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1866.] SEPTEMBER MEETING. 347
A stated monthly meeting of the Society was held
this day, September 13, at eleven o'clock, a.m. ; the
President, the Hon. Robert C. Winthrop, in the chair.
The Librarian announced donations from the City of
Boston; the City of Boxbury; the American Numis-
matic and Archaeological Society ; Brown University ;
the Essex Institute; the Massachusetts Horticultural
Society ; the Massachusetts Medical Society ; the Mer-
cantile Library Association of New York ; the New-
England Loyal Publication Society ; the Society of
Antiquaries of London; the Trustees of the Cooper
Union for the Advancement of Science and Art ; the
Proprietor of the "Savannah Daily Republican"; Mr.
George Arnold ; James B. Bateman, Esq. ; James L.
Butler, Esq. ; Henry B. Dawson, Esq. ; William W.
Doiigall, Esq. ; Professor Daniel C. Gilman ; Hon.
Samuel Hooper; Adjutant -General William Irvine;
Benjamin P. Johnson, Esq. ; Nathaniel Paine, Esq. ;
Hon. John G. Palfrey ; Hon. Alexander H. Rice ;
J. Mason Warren, M.D. ; Mr. George Derby Welles ;
Hon. Henry Wilson ; F. A. Wood, Esq. ; Mrs. Joseph
E. Worcester; and from Messrs. Green, Latham, C.
Robbins, and Winthrop, of the Society.
The Corresponding Secretary read a letter of accept-
ance from George Peabody, Esq., who was elected an
Honorary Member at the last meeting of the Society.
348 MASSACHUSETTS HISTORICAL SOCIETY. [Sept.
The President read an interesting letter addressed to
him by the Recording Secretary, dated "London, Au-
gust 8th, 1866," containing a relation of his visit to vari-
ous memorable historic places in England and Scotland ;
and especially to the localities connected with the history
of America, — particularly to Boston, to the old church
in the parish of Austerfield, in which Bradford was bap-
tized; to Scrooby, where Brewster lived, in whose house
Bradford worshipped and Robinson preached; to St.
Sepulchre's Church, in London, beneath the pavement
of which John Smith, of Virginia and New England
fame, lies buried.
Mr. Brigham read a letter from Joseph Williamson,
Esq., dated "Belfast, Maine, September 6, 1866," on
presenting to the Society a copy of the " Hancock Ga-
zette and Penobscot Patriot," of October 22, 1823, con-
taining the following deposition relative to the sword
said to have been worn by General Joseph Warren at
the battle of Bunker Hill : —
THE SWORD OF WARREN.
In one of our recent numbers we stated having received documents
in relation to the sword with which the lamented Gen. Warren fell
at the battle of Bunker Hill. At the request of Captain Cornelius
Dunham of this town, the proprietor of the sword, we this day pub-
lish a copy of the declaration establishing its identity. The original
declaration, and the sword, are now in the possession of the Hon.
William Davis of Plymouth, Massachusetts. With those who have
long known Capt. Dunham, no doubt can exist of the correctness of
his statement, according to his best recollections ; nor of his sincere
and firm belief that the sword he possesses is unequivocally the identi-
cal sword used by Warren, at the memorable battle in which he fell.
1866.] THE SWORD OF WARREN. 349
I, Cornelius Dunham, gentleman, of the age seventy-four years,
born in that part of the town of Plympton, now called Carver, in the
county of Plymouth, and Commonwealth of Massachusetts ; now an
inhabitant of the town of Belfast, in the county of Hancock, State of
Maine ; being, by the mercy of God, of sound mind and memory, do
declare, testify and say — that in the year 1775 I was in the capacity
of seaman on board the schr. Priscilla of Plymouth, John Foster
Williams, master, returning from the West Indies, via Philadelphia 5
being off Nantucket shoals about six or eight weeks after the memor-
able battle of Bunker Hill, we were captured by the British squadron
which was then proceeding to take the neat s'tock from Gardener's
Island, near New London.
A prize-master and crew were put on board said schooner, and or-
dered to Boston. Myself, my brother James, and Samuel Rider of
Plymouth, being sick, were permitted to remain on board the schooner,
which soon after arrived in Boston. We remained on board some
weeks, and were then all taken to Halifax, in a schooner belonging to
Samuel Jackson of Plymouth, which had been commanded by Capt.
Cornelius White ; but was then under the command of Lemuel God-
After we recovered from our sickness we found some friends at
Halifax ; and I was there employed in the store of Mr. William Lam-
bert, who may be now living in the city of Boston. While employed
in Mr. Lambert's store, the servant of a British officer wished me to
purchase of him a sword ; and ascertaining by a certificate that he was
authorized to sell it, I accordingly did purchase it. — After the pur-
chase, he informed me it was the sword taken from " Doctor Warren
immediately after he fell at the battle of Bunker Hill." I had no sus-
picion of this fact till after I had paid him for it. I asked him if his
master would vouch for the truth of what he had alleged. He an-
swered me " he would." I then went with him to his master, whom I
found to be an officer and a gentleman ; who, according to my best
recollection was a colonel, and about thirty years of age. The officer
told me that he had taken the same sword from Gen. Warren, when
lying dead on the battle ground ; and that he gave it to his servant.
