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372 MASSACHUSETTS HISTORICAL SOCIETY. [Feb.
He died at Concord, on the 2d of November, 1856. On a
monument erected to his memory, in the cemetery of that
town, is the following just and beautiful inscription : —
SAMUEL HOAR OF CONCORD.
Died in Concord, Nov. 2, 1856.
Born in Lincoln, May 18, 1778.
He was long one of the most eminent lawyers
And beloved citizens of Massachusetts.
A safe counsellor, a kind neighbor, a Christian gentleman,
He had a dignity that commanded the respect,
And a sweetness of modesty that won the affection,
Of all men.
He practised an economy that never wasted,
And a liberality that never spared.
Of proud capacity for the highest offices,
He never avoided obscure duties.
He never sought stations of fame or emolument,
And never shrank from positions of danger or obloquy.
His days were made happy by public esteem
And private affection.
To the latest moment of his long life,
He preserved his clear intellect unimpaired ;
And, fully conscious of its approach, met death
With the perfect assurance of
The Society held its stated monthly meeting this
evening, Feb. 13, at half-past seven o'clock; the Presi-
dent, Hon. Robert C. Winthrop, in the chair.
Donations were announced from the Historic Society
of Lancashire and Cheshire, England ; Dartmouth Col-
lege ; John Appleton, M.D. ; Mr. George Arnold ; Wil-
liam T. Coggeshall, Esq. ; Arial J. Cummings, Esq.
Hon. Charles P. Daly ; Rev. Benjamin Dorr, D.D.
George Homer, Esq. ; Rev. Nicholas Hoppin, D.D.
1862.] DONATION FROM USHER PARSONS. 373
Benjamin P. Johnson, Esq. ; Messrs. James Munroe and
Co. ; Rev. Edwin M. Stone ; and from Messrs. Deane,
Hudson, Lincoln (S.), Metcalf, Park, Bobbins (C),
Savage, and Winthrop, of the Society.
The President presented a lithographed photograph
of a beautiful design for a monument about to be erected
to Columbus in his native city (Genoa), under the aus-
pices of a distinguished Genoese nobleman, — the Mar-
quis Brignole Sale. The original cast of this design
had recently been sent out to the Boston Public Library
by Mons. Vattemare, to whom it had been given, by the
Marquis himself, for transmission to America.
The President said that our cabinet was getting to
be rich in weapons of war. We already had the swords
of Miles Standish and Governor Carver, and others of
the Pilgrim Fathers. We had also the two memora-
ble Bunker -Hill swords, which came to us from our
lamented friend Prescott. And now, to-night, the sword
of Sir William Pepperrell, the hero of Louisburg, was
presented to us by our Corresponding Member, Dr. Usher
Parsons, of Providence, R.I. The card accompanying
this sword contained the following account of it: —
" This sword was purchased by Judge Chauncy, administrator on
the estate of Sir "William Pepperrell ; and, after many years, he sold
it in 1796 to Samuel Leighton, of York County, Me. ; who, after
resigning his commission as general, presented it in 1852 to his
kinsman, the present donor of it to this Society in 1862. It was
worn at the siege of Louisburg, 1745."
It was rendered the more interesting as coming to
us from one who had not only evinced his appreciation
of the heroism of others, in his excellent biography of
374 MASSACHUSETTS HISTORICAL SOCIETY. [FEB.
Sir William Pepperrell, but who had rendered personal
service to his country, as a surgeon in the navy, under
the gallant Commodore Perry.
Voted, That the thanks of the Society be communi-
cated to Dr. Usher Parsons for his valuable addition
to our cabinet.
The President said that he had received a communi-
cation from Major-General John A. Dix, of the army
of the United States, which would tell its own story,
and which he proceeded to read, as follows : —
Head Quarters, Baltimore, June 23, 1862.
Hon. Robert C Winthrop.
Sir, — I have the pleasure of sending to you, for the Massachu-
setts Historical Society, the collection of secession emblems which I
have made, and which I referred to in a former letter : —
First, A secession flag. This flag was taken from a party of men
near North Point, where the British Army landed in 1814. They
were on their way to the insurgent States. The flag was found in
the carpet-bag of Mr. George A. Appleton, a young gentleman of this
city, about eighteen years of age ; a grandson of Colonel Armistead,
who defended Fort McHenry at the time the " Star-spangled Banner "
was written. Young Appleton was sent out of Fort McHenry, on the
anniversary of the battle of North Point, for infidelity to the same
flag ; and was imprisoned for some time at Fort Columbus in the
harbor of New York, and more recently at Fort Warren in the harbor
of Boston. He is now in this city, awaiting the action of the Govern-
ment in his case.
Second, A flag representing the arms of the Colony of Maryland.
This flag was flying over a building which was a place of resort for
certain disloyal members of the old Kane police, after their disband-
ment by the order of the Federal Government. They dared not use
the secession flag, and this was adopted by them as a substitute. It
was first noticed by Colonel Wyman of the Sixteenth Regiment, Mas-
sachusetts Volunteers, who called the attention of the police to it.
I enclose a letter from George R. Dodge, Esq., Provost Marshal of
Baltimore, concerning both these flags.
1862.] SECESSION EMBLEMS FROM JOHN A. DIX. 375
Third, A pair of secession slippers, taken, by the police in Balti-
more, from a person on his way to the shoemaker to have them
Fourth, A secession cap, taken from R. A. Bigger, a prisoner now
in Fort Warren, who was taken into custody in Baltimore, while
secretly recruiting for the insurgent army.
Fifth, A great variety of secession emblems, songs, envelopes,
cockades, &c, &c.
I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
John A. Dix, Major-Oeneral.
Baltimore, Oct. 12, 1861.
Major- General J. A. Dix.
Dear Sir, — I send herewith two flags, captured by our police
force. The white flag was captured by Lieutenant Carmichael and
a squad, when flying from its staff on Gallows Hill, near Camp
McClellan, at that time occupied by the Sixteenth Massachusetts
Regiment, Colonel Wyman, who called my attention to it. It is the
colonial flag of Maryland, representing the arms of the State, availed
of by the secessionists when prevented by our police from hoisting the
secession flag proper, considered by our loyal citizens as a secession
The other is the secession flag proper, got up at the time when
eight States had seceded. Hence there are but eight stars in the
field. It was captured by Sergeant Pryor and squad, near the spot
where General Ross was killed Sept. 13, 1814, at the battle of North
Point. Our force captured a party of twenty-one men, en route for
the Confederate Army ; and this flag was in their possession. It
affords me much pleasure to present them to you, in order that they
may be preserved, that posterity may observe the wretched tricks and
devices availed of by traitors to bolster up the most causeless rebellion
recorded in history. Please present it, in your own name, to such
society as you may think proper.
I am, with great respect, your obedient servant,
Geo. R. Dodge,
Major-General J. A. Dix, Provost Marshal, Baltimore-
Corn. Department of Pennsylvania, Baltimore.
The various articles accompanying the letters were
then exhibited to the Society, and referred to the cus-
tody of the Committee appointed to collect memorials
376 MASSACHUSETTS HISTORICAL SOCIETY. [Feb.
of the Rebellion. Thereupon the following resolution
was unanimously adopted : —
Resolved, That the thanks of the Society be communicated
to Major-General Dix for making our Society the depository
of so many interesting and curious illustrations of the lament-
able disloyalty of others, and of his own patriotic vigilance.
The President communicated the following letter
from the celebrated Robert Boyle, giving an account of
the presentation of a copy of John Eliot's Indian Bible
to Charles II., not long after his restoration to the
throne : —
These for my hono r . d freind Mr. John Winthrope, the elder, the Gouer-
no r of Connecticut in New england, present.
London, Apr. 21, 1664.
ST The errand of these hasty lines is to giue the bearer D T .
Sackuill, Physitian to his Majesty's Commissioners, an opportunity
of growing acquainted w ,h you, and to recomend him to you, as a
person that has been represented to me very ingenious and Inquisi-
tiue, by a Gentleman of White-hall that is soe himself. And per-
haps it will not be inconuenient for you to haue by his meanes an
address at all times to the Commissioners, & an informatio of y° state
of things here, there not being any thing to be soe much appre-
hended in their embassy (as I may soe call it) into New England as
the easily euitable want of a right vnderstanding betwixt them &
the planters. I waited this Day vpon the King w" 1 your translation
of the Bible, w c . h , I hope I need not tell you, he receued according to
his custome very gratiously. But though he lookd a pretty while
vpon it, & shewd some things in it to those that had the honour to
be about him in his bedchamber, into w c . h he carryd it, yet the Vn-
expected comming in of an Extraordinary Enuoye from the Empe-
rour hindred me from receueing that fuller expression of his grace
towards the translators and Dedicators that might otherwise haue
been expected. But both he and my Lord Chancellor doe express
themselues on almost all the occasions wherein I haue had the
honour to heare them speak of the Collony of Newengland, in a
1862.] LETTER OP ROBERT BOYLE. 377
very fauourable manner, & my Lord Chancellor did very seriously
assure me, & gaue me commissio to assure some of yo r freinds in
the Cyty, that the King intends not any Injury to your charter, or
the Dissolution of your siuil Gouernment, or the infringment of
your Liberty of Conscience and that the doeing of these things is
none of y e business of the Commissioners. And his Lo:p was
pleasd not only to tell me this betwixt him & me alone, But to be
soe free w'. h me as to offer me, if I should Desire it, when his fitt of
the gout was ouer, a sight of the Instructions themselues ; w°. h by
some accident I was hindred from calling vpon him for. The Bearer
of this letter is to goe soe early in the morning, and 'twas soe late
this night before I knew that he intended to doe soe, that I haue
only time to add one word by way of freindly aduice, w ch is that you
would preuent the proposalls that you suspect may be made you by
the Commissioners by doeing, as many of them [as] you think fitt
to comply w'. h of yo5 owne [ac]cord, And soe make those things
the expression of] your loyalty and affection, rather then barely of
your obedience, such a course being that w c . h would be much the
most acceptable to the King, in the opinion of Sf
Your very affectionate humble seruant,
Ro : Boyle.
I tooke an opportunity to Day to doe your Colony some good
offices at Court, and to shew the exercises of yof indian scollars.
If you please to assist Dr Sackuill, I may by both your fauours re-
ceiue such an information of those seuerall particulars (or some of
them at least) wherein the Naturall history of New england or any
part of it differs from ours, as will be very welcome to me.
Indorsed " Mr. Robert Boyle, rec. July, 1664."
It appears that Eliot's Indian Bible was first dedicated
to the Parliament in 1659 ; but, after the Restoration,
it was dedicated afresh, by the Commissioners of the
United Colonies, to the king. Lord Clarendon was
the chancellor alluded to by Boyle ; and the " embassy,"
of which Dr. Sackville was the physician, was that of
Colonel Nichols, Sir Robert Carr, George Cartwright,
and Samuel Maverick.
378 MASSACHUSETTS HISTORICAL SOCIETY. [Feb.
Mr. Livermore stated, that the reading of this letter
recalled to his mind a circumstance connected with the
publication of the second edition of Eliot's Indian Bible.
In examining the copy of that work belonging to the
Prince Library, deposited with the Massachusetts His-
torical Society, he had found a letter of dedication ad-
dressed to the Hon. Robert Boyle, &c, which had not
previously been noticed. Finding that this dedication
was wanting in all accessible copies of that edition, he
had caused a fac-simile of it to be printed, and sent to
each library containing a copy of this ancient Bible.
Shortly after, a duplicate of the original dedication
was found among the miscellaneous papers in our
own archives, and was inserted in its appropriate place
in the Society's copy of the Bible. The dedication is
as follows : —
. To the Honourable Robert Boyle Esq : Governour, And to the COM-
PANY, for the Propagation of The Gospel to the Indians in New-
England, and Parts adjacent in America.
Honourable S™ - There are more than thirty years passed since
the Charitable and Pious Collections were made throughout the
Kingdom of England, for the Propagation of the Gospel to the In-
dians, Natives of His MAJESTIES Territories in America ; and
near the same time : Since by His late MAJESTIES favour of
ever blessed Memory, the Affair was erected into an Honourable
Corporation by Charter under the Broad Seal of England ; in all
which time our selves and those that were before us, that have been
Your Stewards, and managed Your Trust here, are witnesses of
Your earnest and sincere endeavours, that that good Work might
prosper and flourish, not only by the good management of the Estate
committed to You, but by Your own Charitable and Honourable
Additions thereto ; whereof this second Edition of the HOLY
BIBLE in their own Language, much corrected and amended, we
hope will be an everlasting witness ; for wheresoever this Gospel
1862.] "RECEIPTS TO CURE VARIOUS DISORDERS." 379
shall be Preached, this also that you have done, shall be spoken of
for a Memorial of you ; and as it hath, so it shall be our studious
desire and endeavour, that the success amongst the Indians here, in
reducing them into a civil and holy life, may in some measure
answer the great and necessary Expences thereabouts : And our
humble Prayer to Almighty God, that You may have the glorious
Reward of your Service, both in this and in a better "World.
We are Your Honours most Humble and Faithful Servants,
Boston Octob. 23. Joseph Dcdlet.
1685. Peter Bulklet.
Dr. Holmes communicated the following paper, com-
menting upon and illustrating a manuscript written by
an eminent physician in England, and found in the
collection of Winthrop Papers in the possession of
the President of this Society: —
The President of the Historical Society, the Hon. Robert
C. Winthrop, sent me the following paper a few weeks since,
which he proposed to me " as the theme of a little contribu-
tion to the Society." — "It is," he says in his note, "the
original of a collection of recipes, in 1643, by some London
physician, prepared for the benefit of Governor Winthrop
here in New England. I have recently discovered it among
some old papers."
For my worthy friend M r Wintrop.
 For Madnesse : Take y" herbe Hypericon (: in English S'
John's Wort) and boile it in "Water or drinke, untill it be strong of it,
and redd in' colour: or else, putt a bundle of it in new drinke to
"Worke, and give it y 6 patient to drinke, permitting him to drinke
nothing else. First purge him well with 2 or 3 seeds (: or more,
according to y e strength of the partie :) of Spurge. Let them not
eat much, but keepe dyet, and you shall see Wondrous effects in
fewe dayes. I haue knowne it to cure perfectly to admiration in
380 MASSACHUSETTS HISTORICAL SOCIETY. [Feb.
 For' y" Falling Sicknesse Purge first with y e Extract of
Hellebore (: black hellebore I meane :) and in stead of S' Johns Wort,
use pentaphyllon, (or meadow Cinquefoile:) use it as aboue is said
of S' Johns "Wort, & God Willing he shall be perfectly cured in
short or longer tyme, according as the disease hath taken roote.
 For y' Mother. Give y e patient as much as will goe upon 6 pens,
or a shilling, each morning, of y e powder of y e great Bryonie roote.
 For Implicat or mixt diseases, as Lethargie or Vertigo, &c.
Mixe either two or more of these above said in y e patiens drinke.
 For diseases of y* Bladder. Giue y e partie to drinke (: if it
be an Inflammation & heate of Urine :) emulcions made with barlie,
huskt almonds, and y e 4 great cold seeds, if his drinke hath beene
strong before ; but if small drinke and Water, giue him old Maligo &
Canarie, such to drinke Warme either by it selfe, or mixt with Water :
And applie to the region of his bladder, a poltis made with barlie
meale, and y c rootes or leaves of Aaron : make Injections of y e de-
coction of Hypericon, y e bark of a young Oake (: the Outward black
skinn being taken off:) and linnseede : and by Gods grace he shall
finde present ease and cure with continuance.
