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Full text of "March Meeting. Letter of Hon. Samuel Osgood; Letter of Hon. John Bacon; Letter from Charles Stoddard, Esq.; The Rogers Genealogy and the Candler MS.; Memoir of Nathaniel Ingersoll Bowditch"

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440 MASSACHUSETTS HISTORICAL 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 
mind." 



MARCH MEETING. 

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 
the chair. 

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, Eobbins (C), Warren, Washburn, Willard, 
and Winthrop, of the Society. 



1862.] REMARKS BY THE PRESIDENT. 441 

The Keport from the Society's Cabinet noticed a dona- 
tion by Joseph E. Adams, Esq., of Newbury, Mass., of 
a pistol, formerly belonging to Col. Paul Revere; for 
which the Cabinet-keeper was directed to communicate 
to the donor the thanks of the Society. 

Mr. Warren presented a facsimile copy of " An 
Ordinance to dissolve the Union between the State of 
South Carolina and other States united with her, under 
the Compact entitled c The Constitution of the United 
States of America,' " dated Dec. 20, 1860 ; to which are 
annexed the signatures of delegates of " the people of 
South Carolina in convention assembled." 

The President, in calling the attention of the Society 
to the recent death of three of its distinguished mem- 
bers, — Dr. Bell, Hon. William Appleton, and President 
Felton, — remarked as follows : — 

It may not, perhaps, have been forgotten, gentlemen, that 
at our January meeting, in reporting the nominations of the 
two Resident Members, the acceptance of one of whom has 
just been announced, it was remarked from the Chair, that 
their election would complete the number to which our Society 
is limited by its charter ; and that, for the first time since our 
original incorporation, there would then be a hundred living 
names upon our roll. 

But it is for man to propose, and for God to dispose. 

On the morning of the very day on which the election was 
to take place, and when our roll was to be thus auspiciously 
completed, the tidings reached us, that one of our number had 
already fallen a victim to the privations and exposures of the 
camp, while devotedly employed in the medical service of 
the army of the United States. A few days only intervened, 
before it was announced that another of our honored asso- 

56 



442 MASSACHUSETTS HISTORICAL SOCIETY. [MARCH, 

ciates, in our immediate neighborhood, had passed away from 
these earthly scenes. And now, within a week or two past, 
a third name has been added to the list of those whom we 
may never again be permitted to welcome within these walls. 
The death of Dr. Luther V. Bell was briefly noticed at our 
last meeting ; and if the tributes which were paid to his me- 
mory, on the impulse of the moment, were somewhat less 
formal and less finished than they would have been if the 
tidings had reached us at an earlier day, they had the fresh- 
ness and fervor of an immediate sorrow, and were by no means 
wanting in appropriate manifestations of respect for his cha- 
racter, and regret for his loss. After many years of varied 
and most valuable service to the community, his declining 
health had compelled him to seek retirement from the active 
labors of his vocation ; but, when the Government of the 
country was heard calling upon the people to take up arms in 
defence of the Capital and of the Union, he forgot all physical 
infirmities of his own, and volunteered at once to discharge 
such duties in the field as belonged to the profession of which 
he was an honored member. Having already passed through 
the grades of regimental and brigade surgeon, and having 
rendered conspicuous services in the most memorable conflict 
of the war, he was just proposing to seek the relief which he 
required, and to which he was so richly entitled, in a post of 
even greater responsibility, but of less immediate exposure 
and fatigue. His desire was fulfilled in a way which he 
thought not of. The rest which he was about to claim at the 
hands of the Government, he received at the hands of God. 
A brief and sudden illness soon prostrated his enfeebled 
frame ; and he died in the camp which had been the scene of 
his humane and unremitted labors for the lives of others. We 
shall remember him proudly, as the first, and we trust we 
may be permitted to say, when peace and concord shall again 
be restored to our land, as the only one, of our members who 
has fallen in the military service of our country. 



1862.] REMARKS BY THE PRESIDENT. 443 

It would hardly be quite just, however, to the memory of 
another lamented associate, — • the Hon. William Appleton, 
— whose death we are next called on to notice this evening, 
were we to forget that his immediate decline was undoubtedly 
accelerated by the labors and cares with which his strength 
had been overtasked in the civil service of the Union. As a 
member of the House of Representatives of the United States, 
he remained faithfully at his post, during the anxious and agi- 
tating session of the last summer, long after his health had 
become so seriously impaired as to excite the just apprehen- 
sions of his friends. His commercial information and financial 
experience were indispensable to the committee of which he 
was a member, and his colleagues on that committee were 
unwilling to spare him from their councils. He returned 
home at last, debilitated and exhausted ; and resigned his seat 
only in season to make final preparations for the change which 
so soon awaited him. 

It has already been my privilege to unite with our fellow- 
citizens in paying a tribute to this excellent man and public 
benefactor ; and I forbear from adding any thing on this occa- 
sion to the simple announcement of his death. 

Nor do I propose to dwell long on the third name which 
has been so sadly stricken from our roll, and from other rolls 
where it will be still more missed, since our last monthly meet- 
ing. There are those present to whom it fitly belongs to deal 
with the character and accomplishments of the late President 
Felton ; yet I should be false to the impulses of my own heart, 
were I to withhold all expression of sorrow for the loss of one 
so honored and so loved. Few persons, I think, have known y 
better than he, how to combine the cheerfulness and cordiality 
which belong to the companion and the friend, with the 
seriousness and earnestness which belong to the student and 
the instructor ; and we hardly know which will be most 
missed in the sphere from which he has been so prematurely 
removed, — his thorough scholarship or his genial fellowship. 



444 MASSACHUSETTS HISTORICAL SOCIETY. [MARCH, 

His long and faithful services to the University, of which he 
had so recently become the honored head, were hardly more 
remarkable than his untiring readiness to lend his counsel and 
his experience to the cause of our Common Schools. He 
shrunk, indeed, from no labor which could be demanded of 
trim, — from no service which he could anywhere find an op- 
portunity to render, — in the cause of education, science, or 
literature ; and yet he never denied himself to the claims of 
social life or to the offices of hospitality and friendship. His 
modest estimate of his own acquirements was in striking con- 
trast with his generous appreciation of the accomplishments 
and efforts of others ; and he never seemed better satisfied 
with himself than when he was paying a hearty tribute to the 
merits of a friend. 

His connection with our Society was not of many years 7 
standing ; but we shall not soon forget the eager interest with 
which he entered into our proceedings on more than one occa- 
sion. His voice has again and again been heard here, in 
eloquent eulogy upon those who have gone before him ; and 
some of his utterances on these occasions seem almost prophe- 
tic of his own early end. It seems but yesterday, that, after 
paying an affectionate tribute to the memory of the late Judge 
White, he reminded us, in a tone of almost triumphant antici- 
pation, that " the grave is but the gateway that leads to 
immortality ; " bidding us " follow courageously in the heaven- 
illumined path of the good and famous men who have gone 
before us." 

It seems hardly more than yesterday, since, in speaking of 
the sudden death of Prescott, he told us, that, "with the 
loveliness of returning spring, the announcement would be 
heard, even to the shores of Greece ; " and that, " under the 
matchless glories of the sky of Attica, a sense of bereavement 
would mingle with the festivities and Christian welcomes of 
that joyous season." 

He little imagined how soon these words would become 



1862.] REMARKS BY THE PRESIDENT. 445 

applicable to himself. His own modesty may have repressed 
the imagination that they would ever be applied to him. 
Yet no one, who recollects how closely he had identified him- 
self, during more than a quarter of a century past, with every 
thing which relates to that classic soil. — with the study of 
its ancient and of its modern language, with its matchless 
literature, with its marvellous history, with its reviving hopes, 
— no one, certainly, who has had an opportunity of knowing 
the esteem, respect, and affection which he won there during 
the two visits which were almost the only relaxations of his 
laborious life, can doubt for an instant that the tidings of his 
death will touch many a heart in the land which he so 
delighted to illustrate, and that his loss will be deplored by 
not a few of those who have inherited the language of Homer, 
Thucydides, and Xenophon. 

It was my own good fortune to be able to give him his first 
introduction to the English ambassador at Athens (Sir Thomas 
Wyse), with whom he formed the most intimate and cordial 
friendship, and through whom I have repeatedly heard how 
deep and lasting an impression had been left there of his- kind 
and generous nature, his thorough and comprehensive scholar- 
ship, and his ardent and almost romantic affection for that 
land of glowing skies and glorious memories. 

There is one precious memorial of his interest in that land, 
and of a better land also, which cannot soon be forgotten, 
either there or here, and the recollection of which is in pecu- 
liar harmony with an hour like this. I refer to the communion- 
plate which he exerted himself so eagerly in procuring, on his 
first return home, for a little Episcopal chapel at Athens, then 
under the care of Dr. Hill, whose character and services he 
ever spoke of with the highest admiration. The twofold 
glories of the spot, as the scene of the grandest efforts of the 
two noblest orators of the world, — the classic and the Chris- 
tian Demosthenes, — inspired him with even an unwonted 
enthusiasm ; and few things gratified him more (if I may judge 



446 MASSACHUSETTS HISTORICAL SOCIETY. [MARCH, 

by repeated expressions of his own), than to have secured for 
himself, and for a few of his American friends, the privilege 
of offering this little pledge of Christian sympathy to those 
who should assemble beneath the shadows of Mars 7 Hill — 
where Paul so triumphantly confronted the Epicurean and the 
Stoic, and that whole inquisitive and jeering crowd of Athe- 
nians and strangers — to partake of the supper of our Lord, 
and to commemorate the transcendent reality of the resurrec- 
tion from the dead. 

Not long afterwards, he took " Paul, as an Athenian Orator," 
for the subject of a popular lecture. 

But I will detain you no longer, gentlemen, from the wor- 
thier tributes which others are prepared to pay to the memory 
of our departed friends, and for which I have been instructed 
to open the way by introducing the following resolution : — 

"Resolved, That this Society has heard, with the deepest regret, 
of the deaths of their esteemed and respected associates, the Hon. 
William Appleton, and Cornelius Conway Felton, LL.D. : and 
that Dr. Chandler Robbins he requested to prepare the customary Me- 
moir of Mr. Appleton ; and Mr. Hillard, that of President Felton." 

Mr. Hillard, in seconding the resolution, offered 
the following remarks : — 

Since our last meeting, the community in which we live ; 
the College at Cambridge, in which we all feel so affectionate 
an interest ; the fellowship of men of letters all over the 
world, — have been called upon to mourn the death of Corne- 
lius Conway Felton, President of Harvard College, in the prime 
of his life and the meridian of his powers. We, too, share in 
this general grief; for he was our honored and beloved asso- 
ciate, a constant attendant at our meetings, and taking part 
in our proceedings with that hearty and engaging sympathy 
which was so attractive an element in his character. We feel 
conscious of a painful void, not merely in our own limited 
circle, but in the ranks of those, never so numerous as to 



1862.] MR. HILLARD's REMARKS. 447 

make a gap unobserved, by whom superior powers, under the 
guidance of duty, are employed for the advancement of the 
best interests of literature, civilization, and humanity. We 
are in a condition to feel the full force of the words of Burke, 
speaking of the death of his son : " At this exigent moment, 
the loss of a finished man is not easily supplied." 

In giving expression to our sense of his worth, I shall not 
undertake to narrate the events of his life, or to enumerate 
his various literary labors and productions ; but shall confine 
myself to an attempt to delineate what he was, and to state 
what were those gifts of mind, and graces of character, which 
secured to him so large a measure of esteem, admiration, and 
love. For the discharge of this melancholy duty, I can claim 
at least the qualification which comes from an intimate friend- 
ship of more than thirty years' duration. 

Our departed friend and associate was peculiarly and pre- 
eminently a scholar. He was not given to the habit of self- 
inspection. Had he permitted himself to take the gauge and 
estimate of his own merits, he would have rested his title to 
honor and remembrance upon what he had done in his chosen 
profession of literature. He was born with an intense love of 
knowledge ; and, deeply as he had drunk at the fountains 
of knowledge, this noble thirst of the mind was never slaked. 
To the very last, he read and studied with the same fresh 
and eager delight with which in his boyhood he availed him- 
self of the privilege, not lightly earned or early won, of 
obtaining a liberal education, when the longest day was not 
long enough to slacken his zeal, or abate the edge of his intel- 
lectual appetite. With powers of acquisition proportionate 
to his love of knowledge ; with a memory which was " wax to 
receive, and marble to retain ; " with a mind active, and hos- 
pitable to every form of learning, — it is hardly necessary to 
add that his attainments were various, profound, and exact, 
and that he was entitled to be ranked among the best scholars 
of his time. 



448 MASSACHUSETTS HISTORICAL SOCIETY. [MARCH, 

In his special and peculiar department of scholarship — a 
knowledge of the language and literature of Greece — he had 
certainly no superior, and hardly an equal, in this country. 
Tried by the highest standard of England or Germany, he 
would have been deemed an excellent Greek scholar ; and, to 
those who know what that standard is, this is no mean praise. 
And he was strongest in the highest department of scholarship, 
— the comprehension of the spirit of Greek literature, and the 
peculiar characteristics of the mind of Greece. It is hardly 
possible to imagine two eminent Greek scholars who were less 
alike than he and the late Richard Porson, who, though the 
greatest of verbal critics, and of unrivalled skill in investigat- 
ing the metrical laws of Greek poetry, was apparently as 
insensible to the genius of the authors he edited as if he 
had been a sailor of the Peiraeus, or a charcoal-burner on 
Mount Parnes. Felton was by no means wanting in verbal 
accuracy and metrical knowledge ; but he was most remarka- 
ble for quick perception and sympathetic appreciation of the 
intellectual traits of the great writers of Greece. There was 
not a single string in the many-toned lyre of Hellas which 
did not cause a chord of unison to vibrate in his breast. 
Pindar, Demosthenes, Thucydides, the three great tragic wri- 
ters, Aristophanes, Herodotus, were all familiar to him, and 
all were enjoyed with discriminating relish ; but for Homer 
he had a peculiar reverence, and in the reading of him he took 
peculiar delight. In his judgment, there was no commensu- 
rate name in all literature. The morning-star of poetry, — the 
earliest set in the sky, — he was, to his eyes, still the bright- 
est of all the glittering host. Among all the editors of and 
commentators upon Homer, it may be doubted if there were 
one who more thoroughly understood him, or read him with 
livelier pleasure. Proportionate to his admiration of the 
author of the " Iliad " and the " Odyssey " was the earnestness 
with which he rejected the theory which denies his personality. 
He could not bear to think that these divine poems were an 



1862.] MR. HILLARD'S REMARKS. 449 

aggregation of ballads, — a sort of Hellenic Percy's Re- 
liques, — mortised and dovetailed together by some clever 
literary cabinet-maker. 

It was natural that a man of such scholarly tastes and such 
warm sympathies should transfer some of the interest which 
he felt in the history and literature of ancient Greece to the 
regenerated Greece of to-day. In the course of two succes- 
sive visits, he passed several months in that country, mostly 
in Athens ; and those who knew him can well imagine the 
delight with which he saw, face to face, the memorable spots 
which had been so long visible to the eye of the mind, over 
which hung a light brighter than that of the sun, and which 
were suffused with colors lovelier than the rainbow. He was 
familiar with the new-born literature of the country, and spoke 
its language with ease and fluency. He was cordially wel- 
comed by the intelligent and cultivated men of that country, 
who saw in the presence of this learned, accomplished, and 
amiable man, animated with a scholar's enthusiasm and a pil- 
grim's reverence, coming from — 

" Regions further west 
Than their sires' Islands of the Blest," — 

a new proof of the intellectual influence of those immortal 
minds, which in other days had shed such lustre upon their 
land. He looked with hopeful eyes upon the future of Greece. 
He was warmly interested in her people ; recognizing fully all 
their good qualities, and finding an excuse for their faults in 
the bad government under which they had so long lan- 
guished. 

His acquisitions were by no means confined to the language 
and literature of Greece. He was an excellent Latin scholar, 
and was not ignorant of Hebrew. With the languages of 
modern Europe he was entirely familiar, as with the works 
of the best writers in all of them. In English literature, his 
range of reading was almost universal ; and his taste was 
manly, catholic, and generous. His stores of learning were 

57 



450 MASSACHUSETTS HISTORICAL SOCIETY. [MARCH, 

all regulated and controlled by sound good sense, true moral 
instincts, and gentle and gracious affections. No man had 
less of what Bacon calls the "peccant humors of learning." 
His attainments did not make him arrogant or pedantic or 
exclusive or fastidious. He was free alike from self-assertion 
and self-reference. He came up to Bacon's ideal ; for he " en- 
tered into a desire of learning and knowledge, sincerely to 
give a true account of their gift of reason, to the benefit and 
use of men : " and he regarded knowledge as " a rich store- 
house for the glory of the Creator, and the relief of man's 
estate." And let me yet once more recur to this illustrious 
thinker for a trait of our departed friend : " But this is that 
which will indeed dignify and exalt knowledge, if contempla- 
tion and action may be more nearly and straitly conjoined and 
united together than they have been ; a conjunction like 
unto that of the two highest planets, — Saturn, the planet of 
rest and contemplation ; and Jupiter, the planet of civil society 
and action." These words meet his case. President Felton's 
sympathies were as quick as his mind was active. Fond as 
he was of study, he would not have been happy if he had 
been doomed to pass his life in his library. His nature craved 
action as well as contemplation. Much as he loved his books, 
the human face was yet dearer to him than any book. I have 
never seen him in a large assemblage, without noticing upon 
his countenance a winning and unconscious expression of 
sympathetic pleasure in the mere presence of his kind. He 
took a lively interest in the diffusion of knowledge and in the 
cause of popular education. He had been for many years one 
of the regents of the Smithsonian Institution, and a mem- 
ber of the Board of Education in Massachusetts ; and the 
duties of these posts, which did not call into exercise the 
higher qualities of his mind, and from which he could not 
hope to win any new distinction, were discharged by him with 
exemplary fidelity and hearty zeal. 

