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Memoir 1-192 

Introduction to the Catalogue In- 
dex OF American Manuscripts in 
European Archives . . . 195-304 
Index 305-310 


Benjamin Franklin Stevens . 

. to face title 

The Old Home, Barnet . 

to face page 2 

Henry Stevens (Father of B. F. 

Stevens) .... 

,, 40 

Candacb Stevens (Mother of 

B.F.Stevens) . 


The Sheaves, Surbiton . 


Charlotte Stevens . 

„ 106 

The Sheaves Garden 




r Lr-A:L*rw-rt/ , n ; -t 

. //i^ C 'M , M<yine. ^JDanie^- . 



born February 19, 1833, was the tenth 
of the eleven children of Henry Stevens, 
of Barnet, Vermont — the Green Mountain of 
the old settlers — a descendant of one of the 
sturdy sons of independence who tramped into 
the forest to make a clearing in the part he 
seleded, and then build a home, one of those 
which throughout the length and breadth of 
America formed centres of the little oases of 
civilization which rapidly grew into villages 
and towns and flourished in the Western soiL 
Full of the self-dependence common to such 
pioneers, it was only natural that the Stevens 
family should be stamped by an individuality 
of charafter that permeated those who followed. 
For there was a great deal of the quaint old 
Puritan spirit veined with the traces of the 
pilgrims who crossed the ocean for religion's 
sake, ready to go forward with their lives in 



their hands to form the camp in the new 
country where they meant to stay. 

It was a grand stock for a shoot to spring 
from, and the father of the subjeft of this 
brief memoir was one of those sturdy, hard- 
working, praftical, self-taught men who, besides 
being the head of those who gathered round 
his domestic hearth, became to a certain extent 
the magisterial leader of his township. Some- 
what rugged, perhaps, in his culture, but 
thorough; a man ready to turn his hand to 
anything that meant progress and that required 
thought beyond that devoted by his fellows to 
their daily task. In short, Henry Stevens, 
senior, was a man who loved books, coUedcd 
and read them, a man of brain, which he cul- 
tivated and transmitted as far as he had suc- 
ceeded in perfeding it to his children, and with 
far beyond ordinary results. 

This love of literary works, especially those 
which dealt with the past of his own country, 
led to the establishment of a learned body 
which was to do good work in its own par- 
ticular vein, and become well known as the 
Vermont Historical Society, of which he was 
the founder and first president. 

Born in the last month of 1791, Henry 
Stevens was married in 1 8 1 5 to Candacc Salter, 
a New Hampshire lady. Eleven children were 
the result of the union, but only six of these 


attained to full maturity, namely, the eldest 
born, Enos, Henry, George, Simon, Sophia 
Candace, and Benjamin Franklin, he being the 
youngest child but one, Elizabeth, who died in 
early infancy. 

Henry Stevens was a man to whom it would 
come natural to have a son christened by the 
name of the popular hero in whom he believed, 
one whose example he would like to see his 
oflfepring follow, and the family record shows 
the birth of a Benjamin Franklin in the year 
1829, followed by the sad announcement of 
his death in the same month and year as another 
son was born, as if to take his place and bear 
the name of which the other had been so brief 
a possessor. 

No better words could be found to set down 
the charader of Henry Stevens than those 
written years ago by his second son and name- 
sake: '* Leaving the Academy at the age of 
twelve with only a taste for books, and, as he 
expressed it, graduating at Nature's Univer- 
sity, he became a self-taught man. ... He 
sought only to provide his children with edu- 
cation, leaving them to hoe their own rows. 
He was a farmer, an inn keeper, a mill owner, 
a landlord and a Squire by courtesy of Stevens' 
village ... an antiquarian and a book colleftor, 
his house was the resort of the intelligent," 
and in another portion of his father's brief 


memoir he literally hallmarks — stamps the pro- 
gressive man who died at the age of seventy- 
five, " leaving his house full of books and his- 
torical manuscripts, the delight of his youth, 
the companions of his manhood, and the solace 
of his old age." 

It would have been surprising if a student 
like this, who had cared for the working edu- 
cation of his children, had not left sons des- 
tined to become book coUedors whose names 
take an honourable position in the library re- 
cords of the past century — names that will 


A BOY'S education sixty years ago in the 
rural States of America bears a strong 
resemblance to that in England earlier 
still, and old letters vividly paint Benjamin 
Franklin Stevens as quite the rustic American 
boy, acquiring his learning in the days when 
the pedagogue believed thoroughly in the 
scriptural proverb, *' Spare the rod and spoil 
the child,'* for he neither spared nor spoiled. 
A very old friend. Colonel Alex. G. Hawes, 
of California, writes pleasantly of his school- 
fellow, who used to speak playfully of him as 
his twin brother, their parents having been near 
neighbours, and the two boys having been born 
under the auspices of the same physician the 
selfsame night. It is almost like going back 
to a record by Oliver Wendell Holmes, for 
Colonel Hawes writes of " Dr. Tuttle, whose 
old *one hoss shay' and sorrel mare are no 
less impressed on his memory than the dodor's 
eccentric dress and manner" — " Frank's father 
was also a most original and eccentric man. 
He had a store of humour of the old fashioned 


Yankee sort, which brimmed and bubbled on 
the slightest occasion, and if there seemed no 
occasion he could make one. It was not alto- 
gether as subtle and quiet — perhaps not as re- 
fined as Frank's, but it was always on tap. 
Frank and I attended for one or two summers 
a * seleft school * presided over by one Hub- 
bard — the Rev. Austin Osgood Hubbard — a 
Presbyterian of the old school, whose head was 
filled with Latin and Greek roots, and sur- 
mounted by a faded brown wig. He believed 
in birch, willow, and all sorts of rods, also fer- 
rules, straps, or any other implement that 
might be handy, to aid instruftion. According 
to my recoUeAion I used to sample one or 
another of these devices about once a day. 
Whether Frank was a greater adept at con- 
cealing his wickedness or was a ' sure enough ' 
good boy I cannot remember, even if I ever 
knew, but I well recall when both my hands 
were covered inside with water blisters from 
an application of the ferrule, Sophy Stevens, 
Frank's elder sister, gave me great sympathy, 
and one or two of her girl companions their 

It is an old English proverb that boys will 
be boys, and the old settlers must have carried 
the traditions of the British boy with them to 
the West Possibly this had something to do 
with the verdift of another schoolmaster, who 


during the course of his instruftion declared 
that amongst his pupils there was no boy who 
gave so much trouble as Frank Stevens, but 
not one they liked so well. An epigrammatic 
essence this of the charafter of the boy and 
man. For it seems that Frank must have been 
somewhat of an enfant terrible^ unfortunately 
for him, as he fell under the tuition of another 
master who did not spare the rod, aud there is 
a story that at this school the boys prepared 
themselves with defensive armour for the fray, 
in rather a Sybaritish fashion which could only 
have come from a young American brain and 
in a rural distrift, for it is chronicled that in 
anticipation of the scholastic instrument of 
torture the boys wore sheepskin. Stevens him- 
self, one of the most genial and forgiving of 
men, carried still in his memory his old recol- 
leftions of one of his tutors, a Dr. King, and 
the anecdote which follows contains a ring of 
resentment, a rising, so to speak, of a crushed 
down young spirit against treatment that 
rankled in the boy's breast, when upon some 
show day, doubtless in the presence of visitors, 
the pupils of the school were to deliver re- 
citations. Upon this occasion young Stevens 
surprised his listeners, and must have stag- 
gered his teachers, for he delivered some 
lines from the introdudion to Defoe's " Jure 
Divino " : 


^^ Nature has left tins TinSure in tlie blood. 
That all men would be Tyrants if they cou'd. 

We're all alike, we all ascend the Skies \ 

All would be KINQS, all Kings would tyrannise ; " 

while it was perfeftly evident that the verbal 
shot went home, that the cap fitted the peda- 
gogue's head, for the boy was called upon to 
apologise, and did. But he had had his kick, 
and his choice shows the quick- wittedness and 
dauntlessness of the boy — ^perfedly within his 
rights — the seleftion of pieces for recitation 
being left entirely to the scholars. It shows, 
too, something of the dawning power of re- 
search, for though every boy would be quite 
at home with *' Robinson Crusoe," "Jure 
Divino " by the same author would hardly be 
within the scope of an ordinary pupil. 

The schoolday experiences and escapades 
rapidly glided away, and early in life Frank 
Stevens — Frank, for this was ever the familiar 
name — had his first hint that in connedion 
with his education his father was eager for 
him to begin picking up something in the way 
of making himself useful. But it was rather 
early for him to commence at thirteen acquir- 
ing the calm, thoughtful, business-like habits 
which aided him so well in his career as an 
agent, and to become the emissary whose task 


it was^to carry important despatches from one 
government to another. 

It has before been suggested that Mr. Ste- 
vens, senior, occupied an important position 
among his fellow-townsmen^ and for some 
political reason he had been brought into con- 
neftion with the Governor of New Hampshire 
at Charleston. 

Whatever it was, it entailed the bearing of 
some very important papers — in fad, a des- 
patch — to that funftionary, and at a time when 
it was of vital importance that they should be 
placed in his hands at once. Over half a cen- 
tury ago civilization had not begun to make 
its vast strides, to which we are so used in the 
present. No telegraphic messages could be 
sent to town or village; an American citizen 
could not step into an office and ring up a 
friend or fellow politician to speak to him by 
word of mouth and in tones that could be re- 
cognised as coming from the right person. 
There was only one course open to Mr. Ste- 
vens, senior, who could not wait for the post; 
the despatch must be conveyed instanter, and 
by hand, and that too in a very lonely part of 
the roadless country. Worse still, he could not 
perform the obvious duty of mounting and 
conveying the papers himself, for he could not 
leave home ; he must send them by a messenger 
he could trust, and there was no one who an- 


swered that description but his son, the school- 
boy of thirteen, jfast asleep in bed. 

There seems something of the hand of Fate 
in it when we pidure him awakened from 
sleep after having retired for the night, to start 
up wonderingly and face his father standing 
over him candle in hand. 

After due thought he had determined that 
this must be the course. Frank must be woke 
up and sent. So said the stern matter of fadt 
father; but it was in the presence of the 
thoughtful mother, Candace, who was in arms 
in defence of her child. It was such a long 
journey, through an exceedingly lonely country, 
and in her eyes it seemed almost a crime to 
send a boy like that. 

The matter was reasoned out on both sides, 
and the result is illustrative of the calm 
thoughtful manners of the serious religious 
people of the period, for the father eventu- 
ally decided that the position must be laid 
before the boy, his opinion asked, what he 
thought and whether he was willing to under- 
take so important a mission. This was done, 
with the result that Frank unhesitatingly de- 
clared that he was willing to go, and that he 
would deliver the despatch into the proper 
hands. Early the next morning the steed Black 
Bess was saddled, and with a boy's eagerness 
for adventure and romance his farewells were 


made, and he started upon his journey, bearing 
his despatch, and the following, written upon 
time-yellowed paper in his father's hand, a 
relic evidently carefully treasured by the son. 

" Barnet, May 5th, A. 1 846. 
Ira Davis, Esq. 

The bearer, my son, B. Franklin, 
leaves home this morning for Charleston. I 
wish you would spend a short time with him 
if agreeable. Your humble servant, 

Henry Stevens." 

And another: — 

**The Rev. Thomas Kipder. 

The bearer, my youngest son, you 
will please receive kindly. If agreeable I should 
be glad to have him visit the State Prison. 
Your humble servant, 

Henry Stevens." 

That the mission was properly carried out 
we have the record left in Stevens's own 
writing, made quite late in life. 

" 1 846. May 5th. Started on horseback 
for Charleston, and made journey in two 

No light journey for a boy this, for the way 
was quite new to him, and the only guide he 
had was the fine old colonist's direftion to fol- 


low the course of the river. But after a few 
adventures he reached his destination, sore and 
weary with so long a ride, delivered the papers 
to the Governor, was hospitably treated by him 
and his family, and finally returned safely 

It would have been no great feat to a robust 
youth, but unfortunately as a boy Frank was 
somewhat delicate, as is often the case where 
muscle seems to have naturally given way to 
brain. The latter years of his school life were 
clouded by rather serious illnesses which ne- 
cessarily interfered with his studies for months 
at a time. 


WHEN quite young, in 1 847 — a mere 
schoolboy— Stevens began to work 
seriously^ adting, so to speak, as his 
father's secretary, and, as he states, under his 
diredtion. He left home to take up his resi- 
dence in Albany, at first one and then another 
boarding house, in quite a manly independent 
fashion, spending his working hours in the 
offices of the Secretary of State, copying his- 
torical manuscripts for Mr. Stevens, senior, 
thus laying the basis for a thorough knowledge 
of research and the making of transcripts, in 
which he became distinguished later on. 

From Albany Stevens wrote home to his 
father an account of his journey, and mingling 
his boyish recoUedions with plenty of matter 
of faft shriewdness, tells of his search for lodg- 
ings, and settling down, then of his reception 
at the Secretary's office and the rooms where 
he first started upon his onerous task, in 
the midst of so much noise that after writ- 
ing there one day he was given permission to 
move up to the third storey, where it was 


quiet. He finished his letter with the announce- 
ment, "I have not written much yet, only 
16,317 words in six days. The last piece I 
copied was * Petition of the Earl of Sterling to 
the King praying for ^7,000 in satisfaftion of 
Long Island, which had been granted to his 
ancestors.' " An interesting note, showing as 
it does how the historical education was going 

The boy's following letters home tell of his 
busy researches among State Papers in response 
to diredions from the future president of the 
Vermont Historical Society, whom he playfully 
refers to in the midst of much serious allusion 
to documents, papers and signatures, saying, 
** I have taken a job of writing for one Henry 
Stevens, Esq., of Barnet, which it will take 
some time to finish." And these merry refer- 
ences shine out in other letters from the midst 
of the serious manly statements in connexion 
with what must have been a hard task to a boy. 
In one letter he gives his father a broad hint 
about the state of his exchequer, living as he 
now was upon the means supplied from home. 
And in another: ^^l fear the person who is 
doing some writing for you does not do it 
very well, nor not much of it. However, he 
does it as well as can be expe(5ted for a boy 
of 14^. He will try and do better since re- 
ceiving the $$" (dollars). Evidence this that 


his appeal had been attended to. This letter 
finishes with a line of very exad manuscript: 
" I can write a little better than this is written. 
Your undutifull son, B. Frank Stevens." 

Before the boy had been a month at his task 
we find him writing: 

^^I am in good health and spirits. Last 
week I only copied 25,097. I shall try and do 
more this week. I began on a piece yesterday 
2 o'clock of about 31 pages. I shall finish it 
Tuesday. It is Sir H. Moore to Lord Shel- 
burne, June 9, 1767. ... I shall write all I 
can — as well as I can — and be as prudent as I 

In the very next letter, still before he had 
been a month ftx)m home, the boy of fourteen 
and a half shows a new side to his charafter — 
a suggestion of what in after life he became — 
for mingled with a statement of the tale of 
literary bricks he has produced that week, and 
the announcement of his next work, the " Pro- 
ceedings of a treaty held by Sir W. Johnson 
with the Six Nations and other Indian Tribes 
at Fort Stanwix in the months of Odober 
and November to settle a boundary line," he 
gives an account of the illness of a gentleman, 
a stranger to the city, and he writes: 

"Mr. Hadley sat up with him last night 
and Friday night. . . . Mr. Hadley just left 
here. He came to see if I would sit up to-night. 


which I shall do. He asked two gentlemen 
before he asked me, and they both refused." 

The poor fellow died during the night, and 
the boy writes: 

" Monday morning. I am well this morn- 
ing, after sitting up." 

Stevens's life at Albany month after month 
seems to have been one of steady hard plod- 
ding with his pen, copying week by week and 
sending word to his father how many words 
he had written since his last letter. Nearly 
every time he mentions the number of words, 
and fears it was not so great as it should be, 
but finds the tale turn out better. He is very 
modest, too, and regrets that he cannot write 
more neatly, but is trying his best; and so his 
reports go on. Now he is copying papers 
about Lord Dartmouth, now about some other 
English official or statesman, besides searching 
at his father's wish for old maps and docu- 
ments and making facsimiles, generally, as it 
were, serving faithfully his apprenticeship to 
his future work. 

At last three months have passed away, and 
the boy's steady application has evidently pro- 
duced its eflFefts; for instance, after reporting 
to his father that he has copied from 20,000 
to 25,000 words for his week's work, the sum 
total on November the first has risen to over 
68,000. He has done his best, as he promised. 


and pradice has made perfed, in spite of his 
regrets that he has not done better, having 
had to deal with manuscripts that were badly 
written, and others so illegible that he had to 
leave blanks. 

The work went on, and in December the 
boy writes in rather a homesick style, and as 
if he begins to feel the stress of his task: 

'* It is not a very pleasant thought to think 
that I am obliged to stay here till next July so 
as to make a year on the whole." 

But the time glided on, the Albany copy- 
ing came to an end, and there was a com- 
plete change, the boy's residence while still 
carrying on his father's historical work being 
at Montpelier, where he was superintending the 
binding of the books as well as the arranging 
and classifying of old historic documents of the 
Revolutionary period. 


IT was about this time that Stevens's health 
began to fail to such an extent that it was 
considered prudent for him to return home 
for a change, and these enforced holidays were 
for the most part occupied in outdoor work, 
and in laying the foundation for a love of 
gardening which clung to him through life, and 
formed one of his restful pleasures and solaces 
right up to the time of his death. 

He was the thorough American lad in those 
early days, and his pursuits were the combina- 
tion of health seeking utility and amusement, 
for he was successful in breeding sheep and 
growing corn and vegetables, and in the result 
strengthened his physique and managed to 
realise from his sales an amount which went 
a long way towards paying his college ex- 

As an illustration of the above, he told one 
little anecdote of how the keen man of busi- 
ness, his father, encouraged his son's tendencies 
towards a country life, and displayed his con- 
fidence in the lad's ability and management of 



stock, for while engaged upon the farm he 
made Frank a present of twenty sheep to rear 
for the market. These were carefully watched 
and tended, with such good results that the 
tyro in this profession was able in due time to 
finally dispose of his little flock at a very good 

With such beginnings as these, it was only 
natural that friends should ask him why he did 
not follow his bent and become a farmer, but 
his nature settled that, for he was bound to 
reply that he was not strong enough to stand 
the rough outdoor work in all weathers. 

But a love of nature and natural life was 
growing strong within him, the feeling which 
made him later on revel in the sunshine of his 
native land, and glory in its pure elastic atmo- 
sphere which raised within him the desire to 
cast oflF the trammels of everyday existence, 
and with an Indian blanket go up into the 
mountains, to spend many and many a summer 
night in the solitude and silence of the whis- 
pering pine woods, listening to the sighing of 
the breeze. 

There were times, then, when the country 
drew him from the desk, and he could give full 
rein to his love of nature. He was fond of 
telling late in life of the glories of the places 
he had then seen. The Valley of the Connect 
ticut, for instance, was a distrift upon which 


he loved to dwell — ^the Falls, probably the 
Fifteen Mile Falls, where the Passumpsick' 
River enters the ConneAicut. He would tell 
of the excitement when the ice broke up in 
the spring and the logs came down with a rush, 
ending in a jam which made the swift current 
rise in a wave, of some tall pine gliding down 
like an arrow till the butt caught against the 
shore which stopped its progress, and snapped 
with the report of a cannon. He would tell, 
too, of being present at such a time, when a 
bridge was swept away. 

It was in these days that he became ac- 
quainted with the well-known Dr. Horace 
Bushnell, who, probably during a visit home, 
came to Barnet; the occasion was the wedding 
of Stevens's only sister, Sophy, and the dodor 
was there as the bridegroom's friend. 

On the following day the doAor, seeming 
to be as great a lover of the country as the 
bride's brother, and finding in him a congenial 
spirit, started off with him in a wagon, in the 
good old country fashion, for a trip across the 
mountains, going forward until there were no 
more roads, when, seizing the first opportunity 
to disencumber themselves of their vehicle, 
they went forward on foot, making, evidently 
at Frank's suggestion, for a house among the 
hills, where he promised supper and a night's 


After a long tramp their goal was reached 
at nightfall^ when, to their intense disappoint- 
ment, they found the place so poverty-stricken 
and foul that they could not remain inside. 
There was nothing for it but to continue their 
tramp till they came upon something more to 
their taste, in the shape of an unfinished build- 
ing which promised at all events shelter for 
the night, and to their great delight they found 
in one corner that the workmen had left be- 
hind a heap of shavings. Travellers at such 
times are not too particular, and there are far 
worse beds than a pile of clean, satiny, aromatic, 
newly cut shavings. They elecfted to pass the 
night there, but their sleep, slow coming even 
if refreshing, proved to be short. 

The doftor, who was the more restless, found 
before daylight that, like himself, Frank Stevens 
was wide awake,and suggested that they should 
make their way down to the water not far dis- 
tant. They soon found, though, that they 
already had the water close at hand, for the 
long grass all around was drenched with dew, 
necessitating their dispensing with shoes and 
stockings and literally wading. But it was all 
interesting even if cold, and going on down- 
ward a dull gray gleam soon taught them that 
they were in the right diredion, coming out in 
time upon the water's edge, probably an arm 
of Lake Memphramagog, and, better still, a 


tethered boat was ready to their hand. In the 
early morn the place appeared lovely in its novelty 
and the grouping of the rocks upon the farther 
side. Stevens knew the spot by report, for it 
possessed a fame given by its curious echo, and 
upon raising a shout a response was thrown 
back from the opposite shore. This seems to 
have been satisfying to the dodor, but his 
guide knew from report that if a certain posi- 
tion were reached the echo reverberated, being 
repeated many times. After a sufficiency of 
investigation and testing in the silence of the 
early morn, the right spot was found, and in 
answer to a shout the voice came back many 
times, to the wonderment of both. 

Stevens's principal recolledion of that morn- 
ing was that there, in the solemnity and majesty 
of nature, the dodor began repeating the Lord's 
Prayer in a loud clear voice, which the echo 
caught up and threw back again and again, 
until it seemed as if a congregation was engaged 
in its morning devotion, as the echo softly 
died away. 

One wonders whether, far up there in the 
mountains, memory reminded them of one 
Washington Irving and his delightful story of 
the Catskill Range ; but probably not, for they 
had been exerting themselves a good deal, and 
an inward monitor was at work reminding 
them that the breakfast hour was near, and 


that their chances of a meal were nil unless 
they could find it in the lovely lake that spread 

However, they were equal to the occasion, 
and by some means captured enough fish for 
their breakfast, and after a time found a cot- 
tage where the woman who dwelt there will- 
ingly cooked their prizes and supplied them 
with what else was necessary for a good meal, 
before they hunted up their wagon and re- 
sumed their well remembered journey. 

Probably during the weakened health period 
Frank became initiated in the historic lore to 
which he devoted himself so strenuously in 
after life ; for to his father some quaint old 
pamphlet or book, dealing with the history of 
his country from the days of the discoverers 
right up through the English occupation and 
the War of Independence, was a treasure to be 
valued, and in these early teens the lad's time, 
that most would have given to sport and play, 
was claimed for use, his father calling upon him 
to devote a certain number of hours to help in 
historical work, but leaving to him his mode 
of working so long as he delivered his tale in 
full. The result was that the lad's mode of 
distributing the hours was very irregular, un- 
trammelled as he was, but he fulfilled his task 
according to his mood; sometimes he would 
spend the whole day at his desk, at others the 


whole night, or rise at daybreak to recover lost 
time, especially when there had been a lapse 
when he had not worked at all, his wearied 
brain claiming a rest which he would take for 
choice in some long and preferably solitary 
tramp or mountain climb where he could be 
with Nature, but rarely without a book, so 
that knowledge was piled up and his studies 
were not negleded. Unconsciously it was an 
educating on the part of parent, and an ac- 
quiring of the power on the part of the lad, 
of the skill, patience and assiduity that en- 
abled him to leave behind, at the close of a 
life of earnest toil, that stupendous and unique 
manuscript index, the final planning of which 
occupied his thoughts up to a few days before 
his death. 

As his health improved it was decided that he 
should resume his regular educational studies 
in earnest, and he became a student in a large 
seminary at Newbury, where as the time went 
on the letters home show a marked advance. 
The writer is no longer the schoolboy, for they 
are the compositions of one who is taking an 
interest in the status of his country, though 
certainly more of the past than of the present. 
Correspondence too is well kept up with his 
father, and questions are asked regarding the 
speeches dealing with religious matters and 
afiFairs of state. 


But history was by no means set aside, the 
son being eager now and thoroughly interested 
in the elder's favourite pursuit, so that apart 
from domestic matters, books are the principal 
topic discussed. 

Unfortunately sickness followed the student 
here, and he, like many others in the semin- 
ary, suffered rather severely from an epidemic, 
which left him weakened, his eyes being the 
greatest sufferers, and their failing interfering 
with the studies of the place. It was about 
this time — May, 1852 — that he continued his 
health-seeking in outdoor life, in excursions 
to the mountain at the back of the seminary, 
sending home for sundry articles he wanted. 
There is a ring of the young American settler 
in this letter: 

** I was sorry you sent me the wrong bullet 
moulds for my rifle ; the ones you sent are too 
small. The right ones are marked *75,' and 
the iron round the hole is much thicker than 
either of those of Enos. I guess they are in 
the magazine drawer. My fish-hooks are in 
the dining-table drawer, and my fish lines I 
think are on the lower shelf at the left of the 
table. The bowie knife also is there, I think, 
with the belt for it. I wish I had Enos's spy- 

The Newbury portion of the young man's 
student life came to an end, and we find him 


back at Montpelier, where he resumed his his- 
torical copying work for his father, and it is 
early in these days that we come upon the 
first notice of employment in the Govern- 
ment Service — a notice which appeared in the 
'* Montpelier Daily Journal " of Odober 29th, 
1852, where a paragraph following an index 
hand announces : 

*' We are authorised to state that the Secre- 
tary of State has appointed Mr. Timothy R. 
Merrill and Mr. B. Franklin Stevens deputies 
in his office." 

This was a memorable date in the young 
man's career, for often in after life, showing 
his natural love of independence, he said that 
from the time of obtaining this appointment 
he never cost his father a penny. 


pidures of those from whom the Eastern 
American had his descent. And here in gather- 
ing together anecdotes, going over letters, and 
studying the incidents of Stevens's life, it 
is remarkable how strong a resemblance is 
offered by the people amongst whom he passed 
his early life to those objects of the imagina- 
tion who have been limned by the writers of 
his land. One is ready to think that it is not 
real, till upon further consideration one grasps 
the fad of how truthful these writers have 
been to nature, for here are their people as 
given by a truthful history with fancy out of 

Allusion has been made to the literary vein 
existing in his father, which was after all but 
a continuation of that with which his father's 
father was endowed. This old relative, Enos 
Stevens, dates back to the famous American 
past, the War of Independence ; but he, like 
Washington Irving's Rip Van Winkle, was a 
Loyalist, and believer in King George the 
Third, and, as he says in the journal that he 
left, he gave up all for the sake of his King 
and country. He it was who stuck faithfully 
to the losing side, and after the peace was 
prpclaimed in 1783 he joined with the other 
Loyalists and emigrated to Nova Scotia. Here 
after a time he found that he was free to re- 
turn to his native State, and with the attrac- 


tion of home strong upon him, he went back, 
made his way to Vermont, and settled in. 

One of Stevens's favourite wanderings into 
the past was in company with the old diary 
of Enos, from which, with eyes brightening, 
he could read his grandfather's experiences 
as far back he rode on horseback, seeking for 
a home, right into what was then the wilder- 
ness of upper New England ; but one of his 
favourite references would be respefting the 
eccentricities of his relatives and those among 
whom they dwelt. 

When he spoke of his parents' peculiarities, 
there was a reverence in his tones to accom- 
pany the twinkle in his eye, as he alluded 
to his mother Candace's idiosyncrasies, above 
all to her whimsical humour when she felt 
crossed and that things were going wrong. 
Then she would, so to speak, hoist a domestic 
signal for the benefit of all she loved, by 
tying her apron awry as a fair warning to her 
husband and the rest that there was danger 
ahead, so that they might stand clear and avoid 
a quarrel. 

There was an Uncle Sol, too, full of eccen- 
tricities, and who, it seemed, after the fashion 
set by some of the old Puritans among his 
ancestors in the pre-emigration days, used to 
be rather fond of holding forth in extempore 


family prayer. There was a rough familiarity 
of intercourse in bygone times amongst the 
old prayer leaders, a bold apparent irreverence 
in their addresses to the Deity, and the custom 
— ^well meant, of course — had been inherited 
strongly by Uncle Sol, who in the earnestness 
of an address would sometimes lack fluency 
and stumble a little and find himself at a loss 
for a word to carry out his meaning. But the 
hesitation would be only momentary, and he 
would boldly continue to appeal dired, and in- 
terjeft, " Understand, O Lord? Understand? 
Take my idee, d'ye? Take my idee?" 

But he was a strange charafter in his way, 
and a sharp trader, and in his business aflairs 
was, amongst other things, a wholesale dealer 
in leather. It was told of him that after a 
deal with one of the deacons of the church, 
a shoemaker by trade, to whom he had sold a 
number of skins, the buyer on getting home 
found that they were full of holes, and returned 
to expostulate with Uncle Sol and make de- 
mand for some allowance on the bargain, but 
only to be told that the skins had been sold 
by weight and that no dedudion could be 
made, ror no charge whatever had been made 
for the holes. 

Stevens's recoUedions of the old Vermont 
days were quaint and many, and told with the 
dryness of his father's humour, and as one's 


teachers are generally made the subjeft of re- 
colledions^ so it was here ; for as he talked of 
his early life, memories would come back of the 
eccentric preachers under whom, to use the old 
country expression, he had sat. 

There was the old North Country minister, 
who, bubbling over with righteous indignation 
against some backslider for whom he asked 
punishment and mercy too, thus delivered him- 
self for the benefit of his hearers, in his ex- 
tempore prayer : " Tak' him. Lord, and shak' 
him weel ower hell ; but ha'e a care. Lord ! 
ha'e a care lest ye should drap him in ! " 

There was the Scotch minister, too, who 
might have been a descendant — or ancestor, 
which ? — of the old preacher in North Britain 
whose faith was pinned to vocal music and 
fiercely denounced the introdudion of the 
organ, which he spoke of contemptuously as 
a ** kist of whustles." The Vermont minister 
was as strongly opposed to instrumental music, 
and had to fight a fadion of the younger 
members of the church, who were just as 
anxious to bring about a change, and at last, 
at all costs determined to have their day, 
two of the most venturesome brought their 
fiddles and, in defiance of their teacher, used 
them in the service. Possibly it was in fear 
and trembling, and in surprise at their own 
daring in thus opposing the thunders of the 


Church that the consequence was a very poor 
performance, which passed without wordy com- 
ment, though the minister looked terrible 
things. He was, however, but waiting his time, 
that time being the giving out of the next 
Psalm, which he did with stem deliberation 
as follows : ** We will now — attempt — to sing 

— and fiddle the Psalm," whatever the 

number was. 

Naturally enough in such an old world place 
the experimental preacher put in an appear- 
ance, the man who strives to gain his hearers' 
attention by some eccentricity of manner and 
speech. He did not, like the preacher whose 
ways were recorded by Dean Ramsay, give out 
David's familiar text respefting untruthful- 
ness: "I said in my haste all men are liars," 
and add, "Eh, Davie, laddie, gin ye had lived in 
this toon ye might have said it at your leesure ;" 
but he took the big Bible, turning over many 
leaves until he had found a place to his satis- 
faction, and then solemnly gave out his ex- 
tempore text: "He that greaseth his cart 
wheels helpeth his oxen." After this he went 
on to deliver an eloquent sermon on the duties 
of helpfulness in general. 

In the Scotch church at Bamet there had 
grown up a custom for the whole congregation 
to stand during the minister's prayer, and as 
such extempore appeals were long and their 


periods well known, a tacit arrangement had 
been arrived at by the hearers, who from old 
experience provided for a time of rest. No 
signal was given, but at one particular point 
which all present recognised, it was felt that 
the moment had come to "change to the 
other foot," and the men of the congregation 
— shearers who had driven in from a distance 
in the country — raised and brought down the 
butt ends of their whips upon the floor with a 
precision and resonance that was eleftrifying. 

But no better idea of the quaintness and 
old-world style of the Barnet of Stevens's 
youthful days coxild be given than is contained 
in the following anecdote of an incident which 
occurred when he was about nineteen, and he 
had grown into the keen witted business like 
help to his father. 

It seems that through lack of coin or cur- 
rency, the neighbours around had become more 
or less indebted to each other for goods pur- 
chased or services rendered, and this state of 
things had run on so long without a complete 
settlement that each nursed a grievance on the 
score of the others being in his debt. In this 
way relations had become strained and business 
difficult. Frank Stevens and his cousin Xerxes 
— or Xerx, as he was called familiarly — had 
divers discussions upon the tangle into which 
the money matters of the village had grown, 



and as to the possibility of dealing with the 
confusion in a business like accountant way,put- 
ting all straight and getting their neighbours 
out of this disagreeable position. 

Naturally the first thing to do was to make 
a general inquiry around as to how matters 
stood. This was set about at once, with the 
result that they found how Smith owed Jones 
and Jones owed Smith, and so on, while the 
differences were so trifling that in general there 
was only a matter of some few cents or so 
between them. 

A mere bagatelle this; but such was the 
primitive condition of the village as regards 
monetary payments, enhanced probably by a 
certain amount of obstinacy on the part of the 
debtors and creditors, that nothing but a cash 
settlement of their accounts would satisfy 

Thereupon the arbitrators went round a- 
mongst the disputants, and by means of plenty 
of political management induced each party to 
make out a plain statement of the amount ow- 
ing to him from his neighbour, compared the 
accounts, submitted them to debtor and cre- 
ditor, had them acknowledged and agreed to, 
and finally the pair turned themselves into a 
rustic banking or railway clearing-house, and 
found that if they had about two hundred 
dollars cash in hand they might be able to pay 


and receive all round, straighten matters out, 
and the tangle would be no more. 

This done, the young men laid the matter 
before Henry Stevens, senior, who agreed to be 
their security,and, armed with this and their own 
reputation, they crossed the border, journeyed 
on to the nearest bank, where they were able 
to borrow the two hundred dollars necessary, 
and returned in triumph to play their parts of 
aftuaries and liquidators in their own village. 

Time and patience were then all that proved 
necessary. They paid out and received, ob- 
tained receipts and gave discharges, making 
peace all round, and giving the village the 
opportunity of starting once more with a clean 
slate, themselves included, the final ad of the 
little rustic comedy being the paying back of 
the two hundred dollars capital to the bank. 

The account goes on to say that Henry 
Stevens, senior, was one of the debtors and 
creditors ; but the difference was in his favour, 
so that in getting back the bank's dues the lads 
were able to coiled the family debts at the 
same time. 

There was a large-hearted tolerance in 
Stevens's nature towards all people and all 
creeds, the outcome of the simple homely 
teaching of his village, and likewise of his 
father's much frequented house, where talkers 
the most cultivated of the distrid were wont 


to gather^ and where the Roman Catholic 
priest, the Baptist, and Presbyterian ministers, 
found themselves all equally at home. 

Quite late in life he wrote to a cousin in 
Nebraska respeding General Sherman, that 
Mrs. Sherman ** was a Catholic and brought 
up her daughters as Catholics, the understand- 
ing with her husband being that she should 
have the guidance of the girls and he of the 
boys; but somehow, notwithstanding his being 
a good old Protestant, one of his sons became 
a Roman Catholic priest The old General 
said he was too busy in leading his army 
through the South, and in his subsequent 
military duties, to give personal direftion to 
his boys beyond their college education and 
such influence as they might pick up at home. 
I have had very dear personal friends among 
people of many seds and denominations — 
Buddhists, Catholics, Jews, Greeks, Mormons, 
Huguenots, Sun-worshippers, Protestants of 
assorted sorts, and Nothingarians. I think 
there are many more good points than bad, 
even after we have ticked off the usual de- 
pravities of those from whom we diflFer. The 
absent one is always in error, says the old 

It was at such a home as that at Barnet 
that proverbs woxild find a fertile soil in which 
to grow, but one is left in doubt whether the 


following was one of Henry Stevens, senior's 
sayings, or a memory of another sermon upon 
hdpmlness to those around, but not at too 
great a sacrifice of self. In either case it was 
equally good in its application to a people 
whose early beginnings had been the defend- 
ing of their clearing from the trampling of 
the cattle and the creatures of the wilderness: 
"Love thy neighbour, but break not down 
thy fence." 

Personally the subjed: of this memoir pos- 
sessed his own natural peculiarities and quaint 
sayings, but they were such as any man might 
be proud to own, such as from his early train- 
ing he was almost bound to acquire. There was 
one in respedk to which, and it was a favourite 
with him, we might in the words of Shake- 
speare grip to us with hooks of steel : *' Do 
nothing without consideration, and when thou 
hast done it, repent not." 

At the beginning of this chapter reference 
was made to the way in which the habitat, 
ways and sayings of those amongst whom 
Stevens dwelt suggested the mines from which 
so many of the authors of the United States 
dug for the gems set so liberally in their pages; 
and surely those who knew their old friend best 
might have taken some of his, if not for use, 
certainly to store in memory's safe. Here is 
another of his quaint remarks, which he once 


made to the writer when the latter consulted 
him about a purchase : " Be sure your daughter 
gets one of those typewriters that can spell well. 
I should not like her machine to be the same 
as one that I have here. The young lady who 
uses it complains about its orthography a good 


AN important period in the young man's 
career had arrived in 1 853, when,father 
and son evidently being at one as to 
the value of university education and the ne- 
cessity for its help in the latter's case, an 
effort was made to finish his studies by enter- 
ing the university at Burlington; and of his 
arrival there, full of doubts and fears as to his 
prospers of passing the preliminary examina- 
tion, Stevens writes to his parents : 

" Burlington, Vermont, 

Monday eve, Aug. 29th, '53. 

My DEAR Parents, 

I arrived here on Thursday eve as ex- 
pedked — it would have proved quite as well 
if I had not come till to-day or to-morrow. 
The President and all of the Professors were 
out of town. Friday morning Pres. Wheeler 
advised me to find John A. Jameson, former 
tutor here, have him examine me and tell me 
if I could enter. I found him Friday afternoon, 
was examined and received a letter to Prof. 


