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The stated meeting was held on Thursday, the 13th instant, 
at 12 o'clock M., the President in the chair. In the absence 
of the Recording Secretary, who was out of the State, Mr. 
Charles C. Smith was appointed Secretary fro tem. The 
record of the May meeting was read and approved. The Li- 
brarian, the Corresponding Secretary, and the Cabinet-Keeper 
submitted the customary reports. Among the gifts were an 
enlarged photographic portrait of the late Recording Secre- 
tary, Rev. Dr. Edward J. Young, given by his sons, and a large 
lithographic portrait of the late Rev. Dr. John T. Kirkland, 
for many years a member of the Society. 

Mr. William V. Kellen, of Boston, was elected a Resident 
Member, and M. J. J. Jusserand, Ambassador from France to 
the United States, was elected a Corresponding Member. 

It was 

Voted, That the stated meetings for July, August, and Sep- 
tember be omitted, the President and Recording Secretary to 
have authority to call a special meeting if necessary. 

The President announced that Mr. Charles C. Smith had 
re-signed his office as editor of the Society's publications, and 
said that the Council would take the proper action thereon. 

The President reported back from the Council the amend- 
ments to the By-Laws which had been introduced at the last 
meeting, briefly explaining their purpose. The amendments 
were then adopted in the form printed on the notification for 
this meeting. 

An additional article is proposed in relation to the Treas- 
urer, to be numbered Article 1, Chapter VII., in the following 

Art. I. The Treasurer shall give bond to such amount as the 
Council shall from time to time prescribe for the proper performance 
of his duties, and to secure the Society from possible loss in connec- 
tion with the same. The cost of such bonding shall be paid by the 


Society. The Council shall further make such provision as may be 
reasonable and proper for payment of a book-keeper or accountant to 
aid the Treasurer and the Auditing Committee in the performance of 
his and their duties. 

The articles now numbered 1 of Chapter VII., and 2 of 
Chapter VII., shall then be respectively numbered Articles 
2 and 3. 

Articles 5 and 6 of Chapter I. of the present By-Laws read 
as follows : 

Art. 5. Each Resident Member shall pay twenty-five dollars at the 
time of his admission, and ten dollars each first of January afterward, 
into the treasury of the Society, for its general purposes ; but any 
member shall be exempted from the annual payment if, at any time 
after his admission, he shall pay into the treasury one hundred and 
fifty dollars in addition to what he may before have paid ; and all 
commutation fees shall be funded by the Treasurer, and the interest 
only used for the current expenses of the Society. Each Resident 
Member shall be entitled to receive a copy of all the regular publica- 
tions of the Society, issued after his election, without charge; and all 
members who have paid the commutation fee shall be entitled to the 
privilege of the Library, and to copies of the publications, for life, 
even should their membership cease by removal from the State or by 

Art. 6. If any person elected as a Resident Member shall neglect, 
for one year after being notified of his election, to pay his admission 
fee, his election shall be void ; and if any Resident Member shall 
neglect to pay his annual assessment for two years after it shall have 
become due and his attention shall have been called to this article in 
the By-Laws, he shall cease to be a member ; provided, however, it 
shall be in the power of the Treasurer, with the consent of the Presi- 
dent, to dispense (sub silentio) with the payment of the assessment, 
whenever, in any special instance, they may think it advisable to do so. 
Each person who shall be elected a Resident Member shall, when noti- 
fied of it, be furnished by the Corresponding Secretary with a copy of 
this Article and the preceding one. 

In view of the present financial condition of the Society, 
it is proposed to revoke both of these articles, substituting 
therefor the following : 

Art. 5. No entrance fee or annual payment shall be required of 
members, whether Resident, Corresponding, or Honorary, except such 


as may from time to time be imposed upou Resident Members by spe- 
cial vote of the Society. 

Art. 6. Each member shall be entitled to receive a copy of all the 
regular publications of the Society issued after his election without 

On motion of Mr. Thomas L. Livebmoee it was 

Voted, That, in view of the foregoing votes, the Council be 
directed and instructed to effect an equitable adjustment with 
such of the Society as have paid the commutation fee, repay- 
ing to said members from the General F'und a proportional 
amount of the sums received from them, they being credited 
with annual interest and being debited with the regular annual 
fee from the date when the Commutation fees were severally 

Voted, That the Treasurer be authorized to make payment 
and settlement as above. 

The Peesident then read the following paper ; and at the 
proper point in his remarks a beautifully executed bust of Mr. 
Winthrop was unveiled. 

As the members of the Society then present will doubtless 
remember, fourteen months ago yesterday, and in presence of 
a somewhat notable assemblage composed of both sexes, the 
bust of James Savage, now before you, was unveiled. In the 
address then made, you will also remember, I spoke of two 
former Presidents of the Society, James Savage and Robert 
C. Winthrop, as standing out so prominently among those who 
had held the position that they constituted a class by them- 
selves. Their united occupation of this chair covered, in the 
first place, no less than two fifths of the Society's whole ex- 
istence ; for, beginning in 1841, it extended to 1885. Although 
last year's occasion was more especially devoted to a memorial 
of Mr. Savage, contributed by his daughter and only surviv- 
ing child, I then said that, while the years covered by the joint 
term of service of Mr. Savage and Mr. Winthrop constituted 
"our golden period," it was in Mr.Winthrop's time and through 
his efficient action that the great and memorable change in the 
Society took place. 

Our Annual Meeting of April last was the fiftj'-second since 
the presidency of Mr. Winthrop began ; and while in the 



original Dowse room the two portraits, that of Mr. Everett, bj' 
Stuart, and that of Mr. Dowse himself, with the Chantrey 
bust of Sir Walter Scott, made up the sum total of works of 
art, whetlier on canvas or in marble, it would unquestionably 
have been in accordance with the feelings of Mr. Dowse, that 
marble presentations of Mr. Savage and Mr. Winthrop should 
hold their places respectively on his either hand at the head of 
the chamber which bears his name. For obvious reasons, 
such an arrangement is, so far as concerns the Society, emi- 
nently fit and proper. Accordingly, it was a year ago so 
ordered. Nevertheless, I well remember, when the unveiling 
took place, and the two works of art were then brought into 
unavoidable comparison, how impressed I instantly felt with 
the superiority of the Savage bust over that of Mr. Winthrop. 
It is only proper to say that the Winthrop bust, the only one 
of him in the marble the Society then possessed, was never 
satisfactory to Mr. Winthrop himself. So much was it the 
reverse of satisfactory that it was well understood it had 
always been kept somewhere in the Tremont Street building 
where it was least likely to meet his view. Weak in design 
and execution, its failure both as a work of art and as respects 
portraiture was now made more apparent by contrast. There 
is about the Savage something distinctly classic — suggestive 
of the Roman. It is a head in enduring marble which one 
might naturally expect to come across at any moment while 
loitering in the great collections at the Vatican or in Naples. 
Strong, individual, and artistic, it gives the idea of both force 
and intellect in the original. With the bust of Mr. Win- 
throp it was otherwise; and yet, in the marble, we had no 

This did not satisfy; for to the members of the Council it 
seemed in every way proper as well as desirable that Mr. Win- 
throp also should be before us in this our room of meeting, 
not only in the stone, but in such form as to do justice to him, 
recalling to those of his time who still remain his living pres- 
ence. We felt we owed that to him ; for, a year ago, as I 
have already said, I referred to the term of Mr. Winthrop's 
presidency as the " golden period " in the records of the So- 
ciety. But in doing so I did but quote the exact words of my 
predecessor in this chair. Dr. Ellis, uttered on that day in 
April, 1885, when he himself took the seat Mr. Winthrop had 


then just vacated.^ It is not too much to say that during those 
Winthrop years this Society was revolutionized ; it entered 
upon a new phase of existence. Prior to the election of Mr. 
Winthrop its membership was limited to sixty. The attendance 
at its meetings was small and indifferent ; their surroundings, 
severely simple, were also unattractive. Those present found 
themselves in a small apartment, sitting upon settees arranged 
in ranks in front of the armchair — not this in which I now 
am — occupied by the President. My father had then for 
years been a member of the Society, and it was his wont to 
make a diary entry after each meeting he attended. Politically 
he was at the time bitterly opposed to Mr. Winthrop and to 
the great body of those composing the Society. His entries 
bear evident marks of the fact. He was of the dissatisfied. 
Nevertheless, after the May meeting of 1857, when Mr. Win- 
throp's long occupancy of the chair had hardly more than 
begun, I find the following frank admission : — " The impulse 
given to this institution by the events of last year is quite 
surprising. The attendance is always large, and the positive 
energy much more developed." The two memorable events 
marking this influence of Mr. Winthrop's individuality were 
the increase in the charter number of members, at the time by 
no means unopposed, from sixty to one hundred, and the 
gift to the Society of this Dowse room, in which its members 
could meet in suitable state. Both could be distinctly traced 
to Mr. Winthrop ; and this fact was recognized by the Com- 
mittee which, twenty-two years ago, nominated my immediate 
predecessor, and the successor to Mr. Winthrop. In its report 
for that year the Committee referred to said emphatically that 
to Mr. Winthrop's " devoted effort and untiring zeal more 
than to any other or to all causes combined is owing the 
growth of the Society in usefulness and in reputation. During 
the thirty years of his presidency it may truly be said that 
Mr. Winthrop has ever carried the Society with him both at 
home and abioad, and it is needless to add that nowhere has 
it failed to be adequately represented." ^ It was, moreover, 
during Mr. Winthrop's presidency, and in fact coeval with its 
commencement, that the publication of our Proceedings was* 
begun as a record of what took place at our meetings, distinct 
from the body of the Society's Collections. On the day when 
1 2 Proceedings, vol. ii. p. 84. 2 lud. 


Mr. Winthrop resigned, the twenty-first volume in that series 
was placed upon the table and distributed among the mem- 
bers. During Mr. Winthrop's period seventeen volumes were 
added to our printed body of Collections. On the day of his 
withdrawal from this chair, Mr. Winthrop observed that, of 
those who were members when he entered upon the presi- 
dency, ten only were among the living when he left it. 
During those thirty years the Society had been almost wholly 
renewed. He also then referred to the striking fact, to which 
I alluded myself fourteen months ago, that it was during his 
presidency that the roll of the Society shone with its most 
distinguished names. I then specified nearly a score of those 
then members of it, illustrative of the remarkable fecundity 
of the Winthrop period in historical literature as well as 

Three busts of Mr. Winthrop are known to have been 
taken. The first, and of the younger period, is that which 
heretofore has occupied the pedestal opposite that surmounted 
by the bust of Savage. The second was by Powers, taken in 
the year 1868, which is in the Harvard College library. The 
third, that now before us, is reproduced from a cast, probably 
also by Powers, which stood in the library of the late Charles 
Deane, and was given to the Society by his family when this 
building was opened for use. 

I have as yet been unable to ascertain the place of the 
original, if, indeed, it was put into stone. Nevertheless, its 
strength and resemblance are, as compared with the bust 
which preceded it, at once apparent. Taken altogether, it is 
not unworthy of him it represents, and bears comparison with 
the companion presentment of Mr. Savage. 

It is not pleasant to reflect how few of those now here are 
able from their own memories to bear witness to this fact. I 
have said that, at the close of the thirty years of Mr. Win- 
throp's presidency, the names of but ten of those who were 
members when he was first chosen remained upon our roll. 
Over a score of years have since run out ; and of the hundred 
names on the roll in April, 1855, twenty-two only remain on 
it still. In other words, probably not one in five of those here 
present remember Mr. Winthrop as he sat in this chair and 
presided at our meetings. It is, therefore, eminently proper 
that the testimony of these survivors should appear upon the 

1907.] cotton's faeeweli, sermon. 101 

record, that the bust now about to be unveiled fitly represents 
to coming generations and in the everlasting marble one to 
whom the Society owes so much, and upon whose history and 
development he placed a mark at once deep, legible, lasting 
and beneficent. 

Mr. Edwin D. Mead, having been called on, read the fol- 
lowing paper : 

John Cotton's Farewell Seemon to Winthuop's Company 
AT Southampton. 

The First Church in Boston contains many tablets in mem- 
ory of men, both of the old time and the new, associated with 
its great history. Among those of the colonial days thus hon- 
ored are Sir Henry Vane, Anne Hutchinson, Simon and Anne 
Bradstreet, Governor Endecott, and Governor Leverett. The 
statue of Winthrop, when recently removed from Scollay 
Square, was fittingly placed beside the First Church. Within 
the church has just been placed the most beautiful and most 
important of its monuments, the recumbent marble statue of 
John Cotton, by Bela L. Pratt. In its pedestal of masonry, 
not yet completed, will be set a stone from the old St. 
Botolph's Church at Boston, in Lincolnshire, secured through 
the courtesy of the present vicar by the President of our 
Massachusetts Historical Society, who has altogether taken 
so important a part in the erection of this noteworthy memo- 
rial. The inscription which will be graved over it is from 
Mr. Adams's hand, and is as follows : 


Ordained immediately on his arrival 
He ministered to his death as 
Teacher of the Boston Church 

Bom in Derbyshire, England 

4 December 1585 

He died in the Colony of Massachusetts Bay 

23 December 1662 

Fellow of Emmanuel College, Cambridge 


Vicar of the Church of Saint Botolph 

Boston, Lincolnshire 


Regardless of Preferment and 

Conspicuous as a Puritan Divine 

He became the object of Prelatical Persecution 

*' Unawed by influence and unbribed by gain " 

He then sought refuge in New England 


- Scholar — Theologian — Preacher — Publicist - 

He gave form and inspiration to 

The Ecclesiastical Policy known as 

" The New England Way " 

Preceptor and Friend of Vane 

From him Cromwell sought counsel 

Living, he was revered as 

** That Apostle of his Age " 

Dead, he is remembered as 

"Patriarch of the Massachusetts Theocracy** 

His Descendants in the Seventh and Eighth Generations 

Have erected this Memorial 



This gives in simple and impressive words the outlines of 
John Cotton's life. The erection of this beautiful memorial 
is a matter of public moment, and for it Boston is grateful. 
Half a century ago, a chapel in old St. Botolph's Church was 
restored by citizens of our Boston in memory of John Cotton, 
the inscription upon the memorial brass tablet being from the 
hand of Edward Everett. Phillips Brooks, a descendant of 
John Cotton, preached more than once in St. Botolph's pul- 
pit; and in the cloisters of our own Trinity Church there was 
placed, almost complete, the upper portion of the stone tracery 
of one of the old windows of St. Botolph's. It is intimated 
that when the new Episcopal cathedral is erected here, it may 
be a copy of the famous church from which John Cotton came 
to the First Church in Boston. All these things bring closer 
together the old Boston and the new. 

Several years ago, in 1894, 1 reprinted among the Old South 
Leaflets the farewell sermon which John Cotton preached to 
Winthrop's company at Southampton in 1630, on the eve of 
their sailing for New England. The circumstances of that 
farewell, and even the very existence of the sermon, have been 
strangely overlooked, and to most persons are unknown ; and 
our President has asked me to share with you the i-esults of 
studies concerning the sermon, which to me have been so in- 
teresting. The placing of the memorial to John Cotton in the 
First Church makes this certainly a fitting time to consider 
an address of such cardinal importance by him, to the found- 
ers of Massachusetts, on as memorable an occasion. 

"God's Promise to his Plantation" is the title under which 
the sermon was published, the text, always so significant in 
the old Puritan sermons, being from 2 Samuel, vii, 10 : "I 
will appoint a place for my people in Israel, and I will plant 
them, that they may dwell in a place of their own, and move 
no more." The sermon was published in London the same 
year. " Printed by William Jones for John Bellamy, and are 
to be sold at the three Golden Lyons by the Royal Exchange, 
1630" — such is the imprint on the first edition. Another 
edition was printed in London in 1634 ; and this was " Re- 
printed at Boston in New England, by Samuell Green ; and 
are to be sold by John Usher. Anno 1686." Like most of 
Cotton's other works, so precious to his generation in New 
England and so commanding in their influence, it then re- 

1907.] cotton's farewell seemok. 103 

mained long out of print ; and during the two centuries it 
so completely disappeared that only in rare historical col- 
lections are old copies to be found. The circumstances under 
which the sermon was delivered even became lost sight of by 
the historians, although they were so interesting. For this 
sermon by John Cotton holds the same place in relation to the 
Massachusetts colony which John Robinson's famous sermon 
at Delftshaven holds in relation to the Plymouth colony. It 
■was the farewell sermon to Winthrop's company, as Robinson's 
sermon was the farewell to the Pilgrim Fathers. Yet the great 
historical significance of this sermon has been strangely over- 
looked. Robinson's words have become classic. They are 
quoted at every Forefathers' Day dinner. The theologians 
hold controversy as to what they meant ; the historians specu- 
late as to precisely how and when they were spoken ; and 
painters venture to conjure the scene. The sermon itself is 
not in our hands. Bradford even preserved no record of it 
for us. We simply have Edward Winslow's reminiscence of 
it, written down twenty-five years after it was delivered. Yet 
the address is famous, while Cotton's sermon is practically 
unknown. Cotton was in his day a far more famous and in- 
fluential man than Robinson. The departure of the Massa- 
chusetts colony from Southampton was an event which caused 
a sensation in England, whereas the Mayflower company was 
an obscure company whose sailing attracted slight attention. 
John Cotton, perhaps the leading Puritan minister in England 
at the time, went all the way from Old Boston to Southamp- 
ton to bid his friends godspeed and to preach this farewell 
sermon. Tlie sermon was at once printed, was printed again 
and yet again, and lies in the libraries. Yet almost no man 
reads it, and even the historians seem to have forgotten that 
it was ever preached. 

Winslow's account of Robinson's sermon at Delftshaven is 
given ill a communication which he addressed to the Earl of 
Warwick and the Commissioners of the Plantations, and which 
he printed in 1646, under the title of " Hypocrisie Unmasked," 
in reply to charges which Samuel Gorton had made against 
the colonies. He does not pretend to give the whole address, 
nor even the exact language. 