His style was vigorous, flowing, and graceful. It was often 



1862.] MR. HILLARD'S REMARKS. 451 

enlivened by a vein of playful humor, and was pervaded with 
the genial qualities of his heart ; but he wrote too rapidly 
for the highest finish. In this respect, his later compositions 
have a marked superiority over those of earlier date. His ear 
grew finer, and his sense of the beauty of language more 
acute, as he grew older. 

His power of communicating knowledge was not quite 
equal to his facility in acquisition. He was an admirable 
teacher to such as were willing and resolved to learn ; but 
his temperament was not exactly of that kind which is best 
suited to spur the sluggish and animate the cold. For these 
last, a teacher has need of certain physical gifts which can 
hardly be acquired by taking thought : he has need of a rest- 
less spirit, an ear like the mole's, and a vigilant and ubiquitous 
eye. 

But mere talents and learning do not enter largely into the 
composition of those qualities which make man dear to man. 
There have been some great scholars in the world that were 
not estimable, and many that were not lovable. But our 
friend had received, in even larger measure, those traits 
which win affection, than those which secure admiration. If 
I were called upon to name the one quality which was most 
conspicuous in him, I should say it was sweetness. This 
gives an inexpressible charm to the character, when combined, 
as it was in his case, with masculine energy and intellectual 
force. What Burke said of Fox, that he was a man to be 
loved, was strictly true of him. His feelings were quick, and 
he was by no means incapable of resentment ; but there never 
was a human being more free from envy, malice, and malig- 
nity. His anger, if he ever felt it, was, like the anger of 
Hooker, " the momentary bead upon a phial of pure water, 
instantly subsiding without sediment or soil." He was one of 
those men whom disappointment could not have soured, and 
defeat could not have imbittered. He had earnest convic- 
tions ; and, more than once, felt called upon to engage in 



452 MASSACHUSETTS HISTORICAL SOCIETY. [MARCH, 

controversy in defence of what he deemed the right : but, 
though he was a hard hitter, he never struck an unfair blow. 
His temper was most placable and forgiving : the atmosphere 
of unkindness and estrangement was most uncongenial to him. 
He disliked to think or to speak of the faults, errors, and 
weaknesses of others. 

He was very unfastidious in his likings. He gave his af- 
fections freely to all who laid any claim to them. He was 
always a busy man ; but he bore with infinite patience the 
drafts upon his time to which his good nature exposed him. 
I have never known a man, with so many calls upon his own 
hours, who was so ready to labor for his friends. If we could 
see in one amount all the work he has done for others in the 
course of his life, from pure kindliness of heart, without hope 
of reward or of distinction, it would fill us with admiration. 

I have just spoken of his sweetness. Let me here mention 
another quality which characterized him to a remarkable de- 
gree ; and that was purity. Not only was his life spotless from 
his youth upwards, but his lips were unstained. No unhand- 
some image ever intruded into his mind, or took the form of 
words upon his tongue, not even in his freest and easiest hours 
of social intercourse. And, to value this trait as it should be 
valued, we must remember that it was not because he was 
cold that he was pure. He was just the reverse : his tempera- 
ment was eminently genial, his tastes were social, and he had 
a very keen sense of the ludicrous. This peculiar purity of 
life and speech, which distinguished him even in his boy- 
hood, gave a touch of reverence to the affection with which 
his friends regarded him. Towards woman, his feelings were 
compounded of the fine ideal sentiment of chivalry, and the 
respect which rests upon an unqualified recognition of the code 
of morality which the New Testament prescribes for the con- 
duct of life in the relations of sex. 

Seeing that his mind was so fruitful, so active, so stored 
with learning ; that his heart was so warm, that his tern- 



1862.] MR. HILLARD'S REMARKS. 453 

perament was so genial, — it might have been expected that 
his conversational powers would have been in exact propor- 
tion to his general capacity and attainments ; but they were 
not so. In mixed society, when many were present, a veil of 
silence was apt to be drawn around him. This was partly 
owing to the genuine and unaffected modesty which was a 
conspicuous trait in his character. He never liked to set him- 
self in the front of a conversation. Among a few friends, 
where he felt perfectly at ease, the rich stores of his mind and 
memory were freely displayed in discourse ; and, on these 
occasions, he was one of the most instructive and delightful of 
companions. 

I have had occasion to speak of the feminine traits of sweet- 
ness and purity that gave a charm to his character. As if by 
way of compensation for withholding from him the gift of 
brilliant conversational eloquence, he had received in large 
measure the feminine accomplishment of letter-writing. Wo- 
men write better letters than men, as a general rule ; and the 
charm of feminine letters consists in the graceful way in which 
the daily incidents of life are told, and airy trifles are preserved 
in the amber of simple and pellucid English. Felton's letters 
had these attractive qualities to a degree not often found in 
masculine letters, which, when long, are apt to be essays; 
and, when short, telegraphic despatches. His published writ- 
ings were, generally speaking, of a nature which forbade the 
exercise of his playfulness and his humor ; but, in his letters, 
these qualities, of which he had an ample share, found a con- 
genial sphere for their display. 

President Felton's character was distinguished by sim- 
plicity and truthfulness. He inspired confidence, because he 
was so easily understood. He did not seek to conceal what 
he was, or affect to be what he was not. A more transparent 
nature could hardly be found. He moved towards his ends 
in a straight way, and was utterly incapable of accomplishing 
any thing by indirection. Towards his friends, his heart was 



454 MASSACHUSETTS HISTORICAL SOCIETY. [MARCH, 

as open as the day. With them he had no reserves, no con- 
cealments, no half-confidences. Suspicion and distrust never 
visited his thoughts : he had hardly enough of them for his 
own protection against designing approaches. 

Now that he is gone, it is interesting to me to recall the 
growth of his powers. When I first knew him, he lived in 
two worlds, — his books and his friends. Neither nature nor 
art contributed much to his happiness or his intellectual pro- 
gress : but, as is well known, Greek poetry and Greek art 
illustrate each other in a remarkable degree ; and his study of 
the former involved that of the latter ; and thus a taste for art 
was formed in him. As might be inferred from this state- 
ment, sculpture and architecture gave him more pleasure than 
painting. In his later years, the shows of earth and sky were 
more noted by him, and had become more distinct sources of 
satisfaction. I suspect that this is a general truth : most 
men are more sensitive to the beauty of nature at fifty than 
at twenty-five. The sense and faculty of music were denied 
to him. He hardly knew one tune from another ; and, though 
music was rather agreeable to him, he did not care enough 
about it to go in search of it. I do not think that he ever 
essayed to utter a musical sound. This want was sometimes 
the subject of playful observation among his friends, espe- 
cially in his later years, when he had such access to musical 
privileges as lovers of music would have highly prized. 

As might be supposed from the qualities of his mind and 
character, he was a man full of earnest patriotic feeling. He 
loved his country with a fervent, but not an indiscriminate 
love. The very strength of his attachment made him all the 
more sensitive to errors, mistakes, and faults. He looked for 
ward to our future with that hopeful spirit which was the 
natural expression of his healthy and happy temperament. 
His mind was averse to extreme views in any direction. 
Never a politician, he always took an interest in politics. In- 
dependent in his judgment, he was sometimes moved to take 



1862.] MR. HILLARD'S REMARKS. 455 

a direction in politics opposed to that of some of his friends ; 
but, if a friendship was ever cooled on this account, it was 
assuredly not his fault. I have never known a man who sur- 
passed, and rarely one who equalled, him in respect for the 
intellectual rights of others, — a quality which, in our commu- 
nity, is not likely to become cheap through abundance. 

Some of his friends regarded his elevation to the Presi- 
dency of Harvard College as a doubtful experiment. They 
felt that he was exactly suited for the duties of Greek profes- 
sor, and that it could only be determined by actual trial whe- 
ther he were equally well fitted for those of the higher place. 
These doubts and misgivings, if any such there were, sprang 
from an affection which was watchful and anxious because it 
was so great ; and time was dispelling them. Events were 
showing that he was easily and happily adapting himself to 
his new duties ; and that one, who, like him, was a Christian, 
a scholar, and a gentleman, could not but be a good head of a 
university. His friends, and the friends of the College, were 
looking forward with confident hope to many years of wise 
government and prosperous administration under his rule. 

How much have we lost in losing our friend and brother, 
— a man of such large powers, such wide culture, such moral 
worth ; with a heart so young, so full of kindness, gentleness, 
and love ! How many empty places are left by the removal 
of one whose relations to life were so various, whose sympa- 
thies were so wide and so warm ! Not alone here will he be 
mourned ; for, wherever he went, he made friends. The 
scholars of Germany will lament his death, for he was worthy 
to stand in their foremost rank ; and no one recognized more 
understandingly and generously than he the obligations which 
classical learning is under to the students of that country. 
The scholars and statesmen of rejuvenated Greece will grieve 
for him ; for he was their eloquent champion and advocate, 
their warm-hearted friend, who loved their land as a sort of 
an adopted country, and was never silent when any one spoke 
in disparagement or distrust of it. 



456 MASSACHUSETTS HISTORICAL SOCIETY. [MARCH, 

But, in this our hour of fresh bereavement, — looking into 
his newly opened grave, — let us not forget the soothing, ele- 
vating, and consoling thoughts which the contemplation of 
such a character and such a career inspires. His life was 
bright and pure and high ; it was filled with good works and 
good words ; it has left tender memories, affectionate regrets, 
sweet recollections, in hearts without number. It was an emi- 
nently useful life ; and it was, moreover, a very happy life. 
He was happy in his domestic relations, happy in his friends, 
happy in having always had congenial duties allotted to him. 
He never woke in the morning without a sense of pleasure in 
the new life to which he was called back from the realms of 
sleep ; he never lay down at night without a sense of grati- 
tude for the day that was closed. He was a man of strong 
religious convictions and warm religious feeling. His grati- 
tude to God for the gift of life was constant and fervent. He 
knew nothing of the sting of disappointment, nothing of the 
corrosion of discontent. Of the prizes of life, he had had all 
that he desired, and more than he hoped. No man had more 
of the faculty of extracting happiness from common things, 
from the spontaneous growth of every day as it glides by. 
He never needed rare pleasures, or highly seasoned satisfac- 
tions, to give him enjoyment. At the age of fifty-four, his 
spirit was as full of morning freshness as it was at twenty. 
Life in itself, and for itself, was, sweet to him ; but none the 
less gently, none the less submissively, was it resigned when 
the summons came. 

And here, in this assemblage of persons bound together 
by the tie of a common interest in the same pursuits ; where 
none are strangers, but each is known to all, — may I not be 
permitted to allude to what I have lost in losing him ? For 
thirty years, there has been between us the most intimate 
friendship, the most perfect confidence, the most unbroken 
sympathy. In all that time, there has not been between us 
a cloud as big as an infant's hand. Never did I see his face, 



1862.] DR. WALKER'S REMARKS. 457 

or hear his voice, or even the sound of his footsteps, without a 
glow of pleasure at the heart. He was so precious to me, that 
it is hard to feel that he is gone. The stunning shock of sur- 
prise has hardly yet subsided into sorrow. 

From henceforth, it seems to me that the sun can never 
shine again as brightly on my path as it has done. But what 
I have had cannot be taken from me. Sharp as is the pang of 
separation, I should be the most ungrateful of men if I did 
not thank God for the inestimable gift of so true, so loving, so 
faithful a friend. 

Dr. Walker spoke substantially as follows : — 

Mr. President, — I cannot hope to add any thing to what 
has been so justly and eloquently said ; but it seems to me, 
that persons not connected with the College, nor resident at 
Cambridge, can hardly understand how great the loss occa- 
sioned by the death of President Felton is there felt to be. 
For a whole generation, he has been becoming more and more 
identified with the University, and with the society and all 
the institutions of the place. Though eminently a scholar, 
he was, as every one knows, as far removed as possible from 
the character and habits of a recluse. Our places of common 
resort, our public meetings, our very streets, without his 
familiar presence, are not the same ; and it is a great loss to 
any community, in a world like this, to have the example and 
presence of so genial and candid and cheerful a nature sud- 
denly withdrawn. 

There is also another point on which I wish to record my 
testimony. While President of the College, I naturally leaned 
very much on Mr. Felton, as the oldest member of the Faculty, 
with the largest experience in discipline and instruction. In 
this intimate relation, I became more and more convinced that 
his many social qualities had the effect to hide or obscure, at 
least to the public view, the other and higher qualities of his 
mind and heart. He was fond of society; but no one was 

58 



458 MASSACHUSETTS HISTORICAL SOCIETY. [MARCH, 

readier than he to forget every other purpose or thought at 
the faintest call of duty. He was fond of mirth, and of con- 
tributing to it ; but I have never met with man or woman 
whose wit was gentler or purer. Let me add, that, under a 
general freedom and gayety of manner, he cherished, and 
at times manifested, a most sincere reverence for sacred 
things. 

When a person has raised himself by his own efforts to 
usefulness and distinction, and is still in the full enjoyment of 
life, we cannot see the reward of his labors and sacrifices 
snatched from him by what seems to us an untimely death, 
without a feeling of sadness and regret. But all such ques- 
tionings are as unwise as they are unavailing. In this case 
they are also rebuked by the thought, that our friend was a 
very happy man, and that but few have died at any age, after 
having done so much to make others happy. 

Dr. Sparks expressed his unwillingness, after the full and 
just and eloquent tributes which had been paid to President 
Felton, to detain the meeting by any extended remarks of his 
own. He would only add his testimony, with the most entire 
cordiality, to the truth and fidelity of all that had been said 
in delineating the admirable and amiable qualities of his friend 
and former associate in the government of the College. No 
one out of the circle of Mr. Felton's immediate family could 
have been more deeply affected than himself by the sudden- 
ness of his death in the fulness of his powers and his use- 
fulness, or could more profoundly sympathize with his friends 
of the College, of this Society, of this community, and of the 
republic of letters, in their grief at his loss, and their respect 
for his character and services. 

Dr. Lothrop, at the call of the President, offered the 
following remarks in relation to the death of the Hon. 
William Appleton : — 



1862.] 



DR. LOTHROP 7 S REMARKS. 459 



The resolution on your table, Mr. President, alludes to the 
decease of two of our associates. We have noticed the death 
pf the scholar, whose mind, through reading and study, was 
richly stored with all the learning of the schools ; who, in 
early childhood, took to books as the food of his life, and had 
passed almost the whole of that life in the quiet groves of the 
academy ; and who, by his literary labors and his distin- 
guished literary position, was widely known, and largely 
honored, and eminently useful. At the University, where we 
hoped he would have a long and brilliant career as its Presi- 
dent ; in this modern Athens, as our city has sometimes been 
called ; far away in that old Athens of Greece, to which you, 
sir, have so felicitously referred, where to many his form was 
as familiar, and his name as honored and beloved, as among 
ourselves; everywhere throughout the great republic of let- 
ters, — his death is and will be felt to be a calamity ; and 
here in this Society, this evening, we all respond most heartily 
to the just and beautiful tributes which gentlemen, themselves 
so distinguished, have paid to his memory. 

But we all know, Mr. President, that the unwritten wisdom 
of the world far exceeds the written. There is more of talent 
and genius in every generation than shows itself in books or 
in what we emphasize as learning and scholarship. The intel- 
lectual ability requisite, and often exhibited, in various depart- 
ments of practical business in life, is fully equal, if it do not 
surpass, that exhibited in what we designate as purely literary 
pursuits. For a man to raise himself to the first rank among 
the merchants of a great city or country, — not, I mean, sim- 
ply to amass a great fortune, but to form a character, establish 
a reputation, reach a position from which he exercises a com- 
manding influence in all commercial and financial affairs, his 
advice sought, his judgment appealed to, his wisdom relied 
upon in the chambers of commerce and in the councils of the 
cabinet, — for a man to do this requires as much talent, a 
degree of intellectual vigor and acumen as great, as for 



460 MASSACHUSETTS HISTORICAL SOCIETY. [MARCH, 

another to raise himself to the first rank among scholars. 
Our Massachusetts Historical Society has always honored 
itself by calling to its ranks, and having on its roll of mem- 
bers, some representatives of this class of men ; not because 
they were learned men, in the ordinary meaning of that word ; 
not because they were particularly interested in historical 
pursuits or studies ; but because they were men of vigorous 
intellect ; because they were men, who, by the energy 
of their minds, and the activity of their lives, and the 
largeness of their commercial enterprises, had exerted, or 
were exerting, an important influence upon all those social 
institutions, interests, and events that enter into the composi- 
tion of history, and form a part of the great reservoir from 
which history draws its materials. 