 For y' stopping of y e Urine, or y° Stone. Give y e partie to
drinke of y e decoction of maiden hayre, fennell rootes, and parsly
rootes. Lett him drinke great quantitie. But before let him drinke
2 or 3 Ounces of y e Oyle of Allmonds newly extracted, or more : Or
let him swallow a quarter of a pound of new butter made into round
bullets, and cast into faire Water to harden them.
 For y e Blooddie Flix : Purge first with Ehubarbe torrified ;
and giue the partie to drinke twice a day a pinte of this caudle
Take a dragme of y e best Bole-Armoniak, a dragme of Santalum
rubrum, a dragme of Sangvis draconis ; and a dragme of y e best terra
Sigillata of a yellow colour seal'd with a Castle : Make these into
fine powder, and with a quart of red stiptick Wine, the yolks of halfe
a dozen eggs, & a quantitie of Sugar, make a Caudle, boyling the
powder in a pipkin with the Wine ; then adding y" yolks of y e eggs
beaten, and lastly y e Sugar. If his gutts haue bene fretted, give him
y* Injection for y e bladder before mentioned, in a glister ; and if you
please you may adde to it the powders.
 For the yellow Jaundise or Jaunders. Boyle a quart of sweet
milke, dissolve therein as much bay-salt, or fine Sal-peter, as shall
make it brackish in taste : and putting Saffron in a fine linnen clout,
1862.] "RECEIPTS TO CURE VARIOUS DISORDERS." 381
rubb it into y e Milke, untill y" Milke be very yellow ; and giue it
y e patient to drinke.
 For paines in y° Brest or Limmes : Weare a Wilde Catts skin
on y c place grieved.
 For a broken bone, or a Joynt dislocated, to knit them:
Take y c barke of Elme, or Witch-hazzle ; cutt away the Outward
part, & cutt y e Inward redd barke small, and boyle it in Water, till it
be thick that it Will rope : pound it very well, and lay of it hott,
barke and all upon y e Bone or Joynt, and tye it on : or with y" Mus-
silage of it, and bole Armeniack make a playster and lay it on.
 My Black powder against y e plague, small pox: purples, all
sorts of feavers ; Poyson ; either by Way of prevention, or after Infec-
tion. In the Moneth of March take Toades, as many as you will,
alive ; putt them into an Earthen pott, so y* it be halfe full ; Cover it
with a broad tyle or Iron plate ; then overwhelme the pott, so y' y e
bottome may be uppermost : putt charcoales round about it and over
it, and in the open ayre, not in an house, sett it on fire and lett it
burne out and extinguish of it selfe : When it is cold, take out the
toades ; and in an Iron-morter pound them very well, and searce
them : then in a Crucible calcine them so againe : pound & searce them
againe. The first time, they will be a browne powder, the next time
black. Of this you may give a dragme in a Vehiculum (or drinke)
Inwardly in any Infection taken ; and let them sweat upon it in their
bedds : but lett them not cover their heads ; especially in the Small
pox. For prevention, halfe a dragme will suffice : moderate the
dose according to y e strength of the partie ; for I have sett downe y e
greatest that is needfull. There is no danger in it. Let them neither
eate nor drinke during their sweat, except now and then a spoone-
full of Warme posset-drinke to wash their mouthes. keepe Warme
and close, (for a child of 5 yeares, 10 graynes is enough in infec-
tion, for prevention 4 or 5 graynes.) till they be perfectly well ; and
eate but litle ; and that according to rules of physicke.
The same powder is used playster wise with Vineger for a gan-
grene, or bite of anie Venemous beast, taking it likewise Inwardly : it
is used likewise for all Cankers, Fistulas & old Ulcers & kings Evill,
strewing it upon the sore, and keeping them cleane
 An other for old Soares. Take S' Johns Wort, pound it
small, and mingle it with as much quicklime : powre on it raine
Water, that may cover it, six fingers deepe in a broad earthen Ves-
sell : putt it to y° sunne, and stirre it well once every day for a
382 MASSACHUSETTS HISTORICAL SOCIETY. [Feb.
Moneth : then filter and reserve the Water for your use. Wash y*
Soares with it ; it cureth Wonderfully.
 For Burning with Ounn powder or otherwise. Take y e Inner
green Rine of Elder, in latine Sambucus, Sempervive, and Mosse
that groweth on an old thackt howse top, of each alike ; boyle them
in stale [lotium], and sallet oyle, so much as may cover them 4 fingers :
Let all the [lotium] boyle cleane away, & straine it very well ; putt
new herbes and [lotium] as before, boyle that likewise away, and
straine it as before. Then to that oyle adde barrowes grease untill
it come to be an Oyntment, with which anoynt a paper, and lay it to
y burning anoynting the place also with a feather.
 For Soare Brests Take yolkes of eggs and honie alike,
beat them till they be very thinn : then with wheat flower beat them,
till it be as thick as hony : spread it upon flax, and lay it upon the
Breast, defending the nibble with a plate of lead as bigg as an halfe
crowne, and an hole in it so bigg as that y e nible may come out.
renewe it every 12 houres : and this will breake and coole the Brest.
Where it breakes, tent it with a salve made of rosin, wax & terpen-
tine alike quantitie
 For Breaking of any Biles or great Swellings. If that pol-
tis next above for the sore Brest doe not breake it, pound fox-glove,
and lay it to it, and that will ; then tent it, as for the sore Brest.
 For a greene Wound. Take salve of Clownes Wort, or
Clownes all-heall prescribed in Gerrits Herball ; or the Oyle of
Hypericon and Ballsam.
 For the King's evill. Take 2 Toades & let them fast 2 or
3 dayes that they may spewe out their Earth, then boyle them in a
pint of Oyle in a newe pipkin covered so long, till they be brought
to a black Coale broken in peeces. presse out the Oyle, from the said
Toades, reserve a 4 th part, to the other three parts add halfe a pound
of yellow wax, shavd small, let the wax melt in the Oyle in w ch dippe
linnen cloathes, that they may be well covered cerecloathes. with
the 4 th part of the Oyle left, annoynt all the places infected, & then
strewe of my black powder of Toades (mentioned before for an
Antidot agaynst the Plague) upon the sores or swellings, & then put
on of y° cerecloath.
dresse the running sores once everie 24 howres, but it will
serve to dresse the swellings once in 4 dayes. Everie 4 ,h day at
furthest give of y e said black powder to the partie & let them
swet upon it. you may proportion the dos from 5 graynes to
1862.] " RECEIPTS TO CURE VARIOUS DISORDERS." 383
a dragme according to the strength & constitution of y e partie. if
the partie he strong, it is the better that they swet everie day or
everie second day.
By this Course ther is no doubt of the cure by Gods assistance.
Cautions in Phisick. 1 That you doe not let Blood, but in a
pleurisie or Contusion, and that necessitated.
2 y' in y e beginning of all Feavers, you fast 2 or 3 dayes from
meate and drinke, except y e last day, and that so litle, as onely to
sustaine Nature ; and afterward you come to your dyet by degrees.
3 y' you purge to follow Nature, and not to contrarie her : as if
the partie Vomit, you purge by vomit ; if the partie be loose, you
purge downwards : if the partie bleed at y e nose, you draw blood.
4 y' in all purges you administer in long diseases, or to weake
persons, you mixe Cordials, as Confectio Alchermes, etc. And y* you
purge with simples and not compounds, except the disease be mixt.
The best purgers : Bhubarbe, or rather y c tincture of it for Choller.
Jallop for Watrie humors.
Agarick for flegme
Extract of Scammonie, or black Hellebor, for melancholie.
Pine de Inde halfe a Kernell for mixt humors.
Crocus Metallorum well prepared for mixt humors,
Spurge seede for y e head.
The Best Sudorificks being simples : Snake roote :
The best gumms for drawing Tackamahacka ;
Caranna, Kereman ; Burgundie pitch :
These may be used simple or mixt for old aches & paines.
Nota bene. No man can with a good Conscience take a fee or a
reward before y e partie receive benefit apparent : and then he is not
to demand any thing, but what God shall putt into the heart of the
partie to give him. And he is not to refuse any thing, that shall be
so given him, for it commes from God.
A man is not to neglect that partie, to whom he hath once admini-
stred, but to visit him at least once a day, and to medle with no
more, then he can well attend. In so doeing he shall discharge a
good Conscience before God & Man.
These receipts are all experimented
London May 6th 1643.
384 MASSACHUSETTS HISTORICAL SOCIETY. [FEB.
Governor Winthrop had been thirteen years in this country,
and was fifty-six years of age, when this paper was sent out to
him. It is remarkable that this is the very year in which Cotton
Mather tells us his health began to fail. " While he was yet
seven years off of that which we call the grand Climacterical,
he felt the approaches of his Dissolution; and finding he could
' Non Habitus, non ipse Color, non Gressus Euntis,
Non Species Eadem, quae fuit ante, manet,' —
He then wrote this account of himself, Age now comes upon
me, and Infirmities therewithal, which makes me apprehend, that
the time of my departure out of this World is not far off. But
at last, when that Year came, he took a Cold, which turned
into a Feaver, whereof he lay Sick about a Month ; " " and
fell asleep on March 26, 1649." The biographer — whose
leading merit is not, I believe, considered strict accuracy —
could not resist the pleasing effect of making him die in the
year of his grand climacteric ; whereas he would not have
begun his sixty-third year for nearly three months.
It seems not unlikely that this collection of recipes was
sent to Governor Winthrop in consequence of a direct appli-
cation to his friend Dr. Stafford for a list of remedies use-
ful in common diseases. A paper so carefully drawn up
would hardly be volunteered by a London physician to a per-
son who had been long in a distant land, and of whose wants
he would know little, unless he had been asked for it.
It was said of Governor Winthrop in his last illness, by
" the venerable Cotton " (not Mather), that, among his other
merits, he has been "Help for our Bodies by Physick." It
may be conjectured that the Governor wrote to Dr. Stafford,
that he was in the habit of prescribing among his neighbors :
otherwise the London physician would hardly have laid down
those professional rules which are found at the end of the
paper, under the head " Nota bene."*
* I have assumed that this paper was written for Governor Winthrop, the father, and
not for Jiis son, the Governor of Connecticut; there being no positive evidence on this
1862.] DR. HOLMES ON DE. STAFFORD'S RECEIPTS. 385
Who was this physician ? The singular autograph, of
which a fac-simile is given above, is read, by those who are
more skilled than myself in deciphering old manuscript, Ed:
Stafford. All that relates to the writer, so far as my present
means of information extend, must be gathered from this
The manuscript consists of three sheets of coarse paper,
about six by seven inches in size. A little more than eight
pages and a half are written over ; and it is inscribed on the
back, " For my worthy friend M r Wintrop." A different and
probably later hand has also written on the back, " Receipts
to cure various Disorders." The seventh page is not in the
same handwriting as the rest. The margins are ruled as if
with a lead pencil. Lead pencils are said not to have been in
use so far back as the reign of Queen Elizabeth ; that is, forty
years before this date.* The handwriting, with the exception
of the seventh page, is very neat, small, but perfectly legible.
The punctuation is very carefully attended to ; the comma,
semicolon, and colon being employed with discrimination.
The spelling, as was to be expected, is not very well fixed ;
the same word being differently spelled in different places.
Yet the writer meant to be exact ; and, in one instance, takes
the trouble to strike out " breast," and re-write it " Brest."
Some very curious archaisms or vulgarisms occur, — as
" Flix " instead of " Flux," and " Jaunders " for " Jaundise ; "
the reader being allowed to choose between these two last.
The technical names are used as by a person familiar with
them. The brief ethical rules at the end of the paper are
in the best spirit, and expressed with dignity. It is evident
that " Ed : Stafford " was a man of culture, and well trained
in the knowledge of his time, such as it was.
What was the condition of medical knowledge at that
time? We can get some light upon this by recalling the
* New Am. Cyc, art. " Graphite."
386 MASSACHUSETTS HISTORICAL SOCIETY. [Feb.
names of a few authors who were publishing at about this
date. Ten years before this paper was written, Thomas
Johnson had given to the English world his new edition of
that very curious and interesting work, " Gerard's Herball."
This is the only authority which is cited by Dr. Stafford ; who
spells the name " Gerrit," but seems to have been familiar
with the book. It is a great collection of pictures and
descriptions of medicinal plants, of remarkable merit, notwith-
standing the errors and wild fancies of the time which it con-
tains. Americans, however, can hardly forgive the author for
saying that Indian corn is " more convenient for swine than
for men." Probably this treasure-house of simples was a
chief reliance of Dr. Stafford for information concerning those
vegetable remedies to which he mainly trusted.
In the same year (1643) in which this manuscript was
written, Schenck published his vast work, " Observationes
Rariores," in which all the wisdom and folly of the preced-
ing centuries was represented ; a pudding - stone in which
the matrix of lie is as hard as the pebble of truth. The
observations and speculations of Van Helmont made their
appearance in various treatises, from the year 1621, until they
were printed collectively, as the " Ortus Medicinse," in 1648.
Sir Kenelm Digby's " Discourse concerning the Cure of
Wounds by the Sympathetic Powder," — the Homoeopathic
folly of its time, — was given to the credulous world in 1644.
Two years later, Riverius, professor of medicine at Montpel-
lier, dedicated his book of signal cures to Vautier, late physi-
cian of Maria de' Medici ; in which work the astrological
sign for Jupiter may be seen alternating with the R for
recipe, in which it has since been decently merged. And, in
this same year (1646), Sir Thomas Browne sent forth his
work on " Vulgar Errors ; " in spite of which, ten years later
(1656), Schroder reproduced the fantastic doctrine of signa-
tures, with infinite other fancies, in his " Pharmacopoeia."
In 1661, Robert Lovell, Oxoniensis, QilodeoZoyuiTpovo/ioc, excreted
1862.] DR. HOLMES ON DR. STAFFORD'S RECEIPTS. 387
his " Panzoologicomineralogia," in which all the nonsense that
had ever been uttered about animals and minerals was brought
into portable shape by this polysyllabic scavenger. In the
mean time, Nich. Oulpeper, the quack, who thought very
justly that he was as good as any of them, — " Nich. Cul-
peper, gent., student in physick and astrology," as he calls
himself in his title-page, — was composing variations to the
London Pharmacopoeia in terms like these : —
" Colledg. Take of Hog's grease washed in juice of sage a pound,
quicksilver strained through leather killed with spittle," etc. etc. etc.
" Culpeper. A learned art to spoil people, hundreds are bound to
curse such ointments, 'tis not enough for a man to be plagued with
the , but he must be worse plagued with preposterous medi-
The charlatan saw the absurdities of the " Colledg," and
made use of them for his own glory and profit. Which was
the greater quack of the two parties, an impartial posterity
might find it difficult to decide.
But the dawn of a new day in English medical practice
was just showing itself. In 1666, Sydenham published his
first treatise. He was a man of observation and good sense,
rather than of book-learning ; and, of course, threw all the
learned fools of his time into a spasm of hysteric horror and
apprehension by his use of these two unpopular qualities.
Dr. Stafford — who was young enough to have a very keen
eyesight, as may be seen in the minute dots over his i'a, j's,
and y's — may have lived long enough to learn from Syden-
ham how to treat small-pox by better means than toad-powder
and sweating ; but the worthy Governor was born too early,
and died under the ancient dispensation.
