMORIAL 



OF 



PHILIP MAEETT 



READ BY 



SIMEON E. BALDWIN, 



HKKOKK THE 



New Haven Colony Historical Society, 



September 22d, 1890. 



NEW HAVEN: 

TUTTLE, MOREHOUSE A TAYl.OH, PRINTERS. 

18 9 0. 



n 



fc-V 




ef . nuJUieMr-^'Z) 



A BEIEF MEMORIAL 



OF 



PHILIP MAPvETT 



READ 1!Y 



SIMEON E. BALDWIN, 



liEFORE THE 



New Haven Colony Historical Society 



September 22cl, 18()0. 



NEW HAVEN : 

TUTTI.F. , MOREHOUSE & TAYLOR. PKINTERS. 
1890. 



PHILIP MARETT. 

\W Simeon E. Hai.dwin. 
[Read September 22d, 1890.] 

The great jrifts of I'liilip .Maivtt and hi.s I'.iinily to tlif tliarities of New Haven 
have made his name a familiar one, since liis deatli. l>iit coming here, as lie did, in 
advanced years, and with no connection with the active business of the place, there 
were few of our citizens who were familiarly ac<iuaiiited with him, and many to whom 
liis very j)resence among us was unknown. It was my good I'nitiinc to he admitted 
to his friendshiji, when I was a young man, and he an old one-, hut from our first 
meeting, his distinguished manner and gentle courtesy made a deep imj)ression u])on 
me, as they diil, I liclieve, n])on all who were thrown in his society. 

The Marett family, originally <if France, and prdhahly of Normandy, was settle<i 
iti Jersey, the largest of the " C'haniul islands," as early as the thirteenth century. It 
has three branches, known as those of St. Heller, La Ilaule, and .Vvranihi', in one of 
which the manor of La Haule, St. Aubin's, has descended for nearly three hundred 
years. The name was spelt Maret until the latter part of the seventeenth century. 

Peter Maret, born in 1641, the second "Seigneur of La Haule," had eight 
children, of whom the third, Philip Marett, born in 17ol, emigrated to New England, 
when a young man, and was married in Boston, August 12, 1736, by Rev. Dr. Sewall, 
the pastor of the Old South church, to Mary Ilichborn. The Ilichborns were a well 
known Boston family. Two of them were on the Committee of Correspondence raised 
liy the town in 177C to consult as to the movement for in<le))endence. A silver 
cream pitcher of graceful shajic, markecl with the initials of Mary Ilichborn, is still 
preserved, which was made by Apollos de Kivoire, after he had changed his name to 
Paul Revere. He was a native of Guernsey, another of the Channel Islands, and 
Philij* Marett and he came to Boston at about the same time. 

The former was a sea captain, and on April 21, 1759, "being })ound to sea," made 
his will, disjiosing, among other things, of his Iioiise " at the westerly ]iart of Boston," 
and of certain "real estate in Jersey." It is probable that in the fall of 1760 he 
died abroad, and in his native island, for a bill for some of the expenses of his 



funeral, has been kept among the papers of the family, which seems to have been 
rendered by a Jersey house. It indicates that the funeral took place from a church, 
and is sufficiently illustrative of the manners of the time to deserve a place here. 
It reads thus : 

"Dr. Mr. Philip Marett, for Funeral of his Father. Furnished per Ch. Robin. 

1760. 

Dec'"' 1". To 6i y" black Tamy @ 28/ f 9. 2 
To i y D". @ 36/ 

1 yi dyed Linnen @ 23/ 2. 

To 4i Binding @ 2/, 2 y"' @ 4/. 1 Lace 5/, Silk & thread 5/ 1.7 

To 2 Muslin @ 4 8. 

To 4 Black Cloth @ 10 for the pulpit 40. 

To 9 Black wool" Scarfs @ 8 72. 

To 9 Crape Hat bauds, 13* ells @ 32/ 21.23 

To 27 prs. white wool" Gloves @ 20/ for Bearers, &c. 27. 

To 4 prs Women's Do. @ 25/, 5 prs. black @ 27/ 11.15 

To 3 prs. Do. Kid Do. @ 30/ 4.10 

To 1 pr. Men's black wool" Do. ® 23/, 1 pr. Buckles @ 20/ 2. 3 

To 1 Black cloak 3. 

French Cury £202. 9 
Recu le montant aydessus 

Mag. D'auvergne." 

The French pound, or livre, originally and down to about the year A. D. 1100, 
representing a pound of pure silver, had been gradually lowered in weight and 
value, until at this period it represented V»ut about a seventy-eighth part of a pound, 
or say 18 cents of our money. This mercer's bill, therefore, came to about !?37.50 in 
our American currem^y. 

The will of Phili]) Marett was jjroved in Boston, Oct. 29, 1762. His wife and 
an only son, Philip Marett, survived him ; the latter having been born March 31st, 1737. 

From some of the letters that jiassed soon afterwards between young Philip ami 
his Jersey relatives, as well as from the bill of Mr. Robin, I infer that he accompanied 
his father on his last voyage, and revisited with him the old seat of the family. 

In 1766, Miss Esther Marett, the youngest daughter of Edward Marett, then the 
"seigneur of La Ilaule," writes her American cousin a lively account of a trip she 
had made to the main land, since she had seen him last. 

"In July, 1768, I went to St. Malo in France (with some gentlemen and lady^), 
and from thence to Rennes, the chief Town of the Province of liretagne : it is a very 
agreeable place, where there's fine buildings. They had a concert every week, lieing 



— 

invited, I went. Everything iIuTe was neat and decent, and great variety of musieiane, 
and the lady' well dresM, some ot 'em painted. 