Pease recommending my admission. Prof. 
Pease was expefted home tonight. Mr. Jame- 
son said he wished to call on Mr. P. with me 
this eve, but as I do not find Mr. Jameson in 
his room shall not call on the Professor this 
eve. Mr. J. has not the authority to admit 
students; yet I expeft to enter, and probably 
will not again be examined. 

# # # # 

I had an hour's conversation with Mr. Has- 
well this afternoon. Of course nothing definite 
was done. Probably I shall not try to do any- 
thing more about it till spring. Write soon. 
Aflfedkionatcly your Son, 

B. Frank." 

On the following day he writes : 

" My dear Father and Mother, — 

I wrote you yesterday concerning my 
entrance at college ; today I presented to 
Prof. Pease a letter from Mr. Jameson, who 
examined me on Friday. Prof. Pease told me 
I need not be examined farther; term com- 
mences tomorrow morning. How shall I be 
able to start oflF at five o'clock ? This will be 
a hard item in my college experience. 

# # # # 

Mr. Haswell thinks a room can be pro- 
cured from the town free of rent — feels quite 
sure, he says — he has mentioned his plan only 


to Judge Toilet, who coincides with his views. 
Mr. H. is very anxious to have your collec- 
tion here, and would like to place his library 
with yours. I spent an hour or two in examin- 
ing his colleftion — it, like yours, I think, would 
be much more valuable if about half of it were 

Mr. H. urges that Enos take care of the 
Barnet aflairs and you take care of the ^ Hist. 
& Ant. Society,' board me, and pay him $125 
per annum rent for a pretty little cottage with 
a large willow tree in front. The north side 
of the garden joins the south end of the garden 
connefted with the house in which he resides. 
I told him I would tell you all about this." 
# # # # 

Stevens entered at the commencement of 
the term, and a letter home in September 
enters fiiUy into particulars as to his position 
and the difficulties he had to face, besides the 
disbursements an earnest young student had 
to make in comparison with those at the Eng- 
lish universities. 

" Burlington, 

Sunday, Sep. 18, 1853. 

My dear Parents, 

I received yours several days since. 
Hope Mother has a good girl and one that 
she can keep. Cannot write a long letter, as 


it is nearly time for church. All the students 
are obliged to attend church twice each Sunday. 
I expedt to remain with Mr. Farrar during the 
winter. Think I am as pleasantly situated as 
any student. All seem kind to me. I think ex- 
penses are greater here than in Midd., but of 
course do not know. The $ 1 8 I received the 
morning I left home holds out like the widow's 
wheat and oil. I spent $7 of it for books. I 
gave a bond for $200. Ballard and Brothers 
surety that I would pay my tuition — it was due 
the first of the term. The law is * pay tuition 
in advance/ $12 per term. I cannot get along 
here for less than $50 per quarter as I see. 
I know that is a great deal, but reckon for 
yourself. Every boardinghouse I applied to 
was $2 for a seat at the table, or $2.50 for 
board and room furnished and taken care of, 
and washing for the bed — your own washing, 
wood and lights extra. Can you make it much 
less than $3 per week ? Then add to the sum 
total for board &c. $36 per annum for tuition, 
then there are about $5 other college expenses, 
incidentals, taxes, or something, I don't know 
what. I agreed to make my first payment to 
Mr. Farrar the first of December, and once 
in three months after that as long as I re- 
mained. I hope nothing will prevent my ful- 
filling my engagement." 


Another letter, a month later, gives the full 
account of the young student's daily life at 

^* I am more busy than ever, in fad have 
some Algebra and Greek to get before the 
regular lesson. This term is said to be as hard 
as any during the whole course — Sophomore 
year the hardest year — I mean to do the best 
I can. Shall maintain a respeftable standing, 
extraordinaries excepted. I do not visit at all, 
have no time— don't get up till time to go to 
prayers in the morning — ^prayers early enough, 
so that they get through as soon as it is light 
enough to see to recite (read) — recite till yj- 
o'clock, breakfast and study till 11 o'clock, 
then recite till 1 2J. After dinner study till ^^ 
o'clock, recite an hour, then prayers, supper, 
study till 8 J ; go to the Post Office f of a mile 
— get back about 9 o'clock, study as long as I 
can, till my eyes won't work — then go to bed 
and recruit, so that I may do the same again. 
I have walking in abundance, \ of 2l mile to 
college, go three times a day, makes i|- miles; 
then to the Post Office and back the same, 3 
miles per day the least calculation. On this 
principle please ask Enos how far it is through 
college. I would study it out myself, but the 
higher mathematics do not come till junior 
and senior years." 

# # # # 


Other letters teU of carefulness and regular 
exercise ; but the young student worked too 
hard, with the result that his natural weakness 
found him out again^ and on November ist 
he writes : 

" Burlington. 
Tuesday eve, Nov. i, 1853. 

My dear Father, 

My eyes and head are so that I am un- 
able to attend to college duties. I have studied 
none since a week ago Thursday. Had I better 
go home and remain till the commencement 
of the spring term, about the ist of February? 
This term will close in about 3^^ weeks, vaca- 
tion 8 weeks, I cannot possibly go in for a 
week, 2-J weeks left, the most of that time 
would be spent in making up what the class 
has been over, and that can as well, perhaps 
better, be done away from college than here. 

I folded the Parliamentary Report for you, 
but forgot to bring it to the Post Office, and 
I feel too weak to go up street for it tonight. 
I am now writing this in Ballard and Bros, 
store. If I do not hear to the contrary to- 
morrow eve I think I shall go to Montpelier 
Friday morning, and Saturday go home. I will 
bring the * Report ' with me. 

AfFeftionately your son, 

B. Frank." 


Three days later he was at the old home, 
talking about continuing his studies there. 
He recovered, persevered, and at the end of 
January was back at Burlington getting on 
famously with his studies — *'just now^ but I 
can't tell how long it will last," while before 
two-thirds of the first month — February — 
had gone by, he writes home in rather a de- 
spondent strain. 

" Burlington, Vermont. 

Sunday, Feb. 19, 1854. 

My very dear Parents, 

One and twenty has at last come, I am 
sorry to say. I am sorry because I have no- 
thing to help myself or any one else with, 
and my friends are quite as poor as myself, 
for my friends are friends such as are friends 
— having, they are always ready and willing 
to divide. 

'* I have not heard from home for several 
days. How are you doing nowadays ? Have 
you got a girl yet ? I really hope you have ; 
it is too hard for Mother to do the work 
alone. And hasEnos taken the farm? I would 
love dearly to work on the farm this summer, 
and live with the ' old folks at home,\although 
I am getting along very well here — find a 
plenty to do, some days more than I want to do. 
This term am getting along much better thus 


far than last. I now have just enough to keep 
busy by working hard ; last term could not do 
what was required even if I did work — thus 
the disadvantage of entering college too poorly 
fitted. It would have been better if I had 
waited another year, or else have fitted a year 
younger. I believe there is but one in my 
class older than I — at least I have been told so. 
The getting up in the morning does not come 
as hard as it used to." 

# # # # 

The college life proved a hard one — a fight 
on the part of the earnest worker for success 
against weakness, followed by a serious attack 
or illness, the physician called in, and the 
professor's recommendation that his student 
should remain out of college for a time. 
Stevens writes home for advice as to what he 
should do, and says this is a ^ going through 
college not at all agreeable to me." He fin- 
ishes his letter, though, claiming to be in 
*^ glorious spirits," but hoping his parents will 
come over to Burlington and see him before 
long. But in spite of his glorious spirits the 
body did not keep pace with his brains ; he 
was weak and ill, so much so that he writes : 
^^ I shall not ask for dismissal for the present, 
though I cannot yet study; but I shall as soon 
as I can." 

Later on — that is to say, at the end of 


March — the son writes a letter home of which 
any parents might well be proud. He tells 
bravely of his desires to fight the good fight, 
and lays before them his position and feelings 
as to his future course. Such a letter can only 
be given in extenso. 

^ Burlington, Vermont. 
Sunday, March 26, 1854. 

My dear Parents, 

In answer to your kind letter of the 
2 and inst, received the same day, I may say I 
want to do just what is for the best, but what 
that wbaf is I don't know. I look at the mat- 
ter something in this light. Whichever way 
I step will be an important step, its influences 
will be felt in my whole life, and the longer I 
live the longer the time I will approve or dis- 
approve my present ads. Even if I cannot 
study just now J ought I to take a leave of col- 
lege duties for ever? As my health is, if I 
could go into some adive, useful and profit- 
able business soon, then I would say ' go it,' 
but till I can find some such employment, or 
an opening for such employment, I think it is 
as well for me to remain where I am, for now 
I am at that point from which I can go with 
much more honor to myself rather than after 
having gone return, since leaving college, no 
matter for what real cause, is always and for 


ever associated more or less with the idea * he 
had to/ and having left, to return shows a fickle- 
ness. Therefore I hesitate to take a final leave 
unless I can sufiiciently well see my way ahead, 
to encourage me to engage in some profitable 
business ; and at the same time I must acknow- 
ledge I equally hesitate to say * I will graduate/ 
for I do not feel able to study as I ought in 
order to graduate with honor to my friends or 
credit to myself. I dare not think of more than 
to * get through/ and when through with such 
an education — but that is too far in the future 
to require present consideration, so I will drop 
it, as now I have more cares as to the present 
than I can satisfadliorily arrange. I may in ad- 
dition to this say I do not feel that interest in 
the Classics a collegiate should in order to have 
a proper interest in his studies. Standing as I 
do * betwixt two betwixities/ I again ask you. 
What shall I do ? Having the poorest of re- 
lations, yet the best of friends, I am compelled 
to ask this question, especially since I am de- 
ficient in health as well as in disposition to de- 
clare my independence and set up shop on — 
whose hook ? — / have none. I am free to ac- 
knowledge it is very strange one of my age 
should feel this dependence on his friends for 
advice, when he might go ahead and do some- 
thing, even if it * was not quite so cunning;' 
but I do not wish to be rash— do not wish to do 


anything of which I myself, neither my friends^ 
may hereafter be a^amed. Do you know of 
any business in which I can make money? Any- 
thing honorable in which I can regain my health 
and make something; whether to be a lawyer 
or a blacksmith, a doftor or a grist-mill tender, 
a minister or a shoemaker, a farmer or member 
of Congress, a jockey in jack knives or a town 
pauper — please advise — in each class there is 
room for others. How is it relative to getting 
a title to that ^-Warner Grant ? ' Something 
might be made lumbering if you could get 1000 
acres of land there. I do not wish to jump out 
of the fiying pan into the fire. If I cannot study 
it makes but little difference, one way con- 
sidered, whether I remain here or go home and 
do nothing. This is a very pleasant place to 
live in, but then there 's the expense. I think 
my health will not be good till I have been 
where I can exercise and live. And yet as I am 
so perfedly contented here I think I had better 
remain a few days longer, or till I can know if 
I can get into any adive business ; or possibly 
I may in a few days be able to resume my 
studies. I hope I may hear from you soon, 
and that I may receive some good advice. I 
do not mean * acquiescing advice,' but that 
which you yourselves do think is best. I do 
not know that I feel one bit difiFerent from 
what I did three weeks ago. It is five weeks 



since I studied any. How will it be in five 
weeks from now ? 
Please write me soon. 

Your afFeftionate son^ 

B. Frank. 

My expenses here will be at least $i8o 
per year, or $60 per term, I think." 

He was ringing the knell of his college 
career, and 1854 was spent health seeking at 
the old home, leading a Virgilian life upon the 

Unfortunately the physical weakness ac- 
quired in his youth clung to him more or less 
through life, though it aded at one period in 
his favour, and that was during the Civil War, 
when he was exempted from military service 
on account of his health. But in those sad days 
the army had a strong attradion for all young 
men of Northern birth. It was a stern call to 
duty, that second struggle for the supremacy 
of their land, and it echoed strongly in every 
young man's breast. 

In consequence, though physically inca- 
pable of bearing arms, Frank Stevens was 
more than once within the lines, either to aft as 
escort or to perform that duty for which he 
seemed to have been formed — to convey mess- 
age or bear despatch. But in after life it was 


a subjeA which he never cared to canvass, and 
to which he would barely allude, while when 
he did it was only to refer to the hardships 
and the sickness he encountered. 


SOME years prior to these incidents Henry 
Stevens, Frank's elder brother, having 
finished his education and taken degrees 
at Yale College, where he had devoted a good 
deal of his attention to the history of the States 
and the Mother Country, and made the ac- 
quaintance of students interested in the same 
subjcfts, determined to make a trip to England. 
Being furnished with excellent recommend- 
ations to some of the principal booksellers in 
London, he one day, to use his own term, 
** drifted " into the British Museum, with an 
introduftion to Mr. Winter Jones and Mr. 
Thomas Watts, the library assistants. He was 
provided too with another introduftion to no 
less a personage than Mr. (afterwards Sir An- 
tonio) Panizzi himself, who seems to have at 
once taken to the enterprising, scholarly young 
American, giving him encouragement and ad- 
vice regarding the deficiencies in the great 
national library, which was at that time " woe- 
fully deficient in modern American books." 
Here seemed to be the right man for sup- 


plyine those wants, and under the auspices ot 
the librarians Henry Stevens seized upon the 
opportunity, and devoted himself to the task of 
hunting out, collefting, and making up the de- 
ficiencies upon the shelves. This, of course, 
was the chance of a lifetime, and formed the 
beginning of the antiquarian business carried 
on by Henry Stevens until his death in 1886, 
and during which period he had gone on as 
bookseller supplying the Museum authorities 
with rare books relating to the history of 
America, until the British Museum could boast 
of possessing as extensive a library of American 
books as could be shown by any institution in 
the United States. 

The years spent in London rolled on, to find 
Henry Stevens, the youth from Bamet, Ver- 
mont, the ** Green Mountain Boy,*' as he 
termed himself — even going so far as to place 
after his signature the initials G.M.B. — grown 
into the well-known antiquary, experienced 
bibliographer, and gatherer of choice works 
for numerous wealthy collectors who were 
forming libraries in the United States. Briefly, 
Henry Stevens, thoroughly settled now in 
London, had made for himself a name and 
was an acknowledged authority in England 
and America, not only upon historical works 
dealing with that country, but also upon Bibles. 
He was a bookseller, but a bookseller of the 


old type, student and scholar, the true literary 

With such a fixed point firmly built up in 
the great metropolis of the world, it would 
be only natural that Henry Stevens, sen., the 
grave old progressive man of the Vermont 
village, who had in early times made books 
and history his study and amusement, while 
dwelling upon his elder son's Success, should 
all the while be having his eye upon his 
younger son, Benjamin Franklin. He was 
busy pushing him slowly forward, leading his 
education, as it were^ into one particular 
groove, till the time had come when the 
country village had grown too small for the 
younger man's prospers, and the stone was 
waiting for him to take his first step in view 
of making himself of service to his brother in 

This seems to have been the goal from the 
first, and in 1858 we find Frank Stevens re- 
gularly writing home to his father letter after 
letter headed Astor Library, New York, and 
during the next year busily responding to his 
brother's demands, purchasing American books 
and shipping them to England for Henry, 
whose agent he had now become. 

It is remarkable ail through this period how 
close was the tie existing between the father in 
Vermont and the son in New York. Week by 


weeky long closely and carefully written let- 
ters were despatched from the American city 
to Bamet, full of trade details, and every one 
a proof that the youth had now merged into 
the careful business man, working hard. And 
as the time passed on and date succeeded date, 
it is possible to read between the lines and see 
that this mercantile progress connefted with 
lustory and books was all part of a training in 
which literary work was eventually to pre- 
dominate over trade. 

The stay at the Astor Library continued, 
letter after letter to the father reporting the 
business Frank transaded in shipping books 
for London, till in one of the communications 
we have the first hint that this period of his 
life was drawing to an end, for he writes, 
** Harry wants me to buy a lot of books for 
him, but he says nothing about my going to 
London at present/' 

Again, in 1859, "Packing off books for 
Harry and others." Then a letter from Henry, 
'^ All well, all business, and all right." 

In December of the same year he writes 
home to his father from Washington that he 
is book buying, but cannot get the works he 
wants. Presumably it was for his brother 
Henry, and the letter runs, '* I can probably 
find them in Philadelphia and New York. I 
may have to go to Harrisburg again. Hunting 


up these books is like a jackass following a peck 
of oats." 

In January, 1 860, he sends word home from 
Boston that he " Shipped five cases to Henry, 
and am now getting ready to ship a lot more." 

He now states that he is buying largely and 
shipping oflF profitably ; but with great mod- 
esty he regrets his want of the careful busi- 
ness faculty that is necessary. If ever time 
proved that a man's own estimate of himself 
was incorreft, it is here. His after work alone 
suffices to show the orderly nature and exadi- 
tude of the worker's brain. 

Nearly all the letters home now have a 
bookish vein running through them, right up 
to June nth, i860, when we come to the 
great step in his life that he is about to make, 
and the announcement that he is leaving the 
country of his birth for Ijondon on June 27th, 
— " If I do not hear anything to the contrary 
from Henry." 

And a few days later he writes : 

*' I think it will be very much to Harry's 
advantage and also to my own if I go." 

His next letters are dated from the steam- 
ship " Niagara," and that on July 7th con- 
tains these words, " We can now see Ireland," 
while he arrived in London on the 9th of 
July, i860. 

Fortune was kind to the young American 


launching his life craft upon the great sea of 
London, inasmuch as he did not arrive there 
friendless and unknown to fight hard and fast 
for his very existence; for he crossed the 
Atlantic in company with a friend. Dr. Cogs- 
well of the Astor Library, and went straight 
to his well established brother carrying on a 
lai^e business to which he had already served 
what may be called a home apprenticeship, 
brain and hand being, so to sp^, perfeftly 
familiar with the tools of his craft. 

And now begins a long series of home letters 
to his father and mother, describing his life in 
London, his own and his brother's prospefts, 
letters ftiU of everything that he believed could 
be of interest to those expeftant across the 
ocean, and to whom he was as dear as they to 
him. For every one of the long, carefully and 
well written literary missives of a scholarly, 
earnest youth breathes its sincerity, and tells 
how well knit, clannish if you will, the Stevens 
family was ; for the mother there were hun- 
dreds of home allusions to the past and the 
things he missed, mingled with pleasant by- 
play and description of his young bachelor 
life ; for the father, chat about books, their 
nature, the business transactions of the brothers, 
and their successful dealings with the British 
Museum ; then allusions to the purchases of 
choice works — the so-called incunabula^ the 


cradle-books of the old printers, the beloved 
of the student and bookworm; in faA, all 
such gossip as would be read with avidity by 
the father of the family across the Atlantic, 
These letters, closely written in a fine, clear, 
delicate hand upon thin paper, bear still, in 
spite of time, postmark stains made on both 
sides of the ocean. One peculiar trace of the 
affeftion they elicited and the store set by them 
is the faA that they are pundhired closely at the 
back by a fine needle, evidently the mother's, 
in binding them together to be stored up and 
religiously preserved by hundreds, with others 
that date from the days when the boy Frank 
left home first for one or other of his boarding 
schools in the States, and are continued right 
on till the end of first the father's, and then the 
mother's, lives, when with other family papers 
these carefully treasured letters crossed to Eng- 
land once more to their writer's hand, by him 
preserved to the last, ready to hand over to his 
biographer to give a faithful account of his life. 
So minute and interesting are the observa- 
tions of the young writer fresh to Ijondon, 
showing so plainly the readiness of the smooth 
wax of his nature to receive the impressions of 
the Mother Country of which he had heard 
so much, and in whose history, in connexion 
with that of his own land, he had made himself 
so much at home, that they raise a feeling of 


regret that many of them cannot be printed in 
their entirety, to stand side by side, domestic 
allusions and all, with his sterner stuff. 

Here is one little extrad): following a series 
of notes comparing London life in 1861 with 
that of the West. It shows that he is be- 
ginning to breathe the life that lies before him, 
to feel that strange impulse which is telling him 
that he is a man. He chats pleasantly, with 
allusions to the English cookery and food, 
makes a playful reference in a highly national 
spirit to " Mother's pumpkin pies " ; and then 
at once goes on in a way suggestive of a want 
he was beginning to feel after a hard day's work, 
now that he is more and more a bachelor, and 
wishes that he had " some nice little fellow of 
the feminine persuasion to enjoy the felicity 
with me, but can't expeft it during the Seces- 
sion Controversy, while I devote nearly my 
whole time to the Humboldt Catalogue." 


THE name of Alexander von Humboldt, 
the great traveller, naturalist, savant^ 
must have had a pleasant ring to the 
elder Henry Stevens of Vermont, far away in 
America, and we can imagine him smiling with 
satisfaction and rubbing his hands over the 
progress made by the two boys, whom he had 
trained. For here was his elder son a busy 
man in the world of books — the books such 
as he, the father, loved as a student and col- 
ledor — and the younger son hard at work^ 
clerkly work, scholarly work, for that elder son, 
helping on the progress of a venture that he 
had made, no less a one than the purchase of 
the great library of the celebrated German 
baron, and therefore holding in his hands the 
destiny, the future, of the mass of learning 
Humboldt had coUefted during his life. 

Here was news for the father, and he had 
ample in letter after letter from Frank, who 
kept on announcing the work upon which he 
was engaged. For Henry*s first notion upon 
obtaining possession of his great purchase was 


to behave towards it as a librarian would, re- 
duce it to order, turn the mass of confusion 
into manageable compass ; in brief, to have it 
catalogued. He had the opportunity and the 
man in the person of his brother, and conse- 
quently Frank's letters keep on repeating that 
he is busy on the catalogue. 

Now he is upon A, later on upon B, and so 
on. But mingled with these accounts of the 
long hours of labour daily devoted to what was 
doubtless congenial work, there are business 
notes dropped in from which we learn the elder 
brother's notions as to the before named des- 
tiny of the library. He has been in correspond- 
ence with some of the great libraries with a 
view to its being acquired, and the Museum 
authorities are naturally eager to obtain so grand 
an addition to the mighty store already upon 
their shelves. 

But as usual when any Government pur- 
chase has been mooted, there is the old diffi- 
culty about the funds, and that projeft hung 

There was no question about finding pur- 
chasers. The authorities conneded with li- 
brary after library jumped at the opportunity 
for obtaining special portions of the coUeftion 
suitable to their wants. But Henry Stevens 
had determined if possible to sell as a whole, 
to America if he could, and Frank wrote to 


his father : " The British Museum are in a per- 
feift fever to have many of the books. If the 
library is broken the first choice is promised 
there, and then to the Patent Office, Royal 
Society, Kensington Museum, &c. But the 
probability is the Patent Office will have every 
book, scrap, leaf and map as Henry received 
it and as it is guaranteed to him just as Hum- 
boldt left it." 

At last, in 1861, after the matter had hung 
fire for some time — ^time that had not been 
wasted, for the cataloguing had gone steadily 
on — Frank writes home in plain terse lan- 

fuage : *' The Humboldt Library is to be sold 
y auftion by Sotheby and Wilkinson. The 
Patent Office could not raise the money, and 
as so many parties are asking for crumbs 
Henry has decided to sell in this way, and it 
is hardly an hour since he gave a final answer. 
S. & W. 1 advance five thousand pounds. They 
do all the cataloguing, advertising, &c., &c., 
and receive ten per cent. Of course it is ex- 
pefted the library will bring much more than 
five thousand pounds. Other auAioneers are 
fierce to get the sale, but H. S. has just given 
it to these people. I am very glad indeed 
Hen. has decided to sell by auftion and of 
course to give up making the expensive and 
fancy catalogue he intended." 

* Messrs. Sotheby and Wilkinson. 


Of course the " expensive and fancy cata- 
logue *' was the one upon which the writer had 
been at work; that which the auAioneers under- 
took to print was merely for the purposes of 
sale, with the numbers of the lots. 

Mr. Henry Newton Stevens, the son of 
Henry Stevens, states that the original cata- 
logue was a huge affair, one that he believes 
was completed, all save the introduction, but 
it never finally went to the press. What is 
more, the Humboldt Library joined some of 
its predecessors which were the vidims of 
disasters, and this storehouse of erudition, the 
colleftibn of one of the greatest savants of 
modern times, that may be looked upon as 
almost monumental from its charafter, became 
a vidim to the flames. 

It was deposited with the auftioneers for 
division into so many days' sales, and estim- 
ated at so high a value that fully double the 
amount of the deposit was expefted to be 
realised; but it proved to be only another of 
the proverbial slips 'twixt cup and lip, for a 
disastrous fire took place upon the auftioneers* 
premises, the Humboldt Library being com- 
pletely destroyed. 

Then misfortune was piled upon misfortune, 
and though it is hard to comprehend how so 
unbusiness-Iike a slip could have occurred, 
upon inquiry being made it proved that this 


literary treasure was uninsured. There had 
been a policy against fire, but unfortunately 
it had been allowed to lapse, and the question 
now arose which of three parties was to blame, 
the original vendor, the purchaser, or the 

Such questions where all would be in oppo- 
sition are unanswerable by ordinary people, and 
cannot of necessity be treated otherwise than 
as unsolvable. Counsel's opinion was taken, 
but no aftion followed as the result, the matter 
being allowed to fall to the ground with the 
heavy loss to the auftioneers of the sum they 
had advanced, and to Henry Stevens of the sur- 
plus he had anticipated receiving, while to the 
literary and scientific world the disaster was ir- 
reparable, all that remained beyond the ashes 
being the sheets of the catalogue upon which 
Frank Stevens had been for months engaged. 


ALL through his career Stevens made 
friends. Certainly one has felt no de- 
sire to trace out any chronicle of his 
having made an enemy, but to do this last 
does not seem to have been in his nature. He 
was a man to make friends of those who were 
worth knowing, and this he did, from his earliest 
pitching of his tent in London. 

In those first days his greatest intimate was 
his old companion, Horatio Gates Somerby, 
an American gentleman of independent means. 
It is recorded of him that he was a most chari- 
table man, but rather eccentric, doubtless one 
of the reasons for his intimacy with Mr. Pea- 
body. The little record tells that he was one 
day walking along the Strand, and came upon 
a boy looking miserable and in distress. He 
stopped to ask the lad what was the matter, 
and the reply was that he had nothing to do. 
This naturally suggested the further question: 
** Why don't you sell newspapers like the other 
lads about the streets ? " "No money to buy 
any papers," replied the boy. ** If I lend you 



a shilling will you buy some and try ? " The 
boy eagerly jumped at the opportunity, and 
the shilling was given with the doubting re- 
mark : '* There, I don't exped to see you or 
the shilling again/' The boy was full of as- 
severations regarding his trying and returning 
the money^and proved to be as good as his word, 
for some time after, as Mr. Somerby was going 
along the Strand, the boy, with a bundle of 
newspapers under his arm, ran up to his friend 
with an eager " Here 's your shilling, sir/' ahd 
in reply to questions declared that he was get- 
ting on, vouchers for which fad were shown 
in the bundle of papers he carried. From that 
time he became one of the regular newspaper 
sellers near Wellington Street, and was always 
ready to meet his benefador with an eager look. 
A trifling anecdote perhaps, but expressive of 
the charader of the man Stevens seleded for 
his intimate. 

They shared rooms in Torrington Place and 
Tavistock Street for some years. Mr. Somerby 
was about twenty years older than Stevens, but 
despite this disparity in their ages they were 
inseparable friends. Possessing similar tastes, 
they were so much together that one learns 
that their neighbours nicknamed them David 
and Jonathan. It was through Mr. Somerby 
that Stevens became acquainted with one of 
the long roll of the men of mark who knew 


him and grasped his hand. This was George 
Peabody, the celebrated philanthropist, who 
loved to visit Somerby and Stevens at their 
rooms; and Stevens later on, in his love of 
everything quaint and humorous, used to re- 
late how the old philanthropist liked their 
society and dined regularly with them at their 
chambers once a week, making a point of add- 
ing his contribution to the dinner in the shape 
of a duck, which he always brought himself 
ready for the housekeeper to prepare : the 
generous aft of an ultra-carefiil man, of whom 
it is recorded that upon one occasion, as the 
trio were sitting talking, Mr. Peabody quietly 
put out one of the two candles, remarking that 
one was enough with which to see to talk. 

But something more solid than social enjoy- 
ment went on at these rooms, for Somerby 
used to aft as honorary private secretary to 
Peabody, and it would be strange indeed and 
contrary to all probability if Stevens was not 
consulted, for it was here during their com- 
mimion that the rough plan of the famous 
Peabody Trust was committed to paper. This, 
in conneftion with the choice of companion- 
ship of the old philanthropist, speaks volumes 
for the charafter and nature of the others, 
while later on Somerby had much to do with 
the management of the great charitable under- 


It was through his connexion with Peabody 
that Stevens became acquainted with John S. 
Morgan^ father of Pierpont Morgan, whose 
name has of late become so widely known. 

Thefriendship between Somerby and Stevens 
was lasting, the former often visiting at Sur- 
biton during the remainder of his life, which 
came to a close some twenty-five years ago. 

But there was soon to be an end to Frank 
Stevens's bachelor life in London, and the 
beginnings of the great change came about in 
this wise. 

In 1 85 1 Henry Stevens became acquainted 
with Charles Whittingham of the Chiswick 
Press, Henry Stevens being a juror in the 
printing and stationery class of the Great Ex- 
hibition of that year, of which Charles Whit- 
tingham was the reporter, and a friendship and 
business intimacy sprang up between them. 

The Chiswick Press was for many years 
carried on at Chiswick Mall, on the banks of 
the Thames, where the Whittinghams resided; 
but in 1 854 the business was removed to its pre- 
sent location in Tooks Court, Chancery I^e, 
and Charles Whittingham lived for some years 
at Barnsbury in the Richmond Road, with his 
family of two sons and three daughters. He 
was fond of fishing and of a country life, and 
during the summer often took a small fur- 
nished cottage on Surbiton Hill, with some of 


his family, passing a portion of the week at 
Bamsbury and the rest at Surbiton. 

In March, 1862, Frank Stevens was invited 
to spend the Sunday at Surbiton with the 
Whittinghams, and he gives an account of his 
visit in the letter below. 

"London. Friday evening, 
March 7th, 1862. 

I was invited to spend last Sunday with 
the Whittinghams at Surbiton, in Kingston. 
Young Mr. Whittingham breakfasted with 
me, but as he came, late we did not finish 
breakfast in season for the train at 10^, and 
as no train is allowed to leave London during 
the Sunday morning service — that is, between 
a quarter before eleven and one o'clock — ^we 
thought as it was a fine morning we would try 
the top of an omnibus. In this way we rode 
twelve miles to Richmond, and from there 
walked through a most lovely country five 
miles to Surbiton, and arrived just in season 
to save our dinner. They had given up ex- 
pefting us, as the i^ train had arrived, and 
we found them busy at their dinner. We 
needed no urging to join them after our ride 
and walk. After dinner we walked an hour 
or more with the young ladies — had tea — a 
pleasant little visit, and was at home about 
half-past nine in the evening, and have felt 


better all the week for the exercise. I am to 
;o there again a week from next Sunday, if 
ne, and to go early enough to walk to Hamp- 
ton Court in season for church service, and to 
look about the old palace, grounds, &c. This 
is a magnificent old palace of the time of 
Henry VIII. A charming garden, and the 
most wonderful grape vine in the world. This 
vine is in a glass house, and completely covers 
the top of it. I fancy the house must be nearly 
or quite lOO feet long and 25 wide. About 
1600 bunches of grapes averaging a pound 
each have ripened on this one vine this last 
year. I think the vine is the same age as you 
and father." 

Here for the first time he met Charles 
Whittingham's eldest daughter, Charlotte, 
who a year or two afterwards became his wife ; 
and from that time he was a welcome guest 
both at Barnsbury and Surbiton, being much 
liked by Charles Whittingham and the family, 
who looked forward to the time when he 
should become one of them. 

The busy months of constant work glided 
by, and we come at last to another letter which 
tells of nostalgia and love of the old home, and 
ends with a broad hint of his inclinations and 
a playful allusion to his father, taking it for 


granted that the recipient will know the place 
from which it came. 

*'My dearest Mother, 

I intended writing you a long letter by 
this post in reply to your good long letter 
received yesterday, but we have been so ex- 
ceedingly busy I can only tell you how glad I 
should be if I could now repeat my kisses and 
caresses of two years ago. I can hardly realise 
it is so long since I left you. It is uncertain 
when I shall go home. If Simon does not come 
over here soon I think I shall be obliged to 
go to you. I really can't stand it much longer. 
I am hungry for a good visit, and mean to 
have it in the autumn or early winter. 

I am sorry I haven't a wife to take home 
and show you. 

Accept my best love for yourself and the 
dear old Harry. B. F. S. 

June 28, 1862." 

On July 5th he speaks of the absence of 
summer and the bitter cold and wet, " so like 
what we had two years ago. . . . Henry was 
one of about sixty guests at a dinner given by 
Mr. Peabody last night at the Star and Garter 
Hotel, Richmond. . . . Mr. P. would not 
call it a fourth of July dinner, but a dinner 
on the fourth, and no political speeches were 


allowed. The fourth of July dinner was 
given at the Crystal Palace. Mr. Morse pre- 
sided. I did not go — could not afford it — Next 
week's ' London American ' will be full of it, 
and gas enough in Train's ^ speech (if he made 
one) to light up the whole paper — with the 
aid of a candle.'' 

Four days later he writes: 

** Dearest Mother, 

Yours and father's letters came yes- 
terday, and found us all in health, &c., &c., 
I fully intend being pundtual in my engage- 
ment to eat blackberries with you when they 
are in season, so please make room for me. 

Two years today since I arrived in London. 

Next Wednesday I begin my holidays for 
a few weeks, and thus you see shall celebrate 
your birthday and start on an excursion which 
will give me change of air, &c., &c. 

Accept much love and kisses. 
Ever your boy, 

B. Frank. 

9 July, 1862." 

He did keep his engagement, for on the 
29th of the month he writes from 56, Broadway, 
New York: 

^ The introducer of tramcars into England. 


"My dear Mother, 

Here I am, safe and sound, having ar- 
rived per ^ Saxonia ' last evening. 

Shall have a little visit with Simon and 
Enos, and in a day or two will write to let you 
know when to expeft me in Burlington. I left 
all of Henry's folks well and jolly. 

It is roasting hot today. Will write you 
again in the evening or tomorrow. 
Your afFeftionate Son, 

B. Frank." 

A day or two later we get something more 
definite from 56, Broadway, regarding his en- 
gagement to Charlotte Whittingham: 

"My dear Mother, 

We are all well. I shall be most happy 
to avail myself of your kind offer relating to 
the bracelet, or something of the kind, for 
Ch« . . . 

The war news is not at all encouraging. 
It is among the possibilities that the South 
will dictate the terms of a peace. I shall not 
be surprised if the great battles now being 
fought decide (virtually) the contest. And I 
must acknowledge I have fears of the result. 
A defeat now gives the possession of all our 
arms, munitions, ammunitions, supplies, &c., 
&c., and Washington to the rebels. Only a 


direft interposition of Providence can prevent 
such a disaster." 

# # # # 

He finishes a letter from Boston on Sep- 
tember 1 2th, to his mother, of course, with a 
reference to *' a charming letter to me, and the 
enclosed photograph with a great deal of love 
to you from Ch." 

Troubles came thickly after the landing in 
America, but they were the national troubles 
which dislocated business and extended Ste- 
vens's visit, during which, to use his own words, 
he " saw something of the War of Secession," 
quite enough to make him reticent during the 
rest of his life. 

Frank made a stay of a fair length with his 
parents, and his business being resumed, he 
visited most of the northern States book 
hunting on behalf of his brother Henry, and 
it was in April, 1863, that he once more took 
passage for England. 


IN 1864 Stevens started in business in 
London with his brother Simon, these 
making an arrangement in which they 
acquired by purchase a portion of Henry's con- 
neftion and stock. 

The new firm took premises in Henrietta 
Street, Q)vent Garden; but this combination 
only lasted two years, when Simon dissolved 
partnership, leaving his brother Frank to carry 
on the business alone. 

In 1865, ^^^ y^^^ *ft®^ ^is commencing 
business for himself, Stevens married Charlotte 
Whittingham, whose letter to her husband's 
mother fully records the event: 

'^4 Feb., 1865. 
Our dear Mother, 

We are well, and quite contented with 
our change of state. We have both been very 
busy, and still continue so. 

The wedding went ofF admirably. It was 
a bitter cold day, bright and frosty. The party 
consisted of my two sisters, my cousin Sarah, 


my youngest brother, Mr. Somerby, Frank 
and myself. All were in good spirits. Henry 
and Mary met us at the church, and went home 
to my father's with us, staying a little while. 
Mr. Somerby stayed to dinner. After dinner 
Frank and I went to the Crystal Palace, en- 
joyed ourselves as well as we could in the 
cold, and then came to our own home. I have 
been to Islington twice since I came, to see 
the folks, particularly my Aunt She is still 
very bad. 

Frank is, he says, as happy as he can be, 
and so am I. We shall be so very glad to hear 
from you, dear mother, whenever you can 
write to us. With love to Enos, Sime, Carrie, 
Soph, yourself, and the dear father, 
Believe me ever, 

Your afFeftionate daughter, 

Charlotte Stevens." 

The busy time that now commenced was 
the following year rendered more stable by a 
seleftion made by the American Government 
of the most suitable and adtive representative 
it could obtain for their Despatch Agent re- 
sident in London, enterprising, trusty, and fit 
to bear what was a very onerous burden. 

The appointment was made by the Hon. 
W. H. Seward in 1866, Benjamin Franklin 
Stevens becoming Despatch Agent of the 


United States Gk)vernment at London, which 
appointment he held up to the time of his 

This office is one of great responsibility, and 
appertains to both the State and the Navy 
Departments, while the duties, which are many, 
consist of receiving and forwarding official 
correspondence and other official matter to and 
from the State Department in Government 
Despatch bags. In addition to this, the Agent 
receives and forwards the official and private 
correspondence and other matter for the United 
States warships on the European and other 
stations, and to other U. S. warships and train- 
ing ships when visiting Europe or passing 
through the Mediterranean to and from the far 

These multifarious duties brought Stevens 
into official and personal contaft with all the 
United States Ministers and Ambassadors to 
the Court of St. James's, from the Hon. 
Charles Francis Adams up to the present dis- 
tinguished Ambassador, the Hon. Joseph H. 
Choate, likewise with the Ministers and Am- 
bassadors accredited to other countries, con- 
sular officers. Army and Navy officers, and 
other officials of the U. S. Government who 
visited London, many of whom in consequence 
of this intercourse became Stevens's warm and 
personal friends. 