There is one point in Robinson's address which should be 
especially noted in connection with Cotton's advice to the 


Massachusetts people at Southampton. Said Robinson : " There 
will be no difference between the unconformable [Nonconform- 
ist] Ministers and you, when they come to the practise of the 
Ordinances out of the Kingdome : And so advised us by all 
meanes to endeavour to close with the godly party of the 
Kingdome of England, and rather to study union than divi- 
sion." This point is emphasized by Winslow, whose purpose 
in his whole plea, written " at the request of some well-willers 
to the peace and good agreement of the godly, so distracted 
at present about the settling of Church-government in the 
Kingdom of England," is to show both sides " what this poor 
despised Church of Christ now at New Plymouth in New 
England, but formerly at Leyden in Holland, was and is, how 
far they were and still are from separation from the Churches 
of Christ, especially those that are Reformed." Cotton, in his 
farewell sermon, said nothing about the relation of Noncon- 
formists, such as those whom he addressed were, to Separa- 
tists, such as the Plymouth people were popularly reputed to 
be ; but in another connection at Southampton he seems to 
have made this the subject of express counsel. This we learn 
from the letter of Samuel Fuller of the Plymouth colony to 
Bradford in 1630, preserved in Bradford's History at the 
proper place (see page 279), and also in completer form in 
Bradford's Letter-book (see Mass. Hist. Collections, iii. 75). 
Fuller was at that time visiting Winthrop's people, who had 
just arrived ; and, speaking of the entrance of Winthrop and 
others into church covenant, he says: " Here is a gentleman, 
one Mr. Cottington [Coddington], a Boston man, who told 
me that Mr. Cotton's charge at Hampton was, that they should 
take advice of them at Plymouth and should do nothing to 
offend them." He adds assurances of the warm feeling of the 
Massachusetts men toward those of Plymouth ; and Bradford, 
seeing ia all a witness to the growing influence of the Plymouth 
principles, comments : "Thus out of smalle beginnings greater 
things have been prodused by his hand y* made all things of 
nothing, and gives being to all things that are ; and as one 
small candle may light a thousand, so y" light here kindled 
hath shone to many, yea in some sorte to our whole nation ; 
let y® glorious name of Jehova have all y* praise." And it is 
surely a notable thing that the followers of Winthrop, leaving 
England with the warmest protestations of love for the Church 

1907.] cotton's fabewbll seemon. 105 

of England as their mother, had hardly landed in New Eng- 
land before they separated themselves from the Church of 
England quite as completely as they of Plymouth ; and that 
John Cotton, whose farewell charge was that they should 
fellowship the Plymouth people, as Robinson's farewell charge 
was that these should study union with the Nonconformists, 
became in a few years the most eminent champion of Congre- 
gationalism in New England. 

John Cotton's position among the New England ministers 
and people during the twenty years (1633-1652) that he was 
teacher of the First Church in Boston was supreme. Professor 
Moses Coit Tyler, the most thorough student in our time of 
Cotton's life and work, has spoken of his ascendency as " more 
sovereign, probably, than any other Amarican clergyman has 
ever reached." " He was the unmitred pope of a pope-hating 
commonwealth." He had held a most brilliant position in 
England before he came to share the hardships of this wilder- 
ness. He had had the highest reputation as a Cambridge 
scholar; and as rector of the famous St. Botolph's Church in 
Old Boston, had become renowned as one of the leading 
Puritan preachers in England. He was the revered friend and 
counsellor of Winthrop, Johnson, and many of the founders 
of the colony, not a few of whom had been his parishioners. 
The persecution which he suffered when Laud became primate 
in 1633 gave him new honor in the eyes of the Massachusetts 
people ; and his arrival in Boston in the autumn of that j^ear, 
and his immediate installation in the principal pulpit of the 
little town, was a notable event in the history of the colony. 
Some of the old writers say — perhaps without warrant — that 
Boston had been named Boston as a compliment and perhaps 
an invitation to him : " with respect to Mr. Cotton," are Hub- 
bard's words, where he tells of the naming of the town. From 
the hour of his coming till his death, "he wielded with strong 
and brilliant mastership the fierce theocracy of New England. 
Laymen and clergymen alike recognized his supremacy, and 
reJ9iced in it." " I hold myself not worthy to wipe his slip- 
pers," said Nathaniel Ward. Roger Williams wrote that some 
people in Massachusetts " could hardly believe that God would 
suffer Mr. Cotton to err." Hubbard says that whatever John 
Cotton " delivered in the pulpit was soon put into an order of 
court, or set up as a practice in the church." When he died, 



he was given, Mather tells us, " the most grievous and solemn 
funeral that was ever known perhaps upon the American 
strand " ; and it was commonly believed that the heavens 
themselves took note of the event. " About the time of his 
sickness," says Nathaniel Morton, " there appeared in the 
heavens over New England a comet giving a dim light, and 
so waxed dimmer and dimmer until it became quite extinct 
and went out ; which time of its being extinct was soon after 
the time of the period of his life : it being a very signal testi- 
mony that God had then removed a bright star, a burning and 
a shining light out of the heaven of his church here, unto 
celestial glory above." 

I do not propose here to speak in general of Cotton's life. 
Its significant chapters — his brilliant university career, the 
long ministry at Old Boston, the persecution, the flight, the 
powerful influence here as preacher and as author, the Roger 
Williams controversy, the Anne Hutchinson controversy — are 
well known. His life was written by his friend, Samuel Whit- 
ing, the minister of Lynn, by Cotton Mather, his grandson, 
and by John Norton, his successor, and has been written by 
more modern men, although we have not to-day any adequate 
biography or critical study of the man and his writings and 
his unique influence in New England. He has almost never 
been the subject of articles in the magazines and reviews. 
Francis Parkman wrote upon him in the North American 
Review for 1834; but the article is not an important one. 
Far more important is the article by Rev. George E. Ellis, in 
the International Review for 1880, on " John Cotton in Church 
and State." The lecture on Cotton, given by Rev. John Cot- 
ton Brooks, in the Old South course on the Founders of New 
England, in 1894, was published in the New England Maga- 
zine, with many illustrations, constituting probably the best 
popular account of the life and work of the great minister of 

Cotton was a voluminous writer, the author, it is said, of 
nearly fifty books, all of which were sent to London for pub- 
lication. A list of his principal works may be seen in Rev. 
William Emerson's " History of the First Church in Boston," 
page 85, in the Prince Library Catalogue, prepared by Justin 
Winsor, and in the valuable chapter on Cotton in Professor 
Tyler's " History of American Literature." Cotton Mather 

1907.] cotton's tarewell sermon. 107 

saj-s that he " was indeed a most universal scholar, and a liv- 
ing sjstem of the liberal arts, and a walking library " ; and 
this is sufficiently apparent from the range of his published 
works. His " Way of the Churches of Christ in New Eng- 
land" is one of the ablest seventeenth-century expositions of 
Congregationalism ; the influence of its cardinal ideas upon 
Vane, who during his stay in Boston lived for a time under 
Cotton's roof, and upon the men of Cromwell's army, is brought 
out in such books as Borgeaud's " Rise of Modern Democracy 
in England and New England." His " Keys of the Kingdom 
of Heaven " expounds his theocratic ideas of government. His 
" Milk for Babes, drawn out of the Breasts of both Testaments, 
chiefly for the Spiritual Nourishment of Boston Babes in either 
England, but may be of use for any Children," was a famous 
catechism in its day, and was translated for the Indians. His 
" Bloody Tenent Washed and Made White in the Blood of the 
Lamb " is his principal work in opposition to Roger Williams. 

It is extraordinary that such a man, held in such esteem, 
should have preached such a sermon as that which we here 
consider, on such an occasion, going fi-om Boston to South- 
ampton to do it, and that the fact should have passed unno- 
ticed by his biographers and by all the chroniclers of his much 
writing and bewritten generation, and should have remained 
unnoticed in all the later popular histories, finding mention 
simply in two or three obscure antiquarian notes. Whiting, 
Mather, Norton, and McClure, Cotton's biographers, do not 
even mention this farewell visit to the Massachusetts company 
at Southampton. Mather was aware of the sermon's existence, 
but he merely names it in his list of Cotton's published works : 
" There are also of his abroad sermons on the thirteenth of 
the Revelations, and on the vials, and on Bev. xx, 5, 6, and 
2 Sam. vii., last in quarto." McClure even assigns the sermon 
to the period of Cotton's residence in Boston. The reading of 
the sermon itself should have prevented such a mistake, as its 
character is apparent. McClure was doubtless misled by the 
date, 1634, of the London edition from which the American 
edition was reprinted. But this was not the first London 
edition. There is a copy of the 1630 edition in the library of 
the Massachusetts Historical Society, as there are doubtless 
copies in other collections. 

Johnson, Hubbard, Neal, Hutchinson, Barry, Palfrey — in 


none of these historians of Massachusetts do we fiad Cotton's 
farewell sermon noticed ; nor in Bancroft and the general his- 
tories of the United States. Palfrey, in his glance at Cotton's 
earlier career, at the point where he notices his arrival in Bos- 
ton, observes that " at the departure of Winthrop's colony, he 
made a journey to take leave of them at Southampton " ; and 
in a note he refers, as his authority for the statement, to Scot- 
tow, with whose " Narrative " Barry also shows himself ac- 
quainted. But nowhere do the farewell sermon and the 
memorable occasion of its delivery, of which Scottow gives 
explicit information, receive any attention. 

We naturally turn to Winthrop's Journal as the contempo- 
rary writing in which we should chiefly expect mention of 
Cotton's visit to Southampton and the farewell sermon. But 
when the Journal opens, " Anno Domini, 1630, March 29, 
Easter Monday," the Governor is already "riding at the Cowes, 
near the Isle of Wight, in the Arbella " ; and the sermon had 
probably been preached at Southampton just before that date, 
before the embarkation. If it was preached after the em- 
barkation, it is still possible, of course, that it might not have 
found mention, as the famous farewell address to their breth- 
ren of the Church of England, drawn up by the company, a 
week or more after that, wiiile anchored at Yarmouth, does 
not find mention ; but undoubtedly the sermon was preached 
before the Journal opens. In Winthrop's letters from South- 
ampton, however, we should certainly expect reference to this 
matter. Cotton was Winthrop's friend, and there was probably 
no other minister in England whom he held in such reverence. 
Cotton had probably paid a visit to the Groton home only four 
months before. On November 24, 1629, Winthrop writes from 
London to his wife : " It may be Mr. Cotton of Boston will 
come see thee on thursdaye or fridaye. Gett him to stay a 
night if thou canst." No person in England could have come 
to Southampton to bid him and his company godspeed whose 
coming would have meant more. Yet there is. no reference 
whatever to it in any word of Winthrop's which has come 
down to us. 

This strange omission is remarked upon by Robert C. Win- 
throp in his life of the Governor. " In neither of the letters 
from Southampton," he says, " is there any allusion to the 
presence of John Cotton, or to the sermon which he is said 

1907.] cotton's farewell sermon. 109 

to have preached there ; but such an omission is by no means 
conclusive evidence that Winthrop was not among the edified 
listeners to that memorable discourse. His letters from there 
are very brief; and he says, as an excuse for not writing more 
fully, ' Here I meet with so much company and business, as I 
am forced to borrow of my sleep for this.' And so we will 
still trust that his heart was encouraged by hearing the faith- 
ful minister of Old Boston, who was so soon to become his 
companion and pastor in New Boston, deliver 'God's Prom- 
ise to his Plantation,' and follow it with his prayers and 

Referring to Scottow's " Narrative " as the principal author- 
ity for the statement that the sermon was delivered before the 
Massachusetts company at Southampton, Mr. Winthrop calls 
attention to the contemporaneous testimony, which so far as I 
know has been noticed by him alone, found in the following 
passage from the Diary of John Rous, a Suffolk man, under 
date of 1630 : " Some little while since, the Company went to 
New England under Mr. Winthrop. Mr. Cotton, of Boston 
in Lincolnshire, went to their departure about Gravesend, & 
preached to them, as we heare, out of 2 Samuel, vii, 10. It is 
said that he is prohibited fro preaching any more in England 
than until June 24 next now coming." ' 

With reference to this mention of Gravesend as the place 
where the sermon was preached, it is to be said that the ships 
for the expedition were fitted out at London, and probably 
lay for some time in the Thames. Many of the company may 
have congregated there and embarked before the vessels pro- 
ceeded to Southampton, where Winthrop and others went on 
board. It would have been quite possible, therefore, for all we 
know to the contrary, that such a sermon should have been 
preached to a gathering of the colonists at Gravesend. But 
Fuller's reference to " Mr. Cotton's charge at Hampton " con- 
firms Scottow's statement that it was at Southampton that 
Cotton parted from the company and preached his farewell 
sermon. The citation from Rous's Diary does have some value 
as indicating that Cotton was already under close watch, and 
that there maj' have been reasons why there should not have 
been much said about his sermon at that time in England ; 

1 Diary of John Kous, Camden Society's Publications, No. 66, pp 53, 54. 


although in view of what we know of him during the next 
two years, and the fact of the immediate publication of this 
sermon in London, we cannot attach great significance to this. 
Mr. Winthrop and Charles Deane are the only ones of our 
historical writers whom I have found making any considerable 
reference to Cotton's sermon, both drawing upon Scottow's 
" Narrative," although Mr. Deane, when he published his first 
critical note upon the sermon, had evidently not observed 
Scottow's own exact woids upon the subject, but discovered 
them after his note was printed. His two notes were pub- 
lished in the New England Historical and Genealogical Regis- 
ter, vol. ii., April and July, 1848, pp. 151 and 318, under the 
title of " God's Promise to his Plantation." I give them both 
here, as being the only critical discussions of this notable 
address which I have been able to find : 

I. " The first printed works relatiog to the settlement of the Massa- 
chusetts Colony appeared in 1630.' Among them are the ' Planter's 
Plea,' ' New England Plantation,' and ' God's Promise to his Planta- 
tion.' The first is supposed to have been written by Rev. John White 
of Dorchester, England, who early manifested a great interest in the 
settlement of this colony. It is interesting and valuable, as it gives a 
minute account of the first commencement of the plantation. It is 
supposed to have been printed soon after the sailing of Winthrop's 
fleet. The second is a letter written from Salem to his friends in 
England, by Rev. Francis Higginson, who arrived here in June, 1629, 
with Mr. Skelton. It gives his experience of the country after a resi- 
dence of about three months. There were three editions printed in 
1630, the first of which is supposed to have appeared before the sailing 
of Winthrop's fleet. The last-named publication, which tells its own 
story in the title-page we have given above, is interesting, not as a 
historical document, but for the associations with which it is connected. 
It was preached shortly before the departure of Winthrop's company ;* 
and perhaps in the celebrated St. Botolph's Church, of which he was 
rector for many years.' Some of his parishioners were about leaving 
him for a distant and almost unknown colony ; but his heart was with 
them and their enterprise. No undertaking was attempted in those 
days without ' proving it by the touchstone of God's word.' And 

1 " There is a slight allusion, however, to this colony in Smith's Virginia, 
ed. 1629. 

2 " Tliomson's History of Boston, England." 

' " It is uncertai^i whether this sermon was preached at Boston or at South- 
ampton. We know he did preach a farewell sermon at the latter place." — 
Scottow's Narrative, Prince's Annals. 

1907.] cotton's farewell sermon. Ill 

Cotton here draws largely from the Old Testament (from which our 
fathers drew the most of their theology as well as jurisprudence), in 
order to show what God has promised to his faithful people. / will 
appoint a place for my people Israel, etc. The preface to this discourse, 
' To the Christian Reader,' was written by another hand, with initials 
I. H., and in our own copy we find the following query penned some 
few years since : ' May it not have been John Humphry, who was 
one of the six original patentees from the council of Plymouth?' 
Humphrey was chosen deputy governor with the view of coming over 
this year, but being prevented, Mr. Dudley was elected in his place. 
The writer of the preface says, ' Now because many may either not 
know, or doe not consider upon how full a ground and warrant out of 
the word of God that undertaking (which was the occasion of this ser- 
mon) hath hitherto proceeded, I thought good (courteous Reader), 
leave being witji some difficulty obtained of the Reverend Author, to 
present unto thy view and consideration that which may in part give 
thee satisfaction in this particular. Ere long (if God will) thou shalt 
see a longer declaration of the first rise & ends of this enterprise, & so 
cleare & full a justification of this designe, and also in respect of any 
other ground and circumstance of weight,' &c. This discourse is 
worthy of note as being the first printed work of which we have any 
record, of one who bore so prominent a part in the early period of the 
Massachusetts settlement. When we reflect that Cotton transferred 
his labors from Boston in Old England to Boston in New England, 
and that the latter was named in honor of him and his associates and 
friends who came from the former, and consider also the occasion on 
which this sermon was delivered, it will appear by no means insignificant 
or uninteresting. Its contents are by no means remarkable. As we said 
above, it possesses nothing historical. But it does contain some most 
excellent advice and exhibits the true principles which animated our 
Puritan Fathers. We give below a few extracts from it — to introduce 
which we have trespassed thus far." [Here follow extracts from the 

II. " Since writing the notice of this sermon in the last number of 
the Register, I have met with the following MS. notes of Prince, the 
chronologist, in his own copy of this discourse now before me : ' By 
several passages in the sermon, it seems to be preached in England to 
a number of people about to remove to New England, and considering 
the history of his life,^ and that he went to the Isle of Wight in Eng- 

1 " ' Here is a gentleman, one Mr. Cottington [Coddington] a Boston man : 
who told me that Mr. Cotton's charge at Hampton was that they should take advice 
of them at Pli/moulh and should do nothing to offend them.' 

" ' By this only passage in Govr. Bradford's MS. History, we find tliat the 
Bevd. and Famous Mr. Cotton went from Boston in Lincolnshire, to take his 


land, in the spring of 1630, to see Govr. Winslow [he means Win- 
throp], -Mr. Wilson and company, and take his farewell of them, as 
they were then bound for New England, it seems highly likely that he 
then preached this sermon to them. 

'"After I had wrote the above,' he continues, 'I found in Joshua 
Scottoway Esq.'s narrative, that Mr. Cotton preached this sermon to 
Govr. Winthrop and company at the Isle of Wight, as they were pre- 
paring to sail for New England.' 

" I give below the passages from Scottow referred to. Prince, how- 
ever, should have put Southampton for the Isle of Wight. 

"'Some of their choice friends, as the Reverend Mr. Cotton and 
others, went along with them from Boston in Lincolnshire to South- 
ampton, where they parted and he preached his farewell sermon. 