The muck-heap of the old Pharmacopoeia, fit only to be
scattered like compost as it fermented in its own immundi-
cities, hardly sweetened itself in the whole course of the
following century. The reform which Sydenham began went
on slowly. It was late in the seventeenth century, that the
388 MASSACHUSETTS HISTORICAL SOCIETY. [FEB.
great philosopher, Robert Boyle, published his " Medicinal
Experiments ; " in which figure as remedies, — " the sole of an
old shooe, worn by some man that walks much ; " " the Bone of
the Thigh of a hang'd man ; " the excrements of horses, sheep,
dogs, and similar abominations. The most inconceivable far-
ragos kept their place in legitimate practice much later than
this. Huxham, who died in 1768, left prescriptions contain-
ing more than four hundred ingredients ; and when Heberden,
who was living so late as 1801, proposed the dismission of
the absurd old mess called "Theriaca Andromachi" from the
British Pharmacopoeia, his proposition was carried by a vote
of only fourteen, against thirteen who were in favor of retain-
ing it. The more loathsome articles gradually dropped out of
use: but James's " New Dispensatory " (1764) retains wood-
lice, sow-bugs, and earth-worms ; and Cullen (1789) had to
attack Yogel for allowing burnt toads and swallow-chicks to
remain upon his list of remedies.
Dr. Stafford's practical directions to so considerable a per-
son as Governor Winthrop, in a strange land where he would
be exposed to unknown causes of disease, might be taken
as a fair sample of the better sort of practice of the time.
There is no parade of polypharmacy ; no display of learned
names for aches and ailments. It was written for the
special use of a friend, and evidently with care and fore-
What were the diseases and injuries the physician expected
the Governor would have to deal with ? Plague, small-pox,
scurvy ; all sorts of fevers, poisons ; madness, epilepsy, hys-
teria, lethargy, vertigo ; dysentery, jaundice ; pains, rheumatic
or other; affections of the urinary organs; pleurisies; watery
humors, or dropsies ; phlegm, or catarrhal affections, — such
are the inward complaints for which he prescribes. Fractures,
dislocations, wounds, bites of venomous creatures, boils, ulcers,
gangrene, scrofula, burning with gunpowder, &c, are the ex-
1862.] DE. HOLMES ON DR. STAFFORD'S RECEIPTS. 389
I proceed to make some brief notes on the medicinal sub-
stances he recommends, referring each remedy to the para-
graphs in which it is mentioned.
(1, 4, 5, 7, 12, 16) Hypericum, St. John's Wort, — Gerard
commends it for wounds, burns, stone in the bladder ; and
says, it " stoppeth the laske " (diarrhoea). " I am accustomed
to make a compound oyle hereof; the making of which ye
shall receive at my hands, because that I know in the world
there is not a better, no, not natural balsam (Balsam of
Gilead) itself." So says Gerard. It is aromatic and astrin-
gent, and is still used as a domestic remedy.
(1, 4) Spurge, Cataputia minor? — The name "spurge"
has been applied to various plants (James's Dispensatory).
Gerard figures no less than twenty-three varieties. Sir Tho-
mas Browne speaks of the old wives' fancy about spurge ;
that its leaves, "being pulled up or downward respectively,
perform their operations by purge or vomit." The same
notion prevails among some of our country people respecting
thoroughwort, — Eupatorium perfoliatum. Professor Tuck-
erman is unable to determine to which of several kinds of
spurge, mentioned in Josselyn's " Voyages," the " spurge-
time " spoken of in " New England's Karities " is to be
(2, 4) Black Hellebore, Helleborus niger. — Hellebore
was proverbially famous in ancient times for the cure of
madness. The variety used was probably the Helleborus
Orientalis. Black hellebore is still retained in the United-
States Pharmacopoeia ; and its extract, as Mr. Metcalf informs
me, is often prescribed. Drastic cathartic.
(2, 4) Cinquefoil, Pentaphyllon ; Potentilla. — Vulnerary;
useful in many diseases, according to Gerard and Schroder.
An astringent not now in use.
(3, 4) Bryony, Bryonia. — A drastic cathartic, not now
employed, unless the homoeopathists can be said to make use
390 MASSACHUSETTS HISTORICAL SOCIETY. [FEB.
(5) The pour great cold seeds are those of the cucumber
(cucumeris) , the gourd (cucurbitce), the water-melon (citrulli),
and the melon (melonurn). — Schroder. Wood and Bache
mention pumpkin in the place of water-melon.
(5) Aaron is doubtless meant for Aron, Arum, Cockow or
Guckow pint, of Gerard ; Arum maculatum (Wake Robin) ;
Ouckow pint (Pereira). Acrid stimulant. " Beares, after
they haue lien in their dens forty days without any manner
of sustenance, but what they get with licking and sucking
their owne feet, do as soone as they come forth, eate the
herbe Cuckow pint, through the windie nature whereof the
hungry gut is opened, and made fit againe to receiue sus-
tenance." — Gerard, p. 835.
(5, 7) Oak Bark is still in common use as an astringent.
(6) Maidenhair, Adiantum, is principally known as the
basis of the Sirop de capillaire. Bitterish aromatic.
(6) Fennel, Fceniculum, is a well-known aromatic and
carminative, retained in our Pharmacopoeia. Dr. James
Jackson has favored me with the following note respecting
this remedy: —
" The oil (of fennel) is a constituent part of the fennel halsam
formerly used by Dr. Holyoke and everybody else in Salem. 1
think that Dr. Holyoke derived the receipt from Dr. Greene, or
some other doctor, of Maiden. It was a solution of potass, partially
carbonated and prepared in a peculiar way, and seasoned with the
oil of fennel. No doubt, the formula can be found in Salem. It
was much used as a carminative, mostly for children. If the doctor
omitted to prescribe it, the old women would ask if it might not
be given, — in doses of five or ten drops, I believe ; and the doctor
would usually reply, ' Ay, yes, yes.' "
Dr. Jackson's reference to Salem reminds me of a curious
fact, which came under my notice ; illustrating the tenacity
with which old names and practices are retained in that
ancient and conservative settlement. I found, accidentally,
an ointment to be in use there, called by the singular name
1862.] DR. HOLMES ON BE. STAFFORD'S RECEIPTS. 391
nutritum. The word was not in Dunglison's " Medical Dic-
tionary ; " it was not in Bruno's " Castelli," where, if in any-
old book, it might have been looked for. I supposed it to be
a popular corruption of some scientific term, but could not
determine what. I have, however, since met with the word
in two places, — Boyle's curious work, before referred to
(third edition, 1712, p. 61) ; and Dr. Slare's " Vindication of
Sugar," " dedicated to the Ladies," 1714. " There is an oint-
ment," he says, " called unguentum nutritum, that has two
sorts of lead, and no other herb mixed with it [sic] , of excel-
lent use for sores" (p. 46). Mr. Webb, a much respected
apothecary of Salem, still prepares a lead ointment similar to
that mentioned by Boyle and by Dr. Slare, retaining the obso-
lete name nutritum ; of which no person out of Salem, with
whom I have spoken of the matter, has ever heard, and which
has escaped even the omnivorous pages of Dunglison. It
came down through " old Master " Holyoke.
(6) Parsley-root, Petroselinum, keeps its place in the
" secondary " list of the United-States Pharmacopoeia. It is
still used in the same class of cases for which it is prescribed
by Dr. Stafford. Dr. Jackson tells me he has a patient who
habitually employs parsley with good effect, — a hot infusion
of the leaves, however ; not the root.
(6) Oil of Almonds, Oleum amygdalce (U.S. Pharm.), is
often used as a demulcent.
(6) Butter has been given of late as a substitute for cod-
liver oil. It was successfully administered, as is related by
Riverius, in a case of bilious colic (Obs. Med. et Cur.
Insignes, Cent, ii., Obs. lxi.).
(7) Rhubarb. — Mr. Metcalf tells me that it has been pre-
scribed roasted, within a few years, by a Boston physician.
Dr. Bigelow says (Sequel to the Pharmacopoeia, p. 316) that
" the popular practice of toasting rhubarb only diminishes its
activity, without adding to it any valuable property." The
intention was to render its action milder.
392 MASSACHUSETTS HISTORICAL SOCIETY. [FEB.
(7, 10) Armenian bole, Terra sigillata. — These argilla-
ceous earths are made great account of, as internal astringent
remedies, in the old books, where all their distinctions are
described at length. A short account of them may be found
in the Appendix to Wood and Bache's " Dispensatory." Ar-
menian bole is used in making tooth-powder.
(7) Santalum rubrum, Bed Sanders; Santalum (U.S.
Pharm.), is used only for its coloring properties.
(7) Sanguis Draconis, Dragon's Blood, is sometimes used
to color plasters, but is no longer given internally.
(8) Salt, Sodii ehloridum (U.S. Pharm.), is rather a food
than a medicine ; but is classed as a stimulant tonic, and, in
large doses, as a purgative. Bay salt differs from common
salt chiefly in the size and degree of compactness of the
(8) Saltpetre, Potassce nitras (U.S. Pharm.), is refrige-
rant, diaphoretic, diuretic, aperient.
(8) Saffron, Crocus (U. S. Pharm.), is principally used to
give color and flavor to tinctures. Old women hold it in
great esteem as a remedy. " Safforn tea " (the word pro-
nounced as old Josselyn spells it) is their never - failing
prescription to bring out the eruption in measles and scar-
let fever. The reason of its being prescribed in "Yellow
Jaundise or Jaunders " must be looked for in the doctrine of
signatures. Its yellow color was supposed to be the Creator's
mark of its fitness in diseases which involved the yellow
(9) Wild-cat's Skin. — Robert Lovell, of the " Panzob'logi-
comineralogia," says of the cat, " The skin is woorn to warm
the stomach, and help contractions of the joynts." For his
authority, he cites the mythical personage, called, in his list
of authors cited, " Obsciirus." I suspect that Dr. Stafford
may have thought that wild- cats would be more easily ob-
tained in the wilderness than the domestic animal, and there-
fore have mentioned this variety of Catus.
1862.] DR. HOLMES ON DR. STAFFORD'S RECEIPTS. 393
"A black wolf's skin is worth a beaver-skin among the
Indians, being highly esteemed for helping old aches in old
people, worn as a coat ; " (Josselyn ; New England's Rari-
ties Discovered, p. 16.) " One Bdw. Andrews, being foxt
[drunk], and falling backward cross a thought [thwart], in a
shallop, or fisher-boat ; and, taking cold upon it, grew crooked,
lame, and full of pain, — was cured, lying one winter upon
bears' skins newly flead off, with some upon him, so that he
sweat every night" (Ibid., p. 14). The skin of a recently
killed Iamb has been in use, of late years, for rheumatism (Mr.
Metcalf ). Sir Walter Scott, it may be remembered, was sub-
jected, when a child, to a prescription of this kind.* The
" pork-jacket " (an application of fresh pork to the chest) was
used, with seeming good effect, in the case of one of my
neighbors, within a few months.
(10) Elm, Ulmus. — "The leaves of Elme glew and beale
up greene wounds ; so doth the barke, wrapped and swaddled
about the wound like a band " (Gerard, p. 1482). U. S.
Pharm. ; and in common use internally as a demulcent, exter-
nally, in cataplasms.
(10) Witch-hazel, Ulmus folio latissimo scabro (Gerard),
Ulmus montana (Wright, cited in Worcester's Dictionary). —
Like the above.
(11, 17) Toads. — These inelegant animals have long en-
joyed a reputation for various qualities, which they deserve
more or less well. That they are " ugly," as Shakspeare says,
none will dispute. That they are " venomous," may, perhaps,
be questioned. That they wear " a precious jewel " in their
heads must be confessed a fiction.
The belief in the poisonous quality of the toad is of long
standing, and still exists among the ignorant. Boccaccio's
story of " Pasquino and Simona " may not be remembered by
all my readers. The first, who was the lover, seated with
Autobiography in Lockhart's Life, vol. i. p. 45, Ticknor & Fields's edition.
394 MASSACHUSETTS HISTORICAL SOCIETY. [FEB.
his lady-love near a bush of Bage, plucks a leaf, and rubs his
teeth with it. Presently he swells up, and dies. Simona
is accused of poisoning him. Wishing to show how events
had occurred, she also takes a leaf of sage from the same
bush, and rubs her teeth with it. She, too, drops down dead.
Great amazement of all present. The sage is cut up by the
roots. Under it is found " a monstrous overgrown toad, with
whose breath it (the sage) was judged to be. infected."
That the toad has some unpleasant personal quality, I
became convinced by the following observation: A small
and inexperienced puppy undertook to amuse himself with a
perfectly civil toad by pushing him about with his nose, and
handling him with his paws. What the toad did, I never
knew; but all at once the little dog withdrew, with marks
of the most intense disgust, and was immediately attacked
with free salivation, continuing for some time, and of extraor-
dinary amount, such as I have never seen any thing like in
beast or man. It was remarked that he never meddled with
a toad again so long as he lived.
Bana usta, burned frog, is mentioned by Aetius, in the
fifth century, as good to stay bleeding. Burnt toad is com-
mended by philopolysyllabic Lovell : and held its reputation,
as we have seen, until within less than a hundred years. It
seems to have been the favorite remedy of good Dr. Stafford.
"My black powder" is prescribed both inwardly and out-
wardly in the gravest diseases. It made the patients sweat,
as well it might : whether it turned their stomachs or not, is
The principle on which the toad and other hateful objects
were applied to medicinal uses may have been partly the asso-
ciation of contrast, like that which placed the jewel in the
reptile's ugly head, — the pleasing antithesis of detecting a
hidden virtue under a forbidding aspect. Partly it may have
been, that disease was personified as an evil nature, to be
expelled from the body by odious things, such as the demon
1862.] DB. HOLMES ON DR. STAFFORD'S RECEIPTS. 395
of illness might be supposed to dread, and fly from. The mor-
bid instinct of hostility to the natural processes of disease
showed itself, in early times, in horrible prescriptions, like
those which Pliny mentions, — the blood of gladiators taken
from their fresh-gaping wounds ; and, if possible, even more
hideous spoils of humanity. In succeeding centuries, it fell
off to objects simply disgusting, — like burnt toads, and the
infinitely more loathsome matters which fill the old books.
The next stage of civilization contented itself with poi-
sons. The abuse of these substances was gradually yield-
ing to the advance of the two half-sisters, Science and
Common Sense, when the incredible fiction of homoeopathy
came in, and revived, at least in name and in theory, multi-
tudes of the exploded barbarisms of the preceding epochs.
(12) Quick-lime. — Lime-water, Liquor calcis (U.S. Pharm.),
is still prescribed as a wash in cases like that for which it is
(13) Elder, Sambucus (U. S. Pharm., secondary). — The
flowers, the berries, and the bark have all been used medi-
cinally. No remedy has been so popular, perhaps, with man-
kind as elder. It is mentioned by Hippocrates four hundred
years before Christ. I have a flourishing advertisement of
" Sambuci Wine " before me, taken from the " Boston Travel-
ler" of Feb. 1, 1862. The boiling "oil of elder" was the
famous cure for gunshot wounds in Ambrose Parens time.
The American variety differs from the European ; and both,
Dr. Bigelow thinks, are of little use.
(13) Sempervive, Everlasting. — " Probably cowleek," says
Dr. Bigelow; "of doubtful value." — "Everlasting" is still
used in domestic practice ; but Mr. Metcalf has never seen it
prescribed by a regular physician. Employed as a cooling
application to burns, stings, &c. (Wood and Bache).
(13) Moss, Muscus. — Gerard and Johnson figure fourteen
kinds, including rrmscus ex cranio humano ; but I cannot
determine which is intended by Dr. Stafford.
396 MASSACHUSETTS HISTORICAL SOCIETY. [FEB.
Lotium. — Dr. Stafford employs the vernacular monosyl-
lable. Schroder (1656) devotes four columns to its medicinal
uses and preparations. It does not appear in James's " Dis-
pensatory " (1764) ; but I am informed that it is still employed
as a popular remedy among the ignorant.
