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191 1.1 ANNUAL MEETING. 563
ANNUAL MEETING, APRIL, 191 1
THE Annual Meeting was held on Thursday, the 13 th
instant, at three o'clock, p.m.; the President in the chair.
The record of the last meeting was read and approved;
and the Librarian submitted the usual monthly report of
The Cabinet-Keeper reported the gift to the Society, by Mr.
Lord, of a medal prepared for distribution at the tercentenary,
in 1904, of the DeMonts and Champlain settlements in Nova
Scotia and New Brunswick.
The Corresponding Secretary reported the receipt of letters
from George H. Blakeslee accepting his election as a Resident
Member, and from Andrew D. White as an Honorary Member.
The Editor announced the gift from Edmimd A. Whitman,
of Cambridge, of the Civil War papers of his father. Col. Edmund
Burke Whitman. They not only contain original war maps,
but also correspondence with the Department of War in the
years subsequent to the war, when Colonel Whitman was
actively employed in gathering the dead soldiers and establish-
ing national cemeteries. This material has not been used in the
War Records, and throws a vivid light upon one of the results
of the civil contest. Original documents were also supplied
for publication by Samuel S. Shaw and Mrs. Bradley Gilman;
and a gift from Horace and Andrew McF. Davis of a letter from
their mother describing the social condition in Washington in
The preparation of the memoir of Francis Cabot Lowell
was assigned to Frederic J. Stimson.
Mr. Thayer, as delegate to a meeting in New York to
promote the publication of a Dictionary of American Biography,
made a report upon the action of the meeting; and Professor
564 MASSACHUSETTS HISTOEICAL SOCTETY. [APEIL,
Hart explained the manner in which the movement for such
a dictionary originated, the progress thus far made, and the
scope of the movement as a whole.
Governor Long, Senior Member-at-Large of the Council,
read the following
Report of the CotnsrciL.
Since the last Annual Meeting the following changes have
taken place in the membership of the Society:
1865, Josiah Phillips Quincy Oct. 31, 1910.
1895, Morton Dexter Oct. 29, 1910.
1896, Francis Cabot Lowell March 6, 1911.
1900, James FrotMngham Hunnewell . . . Nov. 11, 1910.
1905, John Lathrop Aug. 24, 1910.
1864, 1904, Goldwin Smith June 7, 1910.
1878, John Austin Stevens Jvme 16, 1910.
Terminated by settlement in the State:
1904, Frederick Jackson Turner Nov. 10, 1910.
Terminated by transfer to Honorary Membership:
1879, Andrew Dickson White March 9, 1911.
Henry Morton Lovering May 12, 1910.
Edward Waldo Emerson June 9, 1910.
Cvirtis Guild, Jr Oct. 13, 1910.
Frederick Jackson Turner Nov. 10, 1910.
Gardner Weld Allen Dec. 8, 1910.
Henry Herbert Edes Jan. 12, 1911.
George Hubbard Blakeslee March 9, 1911.
igil.] REPORT OF THE COUNCIL. 565
Andrew Dickson White March 9, 191 1.
Charles William Chadwick Oman .... Nov. 10, 1910,
Samuel Verplanck Hoffman Jan. 12, 1911.
It has been said, and with some apparent truth, that the Society
prints too much, and in erring in this direction tends to lessen
the utility of its publications. Compared with the output in
print of other like societies, the charge of excess holds true, for
a quarterly magazine or an annual volume is the usual product
of our sister societies. We issue a magazine in nine numbers
a year containing the proceedings of the meetings and original
documents, and at least one volume of collections. The volume
of Collections is defensible, and the sixty-six volumes thus far
printed contain a mine of information on New England history,
the value of which may be tested by the frequency of reference to
them in any history, whether of New England or of the United
States. The Proceedings are composed of papers read or pre-
sented at the meetings of the Society, and original documents
of an historical character. These documents are of such a
nature as have historical interest, yet are not such as could be
logically formed into volumes of collections. The "papers"
are voluntary contributions, the result of personal investiga-
tion and upon subjects of interest to the writer. It is sometimes
a question whether the results are of such general interest as
to warrant publication, and the question is of some delicacy.
That the essay may be of service at some time to some investi-
gator in history or genealogy, is a very broad measure for
testing its quality, and in this direction some reduction in
quantity of publication may be made. This is a matter re-
quiring consideration, as it involves many nice points, personal
It is also suggested that to many members it would be more
convenient if the pamphlet editions of our Proceedings had
the leaves cut.
As to the publications of the Society, a volume of Proceed-
ings (the 43d in regular sequence) was issued in the fall, cover-
S66 MASSACHUSETTS HISTORICAL SOCIETY. [APRIL,
ing the meetings of the Society from October, 1909, to June,
1910. It contained original papers of some moment historically,
and many documents relating to the history of Massachusetts
and New England. Perhaps the most notable paper was the
"Description of the City of Washington in the Secession Winter
of 1860-61," by Mr. Henry Adams, and the recovery of an
address on the "Opium War," made at the instance of the
Society in 1841, by John Quincy Adams. The issue of Col-
lections will be resumed by printing the Diaries of Cotton
Mather. The first volume is now in type, and will be dis-
tributed to the members shortly. The contract for printing
Bradford's History is nearly complete, and in the fall the volume
will be in the hands of the members. The Proceedings of the
meetings since last October have been printed, with some
delays; but all, through the meeting of March, are in type.
For the coming year, in addition to the Bradford and the
annual volume of Proceedings, there will be issued a second
volume of Cotton Mather's Diaries, and, it is hoped, another
volume of Collections.
In August the Society entered upon a new departure —
that of employing a skilled repairer of manuscripts to treat its
immensely valuable store of original papers that have accxmiu-
lated since its institution. The intention was to secure thor-
oughly experienced skill, and to apply it, through the most
modern methods, for preserving material of this nature. The
policy has justified itself. Three collections have already been
treated. Each document that required repair has received
attention, and then has been mounted and bound in series in a
form that will be permanent. Finding that the earliest volumes
of the first newspaper printed in an English Colony in America,
the Boston News-Letter, had suffered much by the deterioration
of the paper, making it unsafe to handle the leaves, particular
attention was given to bettering their condition. It was de-
cided to resize each leaf, and then mount and bind in the same
manner as manuscripts are treated. Particularly decrepit
copies were covered with silk. Thus the file is in an even better
condition than when it was issued from the press. These
methods are not experimental, and therefore cannot result in
any damage to the texture of the paper; the benefit is perma-
nent. Considering the risk of loss and the want of proper at-
igii.] REPORT OF THE COUNCIL. 567
tention involved in sending manuscripts and papers of this
description out of the building, the arguments for continuing
this process or repair are many and convincing. It is also
economical, and furnishes every opportunity for consultation
and intelligent decision of every question as it may arise.
The Society is still a pubHshing society, but it has grown
immensely in another direction, and that is in its collections.
The Council cannot urge too strongly the deposit of manuscripts
in the Society, as best fulfilling what should be the aim of all
who possess historical material, and performing the highest
functions indicated by the founders of the Society. Mention
need only be made of two serious losses recently incurred by
the fires in the state houses of Kansas and of New York. Papers
in private hands are always subject to many chances of loss,
distribution and forgetfulness. The Society offers the best
depository and at the same time a certainty of scientific care
and proper usage of the material, with an expectation of pub-
lication in the future. Preservation, control of material, and
printing so as to make it accessible to all who are interested, —
these constitute what are and must be the properest functions
of a society such as this is. The collections are already rich,
but there is no limit to what may be had, from the outside, of
papers of the highest historical value.
While primarily a society for pubKshing, collecting and pre-
serving historical material, printed and in manuscript, it fulfils
another function of no mean proportion. As the oldest society
of the kind in the United States it has served in its organization
and publications as a model for others, something to be studied
and, so far as merited, inaitated. In its general spirit of endeavor,
in its maintenance of a high standard of historical and anti-
quarian research and in its sustained enthusiasm and perform-
ance, it has done well, and as an active and social element holds
a rank second to none. The sentiment that pertains to such
a society is something of an asset in itself, like the good-will of
a merchant, and upon its members rests the duty of cherishing
and keeping it at its highest productive capacity.
A society is always in want of money, and this Society offers
no exception to the general rule. It has its responsibilities as
well as its ambitions to uphold, and they are expensive. The
cost of printing has followed the course of other "necessities of
568 MASSACHUSETTS HISTOKICAL SOCIETY. [April,
life," and the maintenance and improvement of the building is
another item to be met. The Sodety can use additional funds
both for printing and for extending its convenience and neces-
sities. Among needed or desirable changes may be named an
elevator, that our members may more easily reach the room of
meeting, a remodelling of the cabinet, that the objects may be
better displayed, and the proper labelling of the portraits, that
the legends may more readily be read by old as well as by young
eyes. Gifts or deposits of books and manuscripts are ever
welcome, but it should ever be borne in mind that with the
growth of its collections the need for money also becomes
The Treasurer submitted the following statement for the
Report op the Treasurer.
In compliance with the requirements of the By-Laws, Chap-
ter VII., Article 2, the Treasurer respectfully submits his
Annual Report, made up to March 31, 1911.