Among these were General and Mrs. Sher- 
man, with whom he corresponded for some 
time. He knew too, and was known by^ 
Lowell, and, as will be seen, he became Wash- 
bume's guest in Paris. Farther back, he knew 
Horace Greeley; and it was only natural that 
he should form acquaintance with Stanley, 
who, when he had arrived at his highest pitch 
of fame, came upon Stevens at one of the 
grand dinners given in honour of the inde- 
fatigable correspondent and explorer, who 
with all an American's pluck, enterprise and 
**go," carried out the Gordon Bennett Mis- 
sion, and discovered the long lost Living- 

It was at this fimAion that Stanley came up 
to Stevens after a long interval since they had 
met, and saluted him with "Hullo, B. R ! 
You here still!" 

It would occupy much space to enumerate 
all the prominent and distinguished gentlemen 
whom Stevens in the carrying out of the 
Despatch Agent's duties met and knew ; but 
one might mention at random Admiral Farra- 
gut. Admiral George Dewey, General Sheri- 
dan, Admiral Franklin, Admiral J. G. Walker, 
Admiral C. R. P. Rodgers, General Grant, 
General Sickles, and the Honourables J. C. B. 
Davis, W. H. Seward, W. M. Evarts, John 
Hay, George Bancroft, A. D. White, W. 


Hunter and A. A. Adee. Add to these the 
names of various British Statesmen, littera- 
teurs ^ savants^ historians, and what a goodly 
roll is here ! 

As a matter of course Stevens's many friendly 
services to those who were strangers to our 
shores met with the warmest thanks ; but in 
addition to these he received many official 
letters of commendation, and from the officers 
and men of several warships testimonials in- 
dicative of their appreciation of his work and 
that of his deputy, Charles J. Petherick. 

For the Despatch Office was a place of call 
for travelling Americans seeking information, 
and in spite of the constant demand for his 
services, such callers were always courteously 
received, Stevens taking much trouble to give 
them every assistance they desired, without 
thought of remuneration in any way. His 
rooms, in faft, became in some respefts a kind 
of club for American travellers, whose society 
he much enjoyed. 

His genial good nature, combined with a 
strength of charafter, was never better dis- 
played than when he was called upon to arbi- 
trate on any case of difficulty which had arisen 
in his large circle of friends and acquaintances, 
whether British or American. Many a seeming 
impossibility has been overcome by his taft, 
and the rough and thorny way made smooth, 


while his kindness and influence for good in 
endless ways will long be remembered by those 
who have reason to be thankful for his advice 
and friendly intervention. 


THE young husband's and wife's letters 
written to the old home tell their own 
tale of the busy life that now ensued, 
of the enormous amount of correspondence, 
the receipt of the mails and their despatch at 
all hours, with the additional labour entailed 
by the Sunday arrival now and then of one of 
the boats. 

Then, too, the writer records the state of 
confusion in which he found the Despatch 
Office when he first took up the duties, and 
the difficulty of getting matters straight so 
that the tide of correspondence should ebb and 
flow with something like regularity, all of 
which he hoped to get right in time. 

*'I am getting it systematised,'* he says, 
" and some credit for punftuality in the office. 
If my health continues good I shall like the 
business, but I have to work very hard." 

Unfortunately his health did not continue 
so good as he could wish, for his letters begin 
to tell of the great strain and suflfering from 
the work ; in faft he was so much out of 


order that a change from the ordinary London 
life was deemed desirable^ and a cottage was 
taken in Hampton Grove^ Maple Road, Sur- 
biton^ to which he moved, and which is thus 
alluded to in a letter to his mother in May, 

" We have taken a very nice cosy little six- 
roomed cottage at Surbiton. Good garden. 
Small, and I think it will be very comfortable. 
. . . The out-door exercise will be good for 
both of us. The house is twelve miles from 
the London station, and it is one mile from 
my ofEce to the terminus, so I shall have thir- 
teen miles to go to get home, but istrange as it 
may seem I shall be at business earlier in the 
morning than now, when I have only one flight 
of stairs to come down.'' 

Here he had many visits from his father- 
in-law, who had left Barnsbury and taken a 
house in the Maple Road, the family inter- 
course proving of great advantage to both. 

Henceforth Stevens's letters to America are 
mostly addressed to his father, many of those 
intended for the mother being written on be- 
half of both by the wife, and there is a new 
sorrow in the old home. Mr. Henry Stevens, 
sen., had been stricken down with paralysis, 
and if anything the letters become doubly 

Later on Stevens records, in consequence of 


the change to the country that it has ^* im- 
proved my health so much I feel I am equal 
to almost any amount of hard work. I have 
not missed a morning in coming to the office 
before nine o'clock, and here I stick usually, 
though I sometimes get off by the six o'clock 
train. . . . To-night I must remain at the 
office till near twelve o'clock to receive and 
forward three large bags of letters, &c. Last 
week they came on Sunday, which made me 
as cross as cross. I like to be at home on Sun- 
days, We are always talking about you and 
wishing we could be with you. It was a great 
disappointment not being able to go home this 
summer, but the business is increasing so much 
and the appointment of the Despatch Agency 
coming to me, and the money panic coming 
on, made it necessary for me to stay here and 
watch the woodchuck hole ; and I am very 
well satisfied with the results, except that I 
have not been able to see the dearest honies 
and to take Charlotte." 

After residing a few months in the Maple 
Road both Frank and his father-in-law liked 
Surbiton so much that they determined to 
make it their permanent home, and conse- 
quently began to look out for residences to 
suit their tastes. Charles Whittingham having 
found Gordon Lodge, in the Maple Road, a 
pretty detached house with good garden con- 


taining wall and other fruit trees, he moved 
there in 1869, making that his home until his 
death in 1876. Frank found a house he liked 
in Ewell Road, Surbiton Hill, a pretty place 
called Laurel Cottage, with a small garden, 
which Charles Whittingham bought and left 
to his daughter Charlotte at his death. Frank 
went to live there in 1868, and continued 
to reside there during the remainder of his 
life. He changed the name of this house to 
" The Sheaves," after his father's homestead 
at Bamet. 

Charles Whittingham was a great lover of 
a garden, and possessed a good general know- 
ledge of the gardener's craft He took much 
interest in his son in law's experiments in cul- 
tivating American plants which were obtained 
from his old home, and which were afterwards 
tried at Gordon Lodge as well as at The 

The subjoined letter to his brother is illus- 
trative of this subjeft : 

*^ I am afraid it is laziness — ^though I usually 
call it resting on Sundays. I have been going 
for weeks to write to you about the plants I 
would like you to send to me, care of Mr. 
D. Van Nostrand, 23, Murray Street, New 
York. If you can mark the roots so that we 
may know something of the how to arrange 


them, please do so. Perhaps you will find it 
to be the easiest way to pack them is to put 
them in a barrel with lots of auger holes to 
give a circulation of air to prevent moulding 
— ^but you will know best — the more closely 
packed the smaller the space. Two little rock 
maples — four butternuts — and a quart of but- 
ternuts to eat and for seed — two to four of 
a sort, three or four of the largest, smallest, 
and medium ferns or brakes — Charlotte is 
very fond of ferns, and so is Jenny — garden 
room can be found for a couple of dozen more 
roots. Four sweet ferns — I think it is a little 
shrub I mean, found in the pastures and in 
the burying yard— the leaves are pounded and 
applied sometimes to cure poison from poison 
ivy. A dozen mayflower roots, a dozen col- 
umbine roots, or wild honeysuckle, a dozen 
chequerberry roots, a dozen partridge berry 
roots. A variety of mosses may be used to 
pack with, and we will try to make them 

I should like very much to have a couple 
of white water-lily roots, but am afraid the 
water will be too high to get them easily. I 
can get the thick stem lilies here, but they 
are not so delicate and beautiful as the thin 
stemmed ones in the rivers. I intend stick- 
ing a barrel in the garden to put a pair of 
roots to grow. The water will work from the 


house cistern, and change when we turn the 
tap, I don't want any of the yellow water- 

If you can readily lay your hands on two 
or three roots of the nodding meadow lily — 
they are in bloom at haying time — ^thc flowers 
are from yellow to deep orange scarlet, pro- 
fusely spotted with brown on the inside, and 
are but little reflexed as I remember them — 
I should be very glad. 

I tell you what I should like, but I don't 
want you to take too much trouble over them, 
I should be happy to send whatever money is 
wanted to pay for all trouble and expenses in 
digging, packing and shipping the things you 
can readily find. If there is anything you want 
from here let me know, and I shall be happy 
to send it. In asking for so many things from 
the old farm generally, I feel desirous of hav- 
ing something from the home garden, and 
should be glad of a good little Canada plum 
tree ; and I should like a little rose, or any- 
thing else from Uncle Willard's garden that 
he can best spare. 

I am very glad to hear that you have 
bought the little farm (And so am I. C. S.) — 
and hope you had sufficient funds to pay plump 
up for it, and to build a barn and do whatever 
else is needed. If you are short and want to 
borrow $5cx) or $icx)0 at 5*^/0 I think I can 


get it for you, and the neighbours need be 
none the wiser. 

We have not heard from mother for a 
fortnight, but hope to have a letter in the 


IT was in 1867, after two years of married 
life, that the tyranny of business was suf- 
ficiently relaxed to allow of Charlotte 
Stevens being taken to pay the long antici- 
pated visit to America— that is, to have her 
first introduction to her husband's people far 
across the sea. Letters tell much of the journey, 
but fortunately a little notebook is in existence 
in which the wife recorded her impressions in 
the form of a diary, giving many pleasant re- 
colledlions of her reception among the rela- 
tives in the quaint New World old-world 

In this book, often sketchy in the extreme, 
Mrs. Stevens shows that the troubles of a very 
rough passage seem to have interfered a great 
deal with the keeping of the diary and the 
sketches she made — we have the head of the 
American gentleman who had beaten in turn 
everyone in the saloon at backgammon, but 
who had to succumb in his turn to the skill of 
Mrs. Stevens. There is a great deal of charadter 
in the head, with its sparse hair and prominent 


chin, which may account for the want of 
polish in its owner's behaviour and the con- 
demnatory verdift cast upon his conduft. It 
was evidently a very tempestuous passage, for 
the little croquis show ladies' bonnets tightly 
tied under their chins, comforters rolled round 
their necks, and the bulk of cloak and shawl; 
hats with streaming ribbons are being held on, 
while one Rembrandtish head of a greatcoated 
man shows his soft felt hat with the brim drawn 
down over his eyes, and the long hair and 
beard flying. 

It was not many days' journey across the 
Atlantic from Queenstown in 1867, but this 
one could not have been very pleasant, for 
there is a dreary monotony evidenced in the 
record, several notes telling of days during 
which the travellers suffered, and there is a 
very serious tale to reckon up of such as are 
dismissed with the brief announcement " Both 
ill — did not get up." 

But the troubles of the Atlantic come to an 
end) and Mrs. Stevens narrates her experiences 
of New York, her striking impressions of the 
busy American city, and goes on to tell of the 
start for Barnet. 

Here there is the natural interest evinced in 
the quaint old country home of which she had 
heard so much. She tells of the warm welcome 
of the venerable old people to their new 


daughter, and lightly paints with pleasant 
pencil the simple country home and its sur- 
roundings, where all of the many relatives are 
eager to greet the young wife from across the 
sea. And all through the keen observation 
and aptitude of the artist in catching at the 
salient points is displayed, while one thing is 
plain — that in the brief days of that visit she 
fully established her place in the old people's 
hearts, a faft plainly shown in the afFeftionate 
letters that afterwards passed to and fro across 
the ocean between the elder Mrs. Stevens and 
Frank's wife. 

Mr. Henry Stevens, senior's health on the 
occasion of the long looked for meeting was 
unfortunately such that little hope could be 
entertained, he having been helpless the two 
previous years from paralysis; and soon after 
the return to England, the stay in America 
being of the briefest — the absence from London 
only forty-two days — the sad news followed 
that the old Vermonter's life had closed. 

The hardest workers bear grief best, and 
Stevens was not long after catching up the 
arrears of the labour left undone, and we have 
him writing in September, 1867: 

^^I am always glad when Saturday night 
comes, so that I get a good chance for a rest. 
I have not been obliged to come to town on a 


Sunday since I returned from America, but I 
shall have to do so occasionally when winter 
comes on again. ... I. have been busier than 
busy ever since I got back, and can hardly 
realise that the time is passing so rapidly. It 
is nearly two months since I got back here. 
. . . We wish you could be with us. We live 
as quietly as possible, and very like your old 
way, but we fear you would not be contented 
to come over the sea. If you do feel like 
coming, nothing would give us so much plea- 
sure as to have you with us, and I will send 
the necessary funds for expenses by return of 
post if you . . . thought it for the best." 

The next letter, in the same month, bears 
the Paris postmark, and is found in company 
with an imposing passport made out by the 
Legation of the United States of America at 
London, signed on behalf of Benjamin F. 
Stevens, Esq., for there is a break in the 
Despatch Agent's life; he has to cross the 
Channel on an important mission to the Ame- 
rican Legation in Paris, and the letters that 
cross the Atlantic are full of descriptions of 
the impressions of the French capital during 
a brief stay. 

As time glided on it was made more than 
ever a religious duty to keep the solitary 
mother across the Atlantic well-informed of 


her children's welfare and state. An English- 
man in homely life selefts Christmas for re- 
membrances of this nature; an American, 
Thanksgiving Day. The following is one of 
these letters home. 

" Dear Mother, 

We have had our first frosts — fruits 
are ripe — leaves are falling rapidly — gardens 
are looking sere and yellow — we are sud- 
denly brought into late autumn weather — 
these changes with the crowing chickens and 
President Grant's Proclamation point towards 

We are very sorry we cannot be home 
with you to eat our Thanksgiving dinner, but 
tlus sorrow does not prevent our being very 
thankful for our home here — that our relations 
and friends are spared another year — that we 
are in good health — that we have no desire to 
be rich — that I have plenty of hard work to 
do and have been able to save a little corn 
from the year's harvests, which with Charltie's 
personal income makes us very comfortable 
and contented. There is such a host of causes 
for thankfulness crowding into one's mind 
that to give a list of them would be like 
writing texts for half of the parsons to preach 
about and the other half to pray for. If the 
catalogue were all written out it would only 


come to this — we are very thankful that we 
are so happy, and are very happy in being so 
contented and thankful. 

I have made a lot of conditional promises 
to you and Enos — please let me know which 
are binding, so that I can redeem them and 
begin the New Year square. Charltie and I 
have it in our hearts to enjoy Thanksgiving 
with you. We have pleasure in sending, and 
trust you will as gladly receive, a little parcel 
containing three articles. First, there is a 
petticoat for you, dear mother, to wear every 
day when it is very cold — second, there is 
some alpaca for a dress, which I beg you will 
give to Mrs. Skinner with our best wishes. 
I feel very grateful to the Dodlor for his 
kindness and numerous favours to you, and 
I want to make some small acknowledgment 
of his long continued goodness and — third, 
there is for Enos the Farmer a steelyards for 
weighing his turkeys up to 20 pounds with 
the light side, and his pigs up to 200 with the 
heavy side. If like a good farmer he gets his 
pigs over the 200 he can guess at the excess 
in weight, and eat the spareribs with stewed 
pumplan and apple sauce. 

I feel a great desire to help Uncle Willard get 
up his wood — I can't go to Bamet this winter 
— I can't chop his wood here — nor drive his 
oxen or horses, but I trust I can draw the wood, 


so will you please to hitch the enclosed team 
on to the dear old boy with our united love, and 
ask him to let it bring in a pile of best body 
hard wood all split to keep him warm and com- 

B. F. Stevens/' 


IN May, 187 1, the regular business of the 
office was once more broken by the Ame- 
rican Government duty calling the Agent 
suddenly away with despatches for Mr. Wash- 
burne, the United States Minister at the Le- 
gation in Paris, then in the hands of the 
Commune and being once more besieged, this 
time by the troops under MacMahon. 

Of this journey Stevens gives an interesting 
account in the following letter to his mother: 

** 19 May, '71. 

My dear Mother, 

I have been so busy all the week I 
neglcded to tell you about my recent visit to 

Tuesday evening, the 9th inst., I left 
London by the 8.45 train for Paris^ going ^;ia 
Dover, Calais, Amiens and St. Denis. 

Harry Stone, the senior partner in the firm 
of Munroe and Co., Bankers in Paris, met me 
at the London Railway Station and desired me 
to take charge of a Mrs. Harris who was wish- 


ing to proceed to Paris. Col. Paul S. Forbes 
with a lady of his family also met me at the 
Station. Col. Forbes was mentioned on my 
passport as accompanying me. This Col. 
Forbes is the gentleman that accompanied 
General Burnside in several of his visits into 
Paris during the Prussian siege in Odlober last 
and since. 

In crossing the Channel to Calais I re- 
mained on deck. The sea was roughish — the 
spray came over the deck a good deal and 
gave me a good sprinkling. I was very sea- 
sick. At Cakis the basin of soup and piece of 
bread was left uneaten. At about two o'clock 
in the morning we left Calais, and did some 
sleeping in the train. At Amiens at five o'clock 
it was light enough to look about, and we were 
wide awake enough to see the Prussian soldiers 
in uniform in charge of the station, and French 
soldiers loitering about on the platform. 

We were in Paris a little after eight o'clock 
— less than twelve hours from London. Col. 
Forbes went to the Hotel Chatham to order 
breakfast, and I went straight to the Legation 
to deliver the Despatches. I found His Ex- 
ceUency Mr. Washburne, Col. Frank Moore, 
and the clerks in the Legation very cordial. 
I hurried off, feeling an urgent call to feed the 
hungry; having fed the fishes all the way 
from Dover to Calais, and waited till lo^ for 


breakfast^ there was a large vacuum in which 
to insert eggs with truffles, mutton cutlets, 
bread, butter and coffee. After breakfast we 
called on Mr. Gratiot Washburne, son of the 
Minister, and clerk in a bank. Gratiot having 
little to do in these times, rode to the Lega- 
tion, a mile and a half, with us. After another 
visit with the Officers of the Legation and a 
warm, or I may say urgent, invitation from 
Mr. Washburne to stay with him during my 
visit in Paris, Col. Forbes and I went to the 
Colonel's house, and then to see the Arc de 
Triomphe, at which so many shells have been 
fired during the last two months. This Arch 
is situated on the top of a hill in the very best 
part of Paris, and is about 1 50 yards from the 
Legation. The houses in this neighbourhood 
are of stone or brick, and all are built in very 
expensive style. Many of these houses have 
had one or more shells or shots through them. 
When we were very near the Arch a shell came 
whistling towards us, and exploded in the air 
almost over our heads. We took the hint and 
immediate steps to avoid leaving widows in 
England. We wandered about up one street 
and down another, keeping close under the 
walls of the houses so as to have protedion 
from the shells, and so had good opportunities 
to see the wicked destruction of property that 
was being carried on. Upon our return to the 



Legation Mr. Washburne placed a magnificent 
covered carriage, horse and man at my dis- 
posal for the remainder of the day. Gratiot 
went with me to make several calls. Gratiot 
and I accepted an invitation to dine at 6^ 
o'clock with General and Mrs. Read, and in 
due time kept our engagement. For dinner 
we had soup, fish, veal cutlets, potatoes, French 
string beans, roast beef, pudding, salad, claret, 
champagne, coflFee, fruit, &c. — a good dinner, 
and a very jolly visit. General Read is the Con- 
sul General to France and Algeria. Having 
been up all Tuesday night, Gratiot and I got 
away from General Read's at 9J and went to 
Mr. Washburne's, and so to bed. I slept most 
comfortably, and when I woke about seven 
o'clock the guns were making a great noise, 
and the shells exploding would occasionally 
give the windows a shake. Mr. Washburne's 
house is nearer to the Arc de Triomphe than 
the Legation, and shells have struck all round 
it, but have not hit the house. 

At breakfast this morning (Thursday) I met 
Mr. Washburne senior, and then walked round 
to the Legation with him and Gratiot Mr. 
Washburne gave me one of the finest open 
carriages, horse, &c. I ever saw, for the day. 
I made several calls, going to Bossanges among 
other places. After dismissing the carriage I 
joined Gratiot and Col. Forbes, saw some more 


of the sights, went again to the house of Col. 
Forbes, went all through it. It is one of the 
prettiest decorated, gilded, painted and fur- 
nished houses I ever saw. It is not large, and 
the rent for it unfurnished is 4,000 francs a 
year. In the door yard were three pieces of 
shell that had fallen there; they had cut into 
the walls of the house an inch or so respeAively, 
but had done no great injury. One of these 
pieces I brought away with me, as also two or 
three pansies. The Colonel's house, I think, is 
less than 100 yards from the Arch. We then 
went to the funeral of Mr. Richards, a partner 
in the Banking house of Munroe and Co., and 
an American resident in Paris for about 35 
years. The widow of this Mr. Richards is 
sister of the Mrs. Harris who went to Paris 
with me. 

After the funeral Col. Forbes and I took a 
long walk with John Austin Stevens of New 
York. This Mr. Stevens was for some years 
Secretary of the New York Board of Trade. 
We saw many very interesting points that are 
now made famous by the operations during the 
siege and by the operations of the Commune. 

I omitted to state that my first expedition 
on leaving the Legation this Thursday morn- 
ing was to visit a poor old man at Passy, a 
distrift that has been awfully under fire. This 
man has remained in Paris during the whole 


of the war, and won't even now leave. He 
has lost his wife and all his property. I was 
glad to have it in my power to render him 
substantial assistance on behalf of a London 
friend, and to make provision for his future 

After the walk with Stevens I joined Gra- 
tiot, went to the Legation, and home to dinner 
at 6 o'clock, where Mr. Washbume had invited 
Col. Frank Moore to meet me. We had soup, 
mutton cutlets, lots of asparagus, roast beef 
and salad, with etceteras afterwards, and a 
very jolly visit. Mr. Washburne had invited 
Gratiot and me to go with him to concerts at 
the Tuileries, but just before time to go he 
was obliged to give his attention to some ur- 

fent business that came in, and so Gratiot and 
went by ourselves to this magnificent palace, 
the recent residence of the Emperor Napo- 
leon. There were three separate concerts — 
one in the Chapel, one in the Galerie de Diane, 
a room about 250 to 300 feet long, and the 
third concert in another immense hall, the name 
of which has not remained in my memory. 

I guessed there were about 8ocx> people 
present, all as quiet and decorous as any crowd 
could be expeded to be. There was not the 
slightest possible injury intentionally done to 
the decorations or rooms. We met several ac- 
quaintances, among whom was Col. Forbes, 

B. F. STEVENS loi 

who invited us all to join in a soda water 
drink, in the Tuileries, to the Republic. Our 
party by eleven o'clock had increased to six 
Americans. We walked in the grounds, which 
were splendidly illuminated, the same as on 
the occasion of the last great /?/^ given by the 

There were gas pipes laid around the 
flower beds and along the walks just at the 
edges of the grass. The gas lights, about as 
large as ordinary candle lights, were about 
three feet apart, and were shielded from the 
wind by coloured glasses not two inches above 
the tops of the short grass. The efFeft was 
extremely beautiful. With my long day's go, 
go, go, I was tired enough to sleep well and 
willingly, though I really did not like the con- 
stant bang of the guns in the distance, and the 
occasional whack and explosion of shells in 
our neighbourhood. 

At breakfast Friday morning, about eight 
o'clock, we had eggs and fried hominy. I had 
my regular breakfast this morning at noon 
with Col. and Mrs. Moore at their house. 
Gratiot was also invited. From Mrs. Moore's 
window we could distinftly see the constant 
firing from Fort Vanves and the explosions of 
the shells on the opposite ramparts, as also the 
firing from the ramparts and the striking of 
the shells at the Fort. Among other good 


things Mrs. Moore gave us some brown bread 
— good. 

About half after one Mr. Washburne took 
me for a ride and pointed out some of the 
places I had not visited. I went several times 
to the Place Vendome to see the Column fall; 
for it was promised in the most positive man- 
ner possible that it should fall this Friday 
afternoon. It did not keep the promises. 

The windows in the neighbourhood for a 
quarter of a mile, and many for half a mile, 
were pasted over with strips of paper about 
three inches wide, laid on at intervals of about 
six inches, to prevent breakage from the sup- 
posed or expeded concussion of the falling 
monument. In some windows the papers were 
coloured, and were pasted on in shapes to 
give an ornamental appearance — some squares, 
diaqionds, Grecian key and various patterns. 
But up to the time of my coming away the 
Column was standing, though it has since come 
down, without smashing the windows or shak- 
ing the soot out of the chimneys. 

We had dinner at five this Friday, so as 
to give time to drive the four miles to the 
Station, pass examination before the Commune 
soldiers, and get off comfortably by the 
7.15 train for London. At the Station I met 
several acquaintances, and among them my 
most excellent friend Col. Forbes. By a little 

B. F. STEVENS 103 

management we got a coupe to ourselves — a 
coupe is a very small part of a car cut off by 
a partition, intended if packed full to hold 
four persons. Some ladies that had been placed 
in our charge were carefully stowed away in 
the adjoining compartment. We slept most 
of the way to Calais, being examined several 
times on the way by different officers to see 
that our passports were quite regular. We 
joined the ladies at the car door in Calais, had 
some soup, and started for Dover about two 
o'clock. I remained on deck with one of the 
ladies. She was awfully sick, but I was not. 
We left Dover about four o'clock, and ran 
up to London, 79 miles, in an hour and 
three quarters, without stopping on the way. 
Worked hard all day Saturday, went home 
Saturday night tired, came to town Sunday 
afternoon with Charltie, and had a most agree- 
able visit with Henry and Mary, who had 
arrived in London that Sunday morning. 

Your loving 


The opportunity came in due time for re- 
turning the hospitality, when Mr. Gratiot 
Washburne, who had had the misfortune to 
pass through some of the most painful ex- 
periences conneded with the evil days of the 
Commune, visited Mr. Stevens in his home 


at Surbiton^ and it was made the opportunity 
for a little badinage, his host expressing much 
concern lest he should injure himself after his 
starvation experiences in Paris by too strift 
an attention to the pleasures of the table. 

In 1873 one of Stevens's busy visits to the 
Continent was undertaken, partly for change, 
but more in connexion with the antiquarian 
historical work in which he was growing im- 
mersed, and several of his letters are dated 
from Amsterdam, Antwerp, and other parts of 
the Low Countries. 

But no matter what the special objeft of 
his mission, his interest in everything, nature 
or art, was intense. He used to express his 
wonder how people could read during the 
whole of a railway journey. His eyes were ever 
open to notice some curious eredion, place of 
interest, or busy scene. 

The time glided by faster to the busy man, 
and on May 5th, 1 874, came the long expefted 
news that his mother had gone to her rest at 
the age of eighty-two. 

Here is the son's own brief record: ** 1874. 
April 2 1 St. My good old Mother died." 


THEY were grand printers in the early 
days. He who followed the craft was 
a scholar and a gentleman, and there 
was a certain nobility in the Plan tins' printers* 
emblem with which they stamped their title- 
page — a hand in the midst of light rays that 
pierced a cloud, tracing with a pair of com- 
passes a circle, emblem of the correftness and 
enlightening of their craft — their motto, " La- 
bore et constantia." Masters of typography, 
all these men found in Stevens an ardent ad- 
mirer, one to whom their work was food to be 
mentally devoured, understood, and imitated. 
.What wonder then that,like his brother Henry, 
he should have been drawn towards the family 
of the Whittinghams, at first as visitor to the 
house of the man who long before had joined 
forces with his friend William Pickering, the 
publisher and dealer in fine old books, to pro- 
duce a class of publications that could compete 
worthily with the much-admired chefs^d^ceuvre 
of the old printers } 

William Pickering and Charles Whitting- 


ham set themsdves manfully to do this work, 
and did it so well that thor books stood at 
once upon their merits, and ever ance have 
held their own. It was a happy combination of 
a publisher with taste and a printer who had 
taken up his uncle's work and had already 
made the typography of the Chiswick Press 
more famous. Pickering took for his printer's 
emblem the now famous imitation of that used 
by Aldus Manutius in the fifteenth century, the 
old anchor with the twining dolphin, and for 
his motto, ** Aldi Discip. Anglus." In con- 
neAion with Whittingham he added lustre to 
the famous old crest, proof whereof is given 
year by year by the position works bearing the 
Whittingham imprint still hold, known as they 
are by bibliophiles as of the Chiswick Press. 

But it was years after this when Stevens 
paid his first visit to Surbiton, and so soon be- 
came one of that family whose works are in 
almost every library, the typography having 
been produced under the careful eyes of the 
father and the sons; while many of the de- 
corations, headpieces, tailpieces, initial letters 
and classic figures, were from the daughters' 
pencils, notably that of Charlotte Whitting- 
ham, who became Frank's wife. 

It had been the wish of Charles Whitting- 
ham for years that a book should be published 
giving a full account of the Chiswick Press, 

Gliarl<yth'y Q^fev^i^i 

B. F. STErENS 107 

and this Stevens promised his father-in-law 
that he would do. The subjed was discussed 
again and again with the family for years after 
Charles Whittingham*s death, and for long the 
difficulty of finding a suitable person to do the 
work seemed to be insurmountable. At last 
Mr. Arthur Warren, a well-known journalist 
and member of the Whitefriars' Club, under- 
took to write the volume, which was compiled 
from the account books, memorials and library 
in the possession of the Whittingham family, 
and embellished by the use of the Chiswick 
Press illustrations supplied by the proprietors. 

It was originally intended that the work 
should be brought out in England, but the 
Grolier Club of New York oflFered to make it 
one of their publications. The oflFer was ac- 
cepted, and a limited edition of 385 copies 
was produced and published in America in 

It is easy now to understand how Frank 
Stevens, the young American, with his parti- 
cular leanings towards old typography^ and his 
desire to produce his own historical works in 
the best guise, should from community of taste 
have become a Whittingham in all but name. 

Plenty of good work must have been thought 
out and debated under the trees and among the 
flowers, English and those transplanted by 
Stevens from his Vermont home ; and it is only 


fair to the son-in-law, whose wife embellished 
the volumes of the Chiswick Press, to think 
that his ripened judgment must have helped 
to make some of the tasteful volumes what 
they are. 

What seems the perfeftly natural result 
followed — a partnership began to loom in the 
air, and it is thus alluded to by Stevens in a 
letter written to an American cousin: "I 
married an English girl in 1 865, and her father 
becoming too old to give the necessary time 
to his business, admitted me as a partner. He 
died in 1876, the year in which your father 
died, and the cares of his large business and 
the settling of his affairs, in addition to my 
own private engagements, gave me much more 
hard work than was really helpful ; and per- 
haps I may fairly say that this preoccupation 
was my only excuse for my great negligence 
in not keeping up correspondence.'' 

The partnership was determined not long 
after the death of Charles Whittingham, when 
the business was carried on by the executors 
until it passed into the hands of the present 
proprietors, by whom it is still continued as 
the Chiswick Press. 


IT was in 1875 that the now well known 
offices were removed from Henrietta 
Street, Covent Garden, to the more centra] 
and important premises at 4, Trafalgar Square, 
Charing Cross, an address that is probably 
known and remembered by every United States 
ambassador, consul and naval officer, as well as 
by the great book colleftors and the librarians 
of the United States, As the years went by and 
progress was made, from working almost 
single-handed, Stevens surrounded himself 
with a staff of male and female assistants of 
his own special training, till the office became 
a busy bureau where work went steadily on 
under the guidance of its clear headed chief. 

To the vast majority of educated people a 
book is a book. They have a sort of shadowy 
idea that some old works are valuable, and 
now and then in conversation a colleftor of 
ancient lore will be called a bibliomaniac, and 
paragraphs will appear in the newspapers re- 
garding the sums of money, running at times 
into thousands, that have been paid for some 


specially choice tome — a Caxton from the old 
printing office in the Broad Sandtuary, a Ma- 
zarin Bible, a tiny Shakespeare quarto, or 
some work perhaps of little intrinsic value it- 
self, but on which some great binder of the 
past has left a lasting memorial of his art. 

Of this nature are the treasures of the world 
famous coUeftions of the United States, both 
private and public, and no small portion of 
these have reached their present and abiding 
destination through the agency in Trafalgar 
Square. Prior to 1887 the only records of the 
public sales of such works were the audtioneers' 
catalogues, which even themselves are curio- 
sities in their way, when they are of such sales 
as the Strawberry Hill, Beckford, or Hamilton 
Colledtions, especially when some careful clerk, 
or may be colledlor, has added the prices paid 
and the names of the purchasers. In 1887, 
however, was commenced that well known and 
useful work of reference, ** Book Prices Cur- 
rent," and a careful examination of the volumes 
will reveal how large a proportion of the really 
important lots sold by auftion during recent 
years have been purchased by Benjamin 
Franklin Stevens. At this point it may not 
be out of place to mention the name of one of 
his assistants in this portion of his business, 
viz., the late Mr. Edward C. Bigmore, who 
was a man of great culture and knowledge, as 

B. F. STEVENS iii 

shown by his share in the " Bibliography of 
Printing," 3 vols., published in 1880-86, and 
other bibliographical work. Mr. Bigmore, as 
the representative of his chief, was a well 
known figure in the audtion rooms of Messrs. 
Sotheby and elsewhere, until his death in 
1899, in which year the present representative 
of the business, Mr. Henry J. Brown, became 
a partner. 

Many were the battles royal of the auftion 
room between B. F. Stevens as representing 
America, and*Bernard Quaritch as representing 
England, for the two were the principal agents 
of the great book colleftors, the noblemen and 
millionaires who never let money stand in the 
way of making their libraries complete, and it 
is pleasant to see their names perpetuated by 
their respeAive successors. 

From the days of the early sixties, when 
Stevens separated from his brother and began 
business for himself, he was the trusted agent 
of many of the great Public Libraries and 
Institutions of the United States, as well as 
for the great coUeftors, as already mentioned, 
and few men had gone through such a training 
as he for this work. From a mere boy he had 
been the assistant of his book loving, studious 
and coUedting father; as a young man he was 
hard at work in the Congressional Library at 
Washington and the Astor Library at New 


York ; afterwards he was the trusted assistant 
of his brother Henry ; and finally he became 
the careful historical student himself. All this 
enabled him not only to supply intelligently 
the needs of the great public libraries and 
historical societies for books, manuscripts, and 
other literary wares, but also to be of material 
help in transcribing historical papers and an- 
swering generally such historical queries as 
were referred to him from time to time. In 
this connexion, and as an instance of the 
varying nature of the work he was called upon 
to undertake, may be mentioned the interesting 
inquiry and search which he made at the re- 
quest of his friend, the late Mr. Norman 
Williams (the first president of the John Crerar 
Library in accordance with Mr. Crerar's will), 
as to the history of the family of Mr. John 
Crerar of Chicago, who on his death in 1889 
left the bulk of his fortune to form a library 
in the city where he had accumulated his great 
wealth. Mr. Crerar left Scotland in his early 
years, and certain portions of the will were 
contested by some of his Scotch relatives in 
the hope of preventing a considerable portion 
of the money being used for the purposes of 
the library. 

In order to test their claims Stevens was 
instrufted to make the most minute inquiries 
on the spot as to the early history of the 

B. F. STEVENS 113 

family. This involved a prolonged visit to 
the Highlands of Scotland, which was under- 
taken and carried out with his usual thorough- 
ness, for not only did he carefully examine all 
the local documents and the national records 
in Edinburgh, but he personally visited the 
various descendants in their crofter homes. 
The result of these minute inquiries was em- 
bodied in a voluminous report which was duly 
prepared and presented, with the result that 
the bulk of the money left went to found the 
John Crerar Library, which is now one of that 
great chain of libraries for which Chicago is 
femed the world over. Next to the will of 
John Crerar bequeathing the money, Stevens's 
report on the history of the Crerar family is 
looked upon as the most important possession 
of the library. 

For over thirty years these transaftions 
formed one of the most interesting features of 
Stevens's life, sending as he did a stream of the 
grandest literature of the world setting steadily 
across the Atlantic due west, and often to the 
disgust and annoyance of the pessimists, who 
never seemed to realise that the United States 
were only an expansion of Anglo Saxon Britain, 
their children the descendants of John Bull, 
speaking his own tongue, reading and loving 
his literature as eagerly and as acquisitively as 
our best. 


The prices given by Stevens, the result of 
competition but also of judgment, were often 
startling, and there were those across the ocean 
who would at times wake up in words of pro- 
test, in one case recorded to the writer by the 
agent himself. His defence, if defence it could 
be called, was very simple, and based upon a 
perfeA knowledge of the fads. Here were so 
many thousand pounds that had been invested 
during the past ten years. What would the 
works purchased fetch if brought to the ham- 
mer now ? On an average nearly double, and 
in many cases the rise had been far higher still. 
By simple arithmetic it was proved that the in- 
vested money would have yielded a very high 
percentage; while when, as the outcome of the 
little controversy, the magnate placed a limit to 
the price that he would go to for some im- 
portant work just coming to the hammer, and 
which was bought above his head, he wrote 
blaming his agent for letting the great bargain 

He did not find fault again. 

With the progress of education and the 
spread of knowledge, the value of old choice 
works has gone on steadily and solidly ad- 
vancing at a startling rate, and time has proved 
that it IS no ephemeral whim. Let a book, like 
any other work of art, be genuine and good, 
and it is of sterling, ever increasing value; 

B. F. STEVENS 115 

ample proof of which can be seen in the auc- 
tioneers' catalogues of the past century, the first 
half of which might be called the dark ages of 
the library, books brought under the hammer 
of the well known Mr. Evans of Pall Mall in 
the twenties and thirties, and knocked down 
for sixpences and shillings, now selling for 
pounds, while the tide value still rises, and in 
all human probability will never ebb. 