The loss of such a man from our record of membership we 
are called to notice and regret this evening, in the death of 
the late Hon. William Appleton. The outline of his life is 
familiar to most of us, and corresponds to that of many of the 
merchants of this city who have risen to distinguished emi- 
nence and usefulness. The son of a clergyman in a small town 
in Worcester County, with only the education that could be 
furnished him by the district school and the county academy, 
he came to this town while yet in his teens, with no capital 
but his talents, his energy, his industry, his sound principles, 
his pure morals, and his honorable aims ; and, through them, 
he worked his way to the distinguished commercial, social, 
and political position which he has so long occupied. 

One of the prominent qualities exhibited in Mr. Appleton's 
character and career seems to have been an indomitable 
energy, that insisted upon achieving success, — insisted upon 
persevering, and keeping at work, even under that great 
discouragement of ill health, before which most men suc- 
cumb. Prom his early manhood, Mr. Appleton has always 
been an invalid. Nearly half a century ago, he made his 
will, and sailed from this port on a voyage for his health, with 



1862.] DR. LOTHROP'S REMARKS. 461 

but the slightest possible prospect, the faintest possible hope, 
of returning alive. Through the good providence of God, 
and, without irreverence I may say it (for the influence of 
such mental feeling in staying the progress of disease is an 
admitted fact), through the indomitable determination of 
his own mind that he would get well, he did get well enough 
to return, and resume business. He lived to administer upon 
the estates of all the gentlemen who were named as his own 
executors in his original will. Prom the time of his return 
from that voyage up to a few months ago, with a body so frail 
and light that one almost feared sometimes that the wind 
would blow him away ; with his health often so feeble, that it 
seemed sometimes as if in a few weeks his strength must 
utterly fail, and death . claim its own ; with a resolution and 
pluck that would have gained him every battle had he been a 
general; with an industry, wisdom, and intellectual astute- 
ness, that would have placed him at the head of the bar had 
he been a lawyer, or at the head of the nation had he given 
himself exclusively to politics and statemanship, — he has 
persevered, done a vast amount of work, and been remarkable 
among our merchants for his energy, activity, and enterprise. 
Mr. Appleton had a vigorous, penetrating, comprehensive 
intellect, by which he embraced alike, and with equal ease, 
both the principles and details of any subject to which he 
gave his attention. I need scarcely add, that this intellect 
was under the guidance of high principles, sanctified by reli- 
gious faith and culture. He was a man of unsullied integrity, 
of singular purity, and of large benevolence. It was these 
qualities that gave wisdom to his judgment in all commercial 
and financial matters; caused it to be honored and confided in 
on the Exchange, in the walks of business, and in the coun- 
cils of state ; and secured an almost certain success to his 
enterprises. It was these qualities that led to his being 
designated and twice elected, by the merchants and citizens 
of Boston, to represent them in the Congress of the United 



462 MASSACHUSETTS HISTORICAL SOCIETY. [MARCH, 

States ; a post which he filled with honor to himself, and with 
usefulness to his constituents and to the country. It was 
through these qualities that he amassed a large fortune ; 
which was not hoarded for selfish purposes, but used in va- 
rious ways for the good of others. Mr. Appleton was always 
a liberal giver, both in private charities and to public institu- 
tions and interests; but always, of course, making his own 
selections, according to his own judgment, and, where that 
judgment was adverse, expressing it with a refusal so prompt 
and decisive, that his character may have been misunderstood 
and misinterpreted sometimes by those not intimately ac- 
quainted with him. But he was faithful to his trusts, and 
gave largely from large means. 

Mr. President, the two deaths which we notice this even- 
ing awaken different emotions. President Felton was in the 
very vigor of his manhood, in the full maturity of his intel- 
lectual and moral powers, with his natural strength unabated, 
with a growing fame, and an increasing usefulness in an official 
position for which he had a rare combination of qualities, 
His death is the extinction of many and grand hopes, and it 
costs us an effort to bow to the inscrutable decrees of Provi- 
dence. Mr. Appleton had passed beyond the allotted term of 
human life, and was sinking into the vale of years. He had 
accomplished the purposes of this earthly pilgrimage ; and 
we acquiesce easily in the wisdom and the mercy that re- 
leased him. His life, so full of energy, activity, usefulness, 
benevolence, impregnated and pervaded throughout by the 
spirit of a humble faith in our Lord Jesus Christ, closed in 
sincerity and peace, leaving behind it that memory of the 
just which is blessed, while the immortal spirit passed on to 
a holier rest and better happiness than can be found on 
earth. 

I see around me, sir, several gentlemen more nearly his 
contemporaries, and more competent to speak of Mr. Appleton, 
than I am. I hope they will do so. At your request, and 



1862.] MR. ASPINWALL'S REMARKS. 463 

because of late years, through some associations, I have been 
thrown into somewhat intimate relations with him, I have 
assumed the privilege of paying this tribute to his me- 
mory. 

Colonel Aspinwall spoke substantially as follows: — 

In rising to comply with a rather sudden call to support 
the resolutions now before the meeting, I am reminded, that, 
within the year, the honored name of Appleton has, in two 
instances, been struck from the list of our living associates. 

When our lamented colleague, the Hon. Nathan Appleton, 
was taken from us, I was prevented, by imperative circum- 
stances, from uniting in any public manifestation of sorrow 
for the great loss sustained by the whole community, and .*par- 
ticularly by our own Society, in the death of an individual so 
eminent for his public and private virtues, as a merchant and 
a legislator, as a promoter of our national industry and com- 
merce, and as a political economist. 

Now, another of the name, the Hon. William Appleton, has 
also terminated his earthly career ; and perhaps it is not 
entirely out of place that a surviving colleague, whose years 
have already passed the ordinary limits of life, should say a 
few words in honor of one whose distinguished peculiarity 
it was always to feel, that, " in the midst of life, we are in 
death." This predominating feeling, arising from a feeble 
and precarious condition of health, gave a character to his 
whole conduct. It kept him in constant preparation for the 
hour of death and the day of judgment. It taught him the 
insignificance of the concerns of this brief existence, in com- 
parison with those of eternity. It made him pre-eminently a 
man of truth, integrity, justice, and benevolence. 

It has been said that he was passionately devoted to the 
accumulation of wealth. The fact might have been plausibly 
questioned or denied ; but he was himself the first to avow 
it. The extent and multiplicity of his charities and benefac- 



464 MASSACHUSETTS HISTORICAL SOCIETY. [MARCH, 

tions show very plainly, that, whatever may have been the 
intensity of his love of wealth, it was always kept in subjec- 
tion to his regard for the interests of his fellow-creatures, and 
his reverence for the will of his heavenly Father. 

In this assembly, where the character and merits of Mr. 
Appleton in his domestic and public relations are well known, 
as they are throughout the whole community, it is not my 
purpose to say any thing of his excellences as a citizen, a 
merchant, or a legislator. All these have been already admi- 
rably portrayed by the reverend member who preceded me 
here, and in the eulogies delivered elsewhere by two of our 
ablest and most eloquent associates. 

But having, for many years, occupied an official station in 
London, which brought me into constant familiarity with our 
commercial interests and the individuals connected with 
them, I would mention, that Mr. Appleton's character was 
well known in Europe, and as highly estimated there as it is 
here. In many a commercial crisis that occurred during the 
term of my residence abroad, I know that his opinion was 
sought for and confidently relied on by many friends of our 
country, not only in regard to matters of commerce and 
finance, but also upon political subjects of grave impor- 
tance. 

Soon after my return to this country, I had the opportu- 
nity of witnessing, at Washington, the marked respect and 
regard paid him, even by his political adversaries; and of 
learning, also, that he was considered as almost the guide and 
teacher of the Committee of Ways and Means, to which he 
belonged. 

In later years, it has been my good fortune to cultivate and 
enjoy his acquaintance, and to become more conversant with 
his good deeds and high principles. I have ever found him a 
friend, a good man, and one who did not fear to die. 

The resolution was then unanimously adopted. 



1862.] LETTER OF HON. SAMUEL OSGOOD. 465 

The President said he would take this opportunity 
to present to the Society two letters which he had found 
among the papers of Governor Bowdoin, and which 
contained interesting discussions of some of the ques- 
tions which most occupied the public attention just 
before the adoption of the Constitution of the United 
States. The first of them was dated at Annapolis 
during one of the sessions of the old Confederation 
Congress. The initials by which it was signed were 
undoubtedly those of Samuel Osgood, a member of that 
Congress, and afterwards appointed Postmaster-General 
of the United States by Washington. The other letter was 
from John Bacon, at one time a minister of the Old South 
Church in Boston, and afterwards a member both of the 
State and National Legislatures. Both of these letters 
touched upon topics which were of interest at the present 
day; but their principal value was in unveiling some- 
thing of the history of the ante-constitutional period. 

The letters were referred to the Publishing Committee. 

Hon. Samuel Osgood to Hon. S. Higginson. 

Annapolis, Feb. 2, 1784. 

Dear Sir, — Your favor of 1 1th January I had the pleasure of 
receiving this day. I am happy to find that you was not fatigued 
with the long detail I gave you of the doings of Congress. 

I have no copy thereof, and cannot say precisely how my opinion 
stands therein. But I did not suppose that room was left for the fol- 
lowing observation of yours : " Perhaps you think that influence not 
a baneful one : if so, you will not wish to destroy it." If I have 
been inexplicit heretofore, I will be explicit in this ; and, if my opi- 
nion does not exactly coincide with yours, it will not arise from any 
sinister views in me. I wish for nothing but health and competence : 
the first the public cannot give ; and the second I had rather obtain 
in any other honest way than from the public. You say you have not 

59 



466 MASSACHUSETTS HISTORICAL SOCIETY. [MARCH, 

the same apprehensions from the decisions of Congress that I express ; 
that they appear to you to be founded in good policy. The reason 
you give is, that the alternate removal of Congress must make it 
difficult to establish the same kind of system ; the places pitched upon 
being such, numbers will be wanting, though all should be devoted : 
and that it is also probable that it will operate an important resigna- 
tion. I shall venture an opinion partly in opposition to this ; which 
is, that the changing of the members of Congress will, generally 
speaking, tend more to destroy an undue influence than an alternate 
removal : and, let Congress have sat where they might this year, it 
would have been a very different body from the last. This I find in 
fact ; and you may turn your eye upon the list of last year, and you 
will find the principal intriguers, who, from long experience, had ac- 
quired and established a systematical adroitness at manoeuvring, are 
by the Confederation ineligible this year, as the States have construed 
it, by omitting to choose them. Let those men have been placed in a 
situation excluded from all the world besides themselves, they would 
have carried with them the same views of government, and the same 
spirit of intrigue ; and what would prevent their exercising it, but a 
respectable majority of honest and independent men ? I would not 
have it understood by this, that I am indifferent as to the place where 
Congress shall sit ; for I am fully in opinion, that either Boston, 
New York, Philadelphia, or any other populous city, would be an 
improper place for Congress to sit in, because, in all such places, 
there are plentiful materials for setting in motion a thousand hidden 
and secret springs, which, carefully arranged and combined, will 
produce astonishing effects. I only mean to suggest the difference 
between men already formed, and men to be formed for certain pur- 
poses. Here I agree with you, that cities are not calculated to form 
the best political dispositions ; but this is not much to the purpose 
now. Congress having first fixed upon a single place, that was not 
a populous one, for the constant residence of Congress, the question 
then is, whether it was political and wise to fix upon another place in 
similar situation, and agree to an alternate residence. There are, 
in my mind, but two reasons of consequence that can be urged in 
favor of it. The one is, the accommodating the several parts of 
the United States, principally in point of travelling : the other is 
founded in the probable tendency it may have to render less ener- 
getic an undue influence. Multiply the places of the residence of 
Congress, and the obstacles to intrigue are proportionably multiplied. 



1862.] LETTER OF HON. SAMUEL OSGOOD. 467 

That this will be found true in practice, is a mere matter of opinion ; 
but that it would proportionably multiply the difficulties and delays 
in transacting the business of the United States, is hardly matter of 
opinion. I agree that the first reason has weight : but it is balanced 
by an invincible objection ; which is, that the delegates from the east- 
ward cannot live so far southward as Georgetown. The summers 
there will either destroy or debilitate our best constitutions. Place 
health in one scale, and travelling in the other, and how light will the 
latter appear in comparison with the former ! I confess I do not 
find these reasons, simple and unconnected, of sufficient weight in my 
mind to determine positively that the second resolution was founded 
in wisdom : and I therefore, if I mistake not, gave to you another 
reason in vindication of my voting for it ; which was, to prevent our 
being carried to Philadelphia. Had it not been for this resolution, 
we should have unavoidably centred there. In this point of view, 
was it wise or unwise ? My vote discovers my opinion, but not my 
reason for it. 

I am not sure it will bring about the resignation you refer to ; 
and, if it does not, we are in more danger of being sported with 
where we can have little or no knowledge of his transactions, as is 
the case with us now, than if we were to direct his constant attend- 
ance in the place where Congress shall sit. To this, objections are 
made ; such as, the greater his distance, the less will be his influ- 
ence. But that office must certainly be where Congress may be. 
With respect to this office, I apprehend you doubt whether our senti- 
ments are the same. I will tell you very freely, that I am clearly in 
opinion, that, in mere money transactions, he has saved the United 
States a very large sum. I am of this sentiment, because a compa- 
rison of expenditures shows, that, since he has been in office, the 
expenditures have not amounted, annually, to half so much as they 
did before. I am also of opinion, that much more regularity has 
been introduced in keeping the accounts than ever existed before. 
This is a matter, in my mind, of very great importance ; and, with- 
out the strictest attention to it, the several States ought not to trust 
Congress with a single farthing of their money. I lay it down as a 
good general maxim, that, when a person is to be attacked, it is wise 
not to endeavor to depreciate his real merit ; because this puts into 
his hands an advantage. If he can clearly exculpate himself in part, 
it renders that which is really true liable to suspicion, and conse- 
quently less efficacious. If you suppose that person has rendered 



468 MASSACHUSETTS HISTORICAL SOCIETY. [MARCH, 

the public no valuable services, I acknowledge there is a very con- 
siderable difference in our sentiments. If you suppose that he may 
have rendered valuable services, but that his notions of government, 
of finance, and of commerce, are incompatible with liberty, we shall 
not differ. I think, therefore, the fort to be raised against him ought 
to stand on this ground, if, in urging his dismission, or rather a new 
arrangement of the office, it shall become necessary to be personal. 
But I hope it will be generally agreed, that, if it was necessary to 
create an omnipotent financier in 1781, that necessity does not exist 
now. I am clearly against the office in its present form ; and I am 
not sure any form will do. 

Your sentiments with respect to the Southern States are very 
candid and charitable. Charity is an amiable virtue ; and, in this 
case, it covers a multitude of sins. How far their apprehensions of 
being fixed permanently at Trenton may operate, I know not : but 
this I am sure of, that they do not mean to have two federal towns ; 
and I venture to predict that there never will be two. They will 
endeavor to have the resolutions of Congress so altered as to have 
one permanent place of residence in some part of Maryland or Vir- 
ginia : and, if they cannot effect this, they can another point ; which 
will be, to fix Congress again in Philadelphia. Here, probably, will 
be the issue of federal towns. I cannot find the shadow of a reason 
to alter my former opinion with respect to their aristocratical princi- 
ples ; and, if they vary from these, it will be monarchical ones. It 
is impossible, in the nature of things, that their governments should 
be democratic. It is also impossible that there should be a coinci- 
dence of political views in some matters of very great importance 
to the Eastern States ; for those who have appeared to be honest 
Republicans — of which number I have had the misfortune to find not 
more than two or three — have uniformly depreciated our exertions, 
and denied to us that justice which is clearly due. Time only can 
discover which had the most reason for his opinion. I sincerely 
wish the event may be as happy and favorable as you expect it will. 
The present members of Congress wear a different aspect from those 
of the last year ; but we have not had a fair opportunity to discover 
their political views. 

You ask what we have done to forward our commercial arrange- 
ments. I answer, We have done nothing to forward them, nor 
scarcely any thing else. Since we have been at Annapolis, we have 
had nine States, but about six or seven days. At present, we have 



1862.] LETTER OF HON. SAMUEL OSGOOD. 469 

no prospect of a sufficient representation to transact the business 
which is necessary to be done previous to the adjournment of Con- 
gress. There are but a few matters that keep Congress together, 
and these require the assent of nine States. It is cruel to the last 
degree in those States, which, neglecting to keep up their representa- 
tion, oblige us to waste our time, and spend the money of our con- 
stituents, without being able to render them services equivalent. 
But the fault lies not with us. 