In October 1704, I went to Guernsey with young ^I''' Le Cras, tliat lia<l business 
there. We stay'd about two nuinths. 'I'lie town gentry had a coneert and an assembly. 
I went to both, being desired to go. 'I'lie commerce is not so flourishing in G. as it was 
some time ago, Init great many of 'em have large fortune to live ujioii.'' 

Philip Marett, second, like his father, followed the sea, aiul before many years 
revisited Europe as the captain of a merchanlmaii, trading with Spain. After the 
Revolution, he |ilanned a voyage to Jersey, with a cargo of New England goods, but 
the commercial jjolicy of England towards her old colonies proved too unfavorable. 
In reply to a letter written in 1780 to his cousin Esther, she urges him warmly to 
come in person, if he cannot bring his vessel. 

" You give u]) all thoughts of seeing us, as the English have lay'd such heavy 
duty on all American ]iroduce, but tliey have not yet lay'il tax upon your Dear Body, 
& you can transport it where you please." 

The last letter from this faithful correspondent is written in 1792, during the 
disturbances attending the Frendi Revolution. 

" We smart in Jersey for the misfortunes of tlie time. God send us Peace. We 
lose a great deal by the unjust proceedings of our debtors, but they triumj)h over us, 
being countenanced to pay us not in wheat, as it is stipulated. Wheat is sold three £ or 
3£, 10, the cabotel, and we receive 41s., forty-three or four of our rentes, french money. 
Dear Sir, I cannot make a detail of our Jersey affairs, they are so numerous it it is 
such a confusion. It is a bottomless pit ; very much like our lu'ighbours : one thing 
quite different. The nobility of France is cast off, & in this Island some new gentry 
rise pvery day, and the Lawyers and liing-leaders reap a good harvest. It is an 
advantage to fish in troubled waters." 

C'a))t. Pliili]> ."\Iarctt manicd, in 1781, Elizabeth Cunningham of Boston, daughter 

of James and Elizabeth (Boylston) Cunningham. Their residence was at what was 

tlien No. 88 Newbury street, wliere he died July 31, 1799. The inventory of his estate 

amounted to about 84,000.* Paul Revere, the second, of Revolutionary memory, was 

one of the appraisers, and .several pieces of silver of his workmanship descended in the 

family. Capi Mnr.tt wa-; a parisliioner of Rev. Dr. Weljb, pastor of the llollis Street 

church. 

•Proliatc Records, SufTolk Co., Book 97, [i. ■ll!7. due of tlic articles of parlor furniture was 
a clock, appraised at $4n, which is not improbahlj- that now in tlie collections of this society, 
presenttid by the e.xecutors of Mrs. Ellen M, Gifford, 



y 



— 6 — 

He left a widow with two little cliil.lreii, a girl oi yfb, and boy of six. This lad, 
the Philip Marett who finally became a citizen of Ne^ Haven, was born Sept. 25th, 
1792, and early distinguished himself at tlie pul)lic spKools of Boston. 

Among the noteworthy bequests of Dr. Franklin was the following : 

"I was born in Boston, New England, and owe my first instructions in literature 
to the free grammar schools established there ; I therefore give one hundred pounds 
sterling to mV executors, to be by them, the survivors or survivor of them, paid over 
to the managers or directors of the free schools in my native town of Boston, to be 
by them, or those person or persons who shall have the sui)erintendenee an<l management 
of the said schools, put out to interest, and so continued at interest forever, which 
interest annually shall be laid out in silver medals, ami given as honorary rewards 
annually by the directors of the said free schools for the encouragement of scholarship 
in tlie said' schools, belonging to the said town, in such manner as at the discretion 
of the selectmen of the said town shall seem meet."* 

One of these medals Philip Marett won at the age of 12. It bears the following 

inscriptions : 

Adjudged (Reverse.) 

by the 
School Committee 

as a The gift of 

Reward of Merit 

to Franklin 

Philip Marett 
1804 

It was his mother's expectation at first, to fit him for Harvard College, with the 
view of his making tlie law liis ]iiotessi()u ; but circumstances prevented this, and he 
left school to enter into active business at an early age. When seventeen, he re-opened 
correspondence with his cousins in Jersey, announcing his sister's marriage, and inquiring 
in regard to the early history of the Marett family. A reply was received from 
Philip Marett, the fourth seigneur of La Haule, saying that by the deeds in his 
possession he could assure him that they were "sprung from an honest and very 
ancient parentage," which could be traced back for over two hundred years. A copy 
of the Marett coat of arms was also sent in this letter. This Philij) Marett died in 
1824, at the age of 82, leaving a son, Philip Marett, to iidierit the manor, between 

* 1 Franklin's Works, eil. 1834, p. 103. 



whom anil his American cousin of tlic same name friendly letters were occasionally 
exchanged for many years.* 

Durinff the war of isii witli (ireat Britain, a few weeks after the great naval 
duel between the ('tiu.stitiit/'itii and the (Titerriere, the former, bringing the ])risoners 
she had made, came into Boston iiarbor, where two otiicr of our men of war were also 
lying. Mr. Marett, tiieii nineteen years old, ]iaid tlie tlcct a visit, with a party of lailies. 
He wrote so spirited an account nf tlie iiuident, in a lettiM- to a frieinl, tliat I i|U()te it 
in full. 

" Boston, Tuesday, Sept. 8th, 1S]2. 