It was an arduous, anxious life, with great 
responsibilities, but full of interest and charm. 
He who pursued it was bound to be a great 
student, an antiquary, and a man of deep re- 
search. There was something ennobling in the 
knowledge that it gave, a sense of power 
aflForded by its depths and a freedom from 
the ordinary sordid money-making to which 
so many of us are tied ; a subdued envy well 
alloyed with admiration is the only feeling with 
which the man who has made this his life pur- 
suit can be viewed — the follower of this most 
exceptional career. 


A FTER the death of Frank's father in 
ZA law, Charles Whittingham, in 1876, 
^ j^ Miss Jane Whittingham felt lonely at 
Gordon Lodge; and so as to be near her sister, 
Mrs. Stevens, determined to build a house for 
herself, and Chiswick Cottage was ereded 
next to The Sheaves, and occupied by her 
and her brother William in 1877; and they 
have resided there ever since; while about this 
time an addition was made to The Sheaves, 
so as to increase the accommodation in case of 
any friends coming down to stay. The gardens 
of both The Sheaves and Chiswick Cottage 
were only small, and as an opportunity offered 
for obtaining a long lease of the ground at the 
back of the houses, this was taken, to form a 
fairly extensive garden to be used in common 
by the two families. The laying out of this 
ground was carefully considered, the fruit trees 
to be planted, dwarf and pyramid being chosen 
and arranged round the borders, so that with 
roses and other flowers they served as screens 
for the interior of the beds, which were re- 


served for vegetables. An attraftive looking 
little gardener's cottage of red brick and tile 
was ereded, and as time went on glasshouses 
were added and a variety of grapes and plants 
successfully grown. 

It was a place in which every foot of space 
was economised, for there was nothing Stevens 
liked so well as to see that, if possible, every 
spot of ground should be occupied ; and the 
result was the produdtion of a garden which 
improved, and was, if possible, more beautiful 
and prolific as the years went by. Doubtless 
it was the memory of old Vermont days which 
clung to him that made him, when settled 
in his English home, surround himself with 
objefts which suggested the past. There were 
trees in his garden strange to one in shape 
and leaf; but the moment the name was asked 
one grasped the reason why they were there — 
why that was a butternut, farther on a sugar 
maple — for they were all familiar in American 
books. One felt no surprise when entering 
one of the vineries, in which he took such 
pride, to see the carefully trained canes hang 
down their scores of bunches of pinkish pearl- 
hued grapes, and it seemed only natural to be 
told that this was the kind immortalised by 
Longfellow in his poem of the Catawba River, 
and brought expressly from the Government 
Horticultural Garden at Washington, to flour- 


ish here in Surrey; while, in the garden, lush 
with flowers, waved and tasselled the long 
sword-like leaves and beautiful cobs of several 
varieties of maize — the Indian corn full of 
memories of home. 

It was no extensive place, but to its owner 
in spirit it was what old Parkinson dubbed his 
^^ Paradisi in sole," and nothing pleased him 
better than a quiet talk with one of kindred 
spirit who saw with his eyes, and possessed 
what many would look upon as his weak- 

Just a simple cottage home, whose grounds 
he went on modelling to the last, when, in 
spite of illness, he added another piece ot 
grpund to his domain, forming a small orchard, 
where two fine walnut-trees were in full bear- 
ing, and completed the unique garden. 

In 1887, after a trip to America, Stevens 
had a severe illness, and, finding the want of a 
place to carry on his literary work at home, 
he built a warehouse for the storing of the 
sheets of his great works that had passed and 
were passing through the press, these stacking 
the comfortable workroom at one end from 
floor to ceiling. This room overlooked the 
garden, and here he could attend to his cor- 
respondence and the work relating to his fac- 
similes without being so much at his ofiUces in 
town, besides utilising his evenings in answer- 



B. F. STEVENS 119 

ing his numerous letters and historical in- 
quiries. This outdoor study he called the 
Barnette, a name partly suggested by his 
native town, partly from the English word 
barn with the French diminutive ette, it having 
been built in the days when his work of re- 
producing French and other manuscripts was 
occupying his time and thought. 

In this outdoor study he was never without 
a supply of corn and seed for the feathered 
inhabitants who were enticed to come close to 
the window where he would be writing or 
diftating. For birds of all kinds he loved, and 
would not allow his gardener to destroy them 
or interfere with their nests. Pans of water 
were put for their use, while the seed and 
corn gave him ample opportunities for obser- 
vation of their movements. 

As a memento of Vermont he imported a 
pair of grey squirrels which he kept for a time 
in the Barnette, where they roamed in com- 
parative freedom in an ingenious contrivance 
of wire network running from the window to 
their sleeping shelter. These lithe and agile 
creatures, doubtless old companions of the 
woods, and familiarly known in America as the 
** chipmunk," were considerably larger than our 
native squirrel, with more gray in their color- 
ation, and with broad-striped sides and longer 
waving tails. 


For these friends a supply of walnuts was 
kept, but they would not grow tame, and he 
gave them to his friend the late W, J. Still- 
man, who lived near the New Forest, and who 
was a lover of, and an authority on, the squirrel 

Stevens was a great lover of animals, and 
his dog "Cuffie," a Maltese, was a great 
favourite, which he had for years, and which 
was succeeded by others. For cats, too, he had 
a great partiality, and he was often followed 
about by a feline companion. 

His love for seeing the country was always 
strong, and to master the difficulty of getting 
about he tried tricycling for a time; but it 
proved to be too arduous for a man of his 
physique, and he was compelled to relinquish, 
it and try other means. So he added a stable 
and coach-house to his premises, and bought 
an American buggy and cob, with which he 
used to drive about, the vehicle being utilised 
as well to take him to and from the station as 
his infirmities increased and the fatigue of 
walking became too great. 

The Sheaves must have been well known 
by reputation across the Atlantic, for descrip- 
tions of the place occur in his home letters 
again and again. Fresh out of London, when 
he first moved there he speaks of it as the 
country, a term which seems odd to those well 

B. F. STEVENS 121 

acquainted with the many well filled roads of 
villas and pretentious houses of the near neigh- 
bourhood of Kingston, Surrey's busy market 
town. But he qualified it by the remark that 
the walks around were very beautiful, and he 
was within easy reach of some of Surrey's 
prettiest, most rustic and unspoiled parts ; and, 
besides, it was not so many years ago, when, 
on Kingston market days, white smockfrocked 
farmers were still to be seen, and their wives as 
rustic, in some dusty old chaise as they would 
be a hundred miles farther afield. It was his 
country home at the beginning of his matri- 
monial life, and remained so unspoiled to the 
end, the home of his restful pleasures, where 
he found his relief from much weary mental toil 
in placid thought, in homely domestic hours. 


MR. L. P. MERRIAM,one of Stevens's 
old friends, was born at Princeton, 
Massachusetts, in 1 8 29. In his youth 
and manhood he had followed several avoca- 
tions, and in 1864 became American Vice- 
Consul at Genoa. He afterwards came to 
London, and made Stevens's acquaintance, 
and a close friendship sprang up between 
them, which continued during the life of Mr. 

Stevens and Merriam often spent their holi- 
days together, at one time in the Isle of Wight, 
and another time at Engelberg in Switzerland 
with a party, a holiday which was much en- 
joyed by all, and where Stevens was greatly 
amused by observing Swiss life and customs, 
about which he often related anecdotes in after 
years. ^ 

But not only in domestic life were they 
friends; they consulted much on business 
matters, and were of assistance to each other 
in many ways. 

Mr. Merriam was a man of varied talents, 


of much resource, and an energetic worker. 
In 1879 he joined the British Xylonite Com- 
pany at Homerton, of which he afterwards 
became the managing direftor, and in which 
he cast his fortimes. 

The company made xylonite, or celluloid, 
then a comparatively new material, as an imita- 
tion of ivory, tortoiseshell, coral, and many 
other substances, and then manufactured it into 
knife handles, combs, and a great variety of 
fancy articles. In its earlier years the venture 
was not commercially successful, and much of 
the capital was lost. 

At this junfture Mr. Merriam consulted his 
friend Stevens, who carefully considered the 
company's affairs, and thought that with ad- 
ditional capital there might still be a future for 
Xylonite. The final result of his consideration 
was that he gave financial help when no one 
else would come forward, thus showing his 
faith in his friend and his venture, and saving 
the company from certain disaster. Showing 
how correft were Stevens's forecasts, in 1887 
the company had increased its business and 
become successful, this being due to Mr. Mer- 
riam's energy and perseverance, and a new 
faftory was erefted at Brantham, SufiFolk, 
under his diredkions. The strain, however, of 
this proved too much for him, and he lost 
health, and died in January, 1889. The com- 


pany was then superintended by his son, Mr. 
C. P. Merriam, the present managing diredkor, 
also a great friend of Stevens, who, in 1889 
became a diredkor, and so continued until his 

During his long diredkorship, in which time 
the business was much developed, and a new 
fadkory eredked at Hale End, near Chingford, 
there was no change in the composition of the 
Board, and Stevens rendered efficient service 
to the company, taking great interest in its 
aii^irs. His calm, clear way of looking at 
things, and his good judgment, were much 
valued by his colleagues. He greatly enjoyed 
attending the Board meetings and having a 
chat with his friends over the lunch which pre- 
ceded business. He often used to remark that 
the diredkors were a most united body of men, 
there having been no case of dissension among 
them during all the years he had adked on the 
Board, and that it had been the desire of all 
to adk together for the interests of the com- 

How great the success of Xylonite was may 
be gathered from the fadk that while in 1877, 
in the company's very early days, the men em- 
ployed to carry on the venture were thirty- 
eight in number, in 1 902, when the Company's 
Souvenir was issued, with its photographs of 
the Diredkors and the various officials, the 

B. F. STEVENS 125 

number of employes at the difFerent works 
had increased to eleven hundred and sixty, and 
Xylonite as an article of commerce was known 
throughout the world. 


THE days of one's life are short, and 
seem to be more brief to the busy man 
whose evtery waking hour is taken up 
with the calls made upon his time. Here was 
one who from his very schooldays seems to 
have had one huge flywheel in his mechanism 
which, once set going, never stopped until the 
great hand was laid thereon and it slowly 
slackened in its giddy round and then rested 
in the bearings, still. 

Work was his great motive power, not 
slavish work for sordid reasons such as the 
amassing of wealth, but always the labour 
which conquers in the fight for that which is 
good. But fghf and smuggle are not the words 
to use. His was not the face of the fevered, 
excited toiler, but of the calm, placid, steady 
progressor looking forward to the accomplish- 
ment of some great end. 

It was a life always full to overflowing, but 
yet just as in a chemical experiment the 
brimming cup always has room for the addi- 
tion of crystal after crystal until saturation 


point is reached, in Stevens's life that point 
was never attained. There was always room 
for more. However busy he might be, if the 
want were pointed out and his assistance asked, 
he was always there, ready and willing to give 
or receive into the brimming surface crystal 
after crystal of the salt of life. It was as if 
he hungered always for more to do, and no- 
thing seemed to please him more than helping 
to raise some memorial to the memory of the 

For instance, when in 1 894 the opportunity 
occurred of securing the house in Cheyne Row, 
Chelsea, in which Thomas Carlyle had lived 
and moved and had his being, Stevens amongst 
others was approached by those who were in- 
terested in and had formulated a scheme for 
purchasing the house and making a permanent 
memorial to one of England's greatest literary 
charadkers. He took up the matter with his 
accustomed zeal and alacrity and joined the 
Committee under whose auspices a great 
Mansion House Meeting was held in February, 
1895, which was instrumental in gaining the 
popular ear. Stevens was appointed Treasurer 
of the fund, and an independent American 
Committee was formed in New York in order 
to enlist American sympathy and support 
under the presidency of Mr. Samuel Elliott. 
The fad: that an American citizen so well 


known as Stevens was treasurer of the fund 
doubtless helped to make the appeal to his 
countrymen successful, for they contributed 
no small amount to the projedk which culmin- 
ated in the Carlyle House and Museum being 
presented to the public^ an institution of which 
England or in fad: the thinking world may be 

Another instance of his love of matters his- 
torical and the preservation of olden memo- 
rials of the great is afforded by the follow- 

In Stevens's visits abroad he always liked the 
excuse of having some objedk in view other . 
than a holiday trip, some business to transadt ; 
and his great work of cataloguing in the 
European archives was a good deal mixed up 
with his almost annual visits to Paris and oc- 
casional trips to the Hague. A little incident 
relating to our great poet Shakespeare had 
its connexion with a visit to Germany. Some 
forty years ago the startling announcement was 
made in the newspapers of the discovery of a 
mask said to have been taken from the face of 
Shakespeare after his death; and this facsimile 
became famous in its way from the statement 
that appeared of its possessor having offered 
it to the Trustees of the British Museum at 
the modest price often thousand pounds. This 
was followed by a warm correspondence be- 

B. F. STEVENS 129 

tween Professor Owen and other authorities as 
to its being genuine. 

The existence of this mask caught the atten- 
tion of Stevens's brother-in-law, Mr. William 
Page, the artist, who came from America to 
England and went to Darmstadt in 1874 with 
Stevens, for the purpose of inspedking the new 
discovery. The result was that Page produced 
a bust of the great poet, taken from the mask, 
and also a full-sized portrait in oil, of Shake- 
speare reading. 

From the plaster bust a single bronze cast 
was made, while the artist died in New York 
in 1885. 

The time passed on, but his visit to Darm- 
stadt, and the fate of his brother-in-law's work, 
must have remained waiting in Stevens's brain, 
until the idea came that the proper resting 
place of the bust would be here in England, 
enshrined in the Memorial Theatre at Strat- 
ford-on-Avon; after much thought and dis- 
cussion with his nephews, the three sons of the 
deceased artist, it was decided that the bronze 
cast should be presented to the trustees of the 
far famed memorial. 

Of a good deal of this transadlion Stevens's 
papers give no record, but it is patent that he 
was the leading spirit of the bequest, and that 
the main cost of the gift was defrayed by him. 

The inauguration ceremony of the Page 


Bust of Shakespeare took place upon the oc- 
casion of the annual visit of the Whitefriars* 
Club to some place of note. 

The Shakespeare Country was the goal in 
the year 1900, and the presentation of the Bust 
the principal feature of the day. A large party 
of the members of the club and their friends, 
many of them being intimates of the originator 
of the presentation^ assembled, to the number 
of over a hundred, leaving town for Warwick 
by the Great Western Railway, and driving 
from thence through Charlecote, visiting Shake- 
speare's birthplace, the New Place,and the Me- 
morial Theatre, where the interesting ceremony 
was to take place. 

Here, upon the assembling of the company, 
a saddening element presented itself in the 
knowledge that Stevens, who should have been 
present to represent the sons of the sculptor and 
finally assign the gift, was stretched upon a bed 
of sickness. 

These duties devolved upon Sir William 
P. Treloar, Alderman and Sheriff of London, 
who as president for the day called attention 
to the letters of regret at being absent sent by 
the Under Secretary for War, Sir Henry 
Irving, and others. Then in an able speech he 
related the history of the bust, and as a last 
thought suggested that a new interest would 
be added to the presentation of that day by a 

B. F. STEVENS 131 

comparison upon the part of those present 
of the Bust with the head of Shakespeare in 
the magnificent monument in the Memorial 
Grounds, the work of Lord Ronald Gower, 
who was present. 

The Bust was then unveiled, and Mr. Edgar 
Flower on behalf of the Governors of the 
Memorial accepted the gift in an appropriate 
speech^ alluding to the most authentic like- 
nesses of Shakespeare, which were founded 
upon three originals: the bust in the neigh- 
bouring church, ereded by the poet's execu- 
tors, the Droeshout engraving in the First 
Folio, and the Darmstadt death-mask. Refer- 
ence was then made to other portraits in the 
Memorial Gallery, and, looking upon the Bust 
unveiled that day as a most valuable addition 
to their coUeftion, the speaker concluded by 
warmly thanking the donors for this gift, 
which may be regarded as the offering of 
America at the shrine of the great poet of the 
English speaking race. 


IT was only natural, seeing that his father 
was the first president, that Stevens should 
continue to take note of the proceedings of 
the Vermont Historical Society at Burlington, 
and there is a quaint interest in his communica- 
tions to Mr. Benedift, the president ; for though 
in England, as a member of that institution 
Stevens seems to have been always on the alert 
to find old documents likely to be of interest 
to the members. Here is a letter which tells 
its own tale, being an acknowledgment and 
the undertaking to place that which is sent in 
the proper channel. 

"Burlington, V*, June 14, 1901. 

My dear Stevens, 

Yours of the 3rd inst, with accompany- 
ing documents, including copies of Subscription 
Papers bearing the signatures of Senator Foot, 
Judge Williams and other prominent citizens, 
presented by you to the Historical Society, is 
at hand. I accept these, for the Society, and 
tender our thanks therefor. I note your in- 


strudtions to have the papers framed, and find 
enclosed with them a ten dollar U. S. note, to 
pay for the framing of the Crown Point Map, 
and of these papers. The money will be used 
for the purpose indicated, and account of the 
expense duly rendered to you. 

The beautiful Map of Crown Point has 
excited much interest, and as several historical 
Societies and individuals have asked for copies, 
I have had it photographed on a plate 14x11 
inches, and shall send a few copies to parties 
who are willing to pay a dollar apiece for them, 
which is what they cost. The original has gone to 
Montpelier with diredtions to have it suitably 
framed and hung in our rooms in the State 

I note your notes concerning the " Song of 
the Vermonters." This was printed, with the 
Vermont Declaration of Independence, and 
Proceedings of the Windsor Convention of 
June 4, 1777, following Rev. J. D. Butler's 
Address, in a pamphlet of 36 pp, bearing the 
imprint of Eastman and Dan forth, Mont- 
pelier, 1846. 

You say that this pamphlet is not before 
you; but I trust you have a copy somewhere. 
In it Mr. Butler (in his Address) says of your 

' He has gathered fragments from lake to 
river, from Massachusetts to Canada. He has 


spent three months together in the CoUeAions 
of Sister States or of the General Government; 
he has secured correspondents in Canada, and 
in the person of his son he has broken through 
the Chinese Wall of English exclusiveness. 
He has found laws and journals of the Legis- 
lature that had been given up for lost He has 
doubled Thompson's list of Vermont books 
before its admission to the Union. He has 
saved letters by thousands that were ready to 
perish and that cast each its ray of light on the 
dark past/ &c. &c. 

The * Song of the Vermonters ' was thus 
printed in Vermont in 1 846, in a Hist. Soc. 
pamphlet, and doubtless had been printed be- 
fore that in the Vermont newspapers. It was 
written, as Mr. Whittier said, you know, in 
1 833 or 34, and I suppose was published in 
the Boston Courier not long after that date. 
I do not suppose your father knew who was the 
author, in 1 846. Mr. Whittier says nobody but 
himself and Mr. Buckingham, of the Courier, 
knew that he wrote it, for many years. 

I will correspond with John Vance Cheney 
and the men in St. Johnsbury, and see what 
more I can learn about the song and the music 
it was sung to, and will get up another article 
on the subjecft, if I learn anything worth adding 
to what has been printed. 

Mr. Butler, by the way^ in his address, says 

B. F. STEVENS 135 

that * Vermont's Declaration of State Inde- 
pendence was never published in Vermont 
until last summer' — that is the summer of 
1 845 ; and Charles G. Eastman in a paragraph 
introducing the Declaration in the pamphlet, 
says, it was * found by Mr. Stevens at Wash- 
ington among a mass of rubbish, and was first 
published in the Burlington Free Press.' 

It is a terrible pity that the Ethan Allen 
and other papers, coUedked by your father, were 
allowed to become the property of New York. 
It was stupendous stupidity on the part of our 
legislature, not to purchase them when it had 
the opportunity. We shall never get them 
back. Massachusetts has recently restored to 
the State of New York the ' Dougan Ads ' of 
1686-8 which have been in the Massachusetts 
Archives for over 200 years, though properly 
belonging to the New York Archives ; but New 
York relinquishes nothing that she obtains 
possession of. 

# # # # 

Yrs ever sincerely, 

G. G. Benedict. 

P.S. I return herewith the copy of the Song 
of the Vermonters printed by Bishop and Tracy. 
It was printed in similar shape by other Ver- 
mont printers. G. B." 

The other letters explain themselves. 


"Burlington, Vt., July i6th, 1901. 

My dear Stevens, 

The package of twelve papers. Com- 
missions of Ethan Allen of Milton, found by 
you among your father's papers, and thought- 
fully forwarded to me for the University and 
State Historical Society, came duly to hand. 
... I will deposit in the Colledtion of the 
Vermont State Historical Society. I will also 
file in the Archives of the Historical Society 
your typewritten notes concerning the ^ Song 
of the Vermonters, 1779/ 

Ever faithfully yours, 

G. G. Benedict." 

" Burlington, July 17th, 1901. 

My dear Mr. Stevens, 

I wrote a while ago to Arthur Stone 
of St. Johnsbury, saying that you had made 
inquiry about the music to which the ^ Song 
of the Vermonters, 1779,* used to be sung; 
that Hon. Daniel Roberts and others, who 
used to sing the song in this quarter fifty years 
ago, always sang it to the air of the Grand 
March in Norma; and that I wished he would 
see John Paddock, if he was alive, and find out 
what music he sang it to. Stone has not yet 
replied, and I do not know if he is at home. 

B. F. STEFENS 137 

I also wrote later to John Vance Cheney 
of Chicago, and enclose to you his reply re- 
ceived this morning. 

Please remember me kindly to Mrs. Stevens. 
Ever faithfully yours, 

G. G. Benedict." 

" The Newberry Library, Chicago, 

July 15, 1 901. 

President G. G. Benedict. 

Dear Sir, 

The Cheney family sang the * Song of 
the Vermonters ' to the air of the March in 
* Norma.* You will find the arrangement of 
it in ^ The American Singing Book,' published 
by White, Smith and Company, of Boston. 
My father, Simeon P. Cheney, prepared this 
book with great care, and probably Mr. Stevens 
would be glad to consult it 

Yours very sincerely, 

John Vance Cheney." 

One could almost wish that the inquirer's 
questions had not gone so far as this, that he 
had been satisfied to let the fine old ballad of 
the past rest, for it contains a certain rough 
majestic music of its own, the verses ringing 
with suggestions of the echoing Green Hill, 
the shouts of the sturdy volunteers, and the 


deep bass of their trampling feet. If more had 
been required, one would fain have found 
it to be some weird, wild, old-world melody 
with its natural ring of the minor following 
the more triumphant strain — some old West 
Country melody the echoes of which remained 
to the descendants who had emigrated in the 
old Puritan days. For the knowledge that the 
war-song of the Vermonters of 1779 ^^ ^""S 
to the March in *' Norma," the popular Italian 
opera ground on every organ in London dur- 
ing the forties, seems jarring and bizarre. Here 
is the old song, taken from the time-stained 
paper of the Vermont printers, a much worn 
copy, carefully treasured up by the descendant 
of one of the Green Mountain Boys. 


Ho — all to the borders ! Vermonters, come down, 
With your breeches of deer-skin, and jackets of brown* ; 
With your red woolen caps, and your moccasins, come 
To the gathering summons of trumpet and drum. 

* The political history of Vermont is full of interest. 
In 1762 New York, by reason of an extraordinary grant 
of Charles II. to the Duke of York, claimed a jurisdic- 
tion over about sixty townships, of which grants had 
been given by the Governor of New Hampshire, de- 
claring those grants illegal. An attempt was made to 
dispossess the settlers, but it was promptly resisted. In 

B. F. STEVENS 139 

Come down with your rifles! — let grey wolf and fox 
Howl on in the shade of their primitive rocks ; 
Let the bear feed securely from pig-pen and stall ; 
Here 's a two-legged game for your powder and ball. 

On our South come the Dutchmen, enveloped in grease ; 
And, arming for battle, while canting of peace ; 
On our East, crafty Meshech ^ has gathered his band. 
To hang up our leaders, and eat out our land. 

1 774 New York passed a most despotic law against the 
resisting Vermonters, and the Governor offered a large 
reward for the apprehension of the celebrated Ethan 
Allen and seven of his associates. The proscribed per- 
sons in turn threatened to " kill and destroy any person 
or persons whomsoever that should be accessary, aiding 
or assisting in taking any of them " (see " Allen's Vin- 
dication," p. 45). Blood was shed at Westminster Court 
House in 1 77 5 {vide " R. Jones's Narrative "). In 1 777, 
Vermont declared its independence. New York still 
urged her claims and attempted to enforce them with 
her militia. In 1779, New Hampshire also laid claim 
to the whole State of Vermont. Massachusetts speedily 
followed by putting in her claim to about two-thirds of 
it. Congress, powerless under the old Confederation, 
endeavoured to keep on good terms with all the parties, 
but ardently favoured New York. Vermont remon- 
strated warmly. Congress threatened. Vermont pub- 
lished *' an appeal to the candid and impartial world,** 
denounced Congreiss, and asserted its own absolute in- 
dependence. Notwithstanding the threats offered on all 
sides, the contest terminated without much bloodshed, 
and Vermont was admitted into the Union in 179 1, 
after existing as an independent sovereignty for nearly 
fifteen years. (Williams's " History of Vermont," etc,) 
* Hon. Meshech Weare, Governor of New Hamp- 


Ho — all to the rescue ! For Satan shall work 
No gain for his legions of Hampshire and York ! 
They claim our possessions — the pitiful knaves — 
The tribute we pay, shall be prisons and graves! 

Let Clinton and Ten Broek/ with bribes in their hands. 
Still seek to divide us, and parcel our lands ; — 
We've coats for our traitors, whoever they are ; 
The warp is of feathers — the filling of tar! ' 

Does the "old bay State" threaten? Does Congress 

Swarms Hampshire in arms on our borders again ? 
Bark the war-dogs of Britain aloud on the lake? 
Let *em come; — what they can, they are welcome to 


What seek they among us ? The pride of our wealth 
Is comfort, contentment, and labour and health. 
And lands which, as Freemen, we only have trod. 
Independent of all, save the mercies of God. 

* Gov. Clinton of New York, and Hon, A. Ten 
Broek, President of the New York Convention. 

* The New York sheriffs and those who submitted 
to the authority of New York were often roughly 
handled by the Green Mountain Boys. The following 
is from the journal of the proceedings of the Vermont 
Council of Public Safety: ^^Council of Safety, ^rd Sept,, 

1 777. is permitted to return home, and remain 

on his father's farm (and if found off* to exped thirty- 
nine lashes of the heech seal) until further orders from 
this Council." The instrument of punishment was 
termed the " beech seal^^ in allusion to the great seal 
of New Hampshire affixed to the grants, of which the 
beech rod well laid upon the naked backs of the 
" Yorkers " and their adherents was considered a con- 

B. F. STEFENS 141 

Yet wc owe no allegiance ; we bow to no throne ; 
Our ruler is law, and the law is our own ; 
Our leaders themselves are our own fellow-men. 
Who can handle the sword, or the scythe, or the pen. 

Our wives are all true, and our daughters are fair, 
With their blue eyes of smiles, and their light flowing 

All brisk at their wheels till the dark even-fall, 
Then blithe at the sleigh-ride, the husking, and ball ! 

We've sheep on the hill sides ; we've cows on the plain ; 
And gay-tasseled corn-fields, and rank-growing grain ; 
There are deer on the mountains ; and wood^pigeons fly 
From the crack of our muskets, like clouds on the sky. 

And there 's fish in our streamlets and rivers, which uke 
Their course from the hills to our broad-bosomed lake; 
Through rock-arched Winooski the salmon leaps free. 
And the portly shad follows all fresh from the sea. 

Like a sun-beam the pickerel glides through his pool ; 
And the spotted trout sleeps where the water is cool, 
Or darts from his shelter of rock and of root 
At the beaver's quick plunge, or the angler's pursuit. 

And ours are the mountains, which awfully rise 
Till they rest their green heads on the blue of the skies ; 
And ours are the forests unwasted, unshorn. 
Save where the wild path of the tempest is torn. 

And though savage and wild be this climate of ours, 
And brief be our season of fruits and of flowers. 
Far dearer the blast round our mountains which raves. 
Than the sweet summer zephyr, which breathes over 


Hurra for Vermont ! for the land which we till 
Must have sons to defend her from valley and hill ; 
Leave the harvest to rot on the field where it grows. 
And the reaping of wheat for the reaping of foes. 

From far Michiscoui's wild valley, to where 
Poosoomsuck steals down from his wood-circled lair. 
From Sho6ticook river to Lutterlock town — 
Ho — all to the rescue ! Vermonters, come down ! 

Come York or come Hampshire — come traitors and 

knaves ; 
If ye rule o'er our land^ ye shall rule o'er our graves; 
Our vow is recorded — our banner unfurled ; 
In the name of Vermont we defy all the world! * 

Here is another record from the Society's 
published proceedings : 

*' Important Gift from Mr. Stevens of an 

elaborate Manuscript Map of Crown 

Point, of 133 years ago. 

Since the annual meeting of the Histori- 
cal Society, it has received from Mr. B. F. 
Stevens, of London, Eng., what is doubtless 
one of the most accurate and comprehensive 
maps of the Old Fortress of Crown Point and 
its environs and outlying fortifications, as they 

^ "Rather than fail, I will retire with my hardy 
Green Mountain boys to the desolate caverns of the 
mountains, and wage war with human nature at large J^ — 
Ethan Allen's Letter to Congress^ March 9, 178 1. 

B. F. STEVENS 143 

existed within ten years after their eredlion, 
ever prepared. 

The map was discovered by Mr. Stevens 
at a recent sale of American maps in London, 
and with characteristic thoughtfulness and 
generosity was secured by him for the Histori- 
cal Society of his native State. It measures 
three feet five inches by two feet five ahdja 
half inches. The environs of jdhe fortress are 
drawn upon a scale often chains (220 yardi) 
to the inch; and in one corner of the sheet is 
a chart of the fortress on a scale of 100 feet 
to an inch. It bears the following inscription: 

* An adhial Survey of the Fortress of Crown 
Point and its environs, presented to Sir Henry 
Moore, Baronet, Governor of New York, etc., 
by. Sir, Yr. Excellency's most humble and 
'obedient servant, Adolphus Benzel, Lieut. 
Royals.' " 


IT 19 easy to understand how Stevens, in the 
midst of his busy life in London, should 
have his mind stored with memories of 
his old home, and note as time went on that 
these grew stronger and stronger, with the re- 
sult that we find him often sending letters of 
inquiry across the Atlantic as to the fate of 
this old school friend, that old member of his 
^rnily, accumulating such a mass of informa- 
tion that his brain grew a perfeA storehouse 
of the careers of the Stevens family. 

Some letters teem with pedigree and verbal 
tracings of the careers of the bygone Stevenses. 
In faft, upon the occasion of one pleasant chat 
in the Barnette, he showed the writer a bundle 
of papers, letters, notes, and other documents, 
as preparations for a history of the Stevens 
family, and talked of the interest he found in 
tracing back the old settlers who had chosen 
the Green Mountain State for their home. 

This was probably the easier from the faA 
that it seemed innate with his branch of the 
family, this colledting and saving of papers 


for reference, and chronicling the careers of 
different members, though by no means to 
such an extent as in his own case, for he was 
unquestionably the born historian. 

Endless examples might be given, did space 
allow, but the history contained in those notes 
opened out on the Barnette table Mras never 
written. I have no record of the date when I 
paid my visit All I can say is that it must 
have been, I think, a little prior to January, 
1 900, when this history was so strongly in his 
mind that he was planning out a way of obtain- 
ing assistance, for he writes as follows to a lady 
correspondent in Vermont : 

**Some time after my father's death my 
brother Henry visited my dear old mother, 
and a considerable quantity of my father's old 
manuscripts were packed up and brought to 
London. This was about thirty years ago. 
Henry intended going through the papers to 
see what they were, out in his busy life and 
ill health during his last few years the boxes 
remained unopened for the most part, and it 
is only within a few months that his son has 
opened more of them, and has sent to me such 
papers as he has found thus far relating to the 
Stevens family history, and some papers per- 
taining to Bamet history. I have been able 
to give only a superficial examination of these 



Uncle Willard Stevens had the same pro- 
pensity for hoarding papers, writing a diary, 
and recording Barnet affairs. Simon lent me 
a very few of these papers about fifteen years 
ago, and I made a copy of perhaps lOO pages, 
very fragmentary, and returned the papers to 
Simon. Since looking at my father's papers I 
got the notion that many of his fragmentary 
and incomplete correspondence, deeds, diaries, 
bonds and memoranda generally, were of the 
same general nature, and would fit in and fill 
many gaps with the Uncle Willard papers, and 
so I applied to Simon's children to let me see 
Uncle Willard's papers again. Instead of re- 
ceiving the hat full that I had before, I have 
recently received about four or five bushels, 
and the papers are in the wildest possible con- 
fusion. A young whirlwind would be jealous 
in seeing that the careless handling of the papers 
has created a system of confusion that can 
hardly be rivalled. Among the odd pieces in 
one coUeftion or the other I find a great many 
items that I intended asking you to obtain from 
the Town Clerk's Ofiice, and those odd pieces 
suggest a lot of questions that I want to put 
to you, but I cannot definitely formulate them 
before having the documents in hand system- 
atically arranged, a work which I cannot with 
my other duties personally undertake, and 
hence I must find someone here to put the 

B. F. STEVENS 147 

papers in order, so that I can see what they 
really contain. 

I find an account book of Captain Phineas 
Stevens, and some fragments of his Diary. 
He died about 1755 or 1756. I find Account 
Books, Diaries, and a great number of papers 
of my grandfather, Enos Stevens. He with 
his brothers, Samuel, Simon, Willard, and 
Dodor Phineas Stevens, were among the first 
Proprietors of Barnet, but as to who of them 
besides Enos and Doftor Phineas aftually 
settled in Barnet I have not yet sorted the 
papers enough to quite understand ; but I have 
found enough to see that we can make an ex- 
ceedingly interesting history of Barnet, with a 
great many biographical notes not only of 
the Stevenses, but of the Brocks, Harveys, 
Johnsons, and others. 

In order to make the best use of the papers 
in hand I want you to try and get definite 
information in reply to these queries: — 

1. Is there in the Town Clerk's Oflfice the 
original New Hampshire Grant or Charter of 
Barnet, 1763 ? I have a copy with the names 
of the Grantees. 

2. When was Barnet surveyed and appor- 
tioned among the Grantees } 

3. Samuel Stevens on behalf of himself, 
and perhaps of others, gave a Bond in 1774 to 
convey 20,cxx) acres in a strip five miles long 


and bounded on one side by Peacham, to 
Alexander Harvey. Is the Deed of this 20,000 
acres to Harvey recorded in Barnet ? 

4. Barnet is sometimes mentioned in Legal 
Documents as being a New Hampshire Grant. 
It is sometimes mentioned as being in Cumber- 
land County, New York, and sometimes as being 
in Orange County, and later Orange County 
was divided, and since then the descriptions 
are of Barnet in Caledonia County. Hence I 
want to know if the Town Clerk's Records 
in Barnet are complete in themselves, or if it 
would be necessary to consult the New York 
Records at Albany, or the Orange Coimty 
Records, in order to get at fuller information 
about the Barnet Records. 

5. The good people of Barnet made indi- 
vidual subscriptions of material, labour, wheat, 
money, &c., to build the first Meeting House, 
and they then sold the pews by auftion so as 
to get individual owners for each pew. I see 
that this separate ownership was to be recorded 
in the Town Clerk's Office, and that in the 
sale of pews from one holder to another refer- 
ence is made to the Record in the Town 
Clerk's Office. Does this Record exist ? 

6. I believe there was ^ Law requiring 
the publication of intentions to marry. Were 
these Publications recorded, and were the 
marriages also recorded ? This question should 

B. F. STEFENS 149 

be extended to ascertain if Births and Deaths 
and Marriages were recorded. 

7. Whitelaw of Reigate, a Surveyor, be- 
came the Surveyor General of the State of 
Vermont. His papers are now at Montpelier, 
probably in the Secretary of State's Office. 
W6 may want to look at them by-and-by, but 
at the moment I want to know if there is in 
the Town Clerk's Office a map of Bamet 
earlier than Whitelaw's Map of 1779, which 
shows the division of the Town into Pro- 
prietors' Rights with the name of the Pro- 
prietor marked on each Lot. 

8. Are there other Maps of Barnet show- 
ing either or both the original Proprietors 
and the subsequent Owners of the respeftivc 

9. It is presumed the original division of 
the Town into Lots was not satisfaftory, as I 
find many references to lands in * after divi- 
sion,' and in some Deeds the land is described 
by giving both the number of the * original ' 
Right and the number of the Lot in the * after 
division.' What is the date of this after di- 
vision ? Is there a Map of Barnet showing the 
after division and is there a Map showing the 
roads ? 

I am inclined to think that the simplest 
way to answer these questions, or most of 
them, will be for you to make a short Cata- 


logue Index of the Records that are now pre- 
served, taking great care to give the dates 
accurately. Perhaps you will find a Petition 
for a Charter, the Charter itself in 1763. Re- 
quisitions for Proprietors' Meetings. Pro- 
ceedings of the Proprietors' Meetings and 
particularly where these Meetings were held. 
The apportioning of the Township among the 
individual Proprietors' Maps. Assessments of 
Taxes. Vendue Sales of Land for non pay- 
ment of Taxes. Recorded Deeds of Sales, 

In the first place I should like a very short 
title description of every document you can 
find down to the end of 1784. Then as a 
second step I should like such a list continued 
to the end of 1790, and finally as a last step 
I should like this list continued down to the 
end of 1 800. 

I have no doubt the Town Clerk will in 
the first instance lend you all the Documents 
down to 1784. When yoii shall have made a 
List of them we can see if it is desirable to 
amend the List by making it a little fuller or a 
little less full, and so get a better basis for 
making the second List, and so on for making 
the third List down to 1 800. 

In one sense some of the documents in 
my possession will be more interesting than 
the Records themselves, because these docu- 

B. F. STEVENS 151 

ments have the autograph signatures of the 
parties, while the Records will be copies. 
# # # # 

In the first place I shall of course pay you 
for making all these searches, but I think it 
should be borne in mind that if we have the 
opportunity to greatly improve the Records 
of Barnet, the Town should eventually pay for 
the searching, but in the event of my being 
able to supply any missing links it must be 
distinftly understood that it will be by pre- 
sentation of the Documents and not by selling 
them. Hence this remark about expenses ap- 
plies only to the expense incident to making 
the Catalogue Index of the Documents in the 
Town Clerk's Office, or otherwise enabling us 
to ascertain what Barnet possesses and what 
we can add. 