" ' Not long after this, Mr. Cotton's farewell sermon (above men- 
tioned) was printed at London, and since reprinted at Boston, entituled, 
God's Promise to his Plantation, wherein he exhorted them to remem- 
ber England, their mother, and that they should not be like those un- 
grateful birds, who when they had swum over a stream or river, forgot 
the wing that had hatcht them.' 

" If Scottow is to be relied on, — and we have no reason to question 
his authority, as he was for a long period contemporary with many of 
Winthrop's company, and dedicates his book, referred to, to Bradstreet, 
then living, who also came over with Winthrop, — then the question 
would seem to be settled as to the place where this sermon was 
preached, namely, at Southampton." 

Scottow's " Narrative " thus appears to be the sole distinct 
original authority concerning the delivery of Cotton's farewell 
sermon at Southampton. Joshua Scottow was an old man 
when he published his dolorous Jeremiad in 1694 ; but it is 
a clear and vigorous document, and there is no ground for 
questioning any of its statements of fact. Of the " Narra- 
tive " as a whole it is impossible to speak here ; but it might 
well form a theme for special treatment, as it is so little 
known, and as it mentions incidentally many matters of his- 
torical interest besides Cotton's farewell sermon. Incidentally, 
I saj', for Scottow's primary purpose was not to write history, 
but to wail. He felt, after the fashion of gray-haired men from 
the beginning who have looked back mournfully to the " good 
old times," that New England was going to perdition ; and he 
contrasts the time of the saintly Cotton and the rest with the 

leave of his departing friends at South Hampton.' " — Prince's Annals, vol. i. 
p. 245. Mass. Hist. Coll., vol. iii. p. 76. 

1907.] cotton's farewell sbemon. 113 

ungodly present, for the sake of prophesying a still more dis- 
astrous decline. The title-page of his pamphlet indicates so 
well the character of his work that I give its contents : 

" A Narrative of the Planting of the Massachusetts Colony Anno 
1628. With the Lord's Signal Presence the First Thirty Years. 
Also a Caution from New England's Apostle, the great Cotton, how to 
Escape the Calamity, which might befall them or their Posterity. And 
Confirmed by the Evangelist Norton. With Prognosticks from the 
famous Dr. Owen, concerning the Fate of these Churches, and Ani- 
madversions upon the Anger of God, in sending of Evil Angels among 
us. Published by Old Planters, the Authors of the Old Men's Tears. 
Psalm 78, 2, 3, 4. / will utter darh sayings of old, which we have 
heard and known and our Fathers have told us, Sfc. Jer. 6, 16. Thus 
saith the Lord, stand ye in the ways and see, and ask for the old paths, 
where is the good way, Sf walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your 
souls ; but they said, we will not walk herein. Boston Printed and sold 
by Benjamin Harris, at the sign of the Bible over against the Blew- 
Anchor: 1694." 

The entire work was reprinted in the Massachusetts His- 
torical Society's Collections, fourth series, vol. iv., 1858. In 
the fourth volume of the second series, 1816, there is a brief 
memoir of Scottow — I think bj' James Savage. " The first 
mention of Joshua Scottow, traced by my inquiries," says the 
biographer, " is in the records of the Old Church, in the tenth 
page of which it is noted that, ' Thomas Scottowe and Joshua 
Scottowe, the sonnes of our sister Thomasine Scottowe,' were 
admitted members on the 19th of the third mouth, 1639. . . . 
He was probably the younger son, and brought from England 
by his mother, a widow, admitted of the same church, 21 Sep- 
tember, 1634. He was well entitled, therefore, sixty years 
after, to call himself an Old Planter." He became a merchant 
"of much respectability," whose name frequently occurs in 
the affairs of the town. In 1691, three years before the pub- 
lication of the " Narrative," he published another pamphlet, 
which like its successor was a lament over the degeneracy of 
the times. It was entitled : " Old Men's Tears for their own 
Declension, mixed with Fears of their and Posterities further 
falling off from New England's Primitive Constitution." 
Cotton's sermon as published in London was prefixed by au 
address "to the Christian Reader," signed by " I. H." — prob- 
ably meaning, says Prince, John Humphrey. Humphrey, of 



whom Winthrop speaks as "a gentleman of special parts, 
of learning and activity, and a godly man," was one of the 
leading men in the Massachusetts enterprise, but found it 
necessary to postpone his coming. The purpose of his ad- 
dress, as explained by Mr. Deane, was to bespeak kind con- 
sideration in England for the new plantation, to which Cotton's 
sermon related. 

The sermon itself is a typical Puritan sermon, well worth 
reading again after these two centuries and a half simply as 
such. The sermon bristles with texts. There are three on 
the title-page, besides the main text from Samuel; and every 
statement from beginning to end is fortified by appeal to 
Ezekiel xx. 6, or some clinching Scripture. The sermon be- 
gins with David's purpose to build God a house, and the bless- 
ings promised. The transition is easy to the blessings upon a 
plantation established by God's people. A consideration of 
the three ways in which God makes room for a people leads 
to some words on the rights of the natives of the soil to be 
occupied. Then proper reasons for emigration are discussed, 
— the gaining of knowledge, lawful commerce, the "liberty 
of the Ordinances," a better chance elsewhere. " Nature 
teacheth Bees to doe so, when as the hive is too full, they 
seeke abroad for new dwellings: So when the hive of the 
Common wealth is so full, that tradesmen cannot live one by 
another, but eate up one another, in this case it is lawful! to 
remove." So it is to escape certain evils, which are duly 
enumerated, or to carry on some work pointed out by God's 
providence. The latter part of the sermon is a charge to keep 
the plantation godly. He exhorts the departing colonists to 
" take rooting in the Ordinances," to be " not unmindful of 
our Jerusalem at home," to "offend not the poor natives," to 
" looke well to the plants that spring from you." " Goe forth," 
exclaims the preacher, in the finest passage in the sermon, 
" every man that goeth, with a publick spirit, looking not on 
your owne things onely, but also on the things of others. This 
care of universall helpfuUnesse was the prosperity of the first 
Plantation of the Primitive church. Acts, 4, 32." The text 
referred to is that which declares that "the multitude of them 
that believed were of one heart and of one soul : neither said 
any of them that aught of the things which he possessed was 
his own ; but they had all things common." We cannot for- 


get here that declaration of the Plymouth Company : " We 
doe holde ourselves straitly tied to all care of each other's 
good, and of ye whole by every one and so mutually " ; and 
Robinson's charge to the little band : " With your conimone 
employments joyrie commone affections truly bente upon ye 
generall good, avoyding as a deadly plague of your both com- 
mone and spetiall comfort all retiredness of minde for proper 
advantage . . . ; let every man represe in himself, and ye 
whol body in each person, as so many rebels against ye com- 
mone good, all private respects of men's selves, not sorting 
with ye generall convenience." The true communal spirit was 
with the fathers of New England at the beginning. 

Cotton's farewell sermon was not a great prophetic utterance, 
like Robinson's at Delftshaven ; but it was a notable sermon, 
preached by a great man on a memorable occasion. It is re- 
markable that the sermon should have been so completely for- 
gotten, and it is important to have attention recalled to it. 

The President read the following memorandum : 

At the last meeting of the Society our associate Mr. Long 
read an interesting paper suggested to him by a recent instal- 
ment of the forthcoming Memoirs of Mr. Schurz, in McClure's 
Magazine. It related to Mr. Schurz's recollections of cer- 
tain incidents connected with his appointment to the Spanish 
mission, in the early days of Lincoln's administration. After 
Mr. Long had closed, it will be remembered, I gave certain 
recollections of my own, connected with the same incident, 
quite at variance with the narrative of Mr. Schurz. I spoke 
of having myself been in Washington at the time, and re- 
membering the incident referred to. My recollection was that 
Mr. Schurz had applied for the Prussian mission ; that his 
appointment had, for manifest reasons, been wholly out of the 
question ; that Mr. Seward, Secretary of State, had been placed 
in an embarrassing position in regard to it ; and that the mat- 
ter had been subsequently arranged, not altogether satisfac- 
torily to Mr. Schurz, by his appointment to Madrid. The 
information came from my father, then holding extremely 
confidential relations with Secretary Seward ; was contempo- 
raneous with the incident ; and my recollection of the facts 
was distinct and vivid. I also said that I thought it not im- 


possible some reference to the incident would be found in the 
diary of my father, who was then a member of Congress. 

Curious on the subject, I have since examined the diary cov- 
ering the time referred to. My so doing supplies another illus- 
tration of the utter worthlessness of memory, as a basis of 
history, when dealing with incidents long past. It recalls 
vividly the valuable as well as curious and entertaining paper 
once read here by our late associate Mr, Edward L. Pierce 
on this subject, and also my own subsequent comments on that 
paper, both now forming a part of our Proceedings.^ 

Recurring, however, to the diary of my father, I find the 
following entry, under date of Sunday, 10th March, 1861. 
He begins his record by mentioning a call paid the morning 
x)f that day on an elderly female relative, long a resident of 
Washington. He goes on to say that he found her " full of 
the gossip of the town about Mr. and Mrs. Lincoln, who are 
doing multitudes of strange things, in the midst of a popula- 
tion little disposed to favor. Mr. Sumner came to dine with 
us. He gives curious accounts of the errors on a larger scale. 
The diflSculty with Mr. Lincoln is that he has no conception of 
his situation ; and, having no system in his composition, he 
has undertaken to manage the whole thing as if he knew all 
about it. The first evidence of this is to be found in his direct 
interference in the removal of clerks in the Department ; the 
second, in his nomination of persons suggested by domestic 

" In the evening we had visits from Governor Seward and 
his son and daughter, and from Mr. Eliot. Governor Seward 
asked a private conversation, in which he communicated to 
me the leading events in his relations with the President. He 
explained his own views of the policy to be adopted in foreign 
affairs, and the utter absence of any acquaintance with the 
subject in the chief. And as to men, he was more blind and 
unsettled than as to measures. The nomination of Mr. Judd, 
and a German named Kreischman for his secretary, to Berlin, 
were made without consultation, merely in fulfilment of a 
promise to give the former a cabinet appointment, from which 
he had been compelled to give way. As to the mission to 
England, Mr. Seward had pointed out the necessity now ex- 
isting to give it a high character, and had named me as a fit- 

1 2 Proceedings, vol. x. pp. 473-490 ; vol. xiii. pp. 177-197 ; vol. xvii. pp. 440-448. 


ting person; but he delicately gave me to understand that it 
was received with no favor. On the other hand, Mr. Schurz 
had pi-essed the President so hard to go to Sardinia that he 
had been obliged freely to state the objections to his nomina- 
tion ; and, greatly to his surprise, early the next morning Mr. 
Schurz called upon him, and soon let him know that he had 
been made the master of his most confidential communications. 
This had compelled him to a frank and decided conversation 
with Mr. Schurz, which ended with his consent to withdraw 
himself. And the President declared himself greatly relieved 
at this interference of his Secretary." 

On the 15th Mr. Adams left Washington for Boston. On 
the 18th his nomination to the English mission was sent to 
the Senate. 

It thus appears I was entirely wrong in my recollections as 
to Mr. Schurz's desire at that time to get an appointment to 
Berlin, though in other respects my I'ecollection was substan- 
tially correct. It will further be observed that my father's 
record is much more creditable to both Mr. Schurz and to Mr. 
Seward than that supplied by Mr. Schurz from memory in his 
printed Memoirs. It also gives a somewhat vivid idea of the 
utter confusion and lack of system which prevailed in Wash- 
ington during the first month of the Lincoln administration. 

The President communicated by title a copy of a private 
letter from Lieutenant-Colonel James Savage to his father, the 
Hon. James Savage : 

This letter was written by James Savage, Jr., to his father, 
Hon. James Savage, formerly President of this Society. It is 
from a copy of the original made by Mrs. W. B. Rogers, the 
sister of the writer and the only surviving daughter of Mr. 
Savage. There is a Life of James Savage, Jr., by Mrs. Rogers 
in the Harvard Memorial Biographies (vol. i. p. 305). The 
operations described in the letter relate to the part borne by 
the Second Regiment of Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry 
during the campaign conducted by the Confederate General 
" Stonewall " Jackson against the Union Army commanded 
by Major-General N. P. Banks, in the Valley of the Shenan- 
doah, during the months of May and June, 1862. A fuller 
and more critical narrative of this famous campaign as a 


whole will be found in Lieutenant-Colonel G. P. R. Hender- 
son's Life of " Stonewall " Jackson (vol. i. pp. 304-356). The 
special part played in it by the Second Massachusetts Infantry 
has also been described by General George H. Gordon, the 
first colonel of the regiment, in his volume entitled " Brook 
Farm to Cedar Mountain " (pp. 175-261), and also in his 
"Third Paper" on the History of the Second Massachusetts 
Infantry. Other correspondence relating to the same events 
will be found in the Letters of C. F. Morse, also of the Sec- 
ond Massachusetts, and subsequently its commanding officer 
(Privately Printed, 1898), and in the "Life and Letters of 
Wilder Dwight" (Boston, 1891), who was Major of the 
regiment at the time in question, and a little later on, Sep- 
tember 17, 1862, was mortally wounded at Antietam, holding 
then the rank of Lieutenant-Colonel. The writer of the letter, 
James Savage, Jr., was, at the time of writing. Captain of Com- 
pany D ; he was, as Major, severely wounded in the battle at 
Cedar Mountain, August 9, 1862, and died at Charlottesville, 
Virginia, October 22 following. He then held the rank ot 
Lieutenant-Colonel in succession to Dwight. 

WiLLiAMSPOET, Md., May 28th, 1862. 
Mt dear Father, — At midnight on Friday in our camp at Stras- 
burg, we were roused from sleep and lay waiting marching orders until 
eight o'clock the next morning, when we got rumors of the attack at 
Front Royal and of the defeat of Kenly's Maryland regiment. The 
fighting force of our brigade was 2100 men, that of Donnelly's rather 
less. Our brigade was composed of the 2nd Mass., the 3rd Wisconsin, 
the 29th Penn. and the 27 Ind. Donnelly's brigade contained the 5th 
Conn., 28th N. Y. and 46th Penn. ; on the march from Strasburg Don- 
nelly's brigade led, and of ours the 27th Ind. had the rear. I think it 
was near Middletown that the enemy first made an attempt to cut off 
part of our column, and they harassed us occasionally firing shell until we 
had passed through Newtown. Just beyond this place a halt was made 
and the 2nd ordered to the rear to relieve the 27th Ind. Our en- 
deavor was to gain time for the purpose of saving our immense wagon 
train, which consisted not only of the Division and brigade trains, and 
those of the several Regiments, but also of the Hospital. It was rain- 
ing in the morning when we started, but towards noon the pike be- 
came excessively dusty, owing in great measure to the droves of beef 
cattle and of condemned horses which were driven every now and then 
through our column, making much confusion in the ranks. When the 


2nd was ordered to the rear, we were deployed as a battalion of skir- 
mishers, and in that order marched back through the street of Newtown 
with supports of sections of Best's and Hampton's batteries on either 
side the town. My command was the reserve of three or four com- 
panies which advanced through the main street until the enemy's shell 
opened on us, when Col. Andrews^ ordered us to break to the right and 
follow up through the gardens, sheltering ourselves as much as possible 
behind the houses. There was considerable spattering of fragments ot 
shell for the next ten minutes, as we clashed through broad fences and 
palings of the yards, and then finding that the attention of the enemy's 
guns was diverted to our batteries and that we could not keep at the 
proper distance from the skirmishers, we came out again on the main 
street, and passed along the sidewalk, getting what shelter we could 
from the house fronts. We held Newtown for nearly two hours, keep- 
ing the enemy in check beyond the town. It was getting quite dark 
when, returning to the column, we reached the field where we had de- 
posited our knapsacks, for we had marched to the rear, and here our 
regiment again made a stand, and were attacked by a considerable 
force of the enemy. While my company with I. and G. were slinging 
their knapsacks, the firing was quite heavy, and was principally sus- 
tained by Go's A. and C, one platoon of each being deployed in the 
fields on each side of the road, and the two remaining platoons acting 
as reserve on the road ; these were under command of our gallant 
Major,^ and behaved splendidly. The skirmishers had constantly to 
rally to resist charges of cavalry, and just after my men joined them 
with their knapsacks there was a close and heavy clattering of hoofs 

' George L. Andrews was born in Bridgewater August 31, 1828, studied in the 
schools of his native town, and afterward at West Point, where he graduated in 
1851 at the head of his class. He was afterward engaged in the military ser- 
vice, and for two years as a civil engineer. In May, 1861, he was commissioned 
Lieutenant-Colonel of tlie Second Massachusetts Volunteers. At the time ot the 
retreat of Banks in the Shenandoah Valley, he was in command of the regiment- 
He was made a Brigadier-General in November, 186"2, and was brevatted Major- 
General in March, 1865. See Quint's Record of the Second Massachusetts In- 
fantry, pp. 476, 477 ; Appleton's Cyclopaedia of American Biography, vol. i. 
p. 75. — Eds. 