(14) Resin, Wax, Turpentine. — These substances are
combined in the Compound Resin Cerate of the United-States
(15) Foxglove, Digitalis (U.S. Pharm.). — Used internally;
or, if externally, to act as a diuretic. Bouillaud calls it the
" opium of the heart," from its action on that organ. It is a
powerful but dangerous sedative.
(16) Clown's "Wort, Clown's All-heal, Panax coloni (Ge-
rard), Stachys palustris. — Gerard gave it its English name in
consequence of a wonderful " cure " he wrought on a poor man,
who, " in mowing of Peason, did cut his leg with a sithe."
He made a " pultesse " of the herb, stamped with hog's grease,
which " did, as it were, glew or soder the lips of the wound to-
gether, and heale it according to the first intention, as we terme
it ; that is, without drawing or bringing the wound to suppu-
ration or matter : which was fully performed in seuen dayes,
that would haue required forty dayes with balsam it selfe."
— " Since which time, my selfe haue cured many grieuous
wounds, and some mortall, with the same herbe."
(16) Balsam, Balsam of Gilead, Amyridis Gileadensis resina
(Edin. Pharm.). — Mentioned by Wood and Bache because
retained by the Edinburgh College. Has the virtues of other
terebinthinates. Was once in high repute, but is now dis-
(17) Wax, Oil. — In common use in cerates, &c.
Remedies mentioned in the General Directions.
Confectio Alchermes. — A confection made with kermes,
or coccus ilicis, an insect once thought to have special medical
virtues ; now used only as a dye.
1862.] DE. HOLMES ON DE. STAFFOBD'S EECEIPTS. 397
Jalap ; Jalapa (U. S. Pharm.). — Cathartic ; in common
Agaeic, Boletus igniarius (Ed.). — " Ranked among the
Phlegmagogue Purgatives" (James). Mr. Metcalf has seen
it prescribed by a German physician ; but it is not in use
as an internal remedy among us. " That useful purging ex-
crense (s/c) agarick " (Josselyn, Tuckerman's edition). As
" spunk," it has been employed for moxse. The Indians use
it in this way, according to Josselyn (p. 52). I am not
aware that they have ever disputed the claim of the Japanese
to the credit of contriving this remedial agent.
Exteact of Scammony, Scammonium (U.S. Pharm.). —
Scammony is an energetic cathartic, still used, but mostly in
combination with other drugs.
Pine de Inde. — What particular pine is referred to, I have
Ceocus Metallorum, Sulphuretted Oxide of Antimony. —
Rarely employed (Dunglison). Used by the Edinburgh Col-
lege in preparing tartar - emetic (Wood and Bache). Mr.
Metcalf has known it to be used for making antimonial
Snake-boot, Aristolochia serpentaria ; Serpentaria (U. S.
Pharm.). — A stimulant tonic, acting also as a diaphoretic
and diuretic, in frequent use. Dr. Jackson says, " Snake-
root, Serpentaria, has been much used in my day as a grateful
stimulant, especially to ' bring out the measles ; ' and, in the
late stages of fever, I have used it."
Conteateeva (U.S. Pharm., secondary), Dorstenia contra-
yerva (Ibid.~). — Stimulant, tonic, and diaphoretic; very sel-
dom used in this country (Wood and Bache). Mr. Metcalf
has known it prescribed within a few years.
Tacamahaca. — A resinous substance, supposed to be
derived from the Fagara octandra of Linnaeus. Formerly
highly esteemed as an internal remedy ; now little used, and
only for ointments and plasters (Wood and Bache). Mr.
398 MASSACHUSETTS HISTORICAL, SOCIETY. [Feb.
Tuckerman has, in one of his notes to Josselyn, " Larix
Americana, Michx. (Larch ; taccamahac, Cutler ; tamarack ;
hackmatack"^). The Cafophyllum inophyllum is said to yield
tacamaque (Rees's Cyc.).
Caranna. — This resin resembles tacamahaca ; but, accord-
ing to Schroder, is a little more fragrant, glistening, liquid,
and heavy. It was so much esteemed in medicine, that there
was a proverb, " Whatever the tacamahaca has not cured, the
caranna will " (Rees's Cyc, art. " Caranna"). The two sub-
stances are treated as identical in Dunglison's " Medical Dic-
Kereman. — I can make nothing of this, unless it be mas-
tic, or some such substance, which, coming from Kerman in
Persia, took the name of that place.
Burgundy Pitch, Pix abietis (U.S. Pharm.). — In common
use for plasters.
With the exception of the cathartics, most of the internal
remedies are simply insignificant, — such as old women pre-
scribe without fear and without reproach. Not a single
opiate ; but one metallic preparation, and that merely enume-
rated in the list at the end ; not one of our so-called specifics.
Montaigne was of opinion, that the chief work of physicians
was to " purge the belly ; " and, truly, that operation and
bleeding formed a large part of ancient practice. We must
not forget the sudorifics, however, which were used so fre-
quently before the time of Sydenham, under the idea of
expelling the materies morbi. The toad-powder, which was
expected to procure sweating, was principally animal char-
coal, with some saline matters contained in the bones and
Whatever we may think of Dr. Stafford's practice, it is not
certain that his patients would all have done better under the
treatment of the present day. Some differences there would
certainly be in our favor. We should trust more to moral
1862.] THE SO-CALLED " NARRAGANSETT PATENT." 399
treatment, in " madness," than to St. John's wort ; to diet,
rather than to cinquefoil, in epilepsy. We should hope a
good deal from opiates in dysentery, and confidently expect
to arrest some fevers — those of periodical type — by quinine.
But slight cases of disease would commonly get well under
his treatment, and severe ones often die under ours. Diseases
are like bullet-wounds : much may depend on their treat-
ment, but much more must be referred to the extent of the
visible or invisible injury and the part affected. It is a curi-
ous commentary on the nature of medical evidence, that the
most popular medicine in the history of mankind should be
elder, — a plant with hardly any assignable virtues. As for
the external remedies, no one of them can claim any special
efficacy ; and some of them probably did more to irritate than
to heal. The magic of " clown's all-heal " and " balsam " has
been dispelled by the every-day observation of the kindly
union of wounds simply brought together, or dressed with
nothing but water.
The general medical directions at the end of the paper are
very judicious, and might be followed with profit by the stu-
dents of our own time. Some of them are of the true Hip-
pocratic stamp, and confirm the idea that Dr. Stafford was a
man of good sense and education. He has a just claim to
be treated with respect ; and, though some of his prescrip-
tions may cause us to smile or shudder, it would be well if a
physician of our time, whose prescriptions should be exhumed
in the year 2080, were able to stand the examination of pos-
terity as creditably as the very respectable Dr. Stafford, friend
and adviser of John Winthrop, the honorable Governor of the
Mr. Deane communicated the following remarks as
the result of an examination of a copy of the so-called
Narragansett Patent, which the President had recently
committed to him for investigation : —
400 MASSACHUSETTS HISTORICAL SOCIETY. [FEB.
Mr. President, — You placed in my hands a few weeks
since an ancient manuscript document, with a request that I
would examine it, and report to you concerning it. I have
made a few notes here ; and, with your leave, will read them
to the meeting.
This paper proves to be — what I supposed it was at first
inspection — a copy of what is sometimes called the " Narra-
gansett Patent," granted to the magistrates and freemen of
Massachusetts, by authority of Parliament, and dated 10th
December, 1643. The original is at the State House ; it
having been noticed there by Mr. Pelt a few years since,
and subsequently made the subject of remark before this
Society by him, and also by Mr. Savage. Colonel Aspin-
wall, also, read an interesting communication here respecting
it, which will be found in our printed Proceedings of May,
I remarked, that the patent was granted by authority of
Parliament. On the 2d of November preceding the date
of this instrument, the Parliament passed an ordinance,
" whereby Robert, Earl of Warwick, is made Governor-in-
Chief and Lord High Admiral of all those islands and planta-
tions, . . . belonging to any of his majesty's . . . subjects,
within the bounds and upon the coasts of America," &c.
The ordinance also appointed commissioners, " to be assisting
unto him," of seventeen persons, members of the House of
Lords and House of Commons (Hazard, i. 533). By authority
of this Board was this Narragansett Patent issued, though it
bears the signatures of but nine of them. The reasons given
in this instrument for this grant of territory are the exces-
sive charges to which the Massachusetts planters had been
subjected in founding their colony ; its rapid growth, requir-
ing an expansion of its territory ; and the desire to Christian-
ize the natives. The terms of it were, in effect, to annex so
much additional territory to Massachusetts. What is curious,
this grant of land embraced that territory, in almost the same
1862.] THE SO-CALLED " NARRAGANSETT PATENT." 401
language, which, three months later (i.e., 14th March, 164^),
was granted to Roger Williams, or, by his solicitation, to the
inhabitants of Providence, Portsmouth, and Newport.*
The earliest reference we find to this instrument is in a
letter from the Massachusetts authorities to Roger "Williams,
dated 27th August, 1645, — more than twenty months after
the document was issued, if it was issued at the time of its
date ; notifying the latter, that they had " received lately out
of England a charter from the authority of the High Court of
Parliament, bearing date 10th December, 1643, whereby the
Narragansett Bay, and a certain tract of land wherein Provi-
dence and the Island of Quidny are included ; " and warning
him and others of their countrymen to " forbear to exercise
any jurisdiction therein; otherwise to appear at our next
General Court, to be holden the first fourth day of the eighth
month, to shew by what right you claim any such jurisdic-
tion," f <fec. This order appears to have been disregarded,
and no further proceeding was had. The subsequent refer-
ences to this patent are few, and it seems to have been
almost lost sight of in our history till recently. Why Massa-
chusetts based no practical claim upon it, it is not easy now
to see, though various conjectures have been hazarded. It
may be noted, that while there is a reservation in it of all
lands previously granted, " and in present possession, held
and enjoyed by any of his majesty's Protestant subjects,"
the Rhode-Island Patent, of three months later date, of the
same territory, contains no such reservation ; neither is there
* See Arnold's Hist, of B.I., i. 118, 119.
t This letter Is recorded under date 7th October, 1645. Immediately preceding
is the following order: "It is ordered by this Court, that Richard Saltonstall, Esq., and
Captain George Cooke, shall be joined with Mr. Pocoke, and other our commis-
sioners in England, in negotiating for us before the Right Hon. the Earl of War-
wicke and the rest of the Commissioners for Plantations, &c, or before the High Court
of Parliament if occasion require, concerning the two late grants or charters for
government or jurisdiction in the lands adjoining to the Narragansett Bay." Referring,
undoubtedly, to these two conflicting grants. — Records of Massachusetts, iii. 48, 49.
402 MASSACHUSETTS HISTORICAL SOCIETY. [Feb.
any reference in this latter grant to the Narragansett Patent.
An unwillingness, on the part of Massachusetts, to acknow-
ledge the authority of the Parliamentary Commissioners, may
be assigned as one reason for avoiding any assertion of her
claims under this patent, though it will not explain all the
difficulties which surround it. The grant was probably pro-
cured by Welde, then residing in England, and possibly with-
out the authority of Massachusetts.*
It has been intimated (Felt, in Geneal. Reg., xi. 41, where
this patent is printed), that the banishment by Massachusetts
of Gorton and his followers from their lands at Shawomet, March
7, 164|, was by authority of this instrument ; but no such claim
was ever set forth by that government as a basis for these pro-
ceedings. The surrender of Pomham and Sacononoco (in June,
1643), whose lands embraced Shawomet and its neighborhood,
and the act of the United Colonies of September of that year,
authorizing Massachusetts to proceed against those unhappy
schismatics, " according to what they shall find just," — New
Plymouth claiming that this territory was covered by her
patent,— were the only alleged grounds of the proceedings of
Massachusetts in this case. Besides, it is doubtful, if, at the
time of Gorton's banishment, this patent had been received
here. It is quite certain, that during all this Gorton contro-
* " The forbearance of Massachusetts to found any practicable claim upon it is re-
markable. I conceive the reason to have been the caution of her magistrates about
involving themselves in an admission of the lawfulness of the authority intrusted to
the Parliamentary Commissioners, which admission might presently be turned back
upon herself." — " The sole object of Massachusetts, in giving the notice [to Williams],
seems to have been to keep her rights safe in case of any necessity for using them,"
&c. — Palfrey's History of New England, ii. 122, 123, 217, n. In 1665, Rhode Island
presented "some reasons unto the Right Hon. Edward, Earl of Clarendon, Lord
High Chancellor of England," to show that that part of said colony called " King's
Province " rightfully belonged to Rhode Island. In it they say, " For that the said
country is wholly and clearly contained in the grant made in his late majesty's name,
by the Lords and Commons in 1643, . . . which grant was since confirmed ; and that
which Mr. Wells [Welde?] underhand got of the same country was prohibited, being
never passed at Council Table nor registered" (2 Mass. Hist. Coll., vii. 104). — See
citation from Williams's letter to Mason, further on.
1862.] THE SO-CALLED "NARRAGANSETT PATENT." 403
versy, from 1643 to 1647, — during which these outcasts had
carried their complaints to England, — the Massachusetts Go-
vernment never pleaded this patent in justification of their acts ;
and, what is also worthy of note, the Committee of the Lords and
Commons, in their letter to Massachusetts authorities, desiring
justice to be done to Gorton and his associates, and disclaim-
ing any wish to abridge the bounds of the Massachusetts
Colony as defined by its royal charter, make no allusion what-
ever to this Narragansett Patent, which bears the signatures
of some of these very commissioners. (See Winthrop, ii. 280,
Some years later, we find this patent cited by Massachu-
setts men claiming lands in the Narragansett country, not so
much for the purpose of affirming their titles, as to avoid
being included within the jurisdiction of Rhode Island.
In a letter from Captain Edward Hutchinson, a member
of the celebrated Atherton Company, to John Winthrop the
younger, in London, dated Boston, 18th November, 1662, he
speaks of a copy of this Narragansett Patent, which he sends
to him to show that it embraced the same territory claimed
by Mr. Clarke in the Rhode-Island Patent. He says, " Your
patent and Plymouth join, reaching both the Narragansett
River ; and, whereas Mr. Clarke pretends a patent, we have
sent a copy of one to the Massachusetts, of the same
land, dated before theirs, which answers theirs, and we
conceive may give satisfaction " (Arnold's Hist, of R.I.,
i. 381). This copy, made by Secretary Rawson, is undoubt-
edly the one here referred to as sent to Winthrop, in Lon-
don, in 1662 ; and, if I mistake not, it bears his endorsement
Enough has been said to show that this patent is shrouded
in mystery. Some severe strictures have been made upon
it; and I must not forget that our friend Mr. Savage — who
has called my attention to the fact that the date of the
instrument is Sunday — has gone so far as to pronounce it a
404 MASSACHUSETTS HISTORICAL SOCIETY. [FEB.
forgery.* Reference has been made to a communication of
Colonel Aspinwall respecting it ; and I will dwell for a
moment on some of his statements.
It is suggested by him, that this patent was not legally
executed, and consequently was a mere nullity : in proof
of which, he alleges that the document has no seal, either
public or private ; nor any indication of enrolment or registra-
tion. That it bears but nine signatures ; whereas the ordi-
nance by which the Board was created required the assent
of the greater number of the eighteen commissioners, of
which it consisted, to each of its acts. He also cites a
passage from a letter of Roger Williams to Major Mason
(1670), saying, that, at the time of Gorton's complaint
against Massachusetts, " the Lord High Admiral (President)
said openly, in a full meeting of the commissioners, that he
knew no other charter for these parts than what Mr. Wil-
liams had obtained ; and he was sure that charter, which
the Massachusetts Englishmen pretended, had never passed
the table " (1 Mass. Hist. Coll., i. 279). Also that the " pro-
bable reason for Winthrop's silence respecting it in his
journal was his consciousness of its worthless character."
