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Full text of "November Meeting. Gifts to the Society; The Whig Party in Massachusetts; Some Objections to the Constitution, 1780; Marine Hospitals of New England in 1817; Governor Hutchinson's Currency Tract; Letters of John Tulley; Brakenbury's Recantation; Letters of Eliot and Rogers"

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1916.] GIFTS TO THE SOCIETY. 37 



NOVEMBER MEETING. 

THE stated meeting was held on Thursday, the 9th instant, 
at three o'clock, p. m.; the President, Mr. Lodge, in the 
chair. 

The record of the last meeting was read and approved; and 
the Corresponding Secretary, in the absence of the Librarian, 
reported the list of donors to the Library since the last meeting. 
The Recording Secretary, in the absence of the Cabinet- 
Keeper, reported the following gifts: 

From the estate of Mrs. Mary Seamans, of Oxford, Mass., through 
Miss A. L. Joslin, a series of eight heavy gold medals engraved about 
1897 by Francis F. Stockwell, a brother of Mrs. Seamans, and 
formerly of Boston. They represent "Old Ironsides," the State 
House, Boston, Washington Elm, Cambridge, the "Old Ship," 
Hingham, Cradock House, Medford, Old Powder House, Somer- 
ville, Wayside Inn, Sudbury, and Ethan Allen and Ticonderoga. 
With these are engravings of the Presidents, a photograph of Mr. 
Stockwell, three engraved plates, and wood from the Hancock 
House, 1868, the Bradley House associated with the Boston Tea 
Party, Faneuil Hall, Old Hancock Tavern, Old South Meeting House, 
the Paul Revere House, and the frigate Constitution. 

From Frank W. Sprague, two photographs of the birthplace of 
Chief- Justice Lemuel Shaw, at West Barnstable, a photograph of 
the Howe place, and one of the Dimmock-Percival House at Barn- 
stable, Mass. 

From Mr. Norcross, a specimen of the new dime. 

By purchase, a photograph of the ruins of the great fire in Boston, 
November 9 and 10, 1872, taken by David Woodbury Butterfield 
from the Soldiers' Home, Fort Hill, Boston. 

The Corresponding Secretary read a letter from the Old Dart- 
mouth Historical Society, New Bedford, inviting historical Socie- 
ties to its meeting to be held on the 23d instant, and reported that 
the Council had instructed him to ask Mr. Crapo to represent the 
Society on that occasion. 



38 MASSACHUSETTS HISTORICAL SOCIETY. [Nov. 

The Editor read the following letter: 

Fisher Ave., Brookline, 
7 November, 1916. 

To the President and Members of the Massachusetts Historical 
Society: 

The late Frederick Lewis Gay, in his "note" to his privately 
printed Rough List of a Collection of Transcripts relating to the History 
of New England, 1630-1776, said, that "sooner or later they (i. e. 
the fifty-six volumes covered by this List) will be given to a library 
where they can be more freely used by a wider circle of students." 
Although Mr. Gay died on 3 March, 1916, without leaving a will, 
his widow and brothers decided that his wishes, as expressed above, 
can best be carried out by presenting the fifty-six volumes comprising 
the collection as listed, and three additional volumes of transcripts 
of Admiral Graves papers, acquired subsequent to the publication 
of the Rough List, to the Massachusetts Historical Society of Boston, 
Mass., on these terms: 

1. The collection to be known as the "Gay Collection of Histori- 
cal Transcripts relating to New England, 1630-1776." 

2. The said collection to be carefully preserved by the Society, 
and the freest possible use of it, consistent with its safety, be given 
to all historical students of serious intent. Very truly yours, 

Josephine S. Gay, 
Ellen F. Gay, 
Ernest L. Gay. 1 

This generous and important gift greatly strengthens our 
collections of American material from English sources, and 
will stand as a lasting memorial of the life interests of one of 
its members. The conditions of gift assure the best results 
from the use by students of the colonial and provincial history 
of Massachusetts. The titles of these volumes are as follows: 

State Papers, 13 vols. 
Plymouth Papers, 2 vols. 
Temple Papers, 2 vols. 
Sedgwick Papers, 1 vol. 
Hugh Peter, 4 vols. 
Letters to R. Baxter, 1 vol. 
Phips Papers, 7 vols. 

1 Since the death of Frederick L. Gay, his brothers have both passed away ; 
Warren Fisher Gay died August 26, and Emest Lewis Gay, November 25, 1916. 



1916.] THE WHIG PARTY IN MASSACHUSETTS. 39 

Knepp Journal, 1 vol. 

Kidd Papers, 2 vols. 

Letters to Royal Society, 1 vol. 

Miscellaneous Papers, 3 vols. 

Acadia Papers, 1 vol. 

Nova Scotia Papers, 6 vols. 

Mascarene Papers, 5 vols. 

Andrew Oliver Letter Book, 2 vols. 

Peter Oliver, "American Revolution," 1 vol. 

Elisha Hutchinson Letter Book, 1 vol. 

Letters of Hutchinson to Hardwicke, 1 vol. 

Hutchinson Papers, 2 vols. 

Admiral Graves' Conduct in America, 3 vols. 

By purchase, Pepperrell papers, 1 694-1 766, and a letter book of 
John Rindge, 1728-1731. 

Mr. Bowditch presented a leaflet giving five hundred and 
seventy-two different ways of spelling the name of Bowditch, 
as met in manuscript records. 

Dr. Frederick Cheever Shattuck, of Boston, was elected a 
Resident Member of the Society. 

Mr. Schouler read a paper on 

The Whig Party in Massachusetts. 

The Whig party in American politics was a glorious birth, 
and especially glorious in Massachusetts, where it found a 
loyal constituency to the last. To scions of the older families 
it recalled the proud days of Federalism and Alexander Hamil- 
ton, when New England was fairly dominant in the national 
councils; but the Whigs were far more advanced in ideas of 
popular self-government than ever the Federalists as a party 
had been. Men high born or low born were heartily welcome 
into the Whig ranks. Its two foremost national leaders and 
organizers, Clay and Webster, were both commoners by origin, 
and each in rivalry was idolized by the voters. Whigs aristo- 
cratic at heart fraternized with plebeians at the polls: the rich 
made friends with the poor; academicians and men of culture 
in the learned professions, who were especially drawn to this 
party, consorted with the self-educated; broad-minded mer- 
chants, with the shopkeepers; manufacturers, with those whom 



40 MASSACHUSETTS HISTORICAL SOCIETY. [Nov. 

they employed. Farmers and tillers of the soil were persuaded 
to join wherever possible; mechanics, too, and the hardy sons 
of manual toil; but these last, and the humble immigrant, 
lately from abroad, could not be so easily won over. 

In such a combination for politics, where virtue and intelli- 
gence were strongly reenforced and respectability permeated 
the mass, able but self-constrained citizens of social standing 
took cheerfully the lesser posts of public service and promoted 
to the highest honors him who might best gain over the voters, 
whether because of plain and simple manners and origin, or as 
some military hero of contemporary lustre. During an election 
campaign men whose political tenets were not compared closely 
marched together, and sad mistakes were made in conse- 
quence; but, though often vague and temporizing as to immedi- 
ate issues, the love of country and of this broad Union was 
always paramount in the career of this famous party. All were 
highly susceptible to appeals for patriotism and an American 
fraternal spirit; and arm in arm, in serried ranks, our Whigs 
kept steady step to the music of the Union. On that all inspir- 
ing theme this country never had orators to compare with their 
two chief Presidential aspirants; while of other eloquent leaders 
of the party Massachusetts could boast an Everett, a Choate 
and a Winthrop. 

And, once again, despite its addiction to half measures, or 
perhaps because of it, the Whig party, whether in national, 
State or local affairs, furnished able, fair-minded and honest 
administrators far above the average of office-holders. Even 
in those earlier days when the patronage was held a perquisite 
and prize for contending parties, it stood in the main for good 
government and for pure and unselfish devotion to the common 
welfare. 

In another and broader connection I have sought to set forth 
the strange vicissitudes, the fortunes and the misfortunes which 
befell our American Whigs as a national party. My object 
rather, in the present paper, is to trace out the progress of that 
party, its rise and its fall, here in Massachusetts. 

By 1840, the first year of its national triumph, the Whig 
party had well established itself in this commonwealth. In 
the United States Senate it was ably represented by Daniel 
Webster and John Davis. Its House delegation was largely of 



1916.] THE WHIG PARTY IN MASSACHUSETTS. 41 

the same political complexion, John Quincy Adams, the most 
eminent among them, notwithstanding his bold and eccentric 
course on the floor of discussion, regarding himself as a regular 
party Whig. In Massachusetts, however, one of those political 
overturns had just taken place to which this State is always 
liable, with its annual elections of executive and legislature; 
and January opened with Marcus Morton, a conservative 
Democrat, earlier in politics but of late a judge on the State Su- 
preme bench, duly installed as Governor. He had won at the 
polls over his Whig competitor by the singular majority of one. 
For Edward Everett, as it appears, who had occupied the 
executive chair with dignity for four successive years, lost 
largely with the voters in 1839 through the passage by the 
Whig legislature of a liquor law which seemed to discriminate 
in favor of the socially elect. 

Nothing daunted, however, by their temporary State reverse, 
the Whigs of Massachusetts entered heartily and unitedly into 
that enthusiastic Presidential campaign of 1840 which swept 
the whole area of this Union and bore "Old Tippecanoe and 
Tyler too " into the citadel of national authority — a barren 
victory, as it sadly proved for the national Whigs, in course of 
another year. In Massachusetts "honest John Davis," as he 
was called, was summoned from Washington and put up by the 
Whigs for Governor, an office he had held before. He was 
chosen, this November, by about 16,000 over Morton, and 
the Harrison electoral ticket won by 20,000. 

Two incidents of especial interest to Bostonians marked the 
summer of this Presidential leap year. The new customhouse 
here was finished, and on the 4th of July, with the gates thrown 
open, revealed its granite glories. 1 During the same month of 
July the first of the new Cunard line of British steamers arrived 
at East Boston, and that joyful event was signalized by a Boston 
banquet, at which Cunard was made the guest of honor and 
Webster made a welcoming speech. 

Early in 1841 Daniel Webster resigned his seat in the United 
States Senate, to become Secretary of State under the Harrison 
administration, and Rufus Choate was chosen by the Massa- 
chusetts legislature to succeed him. 

1 George Bancroft, the historian, was at this time collector of the port of 
Boston under President Van Buren's appointment. 



42 MASSACHUSETTS HISTORICAL SOCIETY. [Nov. 

Of Whig newspapers in Massachusetts, and indeed through- 
out New England, the Boston Atlas led and fairly maintained 
the lead, in fervency of spirit, while the Whig party and its 
own life lasted. Its Democratic rival, with whom it sparred 
constantly, was the Boston Post, which Charles Gordon 
Greene conducted ably and courteously far into another era. 
While the Post tried to fasten upon the Whigs the stigma of 
"Hartford Convention Federalists," the Atlas urged the Whigs, 
but in vain, to adopt in their hour of national triumph the 
name of "Jefferson Democrats" as against the "Toryism" of 
the Van Buren Loco-Focos. Richard Haughton retired from 
the Atlas in May, 1841, and died soon after; but other editors 
who succeeded him in turn kept up the lead of this paper as 
New England's chief Whig organ. 

The death of Harrison, when he had been President scarcely 
a month, was followed by the accession of the Vice-President, 
John Tyler, whose breach with Henry Clay and the Whig Con- 
gress at the extra session called at Washington in March led, 
as we know, to a dramatic dissolution of the Harrison cabinet, 
so far as Clay's friends were concerned. This caused the Massa- 
chusetts Whigs perplexity and dismay, for Daniel Webster 
remained in that administration as Secretary of State; and in 
letters which he published in the Boston press in September he 
defended on general grounds his course in remaining, and up- 
held the President. Union and harmony in the whole party 
was the loyal watchword here for the fall elections of 1841, 
despite a discouraging outlook; and the Massachusetts Whigs 
again won at the polls. John Davis was reelected Governor, 
with a Whig Senate and House to sustain him and an ample 
popular majority. 