I think that you and I can prepare an ex- 
ceedingly interesting History of Barnet down 
to 1 800, with a List of the Proprietors, the 
Inhabitants, and perhaps with the Maps give 
the occupants of the principal Farms during 
that period. Such a history when printed would 
not have a very large sale, but probably enough 
copies would be sold to approximately pay 
their cost, and possibly it would give a small 
profit. I shall be much gratified to see such a 
History, and its preparation would be most 
beneficial to you from a literary point, and it 


is a work that would interest you greatly. 
Perhaps you might want to trace some of the 
families, and bring the pedigrees with or with- 
out biographical notices down to a later date 
than 1 800, but as a first step I repeat my re- 
quest that you will tell me what you can find 
down to 1784. 

Here endeth history talk for to-day." 

But this history was never written. 


ONE of Stevens's charafteristics was a 
love of his country, which he often 
alluded to as "that better land," and 
also the afFedion he evinced for the place of 
his birth and the relations and friends who to 
the end of his life experienced many kindnesses 
from him, and with whom he always kept up a 
correspondence, sending them frequently little 
presents and remembrances. 

He had a great veneration for his ancestors 
in death, and this veneration is shown by his 
enlarging and laying out the Old Cemetery in 
Stevens village at Barnet. The ground for 
this was consigned to the inhabitants of Barnet 
by his grandfather, Enos Stevens, in 1798, and 
consisted of thirty-six square rods, in which, 
in the Stevens plot, were buried many of the 
Stevens family. 

This old cemetery had fallen into decay, 
and was much neglcfted, and he desired to 
restore and endow it, and for this sought the 
aid of Mrs. J. S. Kenerson (who was the widow 
of his brother Fnos), living at Barnet. She 


willingly took up the subjeft and gave all the 
help in her power. 

The site of the cemetery was much enlarged 
by the purchase of land from Mr. Burbank, 
the neighbouring landowner, and the ground 
thus acquired was laid out and planted with 
trees, paths made, and the whole fenced in, 
under Mrs. Kenerson's directions, from plans 
carefully made out by the donor, in which the 
position of the trees to be planted, and the 
kinds, were indicated. The tombstones and 
monuments in the Stevens plot were also put in 
order, and the lettering renovated at his ex- 

He also gave one thousand dollars, as shown 
in the annexed copy of the Condition of 

" Copy of Articles in the warning and the 
aftion of the Town, at a Meeting held on the 
17th day of January, a.d. 1901. 

Art. I St. To see if said Town will vote to 
accept a Deed of the Land bought by 
B. F. Stevens, of London, England, from 
W, H. Burbank, adjoining the Old Bury- 
ing Ground and a part thereof, on condi- 
tion that the Town keep the same fenced. 

Art. 2nd. Also to see if said Town will vote 
to accept from said B. F. Stevens one 
thousand dollars in trust to apply the in- 

B. F. STEVENS 155 

come thereof in keeping in repair said 
Burying-Ground in Stevens Village, so 
called, vended to said Town by Enos 
Stevens, April 30th, 1798, and to so ex- 
pend said income as to keep the Stevens 
Lot in said Bur^ng-Ground in good con- 
dition, and maintain the grave-stones on 
said Lot and their letterings in a respeft- 
able manner." 
Voted to accept the first article in the warning, 

just as it reads. 
Voted to accept the second article in the 
warning, just as it reads. 

I hereby certify the above to be cor- 
red. Attest, W. H. Burbank, Town 

Barnet, V* 29th January, a.d. 1901." 

Adeed of trust was executed, and the Stevens 
Village Old Cemetery will ever remain as a 
memorial of the love and afFedion of one of 
its sons for his native town and homestead. 

But Stevens's life was full of recolleftions of 
the old home, and scattered through it there 
were many tokens of the pleasure he felt in 
adding to the prosperity and advance of the 
village. This was shown by a letter which dis- 
plays the great interest he had also inspired in 
those nearest to him in England towards the 
place which had given him birth. 


He writes quaintly, in his dry humorous 

'* To the Seledmen of the inhabitants of 


On behalf of myself, my wife, her sis- 
ter, and her two brothers — the Whittinghams 
— I desire to give the Barnet Public Library 
two cases of books, which were recently sent 
from London, all expenses paid to Barnet. 

Notice of the shipment, with a very rough 
list of the Books, was sent to the Librarian, 
and it is hoped this contribution to your Li- 
brary will be acceptable to the inhabitants of 

I have the honour to be. Gentlemen, 

Your obedient servant, 

B. F. Stevens. 
(A native of Barnet.)'' 

No small present this, for the little library 
consisted of about three hundred and fifty 
volumes of standard works, while another city, 
doubtless endeared to him by the education 
there received, became the recipient of a gift 
of books which was made to the Burlington 
University under the following circumstances. 

The CharlesWhittinghams,uncleand nephew, 
were both to some extent coUedtors of books, 

B. F. STEVENS 157 

besides possessing copies of the various works 
they had printed. The library of the uncle 
was inherited by the nephew upon his succes- 
sion to the business, and remained at College 
House, Chiswick. It was fairly large, and was 
augmented by the colledion of the nephew. 
These were added to in the course of years by 
many books purchased as being of interest 
from a printing point of view. 

These combined works formed in course of 
time a large miscellaneous coUeftion; and 
when the Chiswick house was given up were 
found to be too cumbrous for an ordinary 
dwelling. Many of them were stored away 
for years, there being no accommodation for 
them in the moderate sized residences of the 
Whittingham family. In these circumstances 
it was often discussed by Stevens and the 
Whittinghams as to what should be done with 
the redundance of books they possessed. They 
had no desire to sell them by audtion, but pre- 
ferred to deposit them in some library or in- 
stitution, the discussion being mainly upon the 
question to whom they should be given. 

Many proposals were made, but either the 
institutions suggested were full, or they did 
not care to accept such a miscellaneous collec- 
tion, probably from ignorance of the fadi: that 
among the books offered were many curious 
and interesting works. 


Stevens had long had it in his mind to do 
something for the Library of the Univeraty of 
Vermont, at Burlington, in his native State, 
and suggested to the Whittinghams that the 
books they desired to part with should be 
offered to that library for acceptance. The 
proposal was agreed to, and in consequence 
Stevens wrote to the University, offering the 
presentation of the Whittingham books and 
some of his own, while in due course a reply 
came, notifying the acceptance of the gift, and 
the books, amounting to many hundreds, were 
shipped to America and deposited at Burling- 
ton as the Whittingham-Stevens contribution 
to the University Library. 


AS Stevens became more widely known, 
he received a keen appreciation of 
his work as a student, becoming a 
member of the State Historical Societies of 
Vermont, New Hampshire, Maryland, Minne- 
sota and Connefticut ; of the American Anti- 
quarian Society, and also of the French Societe 
d'Histoire Diplomatique. In addition, the de- 
gree of Doftor of Letters (L.H.D.) was con- 
ferred upon him by the University of Vermont, 
his native State, in 1899, ^^^^ ^^ I90'» ^he 
degree of M.A., by Dartmouth College, New 

Among other societies, Stevens was elefted 
a member of the Library Association of the 
United Kingdom, in which he took deep in- 
terest. In faft it was greatly upon his initia- 
tive that the arrangement was made for the 
printing of their early reports. 

The honours showered upon him by the 
societies of culture seemed more than could 
have fallen to the lot of his contemporaries, for 
he was elefted a Fellow of the Society of 


Antiquaries, an honour very rarely accorded 
to an American, less than a score having been 
elecfted during the last hundred years. He was 
also a Fellow of the Society of Arts, of the 
Royal Historical Society, and of the Zoological 
Society of London; while, wherever the best 
Americans gathered in the metropolis, his was 
one of the names that stood in the highest tier, 
for he was chosen first President of the Ameri- 
can Society in London, and was its honorary 
treasurer till his death. In Freemasonry he 
was the honorary treasurer of the Columbia 
Lodge; and he was a member of the Sigma 
Phi Fraternity, and of the Grolier Club of 
New York. 

He was also a member of Noviomagus, one 
of the most ancient and exclusive social clubs 
in London, consisting solely of Fellows of the 
Society of Antiquaries. 

The quaint theory on which the club is 
based is that the Members are in search of the 
long lost Noviomagian City, mentioned by 
Caesar as having been founded by him " be- 
tween Londinum and the Sea." The Novio- 
magians are citizens of Noviomagus, and each 
one bears a special office. Thus Sir Wyke 
Bayliss is the ''Lord High President," Dr. 
Phene the ''Phoenix," Mr. Hovenden the 
"Alchemist/' Mr. Brabrook the "Pcpysian 
Professor,'' Mr. Dillon Croker the "Re- 

B. F. STEVENS i6i 

corder,'* and Mr. Browning the " Huguenot." 
It was at meetings of this Society that such 
wise and friendly faces were seen as those of 
Sir Benjamin Ward Richardson, George God- 
win, George R. Wright, Spencer Ashbee, Dr. 
Diamond, Henry Stevens, and others long since 
passed away. 

It was not long after Stevens's death that at 
a dinner given by the Club several of his 
brother Noviomagians were talking regret- 
fully of their loss of so good a citizen, and 
recalling instances of his calm judgment and 
the natural power he possessed of swaying 
his fellows by a diredt appeal to their hearts. 
In the course of the conversation the ques- 
tion arose how could Stevens be best described 
in an epigram? what simple words would 
give the genuine nature and charader of the 
man ? 

On the spur of the moment pencils were 
brought to bear on the subjedt by some of his 
oldest friends, with the following result : 

The " Lord High President " wrote : 

" If I had to describe B. F. Stevens in one 
sentence I should say, ' He was the reconciler 
of friends.* Wyke Bayliss." 

Dr. Phene wrote : " A great-hearted man 
of British blood and American birth, but so 
great that he was Briton and American indis- 
tinguishable. Phoenix." 



The third epigram read: *'E Columbia 

Unsigned this, but it was written upon the 
back of an envelope bearing the name of a 
distinguished fellow-citizen, Richard Howlctt. 
This terse and happy poetical inspiration faith- 
fully reflefted the opinion of those who knew 
Stevens best — that out of America their friend 
came as a dove of peace. 

This little incident brings up, perhaps 
lightly, our old friend's love of peace, and the 
satisfaction he seemed to feel in idealizing it 
one evening at another club, when he took the 
chair, evidently meaning to mark the night of 
his chairmanship with the Whitefriars. With 
home always in his mind he introduced the 
pipe of peace among the members after the 
cloth was drawn, making it as home-like as he 
CQuld by distributing among his friends a sheaf 
of homely Western pipes, each formed of an 
Indian corn-cob with a light reed stem. In ad- 
dition, he had provided a supply of the choicest 
American tobacco. 

It was an English gathering, but Stevens's 
whole life shows how thoroughly the memory 
of his country was always to the fore. From 
the hour he joined the qiiiet little society of 
writers of the day, journalists, thinkers, and 
the like, his was always a welcome face; an 
excellent chairman at dinner, committee meet- 

B. F. STEVENS 163 

ing, or at some debate conneded with business 
management, he was always the man of the 
calm, sedate face, and measured, friendly, 
thoughtful speech, to whose opinion others 
seemed readiest to bend ; and here, too, his 
loss has left a blank. 

The wonder is, not that Stevens joined club 
after club of thinkers ; the wonder is that he 
was tied down to so few. 

To most of such gatherings men seek to be 
introduced. Stevens was sought ; and one re- 
calls the calm, grave, spediacled face on his 
first entrance, as he looked round, examining 
each one whom he welcomed as though in- 
tending to make him a friend for life. 

Introduced to the Whitefriars by the son 
of one of his oldest friends across the ocean, 
a name familiar there, John Bigelow, he was 
not long before bringing other friends, men of 
mark, as guests from the Western shore, for 
all those to whom Stevens made himself host 
bore distinguished names. 

The faft of his being an American would 
naturally drop out of sight in conneftion with 
such a club as the Urban, the modern repre- 
sentative of the old St. John's Gate Club, with 
its memories of Garrick, Johnson, Boswell, 
Cave, Britton, and a score of other shadowy 
worthies, for here he seems to have come of 
right to the stronghold of those who make it 


their pleasure to discuss Shakespeare in every 
shape and form. 

Amongst the most pleasant memories that 
dwell in one's mind regarding Stevens were 
those in conneAion with books, which he always 
seemed to handle as old Izaak Walton did the 
frog — as if he loved them ; and it is easy to 
recall him as he appeared one evening years 
ago, playing a part, no longer the library 
agent and great compiler, but a dual part made 
up of book auftioneer and Good Samaritan. 

This was only another of the occasions on 
which he was helping others, those left behind 
by a very good old friend, a genuine simple- 
hearted man, just of his own stamp, but one 
upon whom the world had smiled as she 
pleased, though not perhaps as others would 
have arranged could they have held the reins 
and guided our social universe as they thought 
right. For the old friend had passed away poor 
in worldly goods, and owning no long array of 
investments in stocks and shares. 

But paradoxically he had died rich in the 
sterling that which is most worth having, and 
Stevens liked him so well that he was one of 
those who joined a meeting and presided over 
it, to dispose of his friend's books and some 
of his eiFefts to an eager party of very willing 
bidders, to whom he discoursed of the history 
and value of each " lot." 

B. F. STEVENS 165 

One need not dwell upon the result. Let it 
be enough to say that no better man could 
have occupied the rostrum and swayed the 
meeting so as to make all leave the house 
open hearted and content with the feeling that 
in the midst of one's hurried, often too sordid 
life, one day could be looked back to with 
something like satisfaAion — something on the 
credit side against the long dreary columns of 
the opposite entries. 

There was a peculiar twinkle — it may be 
fancy — about Stevens's speftacles when he was 
handling a book, and one remembers it well 
in Sir John Barrett Lennard's library at Keston, 
where the owner seemed to be drawn at once to 
the quiet, grave,retiringman of the Antiquarian 
party who loved books. There was a noble col- 
ledion there, and the Baronet was ready to 
exhibit his old world treasures to one who 
responded in few words, laden with interest 
and understanding regarding the new catalogue 
which had just been made. For a book was 
something more than so many pages and so 
much binding and paper to his visitor, who 
more than any man present knew what cata- 
logue and book should be. 

But most vivid of all comes out of the past 
the ramble with him through the libraries of 
the grand old university town. It was only a 
day's visit to Oxford, too brief a time to stay; 


but every minute that could be given was 
spent amongst the books, notably in the Bod- 
leian. And here Stevens lingered with hands 
caressing lovingly the ancient tomes, his eyes 
brightening as he dwelt upon the softened 
tints of the good old linen fibred handmade 
papers, the richness and velvet blackness of 
the ancient ink, whether it was from the Italian 
printing office of an Aldine with its exquisitely 
cut charafters, the work of a goldsmith's hand, 
and designed by the man who invented the 
type that should look the most like manu- 
script — that which is still in use, and which 
from its birthplace we still call Italic; or an 
Elzevir with its clear but more solid Teutonic 
bearing, still for all its centuries perfeft of 
workmanship, regular in its classic lines of 
wisdom lightly but firmly impressed upon 
paper ancient of aspeft, but better far than the 
clear white clay-laden weighty leaf that glistens 
painfully beneath the eye in a twentieth cen- 
tury book, and makes one say, " What will 
you be like when old as this ? " Or it might 
have been a volume from the old Antwerp 
Press which stands museum-like to this day in 
the old Flemish town, showing how Plantin's 
workman at last laid down his composing- 
stick at the dinner hour, centuries ago, after 
setting up one of the books the librarian 
treasures, and worthily, so beautifully perfeA 

B. F. STEVENS ' 167 

is the work in every point, not alone punftua- 
tion, but in setting up, printing, paper, and in 
binding. For here one has them sewn with 
thread that has lasted excellently, shaped with 
the carefully curved back and hollowed front, 
not a leaf out of place, not one loose, after 
three hundred and fifty years of existence, 
while one takes the last new French novel, 
holds it by the title and paper cover, gives 
it a twitch and a sharp shake with the hand, 
when the glue cracks and the whole book falls 
apart, for the leaves to hang suspended like 
a child's toy ladder, attached by one single 

A ready sharer in a social dinner, a man 
who believed in the brotherhood of men, it 
was only natural that he should meet with a 
hearty welcome at the old established gather- 
ings of the Savage Club. For here the natural 
instinfts of lovers of charity towards their 
brother working men of literature and art 
would draw them closely towards one whose 
life was a proof of his belief in charity towards 
all who needed help, men being prone to listen 
to one who was the personification of the un- 
biassed, many growing to know his magnetic 
power as a friendly, so to speak, judge of ap- 
peal, one whose decision was final and always 
arrived at apparently without an effort on his 


With regard to that social guild, the Ameri- 
can Society, for long enough past B. F.Stevens 
was looked upon as the patriarch and friend 
of the strong and powerful body of American 
citizens, who, like their leader, settled down 
and prospered in the metropolis. 

There must be many living who look back 
with a saddened feeling to the pleasant dinners 
where they were Stevens's guests at his social 
clubs. He always shone forth as an excellent 
and genial host — one who led his friends on 
to talking while he listened — but if there was 
a best it was on the annual occasion when 
London- America gathered at one of the great 
hotels to celebrate some Thanksgiving or In- 
dependence Day. 

It was on the occasion of the Thanksgiving 
Dinner of the American Society of London, 
on November 26, 1 896, that Stevens occupied 
the vice-chair, and it was pleasant to see his 
genial face as he welcomed the friends he had 
mvited as his guests. 

On this occasion behind the Chairman's seat 
were draped two enormous ensigns — ^the stars 
of that which represented America being 
formed with eleftric lights. A representation 
of Bartholdi's statue of Liberty held aloft a 
torch of eledric flame high between the inter- 
national flags, while glittering like so much 
glass moulded in the form of an American 

B. F. STEVENS 169 

eagle, a huge block of ice stood high behind 
the Vice-Chairman's seat. 

Stevens was to have been faced by the 
United States Ambassador, a rather Irish way 
of expressing it, perhaps — a putting of the 
cart before the horse — for the chairman should 
stand first. But there is some excuse, for the 
intended chairman was not there. It was a 
case of place aux dames ^ a giving way to the 
great lady of ladies who had happened to send 
her invitation for the same day. Mr. Bayard 
had been conmianded, summoned, whatever it 
was, to be Her Majesty's guest at Windsor 
Castle, and we did not hear his speech, but 
that of another American gentleman, well- 
known, thanks or otherwise, to our many 
bodily infirmities, for Mr. Wellcome occupied 
his place, as if to give a wag an opportunity to 
be facetious and allude to the miniature and 
compressed nature of the festive dinner, which, 
he said, was of a tabloid cast. But it was a 
magnificent banquet, one of the most brilliant 
gatherings that have been assembled in the 
great hall of the Hotel Cecil, *' everybody," 
as a reporter would say, being there. 

It was far away from the natural origin of 
the popular Transatlantic dishes, but the hotel 
chefs had done their best, and to ordinary 
people the whole festivity, with its suggestions 
of America, its turkey with cranberry sauce, 


hominy, and pumpkin pies, was happy in the 
extreme, while to quote the words of a Western 
reporter, *' that genial bibliophilist, Benjamin 
Franklin Stevens, known to all Americans in 
London, as well as to English scholars, makes 
us all feel like brethren." 

A visit to The Sheaves was a visit for one 
or two who enjoyed the hospitality of Stevens 
and his wife, and appreciated the garden and a 
quiet chat. But he had other ways for enter- 
taining. For instance, there was the occasion 
when an opportunity presented itself for glad- 
dening the hearts of his friends and proving 
at the same time that forty years in England 
had made him as national as the best subjeA of 
the Empress-Queen. 

We are a money making people, and if it 
comes to that our American cousins can give 
us points — and do. Now, the American Des- 
patch Agent's Offices are situated in one of the 
best parts of the great metropolis, an admir- 
able position for viewing a grand procession 
going east, and the occupant had only to an- 
nounce that he was willing to let the whole 
front for the ereAion of stands or galleries, to 
name his own price. One is afraid to say how 
high a sum he might have commanded had 
he chosen, but he did not choose. He pre- 
ferred to make this an occasion to entertain 
his friends at a morning ^^ at home " ; decorated 

B. F. ST E FENS 171 

stands were set up, and the bearers of the 
tickets of invitation were welcomed and re- 
ceived by Mr. and Mrs. Stevens to some of 
the best seats in London upon the Diamond 
Jubilee Day in 1897. 

The invitation card is a pleasant memento 
of a very remarkable date, for a good deal of 
thought had been given to making it emblem- 
atic, with its portraits of the host and hostess, 
and mingling of the American and English 
National flags. For America was well repre- 
sented there, and as Her Majesty came by she 
could have received no warmer welcome any- 
where along the route than she did from be- 
neath the Stars and Stripes. 


STEVENS'S principal recreation and his 
hobby were antiquarian research — and, 
amongst manuscripts, those above all 
others relating to his own coimtry, so much 
of whose history as American colonies lies in 
the State papers or private coUeftions of Eng- 
land. One of his earliest duties after his settle- 
ment in London appears to have been the 
assisting of his brother, Mr. Henry Stevens, 
to search, catalogue, and transcribe papers, 
in the Public Record Office, concerning the 
State of New Jersey, or one of the other States 
of the Union, and as he came to realise the 
masses of papers, not of one only, but of all 
the original thirteen American colonies, his 
wish grew to be able to put into the hands 
of American students a key by which some 
at least of the material might be available. 
A comparatively small beginning was made, 
and his attention having been direded to the 
diplomatic papers and correspondence of the 
Negotiations for Peace in the years 1782-83 
by which the United States took their place 


amongst the nations, his first index of Ameri- 
can Manuscripts was limited to all he could 
find within these years. But as this included 
opening up the French Archives it was by 
no means a small undertaking. Not to write 
a history — this seems never to have been his 
ambition — but to provide material for future 
historians was his goal, and to this end every 
paper noted in his index bore its own appro- 
priate reference to series, volume, and num- 
ber or page. The limited period of the peace 
negotiations, however, was soon widened to 
include the military events of the previous 
years, and his scheme was reconstruded to 
commence with the year 1773, date of the 
" Boston Tea Party," and to calendar or index 
every paper he could find in the national or 
in private coUeAions relating to the War of 
Independence. His stafiF was increased, and in 
addition to those in London, workers were 
sent to, or engaged in, the archives in Paris, 
in Spain, and the Hague, and an elaborate 
system built up, with the minutest attention 
to detail, for calendaring, checking, registering 
in double entry, classifying, and revising, 
which should ensure as much precision, uni- 
formity and accuracy as seemed humanly pos- 
sible. Slovenly work was his abhorrence. His 
pleasure in organising and following out the 
work was great in the extreme, while his con- 


stant thoughtfulness for the comfort of his 
staff was never failing. This may not be an 
xmfitting place to record that every morning 
for many years a " posy," or basket of beauti- 
fiil flowers, from the garden of The Sheaves, 
was placed ready to hand by the gardener to 
be carried to town and distributed to brighten 
his own and the working-rooms of the oflice. 

The history of the great Catalogue Index of 
American Manuscripts in European Archives 
relating to America is told best in its "Intro- 
duftion/' prepared just before Stevens's death, 
and reprinted at the end of this memoir. It 
will be there seen that after a visit to America 
in order to enlist support, or arrange for the 
purchase of his great work, he gave way to 
the desire expressed by the men of letters, 
representatives of libraries, of historical and 
other learned societies, and again widened the 
limits of dates to include the papers relating 
to the Stamp Aft, the starting point this time 
being the year 1763, so that as it now stands 
it covers a period of twenty years — from 1763 
to 1783. 

Out of this great catalogue and the facilities 
of access to the various colleftions which by 
his personal qualities, enterprise, discretion, 
and antiquarian status he was specially fitted 
to obtain, and to retain, even strengthened, to 
the last, grew many of the printed volumes 

B. F. STEVENS 175 

which from time to time have been published 
at 4, Trafalgar Square. 

The first of these, published in 1888, was 
the Clinton-Cornwallis Controversy, or the 
"Campaign in Virginia, 178 1," two volumes 
— an exafb reprint in the outset of six rare 
pamphlets containing MS. notes by Sir Henry 
Clinton. To these pamphlets Stevens added 
careful copies of the original correspondence 
between these commanders and others, with 
extraordinary labour and patience collating 
them with all the manuscript and other copies 
he could find, making a mine of information 
on that campaign, for all students for all time. 

This was followed, in 1890, by a transcript 
from a manuscript, preserved in the Royal 
Institution, London— :-" General Sir William 
Howe's Orderly Book, at Charlestown, Boston 
and Halifax, 17 June, 1775, to 26 May, 1776 
. . . with an Historical Introdudion by Edward 
Everett Hale, the whole colleded and edited 
by Benjamin Franklin Stevens." 

The publication of the facsimile — in the 
handsomest and stateliest folio that had been 
manufaftured for many a year — of the famous 
Codex of Christopher Columbus from the 
Paris Foreign Office, was a work worthy of a 
lover of books. The photograph itself was 
made by the almost unexampled courtesy of 
the French authorities, in a temporary studio 


ercAed by Mr. Stevens in the gromids of the 
Foreign Office in Paris. The interleaving of 
the facsimile so that on the facing pages, what- 
ever their length, appear an Fnglish translation 
and the. extended readable text of the Spamsh 
abbreviated manuscript, the choice of types, 
paper, ornaments, mar^ns, title-pages, and 
grouping geno^j, was a remit of, or pcafiaps 
was only made posnbk by, bis connexion with 
the great historic printing firm of the Whit- 
tinghams — the Chiswick Press. The Uniting 
with its plank wood sides, pigskin back and 
metal clasps^ was in imitation of a sixteenth 
century work. To make it still more com- 
plete, a few copies were printed on vellum, the 
maker of the vellum being decided on only 
after considerable search, and even then the 
sheets being carefully seleded by Stevens leaf 
by leaf so that they should match exadly in 
quality and colour. 

His series of '^Facsimiles of Manuscripts in 
European Archives relating to America," in 
twenty-five folio volumes, was begun in 1888, 
the manuscripts seleAed for reproduction hav- 
ing been all noted in his great Catalogue Index 
already described. 

Here is his own summary: 

"These facsimiles of Civil, Confidential, 
Diplomatic and Political Papers during the 

B. F. STEVENS 177 

period of the American Revolution comprise 
many hitherto unpublished letters of Dr. 
Franklin, Silas Deane, William Carmichael, 
Arthur Lee, and other Americans in Paris with 
the French Government; a mass of correspond- 
ence addressed to William Eden (afterwards 
Lord Auckland), as Under Secretary of State, 
with curious letters of informants and spies of 
various ranks in society; letters of De Beau- 
marchais, Le Ray de Chaumont, Baron de 
Kalb, and other Frenchmen; the original al- 
most unknown correspondence of the British 
Commissioners who, in 1778, went to America 
to negotiate peace with Congress, while the 
American Commissioners were at the same 
time carrying on negotiations in Paris; that 
of the Marquis de Lafayette with Count de 
Vergennes and others ; the letters of Lord Stor- 
mont, the English Ambassador in Paris, never 
before published ; papers relating to the capture 
of Henry Laurens and his sojourn in the 
Tower of London; many of General Sir Henry 
Clinton's letters, &c., &c. 

The advantages of reproducing valuable 
MSS. in Facsimile have long been admitted, 
and in this case such Facsimile reproduAions 
are especially important because no facilities 
exist in America for consulting the original 
MSS. The well-known spirit of modern re- 
search will not be dependent upon desultory 



texts and casual references, which is all we have 
today, while (it is a safe prophecy) to-morrow 
this spirit of great exaftness will refuse any- 
thing that is not a certified transcript, giving 
the preference always to a veritable Facsimile 
of the Original. 

This work, with references, collations, and 
translations could only be carried out with the 
aid of my Great Indexes, which bring the 
descriptions of the American Papers from 
1763 to 1783, now scattered through many 
Archives in England, France, Holland and 
Spain, into one homogeneous coUedlion. 

That Index is not only a list of manuscripts 
and documents, in the order in which they 
exist, with their approximate dimensions, and 
with descriptions of each paper, as far as 
convenient, by number, date, place of origin, 
writer, addressee, language, whether signed, 
original, duplicate, &c., with memoranda of 
endorsements, official minutes, uses, enclosures, 
&c., but it gives also a brief resutni (in Eng- 
lish) of each paper, with cross-references to 
duplicates, if any, and when printed in full or 
in extrads it states where and to what extent 
printed, and it also comprises the information 
m chronological and alphabetical arrange- 

One other facsimile reproduction was made 

B. F. STEVENS 179 

in recent years — that of the British Head 
Quarters Coloured Manuscript Map of New 
York and Environs, 1782, from the original 
drawing preserved in the War Office, London. 
This was a large map ten feet by four feet, well 
reproduced in twenty-four sheets, one hundred 
copies being printed. 

By the courtesy of the Earl of Dartmouth 
Stevens was permitted access to a mass of 
papers relating to the War of American Inde- 
pendence, and the subjeft being one always 
associated with his name, he was asked to 
undertake the preparation of a calendar of 
these papers for the Royal Commission on 
Historical Manuscripts. This calendar of 
Lord Dartmouth's American papers appeared 
in 1895 as one of their series — 14th Report, 
Appendix X. For this same Commission a 
calendar of the American Manuscripts in the 
Royal Institution, London, being the Head 
Quarters papers of the successive commanders 
in chief at New York, was also prepared by 
him, and will eventually appear in two or more 
of their volumes. 

To return to his great Catalogue Index of 
American Manuscripts by which he hoped best 
to be remembered by his countrymen in future 
days. What his disappointment was, that Con- 
gress while so fully and flatteringly endorsing 
his work, did not find the ways and means to 


make it in his life-time available to American 
students and historical writers, he never said. 
It was not his way to murmur — nor to give up 
what he had undertaken. On all sides praise 
and encouragement were freely given, but no 
helping hand was stretched out to lighten the 
burden ; and he went on year after year him- 
self providing the finances for a work which 
by its nature could never prove remunerative. 

What was the pecuniary cost to him it is 
impossible to say. Probably, in spite of his 
methodical ways, he never kept account him- 
self, for he laughingly said, when the matter 
was touched upon, " The money is mine own 
earning. You spend yours upon your children 
— those that you have brought into the world. 
These volumes are my children." And he 
never grudged them what he felt was their 

During the last few months of his life he 
was engaged in planning all the final details, 
and in giving instrudions as to arrangement, 
title-pages, binding, &c., of these beautiful 
manuscript volumes, mostly on handmade 
paper bearing his own watermark. 

As to arrangement, it is in three divisions : 

(i .) A Catalogue of the papers in the order 
in which they exist in the various archives or 
coUedions. This forms fifty volumes. 

(2.) A Chronological arrangement of the 

B. F. STEVENS i8i 

same, which by giving to each document a 
precis of contents and other details, is extended 
into one hundred volumes. 

(3.) An Alphabetical index to the same by 
writers and receivers, or where no author is 
known, then by subjeft matter, in thirty vol- 

The binding, according to his express wish, 
is in full morocco, a different colour marking 
the three sets. 

It is the hope of his relatives and friends 
at the time this memoir is written, that this 
great and uniaue work will eventually find its 
place in one or the National Institutions of the 
United States. 

This historical work, or the answering of 
questions, has extended to almost every State 
of the Union. 

Amongst Mr. Stevens's larger undertakings, 
were transcribing and calendaring for the New 
Hampshire Series of Printed Records; the 
copying of the Board of Trade Journals and 
other series of original papers for the Penn- 
sylvania Historical Society; the Loyalist Papers 
for the New York Public Library, and the 
unique roll of the Connefticut Regiment raised 
in 1746-7 for an expedition to Canada, which 
latter transcript he presented to the Connecticut 
Historical Society shortly before his death. 


passed away peacefully on the night 
of the 5 th of March, 1902, after his 
long illness, borne with great fortitude and 

In 1854, Charles Whittingham, his father- 
in-law, purchased ground at Kensal Green 
Cemetery for a family grave; and here his 
wife, his daughter Elizabeth Eleanor, and after- 
wards himself, were buried. 

On the loth of March, 1902, Benjamin 
Franklin Stevens was also laid to his rest, in 
the same grave as Charles Whittingham, thus 
being associated with the Whittinghams in 
death as he had been in life, and in the pre- 
sence of relatives, friends, and members of 
his various clubs. Among the many present 
were the American Ambassador, the whole of 
the Staff of the Embassy, with many repre- 
sentatives of the American Society in London 
and the Public Record Office. 

One of the warmest tributes afterwards writ- 
ten was from the pen of the Hon. J. H.Choate, 
the American Ambassador, who wrote : 


"In the death of Benjamin Franklin Stevens, 
the American Colony in London has suffered 
a serious loss. He had held the responsible 
office of United States Despatch Agent for 
thirty-six years, and for a still longer period — 
from 1 860, when he joined his brother Henry, 
a noted bibliographer, in the bookselling busi- 
ness, till the time of his death — he was the 
purchasing agent of many American libraries 
and coUeftors. His knowledge of books in 
both countries was very extensive and valu- 
able, and he was often consulted by experts in 
bibliography. But his more unique distinftion 
was as an antiquarian and historical searcher 
and investigator. For a great many years he 
had been engaged with a large corps of assist- 
ants, searchers, and copyists in examining, in 
the archives of Great Britain and other 
countries, documents throwing light on English 
and American history during the critical period 
beginning at a date anterior to the first signs of 
breach between the thirteen colonies and the 
Mother Country, and extending till after the 
close of the War of Separation. He had long 
ago become the highest living authority on the 
documentary history of those times. He had 
made a chronological and alphabetical cata- 
logue index of American papers deposited in 
the public oflkes of England, France, Holland 
and Spain from 1763 to 1783, and had ex- 


tended his work of that nature into many 
private coUcftions. To illustrate his reputation 
as to- all such knowledge — on the very day of 
his death, in answer to an application from the 
New York Historical Society for record evi- 
dence as to an important event in New York 
City while the British troops were there in 
1776, 1 was referred by the War Office to him 
as *the most likely person to assist in the 
question raised/ which had baffled inquiry 
elsewhere. He had become a Fellow of the 
Society of Antiquaries and of the Royal His- 
torical Society, and a member of the Societe 
d*Histoire Diplomatique, and of the principal 
Antiquarian and Historical Societies in the 
United States. As material for the future his- 
torian, and as a guide to all students of anti- 
quities and genealogy, his work is of immense 
importance, and it is gratifying to know that 
its results are likely to be preserved and trans- 

On social and personal grounds his loss is 
deeply lamented. He was the oldest American 
man of business of any prominence resident in 
London, and was one of the founders and first 
Chairman of the American Society, in whose 
useful work he took a deep interest. His 
happy temperament and genial and sympathetic 
disposition made all with whom he came in 
contaft his friends. Literary men were fond of 

B. F. STEVENS 185 

his society, and he of theirs. Mr. Lowell in 
particular was much attached to him, often 
consulted him, and relied upon his valuable 
suggestions and information. He was a noble 
man of generous impulses, high charafter, and 
pure nature, and devoted a long and busy life 
to useful pursuits. 

I desire to place on record my high ap- 
preciation of his fine charafter and of the great 
importance of his life's work. His charming 
personal qualities, which made him dear to his 
associates, will long survive in their memory. 
Joseph H. Choate." 

Among the many words of regret and con- 
dolence that were placed upon record when 
the sad news became known that one so uni- 
versally respeded had passed away, was the 
following : 

" Resolution of Sympathy passed by the 

American Society in London, 

March 7th, 1902. 

Whereas we have learned with deep regret 
of the death of Benjamin Franklin Stevens, 
Chairman of this Society during the first year 
of its existence, and subsequently its Honorary 

Be it resolved, that we desire to place on 
record our feeling of personal bereavement in 


the loss of our first Chairman, to whom the 
Society is deeply indebted for the wise fore- 
thought and skill with which at the outset of 
its career he managed its aflfairs. We deplore 
the death of a colleague who, while always 
loyal to his native land, was a devoted friend 
to the country in which the greater part of his 
life was passed, and whose constant care was 
the promotion of friendship between the people 
of the two communities. We mourn the ab- 
sence of a cherished friend and a companion 
of scholarly learning, of genuine sympathies, 
of gentle kindness and of never failing help- 

Resolved, that these Resolutions be placed 
upon the Minutes of the Society, and that a 
copy be transmitted to the widow with an' ex- 
pression of sympathy in our mutual sorrow. 
John Morgan Richards, Chairman. 
F. C. Van Duzer, Hon. Secretary. 
Signed on behalf of the American Society in 


As a member of the Council of the Royal 
Historical Society he did a great deal of work 
on its behalf from time to time, and his ad- 
vice and assistance were greatly appreciated, 
as evidenced by the copy of the Resolution 
printed after his death, which was as follows, 
and sent to his partner, Mr. Henry J. Brown : 

B. F. STEVENS 187 

" Royal Historical Society. 
24th March, 1902. 

Dear Mr. Brown, 

At the meeting of the Council of the 
Royal Historical Society on the 20th inst. I 
had the painful duty of reporting the death 
of Mr. B. F. Stevens, a Fellow of the Society, 
and for many years a member of its Council. 
The very valuable work performed by Mr. 
Stevens in connexion with the Committees of 
the Council is well known to most of the pre- 
sent members, and the personal regard in which 
he was held by all who were acquainted with 
him has made his loss sincerely felt. I have 
been instrufted to ask that you will be so kind 
as to convey to Mr. Stevens's family the assur- 
ance of the deep regret and sympathy of the 
Council, which has been recorded also in the 
form of a Resolution upon the Minutes. 

I am, yours very truly, 

Hubert Hall, 
Diredlor and Hon. Sec." 