* * * Last Tuesday in comiiany of friends I went to sail in a packet to view our 
fleet in this liarbor. — On arriving below where the frigates I'res'l. and V. States were 
riding at anchor, I being accjuainted with one of the officers of the U. States went 
on board and procured an invitation for the ladies to visit that shij), and the barge 
was ex]iedited for our whole jiarty. I went throughout the vessel and was much 
distressed on going into tin- |)lace ap])ropriated for the lodgings of the crew, called 
the berth deck : there were 150 poor wretches in their hamnmcks laid up with the 
scurvy (a rottenness of the bones). They Avere so near each other that we had to 
move them in order to pass, and the ciricl was so un])leasant to tiic olfactory nerves, 
I was glad to beat a retreat. 

After we had been on board some tinii' the coniniaiidcr who had been absent 
returned, and invited us to his apartments. We put the ladies into his elegant little 
stateroom, ami the gent", sat with him in the cabin. Tiiis frigate is commanded by 
the renowned Decatur, who signalized himself in the Tri])o]itan war. He is about 30 
years of age, tall and slim, piercing black eyes and a very commanding countenaiu'c 
— lie conversed with us two hours, and is as elegant in his manners and deportment 
as he is brave in action. Me is a decided federalist, and a Philailelphiau, married to 
one of the first women in the United States. 

I was pleased with the magnanimity he displayed in sj)eaking of Cap. Dacres, 
commander of the frigate Guerriere, destroyed by the Constitution. Commodore 
Decatur said he considered Daeres a first rate officer, a man of great skill, and 
indisputable personal courage. " I think " continued lie " the residt of the engagement 
can be attributerl not to any want of ability or ])rowess in tlie Hritisii oHiccr, Iiut 
rather to the conleni]>t in which he helcl his enemy : as he liad been used to fighting 
Frenchmen, and hail no experience of iVmericans, he conceived we were like them."' 

\\"c sailed at II and returned at (i o'clock, highly gratilieil. Commodore Decatur 
is a man whose modest manners engage interest, and when to those were joined the 
cfinsideration of his tried firnniess and ciuirage he excites our liveliest admiration. 

I was singularly struck with the ai)])earance yesterday of Ca|>t. Dacres and Capt. 
IFiill: — tiiose persons who a few days since in the heat of battle were einleavoring 

•The late Sir \in\x-T\. I'i|ion Marett of \m Ilaule manor (wlio died in 1H84). married the 
daiiKhter of the last I'liilip M.-mH of La Jiaulc, who died in IHOO, two j'oars befon; his Now 
Haven couain. 



S — 



to take away the lives of each other, and would have exulted at success in their attempt, 
are now seen walkinir arm in arm as brothers ; it reminded me of a most elegant 
description of the battle of Talavera, by an English bard, when in the heat of fight the 
Frencli and Spaniards together met in a stream as friends, but after bathing rushed 
again to arms and fought more warmly for the suspension. 

Capt. Daeres is about 24 years old, small and not elegantly made; looks something 
like James Savage, Esquire. He is a very pleasant amusing man, full of life and 
anecdote, is jjossesscd of immense wealth, married to an elegant woman in England, 
and fights for anuisement and glory. He says this will be the last time he visits Boston in 
this war, unless to liatter it down, and means to enjoy himself now he is here. He is 
treated with great distinction and though he is very haughty, as a man attaining so 
high a rank in the British navy naturally would be, is a perfect gentleman. 

The pajiers ^vill give you a full account of the dinner on Saturday. The tickets 
were So ; one was offered me but it was inconvenient for me to attend. Decatur and 
Capt. Lawrence only dined with them ; Commodore Rogers was indisposed. 

When the Guerriere was fighting the Constitution, Daeres ordered his men to 
play Yankee Doodle by way of derision, and told his men to take care of the molasses 
in order to give the Yankees some black straj), (a drink composed of rum and molasses 
peculiar to X. England). He told his crew he would give them 20 minutes to take 
Capt. Hull, but the poor fellow in 20 minutes was taken himself. 

AVhen Daeres was in Halifax, he said he did not Ansh to fall in with less than two 
American frigates; then he might get some honour, but with one he could not get glory. 
Here he prophesied correctly. Admiral Sawyer told him: " Capt. Daeres, though you 
are a young man you deserve well of your country, you have fought well hitherto, but 
remember you are now to fight, not Frenchmen, but men of the same lilood as your- 
self." 

So much for all this, but I hope you'll pick some amusement out of it." * * * 

Mr. Marett was of a thoughtful disjiosition, fond of reading books of Md)stantiai 
merit, and wrote with force and facility from an early age. He had a way, not uiicom- 
iiiini among those born in the eighteenth century, of putting his thoughts upon any 
subject that interested him deeply upon paper. One of his manuscrijjts of this kind, 
dated in .ruly, 1813, when he was not quite twenty-one, begins thus : 

" \Yhen I hear a person e\[)ress a wish to look into futurity, I am surprise<l at his 
want of reflection and consideration. Not only should such wislies be suppressed as a 
dutv we owe to God to submit with alacrity to his arrangements, but because it is 
evidently for the happiness of man that the designs of his maker in respect to his 
personal condition should be inscrutable. In no instance is the wisdom of God more 
extensively and forcibly demonstrated than in keeping us in ignorance of the events 
which are to befall us. Were it not so, what stimulant should we have to entcrprize and 
exertion ; what inducement should we possess to urge us to activity in improvement ?" 



We do not need to be told that the young man whose reflections ran in this vein 
had been a close reader of the Spei-tafor, of Jo/uixoii, and of the stately moralists of 
the day. 