" Wilder Dwight was born in Springfield April 23, 1833; his early education 
was partly at Pliillips Exeter Academy and partly at a private military school at 
West Point. .He graduated witli high rank at Harvard College in 1853, and 
at tlie Law School two years afterward. In 1856 he was admitted to the bar, 
and soon became a partner of the late Chief Justice Gray. In May, 1861, he was 
appointed Major of the Second Massachusetts Volunteers. He was taken prisoner 
at Winchester May 25, 1862 ; and in the following month was made Lieutenant- 
Colonel. He was mortally wounded near Sharpsburg, Maryland, September 17, 
1862, and died two days later at Boonesborough. See Harvard Memorial Biogra- 
phies, vol. i. pp. 271-293 ; Brown's Harvard University in the War, p. 65. — 


heard in our rear, and down the hill they came upon us. The platoon 
on either side the road formed square suddenly, and also the re- 
maining platoons of A. and C. in the road, and together gave them a 
concentrated volley at ahout sixty yards distance, which effectually 
prevented them from trying that again during the night. Then came 
a sharp fire of muskets in which perhaps a dozen of our men fell killed 
and wounded and which was returned with effect. I was here ordered 
to throw out my company right and left of the road as flankers, and 
just as my first platoon, which was with me on the right side of the road, 
had climbed the fence the enemy threw in a volley which would have 
done harm to the platoon had we not struck upon a friendly stone wall 
behind which my men lay. The N. Y. cavalry, which was with us, 
thereupon went off at a gallop and reporting the 2nd cut to pieces was 
not seen by us again that night. From that time, just after dark, until 
twelve o'clock, I, with my first platoon as flankers, marched through the 
fields a hundred paces to the right of the column. During this time 
there was no firing. We kept as nearly opposite the centre of the 
column as we could guess. We passed mostly through wheat fields, 
the wheat growing stout and up to our waists and full of water ; it was 
so high that we could not see where we were stepping. I was near 
being disabled by striking my knee against a concealed stump and at 
one time several of us fell flat into a ditch. The reserve, which kept 
well in front, broke gaps in the fences to let us through. About mid- 
night the column halted at a house to find means of forwarding our 
wounded. We lost about an hour here, and the enemy coming up with 
us and pouring in a sharp fire compelled us to retreat double quick, 
leaving our Surgeon, Dr. Leland,^ and the wounded in the house. In 
about three quarters of an hour we bivouacked just in the outskirts of 
Winchester, where we stacked arms, and I sat awake and shivered till 
daylight, having lost my servant who had my blankets and overcoat. 
The sun was just rising when our pickets were driven in and the ene- 
my's artillery opened on us from the high ridge back of Winchester. 
We were called to arms, and I, without food the day before except a 
cracker and none that morning, headed the column of the 2d, which 
advanced across the fields and up the hillside till we were halted and 
ordered to lie down under a stone wall. I with my right company was 
thus brought to the crest of the hill, and was at once ordered to deploy 

1 Francis Leland, M.D., was born in Sherborn, Massachusetts, December 24, 
1817, graduated at Brown University in 1838, and from the Harvard Medical 
Scliool in 1842. He was appointed surgeon of tlie Second Massachusetts Volun- 
teers in October, 1861, and having been wounded in the service at Cedar 
Mountain resigned on account of impaired health in October, 1862. He died at 
Somerville October 6, 1867. Quint's Record of the Second Massachusetts In- 
fantry, pp. 478, 479, Historical Catalogue of Brown University, p. 177. — Eds. 


it back across the ridge to disturb a battery and parts of two regiments 
of infantry which had the shelter of a stone wall on the ridge about 150 
yards distant. A section of one of our batteries had meantime begun 
to fire on them from a prominence 100 yds. back of me. The excite- 
ment teas splendid and the chances for a good shot from our rifles 
capital at that distance. Twice we compelled the battery to seek shel- 
ter below the ridge, and some six or eight horses were sent dashing 
away riderless. For a time they threw canister at us, but with little 
effect, and finding they met with no success in dislodging us, they turned 
their attention principally on the battery behind us, occasionally giving 
us a shell or so as a reminder. After about half an hour of this, in 
which my only casualties were two men very slightly wounded, I was 
reinforced by Co, G., Capt. Cary,^ and ordered to cross the field in front 
and get the shelter of a stone wall beyond. It seemed a fearful thing, 
but as it was done at the double quick and the men were deployed and 
not in closed ranks, 1 believe no man was struck. Of course it was but 
the work of a moment, and we found ourselves with a better shelter, a 
good stone wall. Here we began to get an idea of what was in store 
for us. In our last position we had seen and reported to the Col. a 
force of Infantry and Cavalry on a hill a mile to our right stealing 
round us, and here over our wall of square blocks of limestone we found 
three regiments of Infantry coming close upon our right flank. As 
they crept round the slope below us, our marksmen did what they could 
to check them. Sergeant Crocker struck down the colors of one regi- 
ment and Sergeant Miller knocked over a color corporal of the same. 
Having reported this approach, I was told to harass them as much as 
possible and to hold out as long as I could. The battery in front find- 
ing canister of no avail against our shelter now threw a few solid. shot 
at the wall ; one struck it near the top fortunately, but scattering the 
fragments of stone violently, taking nearly the whole of one poor fel- 
low's head off", wounding another in the ankle, and allowing Capt. Cary 
and Sergeant Parker to escape almost by a miracle. 

Soon after we were ordered to fall back on the regiment, which we 
did in good time. We now saw the Penn. and Indiana regiments 
coming up the hill in two columns marching by the flank. They had 
scarcely readied the summit when the rebels were on the hill and close 
upon them. They opened their fire at close quarters upon each other, 

1 Richard Cary was the youngest child of Hon. Thomas G. Cary, and was 
born in Boston June 27, 1825. He was educated at the Boston Latin School, but 
did not enter college. Having decided to pursue a mercantile life, he spent some 
time at the South. On the breaking out of the war he returned to the North, 
and in May, 1861, was commissioned Captain in the Second Massachusetts Volun- 
teers. He was mortally wounded at Cedar Mountain, August 9, 1862, and died 
on the following day. See Quint's Record of the Second Massachusetts Infantry, 
p. 485. — Eds. 



though what the rebel force was then and there I could not say. I only 
know that the enemy fled down back of the hill in the utmost confusion. 
They were immediately reinforced and returned up the hill, and either 
the Indiana and Penn. regiments broke or a retreat was ordered, for 
they passed us aiid went down the front slope towards the town double 
quick. This brought the enemy on our right flank, which meant Co. D. 
The order was given "by companies right wheel." I wheeled my men 
to the front and dressed them. They stood as on parade. The inten- 
tion was to advance upon the enemy by column of companies, in which 
case Co. D. would have been first annihilated. It was then seen that 
not a moment was to be lost if the regiment was to escape being made 
prisoners. The order was, retreat. We turned amid a storm as of 
sheets of bullets and retired without firing a gun down the hill. Be- 
sides the three regiments in our rear, there were lines advancing both 
on our left and right flanks. Five minutes later and we should have 
been lost. Most of my missing men must have fallen coming down the 
hill. The fire was terrible. The enemy covered the slopes and hill- 
side for about a mile left and right of us, yelling like fiends. They 
did not follow us closely into town, but kept up their fire and we halted 
and formed in good order in the first street, and then began our long 
march of 35 miles to Williamsport. You have heard of the dispropor- 
tion of forces ; 28 of their regiments were counted, there may have been 
others. Gordon^ had information the night before that there were 
25,000 or 30,000 of them, and the number of regiments counted would 
have given them 22,000. High up on the hill fell Lakin, a private of 
mine, shot dead through the body, his brother, stopping to learn how 
much he was injured, has not since been seen. Private Orne I think 
did not get down the hill safely. What others fell before entering the 
town, I cannot say. On the hillside Private Peterson was struck in 
the neck by a shot which came out in front. It was tied up and he 
marched the whole way, and is now doing well in the hospital at Fred- 
erick. Sergeant Crocker was struck by a minie ball in the calf of his 

1 George Henry Gordon was born in Charlestown July 19, 1825, and graduated 
at the United States Military Academy in 1846. He immediately afterward 
entered the array, and served with distinction in the war with Mexico. He re- 
signed from the army in 1854, and graduated from the Harvard Law School in 
1856. In the following year he opened a law office in Boston. On the breaking 
out of the Civil War he was appointed Colonel of the Second Massachusetts 
Volunteers. In June, 1862, he was made a Brigadier-General, and in April, 
1865, a Major-General, having been actively engaged in service throughout the 
war. After the close of the war he returned to Boston, and resumed the prac- 
tice of the law. He died in Framingliam August 30, 1886. At the time of the 
retreat from the Shenandoah Valley he was in command of a brigade. See 
Appleton's Cyclopoedia of American Biography, vol. ii. p. 685 ; Brown's Harvard 
University in the War, p. 832. — Ens. 


right leg, making a long, bad looking wound, but not hurting the bone. 
Cap. Mudge ^ and Lieut Crowninshield * were struck in the leg at nearly 
the same time. Mudge I helped along a little way as best I could, and 
the order coming " double quick " we were separated, he running along 
until some one got him a horse. Crowninshield and my Sergeant 
Crocker were both helped into an ambulance, and had their lives saved 
by it, by young Mclenan, surgeon in the Fifth Conn. The same splen- 
did fellow also gave his horse to my Lieut. Abbott,' when he was walk- 
ing along, tired out in Winchester, or he would have been among the 
missing. Over and through the fence as we emerged from town came 
the deadly gusts of bullets, and again and again the order was " double 
quick." I have no doubt many of us longed to be shot that we might 
rest, and as we dragged our weary limbs along nothing but the thought 
of the bayonets of a relentless foe kept us on our feet. When the com- 
mand came " double quick," and we had been gasping for breath while 
walking, and I saw the column move on quickly, I followed, I know not 
how. By the station house Sergeant Parker stopped, and laying off 
his equipments sat down, unable to move farther. I think he was not 
wounded and am hoping to hear of him as a prisoner. He was a noble 

1 Charles R. Mudge was the son of Enoch R. Mudge, and was born in the 
city of New York October 22, 1839. fie was fitted for college at the private 
school of Mr. Thomas G. Bradford, in Boston, and entered Harvard College 
in the summer of 1856, graduating with his Class in 1860. He was commissioned 
as a Lieutenant in the Second Massachusetts Volunteers in May, 1861 ; promoted 
Captain in July ; Major in November, 1862 ; Lieutenant-Colonel in June, 1863 ; 
killed at Gettysburg July 3, 1863. See Harvard Memorial Biographies, vol. ii. 
pp. 161-162 ; Brown's Harvard University in the War, p. 144. — Eds. 

2 Francis W. Crowninshield was the son of Edward A. Crowninshield. He 
was born in Boston May 12, 1843, and died in Albano, Italy, May 21, 1866, of 
disease contracted in tlie service. His school life at the Boston Latin School 
was interrupted by an absence of a year or two in Europe with his father. He 
entered Harvard College in July, 1860, but left in the following year, and in 
December was commissioned as a Lieutenant in the Second Massachusetts Vol- 
unteers. He was wounded at Winchester, and again at Antietam, and was pro- 
moted to a captaincy in March, 1863. At Gettysburg he was severely wounded, 
and in May, 1864, he was shot in the leg by a guerilla in Tennessee. But he 
participated in Slierman's march from Atlanta to the sea, and was not mustered 
out until July, 1865. See Harvard Memorial Biographies, vol. ii. pp. 456-460; 
Brown's Harvard University in the War, p. 205. — Eds. 

8 Edward Gardiner Abbott was the eldest son of Hon. Josiah 6. Abbott, and 
was born in Lowell September 29, 1840. He was fitted for college at the 
Lowell High School, aud graduated at Harvard College in 1860. Immediately 
on graduating he began the study of the law with great zeal and industry and 
with high promise of success. He was commissioned a captain in the Second 
Massachusetts Volunteers May 24, 1861. After a brief service with distinction 
he was killed in the battle of Cedar Mountain August 9, 1862. See Harvard 
Memorial Biographies, vol. ii. pp. 82-96; Brown's Harvard University in the 
War, p. 134. — Eds. 


fellow and has done good work for me. The pursuit of infantry ceased 
soon after leaving town, and, except a few shells thrown at random and 
an occasional shot from the skirts of woods on our flanks, we were let 
alone. My mouth was dry like a sponge ; and ahout three miles out, I 
met Stephen Perkins ' in a house by the road side over a bowl of pickled 
beets, the vinegar of which went to my soul. I did not learn of my 
Lieut. 's fate till late in the day, and thought him lost till I saw him jog- 
ging along in a horse cart he had pressed by the way. It was a small 
one and then contained six beside guns and equipments. Our brave 
Major was missing, but we hear to-day (Monday 2nd) that he is safe, 
a prisoner in Winchester. My Sergeant Thurston I fear was wounded 
and taken. Corporals Woodward, Cleves and Anderson and 10 pri- 
vates are still among the missing. Private Colvin was shot through 
the bowels, but lived until he reached Williamsport, and had only been 
de^d ten minutes when I saw him. He is buried in the graveyard 
here. My company from its position suffered more than the others on 
Sunday. I myself did not get into our place of bivouac on Sunday 
night till half past ten, and then I crawled under a friendly blanket, and 
with an old boot for a pillow slept until we were called just before 
dawn, to cross the river. No food nor sleep the night before and a 
march of 25 miles, then a disastrous battle and a flight of 35 miles, and 
you see me pretty well used up. Now I am as well as ever after a 
week's rest, and we are all longing to enter Winchester again with fair 
chances allowed us. 

We are encamped in a beautiful oak grove not far from the river and 
have a most lovely country all about us. The weather grows warm 
to-day and we have had constant thunder the last day or two, suggestive 
of Lunenburg. '^ 

From your son James. 

In the absence of Mr. Edward Stakwood, Mr. Smith com- 
municated for him by title the following paper: 

1 Stephen G. Perkins, eon of Stephen H. Perkins, was born in Boston Sep- 
tember 18, 1885, and received a careful preparatory education. He entered Har- 
vard College with the Class of 1855, but was obliged to leave it on account of 
the weakness of his eyes, and graduated with the Class of 1856. After graduating 
he spent a year in the Law School, and subsequently joined the Lawrence Scien- 
tific School. In July, 1861, he was commissioned as Second Lieutenant in the 
Second Massachusetts Volunteers, and in the following month was promoted 
First Lieutenant. He was killed shortly afterward in the battle of Cedar Moun- 
tain, August 9, 1862. See Harvard Memorial Biographies, vol. i. pp. 373-381 ; 
Brown's Harvard University in the War, p. 97. — Eds. 

2 During the latter years of his life Hon. James Savage spent his summers 
at Lunenburg. See 2 Proceedings, vol. xvi pp. 142, 143; vol. xx. pp. 240, 
241. — Eds. 


The Separation of Maine from Massachusetts. 

The claim of Massachusetts to jurisdiction over the terri- 
tory now constituting the State of Maine dates from the mid- 
dle of the seventeenth century. The long and not always 
peaceable controversy between the Massachusetts Colony and 
Ferdinando Gorges, grandson of the famous lord-proprietor 
Sir Ferdinando Gorges, which extended over the years from 
1652 to 1677, was ended by the sale of the patent and all the 
rights appei-taining thereto for £1250. Gorges's patent cov- 
ered the whole of the territory of Maine. King Charles II. was 
displeased by the transfer, and some writers who have been 
more inclined to score a point in subsequent controversies 
between Maine and Massachusetts than to adhere to histori- 
cal fact have misrepresented the transaction ; but William- 
son, in his History of Maine, says that " the purchase was 
fair and open — made at the desire of the provincials them- 
selves, when they were driven to extremities by an Indian 
war, and when nearly all the assistance and protection they 
were receiving proceeded from Massachusetts." 

It is impossible to ascertain when the movement origi- 
nated for a separation of Maine from Massachusetts. No 
evidence has ever been presented, so far as I am aware, 
that a sentiment in favor of separation existed before the 
close of the Revolutionary War. It may be taken as prob- 
able that during that great struggle a suggestion of divis- 
ion would have found few people in Maine to support it. 
But a movement began and attained formidable proportions 
one year after the Treaty of Peace in 1783. The separation 
was not accomplished until thirty-six years later, in 1820. It 
is a singular fact that no full account of this movement, so 
important to two States of the Union, has ever been prepared. 
A brief account of the agitation which began in 1784 and 
came to an end in 1787, or later, is contained in a paper by 
Daniel Davis ^ in the fourth volume of the first series of the 
Collections of this Society. Mr. Davis was a member of 
the second convention in Portland, held in September, 1786. 
There was a revival of this movement in 1792, of which, I 
think, no account whatever has been published. For many 

1 Mr. Davis was a native of the District of Maine, bom in 1762, died in 183& 
He was elected a member of tliis Society in 1792. 


years after that time nothing was heard of a separation, 
but the agitation was renewed in 1815 and continued active 
until, by the wish of the Maine people, the consent of Massa- 
chusetts, and the act of Congress, the new State was organ- 
ized and admitted to the Union. Many partial accounts 
of the unsuccessful campaign of 1816 have been prepared, 
but none of the successful movement in 1819. Moreover, 
while as to- these several attempts some writers have under- 
taken to represent the situation as it regards the senti- 
ments of the inhabitants of Maine, thej' have usuallj'^ done 
so from a partisan point of view, and have not seen much 
below the surface. No one, so far as I can discover, has 
ever considered the question from the Massachusetts end, 
or taken pains to inquire how the people of this part of 
the State regarded the matter. It is with a purpose to 
study these two questions, the motives of the people of 
Maine, and the attitude of the people of the Common- 
wealth proper, that I have prepared this paper. In so 
doing it seems proper to present a connected history of the 
whole movement, although some of the matter is familiar, 
and a large part of it is to be found in published essays 
which are not accessible to the general reader. 

Beginning some time in the latter part of 1784, numerous 
addresses and communications appeared in the Falmouth 
(now Portland) " Gazette " upon the subject of a separation 
of "the three Eastern counties" of York, Cumberland, and 
Lincoln, comprising the entire territory of the District of 
Maine, from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. The 
discussion was temperate. The advocates of separation in- 
dulged sparingly if at all in ci'iticism or complaint of the 
treatment the District received from Massachusetts. They 
maintained that the District was naturally separated geo- 
graphically from Massachusetts, and that many hardships 
naturally resulted from the distance of the community from 
the capital. They were convinced that economy and con- 
venience demanded a separate government, which they felt 
competent to organize and to support. 

It was about a year after this agitation began when the 
first active step was taken to make it effective. The Fal- 
mouth " Gazette " of the 17th September and 1st October, 
1785, printed the following notice: 


" Agreeably to a request made and signed by a large and respectable 
number of persons to the printer of this ' Gazette,' the inhabitants of 
the three Counties of York, Cumberland, and Lincoln are hereby noti- 
fied that so many of them as are inclined or can conveniently attend, 
are requested to meet at the Meeting House of the Revd. Messrs. 
Smith and Deane in Falmouth on Wednesday, the fifth day of October 
next, to join in a conference then and there to be held on the proposal of 
having the said counties erected into a separate government; and, if it 
should be thought best, to form some plan for collecting the sentiments 
of the people on the subject and pursue some orderly and regular 
method of carrying the same into effect." 

In accordance with this notice thirty-three gentlemen as- 
sembled at the time and place mentioned, in numbers almost 
equally divided between the three counties. They organized 
by the choice of William Gorham as President and Stephen 
Longfellow as secretary. After the occasion which had called 
them together had been discussed and the movement justi- 
fied, it was voted that a committee of seven, of which Peleg 
Wadsworth was chairman, " should apply to the several 
towns and plantations in said counties, requesting them to 
send delegates to meet " at Falmouth on the first Wednesday 
in January, 1786, for the purpose of considering the expedi- 
ency of the separation proposed. 

