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Xic arac sunt, hie foci, hie dii penates. 

Cic. pro JOomo 9Um. 



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the Inhabitants of 


these pages 

are respectfully inscribed 

by their grateful fellow citizen, 

C. Gushing. 


THE author of the ensuing account was led to project the compllatioii 
•fit several years ago, by perusing, in the Town Records of Newbury = 
port, many facts and documents, which seemed to pessess permanent 
historical value. Other pursuits distracted him from the work at the 
time ; and he is compelled to plead them now, in extenuation of its una- 
voidable imperfections. 

The history of a single town must, of necessity, consist chiefly of local 
incidents, and information of limited range. But however narrow the 
scope of such a work, it ought, being wholly domestic in its nature, to 
•ontain matters of interest to 0Mrsf/T>e5 at least: and the author expects 
nothing more from the result of his labor.— And in reference to this 
p6int, he would repeat the remarks, which he formerly made in an- 
nouncing his design.* 

The causes of the wealth and grandeur of nations are always consider- 
ed with curiosity, both on account of their intrinsic importance, and o 
the splendid scenes, by which they are accompanied. The pomp of war 
and triumph, the deeds of distinguished patriots, a thousand diversified 
eyents,impart dignity and interest to the fate of a mighty people. But 
the history of small and subordinate communities is less attractive, be- 
cause the circumstances, which it commemorates, are not in their nature 
80 g^and or various, nor socapabl<- of awakeuing admiration. Hence we 
seldom feel so lively a desire to know the particular events, which ele- 
Tate or depress towns, as we do to stud V the political state of nations. 
Nay, we sometimes go farther, and neglect what is near, for the sake 
of what is remote ; and leave the concerns of the place in which we 
dwell, to inquire into those with which we have no connexion ; and are 
more anxious to hear of the h^^ppiuess of foreigners, than to become ae- 
quainted with what may promote our own immediate prosperity. 

It is apparent that, in pursuing such a course, we do ourselves injus- 
tice. Towns are nothing but elements of nations, and whatever affects 
the latter affeeta the former in the same degree. Besides, the prosper- 
ous situation of all the lesser divisioas of a state is essential to the true 
greatness of the state itself, and therefore, in examining the character 
of towns, we become insensibly led upwards to that of nations. And the 
several things, wliicii t'.-nd to promote the well-being of petty communi- 
ties, are the same in nature, although not in extent, with those, which 
give wealth to the most opulent empires. Commercial and manufaC' 

* Newburyport Herald, January Z. J8?2. 


taring industry, and sage laws, are as beneficial to towns as to whole 
countries ; and in both, the ravaj^es of war, the force of luxury, corrup- 
tion, and proluseness aie alike deiriruenta!. 

It should be considered, likewise, that the prosperity of a town, in 
which we live, is ultimately connected with our happiness and pecuniary 
advancement. If tlie expenses of that to tvn are large and its aSairs in a 
bad situation, we directly feel the pressure of those circumstances in oui' 
Own persons. \nd, on the contrary, if its municipal concerns are in M 
good condition, ours will be the advantage of it. Our private interest 
is also deeply concerned in the price of lands, and the profitableness of 
labor, in the place of our abode: because, in pi'oportioa as they rise or 
fall, must the value of oui' own property be exalted or depreciated.— 
And if the industry of our town is flourishing, its population increasing, 
its expenditures few and light, and the demand for land or buildings con* 
stant, we ourselves are instantly and permanently benefited. 

And certainly if there was nothing curious in the facts themselves, 
and nothing which affected our personal inter^-st, we should nevertheless 
hsve a desire to know tlie situation of the place in which we were born, 
or have been educated, or live. VVe must experience a pleasure in find- 
ing it prosper, and pain in perceiving it decline. We musi feel «n at- 
tachment to what is more emphatically our native land. Whatever 
interest we may take in a country for the reason that it is our country 
ought to work with greater strength, in attaclung us to the home, where 
we have enjoyed the pleasures of domestic life and of social endearment. 

Bi'sides, in many countries, and no where more remarkably than 
here, the history of towns is a very important part of the hisiorv of the 
nation, By towns, in their corporate capacity, were many of the most 
heroic resolutions adopted, and many of the most daring enterprises un- 
dertaken, which signalized our revolutionary struggle. These things 
can best be preserved from oblivion by the humble efforts of individuals 
in the different towns, who will and can bestow their attention upon sub- 
jects so simple and unpretending. 

Such are the considerations, which have induced to this publication. 
In issuing it from the press, the author would thus publicly declare his 
obligations, and offer his sincere thanks, to many persons, who have 
kindly furnished him with various facts, and without whose aid he could 
not have accomplished his purpose. 

Most of the statements in the work are copied from manuscript re- 
cords of the town, of the several parishes, and of various corporation* 
and societies. Many things were obtained from verbal iniformation, for 
which no written or printed document coild be cited. And th':- reader 
will understand that, wliere no public authority for any fact is adduced. 
It was derived etiher frora jnaEuscripts, or from communicatioa with 



The author cannot flatter himself that he has given a complete ae. 
oountof the town, its business, or its associations. Some of thes-», snch 
as the fire-clubs and engine societies, he found it nece^)Sary to ora it en- 
tirely; and oihers he is co>iScious may he imperfectly described. Bat 
the nature of the subject, requiring the collectian of so many and such 
various scattered particulars, will, it is hoped, be received in part for 
Lis apoiogj , shou[<] any essential oraissioRS be discovered. 

During the progress of the work through the press, the author has 
been gi^aiified to learn that persons in other parts 'if the county have 
turned their attention to the subject of town-histoi ies, and that materials 
are fast collf'ctingfoi- a complet" history of the aocier-f and respectable 
county of Essex. The Kssex Historical Societj is capable of accom- 
plishing ranch good inr^-ference to such an object. 

With these jirefatory observritious, he submits to his fellon'-eitiZLUsa 
plain, unadorned narrafion of the lortuoes *:f their town : — for whi'.-h he 
bas adopted the most eeoi.omicai form of publication, in order to pUQC 
h within the reach of all, who take interest in the subject. 

NswBURYPORT, September 15, 1826, 



Ciril History, * 

Topography, ..---- 32 

Bexievoleut Associations, - - - - 39 

Religious Societies, ----- 44 

Masonic Bodies, . - _ - - 60 

Education, ------ 62 

Literary Associations, - - - . 69 

Militia, 72 

Statistics, ^ - - - - - 75 

Distinguished Inhabitants, - - - - 95 

Concluding Remarks, - - - - 109 


J|[ HE town of Nevvburyport is distinguished 
for the beauty of its appenrance, and the regular- 
ity with which it is laid out, on the gentle slope of the 
banks of the Merrimac. Commanding a great extent 
of fertile country by means of that river, it rapidly 
grew up into wealth and rank in the flourishing peri- 
od of our commercial prosperity, no less remarkable 
for the pious and industrious habits of its citizens, than 
for its healthful and commodious situation. Although 
its harbor was seriously injured by the sand-bar at the 
mouth of the river, yet the spirit and enterprise of its 
merchants seemed to compensate for this evil, so that 
its wharves were crowded with shipping, and its store- 
bouses filled with the merchandise of every quarter of 
the world. The numerous forests of timber, ihrough 
which the river flowed, made ship-building a never 
failing source of riches to the town, and a profitable art 
for its inhabitants to exercise. 

As a sea-port, every thing connected with navigation, 
and ail the numberless employments wiiich commerce 
creates, were carried to great perfection in it, and tend- 
ed to give it increasing importance. But there was 
one species of trade, for which the town was especially 
fitted, namely, intercourse with the French West India 
Islands. This intercourse was constant and profitable, 
and not only furnished a market for the produce of the 
country, but opened several other kinds of business, 
6uch as that of distilling rum, and of a carrying trade 
for English manufactures. 

All thft»e circumstances so much enlarged the popu- 
lation of the place where the town i* now situated, that, 
in the year 17G4, it was separated from Newbury, of 
which it then formed a part, and incorporated by the 
■liauae of Newburypout. 1e the troublesome peiiod 

ivhich en^u(?<], the people pi" the town signalized their 
jiatrioti^m and love of indi^pendence by consenting to 
the non-importaiion agreement, declaring their abhor- 
rence of the stamp-act, and other arbitrary measures 
of the ministry^ preparing the means of oefeoce and 
warfare, resolving to support t?)e declaration of inde- 
pendence with their lives and fortunes, and nobly keep- 
ing this resolution inviolate. Few parts of the coun- 
try voluntarily sacriliced more in proportion for the 
sake of freedom than did Newbufyport. in submittinor 
to have its staple business of ship-building broken up, 
incurring large debts for the defence of the harbor, 
iveakening its population for the supply of the conti- 
nental armies, and undergoing many other privations 
and embarrassments attendaat on a state of protracted 
warfare. The citizens gained a little, and but a little, 
by privateering: and in other respects, the town stood 
almost still during the war and until the peace restor* 
ed its commercial advantnges. 

The records of the town contain many documents, 
which throw light on the sentiments and exertions of 
its inhabitants during the eventful period ot the Revo- 
lution. The existence of Newburyport, as a distinct 
corporation, was but just commenced, when the fiisputes 
between the metropolis and her colonies had reached 
fuch a height, as to threaten a speedy issue in open 
Tiolence ; and althouji^h the colonists misiht not. in 1764, 
have anticipated that they should be independent be- 
fore the expiration of teu short years, 3'^et observing 
and discerning men must have perceived that this e- 
vent was every da}' becoming more and more proba- 
ble, because both England and America were assuming: 
too high a ground to admit of a peaceful continuance 
9i their old relations. 

Among the oldest papers preserved in the town 
records is a copy of the instructions given to Dudley 
AtkyfJS, ancestor of one of the most respected families 
in Newbury, and the representative of Newburyport 
in tjje General Court of the Province. These instruc- 
tioaa, v.irich were voted at a town-meeting holden Oc- 
tober 21st 1765, plainly show the state of public feel.- at the ti:ne, and lio^v early the spirit of resistance 

was fostered in the bosom of every little municipal cor- 
poration. A few weeks before, on occasion of the pas- 
sing of the ever memorable stamp-act, it had been vot- 

'• That the late act of parliament called the starap" 
act is very grievou- ; and that this town, as much as in 
them lies, \vi;i endeavor the repeal of the same in all 
lawful ways : 

''Thiit it is the desire of the town that no man in itr 
will accept of the office of distributing the stampt pa- 
pers, as he regards the displeasure of tlie town; and 
that they will deem the person accepting of such office 
an enemy of his country." 

The instructions above alluded to fully explain the 
design of these votes, and tlie views by which the in- 
habitants were actuated. After advertincj to the riorht 
ol the people to instruct their representatives, and re- 
marking upon the liberality of the English constitution, 
the instructions proceed : 

"We have the most loyal sentiments of oar gracious 
king, and his illustrious tamily ; wo have the highest 
reverence and esteem for that most august body, the 
Parliament of Great Britain ; and we have an ardent 
affection for our brethren at home ; we have always 
regarded their interests as our own, and esteemed our 
0wn prosperity as necessarily united with theirs. 
Hence it is that we have the greatest concern at some 
measures adopted by the late ministry, and some iat^ 
acts of parliament, which we apprehend in their ten- 
dency ^vi!l deprive us of some of our essential and high- 
prized liberties. The stamp-act, in a peculiar manner, 
we esteem a grievance, as by it we are subjected to <i 
heavy tax, to which are annexed very severe penal- 
ties ; and the recovery of forfeitures, incurred by the 
breach of it, is in a manner, which the English consti- 
tution abhors, that is, without a trial by jury, and in a 
court of admiralty. That a people should be taxed at 
the will of another, whetlier of one maa or many, with- 
out their own consent, in person or by representative^^ 
is rank slavery. 


^^That these measures are contrary to the constitu- 

tlonal riirl^tofBrUonj^ cannot be denied ; and that the 
British hihabitanls of America are not in every respect 
entitled to the privileges of Briton?, even the patrons 
ofihe most arbitrary measures have never yet advanced. 

I- We have been full and explicit on this head, as it 
ijeems to be the tundamental point in debate ; but 
the tax in itself ever so constitutional, we cannot think 
hut at this time it would be very grievous and burden- 

t' Tlie embarrassments on our trade are great, and the 
scarcity of cash arising therefrom is such, that by the 
execution of ihe stamp-act, we should be drained in a 
very little time of that medium: llie consequence of 
Avhich is, that our commerce must stagnate, and our 
laborers starve. 

" These, sir, are our sentiments on this occasion ; 

nor can we think that the distresses we have painted 

are the creatures of our own imagination. 

if. ^ ^ ^ * * 

^t We therefore the freeholders and other inhabitants 
of this town, being legally assembled, take this oppor- 
tunity to declare our just expectations from you, which 

" That you will, to the utmost of your ability, use 
your intluence in the General Assembly that the rights 
and privileges of this Province may be preserved invi- 
olate ; and that the sacred deposit, we have received 
from our ancestors, m ly be handed down, without in- 
fringement, to our posterity oi the latest generations: 

"That you endeavor that all measures, consistent 
with our loyalty to the best of kings, may be taken to 
prevent the execution of the above grievous innova- 
tions; and that the repeal of the stamp-act may be ob- 
tained by a most dutiful, and at the same time most 
spirited, remsmst ranee against it. 

" That you do not consent to any new or unprece- 
deiiled grants, but endeavor that the greatest frugality 
aad economv may take place in the distribution ot the 
public monies, remembering the great expense the 
war has involved us in, and t!ic debt incurred thereby, 
which remains undischarged. 

»' That you will consult and promote such measure?. 


as may be nece??ary, in this difficult time, to prevent 
the course of justice from being stayed, and the com- 
merce of'the Province standing- still : 

" That if occasion shall offer, you bear testimony in 
behalf of this tov^n against all seditions and mobbish in- 
surrections, and express our abhorrence of all breach- 
es of the peace; and that you will readily concur in 
sny constitutional measures, that may be necessary to 
secure the public tranquiifity." 

It appears that the town participated as a corpora- 
tion in the universal rejoicings which followed the re- 
peal of the stamp act. And although the confidence of 
the country in the metropolis could not be fully restor- 
ed ; yet the following document shows that it was not 
quite extinguished. It is in answer to a circular from 
Boston, proposing a non-importation agreen^.ent, — which 
Feemed to the town a little premature. The paper is 
from the pen of John Lowell, and was adopted at a meet- 
ing holden March 10th, 1768. 

" The committee, &,c. beg leave to report, that they 
are of opinion that the subjects therein contained de- 
serve the most serious attention of this town in partic- 
ular, as well as of ihe public in general. 

'• This town has been in a great measure supported for 
many years past by the building of ships, which have 
been purchased mostly by the inhabitants, and ibr the 
yse of Great Britain. The manner in which we have 
been paid for our shins has been mainly by Britirh man- 
ufactures. So that the importation and purchase of 
these, and onr sta|.lc business, if we may so express it, 
have been almost inseparably united. 

" It is with the greatest difficulty, that a number of 
people, who have for the m.o.-t part of their lives been 
used to a ; articular employment, can suddenly strike 
into a new channel, and carry on a business to which 
they have always been strangers. 

'* Mence, though we highly respect the town of Bos"- 
ton for its zealous attachment to the liberties of the 
country, and are ready to assist them in all measures to 
which prudence may direct, we cannot think it can con- 
sist with ihe prudence and policy of this town to join in 
their particular resoiutions re-peciing the impurtiUioa 

A 2 

antl purchase of the enumerated aillcles Oi^ British man-, 

*' An J not only from thi- principle, but from one les* 
selfish, we cannot wish thai the frequent and mutual in- 
tercourse which has hitherto subsisted between Great 
IJriiain and us should abate, Tis but of late date that 
we regarded Great Britain with all the respectful af-» 
iection of a child to its parent ; and though, by soma 
late measures, which we conceive to be highly mis- 
judged, there seems to have arisen a cloud, which ob- 
scures the true interests of the nation from the eyes of 
those at helm, we cannot but expect, as well as impa- 
tiently desire, that it will be soon removed, and a mu- 
tual contidence be established on the firmest foundation. 

" In the mean time, as jealousy, in a constitution like 
the British, is the great preserving principle, we think 
it necessa<ry to be watchful against any encroachments 
on our rigrhts as Enoflishnien or freemen, and to be uni- 
formly and resolutely determined thai tliese shall not be 
infringed, while our fortunes, or even our lives, con- 

Happily for us the British ministry persisted in their 
JBlatuaiedcourse of impolicy and injustice, in consequence 
whereof, in the autumn of the same year (1768) the 
merchants in the Province entered into the famous non- 
importation agreement, by which they became mutually 
bound not to import, nor to purchase if imported, any 
British goods before January, 1776, or until the reve- 
nue laws were repealed by Parliament. At a meeting- 
September 4th, 1769, th« town approved of this agree- 
ment, voted to further and maintain the same, and ta 
consider any person who should evade it an enemy of 
his country.^ and chose a committee to carry it into ex, 
ecution. At another meeting in the same month it was 
voted to return thanks to the merchants and others of 
Boston for their patriotic and noble spirit in their a- 
o-reement respecting the non-importation of goods trona 
Great Britain. The next March also it was voted by 
the town not to buy or use any foreign lea. And in the A- 
pril follow ing (Apl. 3, 1770,) a town-meeting was called,' 
in consequence of some suspicion that a wagon-load of tea 
had been brought into town, when the vote of March was* 

repeated and a committee of ten wns appointed to watclr. 
over its enforcement. At the same meeting, a <^eries' 
of resolui ions were passed, which stated that this com-- 
mittee was chosen for the reason assigned ; and that un- 
less the traders, violating' the agreement, should deliver 
up their gt)ods to be kept until the agreement was an-- 
nulled, and promise to abide by it in future, the com- 
mittee were to publish their names as-*' enemies of* 
their country,'' and lay the whole before the town. 
The merchants had agreed to permit goods to be takeov 
in exchange for ships; but as it was feared that thi3 
privilege had. been abusively made a cover for other 
transactions^ the committee was instructed to prevent 
such abuses, and to treat the guilty as importers. And 
as the town thought it necessary to refrain entirely from 
the use of foreign teas, the committee was directed to 
prepare a paper for those to sigo, who consented to re- 
frain, and to lay before the town the names of the re- 
cusants, as well as those who entered into but violated. 
the agreement. 

At a town meeting, January 1st, 1773, it was. 

"Voted, thatcapt. Jonathan Greenleaf, our represen-* 
tative, be acquainted that it is the desire and expecta- 
tion of this town, that he will persevere witii steadiness 
and resolution in conjunction with his brethren in the 
honorable House of Representatives, to use his utmost 
endeavors to procure a full and complete redress of all 
our public grievances ; and to do every thing in his 
power in order that the present and succeeding gener^* 
ations may have the full enjoyment of those privileges 
and advantages, which naturally and necessarily result 
from our glorious constitution. This we esteem a mat-* 
ter of the highest concernment,- and we recommend it. 
to him, to join with his brethren in the honorable House,, 
at the approaching session, if they shall think it proper, 
to lay before lord Dartmouth, one of his majesty's 
secretaries of state, in a decent, respectful address, a 
full state of of our public grievances, and to intreat 
his lordship's favor and influence inbehalf of an injured 
and oppressed people." — . 

In the course of this year, it appears that the corres*. 
pondencc of the several towns began to grow more. 

and more clo90, a> the impending danger increased ; nncf 
meetings were holden repeatedly i'ov the purpose of 
coiuiraiiijg and strengthening the strict union,, which all 
now saw to be necessary. The following letter to the 
Boston Committee of Correspondence, adopted at a tovvn 
meeting held DecciTibcr 20th, i775, speaks in the tone 
of boldness and detiance, which was speedily followed 
by an appeal to arms. 

" It is with astonisiiment that we reflect on the unre- 
mitted efforts of the British mini-try and Parliament to 
iasten inlam}' and ruin upon these Colonies. They not 
only claim a right to control and tax us at their pleasure, 
but are practising ^,very species of Iraud, as well as vi- 
olence, their deluded minds can suppose feasible, to 
support and establish this absurd and injurious claim. A 
fresh instance we have in the plan lately adopted for 
supplying the Colonies with tea. If the money thus un- 
constitutionaiiy taken Irom us, was to be expended for 
cur real benefit and advantage, still it would be griev- 
ous ; as the method of obtaining it is of a dangerous na- 
ture and fatal tende^c3^ But we lose all patience when 
we con«iider that the industrious x\mericans are to he 
stript oi their honest earnings to gratify the humors of 
lawless and ambitious men, and to support in idleness 
and luxury a parcel of worthless parasites, their crea- 
tures and tools, who are swarming thick upon us, and 
are already become a notorious burden to the commu- 
nity. We are sorry that any, who call themselves A- 
mericans, are hardy enough to justify such unrighteous 
proceedings; they surely deserve the utmost contempt 
and indisfnation of all honest men throughout the world : 
ibr our part, we shall en leaver to treat them according 
to their deserts. By the public prints we are favored 
with the sentiments of several respectable towns in the 
Province, expressed in a number of manly, sensible, and 
spirited resolves, with respect to the evils immediate- 
ly betbre us. We are under great obligations to our 
worthy friends and brethren, wlio have nobly stood 
forth in thi« important cause : we assure them, that, 
should they need our assistance on any emergency, we 
determine most readily to exert our utm«)St abilities in 
every maaly and laudable way our wisdom may dictate 

for the salvation of cur country, even at the hazard of 
our lives ; and trusting through the favor oT a liind 
providence we shall be able to frustrate ail the designs 
of our enemies." 

When the Provincial Congress assembled at Phila- 
delphia in 1774, the town made the following repre- 
sentation of its circumstances and wishes. It was voted 

'• That this town confiding entirely in the wisdom and 
firmness of the general Congress of deputies from the 
several Colonies in America, which is to meet in Sept. 
next at Philadelphia, is determined and now resolves to 
abide by, and to the utmost of their power fully comply 
with, the Qnal determination of said Congress, let the 
sacrince be ever so great. 

" That although this town, by their vote the afore- 
said day, is willing to stop all trade lor the sake of ob- 
taining more speedy and effectual relief, notwithstand- 
ing, as it may seem, more expedient to the Congress, 
that some trades and branches of commerce may be en- 
tirely stopped, and others permitted ; or that certain ex- 
ceptions or non-importation agreements may be m.ade, 
which all the provinces should equally or proportion- 
ally partake of; unless an immediate prejudice to the 
common cause is the consequence, this town would de- 
sire the favor of the delegates chosen I'V this Province 
to attend the Congress ; that our trade and commerce 
may be preserved in the same slate and with the same 
iadulgencies as that of the olher provinces. And the 
town would beg leave to acquaint them, that tlie 
chief branches of its business are importations from 
Great-Britain, a large trails to the French Vv'est-ln- 
dia Islands; distilleries, whi';:h are numerous ; and ship- 
building ; and if any exceptions are made in the im- 
portations into this Province, or any particular towns 
thereof, that this town may have the same indulgencies.*' 

But however anxious the inhabitants of the town 
might be to jireserve their commerce frcm comj)lete an- 
nihilation, it is manliest that their love of liberty was the 
paramount motive, which influenced their actions. The 
following instructions, given to Jonalnan Greenleuf, the 
representative of the town in the General Court of 
1774, exhibit a spirit which cannot be mistaken. 


"The town of Ncwburyport have ag-ain chosen yon 
for their representaiive in the General Assembly, and 
ihougi) they apprehend your opportunity of acting in 
that capacity may be very short, they do however je- 
po.«e in you an important trust. 

••'Since the dissolution of the late General Assembly' 
great and surprising innovations have been attempted' 
to be made in the consiitution of this Province. The 
bills, that have passed the British Parliament, for their 
better regulating, as they absurdly express it, the civiT 
government, and for the impartial administration of 
justice among us, are of such a nature as to alarm, not' 
only the inhabitants ofthis Province, but all the British' 
American Colonies. We should come short of our duty,' 
if on this occasion we failed to express our utter abhoi- 
rence at the principles, on which those bills have been 
constructed, as well as the tenor of them, and the mode' 
in which they are attempted to be carried into execu- 
tion. If the Parliament of Great Britain have a right- 
ful authority to make these statutes, it is evident that 
we hold our estates, our liberties, and even our lives at" 
their arbitrary will and pleasure ; than which nothinij 
can be more absurd and chimerical. These bills, which 
are desi^fned to annihilate our constituiion establi^hed' 
by charter, and to deprive us of those privileges, which' 
are Ibunded on the stiil higher principles of natural 
right and justice, have been passed, without our having' 
so much as a hearing on this occasion, by persons direct- 
ly interested in the execution of them, as they are man- 
ifestly calculated to increase their power and authorit}', 
ahd proportionably to lessen our weight and importance; 
and should they proceed on this plan, and we be so in- 
fatuated as to acquiesce, they will exalt themselves to 
a-b-olute tyrants, and reduce us to a state of the most 
ignominious and abject slavery. The pernicious nature' 
and ten<lency of these acts must be obvious to all, who 
co:isider the enormous powers they are designed to' 
jodge in the hands of the governor : most of our civil 
ofhcers are to be entirely dependant on his will, both 
for their aj)|)ointm€nt and continuance in office. This 
circum4iM)ce, considering the manner in which our ju-'- 
ries arc to be •a]>p(}inled, leaves the subject no acsujance 

■that he shall have a fair and impartial determinafon is 
every cause relating to life, liberty or property, iinlesR 
it h;)ppens to consist with the views and inclination of 
the governor : which is surely a most hazardous situa- 
tion, especially as the governor now depends entirely 
on the crown for his appointment and support, and must 
therefore be ever ready to execute the purposes of the 
ministry. And in these unhappy circumstances we may 
not, it these acts are of suflicient authority to prevent 
it, assemble together, even in the most quiet and or- 
derly manner, to devise means to procure a redress of 
our grievances ; and, if vve should, our so doing, it seems, 
is to be deemed seditious, and perhtips treasonable. 
The methods taken by the promoters of these bills to 
enforce them shew that they were themselves so sensi- 
ble of the odious nature of them, as that thev were not 
trusted to their own authoritv, or to a conviction of 
iheir being just and right, for the execution of them ; 
but armed ships and armed men are the arguments to 
compel our obedience ; and the more than implicit lan- 
guage, that these utter, i^ that we must submit or die. 
But God grant that neither of these may be our unhap- 
py fate. We design not madly to brava cur own de- 
struction, and we do not thirst for the blood of others ; 
but reason and religion demand of us that we guard our 
invaluable rights at the risque of both. 

*' We would, therefore, now direct and instruct you 
-io do nothing that shall in the Jeast degree imply a 
submission to these nets ; that you do in no way wj^at- 
evcr acknowledge the autliorily of those persons, who 
are cruelly and peiludionsly assisting to destroy their 
countr3',by assuming the character of counsellors of this 
l)rovince, not being appointed tiiereto but in an arbi- 
trary and unconstitutional manner. 

'» We doubt not your brethren will conduct with re- 
gard to this and every other matter, with all becoming 
resolution and integrity ; and we have as little doubt, 
that this will procure the dissoluti.>a r.f the House; and 
if it should, we hereby authorize ycu to represent this 
Jown in a convention to be formed of the members 
thereof, or any congress of deputies appointed by the 
several towns in this Province ; therein to deliberalts 


an! device snch incafures, as may conduce to rflieve 
us under our present diflicullics and embarrassnncnts, 
and to secure and establish our juFt rights and privile- 
ges on the most «oliil and permanent Coundation,'' 

About this time it was that the ailairs of the town 
T^ere committed to the safeguard of a Committee of 
Satety, — a name which ought to be ever dear to the 
freemen of New Eno^huid, The records of the to'.vn 
for the two ensuing years abound with the doings of this 
Committee, and with the preparations of arms and am- 
m-milion for an obstitrate contest. At length in May^ 
1776 occurs the memorable vote 

4'That if the honorable Congress should, for the safe- 
ty of the United Colonies, declare them independent of 
the kingdom of Great-Britain, this town will, with their 
lives and fortunes, support them in the measure." 