But during 1842, as John Tyler's recreancy and selfishness 
became more clearly manifest, the party dissatisfaction in 
Massachusetts grew and showed itself. Clearly enough, the 
Whigs of the Union had combined on Harrison in 1840 without 
a distinct and harmonious policy on all points. Though dis- 
agreement had developed in Washington on reviving a National 
Bank, with its stable and uniform paper currency, there re- 
mained a chance for Clay's American system in other respects. 
Whigs were for public land distribution and for protection to 
American industries; but by this time President Tyler had by 



1916.] THE WHIG PARTY IN MASSACHUSETTS. 43 

his vetoes defeated both of these measures of policy as well. 
The hearts of all national Whigs beat warmly for Clay, who 
now retired from the forum of strife, baffled and disappointed, 
yet reserving himself for the next Presidential campaign of 
1844. No other leader could now be thought of by the party. 
At the Whig State convention, held in September, 1843, at 
Faneuil Hall, Abbott Lawrence presiding, Henry Clay was 
boldly announced for next President, with John Davis, now 
Governor of Massachusetts, for Vice-President. It was a 
challenge to Daniel Webster to leave the Tyler cabinet at once 
and stand with his own party where he belonged. 

This demonstration roused Webster's wrath. He had hoped 
to keep his foremost rival back and at all events to secure the 
support of Massachusetts Whigs for himself. On September 
30 he met his fellow citizens at Faneuil Hall and declared 
himself opposed to all such anticipations of 1844. He denounced 
the Whig State convention for its action and for its summary 
abandonment of the present administration. As for himself, 
he announced, "I am hard to coax and harder to be driven." 
"Where are you going to place me?" he asked defiantly of his 
fellow Whigs. 

Among Whig organs was the Boston Advertiser, conservative 
and judicious, then and long a favorite with bankers, large 
merchants, lawyers and Harvard college. This paper was trust- 
worthy in its news, but dubious and dilatory in its editorials, 
where sides were to be taken. In its columns Webster's angry 
speech was fully reported, but a full week expired before edito- 
rial comments were made upon it. On October 8, however, its 
stand was announced. This journal did not wish to excite ill 
feeling; but, while Massachusetts Whigs were still willing that 
Webster should remain in Tyler's cabinet for conducting his 
official business, they were far from commending the President 
or wishing a third political party created. And on October 13 
the Advertiser joined earlier party organs of the State in placing 
Clay and Davis in nomination for 1844 at the head of its edi- 
torial page. 

But now and as long as he lived Webster had Massachusetts 
presses and fellow citizens who sustained him without faltering, 
through evil or good report. The November election in the 
State was a close one that fall, with the Whigs thus divided in 



44 MASSACHUSETTS HISTORICAL SOCIETY. [Nov. 

sentiment. Election by plurality did not prevail in Massa- 
chusetts until 1855. No one had a majority of the voters, and 
in consequence the election went to a new legislature, closely 
divided, which in January made the Democratic Marcus Mor- 
ton Governor for 1843, as against John Davis. But, as before, 
Morton's executive career proved for one year only. Various 
incidents helped Whigs to reunite in the State before another 
fall. The 17th of June saw Webster the orator when the 
Bunker Hill monument was completed. President Tyler with 
his suite attended the exercises and Boston received him coldly 
but politely. Webster soon after retired from Tyler's cabinet, 
reinstating himself with Clay and his fellow Whigs, who wel- 
comed him back again. 

George N. Briggs of Pittsfield was now drafted from the 
Whig delegation in the national House as the party candidate 
for next Governor, with John Reed for Lieutenant-Governor. 
Webster and his friends gave adhesion to that ticket, and by 
a large majority in 1843 a Whig legislature was chosen, which 
assured the success of those candidates, at this first contest. 
Briggs came out at the polls with only a plurality, and hence 
another legislative resort in January, 1844. But from this time 
forward, and for the next seven years, the Briggs and Reed 
combination held Massachusetts more and more closely in the 
popular esteem and affection. 

Briggs was a person of plain and simple manners, with a 
kind and affectionate heart, and yet a becoming dignity of bear- 
ing. He had good sense, a harmonizing disposition, and was 
honest as the day, temperate and sincere. Men of the highest 
social importance here in Massachusetts were content to serve 
under him in legislature, civil office or town and local magis- 
tracy. The voters of the State, moreover, were well satisfied 
with such a chief ruler. In person he was of good height, with a 
calm blue eye, a healthy complexion and a well-knit figure. His 
peculiarity of dress consisted in wearing a stock or large cravat 
of the day without any collar peering above it. 

Not since the days of New England Federalism has any 
governor held office in Massachusetts for seven years other 
than George N. Briggs; and his continuous service would have 
been longer still except for new causes of national dissension 
which he had not promoted. The Whig party of the State, 



1916.] THE WHIG PARTY IN MASSACHUSETTS. 45 

while it lasted, had indeed a happy faculty for keeping loyally 
in the lead men who had done deserving service to the public 
under its auspices. Rufus Choate, after the Presidential election 
of 1844, refused a reelection to the Senate, desiring only pro- 
fessional rewards for himself, and Daniel Webster, by the 
general party assent, went back to reoccupy the seat he had 
vacated at Washington on entering the Harrison cabinet; 
and, when he resigned it once more, to become the premier 
of President Fillmore's fortuitous administration, the Massa- 
chusetts legislature chose Congressman Robert C. Winthrop 
in his place, as one who already had risen from State to national 
renown, serving in the House at Washington as Speaker, and 
Whig Speaker of the Massachusetts House years before. John 
Davis, too, though now a defeated Whig Governor, was restored 
to the Senate as Webster's colleague once more, when death 
made there another vacancy. Finally Edward Everett, back 
to Massachusetts from England as Whig minister, to become 
in 1845 President of Harvard as the veteran Quincy's successor, 
was by 1853 sent to the Senate to serve there for a brief and 
turbulent space, preceding a new era in our national politics. 

Governor Morton's legislature had concerned itself in re- 
ducing the salaries of judges; but Briggs, in his first inaugural 
message, took the ground that the true way of reducing State 
expenses was rather to shorten the sessions of the legislature. 
That body had of late years sat usually from early January to 
some date in March, and for 1844 the session was ended in 
seventy-four days, which improved by about a week upon the 
record of the year preceding. That was the Presidential year, 
and President Tyler projected his Texas annexation scheme into 
the national canvass, in season to disconcert the Whig leaders, 
forcing the Democrats to substitute Polk for Van Buren as the 
candidate of that party. Clay's leadership of the Whigs, how- 
ever, had proved irresistible, and at the early Whig conven- 
tion in Baltimore he was nominated for the Presidency by a 
long, loud and unanimous "aye." Frelinghuysen was added 
to the ticket for Vice-President. 

How Clay lost the election through the defection of anti- 
slavery men caused by his equivocal letters on the Texas annexa- 
tion issue is well known. The long canvass for the popular 
vote was a close one. New York State, it was perceived, would 



46 MASSACHUSETTS HISTORICAL SOCIETY. [Nov. 

turn the scales; and there a Liberty party, with Birney, so 
divided the Whigs that Polk and the Democrats won. No such 
division, however, obstructed the Whigs of Massachusetts. So 
unitedly did they stand by Clay that their electoral ticket won 
at the polls, even after it had become known that their candidate 
had already lost New York and hence the Presidency. For the 
election took place on a day of November earlier in New York 
than in Massachusetts. No such example of political loyalty 
in disaster could ever occur again in this country; for, before 
another Presidential contest, Congress passed an act prescribing 
a fixed and uniform Tuesday in November for all Presidential 
elections throughout the Union. 

Webster, who at Washington had been gently forced out of 
the State Department and Tyler's administration in season 
for the Texas intrigue of Virginians to be worked out, was in 
private life once more as a Boston lawyer when Clay was 
nominated for President. He ably supported the Whig cause 
and candidate, and his reinstatement with the party was 
heartily welcomed. Yet it was observable that, in his campaign 
speeches of 1844, he chiefly dwelt upon party principles and 
policy, and betrayed a suppressed jealousy of his favored rival, 
at whose final defeat he did not grieve greatly. To 1848 and 
its convention he looked forward hopefully for himself. Mean- 
while, as I have said, he was returned in 1845 to his former seat 
in the United States Senate, his generous friend and fellow 
citizen, Rufus Choate, making way for him. 

The Briggs and Reed regime held its serene course uninter- 
rupted until the eventful year 1850, setting to Massachusetts 
citizens a high example of dignified and honorable administra- 
tion. Effort was made, but in vain, during 1845 to introduce 
a new element of discord into State politics: that of Native- 
Americanism as against the immigrant from abroad. Such 
demonstration was chiefly directed against the Irish Roman- 
Catholics, who swarmed in all our great Atlantic cities of the 
North, where they gained much influence, swelling usually the 
Democratic party vote. In April, 1844, a Native-American 
ticket for honest reform won in New York City at the polls 
and James Harper was chosen mayor. In Philadelphia a 
similar movement met with much encouragement. Hence, 
closely following the Presidential election, which had turned 



1916.] THE WHIG PARTY IN MASSACHUSETTS. 47 

out so disastrously for the Whigs in a national sense, an earnest 
attempt was made to enlist the Whig city of Boston in the new 
cause. A three-cornered fight started here in December for 
the mayoralty. Martin Brimmer, the year's incumbent, declin- 
ing to run again, the Whigs put up Josiah Quincy, Jr., who had 
been prominent in the legislature during recent years. Against 
him the Democrats named their candidate, and Native- 
Americans united upon one Thomas A. Davis. A secession 
from the Whigs ensued, following the example set by New York 
and Philadelphia. No choice was the result, no candidate 
gaining a majority at the polls, though Quincy figured a plural- 
ity. A second trial followed, Quincy declining to run again, and 
Davis made gains. At a third trial, in the same month, Davis 
gained still further, but still there was no choice. At a fourth 
trial, in early January, 1845, no one was elected mayor; but for 
the first time aldermen sufficient in number were chosen to 
make a quorum for business. At a fifth trial, February 12, 
Davis led the candidates strongly, but was still short of a 
majority. But at last, February 21, Davis was chosen Bos- 
ton's mayor by the wearied voters, receiving a majority of 174, 
and the protracted struggle came to an end. 

The Native-Americans now held a jubilee meeting at Faneuil 
hall, February 22, in honor of their municipal victory. But 
Governor Briggs declined pointedly an invitation to attend it. 
Another celebration was held on Bunker Hill day, June 17. 
Attempts next followed to make a State organization of Native- 
Americans in season for the autumn election; but the Whigs 
of Massachusetts showed themselves strong and united to pre- 
vent any such organization from becoming formidable. They 
took the ground that they themselves were well enough dis- 
posed to have Congress amend the naturalization laws, but 
otherwise felt no interest in the new movement. Native- 
Americanism quickly faded out from Massachusetts politics as 
a definite issue; our own cities were well enough governed by 
the Whigs in power, despite all foreign importation; and in 
Boston Davis himself resigned his office before the year 1845 
was out and disappeared from the public gaze. No anti-foreign 
movement got foothold again in State or nation until the 
Whig party was in its grave. 

Even in Boston, where the board of aldermen had wrangled 



48 MASSACHUSETTS HISTORICAL SOCIETY. [Nov. 

for weeks over the choice of a successor to Davis for the vacant 
mayoralty, Josiah Quincy, Jr., again* brought forward as the 
Whig candidate, won in December, 1845, over his Democratic 
and Native-American opponents combined by a decisive 
majority. A new water supply for the city was now a topic of 
great local interest and to securing it Quincy devoted himself 
for the next three years. 