This movement attracted the attention of the government 
of Massachusetts. By advice of the Council Governor James 
Bowdoin brought it to the notice of the General Court in his 
address on October 20, 1785. " There is another matter, 
gentlemen," he said, " essentially important to the well-being 
of the Commonwealth which claims your most serious atten- 
tion, and which, by the unanimous advice of the Council, I now 
lay before you. It refers to a design against the Common- 
wealth of very evil tendency, being calculated for the purpose 
o£ effecting the dismemberment of it. That design has been 
for some months evident by a great number of publications in 
the Falmouth ' Gazette ' calling upon the people of the Coun- 
ties of York, Cumberland, and Lincoln to assemble together 
for the purpose of separating themselves from the government 
of this Commonwealth and of withdrawing from the duty and 
allegiance they owe to it. In consequence of these calls about 
thirty persons, as I am informed, assembled on the 5th instant 
at the Meeting House in Falmouth, and voted to choose a com- 


mittee to draft a circular letter to the several towns and plan- 
tations in those three counties, requesting them to meet in 
convention by their delegates on the first Wednesday of 
January next to consider the expediency of the said counties 
being formed into a separate State. The duty I owe to the 
Commonwealth in general and to the people of those counties 
in particular, indispensably obliges me to lay this matter before 
you, that you may take such measures regarding it as your 
regard for the collective body of the Commonwealth shall 

The reply of the General Court was, as usual, an echo of the 
address. It declared " that attempts by individuals, or bodies 
of men, to dismember the State are fraught with improprie- 
ties and danger." The matter was not allowed to rest there, 
for the journal of the House of Representatives for November 
11 mentions a report of the committee to which the above 
passage from the governor's address was referred, presented 
by Mr. Baker of Worcester, recommending " that a committee 
of both Houses be appointed to bring in a bill declaratory of 
the allegiance which all the inhabitants of the territory of the 
Commonwealth of Massachusetts owe to the government of the 
same agreeably to the Constitution, and descriptive of those 
(particulars)! [acts and proceedings] which shall amount to a 
renunciation of allegiance, and so constructed as most effec- 
tively to secure the Commonwealth against the ill consequences 
of any (dismemberment whatever) [attempts to dismember 
the same]." The report was amended and adopted. The 
Senate members of the committee appointed in accordance 
with the recommendation were John Sprague and John Lowell. 
The journals of the two Houses do not make it appear that the 
committee ever reported. 

Notwithstanding executive and legislative disapproval, the 
convention was held on January 4, 1786. A committee of 
nine members was appointed to prepare a statement of the 
evils and grievances under which the people of the District 
labored, and an estimate of the cost of a separate government 
as compared with the amount the people of Maine paid to 
Massachusetts. The grievances reported by the committee 
were nine in number : (1) that the interests of the two com- 
munities were different, and that Massachusetts did not under- 

' Original report in parentliesis, amendments in brackets. 


stand, and therefore could not promote, those of Maine ; (2 and 
3) the distance of the seat of government, and the consequent 
inconveniences ; (4) the expense of obtaining justice, since all 
the records of the Supreme Court were kept in Boston ; (5) 
the unjust and unequal operation of the regulations of trade, 
which depressed the price of lumber, the chief industry of 
Maine ; (6) the denial of representation in the House of Rep- 
resentatives to " a great part of the inhabitants in these coun- 
ties ; ^ (7, 8, and 9) an unjust system of taxation of polls and 
estates, an undue burden by reason of the excise and import 
acts, and the unequal incidence of the tax on deeds, on account 
of the smaller value of land conveyed and its more frequent 
convej'ance. No definite estimate and comparison of the 
expense of a separate government seemed possible to the 

The convention ordered the report, signed by the president, 
to be sent to every town and plantation in the District, ap- 
pointed another convention to be held on the first Wednesday 
in September, and sent a request to each town to choose 
delegates to the convention at the March meetings. The 
first convention having adjourned until September, and the 
second convention consisting of delegates chosen in March, 
met at the same time, and as many of the persons were 
members of both, they coalesced, and chose the same officers 
as the January convention. But they humbei-ed only thirty- 
one in all. Four towns in York, eight in Cumberland, and 
ten in Lincoln were represented in this convention. The 
number of towns and plantations authorized to send delegates 
was more than ninety. 

It was resolved by the convention that the people were 
suffering from the grievances enumerated by the former con- 
vention, except the fifth, relating to the operation of ti-ade 
regulations. The phrasing of some of the paragraphs was 
slightly changed by a committee to which the subject was 
referred, with a request that any other grievances that oc- 
curred to them should be mentioned. As to the latter part 
of the duty the committee reported that there were such 
grievances, but they could not at that time " undertake to 

1 No town having less than 150 ratable polls could send a representatiTe, save 
that any town incorporated before 1780 might elect a member. A large part of the 
population were in plantations and districts not organized. 



enumerate the multiplicity of them." A committee was ap- 
pointed to prepare a memorial to the General Court asking 
for separation, and an address to the towns on the subject, 
requesting them to take a vote on the question and to return 
the numbers for and against the proposition. In order to 
secure a large vote it was resolved that the towns be informed 
that if they did not vote " they will be considered as ac- 
quiescing in the Doings of their brethren." The convention 
then adjourned until the last Wednesday in January, 1787. 

Williamson says ^ that " the language of the address was 
courteous and well expressed." A copy of the address is 
among the broadsides preserved by this Society, and unfor- 
tunately neither does its wording coincide with the version 
given by Williamson, nor is his description of its language 
quite accurate. The following are sentences extracted from 
the document, which is addressed " Friends and Brethren " : 
" The expediency of this measure has engaged the attention 
of the Public for a long time — it has been considered, as it 
undoubtedly ought to be, a subject of great importance. 
Two conventions have had it before them, and have carefully 
attended to the arguments which have been offered on both 
sides of the question. . . . You feel yourselves distressed, 
and your distresses will increase until you legislate for your- 
selves. In this there is no great difficulty. Government is 
a very simple, easy thing. Mysteries in politicks are mere 
absurdities — invented intirely to gratify the ambition of 
princes and designing men — to aggrandize those who govern 
at the expense of those who are governed." 

The petition was really a calm and moderate statement 
of the position of the advocates of separation.^ They call 
attention to the fact that on the adoption of the present 
constitution " they either approved of, or submitted to, the 
same, and have paid due obedience to the laws thereof." 
Having concisely set forth the reasons for desiring a separa- 
tion, they say: 

" And while they are taking this peaceful measure to obtain a redress 
of their great political evils, by asking a separation from the other part 
of the Commonwealth, they do not entertain an idea of throwing oflf the 

1 History of Maine, vol. ii. p. 526. 

' In this case also Williamson has modified the language of the original 
document materially. 


weight of the publick debt, at this time laying on the Commonwealth 
at large, or to prevent the other part of the Commonwealth from having 
their just proportion of the unappropriated lands ; but, like friends and 
brethren, most ardently wish to have all matters adjusted upon the 
broadest basis of equity and fair dealing." 

A question arose whether the petition should be presented 
at once to the General Court then in session. It was first 
voted " that as there has been a number of respectable 
towns in the Counties of York, Cumberland, and Lincoln that 
have not yet certified to this convention their determination 
of a separate State, and as the Commonwealth in general 
is at this time in a perplexed state, and this convention 
being unwilling to do anything that shall seem to lay a 
greater burthen on the General Court, therefore it is the 
opinion of this convention to postpone petitioning for a sep- 
aration at present." Subsequently a long and acrimonious 
debate took place upon a motion to reconsider this vote, 
which was finally carried by 15 to 13, and a vote was 
passed to leave the petition with the committee, to be pre- 
sented or not at its discretion. The committee exercised that 
discretion by withholding the petition until 1788, more than 
two years. It was offered in 1788 and referred to a com- 
mittee which reported verbally on January 22, 1789, recom- 
mending that it lie on the table. A vote to that effect was 
adopted by the House of Representatives. 

The action of the convention by a narrow majority is a rev- 
elation of the temper of those who were most urgent for the 
separation. It cannot be fully understood without a consider- 
ation of the origin and growth of the movement as a popular 
movement. All accounts agree that at the beginning separation 
was a project that appealed to the fancy of the people rather as 
one that would add to the prominence, importance, and inde- 
pendence of the community than as an escape from oppression 
and other evils. When the agitation started, in 1784, we have 
the authority of Davis for saying — and he was a member of 
the September convention of 1786 and was acquainted with 
all the actors in the movement — that "clergymen, physicians, 
lawyers, and farmers seemed engaged in accelerating the event " 
and in pointing out the benefits that would ensue from separa- 
tion. Apparently there was little opposition, or that which 


existed did not make itself evident. But when the conventions 
were held, we have the same authority for the statement that 
" there was also a respectable number of opposers of the meas- 
ure." They were men in trade who feared that the change 
would be detrimental to their business, and particularly those 
who held office under Massachusetts who apprehended that 
they would lose their positions. Davis admits frankly that 
self-interest controlled the members of both factions. He does 
not intimate on which side of the question he should be ranged. 
My best conjecture is that at that time he favored separation, 
but that he was for a conservative course. At all events, he 
was evidently glad at the time he prepared his paper (1795) 
that the movement failed. 

The year 1786 was the year of Shays's Rebellion. At the 
very time the second convention was held the General Court 
of Massachusetts was in session, summoned by Governor 
Bowdoin, to take steps to overcome the rising rebellion in the 
western counties. The causes of disorder were real, and the 
grievances were genuine, although it was beyond the power of 
the government to afford relief without injustice. It could 
transfer but not remove the evils of the day. The people of 
Maine were suffering as greatly from the hard circumstances 
of the time as those who rose in insurrection. They were in a 
sullen mood. The impulse to adopt any remedy for evils which 
they felt, and which, as commonly happens, they ascribed to 
the government under which they lived, had possession of 
them. " They would," says Davis, " have thrown off the yoke 
of any government without remorse." In the debate on the 
presentation of the petition some of them employed " the lan- 
guage of genuine insurgents." Like the more active insurgents 
in the western counties, they wished for paper money, and for 
tender acts to relieve the scarcity of money. While, therefore, 
the conservatives urged forbearance toward the Common- 
wealth at a time when it was about to cope with armed 
enemies, the radicals urged action, on the theory that in the 
state of civil war already begun Massachusetts would not dare 
to refuse the demand for separation. 

It is not improbable, as is ingeniously suggested by Davis, 
that the success of the radicals saved Massachusetts from a 
second insurrection. He thinks that the hope of the conces- 
sion which the convention demanded satisfied the malcontents. 


They could not ask respectfully for a dismissal, and begin to 
fight for it before there had been time to act on the request. 
Massachusetts was too busy with Shays to attend to the desires 
of Maine, even if the petition had been presented ; and before 
the next session of the General Court began the rebellion had 
been suppressed and the opportunity to frighten the Common- 
wealth into a concession of its own dismemberment had 

It is interesting at this point to speculate upon what would 
have been the status of Maine if an act of separation had been 
passed at that time. The States were under the Articles of 
Confederation, but each of them was an independent, sovereign 
State. Massachusetts -could have consented to the separation 
of Maine, and the act would have required no confirmation by 
any other power. But could the new State have demanded 
admission into the confederation? The articles provided that 
Canada might be admitted as of right, but no other colony 
without the vote of nine States. It is a nice question whether 
as a former part of the confederation it would have been en- 
titled to admission as of right, or would have come under the 
rule of being another " colony." But in any event it would 
have been in the power of Maine to assert its absolute inde- 
pendence, and to repudiate all control by Congress. 

The convention, having adopted the address to the people 
and the petition to the General Court, adjourned until the last 
Wednesday of January, 1787. At that time it met again and 
received the votes of the towns on the question of separation. 
There were then ninety-three towns and plantations. Thirty- 
two only made returns of votes, which aggregated 618 for 
separation, 352 against it. Another adjournment was had to 
the <5th of September, when it was again resolved to "collect 
the sentiments " of the people, but no action in that direction 
was taken. There were five or six other adjournments, but 
the later meetings were attended by a steadily decreasing 
number of delegates. At the last meeting there were but 
three persons present, all from Portland. One of them was 
chosen president pro tempore, another as secretary, and the 
third moved that the convention adjourn. There was no one 
to second the motion, and so, says Davis, " the convention ex- 
pired, not only without a groan, but without a single mourner 
to weep over its remains.'" 


It was in September, 1788, that the convention came to its 
inglorious end. Meantime the agitation for separation had re- 
sulted in considerable benefits to the people of the District. 
The General Court exempted wild lands froth taxation for ten 
years ; modified the fee act so as to make it less onerous ; or- 
dered the construction of two roads which made a continuous 
thoroughfare from the head of the tide on the Kennebec River 
to Passamaquoddy Bay ; granted to every squatter on the 
public lands prior to 1784 one hundred acres of land on the 
payment of five dollars ; established a term of the Supreme 
Court, for the first time, at Pownalborough, now Wiscasset ; 
and incorporated Bowdoin College. " By which conciliatory 
measures," says Williamson, from whose account of them I 
have made this summary, " the subject of Separation was 
rocked into a slumber from which it was not aroused for 
several years." 

It is strange that neither Williamson nor any other writer 
upon the separation movement whose account is extant, makes 
even a remote reference to a revival of the agitation less than 
three years after the convention came to an end. Yet the re- 
suscitated project led to direct action by the General Court in 
the direction desired by the advocates of separation, which 
was not the case with the original movement. 

An address to the people of Maine by " A Numbet of your 
Representatives" was published in March, 1791. It appears 
from the Journal of the House of Representatives that on 
February 19, 1791, Mr. Gardiner of Pownalborough " was 
charged with a message to the Senate to send down the pe- 
tition from sundry towns in the Province of Maine to be set 
off as a separate State." At the same sitting " the Hon. T. 
Dawes came down and said that the petition . . . was not 
on the files of the Senate." The subsequent history of the 
movement at that session of the General Court is given in 
the Address just mentioned : " The time draweth nigh, when 
ye must be, as the god of nature intended ye should be, a 
FREE, SOVEREIGN and INDEPENDENT State." It then recites 
that on the ^■2d of February the senators and representatives 
of the District met and voted " near four to one " that the 
sense of the District ought now to be taken on the propriety 
of separation, and agreed that the chairman, John Gardiner 
of Pownalborough, should on the next day move to take from 


the files the petition of 1786, and that the towns should be 
insti'ucted to take a vote of the inhabitants on the question. 
Mr. Gardiner made the motion, but opposition developed, 
chiefly on the part of Boston, " whose united force was collected 
to oppose the wished-for notification." The ground of opposi- 
tion, as the address puts it, was " that to agree to the present 
motion and order such notification would be as absurd as it 
would be for a man wantonly and deliberately to cut off a limb 
from his own bod}'." 

The debate continued until the close of the morning sitting. 
In the afternoon other business intervened and prevented action. 
Whereupon the Maine representatives " concluded that it was 
better, perhaps, to let the matter rest until your sentiments 
could be had in another way ; although they had no doubt 
from the known candour, justice, and equity of the House but 
they should finally prevail in the motion if they should perse- 
vere." Accordingly, after briefly stating reasons for separation, 
they advise that an article be put into the warrant for the 
next town meeting in each town that the sense of the inhab- 
itants be taken, and that the number for and against be carefully 
noted and sent to Boston. 

The matter was not further mentioned at that session of 
the General Court, but the following is an entry in the 
Journal of the House of Representatives for June 14, 1791 : 

"A motion was made by John Gardiner, Esq., member from 
Pownalborough that the petition from a convention held at Portland 
for the separation of the eastern part of this Commonwealth be taken 
up, and the prayer thereof granted, which motion being recorded, the 
said petition was read. 

" Voted, That Mr. Gardiner have leave to file his instructions on 
the same subject from the inhabitants of Pownalborough with the 
said petition. 

" Ordered, That the further consideration of the said petition be 
referred to the next session of the General Court." 

The advocates of separation were persistent. There is no 
way of ascertaining what response was made to the request 
for votes by towns, contained in the address of March, 1791. 
Probably it was disappointing, for there is no record of any 
town or popular petitions. Some of the representatives 
from the District took up the matter and drafted and signed 


a petition. I quote again from the journal of the House of 
Representatives : 

February 1, 1792. "A petition from the Senators and Representa- 
tives from the Counties of York, Cumberland, Lincoln, Hancock, and 
Washington,^ praying that the sense of the inhabitants of the District 
of Maine as to the separation of the said District from this Common- 
wealth. Bead and committed to Mr. Jarvis, Mr. Heushaw, Mr. Jones 
of Boston, Mr. Bigelow and Mr. Foster." 

February 10. The House took up the report, as to the 
purport of which there is no record save that it is charac- 
terized in the index as " favorable," and postponed it to the 
next day. 

February 1 2. " The House proceeded to the further consideration 
of the report of the Committee on the petition of the senators and rep- 
resentatives of the District of Maine, and on motion whether a notifica- 
tion should issue to the District of Maine for ascertaining the sense of 
the, inhabitants relative to a separation should be the first question, it 
was ordered accordingly, and after debate the further consideration was 
postponed till Monday." 

February 13. " The House proceeded to the further consideration 
of the question . . . and after debate it was determined in the aiBrma- 
tive. Number of votes 111, 81 in favor." 

