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412 MASSACHUSETTS HISTOBICAL SOCIETY. [Mar.
The stated meeting was held on Thursday, the 10th in-
stant, at three o'clock, p. m. ; the senior Vice-President,
Samuel A. Gbeen, in the chair.
The record of the February meeting was read and approved ;
and the list of the donors to the Library during the last month
was read by the Librarian.
The Recording Secretary, in the absence of the Cor-
responding Secretary, reported that Dr. J. Collins Warren
had accepted his election as a Resident Member, and Ed-
ward Doubleday Harris his election as a Corresponding
The Editor announced the deposit with the Society, subject
to recall, of the manuscripts of Major-General Jacob Brown,
of the War of 1812, by William Allen Hayes, of Boston. The
papers are for the use of the Society while in its keeping. He
also spoke of the deposit of the first four books of the records
of the Second Church of Boston, covering the services of
Increase and Cotton Mather in that church. They are to be
used in connection with the forthcoming issue of the Mather
Harold Murdock, of Brookline, was elected a Resident
Member of the Society, and Professor Eduard Meyer, of
Berlin, an Honorary Member.
The senior Vice-President reported the appointment by the
Council of the following Committees, in preparation for the
Annual Meeting in April :
To nominate Officers for the ensuing year,
Messrs. Roger B. Merriman, Andrew McFarland
Davis and Frederic Winthrop.
To examine the Treasurer's accounts,
Messrs. Thomas Minns and James F. Hunnewell.
To examine the Library and Cabinet,
Messrs. John O. Sumner, M. A. DeW. Howe and
1910.] WILLIAM EVERETT. 413
Professor Channing presented a copy of a pamphlet
entitled " Notes on the Plants of Wineland the Good," by
Professor M. L. Fernald, giving the results of his researches
into the meaning of certain words used in the Norse Sagas.
The senior Vice-President said :
Since the last meeting William Everett, by seniority of
election one of the oldest members of the Society, has died.
A man of critical scholarship and great learning, and a person
of marked peculiarities withal, there is now no one in the
community to fill completely the niche left vacant by his
death. Dr. Everett was both a preacher and a teacher, a
scholar and an orator, and in all the activities of life he dis-
played a remarkable mentality and versatility. He was a
great wit and ever ready with an apt quotation from either
the classics or from English literature. He had strong
views on most subjects and was always able to defend them.
A graduate of Harvard College and of the Dane Law School,
he was thoroughly versed in legal lore, and his fund of knowl-
edge in every department of learning was vast and well-nigh
inexhaustible. Admitted to the bar in Suffolk County, on
April 8, 1867, he never practised law, and licensed by the
Boston Association of Ministers to preach he never was settled
over a parish.
Among Dr. Everett's latest literary efforts was his address
before this Society on the Tercentenary of the birth of the great
English Puritan, which was a masterly production and well
worthy of the subject. It was a keen analysis of the char-
acter of a matchless poet ; and the peroration was a noble and
eloquent tribute paid by a scholar in close sympathy with the
views of a defender of liberty against royal prerogative. He
saw a vision representing Milton, about the age of thirty,
visiting the Continent and passing considerable time in the
chief cities of Italy.
Dr. Everett was chosen a member of the Society on March
8, 1876 ; and his death took place at Quincy on February 16.
Agreeably to a long usage on such occasions, the Reverend
Dr. McKenzie, a classmate and for four years his college chum,
will pay a tribute to the memory of our late associate ; and
Dr. James Schouler, another classmate, will also give his rem-
iniscences of Dr. Everett.
414 MASSACHUSETTS HISTORICAL SOCIETY. [Mae.
Dr. McKenzie spoke substantially as follows :
I am glad that I can speak of my friend and companion, as
I am asked to do. But it is not altogether easy to say all
which I would, while 1 fear that in any case I should be
obliged to talk of myself and more than Hike. My knowledge
of William Everett began at our entering Harvard. His
father desired that he should be associated with one older
than himself, and Dr. Taylor of Andover gave him my name,
and referred bim to Mr. Samuel Lawrence, in whose counting-
house I was for four years. The result was that I was invited
to Mr. Everett's house on Summer Street, where I met the
father and the son. Mr. Everett gave me some account of
William, who had, he said, at an earlier time possessed a phe-
nomenal memory. As his years increased this distinction was
lessened. This is the only fact which I now recall. More
could have been said. Mr. Everett advised me to call on
President Walker, whose account of William was not alto-
gether assuring. He spoke of the hazing which was then in
practice, and remarked, " You will have no trouble ; your chum
may, for he is conceited and green." This was quite in the
President's manner. But as a matter of fact we had no
trouble worth mentioning. To have your window broken at
night was not a serious disaster, especially as it was remedied
the next morning as a matter of course. Mr. Everett had se-
cured for us one of the best two freshman rooms, Hoi worthy 1,
under Tutor Sophocles, and there our common life began.
My chum proved a congenial companion. His character was
complex to one outside of it, but it was simple in itself.
There were times of quietness and times of very decided
speech and action, as we have seen later. He was much like
the deep sea, which keeps its identity while it changes its
appearance. But there was no rudeness or thoughtlessness
in his relations with me. I do not recall a rude word or an
unkind act in the years we spent in the same rooms.' For
we remained together to the end. Mr. Everett said it was
one of the rare instances in which two men lived in this
manner and came out friends. But friends we have been
through these fifty years. He wrote to me freely and often,
and always signed himself with a word of affection. His
ability was unquestioned. I think he could easily have led
1910.] WILLIAM EVEEBTT. 415
the class in rank. But he was not, in the phrase of those
times, what was known as a " dig." He learned readily and
trusted to his rapid survey of his lessons. Sometimes he
relied too much on his superficial work, and was tripped at
some point which he had regarded too hastily. He was cheer-
ful, and inclined to be playful, but he had no particular
college sports. His favorite game was checkers, which out-
ranked chess in his regard. His close companion in this pur-
suit was Frank Hopkiuson, and they had much in common.
He carried himself in a friendly way toward his classmates,
though he had a habit of expressing himself with unnecessary
force concerning some lapse in learning, like a false quantity
in Latin. But he was not unkind, nor did he make any parade
of hia inherited name and reputation. He felt the dignity of
his house, but was not eager to assert it. He had high rank,
but made no display. He was of the eight who had orations
at Commencement, and his theme is a suggestion of his habit-
ual thought. It was " Athens, the Universal Teacher." The
reporter described it as " an able and thrilling performance,
full of emotion and enthusiasm."
I presume it is Everett's abrupt and at times severe manner
of speech which will be best remembered by those who had
only an acquaintance with him, and possibly not even that.
This was characteristic, as we all know — whence he received
it I cannot say. I doubt if the psychologists could explain it.
It is a common opinion that a young man is greatly affected
by those with whom he is in close association. William
Everett was the son of his father, who was the perfection of
courtesy and quietness. He was intimate with his father.
They talked and .walked together, and the son learned many
things. It would seem inevitable that he should unconsciously
come under the control of one whom he so greatly reverenced.
Yet two men were never more unlike. Whether he inherited
a different manner from some other source I cannot say. Dr.
Andrew P. Peabody might bring the instance under his
theory of a succession of inheritances, so that when one was
spent the other could assert itself. Mrs. Everett I saw but
once, when she walked with me in the garden at Medford, and
was full of kindliness. The problem is interesting, but is quite
That William did derive much knowledge of men and
416 MASSACHUSETTS HISTORICAL SOCIETY. [Mar.
events from his father is beyond question. He could talk
English history as if he had been a part of it. Many of its
men he had seen, and all of them he knew. Yet there seemed
nothing of conceit in his conversation and addresses. He
never seemed to regard it as remarkable that he knew so
His comments and opinions on general subjects were distinc-
tive. The sentence which he would almost readily throw out
had a good basis of truth and reason. I have had an increas-
ing confidence in his judgment. If I have not followed it as
of authority, I have felt its sustaining force. I have found
myself falling back upon it, and when he was talking with
a friend the manner of his counsel was convincing.
His career after leaving college is well known : his study at
the English Cambridge, his return to Harvard as a teacher, his
term in Congress, and then the later years. His life has been
called a tragedy. It had that aspect, but I regard it rather as
a disappointment. He would have liked to tread in his
father's steps. He turned naturally to the Christian ministry.
When we were together we had daily prayers in which we ah
ternated as leaders. This was an extension of his home life.
Theology we never discussed. Whether his father had cau-
tioned him against this, or whether it was his own good sense,
I do not know. Afterwards he consulted me upon his thought
of obtaining ecclesiastical authority for preaching. I advised
him to get it, and he did, and he filled my own pulpit more
than once. I think he would gladly have become a parish
minister had he been asked to do so.
It was with this feeling that he entered on his latest work
as the principal of a boys' school. He believed in his boys
and loved them, and took all pains to serve them. He was a
religious teacher. He prepared sermons for the school, writ-
ing many of them with great care. They are good sermons,
rich in thought and even more rich in a controlling purpose to
help the boys to be men. For this he cared most. You could
not more readily provoke him than by a careless question,
" How many boys do you send to college, this year ? " Then
he would storm. " That 's what they all ask : how many
boys do you send to college ? " That was not the great thing
with him. Numbers he could not control. It was the kind
of boy he sent, and his equipment, which most concerned him.
1910.] WILLIAM EVERETT. 417
This is a very informal presentment of a man whom I knew
and loved. In his learning, his ability, his integrity, and in
his opinions and methods I have large confidence. I have
spoken of him as I knew him. I am glad to conclude these
simple words with one remark. If I were entering Harvard
College now, there is no man in the Class of 1859 whom I
would sooner have for a chum than William Everett.
Mr. Qutncy followed, saying :
It is probable that I have known Dr. Everett longer than
any one who is present. For I made his acquaintance in the
year 1846, and saw more or less of him during the sequent
years of my college course. He was then presented to me as
well as to my fellow students, not as Dr. Everett, nor eA r en
as the Willie Everett known to his family, but as the " Infant
Phenomenon." x The name of course was borrowed from
Dickens and was not misapplied to the little fellow who could
talk fluently of the deep things in history, diplomacy and
even theology. As his brother was a classmate of mine with
whom I was on intimate terms, I had frequent opportunities
of hearing this younger member of the family discourse upou
the current events of the day in a manner that was interest-
ing, as well as amazing from its maturity and confidence.
I knew him afterward when he came to live in Quincy and
took charge of the Adams Academy, of which I was one of the
trustees. He was a most entertaining visitor at my house —
always retaining the same positiveness in his judgments which
characterized them in the earlier days. Tennyson tells us that
his friend Arthur Hallam objected to the rough world of
business and enterprise by which we are environed, "for,
ground in yonder social mill, we rub each other's angles
down." Now this same social mill never ground hard enough
to rub away the decorative angles of our friend. And so — to
offset Hallam's complaint — here was a case in which the
friction did not " merge in form and gloss the picturesque of
man and man." And I am disposed to think that this
picturesqueness was a notable by-product of the scholar,
orator and poet. It broke the monotony of our daily ex-
1 The use of this title as applied to young Everett was confirmed by Dr.
Green, immediately after the reading of this tribute.
418 MASSACHUSETTS HISTORICAL SOCIETY. [Mar.
perience. If one said, " How do you do, Dr. Everett ? " the
response was likely to be something more than the conven-
tional " Pretty well, I thank you." His was an intense mind
that pushed away the trite commonplaces which so easily
present themselves. And like other intelligences of this fine
quality he paid the penalty in a certain narrowness of interest
and outlook. He was, I think, always conservative. He was
in no haste to cast aside the old garments of custom and
belief which had done good service to those who preceded us.
And this had its value in a time when so many conflicting
ideals were presented for adoption, and varying speculations
floated in the atmosphere.
While we accept the homely saying that it takes all sorts of
men to make up a world, we necessarily consider the differing
values of these components. And when we can recognize
among them the presence of a salient personality, — like that
of William Everett, — we feel that here is an important
counter-force to the hasty tendencies of the day which are
always seeking to have their way with us.
Mr. Schouler, a Corresponding Member, paid the follow-
ing tribute :
Dr. William Everett was by instinct, training and tradition
a public character ; and of the thousands in our Boston neigh-
borhood who in the course of the last fifty years or more have
met and spoken with him, and noted his unique and striking
— even eccentric — personality, few, very few of his own gen-
eration have known him intimately — none, indeed, unless they
held from himself the rare talisman of his inner confidence.