Daring the continuance of the war, the records bear 
witness to the exertions of the town to comply with the 
public requisition in the supply of money, arms, ammu- 
nition and soldiers for the defence of the country and 
the vindication of its liberties. Some of these votes 
may serve as instructive memorials to us, of the exer- 
tions of our fathers to procure the privileges which we 

i-f- Voted to give twenty pounds bounty for any one 
who shall enlist in the continental army for three years 
or during the war." 

'<■ Voted to further the raising of one sixth part of 
the able bodied men in the town, pursuant to a resolve 
of the General Court, to join the army instantly, and 
serve till Nov. uext ; voted, to give each man 7/. 10*. 
per month in addition to the slate and continental wa- 
ges:; voted to advance 50 dollars to each man enlisting; 
and voted to remonstrate with the General Court on 
the hardship of raiaiu^ a sixth." 

*• Voted to give nine pounds per month includmg 
state and continental wages, and six pounds per month 
advance, to any who will enlist as a guard toBurgoyne's 

" Voted, to raise money to hire seventeen men to 
serve in the continental army nine months ; — also, to 
raise money to hire thirteen men to serve at xiudson'f 
river eight months.''* 



"Voted, to raise nineteen men to serve at Providence, 
vand eleven as guards at Prospect Hiil." 

'» Voted to give 100 shillings per month to encli man 
who shall enlist within twenly-fonr hour?, 50 shillings 
nt enli«;tnient; also to provide a wagon to transpoit iLg 
soldiers'' baggage to Tiverton." 

"Voted, to give 300/. per month in addition to regu- 
lar pay, and 450/. advance, to each one enlisting to 
serve for the town three months; that a subsciip- 
tion paper be carried around to rai^e money ; that 
the town be taxed seventy-fjve thousand £,. to be 
paid before the Ist September next; that the inhabitants 
be earnestly requested to aid the to«nupon this emer- 
gency by p'aying their proporiioa in advance, &,c, and 
all the money so raised go to procure, equip, &r.. the 
town's proportion of the militii required by the resolve 
of General Court dated June 8ih, 1780.*' 

A committee was chosen to devise a plan for raising^ 
this town's quota of troops, to serve '• three years'* or 
'during the war.' And a committee v-/as chosen to 
procure eniistfoents, ajid ' pay them such a bounty as 
they shall think reasonable.' And as an encouragement 
to enlist, the town engaged to pay their wages, if ' the 
public' (lid not, in silver at Qs Qd per ounce, or in bills 
of credit equivalent thereto according to the current 
rate oi exchange among merchants. It v/as voted, also, 
to raise a thousand pounds silver for that purj)ose, and 
afterwards another thousand; and that two thousand 
pounds silver or gold be hired by the treasurer. 

The selectmen were ordered to write to Oliver Phelps^ 
esq, representing that it was impracticable for the to^va 
to furnish its quota ofbeef ibr the army, and offering to 
pny a sum of money .in lieu thereof, it was voted, that 
the town be arranged by the assessors ' into 43 classes, 
according to propcity and numbers,'' and that eacli 
class ' procure a man' upon * notice, or be liable to a 
draft from the commanding oilicer;' and that each class 
advance immediately money enough to hire its quota 
of men to serve in the continental army according to a 
resolve of General Court. 

Indeed it is only necessary to examine slightly the 
town iccurd-i of the i\ew EngLind to wn* to find r.mplc au- 


thorit}- for Mr. Webster's approprials paneg'yric Qft 
their patriotism. 

"My heart beat'*, I trust, as responsive as any one's 
to a soldier's claim for houor and renown. It has ever 
been my opinion, however, that while celebrating the 
niilitary aciiievementsof' our countrymen in ihe revolu- 
tionary contest, we liave not always done equal justice 
to the merits and the auffeiings of those who sustained, 
on tiieir property') or on their means of subsistence, 
the great harden of the war. Any one, who ha* 
had occasion to be acquainted with the records of the 
New England towns, knows well how to estimate those 
merits and those sufferings. Nobler records of patriot- 
ism exist no v;here. Ko where can there be found 
higher proofs of a spirit, that was ready to hazard all, 
to pledge ail, to sacrifice all, in the cause of the coun- 
try. Instances were not unfrequent, in which small 
freeholders parted with their last hoof, and the last 
measure of corn froiii their granaries, lo supply provi- 
sion for the troops, and hire service for the ranks. The 
voice of Oiis aad of Adams in Faneuil Hall iound its 
full and true echo in the little councils of the interior 
towns ; and if within the continental Congress, patriot- 
ism shone more conspicuously, it did not there exist 
more truly, nor burn more fervently; it did not render 
the day more anxious or the night more sleepless; it 
sent up no more ardent prayer to God for succor ; and 
it put forth in no greater degree the fullness of its ef- 
fort and the energy of its whole soul arKi spirit in the 
common cause, thar. it did in the small iissemblies of the 
towns.'' — 

The following memorial adopted at a meeting in May, 
1785, ati'orde i'urther illustration of these remark'*. 

'' To tiie honorable, &c. of Massachusetts in Gph- 
eral Court assembled, -the petition of the town of New- 
buryport humbly shews, • 

.*'Thal in the years 1775 and 1776 the said town, iq 
order to guard and xlefend themselves and the neighbor- 
ing towns from the a; prehcndcd invasions and attacks 
cii the enemy then inlesting the sea-coasts, and making 
«ieprLnla;io:!S on the maritime towns of the Stale, pre» 

♦;>cb«tcsi!. ^l:.3s. Conv. p. 2i5. 

15' ' 

ykre(\ and sun"!i a nnmber of piers in the channel of 
Merrimic riv^er, near the mou!:h thereof; they hava 
alsobuiita fort on the Salisbury side of p:rjd river and a- 
nother tort on Plinn IsJand near the enlrarice of the 
harbor; thej' •^nn'^trdcted a floating battery,' bnitt a 
barge, and made a nunhber of gnn carriage? ; — -the whole 
expense whereof amounted to the snna of two thousand 
fflur hundred and thirty-three pound-, 8 shillings and 
2 1-2 pence, as by the accounts, supported by propei* 
Touchers, and ready to be herewith exhibited, will 

" That said work*^ were probably the nieans of pre- 
Tenting- tlie enenr>y from entering the harbor, and spresu- 
ing de?truc'ion through thi5 part of the State; and at 
the same time rendered it a safe a«y!am for vessels be- 
longing to Boston then in the po\ver of the enemy, and 
for those belonging to Marhlehead, Cape Ann, and oth- 
er exposed marltim.e towna. x\'nd of this opinion, it 
5eems, wa< the respectable committee sent from the 
General Court to take a view of our situation and har- 
bor; as well as of the works aforesaid ; for upon their 
report the General Court manifested their approbaiion 
of the said works, as prudent, and necessary for the 
})ablic safety, and made provision for supplying the said 
fart on Plum Island, with gun-, ariimunilion, and stores, 
nrtd maintainiocr a ijarrison there for a considerable 
time. The ton-n, being thur favort'd \^'i1h the counte- 
nance and approbation of the Genera! Court in these 
proceedings, fully depended that their expenses above 
mentioned would be seasonably reimhursed. They ac- 
cordingly exhibited their accounts, which were never 
objected to, as unrea-sonable or improper, as your peti- 
tioners have understood. Nevertheless, a nu.nber of 
accidents, wliich, to av^dd being tedious, they forbear 
to particularize, have hitherto prevented their ol>tain- 
ing a settlement, and receiving the satisfactory restitu- 
tion, which they apprehend Ihem^elve^ j^^^tly entitled 
to. This they consider as a mislbrturip,'y as 
the expenses of a like nature incurred l»y tiie oiher 
town^ have long since been di^chrtrged by order ol thfe 
Gieneral Court, to.wards which your petitioner* have 
contributed no small share. 


*' An(^ as Tonr pelitionsr:: arc still laboring under p*" 
Tery heavy debt contracteil tor the general service and 
defence of the coutilry during- the late war, and in ad- 
di.ion thereto have been paying interest lor the whole 
sum above mentioned, and are still paying interest lor 
the same, they pray that your honors will be pleased 
as soon a.» possil)le to take the premises into your wise 
consideration, and order the aroremenlioned sum to be 
paid them out of the public treasury, and thus far re- 
lieve theni under their distresses. 

Signed by the selectmen, '"• by order and in behalf of 
the town of Newburyport."" 

Another subject concerning wbici) important facts 
appear on the rc^cord*, is the formation of the consti- 
tution of Massachusetts. In October, 1776, it was voted 
that the Council and House in their respective cnpaci- 
ties, and not iti one body ''.-houid enact such a consti- 
tuiion for tliis State, as they shall think fit for the well- 
being of the country; and tliat it previously be made 
public for the perusal and approbation of the people." 

And here may be noted the remarkable singtilarity in 
the domestic situation of the country at this time. T.he-' 
State was ruled by a legi^-lalive body substantially like 
that of the Province, which maintained its authority by 
reliance on the good sense and rectitude of the commu- 
nity, rather than by any coercive y)ower which it was 
capable of exercising, or which it would have been suf- 
fered to exercise, if it had possessed the inclination and 
capacity. It was entirely dependant upon the towns, 
every <;ne of which was considered and treated as a dis- 
tinct republic. At that period, the General Court was 
rather the congress of these lidle confederate corpora- 
tionc, thrin iliG legislature of an individual common- 
wealih. Whon the Genfjral Court desired to ascertain 
the sen^e of the [)eo|)le, it was usual to propose the 
stibject for di'Cussio!) in the town meetings. Such was 
the c:»SP, for exami)le, w hen it was determined to resist 
England ; and continunllr during the war in raiting 
eoldiers and supplies for the continental army. 

So it wa', also, in respect to the Stale constitution. A 
convention, assembled in 1777-8, proposed a sketch of 
tt'.^ to the people, which, was so much beneath the 


wants and pretention? of the country, that manj princi- 
pal men opposed it with great zeal and success. The 
opposition seems (o have been most decided in Newbu- 
rjport. At a meeting held March 26th, 1778, the fol- 
lowing" vote occurs : 

"Voted, that this town are of opinion, that the mode 
of representation contained in the constitution lately 
proposed by the convention of this State is unequal and 
unjust, as thereby all the inhabitants of this State are 
not equally represented, and that some other parts of 
the same constitution are not founded on the true piin- 
ciples of government ; and that a convention of the sev- 
eral towns of this county, by their delegates, will have 
a probable tendency to reform the same, agreeably to 
the natural rights of mankind and the true principles of 

<•<' Voted, that the selectmen be de?ired, in behalf and 
in the name of the town, to write circular letters to the 
sever;^! towns within the county, proposing a conven- 
tion of thoi=!e towns, by their delegates, to be holden at 
such time and place as the selectmen shall think prop- 
er : in said circular letters to propose to each of the 
towns aforesaid, to send the like nuiriber of delegates 
to said convention, as the same towns have by law right 
to send representatives to the General Court." 

Accordingly the mo-t eminent citizens of this ancient 
and leadingr county assembled at l;»'Wich and instituted 
an elaborate examination of the intended constitution, 
wiiich was printed, with the title of the Essex Result. 
The etlect of this pamphlet, which is' attributed to the 
miglity min 1 of Tiieophiius Parson-;, then resident in 
Newburyport, was perfectly deci-ive of the question. 
This town unanimously voted to reject the proposed 
form of government ; and suggested the expediency of 
calling a new convention tor the sole pur[)ose of fram- 
ing a con--titu!ion moie worthy of {Massachusetts. 

This cnuvemion it wa*, which formed our constitution. 
It has freqientiy been said ihnt this instrument was the 
fruit of comj romise. Manifest proof of this exists in the 
records of Newburvport. '^I'he vote accepting the con- 
s'itution, aft^r crilici-^ing various parts of the constitu- 
tion, and proposing amendments, concludes as follows : 

B 4- 


'^The town then voted that their former deleg'a'te?, 
be desired to attend the convention at their adjourn- 
ment, on the first Wednesday in June next, and use 
their endeavors to obtain the several alterations and 
amendments aforesaid, especially the four first mention- 
ed, as far as they may tind it prudent. But if this can- 
not be effected, yet considering that, from variety of 
opinions generally formed on matters of an interesting' 
nature, by means of prejudices arising from education, 
and influence of interests, and various other causes, it is 
not to be expected that a form of government should 
ever be deviseJ that will be agreeable to all the mem- 
bers of the community, and that consequently mutnal 
concessions must be made ; considering further the ne- 
cessity of a speedy establishment of a form of govern- 
ment tor this State, and that provision is made by the 
one now proposed for a revif-ion of the same at a future 
period ; and esteeming it in general a wise and go^d 
©ue ; the town do vote and declare their approbation of 
the same in its present form." 

These extracts on the subject of our revolutionary 
bi^tory cannot be more appropriately concluded thpao 
■with the address v/ritten by Theophilus Parsons and de- 
livered to Gen. Washington in October, 1789, and the 
answer ofthe President. 

To the President of the United States. 
Sir : 

*i When, by the unanimous suffrages of your coun- 
trymen, you were called to preside over their public 
councils, the citizens of the town of Newburyport par- 
ticipated in the general jo}-, that arose from anticipating 
an administration, conducted by the man, to whose wis- 
dom and valor they owed their liberties. 

t« Pleasing were the reflections, that he, who, by the 
blessing of heaven, had given them their independence, 
would again relinquish the felicities of domestic retire- 
ment, to teach them its just value. 

*^ They have seen you victorious leave the field, fol- 
lowed by the applause* of a grateful country ; and they 
now see you entwining the olive with the laurel, and 
in peace, giving security to a people, whom in war 
you coYcr'id with glory. 

"At the present moment they indulg!» themselve? T« 
•entiments of joy, resulting from a principle, perhaps 
less elevated, but exceedingly dear to their hearts 5-^ 
from a gratification of their affection, in beholding per- 
sonally among them the friend, the benefactcr, and the 
father of their country. 

'' They cannot hope, sir, to exhibit any peculihr 
marks of attachment to your person; for, could they ex- 
press their feeling-? of the most ardent and sincere grat- 
itude, they would only repeat the sentiment?, which are 
deeply impres-red upon the hearts of all their fellavv 
citizens: but in justice to themselves they beg leave 
to assure you that, in no part of the United States, are 
those sentiments of gratitude and affection more cordral 
and animated, than in the town, which at this time is 
honored with your presence. 

"Long, sir, may you continu^e the ornament and sup- 
port of ihese States; and may the period be late, when 
you shall ba called to receive a reward, adequate to 
jour virtues, which it is not in the power of your coun- 
try to bestow." 

" To the citizens of the town of Ke^rjchuryport.- 
i' Gentlemen : 

" The demonstrations of respect and affection. whi(?h 
jou are pleased to pay to an individual, whose hio^hest 
pretension is to rank as your fellow citizen, are oTa na- 
ture too distinguished, not to claim the warmest return 
that gratitude can malje. 

*' My endeavors to be useful to my country have been 
no more than the result of conscious duty: — re<yards 
like your's would reward services of the highest estima- 
tion and sacrifice. Yet it is due to my feelings that I 
should tell you those regards are received with esteem, 
and replied to with sincerity. 

"In visiting the town of Newburyport I have obeyed 
a favorite inclination, and I ammuch gratified by the 
indulgence. In expressing a sincerf wish for its pros- 
perity, and the happiness of its inhabi'ant?, I do justice 
to my own sentiments and their merit." 

"Signed, G. Washington." 

The prosperity of NeAvhuryport continued steadily 
to increase after the con&titutigu oi the United Stales 


fras established, and the counlry tranquillized. Its in- 
habitants lirmly supported Washington in his determi- 
nation to maintain, if possible, a strict neutrality during 
the wars consequent on the French revolution. Of his 
famous proclamation of neutrality in 1793, that much 
disputed but most wise and salutary measure, they ex- 
pressed the i'ollowing' opinion as a corporation: 

'^ Voted unanimou:sly, That in the opinion of this 
town, the neutrality of the Unitetl States, during the 
war now waged by the several belligprent powers in 
Europe, is consistent with the honor and good taith of 
our government, and not repugnant to any treaties ex- 
isting between tlie United States, and any of those pow- 

t' Voted unanimously, That in the Ofjjnion of this town, 
a strict and unitbrm adherence to that neutrality is of 
the utmost importance to the best interests and happi- 
ness of our country, 

" Voted unanimously, That in the opinion of this town, 
the late proclamation of the President, declaring that 
neutrality, was a constitutional and wi^e mea-^ure. re- 
sulting: from his ardent affection for his fellow-citizens, 
his knowledge of, and vigilant attention to, their just 
rights and true interest. 

I'Voled unanimously, That in the opinion of this town, 
any infraction of the laws of neutrality, by any of the 
citizens of the United States fitting out, or being in- 
terested in armed vessels, to cruise against tfie citizens 
or subjects of either of the belligerent pov\ers, or per- 
sonally engaging iu such crui-e, will naturally tend to 
injure essentially the agricultural, manatacturing, and 
commercial interests of this counr^3^*' 

And in 1794, when the violence of the belligerents, 
and especially the extravagant maritime pretensions of 
Great Britain, led them into many aggressions on cur neu- 
tral rights ; and thus induced Congress to provide an 
embargo tor the temporary protection of our commerce, 
the inhabitants of the tov/n passed a vote approving of 
the measure, and declaring their opinion that it ought 
lo be ooDlinued as long as the public exigencies re- 
quired it. 

in the fall of 1793, a transient gloom was thrown ^ 


¥Ver ihe town by the introduction of the fmall-pox' 
among its inhabitants. Only about twenty persons died of 
it, owing to the vigilance and precaution u;ed to check 
its progress. But the consternation occasioned at that 
time by the presence of thir* fatal and loathsome mala- 
dy can hardly be realized now, when vaccination has 
almost relieved us from the dread ol iti; recurrence. It 
produced for a short period injurious effects' upon the 
commerce of the town^-by deterring persons from resort- 
ing to it lor the purpose of trade; but the alarm soon' 
subsided, and business resumed its wonted activity. 

But tlie affliction occasioned bv the aj)pearanc(- of 
the yellow fever in the town in the'summerof 1796, was 
more e.xterK-^ive and of longer duration. Even before the 
discovery of tlie admiraMe efiTects of vaccination, the 
use of inoculation could disarm the smalUpox of a por- 
tion of its terrors : and it could be escap'ed by phunning 
all intercourse with the infected. But a dej.tructi\e 
malia^nant fever could not be so easily controlled. Thir- 
ty-eight persons died of the di^ease'^in Newburvport, in 
a single season ; and its ravages were stayed* only' by' 
the approach of cool autumnal Weaili'er. Vvhcther if lAas 
imported from abroad, or engendered in the precincts of 
the town, was then, as it is in like casos now, a matter 
ot dispute and uncertainty. Rut certain it i< that the' 
disease has in almost every instance been qi.ite limited 
in range ; and ha^ commf-nced its p ogre.»s in some dense^- 
ly inhabited spot, where local CM-i<es rendered the aip^ 
impure, and su-^ceptible of infer lion.-- And it i^ equ«]!y 
certain that tUMJignant fevers are every vear ceasing io 
be so widely df'siructive, as the progress of improve- 
ment induces the municipal authorities ta pay more ex-' 
act altenlicm to the cleanliness of sea-poris. To its 
airy situation, the neatness and openness of its streets, 
and the enforcement of local health laws, i'nr more Ih.n 
to quarant ne regulation.s PTewburyport may probably 
attribute its long exemption from iniV'ctious di-tcmpers. 

During the difterences with the French ''Irrctoiy, in 
which our government was involved in 1 ;G0, the in- 
liabitants of iXewburyport wnrmlv supported the nation . 
At 'I toun-meeting hoiden April 3Uih 1798, a c( mmitfee 
consiiling of iienjamia Greenleafj. Charles Jackton, 


Theopailis Parsons, Samuel A. Oti«, jr. and Jonnthnft [ 
BnarJman prepared the t'ollowing address to Fresider?t 
Adams under the direction of the town. 

'•' To the President of the United States. 
" Sir : 

The inhabitants of the town of Newburyport, fulTy 
impressed v.ith the present important crisis of public 
affairs, are prompted no less by a sense of duty than by 
their own feeling;?, to express those sentiments which 
the occision «o natuViiUy inspires in the breast of eve-"/ 
Anjerican. From the long experience of your conduct 
in the m^ny public oQices to which you have been ctU- 
ed by your own ceuntry, tb.ey i'eel the mo?t perfect con- 
fidence in your wisdom, integrity and patriotism; anil 
ihey with cheerfulness declare their entire approbation 
of your attempt to adjust all existing disputes with tire 
French Republic by an amicable negociation ; of that 
spirit of conciliation which dictated your instructions to 
our ministers; and of the- j^rinciples of justice on which 
the}^ were iounded. They learn with equal indignation 
and astonishment that this spirit of conciliation has been 
repelled with contempt, that these principles of justice 
have been disregarded, and that a heavy tribute, with 
humiliating concessions on our p'c^rt, has been propos- 
ed to us in a manner arbitrary and unfriendly, as the 
price at which we mu-st purchase the n^ht- of beirrg 
heard. The inhahitimts of this tov^n; -duly appreciate 
the blessings of peace and neutrality, hut they n'ill nev- 
er camplain at the loss of those Ideisins:?, when con- 
strained to sacrilice them to the honor, the dignity ar?d 
the essential interests of their country.- They consi^i- 
er the present interesting slate of public affairs as'a 
solemn appeal to the hearts ol air imlepend^nt Ameri- 
can*, and a call on them to corrje forward with unanimi- 
ty and firmness, in support of the government ;;nd the 
men of their choice, to resist with becoming dignity 
any vain attempt to derogate IVom our common sove- 
reignty, or to degrade our national character from lire 
rank it now jus ly holds among nations, to convince this 
world that ue are alike unintluenced by corruption and 
Wy fear, and that we will not be a divided people^ *Aire 


^ miserable slaves of a foreign powerj or the de««pical^Ie 
tools ofloreigii influence. 

*"• Impressed with these sentiments, and relying with 
full confidence on the wi-idoin and patriotism oi' every 
branch ot'goTernment, they tni<e this occasion solemnly 
to pledge their lives artd fortunes to support the measures 
judged Lecessary by the i'resident and Congress, to 
preserve and secure the happiness, the dignity, and tUe 
essential interests of the Uniied States.'" 

To which the following reply was made by the 
Fiesident : — 

To the Iiihubiiants of JVewburyport, 

The address of the inhabitants of the ancient, popu-= 
lous and weakhy town of Newburyport, passed without 
a di.'-seniient voice, at a late meeting, as certified by 
your selectmen, and presented to me by your repre- 
senlalite in Cocgress, Mr. Bartlett, does me great hon- 

The astonishment and indignation, you express at 
the contempt wiih which a spirit of conciliation has 
Jieen replied to ; your resolution never to complain at the 
loss of the blessings of peace and neutrality, when con- 
strained to sacrifice them to the honor, dignity and es- 
sential interesits of your country ; to resist with becom- 
ing dignity, any vain attempt to derogate from our com- 
mon sovereignly, or to degrade our national character 
from the rank it now justly holds among nations ; to 
convince the world that you are alike uninfluenced by 
corruption and by tear; that you are not a divided peo- 
ple, the miserable slaves of toreign iuiluence, do equal 
honor to your hearts and ju Ignient. 

Your reliunce, with full confidence, on the wisdom 
and patriotism of every branch of the government, and 
tV»e solenu\ [)ledge of your lives and tbrtune^:, to sup- 
port the measures of the legislature and adminisira- 
tion, to preserve and secure the happiness, dignity, and 
essential interests of the United States, are al! the a?^ 
siirances which the best of governments could de.-ire 
ivom the best of citizens. 

John Adaio^ 
^J^hiladdflda, May 8, 1798, 


A number of the inhabitants also subscribed about lli« 
same tiir.e, for the construction and equipment ot' a ship 
of twenty guns tor tlie use of the nation, whicii, in the 
infancy of our navy, vva* a service of consideralile im- 
portance. Tiie following document explains the views 
of these patriotic citizens. 

'' i\ EW6URYP0E.T, JuiJE 1, 1798. 

." Sir: 

A number of the inhabitants of this town have agreed 
to build and equip a ship of three hundred and iifty-tive 
ton- burthen, to be mounted with 20 six pound cannon, 
and to otr.-'.r her to the government of the United States 
for their use. They have also voted that they will not 
accept of any further or ctlier compensation from the 
government than an interest of six per cent per annum 
on the net cost of tlie ship and equipments, and a final 
reimbursement, at the convenience of government, of 
the said net cost ,• and they have appointed us a com- 
mittee to inform you of their inientions, and to request 
you to promote a provision whereby they may be ena- 
bled to carry their designs into execution by the coun- 
tenance of government, so far as the same shall appear 
necessary. As we indulge a hope that this intention of 
the citizens of Newburyport wiil lead to proportionate 
exertions in larger and wealthier towns, we beg leave 
to sngojest the convenience that any provision, which 
.maybe thought proper and applicable to the case^ might 
be 2:eneral. The inhabitants of tliis town, at the pres- 
ent moment, are animate*! with the most zealous reso- 
lution to supp'^'Tt and defend, with their lives and prop- 
erty, the o-overnment of their country, as well against the 
open attacks of ibreign enemies, as the insidious at- 
tempts of domestic traitors. They heartily wish their 
abili ies extended beyond iheir present offer, but the 
immense ravages \* hich have been committed on their 
property by sea, and the great proportion of the rem- 
nant yet at risk, forbid their furthev indulgence of their 
inclinations. It may he that under a late act of gov- 
ernment authorizing the Kxecnlive to purchase ships 
of war, the prnpo-al may be closed wiiho^it legislative 
ai 1. If such should be your opinion, we wish you to lajr 
the plan before the Executive^ and we shall be the more 


gratified in this way, as the whole business may proba- 
bly be thus considerably expedited. The materials are 
already in forwardness, and provisional contracts will 
be entered into, so that probably, in ninety days from 
our receiving assurances that government patronizes 
our design, the ship may be afloat. The best calculation* 
we have been able to make of the whole expense, re- 
duce it below thirty thousand dollars, and if the utmost 
attention to econom}' and despatch can effect any thing, 
the cost will finally fall considerably within that sum. 

Among the good effects of the present proposal, we 
have contemplated that, in this wa}', government may 
at this period, when so many calls for money exist, pro- 
cure the means of defence, without actual advances, per- 
haps with more promptitude, and undoubtedly with con- 
siderably less expense, than in the coramoa mode of 
^contracts. (Signed by) 


William Coombs, | 

Dudley A. Tyng, I Ci 

Moses Brown, I b 

Wm. p. Johnson, \ 3. 

Nicholas Johnson, I ^ 

William Faris, I 1* 

Ebenezer Stocker, I 

Sam. a. Otis, Jr. ^ 

Hon. Bailey Bartlett. 