As I always like to see historical questions settled, it
would be gratifying, in many respects, to be able to concur
in all these statements ; but I am not quite able to do so.
First, As to there being no seals upon the document.
That is true, so far as to there being none now attached to
it ; but portions of the tags remain to each signature, the
seals being lost or removed with that portion of the tags
to which they were connected. I have inspected the original
* If I could believe that our Puritan ancestors, or any persons in their interest, were
capable of such a fraud, I should still hesitate before charging them with such an act of
fotly. A forged title to such a large tract of land, the alleged grantors being still living,
would be at once exposed by the rivals and opponents of the Massachusetts planters.
The signatures to the document, so far as 1 am familiar with them, have every appear-
ance of being genuine. It is quite improbable that any attempt would be made to
1862.] THE SO-CALLED " NABBAGANSETT PATENT." 405
instrument ; and the seals, or at least the tags, appear to
me to have been cut off near the margin. As a proof that
there were seals originally attached to it, this copy made
by Secretary Bawson, now just come to light among the Win-
throp Papers, has, written against each of the nine signatures,
" and a seale : " for instance, " Ro : Warwicke, and a seale."
Second, As to there being no evidence of enrolment upon
it, I am doubtful how far that argument is of weight. It
may prove too much. I have examined a good many of our
charters or patents, and have rarely, if ever, found any such
endorsement upon them. Some of them have evidence of
delivery, &c. ; but rarely, on those that have come under my
inspection, of enrolment.
Third, To the objection, that, while the ordinance of Par-
liament requires the signature of the greater number of the
commissioners to each of its acts, there lacks one to this
instrument of the requisite number, I would say, that a majo-
rity is necessary only for certain specific acts ; while, for the
transaction of the general business of the Board, it requires
but the assent of the president and any four of his asso-
ciates. (See the ordinance in Hazard, i. 533.)
Fourth, As to the statement, in Roger Williams's letter, of
an occurrence twenty-five years before, how far it may be
safe to rely upon it, is a little uncertain. I should have great
confidence that Williams would not assert what he did not
believe to be true ; but it must be remembered, that he was
not present on the occasion referred to (not being in England
at that time), and he must have heard the story from Gorton
or from some other person. Still, I would not deny that the
silence of the commissioners respecting this patent, in their
letters to Massachusetts, above referred to, requires an ex-
Fifth, As to Winthrop's silence respecting this patent in his
journal, we find, in vol. ii., pp. 279, 280, of that work, the fol-
lowing queries and suggestions of the magistrates at the meet-
406 MASSACHUSETTS HISTORICAL SOCIETY. [FEB.
ing of the General Court, Nov. 4, 1646 : " It was propounded
to consideration, in what relation we stood to the State of
England ; whether our government was founded upon our
charter or not : if so, then what subjection we owed to that
State." — " And for that motion of petitioning, &c, it was an-
swered, — 1. That, if we receive a new charter, that will be
(ipso facto') a surrender of the old [that is, the Royal Charter
of Charles First]. 2. The Parliament can grant none now
but by way of ordinance ; and it may be questioned whether
the king will give his royal assent, considering how he hath
taken displeasure against us. 3. If we take a charter from
the Parliament, we can expect no other than such as they
have granted to us at Narragansett, and to others in other
places, wherein they reserve a supreme power in all things."
No doubt seems to be here expressed as to the genuineness
and legality of their patent for Narragansett; that is, that it
is as good a grant as Parliament, or its commissioners, can
give : but the more radical question is as to the authority
of Parliament in issuing such grants. This discussion took
place more than a year after the order to Williams.
A communication was received from the " Historic
Society of Lancashire and Cheshire," England, present-
ing twelve volumes of their Transactions ; and request-
ing, in exchange, a contribution from the Collections
and Proceedings of our Society.
Voted, That this subject be referred to the Standing
Committee, with, full powers.
The President offered for the inspection of the mem-
bers several ancient certificates of marriage from the
papers of his ancestor, Governor Winthrop. He also
produced from the same valuable store of manuscripts
a fragmentary paper relating to the estate of John Har-
vard, which, at his suggestion, was referred to Mr Sibley.
LETTER FROM THE REV. G. W. BLAGDEN. 407
Rev. William A. Stearns, D.D., President of Amherst
College, and Charles Sprague, Esq., of Boston, were
elected Resident Members.
Mr. Robbxns (C.) reported, that, by direction of the
Standing Committee, he had restored to the library of
the Old South Church the Hinckley Papers and several
other manuscripts belonging to the Prince Library ;
and that he had expressed, in a letter addressed to the
pastors and deacons of that church, the grateful acknow-
ledgments of this Society for their courtesy and gene-
rosity in allowing those valuable papers to be retained
and printed. In response to this communication, he
had received the following letter : —
Boston, Feb. 12, 1862.
Rev. Chandler Robbins, D.D.
Dear Sir, — In behalf of the pastors and deacons of the Old
South Church, to whom your communication of the 31st ultimo was
presented on Friday last, I have been directed to acknowledge the
receipt of a part of the manuscripts which the Historical Society of
Massachusetts desired to retain for a time, and for a special purpose,
after they had conveyed the books belonging to the Prince Collection
to the Old South Society, in July, 1859 : namely, three volumes of
the " Hinckley Papers," and a volume entitled " Torrey vs. Gar-
I am also directed to thank the Standing Committee of the Histo-
rical Society, through you, for the valuable printed volume of the
" Hinckley Papers," which, in behalf of the Society, they have kindly
presented to the Old South Church and Society ; and for the manner
in which they have caused the three volumes of the " Hinckley
Papers" to be thoroughly and neatly bound in one.
We also respectfully acknowledge the restoration to us of a num-
ber of manuscript sermons by one of our former esteemed pastors, the
Eev. Dr. Eckley.
With our sincere acknowledgments of the courtesy and liberality of
the Historical Society, I am, in behalf of the pastors and deacons
of the Old South Church, very respectfully yours,
G. W. Blagden, Senior Pastor,
408 MASSACHUSETTS HISTORICAL SOCIETY. [FEB.
Dr. Ellis, in announcing the death of our esteemed
associate (Dr. Luther V. Bell, of Charlestown) while in
the discharge of his duties as a surgeon in the army of
the United States, spoke as follows : —
Mr. President, — The painful intelligence was received
here yesterday, by telegraph, of the decease of our much
esteemed and distinguished associate, Dr. Luther V. Bell, at
Budd's Ferry. We have, at present, only the knowledge of
the sad fact, without particulars, which we wait for with
anxious interest. As is well known to many of us, he had
been for several years much enfeebled by disease, and under
the regimen of an invalid. He must, however, have been
snatched from us by some comparatively sudden blow, as, in
letters recently received from him, — the last being dated at
the close of the last month, — I had his emphatic assurance,
that his measure of health and strength had surprised him-
We are unprepared, under the sudden sense of this afflic-
tion, to give adequate expression to what is in our minds and
hearts of respect and affection for our honored and eminent
friend. He highly estimated the privileges and the associa-
tions of his membership of this Society ; and we, too, regarded
his co-operation with us as an enhancement of the dignity of
our fellowship. In the most responsible office, which he held
for more than twenty years, as the physician of the M'Lean
Asylum, he took the highest professional rank, and won the
fullest confidence and the loftiest personal esteem and affec-
tion of multitudes of friends in this community, and indeed
over the whole country, from whose wide extent patients
were committed to his care. He was a man remarkably
endowed and fitted by nature for his exacting sphere of labor,
and he had perfected himself by careful study and the most
thorough professional culture. He had a noble mind, a dig-
nified presence, a pure and a religiously trained heart. He
1862.] TRIBUTES TO THE MEMORY OF DR. BELL. 409
cultivated art, philosophy, science, and general literature.
Enfeebled bodily vigor compelled him to resign his office at
Somerville some six years ago ; and, building himself a dwell-
ing at the base of the monumental shaft on Breed's Hill, he
became a citizen of Charlestown. He had filled several politi-
cal offices ; had been a member of the Executive Council, and
President of the Massachusetts Medical Society. He loved
to spend hours of leisure in these richly filled rooms. He was
still privately consulted for professional purposes, and served
on a Commission of the Commonwealth in the erection of the
Asylum at Northampton. On the opening of the lamentable
strife which has been for a year convulsing our country, the
purest impulses of patriotism, and a sense of Christian obliga-
tion, moved him to offer his crippled but still valuable ener-
gies and abilities in our great cause. He left us last July as
surgeon of the Eleventh Regiment of Massachusetts Volun-
teers. He was soon constituted one of the brigade surgeons
of the volunteer army, and was filling that post in General
Hooker's division, on the Lower Potomac, when the summons
came to him in the last mortal conflict, from which there is no
discharge. I cannot now say more ; yet I could not but say
at least what I have said, in tribute to one so respected and
esteemed among us, and for whom, as a friend, I felt the
highest attachment and regard.
Mr. Frothingham (R.), in referring to the death of
Dr. Bell, spoke substantially as follows : —
He could not refrain from uttering a few words in respect
to one, with whom, for many years, he had had much inter-
course as a friend, a neighbor, and a citizen ; and he was sure
the Society would unanimously express their sense of the loss
which it had sustained in the sudden death of a member so
eminent and deeply respected as Dr. Bell.
Though he had met him, for many years, under various
circumstances of public life, yet it was not until he retired
410 MASSACHUSETTS HISTOEICAL SOCIETY. [Feb.
from the main field of his labor, — the M'Lean Asylum at
Somerville, — and became a neighbor at Charlestown, and
met him unreservedly in the social circle, that he saw and
felt those sterling and sympathetic qualities which made him
always welcome, and a favorite of the community in which he
Dr. Bell had qualities that made him greatly beloved in
private life, and fitted him to be its ornament. He was
urbane in his deportment, conscientious in his opinions, gen-
tle in his ways, and of rare conversational gifts : indeed, he
related his varied and rich experience with the human mind,
in its most startling and fearful moods, with so much simplicity
and so exactly, with such entire absence of any thing like
arrogance, that he charmed while he instructed. This (the
human mind) was his great study, and he shrunk back from
no phase of its manifestations.
Dr. Bell was emphatically public -spirited, and gave large
attention to the qiiestions of the day ; and it always seemed
that his knowledge of politics was large, his views compre-
hensive, and his spirit eminently patriotic. If he had the
ambition to serve the country in political station, it was
because he felt that he could serve it well, — act for country,
and not for self. It was such a conviction that carried him,
in this great crisis, to his last field of usefulness. He felt that
his large experience in the line of his profession might make
his service valuable to the army ; and he devoted himself not
only with zeal, but with conscientious fidelity, to his calling.
His coolness, courage, and self-possession on the Bull-Run
field were marked ; and the wounded who fell to his lot, and
felt his sympathizing presence, talk lovingly of the man who
will linger enduringly in their memory. For such service he
was promoted ; and thus, while engaged in duties second
only to the duty that man owes to his Creator, he honorably
closed a useful life, falling asleep under the flag which he
loved and was so beautifully serving.
1862.] MEMOIR OP DR. LOWELL AND OP DR. CODMAN. 411
He had been but a short time a member of this association.
He felt an abiding interest in historical pursuits, sympathized
with the success of the Society, and was ready, on its call, to
share actively in its labors.
Dr. Bell aimed to be faithful to the whole round of duties.
He was both the father and mother to an interesting group
of children, who for years have been motherless ; and to
leave these for the duties of country was his hardest work.
He will long be remembered by the institution which he so
faithfully guided, by the town in which he passed his man-
hood, by the city in which he last lived, and by those with
whom he loved to commune in the interchange of social
amenities. Verily a good man has gone to his reward.
The following resolution was then unanimously
passed ; viz. : —
Besolved, That the Massachusetts Historical Society have
learned with deep regret the death of their esteemed and
respected associate, Hon. Luther V. Bell, while serving in
the medical staff of the army of the United States ; and
that Rev. George B. Ellis, D.D., be requested to prepare the
A Memoir of Rev. Charles Lowell, D.D., and of Rev.
John Codman, D.D., prepared in compliance with a
vote of the Society, was communicated from our asso-
ciate, Rev. Dr. Jenks.
412 MASSACHUSETTS HISTORICAL SOCIETY. [Feb.
TRIBUTE TO THE MEMORY
REV. JOHN CODMAN, D.D., & OF REV. CHARLES LOWELL, D.D.
BY WILLIAM JENKS, D.D.
While our beloved country is in so imminent peril, and death
by warfare is multiplying its victims, our literary Society is
permitted to follow its accustomed course. One feature
of that course is a respectful and affectionate reminiscence of
the merits of its departed members ; and although our sym-
pathies are demanded by the present struggle for the defence
and continued existence of our invaluable civil privileges, and
we feel deeply for all who are called to hazard life in their
behalf, it nevertheless becomes us not to neglect or be un-
mindful of the memory of worthies in other departments of
human duty than those of politics or war.
Under the control of such a sentiment, permit me, my
highly esteemed associates, in attempting the discharge of the
obligations you have seen fit to lay on me, to blend together
such recollections and notices in regard to the late Dr. Cod-
man, and his near kinsman, the more recently deceased Dr.
Lowell, as have appeared to me just and proper. As respects
the former, your appointment is indeed of several years' stand-
ing, and the delay to comply with it may demand an apology ;
but I cast myself on your indulgence, which I trust will not
1862.] MBMOIE OP THE REV. JOHN CODMAN, D.D. 413
Of the Eev. Dr. Codman, who died in December, 1847, we
are possessed of an ample and authentic Memoir, from the
pen of his college-classmate and highly esteemed friend, the
Rev. Dr. Allen, late President of Bowdoin College ; with
whom he maintained a frequent and unbroken correspond-
ence. The Memoir was published in 1853, in a volume con-
taining also the late Rev. Dr. Bates's " Reminiscences " of its
distinguished subject, and a few of his sermons. Of this vo-
lume a free use will be made in the present brief tribute.
Dr. Lowell took, indeed, his first degree at Harvard
two years before his kinsman, and was earlier ordained as
a pastor ; but although this seniority might constitute a
claim to stand first in our recognition, yet his life was pro-
longed to a later period, and hence it will here take the
Neither of these gentlemen, although both were natives of
Boston, was prepared for college at the Public Latin School.
" The father of Dr. Codman," we are told,* " received his
early education at Dummer Academy, in By field ; " and he
placed his eldest son in the Academy at Andover. How long
he continued there, I know not ; but the youth was removed,
with his younger brother, to Hingham, and confided to the
care of the Rev. Mr. (afterward Dr.) Ware, pastor of the church
in that town.
About this time it was that my own acquaintance with the
family commenced. Being then an undergraduate at Cam-
bridge, Mr. Codman applied to me, and proposed that I should
leave college for a time, and go to Hingham as an assistant of
Mr. Ware in the education of his two sons. But this arrange-
ment was not effected. It laid, nevertheless, a foundation for
a growing interest and concern in the welfare of one whom I
was afterwards to regard as a beloved and influential brother
in the sacred ministry.
* Memoir, p. 13.
414 MASSACHUSETTS HISTORICAL SOCIETY. [Feb.
The two pupils of Rev. Mr. Ware were the only children
of Mr. Codman's first marriage. Their mother was Mar-
garet Russell, youngest daughter of the Hon. James Russell,
Esq., of Charlestown ; another of whose daughters (Rebecca)
had become the wife of Hon. John Lowell, Esq., and mo-
ther of the Rev. Dr. Lowell. The subjects, therefore, of
our present attention, were, by maternal parentage, cousins-
Dr. Allen, in his Memoir, deduces the genealogy of these
gentlemen in both the male and female descent. Such deduc-
tion has now become, and that with manifest propriety, far
from uncommon. The associations which are formed at an
early period, including observable advantages or disadvantages
of social life, have great effect in either the development or
restriction of natural talent or disposition. No biographical
sketch, therefore, can be regarded as complete, which does
not include some account of them ; for, ere we are aware, cha-
racter is forming, and the seeds of future distinction are sown.