The action of the legislature took the form of a resolve. 
The only entry in the Senate journal respecting it is in the 
proceedings of March 6, and it consists merely of the title 
of the resolve, and the words " Read and concurred." The 
preamble of the resolve is as follows: 

" Whereas it has been represented to the legislature in a memorial 
signed by the Hon. Nath : Wales, Esq., and others. Senators and Rep- 
resentatives of the District of Maine, that the inhabitants of the 
Counties of York, Cumberland, Lincoln, Hancock and Washington 
contemplate the formation of a separate government, to consist of the 
counties aforesaid, with the consent of this Commonwealth, In order 
that the real sense of said inhabitants may be known on this important 

1 Hancock and Washington counties were established in 1789 by a division of 
Lincoln County. 


The resolve provided that the selectmen or other officers 
of towns, plantations, and districts were authorized and em- 
powered to call meetings and allow the people to vote on 
the question, on the first Monday of May. The officers 
were to make returns to the Secretary of the Common- 
wealth by the second Wednesday in June. The resolve was 
so drawn, it will be seen, as to give an opportunity for all 
citizens of the District to vote, even those who lived in 
little settlements that had not been organized as plantations. 
They evidently had that opportunity in fact, for returns 
were sent in from such communities as "the goar adjoining 
Lewiston," the " district adjoining Winslow," and the " West 
ponds district west of Sidney." In all eighty-nine returns 
were sent to the Secretary of the Commonwealth, but it 
does not appear that they were ever transmitted to the 
General Court. Nor is there anything to show that the 
rude returns, now yellow with time, preserved in the archives 
at the State House were ever tabulated until I undertook 
that task, out of pure curiosity, for of course the matter is 
of the slightest possible importance. The result perhaps 
supplies the reason why the returns were neglected. A 
majority of those who voted were opposed to separation. 
The aggregate was 2084 in favor and 2438 opposed. Of 
course in the face of that vote the advocates of separation 
could make no headway with the members of the General 
Court from the other parts of the Commonwealth. They 
had been defeated by the opposition of the people of York 
County, which lies nearest to Massachusetts proper, who 
suffered less than any others from their distance from Bos- 
ton. There were eighty-nine returns in all. Eighty-three 
of them gave a majority of 273 for separation. Six towns 
in York — Kittery, Wells, Arundel, Lebanon, Berwick, and 
Sanford — gave but 12 votes in all for separation and 627 
against it. 

It was a decisive defeat, yet the advocates of "independ- 
ence " were not completely discouraged. In October, 1793, 
they called a convention in support of the measure, which 
was held in December. Fifteen towns only were represented. 
The convention recommended the holding of another con- 
vention in June, 1794, at which time representatives of four- 
teen towns and three plantations met in Portland. Interest 



in the movement was manifestly slight, and the conven- 
tion adjourned until October, when a resolution in favor 
of the creation of a new State was adopted ; but nothing 
came of it. 

Two or three petitions were presented to the General Court 
at its January session in 1797 and were I'eferred to a committee, 
which reported a resolve providing for a vote in the towns and 
plantations of Maine, on the second Monday in May, to ascer- 
tain the disposition of the people as to separation. The com- 
mittee expressed no opinion upon the subject. A day or two 
later, on February 27, the matter was taken up in the Senate, 
and, so far as appears from the journal and the newspapers of 
the day, the resolve was passed without opposition or debate. 
On the 28th the House of Representatives also passed the re- 
solve, apparently with unanimity, and Governor Sam Adams 
approved it on March 2. The result of the vote is reported to 
have been adverse to separation, but I have not been able to 
ascertain the numbers. Nevertheless there seems to have been 
an impression — I am almost inclined to think it was a hope — 
on the part of public men in Massachusetts proper, that the 
movement was to succeed. For in a debate upon a pending 
bill for a radical change in the judicial system of the Common- 
wealth, it was argued that the reform was premature, " as it 
was probable a separation of the District of Maine would take 
place." 1 

In 1803 the inhabitants of sixty towns in Maine petitioned 
for separation, but no action was taken at that time. On 
February 12, 1807, Mr. Gannett of Gardiner, a member of the 
House of Representatives, presented by leave a resolve provid- 
ing for a vote on the first Monday in April, upon the question 
whether the senators and representatives of the District should 
be instructed to petition the General Court for separation. 
The resolve was taken up in the House on the 14th, and was 
passed by that body, as also by the Senate on the 19th, with- 
out discussion or opposition. So little interest did the move- 
ment excite in Maine that the Portland " Argus " did not 
chronicle the vote nor refer in any way to the subject until 
March 12, when a communication was printed urging the 
voters to support the cause of separation. But the people 
of Maine were that year too eager to defeat Governor Strong 

' Independent Chronicle, March 2, 1797. 


and elect James Sullivan in his place to be drawn into any 
side issues. Not a single return from any town on the question 
of separation appeared in the " Argus," nor was the subject 
again mentioned in that paper ; but there was an abundance of 
jubilation over the triumph of Governor Sullivan and the Jef- 
fersonian Republicans, which was accomplished by the vote of 
Maine. As a matter of fact the votes for separation numbered 
3,370 ; against, 9,404. 

Apparently there was no revival of the agitation for separa- 
tion until after the War of 1812. That contest accentuated the 
differences and the discord between the two parts of the Com- 
monwealth. The people of Massachusetts proper were opposed 
to the war at the outset. Not to enter into any of the questions 
as to the attitude of the State authorities, of the public men, or 
of the people generally, during the progress of the war, it is 
enough to say that the attitude of the leaders and of the people 
of Maine was quite different. Maine suffered greatly during 
those years. Its coast was invaded and some of its marine towns 
were captured and occupied by the British. The people com- 
plained that the Commonwealth did not protect them and did 
not allow them to adopt means to protect themselves. In the 
Massachusetts House of Representatives, June 6, 1814, a com- 
mittee was appointed " to consider the expediency of adopting 
some mode of ascertaining the opinion of the people of this 
Commonwealth respecting the separation of the District of 
Maine from Massachusetts in order that the former may be 
constituted a distinct and separate State." It will be observed 
that the proposition involved a vote of the people in all parts 
of the Commonwealth, — the only instance in which a full vote 
was proposed.^ The committee reported on June 14 that the 
matter be referred to the next session. 

The war was raging fiercely, and later in the same year the 
Hartford Convention was called and held. In no other part 
of the Union, perhaps, did that famous convention call forth 
more exasperation than it did in Maine. That wide observer 
of events, Hezekiah Niles, reported the situation thus : '■^ 

" During the fever of rebellion that recently raged at Boston, and re- 
duced itself to the contempt it deserved in the famous meeting at Bart- 

1 Except as a hostile amendment to the bill of 1819, under which the separa- 
tion was effected. 

2 Niles's Register, March 18, 1815. 


ford, the citizens of Maine appeared prepared for the worst, and had 
determined that if 'Massachusetts proper' lifted an arm against the 
union, or took any measures to eflfect a separation of the states, they, 
also, would come forth, and by a convention establish a provisional 
government and support the union, and bring about a separation from 

The reference is undoubtedly to a convention of delegates 
from the several towns in Oxford County, which was held on 
December 28, 1814, which adopted an address to the people of 
Maine, in which, among other things, it is said that " more than 
one third of the territory of the District of Maine is now in the 
undisturbed possession of the enemy." A series of ten resolu- 
tions was adopted, the first of which was to the effect " that it 
is expedient that the District of Maine constitute a part of the 
State of Massachusetts no longer than the State of Massachu- 
setts gives support to the Union." The address suggested a 
convention to take action in this sense, and the last resolution 
of the series declared for such a convention.' A similar con- 
vention of citizens of Kennebec and Somerset counties was 
held February 15, 1815, and adopted similar i-esolutions, but 
no general convention was held. But petitions for separation 
were sent to the General Court, and, together with a resolve 
for separation, introduced on February 6, 1815, by Albion K. 
Parris, senator from Oxford, were referred to a committee. 
The committee reported that it was " not expedient to pass 
said resolves," and the Senate accepted the report on the 25th 
of February, 1815, by a vote of 17 to 10.^ 

This refusal, the first and only one in the long history of 
this agitation, stirred the advocates of separation into in- 
tense activity, and the subject was publicly and privately 
discussed, and earnestly canvassed, in all parts of the Dis- 
trict during the rest of the year. From the first the di- 
vision of public sentiment corresponded generally to the 
line of party division. Practically all the Democrats were 
in favor of separation ; indeed, so far as can now be ascer- 
tained, they were unanimous. The Federalists were not so 
fully united. The reason for this situation is easily to be 
discovered. The government of Massachusetts was in the 

1 Proceedings reported in the Portland " Argus " for January 15, 1815. 
' Boston Daily Advertiser, February 28. 


hands of the Federalists, but in Maine it had long been the 
case that the Democrats were usually a majority. Not 
always, for even in 1814 there were four Federalists elected 
to Congress from the District, to three Democrats. But in 
the election of governor and legislature the majority was 
steadily with the Democrats. Separation meant a Demo- 
cratic State government, with offices and spoils. Gn the 
other hand, the Federalists preferred the existing situation 
to a government by their political opponents. At the same 
time the idea of independence appealed to men in both 
parties, and overcame, in the case of some Federalists, their 
political objections. 

We shall soon have to consider the condition of popular 
sentiment in Massachusetts proper, but it may be well here 
to offer a conjecture as to the motive behind the rejection 
of Senator Parris's resolve in February, 1815. In the 
earlier years of the century Maine was growing in popula- 
tion more rapidly than old Massachusetts. There was not a 
little apprehension that Maine, with its strong Democratic 
majority, would soon dominate the government of the Com- 
monwealth. More than once the District had turned the 
scale against the Federalists. So long as this condition of 
things lasted political expediency dictated that the Feder- 
alists should consent eagerly to a dismemberment of the 
Commonwealth, as that would insure their ascendancy. But 
now they had recovered favor. Massachusetts was growing; 
Maine was not, but was rather losing population. The rea- 
son for giving consent had disappeared. State pride dictated 
the retention of the entire territory. Moreover, a natural 
resentment at the hostile attitude of the people of Maine, 
and an unwillingness to add a Democratic State to the Union, 
led the Federalists to oppose granting the request for sepa- 
ration. At all events the rejection of the resolve by the 
Senate in 1815 was by a party vote, and it is impossible not 
to see party politics in the attitude of the Massachusetts 

Not many newspapers were published in Maine at the 
time, but those that were in existence ranged themselves 
on the two sides of the separation question according to 
their political proclivities. The " Eastern Argus " of Port- 
land was the leading Democratic paper, and also the most 


prominent advocate of separation. The Portland " Gazette," 
Federalist, led the opposition.^ 

The " Argus " began, November 8, 1815, a series of com- 
municated articles headed " The District of Maine," in which 
the whole question of separation was discussed. The subject 
was considered from every point, and the objections were 
also taken up and answered. The papers were twelve in 
number, and were published weekly. The tone was tem- 
perate and the treatment able. So much cannot be said of 
the writings of the editor and of other correspondents, who grew 
vehement and vituperative, as the amount of space given to 
the subject increased. 

The first editorial reference to the movement that I have 
been able to discover in any Boston paper was in the " Ad- 
vertiser." On the day before the January meeting of the 
General Court the editor remarked : " The leaders of the 
Democratic party in the District of Maine have been for 
some time exerting themselves to effect a separation of the 
District from this Commonwealth for the purpose of erect- 
ing it into a new State. We are not very fully informed 
of the state of public opinion on this subject ; but are in- 
clined to believe that except with the men who aspire to 
offices of profit and dignity in the new Commonwealth there 
is very little anxiety to accomplish the object." ^ Although 
the agitation did not to him seem formidable, the legisla- 
ture was quickly flooded with petitions for separation, and 
on the 17th of January a committee was appointed to con- 
sider the subject. On the 3d of February the committee 
reported in the Senate a resolve providing for a vote of 
the people of Maine on the 20th of May upon the question 

1 The following extract from the " Carrier's Address " of the " Gazette " at 
New Year's, 1816, is a sarcastic reference to the moTement : 

" There is, it seems, in operation 
A scheme that causes agitation. 
Its object is to separate 
This District from its parent State ! 
And thus to add, by calculation^ 
A star to our bright constellation. 
Now should an eastern star thus honor 
Our valiant country's starry banner. 
Then will such furious joy abound 
As will unnumbered worlds confound." 

* Boston Daily Advertiser, January 16, 1818. 


" Shall the Legislature be requested to give its consent to 
the separation of the District of Maine from Massachusetts " 
and its formation into a separate and independent State. 
The matter was assigned for consideration on the 6th, and 
was passed by the Senate on that day. The only division 
was on an amendment proposed for the purpose of postpon- 
ing the vote of the people of Maine until a later time than 
May. The amendment was defeated by yeas 8, nays 24. 
In the minority appear the names of Josiah Quincy and 
Harrison Gray Otis. The leader of the separationists in 
the Senate was John Holmes, senator from York, who was 
prominent in the movement from 1814 until the separation 
was effected, and who was also the leading Democrat in 
the District. An amendment to the resolve requiring town 
officers to return the whole number of qualified voters as 
well as the numbers of votes given for and against separa- 
tion, was adopted, and the resolve was passed unanimously, 
so far as appears from the journal. The House of Repre- 
sentatives also passed the resolve without opposition on 
February 9. 

A motion was made in that body to postpone the vote until 
the third Monday in November. " Mr. Lincoln, /mm., one of 
the joint committee who prepared the resolve, stated that it 
was proposed to have a convention of delegates in Maine to 
form a skeleton of a constitution for the District : but this 
proposition was considered as going too far, and was unani- 
mously rejected by the committee. It was proposed to fix on 
March meetings, or the day for the choice of governor ; but 
such days were considered improper, as this subject might be 
mingled with electioneering: the 20th of May will be after the 
elections. The sooner the suspense and agitation of the citi- 
zens of Maine are over, the better : hence the impropriety of 
postponement till November. Different opinions were enter- 
tained, and different declarations had been made with regard 
to the sentiments of the District : some believing there is not 
a majority in favor of division, and others asserting that three 
fourths were anxious for such separation. Should there be a 
bare majority in favor of separation, the legislature will exercise 
its judgment in granting or denying the request : a commanding 
majority will be almost compulsory on the legislature." ^ 

1 Boston Commercial Gazette, February 12, 1816. 


After Mr. Lincoln's speech the motion to amend was nega- 
tived and the House concurred with the Senate. A day or 
two afterward both houses passed an order raising a committee 
to examine the petitions for separation to ascertain how exten- 
sive the movement was. The committee reported that forty- 
nine towns had petitioned, and that there were individual 
petitions from forty-three others ; that the population of the 
petitioning towns was 50,264 ; that the individual petitioners 
numbered 2,936 ; that the whole population of the District was 
228,705, in 210 towns ; and that more than one-fifth of the 
population appeared to be asking for the change. 

There was great popular activity in Maine in the months of 
March, April, and May. County and neighborhood meetings 
were held by the advocates and opponents of separation. " An 
immense concourse of highly respectable citizens" assembled 
at Augusta on the 22d of April. Among those prominent in 
the gathering were William King, afterward the first governor 
of Maine, who was the Democratic candidate for lieutenant- 
governor on the ticket with Samuel Dexter, in 1814 ; John 
Neal ; John Chandler; Nathan Weston, Jr.; and Henry W. 
Puller, — all well-known Maine men who afterward filled im- 
portant places in the State government or in Washington. 
The convention adopted strong resolutions in favor of separa- 
tion, for reasons already so familiar that they need not be 
repeated. A sly hit was given at Massachusetts in the sug- 
gestion that, when separated, the new State " would enjoy 
equally with other States the protection of the federal govern- 
ment in defending it from foreign invasion and in suppressing 
domestic insurrection." It was unanimously 

" Resolved, therefore, as the sense of this meeting, that the period has 
arrived when the best interests of Maine will be promoted by a separa- 
tion from Massachusetts proper, and that we will individually use all fair 
and honorable means to effect these objects." 

The opponents were not less active than the advocates of 
separation. They also held great meetings at which the ob- 
jections to the change proposed were rehearsed : the expense 
of the new government ; the advantages of connection with 
the old Commonwealth ; and many others. They called at- 
tention to the attempts that were made to secure a large 
vote for separation in Kennebec County by the assurance that 


Augusta would be the capital of the State, and in Cumberland 
County by a similar expectation that Portland would be the 
seat of government. They brought forward one really solid 
and serious objection based upon the then existing coasting law 
of the United States. It was first suggested at an anti- 
separation gathering at Warren, a coast town in Lincoln 
County. Attention was called to the fact that so long as 
Maine was a part of Massachusetts a Maine coasting vessel 
could trade between the two parts of the State with a coasting 
license. But if Maine were an independent State, it would be 
necessary under the law for such a vessel to enter and clear at 
the custom house on every trip, and to pay a fee for so doing. 
The explanation is that under the coasting law passed by the 
first Congress ^ a coasting vessel might trade, without entering 
and clearing, between any two ports in the same State, or with 
a port in the next adjoining State. This gave Maine coasting 
vessels the privilege of trading as far as Rhode Island with a 
coasting license. But if Maine were an independent State, its 
vessels could not go beyond the next adjoining State of New 
Hampshire without entering and clearing at the custom house. 

To this argument the advocates of separation replied that 
Congress would surely redress such a grievance, and they 
pointed to the fact that relief had been granted in one case. 
Congress had passed a law permitting coasting vessels to trade 
between Rhode Island and Long Island, across the sound.'' 
Undoubtedly the law which would diminish the rights of 
coasting vessels caused a loss of many hundred votes in the 
maritime counties, when the second vote was taken in Septem- 
ber. For the coasting trade formed one of the largest interests 
in those counties. But the significance of the law was not 
fully understood at the time of the vote in May. Before sep- 
aration was actually effected Congress passed a new coasting 
law 2 creating two great coasting districts divided by the mouth 
of the Perdido River, which separates Alabama from Florida. 
The coasting privilege was extended to all vessels to trade 
under a license between any two ports within each great dis- 
trict, without entering and clearing at the custom house. 

In striking contrast with the turmoil in Maine was the in- 

1 Chapter XI, sec. 25. Approved September 1, 1789. 
» By a law of March 2, 1796. 

» 15th Cong. 2d Sess., Chap. XLVIU, approved March 2, 1819. 



difference manifested in Massachusetts proper. At least we 
may infer indifference from the absence of editorial com- 
ment on the question from the Boston newspapers, and 
from the fact that no reference was made in their news 
columns to the progress of the movement in the District. 
The only paragraph on the subject between the time of the 
passage of the resolve and the vote in Maine, so far as I 
can discover, was in the " Advertiser " of May 17. " To us 
in this part of the State," remarked Mr. Hale, " the question 
is of comparatively trifling importance. It could not, there- 
fore, be expected that we should be very strenuous advo- 
cates or opponents of separation." But he thought that on 
the whole the best interests of both would be served by their 
remaining one State. 

The indifference of the Boston papers, particularly those 
of its own political persuasion, moved the " Argus " to wrath. 
In the issue for May 7, 1816, it remarked that the Boston 
Republican newspapers were zealous enough in advocating 
separation " whenever they expect to effect some party pur- 
pose. But when the people of Maine engage in good earnest 
in establishing their independence, then, indeed, are we 
abandoned by our Boston Republicans — we no longer have 
their aid. . . . Their illiberal and selfish policy has been 
fully evinced during the present discussion of separation. 
The ' Patriot,' the ' Chronicle,' and the ' Yankee' have pur- 
sued the most studious silence — have cautiously avoided 
saying anything that would give us the least aid. In fact 
the ' Centinel ' has been the only paper in Boston that has 
treated the subject with any degree of candor or fairness.^ 
If our Republican brethren in Boston are opposed to separa- 
tion, let them come out openly. If they are in favor, let them 
advocate it manfully — anything, however, but this shuffling, 
double-dealing policy." 