I am persuaded that our commerce is of the highest importance 
to us as a nation ; that the closest attention must be paid to our com- 
mercial arrangements ; and until they are placed upon the fair and 
liberal footing of mutual reciprocity, and until they are extended to 
all nations that will afford us an advantageous market for our exports, 
or that will furnish us, upon the best terms, with articles for our own 
consumption, our commerce will be too limited and unproductive. 
It is not extraordinary that there should be a desire, and even 
attempts, to limit our commercial connections ; but it will be strange 
if we are so blind and inattentive to our own interest as to suffer 
ourselves to be caught in the snare. I do not recollect any branches 
of trade that are of so much importance to our State as the whale 
and cod fishery and the carrying-trade. These several branches, at 
present, do not stand upon a sure foundation. It is true, we have a 
right to take fish by the treaty ; but that does not point out what we 
are to do with them. The benefit that might result from this part of 
the treaty depends very much upon the liberal sentiments that Great 
Britain shall adopt when she enters into a commercial treaty with us. 
You do not want to be informed, that many of our own countrymen 
do not only not wish, but will use their endeavors, that no such con- 
nection shall ever be formed. 

Upon these three branches of trade, I conceive, the future wealth 
and prosperity of our State entirely depend, and also the marine 
power of the United States : the last I am not anxious about in any 
other view than as the result of the former. Bounties and duties 
may be so applied as to destroy, in a great measure, our fisheries. 
These and the carrying-trade depend upon treaties yet to be made ; 
and would it not be astonishing, if we should, for a great while to 
come, lose the advantages that might result therefrom, for the want 
of nine States in Congress ? On these points, Southern and Eastern 
republicans will think very differently. 

You observe, that if the impost should be given to Congress, yet 



470 MASSACHUSETTS HISTORICAL SOCIETY. [MARCH, 

the collateral funds will not be given ; that the warmest advocates 
for the impost voted for it, because they knew that their arguments 
were not true in fact. They knew that they then voted away other 
people's money ; but, when the question shall be to vote away their 
own money, they will disagree to it : that, consequently, Congress 
will not have adequate funds. 

You farther observe, that a great part of the opposition to the 
impost arises from a want of confidence in the person who is at 
the head of the treasury, — from a belief that his plans are artfully 
laid to subvert the liberties of the people ; that the opposition to 
other funds necessary to defray the interest of the public debt is 
owing to the want of honesty, and that nothing but the imminent 
danger of a much greater evil than that of parting with their money 
will induce the people to be honest ; that not a single government in 
the Union has sufficient energy to enforce the collection of their 
taxes ; that this is an evil which will, in the end, produce its own 
remedy ; that the States are only manoeuvring to rid themselves of 
the burthen of paying taxes ; that no system can be devised which 
would be satisfactory to all ; that the true system is contained in the 
Confederation, or rather the principles of a proper system ; that you 
are persuaded, that were the impost to be collected, and committed 
to the present administration, it would be perverted to the most dan- 
gerous purposes, and that this kind of revenue renders a fair exami- 
nation into mal-practices impracticable ; and that Congress should 
persevere till they have ascertained an indisputable rule for appor- 
tioning the quotas, and then assign them to the several States, with 
clear and just estimates ; and, if then the taxes are not collected, the 
fault will not lay with Congress, but the States who may be delinquent. 

If you carry your objections against an impost so far as to oppose 
it in every shape, I cannot agree in sentiment with you ; but I will 
freely acknowledge, that, the more I reflect upon the plan proposed by 
Congress, the more I dislike it. I apprehend the difficulties in col- 
lecting of it would be insurmountable. The expense will be unrea- 
sonably great. A fair examination of the proceeds will be beyond 
the reach of the public. It is uncertain what system Congress will 
adopt with respect to the treasury department ; but it is, in its nature, 
a department that ought to have the most vigilant eye exercised over 
it. It is, at best, a very dangerous affair to the liberties of the peo- 
ple. But I cannot think there can be a well-founded objection against 
a State impost, collected by officers appointed by, and accountable 



1862.] LETTER OF HON. SAMUEL OSGOOD. 471 

only to, the State, and the proceeds to be placed to the credit of the 
State. I am persuaded that an impost will not be safe in any other 
hands. In that way, it would be as safe to trust Congress with 
money so collected as with that which should be collected in any 
other way. 

You do not seem to be against a Continental chest, but against the 
person who is at the head of it, and the system under which he acts : 
but is it not better to go a step farther, and annihilate the Continental 
treasury ; at least, so far as respects American debts that are ascer- 
tained and which must be funded ? Will it not simplify the business 
very much to have the public debt divided among the several States, 
after the rule of apportioning it shall be agreed upon ? This would 
afford every State an opportunity to take its own way and time to 
discharge its proportion thereof. It would secure us from another 
danger which we shall otherwise be perpetually exposed to ; for, in 
the hands of the Continent, the debt will never be discharged. It is 
part of a system to have a perpetual public debt ; and I conceive a 
standing debt, well funded, to be more dangerous than a standing 
army. The first will be the parent of the latter. In this case, by 
dividing, we live ; by uniting, we run a very great risk of losing all 
that we ought to hold dear. You complain of the present arrange- 
ment and management of the treasury. It is possible that it may be 
better formed and directed ; but there is a very great probability that 
it will not. The eyes of the proposed Cincinnati are fixed, and 
pointedly fixed, on this department. Funds are now the object; 
and, when Continental funds shall be obtained, that department will 
draw the attention of all the Cincinnati, of all the aristocracy, of all 
the unprincipled and subtle intriguers of America ; and their power 
will be an overmatch for the honest and independent. The children 
of this world are wiser than the children of light. The honest man is 
only on the defensive ; and he may flatter himself of security, and 
indulge repose : but dishonest subtlety is always on the offensive, 
always alert ; and a failure only gives birth to another attempt. The 
language already seems to be this : "In great attempts, it's glorious 
even to fail." I do not express these sentiments, as being only afraid 
that the event may justify them. I believe, if funds are obtained, 
the issue of them will be fatal to the liberties of this country, and 
that it would be unnatural to expect a more favorable issue. 

I am sensible, objections of weight are made against the imme- 
diate division of the public debt ; such as, that the States which have 



472 MASSACHUSETTS HISTORICAL SOCIETY. [MARCH, 

little unlocated territory will not increase in wealth, but that the 
States which have a great quantity thereof will every year grow 
more important : therefore delaying the division will give the one a 
less, and the other a greater, proportion of the debt. This is a saving 
consideration, but it is not a safe one ; and in a case where their future 
safety, if not existence, is concerned, it ought to have no weight. 

I think we must have a public chest to discharge the foreign debt, 
which ought to be annihilated as soon as possible. After this, very 
little money will be wanted by Congress. Their annual expenses 
will be reduced very low. The sum will be so trifling, that no 
great danger can arise from a misapplication. 

I think it was a great oversight in the Confederation, that of 
establishing a Continental treasury ; and I expect our liberties will 
receive the first, and probably the last, wound through this dangerous 
machine. But, as you observe, there is no probability that it will 
receive much from the States very soon ; there being no probability 
that the recommendations of Congress will be complied with season- 
ably (I seriously believe they never will) to discharge the annual 
interest. Congress have appointed a grand committee to bring in 
an estimate of the interest due for one year, and propose making a 
requisition upon the States for the amount. Congress must do this 
from year to year, because they will have no other mode to discharge 
it : therefore the business will go on in the way you wish it should. 
It is true, the rule of appointment is not ascertained : probably the 
one adopted last spring will be adhered to by Congress. 

The head officer of the treasury has informed Congress this week, 
by letter, that he shall leave his office in May next. This will re- 
move some of your difficulties ; but, I must own, it will not remove 
all mine. The treasury, the Cincinnati, and other public creditors, 
with all their concomitants, are somehow or other, in my mind, 
inseparably connected. We have now three or four of the Cincinnati, 
members of Congress on the floor. They are not honorary, but real, 
members of that institution. A short time will undoubtedly enlarge 
the number in Congress. I have heard some of the officers say, 
" Fulfil your promises, pay us honestly, and the Cincinnati will be a 
harmless body." This seems to me to have a plain meaning. If the 
intention of this institution is to connect throughout the continent a 
large and important body of men to watch over the doings of Con- 
gress or of the State legislatures, if there is a real necessity for this, 
let the last be dissolved, and let the first take the helm. I cannot 



1862.] LETTER OF HON. SAMUEL OSGOOD. 473 

admit the idea, that the army will not be honorably paid. I hope it 
will be a free act of the people ; but, if a society is established to 
extort it from them, it is, at least, casting a very gloomy shade over 
the virtue of the people. I cannot omit here comparing your senti- 
ments with those of the Cincinnati. There seems to be a perfect 
coincidence, — they appear to be doubtful of public faith. You say, 
" The people will not pay their taxes. They must see and feel that 
this, which they consider as a great evil, must be submitted to,* in 
order to avert another which they esteem a much greater." I do not 
wish to suggest that the Cincinnati will become this " greater evil : " 
but the thing is not impossible ; and, upon your principles, the mea- 
sure seems to be justifiable. It is certainly right to provide a remedy 
against a certain evil. 

Permit me to introduce a new subject for your consideration. I 
am apprehensive that the plan for settling the accounts of the several 
States with the Continent will not answer the purpose. I will, there- 
fore, suggest the following : that the debts actually contracted since 
the commencement of the late war, and now due from the several 
States in their separate capacity, shall be made a Continental charge. 
I will not undertake to prove that the proposition is equitable ; but if 
no other mode can be adopted, if the plan which is now carrying 
into execution is attended with insurmountable difficulties, we must 
submit to it as the least of evils. 

Commissioners are appointed for the several States, finally to 
settle and adjust their accounts with the Continent. They are 
to govern themselves by the resolutions of Congress ; which, from 
the nature of the business, can never be otherwise than inexplicit. 
The States have all of them undoubtedly expended large sums of 
money, which they did with a view of promoting the common cause, 
without any special resolution of Congress to cover the same. Yet, 
relying on the justice of that body, they confidently expect to be 
credited therefor ; and, if they should be disappointed in a matter so 
tender (which will certainly be the case in many instances), it will 
deeply wound the authority of Congress. The orders to the commis- 
sioners must be general or particular : if general and discretionary, 
a State may be subjected to the will and pleasure of a commissioner, 
— which will never be the case ; and if particular, proper vouchers, 
with explicit resolutions of Congress, must be the evidence of the 
validity of all charges. 

60 



474 MASSACHUSETTS HISTORICAL SOCIETY. [MARCH, 

That all the States have kept their accounts very irregularly, and 
that, in numberless instances, vouchers necessary to support charges 
will be wanting, is not to be doubted. If a remedy is not given in 
such cases, injustice will be done : if it is afforded, every particular 
case must be brought before Congress or the commissioner, or a 
discretionary power lodged somewhere must be the mode. I appre- 
hend the first to be impracticable ; and the other, at least, very objec- 
tionable. 

It is a very doubtful matter whether the commissioners will be 
able in many years to close the accounts. There is no great reason 
why they should be in a hurry about it. If every account is to be 
fairly transcribed, the work in detail must be immensely voluminous. 
The mere expense of having the accounts adjusted may be almost as 
great an evil as to let them remain unliquidated. 

With respect to the proposition, it must be supposed that the legis- 
latures of the several States have exercised a proper degree of cau- 
tion in contracting debts. No good reason can be given why they 
should involve themselves unnecessarily. Will it not naturally excite 
much animosity and ill-will for Congress to call in question their 
wisdom and prudence, more especially for what they did after the 
commencement of the war until the Confederation was ratified ? The 
contest during that period depended, in a great measure, upon their 
patriotism and exertions. That they may have erred in judgment, 
that they may have conducted without regularity and system, is not 
extraordinary. It is fortunate that all matters have terminated suc- 
cessfully ; and due credit is to be given them for it. Will not the 
policy be extremely narrow and contracted if Congress should erect 
themselves into a tribunal to sit in judgment upon the several legis- 
latures, who, if they submit, will not do it in the most cordial 
manner ? 

It is not difficult to form an estimate of the difference of the two 
ways, with respect to harmony and satisfaction ; but, as it may 
respect the interest of the States, it must be mere matter of opinion. 
It may be observed, that, during the period of time referred. to, the 
expenditures of the several States must have been principally for 
public purposes, save those for the support of civil government ; which 
is not a matter of much consequence. The civil list of the several 
States, from what I can collect, is not very different as to the whole 
amount. If it is agreed that the remaining part of the States' debts 
was contracted for supporting the general cause, the inquiry will be, 



1862.] LETTER OF HON. SAMUEL OSGOOD. 475 

whether they have assessed, and collected from their citizens, sums 
of money in proportion to their abilities as States ; and, if not, how 
this inequality will operate. Suppose two States of equal abilities ; 
the one had collected an hundred pounds from its citizens, the other 
had contracted a debt to the same amount : it is plain that the propo- 
sition would make a difference of an hundred pounds ; but it is 
impossible that the reality should operate so great an inequality, 
because there is no State but what has collected considerable sums 
of money from its citizens. There is one State in the Union which 
is said to be in debt twelve millions of dollars, specie ; and that a 
great part of this debt arose from the issuing of what were called 
specie certificates ; which, in the first instance, were passed at about 
eighty per cent discount, compared with specie. The delegates of 
the State give the first as a fact ; but they do not agree to the last. 

The United States can never again be in circumstances similar to 
those previous to the ratification of the Confederation. They now 
hope to be a happy, peaceable, and respectable nation to the latest 
ages. That this may really be the case, much liberality of sentiment 
must be exercised among those that are truly republican. 

Let us contrast the possible inequality that might take place from 
giving full credit to the wisdom and prudence of the several sovereign 
legislatures for five or six years only, with the unavoidable discord 
that must ensue if it is not done ; and let a deliberate opinion be 
formed thereupon : and will it not be in favor of submitting to that 
possible inequality, which, in all probability, can never again exist 
under the regular systems of government that are now established ? 
If the United States should ever be engaged in a war again, their 
past experience will probably teach them to adopt, in many instances, 
very different systems. 

But in the present situation of affairs, considering that there are 
six States in the Union whose private debts are a trifle compared 
with some others ; considering that nine States will be necessary to 
pass to the credit of any State a charge not expressly authorized by 
the resolutions of Congress ; that the towns damaged and destroyed, 
negroes carried off, tobacco plundered and burnt, the places laid 
waste and in possession of the enemy, — these and numberless other 
charges will be made, in case we go on to liquidate upon the present 
plan. Considering these things, does it seem probable that those 
six States will ever consent to any thing more than what is expressly 
authorized already by the resolutions of Congress ? 



476 MASSACHUSETTS HISTOEICAL SOCIETY. - [MARCH, 

In case the proposition should be agreed to, what is to be done 
with the securities ? Are funds to be given to Congress to discharge 
them ? This would be neither necessary nor admissible. The amount 
of the States' debts, with that of the United States, might be divided 
among the respective States. When the quotas shall be ascertained, 
the amount of the State debt deducted (if less) from the quota will 
leave the balance which ought to be paid into the Continental chest. 

I am strongly induced to believe that this plan would tend to 
prevent much discord and animosity. It is not probable that it 
would operate equal justice ; neither do I suppose the present will. 
What a field will be opened, if the ravages, occasioned by the enemy 
are to be liquidated ! Yet this is set on foot by the superintendent 
of finance, probably to balance the claims of some States ; and will 
it not have this effect ? 

The proposition, if agreed to, would very speedily ease the United 
States of nearly forty thousand dollars per annum, which they now 
pay to commissioners and their clerks for settling the accounts of the 
several States with the Continent ; and which they must continue to 
pay many years to come, upon the present mode of doing the busi- 
ness. 

Several things would be necessary to be done, upon the new plan : 
such as the adjusting of the requisitions of Congress, so far as they 
have actually been discharged by the States ; the calling-in of the old 
paper-money ; and the making of a proper allowance to the States 
which have had men in the field over and above their proportion, 
compared with other States. 

This is a matter of exceeding great importance. I do not pre- 
tend to give the above sentiments as my decided opinion. Whether 
the accounts will ever be brought to a close in this or any other way, 
is a matter, in my mind, very uncertain. 

You will pardon me for being so very prolix, as it is the last 
letter I ever expect to write you in an official capacity, or rather as 
a member of Congress writing to his friend. 

I am very sincerely yours, S. O. 

N.B. — My information respecting the purport of the financier's 
letter was wrong. I did not hear it read ; but, upon particular 
inquiry, find he only suggests an intention of leaving his office. The 
time when is not mentioned. 

The Hon. S. Higginson, Esq. 



1862.] LETTER OF HON. JOHN BACON. 477 

Hon* John Bacon to Hon. Samuel Phillips. 