Arthur Warren writes : " Everybody who 
knew this man, and he was known by many 
men in many countries, knew him as the em- 
bodiment of kindliness ; his place in life was 
many-sided. . . . Everybody knew him as a 
sturdy New Englander, one of the most lovable 
men that ever gripped the hand and said ' God 


speed.' He was always doing something for 
somebody, and doing it wisely. . . . Historical 
research was his chief delight. But he had an- 
other delight which matched it, although it is 
not set down in official records, nor capable of 
cataloguing — the cultivation of friendly un- 
derstanding between American and English 
folk. His energy as an historian was inde- 
fatigable. Appreciation of his work will in- 
crease with time as the results are utilised. . . . 
His name and word were honoured, his know- 
ledge and advice sought by governments and 
bibliographers and students on both sides of 
the Atlantic. No man of our time had more 
friends. The traveller who went to any capital 
or any seat of learning in the Old World or 
in the New with letters from Mr. Stevens, had 
all doors opened for him. And yet this was a 
man of modest nature and simple living ; not 
a courtier, a speechmaker, or a seeker of fame. 
He thought * straight ' as Lowell said, and he 
thought truth and lived it. 

During the past two years he suffered much. 
In the past year he suffered greatly; there was 
hardly a moment without sharp physical pain. 
But his mind was as clear as ever, and he 
worked on. 

It is difficult to write about B. F. Stevens; 
the loss is too new and great. One hears the 
cheery voice and sees the genial face, and 

B. F. STEVENS 189 

remembers a thousand deeds of friendship — 
ajfid the pen stops. Here was a man who loved 
his fellow men ; and they loved him." 

Journal after journal followed the example 
of the clubs and the public institutions in their 
reports. Amongst the newspapers, British and 
American, the keynote of the general feeling 
seems to have been struck by the " Burlington 
Daily Free Press " in his native Vermont, with 
the following words : *' We chronicle with p^n 
the death of B. F. Stevens, Esq., the eminent 
bibliographer," and the saddened tones were 
echoed everywhere throughout the Press. 

One of the most notable appreciations ap- 
peared in the "Athenaeum," and speaks of 
the way in which Mr. Stevens's work was 
^^ distinguished by minute accuracy and much 
curious learning. His wide knowledge of Eu- 
ropean archives and libraries, and his pleasant 
relations with many of their custodians, were 
of the greatest assistance to American students, 
and were also readily placed at the disposal 
of English and continental correspondents. 
During the last few years Mr. Stevens had 
been in declining health, which, however, did 
not aiFeft his interest in his professional and 
private researches, which were condufted by 
a staff of workers admirably trained and organ- 
ized under his immediate supervision." 


SOMEONE of old asked a philosopher 
his opinion as to what a man's charaAer 
should be. The reply was. Manly ; and 
when pressed for a wider definition, he who 
was questioned declared that a man should be 
honest, kind, and true in his dealings with his 
fellows. In addition the old thinker said he 
should be charitable in its broadest scriptural 
meaning, and used many other qualifying ad- 
jeftives all relating to our dealings with the 
world at large, to the utter exclusion of self. 
It is not for me to make comparisons, to 
analyse, so to speak, the charader of Benjamin 
Franklin Stevens, to apply touchstone or test 
to prove how near he came to the ideal laid 
down by the old writer, and for this reason : 
it has been my pleasurable duty to give in the 
foregoing pages the materials which will enable 
the readers to judge for themselves what manner 
of man he was in his inner life from boyhood 
to a good mature age. For myself I read in 
them the indomitable perseverance of one who, 
early instrufted in the life he was to lead, set 


himself sternly to the task, following one 
straight line from the beginning to the end, 
and not for ambition's sake, but solely in the 
cause of duty towards those with whom his 
journey brought him in contaft. 

Though passing the main portion of his life 
in the Mother Country, and in many incidents 
of his career proving his English descent, yet 
he was always an American of the Americans, 
a true son of those who went forth to colonise 
the new land where they sought freedom of 
aftion and the independence which came in its 
own good time. 

The task in writing this memorial has been 
principally to chronicle and place in sequence 
as to time the words of others, and these have 
told the life story. It would have been easy 
to play the part of eulogist and set forth a 
long list of proofs of what this man was, but 
the simple fads contained in these letters have 
spoken for themselves. I can but add that in 
going through the manuscripts placed at my 
disposal — mostly treasured letters that had 
passed between the boy and man and his friends 
during a period of over half a century — 1845 
to 1901 — the principal portion of them being 
his own, my regret has been that they could 
not be given to the world in greater fullness 
in their simplicity and truth. 

But Benjamin Franklin Stevens was no 


seeker after notoriety. He had a calm intelli- 
gent life of his own to lead as a student, and 
his countrymen when they fully realise all 
that he has done cannot fail to honour his 
name with the long roll of those who have 
gone before; not that he needs graven or 
sculptured stone — his literary work is in itself 
monumental, and embraces the most important 
epoch in the history of the United States: the 
period dealing with the War of Independence. 
Truly it may be said that in this man's life 
Finis coronat of us — the end crowns the work. 



IT is the writer's painful duty to announce 
that during the passage through the press 
of this Memoir, Mrs. B. F. Stevens, while 
watching its progress, gradually failed in health, 
and peacefully passed away on Wednesday the 
22nd of July, 1903, in the seventy-fifth year 
of her age. She was buried at Kensal Green 
Cemetery, in the same grave as her husband 
and father. 

Introduftion to the 


in the Archives of England, France 

Holland and Spain relating to 

America, 1763 to 1783 

Compiled in Three Divisions, in each of which 

all of the 161 poo Documents 

enumerated are cited 

Compiled by Benjamin Franklin Stevens (of Vermont) 

L.H.D., M.A., Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries, of the 

Royal Historical Society, Member of the American 

Antiquarian Society and of the Historical Societies 

of Vermont, Maryland, Connecticut and 

Minnesota. 4, Trafalgar Square, W.C. 

London, England. 1870 to 1902 


I • The Catalogue in 50 volumes of the docu- 
ments by short titles in the order in which they 
exist in the Public Record Office of England, 
British Museum, Royal Institution^ the French 
Foreign, Marine and War Offices^ the Dutch 
Rijks and Huis Archives^ the Spanish Archives in 
Alcald, Seville, and Simancas^ and in the Collec- 
tions of Lord Abergavenny, Auckland, Carlisle, 
Dartmouth, Germain, Lansdowne, etc. etc. etc. 

2. The Chronological Index in 100 volumes, 
with a description of each document. 

3. The Alphabetical Index in 30 volumes by 
Authors and Receivers, and where no writer is 
named then by the subjeft matter. 


BEFORE coming to London in 
July i860, I had had some ex- 
perience with historical manu- 
scripts relating to the period of the 
American Revolution, especially those 
relating to Vermont. 

I had copied under the direction of 
my father, the late Henry Stevens, Pre- 
sident of the Vermont Historical and 
Antiquarian Society, some manuscripts 
in the offices of the Secretary of State 
at Albany and some in the Secretary of 
State's office at Boston, and as Deputy 
Secretary of the State of Vermont I had, 
with an assistant, catalogued or indexed 
the manuscripts in the office of the 
Secretary of State at Montpelier down 
to the date of 06tober, 1 8cx). 

I had been in London perhaps three 
or four years when I became engaged in 
the work of transcribing documents in 
the Public Record Office of England 
relating to New Jersey. 


In the absence of any index to the 
manuscripts relating to America I be- 
gan noting such papers as I came across 
from time to time, in the Public Record 
Office and elsewhere, as had reference to 
America, and particularly to the period 
of the Revolution, or, as one of the 
officials preferred to say, to the American 
phase of the history of England during 
the American rebellion. 

This work was privately continued in 
a desultory way till 1882. 

In March, 1881, Mr^ Evarts, then 
Secretary of State, wrote to Mr. Lowell, 
the American Minister in London : 

Department of State, 
Sir : Washington, March i, i88i. 

In view of the preparations making in this 
country for celebrating the one hundredth anniver- 
sary of peace and the recognition of American 
Independence, the President deems the present a 
suitable time to begin the work of obtaining, so hx 
as may be pra6Ucable, complete copies of all the 
correspondence in the archives of foreign govern- 
ments, in any way bearing on the peace negotiations 
of 1783, in order that the same may be made avail- 
able for use for historical purposes. 

I have, therefore, to request you to bring the 
8ubje& to the attention of Her Majesty's Govern- 
ment, and to ask for permission to cause copies to 
be made of such unpublished papers and documents 



as may exist in the British archives relating to the 
peace negotiations in question, as Her Majesty*s 
Government may deem it proper to submit to the 
inspection of your legation for that purpose. 

In addition to making this formal request of the 
British Government, I will thank you to take 
measures to obtain such information as may be 
attainable, as to documents relating to this subjedi, 
which may exist in the manuscript collections of 
families, similar to the Lansdowne House manu- 
scripts and the Shelburne manuscripts, with a view 
of ultimately obtaining copies of such papers therein 
as may be of value. I am, sir, etc., 

William M. Evarts. 

James Russell Lowell, Esq., etc. 

Mr. Evarts addressed a similar letter 
to our Minister in Paris respecting the 
French archives. 

Mr. Lowell, on March i6, transmitted 
Mr. Evart's request to Earl Granville, 
the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs: 

Legation of the United iStates, 
My Lord: London, March i6, 1881. 

I have the honor to acquaint you that I have 
this day received a dispatch from Mr. Evarts, dated 
on the 1st instant, in which he states that the 
President, in view of the preparations making in 
America for celebrating the one hundredth anniver- 
sary of peace and the recognition of American 
Independence,. deems th^ present a suitable time to 
begin the work of obtaining, so far as mav be 
pra£licable, complete copies of all the corresponaence 
in the archives of foreign Governments in any way 


bearing on the peace negotiations of 1783, in order 
that the same may be made available for use for 
historical purposes. 

I have therefore been instru£ted to bring the 
8ubje£t to the attention of Her Majesty's Govern- 
ment, and I have the honor to ask for permission 
to cause copies to be made of such unpublished 
papers and documents as may exist in the British 
archives relating to the peace ;iegottations in question 
as Her Majesty's Government may deem it proper 
to submit to the inspe£tion of this legation for that 
purpose. I have the honor to be, etc., 

J. R. Lowell. 

to which Earl Granville replied : 

Sir : Foreign Office, March 26, i88i. 

I have the honor to acknowledge the re- 
ceipt of your letter of the i6th instant, requesting 
to be supplied, for historical purposes, with copies of 
any unpublished documents which may exist in the 
British archives bearing upon the peace negotiations 
of 1783 ; and I have much pleasure in informing you 
that the Master of the Rolls has been requestea to 
give every facility to any gentleman whom you may 
be pleased to depute to attend at the Public Record 
Office for the purpose of examining and making 
copies of any papers which he may sele£t from the 
foreig^n correspondence of that period, subje£t to the 
usual restri£tions. I have the honor to be, etc., 


James Russell Lowell, Esq., etc., etc., etc. 

This permission was communicated 
to Mr. Blaine, who had in the meantime 
become Secretary of State : 


Legation of the United States, 
Sir: London, April i, 1881. 

Referring to Mr. Evart*s No. 119, of the ist 
ultimo, I have the honor to inclose a copy of my 
note to Lord Granville requesting to be supplied 
with copies of unpublished documents bearing upon 
the peace negotiations of 1783, and of his lordship^s 
reply, which arrived this morning. 

As it will be necessary, in order to avail ourselves 
of the permission accorded, that some gentleman 
deputed by me should attend at the Public Record 
Office to examine the papers in question, it is im- 
portant that an expert should be appointed who has 
competent knowledge of the subje<9k, and who could 
make a proper seledion from the unpublished papers. 
I respectfully suggest that a duly qualified person 
should be sent from America by the Department of 
State for this purpose. I have the honor to be, etc., 

J. R. Lowell. 

In consequence of this suggestion, 
Mr. Dwight, chief of the Bureau of 
Rolls and Library, was sent to London 
by the Department of State to make the 
required examination. He found the 
work much larger than he anticipated 
and decided to abandon it. I was 
pointed out to him as having already per- 
formed much of the necessary prelimin- 
ary labour of searching; my methods 
of work were submitted to him and 
specimens of transcripts and indexes ex-^ 
amined, on all of which his opinion is 


given in his letter to the Department in 
April, 1884, quoted on page 229. 

The foHowing correspondence and 
proceedings, in chronological order, will 
give the history and development of the 
scheme : 

Mr. Stevens to Mr. Frelinghuysen. 

United States Government Despatch Agency, 

4, Trafalgar Square, W.C., London, 

Sir : November 4, 1882. 

I have for a long time been coUedting in- 
formation concerning material for an authentic 
documentary history of the American war of inde* 
pendence, and of the several military and diplomatic 
peace negotiations between Great Britain and 
America down to and including the Paris treaty of 
1783, and the exchange of its ratifications. 

I now desire to continue my researches under 
the dire£tion and at the cost of the Department. 

The historical manuscripts formerly in the British 
State Paper Office, Board of Trade, War Office, 
and other Government offices have been gathered 
together, and are now deposited in Her Majesty's 
Public Record Office. The public are allowed to 
search the manuscripts previous to 1 760 with con- 
siderable freedom, but all documents after 1 760 are 
considered as being quite private, and one gets 
access to them only by permission from the Foreign 

Researches have at various times been made from 
the earliest dates for the colonial history of New 
York, now published in twelve volumes quarto. 
A considerable portion of the New Jersey docu- 


ments are calendared in the New Jersey Historical 
Society's series, and others have been copied for the 
society, though they may not have yet been pub- 
lished. Some of the Maryland and V irginia docu- 
ments have been calendared, and the manuscript 
calendars are now believed to be in Baltimore and 
Richmond. Of the early Massachusetts records, I 
think six volumes quarto have been published. 
Many other documents, especially of the earlier 
dates, have been copied, calendared, or extradbed 
for special or local objedls, but, so far as I know, no 
one has ever carefully examined and noted all 
documents touching America and American affairs 
from i772-'73 to 1783. 

I am endeavoring to get such information as 
will enable one to instantly gather up the various 
American threads from about the opening of Lord 
Dartmouth's administration, and, bringing the 
whole subjedb well together by the date of our peti- 
tion to the King in 1774, to thoroughly seek out 
and note all information concerning documentary 
materials as fully as possible down to the P^ris 
treaty of 1783, and its ratifications. 

I have permission to pursue my studies in Her 
Majesty's Public Record Office, and to make copies 
or extra£b of any documents and correspondence I 
may find upon America and American afiairs down 
to and including the Paris treaty of 1783 and the 
exchange of ratifications of the same. 

There is no chronological or alphabetical or other 
index of any sort of the American papers in the 
Public Record Office, and there is no ready means 
of finding and comparing the documents other than 
by searching. The privatelv printed official one 
line hand list of the books only refers to the general 
grouping of the contents of the volumes. 


In the absence of any index, I have found it to 
be desirable to make a very concise but carefully 
prepared chronological catalogue of all documents 
in the Public Record Office bearing upon American 
aflairs and the peace negotiations, including of 
course the correspondence between England and 
France on the subjed as well as the correspondence 
between the American and British authorities and 
between the British ministers and their own com- 

The documents in the Public Record Office, so 
far as they relate to America, are for the most part 
broadly classified under the geographical heading of 
" America and West Indies, * and, from the earliest 
dates down to the Paris treaty, this series comprises 
about 700 volumes. These 700 volumes are sub- 
divided into groups under such headings as. Orders 
in council. Military correspondence. Promiscuous, 
Burgoyne, Naval, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, 
New York, New Jersey, Rhode Island, Maryland, 
Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, 
East Florida, West Florida, Plantations, Memoriak, 
Correspondence, Commissioners, Military entry 
books, and other entry books for North Carolina, 
South Carolina, Georgia, Proprieties, Virginia, East 
and West Florida, Quebec, Plantations, Nova Scotia, 
Newfoundland, Samt John's, Massachusetts, and 
other separate colonies. Entries of privy council, 
Pardons, Military dispatches. Detached papers. In- 
tercepted papers. Secret dispatches, A£b, etc. 

There are also several hundred volumes under 
the general heading of Board of Trade, and these 
are to a considerable extent subdivided under head- 
ings somewhat similar to those used in the 
" America and West Indies/* 

There is also much relating to America in the 


British correspondence under the headings of 
France, Holland, and, beginning with 1783, there 
are some papers under " America." 

Much of the correspondence from America was 
originally sent to both the Foreign Office and the 
Board of Trade ; and, for greater safety in trans- 
mission, letters were frequently sent to both offices 
in duplicate or triplicate, and in some cases in quad- 

Where two or more copies of a paper reached 
the respe£tive destinations, this document is now 
found to exist several times over, and by concen- 
trating the public papers from all the old Govern* 
ment offices in the new Public Record Office, these 
documents are now brought approximately together. 

In the absence of any systematic classification in 
filing and binding up the papers, the several copies 
of any individual document are now found to be 
scattered through the subdivisions or headings al- 
ready enumerated, and no one copy bears any evi- 
dence of there being duplicates in existence, and of 
course there is no cross reference to the volume and 
page where such duplicates, if any, are to be found. 
The calendaring of the documents in the Public 
Record Office relating to America is progressing. 
Two volumes are published, and Volume III of 
this series, bringing the dates down to about 1687, 
is expe£ted to be issued in about two years. The 
date of the American Independence can not at this 
rate be reached in the calendaring during this 
generation nor the next. 

I venture to suggest that a historical student will 
be less well satisfied with the calendaring of docu- 
ments than with the opportimity to peruse full and 
accurate copies of the documents themselves. 

I am maidng a similar chronological catalogue of 


the American manuscripts which are to be found in 
the several government offices in Paris. I am also 
including in my chronological catalogue the Ameri- 
can manuscripts in the Royal Institution in Lon- 
don, the Lansdowne coUednon, and I am turning 
into chronological order and incorporating the cata- 
logue of the Haldimand papers and other American 
manuscripts in the British Museum into my general 
chronological catalogue. 

The diplomatic and political correspondence as 
brought together by the several divisions of my 
catalogue appears to be very nearly if not quite com- 
plete, and I may add that this correspondence con- 
tains a very great deal of matter that has never been 

The military correspondence is most copious, and 
is also believed to be very nearly if not quite com- 
plete. The British portion includes the corre- 
spondence between Sir William Howe and Lord 
Barrington, Sir Henry Clinton, Lord George Ger- 
main, Charles Jenkinson, Lord North, Treasury 
Office, War Office, Sir George Osborn, Captain 
Mackenzie, Washington, Walcott, sundry officers, 
etc. ; between Sir Henry Clinton and Lord George 
Germain, Sir Guy Carleton, Karl Cornwallis, 
General Campbell, Governor Franklin, General 
Haldimand, General Heath, Sir William Howe, 
General Maclean, Captain Mackenzie, General 
Prevost, General Phillips, Washington, Treasury, 
Sir James Wright, John Robinson, sundry officers, 
warrants and accounts, etc. ; between Sir Guy 
Carleton and Lord Shelburne, the Treasury, 
Thomas Townshcnd, Lord North, Sir Henry Clin- 
ton, Colonel Anstruther, General Haldimand, 
General Delancey, Grovernor Parr, General Patti- 
son, Maurice Morgann, Greneral Macarthur, Wash- 


ington, sundry officers, various occurrences, orders 
and abstradls, letters from Halifax, affidavits and 
memorials of royalists, petitions from loyalists, pen- 
tions and complimentary letters, accounts with 
memorials, etc.; and also the correspondence be- 
tween the several officers themselves, and with 
others, American and British. 

The correspondence with reference to the Hes- 
sians, the treaties respe£ting the Hessian troops and 
regiment occurrences, prisoners, etc., is interesting, 
and will be of importance to the genealogist as well 
as to the historical student. 

The miscellaneous papers include, among many 
other subje6ls, the muster-rolls of different regi- 
ments. Abstra£ts and cash accounts, returns of 
prisoners and loyalists, with returns of clothing, 
provisions, etc., warrants for pajdng sundrv regi- 
ments, reports of officers from different regiments, 
with petitions and memorials not only of the officers 
but also of many loyalists, the commissary general's 
accounts with the crown, commissions, writs, etc., 
coroners' inquests, with reports from the military 
and civil departments, particulars of vessels entered 
and cleared from New York, lists of general and 
staff officers of the British army, book of three 
thousand negroes registered and certified on leaving 
New York in compliance with the seventh article 
of the provisional treaty, etc. 

The Paris documents, although considerably scat- 
tered among several government offices, appear to 
be very full and perhaps approximately complete. 
The correspondence between the French Govern- 
ment and Gerard, Luzerne, and Barb£ de Marbois 
while in America appears to be quite complete, and 
that between the French Government and our com- 
missioners, Franklin, Jay, Adams, Lee, etc., is very 


copious. Also the journals, papers, and corre- 
spondence of D'Estaing and other French officers 
with the French Government and with American 
officers and public individuals. The correspondence 
of De Grasse, Barras, Lafayette, Paul Jones, Frank- 
lin, Arnold, Fleury, Green, Hancock, Laurens, 
Washington (many), etc., is voluminous. 

I believe a great portion of these Paris documents 
have never before been catalogued or used for his- 
torical purposes, and I find many of them are of 
great importance. 

The apparent openness of Franklin in submitting 
abstra^ and extra£ts as copies of the American 
commissioners' correspondence with Congress to 
the French Government and the candor with which 
the French Government dealt with these com- 
munications is now noticeable upon finding AiU 
copies of the intercepted correspondence with the 
so-called copies transmitted by our commissioners 
to the French Government. I mention this single 
incident to illustrate the carefulness with which one 
should look at every paper, note its origin, its 
objedl, and its uses. 

The dates and short descriptions, without sub- 
jedls, in my chronological index, are often precisely 
the same when really calling for different papers. 
This may arise from the writers having written two 
or more letters on different subjedls on the same 
day, to the same addresses. 

My plan contemplates comparing and verifying 
all papers, whether apparently or really alike, and 
when there is more than one copy to identify the 
original as the assumed standard copy for. historical 
reference, carefully noting the volume and page, as 
also the coUedion, where the duplicates, etc., exist, 
and if the dociunent is printed, note where the 


printed copy is to be found, and to proof-read the 
original manuscript with such printed copy, whether 
in the various publications already indicated, or in 
such others as the Diplomatic Correspondence, the 
Correspondence of the Revolution, Sparks' Frank- 
lin, Sparks' Washington, Fitzmaurice's Shelburne, 
Life of Jay, Adams, etc., and to carefully note the 
discrepancies, if any, and where the manuscripts are 
found not to have been printed, or if very in- 
accurately printed, I recommend carefully copying 
such documents, following spelling, abbreviations, 
capitals, pun£hiation, etc., so that with the printed 
copies already in existence and with the manuscript 
copy, which I now desire to make under your in- 
stru^ions, the Department will have a complete 
copy of every paper relating to America during the 
period indicated that can be foimd in the several 
colledtions in London and Paris. 

I also recommend comparing the manuscript 
duplicates or copies of any documents to note any 
important verbal variations, but not such differences 
as spelling, capitals, etc. 

If the Department desire me to do so, I shall 
have pleasure in comparing the list of the Franklin 
manuscripts, recently purchased by the Govern- 
ment, with my chronological catalogue, to note the 
documents that exist in the public offices in London 
and Paris, which are also in the Franklin coUedlion, 
and hence abstain from copying any papers that may 
have lately been acquired by the Government. 

I suggest the use of original Turkey mill paper, 
blue foolscap, nineteen lines to the page, in the 
general style of this letter, for the copies of the 
original manuscript, but this suggestion will, of 
course, be withdrawn to meet the preferences of the 


I have had several clerks engaged upon this work 
for more than a year, and up to this time I have 
accumulated above thirty thousand entries, includ- 
ing, of course, the drafts, originals, duplicates, 
ciphers, copies, etc., of the papers, which are found 
to exist in more than one State, and in more than 
one colle£tion. 

I am pushing my work forward in London and 
Paris as rapidly as possible, and I believe I shall add 
at least ten tnousand more entries by Christmas ; 
that is to say, by the end of this year I exped my 
chronological catalogue will include at least forty 
thousand entries. 

I am making an alphabetical index to my great 
chronological catalogue. The magnitude and cost 
of my labor is getting to be beyond my limited 
means, and instead of seeking pecuniary assistance 
from a publisher or other commercial channel, I 
pray the Department will authorize me to proceed 
with the work under its direction upon such an 
economical basis as may be required. 

I take great pleasure in doing my work. I be- 
lieve I can do it thoroughly well without interfering 
with my duties as Despatch Agent ; and I believe 
I can do it very much cheaper than the Govern- 
ment could send any one to London and Paris to 
do it 

It is desirable that some investigations should be 
made in Germany for the Hessian and military 
correspondence, and in Holland and Spain for the 
diplomatic and political correspondence. I am un- 
willing to apply for an appointment which shall not 
look to delivering my work before receiving pay for 
it; and to this end I suggest that the work be 
divided into as many sections or divisions as may 
be convenient for quickly finishing off each separate 


sedion, that it may be delivered complete in itself, 
and that I may be paid for the work as delivered ; 
and I also suggest that my compensation should be 
based upon the quantity of matter delivered, say, 
upon counting the numoer of words, or the pages. 

I am very willing to modify this letter to suit the 
preferences of the Department. If there is no 
available appropriation under which the Department 
can give me the desired instruction I am very will- 
ing to continue to vigorously prosecute the work, if 
the Department will apply to this approaching Con- 
gress for the authority and funds for making the 
required historical researches and copies. 

I venture to suggest that the application for the 
appropriation should be for Si 0,000, or as much 
thereof as may be needed. 

The ordinary official fee for cop3ring and certify- 
ing manuscripts in Her Majesty's Public Record 
Office I am told is is. per folio of 72 words, but 
facilities for copying are afforded to the public, 
without any responsibility on the part of the Public 
Record Office for the accuracy of the copies, and 
the usual fee for these simple copies is four pence a 
folio of 72 words, which is approximately 1 1 cents 
a hundred words. The fee for searching for docu- 
ments in the Public Record Office varies from 
25. bd, to 5J. an hour. 

For making all my searches in London and Paris, 
for preparing my chronological and alphabetical 
indexes for readily finding the originals, noting the 
duplicates, examining and copying the indorsements, 
which are often of the greatest importance, and for 
gathering the useful particulars for determining 
which papers are to be copied, and for copying the 
documents that are not printed, I shall be glad to 
be paid 21 cents a hundred words, or such other 

214 ^- ^- STEVENS* INDEX OF 

moderate fee as the Department may determine, 
counting only the manuscript which I should deliver 
under this arrangement, and a fee of 7 cents a 
hundred words, or such other rate as the Depart- 
ment may fix, after a little experience in the quality 
of the work and my cost for producing it, for proof- 
reading and noting the differences in the documents 
when existing in more than one state, and also for 
noting any errors in the printed copy that may be 
shown by the proof-reading. 

In doing this copying and literary work at a 
moderate price, without a separate salary or charge 
for stationery and for expenses while making the 
researches, I should consider myself a servant of the 
Department, and should consider its work as being 
8tri£Uy confidentiaL I have thus far kept the fad 
of my being engaged on this chronological catalogue 
as quiet as possible. 

I venture to send copies of this letter to his ex- 
cellency Hon. J. R. Lowell, Hon. Judge Bancroft 
Davis, Rev. Edward Everett Hale, and William F. 
Poole, esq., in the hope that they will favor me 
by seconding my present application to the Depart- 
ment, and that they will, by their extensive know- 
ledge of the subjed, generally, favor the Depart- 
ment and me, confidentially, with any hints for the 
better prosecution of the great work. 

I desire to acknowledge my great obligations to 
Mr. Lowell for seconding my application to the 
Royal Institution for permission to use its manu- 
scripts ; to Mr. Vignaud, for obtaining the necessary 
permission for my working in Paris ; to Mr. Kings- 
ton, of the Public Record Office; to Mr. Vincent, 
of the Roval Institution ; to Mr. Thompson, of the 
British Museum % to Mr. Ribier, the archivist of 
the French foreign office ; to Mr. Brauges, the chief 


of the bureau of archives in the French marine 
ofice, and especially to Mr. Margrjr, formerly ar- 
chivist of the ministry of the marine, for the 
facilities, courtesies, and information imparted to me 
and to my clerks in thus far carrying out the work 
I have set myself about. I have the honor to be, 
sir, your obedient servant, B. F. Stevens, 

United States Despatch Agent, 
Hon, Fred'k T. Frelinghuysen, 
Secretary of State^ fFashington. 

Mr. Lowell to Mr. Frelinghuysen. 

Legation of the United States, 
Sir: London, November 29, 1882. 

Mr. B. F. Stevens has sent me confidentially 
a copy of his memorial to you on the subjedl of the 
work he is engaged upon of making a catalogue of 
all documents relating to our revolutionary history 
which are to be found in public archives or private 
cabinets, whether in this country or on the con- 
tinent Without classification or index, as they 
now are, they can hardly be said to exist at all for 
the historian. 

The work Mr. Stevens proposes to do would 
make them all both accessible and useful to the 
student of that period of our histoiy. It should be 
borne in mind, also, that his plan, from its compre- 
hensive nature, would produce a result more homo- 
geneous and convenient for research than piecemeal 
classification and abstra<%ng of the documents could 
possibly do. 

In accordance with the expressed wish of Mr. 
Stevens, it gives me pleasure to say that I think him 
particularly fitted by his industry, experience, and 
intelligence, as well as by a special enthusiasm in 


this particular case, to do excellently well what he 
has undertaken. 

As to the terms of compensation proposed by 
Mr. Stevens, I have no experience that would 
enable me to say whether they are moderate or not, 
but could easily ascertain, if it were thought neces- 
sary, by inquiry among experts here. I have the 
honor to be, with great respe£l, your obedient 
servant, J. R. Lowbll. 

Hon. F. T. Frelinghuysen, 

Secretary of State^ Washington^ D. C. 

Mr. Davis to Mr. Sherman. 

Department of State, 

Sir : Washington, January 27, 1883. 

I have the honor to transmit herewith for 
your consideration a copy of a letter from Mr. B. F. 
Dtevens, dated November 4, 1882, and a copy of a 
dispatch from Mr. Lowell, minister in London, 
No. 455, dated November 29, 1882. 

It will be observed ftom Mr. Stevens's letter that 
the historical manuscripts formerly scattered through 
various offices of the British Government are now 
collected in the Public Record Office, where the 
public is allowed to search the manuscripts prior to 
1760, those since that date being considered private 
and are only to be seen by permission from the 
Foreign Office. 

So far as is known, no one has examined and 
noted all documents touching America from 1772- 
'73 to 1783, while special studies having relation to 
the history of one or two States have been made. 

There is no chronological or alphabetical index 
of these papers, and they are for the most part 
broadly classified under general headings. From 


the earliest dates down to the Paris treaty the series 
comprises about 700 volumes, headed ^^ America and 
the West Indies," and there are several hundred 
volumes headed " Board of Trade," besides much 
relating to the same subjed under the headings 
^^ France " and ^ Holland, and some beginning in 
1783 under "America.*' 

The concentration of the public papers in one 
office has shown the existence in some instances of 
several copies of the same paper which had been on 
file in different departments of the government, and 
are now scattered through the volumes without 
cross reference or evidence that there are duplicates 
in existence. 

At the present rate of calendaring in the Record 
Office it is said that the date of American Independ- 
ence can not be reached "during this generation, nor 
the next." 

Mr. Stevens is making a chronological catalogue 
of all these papers, including also the American 
manuscripts in the Royal Institution in London, 
the Lansdowne Colledlion, and is incorporating the 
catalogue of the Haldimand papers and other 
American manuscripts in the British Museum. He 
proposes to compare and verify all papers, whether 
apparently or really alike, and when there is more 
than one cop/*, to identify the original as the 
assumed standard copy for historical reference, noting 
the volume, page, and colle£Hon, where the dupli- 
cate, etc., exists, and if the document is printed to 
note where the printed copy is to be found ; to collate 
the original manuscript with the printed copy, if there 
be one ; to note the discrepancies, if any, between 
the printed copy and the original ; and to copy other 
documents, carefully following the spelling, abbrevia- 
tions, etc., so that with the printed copies in exist- 


ence and the manuscript copies to be made by him, 
a complete copy of all papers relating to America 
during the period indicated that can be found in the 
colledions in London or Paris, will be in the pos- 
session of this Government. 

Mr. Stevens is already well advanced in his work, 
but states that the magnitude and cost of it is getting 
beyond his means, and, instead of turning to a pub- 
lisher for assistance, he asks this Department to 
proceed with the work under its dire&ion. He 
proposes that he be paid as the work progresses, the 
compensation to be based upon the amount of matter 
delivered, and, after referring to the fees charged in 
the Record Office for copies and certificates, he 
suggests that for making his searches in London and 
Paris, preparing chronological and alphabetical in- 
dexes, noting the duplicates, examining and copying 
the indorsements, for gathering the useful particulars 
to determine which papers are to be copied, and for 
copying the documents not printed he receive twenty- 
one cents per hundred words, or such other reasonable 
fee as may be fixed, counting only the manuscript 
delivered, and that he receive an additional fee, say, 
seven cents per hundred words, for proof-reading, 
noting the differences in documents and any errors 
in the printed copy. 

Mr. Lowell states that the documents, as they 
now are, ^' can hardly be said to exist at all for the 
histprian," while Mr. Stevens's plan, if carried out, 
would make them all both accessible and useful, and 
he commends Mr. Stevens as particularly fitted to 
do the work excellently well. 

The proposition of Mr. Stevens is evidently an 
important one, deserving careful consideration, ouch 
a catalogue would be an invaluable aid to all students 
of colonial and revolutionary history, for it would 


bring together in this country documents which 
now exist only in Europe, and are there for the 
most part pradlically inaccessible. This Depart- 
ment, however, has no authority to incur the ex- 
pense, and I therefore have the honor to bring the 
matter to your attention, with the suggestion that a 
resolution similar to the one inclosed be presented 
to the Senate, or that a clause similar in tSt&, be 
added to the proper appropriation bill. The papers, 
when received, could be filed either with the revolu- 
tionary archives in this Department or in the Library 
of Congress, as may be deemed most appropriate 
and convenient. 

Should this Department be authorized to employ 
Mr. Stevens, preliminary examination would lie 
made as to the proper compensation and the value 
of the work already completed by him. I have the 
honor to be, sir, your obedient servant, 

John Davis, 

ASfing Secretary. 
Hon. John Sherman, 

Chairman of Joint Committee on the Library^Senate. 

The above letter from the Adting 
Secretary of State, with the accompany- 
ing papers and the following resolutions, 
were printed as Senate Mis. Doc. No. 29, 
Forty-seventh Congress, second session. 

February 2, 1883. — Reported from the Committee 
on the Library, ordered to be printed, and re- 
committed to the committee. 

Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives 
of the United States of America in Congress assembled^ 
That the Secretary of State be, and he is hereby, 


authorized and empowered to obtain, through the 
agency of Benjamin F. Stevens, of London, indexes 
and transcripts of the original papers relative to the 
history of the colonization of the United States and 
of the war of the Revolution, preserved in the 
Public Record Office of England, the same to be 
deposited with the archives now in the custody of 
the Department of State. 

And be it further resolved^ That ten thousand 
dollars, or so much thereof as may be necessary for 
that purpose, be, and are hereby, appropriated out of 
any money in the Treasury not otherwise appro- 
priatedy to be expended under the diredion of the 
Secretary of State, and to be subject to his requisi- 
tion until the object and purpose of this resolution 
are eiFe£ted. 

Mr. Stevens to Mr. Frelinghuysen. 

United States Government Despatch Agency, 
4 Trafalgar Square, London, 

Sir: March 17, 1884. 

In compliance with jrour request for further 
information, I take pleasure m formulating my views 
concerning the projefl of obtaining copies of all 
documents in the European archives illustrative of 
the early history of the United States, and especially 
those bearing upon the American Revolution and 
the war of independence substantially as communi- 
cated by the Assistant Secretarv of State to Congress, 
and published in Senate Mis. Doc. 29, Forty-seventh 
Congress, second session. 

The three great governments, Endand, America, 
and France were parties to the Revolution in 
America, and to the peace negotiations. 

Our own national archives by themselves go little 


further than to illustrate the American phase of the 
history of this period, while the combined archives, 
American and European, clearly show the Revolu- 
tion to have been of European origin — ^England at 
war with all nations, and American independence 
the price of an universal peace. 

The history of this period in America, and from 
the American stand-point only, has been treated by 
eminent writers, but no one has yet published the 
authentic documents showing the Revolution was 
begotten, direfled and managed largely in Europe, 
and by the British officers in America in con(U£t 
with the Americans who accepted the challenge and 
completed the Revolution. 

I submit that the whole subjed cannot be satis- 
iadorily dealt with until our own national colle£Hon 
of documents shall embrace the English and the 
French sides as well as the American, together with 
all documentary details of the moving causes and 
influences which resulted in the Paris peace treaty 
in 1783. 

I desire^ under your dire£Hon, to make a careful 
compilation of all unpublished documents that can 
be found in the European archives illustrative of the 
British side of the American Revolution, and also 
illustrative of the side of France and our aJlies. 

The British documents should include the ads 
and instructions of the King, the ministry, and the 
Parliament, together with the diplomatic, political, 
military and naval correspondence of the British 
Government with the several governors of the then 
colonies; with the commanders-in-chief of the 
King's forces in America; between the British 
officers themselves, including the Hessians, the 
loyalists, the refugees, and with the prisoners ; those 
supplying secret intelligence, etc.; and also the 


correspondence between the American and British 
officers direft. This latter, I repeat, has already 
been partly treated from the American side. 

The warrants, accounts, etc., of the extraordinary 
and other expenses of Generals Clinton and Carleton 
include much information of a Inographical and 
genealogical interest, as well as of military and 
financial importance. 

The political and miscellaneous correspondence of 
the British Government with the colonial governors, 
magistrates, agents, and others, and the colonial 
memorials, petitions, etc., exhibit a distin6tive phase 
of the Revolution, which phase is as much American 
as English, and which still remains a part of the un- 
written history of the American Revolution. 

The a£ts of the several American colonies, each 
under the certificate of the governor with the colonial 
seal, being subje6t to the King's approval, were 
separately referred to the privy council and by it to 
the law advisers. The reports, approvals, objections, 
proclamations of allowance or of disallowance, and 
generally the entries in the minutes of council would 
be exceedingly interesting if all the steps and in- 
formation upon each a£l should be gathered together 
and printed with it, thereby illustrating the great 
influence of the English Government upon the 
colonial legislation and its executive privileges. 