The special ftuids now held by the Treasurer are thirty in
number. Of these special funds twenty-nine are described in
the recent reports of the Treasurer. The remaining fund was
received on Jime 9, 1910, from our former associate the late
James Frothingham Hunnewell, being a gift of five thousand
dollars. In accordance with the vote of the Coimcil the Treas-
urer has set apart this gift under the name of
The Hunnewell Fund,
the purpose of the Fund as stated in his letter of gift being as
the income to be used in purchase of the rarer books needed for
the Society's library. If at a future date some of my books come
to the Society, the income of this Fund can be used for binding
or repair of the same or obtaining books to supply deficiencies.
The securities held by the Treasurer as investments on ac-
coimt of the above mentioned funds are as follows:
EEPORT OP THE TREASURER.
SCHEDITLE OF BONBS.
Chicago & West Michigan R. R. Co.
Chicago & North Michigan R. R. Co.
Rio Grande Western R. R. Co.
Chicago, Burlington & Quincy R. R. Co.
Chicago, Burlington & Quincy R. R. Co.
Cincinnati, Dayton & Ironton R. R.
Atchison, Topeka & Santa F6 R. R.
Atchison, Topeka & Santa F6 R. R.
Chicago Jet. & Union. Stock Yards
Oregon Short Line R. R, Co.
Oregon Short Line R. R. Co.
United Zinc & Chemical Co.
Lewiston-Concord Bridge Co.
Boston & Maine R. R. Co.
American Tel. & Tel. Co.
N. Pacific & Great Northern R. R.
Kansas City Stock Yards Co.
Long Island R. R. Co.
New York Central & Hudson River R. R. 4%
Bangor & Aroostook R. R. Co.
Detroit, Grand Rapids & Western R. R.
Fitchburg R. R. Co.
Kansas City, Clinton & Springfield R. R.
Lowell, Lawrence & Haverhill St. R. R.
West End Street Railway Co.
Washington Water Power Co.
United Electric Securities
Blackstone Valley Gas & Elec. Co.
Western Tel. & Tel. Co.
Maine Central R. R.
Baltimore Gas & Elec. Co.
Seattle Electric Co.
1913 " convertible
570 MASSACHUSETTS HISTORICAL SOCIETY. [APKIL,
SCHEDTTLE OF SlOCKS.
SO Merchants National Bank, Boston $5,000.00
so State National Bank, Boston 5,000.00
SO National Bank of Commerce, Boston 5,000.00
SO National Union Bank, Boston S>ooo.oo
SO Second National Bank, Boston 5,000.00
25 National Shawmut Bank, Boston 2,500.00
35 Boston & Albany R. R. Co 3,500.00
2S Old Colony R. R. Co 2,500.00
25 Fitchburg R. R. Co. Pfd 2,500.00
150 Chicago Jet. Rys. & Union Stock Yards Co. Pfd 15,000.00
150 American Smelting & Refining Co. Pfd 15,000.00
158 Atchison, Topeka & Santa F6 R. R. Co. Pfd 15,800.00
302 Kansas City Stock Yards Co 30,200.00
10 Cincinnati Gas & Electric Co 1,000.00
6 Boston Real Estate Trust 6,000.00
S State Street Exchange 500.00
3 Pacific Mills 3,000.00
50 Seattle Electric Co. Pfd. 5,000.00
1194 Shares Par value $127,500.00
Schedule or Notes Receivable.
G. St. L. Abbott, Trustee, Mortgage 6% $10,000.00
SCHEDTTLE OT SAVINGS BaNK BOOES.
M. A. Parker Fund $1,003.96
Brattle St. Church Model Fund 174.31
Bonds, par value $324,500.00
Stocks, par value 127,500.00
Notes receivable 10,000.00
Savings Bank Books 1,178.27
Represented by Balance, Investment accotmt $460,10945
The balance sheet follows and shows the present condition
of the several accounts:
IQII.] REPORT OF THE TREASURER. 571
Balance Sheet, March 31, xgii.
Investment Account, Funds, Exhibit HI . . . $417,892.91
Exhibit I $460,109.45 Accumukted Income of
Real Estate 97,990.32 Funds, Exhibit IV . . 50,169.57
Cash on hand, Exhibit H 7.9S3-03 $468,062.48
Btulding Fvmd .... 72,990.32
Ellis House 25,000.00
Balance, March 31, 1910 $458,825.83
Bought during year:
$io,ooo Baltimore Gas Electric Co. 5% Bonds . . $9,750.00
5,000 Seattle Electric Co. 5% Bonds 4,925.00
Accrued Interest, M. A. Parker Bank Book 40.73
Accrued Interest, Brattle St. Church Model Bank Book 8.20
Total Additions, Exhibit II I4.723-93
Received on account G. St. L. Abbott Note $3,000.00
Received payment, A. & C. F. Ammand Note . . . 3,500.00
Sold 4000 C. B. & Q. 3f % Bonds 3,510.00
Sold 3000 A. T. & S. F6 4% Bonds (convertibles) . . 3,266.25
Withdrawn from Savings Banks to replace payments
on account of the respective Funds:
M. A. Parker Fund 113.06
Brattle St. Church Model Fimd 51.00
Total Deductions, Exhibit 11 13,440.31
Balance Investment Account, March 31, 1911 $460,109.45
Increase during year $1,283.62
Balance on hand, April 1, 1910 $497.43
Accrued Interest, Bonds Bought, March 30, 1910 62.50
Receipts during year to March 31, 1911: SS9-93
Sale Publications $447.56
Royalties, Little, Brown & Co 28.26
Income from Investments, Exhibit IV 24,388.42
Interest from Savings Bank Books 48.93
Interest on Bank Balances 202.08
Investments sold or paid off. Exhibit I 13,440.31
Gift of James F. Hunnewell 5,000.00
Sale Book, Ellis Fund 3.00 $43,558. 56
572 MASSACHUSETTS HISTOEICAL SOCIETY. [APEIL,
Brought over $44,118.49
Investment Account, Securities bought . . $14,675.00
Savings Banks 48.93
Total, Exhibit I $14,723.93
Brattle St. Model 51.00
Water 73.00 2,653.60
Illustrations and Reprints 429.57 3,318.33
Librarian's Assistants . . $4,820.00
Editor and Assistants . . 6,055.00 10,875.00
Office Expenses 1.85
Public Accountant .... 25.00
Safety Vault 50.00 701.85
Miscellaneous 212.60 21,441.53
Total Payments 36,165.46
Balance on hand, March 31, 1911 $7,953.03
Accounted for as follows:
Additions to Funds, Exhibit III $7,589.38
Less increase in investments
Amount Invested, Exhibit I $14,723.93
Amount paid off, Exhibit I 13,440.31 1,283.62
Uninvested Balance — Principal $6,305.76
Income during year. Exhibit II $25,115.25
less added to Centenary Funds 2,586.38
Net Income available, Exhibit VI $22,528.87
Less Expenditures, Exhibit II 21,441.53
Surplus Income for year $1,087.34
Cadi on hand, Mardi 31, 1910 559.93
Unexpended Balance — Income 1,647:27
Total Cash on hand, March 31, 1911 $7.95303
igil.] REPORT OF THE TREAStTRER. £73
Increase op Funds in Year 1910-1911.
Amount of Funds, March 31, 1910 $4io>303-S3
Added during Year
Gift of James F. Humiewell $5,000.00
Additions to Centenary Fimds:
Anonymous Fund 205.92
J. L. Sibley Fund 2,380.46
Ellis Fimd 3.00 7,589.38
Total of Funds, March 31, 1911 $417,892.91
AccmiuLAiED Incoue of Funds.
Balance Accumulated Income, March 31, 1910 $64,683.57
Income from Investments dtuiag year, Exhibit n . . $24,388.42
Interest on Bank Balances 202.08
Interest on Savings Bank Books 48.93
Sale of Publications 447-56
Royalties, Little, Brown & Co 28.26
Additions to Funds, Exhibit VI 25,115.25
Balance General Accoxmt charged Variovis Fimds. . . $15,601.34
Payments during Year charged Various Funds . . . 21,441.53
Deductions from Funds, Exhibit VI $37,042.87
Accretion to Anonymous Fund 205.92
Sibley Centenary Fund 2,380.46 39,629.25
Balance Accumulated Income, March 31, 1911 $50,169.57
Amoimt General Fund, March 31, 1910,
charged off, Exhibit V $15,601.34
Surplus Income for year. Exhibit H , . . 1,087.34
Decrease during year $14,514.00
Amount at Debit this Accoimt, March 31, 1910 $15,601.34
Charged to Accumulated Income of the following
Waterston Publishing Fimd $899.21
Peabody Fund 400.00
J. L. Sibley Fund 14,302.13 15,601.34
See Exhibit IV.
MASSACHUSETTS HISTOEICAL SOCIETY.
Ikcome and ExPEKDiruEES OF Funds for the year ending
March 31, 1911.
Appleton . . V. . . .
C. A. L.Sibley . . .
Waterston No. 1 . . .
Waterston No. 2 . . .
Waterston No. 3 . . .
Waterston Library . .
R. C.Winthrop . . .
T.L. Winthrop . . .
Wm. Winthrop . . .
Sibley Centenary . .
Balance, Mar. 31, 1910
Expenditures . . .