Long years ago, during my brief connection as a school-boy
with the Boston Latin School, of which that strongly individual
character, Francis Gardner, had just been made head master,
and on a public Saturday when we all gathered in the upper
hall, the highest class capped verses from Virgil. In this con-
test a young stripling of about my own age, with red hair, bore
off the honors over fellow-students most of whom must have
been at least four years older. This, I was told, was a son of
the famous Edward Everett. When, therefore, after some
changes of school life and parental domicile I entered Harvard
in the Class of 1859, this same youth as a fellow-freshman
appeared to me no stranger ; though evidently his precocity
1910.] WILLIAM EVERETT. 419
in the classics had not brought him into college life earlier
than his age would warrant. In those undergraduate years
the classes, so small in number as compared with what they
are now, met familiarly in recitations and socially, so that
during the four years' course we came to know one another
through and through, and could judge quite fairly of the traits
and probable careers in life of our fellows. Everett, of our
number, was marked for high distinction, with his marvellous
fondness for books and literature, his scholarship, and his eager
emulation of the great orators of Greece and Rome ; and,
withal, as one whose coming zeal was to lead and direct the
people, " and read his history in a nation's eyes."
The flower of his life's achievement has closely corre-
sponded with the germ. Great faults, great virtues, were
mingled in his inner nature. Had he thus early or in later life
found the tender and softening influence of some devoted
woman's companionship, to smooth his pathway and polish off
his angularities, he might have reached and grasped more
firmly, more readily, the ideals of public influence he so
bravely sought and so constantly strove for, not always heed-
ful of the enmities his manners and methods might provoke.
He might thus have been kept to a closer continuity of effort.
But under any circumstances this gnarled, knotted, complex
personality was bound to be remarkable. He was genuine,
outspoken, forcible, in every utterance.
William Everett was ardently, earnestly, ambitious of dis-
tinction, whatever sphere might be open to him. In the first
newspaper which I read, announcing his recent death, I found
it stated, and stated truly, that he had struggled above the
fame of being the son of his father, by his own attainments.
I recall that when at college he wrote an article on " Great
Names Forgotten " for the " Harvard Magazine " — a students'
periodical, long since extinct, of which I was an editor during
my senior year ; and in this essay he carefully collated histori-
cal examples, both ancient and modern, where the public re-
nown gained by some great family leader had eclipsed or
obscured the fame of later scions bearing the same name.
" He is anxious about himself," was my comment upon that
article; and later observation of his manhood confirms that
impression. Edward Everett, indeed, the father, was one of
our most influential Americans in his own generation and en-
420 MASSACHUSETTS HISTORICAL SOCIETY. [Mar.
joyed while he lived the highest rewards of fame, as orator,
academic scholar and statesman, that his native State or the
nation itself could confer, short of that supreme presidential
station which comes to so few of us Americans and only as the
gift of the whole people. Nor should it be forgotten that
while conservative for a space, in honest efforts to keep North
and South bound fraternally by the old compact of freedom
and slavery, he ceased those efforts the moment Fort Sumter
fell and for the rest of his noble life upheld earnestly the cause
which finally triumphed. No real biography of Edward
Everett has yet issued from the press, so far as I am aware —
not even in the " Statesmen " or other popular series of handy
volumes ; and for this, perhaps, the son was partially at fault,
who gathered materials long ago, for a filial memoir, but never
fulfilled the task himself nor delegated it to others.
Any such seeming neglect, however, on the son's part, I
would not impute to a rival ambition, but rather to the diver-
sity of his own ambitious efforts, which weakened their final
effect. Had he concentrated his talents and energy upon some
master task requiring long and patient work, or sought in his
lofty flights some particular direction, he would have achieved
splendid results. When he returned to Massachusetts after a
graduate course at the Cambridge University across the ocean,
— and non-professional graduate work in those days our young
men seldom pursued, — it seemed as though each avenue to
fume in this vicinity stood wide open to his choice. In the
old Archway building on Washington Street, opposite the head
of Franklin, where Lowell Institute lectures were then de-
livered, he began a course on the English university life which
I attended, before a large and expectant audience, with several
of Boston's solid men on the platform, and our Society's dis-
tinguished President, Robert C. Winthrop, to introduce him.
Thus well was he started as a public lecturer.
It was not very long after this that he joined the faculty of
his alma mater as a tutor and assistant professor, and it seemed
as though his vocation in life were fairly opened at our own
leading University. But he gained, beside, a license to
preach ; and when the society of Brattle Square Church moved
to Commonwealth Avenue, and its minister, Dr. Lothrop, re-
signed with advancing years, Everett sought earnestly to be
chosen the successor. He took steps also for membership in
1910.] WILLIAM EVERETT. 421
the Boston Bar. And, more than this, he showed an incessant
eagerness to enter political life, which developed throughout
his prime, and became in a partial measure gratified.
Two notable changes in Massachusetts routine were made,
if I mistake not, in furtherance of William Everett's political
aspirations : (1) that article of our venerable constitution which
forbade a " president, professor, or instructor of Harvard Col-
lege " to sit in the legislature was repealed in 1877 ; (2) under
a provision which permits members of Congress to be chosen
in districts where the candidate does not reside, he captured
once a seat as Representative, after the English Parliamentary
fashion, when Independents and Democrats fused under Cleve-
land's lead against the Republican party.
That non-resident victory at the polls, in 1892, was doubt-
less the most auspicious of Dr. Everett's whole career, and to
him the most inspiring. On the floor of the famous represen-
tative arena at our nation's capital he found himself well
equipped for debate and at once made friends and fame by
his gift of oratory. The jesting phrase of his speech there as
to "depositing in a cavity" has become a national expression.
I have often since wished for his sake that he might have gained
a constituency both loyal and appreciative, so as to become by
successive re-elections a national figure at Washington, like
John Randolph or John Quincy Adams of our earlier annals;
for his unique and vivacious personality would surely have
become historic in renown among those impressive surround-
ings, while an honest and independent speech and an intelli-
gent vote might have been expected from him on all critical
occasions. But this was not to be ; and a single congressional
term rounded his service to the national public. In politics
he was a " mugwump " and an opportunist in affairs ; desirous
always of good government as he understood it; but not
strongly identified with special reforms ; and unfitted at all
times for submission to party discipline for the sake of a party
success, beside being quite disqualified from organizing a
Hence our associate's fame must rest mainly upon his conspic-
uous scholarship and gifts of eloquence and written composition,
as shown on occasion ; and, moreover, upon his good record as
a teacher of the young. His long and honorable career as head
master of the Adams Academy stands pre-eminent in point of
422 MASSACHUSETTS HISTORICAL SOCIETY. [Mar.
practical service, and, as he lately testified, the friendships
he made there among his own pupils afforded him the chief
solace and happiness of his life. Yet even in that excellent
vocation of training the young it may be thought that if he
had let political diversions alone and confined himself to build-
ing up another Rugby like a Dr. Arnold, the final outcome of
bis efforts at Quincy would have been more lasting and more
So marked a figure and type of character cannot but be long
missed in this Society and wherever else he has made his pres-
ence familiar. And here, in the region of Massachusetts Bay,
where successive generations have seen him, heard him, told
anecdotes about him, commented upon his looks, his figure,
his manners, the substance of his edifying exposition, whether
on lecture platform, at political gatherings, or in the conclave
of learned societies; or have read his many letters to the local
press, correcting errors of the times, literary, social or histor-
ical, after his brusque and incisive fashion, with copious aud
convincing citations and a wealth of accurate information —
all will miss his pungent arid brilliant censoriousness. Among
the most finished and thoughtful productions of his fertile pen
we may place his scholarly address on John Milton, delivered
at the celebration of this Society in December, 1908, and his
Phi Beta Kappa oration read at Cambridge a few years earlier,
on Peace and War ; to which may be added the volume of his
collected Lowell lectures upon " Italian Poets since Dante."
To witty versifying he had turned for variety in old age with
something of his youthful effervescence ; for in a number of
the " Harvard Graduates' Magazine " issued within a twelve-
month may be seen a light poem on " The College Bell," which
he contributed in humorous parody of Edgar A. Poe.
We should almost have thought that time touched William
Everett lightly, like another Anacreon, had we not marked
how aged and saddened he looked at Harvard's last Com-
mencement ; or had we not attended his last Lowell Institute
course, scarcely five months ago, when, lecturing upon a most
congenial topic, "The Orators of Great Britain," — his last
public appearance in this familiar city, — he found himself so
feeble that he had to be helped up stairs and to sit at the desk
while he read quietly from his manuscript.
To recall fitly the two Everetts and describe graphically the
1910.] BOSTON CUSTOMS RECORDS. 423
successive careers of illustrious father and son may some day
engage one of our younger biographers ; but his pen should
be a sympathetic one, capable of delicate delineation and
Mr. Sanborn read extracts from a paper on " Thomas Paine
and Thomas Jefferson," to disprove the charges made against
them of being unbelievers and atheists. He also dealt with
Gouverneur Morris's conduct towards Paine in France.
Mr. Winslow Wabben read the following paper :
At the April meeting of this Society in 1898 I made some
informal remarks as to the closing of the Boston Custom House
under the Boston Port Bill in June, 1774, and also as to the
loss of the Customs Records at the time of the evacuation of
Boston in March, 1776. 1
I then stated my doubt of the truth of the tradition that
the Customs Records were carried to Halifax. This doubt
has been much strengthened by later investigation notwith-
standing the statements by Edward Winslow, Sen., who was
Registrar of Probate for Suffolk County in 1776, 2 and the last
acting Royal Collector in Boston, in the letter following, that
the Records of the Probate Office, Registry of Deeds, and
Custom House were packed up and sent on a transport to
It seems that George W. Murray, of New York, wrote
to Edward Winslow in New Brunswick March 4, 1811,
stating that Judge Cushing made application soon after the
organization of the State of Massachusetts for the records that
had been taken away, and that the request was not complied
with until after the Revolution, when, however, not. all the
missing books came back ; and that he — Murray — was in-
formed that a gentleman named Fitch had found in a trunk
two books marked on the back " Suffolk " that he would like
to regain possession of. 3
The reply* to this letter is in the possession of Rev. W
DeLoss Love of Hartford, Connecticut, and is as follows :
i 2 Proc, xii. 192.
2 Winslow's commission to this office, dated July 24, 1775, is printed in 2
Proc, ii. 233.
3 " Winslow Papers," 1901, published by the New Brunswick Hist. Soc,
666; * 655.
424 MASSACHUSETTS HISTOEIOAL SOCIETY. [Mar.
Kingscleae, N. Beuns'k, 7 th. April, 1811.
Dear Sir, — Tour letter of the 4th March from N. York has been
handed to me by Gen'l Coffin, and I regret that it is not in my power
to give you full satisfaction upon a subject which cannot fail to excite
considerable Interest and Concern. The following facts however,
adverted to in your letter are within my recollection :
When Boston was evacuated, F. Hutchinson Esq : was Judge, and I
was Registrar of Probate, for the County of Suffolk, and I was at the
same time Acting Collector for the Port of Boston.
On the morning of the evacuation the Public Buildings were in
possession of a Licentious Rabble, the doors of the Offices were forced,
and the Records and papers were exposed to instant destruction. Hav-
ing a party at my Command, and impressed with a due sense of the
importance of preserving them, I found means to pack up and place on
board a Transport not only the records of the Probate Office, but also
those of the Registry of Deeds and Custom House. The latter office
"had been peculiarly exposed having been occupied as a Military Guard
Boom the preceding night. At that time Sam'l Fitch Esq., who was
Judge of the Court of Vice Admiralty, had been several days embarked
on board ship with his family ; one of them (a very interesting daugh-
ter) was dangerously ill.
On our arrival at Halifax I made application to the Governor of the
Province to take the Books and papers into the protection of his Gov-
ernment. Accordingly a place was assigned them in the Surrogate's
office in Nova Scotia, under the care of the Surrogate Gen'l Mr.
Morris reserving a right of access to them upon any emergent occasion
by Judge Hutchinson, who was to remain there.
The Packages were at that time in perfect good order, but whether
every Book (particularly of the Register of Deeds Office) was included
in the packages (formed amidst scenes of such confusion), it is im-
possible for me to say. The Anecdote respecting Mr. Fitch I never
heard mentioned, altho' I was upon the terms of great intimacy with
him and his family, nor do I conceive it probable that he should have
encumbered himself with two large folio Volumes of Public Records, in
which he had neither interest nor connection, and that at a time when
he was sinking under the pressure of Domestic anxieties and afflictions ;
if such volumes were by any accident found in his possession, I should
conjecture that they belonged to the Court of Vice Admiralty, which
were ex-officio in his charge.