The unprinted military and naval correspondence 
of Generals Gage, Howe, Clinton, and Carleton, 
while commanders-in-chief of the British forces in 
America, direftly with their own Government j and 
the correspondence of the British officers in America 
with the civil and political officers, the loyalists and 
refugees in America, I repeat, bears quite as much 
upon the history of the American Revolution as 
does that between the British and American officers. 


This phase of the history of the war of independence 
has not, I believe, yet been dwelt upon. 

This remark applies equally to the military peace 
negotiations carried on in America between the 
British commissioners there and General Washington 
and other American officers quite independently of 
the diplomatic negotiations going on at the same 
time in Paris, a point to a great extent lost sight of. 
This military peace negotiation would form an im- 
portant subdivision of the proposed compilation. 

The more important diplomatic peace negotiations 
in Paris would of course include all of the unpub- 
lished correspondence touching America between 
the British ministers themselves in London and with 
their commissioners in France, Holland and Spain 
during the Paris negotiations, and also between the 
British commissioners in Paris and the French 
Government, and between them and our own com- 

This proposed compilation, on precisely the same 
general lines, should extend to the French phase of 
the whole subject, and include the correspondence of 
the French ministers themselves prior and subsequent 
to the treaty of alliance ; the inducements to France 
to enter into the alliance ; the sending of ministers 
to America ; the open and the secret instructions 
and correspondence between the French Government 
and its diplomatic, military and naval officers in 
America, and should also include the privately 
supplied intelligence concerning both the American 
and British officers individually, civil and military ; 
and to the current measures and plans of the opera- 
tions in America, as communicated to the French 
court from day to day. 

The journals or log-books of the French ships of 
war while serving in the Revolution, with the names 


of oflken and crews, the casualties^ etc, and paiti« 
culars of various expeditions ; the court-martial of 
De GfasiCy the proceedings at his trial, the rewards 
to^his fleet, etc^ and also the correspondence between 
the French military and naval officers and General 
Washington and other American officers would all 
come into the proposed compilation. 

The French fdiase would also include the corre- 
spondence between the French Government and its 
representatives in London until thejr were with- 
drawn, and between the French Government and 
the British peace commissioners in Paris, as also 
with the American commissioners, and with the 
representatives of Holland, Spain, etc 

The diplomatic correspondence in the Paris peace 
negotiations may, I think, be most conveniently 
dealt with in two or more divisions — ^b^inning the 
latter series with the introdudion of Oswald as the 
British negotiator in the spring of 1782, and ending 
with the 1 783 treaty and the exchange of its ratifica- 

I have estimated that the impublished manuscripts 
representing the American, the British, and the 
French phases of the Paris diplomatic negotiations 
from the spring of 1782 to the 1783 treaty will 
make three or possibly four volumes of about six 
hundred pages royal o£lavo, similar to the thirty-two 
specimen pages which I have the honor to submit 
herewith in a dummy volume of five hundred and 
seventy-six pages. These thirty-two pages are re- 
peated in order to show the general appearance of a 
proposed volume. 

I am so far prepared with the material for this one 
series of papers that I can immediate! v proceed with the 
printing, indexing and delivering these three or four 
volumes upon receiving your instrudions to this end. 



The earlier Paris negotiations (American, British, 
and French) down to March, 1782, will perhaps 
make two uniform volumes, which could be rapidly 
proceeded with after the above series is in type. 

The military peace negotiations already mentioned 
could, I think, be all printed in one volume uniform 
with the others. 

In November, 1882, I had the honor to inform 
you that I had then for a long time been collecting 
this authentic documentary material and information. 
My letter was the occasion of the Senate document 
herein referred to and which has not yet been zQtcA 

I have continued and am continuing my work as 
set out in that letter. 

I am told that my permissions from the respedive 
authorities to peruse, calendar, index, and copy the 
documents, or any of them, bearing upon America 
and American anairs are wider than have before 
been granted. 

My searches in London, Paris, The Hague, and 
Amsterdam have resulted in my indexing above sixty 
thousand papers in the European archives from 1772 
to 1783, upon the great subje6t. Very many of 
these papers exist in two or more states, as drafts, 
originals, duplicates, ciphers, copies, etc., and these 
copies are often found in more than one of the col- 
ledUons of archives. 

I have made no estimate of the number of separate 
or distind papers in the several series of European 
archives counting all copies of each paper as if only 
one, but I venture to guess that the unpublished 
documents during the period of the Revolution will 
make about twenty volumes of about six hundred 
pages each, similar to my present specimen. 

ly chronological and alphabetical indexes re- 


ferring to the sixty thousand papers are the only in- 
dexes of them in existence, and they make these 
valuable coUefHons of wholly unclassified manu- 
scripts available to me for a systematic compilation 
of the documents upon various desired subje£ts under 
a homogeneous and convenient arrangement with 
ready reference to the several copies of each paper 
for careful comparison, and for noting the differences 
in the text, indorsements, etc. 

In order to make these compilations accurate with 
references to the published and unpublished papers, 
it will be absolutely necessary from many points of 
view to put the work into type, and to compare the 
proof-sheets in Europe with the original manuscripts, 
so that all variations touching each and every paper 
may be duly registered, and to this end it will be 
especially desirable to have at least an entire volume 
of matter in type at the same time. 

In view of^ this necessity to put the work into 
type I am led to hereby withdraw my original pro- 
position for supplying one manuscript transcript, as 
submitted to you in my letter of November, 1882, 
and instead I now submit this modified plan for pro- 
viding printed copies of all the American papers in 
the European archives within the period of the 
American Revolution. 

Some of the papers in the European archives are 
already printed in the Diplomatic Correspondence 
of the Revolution ; Sparks's Life and Writings of 
Franklin ; Sparks's Life and Writings of Washing- 
ton ; the Correspondence of the Revolution, and 
elsewhere, but by far the larger part has never been 

My modified plan is to provide an authentic 
printed documentary history without narrative form 
beyond that given by the classification of subjeds. 


the arrangement of the matter in chronological order, 
and copious references. In short, my profiered 
services would embrace — 

1 . The original researches, extending over several 
years, by myself and a corps of intelligent assistants, 
resulting in the practical discovery of these docu- 

2. The preparation of my chronological and 
alphabetical indexes, which, I repeat, are the sole key 
to the American papers in the European archives as 
a combined colle£Uon. These indexes will be the 
basis of my compilation. 

3. The transcription of all documents which have 
not been printed, the comparison of them with the 
originals, copies, and drafts, whether in London, 
Paris, The Hague, or Amsterdam. 

4. The comparing of those papers which have 
been printed already, and making references to the 
printed volumes, noting the discrepancies, the in- 
dorsements, the purposes, and giving such lucid 
information as will enable the student to use the 
proposed compilation with as much confidence as he 
could use the European archives themselves, even if 
it were possible for him to gain access to all the col- 
lections, and to have the documents systematically 
grouped for his ready reference and examination. 

5. The translation into English of those original 
papers which are in a foreign language, and to print 
this translation with the original documents. 

6. The supervision of the press, />., the classifica- 
tion into subje£b, the arrangement of matter in 
volumes, the proposed references, the correAion of 
proof-sheets, the making of indexes to the printed 
volumes, and all the details which are usually in- 
trusted to an editor. 

7. And finally to deliver in printed form these 


authentic documents, which will become immediately 
available for the Department and the scholar, to be 
used in conjundion with the publications containing 
the documentary history, from the American stand- 
point, which have been issued by the Department 
under the authority of the Government. 

Immediately upon receiving your instrufHons I 
can proceed with the three or four volumes of the 
herein proposed Paris diplomatic peace negotiations, 
1782 to 1783, substantially like the specimen pagesy 
and which volumes I repeat are now nearly ready 
for the press. 

I will also proceed as you may dire£t with the 
earlier Paris diplomatic peace negotiations, also with 
the military peace and with the military, political, 
civil, and miscellaneous correspondence, and in short 
with any or all of the documents within the scope 
of my searches, roughly estimated to make about 
twenty of these printed volumes. 

I am willing to undertake to do all the work con- 
templated in my proposition upon such equitable 
terms as the Department may arrange with me, 
or — 

I. I will supply the Department with one an- 
notated, edited, printed copy of the American 
archives in Europe, uniform in style of type and 
literary labor with the dummy volume of specimen 
pages herewith, at |^io a printed page. 

II. Or I will supply 1,000 copies of each volume, 
printed on good royal o£bvo paper, well boimd in 
cloth, uniform in style and material with the dummy 
volume, at i cent a page for each copy ; or 2,000 
copies at three-quarters of a cent a page for each 
copy ; or 3,000 copies for one-half of a cent a page 
for each copy ; or 4,000 copies for forty-five one- 
hundredths of a cent a page for each copy ; or 5,000 


copies at four-tenths of a cent a page for each copy ; 
or 6,000 copies at thirty-five one-hundredthsof a cent 
a page for each copy; or 7,000 copies at thirty-two 
one-hundredths of a cent a page for each copy \ or 
8,000 copies at thirty one-hundredths of a cent a page 
for each copyj or 9,000 copies at twenty-eight one- 
hundredths of a cent a page for each copy ; or 10,000 
copies and upwards at one-quarter of a cent a page 
for each copy. 

III. Or, upon being paid $10 a page for the one 
copy, as in proposition I, I will supply any required 
number of copies of each volume to average about 
600 pages each, on good royal odtavo paper, and 
well bound in cloth, similar to the dummy volume, 
by the thousand copies, at the further charge of %i 
a volume. 

IV. Or, I will cast stereotype plates from the 
standing type and print no cbpies whatever beyond 
those required for the immediate use of the Depart- 
ment and myself and sell these plates with all 
authors' or editors' rights I may possess to the De- 
partment absolutely at $12 a page. I have, &c*, 

B. F. Stevens, 
United States Despatch Agent. 

Mr. Dwight to Mr. Frelinghuysen. 

Department of State, 
Bureau of Rolls and Library, 
Sir : April 14, 1 884. 

Concerning a letter from Mr. B. F. Stevens, 
of March 17, 1884, relative to his proposition to 
supply the Department of State with copies of 
documents from the archives of Europe, I respe£l- 
fully report : 

In a letter dated November 4, 1882, Mr. Stevens 


proposed to supplv the Department with transcripts 
of such unprinted documents from the record offices 
of London and Paris as relate to the colonial and 
revolutionary history of the United States. His 
statement was accompanied by a letter from Mr. 
Lowell recommending the scheme and expressing 
his opinion that Mr. Stevens was peculiarly fitted to 
perform the projected work. 

These letters were transmitted to the Joint Li- 
brary Committee of Congress by the Assistant 
Secretary, with a suggestion that there should be 
inserted in the proper appropriation bill a clause to 
provide the funds required for this objedl to be 
placed at the disposition of the Department. This 
communication was reported to the Senate and 
thereupon recommitted to the same committee, and 
printed as Senate Mis. Doc. No. 29 (Forty-seventh 
Congress, second session). The committee has as 
yet made no report on this subjedl. 

The letter under present consideration is upon 
the same subject. Mr. Stevens repeats in it in 
part his former statements as to the chara£ter of 
the papers he proposes to supply. During his 
searches since 1882, which have extended to Hol- 
land, the material has amplified somewhat, and he 
now finds that his indexes comprise above sixty 
thousand entries of correspondence and documents 
essentially important to a complete history of the 
period oitht Revolution. 

Owing to the extraordinary facilities which have 
been everywhere granted him, he has had access to 
papers never before opened to historical students, 
by which the still secret details of England's political, 
military, and diplomatic relations airefting America 
prior to, during, and subsequent to the Revolution 
are revealed ; and the full and most interesting story 


of the causes which led France to assist in the pro- 
secution of the war is told from the French point 
of view. All showing the important part which 
our efitorts to establish an independent government 
played in the political aflairs of Europe, and that 
the pacification of the diiEculties in which the prin- 
cipal European states were concerned at the time of 
the Revolution depended on the success of our cause. 
This phase of our history, as well as much that re- 
lates to England's attitude towards her colonies in 
America, remain unknown. 

There appears to be no dissent from the general 
idea that the Government should possess the fullest 
colle£^ion of documents obtainable concerning our 
history. I will therefore confine myself to the sub- 
jeft of chief importance in Mr. Stevens's letter; 
that is to say, the new plan he submits as to the 
form in which the European archives he has dis- 
covered should be communicated. 

His new plan involves the withdrawal of the 
proposition to furnish one transcript of the docu- 
ments in question, and instead he proposes to pre- 
pare carefully edited and printed copies of the same. 
He has so far developed his scheme as to be able to 
suggest a series form into which the matter may be 
put, and as a specimen of the printed volume of a 
contemplated first series, to embrace the documents 
on the diplomatic negotiations for peace between 
the United States, England, and France, he submits 
a dummy-book, made up of several signatures of 
printed text, being repetitions of thirty-two pages 
of these documents, and references to other illus- 
trative data, taken from the colledlion of transcripts, 
and from the indexes thereto, which he has made. 

As the motives which have led Mr. Stevens to 
offer printed rather than written copies of the docu- 


ments seemed to me to be insuiEciently explained 
in his letter, I have obtained from him in the course 
of conversation a fuller exposition of them, which it 
appears to me proper to report. 

I. In order to arrive at a knowledge of all his- 
torical material relative to America in the several 
record oiEces to which he has been freely admitted 
to search, he has found it necessary, in addition to 
the indexes, referred to by him, to prepare a variety 
of historical, biographical, and genealogical notes 
and other memoranda not likely again to be com- 
piled ; and to make references to other State papers 
and correspondence of contingent interest of which 
the scope of the proje6ted work does not require 
taking copies. To preserve these memoranda and 
to utilize them for the advantage of those who will 
use the documents they annotate and explain, and 
that they may be properly arranged and classified $ 
that the whole — papers and notes — may be indexed ; 
that the copies may be indisputably verified by com- 
parison with their originals and the exa£t version be 
permanently fixed by the surest means \ that refer- 
ences may be made to copies already in print and to 
show their variations, if any, from the originals, 
and that he may have the great assistance and ad- 
vice of European archivists in proof-reading and the 
improvement of the historical references, Mr. Stevens 
has found that the only means is to put the whole 
into type. 

II. A State paper often exists in more than one 
form, and frequently in several colle£Uons. The 
original may be found, say, at London, while copies 
of it, perhaps in cipher, may be discovered at Paris 
and The Hague, having been sent thither by an 
embassador or a secret agent. Each copy was pre- 
pared for a special purpose, to accomplish a certain 


end ; whether that end was or was not attained, the 
means by which its objed was effe£led or the causes 
which prevented the expe£led results are often shown 
by memoranda and indorsements made upon it by 
the public ministers through whose hands it passed. 
Those memoranda and indorsements are of the same 
historical value as the paper itself and enlarge the 
value of it. 

The manuscripts in Her Majesty's Public Record 
Office, in the British Museum, and in the Royal 
Institution 5 in the French Government offices, and 
at The Hague, cannot, under any circumstances, be 
removed from their respective depositories; hence 
the impossibility to bring all these docimients to- 
gether for examination and comparison. The labor 
and expense of transcribing every copy has been 
found to be much greater than the cost of putting 
into type the standard original, on the proofs of 
which the variations and annotations, which make 
all other copies distinctive, may be readily recorded. 

The foregoing are the chief among many cogent 
reasons adduced by Mr. Stevens as having persuaded 
him to abandon the plan of supplying transcripts, 
and to put the compilation into type. 

It is clearly to be observed that Mr. Stevens does 
not propose merely to furnish copies of papers, nor 
copies of such as could be found by an ordinarily 
diligent seeker in the European archives, but an 
edited compilation of those which have revealed 
themselves to him in an exhaustive search, extended 
over many years. 

Animated to this search by a peculiar interest in 
the development of the unwritten history of his 
country, he has pursued it with all the aids which 
have sprung from friendly relations with the diredtors 
and custodians of the public offices, by whose con- 


fidence and co-operadon he has been enabled to 
make original investigations ; with the advantage, 
ako, of long residence in the neighborhood of die 
institutions where the archives are preserved, and of 
a staff of intelligent clerks trained hf him for the 
work of indexing and of copjring the documents and 
information discovered. He appears to have pro- 
ceeded on the plan of first acquainting himself with 
the persons concerned in the transa^on of public 
affiiirs of that time, of tracing the history of their 
official papers and of gaining access to them with the 
privilege of copying all which bear upon the United 

After a careful examination of the methods of 
work employed by Mr. Stevens, which he has very 
willingly and fiankly exposed to me ; having had an 
opportunity to inspeA specimens of his indexes and 
of his transcripts, and having studied the printed 
pages submitted by him, I have become convinced 
that, not only are his methods calculated to exhaust 
the resources of the foreign archives and to brine to 
light all the documents which are in existence, but 
that the compilation when completed will be the 
most valuable contribution to the history of the 
United States for the period it embraces which has 
ever been made. 

With respeA to the special interests of this De- 
partment, concerned in this measure, it must be said 
that the acquisition of a large number of unindexed 
and undigested documents in manuscript would tend 
to greatly increase correspondence and the number 
of personal applications for information therefrom, to 
occupy the time and attention of those attached to 
the Bureau where the archives are preserved ; the 
work of classifying and indexing the present collec- 
tion is seriously embarrassed by the present demands. 



The possession of the documents in printed form, 
duly indexed, would enable us to gratify inquiries 
without delay and would promote the definite 
arrangement and classification of the governmental 

In view of the necessity he has experienced, in 
the natural development of his imdertaking, to put 
the matter acquired into type Mr. Stevens is enabled 
to submit several estimates as to expense, which 
afie£t the uses it will be possible to make of the 
compilation, from which I draw the following pro- 
positions : 

1. He can supply the Department with one copy 
of the edited and printed doounent. 

2. He can supply any number of copies of the same. 

3. He is willing to cast the type in plates, and 
having been paid for all the labor involved up to that 
point to supply therefrom whatever number of copies 
may be required. 

4. He is willing to sell to the Government the 
stereotype plates, including all his rights to the work 
as compiler and editor, from which copies may be 
printed wherever the Department may dired. 

On the value of the printed copy to the Depart- 
ment, I have already remarked; any one of the 
other propositions may become the basis of a plan 
for the publication of the work if authorized by 

As an instance of the efforts which have been 
made by the Department to obtain the material 
Mr. Stevens proposes to provide, I subjoin copies of 
the correspondence between the Department and 
our minister at London in 1 881, as to the British 
archives. I understand that an application of similar 
purport was made by Mr. Ev^ts to the minister at 
raris, respe&ing the French archives. 


In this conne£lion I should say that in consequence 
of Mr. Lowell's suggestion in the dispatch of April i, 
1881, being directed to execute certain commissions 
in Europe by the Department, I was instru&ed to 
make an examination in the Record Office at London 
and to indicate the papers on the peace negotiations 
of 1783, preserved therein, necessary to complete our 
archives. Five months were allowed me for all the 
duties with which I was charged, and after surveying 
the resources of that office it became evident to me 
that a year or more would be required to accomplish 
the task, and I very reluctantly abandoned it. Very 
respedlfiilly submitted. 

Theodorb F. Dwight. 
Chief of Bureau of Rolls and Library. 

Hon. Frederick T. Frelinghuysen, 
Secretary of State. 

Mr. Frelinghuysen to Mr. Sherman. 

Department of State, 
Sir: Washington, April 16, 1884. 

On the 27th January, 1883, there was referred 
to you a letter addressed to me by Mr. B. F. Stevens, 
despatch agent of the United States at London, re- 
lative to a plan formed by him to supply transcripts 
of certain unpublished papers appertaining to the 
history of the United States in the state paper 
offices of England and France, to be added to the 
archives preserved in this Department. His pro- 
position was recommended to me by Mr. Lowell, 
our minister at London, whose letter was sent to 
you at the same time. These communications 
were printed under designation of ^* Senate Mis. 
Doc. No. 29." 

In consequence of further correspondence, and at 
my request, Mr. Stevens, on the 17th ultimo, re- 


ported to me the present condition of his work, and 
he also informed me that he finds it necessary to 
withdraw his proposal to fiirnish a manuscript copy of 
the documents he has discovered, and asks authority 
to provide, instead, a printed copy of them. 

His statement appears to be of such importance 
that I have the honor to submit it to you for con- 
sideration in connedtion with the former letter, 
which is still before the Library Committee. I also 
transmit the specimen printed volume alluded to in 
his letter, and a report on the subjed made to me 
by the officer in charge of the archives in this De- 

As I have no authority to incur the expense 
which the acceptance of this proposition would in- 
volve, I renew the suggestion made with respeA to 
the former letter, that provision be made either by a 
special a£t, or by a clause in the proper appropriation 
a£^ to enable me to acquire the compilation or to 
carry out any plan that may be determined on for 
its publication. 

The inadequacy of the archives in my custody to 
represent the entire history of the establishment of 
this Government has been remarked by every dis- 
tinguished writer or student who has had access to 

Several ineffectual efforts have been made to ob- 
tain the documents necessary to supplement and 
complete our colIe£tion fron^ the records of those 
countries with which the United States had relations 
during the last century. Under permission accorded 
by the English Government in 1881, the Librarian 
of this Department was instructed to sele£t the 
papers in the Public Record Office at London con- 
cerning the negotiations for the treaty of 1783 ; but 
the task was found to require more time than he 


could command, and it was abandoned. The De- 
partment has found no other opportunity to pro- 
secute the work. 

Mr. Stevens seems to have performed all the labor 
required to bring to light the papers which are of 
interest to us in the English, French, and Dutch 
archives, and has prepared a large part of them to be 
immediately placed at the disposition of the Govern- 

Being convinced that these documents are neces- 
sary for our collection and of the inutility of causing 
another and separate search to be made, I commend 
Mr. Stevens's proposition to your serious considera- 
tion. I have the honor to be, sir, your obedient 
servant, Fred'k T. Frblinghuysbn. 

Hon. John Sherman, 

Chairman of the Library Committee^ 
Senate of the United States. 


1. Copy of letter from Mr. B.F. Stevens, March 
17, 1884. 

2. Specimen volume, ^< Peace Negotiations, Paris, 

3. Senate Mis. Doc. No. 29 (Forty-seventh 
Congress, second session). 

4. Report of T. F. D wight, April 14, 1884. 

April 24, 1 884. — Referred to the Committee on 
the Library and ordered to be printed. 

Printed, with the accompan^g papers, as Senate 
Mis. Doc. No. 84 (Forty-eighth Congress, first 

1884, June 27. — In the House of Representatives, 
Forty-eighth Congress, first session. p[tem from 


the Bill of Appropriations referred to the Committee 
on Appropriations.] 

(39) '^^ enable the Secretary of State to contra£l 
for and purchase of Mr. B. F. Stevens two hundred 
copies of each volume of the compilation to be pre- 
pared by him of certain documents relating to the 
peace of seventeen hundred and eighty-two and 
seventeen hundred and eighty-three, one hundred 
copies for the use of the Department of State and 
one hundred copies for the use of the Library of 
Congress, the sum of five thousand dollars, or so 
much thereof as may be necessary. 

Circular sent by Mr. Stevens to Historical 
Societies^ Libraries^ and prominent men 
of letters in America. 

My dear Sir, 

I desire to invite the advice, criticism and 
co-operation of Historical Societies and of those 
gentlemen who will interest themselves, in the vast 
and highly important national scheme for furnishing 
the Government of the United States with copies 
of all the Unpublished Manuscripts in the public 
and private archives of England, France, Holland 
and Spain relating to the American Colonies, the 
War of Independence, the Peace Negotiations, the 
Ratifications of the Treaty of Paris, and the final 
establishment of the United States Government, 
1 772.1 784. 

I pray for your cordial co-operation in pra6Hcally 
bringing these vast stores of authentic materials for 
American History from 1772 to 1784 into one 
homogeneous coUe^on that can be used at home 
infinitely better than the searcher can at present use 


any portion of the documents in the archives in the 
various capitals of Europe. 

Up to the present time, the American student 
seeking documentary information as to this period, 
fl;oes to England, France, Holland, and Spain, where, 
m the absence of any sufficient general indexes — 
alphabetical, chronological or topical — he must 
search in pradtically unknown places for largely 
unknown papers, with very uncertain results. 

I have attempted to make a complete chrono- 
logical index or register of every American docu- 
ment in these archives, indicating the respe£Hve 
places where it and its duplicates, triplicates, etc., 
are preserved ; and I have necessarily included many 
collateral papers on the Armed Neutrality ; Russian 
Mediation J Alliances and attempted Alliances ^ 
Auxiliary forces ; Captures of Dutch and other 
Merchant ships; Disposition of Prizes; and, in 
short, the general condu£l of the several govern- 
ments at war with England as afFedting the War of 

It has only been by the detailed examination and 
careful indexing of nearly 3,000 volumes that I 
have, up to the present time, been able to make my 
lists, which comprise about 80,000 papers, including 
the duplicates and enclosures. I have noted where 
each document, original and duplicate, is to be 
found, and also indicated the precise character of 
each paper, whether original or otherwise, with all 
signatures, endorsements, uses, memoranda, etc. 

Great pains are taken in identifying the en- 
closures, which to a great extent have been sepa- 
rated from their covering letters in the various 
archives, and in registering the purposes for which 
the enclosures were used. Sometimes important 
letters, extrads and papers, undated and unsigned. 


are identified and brought into their order by cross 
references from or to the enclosures. 

The difficulty in getting admission to, and per- 
mission to make copies in the various European 
offices, the limited number of hours during which 
the offices are open, the absence of indexes, and the 
great cost in time and money of making searches, 
are obstacles well known to every searcher, whether 
he has or has not patiently overcome them. 

The accumulation of memoranda and information 
obtained from the various searches in the different 
capitals raises an almost innumerable series of queries, 
making it necessary to compare names, dates, and 
many other particulars with the original papers, and, 
where the documents have been printed, to com- 
pare the manuscripts with the printed copies in 
order to note the variations, if any. 

My researches have now extended over many 
years, and I have trained a staff of able assistants, 
who can aid me in rapidly carrying the work for- 

I have in progress, and far towards completion, 
work which would demand several generations of 
single-handed investigation ; work which I venture 
to say will never be performed again under similar 
advantages to those which I possess, from my long 
residence abroad, and from my large personal ac- 
quaintance with the institutions and with officials 
whose cordial goodwill has been most generously 
accorded to me from the outset — advantages whicn 
in this kind of research are a sine qua non, 

I gratefully acknowledge the assistance and special 
facilities that have been freely granted to me at all of 
the archives where searches have thus hr been made. 

My plan contemplates that our Government shall 
obtain accurate transcripts of all unpublished manu- 


scripts in the public and private archives of Europe 
illustrating our history during the Revolution, and 
that these transcripts shall be in a form immediately 
accessible for ready reference. 

In short, I want to account for every single one 
of these 80,000 papers in the years 1 772-1784 thus 
carefully examined and indexed, either by indicating 
where it is printed, or by transcribing those stri£Uy 
on America, and briefly describing or abstrading 
those on collateral subjeds. 

For instance, the instrudions from the French 
Government to its ambassadors in America, and 
the private and confidential letters and information 
sent from America by Gerard, Luzerne and Mar- 
bois to the French (jovernment, are indispensable 
to a clear understanding of the correspondence 
between France and the other Allies, Spain and 
Holland, and generally of the French side of the 
Paris peace negotiations with both the American 
and the English Commissioners, and also of the 
correspondence between the Allies and Denmark, 
Germany, Russia, etc., touching America or the 
harassing of England. 

I recapitulate the principal points in my under- 
taking to indicate its magnitude and importance : 

1. The services of myself and experienced as- 
sistants, with the cost of the preliminary and travel- 
ling expenses in the several capitals. 

2. The careful examination of the documents, 
leaf by leaf, in nearly 3,000 volumes or bundles 
within the period to which I have thus far confined 
myself, 1772-84, and making a list of about 80,000 
documents in the order of the classification of the 
papers in their respedlive archives. 

3. Making a chronological index of these 80,000 


4. Making an alphabetical index of them. 

5. Identifying the original documents, the dupli- 
cates, copies, etc., and noting which are printed and 

6. Making transcripts of the unpublished originals 
in the language of their origin, and comparing them 
with the several copies where more than one exists 
and noting their differences, so that these collations 
may be printed in conjunction with the original 
documents and thereby pradtically secure a copy of 
every desired paper in all the archives. This com- 
pilation will shew where each paper is preserved, 
and enable the student to readily verify every docu- 
ment in the collection with its original, and will 
also shew, as far as there is documentary evidence 
to shew, the use that was made of every individual 
manuscript or of any portion of it. 

7. Making abstra^ of the various documents, 
which are useful in the preliminary stages for identi- 
fying duplicates and enclosures, and bringing together 
missing links, and also in saving time in reading the 
full documents. 

8. Translating into English those documents 
which originated in other languages. 

9. Making cross references, etc. 

10. Putting the matter into type and taking off 
sufficient proofs for comparing and correcting them 
with the original documents themselves in the 
various archives. 

11. Printing off from the finally corredted type 
pages a sufficient number of copies of each separate 
document for use by the State Department in dif- 
ferent series, as editorial, biographical, geographical, 
chronological, topical, and perhaps subdivisions, 
and for presentation of a copy to each of the 
archivists who have rendered assistance and co- 


openuiofi in prpduring it. The immciite import- 
ance to the student in being abk to seied and 
arrange his material to suit his own [dan of work 
cannot be orer-esdmated. 

12. Remaking up these correded tjrpe pag)cs into 
vohimesy and taking off a sufficient number of 
copies for use in preparing copious indexes to the 
printed volumes, and for supfrfying the Dqnrtment 
with the number of copies of whole vdumes re- 
quired for current use and for reference as the work 

13. Casting and supplying stereotype (dates for 
vohimes of about 600 pages each, so that the 
Government can at home produce an edition or 
editions of the work as rapidly as it is completed, 
without forther expense than the paper and print. 

I have made a provisional arrangement with the 
printers by which I can have 600 to 1,000 pages of 
matter standing in nrpe at once, to facilitate proof 
reading, references, mdexing, etc I do not propose 
takine off one single copy of the separate documents 
or volumes for sale, or for any use other than is 
adually required in carrying the work forward to 
the best advantage. 

Considering the difficulties involved in the com- 
parison of the transcripts from so many dociunents 
deposited in so many different places in the various 
countries, and the necessity of comparing the tran- 
scripts with the originals wherever they may be, 
and considering the supreme importance of the most 
complete exa^itude in transcription, and the in- 
estimable advantage of the aid of experienced 
archivists in proof reading, it seems to me to be an 
absolute necessity to put the matter into type, not 
only for the current use of myself and assistants, 
but also to enable me to invite the co-operation of 


the custodians of the several archives, the officers of 
the Department of State and such historical societies, 
if any, as it may nominate, to examine the proofs, 
suggest cross references, point out missing links, 
identify enclosures, and verify papers without dates 
or signatures which have no sufficient chronological 
or alphabetical points to lead them back into their 
proper places after their separation from their cover- 
ing letters or accompanying documents. 

With these facilities I should hope to receive and 
record the combined information of the learned 
gentlemen who as archivists and historical students 
are specialists upon the general subjed, and who 
may be disposed to lend their invaluable assistance 
in compiling a work which would practically become 
the desired register of the respective archives of 
Europe within my period and subject. 

My objed is to make a permanent book of refer- 
ence, and to account for every single manuscript 
found in the mentioned archives. Having collated 
the various copies of the same documents, I propose 
printing that which appears to be the original, and 
to give a complete list of the duplicates with their 
variations, with such cross references and explanatory 
and biographical footnotes as may fecilitate the 
general student in his researches. 

I propose computing and combining all expenses 
incident to the great work and taking my remunera- 
tion upon the basis of a fixed price per stereotype 
page of the work as completed in style similar to 
the proof specimen submitted to the Government, 
and shall be glad to have your views on the sub- 

I respectfully send herewith a copy of my tenta- 
tive proof specimen pages in order to better present 
my scheme as a definite basis of discussion. 


I also venture to ask for any suggestions you may 
be pleased to favour me with on the work generally, 
and among other points upon such as the following 
which come up in the proof specimen : 

A. The Title by which the great work shall be 

B. The Abbreviations are bad. Nearly fifty must 
be added, and all must be re-written. 

c. Type. All manuscripts with their endorse- 
ments are printed verb, et lit. in pica. Abstracts, 
with explanatory and editorial notes, cross references, 
variations, etc., are printed in bourgeois. 

D. Collation and Annotation. 

B. AbstraHs. 

F. Enclosures. 

G. Mode of Indicating ExtraHs. Whether by 
rule down side of page, as on pp. 216-218 of the 
proof specimen, or by description as on other pages, 
or otherwise. 

H. Printed Correspondence. In the case of letters 
which have been printed — see proof specimen, p. 
222 — is it best to give an abstract only, and follow 
by carefully indicating the variations from the manu- 
scripts, or to reprint these letters in full ? 

I. Translations. Should English translations be 
printed where the papers originated in other lan- 
guages, and which, being originals, I propose print- 
ing verb, et lit. in the language of origin ? 

K. Proofs of each document separately, so that 
they can be arranged at will, either chronologically 
or in subjedb. 

L. Remuneration. 

I respedtfully repeat that I desire the advice, 
criticism and co-operation of all who will interest 
themselves in furthering this great work, and I shall 


be glad to have permission to repeat your reply to 
the Department of State. B. F. Stevens. 

November, 1885. 

Mr. Stevens to Mr. Bayard. 

Sir : London, April 22, i886. 

In modification of my proposition of March, 
1884, I have the honor to submit for your con- 
sideration an index of a series of transcripts of un- 
published documents in European archives, relating 
to America, which I have caused to be made during 
the last five years. The transcripts themselves I 
propose to forward by instalments for your inspec- 
tion, and my representative will be pleased to show 
them to such individuals as you may designate, wfth 
a view to their purchase, if found satis&<Sory by the 
Government, to be added to the archives in the 
Department of State. 

The coUe^on of transcripts to which I refer, 
embraces, so far as known^ a complete series of the 
letters and instructions from the French Govern- 
ment to its own ministers in America from the time 
of the alliance until the ratification of the treaty of 
peace, together with the letters from the French 
ministers in America to their own Government 
during the same period. There is also a complete 
series of the manuscripts in the archives of England, 
Holland, and Spain, relating to the American peace 
negotiations at Paris, from March, 1782, until the 
exchange of the ratifications of the treaty in 1784. 

This index begins with the resumed negotiations 
of Lords Shelburne, Grantham, and Townshend, after 
the dissolution of Lord Rockingham's ministry. 

In this series is nothing that has been heretofore 
published, and each paper coming from the Record 
Office in England or from the archives in France 


has been carefully compared with its original, and is 
absolutely corred as to phraseology, and each one 
is complete, not being an extra<3 or a portion of a 
letter. The series which I offer will cover 10,000 
manuscript pages, with a possible variation of 100 
or 200 pages, dependent upon my copyist's hand- 
writing. Fifteen himdred pages are now in Wash- 
ington for inspedlion and comparison with the 
index, and the remainder will be forwarded hy 
June 30 next. I need not call your attention to 
the labor which has been involved in this work, for 
it must be apparent that, with the limited time 
given to transcribers in any foreign office, I have 
been at a considerable expense in obtaining my 
original copies and in making comparisons. This 
verv full series of the records of England, France, 
ana Holland, bearing upon the peace negotiations, 
does not duplicate anything contained in the Franklin 
papers now in the possession of the Department of 
State, or which has ever been published in the 
United States diplomatic correspondence, or in the 
works of Benjamin Franklin. The index shows 
just what has been published, and in which one of 
the archives the original paper occurs. I offer this 
series of transcripts at the uniform rate of $1,50 
per page, which will require for the entire series, 
subjedl to any slight variation in the number of 
pages, say, $15,000. 

To any diligent student of American history, or 
indeed to any one who has any interest in that 
direction, I offer the first complete history of the 
events of the period named from a foreign stand- 
point which has ever come to America, and which 
can only be obtained by a considerable expenditure 
of time and money. I do not consider that I am 
wrong in stating that the records of the peace 


negotiations, or indeed of all the events of that 
time, are singularly incomplete in America, and 
having in view the possible contingency of the 
destruction bv fire or otherwise of any of the 
European archives, I trust that you may think it 
not undesirable to recommend to Congress the 
purchase of the papers I now offer. I have the 
honour to be, sir, your obedient servant, 

B. F. Stevens. 
Hon. Thos. F. Bayard, 

Secretary of StaU^ Washington^ Z>. C 

26 July, 1886. In the House of Representa- 
tives, 49th Congress, ist session. [Item from the 
Bill of Appropriations :] 

(134) To enable the Secretary of State to pay 
Benjamin F. Stevens for a series of transcripts of 
original unpublished documents in the archives of 
Great Britain, France, and Holland, relating to the 
peace negotiations of seventeen hundred and eighty- 
three, seven thousand five hundred dollars or so 
much thereof as is necessary. 

Mr. Parkman to Mr. Bayard. 

50, Chestnut Street, 
Dear Sir: Boston, January 13, 1887. 

I hear that your attention has been called to 
several memorials addressed to Congress concerning 
the plan of procuring a descriptive index of the 
documents in the various archives of Europe relating 
to the American Revolution. 

I therefore take the liberty of expressing to you 
my sense of the great value of such an index. 
Without it the task of thorough investigation of a 
most important period of our history would be 


almost hopeless. It will serve as a key to a vast 
amount of treasures otherwise almost inaccessible. 
The plan of the index did not originate with Mr. 
B. F. Stevens ; it was first suggested by members 
of a well-known historical society, whose personal 
experience had taught them the value and in some 
sense the necessity of such an aid to research, and 
it was on their suggestion that Mr. Stevens adopted 
the plan, provided that Congress would see fit to 
approve it. I believe Mr. Stevens to be peculiarly 
fitted to carry it into execution, and I know of no 
other man so well able to accomplish this extremely 
laborious undertaking. 

I have the honor to be, respedlfuUy yours, 

Francis Paricman. 

Hon. Thomas F. Bayard. 

Mr. Goodell to Mr. Bayard. 

[Office of the Commissioners on the Publication of 
the Province Laws, Abner C. Goodell, jr., 

Boston, Mass., 
Sir : January 13, 1887. 

I have the honor to call your attention to 
the subje<5l of the memorials now being forwarded 
to Washington from historical societies and persons 
interested in the study of American history through- 
out the Union, praying Congress to authorize the 
preparation and printing of an index to the papers 
in public and private archives in Europe relating to 
the history of the American Colonies between the 
years 1763 and 1783. 