Balance, Mar. 31, 1911
Accretion to Sibley
Accretion to Anony-
The income for the year derived from the investments and
credited to the several funds in proportion to the amount in
which they stand on the Treasurer's books was six per cent
of the funds.
igil.] REPORT OF THE LIBRARIAN. $75
The present condition of the Society is shown in detail in the
foregoing statements and abstracts, but it may be convenient
to give a short svmmiary.
The real estate, which is entirely unincumbered, stands on
the books at $97,990.32, but is valued by the City Assessors at
$197,000. The aggregate amoimt of the permanent funds is
$417,892.91, which together with the unexpended balances and
income is represented by seciirities and deposits and amounts
to $460,109.45, as per schedule given above.
Boston, April i, 1911.
Report of the Auditing Committee
The imdersigned, a committee appointed to examine the ac-
counts of the Treasurer of the Massachusetts Historical Society,
as made up to April i, 191 1, have attended to that duty, and
report that they find that the securities held by the Treasurer
for the several funds correspond with the statement in his
They have engaged the services of Mr. Henry A. Piper, a
PubKc Accountant, who reports to them that he finds the ac-
counts correctly kept and properly vouched, that the balance
of cash on hand is satisfactorily accounted for, and that the
trial balance is accurately taken from the Ledger.
THOMAS MINNS, ?
Boston, April 7, 1911.
HAROLD MURDOCK, ' <^<'»"»»«««'
The Librarian then reported that during the year there
have been added to the Library:
Newspapers, bound volumes (116 bought) 128
Unbound volimies 9
Bound volvmies 7
576 MASSACHITSETTS HISTORICAL SOCIETY. [APEIL,
Of the volumes 749 have been given, 625 bought and 196
formed by binding. Of the pamphlets added 1606 have been
given, and 343 bought; and 285 pamphlets in the Library have
In the collection of manuscripts there are now 1252 volimies,
192 unbound volumes, 108 pamphlets with manuscript notes,
and 16,989 manuscripts.
Of the books added to the Rebellion department, 48 volimies
have been given and 80 bought; and of the pamphlets added,
67 have been given and 109 bought. There are now in the
collection 3451 volumes, 6513 pamphlets, 507 broadsides, and
Impressions of the book plate, engraved by Mr. Sidney
Lawton Smith, have been made for books bought from the
income of the John Langdon Sibley Fund and from that of
the Charlotte A. L. Sibley Fund.
The Library now contains 53,231 volumes, 114,411 pamphlets,
and 4891 broadsides.
The Cabinet-Keeper reported the following additions to
Fairbanks House, Dedham (Proceedings, xun. 544).
Stuart's Washington at Dorchester Heights (p. 87, supra).
Portraits of Matthew Holworthy and Susanna Henley, Lady
Holworthy, a gift from Henry W. Cunningham.
Massachusetts statesmen, etc. (p. 87, supra).
William Pynchon (p. 87, supra).
Photographs: Portrait of Sir William Phips.
Etchings: Confederate war pictures (p. 87, supra).
Lithographs: American statesmen (p. 87, supra).
Envelopes: War issues (p. 87, supra).
Founding of Quebec (Proceedings, XLin. 655).
Harvard College Clubs (p. 363, supra).
Bas-rehef portrait: Edward Everett (p. 217, supra).
Pike: John Brown (p. 217, supra).
Plate: Otis Norcross and Co. (p. 87, supra).
Deposit: Hair of George and Martha Washington (p. 87, supra).
I9II.] REPORT OF COMMITTEE ON LIBRARY AND CABINET. 577
During the year the following portraits have been restored
under the direction of Hermann Dudley Murphy: Thomas
Prince, Mrs. Anne Pollard, John Wentworth, Isaac Collins,
Benjamin Pollard, Mrs. Mary Smibert and Simeon Stoddard.
Professor Turner read the
Report of the Committee on the Library and the Cabinet.
Your Committee desires to express its appreciation of the
courtesy with which its inspection was faciUtated by Dr. Green
and the Library staff, and by Mr. Norcross, the Cabinet-Keeper.
We are impressed by their devotion to the Library and the
Cabinet, and by the importance of the Society's possessions.
The responsibility of the Society for surrounding its treasures
with all of the security possible against fire was peculiarly
forced upon our consideration by the irreparable losses suffered
in the recent burning of the Capitol at Albany, where manu-
scripts and other collections of importance to history were
destroyed. Doubtless the authorities supposed they had pro-
vided adequate protection. But, considering the trust reposed
in the Massachusetts Historical Society by the families which
have confided their papers to its care, the Committee believes
that due recognition of these gifts, and due attention to the
need of inspiring future donors with a sense of the security
of the collections, demand that the Society should make
doubly sure that all that is possible is done to ensure ample
We are satisfied that the authorities of the Society and their
assistants are aware of the importance of avoiding the accumu-
lation of rubbish and inflammable material about the rooms.
Our observations convinced us that general neatness character-
ized the building. In every library, however, there is more or
less need for precaution due to the nature of the materials, and
we therefore recommend that the Society employ experts who
shall be informed of its desire to afford exceptional protection
to all its possessions, and who shall be asked to inspect and
report upon the general security of the building against fire
and in particular upon the electric wiring, the need of fire-
proof doors, especially to the upper stacks; and the relation
578 MASSACHUSETTS HISTORICAL SOCIETY. [ApEU,
of the air ducts of the various rooms to the heating apparatus
and bindery in the basement. We further recommend inquiry
whether some automatic system of protection by means of
water pipes and sprinklers in the basement would not be a
desirable precaution, in addition to the hand fire-extinguishers
recommended by the Committee of last year. As a further pre-
caution, we recommend that, as rapidly as is consistent with
effectiveness and reasonable economy, manuscripts and other
documents of particular importance be bound and located in
the upper stack.
The observations of the Committee of former years on the
overcrowded condition of the Cabinet seem to be just. At
some time in the near future the problem of space presented by
the growth of these valuable collections will need the particular
attention of the Council. We endorse the suggestion that there
should be a Curator of Coins, under the general supervision of
the Cabinet-Keeper. The collections of the Society seem to
warrant some ofl&cial provision of this nature.
Our predecessors last year pointed out that there was a lack
in the Library of those sckolarly periodicals, modern works of
reference, and publications of historical societies and foreign
governments most essential to the investigators who desire to
make productive use of the manuscripts and documents of this
Society. We find that this defect in the working apparatus of
the Library still exists. The Society suffers somewhat when
compared in these respects, and in respect to the facihties af-
forded for convenient and easy use of the Library, with some
of the more youthful historical societies in other states. Your
Committee is of the opinion that the age and distinguished ser-
vices of the Massachusetts Historical Society entitle it to exhibit
continued and energetic leadership in the employment of all
useful modern devices and library methods for promoting the
security of its collections and the efEective and convenient use
of them. We therefore recommend that the report of last year
be given renewed consideration.
Frederick J. Turner,
Henry M. Lovering, }■ Committee.
Gardner W. Allen,
IQII.] OFFICERS FOR THE YEAR. 579
Governor Long, for the Committee to nominate Ofl&cers for
the ensuing year made a report, upon which a ballot was taken.
The officers are as follows:
CHARLES FRANCIS ADAMS.
SAMUEL ABBOTT GREEN.
JAMES FORD RHODES.
HENRY Wn^LIAMSON HAYNES.
SAMUEL ABBOTT GREEN.
GRENVTLLE HOWLAND NORCROSS.
WORTHINGTON CHAUNCEY FORD.
Members-at-Large of tlte Council.
WILLIAM R. LIVERMORE.
ROBERT S. RANTOUL.
S&O MASSACHUSETTS HISTORICAL SOCIETY. [APRIL,
The President then called upon Mr. Storey, who read the
By the death of Francis Cabot Lowell, Massachusetts has
lost a citizen of unusual distinction. Sprung from a family
which has long been conspicuous for eminent public service
rendered in many fields and has been distinguished alike in the
pulpit, on the bench, in the army, in education, in literature, in
politics and in business, he felt the inspiration of its traditions,
and in his turn did his full duty to the State. He was active
in such varied ways that his death leaves not one but many
vacancies, each hard to fill, and in the record of his life there
is no page which we would wish to erase.
He was bom on January 7, 1855, and died on March 6, 191 1,
in the fifty-seventh year of his age. Educated in private schools,
he went to Harvard College, entering the Sophomore class in
1873. He carried with him a natural refinement, increased by
his education, which gave him a place of his own among his class-
mates. He had no sympathy with the rougher side of college
Kfe, no appreciation of what men found delightful in its coarser
amusements, but his frank and straightforward manliness were
thoroughly appreciated, and he commanded universal respect
and warm regard.
He graduated in 1876 with honors in history and after a year
spent in European travel entered the Law School, where he
remained two years. After a year in an office he became the
private secretary of Horace Gray, then the Chief Justice of
Massachusetts, and this experience gave him a glimpse of
judicial Hfe which may well have fostered in him an ambition
for the bench. When he resigned this place he began the
practice of the law in partnership with his cousin, now the
President of Harvard College, and his classmate Frederic J.
As a member of this firm he was employed in very important
matters, but not such as attracted public attention, and while
he showed himself a sound lawyer and was held in high esteem
by his clients, he did not during his years of practice acquire
a conspicuous position at the Bar. He presented a question of
law to the Court clearly and well, and was a wise adviser, but he
had no taste for the work of a jury lawyer, though had he been
ipii.] PEANCIS CABOT LOWELL. 58 1
drawn into this branch of professional labor he would undoubt-
edly have won the respect and confidence of jurymen, as he did
of all men with whom he was brought in contact.