I left Halifax with the King's Army, and remained with it till the
end of the war. Several applications were made for the restoration of
the Records, which were rejected, and after the publication of the
Treaty they were delivered by Judge Hutchinson, under proper au-
thority, to a committee appointed by Governor Hancock to receive
1910.] BOSTON CUSTOMS BECOBDS. 425
them, safe and entire as I afterwards understood from the Judge. I
believe a Mr. Kent 1 who was at one time State Attorney was one of
the Committee. . . .
Ordinarily this letter would seem to be conclusive as to the
Customs Records, but it was written thirty-five years after the
event, and there are many circumstances to show that Mr.
Winslow's memory was defective, or that the books he thought
were shipped, were not all sent, and in fact that only the
Probate Records actually went. The letter states that the
Records sent were to be subject to the order of Foster
Hutchinson, Judge of Probate, and were all returned after
the Peace Treaty to Governor Hancock. 2
I have recently come into possession of a letter from Foster
Hutchinson to Thomas Cushing, of the Governor's Council in
Massachusetts, which has never been published, and which
not unlikely was the " application " referred to by Mr. Murray.
It will be noticed that it refers only to the Probate Records.
The following is a copy :
Halifax, 16th Janry, 1778.
Sir, — By a Cartel which arrived here a few days since I reed, a letter
from you inclosing an order from what you call the Council of your
State, setting forth that I had carried away the papers belonging to the
Probate Office of the County of Suffolk, and that I should be desired
to return them to be lodged in the said office for the benefit and relief
of the poor widows and orphans to whom they more immediately
relate. Agreeable to which order you desire me to deliver them to the
Capt. of the Cartel and address them to your care.
In answer I think proper to let you know that the order is founded
upon what is false in fact, and the pretended motive for making such
order [is] not the true one as I believe. I am very certain it is not the
most prevailing one, but as many of the orders I have seen from your
pretended Council are of the like sort, I am the less surprised at this.
The papers were not carried away by me, but sent on board a trans-
port by express order of His Excellency General Howe, and by him
delivered into the custody of the Government here, where they will
remain until I, or whoever may succeed me in the office, shall apply
1 Benjamin Kent.
2 The papers now printed supplement those given by Mr. John T. Hassam in
2 Proc, xvi. 113-120.
426 MASSACHUSETTS HISTORICAL SOCIETY. [Mar.
As to the motive assigned for desiring them to be sent back, viz. the
relief of widows and orphans, it is not likely any great regard can be
had for those unhappy persons by those who, exciting the people to an
open revolt, have contributed all in their power so amazingly to in-
crease the number of these miserable objects.
You say the presumption is the papers were carried away to prevent
them from ruin and destruction. I believe you are right in supposing
that to be one of the principal reasons. Another I take it was to
prevent their being made use of by persons who were in open rebellion
against their lawful Sovereign. That reason still subsists, and perhaps
the other also. I think you may rest assured the papers will not be
returned, whilst you pretend to act in the office, or any other person,
without authority derived from the King.
I am at a loss which most to wonder at, the assurance or weakness
of the order. To suppose that a person, who is one of the legal
Council of the Province of the Massachusetts, would give any attention
to an order from persons who have no legal title to a seat in that
Council, and deliver papers belonging to an office of which he was in
the legal possession to one, who had usurped that very office, and
whose every act must be null and void, is such effrontery as is un-
paralleled anywhere but among yourselves.
I apprehend the time is not at a great distance when the poor de-
luded misled people, who have already suffered greater inconveniences
and miserys from the tyranny of their new fangled Government, than
the most inveterate enemy of Great Britain could ever pretend their
posterity would suffer from any acts of the British Legislature, will
have their eyes opened and again feel that happiness which is only to
be enjoyed under the British Constitution, and of which they have so
long been deprived by their wicked oppressors; and when those
persons who have usurped legislative authority, conscious of their inca-
pacity to govern a State, will shrink back to their respective occupa-
tions, if the extreme clemency of the best of earthly Sovereigns shall
permit them to escape with impunity. Your most humble servt.
Honble Thomas Cushing Esq.
George W. Murray's letter says that he was informed that
a gentleman named Fitch had found in a trunk two books
marked on the back " Suffolk. " Supposing the information
to have been correct, those books could hardly have been
Customs Records, for it is not likely that Royal Customs
Records would have been so marked. The mark would indi-
cate County Records or possibly Court Records.
The fact that, as Winslow says, the Records sent were put
1910.] BOSTON CUSTOMS RECORDS. 427
in charge of the ex-Judge of Probate, Foster Hutchinson,
points to their being Probate Records only. Further there is
a letter of Governor Parr in Halifax to Governor Hancock now
in a private collection in Boston which I am permitted to copy,
as follows :
Halifax, 12 Nov. 1784.
Sir, — I should have done myself the honor of answering your
Excellency's letter long ere this, but delayed from day to day until
I could get the Records of Probate out of Mr. Hutchinson's hands.
He has at last delivered them to Mr. Kent who forwards them to
Boston by this conveyance. If any should be wanting you will be
pleased to inform me.
I have the honor to be, Sir, Your Excellency's most obedient and
most humble servant,
His Excellency Governor Hancock.
The files at the State House, Boston, show the correspond-
ence relating to these Records, and their proper return and
receipt given. There is no reference to anything but Probate
Records, yet Winslow's letter says the entire records taken
away were returned.
As to the Records of Deeds there is nothing whatever to
indicate that any of them were ever sent to Halifax. At the
session of the Provincial Congress of Massachusetts November
21, 1776, the following resolve was passed :
Whereas by a late Act of the General Court the Town of Dedham
was made the Shire Town for the County of Suffolk in consequence of
which the Register's Office for that County with the Books and Papers
thereto belonging were Removed to the said Shire Town, by which
Removal two Volumns of Records were lost and several others much
defaced. And whereas the Removal of the said Books of Records to
the Town of Boston, where (by the Repeal of the said Act) the said
Office and Records ought now to be kept, would be attended with much
Risque and Danger in this unsettled State of public Affairs : Therefore,
Resolved, That the Register of Deeds for the County of Suffolk for
the time being, be and he hereby is directed and impowered to keep
said Office, together with the Records and Papers belonging in the
Town of Dedham, within the said County of Suffolk, until the further
Order of the General Court ; any law to the Contrary notwithstanding.
Dedham had been made the Shire Town of the County of
Suffolk by an Act in 1775. The Records were subsequently
428 MASSACHUSETTS HISTORICAL SOCIETY; [Mak.
returned to Boston and, except those two volumes lost in the
original removal, covering parts of years 1767, 1768, and
1769, are now intact at the Registry of Deeds. 1 The Probate
Records and Records of the Registry of Deeds are therefore
fully accounted for.
Investigations at Halifax at the official request of the
Government of the United States produced no results as to
Customs Records, and, October 9, 1899, Mr. Piers of Halifax,
Keeper of the Provincial Records of Nova Scotia, stated in an
official letter that no evidence existed that the Custom House
Records were ever brought to Halifax, and that the authorita-
tive opinion there was settled in the conviction that the tradi-
tion that they were ever deposited there was erroneous.
It is not probable now that any further light will be thrown
upon the subject, but it is suggestive that within a few years
a volume of inward and foreign entries of that period was dis-
covered in a junk shop near Salem. It is possible that the
Customs Records, though stated to have been sent to Plym-
outh when the Port of Boston was closed, may in fact have
gone with the Commissioners to Salem, and perhaps not have
been returned before the evacuation, and so have been lost or
destroyed ; they may have gone to Plymouth and not have
been returned, or in the confusion and practical anarchy upon
the eve of the evacuation, they may have been destroyed in
Boston, instead of being shipped to Halifax as Winslow
If they really existed at Halifax at the close of the Revolu-
tion, it is hardly conceivable that they should have been over-
looked, or no reference made to them during the period of the
correspondence and arrangement for the return of the Probate
Records. My conclusion therefore is that they never were
sent to Halifax at all, and that their fate will never be deter-
mined unless, by accident, portions should turn up like the
volume at Salem.
Mr. Davis presented the following paper :
Two Forgotten Pamphleteers.
In August, 1730, Jonathan Belcher assumed charge of the
government of the province of Massachusetts Bay. About
i Dedham Hist. Reg., v. 153 ; 2 Proc. xiv. 60-62.
1910.] VALENTINE-VANS CURRENCY PAMPHLETS. 429
that time the privy council and the board of trade had become
alarmed at the freedom with which the province had been
emitting bills of public credit by way of loans to counties or
towns as well as for the purpose of meeting the current ex-
penses of the government. Very shortly after taking charge
of affairs of state Belcher called the attention of the assembly
to the sixteenth and eighteenth of the royal instructions given
him when he assumed office. These were in effect that he
should not give assent to any act whereby bills of public
credit were to be issued unless such act contained a clause re-
quiring the approval of the board of trade before it could
become operative. Annual issues to the extent of £30,000
were, however, permitted without approval being first ob-
tained, provided they were made for the current expenses of
the government. Not more than £30,000 of such bills were
thereafter to be current at one time, and all outstanding bills
were to be called in at the times specified in the acts of emis-
sion. In the year 1730 £13,000 were emitted, the fund for
the redemption of which was the most remote of all the then
existing funds. The bills emitted at that time were not to be
called in until 1741. The effect, therefore, of these royal in-
structions was that during the next ensuing eleven years all
the outstanding currency, in amount probably something like
£300,000, was to be called in, and that thereafter the province
was to get along with £30,000 of bills of public credit as a
medium of trade unless more were specifically authorized by
the board of trade. It was supposed by observers of the
period that the total amount of silver in use in the four New
England colonies at the time when the paper money was first
put in circulation was about £200,000, and the impending
conditions which would result from the enforcement of the
royal instructions, unless there should be some organized
effort to supply coin to fill the vacancy which would thus be
created in the circulating medium, were little short of calami-
tous. Men of speculative temperaments began to suggest
remedial plans, and beginning with the year 1738 the pam-
phleteers took a lively hand in the debate. One result of the
discussion was the emission of bills of public credit couched
in a different form of phraseology from those that were already
in circulation. These latter, which from that date onward
were known as " old tenor," were declared on their face to be
430 MASSACHUSETTS HISTORICAL SOCIETY. [Mab.
" in value equal to money." The new bills, known thereafter
as "new tenor," had a specific value stated in troy weight in
silver or gold, and were made receivable for taxes, public dues
and in payments generally on the basis of one of the new
tenor for three of the old tenor. The efficacy of the new
tenor bills was thereby greatly magnified, and as this ratio could
be approximately maintained through the different rates at
which they were received for taxes, they greatly aided the
government in coping with the situation for a few years.
In 1788 and again in 1739 two abortive attempts were
made to return to specie payments, through schemes to secure
from the province five and ten year loans to merchants who
would agree to pay back the sums borrowed in silver or gold,
on the terms proposed. The schemes fell through in conse-
quence of the failure to procure the requisite subscriptions to
the loans, but the proposed borrowing in 1738 brought forth a
publication from the pen of one of the pamphleteers with
whom we are concerned which precipitated a discussion be-
tween him and Dr. Douglass, a man whose reputation is well
known, not only to the medical profession of our day, but also
to our economists.
The pamphlet in question was anonymously published in
Boston in 1738 and was entitled,
Some observations on the scheme projected for emitting 60,000 1. in
bills of a new tenour, to be redeemed with silver and gold. Shewing
the various operations of these bills, and their tendency to hurt the
publick interest. In a letter from a merchant in Boston, to his friend
in the country. Boston: Printed and sold by S. Kneeland and T.
Green in Queen Street, MDCCXXXVIII.
It was a small octavo, twenty-five pages in length, and was,
as its title indicates, written for the purpose of opposing the
scheme of the Boston merchants which had been inaugurated
in the hope that through and by means of it the province might
be brought to a specie basis.
" Some observations " was in the form of a letter, and this
letter was dated " Boston, Feb. 1. 1737, 8." Its publication
was followed by the appearance of an anonymous pamphlet
without date, issued by the same publishers and bearing the
following title :
An Essay concerning silver and paper currencies, more especially
with regard to the British Colonies in New-England.
1910.] VALENTINE-VANS CURRENCY PAMPHLETS. 431
This was from the pen of Dr. Douglass and was evidently
inspired by the appearance of the former pamphlet. The
doctor, although he did not approve of the scheme of the
Boston merchants, nevertheless felt called upon to expose and
refute some of the heresies contained in " Some observations."