We plant a tree ; but its subsequent growth, or failure to
flourish, will greatly depend on the soil that envelops its
Dr. Codman's father was an eminent merchant of Boston,
and acquired a large property with a fair reputation. His
character, admirably drawn by one who knew him intimately
(his brother-in-law, Judge Lowell), describes him as a " truly
excellent and respectable citizen. Of manners gentle, of
affections warm and glowing, of habits industrious and enter-
prising, with an understanding clear and masculine, with an
eloquence impressive and energetic, with a heart expanded
and generous, he was qualified to fill, and honorably to dis-
charge, the various important public and private relations in
which he stood to society. ... In the meridian of life [at the
age of forty-eight], in the full career of usefulness and reputa-
tion, just entering into the higher councils of the State " (its
Senate), he " died, as he had lived, a warm, sincere, pious
1862.] MEMOIR OF THE REV. JOHN CODMAN, D.D. 415
believer in the Christian religion, its hopes and future
Beserving to another page a notice of Dr. Codman's mater-
nal descent, I remark, that he was born in Boston, Aug. 3,
1782. His boyhood and youth exhibited no peculiarly memo-
rable features ; except that, as characterized by one who
knew and loved him,f " his spirits were buoyant," his consti-
tution being sound and healthy, and his temperament cheer-
ful and affectionate. Yet with this was blended a discretion,
resulting in no small degree from his circumstances of life
and education, that rendered him reliable, and tended subse-
quently to the increase of his influence. Besides, the habits
of responsibility, early inculcated and exercised, grew insensi-
bly, and rendered him judicious, firm, thoughtful, and kind.
His college-life was passed respectably. The class of which
he was a member contained several who afterwards rose to
distinction ; but among them, as he was not the first in emi-
nence, so he was not of the most deficient. He seems to have
been marked by a conscientious regard to duty, and an unhesi-
tating and cheerful compliance with the known requirements
made of a student. His merit was acknowledged by his
instructors, and he was graduated with reputation in 1802.
My own acquaintance with and interest in him were
increased at this time by the circumstance, that, having
become an occupant of the Simpson J estate in Cambridge, the
use of part of this large mansion was hired of me by young
Codman's father, for the accommodation of the numerous com-
pany who attended on the occasion ; among whom I well
recollect the Hon. David Humphreys, of Connecticut, then
recently returned from his embassy in Europe, and who was
received by his countrymen with high distinction.
* See the genealogical particulars at large in Dr. Allen's Memoir, pp. 11-15.
t Rev. Dr. Storrs, sen., in his funeral sermon.
J This house was originally erected for the Rev. East Apthorp, first Rector of
Christ Church in Cambridge, and inhabited by him.
416 MASSACHUSETTS HISTOEICAL SOCIETY. [Feb.
The attention of the young graduate was soon given to the
study of law. This he pursued in the office of his kinsman,
John Lowell, Esq., at that time engaged in very extensive
practice. He continued this study for about a year ; and it
was unquestionably of no little service to him, in view of sub-
sequent events and his own deep interest in them, that his
mind underwent a degree of legal discipline. It could not
but aid him in giving precision to his judgment, and discrimi-
nation in his investigations, inducing and assisting habits of
no small importance in life.
But this course was very unexpectedly interrupted, and
indeed broken off, by the lamented death of Mr. Codman's
honored father, in 1803 ; and the earnest desire which he had
expressed on his death-bed, that his son would study divinity,
and become a minister of the gospel. A new direction was
now given to the mind of the young man ; and it is presumed
by his biographer, that serious and religious thoughts became
now more forcible than ever.
At that period, although a professorship of divinity had
been founded at Cambridge by the benevolent foresight of
Hollis, yet it was customary for young men to place themselves
under the supervision and advice of some parish minister.
To his former instructor, the Rev. Mr. Ware, Mr. Codman
applied, and for a time took his directions. But he frequented
Cambridge also ; and though the death of Professor Tappan
had recently occurred, yet he there found fellow-students, and
associated with them. This association was of essential con-
sequence; for it served to establish his religious views, and
to prepare him for the decided course which he afterward
It was esteemed by him a peculiar advantage, that his
acquaintance with his former classmate — William Allen,
afterward the biographer of his friend — was here renewed,
and rendered permanent. He was from the interior of the
State, and son of a distinguished clergyman at Pittsfield, of
1862.] MEMOIR OP THE EEV. JOHN CODMAN, D.D. 417
" the old school." The renewed intercourse became, from
several circumstances detailed at large in Dr. Allen's narra-
tive, deeply interesting. Mr. Codman's affectionate heart
was freely opened, and his religious exercises without re-
serve communicated, until his mind was fully established in
the sentiments usually denominated, and, as appears to the
writer, with strict propriety, " evangelical ; " embracing the
doctrines of the atonement, and of the necessity and efficacy
of Divine Grace.
This present generation can with but great difficulty rea-
lize the difference between the actual and former state of
religion and its concerns in our community. I use the word
" former " with reference to the early part of the current cen-
tury. At that time, as is admitted on all hands, the cause of
serious, effective piety was at a low ebb, not only in our own
country, but in England, notwithstanding the writings of
Cowper, Newton, Wilberforce, Porteus, and Hall. As respects
ourselves, the war of the Revolution is often brought in to
explain the fact : and it is stated, that the Puritanic senti-
ments and manners of our venerated forefathers suffered
greatly from the results of the political alliance with France ;
many of the officers of the army, as is alleged, adopting the
deistical and infidel views of their foreign associates. There
had, indeed, appeared the evidence of a revival of practical
religion in the capital of Massachusetts about the year 1792 ;
but this was mostly confined to the " Baptist " denomination,
and not extensive. The " Methodists " also had commenced
their efforts, two or three years before * here and in this
vicinity, but had not obtained that wide success which has
since so remarkably distinguished their zeal. Most of the
Congregational churches were in a quiet, conservative state ;
few beside aged persons appearing at the communion-table,
* See the Life of Kev. Jesse Lee, in the seventh volume of the Annals of the
American Pulpit, by Kev. Dr. Sprague.
418 MASSACHUSETTS HISTORICAL SOCIETY. [FEB.
and conversions among the young being rare, and very obser-
vable when they occurred. " Moderate Calvinism " was pro-
fessed by many of the clergy; and actually it was very
moderate. " Experimental religion," so called distinctively,
had declined, without question.
The frank, ardent temperament, and sincere, open, inde-
pendent deportment, of young Mr. Codman, were operative
and prominent in his religious views and the expression of
them. They influenced his voluntary associations, and marked
his general conduct, and that with characteristic uniformity,
throughout the rest of his life.
It was not long before he concluded to avail himself of the
advantage of a definite course of theological studies under the
regular academic instructions of an appropriate institution.
His kinsman, Mr. Charles Lowell, had already adopted this
measure. Accordingly, he took passage for Liverpool in
1805. His object was a residence in Edinburgh. But he
visited London before proceeding thither ; and being fur-
nished with letters to various individuals, as well as having
personal relatives and friends then in the capital, his time
was agreeably and profitably spent, especially with reference
to his own spiritual improvement. This is evinced by copious
extracts from his diary, published in Dr. Allen's elaborate
Memoir, and from letters addressed to this " friend of his
Mr. Codman's father had married, in 1791, his second wife,
Catherine Amory, daughter of John Amory, Esq.; charac-
terized as a "lady of singular intelligence, enlarged bene-
volence, and devoted piety ; by whom he had six children."
She survived her husband nearly thirty years ; and, while
her step -son was pursuing his studies at Edinburgh, her
letters to him, of which some extracts are given by his bio-
grapher, exhibit " the mutual esteem and affection which
subsisted between himself and that excellent lady." Reply-
ing to one of his letters, she remarks, " If you have reason
1862.] MEMOIR OF THE REV. JOHN CODMAN, D.D. 419
to thank God for the event which gave me to be your
mother, how much have I to bless him that he gave me you
for a son I . . . On what object can my affections so naturally
fasten as on the counterpart of him who has been taken from
them ? My gratitude for the blessing is still more excited,
when I view you as [thus virtually] the father of my chil-
dren ; and this is augmented by reflection on the sacredness
of the profession you have chosen, which will add such weight
and influence to parental advice. . . . Your happiness, and
especially your advancement in the Christian life, never
presses more forcibly and tenderly on my heart than when
it is lifted up to the throne of grace ; and I trust that my
petitions for you will be answered in your safe return and
useful subsequent life. With what pleasure do I look for-
ward to that period when the influence of your precepts and
example will so greatly aid me in rearing my children, and
when we shall realize all the fond wishes expressed for them
in your last I " *
This lady attended on the ministry of the Rev. Mr. (after-
ward Dr.) Channing, whom she most highly and justly es-
teemed, and who had taken a deep interest in the formation
of Mr. Codman's Christian character, both before his going
to Edinburgh, and while he was there. At this time, Dr.
Channing was, in the view of worldlings, " almost the only
melancholy preacher" in Boston. In evidence of his " strong
evangelical feelings," Dr. Allen relates the circumstance, that
after dining with Mrs. Codman, while her step-son was study-
ing with Dr. Ware, he requested the young man to ride with
him: " and during the ride, after much serious conversation,
he expressed his fears that the religious speculations of the
times were leading many astray ; and he earnestly desired
that his young friend might guard his mind from the prevail-
ing errors, and that, by a prayerful study of the word of God
* Memoir, pp. 63, 64.
420 MASSACHUSETTS HISTORICAL SOCIETY. [FEB.
and an implicit faith in its teachings, he might be prepared
for the solemn duties of the ministry." To this, Dr. Allen
candidly adds, " Mr. Channing was not at this time ready to
give up the evangelical doctrines : doubtless they were more
or less modified in his view ; but yet they exerted a powerful
influence over his preaching and his life. Nor is it believed
that this influence was wholly destroyed in any stage of his
subsequent departures from the faith of the New-England
In a letter to his young friend at Edinburgh, then in his
twenty-fourth year, Mr. Channing writes, " I have suffered so
much from indistinctness of views, that I wish to guard you
against it. Be not contented with general views of religion.
Analyze your heart, and seek to obtain from the word of
God just views of the distinguishing exercises of a child
of God ; and, if then you have reason to fear for yourself,
you cannot be too much impressed with your danger. On
this point we cannot be too faithful. May God, who searches
us, save us from deceiving ourselves on the infinitely inter-
esting concerns of eternity ! "
Before leaving Great Britain for America, Mr. Codman
visited Prance, and remained in Paris several weeks, until
his curiosity had been fully satisfied : and, after finishing
his studies at Edinburgh, he visited his uncle at Bristol,
preaching there in a " dissenting " pulpit ; having received
the regular license, dated April 29, 1807. Invited to preach
in the Scotch Church, London, he labored there during a
year, and then embarked for Boston ; where he arrived in
A new parish had been recently constituted in Dorchester,
and a house of worship erected and dedicated. Mr. Codman
was invited to preach ; and, after hearing him for two sab-
baths, the church and congregation unanimously gave him
" a call " to settle with them as their pastor. This drew
forth a letter expressive of his religious views and aims.
1862.] MEMOIR OF THE REV. JOHN CODMAN, D.D. 421
Further communications ensued ; until at length, after an un-
commonly full exposition of his sentiments, he was ordained
on the 7th of December, 1808. This was his only settlement
for the rest of his life.
The history, however, of this pastorate, I will not take
on me to give. It has already been written and published
in all its details by able and competent friends, who have
already been named as authors of a " Memoir " and " Remi-
niscences " of Dr. Codman. To both of these clergymen
and intimate associates, the interesting trials of the beloved
subject of their record were fully known ; and they were
witnesses of the faithfulness and unquestionable conscien-
tiousness with which he bore them. Both also were con-
vinced, and that deeply, of the importance to be assigned to
the result ; and both have without reserve asserted, that, in
consequence, the name of Dr. Codman belongs to the eccle-
siastical history of the country. No historian, indeed, of
Congregationalism in Massachusetts or New England, can be
faithful to his duty, who shall neglect to inform posterity
respecting these scenes.
I will only remark concerning them, that it appears from
the record of the friends alluded to (for the writer was not
in the State at the time), that Mr. Codman's ministry was
very acceptable to his people during the year that followed
his ordination. After this it was that difficulties arose among
some of them on the subject of exchanges in the pulpit ser-
vices. The minister claimed the liberty of choice in regard
to such of his clerical brethren as he should invite to address
his people. The malecontents maintained virtually, that he
ought to consult the wishes of his people, and make his
exchanges agreeably. Two several councils were summoned,
and the subject litigated for three years of trying experi-
ences. At length, the pastor and his devoted friends suc-
ceeded ; their opponents withdrew ; and it became a decided
sentiment, that the exchange of pulpit-labor should be go-
verned by the pastor's choice.
422 MASSACHUSETTS HISTORICAL SOCIETY. [FEB.
Both of the writers who have been alluded to express
their strong conviction of the wisdom of the resolution, and
the benefits of its result ; asserting, that it has tended to allay
disputes which were becoming bitter, and to promote the
peace of the churches. Nevertheless, it exposed the young
minister, who stood in the front of the contest, to much and
severe trial ; which, it is apprehended, could hardly have been
borne, except by one similarly trained and providentially cir-
cumstanced. It is, therefore, a fair subject of moral inquiry,
in what spirit it was indeed borne, and what assistance arose
from the providential circumstances of the sufferer in it.
No reader of the ample narrative of the life and religious
sentiments of Dr. Codman, to which so repeated reference
has been made, can doubt that his views and feelings were
deeply and consistently engaged in that system, which, for
distinction's sake, is termed " experimental," " evangelical,"
or " Calvinistic ; " and it appears clearly, not only from the
" Memoir " and " Reminiscences," but from printed sermons
and addresses, published both before and after his decease,
that the religious views he adopted, at what he believed his
own conversion, were with unshaken firmness, yet with mani-
fest humility, maintained to the last. The profession he en-
tered -and held was the employment of his free and cordial
choice. Of its labors, trials, and supports, he took a delibe-
rate and solemn view ; and his actual experience became a
searching, faithful test of his sincerity.
In an ordination discourse,* he remarks, " There never
was a greater mistake than this, — that the duty of the
preacher of the gospel is light and easy. Little do they
understand the nature and extent of his work, who cherish
such an opinion. To resist the powerful temptations to
preach themselves which are continually presented by that
arch-deceiver, who, while he delights to harass all the people
* Delivered at the installation of Rev. G. W. Blagden, in Salem Street, Boston,
Nov. 3, 1830.
1862.] MEMOIR OF THE EEV. JOHN CODMAN, D.D. 423
of God, directs his most envenomed rancor against the mini-
ster of the cross, is of itself enough to lead him to cry out,
' Who is sufficient for these things ? ' But when we consider
the magnitude, variety, and extent of the subjects involved
in preaching Christ, we cannot for a moment suppose that a
preacher's duty can be otherwise than laborious and difficult.
What constant and painful preparation is necessary to the
conscientious minister, who would faithfully discharge his
duty ; who desires to bring beaten oil into the sanctuary,
and not to offer to the Lord that which costs him nothing !