He took a strong interest in poUtics, and in 1889 was elected
a member of the City Council. Six years later he was chosen to
the Massachusetts House of Representatives, where he served
for three years and won the position of a leader. Had he con-
tinued to follow this career he would unquestionably have been
called to high office, but his appointment to the bench of the
United States District Court terminated his political activity.
In the Council and in the Legislature he enjoyed an ascendancy
derived from his character, his transparent honesty, his public
spirit and his singleness of purpose. He respected his colleagues,
and in return they respected him, and if in some cases his con-
fidence in the rectitude of his associates was greater than they
deserved, the reason is to be found in the remark of one that no
man would have dared to approach Lowell with any dishonest
suggestion. He radiated an atmosphere which protected him
against baseness. Men showed him their best side, and he
lived therefore in a purer air than most of us breathe, so largely
does every man create his own world.
He early entered the service of Harvard College, as an Over-
seer from 1886 to 1895, and as a Fellow of the Corporation from
1895 until his death. He was an active member of both boards,
and did his Alma Mater good service in both. As an Overseer
he joined in a report which, if adopted, would have done much
to end the abuses of college athletics, and perhaps might have
helped to rekindle the love of learning in breasts where it is now
almost extinct. As a Fellow he was ever useful in the councils
of the Board and always an influence for good. It seemed to
his friends as his strength waned that he gave too much to other
than his judicial labors, but his devotion to the college forbade
him to spare himself and he was untiring to the end.
He was interested in historical research, and his monograph
on Joan of Arc was a careful and a novel discussion of her career
and her condemnation. In the year 1896 he delivered an oration
before the Historical Society of Beverly and he wrote various
articles for magazines. As a member of this Society he pre-
pared the memoir of Francis A. Walker and paid a tribute to
S82 MASSACHUSETTS HZSTORICAL SOCIETY. [April,
Governor Wolcott, but his duties as a judge left him little
time to indulge his taste for literary labor.
He was appointed United States District Judge for the
District of Massachusetts by President McKinley in 1898,
and was made Circmt Judge for the First Circuit in 1905, an
office which he held until his death. It was on the bench that
he won his greatest distinction. He brought to the discharge
of its duties a high moral sense, a love of justice, an adequate
knowledge of law, a courtesy which never failed, a great capac-
ity for work and untiring devotion to duty. He was the New
England conscience in its highest embodiment without the
manner which like the burr of the chestnut sometimes needlessly
wounds him who encounters it.
He was not a great lawyer, and perhaps had no controlling
native aptitude for the profession which he chose, but he was a
model judge. He presided at a trial with courtesy and firmness
in due proportion, and was able to prevent the constant bicker-
ing between counsel which too often wastes time, tries tempers
and interferes with the administration of justice. Every man's
rights were scrupulously protected by him, and his presence on
the bench, as elsewhere, purified the atmosphere of the court
room. His promotion to the Circuit Bench in 1905 was well
deserved, and every succeeding year made him a more valuable
magistrate. His published opinions number more than three
hundred, and with four or five exceptions his judgments were
sustained by the Court of Appeals. He dealt with questions
of great variety and his contributions to the law were important
and enduring. His untimely death at the maturity of his powers
is a calamity deplored alike by his associates on the Bench, by
all members of the Bar who ever practised before him and by
the community which trusted and leaned upon him.
A gentleman in the best sense of the word, brave, frank,
pure and courteous, an able judge, a public-spirited and most
useful citizen, a supporter of all that is good in our State and a
foe of aU that is evil, his great power lay in his character, which
every man recognized and could not help respecting. He
drew out what was good in men and repressed what was
bad wherever he was, and no man in our time has proved more
completely the truth of Charles Sumner's words "Remember,
young man, that character is everything."
IQII.] WILLIAM CODDINGTON. 583
Mr. Weeden read a paper upon
William Coddington was one of the remarkable men of New
England in the mid-seventeenth century. Born in Boston,
England, he landed at Salem in 1630, being one of the original
Assistants or Magistrates under the charter of Massachusetts
Bay. Before the settlement of Boston was named, he built the
first brick dwelling-house there, and afterward was elected
treasurer of the corporation. He might have become a power-
ful citizen under Winthrop, had he not been involved in the
Hutchinson controversy, as we shall perceive.
December 14, 1634, a committee was sent out across Neponset
to "assign lands for William Coddington and Edmund Quincy
to have for their particular farms there." A portion of these
lands in Quincy or Braintree was afterward known as the
"Coddington School Lands." The tradition ran that the tract
was a gift from Coddington. In a careful study published in
the Quincy Patriot, September 12, 1891, Mr. Charles Francis
Adams exploded this legend, showing that the title was obtained
In 1636 Pastor Wilson in the words of Winthrop delivered
a "very sad speech" arraigning Mrs. Hutchinson and arousing
pubHc opinion against her heresies, as he considered them. Vane
and Cotton opposed him, and Coddington was of their party.
Boston was at first in favor of Anne's doctrines, and chose for
representatives from the freemen to the General Court, in 1637,
Vane and Hough with Coddington. The Court attempted to
reject them on a technical pretence, but the freemen insisted at
a new election and compelled the Court to receive them. Points
of etiquette as well as of doctrine convulsed the sensitive
community. Vane was wont to occupy a seat of honor with the
magistrates at service on the Sabbath, but he now went with
Coddington to sit with the deacons, much to Winthrop's
Coddington, Aspinwall and Coggeshall were sent from
Boston to the new Court, which had a meeting November 2.
Coddington was an honored official, classed in the public esti-
mation with Winthrop and Endecott as one of the founders of
584 MASSACHUSETTS HISTORICAL SOCIETY. [ApRIL,
the colony. Yet the Court expelled him because he had signed
a petition with some sixty remonstrants of Boston in favor of
Wheelwright. Although Winthrop was friendly to Coddington,
he took ground against him, when he asked to be heard as the
Court was proceeding to judgment against Mrs. Hutchinson.
Coddington persisted in words which are good for all time:
I beseech you do not speak so to force things along; for I do not
for my own part see any eqviity in the Court in all your proceedings.
Here is no law of God that she hath broken; nor any law of the
country that she hath broken. Therefore she deserves no censiure.
Be it granted that Mrs. Hutchinson did say the elders preach as
the apostles did, — why, they preached a Covenant of Grace.
What wrong then is that to the elders ? It is without question that
the apostles did preach a Covenant of Grace before the Ascension,
though not with that power they did after they received the mani-
festation of the spirit. Therefore, I pray consider what you do, for
here is no law of God or man broken.^
Coddington was not "convented" or banished positively,
like Wheelwright and Anne Hutchinson, but he was a citizen
used to respect and worthy of it. He was shunned in such
manner as to make him uncomfortable. He was on fair terms
with Winthrop considering the condition of affairs. Later on,
in 1640, he wrote a conciliatory letter to him. He approved
"of a speech of one of note amongst you, that we were in a
heate and chafed, and were all of us to blame; in our strife we
had forgotten that we were brethren." *
In 1638 nineteen persons migrated from Boston to Rhode
Island. After consulting with Roger Williams and the settlers
at Providence, they chose Pocasset on the island, and the
name was afterward changed to Portsmouth. Twelve of these
emigrants were of the Boston church, and more than half of
the magistrates from the town were included. This tale shows
how deeply the Antinomian controversy had affected the com-
munity. Though submerged by the party of radicals, Codding-
ton was a natural conservative.
Coddington with his migrating companions assisted by
Roger Williams obtained from Canonicus and Miantanomoh,
chiefs of the Narragansett tribes of Indians, a deed of the islands
1 Adams, Three Episodes, i. 506. ' 4 Collections, vi. 314, 317.
I9II.] WILLIAM CODDINGTON. 585
Aquidneck and Conanicut lying at the mouth of the bay.
They settled on the north shore of Aquidneck at iPocasset,
and Coddington was elected "Judge." The "Inhabitants or
Freemen were to be received by common consent of the Body."
January 2, 1639, three "Elders" were associated with the
Judge to assist in the "execution of justice and judgment."
Here was an autocratic judge, a division of authority between
judge and assistants; and finally a veto of the freemen, which
might be exercised four times a year. This government was
constituted much like a sanhedrim, the supreme council and
highest tribunal of the Jewish nation. Moses selected the
original examples of these magistrates.
Neither party of the Pocasset and Portsmouth settlers was
content with this attempted constitution of a government.
It was designed to control the Antinomian element, strongly
democratic and popular as it was. The Plantation at Provi-
dence tended in the same direction, laboring with many vagaries
hardly practicable even in experimental government. Property
in this world did not encumber these idealists, whose visions
were fascinated by the perfections of a heavenly life.
Coddington's instincts were feudal, especially regarding land,
— legal in tone rather than popular, like the Antinomians proper.
April 28, 1639, his entire government, judge and three elders,
withdrew to Aquidneck, signing a compact for a settlement.
Between May i and 16 the party exploring and led by Nicholas
Easton landed at Coasters' Harbor, where the United States
Naval College is now established, and built shelter-huts there.