The Essay is twenty-three pages in length, and the first four-
teen pages of it are devoted to the discussion of silver curren-
cies. Then paper currencies are taken up, and finally the
last nine pages contain criticisms of separate paragraphs ex-
tracted from " Some observations." The Essay was obviously
written in 1738, immediately after the appearance of the
pamphlet which brought it forth, and was unquestionably
published at once, the probability being that this took place
in the fall of that year.
Dr. Douglass, through his work on the Essay, evidently
became much interested in the subject of the currency, and in
1740 when the Land Bank and the Silver Bank engaged in
their struggle to secure, each for itself, a charter from the
province under which they might respectively emit bills of
credit, he again entered the field as the defender of hard
money and in addition thereto as the denouncer of the Land
Bank and the exposer of its iniquities. His contribution this
time, through the same publishers, was
A Discourse concerning the currencies of the British plantations in
America. Especially with regard to their paper money ; more particu-
larly, in relation to the province of the Massachusetts-Bay, in New
The pamphlet was forty-seven pages in length, was anony-
mous, and the place and date of its publication were given as
The author of " Some observations " was prompted by the
cavalier way in which his pamphlet was torn to pieces by Dr.
Douglass in his " Essay concerning silver and paper curren-
cies " to return to the field of battle and defend himself as
best he could. He was deliberate in his motions and published
in 1740, through S. Kneeland and T. Green, a pamphlet
An Inquiry into the nature and uses of money ; more especially of
the bills of publick credit, old tenor. Together with a proposal of some
proper relief in the present exigence. To which is added, a reply to
the Essay on silver and paper currencies.
432 MASSACHUSETTS HISTORICAL SOCIETY. [Mar.
Following the plan of Douglass, he devoted the first part of
his pamphlet to his general topic, and on the forty-fifth page
took up the specific subject of the teachings of the " Essay "
which he proceeded to riddle for eighteen pages more. While
he was running the pamphlet through the press, Douglass's
Discourse came out, and to this he felt called upon to reply.
He therefore added a hasty postscript of fifteen pages, and
in this form, with the postscript appended, the "Inquiry" was
anonymously issued, making a volume of seventy-eight pages.
To the " Inquiry " Douglass proceeded to make answer at
once, and notwithstanding the fact that the Discourse had been
in the hands of the booksellers for some time, and that the
Inquiry actually contained a reply to the Discourse, he pub-
lished his refutal of the doctrine of the "Inquiry," in the form
of a postscript to the Discourse, beginning with page forty-
nine and ending with page sixty-two. Naturally we find to-
day on the shelves of our libraries the Discourse without the
Postscript, the Postscript without the Discourse, and the Dis-
course and the Postscript together.
The five pamphlets which have been heretofore described
were put upon the market separately and were also collated,
stitched together, bound with a paper cover and sold as a
whole, the order of their arrangement in this book being
" Some observations," " An Essay concerning silver and paper
currencies," " A Discourse concerning the currencies," " An
Inquiry into the nature and uses of money," and the " Post-
script to the Discourse," or the " Postcript to the Discourse "
as the title was actually given.
These details concerning the publication and chronological
arrangement of this series of pamphlets may seem to be of little
consequence, but their comprehension is essential because we
have in " Some Observations," and in " An Inquiry," two
pamphlets from the pen of Hugh Vans, one of the pamphlet-
eers with whom we deal today, while on the other hand it
was through the detachment of the postscript to Douglass's
" Discourse," from the body of that pamphlet and its separate
publication, that the fact became known to me that in 1720
John Valentine, then attorney general of the province, pub-
lished a small three-page brochure under designation of " The
Postscript." * It is true that this Postscript is referred to in
1 Reprinted in Colonial Currency Reprints, Prince Soc, I. 444-448.
1910.] VALENTINE-VANS CURRENCY PAMPHLETS. 483
1720 by title by one or two of the participants in this polem-
ical discussion, but the references were so contemptuous and
brief that it did not convey to me a clear idea that a separate
pamphlet had been actually published under that name. The
narrative of the circumstances under which I became aware
of this fact will reveal the curious manner in which Douglass's
Postscript aided in the contribution of a new number to the
list prepared by me of currency tracts of the eighteenth
In the course of my work as editor of a set of reprints of
the currency tracts of the eighteenth century which are
about to be published by the Prince Society, I made out a
list of those which were known to me, and forwarded the same
in a circular letter to several of our most prominent libraries,
asking each library to designate which of the publications
named were to be found oil its shelves. In the preparation of
this list, the question arose, Was the Postscript to Douglass's
Discourse a separate publication? After some reflection, I
determined, notwithstanding the fact that it began with page
forty-nine, that it was separately issued and was entitled to
reproduction in my series, in chronological order after the
" Inquiry into the nature and uses of money." The re-
sponse to my circular letter from, the Library of Congress
stated that their copy of the Postscript was published in 1720,
not 1740. This led of course to further investigation, and to
the disclosure that in this little three-page brochure having
for its sole title the words "The Postscript" we had a tract
connected with the currency controversy entirely new to me.
It was possible that it might be found in other libraries. My
inquirj' had been as to the presence of the Postscript to the
Discourse published in 1740, and in answering the question,
there was no special reason why any librarian should have gone
outside the direct answer to the specific question. Special
inquiry revealed the fact that the American Antiquarian
Society has a mutilated copy of the Postscript. This copy
was originally folded so that it might be filed away in a letter
file, and in the course of time the paper became weak at the
folds, and the strips at the edges dropped off and were lost.
Whoever filed it away wrote upon the upper right-hand
corner of the first page the words, " By Mr. Valentine ye
[ ]." It was a fair presumption that the miss-
434 MASSACHUSETTS HISTORICAL SOCIETY. [Mar.
ing words required to iill the blank were in substance some
term descriptive of Valentine's position which originally was
written upon the strip of paper that had become detached and
If in our examination of the careers of these two pam-
phleteers, Vans and Valentine, we take up that of the author
of " The Postscript " first and seek to ascertain who " Mr.
Valentine" was, we find that his mark upon the controversial
literature of the period was confined, so far as we can learn,
to this three-page production. The pamphlet was published
in 1720, at a time when the currency controversy was par-
ticularly active. The tentative list prepared by myself of
pamphlets connected with this subject which were published
from 1714 to 1751 inclusive, comprehended, exclusive of news-
paper communications many of which were long enough to
have made good-sized pamphlets, fifty-two titles, and of these
nineteen were issued in the years 1719, 1720, and 1721. Four
of them preceded the Postscript, and of these four " The Dis-
tressed state of the town of Boston considered" was one.
This latter pamphlet, although published anonymously, was
generally recognized as from the hand of John Colman, a
Boston merchant of considerable notoriety and an advocate in
a general way of paper money, but especially of paper money
to be furnished by a private bank of emission. He was one
of the signers of the " Vindication of the bank of credit "
The Postscript contains nothing which should especially
have excited any individuals other than the author of the
" Distressed state " and his personal friends, but its appear-
ance evidently caused some commotion, and the cudgels were
immediately taken up in Colman 's behalf by the author of
A Letter from a Gentleman, containing some Remarks upon the
Several Answers, given unto Mr. Colman's, Entituled, The Distressed
State of the Town of Boston. 1
This letter has been identified as from the pen of Dr. Oliver
Noyes, a well-known Boston man of the day, and in it (p. 3)
Noyes says :
I have also seen a piece of sulled paper Intituled, The Postscript,
which I hastily ran over, but thought it not worth while to give it a
1 Reprinted in " Tracts relating to the Currency," 279 et seq. ; also in Colonial
Currency Reprints, Prince Soc, H. 3 et seq.
1010.] VALENTINE-VANS CURRENCY PAMPHLETS. 435
second reading, being sensible that none but some very mean wretch
could be so simple to think the Cause (of which he would be thought a
Patron) could receive any benefit by the railing of such a Rabshica. 1
However, I put it in my Pocket, thinking it might serve (as dirty as it
was,) for a necessary occasion ; but Sir, I can assure you, you '1 suffer
nothing by such Scurrility.
One other person had participated in the discussion which
had taken place in 1720 up to this time, and that was Rev-
erend Edward Wigglesworth. He had anonymously com-
municated to the Boston News-Letter, April 18, 1720,
The country-mans answer, to a letter intituled, The Distressed state
of the town of Boston considered, 2
and under date of April 23, 1720, had published a pamphlet
A Letter from One in the country to his friend in Boston, contain-
ing some remarks upon a late Pamphlet, entituled The Distressed state
of the town of Boston, &c. s
Neither of these letters was signed, but it is evident that
when the author of the Postscript refers to previous publica-
tions in the controversy, by Rusticus and Agricola, it was to
the News-Letter contribution and the pamphlet of Wiggles-
worth, both of which purported to come from the country,
that he meant to allude. With this knowledge of "the place
occupied by the Postscript in the currency discussion of the
period we may turn to a consideration of the traces left be-
hind him by its author and of his probable relations to his
In these days men who aspire to the elective offices in our
municipalities oftentimes pay large sums of money for the mere
chance of being elected, but in the middle of the eighteenth
century Boston expeoted and even demanded public service
from all of her prominent citizens. The town records and the
records of the selectmen are filled with lists of the names
of persons elected as representatives, selectmen, constables,
viewers of fences, viewers of shingles and measurers of
boards, timber, etc., clerks of the market, hog-reeves, over-
i 2 Kings, 18. 27.
2 Reprinted in Colonial Currency Reprints, Prince Soc, I. 409 et seq.
8 Reprinted in " Tracts relating to the Currency," 247 et seq. ; also in Colonial
Currency Reprints, Prince Soc, i. 415 et seq.
436 MASSACHUSETTS HISTORICAL SOCIETY. [Mar.
seers of the poor, sealers of leather, surveyors of highways,
tithing-men, scavengers, school committeemen, and fire war-
dens. If the name of a male resident of good standing in
Boston at this period does not appear in the records of the
town and of the selectmen,, and that, too, many times, it is a
violation of the rule and raises at once a doubt as to the au-
thenticity of the claim that the person named was in fact a
resident at that time of Boston.
To these records we naturally turn, therefore, in expecta-
tion of finding some recognition of " Mr. Valentine " the
author, provided he were a Boston man. The answer of
these volumes to our question is that the family name of
Valentine is not to be found in the indexes of the records
contemporary with these events. Nevertheless it is extremely
probable that John Valentine of Boston, for many years a
notary public and a justice of the peace, and later the at-
torney general 1 of the province, was the author of the Post-
script, and this too in spite of the further facts that his name
is not to be found among the attorney generals given in Whit-
more's list of civil officers in the province, and that it is
missing in that reservoir of information concerning prominent
residents in Boston in early days, the " History of the Ancient
and Honorable Artillery Company." How the name of a man
filling so -distinguished a position as that of attorney general
escaped Whitmore is not easy to say, although it must be
remembered that the subsequent publication of Sewall's Diary,
where Valentine is spoken of in his official character, and the
greater facilities recently placed at the disposal of the searcher
of our court records would render such an oversight far more
culpable today than it was when Whitmore published his
list. It is quite likely that Valentine's appointment as
notary public, 2 June 3, 1698 and again October 24, 1712,
and December iO, 1715, and his elevation to the position of
justice of the peace 3 April 16, 1718, all of which appoint-
ments are mentioned by Whitmore, may explain the absence
of his name from the Boston records. The simple fact that
the appointments were made is equivalent to pages of biogra-
phy of the man. They stamp him even before he was ele-
vated to the conspicuous position of attorney general, as one
1 2 Proc. x. 289.
2 Whitmore's Mass. Civil List, 162 ; » 126.
1910.] VALENTINE-VANS CURRENCY PAMPHLETS. 437
of the hated class of office-holders through governmental ap-
pointment, with whom in the days of political excitement in
the province the townspeople of Boston had little to do and
for whom in the management of their daily affairs they had
no use whatever. It is not unlikely that the holder of a com-
mission of notary public was the object of more than ordinary
suspicion. Mr. Goodell points out in a note in the first volume
of the Province Laws, 1 that in 1720 the assembly as a whole
asserted its rights under the charter to elect these officers, a
function which up to that time had been exercised by the
governor and council. He also quotes a resolution of the
assembly in December, 1720, forbidding one Joseph Marion
from performing the duties of a notary, the right to do which
was claimed by him under a commission issued by the Arch-
bishop of Canterbury. 2 It will be seen that through this
quarrel over the right of appointment, the office had become a
political sport and holders of a gubernatorial commission were
probably especially unpopular.