This ship was built under the direction of William 
Hacket as master-builder and superintendant. The 
work was despatched with so much rapidity that only 
seventy five working days were consumed incompleting 
her. Her keel was laid July 9th and she was launched 
into the Merrimac, whose name she bore, October 
12th 1798, and was manned and sent to sea with all pos- 
sible expedition, under the command of capt. Moses 
Brown. But in consequence chiefly of her being con- 
structed of unseasoned timber sh« ran only about five 
years, and was then sold for the merchants' service ; 
soon after which she was wrecked upon ca[)e Cod. 

After the short lived war with France was over, and 
pe^ce restored, the commercial prosperity of Newbury- 


port conliaueil to increase with renewed vig-or. For 
the period of ten years next ensuing, its wealth and 
population were augmented to a decree, of which few 
exatnj)les can be found even in this country, where the 
growth of tonns is often so rapid as to leave little space 
between their infancy and their maturity. In 1800, the 
population of the tonn was 5,946 ; in 1810 it had become 
7,639. In 1802 its whole rateable estate was estimated, 
nt only g3,754,920; hut in 1810 it amounted to g7,069,- 
000 dollars. This period was one of feverish excite- 
ment in business and politics. Mercantile industry was 
stimulated, in a manner the most unprecedented, by the 
peculiar situation of this country, combined with the 
local advantages of the town. The happy effects of 
the neutral policy of Washington were now strikingly 
manifested ; and tor several years, whilst every other 
maritime State was involved in the most embittered 
warfare, America, a neutral nation at amity with all 
mankind, was reaping a rich harvest of wealth from 
the carrying trade of Europe and her colonies. During 
the lapse of twenty years, indeed, liom 1792 to 1812, 
the full benefit of this trade was enjoyed by the United 
Stales alone. Almost every flag but hers was swept 
from the ocean by the wars engendered by the PVencti 
revolution. We had, in fact, as a nation, a kind of mo- 
nopoly of this lucrative occupation. 

Newburyport, as already intimated, was well adapt- 
ed to participate largely in this trade and on a favora- 
ble footing. The town was not the seat of any exten- 
sive manufacture, which might give it commercial ac- 
tivity, and build it up, as Manchester does Liverpool; 
nor could it boast of being, like New Orleans or New 
lork, the depot of a vast interior region devoted to ag- 
riculture. But having direct access, by means of the 
river Merrimac, to a country well wooded with ship- 
timber, its thrifty inhabitants needed but a small capi- 
tal to enable them to fit out a vessel, and transport the 
produciions of the southern States or of the West Indies 
to Europe. Their industry was thus liberally reward- 
ed with a speedy increase, in this hardy and enterpris- 
ing employment. 

But these days, so serviceable to the country, were 


not destined to be of lon^ duration. The great belli- 
gerent power?, engaged in combats injurious to their 
own commercial pro'?[)erity, soon began to regard, with 
envy and jealousy, the fast rising fortunes of America. 
They were cnagiined to see ns taking advantage, hon- 
estly enough and most successfully, of their own folh^ 
and imprudence. They he^nn by occasional aggres- 
sions upon our mercaRtiie marine, desisting from time 
to time when our remonstrances against their violence 
became more determined. The sums of money, ^vhich 
they piratically plundered from the nation before 1806, 
were immense, and the losses, which the merchants of 
this town thereby sustained, must have seriously afifect- 
ed its prosperity but for the extraordinary extent and 
profitableness of our trade. But at length the two gr^at 
warring states of Europe, England and France, with their 
respective allies, seemed to conspire in their attacks 
upon olnv commerce; and our government deemed it 
necessary, for the protection of our property, to com- 
mence that series of restrictive measures, which termi- 
nated in the late war with great Britain, 

Thus it was that the development of our national en- 
ergies, and of the prosperity oi' (hfi town, s.o wonder- 
fully and so unnaturall}' hastened before, now under- 
went a sudden check. 

But in addition to the evils arising to us from the cu- 
pidity of the European belligerents, and the restrictive 
and retaliatory measures into which this country was 
consequently driven, Newburyport was doomed to suf- 
fer by a [jeculiar misfortune. This was the great fire of 
1811, which desolated the busiest portion ©f the town, 
by its destructive ravages ; — and whose effects still meet 
the eye, in the depopulation of streets formerly filled 
with dwelling-houses and shops. 

This conflagration commenced in a stable in Mechan- 
ic Row, ne;ir the Market square, and of course in the 
centre of the portion of the town devoted to trade aaj 
husines:;. The stable was at the time unoccupied ; and 
when the fire was discovered, was fi>uud to be com- 
pletely enveloped in flames. This was at half past 
nine o'clock in tho evening of the thirty first day of 
May, 1811. The fire quickly cxtendevl to Market. 


square on the one hand, and to State street on the other, 
and soon spread in various directions, with a degree of 
celerity and fury, which baffled all exertions to stop its 
progress. The tire continued to rage until about two 
o'clock in the morning, soon after which its violence 
diminished ; and by sunrise it had in a great measure 
subsided, after having swept away every thing on a tract 
of hnd of sixteen and a half acres, leaving there only a 
mass of deplorable ruins. No part of the town was 
more compactly built than this ; none contained so large 
a proportion ot valuable buildings, merchandize, and 
other propert3\ Indeed, the compactness of the build- 
ings, which were chiefly constructed of wood, served 
constantly to feed the flames with combustible material, 
£0 that for a time the destruction of the whole town 
was seriously apprehended. It was estimated that near- 
ly 250 buildings were consumed, most of which were 
stores and dwelling-houses. This number included near- 
ly all the shops in town for the sale of dry goods ; four 
printing ofiices ; the custom-house ; the post-ofl5ce ; two 
insurance offices; four book-stores; and one meeting 
house ; and the dwellings of more than ninety families. 

The scene presented by this conflagration was truly 
terrible. It is described by an eye-witness in the ea- 
suing words : 

''At the commencement of the fire, it was a bright 
moon light night, and the evening was cool and pleas- 
ant. But the moon gradually became obscured and at 
length disappeared in the thick cloud ot smoke, which 
shrouded the atmosphere. — The glare of light through- 
out the town was intense, and the heat that of a sultry 
summer noon. The streets were thronged vvith those, 
whose dwellings were consumed, conveying the re- 
mains of their property to places of safet}'. The in- 
cessant crash of falling buildings, the roaring of chim- 
neys like distant thunder, the flames ascending in curl- 
ing volumes from a vast extent of ruins, the air filled 
with a shower of fire, and the feathered throng flutter- 
ing over their wonted retreats, and dropping into the 
flames; the looincr of the cows, ar>d the confused noise 
of exertion and distress, united to impress the raina 
with the most awful sensations."" 


* The unprecedented rapidity, v/ith v/hich the flames 
spread themselves over the town, may be inferred from 
the following circumstance. Many persons had, soon 
after the fire began, carried their goods and furniture 
seemingly to a secure distance, and deposited them in 
the meeting-house of the Baptist Society in Liberty- 
street. But the fire at length reached this place, and 
consumed the church and its content-, which, being ac- 
cumulated there, greatly increased the flames. 

Nothing was more remarkable during the heartrend- 
ing scene of this destructive conflagration, than the 
spectacle which State-street exhibited on one occasion. 
Two large brick buildings, four stores in height, stood 
upon the western side of this street, and opposed a bar- 
rier to the destructive element, which it was hoped 
for a time would there be arrested in its course. Bat a 
sudden change of wind threw the flames directly upon 
these immense piles, which were speedily involved r> 
the general calamity. The opposite buildings being 
BOW on fire, and the wind blowing with great force, the 
flames ascended high on either side, and meeting in the 
air, extended in a continual sheet of fire across the 
spacious street. The impression made by this tremen- 
dous scene upon the mind of the author of these pages, 
then a youthful spectator of it, wUl never be efl'aced 
from his rccol'eclion. It was sublime beyond conception. 
The beholder could look through a long \ ista of over- 
arching blaze, whose extreme brilliancy dazzled and fa- 
tigued, while it irresistibly attracted, the straining eye. 

"The sufl'erinors of the families, whose dvvellins^s and. 
j)ropertv were consumed, irameniately excited the 
sympathy of the liberal and charitable. 3ieetings were 
held in many of" the largo towns in various parts of the 
country; and generous donations were received froni 
different quarters, for the relief of the inhabitants. The 
citizens of Boston collected upwards of twenty-fciu" 
thousand dollars, which, with clniracteristic liberality, 
thoy presented to the sufferers by the fire. By these 
means, the losses of the poorer class were very much 
lightened; and the extent of the calamity was diminish- 
ed. But the injury to the town, and to very many ui. 



diviJual-r, by the absolute destruction of property, was 
still very seiious; and its effects must long continue to 
he felt. * 

This misfortune befell the town at a time when the 
restrictive system had produced a complete stagnation of 
its (^ommerce, and its inhabitants were deprived of bu- 
siness. Soon afterwards the war ensued ; and on the 
restoration of peace in 1815, the neutral advantages of 
the nation had ceased to exi*t. The people of Europe, ^ 
who had Ibrmerlv looked with so much jealousy on our 
prosperous trade, when they were sinking under tbe 
exhaustion of protracted warfare, now enjoyed the ben- 
efit of peace. Business, of course, was speedily divert- 
ed into new channels, and Newburyport has never yet 
regained its pristine elevation in population and wfealth^ 
The consideralion of the causes, which produced or ac- 
celerated its decline, will form the subject of another 
portion of the^e pages ; and is only mentioned here a» 
in the course of narrative. 

Of the civil history of the town during the last twen- 
ty years, and the part taken by its inhabitants in the 
polilicai affairs of the period, it would not become the 
author to speak at length. These incidents are too re- 
cent to have become, as yet, the subject of history. — 
The nation wr^s divided, upon the topics discussed in 
the public pcts ot tbe town, at the time in question; 
and the individuals intj^ rested in them still remain up- 
on the stage of life. The peculiar misfortunes of the 
town occa-ione-l a «.v-ceptibility in the breasts of its 
inhahitantg, and ar irritation of feeling, in regard to 
polilicai subjects, which is no longer experienced. The 
\iev/« of public aii;iirs, entertained by the majority of 
this town and of Massachusetts, were not in unison with 
the measure*^ which the executive of the country was 
c mpcllcd, by the injustice of the European belliger- 
eots, to pursue. — The voice of the nation, bowever, 
approved at that f-me, and has sanctioned since, the 
cour-s of our government. The expediency or inex- 
pediency of thai course would not constitute a suitable 
matter tor iliscussion in this place. And the addresses, 
re€olutiotis, and other public acts of the town, during 
these days cf cx;>yperation, coiUl not be introduced 


here without some expression of opinion upon Iheii- 
purport, which would necessarily be invidious and mis- 

The recent annals of Ihe town furnish no events, for 
the pen of the historian to record. In the peaceful and 
tranquil pursuit of the objects of honest industry, its in- 
habitants are seeking to restore it to its former stand- 
ing in commerce. Success attend their efforts ! '' The 
external situation of the town is unriralled in beauty; 
the sides of the river soniinually increase in populous- 
ness ; the bar was no obstacle to the acquisition of 
wealth in forpner times and therefore need not be now ; 
our mechanics are as faithful and intellig-ent as they 
used to be, when they gained so much celebrity for 
th« ship building and naval equipments of the river 
Merrimac ; we can manage distilleries or fisheries with 
as much skill as our neighbors; we can purchase lum- 
ber as cheaply and export it in as good bottoms as can 
any part of the commonwealth ; nor will our merchants 
or marfners yield to those of any other seaport in up- 
rightness, enterprise, or information. If all these 
things are true,' — and that they are ^o who can deny ? 
— there is no reason whatever v-hy we should think our 
future prospects more discouraging than the rest of the, 
maritime towns of equal size in New Englaod."* 

* Oration delivered iu Ne-nbiirj port July 4ih. 1821. 



Newbur-yport, as incorporated, was compressed with- 
in very narrow limits, lyln^ contiguous to the Merri- 
mic on one side, and heing surrounded on the other 
''three sides by the then town of Newbury. Tlie ma- 
terial section of the act of incorporation is in the fol- 
lowing words, namely : — 

" Anno Reorni Reofis Georsfii Tcrtii Quarto. 

An Act for erecting part of the town of Newbury m- 
to a new town by the name of Newburyport. 

Whereas the town of Newbury is very large, and the 
inhabitants of that part of it who dwell by the water side 
there, as it i^ commonly called, are mostly merchants, 
traders, and artificprs, and the inhabitants of the other 
parts of the town are chiefly husbandmen, by means 
whereof mmy di'hcultie.s and disputes have arisen in 
managing their piblic affairs : 

Be it enacledby the Governor, Council, and House of 
Representatives, that that part of the said town of New- 
bury and the inhabitants thereof included within the 
foUovvicj'T line, namely, hv^o^inning at Merrimac river 
against th^ nT'th?asterly end of the way com- 
monly called Cottle'-i lane (South-street) and running 
as the said lane doth on the eastward! v siiis ot it to 
the highway commonly called the HiQrh->=treet, and so 
westwar.lly as thi^ sai i highway runs on the northward- 
ly side thereof, '.ill it comes to a highway known by 
the name of Fish-street, (State-street) and thence 
Routhwestwardiy as the way g-oes and on the castward- 
ly side thereof leading by Reujarnin Moody's, to a place 
called the West Indies, until it inter-ects a straight line 
drawn from the southwardly side of the highway against 
Cottle's lane as aforesaid to a rock in the great pasture 


Henr the dividing line between the third and fifth par- 
ishes there, and so as the said straight line goes until it 
comes to the dividing line aforesaid, from thence as the 
said dividing line runs by the said fifth parish down to 
Merrimac river, and thence along said river to the place 
first mentioned, — be and hereby are constituted anvl 
made a separate and distinct town by the name of 
Newbury port, vested and endowed with all the power?, 
privileges, and immunities, that the inhabitants of any of 
the towns within this Province do or ought by law to 

The space comprehended within these limils con- 
tains but 647 acres, and constitutes the smallest town in 
the commonwealth. Add to this that a considerable 
portion of the territory lies in common, or is unoccupi- 
ed by houses, and the denseness of the population in the 
occupied portion of it, will be still more manifest. 

This tract of land was first laid out in 1644, five years 
after the incorporation of Newbury. In 1642 the town 
ofNevvbury ' well weighing the straights they were in 
for want of plough ground, remoteness of the common, 
and scarcity of fencing stuff,' granted authority to 
Thomas Parker, James Noyes, John Woodbridge, Ed- 
ward Hawson, John Cutting, Edward Yv'oodman, John 
Lo-jole (Lowell) and John Clark, to lay out a ' new town,"* 
which was accordingly done January 11th 1644. This 
'new town' included all the inhabited part of Newbury- 
port, extending south westerly to a line running nearly 
parallel with the river '• through the pine-swamp.' 

A considerable tract of land within the limits of this 
town, namely, the water lots, was then and long contin- 
ued to be in common and undivided. In 1707 the pro- 
prietors voted to divide these water lot?, and the com- 
mittee appointed for the purpose completed their task 
in 1714. They were divided into 225 lots, ' by the 
same rule as the 6000 acres in the upper woods were 
laid out,' assigning to each commoner his rateable pro- 
portion, and leaving suitable public landing places. — 
Since that time, and mostly subsequent to the incorpora- 
tion of Newburyport, fifteen large wharves, and a number 
of small ones have been constructed upon these water- 


The location of" the towa presented facilities For lay- 
ing- out the streets with regnlarity, which have n6t been 
disregarded. The populous part of the town forms a par- 
a'lelogram covering the declivity beside the Merrimac, of 
v/hich the long sides are \Vater-5treet next the river, 
and High-street on the summit of the ridge. The oth- 
er main streets unite these nearly at right angles, and 
are generally wide, and constructed with great neatness 
and convenience. And these again are intersected by 
other small streets of similar construction. 

The principal public buildings in Newbiiryport 
are, a brick court-house, one half of which is the 
property of the county, and the other half of the 
town ; a stone gaol, erected in l825 ; a brick market- 
house, built in 1823; a town-hall ; four brick school- 
houses and seven churches. Of the churches and 
schools a more particular account will be given in the 

Of the public improvements connected with the town 
\a\-^ most expensive is the Nevvburyport Turnpike. — 
This was begun in 1803 and completed in 1806. — 
It proceeds in a straight line from the head of State- 
street in Newburyport to Maiden bridge, and makes the 
distance only thirty-two miles to Boston, more than five 
miles less than the main post road. Immense laboi^ 
was employed in the con«itruction of this road, in filling 
up deep vallies, and digging away bills, so as to pre- 
serve the direct coui^e to Boston. In the first twenty 
miles all the angles together increase the distance only 
eighty-three feet: — .so successful were the projectors in 
the accomplishment of their purpose- The '.vhoie cost 
of this turnpike was 420,000 dollars, and the orig- 
inal proprietors have received a very scanty income 
from their investments in the stock. — Taste and the 
exigencies of business carry most travellers through Ips- 
wich and Salem, and away from the turnpike, which 
would probabl}' have •been more valuable and useful, 
had it been so directed as to take those towns in its 
course. But although less useful than it might be if it 
ran otherwise, it is a monument of the enterprise and 
perseverance of its projectors. 


The local advantages oC NewburypoFt as a place e( 
business are derived from its continuity to the Blerri- 
mac. This name, handed down from the aboriginal in- 
habitants of the country, signifies a iturgeon. The riv- 
er is formed by the junction of the remigewasset and 
Winipisiogee, in New Hampshire. The Winipisioge« 
flows from the lake of that name, and unites with the 
Pemigewasset at Sanbornton, after which the confluent 
stream bears the name of Merrimac. The Pemigfewas- 
set arises in the White Mountains, and in its lon'r de- 
scent among the highlands receives accessions from 
many tributary rivulets. From its soure the Pemige- 
wasset flows south about fifty miles to the junction ; and 
from thence the Merrimac runs about ninety miles, first 
ill a southerly and afterwards in an easterly direction to 
the sea. 

Iq its course the Merrimac passes over many falls. Of 
these the most remarkable, either for beauty or height, 

are the Hookset, the Amoskeag, and the Patucket 

Around each of these, navigable canals have been con- 
structed. The canal at Patucket fall is the site of the 
great manufacturing establishments, which have given 
such sudden rise to the eastern part of Chelmsford, novr 
the town of Lowell. Between this place and Haverhill, 
the head of the navigation of the river, there are sev- 
eral other falls and rapids. A number of citizens of 
Newburyport and others, several years ago, obtained 
permission from the legislature to construct a canal 
around these remaining obstructions in the Merrimac, 
for the purpose of enabling heavy goods to be convey- 
ed by water the whole extent of the river from the sea, 
and thus increasing the commerce of Newburyport ; but 
they have never yet been able to procure funds for the 
contemplated enterprise. As it is, the trade of the in- 
terior, which should naturally be conducted by the riv- 
er to Newburyport, is diverted from thence to Boston by 
Middlesex canal. 

Several bridsre? have been thrown across this river 
at diflerent places. Of these the Essex Merrimac 
Bridge, between Newbury and Salisbury, about three 
miles above Newburyport, lir«t erected in 1792, is the 


most deserving of notice. It consists in fi\et of lv?6 
bridges, resting upon an island in tlie midst of the riv- 
er. The bridge on the Newbury side is hung upon 
chains ; and the bank of the river and of the island at 
this point being high and precipitous, the plan of the 
bridge is a veiy happy effort to o\ ercouie the natural 
difficulties of the location. The engineer under whose 
direction it was built was Mr. Timothy Palmer, a citi- 
zen of JSTewburyport, who died there in 1821, to whose 
taste and enterprise much of the regularity and beauty 
of its streets are to be attributed. 

The direct coarse from Boston to Portsmouth and 
Portland lies through Newburyport. But in conse- 
quence of the Essex Merrimac bridge being upwards of 
two miles above Newburyport on the river, the travel- 
ler on the great eastern post road is obliged to deflect 
to the westward at Newburyport, and pass up the riv- 
er to cross the bridge. To remedy this inconvenience, 
a new bridge is now constructing near the ferry over 
the Merrimac I'rom Newburyport to Salisbury, which 
will considerably diminish the distance to Portsmouth. 

The mean breadth of the Merrimac at Newburyport, 
may be estimated at about eighty rods. The harbor 
is capacious, safe, and commodious, but difficult of en- 
trance, the mouth of the river being obstructed by a 
bar. This bar consists of loose shifting sand, and the 
channel over it is narrow and terminated on each side 
by dangerous shoals. The greatest depth of water up- 
on it, at high tides, is about fourteen feet. It • is prob- 
ably formed by the current of the river, in its progress 
out, meeting *the drift of the sea and opposing winds, 
and by that means forming a bank of loose sand, which 
the strength of the tide is insufficient to force out.'*— 
It extends across before the mouth of the river from 
Salisbury beach to Plum island. This island is about 
eight miles long, and not more than live hundred paces 
in width, stretching along the shore, from which it is 
separated by a narrow river, which empties itself into 
Ipswich bay. It consists of yellow sand, thrown up by 
the wind into fantastic hillocks, and bearing scarcely 

• Plunt'i Coast Pilot, page 159. 


aij vegetation except thickets of juniper and the plum,* 
from which it derives its name ; a very small part of it 
being capable of cultivation. Two light-houses stand 
upon the northerly end of the island, containing fixed 
lights, but the light houses themselves being so con- 
structed as to be moveable, on account of the constant 
shifting of the bar and of the channel of the river. 

As the dangerous character of this island not unfre- 
quently subjected seamen to much suffering upon the 
coast, and sometimes to shipwreck, permanent provision 
has repeatedly been made for their succor and relief. — 
Many years ago tlie Marine Society erected huts to pro- 
tect them from the storms ; which, however, owing to 
the cooperation of various causes, were before long to- 
tally destroyed. Since then the Merrimac Humane So- 
ciety took presautions for a time, to maintain shel- 
ter constantly on the shore for the distressed mari- 
ner. Partly to aid in the same benevolent object, a 
bridge and turnpike have been constructed from New- 
buryport to Plum Island ; in order that immediate re- 
lief may be afforded to such persons as unfortunately 
chance to be cast upon the island by tempestuous weather. 

The great inconvenience sustained by the public in 
general, and by Newburyport especially, in consequence 
oi' the obstructions at the mouth of the Merrimac, has 
directed much speculation to the question whether thej 
may be removed. — A chimerical idea has been enter- 
tained by some, of deepening the sea on the bar by a 
kind of plough to be propelled by a steam-boat. But 
as well might it be attempted to plough a permanent 
furrow in the sea itself; for the bar consisthig of quick- 
lands, if it could be removed in the method above men- 
tioned, it would be of no avail ; because the sand would 
be instantly' washed in, by the action of the wind and 
waves, and fill up the channel anew. 

* Pnimis liitoralis oC Big. Some other plants of interesting boiani- 
•1 clitracter, are to be found on Plum island, such are the Hudsonia to- 
mentosa, wiiose yoUow flowers, and tufted downy appearance^ give a pe- 
culiar aspect to the sanijy waste ; — the Csnvallaria stellata, found ia 
great perfection ; — \.\\& Lathyrus maritirnua o'i Big., '^ith large showy, 
purple flowers, and bright green leaves,* — tnd especially the Arttiariat 
pjSploicL't, whose fleshy glaucous steins are clustered into green little luft5^ 
wUieh.risiugas ihe^ do from the naked saBds.resemblc ocues in the dcseT. 



An application was maJe to Congress the last sessTci 
for an appropriation for tlie purpose of surveying the 
harbor and mouth of the river, and ascertaining wheth- 
er any improvements of the navigation are. practicable. 
A sum of money was accordingly granted; and the 
question will probably now be detinitively settled by a 
practised engineer.— Much confidence is reposed by ma- 
ny in the good effect of narrowing and straightening the 
channel of the river by a breakwater, so as to carry 
the whole body of its waters, concentrated in a smaller 
compass and with greater intensity than it now flows, 
ugainstthe bar; which, it is thought, may be driven fur- 
ther out to sea, and thus the water be deepened. 

The course of the river at its entrance into the sea 
Is continually changing.— In the lapse of a few yean 
the bar shifts the breadth of the channel. The land i? 
now making on the Salisbury shore, and yielding place 
to the water at the adjacent extremity of Plum Island. 
The site of a fort formerly built on this island for the 
protection of the harbor is now on th« Salisbury side. 
A tradition exists that, at the first settlement of the 
country, the present channel might have been forded 
over; and that the main passage of the river into the 
sea was then at Ipswich bar. 

The chief natural curiosity near Newburyport is a 
series of limestone pits, about two miles south of the 
town, known by the name of the Devil's Den. These 
vera formerly wrought to advantage, but have long 
iince been ab'pudo^jed. The excavations are still re- 
garded vvifh interest, on account of a number of miner- 
als io be found there, some of which are of rare occur- 
rence. Tre limestone rock is intersected with strata, 
of serpentine, of various shades, frorii the light green 
to the darkest variety, of a fine grain, and susceptible 
of the most ]>eautiful polish. The serpentine again is 
frequently traversed by thin veins of asbestos of a short 
but very delicate and glossy fibre. Tremolite, also, 
is found there in abundance ; with iron pyrites, some- 
times of a large size; 9nd occasionally garnets; 
and other moie common minerals. — The excavations, 
bpjug superiicial, are not otherwise particularly re- 



The charitable associations in Nevvburvport are nu- 
merous ; and of necessity only a portion of them can be 
described in the limits of these pages. The following 
are amonsr the most importaat and most notorious. 


Of Nev\burjport was incorporated in 1777. The idea 
of the association was borrowed from a similar society 
in Boston, chartered by Gov. Shirley in 1754, andanoth^ 
er in Salem, both for the same general purposes. In , 
November 1772 the following persons, namely, Thom- 
as Jones, William Wj^er, Benjamin RogerSj Samuel New- 
hall, Michael Hodge, and Edward Wigglesworth, institute 
ed the society at Newburyport, each person contribut- 
ing a guinea to commence a charitable fund for unfortu- 
nate members, and inviting others to join on the same 
condition. They were incorporated in 1777, and have 
continued in being ever since, always maintaining a high 
character for respectability, and for liberal charities. 

The principal ends of the Society, which is compos- 
ed entirely of past or present ship masters, are two : — 
To improve the knowledge of the coast by the several 
members, upon their arrival from sea, communicating 
their observations inwards and outwards of the variation 
of the needle, soundings, courses, distances, and other 
remarkable things, in writing, to be lodged with the So- 
ciety, for the greater security of navigation ; — And to 
raise a common fund, for the relief of the members and 
their families in poverty, or other adverse accidents of 
life, to which mariners are particularly subject. 

For the support and protection of any shipmastere 


wbo have met with accidents at sea, such as shipwreck, 
capture, or the like, it is custoanar^ for the Society, if 
the party desire it, to examine into the circumstances of 
the case, and if his conduct shoijld appear to them satis- 
factory', to give him a certificate of their approbation. 

Conscious of the difficulties attending an approach to 
the port, occasioned by the bar, the Society early took 
measures for facilitaling the navigation of the river, — 
In 1783 they erected two beacons on Plum island to 
serve as landmarks for the guidance of vessels daring 
the day ; and made provission ibr the support of lights 
in the night; which they maintained, assisted by the 
merchants, until light-houses were afterwards erected 
at the expense of the government. At the same 
time they established a system of signals, by which to 
make known the quality of an}'- vessel, which might ap- 
pear standing towards the mouth of the river. 

In 1787 the Society first caused two small houses to 
be erected on Plum island, to receive shipwrecked mar- 
iners, and shelter them from the inclemencies of the 
weather until they could have further aid, — as already 
mentioned in another part of this work. — The Society, 
even then, found it difficult to keep the huts from being 
destroyed by malicious or mischievous persons. 