The officer also informed me that " General Warren fell not far from
the Redoubt " — these being the words he used, as I particularly re-
member ; and that after the British entered the redoubt he saw Warren
350 MASSACHUSETTS HISTORICAL SOCIETY. [Sept.
before he fell. The officer remarked that he endeavored to prevent his
men from firing, but could not ; and that Warren, remaining too long
on the ground he had defended, was shot dead in his view. The officer
likewise informed me that Warren was buried in common with the rest
of the dead. I had not been in possession of the sword an hour when
I was offered a great price for it by a Mr. Robinson, of Philadelphia,
who was very desirous to possess it ; but I was not willing to part with
it for any price. Mr. Lambert, seeing me so much attached to the sword,
gave me a gun, and a French gentleman gave me, at the same time, a
cartouch box. — On my return to Plymouth in 1777 I gave general
information that I had purchased at Halifax the sword which the
late Gen. Warren wore at the battle of Bunker Hill ; and hundreds
had knowledge of it a"s such, and frequently saw it. I never took the
sword to sea with me, but left it at home as a precious relic. I
once equipped myself with it and my gun, on the alarm of a descent
of the British at Fairhaven ; but before I reached that place, they had
reimbarked. The time of my purchasing the sword was after the
British evacuated Boston, and before the fleet sailed from Halifax for
New York. /
From the information given by the British officer, I then had not,
nor have I since had, the least doubt of this being the sword of the
late Gen. Joseph Warren ; and which is the same sword which I
delivered to the Hon. William Davis and William Jackson, Esq. at
Plymouth on the 15th August last, at the moment of my departure
for this place. — During the period of forty-seven years that this sword
has been in my possession, and proclaimed as being the sword of the
late Gen. Joseph Warren, it has never been denied as such, and no
claims have been made to any other sword as appertaining to him. —
When I purchased the sword it was in good order ; but during my long
absence at sea, it has lost many of its ornaments.
Done at Belfast, in the State of Maine this fourteenth of Septem-
ber, Anno Domini one thousand eight hundred and twenty-two.
(Signed) Cornelius Dunham.
State of Maine, Hancock, ss. Belfast, Sept. 14, 1822. Then the
above named Cornelius Dunham made solemn oath that the facts re-
lated by him in the foregoing declaration, by him subscribed, are true
according to his best knowledge and belief.
Before me, (Signed) William White, Justice of Peace.
1866.] SEAL OP THE UNITED STATES. 351
Mr. E. Feothingham presented to the Society the fol-
lowing copies of original papers now in the possession
of J. Rhea Barton, M.D., of Philadelphia, relating to
the origin of the Seal of the United States : —
Remarks on the Device of the Seal of the United States.
The escutcheon is composed of the chief and pale, the two most
honorable ordinaries. The thirteen pieces paly represent the several
States in the Union, all joined in one solid compact, entire, supporting
a chief which unites the whole and represents Congress. The motto
alludes to this union.
The pales in the arms are kept closely united by the chief, and de-
pend on that union and the strength resulting from it for support, to
denote the confederacy of the United States and the preservation of
their union through Congress.
The colors of the pales are those used in the flag of the United
States of America. White signifies purity and innocence ; Eed hardi-
ness and valour, and Blue, the colour of the chief, signifies vigilance,
perseverance and justice. The olive branch and arrows denote the
power of peace and war which is exclusively vested in Congress.
The crest or constellation denotes a new State taking its place
and rank among other sovereign powers.
The escutcheon is borne on the breast of an American eagle, with-
out any other supporter, to denote that the United States of America
ought to rely on their own virtue.
The pyramid on the reverse signifies strength and duration. The
eye over it, and the motto " Annuit cceptis " — It prospers our endeav-
ours — alludes to the many signal interpositions of Providence in favour
of the American cause.
The date underneath is that of the Declaration of Independence,
and the words under it signify the beginning of the new American Era,
which commences from the date.
The Device for an Armorial Achievement and Reverse of a Great
Seal for the United States in Congress assembled, is as follows : —
Arms. — Paleway of thirteen pieces Argent and Gules. A chief
Azure ; The Escutcheon on the breast of the American bald Eagle dis-
played proper, holding in his dexter Talon an olive branch and in his
sinister a bundle of thirteen arrows, all proper, and in 'his beak a scroll
inscribed with this motto " E pluribus unum."
352 MASSACHUSETTS HISTORICAL SOCIETY. [Sept.
For the crest. — Over the head of the Eagle, which appears above the
Escutcheon, a glory, or, breaking through a cloud, proper, and surround-
ing thirteen stars forming a constellation, argent, on an azure field.
Reverse. — A Pyramid unfinished.
In the Zenith an eye in a triangle surrounded with a Glory,
proper. Over the eye these words "Annuit coeptis." On the base
of the Pyramid the numerical letters M.D.C.C.L.X.X.VL and under-
neath the following motto — " Novus ordo saeclorum."
Sir, — I am much obliged for the perusal of the elements of
Heraldry which I now return. I have just dipt into it so far as to be
satisfied that it may afford a fund of entertainment and may be applied
by a State to useful purposes. I am much obliged for your very valuable
present of Fortescue " De Laudibus Legum Anglise," and shall be happy
to have it in my power to make a suitable return.
I enclose a copy of the Device by which you have displayed your
skill in heraldic science, and which meets with general approbation.
I am, sir, your obedient humble servant,
(Signed) Chas. Thomson.
Jone 24, 1782.
In June 1782, when Congress were about to form an armorial
device for a great seal for the United States, Charles Thomson, Esq.
then Secretary, with the Hon. Dr. Arthur Lee and Elias Boudinot,
members of Congress, called on me and consulted me on the occasion.
The Great Seal, for which I furnished those gentlemen with devices,
(as certified by Okas. Thomson, Esq.) was adopted by Congress on the
20th of June 1782. Mr. Thomson informed me, four days after, that
they met with general approbation.
(Signed) W. Barton.