To the annexation of Texas and the war with Mexico which 
followed, with its iniquitous further spoliation of Mexican soil, 
the Whigs of Massachusetts were unitedly opposed; and Daniel 
Webster voiced fairly their remonstrance in his public utter- 
ances. For two years, at least, his prospect of becoming the 
Presidential Whig candidate in 1848 seemed fair, though in 
truth there never was much chance that the Whigs outside of 
New England would unite in convention to nominate him. 
Clay, despite his years and disappointments in the past, touched 
a deeper chord of popular devotion; and when the new star of 
General Taylor's popularity rose suddenly on the horizon — as 
of one whose unflinching courage and patriotism had won at 
Buena Vista, after his own government had deserted him — it 
was Clay and not Webster who was sought in the national Whig 
convention of 1848 to save the party from adopting this mili- 
tary hero for a guide. Webster, though strongly sustained by 
Massachusetts, stood fourth on every ballot, even Winfield 
Scott leading him by about three to one. Both Clay and 
Webster were chagrined at the outcome. Webster openly 
declared that Taylor's nomination was "not fit to be made," 
and sulked through the whole campaign. 

But Massachusetts Whigs indulged their statesman in his ill 
humor-, and, studying Zachary Taylor for themselves, not only 
soon became reconciled to his nomination, but grew exultant over 
it. Party dissatisfaction with the national convention, such as 
it was, found vent rather in the secession of some strong anti- 
slavery Whigs of the State, such as Charles Allen and Henry 
Wilson, who, with party bolters from elsewhere in the North, 
joined in holding a convention at Buffalo, which put up Van 
Buren and Charles Francis Adams as an independent free-soil 
ticket. But that movement in the end really helped the Whigs; 
for, as against Lewis Cass, the Democratic candidate, and an- 
other non-committal party platform as to slavery in the newly 



1916.] THE WHIG PARTY IN MASSACHUSETTS. 49 

acquired territories, Taylor, though himself a Southerner and 
a slaveholder, was a fair and honorable man, neither aggressive 
on that issue nor a dissembler. Van Buren had his own personal 
scores to pay off this year; and, reversing the course of his 
State, four years before, he served with his antislavery followers 
to divide the Democratic vote and carry New York for Taylor 
and Fillmore, the latter candidate, who stood for the Whig 
Vice-Presidency, having himself a strong home following. 

The great Empire State going this time Whig, the national 
contest was decided. "Conscience Whigs," as the Massa- 
chusetts seceders were now called, made no strong impression 
on their fellow voters in the State at this 1848 election. Nor 
did the sullen temper of the great Webster, from another point 
of view, change results. The Briggs and Reed ticket for State 
executive was well sustained at the polls in November, as usual. 
Webster's anger was suffered to pass. The favor with which 
"Old Zach's" candidacy had been received warmed into 
enthusiasm as his character and record became understood in 
course of the canvass. Boston, Whig to the core, pronounced 
strongly by November for "Rough and Ready." Those of us 
who, as children, witnessed the grand Whig torchlight pro- 
cession, on a pleasant night not long before election day, can 
recall the lines of residences on the route, whose front windows, 
on either side of the crowded street, were illumined with small 
bottle lamps, 1 burning whale oil, to greet the ranks of shouting 
marchers, who bore naming torches and transparencies, while 
rockets, Roman candles and Bengal lights gave added radiance 
to the scene. 

The highly dramatic incidents which attended President 
Taylor's brief administration I have already set forth in their 
national course: 2 the startling discovery of gold in California, 
a territorial acquisition just wrested from Mexico; its rapid 
settlement by swarming adventurers from afar, who organized 
within a few brief months a free State Government and sought 
equal admission to the Union when Congress came together; 
the alarm caused at the South by the loss of equipoise between 

1 These bottle lamps were bought originally for illuminating the city on the 
night of October 25, 1848, following the grand Cochituate water celebration 
during the day. 

! Schouler's United States, v. ch. ix. 



50 MASSACHUSETTS HISTORICAL SOCIETY. [Nov. 

freedom and slavery; and that long session of Congress in which 
Clay once more appeared, and for the last time, as a Senator 
seeking, against the President's plan of unconditional admission, 
to make California's admission conditional upon a mutual com- 
promise between South and North, which might adjust forever 
all sectional ambitions and alleged grievances. This basis of 
settlement as between freedom and slavery in the Union be- 
came known as the compromise of 1850. To such a basis 
Webster gave his adhesion in his seventh of March speech; and 
the sudden and unexpected death of President Taylor in July 
of that year ensured the passage by Congress of all those com- 
promise measures — a stringent fugitive-slave act being one of 
the features. For the compromising Millard Fillmore succeeded 
to the Presidency from Vice-President, with Daniel Webster 
as his chosen premier and Secretary of State. 

Both President and Secretary of State now enforced the man- 
date of Congress efficiently and bore the odium together. In 
course of the next three years, despite some local riots and res- 
cues, the demands of slaveholding fellow countrymen were 
fulfilled, Northern abolitionists and agitators suppressed as far 
as possible, and all loyal citizens of the land encouraged to regard 
the sectional pacification of 1850 as a finality. 

For fellow Whigs of his own State Webster essayed the task 
of applying discipline to those who had differed with him. 
Party presses, lately in his confidence, which had repudiated 
his seventh of March speech — foremost among them the 
Boston Atlas, conducted, since May, 1847, by William Schouler 
— he punished, upon coming into the cabinet, by taking away 
the government patronage. 1 But his manifest antagonism only 
made matters worse for himself and his supporters, by forcing 
dissensions which were never healed. At the November election 
of 1850 in Massachusetts, Briggs, the beloved, went down in 
defeat before a coalition of Democrats and Free Soilers which 
made George S. Boutwell Governor for two successive years. 
The coalition legislature of 185 1 chose Charles Sumner for a 

1 The Thomas Corwin mss. (unpublished), in the Library of Congress, contain 
a private letter from Daniel Webster, dated at Boston, November 13, 1850, which 
comments bitterly upon local Whig papers which had dissented from him, and 
requests his colleague in the cabinet to withdraw altogether the patronage of his 
department from the Boston Atlas, as the chief offender. Corwin was Secretary 
of the Treasury in Fillmore's administration. 



1916.] THE WHIG PARTY IN MASSACHUSETTS. 5 1 

full term to the seat in the Senate at Washington left vacant by 
Webster, and a statesman of a far different mould entered into 
public life, as Webster himself had done, in the service of the 
United States. Furthermore in 1852 the Coalitionists called 
a State constitutional convention, with the intent of changing 
radically the ancient document of Massachusetts both in text 
and in spirit. 

The Presidential contest of 1852 approached. For Daniel 
Webster, now at threescore and ten, it was a last opportunity, 
most likely, for the ambitious preferment he had so long craved 
at heart. The South, at least, owed him gratitude. At the 
North, however, party Whigs were greatly divided. Some 
earnestly upheld fraternal sentiment throughout the Union, on 
the basis of the 1850 compromise to which both Whigs and 
Democrats announced adhesion; but the Whig majority, while 
accepting such measures for all they were worth, quite indis- 
posed to raise an issue concerning them at present, doubted 
whether this pact of peace would endure, and awaited the future. 
In Massachusetts were constituents who worshipped Webster 
and worked for his advancement at all times and under all cir- 
cumstances; but others felt that he had broken faith, and hence 
would not aid his candidacy that year. Both Democratic and 
Whig national conventions met at Baltimore in June. The 
Democrats, after balloting more than fifty times, nominated 
Franklin Pierce for President, as one of modest worth who had 
no enemies; and their platform pledged resistance to all agita- 
tion thenceforth of the slavery question, with an unqualified ac- 
ceptance of the 1850 settlement, its fugitive-slave act included. 

But in the Whig convention which followed, over fifty ballots 
were cast under far different conditions of rivalry. Clay on his 
death bed — for he died shortly after — had seasonably an- 
nounced his preference for Fillmore as candidate of the com- 
promisers; and the President himself was not inclined to yield 
delicately to his older and far more distinguished subordinate. 
Against them both such Whig delegates as were not disposed 
to regard the compromise measures too sacred to be ever modi- 
fied supported Winfield Scott — a military hero, indeed, and 
yet Scott had been a Whig convention candidate before, and, 
as I have already stated, led Webster largely in 1848. Fillmore 
had 133 votes, Scott 131 and Webster 29 on the first ballot; 



52 MASSACHUSETTS HISTORICAL SOCIETY. [Nov. 

and thus it continued, with but little change, until on the fifty- 
third ballot Scott drew from each of his two competitors, 
neither of whom had yielded to the other, and by 26 majority 
won the nomination. 

This unhappy frustration of his cherished hopes was to 
Webster a death blow. He had long been failing in health by 
reason of years and the cares of office. To Southern delegates 
returning from the convention he made plain his grievous dis- 
appointment, and the President he had served he could serve no 
longer. As Winfield Scott has recorded in his Memoirs, Webster 
conducted himself as one who had been cheated out of a rightful 
inheritance. 1 He left Washington and went home to Marshfield 
to die. Spurning Scott still more contemptuously than he had 
done Taylor, he privately advised his friends to vote the Demo- 
cratic ticket. His death, which took place shortly before the 
election, cast a dark pall over a campaign never very promising 
to the Whigs, whose conscience voters at the North might find 
ready recourse to a Free Soil list of electors. Under the superb 
but not wholly discreet warrior whom they had named to lead 
them, the Whigs in November marched to a Waterloo defeat. 
Only two States at the North proved faithful — Massachusetts 
and Vermont; and only two in the South — Kentucky and 
Tennessee. 

Though the Whig city of Boston, whose immediate vicinity 
felt most keenly the death of Webster, went Democratic at this 
time, the State at large yearned so earnestly for the return of 
Whig State administration that John H. Clifford, a Whig, was 
chosen Governor for the year 1853, another Whig, Emory 
Washburn, succeeding him for 1854. To offset Sumner in the 
national Senate, Edward Everett, and afterward Julius Rock- 
well, succeeded to the other seat left vacant there by the death 
of John Davis. But by this time the wreck of the Whig party, 
State or national, was being swallowed up piecemeal in the 
yeasty waves of a new popular agitation; and after a brief 
revival of Native-Americanism, as secretly developed in Know- 
Nothing lodges, Massachusetts surrendered herself to the long- 
continued protection of the new Republican party; not, 
however, until our Northern protest against the Kansas- 
Nebraska Act of 1854 had brought a large element of the 
1 W. Scott's Memoirs, 596. 



1916.] THE WHIG PARTY IN MASSACHUSETTS. 53 

former Whig party into combination with Free Soilers of 
various antecedents, to leaven a resistance to all further en- 
croachment of slavery upon the national domain. And from 
1854 onward American politics took a new and permanent 
departure on the slavery issue. 

We should here note that two great mischiefs were inherent 
in the compromise of 1850. The first and most clearly and 
directly obvious was the harsh fugitive slave act. But the 
second, not revealed at all while Clay and Webster were alive, 
concerned new Mexican territory outside of California, Texas 
being already a slave State. It was here enacted — Webster, 
while in the Senate, distinctly approving — that each new 
State admitted thereafter from that national acquisition 
should be slave or free, according as its inhabitants might 
prefer. No such test therein ever came up; but Douglas, in in- 
troducing later his Kansas-Nebraska bill, claimed that this 
"squatter sovereignty" precedent retroacted upon all national 
territory elsewhere, to the annulment of that earlier Missouri 
compromise, which had set off the Kansas-Nebraska territory 
for freedom absolutely. President Pierce supported him in that 
claim and signed the act after it had passed Congress. And 
hence the new national agitation, consuming the parchment 
compromise of 1850 as a shrivelled scroll; attempted secession 
and a civil war followed; and in the course of fifteen years from 
the time Clay's measures became statute law slavery in the 
whole American Union was forever abolished. 