Soon after coming of age he was married to a beautiful girl of seventeen, Martha 
(Bird) Knap]), daugliter of .T(»sia]i and ^fary (Fairservice) Knapp of Boston. Her 
miniature by Tisdale, taken in 181:5, is similar in style to that of yii: Marctt by the 
same artist, taken jirobably the same year, w liieii is in the collections of this Society. 
To those of us who rccollc<-t her in her old age, the charm and loveliness of expression 
whii-h to ihi- last aniniateil her features, had the same sweetness and tender delicacy 
which, nia<li.' lu'r earl}' beauty so captivating in this speaking portrait. 

Mr. KnM|ip resided at the "South End" and owned a row of houses on Kneeland 
street, in one of which Mr. and Mrs. Marett passed their first years of married life. In 
another, lived Lemuel Shaw, who married the eldest daughter of Mr. Knapp, and was 
afterwards one of the great chief justices of ^lassachusetts. 

Mr. 3Iarett soon became extensively engaged in European connnerce, and in 1818, 
was apj)ointed the Vice-consul <>( I'cirtugal for Massachusetts and New Hampshire, 
a position which he retained f<jr twelve years, and which was soon made to cover also 
Maine and Rhode Island. Its duties jiut him often in charge of admiralty litigation, 
in which the rights of Portuguese subjects wtre involved, and the manner in which he 
conducted this business met with the warm approval of the government by which 
he was accredited. The most interesting, perhaps, of these causes was that of the 
Marianna Flora. 

In 1821, tlie U. S. schooner Allif/utor, Lieut. Stockton, commanding, was on a 
cruise against pirates and >lave-traders, and sighted in mid-nci'an a I'ortuguese mer- 
chantman, called the JJaria/inu Flora. The Alliyator steered towards her and was 
received by a cannon shot across the bows. The Unitc(l St.-itcs flag was then hoisted, 
liut the Marianna Flora continued tiring, under tln' a|pprehenNiiui, as it afterwards 
jirovfil, that the Alliijator was a pirate sailing under false colors. I, lent. Stockton, 
thinking that the I'ortuguese shi|i nni>t be of the same character, returned a bro.adside, 
at whicii the Muriaima l-'lura ran up liir n.itional flag, ami surrendered. Her p.apers 
were submitti-d for inspection, and >Meh apology as the case admitted of niade, but 
Lieut. Stockton, believing that she had a<'ted in a piratical way and insulted the 
authority of his goveninient, jiiit a prize-crew on l)r>aid, and f-enl her to Boston. 



— 10 — 

There sbe was libelled in admiralty, and Mr. Marett as Vice-consul for Portugal 
directed the management of tlie defence. The District Court held that the seizure 
was unjustifiable, and also sustained his claim in behalf of the owners for damages 
for breaking up the voyage, awarding them about $20,000. This was, of course, a 
very serious matter for Lieut. Stockton, against whom this decree was made, and he was 
driven almost beside himself by anxiety. Pie apijealed to the Circuit Court, and there 
upon new pleadings, the claim for damages was disallowed. Mr. Marett then appealed 
to the Supreme Court of the United States, where the owners of the Marianna Flora 
were I'eprescnted by his brother-in-law, John Knapp of Boston, (a graduate of Harvard 
of the class of 1800, whose 4*. li. I\. badge is among the collections of this Society) and 
Thomas Addis Emmet. Blake and Webster were the opposing counsel, and as the case 
was one of first impression, it was argued with great care, and after a full examination 
of the governing principles of international law. Judge Story pronounced the opinion 
of the court, and it is one of his ablest efforts. Stockton, he said, had been forced to act, 
on a sudden emergency, after an unprovoked attack on the flag of his country, for 
which but a poor excuse had been offered. No doubt the Marianna Flora was on 
a lawful voyage, and her owners were innocent of any wrong ; but their agent, the 
master, had deliberately fired on an American ship of war. It was an indignity to 
the nation, and Lieut. Stockton might well hesitate in assuming the arbitration of 
national wrongs. The case was one new to the courts, and of course new to him. It 
would be harsh now to hold him personally liable for heavy damages, because in 
exercising on the sea a discretion otticially entrusted to him, he had come to a result 
different from that reached after three trials in successive courts. In view of all the 
evidence, it was right to release the ship, because her captain had only committed an 
error of judgment, but that error was no good reason for giving his owners indemnity 
from its natural consequences, at the expense of a gallant officer of our navy who had no 
other end in view than to protect the honor of his country. The decree for damages was 
therefore set aside, and the owners left to settle their accounts with their own captain.* 

Mr. Marett's wide acquaintance with the course of foreign trade, coupled with sound 
judgment, gave his opinions great weight in Boston upon all questions of commercial 
intercourse, and he could express them with remarkable clearness and precision. 

*The Marianna Flora, 11 Wheaton's Reports, p. 1. 



— n — 

When the tariff bill of 1820 was peiKliiii;: in Congress, by which a considerable 
increase in protective duties was to l)e granted, and all manufactured goods were to be 
excluded from our ports unless coming direct from the country of their origin, Mr. 
Marett contributed, over the signature of " P." a vigorous attack ii]ion the l)ill, to the 
Boston Repertory, a newspaper tlu'ii conducted by Nathan Hale. I (juote a few jiassages 
from it, to show his terse and telling style of composition. 