May 16 the first town-meeting was held and the name New-
port was chosen, though in the early times Rhode Island was
more generally used. November 25, 1639, the plantation ac-
knowledged that they were "natural subjects to King Charles
their Sovereign Lord and subject to his laws." Debts were
formally subjected to the courts. March 12, 1639-40, repre-
sentatives from Pocasset, now Portsmouth and Newport, joined,
electing Wilham Coddington Governor. A deputy governor
and four assistants were added, and they were all justices of
the peace. The second General Court for the island, in 1641,
declared itself "a Democracie or Popular Government." ^ An
' H. C. Dorr sagaciously remarks: " they meant by Democracy an equality of
political rights only among the members of the free or ruling classes." R. I. Hist.
Soc. Proceedings, New Ser., nr. 220.
S86 MASSACHUSETTS HISTORICAL SOCIETY. [APEtt,
important record stated "the law of the last Courte made
concerning Libertie of Conscience in point of Doctrine is
perpetuated." ^ This indicates that Coddington's autocratic
shell had been pierced or weakened by the larger popular
spirit which affected Rhode Island and all the Providence
The Massachusetts Bay had not forgotten their vagrant
children, and, February 28, 1640, sent a committee of three
from the Boston church, characterized by Rev. Thomas Weld
as "of a lovely and winning spirit," to look up Portsmouth and
Aquidneck. They carried an iron glove beneath the velvet
touch, for according to Winthrop they were to call the churches
to account for communicating with excommunicated persons.
Aquidneck would not receive the committee, claiming that
one Congregational church had no power over another.
Lechford, the lawyer of Boston, visited the island about this
time and reported a population of some two hundred families
at Newport. Probably his estimate was too large. Robert
Lenthall was admitted a freeman and " called to keep a public
school for the learning of youth." This was a well-administered
school and one of the first in America — far in advance of
education in Providence. There occurred a schism in the
church at Newport, which leaned toward the seventh-day
Baptist persuasion under the lead of John Clarke. Very likely
this was the beginning of Coddington's conversion to Quakerism.
Samuel Gorton was at Portsmouth before he settled at
Shawomet or Warwick. He ^ appeared occasionally in the
courts at Newport, greatly to the annoyance of Coddington
and the conservatives. Of great ability, Gorton was a mystic
and profound theologian, far beyond Coddington or even Roger
Williams in comprehension of popular and representative
government. Gorton and his friends were in the minority and
soon migrated to Shawomet.
Coddington was a good judge and administrator of law, a
sound merchant; but he could not administer the government
of a community or state. In 1642 he began to coquet with
the Dutch at Manhattan for political support.' Winthrop * in
• R. I. Col. Rec, I. 112, 113, 118.
^ Gorton, Life and Times of Samuel Gorton, records the controversies between
Coddington and Gorton with full references to the authorities.
' R. I. Col. Rec., I. 126. * Journal, n. 211.
191 1.] WILLIAM CODDINGTON. 587
1644 noted that it would be great inconvenience to England,
if they [of Rhode Island] be forced to seek protection from the
Dutch. Coddington did not leave his former adversary im-
molested at Shawomet. The Bay was persecuting him, and
Coddington wrote Winthrop, August 5, 1644, "Gorton shall not
be by me protected."
The worst disavowal of his own principles was when Cod-
dington apphed in August or September, 1644, and at another
time to Plymouth, to be admitted to the Confederation of the
New England Colonies, an immense decline from his sublime
sacrifice for liberty of conscience under the lead of Anne
Hutchinson, when he braved the whole power of the Puritan
January 29, 1648-49, he sailed to England to procure a sep-
arate charter for Rhode Island or Newport. Doctor Turner
shows by citations from Coddington's letters to Winthrop
(R. I. Tracts, No. 4, S5~57) that he was moved by the interest
of Massachusetts Bay in the persecution of Gorton at Shaw-
omet to oppose the action of Newport under the first charter
and to keep from the union of Providence Plantations with
Rhode Island as it was finally affected. About this time he
built his house, which stood until 1835, an example of the
better sort of dwellings in New England, — two stories, the first
overhung, while a solid stone chimney, partially covered, blocked
one end. The roof was shingled and the sides clapboarded.
It must have been substantially convenient or it would not
have endured so long. His farm was a magnificent estate of
some seven hundred and fifty acres, stocked with cattle and
sheep. He gave much attention to the introduction and breed-
ing of fine sheep and probably of cattle.
Governor Coddington's town-house as pictured in Palfrey's
history was on the north side of Marlborough Street opposite
the end of Duke Street and diagonally across from the old
State house. The site of the house was recently occupied by
the residence of G. W. Smith.
Coddington used another house in the country, which stood
on land of the Newport Hospital on the west of " Lily Pond "
on " Rocky Farm." This location was south and east of
Thames Street, as it debouches into Carroll Avenue. The
residence was probably included in the seven hundred and
588 MASSACHUSETTS HISTORICAL SOCIETY. [APEH,,
fifty acre farm. We may fairly suppose this farm covered a
large portion of the present commercial district of Newport.
In addition, the Governor owned a large tract at Cod-
dington's Cove and Point, north of the Naval College. He
was engaged in large affairs, and introduced the export of
horses to the West Indies.
Coddington's "Usurpation," as it was called and execrated
at home, consisted of a commission signed by Bradshaw, April
3, 1651, appointing him Governor for life of Aquidneck, aUas
Rhode Island, and Quinunnigate Island. The new satrap ap-
peared at home in August, 165 1, finding revolt and no obedi-
ence. Williams sailed from Boston, November, 1651, for a new
charter for the colony. Doubtless Coddington's coquetry with
the Manhattan government helped Williams, for he obtained
an order vacating the Coddington commission October 2, 1652,
and authorizing the colony of Providence Plantations to pro-
ceed under the government of the patent of 1644. It was said
the Dutch offered soldiers to be employed against the inhabit-
ants of Rhode Island in 1652.^ The Coddington administration
of the plantation was a complete failure.
In 1653 the court of the island demanded that Coddington
deliver the statute book and records. He refused, rejoining
that he dared not lay down his commission, having received no
notice from England of its withdrawal. March 11, 1656, he
made an "abdication," so called, appearing at the Court of
Trials: " I WiUiam Coddington doe freely submit to ye authoritie
of his Highness in this Colonic, as it is now united and that with
all my heart." ^ Doctor Turner ' properly says it argues well
for the good temper and general good sense of our subject, that
in this short period he overcame the strong prejudices pre-
vaiUng against him on account of the usurpation. Pressure
was severe from the neighboring colonies, and the men of
Rhode Island did well to settle disputes and combine as far
as possible for practicable government.
The Quakers were gaining great political power, and in 1674
they made Coddington the Governor of Rhode Island and
Providence Plantations. With their usual non-comprehension
> Doe. Hist. New York, i. 497. • R. I. Col. Rec, i. 327.
' R. I. Historical Tracts, No. 4, 40. Cf. 43, for abstxacts from British State
igii.] WILLIAM CODDINGTON, 589
of the whole duty of a State, these non-resistants left the weak
colony in poor preparation for the great Indian warfare of 1675-
1676. Wealthy and isolated, Newport and the island did not
suffer incursion from the savages. Mr. Richman, in the Making
of Rhode Island, cites Roger Williams as criticising our subject
for inhospitality at Newport toward refugees from Providence.
"Doth Mr. Coddington think to be so high a saint . . . and
yet in men's account loves the world exceedingly? " ^
This should not be construed too literally or exactly in con-
sidering the relative characters of Williams and Coddington.
The best parts of the one were directly opposed to the better
constituents of the other. Coddington believed in a severely
tangible structure regulated by law and justice. Williams,
reaching out for spiritual things beyond the scope of previous
governments, relied on his individual soul to do right and wisely.
The two differing men could not coalesce in any imperfect sys-
tem of government practicable in the seventeenth century.
Certainly Coddington's fellow citizens soon forgave his errors
and gave him their confidence in the administration of affairs.
His portrait hangs in the council chamber at Newport — a
memorial from a grateful people. In discussing the history of
his appeal to England and vagaries of "usurpation," we must
not forget the immense obhgation to him, first of the local com-
munity and finally of the whole colony of Rhode Island, for
forging out the structure of legal society. It is not easy to
make a government, especially when that government is mov-
ing on lines new and untried, as the men explore new fields.
Chief Justice Thomas Durfee ' remarks that in less than
three years in the beginning of the island plantations, these
common Anglo-Saxon freemen advanced from a town meeting
to "a well organized judiciary," excellently suited to their
wants and fully equipped for the dispensation of justice ac-
cording to the methods and principles of the common law.
The code has a homogeneity, as if, how many soever may have
contributed to it, some one master mind had given it form
and character. " If it was Coddington's, then to Coddington,"
whatever his subsequent demerit, belongs the unforfeitable
credit of it. We may observe that John Clarke was the only
' R. I. Hist. Soc. Proceedings, 1875-1876.
» Judicial History of R. I., 6, 7.
59° MASSACHUSETTS HISTORICAL SOCIETY. [ApRIL,
other man among the planters who had sufficient ability for
such an undertaking. His education was that of a physician,
while his tastes and final calling carried him into the ministry.