What diligence and care to ascertain the state of his flock,
that he may know how to give to each a portion in due
season ! What earnest cries to God for grace to warm his
cold heart, that he may impart warmth to others ! What
bitter tears over his own barrenness and unfruitfulness !
what sinkings of soul under the consideration, that so few
believe his report, — that he labors in vain, and spends his
strength for nought! If this be ease, and freedom from care,
then is the preacher's duty an easy task. Ah ! little do they
know the duties and responsibilities of the sacred office, who
entertain such an opinion. But, though laborious and diffi-
cult, let it not be thought that it is unpleasant and irksome,
and without encouragement. No : it is the most delightful and
honorable work in which it is possible for a human being to
be engaged ; and, with all its trials, difficulties, and discou-
ragements, I would not exchange it for an empire and a
throne. It is the presence and gracious aid of the Master
whom he serves, that lightens the cares, sweetens the labors,
and relieves the anxieties, of the preacher of the cross. It
is the same cheering voice that comforted the desponding
spirit of the apostle, and animated the hearts of the primitive
' disciples, which sustains the courage, and quickens the zeal,
of the ministers of reconciliation. ' My grace shall be suffi-
cient for thee, and my strength shall be made perfect in thy
weakness. Lo, I am with you alway, even to the end of the
424 MASSACHUSETTS HISTORICAL SOCIETY. [Feb.
It might be supposed, and without doubt has been
charged, that the stand taken by Dr. Codman evinced a
spirit of bigotry, and hostility to freedom of thought and
speech, with an assumption of personal impeccability, and an
addictedness also to dogmatic wrangling; but in a review of
his ministry for twenty years, preached to his people, he
observes, "In reviewing the principles upon which I have
acted during the last twenty years of my life, if I deceive
not myself, I have the testimony of my conscience that I
have ever endeavored to act with a single eye to the glory
of God and the good of souls. These principles may be
wrong ; for I pretend not to infallibility. All I can say is,
that I have never yet been convinced of their erroneousness,
or I should have renounced them with the same frankness
and decision that I have embraced and maintained them.
The principles to which I refer are these: That there are
certain doctrines peculiar to the gospel of Jesus Christ ; and
that, among these, conspicuously stand the supreme divinity
and atonement of our Lord Jesus Christ, the reality of ex-
perimental religion, and the necessity of a moral renovation
by the special agency of the Holy Ghost, as essential to
the character of a Christian. On the firm belief of these
opinions, I have uniformly acted ; and have been unwilling
to admit, as instructors of the flock over which the Holy
Ghost has made me an overseer, those who do not clearly
and unequivocably preach these, in my opinion, essential
doctrines of the gospel." He adds, " These are the prin-
ciples, which, in the early part of my ministry, exposed me to
severe trials, and which, to this day, have loaded me with
obloquy and reproach. . . . They have since been adopted
and acted upon, not only by Trinitarian but by Unitarian
ministers ; and it is now generally admitted, that the differ-
ence of sentiment is so great, as to render this course highly
expedient and desirable by both parties. . . . Let it be re-
membered, that the extent of my offending has been a reluc-
1862.] MEMOIR OF THE REV. JOHN CODMAN, D.D. 425
tance on my part to have my own people, solemnly committed
to my watch and care, taught a system of religion which I
honestly believe essentially defective. I have never presumed
to judge others, nor to infringe upon the rights of others. I
have uniformly been the warm friend and advocate of reli-
gious liberty ; and all that I have ever asked is the liberty
to feed my own flock with such food as I judged wholesome
and salutary, and not suffer them to be fed by others who
would adopt a regimen entirely different and opposite from
my own. This was the offence for which I was brought
before councils, and once excluded from this pulpit. My
neglect to exchange ministerial labors with ministers of Uni-
tarian sentiments was the well-known source of the memora-
ble controversy which agitated this religious society soon
after my settlement." *
One extract more from this " Review " is demanded, in
justice to the proper exhibition of the humble spirit which
marked its author, with all his firmness and moral courage :
" I am constrained to acknowledge, that, on a review of my
ministry for the last twenty years, I feel justly condemned,
not in view of the principles upon which I have acted (for I
have no wish to retract them) ; not on account of the doctrines
I have preached (for, were this my last sermon and my dying
day, I should desire it should be known that I lived and died
in the faith of those sentiments) : but on account of my many
shortcomings in the discharge of my ministerial duties ; on
account of my coldness and inactivity in the service of the
best of masters ; on account of the many precious oppor-
tunities of doing something more for God, and for the souls
of men, that I have for ever lost. May God forgive me that
I have not done more for his glory, — that I have been such an
unprofitable servant ! I ask your prayers for me, my Chris-
tian friends, that, if my life is spared, I may be more faithful
* See the volume of Sermons and Addresses published by Dr. Codman in 1834,
426 MASSACHUSETTS HISTORICAL SOCIETY. [Feb.
in the discharge of my duty, and more devoted to God, both
as a man and as a Christian." *
With regard to the providential circumstances of Dr. Cod-
man, to which allusion has been made, it is very evident,
that, had he been in the pecuniary condition in which very
many enter the ministry of the gospel, he could not have sus-
tained an attack so vigorous and persevering as fell to his
lot, and which must render his name and case historical
This sketch would be exceedingly imperfect were it only
to characterize the spirit of its subject in relation to the
actual exercise of the Christian ministry. Endowed as he
was with social advantages, happy in his domestic connec-
tions, hospitable and kind in his habits, he was not backward
in the encouragement and support of many of the numerous
associations for the exercise of Christian beneficence which
distinguish our country and our age. Especially did he take
an interest in the efforts for extending the kingdom of Christ
among the Heathen, and was an active and effective member
of the American Board for that great object. But he did by
no means overlook or neglect the spiritual wants of our new
settlements ; and the Home Mission shared his attention, along
with the Society for propagating the Gospel among the In-
dians and Others in North America. Of a similar association,
whose seat is in Scotland, with several of whose worthies he
continued his correspondence to the last, he was a commis-
sioner ; and with the Andover institution for educating stu-
dents in theology he maintained a salutary intercourse, —
bestowing upon it a printing-press that bears his family
name, and is furnished with fonts of type, not only for ordi-
nary printing, but also for not a few of the Oriental lan-
guages. He likewise bequeathed to it his valuable library,
rich in theological works, and especially in those of a distinc-
tively Puritan character.
* Same vol., p. 310.
1862.] MEMOIR OF THE RET. CHARLES LOWELL, D.D. 427
As a citizen and patriot, Dr. Codman took a deep and
permanent interest in the welfare of his country ; and this
not only in its political, educational, and religious concerns,
but, being himself a proprietor and cultivator of land, in its
agriculture also. Hence his views of human employments
were enlarged and general ; and his influence, instead of
being narrowed and confined by professional pursuits, par-
took of the extension to which his thoughts had been trained
As respects his connection with our Historical Society and
its pursuits, I am inclined to believe, that, notwithstanding
his general interest in the records of the country, that inte-
rest displayed itself more in relation to the religious cha-
racter of its early inhabitants, and its transmission to their
posterity, than in statistics of any other kind. Hence, in
his addresses on anniversaries referring to "the Pilgrim
Fathers," this view of our predecessors enjoys, as might well
be supposed, the highest place. He traced, indeed, his own
descent from the Winslow Family, of early distinction at Ply-
mouth, as well as from that of Russell, which illustrated itself
on the opposite side of the Bay of Massachusetts ; and sympa-
thized in their faith and devotion.
Dr. Codman died, in the bosom of his family, on the 23d
of December, 1847, having entered his sixty-sixth year.
REV. CHARLES LOWELL, D.D.
My personal acquaintance with the late Rev. Dr. Lowell
did not commence until after his ordination as Pastor of the
West Church in this city. The occasion of it was the circum-
stance, that a family of endeared relatives* branching sub-
* That of the late Hon. N. P. Russell, Esq., who became Treasurer of the Society ;
and his sister, now widow of L. Pope, Esq.; including their mother, Mrs. Sarah
Russell (mother of the late Mrs. Jenks); and also the family of John Binney, Esq.,
who married Mrs. Russell's youngest daughter.
428 MASSACHUSETTS HISTORICAL SOCIETY. [FEB.
sequently into several households, had become his regular
hearers, and attached members of the parish under his care ;
the connection, in regard to some of them, continuing during
his life, and, as respects a few, prolonged with the parish
even still. Running, therefore, through his whole ministry,
and creating an interest in it with various excitements, this
acquaintance gives authority to the " tribute " it is my pre-
sent lot to pay to the departed.
For the discharge of this duty, there is no lack of suffi-
cient documents, indeed, to supply what is wanting of per-
sonal knowledge ; since the affectionate esteem in which the
subject of it was held while living, and which has been
elicited since his decease, furnishes them abundantly, al-
though no express Memoir has been published.
His advantages of birth and training were of the highest
character ; and had, of course, their appropriate influence on
his subsequent life. Of his friends he was not the first to
receive the benefit of the most liberal education our country
could aflbrd, but derived an incitement to literary emulation
from the station, connections, and influence of those to whom
he sustained the nearest relationship. His father — the Hon.
John Lowell, Esq., LL.D. — enjoyed the reputation of an emi-
nent lawyer in this city ; in 1781, was chosen a member of
Congress ; and having been appointed, by Washington, a
Judge of the District Court in 1789, became in 1801, on the
new organization of the courts of the United States, " Chief-
Judge of the First Circuit." He is characterized* as " uniting
to a vigorous mind, which was enriched with literary acqui-
sitions, a refined taste and conciliatory manners ; being sincere
in the belief and practice of the Christian religion."
Judge Lowell married Rebecca, daughter of Judge James
Russell of Charlestown,f a lady whose name is embalmed in
* See his article in Allen's Biographical Dictionary.
t This long-distinguished American family descended from Richard Russell, of
Herefordshire in England, who settled in Charlestown in 1640. The writer well
1862.] MEMOIR OP THE REV. CHARLES LOWELL, D.D. 429
her son's dedication to his sister of a volume of his ser-
mons ; * in which he writes, " You will find in this volume
a sermon containing the portraiture of a good mother ; and
will not fail to trace in it, though she was not the prototype,
the lineaments of the character of that sainted being, now a
ministering angel to us, from whom we both received our first
lessons of piety, — lessons which she so fully and beautifully
embodied in her own life and example."
Under the instructions and with the example of such
parents, the life of Charles Lowell commenced, and his youth
was nurtured. For a time, he was at the Phillips Academy,
in Andover ; as was also, we have seen, his cousin Codman.
Afterward he was placed in the care and tuition of the Eev.
Mr. Sanger, in South Bridgewater ; Avith whom he completed
his studies preparatory to entering Harvard College in an
advanced standing, as sophomore, in 1797; taking his first
degree in 1800. Two of his brothers had been graduated
there previously ; and his reverend grandfather, in 1721 ; his
father, in 1760.
On leaving college, Mr. Lowell did not at once enter on
the studies of that profession on which his heart was set;
but, as we have seen his cousin did, passed at least a year, in
his eldest brother's office, in the study of law. His brother,
a truly eminent lawyer, had attained great practice, which
he found to be burdensome, and contemplated relinquish-
remembers the venerable judge, to whom he was introduced by the judge's grandson,
Dr. (then Mr.) Codman, in 1797; and who maintained the dignity of age with honor,
and the respect of the whole community. By the coat of arms which his son Thomas,
the wealthy merchant of Boston, used in his book-plate, as well as by information
derived from another of his sons, James (of Bristol, England), it appears that the
family did not claim to descend from the ducal branch of the Russells, first ennobled
in 1549 ; but probably from that of Strensham in Worcestershire, the male line of
which became extinct there in 1705, after having flourished -five hundred years on
that estate. This appears from Nash's History of Worcester, and from Wiffen's
Memoirs of the House of Russell ; tracing them from the old Norman stock, a scion
of which was planted in England at the Conquest.
* Published in 1854.
430 MASSACHUSETTS HISTORICAL SOCIETY. [FEB.
ing his profession ; and it was their father's wish that his
youngest son should be prepared to enter the field, and reap
the harvest made apparently so ready to his hand. However,
the design failed ; and young Mr. Lowell concluded to pursue
his course of theological study at Edinburgh.
It was about this time that he lost his excellent father,
who died at Eoxbury on the 6th of May, 1802 ; having sur-
vived his brother-in-law, the Hon. John Codman (whose obi-
tuary he had written), as we have seen, but a short time.
Whether this event affected the resolution of Mr. Lowell or
not, I am unable to determine : but, in the autumn after, he
sailed for Liverpool ; proceeded thence to Edinburgh, where
he entered the divinity school of the University ; and for
three winters pursued his theological studies in attending
the stated lectures. "With those of the eminent Professor
Dugald Stewart he was highly pleased, and considered him
" the finest lecturer he ever heard." In a notice of his la-
mented death,* which has already been quoted, it is added,
that " the first summer he took a pedestrian tour to the High-
lands of Scotland. He then visited England, Prance, and
Switzerland." Having letters to several persons of eminence,
he was received with the kindest attentions, particularly by
Bishop Porteus and Mr. Wilberforce. He gave himself also
the advantage of hearing Pitt, Fox, and Sheridan, as well as
Wilberforce, in Parliament. In Paris also he saw Napoleon,
when he first appeared as emperor. And, having preached
at Hackney and at Bristol, he returned to Boston in 1805.
By the death of the Rev. Simeon Howard, D.D.,f who had
succeeded the eminent Dr. Mayhew as Pastor of the West
Church in Boston, a vacancy in that office had been created.
Mr. Lowell was invited to fill it ; and on the first day of Janu-
ary, 1806, was publicly ordained. This was his only settle-
* See Boston Daily Advertiser of Jan. 22, 1861.
t Aug. 18, 1804.
1862.] MEMOIR OF THE REV. CHARLES LOWELL, D.D. 431
ment, and it continued for life : since, although his active
services were not enjoyed by his people during some years
of confinement toward its close, his affectionate parish would
not receive his offered resignation, but regarded him as their
pastor still ; the necessary duties of that office being rendered
by the Rev. Dr. Bartol, settled in 1837.
We have now to contemplate him in his new and sacred
and responsible situation. And here he shone ; not, indeed,
as a controversial divine, but as a devoted minister of the
Prince of peace, — devoted conscientiously to the welfare, tem-
poral as well as spiritual, of his people. This was the distin-
guishing trait of his protracted ministry: and it met a full
response in the affection borne to him, and variously mani-
fested, from the beginning of it to its close. In very few
religious communities have I known it more marked.
With equal independence of character, aided similarly by
the prestige of wealth and family,* he yet took a course
distinctly different from that of his relative whose life has
now been briefly reviewed ; and although the state of theo-
logical opinion had not, as yet, developed the differences of
belief existing actually, yet the way was preparing for that
separation of churches and pastors from each other, which
distinguished so observably the former portion of the present
But it is time that the pastor should be permitted to speak,
as it were, for himself. From a sermon, therefore, on " Cheer-
fulness in Youth, sanctioned by Religion," f an extract is
made : " I am not," said the preacher, " and never have been,
a believer in that system which would dress up the gladsome
* Not only did the father and elder brother of Dr. Lowell stand high in public
estimation, as his grandfather had done, but his second brother, Francis C, acquired
reputation and influence in a successful cultivation of an important manufacture ; and it
was in reference to his public and private worth that the thriving city of Lowell bears
the family name. — See Memoir of the Hon. N. Appleton, by the respected President of
the Massachusetts Historical Society.
1 From Eccl. xi. 9. — See Sermons chiefly Practical, published 1854, p. 32.
432 MASSACHUSETTS HISTORICAL SOCIETY. [Feb.
spirit of youth in the weeds of sadness, and convert the
accents, even of early childhood, into mournful regrets and
lamentations — if, indeed, these could be felt and indulged —
for the deformed scene on which they have entered, and the
deformed natures they have brought with them." He adds,
" It is a system which has never been taught in this church,
whose hundredth year is not very distant ; and which, I trust,
will never be taught here."