'"Tliat it is desirable to merchants to be able to prosecute trade free fnuii all 
unnecessary restrictions, — to be allowed to i^xpoit whatever articles they clioose, ami in 
return to imjiort such commodities as will be most benelicial, no one will <leny ; and that 
to enjov such a ])rivilege is not considered unreasonable, is shown by the efforts made on 
tlie part of our goverinnent to induce Great Britain to open her colonial purts to our 
commerce. Hut while the executive and legislative branches of government are legislat- 
ing and negotiating to secure free trade and unrestricted connnerce, they are called upon 
by the Committee of Manufactures to enact a statute which will judduce greater endiar- 
rassment, and strike a more deadly blow at our commerce than could be effected by the 
navigation laws of all the nations of Kurojie together." * * * 

"It would be unjust to impeach the motives of the committee that rej>orted this bill, 
but the inference is irresistible that they consider their duty to be, not to con8i<ler the 
claims of all das.ses, but to advocate and uphold those of the manufacturers, — leaving 
adverse interests to be protected by their appropriate guarilians. In such a state of 
things it is a consolation to know that, although the interests of Jioston may not be 
pro]>erly appreciated by him to whose charge they are confided, we yet have from this 
State many devoted U> her service, an<l one at least who, though he may ilitTer from us in 
political sentiments, has a knowledge of the interests of coumierce, an<l who will not 
desert them." 

This bill passed the House, but was lost l)y one vote in the Senate. Tjie op])Osition 
to it in Massachusetts culminated in a public meeting, at which Webster, then a member 
of Congress, made one of his first speeches on the tariff question.* 

Mr. Marett was during this periotl of his life one of the lirm of Plympton, Marett 
<& Dorr. They conduc-ted an extensive comiuereial business, and with large liiiaiicial 
success. 

He took an active interest in the political movements of the day, and was the con- 
fidential associate of such leaders as Alexander II. Everett, Abbot Lawrence and Nathan 
Hale, in the Tariff and Bank agitation attending the administrati<fn of President Jackson. 
Mr. Marett was one of tlie "National Re])ublican " ])arty, in oppcpsition to the ailminis- 
tration, and became an active and influential Whig, when that ]iarly rose into existence 

• Tausig'H Tariff History, Ti, uote. 



— 12 — 

In 1835, he was elected President of the Common Council of the citj', and held the 
office by re-election for several siiccessiA'c terms. 

At the time of the great financial crisis of 1837, a convention of representatives of 
the principal Eastern Banks was called to consider the policy to he i)ursued, with refer- 
ence to the suspension of specie payments. 

Mr. Marett was then President of the New England Bank and took an active part 
in the meeting. His practical wisdom and decision of character produced a deep impres- 
sion on those to whom he had been unknown before, and he was said to have been the 
leading spirit in determining the action of the Convention. 

In 1838, he bought a lot on Summer street, near Washington, and put a handsome 
residence upon it, which he occupied during the rest of his life in Boston, and made the 
seat of a generous hospitality. It was opposite the spot occupied by Trinity Church 
until the great fire of 1872, and stood next to that of Dr. Jacob Bigelow, who purchased 
and built at the same time with Mr. Marett, and in concert with him. A brief note from 
Dr. Bigelow, M-hich was found among Mr. Marett's papers, indicates the relations in 
which they stood to each other, as well as the character of each. 

" Dear Sik : — As you are kind enough to insist on considering as a professional visit, 
what I had considered as merely a neighborly office, it is but fair that I should retain 
what may be considered a reasonable fee, and return you the balance. 

Very sincerely yours, Jacob Bigelow." 

The enclosure, no doubt, represented the sum by which Dr. Bigelow insisted that 
Mr. Marett had overestimated his services. 

Boston has always been famous for the number of its social organizations and i>ul)lic 
institutions of one kind and another. It has always also been famous for its dinner- 
parties, and it learned early that the two can be easily combined. The monthly meetings 
of the trustees of the Boston Library, of the wardens and vestry of King's Chapel, and of 
many similar bodies, took tlie shape of a friendly dinner <ir su])per together at the liouse 
of one of their number. The dinner-hour fifty years ago, was still not later than half 
past three or four, and evening parties also broke up by the tinu' when they now some- 
times begin. 



— 18 — 

Mr. ^farett was juiiiur wanleii of Kiinr's Clia]n'l, ami a ini-nuirainliiin nf mw of their 
Vfstry iiu'i'tinjjs at his housi', in .Taiiiiary, 1841, has hfoii jiresi-rvi'"!, whicli i,'ivi's a vivid 
|iicture of their soeial suiiper-talile. Hotli wardens and all the vestrymen were present, 
and also the rector of the ehnreh. The hill of fare coniiirised one ]iair of Mack diieks, 
one of tame dneks, one of bluehills, one of widijeons, one of red-lieails, half a dozen 
(|uails, a hushel of raw oysters, two dishes of mashed |Mitato, one of maearoni, celerv 
currant and cranln'rry jellies, custards, hlnnc )i>fi»i/<\ preserved apides, calves-foot jellv, 
preserved peaches, two sipiash pies, two of appli', two of coeoaniit, two of |)eacli, fancy 
cake, cheese-cake, cheese, olives, and preserved prunes, and two threepint pvramids of 
ice cream. Then "when the white cloth was removed," came in on a "hijrh ylass dish" 
apples, oranges, ])ears, and graj)es, flanked by dishes of walnuts and raisins. The table 
was also (it was before the days of Father Mattliew) well fortitied with decanters of 
sherry and .Madeira, a tlagon of hock, and one of claret, and four bottles of chanii)agne ; 
followed by coffee and cigars. 