Gideon Welles, in his diary, 1 records a conversation on the 
Whig party between President Lincoln and Secretary Seward, 
held in January, 1864, at which he himself was present. Both 
Lincoln and Seward, he says, considered that Clay and Webster 
were hard and selfish leaders, whose private personal ambition 
contributed to the ruin of their party. For years, as they agreed, 
the Whig party devoted itself to adulation of these two men, 
instead of adhering to principle. This criticism, though 
severe, seems not unjust nor inappropriate; and certainly no 
other two survivors of that great national party were more 
competent to pronounce a joint opinion on such a subject. 

1 Diary I. 307 (January 8, 1864). 



54 MASSACHUSETTS HISTORICAL SOCIETY. [NOV. 

Mr. Lord read the following paper on 

Some Objections Made to the State Constitution, 1780. 

In the preparation of an address, recently delivered before 
the Massachusetts Bar Association, on the Massachusetts Con- 
stitution and the Constitutional Conventions, 1 I found among 
my papers an interesting communication, signed by a Com- 
mittee chosen by the town of Middleboro, and addressed to the 
Selectmen of the town of Plymouth, requesting that the com- 
munication be laid before the town at a meeting warned for the 
purpose, as soon as may be, and expressing their desire that the 
town should choose a man or men to represent the town at a 
convention to be held in Plympton on the 25th day of Septem- 
ber, 1780, to meet with all the other towns in the county to 
whom has been sent the same invitation. 2 The purpose of such 
meeting was to express the opposition of the towns to the new 
frame of government submitted for the action of the voters by 
the constitutional convention of 1780, which frame of govern- 
ment the committee assert: 

will introduce (at Least) as Many Evils as Could have Been feared 
from the British power in Case They had Succeeded in Their first 
attempts against This Continent; and ought to be Ranked among the 
greatest Enormities that are Sufferd To Take place among us a 
wicked people at This Time. 

The plan proposed was to refuse to have any town meeting 
or do anything else in consequence of said frame of government, 
and the towns were asked "to join you and us with all their 
might in overthrowing the said constitution or frame of govern- 
ment as a huge monster whose uncouth and unhallowed strides 
may crush the people to a state of abject slavery, from which 
deplorable circumstance may the Heavens protect us by direct- 
ing us in a right way and adding a blessing thereto." 

So far as I am advised, this communication from the com- 
mittee of the town of Middleboro has not been published and is 

1 Printed in the Massachusetts Law Quarterly, n. 

2 As the whole of this manuscript, including the signatures, is in the same 
writing, it is probably a contemporary copy of the original, although addressed 
in proper form to the Selectmen of Plymouth. 



1916.] SOME OBJECTIONS TO THE CONSTITUTION, 1780. 55 

an interesting sidelight upon the ratification and adoption of the 
constitution by the people of Massachusetts in 1780. 

The condition of the Province, to whose voters the con- 
stitution was submitted, is briefly described by Barry as follows: 

It was at the south that hostilities were principally raging, and 
the battlegrounds of this period must be sought in that country. 
That the times were gloomy no one can doubt. Throughout the 
country the sufferings of the people were almost incredible. The 
life blood of the people had been poured out like water. There were 
desolate homes in every town; family ties had been broken and 
sundered. The old had grown gray in military service and the young 
had shot up to a premature manhood. Cities and dwellings were 
falling to decay, and the half-tilled soil covered with weeds, and the 
ruined fences, which scarcely kept out starving cattle, told of the 
hardships the yeomanry had endured. 1 

The population of the Province of Massachusetts Bay, as 
I compute it from the statistics and methods of computation 
furnished and adopted by Chickering and Felt, was substan- 
tially 378,000, and the number of polls was 75,000. The census 
of 1784 gives the number of polls in Massachusetts Bay as 
90,757. If we assume the number of qualified voters in 1780 
to be 60,000, as a conservative estimate, not more than one in 
five of the voters expressed their opinion on the question of the 
adoption of this first constitution, although the necessity for the 
adoption of some form of government was as imperious as it 
was apparent. In that year, according to Alden Bradford, 2 
the valuation of Massachusetts was but $11,000,000, while its 
nominal debt was $200,000,000. If we adopt the calculation 
of the depreciation as 40 to 1, then the actual debt was $5,000,- 
000. It has been stated that the valuation of $11,000,000 is 
supposed to be too small and that it should have been double 
that amount. Assuming these conservative figures — the valu- 
ation to be $22,000,000 and the debt $5,000,000 — the condition 
of the Province can be easily imagined when compared with 
the valuation and debt of to-day. The total net, direct, con- 
tingent and funded debt of Massachusetts on December 1, 
1915, was $86,042,692.01, while the valuation of the Common- 
wealth for 191 5, as determined by the Tax Commissioner, was 

1 Barry, History of Massachusetts, rrr. 165. 

1 See History of Massachusetts, 11. 189; ed. of 1835, page 295. 



56 MASSACHUSETTS HISTORICAL SOCIETY. [Nov. 

$4,997,939,070, which comparison indicates in a striking way the 
poverty and burden of the people of Massachusetts in 1780. 

The method adopted by resolution of the convention of 
March 2, 1780, for the presentation of the new constitution to 
the people for their action was: 

that this convention be adjourned to the first Wednesday in June 
next, to meet at Boston, and that 1800 copies of the form of govern- 
ment which shall be agreed upon be printed and, including such as 
shall be ordered to each member of the convention, be sent to the 
selectmen of each town and the committees of each plantation, under 
the direction of a committee to be appointed for the purpose: and 
that they be requested as soon as may be to lay them before the 
inhabitants of their respective towns and plantations. 

The action of the towns it was desired should be transmitted 
to the secretary of the convention on the first Wednesday of 
June, or it may be on the last Wednesday in May. The con- 
stitution was not to take effect unless two-thirds of the male 
inhabitants of the age of twenty-one years and upwards, voting 
in the several town and plantation meetings, shall agree to the 
same. Or the convention shall conform it to the sentiments of 
two-thirds of the people as aforesaid. 1 

On the 7th of June, 1780, the convention met according to 
adjournment for the examination of the returns from the 
several towns and plantations. There was a period, then, of 
less than three months from the date of the vote for the dis- 
tribution of the 1800 copies of the new constitution to the date 
of the meetings of the several towns, to vote upon the ratifica- 
tion and adoption of such constitution. When we consider that 
these 1800 copies were all that were available for all the voters 
in the Province, from the hills of Berkshire to the settlements 
on the banks of the distant Kennebec, entitled to vote upon the 
adoption of the constitution, and that the number of towns and 
plantations, according to the Journal of the Convention, was 
294, of which 238 were in Massachusetts and 56 in Maine, it is 
evident that there was ground for the complaint that these copies 
were quite inadequate fully to inform the people as to the 
provisions of the proposed constitution. The Committee in 
this letter stated the principle objection to the adoption of the 
constitution as follows: 

1 Journal of the Convention. 



1916.] SOME OBJECTIONS TO THE CONSTITUTION, 1780. 57 

why the Convention Did Not allow the people Time to Comply 
with the Sense of their Address is Truly astonishing; when the 
Circumstance of the State Did not Require so great haste in that 
matter they Could Not But Know that from the Time the printed 
Copies were Sent to the Towns and they have Their Meetings To 
the Time of Making Returns was insufficient for Even one Quarter 
of the people to understand it, by help of so few Copies as Could be 
got. 

So far as I can learn through an examination of the files of 
newspapers in the possession of the Society, for the period from 
March 2, 1780, to June 7, 1780, there was no complete publica- 
tion of the proposed constitution in the newspapers. The dis- 
cussion of the constitution in the press at that time related 
mainly to the Third Article in the Declaration of Rights, which 
provides for religious instruction and the support of public 
worship. This article was particularly opposed and was the 
subject of numerous communications published in the papers. 1 
So that the only method in which the people could be advised 
as to the nature of the elaborate constitution submitted for their 
adoption was through these 1800 copies which were to be sent 
under the direction of a committee to the selectmen of each 
town and the committees of each plantation. 

The method adopted in Plymouth, and probably in other 
towns, as that was the most practical method for informing the 
voter of the provisions of the proposed constitution, was to 
read the constitution in a town meeting, called for the purpose, 
and then refer it to a committee, to report upon the expediency 
of the town accepting the same at some adjourned meeting, at 
which meeting the vote was taken, and later returned to the 
convention, which was to examine and report upon the votes 
for and against the adoption of the constitution. 

I find no evidence as to what the action of the town of 
Plymouth was in response to this communication, and it is a 
curious fact that the page in the record book upon which would 
have been written the action of a meeting, if any meeting had 
been held and its action recorded, is left entirely blank. Of the 
five members of the committee who signed the address one was 
a member of the convention which framed the constitution of 
1780. The original address I now present to the Society. 

1 Barry, History of Massachusetts, m. 178. 



58 MASSACHUSETTS HISTORICAL SOCIETY. [Nov. 

All people Being Calld upon and urged from Every Rational 
and Serious motive, at all Times and under all Circumstances (in 
Sum prudent way) To oppose Suppress, and for-Ever To avoid 
Every unrighteous and hurtf ull Thing in its first appearance in Colour 
and Shape to Dwell among us. 

Wherefore The Town of Middleborough at a meeting legally 
warned for The purpose of Consulting Measures proper to be Taken 
at this Time against the Late frame of government (said To be 
Excepted etc) proceeded To Chuse a Committee of Five Men To 
Conduct The whole affair in Behalf of said Town, Concerning said 
frame of government. Said Committee Being very Sensible of the 
general Sentiments of the people in said Town Relative to said 
frame of government (so far as they understood it) Venter to assert 
as Their Opinion; That it will introduce (at Least) as Many Evils 
as Could have Been feared from the British power in Case They had 
Succeeded in Their first attempts against This Continent; and 
ought to be Ranked among the greatest Enormities that are Sufferd 
To Take place among us a wicked people at This Time, it may be 
Expected That we Now proceed To State our objections against 
said frame of government: our only Reason for Not Doing of it 
here is This: That our objections are so many as would fill a Letter 
To an unbecurning Length. But we hold our Selves in Readyness 
to State our Objections against said frame of government and give 
our Reasons therefor (if Required of us) at a Convention for that 
purpose or in any other Reasonable way. But the grand Question 
here will be this — Why is Middleborough so Turbulent as not to 
submit peaceably To a frame of government so fairly agreed upon 
by Two Thirds of the people; and that has been Carried on Every 
way according to the plan upon which the people consented it Should 
be done. 