Valentine's services as notary have left traces of his career
on our records. 8 The most prominent of these was his ex-
officio service as register of the court in the trial of Captain
Quelch and his company for piracy in 1704. 4 So also the
principal events of his domestic career, his marriage with Mary
Lynde, the daughter of Samuel Lynde, by the Reverend Ben-
jamin Wadsworth, April 16, 1702, 5 and the births of his five
children 6 are recorded and will be found in the book of mar-
riages and the book of births.
Judge Washburn found traces of his work as an attorney
in the records of our courts, and left upon the pages of his
Judicial History of Massachusetts the following appreciation
of his legal capacity : " he manifested great familiarity with
legal principles as well as ability as an advocate. He is said
also to have been 'an agreeable and expressive speaker.' " 7 Mr.
Goodell has collated a number of Valentine's pleas and briefs,
doubtless the same as those which gave rise to Judge Wash-
burn's favorable opinion, and they are to be found in the
i Mass. Prov. Laws, i. 731 ; " I. 732 ; x. 64.
8 New Eng. Hist, and Gen. Reg., xix. 142.
* Mass. Prov. Laws, vm. 391.
6 Boston Rec. Com. Rep., 28. 6 ; 6 24. 17, 24, 88, 110, 125, the births of
Samuel, Elizabeth, Thomas, Mary and Edmund.
i Sketches, 186.
438 MASSACHUSETTS HISTORICAL SOCIETY. [Mail
eighth volume of the Province Laws. His name occurs also in
the House Journal, and is to be found in the volumes in the
Province Laws devoted to resolves. He was a petitioner to
the General Court, December 1, 1719, 1 for an allowance for
travelling expenses and to the representatives November 11,
1720, 2 for an allowance for his official services as attorney
general for the last two years. 3 He is described in this last
petition as "late Attorney General." He was one of the
Boston citizens who received a vote of thanks from the
General Court for their patriotism in taking the loan of
£40,000 in aid of the Hill and Walker Expedition in 1711.*
He showed good judgment in the selection of real estate
investments, for his name is associated with property on what
was then known as Marlborough, but which we now call
Washington Street. 6 His will was probated in 1724 and is to
be found under number 4850 Suffolk files.
A sketch of his life is to be found in " The Valentines in
America," 6 in which it is stated that the family came from
Lancashire, England. This fact enables us to identify him, at
least conjecturally, with the person who is represented in a
contemporary pamphlet entitled " Reflections upon reflec-
tions," 7 as having interfered with the proceedings of a Boston
town meeting held June 10, 1720, for the election of repre-
sentatives. This being the Pretender's birthday, the intruder
proposed that the oaths of allegiance and abjuration should be
administered to all the inhabitants of the town. The writer
says, " This extremely exasperated the Town, to be challenged
by such a d D , when perhaps there are not JfiO more
true and loyal subjects (with humble submission to Lancashire
Jack) in the King's dominions." In an advertisement ap-
pended to " A letter to an eminent clergy-man," 8 the Post-
script is alluded to as the " Lancashire Postscript." These
facts, that is to say, his family coming from Lancashire and
his Postscript being called the Lancashire Postscript, taken in
connection with the additional fact that his name was John,
seem to furnish sufficient warrant for connecting him with
1 Mass. House Jour., 56 ; a 18.
» Mass. Prov. Laws, ix. 694 ; * 191.
6 Boston Rec. Com. Rep., 29. 198.
6 p. 110 ; New Eng. Hist, and Gen. Reg., xx. 221.
1 p 10 ; Reprinted in Colonial Currency Reprints, Prince Soc, u. 110 et seq.
8 p. 241 of Reprint in Colonial Currency Reprints, Prince Soc, n. 227 et seq.
1910.] VALENTINE- VANS CURRENCY PAMPHLETS. 439
" Lancashire Jack " and with the intrusion at the town meeting.
The published record of the meeting contains no reference to
Sewall in his Diary 1 furnishes us with a few interesting
notes. November 27, 1718, the judge speaks of him as our
" new Attorney General," and records the fact that Valentine
entertained the governor, the lieutenant governor and the
judges at supper. If Valentine was a new attorney general in
November, 1718, and if in November, 1720, as " late attorney
general " he petitioned for " an allowance for services during
the last two years," we have a close approximation to his term
of service in that office.
Judge Sewall 2 gives us a hint as to his convivial habits in
noting his presence, January 29, 1719, at Captain Douse's,
where the party drank several bowls of punch. The author
of " Reflections upon reflections," 3 the tract from which we
have already quoted, speaks of him as sitting down " to blot
with his detestable Scurrility, a Paper call'd the Deadham
Postscript ; in which posture were it not just to paint him
(something as I've seen King J ) with the Father of Lyes
at his right hand to instigate and dictate, and an huge Bowl of
exhille rating PUNCH at his left to intoxicate" Even this
bitter attack is not enough for the writer. Continuing his
abuse for about a page of the pamphlet, he makes in the
course of it one more hint as to Valentine's habits which if
it may not necessarily be accepted as true is nevertheless an
infallible sign of the extent to which the man was hated.
" But," says the writer after a reference to a verse in the New
Testament, " what has this man to do with the Gospel ? Has
he ever read Psal. 50. 16, and onward ? Or doth Paul give a
toleration for men to he drunk, and in their Merry Cups to
thresh their wives contrary to Light and Law of Nature as well
as the Gospel?" If we turn to the fiftieth Psalm, the nine-
teenth verse being fairly representative of the sixteenth and
onward will sufficiently indicate why one writing in the mood
of this author should have referred Valentine to it. " Thou
givest thy mouth to evil, and thy tongue frameth deceit."
It would be a relief in recording the death of Valentine,
February 1, 1723-24, if we could close this melancholy story
1 6 Coll. vii. 204; * 211. * p. 8, Colonial Currency Reprints, ii. 114.
440 MASSACHUSETTS HISTORICAL SOCIETY. [Mar.
of rancor, hatred, and abuse with some signs of relenting on
the part of his enemies, but with characteristic complacence
Sewall winds up his reference to the whole matter with a
contemptible and malicious thrust at the widow which was
almost inhuman in its malevolence. It appears that Valentine,
February 1, 1728-24, committed suicide by hanging himself
in the attic of his own house. A coroner's jury returned a
verdict of Non Compos. Arrangements were made for hold-
ing the funeral on Tuesday, February 4, and Sewall narrates
what then took place as follows :
Persons and Bearers were invited, and the Bells Told as customarily
at Funerals. Judge Davenport, and Col. Fitch were invited to be
Bearers, and came. But when they saw Mr. Myles refused to read
the Office of Burial, they ask'd excuse, and went away. Bearers were,
Mr. Secretary Willard, (a titular brother) Mr. Jno. Nelson ; Mr.
Attorney Genl Read, Mr. Eobt Auchmuty ; Mr. Overing and Mr.
Kobinson. Four Justices were there ; Mr. Seer. Willard, Mr. Daniel
Oliver (a Relation of the Widow) Capt. Timo Clark, and Mr. John
Ruck. Five Ministers; Mr. Benjamin Wadsworth, Mr. Thomas
Foxcroft, Mr. Samuel Myles, Mr. Henry Harris, and Mr. Mosmau of
Marblehead, and much people. This Funeral seem'd to me as if the
Widow would brave it out against the Terrible Providence of God :
which caused me to insert in the News-Letter of Feb. 6.
Boston, Feb. 1, 172f.
Quid valet innumeras scire, atque evolvere causas t
Si facienda fugis, si fugienda fads. 1
On the tenth of February Sewall 2 records that against the
advice of Mr. Auchmuty " a fair character" of Valentine had
been inserted by the widow in the " Boston Gazette," and in
the "New-England Courant," and that the "Boston News-
Letter" had been paid to publish it in the number of that
paper forthcoming on the thirteenth.
This made me publish Dr. Increase Mather's Sermon, which was
preach'd about ten days after Merchant [William] Taylor 8 hang'd
himself with a new Snaffle Bridle. Advertisement of the sermon
printed is inserted in the News-Letter March 19.
Sure enough in the News-Letter of that date we find adver-
tised as for sale,
i 5 Coll. vii. 330 ; 2 331. 8 July 12, 1682, — 5 Coll. v. 49.
1910.] VALENTINE-VANS CURRENCY PAMPHLETS. 411
A Call to the Tempted. A Sermon on the horrid Crime of Self
Murder, Preached on a Remarkable Occasion, by the Memorable Dr.
Increase Mather. And now Published from his Notes, for a Chari-
table Stop to suicides. Sold by Samuel Gerrish, at his Shop near the
Brick Meeting-House in Corn-hill, Boston. 1
Not content with seeking to deprive the poor widow of
what comfort she could get from the fact that many friends
stood by her in spite of the calumnious attacks in " Reflections
upon reflections," and in disregard of the refusal of the Rev-
erend Mr. Myles to read the office of burial and of the declina-
tion of the two bearers to serve at the funeral, he had inserted
the ill-tempered lines in the News-Letter of the sixth, and
now to offset what satisfaction she could get from the pub-
lication of the eulogistic notice in the newspapers, he had
caused the Mather sermon to be published. Did he send the
widow a copy ? Doubtless he did.
It is but fair to the memory of Valentine that his friends
should have the last inning. The notice published in the
News-Letter, February 13th, 1724, read as follows :
On Tuesday the 4th instant, The Corps of John Vallentine Esq;
His Majesty's Advocate General for the Provinces of the Massachusetts-
Bay, New- Hampshire and Colony of Rhode Island, was here decently
Interred : He was a Gentleman for his Knowledge & Integrity most
Eminent in his Profession, Clear in his Conceptions, and Distin-
guishable happy in his Expressions. It pleased GOD, some short time
before his Death to deprive him of these Excellent Endowments by
afflicting him with a deep Melancholly which brought on the Loss of his
Keasou, and was the Cause of his much Lamented Death.
Hugh Vans, the author of " Some observations on the
scheme projected for emitting 60,000 1." and of " An Inquiry
into the nature and uses of money," was a Boston merchant
of good standing, who was obviously quite facile with his pen,
but who did not, like Dr. Douglass, his adversary in this con-
troversy, gain renown from his contributions thereto. The
side that he took would today prejudice the public against
him and would militate against the reception by his writings
of the praise to which they are entitled, for he placed himself
on the side of the paper-money men. It must be said in fair-
ness to him that the quality of his work as a controversialist
1 On Valentine, see Foote, Annals of King's Chapel.
442 MASSACHUSETTS HISTORICAL SOCIETY. [Mar.
was superior to that of most of the advocates of paper money.
In his first pamphlet he entered into calculations to show how
the scheme which he had under discussion might in its opera-
tions affect borrowers or lenders, quoted from the province
laws and from writers on finance, and even though he promul-
gated doctrines which are not acceptable today, his treatment
of the subject in this as well as in the second of his pamphlets
was on a much higher plane and betrayed far more studied
preparation than that which characterizes most of the publica-
tions of the day.
Attention was first called to the fact that Vans was the
author of the " Inquiry," in the sixth number of the twelfth
volume of the Bulletin of the New York Public Library, page
394, where the following entry is made. '"By Mr. Hugh
Vance, Mercht.' is written on the titlepage in an eighteenth-
century hand." This carries with it the authorship of " Some
observations," which, notwithstanding the views on finance to
be found therein, has been erroneously attributed to Dr.
Douglass. It ought never to have been assigned to Douglass,
for, as we have already seen, the last part of Douglass's Essay
was devoted to an answer to " Some observations," but, how-
ever that may be, Vans himself settled the question of
authorship on page 45 of the " Inquiry," where he acknowl-
edged that " Some observations " was the product of his pen.
The identification of the author of these pamphlets, through
the endorsement on the titlepage of the copy of the " In-
quiry," in the New York Public Library, is corroborated by a
somewhat similar endorsement on the titlepage of the copy in
the " Boston Athenaeum," the legend on which reads, " The
Gift of the Author M r Hugh Vans Me[ ] in Boston, to
— J. Lowell." There may be some doubt as to the termina-
tion of the name of the author in this inscription, for some
indiscreet person has made an entry in ink, resembling a
shelf-mark, directly over the name. With the knowledge to
aid us that the New York copy was attributed to " Hugh
Vance," one can see that the final letters of the name which
are obscured by the numbering placed over them were prob-
ably " ns" and not "nee." A merciless binder has-by indis-
creet trimming eliminated what followed the " Me," but we
could readily supply the remainder of the word " merchant "
without the aid of the writing on the New York copy of the
1910.] VALENTINE- VANS CURRENCY PAMPHLETS. 443
The name of the family is supposed to have been at one
time De Vans, then to have become Vans, and finally the spell-
ing has been altered in many instances to Vance. 1 The sug-
gestion of French origin for the family carries with it the idea
that they were Huguenots. A hundred years later a grandson
of Hugh, who had inherited the pamphleteering instincts of
his ancestor, gave vent to his feelings as a disappointed litigant
by publishing the story of his grievances. He referred to his
grandfather Hugh Vans as a respectable merchant in the city
of Boston. 2 An allusion to the fact that his ancestry were
French Huguenots is couched in language too fantastic for
reproduction as historic evidence, but the fact that he did so
may be cited as a tradition as to the origin of the family.