Mrs. Marett was a hostess whose cliarm of manner none who enjoyed lier liosjiitali- 
ties could forget, ami their only child, Miss Ellen Martha Marett, afterwanls .Airs. Arthur 
N. GifFord, was a per.son of remarkable social attractions, coui>led with high intellectual 
j)ower. Her portrait l)y Alexander in the galleries of the Yale Art School re]>resents her 
as she looked at the age of seventeen, but is more successful in de]iicting the beautv of 
her features, than in .showing the animation of expression which gave them a peculiar 
interest to every observer. I'lider such auspices the spacious parlors of Mr. Marett's 
house on Summer street were a favorite center of social enjoyment, and we need not 
wonder tliat one of iiis old J>ostou friends, — an accomplished scholar ami historian, — 
wrote him long after his removal to New Haven, "I have never found a substitute for 
your home, since you left here." 

In the .summer of 1840 he took his wife and daughter on an extended western lour, 
partly for the benefit of hi-, own hc.illli, which had bi'coine somewlial impainil liy the 
liressure of accunnilatnig duties. His services were soULthi in various cpiarlers, outside 
of his regular business engagements, and I he many positions whieh he lilled as ch:iinnan 
of a .sciiooi coinniitfee, trustee of a libr.iry, wanlen of King's Chapel, and delegate to 
banking and ]iolitical conventions, contributed to we.ir upon his strength. 



— U — 

Mr. Marett was a gooil fi-ii'iKl. He had the art of conferring obligations, as if he 
were receiving tlieni ; or rather it wax with him, not art, hut nature. IIis disposition 
was kindly, and his good offices were seldom sought in vain, by any who had the 
slightest reason to ask them. 

In a gratet'ul lelter from tlie princijial of the Wintiiro]) School in IJoston, on occa- 
sion of iMr. ]Marett"s retiring fi'oui his official connection «illi the school-board in 1)S40, 
the writer says : 

"Your steady and vigilant care of its interests, those who are acquainted with the 
early history of the school must always gratefully remember. The institution an<l all its 
teachers owe much to you. As for myself I can never forget my obligation to you for 
your uniformly friendly and considerate regard for my welfare and success as teacher. 
* * * When I most needed the sympathy and sup]iort of those who were observing ray 
course, with the utmost good judgment and delicacy they were aiforded nie, and I shall 
never cease to remember them. T/wn I fdt my obligation to you: I endeavored in some 
measure to repay it, in silence, by renewed exertion on my part to be deserving of your 
approbation and confidence. Now I cannot but make this acknowledgment, poor as it 
may be, of your long continued friendshij) and kindness." 

A coujjle of years later, one of his friends went to Louisiana to accept a Professor- 
ship in a College, and found on iiis arrival that the main College building had just been 
burned down, and that tlu' students had scattered, and the means of the institution were 
sadly crip])led. lie wrote at once to Mr. Marett, describing his situation, and soon 
received a re|)ly, suggesting another opening in the North. In the letter thanking him 
for this suggestion, the writer says: "If the opportunity you intimate should occur, it 
will not l)e among the least grateful circumstances, that I shall be indebted for it to one, 
to whom kindness is so natural, and whose manner of conferring such obligations renders 
them of double value." 

One of those with whom he had l)een most intimate during his life in Boston wrote 
him in I.sr)s:, in acknowledgment of a kindly act of remembrance: "It is another of 
those acts of friendship and good will, which yon have so long and .so frecpiently shown 
me, and which although they cannot l)c repai<l, will never I)e forgotten." 

At the age of 5:? 3Ir. .'\Iarett withdrew from active business, with a handsome 
fortune. lie went abroad with his daughter in May, 184G. Railways at that time 
existed only over a few of the most traveled routes, and a large jiart of their trip was 
accomplished in the post-chaises, now almost forgotten. lu England, however from the 



— 1 5 — 

first, their railway trains, being coinposed of light cars, were run at rapid s]ietil, ami he 
notes* having traveleil from Loudon to York in Se]itenil>C'r, 1><4(>, 87 miles, in twu hours 
and a half, or at the rate of about :i5 miles an hour. 

At Paris, they spent a month. He read Freneh easily, aiiil aildeil to liis iilirary, 
while liierc, l)y tin; jiMrcliase of a number of laic and iiitiresting works, in that language, 
ni.iiidy of an historieal eliaraeter. 

Soon after his return to this eouiilry, uliiih was in October, IsIC, he removed to 
Brooklyn, and after spending .i few years tiiere and in New York, or in Iravcl in the 
South during the winter months, finally settled on New Haven as his plaee of residence. 
In 1852 he established himself in St. John's Plaee, fronting the Green, and here he sjienl 
the remainder of his life. The management of his rajiidly increasing fortune occu|)ied 
part of his time, and tin- rest was mainly spent in reading, and in the society of his wife 
and daughter, between wlioni and himself there always existed tlie tenderest and deejiest 
affection. He was also bound by tlie strongest attacliineni to his sister Mrs. IJaldwin of 
Boston. A letter which she wrote him when absent on a summer excursion a few yeans 
before her death, shows so fully their feelings to each other, that 1 venture to ipn^te 
from it. 

"To-day's mail brought us plenty of newsj)a|)ers, but they ilid not convey any 
intelligence of those near and dear friends wlio wind more closely rouml my heart eaeli 
succeeding year. First on the list is my lieloved brother, the idol, almost, of my child- 
hood, the companion of my youth, the friend and counselor of my mature age, and for 
whom I pray, as for my husband, that 1 may not survive. I hn|ie it is not selfish. I did 
not ask it, in the case of my beloved mother." 

She had her wish, dying in 1802, the same year with her husband, and seven years 
before her brother. Cliief-.Tustiec Shaw, who after he had passed his eightieth year had 
made a ])leasant visit to his kinsman's family at New Haven, ilied in IStil, and a list 
which .Mr. Marett kejJt of his old friends who had passed away since he left Boston, tells 
a pathetic story of his watch of a narrowing circle, as it closed about him. 