This system of justice and judicial organization lasted with
little change for some two centuries. It was adopted sub-
stantially by Providence Plantations. We can hardly com-
prehend how Rhode Island and Roger Williams' party could
have endured and become a State capable of endurance with-
out this legal structure or something like it. WilHams and
his nearest friends while marvellous in estimating and trust-
ing the capacity of the individual soul in meeting the main
responsibility of life, — in the power of reHgion in brief, — had
no conception of the action of law and government in the com-
mon necessities of daily Uving.
Coddington died in 1678, or about the time when the founders
of these colonies were departing life and their civilization was
becoming fairly settled. Every one studying the records has
regarded him as possessing a strong intellect, excepting Doctor
Palfrey. The doctor was not judicial in estimating either
Antinomians or Quakers. He said of our subject:
Whether it was owing most to want of balance and want of force
in his mind and character, or to the perversity of those whom he
had undertaken to improve, profit, and govern, his hold on their
confidence had not proved lasting. Happily for his peace of mind,
from Antinomian he had turned Qxiaker; and the visions and con-
troversies of his sect provided him with resources for enjoyment in
his declining years.*
In our day this may be called a chromatic scale of dissolving
We may admit that his character lacked balance and could
not carry through common Kfe the power of his intellectual con-
ceptions. Many men can conceive propositions, who cannot
stand up against the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune, in
meeting the ills of conduct and government. Let us turn to the
wise comment of a true Rhode Islander, whose philosophic
1 Palfrey, iVeif England (ed. 1882), m. 444. A little-known tract against the
persecution of the Quakers in Massachusetts was written by Coddington and
printed in London in 1674. It has for a title: A Demonstration of True Love
unto you the Rulers of the Colony of the Massachusets, etc.
ipil.] WILLIAM CODDINGTON. 59 1
survey took in the whole world and was not limited like the
ideals of Puritan enthusiasts. "He had in him a little too
much of the future for Massachusetts, and a little too much of
the past for Rhode Island, as she then was." This better
renders the curious inconsistency of the then times, which only
derive importance from their incipient future and are not
necessary models for all time.
Doctor Turner, writing in 1878,^ while commenting very
severely upon Coddington for his course in the "Usurpation,"
treats his character very reasonably. The qualities of mind
come out as he depicts his career.
The faults of Coddington seem to me, those growing out of a
weakness of character, rather than of wrong intent. He grew up
probably in a position of wealth and importance under a strong gov-
ernment, and imbibed those sentiments of respect for authority
which are natural to his class. He came to Massachusetts already
alleged as an important member of the Council of Government, and
so remained until his last year in Massachusetts, and, as he un-
doubtedly expected, was immediately acknowledged as the leading
member of the settlement at Rhode Island. As the recognized head
of that community, then in perfect accord with common objects
and common interests, with no particular reason to anticipate dif-
ferences which eventually arose, he very naturally looked at the
very republican form of the institution they adopted, himself being
the leading spirit, through a rose colored medium. But when the
selfishness of hiunan natiu'e had had time to mature its never fail-
ing crop of differences and animosities, and his own superior con-
sequence and influence began to decline, he began, as most men do,
to lose his faith in the capacity of men to govern themselves, and
could see no way to secure the yoimg settlement from destruction,
but the restoration of his own authority, imder a form which should
make it independent of the caprice of the people. Almost any man
would be in favor of monarchy if he could be king.
The best recognition history can give Coddington is to
emphasize the new confidence awarded him by his fellow
pioneers, after he recanted the errors of his "usurpation."
This proves the essential integrity of the man, though the
ruler and governor had been found wanting. Over and be-
yond the lesser details of his career, stands the stability of the
* R. I. Historical Tracts, No. 4, 49.
S92 MASSACHUSETTS HISTOEICAL SOCIETY. [ApEH,
colony and State of Rhode Island. The outcast community
of Providence Plantations, possessing only soul-liberty, — a
new and non-efEective political doctrine then, — bxiilt itself up
on the rock of Coddington's law and justice. A State main-
taining the freedom of the soul then, has come to be one of the
world's monuments now.
Governor Long read a paper upon
General Robert E. Lee.
Col. W. R. Livermore's paper descriptive of the first day at
the battle of Gettysburg is so instructive that it is to be hoped
that he will give us also the second and third days. Military
campaigns and battles are a prolific source of differences of
view and opinion, which are as many as there are critics. Our
President, Mr. Adams, has in his recent paper renewed the
emphasis of the caution with which we should form an estimate
of Washington as a commander of an army, and his paper has
to some extent suggested this one of mine. Equal caution is
needed when we consider General Grant or General Lee or any
General Lee is the foremost figure on the Southern side of our
great Civil War. He seems to me to be, more than any other
American, like Washington in character and quality. Had
the South succeeded, he too would have been a Father of his
country. Neither of these men was a great genius; each was
a great good man, using that term as defining excellence of
character and quality. But that Lee is to be reckoned among
the greatest military commanders, as is sometimes claimed
for him, seems to me to be a mistaken estimate. I say "seems
to me," remembering that I know nothing of military science,
and am among the least qualified to pass judgment in that
respect. Yet I am one of the overwhelming majority of the
uninformed mass who have to make up our minds for ourselves
as best we can.
There is no question of Lee's commanding ability, his master-
ful movements, his brilliant successes against odds. But as
Washington made mistakes, as Grant made mistakes, as General
Sherman, if I remember rightly, made few mistakes [here Mr.
Adams, our President, interrupts me to say that General Sher-
igir.] GENERAL ROBERT E. LEE. 593
man made many mistakes but never repeated them, to which
I reply that a man who never repeats a mistake may be said
never to make one], so General Lee made mistakes and at
Gettysburg so blundered that he there gave a death blow to the
Southern Confederacy and made it a lost cause.
His campaign in West Virginia at the beginning of the war
was anything but successful or promising. In the Peninsular
campaign in 1862 he once or twice so rashly divided and weak-
ened his lines that only the fighting incompetency and utter
lack of initiative on the part of McClellan saved the Confederate
army from disaster and Richmond from falling. His assault
on Malvern was either Ul-judged or ill-directed, and was
disastrous. At Fredericksburg Lee was chargeable with the
same inertness which our President, Mr. Adams, justly charges
upon General Howe in letting Washington after the battle
transport his troops across the East River to New York — Lee
permitting the federals to cross back over the Rappahannock
when he had their rear at his mercy. At Chancellorsville he
again divided his army and exposed its wings to successive
annihilation by our overwhelming numbers, had Hooker had all
his reins in his hands and been capable of driving his big team
— a wretched condition on which Lee could not have counted.
That he won the battle is not so much due to generalship or an
evidence of it, as it is due to luck in the incapacity of the "other
feller" and in the lack of the most ordinary vigilance on the
part of some of the "other feller's" corps and division com-
manders, — of all which Lee had, however, at that time no
The safety of the Southern Confederacy was in its army's
remaining on the defensive. There Lee had found himself
invulnerable for a long time. When he crossed into Maryland
in 1862 and again in 1863, he made the mistake that Mr. Adams
suggests that Washington made in advancing to the Brandy-
wine, and thereby turned what had till then been the certainty
of defence into the risk and failure of attack.
At Gettysburg is it too much to say that Lee lost his head,
which a captain of the first rank does not do ? Successful on the
first day, he was at sea on the second. Leaving Longstreet to
press the attack on the right, he failed to move Ewell to Long-
street's support with the great corps which Ewell commanded
594 MASSACHUSETTS HISTORICAL SOCIETY. [APBIL,
on the left. That corps remained practically inactive all day
long, whereas, if so moved, it would very likely have insured
the success of the Confederate attack. It may be the mark of
a kind heart, but it is not the mark of a great military commander,
that, rather than hurt the sensitive feelings of his subordinates,
Lee refrained from giving them a positive order and preferred
to suggest to them his opinion. It reminds me of Mr. Alfred
C. Hersey, of Hingham, whom perhaps our President, Mr.
Adams, remembers, and who, commanding a militia company
on the march in the old days and coming to a sharp turn in
the road, instead of martially ordering "Right wheel, march,"
said, pointing with extended hand, "This way, gentlemen, this
way, if you please."
On the third day at Gettysburg the charge of Pickett which
Lee ordered was simply madness. His own subordinates knew
it was a blxmder. Think of the flower of his army, its very right
arm, a long exposed column parading the length of an open
valley-field, marching for nearly a mile to certain destruction
and practically defenceless under the direct blasting fire of
shot and shell from our batteries. It was like a lamb led to
slaughter! It melted like snow under a mid-day sun. If there
had been any hope at all of success, it was so faint from any
point of view that the risk was simply overwhelming and un-
pardonable, and was such that no great or little military com-
mander should have thought of taking it. Lee's failure at
Gettysburg becomes pathetic, viewed from the standpoint of
him personally. He was of course a great soldier, but, as our
President, Mr. Adams, finds in the case of Washington, is there
not room for modifying the popular and conventional estimate
of him in that respect? Grant added Uttle to his military fame
after taking command in Virginia in 1864, but I find nothing
in Lee's campaigns that will compare with the swift campaign
of Grant from Vicksburg through the heart of Mississippi,
capturing Jackson, its capital, fighting a battle every day,
striking and smashing the Confederate forces like a thunderbolt,
perfect in his celerity of movement and accuracy of combina-
tions — a campaign as brilliant as any one of Napoleon's.