Our answer To this we shall Make the Foundation upon which we 
Expect to stand Justified in the minds of Every Judicious and un- 
prejudiced mind; in attempting at this Time to prevent the Takeing 
place of the said frame of government among us: which is as follows 
That the said frame of government is fairly agreed upon by Two 
thirds of The people or inhabitants of this State we Deny and say 
it is not so; when more than three Quarters of the Voters in This 
State have Never acted or Voted on the Same at all; as appeared 
by the Returns from the severall Towns at Convention, it may be 
said it was their own fault in not Voting, This we Deny also and say 
That a great part of the people Can be fairly Justified in not acting 
or voting in a Business of so great importance in which it was im- 
possible they should understand (so as to act with Judgment) in the 
few Days Time allowed them to Do it in, which was undoubtedly the 



1916.] SOME OBJECTIONS TO THE CONSTITUTION, 1780. 59 

Reason why so few acted in a matter That so greatly Concernd all: 
The Convention addressed the people Concerning a Civil Constitu- 
tion in the following Just and agreeable way Saying: we now Submit 
it To your Candid Consideration: it is your interest to Revise it with 
the greatest Care and Circumspection: and it is your undoubted 
Right, Either to propose such alteration and amendments as you 
shall Judge proper: or To give it your own Sanction in its present 
form: or Totally to Reject it: But why the Convention Did Not 
allow the people Time to Comply with the Sense of their Address 
is Truly astonishing; when the Circumstance of the State Did not 
Require so great haste in that matter they Could Not But Know 
that from the Time the printed Copies were sent to the Towns and 
they have Their Meetings To the Time of Making Returns was 
insufficient for Even one Quarter of the people to understand it, by 
help of so few Copies as Could be got: and further to prove the Con- 
fusion of the people in the matter for want of Time to understand it 
Some of those Towns that made Returns : they were Such as no man 
Could Certainly Determine what they would have; and must have 
Been guesst att in order to settleing a frame of government at this 
Time had there Not Been wisdom sufficient in Convention to solve 
great Doubts in Times of Extremity. But a frame of government 
must go on and nothing Could impede its march when pushd and 
Drawd by such Violent force; for the Reasons above mentioned with 
many others we do appear in a publick way against the said Con- 
stitution or frame of government and wish that your Sentiments may 
Coincide with ours on the premises which will be to use your uttmost 
influence on your Neighbouring Towns To Join you and us with all 
Their Might in overthrowing the said Constitution or frame of 
government as a huge monster whose uncouth and unhallowed 
Strides may Crush the people to a State of abject Slavery, from 
which Deplorable Circumstance May the heavens protect us, by 
Directing us in a right way, and adding a Blessing thereto; the only 
practicable way to obtain our purpose above that we Can think of 
at present is intirely To Refuse To have any Town Meeting or do any 
thing else in Consequence of said frame of government, and are 
Ready to proceed in that way, or any other way that shall appear to 
be more Expedient, which you and other Towns joining with us 
shall agree upon. In Case you shall agree To Join with us in meas- 
ures above proposed, we Desire you to Chuse a man or Men to Repre- 
sent your Town at a Convention to be held at the wido. Lorings in 
plimptown on twenty fifth Day of September Next at Ten O'Clock 
in the morning to meet us with all the other Towns in this County 
who have just the same invitation as you have. Said Middleborough 
after great Care and pains to understand the frame of government 



60 MASSACHUSETTS HISTORICAL SOCIETY. [Nov. 

so as to make a proper return to Convention, were about a hundred 
against it to one for it: yet there Remained a Number that would 
not act or Vote for or against it, for no Other Reason But Because 
they Could not possibly know what it was to their Sattisfaction. 
After all which the said Town of Middleborough would be Con- 
sidered as Earnestly wishing for a new Constitution or frame of 
government the Best that can be made and think themselves happy 
in joining their Best Efforts with yours to this Day against an 
implacable Enemy with so great Encouragement of Success. 

All which is humbly offered from those who are yours and the 
publicks Devoted friends and humble Servants in the Common 
Cause. 

MlDDLEBOROTJGH, August 2ISt, 1780. 

Signed By Direction and in Behalf of 



Said Town — 

John Miller l 
Benjamon Thomas 2 
Ichabod Wood 
Batchelter Bennett 
Zebedee Sproat 3 



Committee 

for 

said 

Town 



To the Select Men of the Town of Plymouth: Gentlemen: it is 
Desired that the above be Laid Before your Town at a meeting 
warned for that purpose as Soon as may be. 

To the Select Men of the Town of Plymouth, with Care. 

Mr. Thayer read the following paper on 

The Marine Hospitals of New England in 1817. 

I hope to present at a future meeting some biographical 
notice of Dr. Benjamin Waterhouse, whose permanent title 
to remembrance was his introduction of vaccination into the 
United States. His salient personality, as well as his connection 
with interests of many kinds, would, if adequately portrayed, 
keep him alive. He was born of English parents in Newport, 
Rhode Island, in 1754 and went to England in 1775 to study 

1 John Miller was, in 1784, captain of the Sixth Company of the militia of 
Middleboro, and a member of the convention from that town. 

* On Benjamin Thomas, see Weston, History of Middleboro, 329. He was a 
member of the convention which adopted the Federal Constitution. 

» See Weston, 432, where is reproduced a contemporary broadside on Sproat's 
maltreatment of his wife, Hannah Sproat. 



1916.] MARINE HOSPITALS OF NEW ENGLAND IN 1817. 61' 

medicine. There he had the advantage of being with a kinsman, 
Dr. John Fothergill, one of the foremost English physicians of 
the time, and after walking the hospitals of Edinburgh and 
London, he crossed to Leyden, where he graduated M.D. in 
1780. 

Returning to America he, with Drs. Warren and Dexter, 
founded the Harvard Medical School in 1783, and he served it 
as professor of the theory and practice of physic until 181 2. 
He seems to have founded also the Botanic Garden and the 
Mineralogical Cabinet at Harvard. For several years he was 
head physician at the Boston Marine Hospital and after the 
War of 181 2 he again received an appointment under the 
national government. In the autumn of 18 17, being ordered 
to inspect the hospitals on the New England coast from Castine 
to New London, he visited them all and made the following 
reports, which I take from his letter-book. This, with other 
important material of his, is now in the possession of his great- 
granddaughter, Mrs. W. R. Thayer. 

Cambeidge. [November, 1817.] 

Having received the orders of Brigadier General Miller 1 to 
examine rigidly all the hospitals at the several posts in this the 2d 
Department of the Northern Division, I proceeded on this duty on 
the 29th of October to Newbury Port, where I was joined by Mr. 
Allanson 2 the General's aid, and on the 30th was joined by General 
Miller and Col. Fenwick, 3 when we all together proceeded to the 
bay of Penobscott and from thence to Castine which is situated at 
the head of this magnificent bay. 

This far famed spot naturally called forth all our attention. 
General, Engineer and Physician have viewed with the scrutinizing 
eyes of each profession, and it seems as if it were left to the pen of 
the latter to give the result. 

About 140 years ago a French Colonel, by the name of Castine, 
son-in-law [of] a Penobscot chief, made this spot the head quarters 
of his excursions against the English. This French gentleman 
married a squaw, the daughter of the King so called, in order more 
effectually to distress the English. Col. Castine gave his name not 
only to the peninsula but to a township, as well as to the town built 
on the west side of the inclined plain between the fort and the water. 

1 James Miller (1776-1831). 

* John Sylvanus Allanson, of New York, of the corps of artillery. 

3 John Roger Fenwick, of South Carolina. 



62 MASSACHUSETTS HISTORICAL SOCIETY. [Nov. 

The town contains about 800 inhabitants. It is difficult to say what 
supports them, for they have neither saw-mills, distilleries, or any 
kind of manufactures. The people generally date the decay of the 
town from the [blank]. 

The surgeon at this post is Dr. Wm. Ballard, 1 a learned and 
honorable man. But such has been the health of the troops that he 
has little to do. Having scarcely enough to call forth his energies in 
the strict line of his duty, he spends his leisure in the studies of the 
antient classics, in botany and mathematics. He has every thing 
needful about him as it regards medicine, instruments and hospital 
stores, but they are in little order, and not much to boast of in point 
of neatness. I have never found him wanting in his duty, or in his 
attention to the sick, but the reverse. Even his negligence of appear- 
ance is the negligence of the scholar and the man of talents . To which 
we may perhaps add that in all posts situated at the outskirts of the 
U. States, far distant from other forts, negligence to appearances is 
discernable. I have generally found that such as is the strict dis- 
cipline, order and neatness of the garrison, such is the medical 
department of it. 

The medical room or surgery is in a bad condition, and badly 
situated; the passage to it so dark as almost to need a candle in the 
day time. Every thing needfull was [to] be sure there; but not 
marked, numbered, and placed in that alphabetical order that marks 
some posts under surgeons of less merit than Dr. Ballard. 

The barracks for the men were not in the best order, neither was 
the bedding remarkably clean. Almost every thing seemed out of 
repair. The men looked healthy, cheerfull and remarkably easy, 
insomuch that I should have mistaken them for militia had I not 
known to the contrary. I remarked the fatherly tenderness of the 
officers in allowing the men to wear gloves in the month of October. 

As there is no infirmary, I should strongly recommend an hospital 
to be built, were there a probability of its ever being the residence 
of a numerous garrison. An hundred years hence, when the capital 
city of Maine shall be built on the banks of the Penobscott, then this 
important peninsula may be covered with fortifications and adorned 
with an hospital equal to them. That this will be the case appears 
probable from its commanding situation at the head of one of the 
most magnificent bays on the terraqueous globe, where depth of 
water, a shore as bold and even as that of Corunna and Ferrol, and 
nearly as well sheltered. Another circumstance, little spoken of is, 
that the bay is free from ice while the harbour of Boston is frozen 
so hard as to bear loaded waggons; and when the ice does make, it 

1 Of Massachusetts. He resigned from the service in 1822. 



1916.] MARINE HOSPITALS OF NEW ENGLAND IN 1817. 63 

is seldom sufficient to bear a man, and breaks up, like the Baltic, 
all at once. 

Castine is the centre of a considerable population, and is for that 
reason a shire town, where resides the register of deeds and probate 
of wills and where meet the courts of justice. Lest the Government 
should go to the expense of building an hospital for our enemies, I 
ascertained beyond all doubt from conversing with judges, clergy- 
men, custom house officers, tavern-keepers, drovers, and women that 
they had an exalted opinion of British generosity. 

It is a vulgar error that Fort George commands the mouth of the 
Penobscott. Vessels can enter it four miles distant from this fort. 
It is another vulgar error that the fort on the peninsula of Castine 
was [the] object of the unfortunate expedition set on foot by Massa- 
chusetts in 1779. It was against a fort on Bagaduce neck, where is 
a fine harbour, and which like Castine can be possessed at any time 
by that power which has the command of this magnificent bay by its 
naval superiority. 

The River Penobscott is so superlatively fine for ease of navigation, 
and for its mill seats, and absolutely luxuriant borders, that it cannot 
fail to be farther dignified by being in future times to the capital of 
Maine what some of the finest rivers of the world are to their respec- 
tive emporiums. 

That Castine would be an invaluable spot to the British no one 
can doubt; but that it is to us, or will be, untill every village in its 
vicinity is a city, who, that sees it, and knows the present number 
and wishes of the inhabitants, can believe. It is from these and 
similar facts, impertinent perhaps for me to mention, that I cannot 
recommend an hospital to be built here which in case of war with 
England, would be of no use to America. 

So cold as to be uncomfortable to sit without fire during the 
months of May and October. 

Portland. Forts Preble and Scammel, 1 commanded by Major 
Crane. 2 Joseph Eaton, 3 Surgeon. 

Fort Preble is situated on a point of land two miles from the town 
of Portland. The ground surrounding it, ceded to the U. S. does 
not exceed five acres. It is a dry gravelly soil with excellent water. 
Every thing within this enclosure is neat and clean. A neat garden 

1 Fort Preble was on Spring Point, in Cape Elizabeth, and Fort Scammell, 
opposite to it, on House Island. 

2 Ichabod Bennet Crane, of New Jersey. He held a brevet rank at this time. 
He died October 5, 1857. 

3 Of Massachusetts. He died March 16, i860. 



64 MASSACHUSETTS HISTORICAL SOCIETY. [Nov. 

is attached to the commanding officer's quarters, and every thing has 
the aspect of great attention and good management; and the men 
very clean and well dressed. Yet there have been and still are, more 
diarrheas at this post than all the other posts in the Department put 
together. This problem I was at first puzzled to solve. 

The surgeon is [an] able and very attentive man. His hospital is 
new and very neat; built on an elevated spot, with every thing proper 
about it. The beef, bread and water were of the best quality, (for I 
always make it a rule to taste them all). I could therefore find 
nothing in the surgeon's department nor in the food that could 
account for these extraordinary diarrheas, untill I visited the bar- 
racks, and there I found that the men were not allowed to sleep on 
straw, but lay on the cold, hard boards. 

Portsmouth. Fort Constitution, commanded by Col. Walbeck. 1 
Joseph Goodhue, 2 Post Surgeon. 

Situated on a peninsula, or rather Island at the mouth of the 
harbour of Portsmouth. Every thing in and about this fort is very 
neat and proper: The barracks clean and well ventilated and not 
over crowded. The bedding is good and kept neat. 