Our first trace of the career of " Hugh Vans, Merchant,"
is furnished by himself in " An Inquiry," page 54, where,
speaking of Douglass's statement that about twenty years ago,
that is, in 1718, Sweden had imposed upon the people govern-
ment notes instead of specie, Vans says,
I was in Stockholm, the capital, in the year 1718, being the last of
Charles XII and never then or since heard of any State-Bills passing
about that time, . . .
In 1725 he was elected constable, but was excused from
service. 3 He joined that year in an agreement made by the
greater part of the Boston merchants not to purchase from
Marblehead fishermen dried codfish at above a certain stipu-
lated price. 4 In 1726 he was elected constable and was again
excused. 5 August 17, 1726, he was married bj' the Reverend
Joseph Sevvall to Mary Pemberton, a daughter of Reverend
Ebenezer Pemberton of the Old South Church, 6 and between
that time and the year 1733 inclusive there were registered, as
offspring of this marriage, four children, three sons and a
1 Hayden's Virginia Genealogies, 457.
2 " A New Edition of the demand of William Vans, on Stephen Codman,"
Boston, 1824, 11.
8 Boston Rec. Com. Rep., 8. 194.
4 Winthrop papers, Mass. Hist. Soc, 21. fol. 2, MS.
6 Boston Rec. Com. Rep., 8. 201.
6 Boston Rec. Com. Rep., 28. 135; also "An Appeal to the Public by William
Vans," Salem 1827, 99.
7 Boston Rec. Com. Rep., 24. 184, 195, 200, 210.
444 MASSACHUSETTS HISTORICAL SOCIETY. [Mab.
March 10, 1735-36, Vans was put on a committee to audit
the Boston treasurer's accounts, 1 and on the 28th of April,
1736, was one of the committee regularly appointed from year
to year to prepare instructions for the representatives from
Boston to the General Court. The proposed instructions were
submitted on the 21st of May, but the report was not con-
sidered until May 24. The committee asserted that our laws,
liberties and properties were in danger. They therefore re-
quested the representatives " to guard against, and defend us
from, all encroachments that may be attempted against our
natural rights or charter privileges." They called attention to
the royal instructions relative to calling in bills of public credit
and said that the distressing condition of the province rendered
compliance with these orders impracticable if not impossible. 2
July 23, 1736, Vans was chosen assessor, but exercising the
same facili'ty for evading a duty that he did not care to per-
form as had secured him relief from service as constable and
as overseer of the poor, he was again excused. 3 September
21, 1737, 4 he was put on a committee to address the General
Court in behalf of the town of Boston in regard to the dis-
proportionate charge for the expenses of the representatives,
under which it was believed that the town was suffering.
This committee reported on the 23d. 5
May 10, 1738, Vans was again put on the committee to
draw up instructions for the Boston representatives in the Gen-
eral Court. 6 They were to deal with the trade of the province ;
the paper currency ; the extraordinary proportion of the public
taxes, which it was apprehended that the town was paying;
and also they were to discuss the proposed division of the
county of Suffolk. The report of this committee, submitted
May 17, fills nearly four pages in the published reports of the
commissioners of records. 7 It deals with the Rhode Island
bills of public credit, which the committee say " our necessities
compel us to use." It discusses the proportion of taxation
borne by Boston, and it enjoins the representatives
not to consent to any further Supply of the Treasury for any growing
Charge of the Province Unless the Funds for discharging the same be
put on sutable Years after Seventeen Hundred and Forty One.
i Boston Rec. Com. Rep., 12. 135, 138, 143; * 145-147; » 151; * 175.
6 Boston Rec. Com. Rep., 12. 177, 178; "195; 1 197-201.
1910.] VALENTINE-VANS CURRENCY PAMPHLETS. 445
The representatives are also enjoined
to Oppose the foreclosing the Deliberations of future Assemblies between
this, and Seventeen Hundred and Forty One, relating to the Bills of
Public Credit of the Old Tenor ; but that they may be left free to Act
when the Years shall come, According as they shall judge most Advis-
able for the safety of the Province.
The representatives were practically urged to get rid of the
new tenor bills and to re-instate the old tenor. The general
purport of the instructions was, — Do what you can to impede
the enforcement of the royal instructions in the currency
November 21, 1738, Vans was on another committee whose
function was to prepare a report, this time being appointed
chairman. 1 May 2, 1739, 2 he was again on the committee to
prepare instructions to the representatives. A lengthy report
of the same general style and character as the one before re-
ferred to, was submitted by this committee May 18. 8 March 9,
1740, he was chairman of a committee to inquire into en-
croachments upon the town's rights on Fort Hill. 4 He was
put to further service in this matter by being put on a com-
mittee to wait upon the captain general. 5
In 1746 he was apparently a selectman, and as such was made
ex-officio a member of a committee on the 22d of September,
to wait upon his Excellency the Governour, and the Honorable the
Council to Inform them that the Town apprehending great Danger
arising to em by such a number of persons Subjects to the French
King, being allowed to pass and Eepass the Streets as they now do,
desired the Selectmen to Apply to two of His Majestys Justices of the
peace (Quorum Unus) to Grant a Warrant to Apprehend and Secure
'em in prison pursuant to a law of this province, which the Selectmen
accordingly did, and the Constables of the Town by Virtue thereof ap-
prehended about one hundred French Persons and Carried 'em to his
Majestys Goal in Boston, but the High Sheriff of this County treated
the said Warrant in a very Contemptious manner and Would not receive
the said persons therein mentioned, nor suffer 'em to Remain there and
so they again go at large, 6 . . .
This committee reported, September 25, that Governor Shirley
demanded that the charges against the sheriff be put in writ-
1 Boston Rec. Com. Bep., 12. 203; 2 222; * 224-229; * 264; » 287.
6 Boston Rec. Com. Rep., 14. 104, 105.
446 MASSACHUSETTS HISTORICAL SOCIETY. [Mar.
ing. Such charges were prepared and were submitted Sep-
tember 27th, and again Vans as selectman was ex-officio a
member of the committee to wait upon the governor and
council, and present the charges. 1
April 11, 1748, the wardens of King's Chapel petitioned for
a grant of land for the enlargement of the chapel. Vans was
put on the committee to consider the propriety of the grant. 2
The last mention of his name that we find in the records, if
not so pathetic as that with which the notice of Valentine was
closed, is nevertheless of a sort to excite our sympathy. Feb-
ruary 6, 1758, in his old age, after a career of activity in his
own and in town affairs, he was adjudged a bankrupt. 3
Our review of the traces left behind them of these two
forgotten pamphleteers has revealed to us, on the one hand,
the career of an office-holder, obviously haughty in manner,
and aristocratic in his way of life, a follower of the little pro-
vincial court set up by the governor, a cultivated lawyer, an
adroit special pleader, and a looker down upon the crude
attempts of his fellow citizens to wrest from the governor and
council some of the powers of government which had been
taken from them through the annulment of the colonial
charter and the substitution therefor of a provincial govern-
ment. Fiercely hated, he was atrociously maligned. Let us
hope that there was no foundation for these assaults.
On the other hand, as we follow the career of Vans, we
have glimpses of a man who has been something of a traveller
and who evidently was a free and easy writer. The presence of
his name year after year upon town committees the main func-
tions of which were to prepare reports indicates that his fel-
low citizens appreciated his capacity as an author. It is plain
that he was radically opposed to Valentine upon every politi-
As a currency writer he was on the paper-money side, and it
has already been said that his methods betrayed some study
of the subjects upon which he wrote and placed him as a writer
upon a higher plane than most of his compatriots on that side
of the question. We have already had occasion to call atten-
tion to his reply to Douglass's statement as to the government
notes of Sweden in 1718. To what has been already quoted
i Boston Rec. Com Rep., 14. 106 ; 2 145.
8 Mass. Prov. Laws, iv. 108.
1910.] EEBORS IN THE HARVARD TRIENNIAL. 447
Vans added that what Gortz did was to emit copper coins with
nominal ratings of value, such that they were mere tokens,
and that the trouble was caused by the fact that to these there
was attached a legal tender function. In speaking of the
Bank of Venice, Vans makes no mention of notes emitted by
the bank, but discusses fully the function of the bank credit
which was made use of in place of notes. Douglass had
spoken of the bills of the Bank of Venice, a statement for
which he could have found justification through the use of
the same words by many other writers, but when the doctor
in his criticisms in the opening portions of the Postscript to
the Discourse came to what Vans had said of the Bank of
Venice, he did not undertake to refute him, but turned the
subject off with a mere assertion that Vans had given "an
imperfect account of the Bank of Venice and Amsterdam, of
Baron Gorts Mint tokyns in Sweeden, " etc. In other words,
he was not quite prepared to discuss this question in detail.
On the whole, it may be said, then, that our pamphleteer
on the patriotic side makes a fairly good record for himself.
He appears before us as an honored citizen of Boston, whom
his fellow citizens made use of from year to year upon impor-
tant committees. He published pamphlets which contain
within their pages marks of study and of intellectual capacity
for independent analysis. His whimsical theories must not be
judged by the standards of today. The paper-money men of
that time were the pioneers in the promulgation of the doc-
trines of credit, which have res'ulted in the wonderful devel-
opment of the use of money in our day, through bank-bills,
checks and drafts. The doctrines of the hard-money men
applied to their full extent would have held the world back
in its progress. Neither side in the discussion appreciated
fully what they were talking about. It is for us today to
recognize merit where we can see it, whether on the one side
or the other.
Dr. Green communicated the following facts relating to
the Harvard Triennial:
Ever since my graduation at Harvard, alas ! so many years
ago, I have taken a deep interest in the Triennial, as it used
to be called. Many a time I have worked over dates and other
facts about graduates, as Mr. Sibley, the editor, if he were
448 MASSACHUSETTS HISTORICAL SOCIETY. [Mae.
alive, could testify ; and my experience in such matters has
been amusing, even if not important.
For instance, the name of Matthew Bridge Parker appeared
in the catalogue among the medical graduates of 1830, where
it remained for fifty years. Following different clews, I had
tried in many ways to trace his subsequent life, but all to no
purpose. Seeing that he was at the Medical School in the
same class with Dr. Willard Parker (A.B. 1826 et M.D. 1830),
— a distinguished physician of New York, — whom I knew
very well, I determined to ask him.
One evening while calling at his house I inquired after his
namesake, when he replied at once that a singular error had
been made in regard to the name in the catalogue, which he
himself had intended to correct, but for one reason or another
had neglected to do so. He told me that the Doctor had
settled in Springfield and that his name was not Parker at all,
but Baker ; and furthermore that he had been dead many years.
Acting on this intelligence, I wrote promptly to the late Dr.
David P. Smith of that city, who informed me that Dr. Baker's
widow was living at Deerfield, and that I must look in that
direction for further facts. On writing to Mr. Sheldon, the
antiquary of the town, I was told that Mrs. Baker was then
living in Cambridge, and that she was the proper person to
furnish the desired information. On giving to Mr. Sibley the
result of my inquiries he, knowing her quite well, expressed
some surprise, as Mrs. Baker was not only a neighbor of his,
but he was in the habit of seeing her often. This instance
is a good illustration of hunting in distant places for what
may be found near to one's own door-stone.
Another amusing instance is that connected with the name
of Dr. James Barr (M.D. 1817), of New Ipswich, New Hamp-
shire, though his name did not appear in the catalogue until
the edition of 1830. At that period names were printed in
Latin, and his name is there given as " Johannes Barre."
While trying to trace him, it occurred to me to examine his
signature as he wrote it when he entered the Medical School.
Much to my joy, I there found that the final " e " was simply
a penman's flourish at the end of his name. For more than
fifty years this stupid mistake was kept up in the catalogue,
and the change was not made until the issue of 1885, when
the name was correctly given as James Barr.