Stockbridge, Sept. 22, 1785. 
My dear Sir, — The great revolution of sentiment in the Gene- 
ral Court, relative to the alteration of the eighth article of Confede- 
ration, would lead me to suppose some new light had been thrown on 
that subject since I had the honor of a seat in the House of Repre- 
sentatives. But, after conversing with some of the principal mem- 
bers who were in favor of the act for altering that article, I do not 
find that they have any new arguments to offer in favor of it. For 
my own part, I cannot but consider this act as bearing an unfavora- 
ble aspect on the interest of the New-England States in general, 
more especially of this Commonwealth. From a personal acquaint- 
ance with several of the Southern and Eastern States, I have long 
since been convinced, and have often made the observation, — even 
before the United States, as such, had an existence, — that it is much 
easier acquiring property in the Southern than it is in the Eastern 
States. I am fully convinced, that, with the same degree of industry 
and economy that is practised by our New-England farmers in gene- 
ral in order to obtain a bare comfortable support, a man, in almost 
any of the Southern States, would, in the course of a few years, 
acquire a considerable fortune. In this opinion, which I originally 
formed from personal observation, I have since been more fully con- 
firmed by almost every consideration that has been urged as well 
for as against the alteration aforesaid. I have, indeed, often won- 
dered that gentlemen have not been convinced of the unequal burden 
that must fall on the New-England States from the operation of the 
article in question, even by their own arguments in favor of it. 

It has been frequently urged, that the white people in the Southern 
States perform very little labor ; that a negro there will not perform 
more than one-half or two-thirds as much as a white man will with us ; 
that, therefore, they ought not to pay towards the public expense in equal 
proportion with us, according to their number of inhabitants. But will 
it not be conceded on all hands, that their exports of produce from 
their lands are, in proportion to their uumber of inhabitants (even 
w^ith this small proportion of labor), much greater than ours ? And 
to what can this be attributed but to the greater fertility of their soil, 
together with its easy cultivation ? It will, perhaps, be said, They do 
not consume so great a quantity of provisions and clothing, in proportion 
to their number of inhabitants, as we do in New England. Admitting 



478 MASSACHUSETTS HISTORICAL SOCIETY. [MARCH, 

this to be the case, it may well be inquired, To what can this differ- 
ence be ascribed but to the greater mildness of their climate ? and 
does not this add to the greater relative value of their estates ? Will 
it be urged that the negroes in the Southern States are kept extremely 
low ? and will this more than counterbalance all that ease, afflu- 
ence, and luxury in which gentlemen there universally live ? The 
negroes in the Southern States are, undoubtedly, kept as well as their 
masters judge either their interest requires or humanity dictates. 
If the apportionment of the public expense was out of the question, 
I conceive those gentlemen would highly resent any intimation of 
the contrary. 

In the course of debates, both public and private, on this impor- 
tant question, I have observed an unaccountable disposition in some 
gentlemen to augment the advantages we enjoy, and to extenuate 
those enjoyed by the citizens of the Southern States. It is well for 
us to entertain a good opinion of our own country ; but it is neither 
proper nor expedient, as I conceive, to proclaim this good opinion to 
the disadvantage and ruin of our country. 

It is frequently urged, that we enjoy a vast advantage from the 
fishery, which ought to be taken into consideration in the apportionment 
of the public expense. 

But is not the fishery as free to the Southern States as it is to us ? 
and, if this branch of business is so much more lucrative than that 
in which they are engaged, what can be the reason that they do not 
improve it ? Their distance is not so great as to be an insuperable 
obstacle in their way. The truth is, such is their soil, that they find 
it more to their advantage to cultivate their lands. Such is our cli- 
mate and the sterility of our soil, that we are driven to the prosecu- 
tion of many branches of business which it is their interest entirely 
to neglect. It is worthy of consideration, whether (in case we 
should, in future, meet with no greater embarrassments in our fishery 
than we have done heretofore) our number of inhabitants will not be 
augmented beyond theirs (other circumstances being equal) , in some 
degree of proportion, at least, to that in which the fishery is prose- 
cuted by us beyond what it is by them ; and, should this be the 
case, our proportion of the public expense, on the principles of the al- 
teration, will be increased in a proportion far greater than that of 
our number of inhabitants. And is it to be expected that our wealth 
arising from the fishery will be increased in a like proportion ? 
When the fishery is in a flourishing situation, it employs a great 



1862.] . LETTER OF HON. JOHN BACON. 479 

number of men. These men are generally poor : they have wives, 
and as many children, perhaps, as any set of men whatever, in pro- 
portion to their number. And for three of these poor persons we 
are to pay as much as the Southern States pay for five of their 
slaves. The slaves in the Southern States are, to the citizens there, 
substantial wealth ; and, by sending them to the West Indies, they 
can if they please, at any time, convert them into solid money. 
This they are not disposed to do, but, on the contrary, to increase 
their number ; and the reason is, they esteem them more profitable 
than money, white servants, or tenants. And surely, from our ac- 
quaintance with them, we have no reason to scruple their sagacity in 
matters of a pecuniary nature. 

The impracticability of obtaining a Continental valuation on the 
principles of the eighth article is frequently urged as a reason for 
the alteration. I really never could conceive so great difficulty in 
obtaining the relative value of the lands in the several States as 
there is in obtaining the relative value of the property of the several 
towns in this Commonwealth. I believe, that by having recourse to 
the land-offices which are kept in the Southern States, with other 
ordinary methods, we should stand quite as good a chance to obtain 
an accurate return of the quantity of lands that have been granted 
to, or surveyed for, any person, as we do to obtain an accurate 
return of the number of their inhabitants. The general quality of 
their lands may be determined, to a tolerable degree of exactness, 
from the number of persons subsisting on them, the particular kinds 
of produce, and from ascertaining, as near as may be, the quantity of 
each kind exported. 

I can scarcely meet with a gentleman, even among those who are 
the most sanguine for the alteration, who argues from any other 
principles than what he has heard from one and another gentleman 
who belongs to some one of the Southern States ; or, at most, from 
some other gentleman who has occasionally travelled through that 
country : and, from such information, they conclude the lands there 
must be extremely barren and poor. This information, which is 
obtained from Southern gentlemen, is like that which our General 
Court obtain of the quality of the land in a particular town, from 
its representative, at the time of taking a valuation : but with this 
difference, that, in the former case, the temptation to give a low 
idea of the quality of the lands is much greater than in the latter ; 
and the prospect of any misrepresentation being detected (until it has 



480 MASSACHUSETTS HISTORICAL SOCIETY. [MARCH, 

had its designed effect) proportionally less, as one place is at a 
greater distance and more out of view than the other. But Southern 
gentlemen, it is said, all agree in giving the same representation of the 
circumstances of their country. And do not our representatives all 
agree in giving nearly the same representation of their respective 
towns ? I mean not to insinuate that there is, in either case, any 
extraordinary degree of dishonesty. It is no more tlmn what is 
incident to human nature. Every one feels most sensibly his own 
burden ; and it is considered as a necessary piece of self-defence. 

I believe you have heard me observe, that gentlemen, from riding 
through the Southern States, obtain but a very inadequate idea of 
the wealth of that country. People there, especially those who are 
wealthy, very rarely settle on the public roads. Hence it is, that the 
wealth of that country is not exposed to the view of a traveller, as 
it is with us. And, for this different mode of settling, there is a 
natural reason. That country is level, and intersected in all parts 
by rivers and creeks, most of which are navigable. The public 
roads are laid on the light, dry lands, so as to head those waters. 
The wealthy inhabitants live on plantations which lie off from the 
public roads, — on those rich necks of land with which that country 
abounds. In the whole circle of my acquaintance, south of the 
State of Delaware, I can scarcely recollect a single instance of a 
gentleman, living on any public road, who is considered there as being 
possessed of a large estate. It is agreeable to the taste of Southern 
gentlemen to live off from the public roads. This taste is formed 
from necessity, or at least from a high degree of convenience. If 
the lands in the Southern States are indeed barren and poor, whence 
is it that Southern gentlemen are enabled to live and appear in so 
great affluence, splendor, and parade as most of them do ? Whence 
are those large quantities of tobacco, Indian corn, rice, indigo, 
flour, &c, &c, which are annually exported from those States ? 
From the nature of the produce, had we never heard any thing of 
the country, we might certainly infer the luxuriancy of the soil. 

It is urged by the advocates for the alteration, that there are a vast 
number of people in the Southern States that are extremely poor. This 
representation, I am fully convinced, is greatly exaggerated. That, 
in the Southern States, there is a much greater degree of inequality, 
and that the difference between those who are there called poor and 
those who are called rich is much greater than it is with us, I will 
readily admit ; but it must be remembered that a man, who, in New 



1882.] LETTER OF HON. JOHN BACON. 481 

England, is considered as being in tolerably good circumstances, 
would, in any of the Southern States, be ranked with the poor. 

I think it is rational to suppose, what I believe experience has 
always taught, that it is easiest raising soldiers in those places where 
they most abound with people that are extremely poor. If this is 
found to be a fact, how can it be accounted for, that, during the late 
war, the Southern States furnished so small a proportion of private 
soldiers for the Continental Army, while they had, at the same time, 
their full quotas of officers ? And I query whether their officers did 
not appear to be, in general, men of fortune. If they have such vast 
numbers of people that are extremely poor, and but a small number 
that are rich, it would, I conceive, be natural to expect there would 
be but little difficulty in raising privates, and that the greatest diffi- 
culty would be to obtain men of figure for officers. It is not to be 
imagined, that, in the Southern States, there are a greater pro- 
portion of men of the first fortunes there, who are disposed to 
exchange ease and affluence for the dangers and hardships of a camp, 
than there are with us. 

I was not long since conversing with one of our honorable dele- 
gates on this subject, who was then, and I suppose still continues to 
be, strongly in favor of the alteration. I queried with him, if the 
lands in the Southern States were so poor, as he alleged, compared 
with ours, what could be the reason that no persons ever remove 
from thence to engage in the cultivation of lands in New England ? 
His answer was, "We populate so fast in this cold northern climate, 
that we are ready to eat up one another, and leave no room for 
them." This, which I take to be, in some measure, a rational and 
just, I also take to be a full, answer to almost every thing I have 
ever heard in favor of the alteration. I have no doubt, but, compared 
with the Southern States, we in this State particularly shall always 
increase and abound in the number of our inhabitants much more 
than in wealth. If we compare the several towns in this Common- 
wealth, or attend to the various kingdoms of the world in all ages of 
it, and reason from analogy, I believe we shall find the same conse- 
quence to follow which I draw from the foregoing principles and 
facts. I think it has not been found that the most opulent families, 
towns, states, or kingdoms, have generally been the most prolific. 

But it is the negroes in the Southern States that are chiefly com- 
plained of as the principal cause of their poverty, and that which 
renders them unable to pay towards the public expense in an equal 

61 



482 MASSACHUSETTS HISTORICAL SOCIETY. [MARCH, 

proportion to the number of their inhabitants. Although I have 
already been tedious, I will take the liberty to propose a case, which 
may serve, in some measure, to obviate this objection. I will sup- 
pose a town in this Commonwealth to contain two hundred families. 
These families, one with another, consist of six persons each ; which, 
in the whole, amount to twelve hundred. On this town, there is laid 
an annual tax of five hundred pounds. Is not this as great a tax as 
our towns in general, consisting of the number here proposed, can 
bear, without being very sensibly felt by far the greater part of the 
inhabitants ? 

I will now suppose twenty plantations in one of the Southern 
States, containing each ten white persons and fifty negroes ; which 
also amount to twelve hundred. On these twenty plantations, there 
is also laid a tax of five hundred pounds ; which will give the sum 
of twenty-five pounds for each plantation to pay containing ten white 
persons and fifty negroes. Can it be supposed that a tax thus laid 
would bear harder on the plantations than it would on the town ? I 
think not ; but it is to be observed, that the case, as here stated, goes 
upon the supposition, that those States which have slaves, and those 
which have none, are to pay in an equal proportion to the number of 
their inhabitants. Let the supposed tax be adjusted agreeably to the 
alteration in question, and it will make a material difference in favor 
of the plantations. In this case, I think, the twenty plantations will 
pay the sum of £332. 7s. 6d. nearly, where the town will pay the 
sum of £500. On these principles, each plantation will pay a sum 
not exceeding £16. 12s. 6d. The hire of two negroes only, clear of 
all expense of victualling, clothing, and taxes, will more than pay 
this sum. Although I verily believe, that, was the public expense to 
be borne by the several States in equal proportions to the number of 
their inhabitants respectively, the Southern States would, in this 
case, have the advantage, yet, as this would be a more simple mode 
of apportionment, we might, perhaps, without suffering any very 
sensible injury, consent to such an alteration. This, I conceive, is 
the utmost length we can go, without making a sacrifice of our- 
selves. 

I am told that some of the Southern States have not yet agreed 
to the recommendation of Congress for the alteration. I strongly 
suspect that it is a concerted plan among those States, that some of 
them should stand out till all the Eastern States have come into it ; 
and that, whenever this is done, they will immediately close with the 
recommendation. 



1862.] LETTER OF HON. JOHN BACON. 483 

In making so important an alteration, we ought, I conceive, at 
least, to act understanding^ and with deliberation, and not to take 
a leap in the dark. We ought to be as well assured as the nature of 
the case will admit of that we are not acting against our own inte- 
rest. When the alteration is once made, it will remain for ever. 
Some one State, at least, will undoubtedly find it for their particular 
advantage ; and, as it cannot be again altered without the consent of 
all the States, that State which shall thus find it for their particular 
advantage will not consent to any other alteration which may be less 
to their advantage. 

I suspect my letter has been so tedious, that, by this time, you 
repent of having done me the honor of inviting me to a correspond- 
ence with you. I confess, as a citizen of this Commonwealth, I feel 
myself interested in this subject. This is the only apology I can 
make for the undue length of my letter. I wish to be favored with 
your sentiments on this subject. Is the act for the alteration so cir- 
cumstanced that it cannot be repealed ? If not, gentlemen who view 
the matter in the light which I do will think it to be a case which 
admits of no delay. 

You will please to present my best regards to Mrs. Phillips, Mr. 
French and lady ; and believe me to be, with the highest esteem, 

Your most obedient, humble servant, 

J. Bacon. 

Hon. Mr. Phillips. 

P.S. — Notwithstanding the tedious length of the foregoing letter, 
I still feel an inclination to add thereto. Perhaps, after all that I 
have written, I have not hit on the grand reason which induced the 
Legislature to comply with the recommendation of Congress. I 
have lately been informed, that, at the time of passing the act, it was 
conceded in the House that the terms were unequal ; and that the 
principal reason offered in favor of it was, that they were the best terms 
the Southern gentlemen could be induced to comply with. But will they 
comply with the Confederation as it now stands ? If not, what secu- 
rity can we have that they will comply with any alteration that can 
be made ? Or are we to be dictated solely by the Southern States, 
and to take just such a proportion of the public burden upon us as 
they may see fit, from time to time, to impose upon us ? During the 
war, while we were threatened with immediate destruction from a 
foreign enemy, we made very unequal exertions, and, compared with 



484 MASSACHUSETTS HISTORICAL SOCIETY. [MARCH, 

the Southern States, furnished much more than our proportion of 
men, money, and provisions, for the army. This we were then 
obliged to do for our own preservation ; and shall we now, on the 
return of peace, couch down under a far more unequal burden, and, 
by our own act, make it a perpetual one, because it is the lightest the 
Southern States can be induced to assign us ? If we voluntarily 
submit to this (be it ever so galling) , I am sure we shall deserve to 
bear it. 

I humbly conceive some effectual measures ought speedily to be 
taken for obtaining a Continental valuation on the principles of the 
eighth article. If this business was properly taken up, and urged in 
a cogent and spirited manner, I am very apprehensive the Southern 
gentlemen would be alarmed, and, rather than submit their interests 
to that scrutiny which the nature of the case will admit of, agree to 
an apportionment, according to the number of the inhabitants, on 
equal terms with us. If they will not do this, then let us have a 
valuation immediately, on the principles of the Confederation as it 
now stands, provided the alteration is not already confirmed beyond 
the power of a reconsideration. This I should, on the whole, prefer 
to an apportionment according to the number of inhabitants, pro- 
vided our delegates were as thoroughly informed of the wealth and 
situation of the Southern States as theirs are of ours ; but this, I 
conceive, they never will be from hearsay, nor yet from barely riding 
on the public roads through the country. 

Permit me here to propose another case for illustration. Let us 
suppose the inhabitants of this State to vest so much of their pro- 
perty in slaves as to procure a sufficient number to perform an equal 
proportion of the labor here with that which is performed by the 
slaves in the Southern States. This being done, let the free citizens 
of this State retire from labor and business equally with the free 
citizens of those States. In what a situation should we very soon 
find ourselves ! Should we be able to support the same appearances 
of affluence, splendor, and luxury, which are to be seen in the 
Southern States ? or rather would not masters and slaves, in a very 
short time, be seen starving together in promiscuous heaps ? And to 
what must those different appearances be ascribed, but to the greater 
fertility, and consequently to the greater relative value, of the soil in 
one place than in the other ? 

I have not mentioned the large number of negroes in this State 
which are a nuisance to us, and for which we are to pay two-fifths 



1862.] LETTER FROM CHARLES STODDARD, ESQ. 485 

more than the Southern States are to pay for an equal number of 
their slaves. Nor have I said any thing of the long and tedious 
winters, against the severities of which we have to provide, both for 
man and beast, — an inconvenience which the inhabitants of the 
Southern States have scarcely an idea of. There are many other 
considerations that I conceive to be pertinent and weighty, as they 
relate to the present question, which, were I but briefly to touch 
upon, I must write a volume, rather than a letter. Perhaps you will 
say I have done this already. 