The medicine is ample in quantity and good in quality. The 
same may be said of the hospital stores, and of the surgical instru- 
ments. The surgeon is an able and experienced man and zealous to 
have his infirmary and all his medical matters like the rest of this 
garrison; but he has not the means. They have no suitable building 
for an hospital, or surgical room, nor any thing of the kind suitable 
to such a respectable post. I have therefore no hesitation in report- 
ing that there is needed a new hospital at Fort Constitution. It may 
however be suggested that whereas it is not improbable that this 
fort may become but a secondary post in this harbour the govern- 
ment might hesitate on that account to go to any great expense in a 
building on this spot, seeing the principal may hereafter be fort 
Sullivan. Might it not therefore be wise to build here a small 
hospital, similar to that at Portland, but constructed so as to be 
converted, with little or no expense, into barracks? There is a good 
garden here, and the garrison have this season raised on the grounds 
surrounding the fort upwards of a thousand bushels of potatoes. The 
bargemen have hard service at this post, and require warmer clothing 
than the ordinary soldier especially about the throat and breast. It 
would be well to supply them in the winter with match-coats, especi- 

1 John De Barth Walbach, a German, who served through the war of 181 2 with 
merit, and died a brigadier general, June 10, 1857. 
* Of Vermont. He resigned in 1824. 



1916.] MARINE HOSPITALS OF NEW ENGLAND IN 1817. 65 

ally if they be long exposed, late at night on the wharf, for some 
officer. I have known several men date their sickness to such 
exposure. 

If neatness, order, good food and good water and an experienced 
surgeon ensure health, we need not wonder that this post has en- 
joyed so great a share of it. 

Fort McClary on the opposite shore has a good spot for a garden, 
should it be again garrisoned. Perhaps every fort ought to have a 
garden, where they may raise medicinal as well as culinary vege- 
tables. Convalescents may often be employed to advantage in a 
garden. It is also an healthy and sometimes a very pleasant occupa- 
tion for an officer. We seldom find an English or Dutch fort without 
a garden. In general it is so cold here that it is uncomfortable to 
sit without fire during the month of May and the two last weeks of 
October. 

Marblehead. Fort Sewall. 

This compact fort is built on a peninsula of scarcely two acres in 
extent. In stormy weather the spray of sea may be felt to its centre. 
Even in the dryest seasons there is a dampness on the walls of the 
barracks of the privates and the quarters of the officers, rusting 
every thing metalic and injuring other things, and disposing the 
garrison to catarrhs and rheumatisms. This inconvenience is how- 
ever counteracted by extreme neatness in every part of this exem- 
plary garrison, where we find every proper thing in its proper place. 
In every post I have visited the men were in their uniform, but here 
they were in their undress; yet was it easy to discover their aspect 
of health, cheerfulness and vigour. To my eye they appeared a 
select corps of picked men. Their barracks was a pattern of neat- 
ness and order, which conduces to health. 

The medicines are pretty good. The hospital stores as good as 
need be. Some of the surgical instruments are good; others as 
trapaning instruments too bad to be sent by the Apothecary General, 
or to be received by the surgeon. Such instruments should be re- 
ported useless. Some instruments as well as medicine suffer by the 
dampness of the place, but no care seems wanting to counteract it. 

The water which is within a few feet of the sea is remarkably good. 
The provisions of all sorts are excellent. The bread better than at 
any other garrison I have visited. The cookery is out of the fort on 
a rock. I regretted that there was no room for a garden. There is a 
fishing schooner attached to this garrison that supplies them with 
fresh fish, and fish cured and salted. A miserable looking guard 
house forms a striking contrast to a fort distinguished for neatness 



66 MASSACHUSETTS HISTORICAL SOCIETY. [Nov. 

and order, or what expresses the whole economy. With the exception 
just mentioned this fort does credit to Col. Harris 1 and to our 
country, not but what much may be attributed to Dr. S., 2 an able 
and experienced surgeon. 

The bed frames are so well painted as to exclude buggs. Should 
we adopt the iron beadsteads, such as they have in British hospitals, 
we should find them cheapest in the end. 

The appearance of the men at this post convinces me that the 
health and cheerfulness of troops depend almost entirely on old 
and correct officers, and good but easy discipline. The waste of 
health under new and inexperienced officers is shocking to humanity. 

Boston Harbour. Fort Independence and Warren commanded 
by Col. Eustis 3 and garrisoned by three companies. Lewis 
Dunham, 4 Surgeon. 

This fort is built on Castle Island which is about 13 acres in 
extent and four miles from Boston. As this is the most important 
and numerous garrison in the Department we had a right to expect 
a corresponding degree of attention in whatever regarded the health 
and comfort of the troops. 

The hospital is a miserable old building not worth repairing, being 
pervious, I should suppose, to snow and rain. Some parts of its 
interior is kept pretty neat, others not. The bedding [is] not very 
neat. The chief surgeon is at this time absent on furlough. Here I 
found a very attentive and experienced Ward Master, on whom, 
as far as I could find, the principal care of things devolved. The 
medicine room was in good order and very amply supplied with good 
medicine, but not very well assorted. Here was opium enough to 
serve such a garrison fifty years. The hospital stores were also in 
abundance and of the very best quality. The surgical instruments 
not in the best order. 

The barracks for the men of two stories. They cook in the lower 
rooms. Every room was over heated by fires, when no cooking was 
going forward. Nov. 6th a very warm day. The upper rooms were 
small, dirty and too much crowded. The lower rooms were well 
ventilated, but the upper ones not. Such rooms must be very uncom- 
fortable and of course unhealthy in the hottest weather. The square, 
parade and walks of this fort were neat, but the rooms generally the 
reverse. It has a garden sufficient for the officers. 

1 Samuel D. Harris, of Massachusetts. He resigned in 1821. 
1 James Harry Sargent, of Massachusetts. He resigned in 1846. 
' Abram Eustis, of Virginia. 
4 Of New Jersey. He resigned in 1810. 



1916.] MARINE HOSPITALS OF NEW ENGLAND IN 1817. 67 

I have remarked that the medical matters seemed to rest princi- 
pally on an experienced and very attentive ward master. I would 
observe here that no regimental hospital or infirmary is entitled to 
a ward master in full pay. Such an officer belongs alone to a general 
hospital. I therefore considered the hospital in some measure in 
this point of view. But when I wished to send a man to it, because 
there was no suitable place for his peculiar case at the Arsenal, Col. 
Eustis refused him admittance. The Surgeon of this garrison Dr. 
Dunham has ever conducted as if he did not consider himself under 
the controul of the Medical Director. He would make no returns to 
him, until he was ordered to do it by General Miller. He created 
difficulties and delays about supplies of medicine, and has given me 
more trouble, and more room for censuring him than all the rest of 
the surgeons together in the Department. I enclose one of his 
returns to illustrate my observations. When I have asked explana- 
tions, he declined giving them; and the only time he called upon me 
was with a view to personal altercation rather than explanation. 

I have long been dissatisfied with the medical affairs of this post. 
There is a great difference between a popular, convivial, companion- 
able surgeon, and the grave and steady man devoted like Dr. Sargent 
entirely to the duties of his station. Dr. Sargent resided nearly ten 
years at this garrison, and filled up the measure of his duty to the 
full. I was abundantly satisfied with all his conduct. The garrison 
at Marblehead has now the advantage of his long experience and 
steady character. 

The deficiencies and defects of returns, and other marks of want of 
due consideration render it my duty to notice the necessity of some 
change in the medical affairs of this important post. 

A new hospital is absolutely needed here. Should one be built, 
would it not be well to build it of brick, or stone, and so constructed 
and situated as to convert it into barracks in case this fort and Island 
should become only a secondary post? 

The Dungeon, or black hole has, I have reason for believing been 
the death of several men. I dare not express fully my feelings on this 
painful subject, lest I should be thought to wander from my proper 
department into that of the police of the garrison and jurisdiction 
of court martials. I cannot however resist remarking that confine- 
ment in these dungeons is a very unequal punishment. Some can live 
through it, but some cannot. There is something horrible in putting 
a man to death by the gradual torture of stifling him day and night 
for a month. The effluvium of human excrements in some of these 
dungeons is enough to sicken the strongest man. Cannot this 
horrid mode of punishment be commuted for some other less revolt- 
ing to humanity? 



68 MASSACHUSETTS HISTORICAL SOCIETY. [Nov. 

Newport, Rhode Island. Fort Woolcott. 

If the visit at the garrison at Fort Independence left not the most 
agreeable impression, that at fort Wolcott in Newport harbour com- 
pensated and more than compensated my feeling of regret. 

When I visited fort Constitution in Portsmouth harbour, I thought 
it could hardly be exceeded untill I saw the smaller fort at Marble- 
head; and this I was sure could not be excelled, and yet when I 
visited this post under the command of Col. Towson, 1 1 saw that it 
was possible. 

Goat Island on which fort Woolcott is built contains about twenty 
acres, being long and narrow, and lays about a mile and an half from 
the town of Newport. It is so situated as to be sheltered from the 
destructive effects of violent storms especially from the south west to 
north east. The Island is smooth having no excavations to retain 
stagnant water. Its position is remarkably pleasant, and its soil 
dry, yet in a good degree fertile. 

From the waters edge, on every side, to the flag staff there is such 
a neat and garrison like aspect, as reminds us of the forts on the 
Scheldt and the Maise in the Netherlands. Every thing [from] the 
head of the pier to the commandant's quarters and the men's bar- 
racks appears in its proper place, and sett off with not neatness only 
but taste. The barracks are in the best possible state, and every 
utensil as neat as at the fort of Marblehead. All the men look in 
perfect health; not a sick man among them. Their provisions good 
and the water excellent. As is the fort and garrison so is the hospital, 
orderly, neat and commodious, with a garden that may be denomi- 
nated spacious. This and land marked out for the inclosure of the 
[blank] are not yet finished. 

The hospital itself is of a proper size, and neat as well can be. I 
could discover nothing wanting for the comfort of the sick. The 
bedding was very good and clean. The Surgery or Medicine room 
in the best order, as were the instruments; some of which however 
were not of the best quality; a defect which nothing but the difficulty 
of procuring English instruments during the war can be apologized 
for. Every thing in this little hospital did its surgeon credit. His 
bandages, various dressings, splints, spare cotton, flannel etc. were 
in the best possible condition in case of serious emergency. I have 
no hesitation in saying that Dr. Turner's 2 hospital matters and 
surgical apparatus stand the first in my opinion in this Department. 
Turner, Sargent, Goodhue, and Eaton reflect credit on the garrisons 
to which they are attached. There is less to find fault with, or to 

1 Nathan Towson, of Maryland (1784-1854). 

* William Turner, of New Jersey. He died in 1837. 



1916.] MARINE HOSPITALS OF NEW ENGLAND IN 1817. 69 

regret in this garrison than any one I ever visited. I have seen that 
which bears evidence of the officers and that the soldiers are here 
employed to make their situation more and more pleasant and 
comfortable. 

New London, Connecticut. Fort Trumbull. Commanded by 
Capt. McDowell. 1 Alexander Cunningham, Surgeon. 

This fort is built on a point of land projecting into the river, and 
about one mile from the town. The land surrounding belonging to 
the U. S. does not exceed ten acres. 

The rooms appropriated for an hospital and for a surgery [are] 
very much out of repair, and unfit for the purpose, and every thing 
within it is pretty much in the same stile. The medicine is not 
arranged in good order. The instruments, bandages, cotton and 
woolen are all jumbled together without appearance of system. The 
medicines are scattered about in two rooms. The surgeon is I con- 
jecture between seventy and eighty years of age, on which account I 
gave him several hours' notice of my intended visit. This gentleman 
does not reside in the fort, but in the town of New London. The 
barracks and bedding are not over neat, yet every thing appertaining 
to the soldiery, looks fit, I believe to meet a soldiers' eye. There is a 
good garden and good water and good provisions. The whole bore 
the aspect of a neglected post. If this post did not [unfinished.] 

N.B. This whole report is copied into a stitched book, and sent 
November 27th, 1817. 

To Major General Jacob Brown. 
Sir, November 27, 1817. 