The Society have occasionally ordered surveys to be 
made, to ascertain the situation ot ledges or other hin- 
drances to navigation. 

In 1800 its funds amounted to g5565 ; in 1820 to gll- 
^22 ; — notwithstanding its many liijcral donations to indi- 
l^ent members or their families. 


Was instituted in 1802. The first meeting was holdea^ 
August 10th of that year, at which byelaws were adopt- 
ed ; and the Society was organized b}^ the choice of its 
ufiicers the following month. It was continued by vol- 
untary association until 1804, when an act of incorpo- 
ration was obtained, authorizing the Society to hold 
property of the annual amount of one thousand dollars. 
The end and design of the association are declared in the 
act to bfi 'for the recovery ofpersonsj who meet witk 


such accidents as produce in them the appearance of 
death, and for promoting the cause of humanity, by pur- 
suing- such mean', from time to time, as shall have for 
their object the preservation of human life and the al- 
levation of its miseries.' 

These humane and charitable purposes have beea 
promoted by the Society in various ways. The vicini- 
ty of the river, an-d of a dang-erous shore upon the sea- 
coast, have afforded it frequent occasion to be of use in 
accidents occasioned by water. The society procured 
a life-boat.; grappling irons to take up the bodies of any 
person who should de drowned ; and fumigators, inSators, 
and an electrical machine, to be used in restoring sus- 
pended animation. These are deposited in convenient 
places to he accessible as occasion requires. This Soci-^ 
ety imitated the Marine Society by erecting huts upon 
Plum island and on Salisbury beach for the resort of dis- 
tressed mariners ; and deposited in them necessaries for 
their immediate reUef. But malicious persons, or oth< 
ers in idle sport, continued wantonly to injure and de- 
face the hiitf, and thus defeated the benevolent views of 
the Society, so that in 1825 only one of them was stand- 
ing, and the Society determined not to erect any more. 
The Society have also made it an object to take honor- 
able notice of any signal oftort made use of by individ- 
uals to rescue persons from drowning, by the besiow- 
ment of medals, or small precuniary rewards, as a testi- 
mony of applause. 

The fun is of the Society were obtained by subscrip- 
tion, and by collections made at the annual meetings. — 
In 1316 the Society subscribed two tliousand dollars of 
its funds for the use of the Massachusetts Hospital for 
the Insane. 

It has been customary for t*ie Society, until within a 
few years, to attend the delivery of an anniversary dis- 
course. The persons, who have oiTiciated on these oc- 
casions, are Dr Bass, Rev. Jaseph Dana, Daniel A. 
White, Rev. Samuel Cary, Rev. Samuel Spring, Michael 
Hodge jun. Dr Enoch Toppan, Ebenozer Moselv, Sam- 
uel L. i<!njpp, Rev. John Andrews, fie v. Danit I Dana, 
Rev. James Mo r«s, AVilliam B. Banister, Levcrett Saltoo- 
»tall:and Rev. George Otis. The la^t addre^ was in J 8 19, 




Was instituted June 8tb, 1803. Its object is to make- 
regular provision for the maintenance of iemale or- 
phans ; for their instruction in the principles of know- 
ledge, virtue, and religion ; and for their being employ- 
ed in such manner as may prepare them for future use- 
fulness. — The associates, consisting entirely of ladies, 
were incorporated by act of March 15th, 1805. From 
an account published by the Society in 1822 it appears 
that the original number of subscribers was 127, who 
laid the foundations of a fund, which at that time amount- 
ed to j^l510. This was obtained by donations, subscrip- 
tions, and collections at the anniversary meetings of the, 
Society. The Society had received into its asylum, 
previous to ]Q22^ forty orphan females, whose, charac- 
ter and deportment at^ter leaving the institution have 
been very honorable to its managers. The childrei> 
now under the care of the Society are thirteen ia 


Was instituted by voluntary association, December 20th 
1809, and incorporated by the legislature the ensuing 
February. Their object is to raise a fund to be appro- 
priated in procuring bibles of the common version, for 
di-^tribution among those persons,, in this commonwealth 
or elsewhere, who are destitute of the scriptures and 
cannot easily be supplied without such aid; and to dis- 
tribute the bible in other languages when deemed expe- 
dient. This Society have diligently performed the du- 
ties which they undertook, in proportion to the extent 
of their means, by distributing copies of the bible with- 
in the sphere of their knowledge and influence. 

In 1817 the society voted unanimously to become aux- 
iliary to the American Bible Society. It is customary 
for the society to have an annual meeting, at which a 
discourse is delivered, and reports made of the progress 
and condilion of the institution. 

* FvT a full account of the nature an<1 objects of the Sosietv, see the 
tract above tt»cntioiiecl j\ud Uev. ^. P.WilU;«.iji»' ;3crjn9n, Mny 31, I8;it.: 



Was formed February 13tb, 1818. The present num- 
bor of annual sabscribers is 220, besides 2G life subscri- 
ber?. The object of the Society is to afford relief to 
the indigent in sickness or other distressed circumstan- 


Is a society of the most useful and laudable character,, 
being established solely for the encouragement of thrifty 
industry, and economy among the laboring clases. Its 
design is to assist those, who are desirous of saving their 
money, but have not acquired sufhcient to purchase 
bank stock or other public stocks, and who have not the 
knowledge or means requisite to enable them to employ 
their savings to advantage themselves, without the risk 
of loss. The trustees receive deposits as low in amount 
as one dollar, and pay an interest of five per cent to the 
depositors. The trustees receive no pay or emolument,-^ 
themselves ; but every five years, the surplus income 
of the funds, if any, af"ter deducting necessary expenses,^ 
is also to be divided. Depositors may either receive 
their dividends semiannually, or suffer them to remain 
with the trustees and accumulate. This institutioQ was 
incorporated in 1820, 


Was instituted in 1822. Its obje<:t is the distribution 
of the scriptures among seamen alone. A plan is now 
on foot for uniting this association with the Merrimac 
Bible Society, which will probably be successful. 

There are other benevolent associations, which, be- 
ing auxiliary to larger bodies abroad, it is unnecessary 
to enumerate. And in addition to those already men- 
tioned, a class of associations exists, whose useful but un- 
obtrusive charily is entitled to the greatest respect. — 
They are the several parish-societies, consisting of 
females, who assiduously watch over the welfare of the 
industrious poor in their respective con<fregations, and 
Slid them in sickness and want. 



There are seven reliijious societies in Newburyport 
namely, three of the congregational, two of the presby 
terian, one of the episcopalian, and one of the bap- 
tist denomination : ofeach of which a separate account 
will be given in the order of time in which they were 


Is the oldest religious society in Newburyport. Th« 
founders of it experienced some opposition from over- 
zealous persons of the congregational form of worship 
in the neighborhood; but at length, in 1711, they 
erected a building, called, in honor of the reigning prin- 
cess, Queen Anne's Chapel. It stood on what is called 
the Plains in Newbury, on a spot now used as a 
burying ground, about three miles from the present 

The members of the society immediately sent to 
England for a pastor; and the Rev. Mr. Lampton was 
appointed to officiate in their church, as a missionary, 
by the English Society for Propagating the Gospel. Mr. 
Lampton came here in 1711 and remained until 1714. 

He was succeeded by the Xiev. Henry Lucas, a mis- 
sionary from the same Society, who arrived in 1715. 
He continaed to officiate until 1720, when he died. He 
is reputed to have been a very active and faithful preach- 
er ; and highly useful to the cause of his church. 

His parishioners remained without any regular cler- 
gyman until 1722, when thje Rev. Matthias Plant ar- 
rived as missionary to Newbury, and minister of the 
•piscopal church, ii increai^ed very considerably un- 


lifer his ministrations ; so that diihculties at length arose 
between his and the neigborin^ parishes on account of 
taxes; which the latter claimed of the episcopalians 
within their limits. Mr. Plant applied to governor Shute 
for relief; and he promptly gave them a grant of imnau- 
nity from taxalion by the other parishes. This instru- 
ment is in the following words : — 

4' Boston, 27th July, 1722. Whereas upon informa- 
tion from the Rev. IMatthias Plant, minister of the church 
of England, Newbury, that several persons of that and 
the adjoining towns have professed themselves members 
of the said church, and accordingly have entered their 
names in their register-book; and that the Rt. Rev. the 
Bp. of London hath settled a minister amongst them, and 
that there is a very considerable congregation ; I do 
therefore order, that the persons, who have already de- 
clared, or shall hereafter declare, for the said establish- 
ed church, be peaceably allowed in their proceedings, 
and must not be taxed or imposed upon for the support 
and maintenance of any other public worship in the said 
town or towns, wherein they shall inhabit : Of whicti! 
all persons concerned are to take notice accordingly. 
^' Given under my hand, Samuel Shute. 

" To his majesty's justices of the peace for > 
the county of Essex, or any one ol them. \ 
'' Attested, that this is the trae form of the original, 
signed and granted hy his excellencj' S. Shute,governor of 
New England, for the protection of the members of the 
church of England, in Newbury, and for such persons 
as shall enter their names into the register-book. 

Matthias Plant." 
In 1738 a new church was commenced on the spot 
occupied by the present building, and conpleted in 1742, 
which received the name of St. Paul's Church. Mr. 
Plant was invited to preach there ; which he did at first 
every other Sunday. But soon afterwards the members 
of St. PauPs Church and he had a misunderstanding, in 
consequence of their desiring a younger minister; — and 
Mr. Plant ceased to officiate there tor three years. — At 
length, however, their differences were accommodated, 
and Mr. Phuit was inducleil into the church in 1751. — 
He ao^reed to accept as an associate ©f Mr. Edward Basi, 


ind to 5ufr6ndet to him a portion of the salary whick 
he received from England. 

Mr. Bass immediately went to London and was ordain- 
ed by Dr. Sherlock, then bishop of London. He returu- 
ed in 1752 and commenced his pastoral labors as minis- 
ter of St. Paul's. 

In 1753 Mr. Plant died, in the 62d year of his age; 
after which Mr. Bass took charge of both parishes, con- 
tinuing to officiate twice in each month, for some time, 
in tlie Chapel. But in 1766, the Chapel having be- 
come much decayed, and most of the worshippers resid- 
ing nearer to the other church, it was agreed that all 
siiould assemble at St. Paul's. 

Mr. Bass officiated as rector of this church fifty one 
years. He was born at Dorchester in this State, Novem- 
ber 23d 1726, and graduated at Plarvard College in 
1744. From this period until he received his master's 
degree he was engaged in the instruction of a school.— 
From 1747 until 1751 he resided at the College, attend- 
ing to the study of theology, and occasionally supplying 
vacant pulpits in the congregational churches. He was 
ordained in 1752, and entered upon the charge of St. 
Paul's Church the same year, as already stated. In 1789 
the university of Pennsylvania conferred on him the de- 
gree of docter in divinitVo In 1796 he was unanimously 
elected, at a convention of the protestant episcopal 
church of Massachusetts, to be their bishop; and was 
consecrated in Christ-Church May 7th 1797, by the bish- 
ops of Pennsylvania, New York, and Maryland. He 
was afterwards elected bishop of the episcopal churches 
in Rhode Island and New Hampshire. He died in this 
town September 10th 1803, in the 76th year of his age. 
He lived universally esteemed a? ' a sound divine, a crit- 
ical scholar, an accomplished gentleman, and an exam- 
plary christian.' — He was remarkable in private life 
for his urbanity and serenity of temper, and his dis- 
charge of all the duties incumbent on him in his sever- 
al social relations; and as a clergyman and diocesan was 
eminent for his faithful attention to all his ofhcial func- 
tions, by which he gained the affection of his people, 
and the veneration of the communitv, 

Uls society suffered from various and opposite causei 


during the revolution ; but when peace was restored, it 
recovered from its embarrasments. A new chucrch 
was erected in 1800, upon the site of the old one, in 
Tvhich the society now worship. During the time oc- 
cupied in its erection, trom April to October, they as- 
sembled in the church belonging to the second Presby- 
terian Society. In token of gratitude for this favor, 
the episcopal church presented to that society a hand- 
some piece of plate. 

Bishop Bass, was succeeded by the present incumbent, 
the Rev. James Morss, who became rector of the church 
in November 1803. Priest's order were conferred op 
him in June 1804, by bishop Moore of New York.* 


in Newburyport was formed in 1725, out of the First 
Parish in Newbur}'. The following is a copy of the 
set of incorporation as found iu the records of the 

" At a Greate and Genaral Court or Assembley of 'hit 
Majesties Prouince, of the Massachusetts Bay New-Eng- 
land, Held Nouember 3, 1726, Saaiuel Tha?;ter, Esq, 
ffoai the Comity, of both Houses on the Petition of sev- 
aral Inhabitants of Newbury first Parish, Gaus in the 
following Report, viz. : 

" Pursuant t© an order of the Genaral Court at thair 
Session in Nouember 1725, in answer to the Petition of 
the westerly part of the old Parish in Newbury order- 
ing us the subscriburs to view the scituation of the Pe- 
ticioners as well as the other part of the first Parish in 
Newbury, Espesially where the middle diui<iing Line is 
Proposed and to hear the parties therein, Conferred 
and make Report thereon : 

In obediance to the said order upon the first day of 
December Curnt we Repaired to Newbury and hauing 
Notified the Persons Concernd, we Vewd the seuarall 
parts of the old Presinct and the Land of the new pro- 
posed Parish and Report as follows, That the Lane call- 

• This .account is derived from a \i\\T\i(tf\ Sermon delifered by Rc». 
Mr. Morsa in St. Paul's Chmch, Jan. 6Lb, 1311. 


«(' Chandlers Lane shall bs the diuiding Line betweea 
the old and new Parishes, and to coalinue as the old or 
first Parish has alredy granted on the nineteenth of 
June 1722. But in as much as eight families that live 
near the said line and on the south side there oF, viz. 
Edward Sargant, Jams Crocker, Isaac Hall, Joseph 
Swazey, Stephen Fresson, William Alien, John Green- 
life, jun. and Isaac Miricke have desired to be set to the 
New Parish, and som of them have been at charge in 
building the New Meeting House, the Comity are hum- 
bly of opinion that the said eight families with their ea- 
tats adjoyning shall be set ot the new Parish during the 
Courts pleasure. Also where as there is a considrable 
number of families on the Northerly Side of the Nevr 
Meeting House, that have entred thair dccents against 
being joined to the New Parish, the Comity are of 
opinion that thay be joined to the New Parish, Pro- 
uided the said Parish do accomodate them with sutabel 
Pews, or Seats for thair reception, without thair being 
at any Charge, therefor. December 8, 1725 : William 
Rogers, Daniel Epes, Samuel Thaxter, Thomas Ghoat, 
Spencer Phips. 

"In Counsel read and ordered that this Report be ac- 
cepted, and that the Land within the Bounds in the said 
Report Discribed, be sett of a distinct and seprate Pre- 
cinct, and that the Inliabitance thereof be vested with 
the powers and Priuileges that the Inhabitants of other 
Precincts are Vested with : 

" In the House of Representatiues Read and Concurd. 
Consented to : William Duuamer." 

The Society were organized pursuant to this act ia 
the winter of 1725-6, and made choice of Rev. John 
Lowell, (originally spelt Lowle,) for their pastor — 
Hq was ordained January 191h, 1726. The parish vote 
fixing his salary was in the following words : 

" Voled that v/hereas we have made choice of and 
called the Rev. Mr. John Lowell to settle with us in 
the work of the nainistry, for his encouragement to un- 
der take and ingage there in, we will pay him one 
hundred and thirty pounds per year in bilU of credit 
or such other current passable money as shall be equiv- 
tlent to one hundred and thirty pounds of silver at six- 


teen shillings per ounce, in ca«e he shall settle with us 
in the miDistrjj and that we will add twenty pounds to 
his salary after two years from the date hereof, of like 
money, to be paid annually, so long as he the said Mr. 
John Lo\^ell shall continue in the work of the aiinistry 
among u«." 

" Voted, al«o, that we will provide a parsonage house, 
or give him two hundred pounds, in bills of credit, to 
.enable him to provide a house for himself, on condition 
of his settling and continuing with us as above said, to 
be at his charge." 

In May 1727, it was voted to purchase a bell weigh- 
ing four hundred pounds. — And in the same year it ap- 
pears that the practice of ringing a bell at nine o'clock 
in the evening was commenced. 

In the parish records of this Society, votes are con- 
tinually occurring in respect to the school?;, which were 
under the direction of the precinct. Some curious no- 
tices are to be met with concerning their lirst establish- 
ment in what afterwards became Newbury port.— Thus 
it was voted in 1730 that 

"Those scholars that do go to school to the school- 
master shall pay a groat a week ; and what that shall 
want to pay the school-master, the parish will make up, 
with wkat is raised in general." 

And at the same time it was voted that 

" The place where the school house shall stand shall 
be by Frog Pond, near two thirds of the way between 
Fish street and Queen street.^' 

Inl730, it was also voted, that 

" The school master shall have sixty pounds a year, 
with what is raised in the town in the general ; and 
tliat no children be sent to the school-master but what 
can read well in a psalter." 

In April 1733, occurs the following record of the 
mode of paying the taxes : 

'^ Voted, that the contribution shall be continued for 
this present year, and every man to write on the money 
he J^hall give in contribution, and ail the money he 
jhall give to be deducted out of his rate. 

*' Voted, that what money is given in to the coitribu- 



tion box, that is not written upon, is given to Mr. John 
:li0vvell for this present year." 

Mr. Lowell died in 1767, deeply lamented by his pa- 
rishioners, whose affection and respect he had secured 
by faithful devotion to their service for forty-two years. 
He was generous and hospitable in disposition, pecu- 
liarly amiable in all the social and domestic relations, 
and distinguished as a sound scholar and exemplary di- 
vine. The tolerant and catholic spirit which he dis- 
played on doctrinal points gave him the reputation of 
inclining a little more to liberality of tenets than was 
usual among the clergy of his time, who still retained 
much of the rigid faith of their ancestors.* His family 
were of Welch extraction originally, and fixed them- 
selves at Newbury soon after its settlement. From 
thence the branch of it, to which he belonged, removed 
to Boston, where he was born. His only child was John 
Lowell, afterwards eminent as a lawyer, statesman, and 

In January, 1768, the church and parish voted to in* 
vite the Rev. Thomas Gary to become their minister. 
It was voted to give Mr. Gary 

" One hundred pounds a year, as salary, and also the 
free contribution and use of the parsonage land," and 
that in case he accepted the call, he should be furnished 
with a suitable parsonage house. 

In July, 1788, Mr. Gary became disabled from regu- 
larly disrcliarging his pastoral duties by a paralytic af- 
fection. In consequence of this an arrangement wag 
anrjicably made between him and the parish to their 
mutual satisfaction, by which, although his ministerial 
relation to them continued, yet they were released from 
the payment ol any salary, and he from the performance 
of parochial duties, except so far as the same should be 

Soon afterwards the Rev. John Andrews was invited 
to settle as a colleague with Mr. Gary; with a settle- 
ment salary of one hundred and fifty-six pounds. He ac- 
cepted the invitation and was ordained December 10th. 

Mr. Tuckev's Funeral SermoD, 


It is mentioned in the newspaper of the day, that No- 
vember 6th. 1796, the church organ, built by Dr Josiah 
Leavitt of Boston, was put up in the meeting-house of 
thi^ Society. 

The meeting-house in which the Society worshipped, 
situated near the centre of what is now Market square, 
was abandoned, in 1801, and the new one erected in 
Pleasant-street. The old one had long been very much 
decayed. In 1784 the Proprietors voted 'To give the 
house as frugal a repair as will keep the weather from 
totally destroying it.' The Society continued to assem- 
ble in the old house, however, until September 26th. 
1801, when discourses were delivered there for the last 
time by Mr. Andrews, in the morning, and by Mr. Gary, 
in the afternoon. The new church was dedicated the 
ensuing Thursday. 

Mr. Gary died November 24th 1808. He was bora 
in Gharlestown in this State, October 18th. 1745, and 
graduated at Harvard GoUege in 1761. He was highly 
esteemed for his sound devotion, his judicious and in- 
structive pulpit discourses, and his faithful discharge of 
all his ministerial functions ; which were unhappily in- 
terrupted by disease at the prime of his life and mental 

Since the decease of Mr. Gary his colleague has con- 
tinued to be pastor of the Society. He is the only cler- 
gyman in Newburyport of the Unitarian persuasion; in 
which class of christians his Society are ranked. 


Dates its origin to the year 1744. It consisted of per- 
sons who separated, about that time, from the first and 
third churches in Newbury, that is, Mr. Toppan's and 
Mr. Lowell's. They erected a house of worship in 
High street, in which they remained until 1756; when 
the present church in Federal street was built. 

The formation of the church took place in conse- 
quence of the preaching of Mr. Whitfield, who produc- 
ed so deep and extensive an ardor on the subject ot re- 
ligion during his residence in New-England. Whatev- 
er may be thought of the peculiar opinion! of Mi:-. 

Whitfield, certain it is that his eloquence as a preaciier 
was unrivalled ; and his zeal for the cause he taught of 
the hiarhest character. The fruits of his ministration 
here were gre;\t and striking ; and the establishment of 
the Society under consideration afforded proof of the 
permanency of its effects.**^ 

This Society first worshipped under Mr, Joseph Ad- 
am? ; but in 1756 they were incorporated and settled 
the Rev. Jonathan Parsons, who continued their pastor 
until his death in 1776. He was born in West Spring- 
field and gr.»duated at Yale college in 1749. In 175(> 
he took charge of a church in Lyme ; but his sentiments 
being changed by the preaching of Tennent and Whit- 
field, he was invited, on the recommendation of the lat- 
ter, to remove to Newbury. He was a faithful pastor,. 
a scholar of various learning, and a correct and ea- 
sy writer, as his printed writings attest. 

Id 1748 the church began to be associated with oth- 
ers in Presbytery ; and regularly commissioners at- 
tended it ; but it did not formally adopt the constitution of 
the Presbyterian church in the United States until 1802^ | 

In 1772 IMr. Parsons became disabled by illness ; and \ 
application was made to the Rev. John Murray of Booth- 
bay to become his colleague. This call was repeatedly 
renewed; but owing to various causes was not success- 
ful until 178;. 

Mr. Murray continued pastor of the Society until his 
death in 1793. He was born in 1742 in the county of 
Antrim in Ireland ;— and was educated in the university 
of Edinburgh. He came to America in 1761, and was 
settled in Philadelphia, and afterwards at Boothbay for 
thirteen years. He was a popular and zealous preach'^ 
er ; dignified in his manners ; and exceedingly endeared 
to his people as a clergyman and a man. He had been 
deposed by the Philadelphia Presbytery, but was after- 
wards restored by another Presbytery, for the gross in- 
formality, if not injustice, of the original sentence. 

He was succeeded by Rev. Daniel Dana, who was or- 
dained in 1794, and continued in the pastoral charge cf 

♦•His remains are interred under the church of this Societj. 


the Society until 1820, when he became president of 
Dartmouth college. 

Dr Dana was succeeded by the present pastor, the 
Rev. Samuel P. Williams, who was installed February 
8th 1821. 

In 1794 a part of this Society seceded on account of 
the settlement of Dr Dana, and formed the Second Pres- 
byterian Society. But it is remarkable tiiat the latter 
has now called Uiim whom their fathers refused', and 
that through them he is restored to the scenes of his 
early usefulness. 

In the year 1791 a part of the Society separ- 
ated and formed the Fourth Religious Society, and 
settled the Rev. Charles vV. Milton, as he;ea(ter 
stated. In 1793 the differences between them and 
the parent congregation were amicably adjusted.* 

* Historical account of the First Presbyterian Church, by Rev. 
Samuel P- Williams. 

The following^ is the original agreement foi* the establishment 
of this church as given in Mr. Williams' discour;;e. 

" We, tlie subscribing bi-etliren, who were members of the 
first church in Newbury, and have tlioujjht it our du'y to with 
draw iherefrcm, do also louk upon it our duty to enter in\o a 
church estate, specially as we apprehend "ihis m<y be fo* the glo- 
ry of Gou and the interest of the Redeemer's kingdom, as well 
as for our own mu'ual ed.fication and cotwfopi^. 

We do, therefoie, as we trust, in the fear of God, mutually 
covenant and agree lo walk together as a church of Christ ac» 
ording to the lules and order of he gospel. 

In testimony whereof, we have hereunto set our hands anti 
seals, this 3d day of Jan. A. D. 1746. 

Charles Pierce Benjamin Pierce 

Moses Bradstreet Dtniel Noyes 

Edward Presbury Mager Gocnlwin 

John Brown Thomas I'lke 

Richa.d Hall D.m el Wells 

Benjamin Knight Joseph Hidden 

William Br.wn Natlianel ^'k:inson, jr. . 

Jonalhku P iirp'p Daniel Goodwin 

Silvanus Puim. r Sa:iiucl Hall 
Cuiting Petlingell. 



Is distinguished, in the early records, by the name of 
the proprietors and other persons attending public 
worship at the north meetinghouse in ISewburyport, 
and subsequently as the north congregational Society. 
They separated from the First Religious Society by 
amicable agreement in 1767 ; and the church of the 
latter, in token of harmony of feeling, voluntarily con- 
sented that tiie new church should have a portion of the 
church plate according to their respective numbers. 

They immediately erected a meet-bouse in Titcomb- 
itreet, and at their first meeting, holden October 3d 
1768, invited the Rev. Christopher B. Marsh to be their 
minister. He was ordained in the same month, and con- 
tinued to be pastor of the Society until December 1773. 
He was the son of Daniel Marsh of Boston, and sustain- 
ed a high character, as a scholar and a clergyman. But 
unhappily he died prematurely, in the prime of his life 
and usefulness, at the age of 30. 

The Society remained without any settled clergy- 
man until 1777, the pulpit being supplied durmg that 

time by occasional application to various individuals 

In 1777 the Society concurred unanimously with the 
church in giving an invitation to Rev. Samuel Spring 
to become their pastor. He consented and was ordain- 
ed in Ausfiist 1777. 

Dr Spring was born in Northbridge in this state Feb- - 
ruary 27th. 1746. His father was an opulent farmer, 
and give him the benefit of a, public education at Nas- 
sau Hall, New-Jersey, where he graduated in 1771. — . 
He spent eight months there as a theological student 
under the instruction of the celebrated Dr Witherspoon, 
and completed his course under Drs Hopkins, Bellamy, 
and We«<t. In 177 4 he was licenced to preach ; and in 
1775, having joined the continental army as chaplain, 
he followed gren. '\rnold as a member of the volunteer 
corps, which made the disastrous expedition to Canada. 
The energy of hi. character was fully developed in this 
calamitous enterprise, which was attended with the 
nost extreme hardship, and entirely failed of success. — 
M'^ example aud exhortations were eminently useful Id 


encouraging the troops, and enabling them to sustaia- 
the manifold hardships of a winter's march through 
pathless forests. 

At the close of 1776 he left the army, and began to- 
preach in this town at the beginning of the next year. 
He continued to discharge his pastoral duties with un- 
common zeal until within a few weeks of hi^ death, 
which happened March 4lh. 1819. 