However the foregoing are only the reflections of an inexpert
who distrusts his own impressions and seeks illumination. In
that spirit I wish somebody would write a history of the blunders
191 1.] THE EMANCIPATION PEN. 595
in military campaigns, of the drunkenness and jealousies and
downright stupidity in many oificers of various rank from the
head down, which have wasted blood and treasure and lost
victories. I wish that he would show in how many cases the
mere element of luck and chance has turned the scale and given
a commanding general the praise or blame which he neither
deserved nor earned, and that he would discriminate between
what is due to the commander who always gets all the popular
glory or blame and what is due to his subordinates who have
often quite as much deserved it. There is nothing blinder than
a great battle, the whole or even a great part of which no one
individual in it ever saw or comprehended in its kaleidoscopic
progress; and there are few things less conclusive and satis-
factory than the attempts at its exact reproduction even by
the honestest critics. It is easy enough for them to tell how
the thing ought to have been done, but it is exceedingly doubt-
ful whether they would have done it any better or even as well.
Col. William R. Liveemoee made the following presentation:
It is always of interest to our Society to know that its writings
have helped to make history as well as to record it.
On the stated meeting on the loth of July, 1862,' my father,
Mr. George Livermore, read before the Society the substance
of a work of over 200 pages, entitled An Historical Research
respecting the Opinions of the Founders of the Republic on Negroes
as Slaves, as Citizens and as Soldiers.
Of this work Mr. Winthrop, then President of the Society,
said that it alone would have been " enough to secure for him a
reputation which any of us might envy."
Mr. Deane says in the Memoirs of Mr. Livermore:
"Among the agencies which swayed the public mind at that time,"
says a distinguished civilian, " this publication cannot be forgotten."
Attorney-General Bates acknowledged his obligation to it in mak-
ing up his opinions on the status of the negro; and "it is within my
own knowledge," says Senator Sumner, "that it interested President
Lincoln much. The President expressed a desire to consult it while
' Proceedings, vi. 78. The paper was printed in the minutes of the August
meeting, to be found in the same volume, pp. 86-248.
596 MASSACHUSETTS HISTORICAL SOCIETY. [APEIt,
he was preparing the final Proclamation of Emancipation; and as
his own copy was mislaid, he requested me to send him mine, which
This work was issued in five different editions in a most
luxurious style. . . .
A pamphlet of eight pages of extracts from it was published
soon after, in Philadelphia, by Henry C. Baird, entitled George
Washington and General Jackson on Negro Soldiers, of which
over 100,000 copies were printed.'
It may be of interest to read Sumner's letter and a few
extracts from the newspapers referring to the book and to
Lincoln's acknowledgment of its services.
Washington, Xmas Day [Dec. 25, 1862].
Dear Livermoee, — Last evening the President referred to your
book — said that his copy was mislaid, and that he wished to con-
sult it now. I told him at once that he should have my copy, and
I have accordingly sent it to him this Xmas morning.
Now I rely upon yovir goodness to replace what I have given up.
Dr. Lieber, who is here, is anxious that a cheap edition should be
printed with a good index.
The President is occupied on the Proclamation. He will stand
firm. He said to me that it was hard to drive him from a position
which he had once taken. Ever yours,
Washington, 28th Dec, '62.
My dear Livermore, — On my return from a protracted inter-
view with the President about the Proclamation, I foimd your note,
which I have enclosed to him with the expression of a hope that he
will be able to gratify you, at least in part.
The President says he woiild not stop the Proclamation if he could,
and he could not if he would.
Good bye! Hallelujah! Ever yours,
Sumner asked Lincoln to take note of the pen he used on
that occasion and to reserve it for his friend in whose work
on colored persons and their rights he had been interested.
This the President did and Livermore duly acknowledged.
^ Proceedings, x. 464.
1911.] THE EMANCIPATION PEN. 597
Senate Chamber, 9th Jan., '63.
My dear Liveemoee, — I read to the President your letter on
the pen, and then handed it to him. He said he would accept it as
your answer, so that you need not trouble yourself to write again.
The Proclamation was not signed till after three hours of hand-
shaking on New Year's day, when the President found that his hand
trembled so that he held the pen with difficxilty. The enemy would
say, — naturally enough, in signing such a document. But it is
done, and the act will be firm throughout time.
The last sentence was actually framed by Chase, although I
believe that I first suggested it both to him and to the President.
I urged that he should close with "something ahout justice and God."
Those words must be introduced. The sentence which I suggested —
without, however, writing it down — was this: "In proclaiming
freedom to the slaves, which I now do, as an act of military necessity,
for the sake of the Constitution and the Union, I am encouraged by
the conviction that it is also an act of justice to an oppressed race,
which must draw down upon our country the favor of a beneficent
I then added, as I was leaving him, that there must be something
about "justice" and "God." Ever yours,
The announcement of Emancipation in September ended
with the promise in due time to recommend that all citizens
who shoTild have remained loyal to the Union throughout the
rebellion should be compensated for all losses by acts of the
United States, including the loss of slaves.'
The final proclamation, as we remember, ended with the
And upon this act, sincerely believed to be an act of justice, war-
ranted by the Constitution upon military necessity, I invoke the
considerate judgment of mankind and the gracious favor of Almighty
The comments of the press have now some historical value.
A few were preserved by Mr. Livermore and kept in this box.
The first is an editorial from the N. Y. Tribune.
* Messages and Documents of the Presidents, vi. 98. * Ih. 159.
598 MASSACHUSETTS HISTOEICAL SOCIETY. [APEIL,
The Great Proclamation.
The Rubicon is passed, the proclamation is issued, and hereafter
the rebelhon and slavery become so far identical as to live or fall
together. A few pro-slavery papers are making light of it, but Jeff
Davis knows better than to sneer at it, as his brutal retaliatory proc-
lamation testifies. We see it stated that the pen with which Presi-
dent Lincoln signed the document has been intrusted to Charles
Stunner, to be given to George Livermore of Cambridge. The proc-
lamation has been honored with public and congratxilatory gather-
ings and celebrations in a good many places, and in some instances
the bells were rung. A jubilee concert was held at the Music Hall
in Boston, and three large meetings were held at Tremont Temple
on Thursday. The reception of the proclamation at the latter, in the
evening, created great enthusiasm. At Gov. Andrew's order one
hundred guns were fired on Boston Common on Saturday. At Nor-
folk, Va., the negroes turned out in a procession 4000 strong, and
there was considerable excitement, but no riotous demonstrations.
The limits to which the proclamation is assigned (see first column in
this paper) include, according to the last census, 3,123,199 slaves,
about three-fourths of the entire slave population of the coimtry,
and a larger number of people than the entire country contained in
the revolutionary war. Some anxiety has been felt as to the effect
of the proclamation in the border states, especially Kentucky. Of
course a large portion of the people there do not approve it, and quite
probably it may strengthen the rebel cause, but that state is too fully
committed to the Union to be carried over to the rebels, even nomi-
nally, at this late day. As to the real and final effect of the proclama-
tion no one is perhaps wise enough to teU with much certainty. It
should be remembered that as a legal document it can never be
revoked, it being impossible by any law passed by the United States
to make the slaves thus freed bondmen again. No Christian man, it
seems to us, can review the events which have led to this result
without seeing in them the hand of Providence as a controlling
Another is an editorial paragraph from the Tribune of January
16, 1863, concerning the pen itself:
Senator Sumner read to the President on Tuesday night an elo-
quent letter from Mr. George Livermore of Boston, acknowledging
the receipt of the steel pen, with an ink-spattered, broken, wooden
handle, with which the President signed the New Year's Proclama-
tion. Mr. Livermore's claim to its possession is foxmded upon his
igil.] THE EMANCIPATION PEN. 599
"historical research" as to the opinions of the founders of the Re-
public respecting negroes as slaves, citizens and soldiers, a copy of
which was presented to the President while he was engaged in writ-
ing the Proclamation. This paper, read before the Historical Society
of Boston [Massachusetts Historical Society] and printed for private
distribution, should — particularly the second part, which deals
with the negro as a soldier — have a wider circulation. It would go
far to dispel the prejudice against enabling the black man to assist
in saving the country.
An Historical Research Respecting the Opinions of the Founders
of the Republic on Negroes as Slaves, as Citizens and as Soldiers,
by George Livermore, pp. 215 (Boston: John Wilson & Son), is the
most important work which has ever been published in this country
upon the subject of slavery. It is the Scriptures of American Free-
dom. President Lincoln gave an appropriate expression of his sense
of the value of Mr. Livermore's labors by giving him the pen with
which he signed the Proclamation of Jan. i, 1863. We hope that a
cheap, popular edition of this candid and accurate work will be issued
and circulated throughout the country. We know of no better anti-
dote to the insane prejudices which possess many minds at the present
time than the calm, reflective and humane sentiments of Washington,
Adams, Hamilton, Franklin, Gadsden, Laurens, Marshall, Sherman,
Martin, Morris and a countless host of other patriots of the Golden
Age of the Republic. It would greatly add to the value of the book,
as a work of reference, if it were provided with a very full index.^
But all the notices were not equally laudatory.
To show the feeling at this time, Mr. Livermore preserved
one which is hard to understand, and which may at least in part
have been inspired by a s)Tnpathizer with the rebellion.