By this mail I send the report of my visit of inspection to all the 
posts in the Department. Should it be thought that I have noticed 
the general state of such things, as may be considered by some beyond 
the line of the Physician, I would say in defence of it, that I have 
found generally, That as is the neatness, order, and comfort of the 
garrison so is the medical affairs thereof. It reflects credit on our 
Nation, that out of 1019 men, only one man died in the course of six 
months; and that one was of a lingering consumption. Such a little 
army must be a good leaven for a greater one. 

I question whether any plan short of that of a Physician General, 2 

1 Andrew McDowell, of New Hampshire. He died in 1829. 

2 From 1778 to 1800 James Craik had held the place of Physician-General, 
but on his death, no new appointment was made until 1813, when James Tilton 
became Physician and Surgeon-General. After 1818 the office became that of 
Surgeon-General and has since so remained. 



7<3 MASSACHUSETTS HISTORICAL SOCIETY. [Nov. 

will give that uniformity to our medical procedure which marks and 
dignifies some of the armies of Europe, the want of which I so much 
lament in our own. Were I a man of more consequence, I would 
venture to represent this thing to the President, in a view rather 
philosophical than official. I am confident that the establishment of 
such an high officer would be not only wisdom but economy. Most 
respectfully yours, etc. 

B. W. 

To Col. John E. Wool, Inspector General. 

November 27, 1817. 
Sir, 

By this mail I transmit to the Adjutant General the report of 
my visit of inspection of the hospitals at all the posts between Castine 
and N. London. A short but severe indisposition, from exposure 
in a storm, prevented my compleating and transmitting this docu- 
ment so soon as I expected, and perhaps ought. In this report I have 
endeavoured to keep the due medium between prolixity and too 
great conciseness. Reports in a tabular form are too concise on 
which to form an accurate judgment. I have endeavoured to shew 
the inside of our medical establishments. I could not do this without 
mixing in with it somewhat of the garrison itself. The mere surgeon 
considers little more than the mechanical parts of his profession, 
whereas the physician contemplates not only the man, but every thing 
about him that may affect his health and comfort. Hence it is that 
I always notice the cheerful or the discontented countenance of a 
garrison. 

Our service is singular in denominating all their medical officers 
Surgeons, whereas those of a certain rank ou[gh]t to be called 
Physicians. A surgeon, as the word implies, is an operator, or one 
who assists the disabled with his hands, whereas the physician con- 
templates man, and all the concomitants of humanity — air, earth, 
water, situation, food, and climate are the pages he studies for the 
preservation [of the] health and comfort of the soldier. There is 
more merit in preventing a disease than curing it, and this is a doctrine 
I unceasingly inculcate to officers and surgeons in garrison. 

It may be mentioned to the honor of our select little army, that 
but one man has died out of one thousand and nineteen men in this 
Department during the last half year. Our domestic enemies must 
allow that this is evidence of a kind Providence operating through 
good means. While our garrisons have been remarkably healthy, our 
citizens, in different parts of this military Department have been 
very sickly. In some towns, as in England, the dysentery has swept 



1916.] MARINE HOSPITALS OF NEW ENGLAND IN 1817. 71 

off a frightful number of the inhabitants. I was induced to write a 
circular letter to the surgeons of all our posts, lest they should adopt 
the absurd and destructive practice of our citizen practitioners. 
Not a man has died, to my knowledge who has been treated in the 
way recommended in that circular. 

I lent that topographical sketch I showed you to General Swift/ 
by way of vade mecum for the President when viewing Boston 
harbour and Charlestown. The General seemed very much pleased 
with it; but afterwards, grew distant, and never allowed the Presi- 
dent to see it, neither did he ever return it to me. His conduct on 
this head was unaccountable. 

I have ventured in the conclusion of my report to give it as my 
decided opinion that we never can establish and carry into effect an 
uniform system of medical Economy, in the literal sense of that word, 
unless we have such an officer as a Physician General, who shall be 
the Medical Minister, from whom shall emanate all rules and orders, 
and in whom shall centre all the information relative to the medical 
and pharmaceutical affairs of the army. All other nations have such 
an officer, and we cannot get on well without one. At present every 
hospital surgeon has his potion — no two think alike, and whenever 
they come near to each other, they commence intriguing against each 
other; "hard words, jealousies and fears" are the consequence. An 
able Physician General would cure all this, and place things on that 
sure and respectable footing, which marks and dignifies some of the 
armies of Europe. I am confident that the establishment of such an 
officer would be economy as well as wisdom. 

To John Quincy Adams. 2 

January 3d, 18 18. 
Dear Sm, 

I herewith enclose to you a scheme or plan for changing the punish- 
ment of death for that of constant compulsory labour in a military 
Penitentiary. It relates merely to our soldiery, as you will see on 
perusal. 

As it is intended for the eye of the President of the U. S., I thought 
there was more propriety in sending it to you than to [the] Secretary 
at War; because I have done this in my quality as a citizen rather 
than as one of the physicians of the Army. But as I am not sure 
which is the most proper channel, I feel disposed to ask your direc- 
tion; and hope you will transmit it as you judge most proper. 

This paper has grown up from many conversations with our mili- 

1 Joseph Gardner Swift, of Massachusetts. He died in 1865. 

2 Then Secretary of State. 



72 MASSACHUSETTS HISTORICAL SOCIETY. [Nov. 

tary commanders, more especially with General Miller, who is as 
humane as he is brave. I have been indebted to his minutes for 
some of the most pithy part of it. I should hardly have had the 
courage to have framed it, and sent it on had not General Miller 
requested me to give to it his entire and unqualified approbation 
as to its feasibility. 

If it meet with your approbation I hope you will add to it the 
weight of your good opinion. 

The punishment of the black hole, adopted in our garrisons in the 
place of whipping, is a disgrace to our country. I am confident it 
has destroyed the lives of several. I have seen enough in my late 
visits of inspection to the different posts in this Department, under 
an order to examine all hospitals and medical matters, to warm my 
zeal in abolishing it, and offering something more congenial to our 
humane character. 

I have address[ed] a letter to the President which you may sup- 
press if it be improper to forward it; for I am ignorant of the rules, 
or etiquette in such cases. I have communicated the outlines of the 
plan to your venerable Father, and have still the satisfaction of 
receiving a letter from him almost every week. I think your return 
to America will add a few more links to the chain of his most valuable 
life. My best regards to your good Lady. Your son is with us some- 
times, but not so often as we wish. 

Mr. Davis presented the following paper: 

Governor Hutchinson's Currency Tract. 

At a meeting of this Society held in February, 1899, I com- 
municated a paper entitled "A Search for a Pamphlet by 
Governor Hutchinson." x The investigation which constituted 
the substance of the paper was instituted in consequence of 
my having recently run across a statement in The Diary and 
Letters of Thomas Hutchinson, a work brought forth by P. O. 
Hutchinson, to the effect that in 1736 Governor Hutchinson 
published a small pamphlet on the subject of paper money. I 
was then at work on a study of our provincial currency and was 
quite sure that no pamphlet had been preserved the authorship 
of which was openly acknowledged by Governor Hutchinson. 
My paper was therefore limited to an attempt to determine 
whether any of the pamphlets that had come down to us might 

1 2 Proceedings, xn. 429. 



1916.] GOVERNOR HUTCHINSON'S CURRENCY TRACT. 73 

with propriety be assigned to Hutchinson, and if so which it 
was. The selection was, as a matter of fact, not difficult to make. 
There were but two pamphlets dealing with the currency ques- 
tion, printed in 1736, to be found on the shelves of our libraries. 
Both were anonymous and the choice between them presented 
no difficulty. The one did not advocate the well-known opinions 
of the Governor; the other not only made a strong presentation 
of the views that he was known to hold, but had internal evi- 
dence tending to show that it was composed by him. 

Had it been certain that no mistake had been made in the 
date of the pamphlet, and that the publications preserved in 
our libraries actually contained all the currency tracts of the 
period, there was strength enough in this evidence to have 
practically settled the question. At this point, however, the 
matter was complicated by the fact that both Haven and 
Sabine attribute an anonymous publication of the date of 1740 
to Hutchinson, thus raising a doubt as to the accuracy of the 
date assigned to the pamphlet. It happens that the question 
of the title and authorship of this particular publication had 
been thoroughly examined by Wilberforce Eames, who came to 
the conclusion that Haven and Sabine had connected Hutchin- 
son's name with Douglass's Discourse, so that while this entry 
was eliminated from the discussion, it nevertheless showed that 
something more was necessary than a mere examination of the 
pamphlets published in the year 1736. 

There was a bare possibility that Hutchinson might have 
published a pamphlet over his own name which had not been 
preserved, but of which trace had been lost. This was ex- 
tremely improbable, but would have required consideration, 
had it not been for the fact that one of the anonymous pam- 
phlets of date of 1736 fulfilled all the conditions required for 
authorship by Hutchinson, containing, as it did, not only the 
advocacy of views corresponding with his own, but also bearing 
evidence in its style that it was composed by him. The con- 
jectural determination of the authorship of the pamphlet may 
be said to have been satisfactory on the existing evidence, but 
it is clear that corroboratory testimony of a more conclusive 
character will be welcomed. 

Quite recently the London agent of the Harvard Library 
has been offered,, by the Rev. Sanford Hutchinson of Stoke- 



74 MASSACHUSETTS HISTORICAL SOCIETY. [Nov. 

on-Trent, an opportunity to purchase the manuscript of 
Hutchinson's third volume of his History, together with copies 
of Volumes i and n, with marginal annotations by Hutchinson 
himself. Accompanying these and included in the lot for sale, 
were several volumes of pamphlets of the revolutionary and pre- 
revolutionary period. Among these pamphlets was one entitled 
A Letter to a Member of the Honorable House of Representatives 
on the present State of the Bills of Credit, printed in the year 1 736, 
and signed "Philopatriae." The authorship of this pamphlet 
is ascribed to the Governor in an index inserted in the volume. 
As this was the pamphlet selected by me as the one which met 
the requirements for authorship by the Governor, and as the 
Society reprinted the pamphlet in 2 Proceedings, xn. 450, as 
an appendix to my paper, it is perhaps worth while to take 
cognizance of this corroboration at the hands of the Hutchinson 
family of the selection then made. 

Letters of John Tulley. 

The following letters are, by the courtesy of Mr. William A. 
Jeffries, drawn from the Jeffries family papers. They were 
written by the compiler of Tulley's Almanacs to the printer, 
Benjamin Harris, and to his son, Vavasour Harris. A letter 
from Tulley to the elder Harris, dated May 7, 1694, was pre- 
sented to the Society in 1892 by Dr. Green, and is printed in 
2 Proceedings, vn. 415. 

Received of Mr. Joseph Blague l upon the account of d sh 

the almanacke 2 13 04 

Memorandum, To buy for John Tulley 

1. a thousand and x /^ half of 8d naiels 

2. And half a thousand of 6d naiels 

3. a neck-cloathe for William 00 05 00 

4. A mantey for Lydia ready made 01 09 00 

5. Eight yards of stuff for a mantey for my wife ... 01 04 00 

6. 3 or 4 brass thimbles 00 00 06 

7. a white silk hood for Debarah 00 08 00 

A [I] pray Mr. Harris to send me by your Brother 

John Kirtland 2 Mr. Nathaniell Colson Mariners 

new Kalender which was printed in the year 1691 no 04 00 

3 10 06 

1 Of Saybrook, Conn. 

2 Of Saybrook. This memorandum was sent to a brother, or brother-in-law 



1916.] letters of john tulley. 75 

Mr. Harris, — 

Kind Sr, after my loue and respects presented vnto you, These 
may let you vnderstand, that I purpose to make you an Almanack 
for the nixt yeare: 94: and do Intend (god willing) to have it ready 
to send down by the last of August or beginning of September, and 
therefore I would Intreat you to write me word to whom I shall 
deliver the Almanack, vnto, and whether you would haue it sent down 
by land or water. I have not as yet receiued one Almanack from 
Mr. Phillips * this yeare, but I hope he will send me some by the 
bearer hereof, it was in my order who euer had the Coppy to haue 
2 Doz: and one bound one, and so I expect to haue yearly for the 
supply of my friends and neighbors, and I hope you will be so kind 
to take care to send them before winter, that I may haue them before 
the new yeare begins. I heard you printed the almanacks for Mr. 
Phillips, and if he should want some to send me peradventure you 
can supply him. Thus being in hast I rest, your Loueing Friend 

John Tuixey. 
Say' Brooke 14 of March 1692-93. 