Whatever difference of opinion there may be in re- 
spect to the peculiar political and religious tenets of 
Dr Spring, all must admit that he supported them with 
great ardor and ability. Kis decision of character and 
intensity of purpose necessarily gave him considerable 
influence among those of his religious persuasion. Sev- 
eral institutions may trace their establishment in no 
small degree to his exertions. Among these are Greene- 
ville College in Tennessee, the Massachusetts Mission- 
ary Society, and the Foreign Mission. And there is no 
individual, to whose influence the Theological Semina- 
ry at Andover is more indebted for its being than Dr 

Subsequent to the great fire in Newburyport, he dis- 
tinguished himself by undertaking a journey to the 
southern part of the United States to collect contribu* 
tions for the sufferers by that event; 

Beside a number of occasional sermons, he published 
a Dialo^-ue on Duty and a volume of Disquisitions.* 

Dr Spring was succeeded by the present pastor, the 
Rev. Luther F. Dimmick, who was ordained December 
8th 1819. He, as well as each of his predecessors, was 
called and settled by a unanimous vote of the Society. 

The meeting-ho\ of this con-retration being very 
much decayed, they determined, in May last, to con- 
struct a new church, on the site of the old one, which 
will soon be completed. 


Was incorporated in 1794. The meeting-house, is. 
which they worship, in Temple-street, was commence 
ed June 15th 1793, and completed the same year. 

* Dr Woods S.irmon on the death of Dr Sp»ing, 


The church originated in an association of individu- 
als, chiefly members of the First Presbyterian Society, 
who separated therefrom in 1791 to attend the minis- 
try of the Rev. Charles W. Milton. They first met 
and worshipped in the house ia Milk-street, now occu- 
pied by Mr. Jonathan Morss, a part of which was then 
fitted up as a meeting-house. 

Mr. Rlilton was born in England and educated on the 
foundation of the countess of Huntington. After preach- 
ing as a missionary at St. John''s in Nevv-Brunswic, he 
came to this country; and his preaching proving ac- 
ceptable to a considerable body of persons in this town, 
gave rise, as before stated, to the establishment of the 
Fourth Religious Society. He still continues pastor 
of it. 

In 1801 the Society had become so numerous, that it 
was found necessary to enlarge the meeting-house. 

The church government of the Society is agreeable,^ 
in most respects, to the congregational form; and they 
are usually classed in that order of christians. But they 
do not consider themselves subject to any ecclesiastical 
council, and are therefore denominated an independent 


Was formed in 1795, by the association of a number of 
persons for attending the ministry of the Rev. John 
Boddily. They voluntarily supported Mr. Boddily for 
sixteen months, paying him at the rate of three hundred 
and forty dollars per annum, and meeting for worship 
in the old tov^n-house. In June 1796 they commenced 
building a meeting-house in Harris street, which was 
completed in that year. 

They were then incorporated by the legislature ac 
cording to the provisions of the act governing the other 
Religious Societies in the town. 

The first me: ting of the Society was holden May 3d 
1797, at which it was voted to give Mr. Boddily a call 
as stated pastor of the Society, and to pay him a yearly 
salary of five hundred dollars. It was voted to collect 
Uie salary by public contribution to be paid in equal . 


j^roportiona on the first Lord's day of every month, each 
person contributing to mark his name on his money, and 
to be credited for the same towards his tax by the col- 
lector. The invitation to Mr. Boddily was give with- 
out a single dissenting voice, and he was publicly instal- 
led as minister of the church and Society June 28th 

Mr. Boddily died November 4th 1802, aged 47. He 
■was born in England, and educated at the countess of 
Huntington's College. After preaching at Westbury in 
Wiltshire, and Wallingford in Westmoreland, he emi- 
grated to this country, and soon formed a congregation 
in Newburyport. 

In April 1803, immediately after the death of Mr. 
Boddily, the Society invited the Rev. John Giles to be- 
come their pastor. He accepted <he invitation and wiis 
installed July 20th of the same year. He continued to 
be pastor of the Society upwards of twenty one .years, 
dying September 28th 1824 aged 66. 

Mr. Giles was born and educated in England. He 
commenced the ministry at the age of 19, and was for 
nine years pastor of a dissenting church in Wellington, 
Somersetshire. Feeling * a strong partiality to the 
free constitution and republican principles' of our govern- 
ment, he left the congregation in Wellington, designing 
to make this country his home. He yielded, however, 
to the solicitations of his friends in Exeter to take charge 
of a church there for a time ; after which, in 1798, he 
caoie to America. On his arrival here, he preached 
first in Trumbull in Connecticut and afterwards iiv Eliz- 
abethtown in New Jersey. He declined an invitation 
unanimously given him by a society in Elizabethtown to 
become their pastor ; and returning to Trumbull, was 
their minister for about two years : — From whence, at 
the invitation of the First Presbyterian Society, he re- 
moved to Newburyport.* 

In August 1824 the Rev. William Ford was ordained 
as a colleague with Mr. Giles ; and continued minister 
of the Society until February 1826, ivhen he resigned- 
the pastoral charge on account of his health. 

*■ RcT. S. P Wiliiama' funeral Sermon October 1824.. 


In March 1826 the Society invited the Rev. DrDarf- 
iel Dana, formerly of Newburyport and then of Londort- 
derry, to become their pastor. He was according-ly set- 
tled, t« remain in the pastoral relation to the Society 
so long as should be mutually acceptable to the parties, 
the party desiring a charge to assign reasons satisfacto- 
ry to the Presbytery or a proper council. 

In 1822 this Society adopted the practise, which they 
still follow, of collecting all their parochial taxes by an 
assessment on the pews of the church. A portion of 
the parish tax, in the other Societies in Newburyport, 
is assessed on property, 


In Newbury and Newburyport, was incorporated m 
February 1811. Many years previous to that time, so 
far back indeed as 1804, a number of persons of the 
baptist persuasion met and were Ibrmed into a church. 
The first meeting for public worship was July 22d 1804, 
when Mr. Joshua Chase of Newbury officiated. He 
preached for the church until June 1805, when he was 
ordained as an evangelist, and went elsewhere. 

The members of the Society assembled at two sepa- 
rate places in Newbury until December, 1805, when 
they united, and had but one place of worship, and that 
in Newburyport. 

In August 1805 they invited the Rev. John Peake of 
Barnstable to be their pastor ; and he acceded to the 

In 1809 a brick meeting-houser was erected in Liber- 
ty street for the use of tbe^ Society. This building 
was unfortunately consumed in the great fire; and a 
Dew one was constructed in 1812 in Congress-street. — 
The funds for the construction of it were obtained by 
the zeal and indefatigable exertions of the Rev. Mr. 
Peake, in procuring donations from the benevolent and 
charitable in various parts of the United States. 

In 1818 Mr. Peake, at his request, was unwillingly 
granted a dismission from the pastoral care of the Soci- 
ety. He i* now settled as the minister of a baptist So»' 
ciety in Hyannis. 


Me was succeeded by the Rev. Hosea Wheeler. — 
Mr. Wheeler was bora at Dunbarton, N. H. March 8th 
1791. He was graduated at Dartmoutti College, which 
he entered in 1807. In 1817 he joined the baptist 
church and in 1818 was ordained as pastor of the Bap- 
tist Society in Newburyport. In May 1822 he received 
an invitation to become minister of a baptist church at 
Eastport ; and in consequence soon afterwards asked and 
received a reluctant dismission from the Society in 
Newburyport. He died at Eastport in January 1823. 

In 1822 the Rev. Josiah Houghton, formerly minister 
of a church in Readfield in Maine, began to preach for 
the Society and became their pastor in the spring of 
the ensuing year ; and they still continue under his 



Newburyport has long been known bj' its zeal fof 
the order of free masonry. The prosperity and re- 
spectability of the fraternity in this place are mainly at- 
tributable, in the first instance, to the exeriious of Dr 
John B. Swett, who settled in the town about the close 
of the revolutionary war. He was di'stinguished as an 
ardent mason, not less than for his genius, his education 
and science, his generous feelings and his social habits. 
It is said he was initiated into the mysteries of the Illu- 
minati in Germany ; but however this may be, cer- 
tain it is, that he gave the weight of his character and 
influence to the establishment of masonry in Newbury- 
port, and succeeded in a remarkable manner. The in- 
troduction of the higher degrees is owing, in a consider- 
able measure, to his efforts. Since then the best name* 
in this community may be found in the masonic order. 

St. John's Lodge is the oldest in town. Its charter 
is dated 1766 ; but there are no records of its meetings 
until 1781. The masters have been Nathnniel Tracy, 
John Tracy, Stephen Hooper, Michael Hodge, Gilman 
White, Setn Svveetser, Edward Little, Dr Jonathan G. 
Johnson, Nathan Chase, Dr Richard S. Spofford, Dr 
Dean Robinson, John Andrews jr. and Thomas B. Wuite. 

St. Peter's Lodge, was chartered under the lament- 
ed general Warren, then Provincial Grand Master, 
March 12th 1772. 

The masters have been John Brooks, Jonathan 
Boardman, William Greenough, Edward Rand, Moses 
Creenleaf, Jonathan Gage, Joshua Greenleaf, Stephen 
Jloward, Abraham Perkins, David Coffin, Amos Toppan, 
Edward Dorr, Eleazer Johnson, Benjamin Whiimore. 


Bfioch Plumrner Jr. Joseph George, and Francis B. 

St. Mark's Lodge was chartered in 1803 and conse- 
crated July lllh 1804. It is now tiie largest Lodge in 
the town, consisting of 1|3 members. Its masters have 
been ^Villium Weed, William Francis, William Chase, 
John Moody, William Knapp, John Cook jr. William 
Currier, and Ebenezer Bradbury. 

A Chapter, called King Cyrus' Royal Arch Chapter, 
^vas instituted in Newburyport in 1790. The first offi- 
cers were H. Dupicssis, Jonatlran Boardman, Jonathaa 
Gage, and Dr John B. Swett. The grand masters pre- 
vious to 1800 have been H. Duplessis, Dr J. B. Swett, 
Dudley A, Tyng, Joshua Greenleaf. In 1798 the 
Grand Chapter of the Northern States was established. 

A Council of Select Masters was organized in May 

The Encampment of Knights Templars was duly or- 
ganized in 1795. A number of knights had previously 
met and conferred the degrees ; but there ^vas then no 
regular body acknowledged as a General Encampment 
in the New-England States. The principal members 
at that time were Dr Swett, Dudley A. Tyng, Jonathan 
Gage, Joshua Greenleaf, Nathaniel Knapp, William W}^ 
er, and Samuel Cutler. They were afterwards joined 
by Abraham Perkins, Samuel Mulliken, Charles Jack- 
sofi, Jacob Perkins, William W^oart, Edward Dorr and 
others ; and uniting with Encampments from various 
places in Massachusetts and Rhode-Island, established a 
Grand Encampment for the two States, under the juris- 
diction of the General Grand Encampment of the Unit- 
ed States. They were organized by a charter from 
that bofiy, and have regularly held their meetings to 
the present time. 

A Consistory has recently been established at New- 
buryport, in which all the higher degrees of masonry 
nre conferred. 

An as'^ociation of the masonic bodies has fitted up a 
Masonic Hall in Newburyport, in a style of unconiraoB 
taste, elegance, and liberality, with appropriate furui- 
ture and ornaments, gf the greatest beauty. 




THE expeAciituie? of the to^vn of Newburyport for 
the advancemeDt of public educa hn have never ciased 
to be fn'iiy in piopoiticn to its peciniary meari. — 
Without brino;ing into view tlie noble })Ublic donations, 
ivbich some of it.« ciiiiiens hav(^ bestoAod upon iuerary 
insiilutions abroad, the asser-ion can be established by 
reference merely to the ordinary charg^;^£ of the publie 
and private schools taught in town. 


For males in Newburyport are four, one grammap 
school and three writing schools. 

The grammar school, in common with other schools 
of the same kind in other parts of the state, has suffer- 
ed much by the esta j-jshnient of academies. When all 
classes, the rich as? well as the poor, depended upon it 
for the classical instruction of their children, it was an 
object olmore general solicitude, and its character stood 
higher, than \shen they looked to another place for the 
primary education of youth Bat efforts are now mak- 
ing to increase its usefulness, from which better thing! 
iare anticipated. 

Of the three writing schools, one has for several years 
been taught according to the system of mutual instruc- 
tion ; and the others have recently been conformed more 
or less completely to the snme plan. The centre and 
the south school houses were purposely erected with 
a view to that system; and conttiin every convenience 
for giving it a tair and full trial. 

By an act of the. legislature passed the present year, 


it was made the duty of the school committee of each 
town to render an account of the state of public and 
private primary instructioa. From the returns of the 
sciiool coramitlfcie of Netvburyport, it appears that the 
sum anriaally p lid for the idstruciion merely of the pub- 
lic schools is ^23o9. The number of children attending 
the public «chools is 559 males, and 510 female*, in all 
lOoJ. Besides those, 33 private schools are taught ia 
to'vn, cont<iinin<y 640 pupils of both sexes, the cost of 
whose tuition i? ^^4526. 

The-e calcu'.uions were made independently of the 
Ne\vbur3q)ort Ac;-'demy, which, being* placed in New- 
bury, was comprehended in the school returns of tbe 
latter town. 

Other in^litutioas for education deserve notice ; of 
which the following- are the most important, 


Although situated in the town of Newbury, owes its or- 
igin and support chiefly to citizens of Newburyport. It 
was incorporated in 1807. It is now in a prosperous 
condition, the male apartment, under the instruction of 
V.:. Alfred W. Pike, being full, and containing about for- 
ty ^jupiis. 


For the endowment of which a large legacy was r«- 
cently left to the town by the late IMr. Oliver Putnam, a 
native and formerly a citizen of N ewburvport, promises 
to have the most important influehce upon our system 
of public education. 

Oliver Putnam was born at Newburyport in 1773 — 
His father was a mechanic, and was able to give him 
nothing but a common school education. But his nat- 
ural talents were of the tlrst order; and having attained 
independence at an early age by successful commercial 
speculation^, he devoted himself to the assiduous culti- 
vation of his intellect. His constitution was unfortu- 
nately feeble ; which prevented his becomiag fixed in 
any particu'ar occupation; and compelled him, for the ad- 
vantages of a change of climate, to travel ia various 
parts of Europe and America, Had it been otherwits. 


the independence and integrity of his character, his 
found judgment, his profound practical knowledge, his 
unimpeachable moral?, and his intimate acquaintance 
with the science of politics and political economy, 
rvould soon have fastened upon him the the public eye, 
and raised him to posts of honor and distinction. But 
his ill health forbad, and contined the benefit of his su- 
perior qualities to the circle of his acquaintance. 

During the latter half of his life, he mad-^. Boston his 
place of abode, although passing much of his time on a 
farm belonging to him in Hampstead, where he 
died, July 1 ith 1826. He was never married. By his 
will, which is dated July 11th 1825, and was proved al 
the Probate Court in the county of Suffolk, August 14th 
1826, after making liberal provision for his kindred, 
who are all collateral, he makes the devise above raeo- 
tioned in the following terms : 

<• To the said executors* I bequeath and devise in trust 
the residue of my property, real and personal, to ac- 
cumulate by the addition of the income or interest as 
received to the principal^ till my nephews arrive of age, 
and then to be disposed of as follows.' 

The will then provides for the payment of a legacy 
to each of his three nephews ; and concludes thus : 

• These three legacies to my nephews are to be with- 
out interest, and to be void should they not live to ar- 
rive at twenty one years. 

^ The residue of my property I give and bequeath fot 
the establishment and support of a free English school 
in Newburyport, for the instruction of j^outh wherever 
they may belong, and the executors will, if at the final 
payment of the foregoing legacies it should amount to 
fifty thousand dollars, pay it over as hereafter provid- 
ed; but if, at that time, it should not amount to that 
«um, the executors will retain it to accumulate till it 
does, and then pay it over to Trustees for that purpose 
to be appointed by the Selectmen of Newburyport. — 
After the appointment of the first Trustees, vacancies 
in their board to be filled by nomination from them, sub- 

♦ Messrs Aax'on Ba'clwiu of Boston, and EM ward S. Hand and Caleb 
Cubhing of Newburyport, are named executors in llie will. The two 
irst having declined ucting, 0»e trust ks*8 devolved upon the author sf 
tlus account. 


ject to the approval of said Selectmen, who besides are 
always and at all times to have and exercise the right 
of visitation, for the purpose of looking to the security 
of the fund«, and that the interest or income of them is 
applied according to the bequest. In the ^election of 
Trustees, no reference is to be had to their places of 
residence, but only to their qualification for the trust. 

' The Trustees are to invest the principal in good and 
sufficient securities, bearing interest or producing in- 
come to the satisfaction of the said Selectmen, to be 
and remain a permanent fund, the interest or income 
only of which to be applied to the establishment and 
support of the school. The 3 oiith to be instrucled in 
reading, writing, and arithmetic, and particularly in the 
English language, and in those branches of knowledge 
necessary to (he correct management of the ordinary af- 
fairs of life, whether public or private, but not in the 
dead languages. The monitorial system of instruction 
to be introduced and used, so far as it may be found on 
experience that it can be done with advantage.' 

Such are the provisions of the will in regard to this 
munificent foundaiion. Should the institution be estab- 
lished under favorable auspices, it cannot ftMl to prove 
a signal public Hessing. The beautitul and salubrious 
situation of Neuburyport,— its freedom fron) the eviis of 
too close proximity to any city united with the easy 
communicatjnn between it and the great capitals of the 
country, — and the ecotioiiiy of living arocng its inhabi- 
tants, present a body of striking advantajjes for the loca- 
tion of a seminary of edi.cation. And the school, 
■which the wi*e and benevolent testator contemplated, is 
evidently one peculiarly necessary in the present lime?, 
xvhen men are acqniripg increased conviction of the su- 
perior value of pracii(al oducuticn, over that handed 
iown to us from a less inteliigeni age. 


Weri* established under the care of the. Sabbath School 
and Tract Society. Th:s Society waR origiiv,tIly de- 
signed for (be distrihntlon of religious tract--, i-ut wovr 
dischargee ihe additional duty of sui>crintcndiD^ the 



5hjnday schools. These were commGiiced in i817, and 
were composed of children of both sexes from all the 
religious societies in town, to the number of about six 
huuflred. It has been re^^'ularly continued ever sincft 
during- the summer moiuhs ; and the average number at- 
tending has been four hundred. The whole number in- 
structed in the school, from 1817 to 1326, was 1249, 
namely, 523 maies, 721 femiles. Other schools in the 
vicinity of the tow.i are under superiatendance of the 
same Society, making the whole number who have re- 
eeiv-ed their instruction, in all the schools, about 1600. 


Although it is not strictly speaking embraced wlthia 
the scope of this work, yet is located so near to New- 
bury port that an account of it may not be deemed mis- 
placed here. 

It was founded by the munificence of William Dum- 
Boer, at his country seat in the parish of Byfield in the 
town of Newbury, about four miles trom Newburyport. 

The name of Dummer is among the oldest and most 
respectable in Massachusetts, flichard Dummer was one 
of the fathers of the Colony. He emigrated in 1635 and 
was chosen a member of the court of assistants, in which 
he served for several years : — after which he retired to 
his estate in Newbury, and greatly contributed by his 
wealth and liberniity to the growth of B3'field pari>h. — 
His farm de>cended in his familv to William Dummer, 
who was appointed lieutenant governor of the Province 
in 1716. In 1730 he retired from this oOice and sooa 
afterwards Irom all public employments, living to a 
good old age in the enjoyment of the respect of his co- 
temporaries. He tilled the governor's chair at two. 
several periods, seven years in all, an 1 his administra- 
tion was esteemed eminently wise and just. 

At his decease he devised all his estate in Newbury, 
consisting in part of the originil Dummer farm, to 
Charles Chauncey, Thomas Foxcrait anrl Nathaniel 
Dun Tier, for the erection of a school-house anl the en- 
dowm'^ut of a free grammar school upon the f^irm — 
The <ch)ol was established tiiere accordingly in 1763. 
By the will the election of a preceptor was ve.s'ed in 


the minister of Byfield parish for the time being* and a 
commilteo of the piristi chosen for th it purpose ; and 
he was removeable by the government of Harvard col- 
leo-e. In 1782 Dr Chauncey, being the sole surviving" 
executor of the will, deemed it necessary to obtain an 
act of the legislature appointing perpetual trustees to 
receive and manage the fund and superintend the insti- 
tution. The first board of tr'.istees were Jeremiah Pow- 
ell, Benjamin Greenleaf, Jonathan Greenleaf, Rev. Jo- 
seph Willard, Pres. of Harvard College, Rev. Charles 
Chauncey, Rev. Moses Parsons, Rev. John Tucker, Rev. 
Thomas Gary, Samuel Moody, the Preceptor, William 
Powell, Dr Micajah Sa.vyer, Dimmer Jewett, Samuel 
O-^ooJ, Nathaniel Trac\', and Richard Dummer.— -. 
They were incorporated by the name oi the Trustees 
of Dummer Academy ; and they and their successors 
have had the direction of the Academy to the present 


As a classical grammar sshool Dummer Academy has 
deservedly held a high rank; and many celebrated per- 
sons in church and state have commenced their public 
education in its rural seclusion. At the present time, 
its Trustees have thought that the Academy might be 
of greater service to the public, if converted into a 
school of practical and agricultural instruction, than as 
a school for instruction in the languages. Applications 
have repeatedly been made to the legislature for aid in 
such a laudable enterprise ; but although all men admit 
that the exigencies of society require an institution of 
this kind and the Dummer farm presents the greatest 
facilities for its establishment, yet a too cautious policy- 
has induced the legislature to refuse the assistance 
prayed for. Some little jealousy, too, seemed to betray 
itself in certain quarters, towards an institution situated 
so near ^ the hem of the state,' as its location was rath- 
er scornfully described by the opponent* of the plan. 

The ftrst preceptor of the Academy was Samuel 
Moody, who continued to have charge of it until 1789. 
He attained great celebrity for his talents as a teacher 
and ihe originality ol' his character. Wnen the act in- 
corporating the trustees of the Academy was passed, a 
section was inserted securing to him all the rights he 


enjoyed under the original foimdation, and making hina 
in lact intiepon.'ent of the Tiutteos. Under his care the 
Academy wm for a long time ihe most flourishing in 
the country ; — and the respectability, in after life, of ma- 
ny of his pupils has perpetuated the name of master 

Since <hen the Instructers have been 

Rev. Isaac Smith, elected in 1790, 
Dr Benjamin Allen, 1809, 

Rev. Abiel Abbott, ID 11, 

Hon. Samuel Adams, 1819, 

Mr. iS'ehemiah Cleaveland, 1821, 

■who is the present preceptor. 




Was incorporated in 1810. The object of the foundefii, 
as declared in the act of incorporation, was to establish 
^ a repository for valuable and rare productions in the 
•various arts, sciences, and polite literature, and tor col- 
lecting the most important tracts, pamphlets, and doc- 
uments, illustrative ot the natural and civil history of 
our country, of the genius, policy, and laws of the gen- 
eral and state governments, and of the manners, cus- 
toms, and interests of the American people.' — The pro- 
prietors laid the foundations of a respectable library^ 
^vhich has received occasional additions by donation or 
purchase. — But instiiutions of this kind are best fitted 
for a numerous and wealthy community, because in any 
others, the accumulation of valuable books must be too 
expensive to proceed with much rapidity by means of 
the intrinsic resources of the inhabitants. — For this rea- 
«on the present state of the Athenseum probably is not 
equal to the plan or expectations of its founders. 


Was instituted in 1012, by an association of respectable 
mechanics, whose chief object at that time was to raise 
a joint fund for the purchase of Ree's Cyclopaedia. — - 
Upon this foundation a library was begun, which has 
gradually increased. The association is a praiseworthy 
instance of the cultivation of a taste tor knowledsre 
among a class of men, whose weight and value in the 
•ommunity arc daily rising; in public estimation. 


Was originally in=titiiled January 5th 1821, by a num- 
ber of gentlemen desirous to improve ia declamation 
and evtetnponmeous di^cwssion, Ai the first meeting 
suitable regulations for ihe conduct of the Society were 
adopted, anij they continued to meet weekly fur the 
purposes of their institution. 

In April 1821 the numbers and respectability of the 
Society having much increased, it was found necessary 
to atlopt a new set of bye laws, more complete and sys- 
tematic in their nature. 

This year the Society as a body commenced the 
practice of celebrating the anniversnyy of American in- 
dependence, which they have continued until wow, with 
but one year's intermission. Their meetings were sus- 
pended July 4th, until the next autumn. 

The Society continued to meet liirough the winter 
and spring of 1821-2, and until the close of Janr^ry 
1823, when it was dissolved, for the ^'-.irpcsa of e.stab- 
li-hing a new one cf a more popular an i p'lblic de- 
scription. The new Socivty coasivted not r. s'-'-'- of 
persons desirous to engage in its regular excrc::c.\ ^mt 
of a large number of others, who joined asauditcrs only. 

In December 1324, in consequence of the disp.^isi'^Q 
of some of the active members of th.; Society, and oih- 
er causes, it was dissolved,; and a new ono formtJ of a 
private nature, similar to the original Society; which 
having undergone occasional changes in its constitulion 
and members, now exists. 

The Society has chosen, lor orators on the fourth of 

Caleb Gushing, in 1821, 

Robert Cross, in 1822, 

Geoige C. Wilde, in 1823, 

NehemiahCleaveland, in 1824, 
John xMerrill, in 1826. 

This Society has proved of eminent advantage to ma- 
ny persons, who have participated in its exercises ; aid 
its example is sufficient to demonstrate the utility of 
such institutions, when properly conducted. The pop- 
«ii»r character of our government renders the accom- 


plisliDient of extemporaneous oratory peculiarly valua- 
ble, not only to piofes^innal men, Lat to all, who feel 
a lively interest, and take a prominent part, in the pro- 
gre??; of national, state, or municipal affairs. — x\od a well 
regulated debating society i? an excellent school of in- 
struction and experience in this important qualiiication. 


Was farmed in 1818. It consists of physicians, who 
united for the purpose of promoting regulafiiy ia the 
practice of their profession, and communicating medical 
information, and in ether respects aiding il^e cause of 
medical science. 


Was instituted in 1820, by a number of, 
Tvhose object was to promote tlie study of natural his- 
tory and antiquities, by making a collection of aiioersls, 
and other curiosities. — Their design has proved so far 
successful, that they possess a cabinet of considerable 
Talue, which is gradually acquiring new specimejg*. 
ctuefly by donations. 



IN" 1810 the town of Newburyport contained a full 
regiment of militia; but in consequence of the reduc- 
tion of the population, the citizens were reorganized in 
1817 into a bittalion, commanded by a lieutenant col- 
onel. For this purpose the to^vn is divided into three 
ward-, each ward furnishing a company of intaotr\\ In 
addition to these bodies, there are two volunteer com- 
panies, the Newburyport Artillery Company, and the 
Washington Light infantry Company ; all which togetheF 
compose the organized militia of Newburyport. 

The NkW'Burypokt Artillery Company is nearly coc« 
Tal with our national independence, and one of the old. 
est military corps in the Commonwealth. It was form- 
ed in the winter of 1777-8 and in July 1778 marched 
as volunteers in the expedition to Rhode Island, where 
they remained in service until the unsuccessful termina- 
tion of that enterprise. 

Its first officers were Thomas Thomas, captain ; Da- 
vid Coates, captain lieutenant, then so called ; and Mi- 
chael Hodge first, and Samuel Newhall second, lieuten- 
ant. The company consisted of about eighty men, and 
were armed with muskets and two f)ur pounders, one 
of brass and one of iron, uhich they received from the 
State in Boston on their march. These pieces were ex- 
changed in 1793 for two beautiful six pounders, which 
they still possess. In 1785 Michael iJodge was elected 
captain, Benaiah Titcomb captain lieutenant, and Will- 
iam Cross and En'^ch Grcenleaf lieulenants. 