His life here was one of retirement, particularly after the marriage of his daughter 
to Mr. Arthur N. GifTord look her to New ^'ork in ls.">b. He lunl a small circle of 
warm friends in New Haven, ;inil his liou.se was always .an attractive one to them ; but 
his later years were spent much at his study-tiible among his books. He had a well- 
chosen library of towanls a thousand volumes furnisheil with the leading Kiiglish aiHJ 
American poets, novelists, and historians, and a number of the best biographies. 



— 16 — 

He continued, also, to tlie last to maintain his interest in the events of the day, and 
in its current literature. Occasionally he sent an article to the local newspapers. When 
a real or fancied case of hydrophobia induced the city authorities to authorize the killing 
of all dogs found on the sti'eets unmuzzled, he wrote in this way, quite an essay in their 
defence, urging the better example set by London where, he said, wandering dogs were 
taken in charge, and sold at auction, the proceeds going to a "Home for Lost and Starv- 
ing Dogs." It is not improbable that this was one of the causes which led his daughter, 
after his death, to endow the "Sheltering Home for Animals" in Boston, which bears 
her name, and also to leave by will a bequest for the foundation of a society in New 
Haven for the prevention of cruelty to animals. 

Mr. Marett had a large correspondence of a friendly nature, and his letters were of 
the kind one likes to get ; full of news, full of kindness, and full of the jiersonality of 
the writer, himself. " I feel," wrote one of his old Boston friends to him from Paris in 
1859, "that my letters are a very poor return for yours. You give me more information 
than all my other correspondents upon the topics that interest me the most." 

Mr. Marett had all the depth of feeling and justness of observation which go to 
make up a j)oetic nature, and with these qualities he had a facility at rhyming, which 
might have made a less sensible man fancy himself in truth a poet. He often amused 
himself in writing in verse to his immediate family, when away from home, and the 
birthday gifts which passed between him and his daughter were often, down to his last 
years, accompanied by notes in rhyme, expressing on each side (for she also was almost 
a poet), the tenderest affection with that grace and simple force which plain prose seems 
often unable to compass. 

He was of a thoughtful and meditative disposition, and religion was one of the chief 
subjects that engaged his attention, in advancing years. He was a Unitarian of the 
Channing school, deeply penetrated by a sense of the goodness of God ; the reverent 
child of a loving Father. " Thus thinking of Him," he wrote to his daughter a few years 
before his death, " with a heart overflowing with lively gratitude for all His blessings to 
me, I do not dread an approach to his immediate presence, confident that He will not 
judge nie by the inflexible principles of justice, but with an imlulgent view of my 
weakness, my temptations, and my inii)erfections." 

A private journal which he kept is full of reflections of a similar nature, and contains 
occasional entries of prayers, carefully elaborated in the style of a former generation, 
and breathing a spirit of tnist and perfect faith in the Divine goodness and mercy. 



In 1867, at the age of 74, he drew his own will, providing for the ultiMiate a])jjro- 
priation of about seven hundred thousand dollars for various )iul)lic and oliarilahle 
objects, a life interest being reserved to his wife and daughter. 

The estate was distributed in 1889, the New Haven Hospital receiving a tiftli, the 
city for its aged and intirni jioor, n<it ])anpers, a fifth, Yale College a fifth, each of our 
Orphan asylums a tenth, the city a teiitli to buy books for the Young Men's Institute or 
any free public lil)rary that niiglit from lime to lime exist here, and the State, a tenth, 
for the care or relief of imbecile or feeble-iuhided persons. 

This provision for a free, public library in Xew Haven, was the first ever made by 
any one, and its existence was relieil on >s one of their strongest arguments by those 
whose efforts induced the city government to establish our pi-esent i)ublic library a few 
years ago. 

His daughter, 3Irs. GifFord, wln^ died last fall,* left a fortune of over a million, 

* Mrs. Gifford died September 7th, 1S90. Her inarried lifi' was passed in New York, and lier 
later years at New Haven, with occasional winters spent in the south or ;ilin)a<i. Her health had 
become impaired before the family left Boston, and was never fully regained, severe neuralgic 
attacks often bringing her great sulleriug. For all who were in pain or sorrow, she felt deep 
sympathy, and was ready to express it both in deed and word. " Haud igiiara mali," she might 
well say, " miserus succitrrere dwco." Among her larger gifts during her lifetime, for objects of 
this character, were endowments of four free beds in perpetuity in as many liospilals, and the 
erection and maintenance of a si)acious home for lost and suffering animals in Boston. The 
Sla.ssachu.setts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, and the New York Society of a 
similar nature, both found in her a constant contributor, and occasional articles from her pen 
appeared in Our Ditiiih A)iimals, evincing her tender regard for the weakest of Cod's creatures. 
To feel that she was relieving suffering in others was her greatest enjoyment. 

Rev. George K. Ellis, L). D., a friend of her childhood, who conducted the services at lier 
funeral, at Mt. Auburn, spoke of her thus, to those assembled about the bier, in the little chai)el 
of the cemetery : 

"To some of us here gathered, there is a pathetic revival of burdened memories in the return 
of this mortal form, after a long removal, to its former associated scenes, to liud a resting-place 
with kindred dust. We recall her in the years of a happy and sunny youth, an only child, 
tenderly nurtured in a privileged home of favored intinuicies. 

" The home of the fond parents have passed into the shadows. We have followed her in 
maturer and lengthened years, still keeping the heart of childhood with living alfcctions, as 
those endeared by them, one by one. left her to solitude. 