[Address] These For Mr. Benjamin Harris Printer, at the London 
Coffee-house in Boston, present with care. pr. Mr. John Bull. 

Mr. Harris, Sir, after my loueing respects presented to you 
these may let you vnderstand that by the last post I received two 
letters beareing date the 1st of this Instant October, and 2 dozen of 
Almanacks, for which I giue many thanks for your care therein in 
sending of them and hope you will send the nailes according as you 
have mentioned in your letters, my son John 2 is coming down 
in a vessell that was built here this summer, and Intends to give you 
a vesset. Pray deliver this inclosed letter to him. I have in a hurry 
purrused the Almanack with the Coppy and do not as yet find any 
mistakes considerable or worth mending, they came to some damage 
in the bringing by reason of the wet season when they were brought. 
Sir, I am desired to Informe you by the master of our posthouse that 
when you send your letters they should be carried first to your post- 
house and put into the Say-Brook bag, that so they may come safe, 
otherwise perhaps they may not. I pray by all means forget not to 

of Kirtland, whose father, Nathanael, was of Lynn, and is said to have lived in 
Silver Street, London, before his migration. His only son, John, removed to 
Saybrook during his minority, and was adopted by John and Susannah Wastall. 
He married Lydia Pratt of Saybrook, whose brother William Pratt had married 
Hannah, sister of John Kirtland. 

1 Samuel Phillips, who had, since 1692, published Tulley's almanacs. 

2 He died at sea. 



76 MASSACHUSETTS HISTORICAL SOCIETY. [Nov. 

send my naiels. if the post cannot bring them, then I pray send them 
without faile by my son. Thus in hast I rest your Loueing Friend, 

John Tulley, senior. 
Say-Brook, Oct. ioth, 1694. 

[Address] These for Mr. Vavasour Harris Printer at the signe of 
the Bible ouer against the bleu Anchor in Boston present with care. 

Mr. Vavasour Harris, — 

These are to intreate you to pay vnto Mr. Joseph Blague, the sume 
of two and Forty shillings in money, which vpon part of pay for the 
next yeares almanack place to the account of your Loueing Friend 

John Tulley, senior. 
Say-Brooke, the 4th of June, 1695. 

Mr. Harris, — 

And loueing Friend. These may let you vnderstand that I re- 
ceiued a letter from you bearing date June the 17, 1695, wherein I 
expected to haue seen you here with Mr. Blague, but I vnderstand 
that you and I am disapointed of our expectations. Sir you sent me 
a little booke by Mr. Blague intitled New-England Almanack: 1 
which will be no help or advantage to me in the makeing of my 
almanacke, for I can make a better then that which would be more 
vsefull without the help of it. Sir, it is such an Ephemeris that I 
would haue wherein the motions of the Sun and moon and the other 
hue planets with their Aspects are calculated for a Certaine number 
of yeares to come for the miridian of the City of London. I haue very 
good tables already fitted to the miridian of London whereby with 
the help of certaine other bookes I can calculate the motions of them 
[torn] moon and her Changes full and quarters and eclipses as also 
the motions of [the rest of] the planets for any year, past, presant, or 
to come, but it takes me vpe a great deale of time to do it, more than 
I can well spare, therefore I would willingly get an ^Ephemeris 
wherein the dayly motions of the planets are calculated for certaine 
years to come for the miridian of London, and then I can esier fit it 
to our miridian, from the meridian of London then I can do it from 
my tables. But however I shall not stay for an Ephemeris, for I am 
a makeing of it by my tables, as I have done heretofore, and hope to 
haue it finished according to the vsuall time and then I will send it 
downe to you, if I doe not bring it my self e, my son John [is gone] to 
fyall he went away from hence the 17th day of June last past. Sir, 

1 By Christian Lodowick, and published by Samuel Phillips. 



1916.] BRAKENBTJRY'S RECANTATION. 77 

I am informed that a friend of his desired him to procure him a 
perrywige and to that end as I am informed there was hair sent downe 
to you to make it withall, now his friend tells me that he vnder- 
stands by Mr. Blague that it is made, and you keepe it for my son 
John till he comes home from fyall, supposing or rather not knowing 
any thing to the Contrary but that it was for himself, and now my 
son being gone, and his friend in want of it desired me to write to you 
for it, that you would be pleased without faile to send it to me by the 
next post as also the price what you must haue for it and I will take 
care that your money shall be sent to you by the next post except 
you shall see cause to order it to me vpon the account of the alman- 
ack. I would also Intreat you to send me by the next post a little 
booke bound called the Devout Soul's dayly Exercise, in prayers, 
contemplations and praises, etc: by R. P: D. D. 1 for a friend, as 
also the verses made about the queenes death. I hope as soon as 
your father is come he will write to me. I should be very glad to here 
of his safe ariuall, and if he should send or bring an Ephemeris pray 
take the first oppertunity to send it well bound vp and sealed that 
it be not torn in the bringing, for if it should not come soone enough 
this year, it may serue for the future. Thus with my kind loue and 
respects and wives presented to you and your Loueing mother, I 
Rest your Loueing Friend 

John Tulley, senior. 

Say-Brook, the 17th of July, 1695. 

[Address] These for Mr. Vavasour Harris Printer at the signe of 
the Bible ouer against the blew Anchor In Boston present these with 
care. 

Brakenbury's Recantation. 

Boston in N: E: this 14th of the 
2d moneth, 1659. 

Whereas there was a false and scandalous report in England con- 
cerning mr Nathanael Mather preacher of the word of god at Barn- 
stable in Engl: aforesaid, viz: that he the said mr Mather was cul- 
pable in New Engl: of misdemeanour with a woman afore he went 
from hence; And whereas I John Brackenbury now of Boston in 
New Engl: aforesaid togeather with another man are said to be the 
Authors or raisers of the said report, Therefore for the clearing of the 
truth in this matter I the said John Brackenbury do hereby declare 
and testify, as followeth, viz: that being some while agoe at Barn- 

1 Issued in 1691, it passed into four editions by 1693. The name of the author 
is not known. 



78 MASSACHUSETTS HISTORICAL SOCIETY. [NOV. 

stable aforemenconed and being there asked whether the thing were 
so, that he the said mr Mather was culpable in N: E: of the evill 
aforemenconed I suddenly and inconsiderably affirmed that he was, 
and that the thing was true. But not long after calling to mynd my 
great mistake herein (for my thoughts at that time were upon an- 
other man who was so culpable indeed) and considering what wrong I 
had done to mr Mather aforesaid by what I had so inconsiderably 
and untruely spoken of him, I thereupon went to the Governour or 
chiefe magistrate in Barnstable aforesaid, and before him acknowl- 
edged my great mistake in this matter, and desyred as much as lay 
in me to take off the blemish which might there by my meanes be 
raised or strengthened against him the said mr Mather. And I do 
still acknowledge that it was my great fault to speake of mr Mather 
as I did, who never deserved any such thing at my hands, nor did I 
ever know him guilty of the evill aforemenconed in the least degree. 
But desyring forgiveness from god and men for this vnadvised and 
vntrue saying of myne, I do also desyre that mr Mather aforemen- 
coned may not suffer in the thoughts of any by meanes of what was 
so vnguardedly spoken by me. 

Jno. Brakenbury. 

The above written was acknowledged by John Brakenbury to 
be that which he had spoken, and also which hee is sorry for as a 
thing mistaken and that this which is vnderwritten, viz. John 
Brackenburyes his name, was his hand and this he testified before 
me the 14th of Aprill, 1659 

Jo: Endecott, Gour. 

From John Eliot to John Cotton. 

Beloved bro: Cotton, — if you knew what a refreshing comfort 
it is to my heart which you sent me in that one leafe, it would be a 
spur to your heart to be diligent and accurate, to goe on as you have 
so well began, and I hope for the like help from you through the 
whole work of the Bible. This one leafe hath afforded me more helpe 
in that work of translation, then ever I had before from any English 
man. plus vident oculi quam oculus. when you come (if the Lord 
will) I shall give you an account of what help it hath afforded me, 
and we shall contrive how to act herein for the future. The first 
sheets of Matthew was printed off before I received this welcome 
leafe, but in all that follow I hope I shall make due use of your obser- 
vations. I need not tell you that Mr. Oaks 1 is to be installed Presi- 

1 He entered into office February 2, 1679-80, having served as acting President 
since April 7, 1675. 



1916.] LETTERS OP ELIOT AND ROGERS. 79 

dent, the 4t of May, and Mr. Shepard to be ordained the 5 day of 
May. 1 I am glad to heare of your welfaire. my respects to your 
yockfellow. Let Prayers be mutual, to him who is our only helpe 
to whom I commit you and rest, your loving brother 

John Eliot. 
Endorsed: From Mr. Eliot Senior. Received April 26: 1680. 

John Rogers to Joseph Dudley. 
Good Sir, 

Your second letter I have received for which I thanke you most 
heartily. I was exceeding Glad to see your hand writing and to 
kisse your hand after the best manner I could. I perceive, and do 
not wonder at it, that you are solicitous concerning the welfare of 
your son, Thomas, who is pretty well and in no danger, hath had 
indeed the feaver and ague an epidemical disease amongst us. I 
hardly know of one family in this Towne or Cambridge that hath 
not come downe of that ilnes. Many in the colledge have been and 
are down of it, two in our owne family. As soon as I understood 
your son began to be ill, we sent for him over to our house, and my 
wife tended him as well as she could, but my aunt sent for him home. 
I visited him there yesterday, being under Mr. Allen his care and 
he is better, and without danger. Notwithstanding the disease doth 
G[row], yet through the Grace of God, there are hardly any that dy 
of it. I am hardly assured of one. Our poor Town of Ipswich 
within this 12 weekes have lost three or four of their principal men, 
the Major General before but in these few days, Mr. Jonathan 
Wade Senior, Mr. Thom: Andrews schoolmaster, Mr. Jno. Whipple 
Capt. of our horse that they are almost naked and much of their 
glory is departed. Sir, I cannot but condole your restraint who can- 
not turn again bout when you will nor to your own family: But I 
hope and pray heartily that you may soon have your liberty. I dare 
not say much to you of my apprehensions, but I should be glad you 
would please to communicate what you may. I hope you wil fare 
the better for the frequent yea constant prayers of al men of prayer. 
Yea you have the wel wishes of all. Sir, I must not enlarge but take 
leave. My wife presents her service to your worship. I pray accept 
of mine and present my hearty service to Mr. Richards, my aunt 
and Mrs. Richards are well. Mr. Kellond dyed on monday in the 
night and is to be buryed on the morrow, which is Fryday. Within 

1 Thomas Shepard (1658-1685), who succeeded his father as pastor of the 
church in Charlestown. John Sherman (1634-1685), of Watertown, and Presi- 
dent Oakes officiated at his ordination. 



80 MASSACHUSETTS HISTORICAL SOCIETY. [Nov. 

this moneth or two at most have been 10 or 12 several untimely 
sudden deaths. Mr., Mrs Paige present etc. to you. No more but 
that I am your most humble servant and kinsman 

J. Rogers. 
Boston. 16. 6. 83. 

Remarks were made during the meeting by Messrs. J. C. 
Warren, Bowditch, and Sanborn. 



AjflWMkT? BocW of P^ ttr^i^i^t^jx — the. 
^ Sum of/. 3. I*. '&* *Zf*s> 
ofExcifcfor the Year* ending tne 29 of 
June \T)yc /. •*.