As a citizen of this Commonwealth, I am indeed mortified. I 
think, when the alteration is once confirmed, the inhabitants of the 
Southern States will smile, and whisper (at least among themselves) 
that Issachar is — strong . 

Yours as above, J. B. 

Mr. Bobbins (C.) communicated the following letter 
from Charles Stoddard, Esq., presenting to the Society 
several letters bearing the autograph signature of Gover- 
nor Shirley, and other ancient papers of historical in- 
terest : — 

112, Beacon Street, Boston, March 6, 1862. 

Dear Sir, — I send with this sundry letters by Governor Shirley 
to my ancestor, Colonel John Stoddard, then in command of the 
Western frontier, together with sundry other documents of the last 
century, which have come down to me from my ancestors, and which 
may be found of public historical interest, and, as such, of some 
value to the Massachusetts Historical Society. 

To that Society, should they deem them of any interest, I propose, 
through you, to present these papers, that any facts of the past, of 
interest to the present or future, may be gleaned therefrom. 
I am, dear sir, very respectfully yours, 

Charles Stoddard. 
To Rev. Chandler Robbins, D.D. 

VoUd, That the thanks of the Society be presented 
to Mr. Stoddard for his valuable contribution to its 
archives. 



486 MASSACHUSETTS HISTOEICAL SOCIETY. [MARCH, 

The President nominated Messrs. Saltonstall, Warren, 
and Livermore, to nominate a list of officers at the 
annual meeting. 

He also nominated, as a Committee on the Treasurer's 
accounts, Messrs. Lawrence, Tudor, and Forbes. 

Mr. Satage communicated the following paper from 
Joseph Lemuel Chester, of England, author of a recently 
published biography of John Sogers, the martyr : — 



THE ROGERS GENEALOGY AND THE CANDLER MS. 

BY JOSEPH LEMUEL CHESTER. 

In my Life, &c., of John Rogers, the martyr, recently pub- 
lished by Messrs. Longman and Company, in London, I have 
discussed at length the assumed connection of the Rogers 
families of New England with him through his alleged son 
and grandson, — Richard Rogers of Wethersfield, and John 
Rogers of Dedham ; and shown, I think, conclusively, the 
entire fallacy of the claims so pertinaciously urged during 
the last few years. My investigations have been of the most 
careful and thorough character ; and I am satisfied that there 
is little if any more to be learned on the subject from respon- 
sible sources at present accessible. Tracing my own descent 
distinctly from John Rogers of Dedham, — the name being 
preserved to my maternal grandmother, — I have felt the 
disappointment as keenly as any of the thousands of my 
American countrymen, with whom, in common, I have always 
heretofore indulged the agreeable delusion ; and they may 
rest assured, that I spared no pains to establish as a fact, 
what I was finally compelled to pronounce, under an over- 
whelming weight of evidence, an utterly baseless fiction. 

In the progress of that work, I necessarily collected a 
mass of information respecting various branches and mem- 



1862.] THE ROGERS GENEALOGY AND THE CANDLER MS. 487 

bers of the great Rogers Family ; and have since been pursu- 
ing my researches especially in reference to the history of 
John Rogers of Dedham and his immediate connections. 
The man himself was worthy of a more extended biography 
than has ever been written of him ; and was also of still 
greater importance, as being the direct ancestor of most 
of the American families of his name. In the prosecution 
of these special researches, I have recently fallen upon a 
series of remarkable blunders, hitherto received as authen- 
tic statements, of a character so serious, considering their 
origin and the manner in which they have been perpetuated, 
that I feel justified in resolving upon their public exposure 
at once, instead of delaying until I may finally use the mate- 
rials I am now collecting in another manner. 

That the strictest accuracy in all genealogical statements 
cannot be too strongly insisted upon, is a maxim, the impor- 
tance of which I need not discuss. The variation in a single 
name or date will often invalidate, or involve in inextricable 
confusion, an entire pedigree. It is sad, then, and as unac- 
countable as it is sad, to find now that a series of serious 
discrepancies in the Rogers pedigrees, as at present recog- 
nized, owe their origin to what can only be regarded as sheer 
carelessness in a man whose very name was, and ought to 
be, a sufficient guaranty for the correctness of any state- 
ment to which it is attached. 

In my life of the martyr, I refer only casually to what is 
known as the " Candler Manuscript," in the British Museum ; 
its contents, so far as the Rogers pedigree is concerned, being 
necessary for my purpose only as they tended to confirm my 
position relative to the absence of any connection between 
the martyr, and Richard and John Rogers of Wethersfield 
and Dedham. A recent more careful examination of it leads 
me to concur in the universal opinion of the best antiqua- 
rians, that it is a document of extreme value, and that the 
utmost reliance is to be placed upon its statements. The 



488 MASSACHUSETTS HISTORICAL SOCIETY. [MARCH, 

known character and habits of Candler alone render him a 
safe authority ; and another fact is also important : viz., that 
his volume is not a general collection of indiscriminate pedi- 
grees, but is confined to those families living in his imme- 
diate vicinity, and with which he was more or less intimately 
connected and associated. He was not only the contempo- 
rary of those whose history he thus recorded ; but they were 
always his personal friends, and, not unfrequently, his rela- 
tives. He possessed, therefore, every facility for insuring 
accuracy in his details : and it is remarkable, that, in this 
portion of his work, he confines himself almost exclusively 
to his contemporaries and their descendants, — very rarely 
going back more than a generation or two ; as, for instance, 
he commences the Rogers pedigree with Richard and John, 
of Wethersfield and Dedham, — both living in his time, al- 
though he survived both many years, — simply giving them 
a common ancestor in " Rogers of the North of England." 
It may also be said, that, in other instances, pedigrees other- 
wise legally established are found to agree strictly with those 
in his volume. His entries are, indeed, often indistinct, and 
sometimes cannot be readily reconciled ; but a careful study 
of his system — and it certainly requires a careful study — 
will enable one generally to arrive at satisfactory conclu- 
sions. 

Regarding the Candler Manuscript, therefore, as authentic 
testimony, — and, I repeat, it is so regarded by the best anti- 
quaries in England, — I may now say, that if any additional 
proofs or arguments were wanted, after those I have adduced 
in my Life of the martyr, that Richard Rogers of Wethersfield, 
and John Rogers of Dedham, were not descendants of the mar- 
tyr, the question would be for ever set at rest by the pedi- 
gree therein contained : for Candler unmistakably represents 
them as brothers ; and, as boy or man, he knew them both. 
Now, John Rogers of Dedham died in 1636, at the age of 
sixty-five ; which would establish his birth at about the year 



1862.] THE ROGERS GENEALOGY AND THE CANDLER MS. 489 

1571, sixteen years after the martyr's death. If, therefore, 
this fraternal relation existed, the theory that Richard was a 
son of the martyr is necessarily exploded. If, on the other 
hand, Candler is repudiated, I fall back upon the other facts 
and arguments presented in my volume ; and, in addition, defy 
the production of a solitary tangible proof, of any sort, that 
John of Dedham, as is alleged, was a grandson of the martyr. 
It is to be hoped that we shall all acquiesce quietly in the cer- 
tainty that we have hitherto been laboring under a delusion, 
— an agreeable one, I admit, but still a delusion, — and be 
content with tracing our origin to our somewhat less illus- 
trious ancestor ; whose memory, however, is still revered, and 
whose name is still perpetuated as " the famous preacher of 
Dedham." 

To return to the primary object of this communication. I 
must direct your attention to a paper published in the Collec- 
tions of the Massachusetts Historical Society, vol. x., third 
series (1849), commencing on page 147, and which was pre- 
sented to that Society two years*previously. It relates chiefly 
to the genealogy of the early Suffolk emigrants, and is founded 
almost entirely upon the facts furnished by the Candler Manu- 
script ; the value of which is there attested by the distin- 
guished author of the paper, — the late Rev. Joseph Hunter, 
one of the most eminent of the English antiquarians, and one 
whose statements are usually, and very properly, received as 
authoritative. Indeed, the article is professedly a synopsis 
of that manuscript, so far as it applies to the families to 
which it refers. Relying upon the well-known character and 
antecedents of Mr. Hunter, not only as a general antiquarian, 
but as having passed almost his whole life officially among 
old English records, both public and private, not a suspicion 
ever arose that the valuable details he thus furnished might 
possibly lack the important element of correctness ; and the 
statements thus made were unhesitatingly adopted as the 
basis of certain family pedigrees now recognized as authen- 

62 



490 MASSACHUSETTS HISTORICAL SOCIETY. [March, 

tic. As I propose to confine myself, at present, to a single 
pedigree, — that of the Rogers Family, — I may say, that the 
author of the elaborate, laborious, and valuable statements 
concerning that family, published in the " Historical and Ge- 
nealogical Register," commencing in the number for April, 
1851 (vol. v. p. 105), depended entirely upon Mr. Hunter's 
paper for several of the items in the earlier portion of that 
pedigree. I have no hesitation in assuming this to be the 
case ; because Mr. Hunter was the first to publish some of 
them to the world, and because they are to be found nowhere 
else than in the Candler Manuscript, whence Mr. Hunter con- 
fessedly obtained them. 

Relying, like every one else, upon the reputation of Mr. 
Hunter, no suspicion of their possible inaccuracy was, until 
very recently, entertained by myself. An experience of 
several years in similar researches, and the frequent detec- 
tion of similar errors, had led me, however, to the conclusion, 
never to trust any statements of the sort at second-hand 
when I could have access to the original authority ; and so, 
in pursuit of every item of information bearing upon the 
history of John Rogers of Dedham, I sat down to a careful 
examination of the Candler Manuscript itself. The results I 
propose now to give you, in order that the necessary correc- 
tions may be made in your pedigrees at home. While I have 
no excuses to make for Mr. Hunter, I shall neither utter any 
reproaches on account of his numerous inaccuracies. It is, 
perhaps, due to his memory to suggest the probability, that 
his eye ran over the pages of the manuscript very hastily, 
and that he merely gathered the items embraced in the paper 
referred to, currente calamo ; while his real object was the 
accomplishment of some other purpose. It is clearly appa- 
rent, that, whenever a difficulty arose respecting an entry, 
he jumped at a conclusion, instead of studying the matter 
attentively, and being guided by a previously acquired know- 
ledge of Candler's system. For his palpable mistakes in 



1862.] THE ROGERS GENEALOGY AND THE CANDLER MS. 491 

names, there can be no excuse whatever ; for Candler's writ- 
ing is quite legible, when compared with the usual chirogra- 
phy of his time. It is to be regretted that the errors were 
committed, and have been so long perpetuated > but I have 
great pleasure in now correcting them, and in presenting to 
the members of the Rogers Family the real statements of the 
Candler Manuscript, — the only reliable authority yet dis- 
covered on the genealogical points in question. Referring 
you to Mr. Hunter's paper itself in the Massachusetts Histo- 
rical Society's Collections, I will notice them in consecutive 
order. They will also be readily found in the article in the 
il Register," already referred to. 

Error 1st, p. 163. Speaking of Rev. Ezekiel Rogers, 
son of Rev. Richard Rogers of Wethersfield, who removed 
to New England, Mr. Hunter says, " Candler has preserved 
his wife's name, Sarah, daughter of John Everard, citizen of 
London." Now, the manuscript unmistakably represents Sa- 
rah Everard as the second wife of Daniel Rogers, brother of 
Ezekiel, by whom she had four children : viz., Hannah, who 
married Roger Cockington ; Samuel, lecturer at Cree Church, 
London ; and Mary and Margaret, who both died without 
issue, — her husband having had a son, Daniel, by his first 
wife, Margaret Bishop. 

Error 2d, p. 164. Speaking of Rev. John Rogers of Ded- 
ham, Mr. Hunter says, " Candler informs us that he was 
thrice married. The family of the first wife is not named ; 
the second was Elizabeth Gold, widow of John Hawes ; and 
the third, Dorothy Stanton, widow of Richard Wiseman, of 
Wigborough in Essex." The manuscript in the Rogers 
pedigree says, plainly enough, that the name of the second 
wife was Elizabeth Gale. If there was room for any doubt 
in the chirography in this instance (which there is not), it 
would be thoroughly removed by an entry on another page 
(fol. 164), where the marriage of "Elizabeth Hawes, only 
daughter of John Hawes, by his wife, Elizabeth Gale, second 



492 MASSACHUSETTS HISTORICAL SOCIETY. [MARCH, 

wife of John Rogers," <fcc, is recorded ; where it is impos- 
sible to mistake the letters, and to which entry Mr. Hunter 
also refers. 

Error 3d, p. 164. Mr. Hunter says, " Candler speaks only 
of one son and one daughter (of John Rogers of Dedham). 
The daughter married John Hudson, Rector of Capel," &c. 
The entry from which Mr. Hunter quotes is found in the 
Hudson, and not the Rogers, pedigree (fol. 227, &.), and 
gives the name of the daughter, — Mary. Its omission by 
Mr. Hunter is equivalent to an error. 

Error 4dh, p. 164. Mr. Hunter says, " The only son of 
John Rogers [of Dedham] of whom Candler speaks . . . 
was Nathaniel Rogers, a son of Elizabeth Gold, the second 
wife." In the manuscript, the usual connecting lines are 
distinctly drawn to indicate that Nathaniel was the issue of 
the first wife : but, if this were not sufficient to establish the 
maternity, Candler carefully adds to his description of the 
second wife, Elizabeth Gale, the words, "She had no issue ; " 
while he also describes Dorothy Stanton as " the third wife 
of John Rogers, by whom he had no issue" How Mr. Hunter 
could have overlooked both the connecting lines and the posi- 
tive declaration of Candler is utterly unaccountable. This 
error is highly important ; as the descendants of John Rogers 
of Dedham can no longer claim, as their great ancestress, 
Elizabeth Gale, alias Gold, but must seek her in some other 
lady, yet nameless, who was his first wife. 

Error 5th, p. 165. Speaking of the children of Nathaniel 
Rogers, the New-England pioneer, Mr. Hunter says, " Can- 
dler, writing about 1660 [the manuscript gives the exact 
date, — 1656], mentions four sons (John, Nathaniel, Samuel, 
and Timothy), but gives no more than the names. It seems, 
also, that there was a daughter married to William Hobert, 
who may be the William Hubbard who took his freedom, May 2, 
1638." Mr. Savage adds the following note : " Margaret, 
daughter of Nathaniel Rogers, married William Hubbard, the 



1862.] THE ROGERS GENEALOGY AND THE CANDLER MS. 493 

historian, H.C. 1642." Mr. Hunter .derives this information 
about the daughter, whose name also he omits, from an entry 
in the Knapp pedigree (fol. 165), which, referring to a daugh- 
ter of John Knapp and Martha Blosse of Ipswich, reads 
literally thus : " Judith Knappe, wife to Wm. Hobert. A 
daughter of hers married Mr. Knight, minister of St. Matthew's 
Parish in Ipswich. Wm. Hobart married Mary, daught. of 
Natha. Rogers." But, in the Rogers pedigree, Candler gives 
the children of Nathaniel Rogers as John, Nathaniel, Samuel, 
Timothy, and " Mary, married to William Heley." This entry, 
Mr. Hunter entirely overlooks. I shall not stop to discuss 
the question, whether this is a discrepancy of Candler's ; or 
of what weight is Mr. Hunter's suggestion, that the former 
entry refers to the historian Hubbard. The names in the 
manuscript are, respectively, " Hobert " and " Heley," beyond 
a doubt. The name of Hubbard's wife was, I believe, un- 
questionably, Margaret. It is not unreasonable to suppose 
that Nathaniel Rogers had two daughters, — Mary and Mar- 
garet, — and that the former married Heley. One circum- 
stance would seem to confirm this presumption. Immediately 
adjoining the entry, in the manuscript concerning this daugh- 
ter Mary, is another, written at right -angles with it, and 
which has no direct connection with any other on the page, 
— though I cannot assert positively that it has any with 
this, — containing these words, " her second husband was 
Harsnet Clarke." Whether the latter is a surname, or intended 
to denote the profession of a Mr. Harsnet, cannot be deter- 
mined. If this latter entry refers to Mary Rogers, wife of 
Heley, there must have been, as I presume there was, another 
daughter, Margaret, who married Hubbard. 