1910.] STUART-MURRAY LETTERS. 449
Dr. Barr was a physician well known in his neighborhood ;
and I went to school with his son at Groton as far back as the
year 1841. I knew the father as a boy knows a man much
older than himself. The late James Barr Ames, Dean of the
Law School, was a grandson of the physician.
Mr. Ford submitted some letters from the James Murray
Robbing papers, now in the Society's collections, and a copy
of a letter from John Brown, the uncompromising critic of
Benedict Arnold, the original of which is in the possession of
Mr. Archibald M. Howe, of Cambridge. The first of the
Stuart letters is concerned in the famous decision of Lord
Mansfield in the case of the slave James Lancaster.
William Trton to James Murray.
No Carolina, Brunswick, 19th July, 1766.
Sir, — I have had the pleasure to receive both your letters wherein
you request a Renewal of your leave of absense for another year. My
Complyance to this request, was it in my power to gratify it, would at
present be of no signification ; as by His Majesty's Instructions bearing
date of the 19th Feby 1766, I am ordered to call together, the Persons,
whose Names are inclosed, whom His Majesty has appointed to be the
Members of His Council for this Province. In my next Dispatches
to the Lords of Trade, I shall acquaint their Lordships Mr. Richd.
Spaight was Dead before I came into this Province ; and that on my
Arrival here, I found you Senior Member of His Majestys Council.
If you are of opinion your being excluded from the Council, arises
from any Mistake in Office, it is necessary you should write Home on
that Subject, and if reinstated to obtain His Majesty's permission for
your longer absenting yourself from this Colony. The Assembly of
this Province, I had prorogued to the 30th. of October next before
I knew anything of the Repeal of the Stamp Act. At which time,
I hope the Legislature will meet, with United Hearts, and Generous
Sentiments. I am Sir, with my Complts. to Mrs. Murray and family,
Your Obedient Humble Servt. 1
P. S. I have desired Mr. Elwin to answer the other parts of your
letter and acknowledge your Civilities to me.
John Brown to Mrs. Elizabeth Arnold. 2
Y[ale] College, April 7th, 1771.
Dear Relative, — I received your Letters dated March 17, 1771,
the Favour of Mr. Channiug, for which I return you sincere thanks.
1 Try on had qualified as lieutenant governor April 3, 1765.
2 Of Providence, R. I.
450 MASSACHUSETTS HISTORICAL SOCIETY. [Mar.
You wrote to me concerning the late Mrs. Arnold Books which was
reserved for me according to my request. Madam, I must tell you
that there has been much disorder in College since I wrote you my
former Letter. We complained that we were oppressed in respect to
Commons which was most manifestly the Case ; but the authority of
College not being of our opinion, and refusing to redress us in our
way, we left College and went home, and in about 3 weeks I with
several others of my Class were cited to meet the Trustees of said
College on the 23d. of instant April : and what the Inquisition or Star
Chamber Court may determine concerning the matter is uncertain.
They intend to expel several, but as we have the civil authority on our
side, we do not intend to be expelled. So that it is impracticable for
me to come to Providence until after our tryal.
Madam, as to the Books I would have you put them to sale at your
Pleasure, and send me a line as to the time when (for I suppose you
will make the sale publick) and if it be possible I will attend. I left
all Friends well at Sandisfield on the first of Instant April. From
your loving Brother. 1
To William Channing.
Sr. Permit me to give you thanks for your Kindness to Mrs. Arnold,
and pray you to take such care of her affairs as she may request or
your Prudence may direct.
I shall be at Providence most certainly after examination, and before,
if I get out of my case as I hope to. Sr, as I have nothing of News,
I shall conclude by subscribing myself your" most humble servant.
Charles Stuart to James Murray.
London, 15th June, 1772.
Dear Sir, — We had a long tract of easterly winds after you
sailed, which I hope gave you a short and pleasant passage, and that
you found Mrs. Murray and all your friends happy and well. There is
but little alteration among those you left here. C. Murray is married,
and must think of going to Madeira soon, for Mr. Cheap has come
home. He was sued by the Master of the London tavern ; the damages
were laid at £100 and the jury gave 30; he came off pretty well; but
had it been worse his friends could not advise him to make the con-
cessions demanded on the other side after the steps that had been taken
against him. Nothing is done yet in the proposed arrangement about
the Collector at Charlestown ; the objection I 'm told is that it is
thought too good a thing for the Gentlemen who offered to change.
My namesake D stands still fair for a seat at the board, when
1 See Archibald M. Howe, " Colonel John Brown, of Pittsfield," 1908.
1910.] STUART-MURK AY LETTERS. 451
there is an opening; he had taken his passage in this ship, but has
deferred going for some time on account of a formal complaint lodged
against him at the treasury by Mr. W s for malpractise in his office.
He has been told by Lord North and both Secretaries that the com-
plaint was not taken up, that it made no impression to his prejudice,
and that he need not pay any regard to it ; but his Highland pride will
not allow him to go abroad and leave any charges of that kind un-
answered, and he has got a promise that they shall be both heard on
the subject at the board next thursday. Whenever they are heard
I have no doubt but the charge will retort with shame and disgrace on
the accuser, who has this merit, however, as he says himself, that he
makes it entirely from a principle of conscience, for he never was
officially in Mr. S[tuart]'s post; but some will be ill-natured enough to
ascribe it to a more ungenerous motive, a mean low resentment for
standing between him and a favourite object. I am sorry the man
should expose himself so much.
I suppose you will be desirous to hear how the negroe cause goes on.
There have been two more hearings in it. I did not attend either, but
am told that some young Council flourished away on the side of liberty
and acquired great honour. Dunning was dull and languid, and would
have made a much better figure on that side also. Lord Mansfield said
it was a cause of the greatest importance, that great inconveniences
and ill consequences must attend the decision of it either way, and
therefore he would not give judgement in it except insisted on by the
parties. In that case he would take the opinion of all the Judges. If
they agreed, judgment should be pronounced ; if not, the cause must be
argued again before them all ; in the meantime he strongly recom-
mended to make it up, hinted at emancipating the slave, and advised
the West India merchants, etc. to apply to Parliament for an act for
farther securing their property. Upon the whole, every body seems
to think it will go in favour of the negroe. The West India Planters
and Merchants have taken it off my hands, and I shall be entirely
directed by them in the further defence of it. It has brought my name
forward, or rather that of Capt Stewart, James Stewart, Esqr. etc.,
much more than I would wish. The papers however have been toller-
ably decent with respect to me ; but I am very sorry for the load of
abuse thrown on L[or]d M[ansfield] for hesitating to pronounce judge-
ment in favour of freedom. Dunning has come in also for a pretty
good share for taking the wrong side. 1 This general subject of conver-
1 " The court of King's Bench gave judgment in the case of Somerset the
slave, viz. that Mr. Stuart his master had no power to compel him on board a
ship, or to send him back to the plantations. Lord Mansfield stated the matter
thus : The only question before us is, Is the cause returned sufficient for remand-
ing the slave ? If not, he must be discharged. The cause returned is, the slave
absented himself, and departed from his master's service, and refused to return
452 MASSACHUSETTS HISTORICAL SOCIETY. [Mar.
sation, of which I have been involuntarily the cause, is now suspended
for a time by a most unhappy event which has reduced many worthy
families from easy, and some of them opulent, circumstances to absolute
Fordyce the Banker has failed for, some say, £300,000, others half
a million, all gone in the Alley, where he had at one time made up-
wards of £100,000, — a sum too trifling to gratify his ambition, and
has pulled down with him a numerous and respectable set of friends,
connections and relations. Several houses have already stop'd, but as
he was engaged in an immense paper circulation, this ruin spreads like
a deluge, and no body can guess where it will end. It falls chiefly on
our Country-men, except his three partners in the banking business,
who had no concern in his other schemes. My particular friends are
no other ways affected by it than in their feelings for some worthy
genteel families, some with 6, others 8 young Children, reduced from
affluence to real want. One good man of my acquaintance in the
decline of life told me lately that he had arranged his little matters and
settled a plan for being easy and comfortable the rest of his days. He
too is by this stroke strip'd of nearly his all. Poor Lady Margaret,
though brought up with genteel ceconomy in a large noble family,
Lord Belcarras's, on a small fortune, must now feel a sad reverse in
falling from the high, gay and expensive way of living to which his
pride and vanity had introduced her. In short nothing like this has
happened since Touchits bankruptcy, and that came far short of it.
I wish I could now contrast this scene of distress that I have given
you some faint idea of; for that I must refer you to yourself, and I most
sincerely hope you will ever find the reverse of the picture in your
worthy family, friends and connections. Happy in these, with an easy
competency, in a genteel retreat under the shade of your own fig tree,
and undisturbed by the folly and frauds of ambitious villains, (other-
ways than by the pain a good mind will ever feel for the distresses of
his fellow creatures,) you will not envy even those you left here behind
you dancing attendance on the great, dreading their frowns und court-
ing their favour. 1
and serve him during his stay in England ; whereupon, by his master's orders,
he was put on board the ship by force, and there detained in secure custody, to
be carried out of the kingdom, and sold. So high an act of dominion was never
in use liere ; no master ever was allowed here to take a slave by force to be sold
abroad, because he had deserted from his service, or for any other reason what-
ever. We cannot say the cause set forth by this return is allowed or approved
of by the laws of this kingdom, therefore the man must be discharged." — Annual
Register, 1772, 110. See also Campbell, "Lives of the Chief Justices of Eng-
land," in. 316; 20 State Trials, 1.
i June 11. " The banking-house of Messrs. Neal, James, Pordyce, and
Down, stopped payment. Other failures have since happened In consequence of
the former. The consternation at first was general throughout the city ; but by
1910.] STUART-MURRAY LETTERS. 453
All the world is now at the installation of the Knights of the Bath.
I think three guineas may be better bestowed some other way, and my-
self better employed in conversing with an absent friend. I have not
seen your Brother since you left us. Mr. and Mrs. Elmsley etc. are
pretty well. Palmer does not seem to gaiu ground; I'm afraid his
disorder is too well fixed; you will receive a letter from him by Mr.
Harrison. Sir Sam Duckingfield has come home to settle his affairs
here, sell his estate, and return to Carolina. Who wou'd not do the
same that could ? My best regards to Mrs. Murray, Mrs. Gordon and
her young folks, Mr and Mrs Inman, Miss Murray and all your
friends. Adieu. I shall hope to hear from you soon, and am, My
Dear Sir, your affectionate, humble servant.
London, 22 June, 1772.
Dear Sir, — I wrote to you twice by Mr Harrison juu r under
cover to Mr. Coffin. In one of them I mentioned Fordyce's bank-
ruptcy and some of the unhappy consequences of it ; but that letter
can give you but a faint idea of the dreadful scene that is now opened
by the Bank refusing to discount an amazing quantity of Scotch bills
now in circulation. In consequence of this, several capital houses here
and at Edinburgh have already stop'd, many more are expected, and
there is an allmost general stagnation of credit. The Bank of Douglas,
Heron & Co. is the chief cause of this by issuing their notes too
liberally. Their bills have been refused acceptance here and are re-
turned upon them, which must throw all Scotland into the uttmost con-
fusion, and an allmost geuerall bankruptcy must be the consequence.
In short the present confusion and distractions were never equalled
since the South Sea year. The Dukes of Queensbery and Bucleugh
have offered their credit, and landed property to the amount of mil-
lions is bound, but that will not pay bills when due, and could not
the spirit of the merchants, and the timely interposition of the Bank of England,
many of the numerous bankruptcies that were expected, it is hoped, are pre-
vented, and that trade will resume its former channel.
" The news of Messrs. Neal, Fordyce, James, and Down, having stopt pay-
ment, was received at Edinburgh, just 43 hours after it happened at London.
Edinburgh is distant from London above 425 miles.
June 22. " It is beyond the power of words to describe the general consterna-
tion of the metropolis at this instant. No event for fifty years past has been
remembered to have given so fatal a blow both to trade and public credit. An
universal bankruptcy was expected, the stoppage of almost every banker's
house in London was looked for. The whole city was in an uproar; many of
the first families in tears. This melancholy scene began with a rumour that one
of the greatest bankers in London has stopped, which afterwards proved true.
A report at the same time was propagated, that an immediate stop of the
greatest must take place. Happily this report proved groundless : the principal
merchants assembled, and means were immediately concerted to revive trade,
and preserve the national credit." — Annual Register, 1772, 109, 110.