"These later years have for the most part found lier witlnlrawn and secluded. The varied 
discipline of invalidism and l)ereavement was chastening and depressing, but not uncheered. 
Her letters of conlidi-nce reveal her trials and her pea<'e. 

" She had a gentle spirit, with all tender feelings and keenly sensitive sympathies. She had 
tears for other's woes, and patience for her own. I?y submission, trust, ami ii w.-iiting faith. 



— IS— 

which went also mainly in charity, the New Haven Hospital receiving of this in all over 

$300,000. 

there had been wrought in her that most deep and blessed of inward experiences, defined in the 
sacred Scriptures as 'Reconciliation to the Divine Will.'" 

Under the provisions of her will, in addition to considerable legacies to relatives and friends, 
and other gifts to private individuals of a charitable nature, the following amoimts have been 
bestowed on public institutions : 

The Ellen M. Gifford Sheltering Home Corporation of Boston, |85.390.00 

The General Hospital Society of Connecticut, or " Ellen M. Gifford's Home 

for Incurables," and connecting Chapel, 337,898.00 

The New Haven Dispensary, - .5,000.00 

The American Humane Society, 50,000.00 

The Massachussetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals 55,000.00 

The Connecticut Prison Association - 5,000.00 

The New Haven Society for the Prevention of Craelty to Animals _ _ 5,000.00 

The Massachusetts General Hospital Society. 15,000.00 

The Boston Port and Seamen's Aid Society - - 5,000.00 

The Massachusetts Society for aiding Discharged Convicts 5,000.00 

The New York Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children 5,000.00 

The Society for the Relief of the Destitute Blind in the City of New York. 5,000.00 

The New York Colored Home and Hospital 5,000.00 

Tlie Washington Humane Society... 5,000.00 

The New Hampshire Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals 5.000.00 

The Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children 5,000.00 

The Perkins Institution for the Blind. 1.5,000.00 

The Children's Island Sanitarium, Boston - 5,000.00 

The West End Nursery, Boston - 5,000.00 

The Woman's Charity Club, Bo.ston 30,000.00 

The New England Ho.spital for Women and Children, Boston, 10,000.00 

The Sunny Bank Home, Watertown 5,000.00 

The Widow's Society, Boston 30,000.00 

The Lying-in Hospital. Boston .. . 5,300.00 

The Associated Charities, Boston. 5,300.00 

The Adirondack Cottage Sanitarium. Saranac Lake, N. Y 10,600.00 

The Retreat for the Sick, Richmond, Va 30,000.00 

The North End Diet Kitchen, Boston... 3,000.00 

The American Seamen's Friend Society, New York 10,000.00 

The Home for Aged Colored Women, Boston 5,000.00 

The Convalescents' Home, Boston 2,000.00 

The Home for Children and Aged Women, Roxbury 1,000.00 

The Retreat for the Sick, Petersburg, Va. 5,000.00 

The Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary, Boston 5,000.00 

The Home for Aged Couples, Boston 5,000.00 

Total.. - $785,108.00 



— 19 — 

A clause in her (autographic) will shows so touchinijly the closeness of tlie ties that 
bound father and daughter together that I give it in full. 

"As my father (the late Philij) Marett of New Haven, C'onn't) ami I weru niic in 
heart and interest, and he betjneathed a large sum for tiie sujiport of free beds in the 
hospital at New Haven, I desire after deatli that we may be, as it were, associated in one 
cause at last. He left one-tifth of his residuary estate to the (General Hospital Society of 
Connecticut, in trust, the iiu'ome to be ap]>lied to the sup])oi't of Free Heds for the benelit 
of poor ]>atieiits in that Institution, giving preference to the Incurably affected, if such 
were admissible. 

" Feeling a great syni))athy for Incurables and a desire his wishes shall be carried 
out, I therefore give to said Society Fifty Thousand (.")(), ooo) Dollars, a portion to be 
used as far as necessary, for the erection of a separate Iniilding on the Hospital grounds, 
corresponding in appearance to the liuildings of late years erected, an<l with all necessary 
comforts for such Invalids. 

" This building, to be known as ' Ellen M. GifFonl's Home for luctirables,^ must be 
large enough to accommodate at least Thirty (30) ]iatients, and any residue not thus 
used, to be kept as a separate fund, as ' Ellen IM. Gilford's Fund,' and said Society to 
apply the income of 30 or 40 Thousand Dollars of what it may receive under my Father's 
will for the support of poor, indigent. Incurables, occu]>ying the sai<l 'Home' or else- 
where in the Hospital, if said Home is full — this not to interfere with the endowment 
from his Will of some Free Beds for the jioor in the (Tcneral Ilosjiital, not Incuraliles. I 
further direct that the said 'Ellen M. Gilford's Home' shall be opened to all poor and 
deserving Incurable patients without distinction of race, relhjioii, or color ; but to secure 
harmony in view of any ])ossible prejudices, I <lirect that a separate ward or room be set 
ajtart for colored patients. If the fun<ls sliouhl not be sutlicient to establish what I 
desire, a further sum of Fortj' (40 Thousand) may be added for t/eiieral fund for the 
Incura/iles." 

Mr. Alarett <lied in New Haven, .March 22d, 1860. His widow followed him in 1878, 
and his daughter in 1889. 

The Marett name in America, in the line of descent from Philip Alarett of Jersej", is 
extinct, but a monument more perennial than bronze will ]>reserve their memory, as long 
as there are ))Oor and sick to be relieved, as long as Colleges and libraries endure, as 
long as Christian charity is dear to human hearts. 



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