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240 MASSACHUSETTS HISTORICAL SOCIETY. .Oct. 



OCTOBER MEETING, 1880. 

The regular monthly meeting of the Society was held on 
Thursday, October 14, at 3 o'clock, P.m., in the Dowse Li- 
brary ; the Rev. Dr. George E. Ellis, one of the Vice- 
Presidents, in the chair. 

In the absence of the Recording Secretary, the Treasurer, 
Mr. Charles C. Smith, was appointed Secretary pro tern. 

The record of the last meeting was read and accepted. 

The Librarian communicated a list of the accessions to the 
Library during the last month, calling especial attention to 
the work of an Associate Member, Mr. Charles Eliot Norton, 
on " Church Building in the Middle Ages." 

A letter was read from the Hon. Zachariah Allen, of Provi- 
dence, Rhode Island, accepting his election as a Correspond- 
ing Member. The Chairman then communicated a letter 
from Mr. Dexter, tendering his resignation of the office of 
Recording Secretary, as follows: — 

Cambridge, 1 Oct., 1880. 
The Hon. Robert C. Winthrop, LL.D., 

President Mass. Historical Society. 

My dear Sir, — It is with great regret that I find myself obliged 
to ask you to communicate to the next meeting of the Council my 
resignation of the office of Recording Secretary. But my health has 
become uncertain, and my physician tells me that I cannot expect to 
go to Boston, or to attend to business of any kind, for some months 
to come. 

As I cannot perform the duties of the office, I must necessarily 
resign it. I do so with regret, for I have appreciated the honor of 
the position, and enjoyed the pleasant duties of the office. 
I am, with great respect, sincerely yours, 

George Dexter. 

After remarks by the Hon. Amos A. Lawrence, the fol- 
lowing Resolutions presented by the Council were unani- 
mously adopted : — 

Resolved, That the members of the Massachusetts Histor- 
ical Society have heard with much regret the letter of George 
Dexter, Esq., tendering his resignation of the office of Record- 
ing Secretary on account of ill health, and that they recall 
with great satisfaction the learning, fidelity, and good judg- 
ment with which he has discharged its duties. 



1880.] REMARKS BY REV. DR. ELLIS. 241 

Resolved, That Mr. Dexter's resignation be not accepted, 
and that the Corresponding Secretary be requested to com- 
municate to him the best wishes of the Society for his early 
and entire restoration to health. 

Dr. Theodor Mommsen, of Berlin, was elected an Honorary 
Member. 

On motion of Dr. Green, Mr. Bradford Kingman, of 
Brookline, was allowed to copy, under the rules, certain mem- 
oranda of local interest in the diary of the late Rev. John 
Pierce, D.D., to be used by Mr. Kingman in the preparation 
of a History of Brookline. 

An application was received from Mrs. Charles T. Jackson 
for permission to deposit with the Society the medals and 
decorations which had belonged to her husband, and which 
had been given to him on account of the introduction of 
etherization in surgery; and the application was granted on the 
same conditions on which the Society had accepted a similar 
deposit of the medals and decorations which belonged to the 
late Dr. W. T. G. Morton. 

Dr. Ellis then spoke as follows : — 

It is but rarely that our honored President, when he has 
been on this side of the ocean, during the quarter of a cen- 
tury of his occupancy of this chair, has failed to meet us 
punctually here, and to open, animate, and instruct our meet- 
ings, from his own full resources of mind, of family papers, 
and of correspondence. Indeed, he has so seldom left the 
chair to his substitutes, that they have had no opportunity to 
practise or to familiarize themselves with its duties. In a 
letter which I received from him last week, he wrote that his 
obligations, as a delegate to the Episcopal Convention now 
assembled in New York, would preclude his being with us to- 
day. It is for me mainly to engage you. for a few moments 
in following out two or three suggestions made by him in his 
letter. 

Mr. Winthrop intimates that some allusion may properly 
be made on our records to the success of the recent celebra- 
tion of the two hundred and fiftieth anniversary of our city, 
in which the Society was so courteously invited to take a part. 
It was, indeed, a most successful and delightful occasion. 
The propitious sky, the pleasant atmosphere, the neatness in 
aspect and the holiday garb of the city ; the guests from over 
the whole country and from Canada, summoned by a generous 
hospitality; the admirable and vigorous address of His Honor 

31 



242 MASSACHUSETTS HISTOBICAL SOCIETY. [Oct. 

the Mayor, reviewing, in a masterly and attractive sketch, the 
planting and development of this ancient municipality ; the 
splendid military display ; the representation of large bodies 
of organized associations and citizens ; the imposing parade 
of the actual handicrafts, mechanism, tools, engines, and in- 
genious processes, setting forth the industries, the thrift, the 
economies, and the amazing achievements of our time in 
every thing characteristic of this place and our age; and then 
the vast, uncounted throngs of delighted spectators, on side- 
walk, platform, balcony, roof, and window-sitting, — all these 
elements of a civic celebration on the grandest scale, marked 
by the most perfect order in combination and hilarity, and 
happily involving no harm to life or limb in the exposure and 
movement of such multitudes of men, women, and children, 
may well be gratefully entered on all records that are to reach 
future times. Our Society did not avail itself of the offered 
privilege of appearing together in a body, but was well repre- 
sented by its members, as individuals appeared in their 
assigned places as special guests in recognition of their other 
relations to the national government, the State or the city. 
As was most fitting, the one only quadriga which appeared 
in the cavalcade, after the escort, bore the chief magistrate 
of the city and our President, the representative in continu- 
ity of life, in flesh and blood, of the revered founder of the 
town and State, whose statue in bronze was unveiled on that 
day, a long-deferred tribute to his pre-eminent claims to our 
veneration and gratitude. 