This important hint, or declaration, leads us directly to the
history of the West Church, as given by its late senior pastor,
who took much pains to be minutely accurate in his statements.
It was organized in 1737, chiefly by members of several of
the Boston churches ; and its first minister was the Rev.
William Hooper, who, in about ten years after, became Rec-
tor of Trinity Church, and died in 1767. His successors, in
order, were the very eminent Dr. Mayhew, and the Rev. Dr.
Howard, who immediately preceded the fourth pastor, our
late lamented friend.
In the spirit of the quotation just made, the last remarks,
when reviewing his ministry of forty years, and speaking of
his first discourse, " The theme of it was from the fourth
chapter of the Philippians : and the words were, ' Rejoice in the
Lord alway; and again I say, Rejoice.' Such was the text of
the first sermon which I preached in this parish. It was my
object in that sermon to portray the beneficial influence of
religion on the character and happiness of man ; and the con-
cluding exhortation was in the spirit of the text, ' Rejoice in
the Lord alway,' — in joy and in sorrow, in prosperity and ad-
versity, in riches and poverty, in health and sickness, in life
and death. As I then presented religion to you in the garb
of cheerfulness, and not of melancholy; as the inspirer of
peace and hope, and not of wretchedness and despair : so, you
will bear me witness, I have always presented it. As I then
exhorted those who heard me to rejoice in the Lord alway, so
have I exhorted you to do it in all the varied circumstances of
1862.] MEMOIR OF THE EEV. CHARLES LOWELL, D.D. 433
your lives. I have directed you to God as your Father and
your best friend, and — as our religion presents him to us —
as God in Christ, reconciling the world to himself. I have
exhorted you to go to him, through Christ, as your only secure
refuge ; and have assured you, that none who went by that way
should in any wise be cast out. So did I begin, and so would
I end, my preaching. 'Bejoice in the Lord alway.' And what
an abundant source of rejoicing is opened to us in that reli-
gion which teaches us to rejoice in God I How often, — little
as it seems to me that I have been instrumental in effecting
in this already long ministry, — how often have I seen the
influence of this religion in refining, purifying, sanctifying,
elevating the soul of the believer ; in soothing sorrow, some-
times indescribably great, and while nothing else could soothe ;
in reconciling, and more than reconciling, to death, when there
was every thing to inspire the wish to live ! But religion —
faith in God and in Christ — had given the hope of a better
world, and death was ' swallowed up of life.' Blessed hope !
Hold it fast, my friends : do not let it go ! " *
Three or four years before Whitefield's first arrival in
America, the West Church had been gathered; and in the
eleven Congregational churches of Boston, of which this was
one, it is related that he preached. This was in 1740. But
what was the special course of Mr. Hooper in reference to him
does not appear. Dr. Lowell, in making his investigations for
the history of the church, states that he found in manuscript,
in our Historical Society's library, a correspondence in that
year between Dr. Colman, of Brattle-street Church, and Mr.
Hooper, which led him " to think that Mr. Hooper's greater
liberality of sentiment than some of his brethren had an
influence in determining him to leave the Congregational
communion. He was," observes Dr. Lowell,f "a native of
* Occasional Sermons, published in 1855, p. 292, &c.
f Same volume, sermon entitled Retrospection.
434 MASSACHUSETTS HISTORICAL SOCIETY. [FEB.
Scotland ; a man of more than ordinary powers of mind ; of a
noble aspect ; an eloquent, popular preacher." And he adds,
" It was on his account chiefly, as I have reason to think, that
this church was formed ; and the dissolution of his connection
with it was universally and deeply lamented."
It is not a little remarkable, that Mr. Hooper's immediate
successor, Dr. Mayhew,* should have become deeply engaged
in a spirited controversy with the English episcopacy before
the decease of Mr. Hooper, — a controversy which involved
" his Grace of Canterbury,' and contributed as much, perhaps,
to the celebrity of the West-Church pastor, as his early, bold,
patriotic stand in favor of the British Colonies in America ;
and the freedom which he demanded for his country, as a
patriot, he claimed, vindicated, and exercised, in his own pro"
fession, as a minister of religion.
Kev. Dr. Howard, the successor of Mayhew, "an eminently
wise and good man" (I use the words of Dr. Lowell), "fol-
lowed in his steps, and neither brought himself nor his people
under ' the yoke of bondage.' He did not enter, indeed, like
his predecessor, upon the thorny field of controversy; but, like
him, he asserted his independence, and inflexibly maintained
the sufficiency of the Scriptures, and the indefeasible right of
every man to search and judge for himself. It was his own
language, with respect to the duty of a Christian minister,
that he should 'subscribe no man's creed, and require no man
to subscribe his. I know not,' he says, ' how to reconcile
the conduct of those who set up other standards of Ortho-
doxy, besides the Holy Scriptures, with that superior regard
which is due to those sacred writings.' "
* " One of the ablest men our country has produced," wrote Dr. Lowell in giving a
history of the West Church. The Life of Dr. Mayhew was published by the late Alden
Bradford, Esq. ; but it has excited my wonder that his Works have not been repub-
lished, by the friends of his sentiments, in a regular set. They were, indeed, collected
with much care by Lieutenant-Governor Lincoln (father cf the respected Ex-Governor),
of Worcester, as he himself assured me many years ago.
1862.] MEMOIB OP THE REV. CHARLES LOWELL. D.D. 435
"It has been my ambition," adds Dr. Lowell, in the dis-
course from which the preceding sentences have been drawn,
" like those who have gone before me in this church, to keep
myself free from the shackles of human authority; and, to
this end, I have adopted neither the name nor the creed of
any party.* If I had selected any other name than that
which the first disciples bore, it would have been ' eclectic,' —
taking from each party what seemed to me to be truth : but
better than any other name is the name of ' Christian ; ' and
better than all other creeds, the word of God. This name is
as definite, and this creed is surely as intelligible, as any other.
Whilst, however, I would build my faith on no man's foundation
in matters of religion, I have an entire respect for him who
diligently and devoutly studies his Bible in search of truth ;
and, though he may come to a result different from my own, if
I perceive in him the fruits of holy living, I have no anxiety
to convert him to my faith, however dear it may be to me.
The mode of faith that is best for me may not be best for him.
I am satisfied with his faith, if it is productive of good works.
I remember that the Saviour has said, ' By their fruits ye
shall know them ; ' and that an apostle, too, has said, ' Show
me thy faith without thy works, and I will show thee my faith
by my works.' "
The sentiment that originated the resolution thus expressed
was, with apparent conscientiousness, and certainly with much
firmness, maintained on all occasions, which, as he deemed,
required it, by Dr. Lowell. Hence it was that he published a
* So frequently was this avowal made, and so resolutely kept, that the anonymous
author of " Pages from the Ecclesiastical History of New England " has not hesitated
to say, after enumerating several of the Boston ministers, who had adopted Socinian
sentiments, renouncing the " Puritan " doctrines, " Lowell rejected least, and would
never permit himself to assume any other title than that of ' Christian,' nor to be num-
bered with the party with whom he acted." This pamphlet is a republication of papers
from the "Episcopal Observer," evidently written by one of that denomination, in
which evangelical piety and Christian zeal have been greatly resuscitated since the
commencement of the present century.
436 MASSACHUSETTS HISTOBICAL SOCIETY. [FEB.
discourse entitled " Union in Sentiment among Christians, not
essential to Peace." * Another is in the same volume, asserting
that " the name of Christian [is] the only appropriate name
for believers in Christ." He also wrote a discoursef maintain-
ing that " theology, and not religion, [is] the cause of division
and strife in the Christian Church." One of his sermons also
is entitled " Men accountable only to God for their theological
Opinions." Another is on " The Trinitarian Controversy,"
grounded on Luke x. 22.
These several discourses exhibit distinctively the views he
entertained of the gospel and its requirements, and the reasons
on which he grounded his habitual conduct. That conduct,
although different from the course of many whom he highly
esteemed, he justified to his own conscience by the arguments
which in these discourses he has given ; and took and exer-
cised what he judged to be " the liberty wherewith Christ
makes free." The limits to which these remarks may be
extended will permit no further specifications.
In the practical discharge of his duties as a pastor and
minister of a parish, Dr. Lowell, as I have ventured to say,
shone peculiarly. It was, indeed, that which endeared him
remarkably to the people of his charge. Nor to them only ;
for at the time of his settlement, and during the early portion
of his ministry, none of the now numerous associations for the
religious instruction and comfort of the poor had been formed.
The eminently pious and excellent Dr. Stillman, whose spirit-
ual services had been so acceptable wherever they were ren-
dered, in private as well as in public, died in 1807. Dr.
Thacher, too, of Brattle-street Church, ever welcome to the
afflicted, had sunk under disease, previously by some years.
And now the sympathy with suffering, and the devoted atten-
tion to such as sought his kindness, manifested among his own
* No. X. of his Occasional Sermons,
t No. XI. in the same volume.
1862.] MEMOIR OF THE REV. CHARLES LOWELL, D.D. 4:37
people by Mr. Lowell, opened the door for many applications
from beyond these limits. He says himself, in recalling his
labors * There " was a large accession of worshippers on the
erection of the new church," in 1806 ; " and the parish, during
the greater part of my ministry, consisted of from three to four
hundred families. Circumstances also brought under my care
the largest part of that portion of the population who were des-
titute of a stated ministry ; so that I was for several years the
' Minister-at-Large ' in fact, though not in name. . . . There
were demands upon me, for ministerial services, from every
quarter and from every class of society, by day and by night.
My slumbers in the night were broken by calls to the sick
and dying. Not seldom I have been obliged to find my way
through dark and narrow passages, to minister, in their sickness
and death, their penitence and fearful forebodings, to the most
degraded and abandoned, of whom there were not a few in a
remote section of the part of the city in which I lived. I could
not portray in language the heart-rending scenes I have
witnessed. f Ah, how fearful will be the account they must
render, of whose unhallowed passions and cruel artifices these
sufferers were the miserable victims ! In performing these
painful and wearisome labors, ' necessity was laid upon me.' I
did no more," he adds with exemplary modesty, " than common
humanity would lead me to do ; and all I did was done with the
prompting and in the strength of Him who is the author of all
good designs, and whose ' strength is made perfect in weak-
ness.' The burden which has thus devolved upon me was
greater than I could bear ; and the impaired state of my health
led, by the advice of the parish, to my fixing my residence in
the country. The number of churches, in the mean time, was
* Review of a Ministry of Forty Years, Occasional Sermons, p. 297, &c.
t He alludes, doubtless, to " the hill " between Beacon and Cambridge Streets, where
not unfrequently his name was heard by me, while pursuing a course of Christian duty
under the auspices of the Society for the Religious Instruction of the Poor, several of
whom, in subsequent years, sorely missed his ministrations.
438 MASSACHUSETTS HISTORICAL SOCIETY. [Feb.
multiplied ; and there was less necessity for my extra services.
From these extra services, my removal, in a great measure,
released me ; though I continued to perform my appropriate
parochial duties as usual."
How these " parochial duties " were performed, the follow-
ing paragraph will declare. It is drawn from the same dis-
course : and the author says, " Is it amiss for me, in this con-
nection, to say that I am not conscious of having ever heard
of sickness or trouble in any of your families, that I have not
gone to do what became me as your minister to do ; or that
I have ever known of any considerable accession to the
sources of your happiness, that I have not rejoiced with
you in your joy, and endeavored to lead you to a grateful im-
provement of the goodness of God to you ? One thing more I
may claim to say, that my pastoral visits have never been spent
in idle gossiping. I have aimed to make them useful, however
much I may have failed to do so. A minister of religion, I
have felt that it became me to teach religion, not only ' pub-
licly,' but ' from house to house ; ' to ' watch for souls,' —
God forgive me that I have not been more faithful ! — 'as one
who must give an account.' "
His labors were lightened by the happy settlement of a
colleague ; but for some years before his decease, although he
journeyed for health in this country, and revisited Europe (ex-
tending his tour, accompanied by his wife and daughter, even
to Greece and Palestine, of which he gave a brief account to
his people), he was exercised with debility and sickness. Un-
der these sufferings, however, he was sustained in a meek,
tincomplaining resignation, even to the close of his earthly
His connection with the Historical Society of Massachusetts,
as their Corresponding Secretary for a long series of years,
deepened their interest in him, and endears to them his che-
rished memory. He was born in Boston, Aug. 15, 1782 ; and
died at Cambridge, Jan. 20, 1861, in his seventy-ninth year.
1862.] MEMOIR OF THE REV. CHARLES LOWELL, D.D. 439
And now, having briefly passed over the lives of these two
clergymen, lately so much and so deservedly confided in by
their respective parishes and friends, and permitted them
afresh to speak, as it were, for themselves, let us pause a mo-
ment for a partial retrospect. Wesley, the honored head and
archbishop of Methodism, is reported to have said, " I do not
wish that my preachers should be gentlemen." His meaning I
take to have been, that he did not desire effeminate, self-seek
ing, self-sparing men for the ministrations of the gospel. But
here we have two devoted ministers, laborious, faithful, con-
scientious, to whom none who knew them will deny the name
of " gentlemen," yet choosing and exercising their profession
with a reverential sense of dependence on God, and need of
his grace ; withholding themselves from no exertion in their
power to make in the discharge of duty : and, though they
adopted views in several important particulars differing es-
sentially, who shall pronounce a decisive judgment against
either ? Happily, it is not our business. " There is One that
judgeth," and before Him we must all appear. Well may we
adopt the language of a contemporary, who, when mentioning
the late Rev. Oortlandt van Rensselaer, observes, " Some of
the most laborious, earnest, and successful preachers are men
above the reach of want, and independent of the support of
their people." *
I cannot but regard it as a great advantage to both the
persons whose lives we have been reviewing, that, before en-
tering on their strictly professional studies, they had opportu-
nity to pass a year in the study of law. It tended, I doubt not,
to give them correct views of the organization of civil society,
the excellency of our own invaluable institutions, and the
gratitude we owe to God for them ; thus preparing the way
for appreciating the blessings of " the glorious gospel of the
blessed God," by the influence of which alone these privileges
may be rendered permanent.
* New-York Observer.
440 MASSACHUSETTS HISTOEICAL SOCIETY. [MARCH,
Hence the liberal expression of rational and decided patri-
otism, apparent in their occasional discourses on public days.
Not that political sermons answer my views, or theirs, of the
great design of the Christian pulpit ; but, under governments
like ours, it surely is inexpedient so to restrict and circum-
scribe its occupant, that he shall not, without giving offence,
utter in public what overburdens his heart in secret, when
he contemplates the concerns of his country. How shall he
discharge his sacred duty if he have not this liberty ? Besides,
men of cultivated intellect and of integrity, liberally educated,
and animated with Christian love, cannot be restrained from
taking an interest in these things, nor from having their own
opinions about them ; " for," as says the Apostle Paul, when
characterizing nobly the Christian spirit, " God hath not given
us the spirit of fear, but of power, and of love, and of a sound
A stated monthly meeting of the Society was held
this evening, Thursday, March 13, at half-past seven
o'clock ; the President, Hon. Robert C. Winthrop, in
Donations were announced from the publishers of
the " Farmer and Gardener ; " John Appleton, M.D. ;
George Clasback, Esq.; Thomas F. De Voe, Esq.;
B. P. Johnson, Esq. ; Thomas S. Kirkbride, M.D. ; Hon.
J. Segar ; and from Messrs. Bigelow (G. T.), Folsom,
Quint, Park, Bobbins (C), Warren, Washburn, Willard,
and Winthrop, of the Society.