Error 6£A, pp. 165-6. Mr. Hunter says, " The best infor- 
mation given by Candler is, that the w T ife of Nathaniel 
Rogers, and the ancestor of his distinguished American pos- 
terity, was Margaret Crane, a daughter of Robert Crane of 
Coggeshall in Essex, by Mary, his wife, daughter of Samuel 



494 MASSACHUSETTS HISTORICAL SOCIETY. [MARCH, 

Sparhouse of Dedham ; which Robert Crane married a second 
wife, Margaret, daughter of Robert Maidstone of Broxted 
Hall in Essex, relict of Walter Clopton. This may seem to 
bring the wife of Nathaniel Rogers into some distant affinity 
with John Winthrop, the governor, whose second wife was a 
Clopton." This paragraph embraces not only an important 
error, but also an absurdity, so gross, that I cannot forbear 
directing attention to it. First, the error: The manuscript 
in the Crane pedigree (fol. 233) very plainly gives the name 
of the first wife of Robert Crane, the mother of Margaret 
Crane, wife of Nathaniel Rogers, as " Mary, daughter of 
Samuell Sparhawhe of Dedham in Essex." It is impossible 
to mistake the chirography. We therefore, who now repre- 
sent that " distinguished American posterity " of Mr. Hunter's, 
must be content to be transformed from Sp&rhouses into Spar- 
hawks, in spite of his persistence in the former orthography, 
which he introduces a second time on page 166. The ab- 
surdity alluded to is briefly this : Nathaniel Rogers's wife's 
stepmother was the widow of a Clopton ; and John Winthrop 
married a Clopton. I leave the exact degree of i( distant 
affinity " existing between Mrs. Rogers and the governor to 
be determined by some more mathematical genealogist than I 
can claim to be. 

Error 7th, p. 166. Mr. Hunter says, "Half-sister to Natha- 
niel Rogers was Elizabeth Hawes ; the only issue, of whom 
Candler speaks, of the marriage of John Hawes and Elizabeth 
Gold." This error is, of course, rectified in the remarks con- 
nected with Error 2d. Her mother's name was Gale (not 
Gold) ; and she was not Nathaniel Rogers's half-sister, as 
she was not the daughter of either his father or his mother. 

The importance of this exposition of the foregoing errors 
will readily be seen from the corrections necessary to be 
made in the present received pedigrees of the Rogers Family. 
It is true, that the paternal line of descent is little, if at all, 
affected; but it is certainly of some interest, if we cannot 



1862.] THE ROGERS GENEALOGY AND THE CANDLER MS. 495 

ascertain who our great-grandmothers really were, to be able 
to determine who they were not. 

It will be, perhaps, more satisfactory if I now give you 
what is clearly the correct reading of the Candler Manuscript, 
so far as this particular family is concerned. The version 
by Mr. Somerby, in vol. iv. of the " Genealogical Register/ 7 
p. 179, is incomplete and indistinct, owing to the impossibility 
of arranging and connecting, by the ordinary rules and spaces, 
the various entries as they appear in the manuscript. It also 
omits some important entries, and is otherwise defective. 
Nothing but a fac-simile, or photographic copy, could give 
you a correct idea of this particular page. The manuscript 
is Harleian, No. 6071 ; and the Rogers pedigree is to be found 
on fol. 238, b., with two entries on fol. 239. It commences 
with — 

" Rogers of , in the North of England," who had two 

sons, — Richard and John. 

John, " the famous preacher of Dedham/' whose family is 
first mentioned, although certainly the youngest, had three 
wives. The first is not named ; the second was " Elizabeth ' 
Gale, the relict of John Hawes ; " and the third was " Doro- 
thie, daughter of Stanton, the relict of Rich. Wise- 
man of Wigborough in Essex, gent." By his second and 
third wives he had no issue ; and the only child by his first 
wife, here named, was Nathaniel, " who married Margaret, 
daughter of Robert Crane of Coksall in Essex ; " and of whom 
it is further said, " he died in New England. He left issue, 
John, Nath 11 , Samuel, Timothy, [and] Mary (married to W m 
Heley)." 

Then follows Richard Rogers, the brother of John, who is 
described as " Lecturer at Wethersfield, who wrote the 7 
treatise, & sundry other Bookes of great vse : a man of great 
woorth, & very faithful in his ministry." He had two 
wives. The name of the first is not given ; but the second 
is thus described : " Susan, daughter of , was, first, 



496 MASSACHUSETTS HISTORICAL SOCIETY. [MARCH, 

the wife of John Ward [preacher at Haverhill in Suffolk] ; 
&, after his death, was y e 2 d wife to Richard Rogers, by 
whome she had no Issue." His children by his first wife are 
thus mentioned : 1st, " Daniell Rogers, who succeeded his 
father in y e place of Lecturie at Wethersfield ; an eminent 
schollar & preacher, who hath many workes in print: he, 
being one of the eminent fellowes in Christs Colledge in Cam- 
bridge, was the Aduancer of Dr. Amies, whome he brought 
in to bee fellow there." 2d, " Ezra, s.p." 3d, " Nath 11 , s.p." 
4th, " Ezekiel, an eminent preacher, yet liueing ; but all his 
issue dead before this yeare, 1656." 

Daniel Rogers, the eldest son, married, first, "Margaret 
Bishop," by whom he had a son Daniel. His second wife 
was " Sarah, daughter of John Euerard, a citizen in London ; " 
by whom he had issue, thus described : " Hannah, wife to 
Roger Cockington ; by whome she had two children, — Roger 
and Samuell. She hath had, since his death, two or three 
husbands." — " Samuel Rogers, Lecturer at Cree Church in 
London." — "Mary and Margaret, s.p." 

Daniel Rogers, son of Daniel Rogers and Margaret Bishop, 
is thus described : " Rector of Wotton in Northamptonshire. 
He married Dorothie Ball, daughter of the then Maior of 

Northampton. His second wife was , daughter of 

Reading, Counsellor at Law." Candler gives the names of 
eight of his children, and seems to intimate that five of them 
were by his first wife ; but it is impossible to determine how 
they should be distributed. They are mentioned as follows : 
1st, "Daniel, s.p." 2d, "Dorothie." 3d, "Sarah; married 
to John Bedell, a citizen of London : she died of her second 
child ; and all her issue is dead." 4th, " Richard, Rector of 
Clopton in Suff.," who married "Elizabeth, daughter of Charles 
Humphry, gent., the relict of Matthew Brownerig, Rector 
of Clopton in Suff.;" and had issue, — " Humphry ; " "Eliza- 
beth ; " " Culverwell, s.p. ; " and " Sarah." 5th, " Joseph, 
s.p." 6th, " Nath 1 ." 7th, " Abigail." And 8th, " Ezekiell, 



1862.] THE ROGERS GENEALOGY AND THE CANDLER MS. 497 

of Shalford in Essex : he married daughter of S r Rob* John- 
son, the relict of ." 

The foregoing is a complete synopsis of the body of the 
Rogers pedigree, as given by Candler. There are, besides, 
six distinct entries, closely huddled together, three written 
horizontally and three perpendicularly on the page, and 
neither of them having any direct connection with the prin- 
cipal entries or with each other. I give them literally and 
numerically : — 

1. " Her 2 d Husband was Harsnet Clarke." 

2. " William Jenkin, of Christs Church in London." 

3. " Mary, ma. to Daniel Sutton." 

4. " Elizabeth, m. to Tho. Cawton." 

5. " John ; Ezekiel ; Anne, to Clarke, a minister." 

6. "Abigaile." 

The second, third, and fourth of these entries can be dis- 
posed of at once. It is well known that Rev. William Jenkyn, 
then of Sudbury in Suffolk, married a daughter of Richard 
Rogers of Wethersfield, and had a son of the same name, who 
was subsequently ejected from Christ's Church in London; 
and also that one of his daughters (Elizabeth) married Rev. 
Thomas Cawton, another eminent Puritan minister: while 
Candler, in another part of his manuscript (fol. 163), says 
that " Daniell Sutton " (son of Thomas Sutton of Leek in 
Staffordshire, and Margaret, daughter of Hugh Holinshed of 
Heyward in Cheshire, gent.), married, as his second wife, 

" Mary, d. of W Jenkin of Sudbury, Clarke, and of , 

d. of Richard Rogers, CI. ; " and had issue, — 1st, " Daniel " 
(who probably died young) ; 2d, "William, s.p. ;" 3d, 
" Daniell ; " 4th, " Mary ; " and 5th, " John." 

The mystery attached to the fifth and sixth of these 
entries, I think, I am also able to clear up. I have in my 
possession a contemporary copy of the will of Rev. William 
Jenkyn the younger (of Christ's Church), dated in 1682, in 

63 



498 MASSACHUSETTS HISTORICAL SOCIETY. [MARCH, 

which he leaves legacies to his "sisters, Anne Clark and 
Abigail Taylor ; " and it is thus rendered almost certain, that 
the persons named in these two entries were also the children 
of William Jenkyn of Sudbury, and consequently grandchil- 
dren of Richard Rogers of Wethersfield. 

This leaves only the first of these entries to be disposed 
of. I have before suggested that it might refer to Mary, the 
daughter of Nathaniel Rogers, who married William Heley ; 
but it may, on the contrary, be intended to indicate Elizabeth 
Jenkyn, the wife of Thomas Cawton. It is certain that she 
survived her husband, and that there were preachers, about 
that time, of the name of Harsnet. Prom the position of this 
entry on the page, it might refer to either; but as the other 
five of the group all relate, unquestionably, to the Jenkyn 
Family, I think the presumption is strong, that the Widow 
Cawton subsequently married Rev. Mr. Harsnet, and that 
Candler so intended to intimate. 

You have now a clear and accurate version of the Rogers 
pedigree, as it appears in the Candler Manuscript. It may 
be interesting to possess an account of the ancestry of Mar- 
garet Crane, the wife of Rev. Nathaniel Rogers of New 
England ; and with that, and the other occasional entries 
already quoted, you have every thing that Candler says in 
reference to this family. The Crane descent (fol. 233) is 
summarily as follows (I quote literatim) : — 

1. "Robert Craine, of Clifton, Esq., = Bridget, daughter of S r 
Thomas Jernin, of Rushbrake, Knt., [and] Sister of S r Ambrose." 

2. " Henry Crane, Esq." 

3. " Henry Craine, Esq., = — Jernegham : she had been wife to 
S r Wymond Cariey, Knt." 

4. " S r Robert Craine of Chilton, Knt. and Baronet, = Susan, 
daughter of S r Giles Alington, Knt." 

5. " Robert Crane of Coxhall in Essex = Mary, daughter of 
Samuell Sparhawke, of Dedham in Essex." 

6. " Margaret, married to Nathaniel Rogers, Rector of Assing- 
ton ; whence he went into New England." 



1862.] THE ROGERS GENEALOGY AND THE CANDLER MS. 499 

It is, perhaps, proper that I should add, that, on a cursory 
examination of the rest of Mr. Hunter's article, I do not 
notice so many or such serious discrepancies in reference to 
the other families he mentions; but it is certainly extraor- 
dinary that he should have concentrated such a series of 
blunders into his brief synopsis of this single pedigree, and 
still more extraordinary that the errors should not have been 
detected until this late day. 

It is also right to state, that the Eogers pedigree, as given 
by Candler, is certainly defective and incomplete, and only to 
be relied upon so far as it extends. In this communication, I 
have confined myself to a discussion of his manuscript ; but 
hope, at some no distant day, to be able to furnish you with 
the complete and satisfactory results of the thorough and 
minute researches into the genealogy and history of this par- 
ticular family, in which I have been for a long time engaged. 
Besides the mass of information I have already collected, I 
am becoming, since the publication of my Memoir of the 
Martyr, the depositary of the records and traditions pre- 
served in numerous families in England, either bearing his 
name, or claiming descent from him ; and design, eventually, 
to produce another volume, of a purely genealogical and anec- 
dotal character, which, I have reason to believe, will prove 
acceptable on both sides of the Atlantic. 

London, Feb. 15, 1862. 



Dr. Lothrop communicated a Memoir of our late 
associate, Nathaniel I. Bowditch, which he had pre- 
pared in compliance with a vote of the Society. 



500 MASSACHUSETTS HISTORICAL SOCIETY. [MARCH, 



MEMOIR 



NATHANIEL INGERSOLL BOWDITCH, ESQ. 



BY REV. S. K. LOTHROP, D.D. 



Nathaniel Ingersoll Bowditch was born at Salem, Mass., 
on the 17th of June, 1805. The first American ancestor of 
his family was William Bowditch, who emigrated from Eng- 
land, probably from the city of Exeter or its immediate vici- 
nity, and settled in Salem, in 1639. He left an only child, 
William; who died in 1681, leaving also an only child, named 
William. This third William had a numerous family (eleven 
children) ; but only one of his sons, Ebenezer, left any male 
descendants. The fifth child of Ebenezer, Habakkuk, born in 
1738, had seven children ; of whom the fourth was the late 
Nathaniel Bowditch, LL.D., — a man whose extraordinary 
genius and large contributions to nautical and astronomical 
science have procured him an endearing and world-wide 
fame, and caused his name to be known and his authority to 
be trusted wherever a ship spreads its sails upon the ocean ; 
while the noble qualities of his heart, the perfect truthfulness 
of his character, the integrity, purity, simplicity, and benevo- 
lent usefulness of his life, secured him the respect and con- 
fidence of all who knew him, and the warmest affections and 
the most profound reverence of those who shared the honor 
of his intimate personal friendship. 

This justly celebrated and honored person (Nathaniel Bow- 
ditch, LL.D.) died in March, 1838, leaving six children ; the 



1862.] MEMOIR OF NATHANIEL INGERSOLL BOWDITCH. 501 

eldest of whom was Nathaniel Ingersoll, the subject of this 
memoir. His mother was Mary Ingersoll, daughter of Jona- 
than Ingersoll, Esq. She was married to his father, who was 
her cousin, in October, 1800. Mrs. Mary Bowditch was a 
remarkable person : one of those women whose characters are 
so perfectly moulded and rounded out, without deficiency or 
redundance in any of the parts ; in whom the higher elements 
of intellectual and moral thought are so blended with tender- 
ness, compassion, sympathy, all soft, gentle, and graceful 
qualities, — that we find it difficult to tell whether love or 
reverence is the strongest emotion we feel towards them. 
Exceedingly attractive in person, winning and gracious in 
manners, cheerful in disposition, with a vigorous mind en- 
riched by culture, and a warm and loving heart, full of all 
gentle and generous affections ; her whole being impregnated, 
elevated, guided by religious faith and principle, — she was 
the moral sunlight of her dwelling ; made her home a type 
and miniature of heaven, the scene of the highest happiness, 
the source of the holiest influences, to its inmates. Perhaps 
no woman ever had a nobler monument than that reared to 
her by her husband, who dedicates his great work, the 
" Translation and Commentary on the ' M^canique Celeste ' of 
La Place/' " To the memory of his wife, Mary Bowditch, who 
devoted herself to her domestic avocations with great judg- 
ment, unceasing kindness, and a zeal which could not be sur- 
passed ; taking upon herself the whole care of her family, 
and thus procuring for him the leisure hours to prepare the 
work, and securing to him, by her prudent management, the 
means for its publication in its present form, which she fully 
approved : and, without her approbation, the work would not 
have been undertaken." 

Family tradition has not transmitted any very striking 
incidents or indications in the childhood and school-days of 
our subject ; but with such parents, and under the influences 
that pervaded his home, we are not surprised to find that he 



502 MASSACHUSETTS HISTORICAL SOCIETY. [MARCH, 

was ready for college, so far as the acquisition of knowledge 
was requisite, at a very early age ; and actually entered the 
University at Cambridge in August, 1818, a few weeks after 
he was thirteen years old. He was the youngest in his class : 
too young, probably, for the full benefit to be derived from 
the course of studies then pursued at Cambridge ; and cer- 
tainly too young to be exposed to perilous snares and temp- 
tations incident to the liberty which, to a certain extent, 
necessarily appertains to college-life. No stain of vice or 
moral wrong rests upon his pure spirit ; but, led away 
by older students, he yielded to the temptations of college- 
life so far as to be guilty of some boyish follies, and such 
thoughtless waste of time and opportunity, that, toward the 
close of the freshman-year, his father, at the suggestion of 
the faculty, removed him from college for some months. In 
some brief but amusing memoranda of a speech he expected 
to be called upon to make at the alumni dinner in 1854, but 
at which he " happily escaped any molestation," there is an 
allusion to this : — 

" I was," he says, " the youngest and smallest of my class, and 
was everywhere known as Little Bowditch. I was entirely verdant 
and unsophisticated, and almost immediately began to pick up college 
accomplishments, which occupied more of my time and attention 
than was consistent with a due regard to other studies, and which 
finally led to my having permission to visit my friends for a few 
months before I had finished my freshman-year. On my return, my 
old associations had been broken up ; and I have always felt grate- 
ful to our Alma Mater for the discipline to which I was thus seasona- 
bly and happily subjected." 

Undoubtedly this discipline, through the mortification and 
sorrow it caused him, aided by parental counsels and affec- 
tion, and the sympathy and influence of a valued friend, 
Henry Pinckney, Esq., became a signal benefit and bless- 
ing to him. He returned to college, no longer a boy, but a 
man, with a just appreciation of the purpose of college and 



1862.] MEMOIR OF NATHANIEL INGERSOLL BOWDITCH. 503 

the duties of life. He fully redeemed his character; passed 
the remainder of his college -life, not only with an unble- 
mished, but with a distinguished, reputation for conduct and 
scholarship; and graduated, in 1822, with a high rank in his 
class. He had already decided upon his profession; and, 
immediately after graduating, he entered upon the study of 
law in the office of B. R. Nichols, Esq., then residing in 
Salem. In 1823, Dr. Bowditch, after repeated solicitations, 
accepted the office, for which he had rare and unsurpassed 
qualifications, of Actuary of the Massachusetts-Hospital Life- 
insurance Company, and removed to Boston to discharge its 
duties. On the removal of the family to Boston, Nathaniel 
Ingersoll entered the office of that very distinguished coun- 
sellor, Hon. William Prescott ; who had associated with him, 
at the time, his son-in-law, the late Franklin Dexter, Esq. 
Here Mr. Bowditch continued and completed his studies; and 
was admitted to the bar in October, 1825. 