A Parody. ^°^ t^e Sun.
This is the Proclamation that Abe writ.
This is the Pen that signed the Proclamation that Abe writ.
This is the Goose that shed the quill, that formed the pen, that signed
the Proclamation that Abe writ.
This is the Nigger made free-bom, that tossed the Goose, that shed
the quill, that formed the pen, that signed the Proclamation
that Abe writ.
* Also from the Tribune, but of unknown date. It contains the very sug-
gestions made by Dr. Lieber, then a contributor to that journal.
60O MASSACHUSETTS HISTORICAL SOCIETY. [APEIL,
This is the Sumner of abolition form, that was cuss-toad-i-on at
Washington, that embraced the Nigger made free-bom, that
tossed the Goose, that shed the quill, that formed the pen, that
signed the Proclamation that Abe writ.
This is the Livermore all forlorn, that received the treasure of the
cuss-toad-i-on, that blesses the Sumner of abolitiondom, that
embraces the Nigger made free-bom, that tossed the Goose
that shed the quill, that formed the pen, that signed the Proc-
lamation that Abe writ.
These are the Abolitionists all shaven and shorn, that nullify the
laws of our Constitution, that adore the Liver-more all forlorn,
that treasured the memento of abolitiondom, that was intrusted
to the Sumner cuss-toad-i-on, that embraces the Nigger made
free-bom, that tossed the Goose, that shed the quill, that formed
the pen, that signed the Proclamation that Abe writ.
This is the Party that crowed in the mom, that hugged Abolition
all shaven and shorn, that nidlified the laws of our Constitu-
tion, that adored the Liver-more all forlorn, that treasured the
memento of Abolitiondom, that was intrusted to the Sumner
cuss-toad-i-on, who embraced the Nigger made free-bom, who
tossed the Goose, that shed the quill, that formed the pen, that
signed the Proclamation that Abe writ.
The following letter of Mrs. William Endicott, Jr., is neces-
sary to understand the last letter from Sumner:
To George Livermore.
Dear Sir, — I write at the suggestion of Mr. Sumner and in be-
half of the ladies connected with the "Sanitary Fair." We have
arranged as one source of profit for an exhibition, in small rooms
opening from the Music Hall and entirely distinct from the Fair
itself, of rare articles interesting from their antiquity, beauty or
association. Mr. Sumner has kindly loaned us his valuable literary
treasures, and has suggested that you have some things that would
be valuable for our purpose, among other things, the pen with
which the Proclamation was signed. We shall put all such articles
under lock and key, in glass cases, and promise all the watchful care
that is possible. We shall feel exceedingly obliged if you will lend
us anything that you have that you think woxild have interest for
the Exhibition, and take the liberty of requesting an early reply, as
the Fair opens on Monday eve. We have books enough, having Mr.
Sumner's missals, and Mr. Waterston is preparing us a case, in chro-
igil.] THE EMANCIPATION PEN. 6oi
nological series, beginning with his monastic book with chain. He
is also preparing us one case of autographs. We more particularly
desire articles other than books and documents.
For the committee.
,,. ,, o^ Mrs. William Endicott, Jr.
lo Mt. Vernon St. ' •'
Dec. loth .
Washington, 27th Dec, '63.
My dear LrvERMORE, — I wish that the pen which signed the
Proclamation could have been at the Fair — in all its simplicity,
That it is the true pen there can be no doubt.
Some time before the signature of the Proclamation, I asked the
President to take note of the pen he used on that occasion and to
reserve it for a friend of mine in whose recent work on colored
persons and their rights he had been interested. This he promised
to do. On the night of the Proclamation, or the day after, I was
with him, and promptly inquired after the important pen. He took
it out of a drawer where he had carefully laid it away, and handed
it to me — saying, "This is the pen." That pen I forwarded to you.
The story that he did not know the pen he used probably arose
from an incident with reference to another pen. I had asked for the
pen with which he signed Emancipation in the National Capital,
when he said — taking up a handful of steel pens on his table: —
"It was one of these; which will you take? You are welcome to all."
He had not taken note of the pen he used. It was to prevent any
such confusion that I bespoke the Proclamation pen in advance.
As to the photograph, I beg you to understand that, neither half of
"the picture" had anything to do with naming it. I hope, however,
you will see one of the large pictmres. Hooper tells me he has sent
one to our Union Club.
I wish you a happy New Year. God bless you! Ever yours,
The pen ought to have been at the Fair. Everybody would
have looked at it.
Any one who knew Mr. Livennore will remember that he was
not fond of notoriety.
During the war my father's health was very poor, and in the
excitement over the assassination of Lincoln he died. Nearly
half a century has passed.
The reasons that deterred him from exhibiting the pen at the
Sanitary Fair in 1863 would not apply to its now receiving a
place in our Cabinet. As his memory is still cherished by some
6o2 MASSACHUSETTS HISTORICAL SOCIETY. [ApRlL,
who are still with us, I shall esteem it a privilege to present
the pen with the letters and other documents to the Society in
which the publication originated.
The Editor adds letters bearing upon this pen, which were
found in other collections.
The following letter is taken from the Sumner Mss. in the
library of Harvard University:
LrVERMORE TO SUMNER.
Boston, Monday, December 29th, '62.
My dear Sumner, — Thanks for your Christmas note. I feel
very happy to know that the President was to look over my "Re-
search," and I felt truly happy by the assurance that on the coming
New Years day the Proclamation will be issued which is to give
character and success to our war. God bless Abraham Lincoln!
will be shouted by the lips and rise from the hearts of millions of the
best citizens of our land, for that act. I telegraphed you to-day, "If
you approve, prociure at my expense a gold pen for the signature of
the important document, fit for perpetual preservation." I am
curious to know whether the message reaches you promptly and
correctly .1 I do desire that that should come to Massachusetts, and
that I may have the custody of it for the present. If it can fairly
and properly be had for me I know you will obtain it. If you send
a pen to be used let me know the cost, and if you secure the treasure,
please get a little box from a jeweller to put it in and send by express.
I would not trust it by mail.
I have sent a bound copy of my Research for you in a parcel to
J. B. Russell, clerk at the Pension Bvireau office. I have put in the
same parcel a copy for the Library of Congress, and one for Dr.
Lieber. I will forward two or three extra copies before they are all
gone to be distributed at your discretion.
I am preparing three large flags to be displayed from my house
as soon as I get news that the Proclamation is signed and issued.
God bless Abraham Lincoln and Charles Simmer. Your affectionate
friend, Geo. Lwermore.
Sumner to Lincoln.*
Boston, 8th November, '62.
My dear Sir, — I send you Mr. Livermore's Memoir on the
employment of slaves and Africans during our Revolution, and call
1 The message is also m the Sumner MSS.
» The originals of the three following letters are in the Lincoln mss., and
copies were courteously given by Hon. Robert T. Lincoln.
igil.J THE EMANCIPATION PEN. 603
your especial attention to the last half. You will find it learned,
thorough and candid.
The author is a conservative Republican, and his paper was read
before the Mass. Historical Society, which is one of the most con-
servative bodies in our country.
I deplore the result in New York. It is worse for our country
than the bloodiest disaster on any field of battle. I see only one
way to counteract it; and this is by the most unflinching vigor, in
the field and in council. Our armies must be pressed forward, and
the proclamation must be pressed forward; and the country must
be made to feel that there will be no relaxation of any kind, but
that all the activities of the country will be yet further aroused.
I am sanguine yet of the final result, although I fear further
disaster; but I am sure of two things, first, this grand Republic
cannot be broken up and secondly, slavery in this age cannot
succeed in building a new Govt. Believe me, my dear sir, Very
LrVEEMORE TO StTMNER.
Boston, December 2s. '62.
My dear Sumner, — Four volumes of the Congressional Globe
came to me today with your frank, to be added to my library of
political docimients which, thanks to your kind attention, has grown
greatly since you have been in the Senate.
The President is to issue his Proclamation of freedom on New
Years Day, thank Heaven! God bless Abraham Lincoln will rise
from millions of hearts and tongues! I do want to get and to
keep the pen with which he signs this Declaration of Independence.
Can it be done without impropriety — i. e., can you in any way get
it for me? I would not trouble you or him for any ordinary matter,
but I so much desire to have that precious instrument come to
Massachusetts that I would do almost any thing to get it.
What becomes of the Manuscript of the Proclamation ? Is that
preserved ? That would be still better than the pen — if it could
be had after the printer had published it.
I enclose a letter for Dr. Lieber, not knowing where in Washing-
ton to direct to him. With the best wishes of the season, I am,
Affectionately your friend,
604 massachusetts historical society. [apeit,
Sumner to Lincoln.
F St. — 2, 12. Sunday. [December 28, 1862.]
My dear Sir, — I enclose a note from Mr. Livermore, the
author of the Historic Research on slavery in the early days of
our Government, in which he expresses a desire for the pen with
which you sign the immortal Proclamation. If nobody has yet
spoken for it, let me.
He also inquires about the MS.
I hope you will be able to gratify him at least in part.
Believe me, dear sir, Faithfully yours,
Annotation on envelope, in handwriting of President Lincoln:
" The pen it is to be signed with."
Remarks were made during the meeting by the President,
and Messrs. Long, Stanwood, Hart, Lord, Woods, W. R.
Livermore, and T. L. Livermore.