454 MASSACHUSETTS HISTORICAL SOCIETY. [Mar.
avert the present storm. You will grieve to hear that the Adelphi
may probably become a heap of ruine, and the noble plan of the pro-
jection never be compleated, for they are gone. I was unhappily pre-
mature in saying that my particular friends were no otherways affected
than by their feelings for others whom they loved and esteemed ; they
thought so then, but they are now in the number of the fallen, with a
largje sum of mine in their hands. I don't mention the sum to Mr.
Coffin or any person, indeed it is of no consequence to any one but my-
self, for no body else can suffer by it (except perhaps some poor orphans
who will now have a less generous protection than I wished to afford
them.) However I will tell you that the sum is £3000. I do not
exactly know the state of my private account- with the office, but as far
as I can judge of it at present, if Mr Coffin agrees to the proposal of
paying £450 per annum, (which he seems to like better than any of
the others,) and of leaving £1000 in my hands without interest, and
will credit my account by all the bonds, bills, etc., due to me in his
hands, the balance will- not be great, and may be discharged by my
salary etc. as it becomes due. Such of these bonds, etc., as he does not
chuse to take to his own account, I must now desire that he will en-
deavour to get payment of them as soon as possible ; but the chief pur-
port of -my writing now is to desire that he will not draw upon me.
Indeed I do not suppose he will, as there does not appear to be
any cause for it. I have still left here about six months subsistence,
and for the rest, shall depend on remittances from Virginia where I
have considerably more than I owe to the office. How happy my lot
compared with the accumulated distress all around me ! I dare say Mr.
Coffin has already accepted one or other of the propositions I made
him, and I hope the one mentioned above : but if he should have
drawn on me before this reaches you, I must entreat that he im-
mediately make a remittance to answer it, otherways his bills must be
returned. I shall make no apology for drawing you from your pleas-
ant retreat, if the business of an absent friend in such a general
calamity calls you to Town to talk this matter over with Mr Coffin ;
your goodness will excuse it. I can say no more, am just going to
that scene of woe, the City, to try to serve a friend and brother
sufferer, with this great addition to his distress — he has a wife and
three children. Adieu, My Dear Good Sir, Your's affectionately.
John Murray to James Murray.
Norwich, July 10, 1772.
Dear Brother, — As I wrote you a long letter 16th April last I
have little more at present to say, yet as I have wrote lately to my
other friends and your Sister is writing to the Girls I would not let
1910.] STUART-MURRAY LETTERS. 455
slip the Opportunity. — I hope this will find you safe at Brush-hill and
refreshed after the fatigue of your European excursion which I shall
be glad to hear has answered your purpose. — You will be informed by
the public Papers of the Bustle which has been among the Bankers
and the allarm among the monied people of London. Matters are
apparently put to rights but paper Credit is in a manner destroyed and
fresh Bankruptries are happening every day. Norwich was thought to
be pretty safe as few here speculated much yet one Mr. Scot a very
worthy Manufacturer has run the risque of losing L. 7000 by the failure
of a Mr. Hague Merchant in London his Son-in-Law. — An eminent
Manufacturer has sold off in time it is said to prevent a Statute, two
more and those Quakers too have not been so prudent, and it is
whispered that a very considerable house is about to decline trade
which has of late been very indifferent owing as it is said in part to
foreign failures ; in part to goods being fabricated elsewhere at a
cheaper rate, but with me unbounded Luxury operates more power-
fully against us than any other cause, and it is so general that it seems
odious for any individual not to live up to his income.
With regard to my concerns I have to inform you that an unexpected
Success in two particular cases opposite to the peremptory prognostic
of two of the most eminent of my Bretheren has at the same time in-
creased my Reputation and the Jealousy of those Bretheren who are
nevertheless openly complaisant. Our New Hospital opens to-morrow
for out Patients but it will not come to my Turn to prescribe before 3d
next Month, soon after which I shall inform you of my success. . . .
Your most affectionate and obliged Brother.
Chakles Stcakt to James Murray.
Lohdon, 5th August, 1772.
Dear Sir, — I have done myself the pleasure of writing to you
several times since you left us, and was extremely glad to hear lately
of your safe arrival. Though your passage was long, I hope it was not
otherways disagreeable, and that you found Mrs. Murray and all your
friends as well as you would wish them.
The unhappy situation of affairs here with respect to credit and
mercantile business, of which I attempted to give you some idea in my
last letters, is something mended, but a general suspicion still prevails,
and failures and stoppages happen daily. The Bank of Douglas, Heron
& Co. (or Scotch Bank of Air, as John Bull's Sons affect to call it)
have been raising money on most disadvantageous terms, by granting
annuities of 7 years for any one life, or 8 years for two, and it is
said have compleated their Sum. The Alexanders of Edinburgh have
obtained a credit from the Bank of England, and it is expected the
456 MASSACHUSETTS HISTORICAL SOCIETY. [Mar.
Adams will be enabled to go on, at least to finish their present plans.
Messrs. Bogle & Scott have made out a state of their affairs which is
to be laid before their Creditors this Evening. They have good Debts
and Effects sufficient to pay 17/6 in the pound, and a large list of bad
and doubtful debts which they think may make up the other 2/6, but
this will be a work of time, and until the fate of the bills now running
with their names on them, but which should be paid by others if they
are able, is known, no judgment can be formed how their Affairs will
I have several letters from Mr. Coffin 1 up to the 29 May, which last
is one of the most unpleasant I ever received, for it contains nothing
but evasive excuses for not sending the Accounts, I have been writing
for most earnestly ever since the beginning of December, to be laid
before the Auditors, and which he wrote me a month or six weeks
before (for there is no date to that and some other of his letters,) were
in such forwardness that he expected to send them by the Boston in
three weeks, but in his last letter he plainly tells me he cannot say
when they will be sent. One excuse is that he waited for the Board's
directions for the application of the salaries by establishments, though
it appears by an account transmitted at the same time by their Secretary
that such application was actually made for a longer time than he men-
tions. But if he had given the least attention to the directions I sent
him the 4th of December he would have seen that no application of
money to the different branches of the Revenue for which it is either
paid or received, is necessary in the Accounts I wrote for. Another
excuse is that Mr Porter had not examined them, but I know that they
were examined for more than one year before I left Boston, and I
intreated him to send one year's accounts, that is, to the 5th of
January, 1769, as soon as possible, that a beginning might be made
here, by which I might see their mode of business, and could give more
certain directions with regard to the future accounts. His other pre-
tence is as trifling and unsatisfactory as the rest, that there is no time
lost as Mr. Porter's accots will not be sent a long time. I am directed
by my patent to send my Accots but not the Comptroller's which may
come at his leisure, and all my payments or, as it is called here, my
discharge, which make by far the greatest part of my Accounts and will
take up the most time with the Auditors, do not depend on the Comp-
trollers Accounts. I have now written a long letter to Mr Coffin on
the Subject. As my Friend Mr. Stewart knows my anxiety and un-
easiness on this occasion, I have given him a Copy of it and some other
papers, which he will deliver to you. Let me entreat you, my Dear
Sir, to talk seriously to Mr Coffin about it. I am told, and believe,
that he does the business of the Office very well and to the satisfaction
1 Nathaniel Coffin, King's Cashier of the Customs at Boston.
1910.] STUART-MURRAY LETTERS. 457
of the Board, etc, but some other things that I have recommended to
him, and have too much reason to think are neglected, though not so
immediately, are as essentially necessary as the daily duty of it. He
says he has done every thing on his part, but from his contradictory
manner of writing, and his idle excuses, I fear that assertion was pre-
mature. And he hopes I will not leave England till I settle these
matters with the Auditor. That depends entirely on himself. Lord
North was pleased to say to the Sp[anish] Ambassador lately (without
my asking such indulgence which I consider as connected with my
Patent,) that I may stay in England as long as I please; but for any
thing I can see at present, M r Coffin will oblige me to go to Boston to
bring my accounts home to be audited. I need not say how disagree-
able that would be to me, and perhaps to himself, and I must rely on
your good Offices and Mr Stewart's, to prevent it. 1 hope he has
done with Apologies about my private Account, it is idle to make so
many about a thing that may be done in half an hour. . I have indeed
many to make to you for giving you so much trouble in my Affairs. I
am truly concerned for the cause of it, and hope the agreeable Compan-
ion and honest fellow (sometimes improperly so called) will suspend his
jovial humour for a time, lay aside that ruinous Procrastination which
too many of us are apt to give way to, and set in earnest about the
Business on which his Interest and my honour and Credit so much
depend. One word more, and I have done on this disagreeable subject
I have had a hint that he risks too much, and makes too free with the
public money. For God's sake caution him on that head.
Mr Stewart will tell you all our news here, and later than any I can
give you by this Ship. He has been detained by W 's malicious
Charges, and his delay will I hope prove of service to him on the
whole. Lord North has settled with Mr Robinson the Secretary, the
heads of the minute to be made upon it, which, from what I have
heard of it, is in favour of Mr. Stewart, but it cannot be finished until
it is approved by the other Lords, and they are now adjourned for six
weeks. Our other Custom house Friends continue as you left them.
A great point has been carried against Lord Hillsborough in his own
department, the settlement of a Colony on the Ohio, which he has uni-
formly opposed, first in the report of the Board of Trade with the
unanimous concurrence of the other Lords, and afterwards in Council.
He cannot therefore with honour affix the Seals of his Office to a meas-
ure that he has so warmly opposed from Principle, and it is said, will
resign. 1 I have not waited on him since you left us, nor for a long time
before, but intend to make my bow to him to'morrow. Lord Weymouth
and Lord Dartmouth are talked of to succeed him. I shall endeavour
to give you the earliest opportunity of worshiping the rising Sun.
1 Writings of Benjamin Franklin (Smyth), v. 465.
458 MASSACHUSETTS HISTORICAL SOCIETY. [Mar.
Something it is said will be done with Rhode Island, but what or when
I know not, and possibly the matter may end in some ineffectual threats.
I beg you will give my respectful Compliments to Mrs Murray and
all my good Friends, and am with the greatest regard, My Dear Sir,
Your affectionate humble Servant.
Mr. Foed also submitted two letters from the Bigelow mss.,
now in the keeping of the Society, relating to an early inci-
dent in the career of Benjamin Thompson, Count Rumford.
HOPESTILL CAPEN TO JOHN ApPLETON, OF SaLEM.
Boston, 11 Otto 1769.
Sir, — I understand that you have had a young Ladd, not long since,
that live with you, named Benja Thompson. He now offers himself to
live with me, saying that he was sick was the Occasion of his comeing
from you, and that now Business is Dull, you dont want him. I should
be greatly oblig'd to you if you will Inform me by the first oppertunity
If he be clear from you or not ; if he is, please to give me his True
Character, as to his Honesty, Temper and Qualifications as a Shop
Keeper. Such a lad will suit me if he can be well Recommended, and
as he is a stranger to me I know of no body else that can be so good a
Judge of him as you. Which I hope you will favour me with. Till
which I am your most obedt Humble servt.
Thompson to John Appleton, op Salem.
Boston, Octo. 19. 1769.
Sir, — I take this oppertunity to inform you that I am Come to Live
with Mr Hopestill Capen. I like him and his Family very well as yet.
I am Greatly obliged to you for your kind Recommendation of ' me to
Mr. Capen, and shall always retain a Gratefull Sense of the many
other Kindness's I always Rec d Whilest I remained with you. Never
shall I Live at a place again that I delighted so much as at your house
nor with a Kinder Master. 1 My Guardian says he will Come to Salem
and pay you some money very soon, which he expects dayly. Sir I
would beg of you not to Give yourself any Concern or Trouble about it
as you may depend upon having the Money Very soon.
Sir if you would Give yourself the Trouble to send Round my things
that remain at your house I shall Be obliged to you, and if you will
send down the two trunks which I improved whilest at your house and
Charge them to me I will send you the money. Please to put up all
my small thing you can find, vizt scates, hautboy, some Blue paper, a
i A memorandum shows that Thompson came as apprentice to Mr. Appleton,
October 14, 1706.
1910.] COUNT RTJMFOED'S APPRENTICESHIP. 459
box of Crayons, or dry Colours, some Books, Together with all my
Things remaining at your house. Please to stow them in the Trunk
that stands in the Kitchen Chamber and please to put that, that stands
in the Garret on Board Mr West with it aud desire him to Bring them
down the first oppertunity. I shall Come to Salem the first oppertunity
that I can be Spared. Heartily Wishing you all Proseperity and Hap-
piness, I Remain your Much Obliged Hum Servt.