We get from this extract not a little light on the real 
sentiments of the politicians of Massachusetts proper. So 
long as the District was a part of the State there was not a 
little political capital to be made by the Republicans — or 

I The "Centinel" did not relish commendation by the " Argus," for it re- 
ferred thus to the matter : " The praises of the Thing in Portland have ever 
received our contempt, — its aJusc is intitled to our acknowledgements" (May 
18). The " Argus " the following week took back its compliment and tendered 
to the editor of the " Centinel " " the homage of our indignation and coutempt." 


Democrats — in standing by their fellow partisans in Maine. 
But if there were any real chance for the success of the 
separationists, the result of that success would be to put 
them in a hopeless minority in State affairs. 

Under the unamended Constitution of Massachusetts the 
election of governor and senators was held on " the first 
Monday of April," but representatives were chosen on vari- 
ous days "in the month of May, ten days at least before 
the last Wednesday of the month." At both elections all 
political issues were disregarded and the question of separa- 
tion only was considered. A large majority of the senators 
and representatives chosen in the District were in favor of 
separation. On the 20th of May 17,075 votes were given 
on the important question, — 10,584 in favor, 6,491 opposed. 
The whole number of legal voters in the District was 37,938. 
Less than one-half of them, therefore, went to the polls, — 
a strange circumstance, considering the eager and even im- 
perative character of the canvass that preceded the election. 
A possible explanation may be found in the fact that the 
advocates of separation declared — although urging every 
man to vote — that those who did not vote should properly 
be reckoned as favoring the change, and that the opponents 
maintained that those who refrained from voting should be 
counted as opposed to it. 

The General Court met on the 29th of May. The Sen- 
ate consisted of 22 Federalists and 18 Democrats. The 
House had about 350 Federalists and 800 Democrats. Gov- 
ernor Brooks delivered his address on the 5th of June, but 
made no mention of the project of a division of the Com- 
monwealth. On the next day, the 6th, the subject was 
brought before the House, and a committee was elected by 
ballot to take the matter into consideration. The committee 
chosen consisted of Messrs. Gorham of Boston, Fay of Cam- 
bridge, Saltonstall of Salem, Lawrence of Groton, Hubbard 
of Boston, and Howard of Newburyport. These gentlemen 
had 157 votes out of about 300. " Several tickets were voted 
for," said the " Chronicle," " but the above was supported 
by the advocates of separation from [sio'] Maine." The Sen- 
ate members of the committee were Messrs. Harrison Gray 
Otis of Suffolk, Dudley L. Pickman of Essex, Timothy 
Fuller of Middlesex, John Pickering of Essex, and Thomas 


Weston of Plymouth. It will be seen that the committee 
consisted entirely of senators and representatives of Massa- 
chusetts proper. 

The committee reported to the Senate, on June 13, a bill 
giving the consent of Massachusetts to the erection of the 
State, providing for the election of delegates to a conven- 
tion to form a constitution, and prescribing the terms of 
separation. Mr. Otis accompanied the bill with a long writ- 
ten report, which Mr. John Holmes immediately charac- 
terized as one of the ablest state papers he had ever heard. 
Mr. Otis suggested, in his report, that the returns of the 
May vote implied indifference, and if that alone were con- 
sidered the result would not justify any measures tending 
ever so remotely to exclude a great number from the gov- 
ernment which seemed to suit them. But the committee 
is satisfied " that no conclusion uniformly applicable to the 
sentiments and motives of the citizens who absented them- 
selves from the town meeting can be drawn from the mere 
fact of their absence." He gives the reasons for this opinion, 
and says that while the committee did not wish to encour- 
age separation, on the contrary hoped that it would not 
take place, they " cannot resist the persuasion that some 
other means for ascertaining the deliberate sense of the 
people in that district have become expedient." To do 
otherwise would probably excite a spirit of discontent and 
a sense of injustice, and cause bitterness that ought not to 
be aroused. On the other hand, a readiness manifested by 
Massachusetts to remove all obstacles to a fair result must 
be accepted as a pledge of her magnanimity and candor. 

Under the bill reported by the committee the people of 
Maine were to elect delegates to a convention which was to 
meet in Brunswick on the 26th of August. If a majority 
of the delegates should be in favor of separation, that fact 
was to be taken as proof that the people wished to dissolve 
their connection with Massachusetts, and the convention 
was to proceed to form a constitution. The conditions im- 
posed by Massachusetts concerned a great variety of matters, 
— the ownership of public property, the State debt, the 
relations of the two States to Bowdoin College, the division 
of the public lands in the District, and the question of the 
taxation of that part of the lands which would be owned 


by Massachusetts, — these and other matters that need not be 
mentioned. The bill required that the conditions should be 
adopted by the convention and become ipso facto a part of 
the constitution of Maine. That phrase ipso facto was used 
sarcastically, with how much effect cannot be guessed, by 
the opponents of separation in the ensuing campaign as one 
of their arguments against the acceptance of the permission 
to create a new State. No doubt it did frighten some 
ignorant voters. 

The bill, reported to the Senate on June 13, was consid- 
ered on the 14th, when several amendments were adopted. 
One of these amendments in the end caused the failure of 
the movement. It was originally provided that " the said 
convention when organized as aforesaid shall have the au- 
thority to declare, by the majority of the delegates chosen, 
the assent of the people of said District to be formed into 
a separate and independent State." The amendment re- 
ferred to struck out this clause and others dependent on it, 
and provided that the people should vote again on the first 
Monday in September (the 2d) upon the direct question 
whether they wished to be formed into a new State; that 
they should at the same time choose delegates to a conven- 
tion to be held at Brunswick on the last Monday in Sep- 
tember (the 30th) ; that the convention after organizing 
should count the votes expressive of the people's wishes, 
" and if it shall appear to said convention that a majority 
of five to four at least of the votes returned are in favor 
of said District's becoming an independent State, then and 
not otherwise said convention shall proceed to form a con- 
stitution as provided in this act." 

It is a part of the singular history of this agitation that 
the foregoing amendment was offered in the Senate by the 
Hon. John Holmes.^ Mr. Holmes, who represented York 
County, was the foremost member of the Maine delegation 
in the legislature, and the leading Democrat in the District 
of Maine. He was elected a member of Congress that year, 
was transferred to the Senate in 1820 as one of the first 
senators from Maine, and served in that body, with an in- 
terval of a year, until 1833. In view of his authorship of 
the "five to four" clause his subsequent course in the Bruns- 

1 See " Columbian Centinel," October 12, 1816. 


wick convention, to be narrated presently, is an admirable 
illustration of the political ethics of the man — some would 
say of the party, some, even, of the time. 

The Senate passed the bill on the 15th of June by a 
vote of 35 to 1. The negative vote was given by the Hon. 
Josiah Quincy.^ The bill went to the House of Represen- 
tatives, where a determined effort was made to defeat it 
by a motion to postpone the bill until the next session. A 
long debate took place on this proposition, which is sum- 
marized in the " Centinel." The only passage which it is 
necessary to quote is this, from the argument of the separa- 
tionists : " that the bill as amended in the Senate was cal- 
culated to i-emove all remaining doubts as to the sentiments 
of the people of Maine on the subject " — as a vote was to 
be taken — " and if five-ninths of the votes are not in favor 
of the separation, then the subject and all measures respect- 
ing it are to sleep forever." The reference to five-ninths 
of the votes is explained hereafter. The motion to post- 
pone was rejected, 118 to 58. The next day the bill was 
passed to be engrossed by a vote of 107 to 51.^ Students 
of the history of parliamentary procedure will be interested 
in the fact that on June 19, after the bill had passed both 
branches in concurrence, the matter was taken up again in 
the Senate, when the bill was not before it ; two amend- 
ments were adopted and were sent by Mr. Otis, conveying 
the message, to the House, which also adopted them. 

The storm burst forth in Maine immediately upon the pas- 
sage of the act. The election upon which everything depended 
was to take place in eleven weeks, and although the people 
were already greatly excited they were stirred to even greater 
activity. The newspapers discussed the question with enlarg- 
ing headlines, and their pages became spotty with capital letters 
and italics. Mass meetings and conventions were called and 
held by both parties in all parts of the District. The advocates 
of separation had been so much more active in the past that 
they had little new to offer by way of argument. The oppo- 
nents, on the other hand, found several new reasons, — ■ some 

1 " Josiah Quincy, who onceattempted in Congress to impeach Mr. Jefferson, 
was again in a minority of one on the Separation Question in the Massachusetts 
Senate." {" Boston Patriot.") 

2 It will be remembered that the House consisted of 650 members. The 
Tote illustrates the system of absenteeism that preYailed. 


of them of not a little weight, others silly and frivolous. 
One opponent suggested that separation was " the offspring of 
British influence." Great Britain was soon again to make 
war on the United States, and if Maine were a separate State 
" she would be subjugated to the English crown aiid formed 
into a little kingdom. " 

That may be set down as one of the humors of the agitation. 
Rather more reasonable was the contention by the members of 
the legislature from Lincoln, Hancock, and Washington coun- 
ties — along the coast — who were opposed to separation, that 
the erection of a new State within the limits of another was 
forbidden by the Constitution of the United States. The 
clause reads, with the official punctuation : 

" New states may be admitted by the congress into this union ; but no 
new state shall be formed or erected within the jurisdiction of any other 
state ; nor any state be formed by the junction of two or more states, or 
parts of states, without the consent of the legislatures concerned as well 
as of the congress." 

There is certainly good ground for maintaining that the three 
clauses are distinct, that the second is an absolute prohibition, 
and that the use of the plural " legislatures " limits to cases 
where two or more States are concerned the permission to form 
new States, and therefore excludes all cases where the consent 
of one legislature only is to be obtained. However, except in 
the discussion in Maine itself, this point was never raised. 

The argument of the opposition which had the most effect, 
except in the coast counties where the shipping question was 
chiefly discussed, was that the terms proposed by Massachu- 
setts were unsatisfactory. Objection was made to the division 
of State property, but particularly to a provision that the share 
of Massachusetts in the public lands in Maine should not be 
taxed so long as the Commonwealth retained the ownership. 
It was urged upon the voters that Massachusetts might lease 
the land for long terms of years and thus enable the tenants to 
avoid taxation. Only the most prejudiced persons could have 
believed that the Commonwealth would descend to such a 
measure, but the argument had its effect. 

How did the Boston newspapers, which undoubtedly repre- 
sented public opinion, regard the agitation ? Apparently they 
took but the slightest interest in it and did not interfere in any 


way. There are only a few scattered references to the subject 
in any Boston newspaper of either party, from June to Sep- 
tember, 1816. The only important editorial expression in that 
time is an article in the Boston " Daily Advertiser " of July 26. 
" Nor do we think," Mr. Hale remarked, " that we in this 
part of the state are entirely without an interest in the decision; 
though the effects of this measure must be much less on us than 
on our brethren in the District. Their decision, however, will 
be made without any reference to our interests or wishes ; and 
we are not disposed to exercise any influence on them other 
than to state very briefly and as candidly as possible our views 
of the proposed measure." He then went on to give the rea- 
sons why he thought the separation to be inexpedient from the 
Maine point of view : (1) that there was uo necessity for it, 
no grievance, no real inconvenience in the existing situation ; 
(2) that a large State was better than a small one, and that, for 
example, Rhode Island would be better off if it were a part of 
Massachusetts ; (3) that the fact of remoteness from the cap- 
ital was an argument of little weight ; (4) that the expense of 
carrying on the new State would be burdensome. Evidently 
Mr. Hale did not enter into the feelings of the people of Maine. 
If the arguments he advanced had been the strongest that 
could be adduced, the vote for separation would have been little 
short of unanimous. 

The " Advertiser " did again refer to the agitation. Some 
separationists having preferred an absurd charge that the con- 
nection with Massachusetts had bankrupted the Maine banks, 
because the Massachusetts banks sent the bills of the Maine 
banks home for redemption, and compelled specie payment, 
the "Advertiser" on August 3 defended the practice, and 
showed that the discount on Maine bank bills was from one- 
quarter of one per cent to one per cent. 

On the 2d of September the contest came to an end between 
those who were hankering for oflBces which were not theirs, 
according to the anti-separationists, and the oflBce holders 
and those who were hoping for office, according to the sepa- 
rationists. The returns came in slowly. The group of towns 
first reported showed a majority of more than " five to four," 
but within a day or two the numbers were less favorable. 
When fifty-eight towns had been heard from, the Portland 
" Gazette " remarked, with exultant sarcasm, " it is greatly to 


be feared that we shall be under the necessity of continuing 
our ' vassalage ' to old Massachusetts. " The vote continued 
close to the end, but there was always a deficiency of the 
necessary majority. The final ofiicial vote was 11,969 yeas, 
10,317 noes. Evidently this was not " five to four." Five- 
ninths of the total vote, 22,316, is 12,398; four-ninths is 9,918. 
Four hundred and twenty-nine men had voted the wrong 

But the separationists were not the men to give it up so. 
The convention was to meet anyway, they had elected a large 
majority of the delegates, and they had the able and ingenious 
John Holmes of Alfred for a leader. Some of the delegates 
were not disposed to attend the convention, as they thought 
there was nothing to do but to count the votes and adjourn. 
But the separationists. urged every man to be there, and the 
opponents had too much experience to be caught napping. 

The convention assembled in the meeting-house at Bruns- 
wick on the 30th of September. There was a contest in the 
election of a president, but the result, 97 votes for William 
King and 85 for Ezekiel Whitman, was not a test of the 
strength of the two parties. Inasmuch as the proceedings 
were abortive, and since they have been published and sum- 
marized many times, it is not worth while to repeat them here. 
The only exception must be the singular attempt on the part 
of the committee to which the returns of the popular vote 
were referred to make it appear that the condition of " a ma- 
jority of five to four at least " had been met. The state of the 
vote has already been given, — 11,969 yeas, 10,347 nays. The 
committee, of which John Holmes was chairman, — it will be 
remembered that he was the mover of the amendment in the 
Massachusetts Senate, — professed to find great difficulty in 
determining the interpretation of the phrase, but had no diffi- 
culty in interpreting it in different ways. The method which 
commended it to the committee was this : the aggregate ma- 
jority in the towns voting yes was 6,031 ; the aggregate adverse 
majority in the towns voting no was 4,409. Now, as five is to 
four, so is 6,031 to 4,829. Consequently the noes failed by 420 
to cast the requisite number. This absurd report was accepted 
by the convention after protracted debate. 

If the separationists had had faith in their own interpreta- 
tion, they would have proceeded to form a constitution. Some 



of them were in favor of so doing, but that policy was aban- 
doned. It is well known, and was asserted at the time without 
contradiction, that many of the separationists voted for the re- 
port, not because they accepted its remarkable arithmetic, but 
in the hope that the General Court, in consideration of the fact 
that a considerable majority had voted for separation, would 
instruct the convention to reassemble and proceed with its 

The report as it was originally drawn and adopted was much 
more aggressive than in its final form. The convention at 
first voted that if the legislature soon to be in session should, 
" as they undoubtedly will, confirm this construction " of the 
five to four clause, " much dispute would be prevented " ; but 
if, " contrary to all reasonable expectation, the decision should 
be unfavorable, we could, at an adjourned session, determine 
for ourselves, and carry the act into full effect agreeably to our 
own understanding of its provisions." All the foregoing was 
struck out of the report after a reconsideration of its adoption 
had been carried on motion of Mr. Holmes. Another pas- 
sage, which was also struck out, was as follows : " But should 
Massachusetts give an unfavorable interpretation of the act, or 
refuse to modify it as justice requires. Congress would decide 
whether we have not complied with the conditions upon which 
the consent of Massachusetts was obtained." 

The separationists and their opponents each adopted a me- 
morial to the legislature in which they argued their respective 
cases, and the convention adjourned, never to meet again. 

The attempt to override and disi'egard the condition im- 
posed by the General Court seems to have caused a revulsion 
of feeling in old Massachusetts. The people in that part of 
the State, as we have seen, had previously been conciliatory, 
had acceded to the frequent requests to test public sentiment 
in the District, and had refrained from all acts and words that 
would influence the result. But this performance of the sep- 
arationists was too much for them. The "Worcester Spy" ^ said, 
contemptuously, that Mr. Holmes's plea was " a mode of cal- 
culation which in a schoolboy would merit a flogging." The 
"Centinel"^ indignantly exclaimed, "Maine shall not be 
independent." The " Daily Advertiser " ^ said : " We have 
heard the report repeatedly spoken of by gentlemen of both 
1 October ^6, 1816. " October 19. » October 17. 


political parties, and by those who wish the separation to 
take place as well as by those opposed to it, and they uni- 
formly regard it as one of the most contemptibly absurd 
documents that ever received the sanction of a public body 
of men." 

The interest in the matter is shown — and also the feel- 
ing of some people in the Massachusetts community at least, 
on the general question of the connection — by the appearance 
of communications in the newspapers. One of these com- 
munications, which appeared in the "Advertiser" of Octo- 
ber 19, over the signature of "Cato," is so plain spoken 
that a considerable extract from it is given : 

" The truth is that the question of the separation of the District of 
Maine, though in terms acknowledged to be important, has not excited 
much interest in this part of the Commonwealth. It actually occa- 
sioned less discussion in the Legislature than a petty dispute about 
moving a half-toll turnpike gate. The District has been considered 
as a sort of nursling, whose support cost more than its services were 
worth. The peculiar situation of that country has been such as to 
give us a great deal of trouble, and to compel us in some instances 
to make general laws such as would never have been thought expe- 
dient or just had we legislated only for Massachusetts proper. It 
has been apprehended that there would be such an increase of the 
population of the District as that the question would be, according to 
the current phrase, not whether we should set oflF them, but whether 
they would set off us — and that possibly the seat of government might 
be removed to some place in the District. The Federalists have feared 
also for the ascendancy of their party, and that such a dead weight 
around our necks would soon drag us down to democracy. The citizens 
of this Commonwealth generally have felt a sort of pique occasioned 
by the clamor for separation in the District, and have said, ' if these 
people think they are oppressed, and are so anxious to get away from 
us, we can do very well without them, let them take their own course, 
run and be glorified.'" 