Immediately on his admission, Mr. Dexter received him 
as a partner in business. But this connection did not 
last long ; as Mr. Bowditch soon began to manifest those 
tastes, and form those habits of study and investigation, 
which led to the adoption of the speciality (viz., convey- 
ancing) in which he became subsequently so distinguished 
an authority, that scarcely a transfer of real estate was 
made in the city of Boston, without the title passing under 
his examination and approval. He seems to have been 
originally led into this department of his profession by his 
interest in genealogy, especially the genealogy of the Bow- 
ditch Family. His first studies in the musty volumes in 
the Register-of-Deeds Office were for the purpose of tracing 
or confirming genealogical descent. He wanted to find or 
establish some name ; and he looked into old deeds to ascer- 
tain it. From the names attached, he passed naturally to 
the contents of the deed, its description of the property 
conveyed, its recital of boundaries, &c. ; and thus what at 



504 MASSACHUSETTS HISTOKICAL SOCIETY. [MARCH, 

first was secondary began to be of primary interest to him, 
and he devoted himself to investigations in the Register-of- 
Deeds Office. At first, his father, who wished him to " prac- 
tise law " and to become eminent as an advocate in the 
courts, was much annoyed at what seemed to him such a 
waste of time among old deeds ; but the young man followed 
his instincts, and followed them to a great success. Early in 
his career, he argued two or three causes with great ability, 
and to the great acceptance of his clients ; but he soon re- 
tired from the courts altogether as an advocate, and devoted 
himself exclusively to conveyancing, and to such studies and 
investigations as appertained to it. By the most thorough 
and laborious diligence, he made himself master of the history 
and titles of all the real estate in Boston ; and a letter from 
Lord Lyndhurst, among his papers, shows that he had a repu- 
tation, and was regarded as an authority upon this subject, 
far beyond the limits of Massachusetts. The speciality to 
which Mr. Bowditch devoted himself is not, as some suppose, 
in a great measure mechanical and clerical, requiring only an 
accurate knowledge and a careful collation of recited facts. 
It requires a mind competent to classify and arrange these 
facts, understand their origin, and their relation to obsolete 
or existing statutes. It embraces and demands not only a 
thorough knowledge of these statutes, but a perfect compre- 
hension of all the subtle and profound principles upon which 
all the laws in relation to real property, the creation of estates 
equitable or legal, and the determination of the powers and 
limitations under which conveyance or transfer may be made, 
are founded. The correspondence to which allusion has been 
made, the questions propounded by Lord Lyndhurst, and the 
answers made by Mr. Bowditch, afford clear indication that 
the latter fully comprehended these principles, their various 
sources and applications. In this correspondence, the then 
Lord Chancellor of England says, " The name and character 
of Mr. Bowditch has long been familiar to me ; and the full 



1862.] MEMOIR OF NATHANIEL INGERSOLL BOWDITCH. 505 

and accurate information upon the subject to which I referred 
has left me nothing to desire." A higher or more honorable 
testimony to Mr. Bowditch's reputation in that department of 
his profession to which he specially devoted himself, need 
not, as it could not, be adduced. 

But though he thus devoted himself with singular assi- 
duity to a specific department of his profession, and obtained 
in that speciality an honorable reputation at home and abroad, 
he was " well read in the law " generally, understood its great 
principles as they are embodied in particular statutes, and 
made applicable in the various questions arising in the busi- 
ness and intercourse of society ; and though never appearing 
before the courts as an advocate, yet, in other ways, he often 
made good use and valuable exposition of his legal learning 
and acumen. In proof of this, reference might be made to 
various articles upon legal matters published from time to 
time in the newspapers ; to his remarks before the Judiciary 
Committee of the Senate of Massachusetts, on " Wharf Pro- 
perty, or the Law of Plats ; " and to his argument, made 
" merely as a citizen of Boston, anxious that its public faith 
and good name should be preserved inviolate," before the 
Joint Committee of the City Councils on Public Lands, in 
behalf of " a Catholic Church on the Jail Lands." 

And here we pass naturally from the lawyer to the citizen 
and the man. It is in the high principles, the noble aims, the 
generous sympathies, the wise and benevolent usefulness, he 
exhibited in these broader relations, that we are to look for 
the chief interest that attaches to the character of Mr. Bow- 
ditch, and the honor and esteem in which his memory is held. 
He was public-spirited ; recognizing all the claims of society 
upon its members ; and always interested in whatever pro- 
mised to promote the comfort, the happiness, the intellectual 
and moral improvement, of others. He was a close observer 
of passing events, and by his pen, through the daily press, 
frequently expressed his opinions upon them ; and in articles 

64 



506 MASSACHUSETTS HISTORICAL SOCIETY. [MARCH, 

longer or shorter, often as full of wit as of wisdom, of humor 
as of sound judgment, brought his influence to bear on the 
various subjects, efforts, and enterprises that were attracting 
the attention of the public mind at the time. Upon principle, 
and from the impulses of quick and generous sympathies, Mr. 
Bowditch was charitable, a liberal giver from his private 
purse, and a faithful worker in the wise and efficient direction 
of public charitable or philanthropic institutions. For thirty- 
four years (from 1827 to 1861), he was connected with the 
Massachusetts General Hospital; nine years as secretary, 
fourteen years as trustee and chairman of the Board, and 
eleven years as vice-president. He did not simply discharge 
the routine duties of these offices. He was deeply interested 
in the institution itself, and an active agent in all measures to 
enlarge its means and increase its usefulness. In 1851, there 
was printed, for private distribution, a volume of four hundred 
and forty-two pages, — (i A History of the Massachusetts Ge- 
neral Hospital." The volume contains a full, minute, and 
accurate account of this noble institution, from its first incep- 
tion in 1810 to its condition in 1851 ; and is a most valuable 
contribution to the local history of our city and state. It was 
prepared by Mr. Bowditch, and published at his own expense. 
This is modestly intimated by the closing paragraph of the 
preface, in which he says, " It is due to the institution to 
say, that this is not, in any sense, an official publication, 
but merely a private and humble contribution in its behalf, 
a slight and inadequate expression of the interest felt in 
its welfare, by one who has ever regarded as among his hap- 
piest hours those which he has been privileged to spend in 
its service." 

As the Massachusetts General Hospital, through its distin- 
guished surgeons, Dr. J. C. Warren and Dr. George Hayward, 
made the first public experiments in the use of sulphuric 
ether as an anaesthetic agent in surgical operations, the whole 
subject of the " Ether Discovery " is very fully treated in 



1862.] MEMOIR OF NATHANIEL INGERSOLL BOWDITCH. 507 

this volume. One hundred and thirty pages are devoted to 
it. It will be remembered that this discovery, and the ques- 
tion whether Dr. W. T. G. Morton or Dr. C. T. Jackson had 
the best claim to be regarded as the author of the discovery, 
was the subject of an earnest discussion. Mr. Bowditch gives 
a list of all the publications on the subject, from 1846 to 
1849, with a critical review of the most important of them; 
and presents the fairest, the most comprehensive, and the 
best account of the controversy, and of the question at issue, 
that can be found. 

Here also, in his connection with the Hospital, Mr. Bow- 
ditch found ample opportunities for the exercise of his private 
charities ; and, as various notes and letters found among his 
papers indicate, many of the patients at that institution had 
reason to be grateful, not only for its direct benefits, but for 
the circumstance, that, through confinement there, they found 
in him a friend and benefactor, who, by his judicious coun- 
sels, personal sympathy, and pecuniary aid, did much to 
lighten to them the weary burden of sickness and po- 
verty. 

On all political questions which came up in the progress of 
public affairs, Mr. Bowditch had, as in all other matters, very 
decided opinions, and, when necessary, gave utterance to 
them in conversation as a man, and expression to them by his 
vote as a citizen ; but he took no active part in politics, and 
never held any civil office. In the large and generous cul- 
ture of his mind ; in the studies and duties of his profession, 
more particularly in the speciality to which he devoted him- 
self; in the discharge of his duties as a trustee of the Hospi- 
tal, the favorite sphere of his activity; and in the quiet 
exercise of a large and unostentatious charity, commonly 
bestowing its gifts in the Christian spirit, that permits not the 
left hand to know what the right hand doeth, — he passed on 
from the opening to the full meridian of manhood, when, just 
as his life and character seemed rounded out to perfect matu- 



508 MASSACHUSETTS HISTORICAL SOCIETY. [MAItCII 

rity, giving promise of increasing usefulness for many years, 
an accident happened, which deprived him of the power of 
locomotion, confining him first to his chamber, and then to his 
bed ; from which, after more than two years of suffering pa- 
tiently borne, he was carried to his grave. 

But though thus deprived of bodily activity, and denied 
daily intercourse with the world at large, his mind was still 
active, his heart warm, and his interest in all that affected the 
good of others continued unabated. This interest was mani- 
fested in various ways, — in numberless good deeds to the 
friends who visited him, in kind remembrances to many who 
did not see him, and in one act, the noblest and most impor- 
tant in his life ; viz., the establishment, in the autumn of 1860, 
of sixteen scholarships at Harvard College, four for each 
class, with an annual income of two hundred and fifty dollars 
for each scholarship. The sum requisite for this noble foun- 
dation was seventy thousand dollars. In 1835, Mr. Bowditch 
married Elizabeth B., the second daughter of the late Bbenezer 
Francis, Esq. His professional income, both before and after 
his marriage, was not small ; and a goodly portion of it was 
always devoted to charities. But, of course, it was from the 
property that came to his wife from her father's estate that 
he was enabled to make this magnificent contribution to the 
interests of education and learning. In the credit and honor, 
therefore, of this good deed, Mrs. Bowditch is entitled to 
share equally with him. If the first suggestion, the purpose, 
the earnest wish, originated with him, her consent and appro- 
val were necessary to the execution of that purpose, the 
accomplishment of that wish ; and their joint action neces- 
sary to the result reached, while it is a testimony to the 
genuine interest which each felt in the College and the in- 
crease of its beneficent instrumentalities, is also a most 
beautiful testimony to their harmony of soul, to the mutual 
confidence and affection, which made their union holy and 
happy. 



1862.] MEMOIR OF NATHANIEL INGERSOLL BOWDITCH. 509 

The importance of these scholarships, which are modestly 
described in the Catalogue of the University as " founded by 
a friend of the College, and called the ' President's Scholar- 
ships/ " may be estimated by the following extracts from 
President Felton's letters, in the correspondence which was 
held on the subject: — 

" I am impressed," he writes under date of Aug. 13, 1860, " by 
the generous purpose, entertained by Mrs. Bowditch and yourself, in 
behalf of young men struggling with poverty in the effort to obtain 
an education. On this subject, I can speak from a most instructive 
experience ; and I know, that, whatever may be the advantages of 
poverty in developing some of the sterner qualities of character, 
there is a limit beyond which the advantages are more than counter- 
balanced by the evils. The anxieties under which a young man 
suffers, who knows not, from quarter to quarter, how his bills are to 
be paid, are among the worst enemies of study. The mind should be 
calm, free from serious cares at least, or Latin, Greek, and mathe- 
matics will inevitably suffer. I have, therefore, no doubt that one 
of the most useful modes of employing wealth is in furnishing aid to 
young men of character and talent, who will render services to their 
country and mankind." 

In another letter, under date of Oct. 8, 1860, President 
Felton says, — 

" The new scholarships excite great interest throughout New 
England. I receive letters of inquiry almost daily. In truth, it is 
not only a most munificent act, but one which will for ever continue 
to bless the community. Your foundation will educate sixteen young 
men as long as the College shall stand. In a century, four hundred 
men of character and ability will have been added to the liberally 
educated workers in the community by this timely and generous gift. 
I am deeply gratified that such an addition has been made to the 
means of doing good possessed by the University, at the beginning 
of my presidency. I hail it as a favorable omen." 

Possessing the ability, it must have been a glorious relief 
to the tedium of sickness, to perform such a noble act as the 
foundation of these scholarships ; while the act itself is an 



510 MASSACHUSETTS HISTORICAL SOCIETY. [MARCH, 

unequivocal evidence and illustration of character, of the wis- 
dom that conceived and the benevolence that executed it. 

In 1857, Mr. Bowditch, led thereto by his long studies and 
researches in the Registry of Deeds, had printed, for private 
distribution, a few copies of a collection of curious surnames. 
This volume was entitled " Suffolk Surnames. 7 ' In 1858, the 
volume having awakened an interest beyond the circle of his 
personal friends, he printed another edition, with additional 
names, and a dedication " To the memory of A. Shurt, the 
father of American conveyancing, whose name is associated 
alike with my daily toilet and my daily occupation." In 
February, 1861, a few weeks before his decease, he completed 
the publication of a third edition of " Suffolk Surnames," a 
volume of seven hundred and fifty-nine pages, — seven times 
the size of that printed in 1859. The preface to this volume 
closes with a reference to himself, the facts, the humor, and 
the pathos of which seem to make it an appropriate close to 
this notice of him : — 

" I will conclude with a few words of ' personal explanation.' I 
was born in 1805. Of a vigorous frame and active habits, I enjoyed, 
for fifty years, almost uninterrupted health. During the summer 
months, I seldom omitted a daily swim in Charles River ; and the 
coldest weather of winter rarely induced me to resort to an outside 
garment. In 1835, on a bridal tour, I visited Niagara, and swam 
across that river, below the Falls, on two successive days ; and once, 
when the thermometer was below zero, the gentlemen who had 
gathered round the fire in an insurance-office in Boston, proposed, as 
I entered the room, to subscribe to buy me an overcoat, because, 
they said, it made them cold to look at me. At fifty, however, I 
ceased to be a young man ; and my dress was no longer such as to 
exert a chilling influence upon my friends. In February, 1859, I 
slipped upon the ice, but did not fall ; and I supposed that I had 
escaped with only a slight sprain, and the laugh of the bystanders. 
I had, however, injured the head of the thigh-bone ; and the result 
was a gradually increasing lameness. In June, I removed to my 
summer residence in Brookline. Here, in an apartment curtained 
by forest-trees, I sat, day after day, week after week, a prisoner ; 



1862.] MEMOIR OF NATHANIEL INGERSOLL BOWDITCH. 511 

my sole occupation being the collection and arrangement of the 
materials for the present edition, and the laborious preparation of 
the index. On Aug. 2, a visit was made by my attending surgeons. 
I arose to receive them ; and, in the effort to open the drawer of a 
small writing-table which was partly behind me, I pulled it out so 
that it fell upon the floor. From this slight cause, a severe fracture 
of the thigh occurred while I was standing up. I have been thence- 
forth condemned to a state of horizontal meditation, which must last 
as long as I live. Twice already I have seen the foliage of summer 
give place to the snows of winter. My misfortune has received 
every alleviation which science could suggest, or the kindness of 
family and friends bestow ; but my bodily pain and weariness soon 
made some fixed employment almost indispensable. I accordingly 
commenced the printing of this work in the autumn of 1859 ; and it 
has enabled me to attain a state of cheerful discomfort. ... If my 
volume shall sometimes dispel the cloud of care or thought from the 
brow of manhood, or call forth a smile upon the face of youth and 
beauty, I may perhaps hope, if not for the sympathy, at least for the 
indulgence, of my readers." 

It is hardly necessary to add, that Mr. Bowditch's cheer- 
fulness was the product of religious faith. As he met the 
duties of life with a strong conviction of responsibleness to 
God, so he met its trials and sufferings with a deep feeling of 
trust and submission to him. In a letter to a near relative, on 
the 1st of January, 1860, he says, — 

" The arrival of a new year is always a matter of interest. These 
milestones of life are always looked at for a moment by the busiest 
and happiest traveller ; and no one, situated as I am and must expect 
to be, can fail to be impressed with a conviction, that a much longer 
journey is hardly to be expected or desired. To be a burden to 
others (however cheerfully and kindly the burden may be borne) is 
not an agreeable prospect ; and I cannot but fear that I am to have 
much and increasing pain to go through with in the coming months. 
However, no one stops by the way. Every thing proceeds as orderly ; 
and I shall endeavor to reconcile myself to my changed prospects." 

Bearing with great sweetness and patience " the increas- 
ing pain" which came with "the coming months," he was 



512 MASSACHUSETTS HISTORICAL SOCIETY. [MARCH, '62. 

mercifully relieved on the 16th of April, 1861, to enter upon 
"that world beyond," of which he speaks in the following 
lines, " Suggested by a Recent Discourse of the Rev. Dr. 
Putnam : " — 

" Science long watched the realms of space, 
A planet's devious path to trace : 
Convinced of heaven's harmonious law, 
' A world beyond ' Leverrier saw. 

Thus when he views earth's sins and woes, 
With a like faith the Christian knows 
There is ' a world beyond ' to prove 
God's perfect wisdom, power, and love."