In 1791 a regiment was ordered to be formed of the 
artillery of the county of Es=ex, and at a meeting of the 
officers at Ipswich, captain Hodge was elected colonel. 
"But before this organization could be fully completed. 


a different arrangement of the Artillery Companies in 
tiie south part of tlie county was coiicluiJe(i upoa ; and 
the Company remained, until 1794, not attached to any 
regimenta' corps. 

In 1792 the company was newly organized, and Wil- 
liam Cross was elected captain, and Enoch Greenleaf 
and Samuel Brown lieutenants. 

In 1794 a battalion was formed of this and another 
company at Amesbury, and captain Cross was promoted 
to its command. This organization has continued to 
the present time. 

In 1801 the Company, at an expense to themselves of 
about ^600, erected a handsome and spacious gun-hoiise. 

After the disbandraent of the sea-fencible?', a volun- 
teer Company formed during the last war, the gun- 
house erected for their accommoda ion was assigned by 
the Q,uarier Master General to the Artillery Company. 
The old gun-house has since been retitted by the town 
for public military uses. 

In 1820 the (.'ompany furnished themselves with ser- 
viceable camp equipage, and have since annually per- 
formed tours of camp duty through the various towns 
of the brigade. 

In 1824 they participated in the military honors rend- 
ered La l-ayette. 

Tiie gentlemen, who have successively held the office 
of captain, since the year 1794, are Enoch Greenleaf, 
Jonathan Sticknoy, Benjamin Someiby, Thomas Burrill, 
James Potter, Joseph Hoyt, Richard Hunneivell, Jere- 
miah Batchelder, vSamuel Coffin, Ebenezer Bradbury, 
and Enoch Pierce, who is the present commander.* 

The Washington Light Infantry Comfany, was rais- 
ed in 1800, by virtue of a resolve of the General Court 
passed that year. On the 15th of Apfil they made 
choice of Abraham Perkins, Nicholas Tracy, and Charles 
Jackson for their commissioned officers. Their first 
public appearance took place July 24lh 1800, which 
day has since then been observed as the Company's an- 
niversary. The gentlemen, who have held the commis- 

* The aMtlior is indebted to maj. Ebenezei Bradbury ftr the above 
^count of ihe Artilicr^ Corapau; . 



sion of captain in the company down to the present time, 
are Abraham Perkins, Samuel W. Thompson, Nicholas 
John^ion jr., Paul Titcomb, Charles H Balch, fclleazer 
Johnson jr., Philip Johnson jr., Jeremiah P. Toppan, and 
William B. Tiicomb. 

in 1824 during the war, the Company performed 
guard duty at the barracks on Plum Island as volun- 

In July 1807 the Company received President Mon- 
roe, and escorted him into the town. 

In August 1817 the regiment of which the Company 
formed a part, and with it the Company, being dis- 
banded, a nevv charter was obtained January following, 
and the company was reorganized, by the choice of 
Charles H Balch, Eleazer Johnson jr., and Philip John- 
son jr. as officers. 

This Company with the Artillery, escorted General 
La Fayette into the town, on the occasion o( his pub- 
lic reception and entertainment, August 31st 1824. 



UNDER this head will be placed a variety of state- 
ments of a miscellaneous character, chiefly as to the pop- 
ulation, wealth, public expenditures, commerce, manu- 
factures, and business condition of the town, 


The following table, collected from various sources, 
contains a view of the progressive increase of the pop- 
ulation of Newburyport until 1810, and its subsequent 

Years. Inhab. Houses. 

1764 2,882 357 

1790 4,837 616 

1800 5,946 806 

1810 7,634 

1820 6,789 

At the last Census in 1820 Newburyport contained 

Families. Widows. Males. Females. 

1196 380 3035 3704 


The following table exhibits an account of all the 
property owned or possessed in Newburyport, as rated 
by the town-assessors, for the several years enumerated. 

Person. Estate. Real £(• Person. 
2506720 3754920 
2605900 3966650 

4152633 6318033 


Real Estate. 
















417 3500 



























1 500400 





























1040 400 



















The following table contaifis a summary Tiew of the 
expenses of the town for the municipal year ending 
March 1825. 
Repairing the Highways, including J1329 for 

work by men from the Work-House and 

Town team?, 
Grammar School Master, 
West Lanca-terian ditto, 
South do. do. 

North Writing do. 

Three Mistresses of Female Grammar Schools, 
Five Mistresses of small schools, 
Mistress of the African School, 
Rev ards for Lancasterian Scholars, 
Wood for Schools, 
Repairing and altering School houses, and sundries 

for Schools, 
Treasurer and Collectorj 













Overseers of the Poor, 200 

Town-Clerk, 54 

Police Officer, 10 

Constable,^ 60 

Sextons, 81 

Engines, Pumps, and Fire implements, 97 

Market'House, 151 

Visit of General La Fayette, 775 
Repairing Hospital and expenses arising from 

Samall Pox, 256 

Mall, 105 

Maintenance and support of the Poor, 2687 
Interest on the town debt, deducting income of 

the market-house, 430^^ 

Incidental charges, 331 



Many attempts were made during the revolutionary 
war to tix the price of labor and commodities by leg- 
islative provisions. All these endeavors, of course, 
proved entirely futile, in 1777 the selectmen of New- 
buryport, pursuant to an act of the sreneral court ' to pre- 
vent monopoly and oppression' fixed the prices of things 
for this town. The following table contains an abstract, 
in alphabetical order, of their regulations. 

Articles. Prices. Quan. 

I. s. d. 

Beef, best fresh stall fed 4 lb. 

do. do. gr ss do. 3 lb, 

salted (bbl 240 lbs.) 3 14 bbl. 

Beans, 6 bush. 

Blubber, refined 1 10 bbl. 

Boards good white p. merch. 2 5 M. 

Butter, 10 lb. 

Calf-skins, raw 6 lb. 

Chaise-hire, 3 1-2 mii^ 

Charcoal, 6 hush. 

Cheese, be«;t American, 6 bush. 

Chocolate do do. 1 8 bush 

Gloth cotton and linen yd. wide 3 6 lb. 




Cioth tow yd. wide 

be?t American woolen 
Cocoa, best, 
Cod- fish, fresli, 
Coffee, good 
Cotton by the bag, 

Flax, good merchantable, 
Flour, southern 

Hay, best English, 
Hides, raw, 

Hogshead, good. 44 inc. long. 
Indian corn or meal 
Iron, bloomery, 
Labor, viz. 
Day laborers, not found 


Barbers once shaving, 
Coopers find, and set. hhd. hoop. 

bbl. do. 
Curriers, leather 

call skinSc 
Teamsters 2 ox and 1 horse 
Truckage hhd. 1-2 mile, 
bbl. do. do. 

Mutton, lamb or veal, 

Oil, liver, by the bbl. 
Pork, fresh best, 

salted rbbl. 2-20 lbs.) 
Potatoes best irom Is. 2d. to 

I s. d. 






6 10 













1 10 


1 5 








- 4 




4 1-2 mile 



1 10 


2 10 









2 1-2 

















4 12 




bush. . 

I. s. d. 



















2 10 




2 14 







Rtim, W. L by the hhd. includ. hhd. 

N. K by the hnd. exclud hhd. 
Rye or rye meal good, 
Salt, good imported, 

domestic raanufac. 
Shingles, good shipping, 
Shoes, best men's neat's leather 
Shoeing a horse all around, 
Staves, red oak hhd 
Stockings, bei^t men's woolen 
Sugar, best Muscov. the hhd. 

b)' the cwt. 
Tallow, good tried, ' 7 1-2 

Taverns, viz. 

Horse, keep. w. Eng. hay 24 h. 

or night, 2 6 

Dinner boiled and roast, without 

Supper or breakfast. 
Tobacco raised in this state, , 
Wheat, good merch 
Wood, s?ood Eastern, 1 

Wool, good sheep's 
Tui'kies, poultry, and ducks, 

Tlie foregoing are the highest prices, which were 
never to be exceeded The regulations further pro- 
Tldrd that n ' imported goods, except hemp and warlike 
or military stores, should be sold at an advance of more 
th.iii £230 on £lOO prime co^t in Europe. And to en- 
force this rule, every seller by wholesale was required 
to deliver the buyer a bill of parcels with the sterling 
co:*t an 1 his advance thereon, under penalty of a forfeit- 
ure of the whole v;«lue for his neglect No retailer 
was permitted to make an advance of more thnn twenty 
per cent- -mi thf» wholesale price ] and he was to deliver 
u bill of parcels if requested. 















bankijYG and iksurance: 

Insurance, in this town, is now conducted either by 
private individuals, or by agents of Boston Insurance 
Companies. There have been three incorporated com- 
panies in till?; town, namely, the Merrimac Marine, the 
Union, and the Phenix Insaraiice Companies. These 
were all dissolved at successive periods ; and the low- 
ne^s of premjii Tjs has rendered it unprofitable for any 
incorporated office to transact business in this town alone. 

There are two banks, the Nevvburyport, and Me- 

The Newburypor-t Bank was incorporated in 1812^ 
with a capital of g300,000, reduced in 1814 to g210,- 
000, at which it now remains. 

This Bank is the successor of the Merrimac Bank, 
incorporated in 1725, which commenced business with 
a capital ot §70,000 In 1799 the Nevvburyport Bank 
was incorporated. In 1800 it was dissolved and its stock 
was united with that of the Merrimac Bank. The stock 
of the Merrimac Bank, paid in, amounted in 1801 to 
^225,000. In 1803 a new bank was incorporated by 
the name of the Nevvburyport Bank with a capital of 
J300,000. In 1805 the charter of the Merrimac Bank 
expired; and the stock of the Newbur3'port Bank was 
increased §250,000, ttie stockholders of Merrimac Bank 
havina: a right to subscribe this sum in the stock of the 
Newburyport. By this operation, the capital of the 
Nevvburyport Bank, in 1805. was §550,000. Its char- 
ter expired in 1812, at which time the present bank 
was incorporated. 

The Mechanics Bank was incorporated in 1812, with 
a capital of ^203,000. It has not undergone any legal 
cbanTfes asa corporation, and now transacts banking busi- 
ness upoti the same capital. 

In connexion with the subject of Bmking, the press 
for bank bills of the stereotype s'eel plate, established 
in Nevvburyport, deserves to be mentioned. Bank-notes 
have become a univeral sah^titute for specie in 'his, 
country as the circulating medium of traffic. Ilenc;^ it is. 
of the greatest im;4ortance t > prevent, if possible, the 
couDierfeiting of bills. Long experience has demon-=.. 

atrated that Mr. Jacob Perkins, improvements in the 
art of engraving afford the best specific of this kind, 
which has yet been discovered ; and leave nothinof to 
be desired but that all banks should be compelled to use 
the steel plate, if they are so regardless of the public 
goo 1 as not to do it voluntarily. 

The printing pres« for these bills is in the hands of 
Mr. Abraham Perkins, brother of Mr. Jacob Perkins, 
and the agent of that great artist for the New England 
States. The peculiar advantages of the plate contain- 
ing his improvements are many and evident. One is 
the exact similarity of all the bills. A copperplate, af- 
ter yielding six or seven thousand impressions, becomes 
worn down and must be retouched with the graver :— 
Which of course makes a difference in the appearance 
of the bills. The steel plate, on the contrary, affords 
an immense number of prints before the lines on the 
plate are worn, or the impression changed. Another 
advantage possessed by the steel plate is the quaniity 
and delicacy of their work, and the endless multiplirity 
of minute letters graven upon them, which it is idle 
for the forger to think of imitating with success. The 
check letter on the back of Perkins' bill«, as well as 
the beautiful lathe- work on their face, are likewise pe- 
culiarities, which have seHom or never been skilfully 
counterfeited. In short, these and other excellencies 
of the stereotype bills are such a-- to baffle the art of 
counterfeiters, who readily succeed in forging bills dif- 
ficult to be distinguished from the best of any other de- 
scription. The quantity of work on Perkins' bills im- 
parts to them a certain heaviness of appearance, which 
some persons have appeared to think a ground of objec- 
tion. But nothing, certainly, is more ide and ridiculous 
than to prefer a mere pretty bill to a safe one. In 
truth, however, there are few plates, which give a more 
neat, finished, and graceful impression, than those 
which come from the graver of Murray and Fairraan,* 

Mr. Perkins prints bills for about seventy banks. 

♦ Newbuivporl Herald f»r May 28ih 1»22. 


As Nevvburyport possesses no site with water powers, 
it floes not afford facilities for the establishment of those 
manufactories, which require the application of a great 
moving torce to complicated machinery. It has local 
advantages for two manufactures, however, which have, 
in time past, been the source of much wealth to its in- 
habitants. These are the distillation of rum, and ship- 
building; to which the citizens, in their memorial to 
coiigress in 1774, attributed a prominent rank in the 
enumeration of their business. 

Siiip-BuiLDL\G has long been known as a staple man- 
ufacture of the towns on the Merriraac. The river 
was distinguished, at an early period, for producing 
good timber, skilful and industrious carpenters, and • 
staunch vessels.* Old inhabitants of the town can re- 
member when there have been a hundred vessels build- 
ing at one time along the bank of the river on the 
Newbury side below the bridge. Formerly there were 
several ship yards in the town of Newburyport. The 
landing-place in Market square was long used for that- 
purpose, and called the iiiiddle ship-yard. But the in- 
crease of the commerce of the town subsequent to 1800 
produced a change in this respect ; and all the princi- 
pal ship-yards are now in Newbury and Salisbury. 

The historian Douglas, while he reflects upon the 
ship builders of Newbury to the advantage of those of 
Boston, admits that better vessels were built here than 
at any other place in the country It may be inferred 
from his account, however, that when the ca<penters of 
the Merrimac slighted their work, it was owing less to 
themselves than to the cupidity of the foreign merchants 
lyho dealt with them. They built a large number of 
vessels for the British market; and oftentimes were 
compelled to emp'oy materials of less excellence, to 
meet the illiberali»y of a griping contractor abroad. — 
In illustration of this Douglas relates the following an- 
ecdote. ' As contracts (he say?) are generally to be 
paid in goods, they build accordingly. Thus a noted- 

* Douglas' Summary, vol. I, page 456* 



builder (1751) T. W. jocosely said that he had built for 
-— ^— - a calico- ship. '^^ '' 

The Boston and Hancock continental frigates were 
built here ; and the Merimac and Wasp, sloops of war 
1 he government of the. United States, in establishing 
ship.j^ards at various places along the coast, have hard- 
ly done justice to the Merrimac, in passing over a situ, 
ation, where ships of war of the smaller class could be 
constructed to great advantage. 

The number of vessels built on the Merriraac has 
greatly diminished within the last fifteen or twenty 
years. But tacilities for carrying on this business may 
still be found here, to greater extent than at most other 
places in the Slate. Many large lorests of the noblest 
oak over-shadow the sides of the Merrimac ; the me- 
chanics upon its banks have lost none of their ex- 
cellence in the art of ship-building; and the cheapness 
ot rent and of the means of subsistance there enables 
them to afford labor at a moderate compensation, and 
Would therefore lessen the cost of building and of na- 
yal equipments. 

Nothing is wanted to restore the naval business of the 
town to its iormer vigor but to have this mnnutaclure of 

ships carried on by a company with adequate capital 

They might import, themselves, the iron, hemp, sail- 
cloth, copper and other articles used in buiidhig, and 
thus save the freight upon those commodities. And by 
.carrying on the business systematically and economi- 
cally, it would seem that they could not but succeed. 

There is hardly any single object, which would more 
decidedly tend to renovate the prosperity of the town, 
than ship-building carried on extensively. There is no 
species of manufacture, which would be more benefi- 
cial to all the industrious classes of the community. 
It has been estimated that when a vessel built in New- 
England is wholly fitted for sea, two thirds of her cost 
are a clear profit to the countr\, the other third being 
iron, cordage, and other imported articles. The ship 
manufactory employs and supports more than thirty 
two distint trades; while it is a business eminently 

♦ Douglas' Summary, vol. ii, page 69. 

♦ 84 

bealthful in all Its branches, manly, an(3 admirably cal- 
culated to no rish a race of aciive and hardy yeo^ 



The close intercourse of this town with the West In- 
dia island;! gave it early advantages in ihe importation 
of molaases and the distillation ot rum The quantity 
of this commodity manufactured in the town has varied 
exceedingly at different perio Is ; although less for the 
last ten or fifteen years. In 1820, vvhen the census was 
taken, it was calculated that four distilleries in the 
town consumed 3000 hogsheads of molasses annually — 
Ol the rum produced, it was supposed that about one 
fifth was exported to foreign countries, and the rest 
dif«posed of in the United States. There may be about 
3600 hogsheads distilled the present year. 

In the year 1 790 there were ten distilleries in the 
town; and in 1808 there were eight;— hut although the 
number of distilleries now is uiminished, the quantity ot 
rum produced is not probably much, if any, less than it 
was at the former periods. 


The trade of Newburyport has at some periods bee» 
very large, and although much diminished now, is still 
quite consideral'le. 

The following table exhibits the amount of tonnage 
belono-ing to Newburyport at the several yeais specifi- 


1789 99 vessels 11607 tons 

1796 Registered 16179 

Enrolled 3573 

1806 RpQ:i«tered 25291 

Enrolled 4422 

19752 a#. 

29713 do. 

• Two or three of the above remarks are ia the Newbury ^Oii HeraM, 
Aug 20, m2, 



Registered 16331 

EaroUed 7i70 



1826 * 

Registered 7503 

Enrolled 12991 





The duties on imports have been 

ia 1792 

g 74248 









The value of merchandize imported 

in 1821 was $1931 19 

1826 ipl jt... 166811 

The vahie of domestic merchandize exported was 
in 1791 §385124 

1806 - 543576 

1817 253G52 

1826 190720 

In November 1790 there were owned in Newbury- 
port 6 ships, 45 brigs, 39 schooners, 28 sloops, in all 
11,870 tons. 

In November 1805 there belonged to Newburyport 
41 ships, 62 brigs, 2 snows, 2 barques, and 66 schooners, 
besides sloops not enumerated. 

From these data, the reader can judge o'^the progres- 
sive chang<'s in the maritime commerce of llie town. It 
would be found, by corapHring its shipping in 1805 with 
that of other seaports in the country, that no where was 
industry more lively and enterprising than here, in the 
days of our commercial prosperity. 


The fishing vessels belonging to this District are not 
owned in the town of Newburyport alone, but a portion 
of them in the vicinity. 

* Wlierc the Tear 1826 is mentioned it means the year ending Junfr 
3pai 18x6. 


In 1806 the number of vessels belongingf to the Dis- 
trict employed in the Labrador fishing was 45, and 10 
or 15 more in the Bay fishery. These vessels averag- 
ed 12 men each, and caught in the season 5000 quintals 
of fish each. The mackerel fishery was then very 

The latter branch of our fisheries was not commenc- 
ed, to any extent, until since the late war. 

The first vessel fitted out in this District to carry on 
the mackerel fishing for the season was in 1815. But 
in 181.9 the number of vessels so employed amounted to 
abot 30, and the quantity of mackerel caught to about 
15000 barrels. 

The number of vessels employed in the year 1825 
was 76, and the quantity of mackerel caught amounted 
to 24000 barrels. 

The average quantity of fish taken in the cod-fishery, 
by vessels belonging to this District, for the last tea 
years, has been about 20,000 quintals, averaging about 
^50000 in value. This business probably employs 300 

The sum paid in this District for bounties for the 
year 1825 was ^14998. " '* 

It has been already stated that the amount of register- ^ 
ed tonnatie belonging to this tonn at present was 7503, '^ 
of enrolled 12991 tons. At former periods the case 
was reversed, and the tonnage registered was much 
greater than the tonnage enrolled. 

From this it appears that the coasting and fi«hing bu- * 
siness of the town has much increased within a few 
years, and in proportion as the foreign commerce has 

The fishing business has proved highly beneficial to 
the south part of the town and the contiguous parts of 
IsTewbury, where it is chiefly carried on. This fact is 
apparent from the evidently improved appearance and 
increasing prosperity of that quarter. 

Much as we have cause to lament the diminution of 
our foreign trade, still the prosperity of our fisheries 
and of the coastwise trade is a subject of much^ gratula- 
tion. No maritime occupation is more healthtul and 
manly, or better calculated to nourish a race ol hardy 


Mariners, than our fisheries. There is no business 
which is more purely a profit on labor than this ; and it 
is, therefore, peculiarly deserving- encouragement as a 
branch of domestic industry. 

The coasting trade of the United States is constantly 
increasing'; and even now employs a much greater ton- 
nage than the foreign. The subjoined remaks are ap- 
plicable to the fisheries as well as to our domestic ma- 
rine commerce.* 

" Navigation in (he coasting trade, in respect to its 
influence in exciting to production in the different di- 
visions of im'ustry, operates with double the effect that 
our navigation in foreign trade does, because our foreign 
navigation divides its influence, employing one half of 
it at home to the encouragement of home industry, and 
carrying ttie other half abrond to the equal encourage- 
ment of foreign industry. Whereas the coast-wi«e nav- 
igation, though it divides its influence between the places 
it connects in intercourse, yet employs the whole of it 
at home, to the encourasrempnl of home production.— 
Our inland and coa-t-vise trade is beyond comparison 
more important to national interests than our foreign 
commerce. It employs more tons of navigation than 
the foreign ; and the vessels it employs make several 
interchange?? of m.-rchandise, while the vessels employed 
in the foreign trade are making but one. It employs 
more capital, in proportion as the amount of goods to be 
exchanged by it is greater ; and the capital employed 
affords equal profit in proportion to its amount. The 
h -me market for the surplus products of our various in- 
du-^try, with the exception of two or three articles of 
southern produce, is probably ot four times the extent 
©f the foreign market." 


In the year 1825 there were 10 manufactories of fup 
and plated hats of diff'erent qualities in Newburyport 
and its vicinity Their whole capital was estimated 
at §17,500 and they employed in all 65 persons. 

* Practical Principles of Politicitl Economy, page 33 


it is calculated that 90 persons are employed in the 
town in the manufacture of shoes and boot?, and that the 
Talue of their products amount? annually to §50,000. 

Laird's Beer, Por-er and Ale, are well known in 
the United Slates. Mr. Laird emigrated to this country 
from Scotland, and commenced brewing here in 1785.— 
The gradual increase of the business obliged him to en- 
large his work" at successive periods, first in 1789, and 
afterwards m 1793. The present works were erected 
in 1793 and are capable of producing upwards of 5000 
barrels annually. It is of the first quality and of estab- 
lished reputation. 

In Newbury near to the bounds of Newburyport there 
are exten-iive Cord\ge manufactoiies They were 
five in number in 1803 — 1805, employing from 40 to 50 
hands, and producing annually from 200 to 300 ton* of 
cordage, valued at about §70,000. For the last five 
years the number of manufactories has been six, the 
number of persons employed 25 to 35, tbe quantity of 
cordage manufactured from 130 to 160 tons, valued at 
§30,000. In addition to this about §8,000 worth of 
while linf»s and cord have i)een manufactured annually 
the last three year-, eniploving about 15 workmen. 

There is a hiT^p-wooL-PL'LLiNG and morocco dressing 
establishment in* ^Newburyport, at which about 10000 
skins are dressed annua^3^ 

The Eastern Stage Company runs a line of stage 
coaches, including the mail coach, from Boston through 
Newburyport to Portsmouth, beside several bye-routes. 
This line employes 287 horses, seventy of which are 
kept in Newburyport. It has 35 coaches and 12 chaises. 
This line is celebrated, throughout the United States, 
for the excellency of its horses, drivers and coaches ; 
and for the rapidit}*^, safety, and regularity of its move- 
ments. All the coaches are constructed in Newbury- 
port. In the stage yard there are 25 artisans employed 
chiefly in the various branches of carriage making and 
the subsidiary trades, v>'ho manufacture 20 coaches year- 
ly, beside chaises. There is also another chaise manu- 
factory in Newburyport. 

The manufacture of gold and silver has been carri- 
ed on to some extent in this town for several years, 


particularly in the nrticles of necklaces, thimbles, and 
spoon? ■^Thir:\ hands are u^iiall}' engaged in tiii;- busi- 
ness, whi, j>roduce~go'6ds*to ihe amount of 40 or 50,0(X) 
dollars, ._-•■' :?-.*■ 

Some beautiful specimens-of the latter articles made .-. 
at the establishment ot the Messrs^Bradbnry for the or- 
der of the Hampshire, Franklin, and'Hampden Agricul- 
tural Society, and distributed at Northampton last au- 
tumn in premium!^, were much admired. 

TKey have recently succeed«d in the establishment 
of a manufactory of thinbles by machinery on an im- 
proved and original method. The mode they have in- 
vented combine? durability in the commodity with fa- 
cilify of execution. They now manufacture them for 
exportation as well as domestic consumption. 

The number of shops for the retail of dry goods now 
kept in Newburyport is about twenty two, having an 
aacafregate cajdtal which has been estimated at about 
§80,000. The amount of capital thus invested in this 
town previous to the war was very much greater; but 
has diminished with the general decrease of business. 

It is said that in 1766 there were but three shops 
for En^ lisb goods in Newburyport. These belonged to 
John Harris, Tristram Dalton, and Patrick Tracy, j^ 

The TANNING business is carried on successfully in the 
vicinity of Newburyport, particularly in the town of 
Newbury, where there are four tanneries which tan an- 
nually 900 hides, and 400 skins. Beside this, there is 
an extensive tannery in West Newbury and several in 


The manufacture of combs is a very considerable 
branch of industry in West Newbury. In the manufac-* 
ture of shell-combs thirty persons are employed, who 
make in each year 56,000 dozen of shell-combs of vari- 
ou« sizes valued at gl 40,000. In the manufacture of 
horn-combs, an hundred persons are employed, who 
make anuually 43,000 dozen horn-combs, valued at §43,- 
000:— In all jJ183,000. 

Chaises are manufacture*! extensively in West New- 
bury and Newbury. In Belleville in the town of Nen bu- 
ry a>»out 100 chaises are made yearly amounting toCSIS- 
000 in value. From sixty to seventy chaises are made 


90 * 

j^ VVest Newbury. There are also two large hat man- 
ufactories in Belleville. About fifty persons are employ- 
ed in West Newbury in the manufacture of bhoes. 

In 1824 the number of licensed shops was fifty four^ 
besides five public inns. There are now in Newbury- 
port six apothecaries' shops ; six for the sale of hard- 
Ware or crockery ; ten jewellers' or watch makers' ; five 
booksellers' and stationers, of whom two are book-bind- 
crs; three printl^jg offices; seven practising lawyers, 
seven physicians ; and two circulating libraries. 

Of trades and arts exercised in the town, among oth- 
er.=, are one maker of mathematical instruments, forty- 
five HOUSE JOINERS, eighteen block makers, thirty five 
cabinet makers, thirty four painters, six tin men, thirty 
MASONS, eleven bakers, twenty brickmakers in the town 
and vicinity, nine caulkers, ten riggepvS, twenty sail- 
makers, five TALLOW-CHANDLERS and thirty eight black- 
SMITHS : Including, in the foregoing computation, jour- 
neymen and apprentices, as vvell as master workmen. 

The manufacture of tobacco is entitled to attention. 
It employs more than forty hands. They manufacture 
the amount of five tons of snuff, and three millions five, 
hundred thousand cigars annually. 