The writer then goes on in a calm and reasonable tone to 
argue that so great a change ought not to be made unless 
there was a strong majority in favor of it, that the terms 
were proposed at the instance of the separationists them- 
selves, and that justice to the minority required that, as the 
terms had not been met, the change should not be made. 

Another correspondent, in the issue of October 23, main- 


tained that Massachusetts, by reason of the diverse sentiments 
of the people of the State proper and the District, had been 
deprived of its proper political weight, and he attributed the 
loss to the influence of the delegates from Maine ; " and 
that while Massachusetts exercised but a feeble, ineffectual 
moral and political authority over Maine, the latter was 
constantly weakening the respect for the government of 
Massachusetts, and gradually impairing the force and influ- 
ence of the laws by withdrawing from them their only real 
support in a free country, public opinion ; . . . that the un- 
principled majority in Maine, effecting a junction with their 
natural allies in Massachusetts proper, will finally endanger, 
if not overthrow, the literary, religious, and political institu- 
tions of the state." ^ This correspondent thought separation 
was inevitable, and he favored letting Maine go anyway, 
disregarding the actual state of the votes oij the question 
and " the insolent, unjust, and ridiculous ground assumed, by 
the convention at Brunswick. . . . Ph3'sically we still re- 
tain the people of Maine in a sort of subordination not 
much worse than that in which they have heretofore been 
held. For it is well known that for ten years past the laws 
have been regularly and unremittedly resisted in some of 
the barbarous parts of that semi-civilized District." 

All this was uncomplimentary enough to the people of the 
District. It is language that may usually be applied to the 
half-lawless condition of pioneer communities remote from 
the authority of courts. But it does give an explanation of 
the attitude toward separation of a considerable body of men 
in Boston. Nor is it difficult to detect in both of the com- 
munications cited a flavor of party politics — an apprehension 
on the part of Federalists that if Maine continued to be a 
part of the Commonwealth the power would soon pass to the 

It is rather remarkable that neither the Boston "Chron- 
icle " nor the " Patriot " made any comment whatever upon 
the doings of the Brunswick convention for more than a 
month after its adjournment. The only reference to the 

1 The remark last quoted explains tlie solicitude with which the General 
Court provided that in the constitution which was to be formed for Maine the 
charter of Bowdoin College was not to be amended without the consent of the 
legislatures of both States. 


affair was printed in the "Patriot" of November 16. That 
Democratic paper, speaking a good word for Holmes, said : 
" The writer of these remarks entirely differs from the fi-amers 
of that report in the interpretation of the law of June last." 

The General Court met on November 13. Governor 
Brooks, in his speech, referred to the subject of separation 
in a conciliatory tone. The two peoples were of the same 
origin, educated in the same principles, had fought side by 
side. " May no root of bitterness spring up to alienate their 
affections, whether united or separate. Judging from the 
ingenuous and dispassionate manner in which the subject 
has been hitherto discussed in your respective houses, we 
may confidently hope that wisdom will mark its future 
progress." The committee of the Brunswick convention 
deputed to bring the matter to the attention of the legisla- 
ture, consisting of Albion K. Parris, John Davis, W. P. 
Preble, and John Chandler, called upon Governor Brooks to 
express their thanks to him for the delicate and courteous 
tone of his speech. Moreover, in their memorial to the 
legislature the}' said, with reference to the movement for 
separation, " it has often been the subject of the delibera- 
tions of the legislature, and we owe it to the people of Massa- 
chusetts thus publicly to acknowledge that it has always 
received prompt attention, and that the course adopted with 
respect to it has been uniformly liberal and magnanimous." 
The foregoing account of the proceedings, covering a period 
of more than thirty years, shows that this acknowledgment 
was just and true. Yet Mr. Blaine, speaking in the Senate 
of the United States on January 22, 1878, when presenting 
to the government the statue of William King said that the 
movement " had been resisted in Massachusetts, always with 
firmness, often with offensive arrogance." It is a pity that 
Senators Dawes and Hoar were not provided with the facts 
that would have corrected this perversion of history. 

The memorial from the Brunswick convention and a great 
number of remonstrances against separation were referred 
to the same committee that reported the bill at the June 
session. The committee took an unusually long time to 
consider the matter and did not report until December 3. 
As before, Mr. Otis made the report. The committee had 
"no hesitation" in rejecting the construction of the act by 


the convention. It argued in temperate language that the 
question ought not to be revived by that General Court. 
There seeined to be no evidence that the tide in favor of 
separation had been greatly if at all augmented, and in any 
event no time would be lost, as Congress would not be in 
session long enough to act upon the question of admitting 
the State. The committee reported two resolutions : " that 
the contingency upon which the consent of Massachusetts 
was to be given for the separation of Maine has not yet hap- 
pened, and that the powers of the Brunswick convention to 
take any measures tending to that event have ceased "; and 
" that it is not expedient for the present General Court to 
adopt any further measures in regard to the separation of the 
District of Maine." The report was accepted by the Senate, 
and the resolutions were adopted, on the next day, December 
4, without debate; and the House concurred unanimously on 
the same day. 

That was the end of the movement in 1816. A few 
days later, December 11, the " Daily Advertiser " remarked 
that "the manner in which the question of separation was 
settled by the legislature seems to meet with general appro- 
bation. Indeed it was hardly opposed by the most strenuous 
separationists in the legislature, of whom a considerable num- 
ber were members of the Brunswick convention." 

No mention of the subject of separation occurs in the 
legislative journals for 1817-1818 or 1818-1819, save that a 
committee was appointed in 1817 to inquire into the expe- 
diency of paying the expenses of the Brunswick convention. 
The committee reported that it was inexpedient to take any 
action thereon, and the report was accepted. Nor for nearly 
two years was there any renewal of the agitation in Maine. 

In the spring of 1819 the movement was started again 
and quickly acquired great momentum. A committee of 
the Maine members of the legislature issued an address, 
April 19, to the people of the District, urging them, in the 
selection of representatives, to choose none but supporters 
of separation. They also urged that the towns petition for 
separation in their corporate capacity. At the annual elec- 
tions party differences were extinguished, and the sole issue 
was separation. Every senator elected from the District was 
in favor of separation, and of 127 representatives chosen 


by 89 towns, 114 were in favor of separation and only 13 
opposed. Both these numbers were subsequently increased 
by later returns. A great number of towns voted to petition 
the General Court in their corporate capacity. The opposi- 
tion was successful in only a few cases. The petitions began 
to pour into the State House on May 27, 1819, only a day or 
two after the meeting of the General Court. No less than 
94 such petitions were received by the Senate from the House 
of Representatives on the 31st. 

The committee to which the subject was referred con- 
sisted of Josiah Quincy of Suffolk, William King of Lincoln, 
William Moody of York, Jonathan H. Lyman of Hamp- 
shire, Leverett Saltonstall of Essex, and Benjamin Gorham 
of Suffolk, on the part of the Senate; and Messrs. Lewis of 
Gorham, Greenleaf of Quincy, Lawrence of Groton, Red- 
dington of Vassalborough, Moseley of Newburyport, Peabody 
of Boston, Leland of Roxbury, and Ames of Bath, on the 
part of the House. It will be seen that two of the six 
senators, and three of the eight representatives, were taken 
from the Maine delegation. 

A strong impression was made upon the community by 
the evident preponderance of the separation sentiment. On 
the 1st of June the " Daily Advertiser " remarked that the 
division of the State was the most important subject to be 
considered at that session ; that the disproportion between 
the number of petitioners and that of remonstrants " leaves 
little doubt that a very large proportion of the people of 
Maine are now in favor of separation " ; and that it was 
impossible for the legislature " to shut their eyes to these 
indications of the disposition of the people of Maine, or to 
refuse taking all proper measures for indulging them." 

Mr. Quincy brought in to the Senate the report of the 
committee on June 9. Although he was the reporter, it is 
quite evident, from his subsequent course, that he neither 
wrote the report nor assented to it. The report is a simple, 
moderate statement, — we may say an inevitable conclusion 
from the circumstances as they existed. The committee was 
convinced that nothing should be done by the legislature 
to hasten separation. On the contrary, they would gladly 
strengthen and promote the union that existed. The Com- 
monwealth was called upon to relinquish one-third of its 


citizens and more than a half of its territory. " But your 
committee have not been deterred by these considerations 
from listening to the prayer of the petitioners, and from 
recommending such measures as they deem just and ex- 
pedient, however they regret the present application." They 
refer to" the opinion, "now almost universal," that the sep- 
aration must take place at a day not far distant. They 
found that there were 130 petitions for separation and only 
5 against it. " They believe that to reject so many peti- 
tions, so far from having a tendency to allay the desire for a 
separation, would excite agitation and discontent." They 
regarded the present time as peculiarly favorable for ascertain- 
ing the real wishes of the people of Maine, as the situation 
was altogether tranquil and peaceful, and believed that there 
would never be a better time for submitting the matter to 
a test. 

The bill reported followed in general the lines of the act 
of 1816. The terms on which the consent of Massachusetts 
was to be given were slightly changed — the separationists 
in Maine declared that they were more favorable to the 
proposed new State than those in the earlier act; the oppo- 
nents asserted vehemently that they were even less favorable 
than those that had been rejected. In point of fact there 
were modifications in both directions, but not important either 
way. The process by which the new State was to come into 
being was nevertheless greatlj- changed. A general vote was 
to be taken on the fourth Mondaj' in July (26th), on the 
question whether it was expedient that Maine should be- 
come a separate and independent State. The votes were to 
be returned to the Secretary of the Commonwealth and 
counted by the Governor and Council, " and if the number 
of votes for the measure shall exceed the number of votes 
against it by fifteen hundred, then and not otherwise the 
people shall be deemed to have expressed their consent and 
agreement" to the separation. Then the governor was to 
proclaim the result, and thereupon an election was to take 
place on the third Monday in September (21st) of delegates 
to a convention to meet in Portland on the second Monday 
in October (12th), to adopt a name for the new State and to 
form a constitution. This having been done, the convention 
was to submit the constitution to popular vote, and if it were 


adopted by a majority of the people, it was to come into 
effect, Congress concurring, on the loth of March, 1820. If 
tlie constitution should be rejected, the constitution of Massa- 
chusetts, so far as it was applicable, would become the con- 
stitution of Maine, until changed in due form, but the 
name chosen for the State was to stand in any event. Pro- 
vision was made for the continuance in office of those who 
then occupied the offices until the legislature of Maine 
ordered otherwise, and for the holding of courts. The laws 
of Massachusetts were to be the laws of Maine until amended 
or repealed. The president of the convention was to act as 
governor until a governor should be chosen. 

The Senate began the consideration of the measure on 
June 11, when Mr. Quincy moved to recommit it to the 
committee with instructions to report a bill providing for a 
vote of all the people of the Commonwealth on the question 
" Is it expedient that the District of Maine should become 
a separate and independent state ? " He supported this 
motion in a speech which is summarized in the " Daily 
Advertiser." It was directed wholly to the constitutional 
question whether it was competent for the legislature to give 
its consent to the division of the State. He was supported 
in his argument by Mr. Bannister of Essex. The speakers 
on the other side were Senators Moodj'^ of York, King of Lin- 
coln, and Gorham of Suffolk. The motion was rejected, 12 to 
24. In the affirmative were three Essex and three Worcester 
Senators, and one each from Suffolk, Middlesex, Plymouth, 
Hampshire, Norfolk, and Berksliire. The debate was contin- 
ued through the 12th and 14th (Monday). Amendments 
were proposed and rejected to require a two-thirds vote of 
the people of Maine in favor of separation, and a majority 
of 2,500 instead of 1,500. When the question came on pass- 
ing the bill to be engrossed, Mr. Quincy made a speech 
over two hours in length against the bill, which the " Daily 
Advertiser" characterized as " able, clear, and forcible," and 
Mr. Saltonstall one equally long in favor of the bill, which 
the same authority pronounced to be " ingenious and elo- 
quent." The bill was then passed by 26 votes to 11. All the 
nine senators from Maine were present and voted yes, but 
the bill had an ample majority without their votes. Politi- 
cally, the " Advertiser " says that the minority consisted of 



three Republicans and eight Federalists. Four senators who 
had supported Mr. Quincy's amendment to take a vote of all 
the people, voted for the passage of the bill. 

The House of Representatives began the consideration of 
the bill on the 16th. Mr. Rand of Boston proposed Mr. 
Quincy's amendment, but it was rejected, 83 to 168. On this 
vote, it is astonishing to record, there were 132 votes from 
Maine and only 119 from Massachusetts proper. The num- 
bers were : 

Yeas Nays 

Massachusetts proper 63 56 

Maine 20 112 

~83 l68 

On the next day, after a long debate, the bill was passed by 
a vote of 193 to 59. As the total number of votes given on 
the passage of the bill differed by one only from that on the 
amendment, it is probable that on this occasion also the Maine 
vote was the larger. But as the Maine opponents stood firm 
to the end, the majority of Massachusetts members in favor of 
the bill was greatly increased. Governor Brooks approved the 
act on June 19. 

If public sentiment in Massachusetts had been indifferent or 
mildly favorable to a division of the State prior to the final act 
and during the consideration of the bill by the legislature, it 
was aroused against it when opposition was too late. From 
the middle of June until the day in July when the vote was 
taken, the newspapers of Boston contained many communica- 
tions and editorial articles on tlie subject. It was universally 
recognized that the decision rested entirely with the people of 
Maine, and there was no attempt at or suggestion of bullying 
them. But they were appealed to strongly to remember the 
glories of the State which had been won by them in common 
with the citizens of Massachusetts proper, were assured of the 
good will of their old fellow citizens, were told that they had 
no real grievances, and were warned against taking a leap in 
the dark. Correspondents of the several newspapers argued 
against the constitutionality of the act consenting to the sep- 
aration. There were also communications reproaching the 
members of the legislature for their easy surrender to the pe- 
titioners from Maine ; and others lamenting the pitiable state 
into which the Commonwealth was about to fall and the low 


rank which it was about to assume among the States of the 
Union. Almost all the references to the coming separation 
were of this character. So far as can be judged from them, 
the general feeling was one of regret at a decision which it 
had become too late to reverse. It would be diflBcult to sum- 
marize intelligibly the several utterances in the newspapers, 
which were most of them long and wordy ; still more diflBcult, 
without occupying too much space, to give quotations from 

In Maine the separationists entered upon their brief cam- 
paign with the certainty of approaching victory. Their oppo- 
nents showed more vigor than confidence, but they struggled 
bravely to the end. The Portland " Gazette " was, as before, 
the leader of the opposition, and its last issue before the vote 
was given was devoted almost entirely to the subject, in 
broad columns and display type. Squibs, anecdotes, argu- 
ments, appeals, covered its pages.^ Among serious and sound 
arguments were some silly suggestions, as that Massachu- 
setts wished to get rid of Maine, that the District was in- 
creasing in population so greatly that Boston was afraid that 
Maine would soon be in control, and that therefore it was 
for the interest of Maine to go slowly. 

It was evident, as soon as the earliest returns were received, 
that separation was triumphant. Every county in the Dis- 
trict gave a majority in favor of independence, ranging 
from 63 in Hancock to 3,809 in Kennebec. The proclama- 
tion of Governor Brooks announced the numbers as 17,091 
in favor, and 7,132 opposed, — a majority of almost ten thou- 
sand, and much more than the two-thirds which had been 
proposed in a hostile amendment. The governor called upon 
the people to elect delegates on the third Monday in Sep- 
tember to meet in convention at Portland on the second 
Monday in October. 

1 For example : 

" Separation must go," said a wag to his fellow, 

As quaffing they sat and had made themselves mellow. 

" Go where 1 " said a third as he rested from smoking, 

" Are you truly in earnest, or are you but joking ? " 

" I 'm as truly in earnest," he poutingly muttered, 

" As in any opinion that ever I uttered." 

" Why, then," said the other, " like you, I 'm a prophet, 

' Separation must go,' I assure you, to Tophet ! " 


As soon as the question was decided, the antagonisms that 
had existed while the controversy proceeded, were laid aside. 
Those who had been conspicuous in opposing the separation 
acquiesced graciously, and urged all to unite in laying deep 
and strong the foundations of the new State. 

The convention met on October 11. Daniel Cony of 
Augusta was the temporary chairman, and William King of 
Bath the permanent president. In accordance with the act 
he subsequently became acting governor, and was the first 
elected governor of Maine. There was a contest over the 
name of the new State. Columbus was suggested,^ and also 
Ligonia, but Maine was the preference of a great majority 
of the delegates. By a majority of six, 119 to 113, 
"State" was preferred to "Commonwealth," and on a re- 
consideration the majority was nearly forty. There were 
some earnest debates in the convention upon certain provis- 
ions of the constitution, but there was little or no acrimony 
in the discussion. The session lasted a little more than a 
fortnight. The constitution was adopted by a vote of 236 
to 30, and was signed by the members; and the convention 
adjourned, October 29. The popular vote on the adaption 
of the constitution, as officially reported to the convention 
at its adjourned session, January 6, 1820, was 9,050 in favor 
and 796 against. More than a thousand votes, of which only 
77 were against the adoption of the constitution, were not 
counted, on account of irregularities. The struggle in Con- 
gress over the admission of Maine as a separate State, and 
the complication of the question with that of the admission 
of Missouri, form no appropriate part of this narrative. Pres- 
ident Monroe signed the Maine bill on March 3, and on 
March 15, 1820, the separation from Massachusetts became 

Attention was called to two serials of the Proceedings which 
were on the table for distribution, — the first covering the 
meetings for January, February, and March, and the second 
containing the record of the April and May meetings ; and it 
was stated that bound copies of the twentieth volume of the 
second series of the Proceedings would probably be ready for 

1 Because the convention first met on the anniversary of the day when 
Columbus first discovered signs of land. 


distribution in July ; and it was hoped that Judge Chamber- 
lain's History of Chelsea would be ready for publication in 

Remarks were also made during the meeting by Eev. Dr. 
Edward E. Hale and by Messrs. Arthur Lord, Andrew 
MoF. Davis, and William R. Ltvbrmorb. 

After the adjournment the members and a small number of 
invited guests were entertained at luncheon by the President 
in the Ellis Hall.