Happily this Society is not called upon to express, much 
less to put on record, any opinion or judgment as to the ideal- 
ity or the execution of that work of art, the tenth of the 
bronze statues now standing in the city. It must bear the 
brunt of criticism, as its predecessors have done, without weak- 
ening at the knees or changing countenance. A ready reply 
offers itself to each of us as we listen to the critic. We may 
ask, " How ought the statue to look ? What should it be ? " 
Governor Winthrop is not a good subject for bronze or for 
metal of any kind. It is safe to say that the living man was 
better in mien and make and character than any effigies can 
present him. This cannot be said of all those who are com- 
memorated on canvas, in stone or bronze. The monumental 
memorials, in figure and in structure, of all simple, primitive, 
and worthy men and times are always rude, and without the 
finish of ideal art, while the most beautiful statues and tem- 
ples of Greece and Rome were perfected at the very time 
when all faith in the beings they represented had died out of 
living convictions. 



1880.] REMARKS BY REV. DR. ELLIS. 243 

Our President would also remind us, for recognition on our 
records, that the twenty-fifth day of this month will complete 
the centennial year of the adoption of the Constitution of 
Massachusetts. No further action or motion of ours in refer- 
ence to that day, beyond this recognition, need be taken. 
As cities, towns, and various associations, scientific, literary, 
religious, social, charitable, and commercial, take in hand 
their own special anniversaries and centennials, so it is for 
our State authorities, according to their inclination or judg- 
ment, to note the coming of that day or the occasion which 
gave it its mark. Doubtless it will not have passed without 
at least a backward reference to it bj our next Legislature. 
This would but renew our oft-repeated tribute to John Adams, 
James Bowdoin, and a few others, whose wisdom, patriotism, 
and love of free institutions secured by wholesome laws, are 
embodied in our Constitution. 

It will be remembered that at our meeting last June, our 
attention was called to a suggestion from Canon Farrar, of 
St. Margaret's, Westminster, London, that our own and other 
of our Historical Societies might be interested in contributing 
towards a proposed memorial window in that venerable sanc- 
tuary to the renowned Sir Walter Raleigh, who is there buried. 
In a letter which I have recently received from Canon Farrar 
he expresses his grateful appreciation of our first response to 
his happy suggestion. He says that a sum between £500 and 
£600 will accomplish the desired result. ' 

Subscriptions to this date from the Society, £50; at large, 
£190 ; in all from the country, £240. 

A courteous invitation was sent to the officers of this Soci- 
ety by the Maryland Historical Society, that we might be 
represented with it in the part they were to take in the cele- 
bration of the one hundred and fiftieth anniversary of the city 
of Baltimore. Gladly would I have availed myself of the 
invitation had my engagements admitted, and I could only 
make a grateful recognition of the courtesy. I do not know 
whether this Society had any representation on the occasion. 
But we have certainly followed with hearty interest the 
accounts in the journals of the exultant throngs, the demon- 
strative pageants, the popular enthusiasm, and the historic 
retrospects- of the glad observance. Our kindred society 
must derive much inspiration and much new material from 
the occasion. 

Dr. Green called attention to an advertisement and two 
woodcuts of Windsor chairs in the " Massachusetts Gazette " 



244 MASSACHUSETTS HISTORICAL SOCIETY. [Oct. 

of Sept. 7, 1787 ; considerable interest having been expressed, 
at previous meetings of the Society, in regard to the origin 
of the name. 

The Rev. Dr. James Freeman Clarke then offered the 
following Resolution : — 

Resolved, That a committee of three be appointed by the 
President, of which the President shall be chairman, to con- 
sider and report to this Society some plan of using the names 
of the streets in Boston to preserve the memory of historic 
characters and events. 

The Resolution elicited interesting remarks by Dr. Clarke, 
Dr. Ellis, Mr. Sibley, Dr. Green, Mr. T. C. Amory, Mr. Ever- 
ett, Dr. Paige, and Mr. G. B. Chase, and was then adopted ; 
and the Hon. R. C. Winthrop, the Rev. Dr. Clarke, and Dr. 
William Everett were named as the Committee. 

Mr. Ellis Ames spoke of an unpublished autobiography 
of Cotton Mather, formerly in the possession of the late Rev. 
Dr. William Jenks, and now owned by a gentleman in New 
York, and stated that a descendant of Cotton Mather had 
intermarried with a descendant of the Rev. George Bur- 
roughs, one of the victims of the witchcraft delusion. He 
also referred to the well-known opinions of a former President 
of the Society, the late Hon. James Savage, as to the credi- 
bility of any statement which rested on the unsupported 
authority of Cotton Mather.