These details might be extended further; but they> 
will, as now made, furnish some idea of the present 
stale of the business and trade of Newhur^'port. The 
author has introduced, the mention of two or three staple 
manufactures of the immediate neighborhood, without^ 
of course, pretending to make a full relation of them. — 
Had his plan permitted, he might have given an account 
of the costly and extensive erections and the flourishing 
manufactures at the falls on Powow river In Amesbury 
and Salisbury, which would &ho\v that village to be em- 
ulcus of the growth of Lowell, Somersworth, and Dov- 
er. But this must be reserved for another occasion.* 


A newspaper was first established in Newburyport in-. 
1773, by Isaiah Thomas and Henry W. Tinges Mr 

♦ The author has made some collections towards aa account of Salis= 
bury, his native town, and of Amesbui^ :— .which he hopes ere long tc 
be able to cocipiete. 


Thomas then printed a weekly paper in Boston, wherfe 
he resided ; and of course provided the foreign nevg. 
for both journals, the papt'r published here being under 
the direct care of Mr. Tinges. It was entitled The 
Essex Journal and Merrimag Packet ; or the Massa-. 


was printed on paper about the size of large foolscap.— 
No greater proof need be had of the advancement of 
the useful arts in thi* country than to compare one of 
these papers with the beautiful and finished newspapers 
of the pesent day In front of- the Werrimac Packet are 
two engravings, one a g-hostly representation of the 
Massachusetts Indian, the other a ship of v;ar in full sail. 
They are quite amusing specimens of the art. 

The printing office of Thomas and Tinges stood ia 
King (Federal) street, opposite the church of the First 
■ Presbyterian Society. The price of the pa{)er was ' «ix 
shillings and eight pence lawful money ;' which, say the 
printers, is '• as cheap as any newspaper in the foul 
quarters of the globe.' The tirst number contains the 
subjoined advertisement • 


Those ladies and gentlemen, who are desirous of 

seeing the curiou-* art of printing, are hereby informed 

that on Monday next the printing office will be opened 

• for their reception, and the printers ready to wait on 

all, who will do the honor ol their company. 

December 4th 1773.' 
In the nineteenth number occurs this advertisement ^ 

That constantly plys between Newbury-port and 
Boston, sets out with four horses every Monday morning 
at 7 o'clock from Newbury-port, and arrives at Boston 
the same day : — Leaves Boston every Thursday morn- 
ing and reaches Newbury-port the same day. * * =*' 

It i« hoped this very expensive imdertaking will meet 
with encouragement from all Ladies and Gentlemen, as 
they may depend on the punctual performance, 
Of the Public's most obedient humble Servant, 

In less than a year after the commencement of the 
paper. Mr. Thomas relinquished it, and Ez:a Lunt be 
ciame joint publisher with Tinges. 


in 17^7 tha titl^ of the p'^per 'va=? chnngj^d to that 6F 

The hlssix Journul and jYew Hd.npshi-e Packet^ and it 
was publisljed on^Frrdiy by John* Aj call and H. VV. 

In 1773 vvrt tlul Mr Mycall sol*^ proppielor of the pa- 
per ; suon after ivhich ihe price w-»« nised to ei^hl *hil- 
lin^^:^; and the piintin^ oihci rera-'ved to Water street 
a littlr" beloiv the Ferry way. 

I't vvoiiH app»^ar, by an adverd-^ement in thi-s pa- 
per J. I'ry 12ili 1773 that an Insarauce. office was ttien 
first opened in ^ewhuryport 

The following" itvn of inieUig:ence possesses perma- 
nent interest. It appears in the Essex Joarnai J uly 26th 

t BOS rON,Jaly25 — T-Mrsday last, pursuant to the, 
order of the honorable council, v>as proclaim<^d frona 
the balcony of the Slate Hou-^^; in this to»vn, the Declar- 
«iio/i of the ^nerican CO V}RES^, ab?:olvin<^ the Unit- 
ed Colonies from their allegiance to the Brifi-h Crown, 
and decIaria^; them Free an-l Independent States. There 
were pre->eat on the occa-ion. in the Council Chasnber, 
the Committee of Go incil, a num'->er of the honorable 
house of Representatives, the Magi-trates, Ministers, Se- 
lectmen, and other gentlemen ot Boston an'^ the neigh- 
fco-irin-^ tovvn" ; also the commission, and other officers 
©f the Continental rei^imfnJs, stationed here, two of 
which were under A; ms in King Street, formed inte 
three lines on the Piorth side, and in thirteen divisions ; 
likewise a detatchment from the Massachusetts rci^i- 
m ill of Artillery, wiih two pieces of Cannon on their 
right wing. At one o'clock the Declaration vvas pro- 
claimed by Col. Thomas Crafts, w'uch was received 
with great joy, expres.^ed by three huzzaes from a great 
Concourse of people, assembled on the occasion, after 
which, on a signal given, thirteen {)ieces of cannon were 
fired from the fort on Fort-Hill, those at Dorchester 
neck, the Castle» Nantasket, and Point \l lerton. also 
discharged their Cannon: Then lhe detachmi^nt of Ar- 
tillery discharged their cannon thirteen times, which 
was followed by the two regiments giving their tire 
from the thirteen divisions in succes^im. These firings 
corresponded ta the number of the American States 


United. The ct^remony was closed with a proper col- 
lation to the gentlemen in the council chamber, during 
which, the follov\ing toast? were* given by the President 
of the council, and heartily pledged by the company, 

Prosperity and perpetuity to the United States ol" 

The American Congress. 

The General Court of the State of the Massachiisets 

General Washington, and success to the Arms of the 
United States. 

The downfall of Tyrants and Tyranny. '^' 

The universal prevalence of ci?il and religious Lib- 

The f. lends of the United States, in all quarters of 
the Globe 

The bells in town were rung on the occasion, and un- 
dissembled Festivity cheered and brightened every 

On the same evening the King's Arms, and every 
other Sign with any resemblance of it, whv3J*^' - Lyon 
and Crown, Pestle and Mortar and Crowu, Heart and 
Crown &c. to^Pther with every ><ign that beiout^ed to a 
tory, was taken down, and (he iatier made a general con- 
flag-ration of in King^-Street.' 

The preceding notices are introduced, as regarding 
the originfil estabiishment of a newsi^aper in the town. 
It is not material to follow minutely the changes which 
successively took place in the form of its publication, 
previous to 1793. 

Two newspapers are now published here, The New- 
buryport Herald, and The Free Press. 

The Herald is the successor of the Impartial Herald, 
first established in 1793: It is now published semi- 
weekly, on Tuesday and Friday, by Mr. Ephraim VY. 

The Free Press was recently established, and is pub- 
lished every Thursday by Mr. William L. Garrison. 

An excellent and commodious reading-room for news- 
papers is kept by Mr. John Porter, contiguous to the 
office of the Commonwealth Insuranc* Company.-^ 





'ITiere is al«o a readin^-rootn at the private insurance 
office of Mr. Samuel Tenney. 

The rollowing nevvi^papers were established at dif- 
ferent period?, but were sooa discontinued. 

The INJorning Star in 1794 by Tucker and Robinson : 
The Political Gazette in 1796 by Barrett and Far- 
ley :— 

The Merrimac Gazette in 1803 by Caleb Cross :—. 
The Political Calendar in 1805 by Caleb Cross :— 
The Merrimac Magazine in 1805 by VV. & J. Gilman : 
The Repertory in 1804 by John Parke, which paper 
^'•w as the parent of the Boston Repertory : 

The Merrimac Miscellany in 1805 by William B. Al- 
ien : — 

The Newbury port Gazette in 1806, by Benjamin 

Edes : — 

The Statesman in 1809, by Joseph Gleason ; — 

The Independent Whig in 1810, by Nathaniel H« 

Wright : — 

The Northern Chronicler in 1824, by Heraan Ladd : 
And the Essex Courant in 1825, by Isaac Knapp, 3d. 





Newburyport has just cause to regard, with honest 
pride, the many distinguished individtials, whose birth 
or residence in the town have added sw much to its re- 
spectability. To do justice to her eminent sons by a 
conipiete biography of them would far transcend the 
limits and plan of this work. A short notice of some 
among them is all, which the place and occasion will '*»• 

The clergymen, whose virtues and piety were dis- 
played in the discharge of their pastoral functions here, 
have been commemorated already, in giving an account 
of their respective parishes ; and they need not, of 
course, be again enumerated. 

Delicacy forbids that the author should attempt the 
task, otherwise most grateful, of describing the charac- 
ter •f living inhabitants of the t' wn * His brief sketch- 
es will be confined to those, who have either ceased to 
reside among us, or whose names are consecrated by 

Theophilus Bradbury was descended from Thomas 
Bradbury, a magistrate in 1650, and one of the first set- 
tlers of Salisbury. He was bora in Newbury in 1739, p 
and graduated at Harvard College in 1757. After stud- 
ying law in Boston he commenced the practice of it in 
Portland, (then called Falmouth) in l761. 

Whilst in Falmouth he attained the reputation of an 
able advocate and a faithfjil, upright, and learned coun- 
sellor. And dui ing this period Theophilus Parsons purr 
sued th^' study of law in his office. 

In 1775 Portland was burnt by com. Mowat; and soo» 
afterwards, in 1779, Mr. Bradbury removed to Newbu- 
ryport, his native town. He was at that time very 
falsely suspected of being unfriendly to the cause of the 


^untry ; merely because his house in Falmouth escaped 
the conflagration. 

In Newburyport he gradually rose to distinction ia 
his profession and in public life. Beside man} other 
important offices to which he was elected, he was a 
member of Congress under Washington's administration. 

In 1797 he was appointed a justice of the Supreme 
Court, in which office he continued until 1803: — soon 
after which he died.* 

One of his sons, the late George Bradbury of Portland, 
represented the district ot Cumberhmd in Congress. 

' Stephen and Ralph Cross were among the most aC" 
tive and influential citizens of Newburyport. The for^ 
mer was born in '31, the latter in '38. They were 
both brought up shipwrights in the building yard of 
their father, ilalph Cro^s, opposite the bottom of Lime 
Street. Stephen was one of a number of his trade, who 
went from this place to construct a flotilla on the lakes 
in '56. He and his associates <vere mnde prisoners at 
the fall of ibrt Oswe^'o and carried to Quebec and 
thence to France. On his return he formed a copart- 
nership with his brother Ralph. The business of the 
firm was extensive. In addition to their shipbuilding, 
the partners were engaged in trade at home and abroad 
and at the commencement of the Revolution were fast 
becoming affluent. From the number of men in their 
employment, few citizens had better opportunities of 
conciliating general confidence. And the records of the 
town, which show tl»e active part, which they took in 
its concerns, prove that these opportunities were not 
neglected. Stephen was the first selectman chosen by 
the town after ts separation from Newburj^ Both 
brothers enteretl into the cause of the revolution with 
spirit and determination. Both were members of the 
committee of safety and correspondence. Many of their 
letters show an intensity of interest in public concerns 
almost inconceivahle at the present day. They speak 
of the commonwealth as men now speak of the affairs 
oftheii'oun households Stephen was chosen one of 
the (.lei^erMes of the town to tlie first Provincial Con- 

ilis uwciliug is aow owned ^nd occupied by My. Bobert JeDkinSc 


' -gress. Several were elected, but he and the well 
known Jonathan Greenleaf, whose friend and coadjutor 
be was during his whole lil'e, were the only two, who 
accepted their appointments. He was a member of 
this' body during* most of the war, and of the General 
"Court, that succeeded, for many years afterward. At the 
commeDcement of the revolution Ralph was a captain 
in the militia, commissioned by the royal Governor. — 
His commission is dated in 1772. He afterwards accept- 
ed one from the«Provincial Congress, and signalized him- 
self by his zeal and assiduity in training his men. In 
1777 he joined the northern army as Lt. Colonel of the 
regiment raised in this quarter, commanded by Col. 
Johnson of Andover. His battalion formed part of two 
regiments ordered in September to advance against the 
. garrison at Ticonderoga with the intent of taking pos- 
session of it. The enemy being reinforced, the regi- 
ments were compelled to retreat and joined the camp 
at Stillwater on the fourth of October. The fourth 
day following occurred the memorable battle, which oc- 
casioned Burgoyne's surrender. This was one of the 
first detachments of militia eng-asred in the action. — 
The brothers, with others, contracted with the 
State, and built the frigates Hancock, Boston, and Pro- 
tector, and several other vessels of war. The former 
was built in the yaid of Jonathan Greenleaf, between 
Bartlet and Johnson's wharves, the tvv,-> last at the yard 
of Stephen Cross, now occupied by Titcomb and Lunt 
as a mast yard. 

At the close of the war Stephen was appointed 
superintendant of the excise, and afterwards col- 
lector of the customs for the port of Newburyport. 
Some imputation of mismanagement, together probably 
with his political sentiments, caused him to be remov- 
ed from the last office. Whatever it was, it did not di- 
minish the contidence of his fellow citizens ; lor he was 
the year alter his removal elected a member of the 
General Court, and soon nftor rncoived the ap|)ointment 
of postmister. In the last ofhce he continued till he di- 
ed in 1809. ^ 

Ralph al^o filled various honorable offices. He was 
for six years, fr« m 1790 to 1796, brigadier gener- 



al of the Brigade to which the corps of Newbury- 
port were attached. He was a commissioner of 
bankruptcy under the bankrupt law, and in 1802 was 
appointed collector of the customs. He continued in 
this office, performing- its duties at a p?riod of unusual 
difficulty with faithfulness and resolution, till his de- 
cease in 1800.* 

Tristram Dalton was born in Ne^vhury in June 
1-738. In 1755 he was graduated at Harvard college. 
After pursuing the stud\ of law for a time in Salem, he 
married a daughter of Robert Hooper of Marblehead, 
and entered into business with his father as a merchant 
in Newburyport. For many years he continued aciive- 
ly engaged in commercial persuits ; after which he was 
called to fill some of the most reepon«ible offices in the 
State. He was a representative from Newburyport, 
speaker of the House of Representatives and a member 
of the Senate of Massachusetts, and lastly member of the 
Senate of the Uiiited States. vVhen his term of office ia 
Congress expired, he sold his estate in Essex nnd re- 
moved to Washington. He entered into speculations 
there, which, proving unfortunate, reduced him from 
affluence to poverty. He was appointed surveyor of 
Boston and Charlestown in 1815, and continued in the 
dicharge of his official duties until his death in 1817.t 

The Greenleafs have always been a family of great 
consideration in Newburyport. Three brothers of that 
name emigrated here from Europe Benjamin, son of 
one of these emigrants, died in Newburyport at an ad- 
vanced age in 1783, having been a representative in 
the legislature, and otherwise repeatedly honored with 
marks ot the public confidence. 

Jonathan Gree:.leaf, nephew of the preceding, was 
distinguished for his natural talents, persuasive diction, 
* conciliating manners,' and * peculiar tact' in public life. 
He died in Newburyport, his native place, in 1807, at 
the age of eighty four. He filled the office of represen- 
tative from this town in the General Court for many 
years ; where he displayed his characteristic acuteness 

*The author is indebted for this account to a descendant of RalpU Cross 
f K»api>'s Biograph. Sketches 315. — His house now belongs to and is 
Jif^upied by Moses Brown esqr. 


and practical good sense, in the important duties of the 
tryin2: crisis of the revolution. 

Benjamin Greenleaf, cousin of Jonathan, and anoiher 
nephew of the first named Benjamin, was born at this 
place in March 1732 and died here in January 1799. — 
He resided some time in Kittery ; and returned here in 
1761. He held various important offices in the service 
of his native town, of the county, and of the common- 
wealth. He was mem.ber of the Executive Council of 
Massachusetts during the revolutionary war. He was 
also a member of the Senate after the atioption of the 
constitution; a chief justice of the court of Common 
Pleas ; and for a long period Judge of Probate for the 
county of Essex. 

Stephen Hooper was the son of Stephen Hooper, a 
merchant of distinction in Newburyport, where the sub- 
ject of this article was born in 1785 : — Soon after which 
time his father removed to Newbury. He was fitted 
for college at Dummer Academy and graduated at Cam- 
bridge in 1893. After studying law for the stated peri- 
od, he was admitted to the bar, and opened an office in 

Whilst yet a student at law he represented Newbury 
in the General Court at the age of 25 ; and six years af- 
terwards he was elected a member of the Senate from 
the district of Essex. In these situations, although 
wanting in business-talents and industry, he was distin- 
guished as an eloquent debater. 

In 1818 he removed to Boston ; and devoted himself 
to the practise of his profession. During his residence 
there he was for several years an alderman of the city. 
He died in 1825, aged 40.* 

Jonathan Jackson was one of the eminent patriots of 
Essex during the revolution and the early period of our 
constitutional history. He wrote some of the best po- 
litical tracts of the day, — was a member of Congress, 
and held several offices of responsibility and honor. — 
He was born in Boston ; bul settled h?re as a merchant 
early in lile, and spent the most efficient part of it in 
the town. Several years before his death he removed 

* Boston Monlhly Maj. ?ol. I. 


hack to Boston.* He was the near friend of the subject 
of the next article. 

John Lowell, son of John Lowell, minister of the 
First Religious Society in Newbnryport, was born in 
the part of Newburv, which afterwards became New- 
burypoit, in 1743. He was graduated at Harvard col- 
lege ; and adopting the law for his profession, he settled 
in his native town and speedily rose to distinction. In 
1776 he removed to Boston; and became representative 
in the General Court, and a member of the convention 
for framing the constitution of the State. 

In 1781 he was chosen member of Congress; in 
1782 he was appointed judge of the admiralty Court 
of Appeals ; and on the establishment of the federal 
government was made district judge of the United 
States for Massachusetts. This office he filled until 
]801, when he was made chief justice of the new Cir- 
cuit Court for the eastern circuit. He died in 1802. 
He was eminent for his judgment, integrity, and elo- 
quence as an advocate and legislator ; for his impartial- 
ity, acuteness, and decision as a judge ; and for his 
zeal in the cause of scientific and other useful institu- 
tions. He was eighteen years member of the corpora- 
tioB-oi' Harvard College ; and was one of the founders 
of the American Academy. t 

The poet Robert Treat Paine studied law in New- 
buryport under the direction of Parsons ; and whilst he 
resided here, pronounced his celebrated Eulogy on 
Washington, which, with some defects of taste, is nev- 
ertheless a very brilliant and powerful composition. 

Timothy Palmer has been meetioned in another part 
of this work. He was born in Boxford. His merit as 
a civil engineer was very distinguished. Besides con- 
structing the Essex Merrimac bridge, he was much em- 
ployed in similar business at the south, and in particu- 
lar built a bridge across the Schuylkill at Philadelphia. 

♦ His mansioa house afterwards passed into the hands of Mr. Timo- 
thy Dexter, notorious ftjr liis eccentricity, aiid is now used as a public 

■j" His dwelling is now owned by Mr. Elfazei' J(>hnson. The house iri 
•which he is said to have been born, now belongs to, and is occupied by, 
John FiU esq. 


Theophilus Parsons, a name identified with the his- 
tory of our law, laid the foundations of his eminence in 
Newburyport. Born in Newbury in February 1730, 
he received the rudiments of his education at Dam- 
mer Academy, under the celebrated master Moody.— 
His father, the Rev. Moses Parsons, was minister of By- 
field parish in Newbury. He was graduated at Harvard 
colleg-e in 1769, and afterwards stuflied law in Falmouth, 
now Portland, and while there taught the grammar 
school in that town. He practised law there a few 
years ; but the conflagration of the town by the British 
in 1775 obliged him to return to his father's house, 
where he met judge Trowbridge, and receiTed the 

most valuable instructions from that eminent jurist 

He soon resumed the practise of his profession in this 
town, and rapidly rose to unrivalled reputation as a law- 

^. In 1777 he wrote the famous Essex Ptesult, and in 1779 
was an active member of the Convention, which framed 
the State constitution. 

In 1789 he was a meaibor of the convention for con- 
sidering the present constitution of the United States, 
and was peculiarly instrumental in 'procuring its adop- 

In 1801, he was appointed attorney general of the 
United States, but declined accepting his rommiscion. 

In 1800, he removed to Boston. In 1806, he was ap- 
pointed chief justice of the Supreme Court of Massa- 
chusetts, and his profound legal opinions have mainly 
contributed to settle the principles of our expository 

He died in Boston October 13th 18 13, with reputa- 
tion as a judge and a lawyer unequalled in Massachu- 

Nicholas Pike, son of Rev. James Pike, was born in 
Some r-. worth in 1743. He vvas graduated at Harvard 
college in 1766, and taught a grammar school, tirst in 
York, al'terwards in IScuburypoi t. In 178C, he publish- 
ed his System of Arithmetic^ which still deservedly sus- 

* Kii;i|)p'9 Uiog. Skelclifs p. S7 :— ('. J. Parker's Charge, Mass. Rep. 
His house now belongs to Dr Oliver Prescott. 



tains high reputation. He was long" a distinguised acU 
ing magistrate in Newburypor^, where he died in De- 
cember 1819.* 

The ':ife and character of Oliver Putnam have already 
been sketched t 

Micajah Sawver, a physician of eminence, was born 
at Newbury in 1737, and was graduated at Har- 
vard college in 1756. He was much distinguished in 
the practice of hi* profession and as a citizen; and died 
at an adranced age in 1815. 

John Barnard SwETT \ms highly distinguished as a 
physician, !«chviar- and gentleman. He was born in this 
town and graduated at Harvard college in 1771 ; and af- 
terwards travelled in various parts, whence he returned 
with a mind richly stored with professional and classi- 
cal learning. He established himself in Newburyport 
in 1780. He died in 1796. at the age of 45, falling a 
sacrifice to his fidelity in the exercise of his profession 
during the calamitous period, when the yellow fever 
prevailtd in Newbur\port. 

George Tracher, a justice tf the Supreme Court of 
Massachusetts, removed Irom Biddeford to Newbury- 
port in 1820, on the separation of Maine from Massa- 
chusetts. He resided liere until a short time before his 
death, v«'hich took place at Biddeford in 1824. He was 
born at Yarmouth in 1 754 and was educated at Har- 
vard colleg^e. He practised law for many years in 
Maine with great reputation and success. 

He was a member of Congress for a long period, 
from 1788 until his appointment to the Supreme Court, 
in which he held a seat for more than twenty years 
previous to his decease. 

Among the first settlers of Newbury was William^ 
TiTCOMB, who emigrated from Newbury in England in 
1635. His grandson col. Moses Titcomb was distin- 
guished in the expedition against Louisburg in 1745, 
and afterwards commanded a regiment at Crown Point 
in 1755, where he was killeJ while reconnoitring the 
enemies' post. Another of the descendants of VVillian*- 
Titcomb, captain Michael Titcomb, belonged to Wash- 

New Hannp. Collec. II. 148. t Ante, page 63. 

' 103 

r.^ton's body guard. Two other=, Enoch Titcomb and 
Jonathan Titcomb, deserve sepacate Dotiee. 

ExVOCH Titcomb was bred to mercantile pursuit*, but 
a« he advanced in life attained rank as an upright ia- 
dicious public servant. He Wu :m ardent whig; and 
-erved as a brigade major at Rhnd^ Island,, among the 
'roops commanded by general Sdiiivan. At'lerwarlh he 
held different town offices for many years. At ttie ao-e 
of forty he became a member of the legislature, and 
continued in office, either as representaiiye or senator. 
until the infirmities of age obliged him to retire into 
private life, ile was also for a long tim?^. a justice of 
the peace and a notary public. Without possessing 
brilliant talents, he was yet estimable for his pi ^y, ia- 
iegrity, and good sense. He died in 1814. aged 62. 

Jonathan Titcomb was distinguished as an ardent and 
zealous whig during the revolution. He comm/anded a 
regiment of militia under general Sullivan upon the 
Rhode Island expedition, and afterwards became a brio-„ 
adier general. *la 1774-75 he was a member of the 
Committee of Safety, and belonged to the iirst General 
Court after the British evacuated Boston. 
^ Subsequently he represented the town in General 
Court for several years; and was chosen to the Con- 
rentionfor framing the constitution of the State. 

He was appointed by Washington the first naval of- 
ficer in this District, which place he held from 1789 
to 1812. 

Me died in 1817, at the advanced age of 89. 

NATHA^fIEL Tracy was a merchant of liberal cduca- 
'ion, who graduated at Harvard college in 1769. He 
'.rterwards transacted business upon an extensive scale 
in this, his native town, and was distinguished for his 
patriotism, I'berality of character, refinement of man- 
ners, and hospitality.* 

Beside these men, who, by reason of their profes- 
sion, their situation, or the oflices they held, rightly 
are esteemed public property, many others might, be 
mentioned, highly distinguished for their private virtues. 

* His mai\sioa-hou3e now bclong« to an«l is occupied by James 
Prmce esq. 


William Coombs, and Others will long be gratefully re, 
mernbered by their fellow citizens, fox that dignity of 
character as men and as merchants, which exalted the 
name and the fortunes of Newbnryport in the natton. 

Newbiiryport has proved, but too frequently, the 
nursery of talented hien, v/ho have emigrated elsewhere 
for the enjoyment of more liberal rewards than its means 
afford. Of the many individuals, whose fortunes illus- 
trate this remark, King, Perki.vs, Jackson, White, Kjvapp, 
and PiERPONT are living examples. Three of these 
Jiave attained reputation so pre-eminent as to sanction 
the introduction of a short account of their lives in this 

Charles Jacksox, the son of Jonathan Jackson, was 
born in Newburyport in 1775. He was graduated at 
Cambridge in 1793 ; and after studying the science of 
law under Parsons, went into practise in Newburyport. 
His eminent natural qualifications for success in his pro- 
fession, and his until ing industry and devotedness in the 
discharge of its duties, drew to him the public confidence 
at an early age. He quickly rose to the front ranks of 
the bar, and became second only to his great master in 
forensic distinction. Shortly before the latter was 
raised to the bench, he removed to Boston, and suppli- 
ed, as no other person could do, the vacancy in prac- 
tise left by his withdrawal from the profession. 

He continued sedulously engaged in the highest and 
best legal business of the State until 1813, when, upon 
the death of Theodore Sedgwick, he was appointed to 
be a justice of the Supreme Court of Massachusetts. 

To ascribe to him the highest character in this new 
station woul^ only be to repeat the unanimous voice of 
the bar and the public. His were not merely the ordi- 
nary points of jndicial excellence, Industry, — impar- 
tiality, — patience, — acuteness,— juridical erudition, were 

qualities, which he exhibited in no common degree 

But the depth, clearness, and comprehension of his 
views were still more ren^arkable. His earnest devot- 
edness to the functions of his station affected his health 
so seriously, that, in 1823, he went abroad to regain it, 
resigning his office. In England he was honored with 


the respect and confidence of lord Stowell, and other 
eminent jurists. 

In 1B24 he returned to this country, and has now re- 
sumed the practise of his profession in Bostofi as counsel, 

RuFus King was born at Scarborough in iVliiiae. 
He received his first degree at Harvard coli^ge in 
1777; and immediately began the study of law in New- 
buryport under the care of Theophiins Par^scns. On 
completing bis studies, he was ailmitted to the bar in 
Essex County, and opened an office in this town. 

His great talents speedily raised him to distinction in 
his profe.^sion and in poliiics. A few years after com- 
mencing practice, he was chosen to represent the town 
in the General Court of Massachusetts ; soon after 
which he was elected a member of Congress under the 
old confederation. 

Thenceforth his progress to eminence was rapid and 
sure. lie soon removed to the state of New York ; and 
received continual marks of public confidence. With- 
out attempting to give an accurate and detailed account 
of the various stations he filled, it i^ sufficient to say 
that, after a distinguished career in Congress, he was in 
1796 appointed minister plenipotentiary to the court of 
St. Jame"* by general Washington. 

Mr. KingV.ted in this capacity until 1803. Although 
a change in the administration had, in the mean tinke, 
taken place at home, his conduct wns nevertheless such 
as in a great measure to gain the ai'probation of both 
parties. He discus-^ed in a full and satisfactory manner 
all the questions of maritime law, in which America was 
interested. To the subject of impressment he paid 
particular attention, and made great progress in secur- 
ing an arrangement, which would have contributed es- 
sentially to the protection of our seamen. 

Mr. King, after his leturn, continued attached to the 
federal p*;»rty. But although opposed to the measures 
of Mr. Madison, yet, like Samuel Dexter, he supported 
the STOvernment during the war. 

After the restoration of peace, he received the suf- 
frages of the legislature of New York for the office of 
senator in Congress. He remained in the station until 


1825, when he was a second time appointed minister to 
Great Britain 

Having resigned this office on acccount of his de- 
clining hea'ih, he has lately returned to America, be- 
ing succeeded by Albert Gallatin. 

Jacob Perkins was born at Newburyport July 9th 
1766. His father, Matthew Perkins, was a lineal de- 
scendant of one of the first settlers of Ipswich and lived 
to the advanced age of ninety. After receiving a com- 
mon school education, he became apprentice to a gold- 
smith ; and soon displayed those extraoi-dinaj-y inventive 
powers in mechanics, which have elevated him to dis- 

At the age of twenty one, he was eraploj^ed, when 
others artists had failed, to make dies for the copper 
coinage of Massachusetts under the old confederation. 

At twenty four he invented the nail machine, which 
cut and headed nails at one operation. 

His mechanical genius <Vas now fully developed ; and 
ibr twenty years and upwards, ne continued to multiply 
useful inventions in the arts with a facility truly aston- 
ishing. His ingenuity in ranking a plate lor bank notes 
incapable ot being counterfeited, and in discovering 
the art of softening and hardening steel at pleasure, was 
particularly useful to the public. The latter discovery 
opened a wide field for the labors of the engraver and 
led to many happy results. 

It would be endless to recount the great number of 
useful or ingenious inventions, which he was constantly 
producing during the latter part of his residence in 
in America. His talents found, tor a time, a wider field 
for their display in Philadelphia, whi'her he removed 
from Newburyport. After residing there several 
years, he crossed the Atlantic, and is now exercising 
his genius in England, — the great theatre for the exhi- 
bition and encouragement of abilities like his. Besides 
many things of merely philosnphicai interest, which he 
has there been teachin:? to th^ .eich^»r* of the world, 
he has also ra;ide some signil improvementrs in the 
steam-engine, the great nuchs'r.ical agent of modern 
times. His inve.ntions in the arts of engraving and in 
calico-printing, among other things, have been success- 


fully put in operation : — while his genius, and his ur- 
banity of deportment and simplicity of character are 
procuring hion the admiration and esteem of the uiseat 
m'^n and greatest nobles of Britain. 

Among the many persons, who, attracted by the fame 
of Parsons in jurisprudence, came to Nevvburyport to 
study law under hi-* direction, John Quincy Adams was 
one. He was endeared to the inhabitants at that time 
by his promising talents and social excellences in youth. 
as he has been since admired in manhood for the noble 
qualities of ripened age. On a recent occasion he spoke 
feelingly of Nevvburyport as ' a town, from which long 
absence had not obliterated many of the most pleasing 
recollections of his youth associated with it.' The tem- 
porary residence of such a man here for the purposes, of 
education, is too proud a circumstance in the history 
of the to\vn to have been overlooked. 

The contemplation of the lives and characters of the 
many eminent persons, whose permanent or temporary 
residence in Newburyport reflects honor upon the town, 
should serve to stimulate and quicken a praiseworthy 
anaoitiou m the breasts of those, who come after them. 
One thing in particular connected with this point de- 
serves attention, as equally to the credit of the individ- 
uals and of the town. In selecting persons for public 
confidence, the citizens, on the one hand, have, in sever- 
al signal instances, manifested indifference alike to the 
age and station of the party, looking only to his absolute 
qualifications. And among the most eminent inhabitants 
of the town, it is remarkable, od the other hand, how 
large a proportion of them have been distinguished 
early in life.— .Lowell, Parsons, King, Jackson, Perkins, 
and Tif we may be permitted to claim any share in his 
fame) AJams, by their industry, useful talents, devotion 
to business, and ])recocious manliness of chnracter, 
obtamed either professional distinction, or public hon- 
or^, or both, even in their very youth. Is it not proba- 
ble that the candor and discrimination displayed by the 
town in the illustrious cases ahove mentioned entitle it 
to the credit of some portion of the eminence of those 
individuals ? Hail their merit been suffered to paas un- 
noticed, — had ihcy been condemned for their youtk 

atone — their subsequent rise might have beea lon^ re- 
tarded. Nay it might, perhaps, have been prevented 
forever. Had they pined away in neglect in early life, 
who can say how different would have been their fu- 
ture fate? Beside*, the mere fact of their bein:^ so soon 
the objects of public confidence gave them the benefit 
of experience and practical knowledge at a period of 
life, when hope was high, and the pulse beat freely and 
confidently in the ardor of juvenile feelings and pur- 
poses. I'hus they acquired a start in the race, an im- 
petus at the commencement of their career, of which 
they may long have enjoyed the advantage. It was the 
quaint saying of a great writer that there were some 
men, whose abilities were born with them, some men, 
who achieved abilities; and a third set, upon whom 
abilities were thrust.* How fortunate are they, in 
whom, as in the individuals in question, these three 
conditions of ability meet I For it needs hardly be 
added here, that, in after life, they continued to 
prove that the public confidence was not misplaced;^ 
and their country found cause of rejoicing in their early 
advancement. May their fume be a light in the path of 
rising generations ! 

* Tcmline's Lifvi of Pitt, voh 1, p. 219= 


coNCz>t7DXHG re:marks. 

THE chief aim of the author, in this work, is narni- 
tive, and not speculation. But, in approaching the con- 
clusion of it, he Cleaves indulgence for a few remarks 
connected with a topic most interesting to him and to 
his fellow citizens, namely, the condition and prospects 
of the town. He claims no authority for his reflections 
upon this subject ; and submits them only as tiie solifary 
opinions of an individual, having but limited means of 

The rise of Newburyport to wealth and consequence 
was extremely rapid. This elevation was not capable 
of being ascribed entirely, or for the greater part, to 
intrinsive, local, or peculiar sources of prosperity. As 
observed in a previous chapter, we had not the extra- 
ordinary advantage, which New Orleans and New York 
possess, of being the natural depot of an immense interi- 
or country of unexampled fertility and richness. There 
were no inexhaustible coal mines wrought in the town 
or its vicinity, as at Birmingh«ra or IVlanchcster, to fa- 
cilitate the establishment of manufactories. Nor had 
we, within our narrow six hundred acres of territory, 
the waterfalls of the Fatucket or the Powow, to be sub- 
jected, by human art, to the noblest objects of human 
convenience, industry, and happiness. Our peculiar lo- 
cal advantages extended but little beyond the single 
business of ship-building. 

From what, then, sprung,' the prosperous energies and 
the speedy increase of the toun, in its best days ?— 
They aro^e, it is believed, w<aj /}/«/, from the addres-:, en- 
terprise, and good fortune of its citizens, in seizing upon 
the pro};iiiou3 opportunities alforded by the situation of 
the United States. Newburyport rose with the com- 
mercial rise of the county, and with that alone kept 



even pace. True it is, that the town stood somewhat 
in advance, in the celerity of its progress, of the nation 
at large; and this advancement, it is repeated, we must 
attribute to the character of its inhabitants, — which their 
staple manufacture contriluted lo develope. Their 
success was in maritime commerce, and in the arts sub- 
sidiary to, and dependant upon, mnritime commerce 

And their skill in ship-buihling. create<I b}^ their local 
advantage for that manufacturo, empo*rered them the 
more easily to gain the start of other places in marine 
trade. For this business had enabled them to accumu- 
late some capital. It made it easy, also, with a very 
small expense of outfii, to obtain a bottom for the trans- 
portation of goods. And by placing the means of for- 
eign commerce constantly before the eyes of the peo- 
ple, in the shape of their staple product, it naturally 
tempted them the more to adventure in maritime spec- 

Thus matters stood, so long as the w^onderful com- 
mercial prosperity of this country lasted. During this 
period, when the neutral position of America was so 
extraordinary, so unparalleled m the history of com- 
merce, our citizens pusiied their advantage to the ut- 
most. The protits of commerce were immense. We 
had the carrying trade of the whole universe, almost, 
in our hands. Our proximity to the European colonies 
in America co-operated, with other things, to fill the 
born of our abundance to overflowing. The industri- 
ous mechanic of the Merrimac found a demand for his 
manufacture : — the enterprising merchant could obtain 
his vessel on easy terms, and in a very short period she 
would earn her whole original cost. All the depart- 
ments of industry connected with the ocean were thus 
stimulated to the highest degree, and universal pros- 
perity and the easy acquisition of a competence, were 
the natural result. 

France and England soon became jealous of this our 
rapid approach to the very empire of the seas and th« 
monopoly of marine commerce. Previous to this, how- 
ever, our trade to the French islands had begun to de- 
cline. The business was overdone by competition.— 
Their markets became drugged with our produce, as, 


indeed, they have continued to be ever ?iocG. They 
began to be more directly supplied with foreign manu- 
factures, thereby diminishing the profits of cur com 
merce vvith Europe. And no slight injury was sustain- 
ed by our coinnsrce. in consequence of the disordei^ in 
the West Indies occasioned by the French revolution. 

Bat the deadly blow to our commercial prosperity 
was more directly struck by the indolence an! cupiuiiy 
of ihe grfat belligerents of Europe. Without entering 
Into the broad question wh^'ther the system of restric- 
tions on our com lerce ad 'pted by the government 
was oi- was not vindicated by the issue, thus much may 
be conS lently iffirmdd : our government wis forced in- 
to it by the inju-tice of foreign powers. It was a choice 
of evils. England, — France, —^Holland, — ^Naples, — Den- 
mark, — »vere co-nmitting the most digitious depreda- 
tions upon the property of our citiz.^ns. They were 
heap ng insult u{)on insult, and injury upon injury. — 
Thr-y were sweeping our ships from the oceaa with 
feariul rapacitv, ^nd profligate disregard of every law, 
divine or human. ibis it was, whicu drove our gov- 
ernment into (hat series of restrictive measures, finally 
terminated in war. During that calamitous period, our 
seamm were thrown out of employment ; our traders 
lost their customers ; the farmers, who had looked to Ui5 
for foreign commodities, and of whom we had pur- 
chased lumber, and provisions, left our market, — and 
our merchants were compelled to sit down idly and see 
their ships rotting in the docks.* True it is that, had 
the uncilculating enterprise of our capitalists been left to 
it'elt", their ship' and property would have been cap- 
tured or coniiscat^d abroad; and the millions of our for- 
eign claims would have been swelled incalculably ; but, 
in either alternative, the loss must have been, as it was, 

In the milst of all these misfortunes came the tire of 
1811, which destroyed a great amount oi^ our property, 
and diverted too much of what remainod from more 
profitable channels mto tlie form of buildings. But a 
contl.tgration, destructive as it may bo of jiroperty, is 

♦Newburyport H';rald,Jime I3tli I8i3, 


Kot of a nature to prodace any permanent injury to tli€? 
prosperity of a town. The skill, the talent*, the indus- 
try, which reared the piles, devoured by the flames, are 
capable of soon repairing the damage by a little added 
exertions. Of course, the fire could have had but par- 
tial influence, in producing the decline of Newbury- 
port. The genuine dilSculty to be solved, the ques- 
tion really needing an answer, is, why Newburyport 
did not resume its prosperity, and continue to rise, when 
all the temporary causes of misfortune alluded to ha'd 
ceased to operate. We shall not find the explanation of 
this point in the lire of 1811, nor in the embargo, nor in 
the war. It is to be sought further. New-York and 
Boston have grown as rapidly since the pressure of 
those restrictions on commerce was taken otf, as they 
did before. But various circumstances contributed to 
retard the increase of Newburyport, as is usual in simi- 
lar cases. 

Some of these were local. Thus the bar is undoubt- 
edly some impediment to our prosperity, — because it 
confines our navigation to vessels of the smaller class; 
andj contrary to what was customary twenty years ago, 
the present exigencies of foreign trade require the use 
of large vessels. The fjilis and rapids in the Merri- 
roac are also a local difBculty. They deprive us of the 
benefit of supplying with heavy goods the inhabitants of 
the interior alonsr the river, above the actual hea«l of 
navigation. The bu-iness of these person- is diverted, 
by means of the Middlesex canal, from Newburyport, 
its natural resort, to Boston. This disadvantage might 
he remedied, in a great degree, by the compleiion of 
the long talked of canal around the remaining ot)Struc- 
tions in the bed of the ivlerrimac. 

Every small sea-port competes, to great disadvantage, 
with anv laro:e one near to it. The arreatest market 
will inevitably tend to swallow up others in its vicinity. 
This law of trade has undoubtedly operated to the seri- 
ous injury of Newburyport. Like othar sea-;)orts of the 
second cla=s in Massachusetts! bay, it has withered un- 
der the influence of BostoUc There are but few excep- 
tions to this remark, :uid those exceptions confirm the 
rule. Thus New-Bedford and Nantucket are sustained 


by theii' possession of the whale-fi?hery, Salem, also, 
hid its advantage in the East InJia trade, so lon^- a^ that 
continue I peculiarly lucrative. Bat the bad effects of 
the vicinity of Boston are constantly and seriously expe- 
rienced here, in leading the importer to make sales of 
large cargoai, or heavy goods, almost universally in 
Boston ; and the retailer to resort tliers for his supplies. 
Within the last tifteen years, many oth or towns along* 
the sea-coast of New England hnve entered into com- 
petition v/ith this, la what formerly constituted a very 
important part of ita business, name'y, the exportation 
of lumber and tijh, and the carriage of the products of 
the West Indies to a market. The competition has, 
of course, in all cases diminished the profits. And Port- 
land and other places in Maine can export lumber at less 
charge than ourselves, and therefore to greater advan- 

All these different causes have their influence. But 
the most efHcient and comprehensive reason of the de- 
cline of the town is, in truth, the immense alteration of 
the general condition of business during the last hi'teea 
years. The whole of Europe, with the exception of 
its extreme eastern regions, is in a state of peace. We 
are no longer the carriers for its many nations. The 
sphere of our commercial enterprizo is wonderfully 
narrowed. Our capital is now driven into new channels, 
and the entire circle of the relations of business and trade 
has undergone a radical revolution. Foreign commerce 
now requires a larger capital than formerly, and the 
prnfit-4 on it arc less. We are beginnirig to perceive 
and appreciate the importance of encouraging and pro- 
tecting domestic industry, for the most substantial rea- 
sons ; and if we did not, the impossibility of employing 
all the resources of the country in commerce would 
force open our eyes to see the necescity of investing a 
portion of it in manufactures. Here, then, we Ic^e our 
population, wbil-Jt other to^.vns i^ain it. Boston, lor in- 
stance, by reason of the immen-»e accumulation of wealth 
in the hands of its inhabitants, becomes, by the laws of 
political economy, a permanent market as well for domes- 
tic maniifictures and products, a? for imported articles. 
Amesbury, Lowell, Dover, are the site of vast manufa^- 



factories, and thither our mechanics and traders emi- 
grate, following" the coacentratiou of capital, wherever 
it takes place. But we, on the other hand, have neither 
natural sites for manufactories, nor that immense accu- 
mulation of riches, which should secure to us, at present, 
the means of successful competitioa with any ol' those 
places, to which the recent revolutions in the conduct 
of business have imparted such great accession of wealth 
or population. 

If these remarks are entitled to any weiarht, they may 
serve to reconcile us to the dimunition of population and 
of taxable property, which a comparison of the state of 
the town in 1810 and 1820 exhibits, by showing that it 
was inevitable. No efforts of our own could have pre- 
vented it. Some injudicious kinds of trade were, it i-? 
true, entered upon by the citizens on the restoration of 
peace, whose unprofitableness era long was discovered 
and caused them to be abandoned And had the canal 
been constructed whsn it was originally projected, it 
would have undoubtedly enlarged our trade, and might 
also have been used advantageously for the location of 
manufactories. But these things were not the great 
causes of the check in our prosperity. For after all, the 
present condition of the town is by no means a state of 
decline. It has not now the riches, the population, or 
the busines?,which it once possessed. But it is no worse 
off than many other seaports on the New-Fmgland coast 
of the same general description. And its actual state is 
not so much a state of decline, as of slow and gradual, 
but sure, consolidation and advancement. We Amer- 
icans, and especially we Xew-Englanders, are an enter- 
prising, restless, impatient race. We are not content 
with living, or living well with long continued industr}'', 
as in the old countries We are ambitious to make 
large fortunes, and to make them quickly, and as it 
were extempore. Our national and individual energies 
have been evoked by a sort of unnatural and hot-bed 
process of developemcnt. And while the inhabitants of 
Newburyport havi^, in a most remarkable, manner, at a 
former period, been thus hurried on to prosperity, they- 
can the less easily accommodate themselves to a station- 
ary condition, or one of mere simple well-being. 


Bat the author feels admonished that these remarks 
have been pursaed at sufficient length. It is more 
o-ratet'al to inquire ho^v the town might bo enabled to 
regain its ancient standing. But there is no royal road, 
no convenient short cut, to national wealll? or publiG 
prosperity. It is pleasing to reflect, as stated in a pre- 
ceding chapter, that while some occjpations are in a less 
lariving s-ate than llDrmerly, yet others are much im- 
proved. The fisharies and the coast-wise trade of the 
town, departments of industry every way preferable, in. 
respect to questions of political economy, over foreign 
commerce, have steadily gained upon the latter, in 
proiitableness and in amount of tonnage. To be speedi- 
ly restored to its old prosperity, some great revolution 
must take place, either in externni affairs, or in the in- 
ternal resources of the town. Such a revolution in for- 
eign afiairs is a most improbable event. But the crea- 
tion of sites for manufactories in the place, or the es- 
tablishment here of any species of manufacture which 
do not require the application of water-power, would 
produce a revolution in the internal resources of New- 
bury port. Whether such a thing is practicable or not 
is too wide an inquiry to be pertinent or otherwise prop- 
er in this connexion. But the facility and usefulness of 
extending the manufacture of vessels are too prominent 
and obvious to pass unnoticed, in any consideration of 
the means of stimulating our domestic industry by ade- 
quaie rewards. 

It deserves, also, to be mentioned here, that Newbu- 
ry port possesses uncommon advantages for annuitants 
and for ail persons living upon small capital or upon 
fixed incomes. It unites the beneiiis of town and coun- 
try. Its population, being considerable an I compnct, is 
suited for social intercourse, and for all the purposes of 
the concentration of mankind into towns. It possesses 
the means of easy and direct communication to the sea, 
to the interior, and to the remotest parts of the United 
States, east, west, or ^outh. It is but five hours ride 
from the capital of i^few England. Livinij is remarka- 
bly c'leiip-, because heiag the marfvet-towu of a con^id- 
era'tlj a.jrir,!iltural di^^trict, .ml Ivino: contiguous to the 
ocean, tlierc is hardly an article of taste or necessity 


whose nrlce is enhaaced to the inhabitants by l;inJ-caf- 
ria^'C. In acMition to this, the lowness of rents removes 
the greatest item oi expense which is incurred in Bos- 
ton, and oilier towns in similar situation. So that for 
the retired man of busiaess, or for persons living upon 
salary, to vv'iom ease, respectability, and economy arc 
primary object^, few places are more deserving of rc^ 
commendation than Newburyport. 

The moral and pious character of the inhabitants, 
their simple and unpretendiag manners, the neatness and 
salubrity of the town, and the excellence of school and 
reiiarious ed-ication within itself or in its immediate vi- 
cinity, are topics, in relation to whic!) merited praise 
could bo bestowed upon the town. But if the author 
dwelt on them, he might subject himself to the imputa- 
tion of pariialifV ; ani he therefore abstains. 

The true policy of communities, whether large or 
smali,li!ie the best interest of individuals, is to cultivate 
industry, economy, regularity, temperance, and the high- 
er principles of virtue, and to obey the dictates of pure 
religion. Witiiout thi? policj', all advantages of locality, 
or circumstances, or fortune, and all the accumulated 
blessings of the richest soil, the healthiest climate, and 
the most transcendant bounties of nature, are utterly un- 
availing to confer prosperity upon a nation, a state, or a 
town. An 1 with this policy, every thing else is easy of 
accomplisiiinent. The most «terile soil may be convert- 
ed into a garden, and the wilderness caused 'to bloom as 
a rose.' Commerce, the arts, literature, may be made to 
pour forth their golden streams of plenty, and comfort, 
and retinement, to enrich the land. For there is a se- 
cret of public welfare, which political economy does 
not teach. It lies at the foundation of every prosper- 
ous community, and it is capable of retrieving the most 
adverse fortunes. Tnough it be not learned in the 
schools, the fate of empires and the destinies of man- 
kind impress it visibly upon the face of the universe. — 
It is, un>vavei'ing obedience to the lessons of morality 
and piety. Be this the noble aim, then, of ail our ac- 

To conclude, let us repeat the words of one of the 


greatest men and pnrest patriot?, whom this or any oth- 
er country has kno^vn : 

' Kiii.llv separated by nature and a wide ocean from 
the extprnii.iating havoc of one quarter ot" thf gl^be ; 
too high aiin^'ed to endure the degradations of the oth- 
ers; po>>essini/ a chosen conntry, uith room enough tor 
our descendants to the thousandth and thousandth gener- 
ation ; entertaining a due sense of our equnl ri^^ht to the 
use of our oun faculties, to the acquisition** of our own 
industry, to honor and coniideuce fro^n our feih)vv citi- 
aten-, resuifin.? not from birth, but tVom our a^tion^ and 
thpir sen-e of them; en!ight:?ned by a benign religion^ 
professed inder-d and ^iractised in various forrn^, yet ail 
of them inculcating honesty, truth, temperance, grati- 
tude, and liie love of man ; acknowledging and adoring 
an overruling Providence, which by all its dispensations 
proves that it delights in the happiness of man here, 
and his greater happiness hereafter : with all these 
blessings what more is necessary to make us a happy 
and prosperous people V 


TOW.y Op'FiCLRS FOR 1826. 

Selectmen^ Mossr=;. Asi VV. VVjlies, 3ani:iel S. Pliim- 
mer, Whiitin.^hHm Giiman, Green Sanborn John Cook, jr. 

Town Clerk. Jo-io Fitz. 

^^sicsojrs^ Messrs. Samiiei Cutler, Joha Moody, Jo- 
seph brown, jr. 

Overseers of the Poor^ Messrs. Philip Johnson, jr. Ed* 
mund Bartlct, Joseph Brovvn, jr. Cilia Boardmun, John 

Treasurer tS' C^lle.cAor^ John rorter. 

■- '^-rn^ C'^:nmittce^ Messrs. 'Vaihun Noves, Ebenczer 

a';h?niei Bradsf-e'ot, Stephen VV, M Piston, 

' --hinj, John Fitz, John Coinn. H^nrv J>.'?nson, 

'■le'- -rsi Abrnham WiaU^ms, Georp^e J^nk- 
• ieaf, Moses event, Is'^ c Kaap, Wiliiam 
.:*ou, Zebedoe Cook, Wiiiiani Cross, 
■ \-\ M r-ih, Joseph Haie, Philip 
Ofnn Boardmnn. William 
.1 Portion Br-.^ckway, John 
. i-ci;,jr. WiUiriin Cook, Philip 
I f oli.Tiishee, Eheuezer Bradbury, 

of Lurn'-erj Messrs, John Stickney, Mcody 
Fear' 0![j.' Jacob ^^ticJiTiey, Amos Pearson, Obadiah Hor- 
toi:, John Fhiudt^rs, ?vIoses CoiTia. Amos Pearson, jr. 
Tii ham CoOin, jr John Car.-, Jo=h\ia Hiii-, John Coop- 
er, rri'lr-^inri Co'bn, 3rd. Edward, Wilii.irn Her- 
vey, Zebedee Cooii, John Mood}, Tho?ii<is flervey, Jer- 
einiah Brown, Jonathan Pearson, William Alexander, 
Geor^^e T. Granger, Moses Somerby, Joseph Hoyt, Ab- 
cer Toppan 

Fruce F^iWer^,' Messrs. Amos Pearson, D.miel Somer- 
by, ?doses Kent. 

Fuhzi)ardens^ Messrs. Offin Eoardman, John Cook, 
Robert Crnss. 

Cullers of Hoops and Staves, Messrs. John Lewis, jr. 
Samuel Bradbury, Wiliiam Davis, Thomas Patten, jr. 








Jon ., 



Cullers of Fish^ Messrs. John Mace, Pardon Brockway, 

Field Drivtrs, Moses Somerby, Charles Toppan. 

Hogreeves^ 'NJe.^sr?. Daoiei C. Johuson, Wiliiam P. 
Lunt, William Randall. 

Tytliingmen, Me^fsrs. Edward Woodbury, Stephen Til- 
ton, Wiliirim Hervey, Stephen Frothingham, Obadiah 
Horton, Enoch Smith, Eheiiezer Stone, Charles i\. 
Balch, Tristram Chase, Charles Whipple, Daniel Foster, 
Isathaniei Bayley, Ezekiel Bartlet, WiJliam Carr. 

Police Officer., Oilman White. 


Samnel S. Wilde, 
James Prince, 
Jonathan Gage, 
Ebenezer Moseley, 
Josiah Smith, 
William Bartlet, 
Moses Brown, 
Isaac Adams, 
Samuel Tenney, 
Andrew Frothingham, 
Edwad S Rr<md, 
Solomon H. Currier, 
Ebeuezer Shillaber, 

Oliver Prescott, 
William Woart, 
William B. Banister, 
John Fitz, 
William Cross, 
John Pettingell, 
Thomas M. Clark, 
A?a W. Wildes, 
Stephen W. Marston, 
John Porter, 
John Cook, jr. 
Caleb Gushing, 


John Fitz, 
John Porter, 
Daniel Foster, 

Samuel Tenney, 
William Woart, 


Collector^ James Prince, 
Surveyor^ William Cross, 
Naval Officer. Thomas Carter, 
Depuiij Collector^ Solomon H. Currier. 


Moses Lord. 



Senate^ Caleb Cushing", 
Representatives^ John Coffin, 
Robert Cross. 


Kiev. James Morss, John Andrews, D.D, 

Samuel P. William?, Luther F. Dimmick, 

Charles W. Milton, Daniel Dana, D. D. 
Josiah Houghton. 


Oliver Prescott, Nathaniel Bradstreet, 

Francis Vergnies, John Brickett, 

Jonathan G. Johnson, Richard S. Spofford, 

« > Wjraan, JNathan Noyes. 


Ebenezer Moseley, Jacob Gerrish, 

Stephen W. I\Iarston, Asa W. Wildes, 

Ebenezer Shillaber, Caleb Cushing, 
Robert Cross. 


Page 2, line 2r for ten read t'ieU'e; p. 8, 1. 8 for 1775 readl77^\ 
p. SG, I. 7. The cwaiu-bridge was buiit under the direction of Dr Joht> 
Temp'einan, formerly of Boston. The first bridge iij 17^2, was built bv 
Mr. Palmer y. 98; f. 7 for 1800 read 181 L