I trust you will pardon a suggestion which, from 
my knowledge of your intelligent interest in all 
such matters, I feel it is hardly necessary for me to 


make, but which may furnish an additional pretext 
for your interference, and that is that you give the 
movement the weight of your official sanation and 
assume the responsibility of presenting it to Con- 

Sess in such manner as may seem to you most 
:elv to prove efFeftual. 

My knowledge of the inception and progress of 
this movement enables me to assure you that Mr. 
Stevens's laborious researches in the line of the 
work contemplated by the memorialists were so 
important as to demand recognition by those who 
have signed the memorials, and to induce several 
of them to propose the plan of an index and to en- 
courage him to come to America to confer with them 
as to the possibility of his undertaking such a work. 

He is now here, and has given the most satisfac- 
tory assurances as to the manner in which the work 
can be accomplished by the force of assistants under 
his direction. 

I beg leave to add that there is nothing in this 
scheme to procure an index that can confli£l with 
the measure proposed in the late Congress to have 
the foreign papers relating to the peace of 1783 
printed for the use of the Department of State. 

For one, I sincerely trust that that measure will 
not &il, but that the application to Congress in that 
behalf will be renewed, and both schemes pushed 
pari passu and promptly adopted by Congress. 

In anticipation of the call for credentials, which 
it is your privilege to ask of a stranger, I take the 
liberty to refer you to my much honored friend the 
Secretary of War, who, I have no doubt (although 
he has not authorized me to mention his name in 
this business^ will approve of all I have written to 
you, and will heartily concur with his brethren of 
the Massachusetts Historical Society in their recom- 


mendation of the important work which thejr hope 
Mr. Stevens will be invited to undertake under the 
auspices of Congress. 

I have the honor to be, with sentiments of regard, 
respectfully yours, A. C. Goodell, Jr. 

Mr. Secretary Bayard, 

Washington, D. C. 

Rev. E. E. Hale to Mr. Bayard. 

I have the honor to transmit to you herewith a 
memorial signed by several gentlemen of this vicinity 
interested in historical pursuits, and who have organ- 
ized as a committee to forward the purpose of the 
memorial, with the request that you will lay the 
same before Congress in such manner as you deem 
best, and give the subjedt thereof your official 
san^ion and support. Respe£lfully, 

Edward £. Hale, 
Secretary of Committee. 
Hon. Thomas F. Bayard, 
Secretary of State. 


To the honorable Senate and House of Representatives 
of the United States in Congress assembled : 

The memorial of the subscribers respedtfully repre- 
sents that there is a vast amount of manuscript 
material relating to American historv in the public 
archives of Great Britain, HoUana, France, and 
Spain, and other European states, and in libraries 
and private colle^ons in Europe, which has never 
been printed, and of which no index or calendar 
has ever been published; that this material is of 
great value to American statesmen and scholars, 
and of no less importance to the Federal and State 


governments, inasmuch as it is the only source of 
covTtGt information respecting many most important 
fadts in the history of the legislation of the original 
thirteen Colonies, and of the development of our 
relations with foreign countries from before the 
formation of our National Government, which form 
the basis of our existing diplomacy. 

Your memorialists further represent that so much 
of said material as was accumulated between the 
date of the treaty of Paris in 1 763, by which Great 
Britain acquired from France an undisputed title to 
our vast northwestern territories, and the treaty of 
peace between Great Britain and the United States 
in 1783, gives the most exadl account that it is 
possible to obtain of the progress of the American 
Colonies in wealth, population, commerce, agri- 
culture, manufii&ures, and the means of self govern- 
ment, and enables the student to trace most minutely 
the steps leading to the independence of the American 
Colonies, including the condudl of public men, the 
raising of armies, the growth of public sentiment 
on the question of abjuring British dominion, and 
the persistent ingenuity with which an acknowledg- 
ment of our independence was finally obtained, and 
the intrigues of European diplomatists circumvented, 
by our agents and ambassadors. Besides these in- 
teresting matters of history, the public archives of 
Great Britain contain contemporaneous comments 
by the greatest legal minds of the realm upon the 
scope and meaning of the statutes of the several 
Colonies (large collections of which are preserved 
there), which before the Revolution were required 
to be transmitted to the Privy Council for approval; 
and said archives also contain the best evidence of 
the influence which the privy council and the board 
of trade exercised in forcing upon us an obnoxious 


domestic institution, and in interfering with the 
progress of arts and commerce in the several States. 

Your memorialists further represent that under 
the stringent regulations by which alone this material 
is accessible to the most privileged strangers, only 
few and fragmentary portions have hitherto been 
copied, and these at very great cost, by such of our 
historians and scholars as have had sufficient courage 
to undertake the great labor of exploring the pubUc 
archives, and sufficient means to defray the expense* 

Your memorialists also represent that for more 
than twenty years Mr. Benjamin Franklin Stevens, 
a native of this country but a resident of London, 
has had exceptional advantages in his efibrts to make 
a list of all matters relating to this country in the 
repositories above named. This list, although not 
yet complete, already includes about 95,000 separate 
papers, duly entered, with proper references, as the 
result of his researches in England and on the Con- 
tinent ; and he has a sufficient clerical force at his 
command to complete the same as promptly as it is 
possible for such a work to proceed. 

Your memorialists further represent that from 
their personal acquaintance with Mr. Stevens, and 
from their knowledge of his work and his peculiar 
fitness, they are satisfied that he is entirely competent 
to prepare such a list in the most critical and satis- 
£i<3ory manner, and that the progress he has already 
made therein insures its completion within a reason- 
ably short period and at an expense not exceeding 
$100,000 ; that Mr. Stevens is willing to undertake 
the preparation of an index of all the material above 
referred to, between 1763 and 1783, under an 
engagement that the cost thereof shall not exceed 
that amount, and under such proper and equitable 
conditions with reference to its completion according 


to contrad, or to guaranteeing to the Government 
an equivalent amount of labor for such sums as 
may be paid to him before the work is finished, as 
Congress may impose dire£tly or through such 
officer or committee as it may appoint to execute a 
contrail for this purpose. 

Wherefore your memorialists respedfuUy pray that 
Congress will authorize the preparation of such an 
index as is above described, and appropriate therefor 
a sum not exceeding $100,000 ; and your memorial- 
ists recommend the employment of Mr. Stevens to 
undertake the work, he being the only person within 
their knowledge qualified to perform it in the shortest 
time, in the best manner, and at the least expense. 

And as in duty bound will ever pray, etc. 

Francis Parkman. 


Justin Winsor. 

Charles Deanb* 

Edward E. Hale. 

Charles H. Bell. 

James P. Baxter. 

John Ward Dean. 

William W. Greenough. 

Albert H. Hoyt. 

John T. Hassam. 

William B. Trask. 

Edmund F. Slafter. 

Charles L. Flint. 

Massachusetts Historical Society, Georg£* 
E. Ellis, Pnsidint. 

New England Historic - Genealogical 
Society, Abner C. Goodell, Jr., President. 

Maine Historical Society, Jame^ W. Brad- 
bury, President. 

New Hampshire Historical Society, 


Charles H. Bell, Pnsidint, J. Everett 
Sargent and John M. Shirley, Fice- 
Presidents J Amos Hadlby, Recording Secre^ 
tary^ John J*. Bell, Corresponding Sicretary^ 
Samuel C. Eastman, Librarian. 

Rhode Island Historical Society, William 
Gammell, President. 

Georgia Historical Society, Henry R. 
JXCKSON, President. 

The Bostonian Society, Per Curtis Guild, 
President ; Wm. Clarence ^xnL^KQ^^Secretarj. 

The State Historical Society of Wis- 
consin, Reuben G. Thwaites, Corresponding 

Vermont Historical Society, E. P. Walton, 

John Bigelow and Henry G. Marquand 
to Mr. Bayard. 

Sir : New York, January i8, 1887. 

In compliance with the instrudtions of our 
associates, the undersigned have the honour to 
transmit to you a memorial designed to secure new 
and most important facilities for the study of the 
origins of our Republic and of its peculiar institu- 
tions. It is signed by some two hundred gentlemen 
more or less prominently associated with our let- 
tered professions, and seems to be entitled to be 
regarded as pra^ically a unanimous expression of 
the sentiment of the literary class of our country. 

Presuming upon your aftive sympathy in every 
effort to supply new facilities for historic investiga- 
tion, we are instructed to place this memorial in 
yoiu* hands, and to ask you to invite the early and 


earnest attention of the Government to its con- 

We have the honor to be, Sir, your obedient 
servants, John Bigelow, 

Henry G. Marquand, 
On Behalf 0/ the New Tork Committee, 
Hon, Thomas F. Bayard, 

Secretary of State, 


At a meeting of gentlemen of letters held at No. 15 
Gramercy Park, in the city of New York, on 
Saturday, December 11, 1886, at 2 p.m., to 
listen to a statement firom Mr. B. F. Stevens, of 
London, in relation to manuscripts and other 
documents concerning America to be found in 
the public and private archives of Europe, Ben- 
jamin H. Field, president of the New York 
Historical Society, was called to the chair, and 
the Hon. Nicholas Fish was appointed secretary. 

After a statement made by Mr. Stevens, and a 
discussion, in which the Hon. John Jay, Chief 
Justice Daly, Dr. Howard Crosby, Judge Van 
Vorst, and others participated, the following 
memorial was adopted unanimously and sub- 
scribed, and a committee consisting of John 
Bigelow, Henry G. Marquand, Oswald Otten- 
dorfer, Albert G. Browne, and Howard Crosby, 
with power to add to their numbers, was ap- 
pointed to take charge of it and submit it to 

To the honourable the Senate and House of Repre- 
sentatives of the United States in Congress 
The undersigned respedlftiUy represent that the 

public and private archives of Europe, and especially 


of Great Britain, Holland, France, and Spain, 
abound in manuscripts and other documents of the 
greatest interest to Americans, of which no index, 
calendar, or catalogue has ever been published. 

That such portions of these manuscripts and 
other documentary material as accumulated between 
the date of the treaty of Paris in 1763, by which 
Great Britain acquired title from France to the 
northwestern territories of America, and the treaty 
of peace between Great Britain and the United 
States in 1 783, are indispensable to a correct know- 
ledge of the circumstances which led to the separa- 
tion of the American Colonies from Great Britain, 
and to the establishment of the peculiar and un- 
precedented form of government which suc- 
ceeded it. 

That the restridions imposed upon the access to 
and use of most of this material are so rigorous and 
the expense so great that hitherto only few and 
fragmentary portions of it have been copied or 
otherwise made available for historical or even 
diplomatic uses. 

That an index of this material which should give 
a general notion of the contents of each document, 
setting forth its approximate dimensions, where to 
be found, and whether printed or not, and, if 
printed, where, would be a convenience to those 
who have occasion to investigate the origins and 
early history of our Government, and of the institu- 
tions which have grown up under its proteftion, 
which it would be difficult to exaggerate. 

That for the preparation of such an index Mr. 
B. F. Stevens, a native of this country but for 
some years a resident of London, has qualifications 
and fecilities which are so entirely exceptional that 
it would be difficult to name another person to 


whose hands such a task could be confided with any 
corresponding prospedl of success. 

Wherefore the undersigned do respeftfiilly pray 
that Congress will authorize the preparation of an 
index of all the documents of American concern in 
private or public archives of Great Britain, Holland, 
France, and Spain that accumulated between the 
years 1763 and 1783, and appropriate a suitable 
compensation for such work. 

The undersigned do also earnestly recommend 
that Mr. B. F. Stevens be employed by Congress, 
dire£lly or through such officer or committee as it 
may sele£l, to prepare the said index, upon such 
conditions and subject to such limitations and dis- 
criminations as shall to them seem fitting. 

Benj. H. Field, Chairmariy President^ New Tori 

Historical Society. 
Nicholas Fish, Secretary. 
C. K. Adams, LL.D., President^ Cornell Uni- 
Herbert B. Adams, Ph.D., Secretary^ American 
Historical Association and Professor of History 
Johns Hopkins University. 
W. H. H. Adams, D.D., President^ Illinois 

Wesleyan University. 
S. Austin Allibone, Lenox Library. 
A. J. Anderson, A.M., Ph.D., President j 

Whitman College, Walla Walla, Wash Ter. 
M. B. Anderson, LL.D., President, Rochester 

Israel W. Andrews, Marietta, Ohio. 
James B. Angell, LL.D., President, University 

of Alichigan. 
W. W. AsTOR. 
Geo. H. Baker, Columbia College Library. 


Hubert H. Bancroft, San Francisco. 
FoRDYCE Barker, M.D., New York. 
Samuel L. M. Barlow, New York. 
F. A, P. Barnard, LL.D., President^ Columbia 

S. C, Bartlett, President^ Dartmouth Collegiy 

New Hampshire. 
Edgar W. Bass, Professor^ West Point. 
Arch'd J. Battle, D.D., President^ Mercer 

University^ Georgia. 
Kemp P. Battle, LL.D^ President^ University 

of North Carolina. 
Ormond Beatty, LL.D., Presidentj Centre 

CoUegCy Danvillcy Ky. 
J. D. Bedle, Jersey City. 
Henry Ward Beecher. 
Henry R. Beekman, New York. 
Robert D. Benedict, New York. 
John Bigelow. 
John Bigelow, Jr. 
Frederick Billings, Vice-President^ Northern 

Pacific Railway. 
Poultney Bigelow, Editor of Outing. 
Heber R. Bishop, New York. 
J. W. BissELL, D.D., President^ Upper Iowa 

University^ Fayette^ Iowa. 
James G. Blaine. 
E. W. Blatchford and Wm. H. Bradley, 

Trustees of the W. L. Newberry Library y 

Chicago^ under the Will. 
Ezra Brainerd, President^ Middlebury College^ 

Francis Brown, Professor^ Union Theological 

Albert G. Browne, New York Herald. 
H. M. Buckham, D.D., President^ University of 

Vermonty Burlingtonj Vt. 



Wm. Allen Butler, New Tork. 

Douglas Campbell, New Tork. 

G. T. Carpenter, A.M., Chancellory Drake 

University^ Des MoineSy Iowa, 
Jambs C. Carter, New York. 
L. P. Di Cesnola, Directory Metropolitan 

Museum of Art. 
T. C. Chamberlin, President^ fTisconsin Univ. 
George W. Childs, Philadelphia. 
Joseph H. Choate, New York. 
Edw*d Cooper, New Tork. 
John Crerar, Chicago. 
Howard Crosby, D.D., LL.D. 
Joseph Cummings, D.D., LL.D., Presidenty 

Northwestern Univ.y Evanstony Illinois. 
George Wm. Curtis, New Tork. 
Chas. p. Daly, Presidenty American Geographical 

Societyy New Tork. 
Wm. Henry Davis, Cincinnati. 
F. W. Dawson. 
Melvil Dewey, Chief Librariany Columbia 

Frankin B. Dexter, Professor^ Tale College. 
Henry Drisler, Professory Columbia College. 
Thomas Drummond, JudgCy United States 

Circuit Courty Chicago. 
Theodore W. Dwight, Wardeny Columbia 

College Law School. 
Timothy Dwight, Presidenty Tale College. 
John Eaton, Presidenty Marietta CollegCy Ohio. 
Geo. M. Edgar, Presidenty Arkansas Industrial 

University J FayettevilUy Ark. 
Edward Eggleston, D.D., Century Magazine. 
John J. Elaendorf, Professory Philosophyy 

Racine CollegCy fVisconsin, 
H. C. Elmer, Cincinnati. 
John W. Ellis, Cincinnati. 


Augustus F. Ernst, President^ Northwestern 

University^ Watertown^ JVis. 
Henry B, Fair, Princeton. 
N. K. Fairbanks, Chicago. 
F. W. A. Falk, Professor^ Greek^ French^ and 

Latiny Racine College, Wisconsin. 
B. Fernow, Assistant State Librarian^ Albany. 
Marshall Field, Chicago. 
Hamilton Fish. 
Louis Fitzgerald, New York. 
Wm. Watts Folwell, LL.D., Professor^ 

Political Science^ University of Minnesota^ 

President^ i869-'84. 
Fred*k Fraley, Philadelphia. 
Thos. F. Gatch, Principal^ Frederick College^ 

Merrill E. Gates, Ph.D., LL.D., President^ 

Rutgers College. 
Joseph B. Gilder, Editor^ The Critic. 
Richard W. Gilder, LL.D., Century Maga- 

Daniel C. Gilman, LL.D., President^ Johns 

Hopkins University. 
E. L. GoDKiN, Evening Post^ New Tork, 
Parke Godwin, New York. 
Albert Zabriski Gray, D.D., Warden^ 

Racine College^ Wisconsin. 
George Z. Gray, Dean of the Episcopal Theo- 
logical Seminary y Cambridge. 
Jno. Hall, D.D., Chancellor^ University of New 

George Hannah, Librarianj Long Island His- 

torical Society. 
Wm. T. Harris, LL.D., St, Louis. 
D. B. Harrison, Cincinnati. 
Geo. T. Harrison, Cincinnati. 


James F. Harrison, M.D., late Chairman of 

the Faculty y University of Virginia. 
John Hay, Washington. 
I. R. Herrick, President University Dakota^ 

Vermillion^ Dakota Territory. 
R. M. Hewitt, New Tork. 
RoswELL D. Hitchcock, D.D. LL.D., Presi- 

dent^ Union Theological Seminary^ New York. 
W. W. HoPPiN, Jr., New Tork. 
Geo. R. Howell, Adfing Librarian^ New Tork 

State Library. 
Charles G. Hubermann^ Professor of Latin 

Language and Literature^ College City of New 

Thomas W, Humes, Ex-President^ University 

T. W. Hunt, Princeton. 
D. Huntington, President^ National Academy of 

Design^ New Tork. 
H. C. O. Huss, Princeton. 
Edward S. Isham, Chicago. 
Francis A. Jackson, Professor^ University of 

Edmund J. James, Ph.D., Professor^ University 

of Pennsylvania. 
John Jay. 

Alexander Johnston, Princeton. 
John Taylor Johnston, President^ Metro- 
politan Museum of Arty New Tork. 
VfiA. Preston Johnston, P resident ^ Tulane 

Frank J. Jones, Cincinnati. 
Geo. Junkin, 532 Walnut Street ^ Philadelphia. 
John S. Kennedy, New Tork, 
Henry W. King, Chicago. 
RuFUS King, Cincinnati. 


J. KosT, LL.D., Chancellor^ University of Florida^ 
Tallahassee, Florida* 

John H. B. Latrobe, Presidentj Maryland 
Historical Society. 

S, A. Lattimore, Rochester. 

G. W. C. Lee, Presidentj Washington and Lee 
University^ Virginia. 

Wm. Libbey, Jr., T^inceton. 

Robert T. Lincoln, Chicago. 

T. D. Lincoln, Cincinnati. 

J, A, LiPPiNCOTT, Chancellory Kansas State 

RoBBiNS Little, Superintendent^ Astor Library. 

Chas. Louis Loos, P resident j Kentucky University. 

James Mac A lister, Superintendent^ Board of 
Education^ Philadelphia. 

John M. McBryde, LL.D., Presidentj South 
Carolina College, Columbia, S. C. 

James McCosh, D.D., President, College of New 
yersey, Princeton, N. y. 

Henry M. McCracken, Vice-chancellor, New 
Tork University. 

Jno. G. R. McElroy, A.m., Professor, Unvuer- 
sity Pennsylvania. 

A. H. McGuFFEY, Cincinnati. 

Franklin MacVeagh, Chicago. 

Wayne MacVeagh, LL.D., Philadelphia. 

Manton Marble, New Tori. 

Wm. D. Marks, Ph.B., C,E., Professor^ Uni- 
versity of Pennsylvania. 

Allan Marquand, Princeton. 

Henry G. Marquand, Vice-President, Metro- 
politan Museum of Art, New Tork. 

James Weir Mason, Professor^ Pure Mathe- 
matics, College City of New Tork. 

Peter S. Michie, Professor, West Point. 


Minnesota Historical Society {Members). 

A. R. McGiLL, Governor. 

W. W. Bradin, State Auditor. 

H. M. Knox, Public Examiner. 

F. W. See LEY, Adjutant-General. 

Jos. BoBLETER, Stati Treasurer. 

D. L. KiEHLE, Superintendent Public InstruSfion. 

H, Mallson, Secretary of State. 

N, H. Winchell, State Geologist. 

Alex. Ramsey, Late Secretary of War. 

John Fletcher Williams, Secretary^ Alinnesota 

Historical Society, 
A. H. Mixer, Rochester. 
Geo. H. Moore, LL.D., Lenox Library. 
Jere Moore, A.M., President^ Greeneville and 

Tusculum College^ Tusculum^ Tenn. 
Wm. C. Morey, Rochester. 
N. H. MoRisoN, Provosty Peabody Institute^ Baltic 

Levi P. Morton, New Tork. 
James O. Murray, Gncinnati. 
Thomas M. North, New Tork. 
Cadwalader £. Ogden, New Tork. 
David B. Ogden, New Tork. 
George H. Olds, Rochester. 
Oswald Ottendorfer, Staats Zeitung, New 

John R. Park, M.D., President, University 

Deserety Salt Lake City, Utah. 
Chris'r Stuart Patterson, Chestnut Hill. 
Jos. Patterson. 
Fred. W. Peck, Chicago. 
Wm. Pepper, M.D., LL.D., Provost, University 

of Pennsylvania. 
W. F. Poole, LL.D., Librarian, Chicago Public 



N. Q. Pope, Brooklyn. 

Geo. L. Prentiss, Professor^ Union Theological 

George M. Pullman, Chicago, 
W. T. Reid, A.m., Ex-President of the 

University of California. 
Whitelaw Reid, New Tork Tribune. 
Allen Thorndike Rice, North American 

F. W. RicoRD, Librarian^ New Jersey Historical 

W. J. Rivers, Washington Coll.y Chestertown^ Md. 
J. RoEMER, Fice-Presidenty Coll. City of New 

Jos. Sasia, SJ., President^ Saint Ignatius College^ 

San Francisco. 
Philip Schaff, D.D., Professor^ Union Theo^ 

logical Seminary. 
J. S. ScHENCK, Princeton. 

Wm. H. Scott, President^ Ohio State University. 
Oswald Seidensticker, Ph.D., Professor^ 

University Pennsylvania. 
W. G. T. Shedd, D.D., LL.D., Professor^ Union 

Theological Seminary. 
Frederick Sheldon, New Tork. 
Charles W, Sheilds, Princeton. 
D. E. Sickles, Major-General U.S.A. (retired). 
John E. Simmons, New York. 
Augustine Smith, New Tork. 
Edmund C. Stedman, New Tork. 
Albert Stickney, New Tork. 
R. S. Storrs, D.D., LL.D., Brooklyn. 
W. G. Sumner, Professor^ Tale College. 
Chas. W. Super, A.M., Ph.D., President^ Ohio 

University^ Athens^ Ohio. 
Chas. P. Taft, Cincinnati. 


Horace D* Taft, Cincinnati. 

C. N. Talbot, New York. 

E. A. Tanner, President^ Illinois College. 

Wm. H. Tillinghast, New York. 

Joseph F. Tuttle, D,D., President^ Wabash 

College^ Crawfotdsville^ Ind. 
Addison Van Name, Professor^ Yale College. 
Hooper C. Van Vorst, Justice^ Superior Courts 

City of New York, 

C. C. Waite, Cincinnati. 

R, H. Ward, President^ Troy Scientific Association. 
Alexander Stewart Webb, LL.D., President^ 

College City of New York. 
James C. Welling, President^ Columbian CollegCy 

Washington^ D. C. 
Alexander F. West, Princeton. 
A. M. Wheeler, Professor^ Yale College, 

D. H. Wheeler, D.D., President^ Allegheny 
College^ Meadville^ Pa. 

Andrew D. White, LL.D., Syracuse^ N. Y 

Horace White, Evening Posty New York. 

Norman Williams, Chicago. 

Jas. Grant Wilson, New York. 

S. R, WiNANS, Princeton. 

A. P. WiNSLOW, Cincinnati. 

C. A. Young, Princeton. 

Mr. Stevens to Mr. Bayard. 

United States Government Despatch Agency, 

4, Trafelgar Square, W.C. 
Sir: London^ January 18, 1887. 

I am informed that you are now being re- 
quested to communicate to Congress certain me- 
morials from historical and other learned societies, 
libraries, colleges, and prominent gentlemen in 30 
States and Territories^ asking Congress to authorize 


me to prepare a descriptive index of manuscripts and 
documents in public and private archives in Europe 
relating to the early history of the United States. 

The general subjed of the acquisition hj our 
Government of transcripts of all the unpublished 
manuscripts in Europe relating to America, and of 
eventually building up a homogeneous manuscript 
library of Americana, has been put before the 
Department of State many times, and in many 
phases at different periods of its development, during 
the last five years. 

The Department in every instance has cordially 
supported my propositions, and has referred them to 
Congress, with the request that authority be given 
to accept them. 

The Library Committees of Congress, by whom 
the several proje<Eb have been considered, have 
always signified their interest and approbation, con- 
firming the opinions of the Secretaries of State by 
recommending their adoption by Congress, but it 
may not be regarded as prejudicial to the under- 
taking that, notwithstanding the &vorable reports of 
the Library Committees and the great importance 
of the work, it has not yet received the assent of 

In these circumstances my efforts have not been 
relaxed, but have been stimulated by extraordinary 
discoveries of documents, and I have been led beyond 
a limit proper for a person not possessed of wealth 
to record and transcribe them. 

The material has grown on my hands, and its 
abundance has been such that I have been more 
concerned in its registration than in the develop- 
ment of the various methods by which it might be 
placed at the disposition of American scholars. 

In whatever form it may be presented, it is 


national and not se6Honal in its chara£ter, and ad- 
dresses itself to the National Government. 

I recently came from London to receive and to 
concentrate advice and counsel of authors, students, 
and gentlemen best known in historical and literary 
circles as to the system which they might regard as 
best for the primary arrangement of the data I have 

I ought, perhaps, to say that the plan of com- 
pleting my index first, in order to better develop the 
whole subje£l from the initial point of a descriptive 
index, was formulated by gentlemen of the Massa- 
chusetts Historical Society, and after much dis- 
cussion I cheerfully acceded to this limitation. 

I annex the substance of the principal statements 
(more especially those bearing on the index) put 
before the meetings of historical writers and students 
at Boston and New York convened, as already in- 
timated, to consider the whole subjed. 

The various points involved were discussed at 
those meetings, and the results arrived at were em- 
bodied in the memorials of the Boston and New 
York meetings, which, I am informed, have been 
communicated to you for transmission to Congress. 

I have the honor to be. Sir, your obedient 
servant, B. F. Stevens, 

United States Despatch Agent. 

Hon. Thos. F. Bayard, 

Secretary of State. 

Memorandum of Mr. Stevens^ s statement^ substantially 
as made to the meetings in Boston^ November 19 
and 29 and Decemher i, and in New Toriy 
December 11, 1886. 

During many years' residence in London I have 
been examining the public and private archives in 


England, France, Holland, and Spain, with the 
obje£l of eventually procuring transcripts and render- 
ing easy of access in one homogeneous colledion 
all the manuscripts and documents in European 
archives relating to the American Colonies. This 
has necessitated an abbreviated index to all these 

I have devoted my time more especially to the 
papers from the date of the treaty of Paris of 1763, 
by which Great Britain acquired firom France an 
undisputed title to our vast northwestern territories, 
down to the war of Independence and the peace 
negotiations establishing the United States Govern- 
ment, i763-'83. 

I have now [November, 1886] made entries of 
95,000 separate papers, including duplicates, tripli- 
cates, etc., within the scope of my work, the great 
majority of which have never been published and 
have never been transcribed for American use. 

It is' believed I have now indexed considerably 
above one-half of all the American documents, 
i763-'83, known to be in existence in Europe, and 
I have the completion of the work in rapid pro- 
gress — work which would demand several genera- 
tions of single-handed investigation — ^work which 
I venture to say will never be performed again 
under similar advantages to those which I possess 
from my long residence abroad, from my large 
personal acquaintance with the institutions and with 
the officials, whose cordial good-will has been most 
generously accorded to me from the outset, and 
from an excellently trained staff of able assistants, 
who can aid in rapidly carrying the work forward — 
advantages which in this kind of research are a 
sine qua non. 

My plan comprises, in the first instance, the in- 


dexing or cataloguing of all the American docu- 
ments wherever they exist in Europe 5 and, secondly, 
the collation and comparison of all duplicates, and 
recording all variations from the original manu- 
scripts of those that have been printed; and, finally, 
the transcribing with the greatest exaSitude all 
principal documents that have not been printed. 

By this plan the possible chance of loss to history 
by the destrudtion of any of the original state papers 
and private archives will be obviated, and at the 
same time all these American documents in Europe, 
of whatever charadler, will be indexed^ and I hope 
eventually transcribed. 

My use of the word "index" is very com- 

This index is not only a list of the manuscripts 
and documents in the order in which they now 
exist, with their approximate dimensions and with 
descriptions of each paper, as hx as convenient, by 
number, date, place of origin, writer, addressee, 
language, whether signed, original, duplicate, etc., 
with memoranda of indorsements, official minutes, 
uses, inclosures, etc., but it gives also a brief r£sum£ 
(in English) of each paper, with cross-references to 
duplicates, if any, and when printed, in full or in 
extradls, it states where and to what extent printed ; 
and it also comprises the information in chrono- 
logical and alphabetical arrangements. 

In short, my aim is to make the index a pass-key 
to all the treasures of American papers in all the 
public and private archives in Europe to which 
access is had, and which have hitherto been pra£lic- 
ally to a large extent inaccessible. 

This index (1763 to 1783) is already so far 
advanced that it can be finished within two years. 

It is estimated that this index will cover about 


150,000 separate documents, and when printed will 
make about 20,000 royal odlavo pages, on the 
general lines of the specimen pages I have hereto- 
fore submitted. 

I recapitulate some of the almost innumerable 
subje£b of these European- American documents. 

They concern the local, civil, social, political, 
military, judicial, and general interest of everv one 
of the British, French, Dutch, and Spanish colonies 
in North America. 

The planting and development of the North- 
western Territories ^ the negotiations and alliances 
with the Indians; projects for making surveys ac- 
quiring lands, ereding forts, extending settlements, 
enlarging trade, and indicating the beneficial lines 
of commerce and protection for the respective 
^* Plantations General," and the retirement of the 

Concerning the reservations to the King of 
timber for masts and ship-building. 

Disputed boundaries of provinces, grants, and 

The discussion of the fisheries question in Ame- 
rican waters, with particulars of the disputed, modi- 
fied, suspended and rejeSed points of the respective 

The military and naval operations, the alliances, 
the diplomatic negotiations of the European powers 
with each other, and with or concerning the Ame- 
rican colonies down to the copious correspondence 
and negotiations of the 1783 Paris treaty of peace. 

The most minute information respeding the 
movements and plans of Howe, Clinton, Caneton, 
Cornwallis, Rochambeau, Burgoyne, and others. 

The Yorktown, Saratoga, and other campaims. 

The operations in New Jersey, Virginia, North 


and South Carolina, the surrender of Fort Sack- 
ville on the Wabash, etc. 

The Indian auxiliaries, the Hessians, Loyalists, 
exchange and release of prisoners, with much con- 
cerning the French allies, the cruises of John Paul 
Jones, and those operating under letters of marque, 
or similar licenses issued by the American, British, 
Dutch, and Spanish authorities. 

Reports of the British and French naval and 
military officers. 

Reports of the French and Spanish diplomatic 
agents residing in America during the whole period 
of the Revolution. 

The log-books and journals of the British and 
French men-of-war. 

Correspondence between Washington and the 
English and French officers (not published for the 
most part) ; between the American commissioners 
and the English, Dutch, and Spanish Governments ; 
between Vergennes and the Dutch and Spanish 
ministers, etc. 

Reports as to the secret service, secret intelligence, 
intercepted letters, etc. 

These papers will reveal the estimation in which 
the great question of the American colonies and 
American independence was regarded by the states- 
men of England, France, Holland, and Spain ; the 
policy of the several states of Europe, jointly and 
separately, under their administrations for encourag- 
ing or retarding the success of the struggle of 
America in the Revolution. 

Mr. Bayard to Mr. Sherman. 

Department of State, 
Sir : Washington, January 19, 1887. 

I have the honor to communicate to you, 


with a view to submission to the Senate and refer- 
ence to the appropriate committee, copies of a 
memorial, signed by representatives of several his- 
torical societies and by many of the eminent men 
of letters of the United States, and especially by 
those engaged in historical pursuits, setting forth 
the great value and importance of a full and ac- 
curate digest and catalogue of the numerous 
documents found in public and private archives of 
Europe relating to the early history of the United 
States, and especially the period between the treaty 
of Paris in 1763, by which Great Britain acquired 
from France title to the northwestern territories of 
America, and the treaty of peace between the United 
States and Great Britain in 1783. 

The memorialists represent that such documents 
exist in great numbers in the various European 
archives ; that the conditions under which they are 
accessible — even when open to public inspection — 
are such that but few have been copied and most 
of them are unknown to the American student; 
that Mr. Benjamin Franklin Stevens, a native 
citizen of the United States residing in London, 
has, during several years of careful research and 
imder exceptional advantages, prepared a descriptive 
catalogue of over 95,000 separate papers found in 
the archives of different European countries ; and 
that this initial and incomplete list shows the value 
of the substantially complete list which they ask 
Congress to authorize and provide the means for. 

I also transmit a letter addressed to me by Mr. 
B. F. Stevens setting forth with more of detail the 
nature of the work he has thus undertaken, and the 
conditions essential to its accomplishment. 

Sundry similar memorials have been introduced 
in the Senate and referred to the Joint Committee 
on the Library. 


The weight of testimony as to the value of the 
proposed index catalogue suggested bv the names 
attached to the memorial justifies me m commend- 
ing the subject to the careful attention of Congress. 
Without its favorable adlion not only will the com- 
pletion of the work be doubtful, if not impossible, 
but the fragment now prepared would probably re- 
main practically valueless. 

Propositions have from time to time been made 
to Congress by persons eminent in history and 
literature, and with the recommendation of several 
of my predecessors, looking to the acquisition of 
transcripts of records in foreign archives relating to 
the early history of the United States, and their 
deposit in the national capital for free consultation. 
Such a descriptive catalogue as is now proposed 
would unquestionably be of advantage in suggesting 
the proper seledtion of historical matter for tran- 
scription, and indicating where it is to be found. 

I have the honor to be. Sir, your obedient ser- 
vant, T. F. Bayard. 

Hon. John Sherman, 

President pro tempore of the Senate. 

January 21, 1887. — Referred [with the accompany- 
ing papers] to the Committee on the Library 
and ordered to be printed. 

Printed as Senate Ex. Doc. No. 43, Forty-ninth 
Congress, second session. 

49th Congress, 2d Session. S. R. 96. 

In the Senate of the United States^ January 20, 1887, 
Mr. Hoar introduced the following joint Resolu- 
tiony which was read twice and referred to the 
Committee on the Library. 


Joint Resolution 

for procuring a descriptive catalogue of certain 
documents in Europe relating to America. 

Whereas the public archives of Europe, and es- 
pecially of Great Britain, Holland, France, and 
opain, abound in manuscripts and other docu- 
ments of the greatest interest to our country, of 
which no index, calendar, or descriptive catalogue 
has ever been published ; and 
Whereas such portion of these manuscripts and 
other documentary material as accumulated be- 
tween the date of the treaty of Paris in seventeen 
hundred and sixty-three, by which Great Britain 
acquired title from France to the northwestern 
territories of America, and the treaty of peace 
between Great Britain and the United States in 
seventeen hundred and eightv-three, are indis- 
pensable to a corred knowledge of the circum- 
stances which led to the separation of the Ameri- 
can Colonies from Great Britain, and to the 
establishment of the peculiar and unprecedented 
form of Government which succeeeded it ; and 
Whereas the restridions upon the access to and use 
of most of this material are so rigorous and the 
expense so great that hitherto only few and frag- 
mentary portions of it have been copied or other- 
wise made available for historic or even diplomatic 
uses: Therefore, 

Resohed by the Senate and House of Representathis 
oft be United States of America in Congress assembled^ 
That the Secretary of State be, and he is hereby, au- 
thorized to contract with Benjamin Franklin Stevens, 
a native of Vermont, now residing in London, for a 
descriptive catalogue index of such manuscripts or 
documents as may be found in the private and public 


archives of Great Britain, France, Holland, and 
Spain relating to the history of America between 
the years seventeen hundred and sixty-three and 
seventeen hundred and eighty-three, both inclusive, 
at a price not to exceed the sum of one hundred 
thousand dollars. 

Sec. 2. That the sum of one hundred thousand 
dollars, or so much thereof as may be necessary be, 
and is hereby appropriated for such work, out of 
any money in the Treasury not otherwise appro- 

Endorsed : 

49th Congress, 2d Session. S. R. 96. 

Joint Resolution for procuring a descriptive cata- 
logue of certain documents in Europe relating to 

1887. — ^January 20. — Read twice and referred 
to the Committee on the Library. 

Mr. Singleton, from the Committee on the 
Library, submitted the following 

Report : 
[To accompany H. Res. 252, the same as S. R. 96.] 

The committee to whom was referred the letter from 
the Secretary of State^ transmitting memorials 
relative to documents in Europe hearing on the 
early history of the United States^ respeiffully 
report : 

That the historical memorials of the colonization 
and political organization of the several States of 
America prior to the treaty of peace between the 
United States and Great Britain of 1783 are to be 
found almost exclusively in the public and private 
archives beyond the Atlantic. 

That access to these memorials is subjed to so 


many restrictions and is so difficult and expensive 
that but few and fragmentary portions of them have 
ever been copied, while the great mass of them is as 
if it did not exist to the American student. 

It is now proposed that a descriptive catalogue in 
the nature of an index should be compiled of such 
of these documents as illustrate the early history of 
that portion of America now embraced within the 
territory of the United States, for the period between 
the treaty of Paris of 1763, by which the French 
title to our northwestern territory was extinguished, 
and the treaty of peace between the United States 
and Great Britain of 1783, which extinguished the 
£nglish title within the territory of the present 
United States. 

It is also proposed that the duty of compilinj 
such a descriptive index catalogue should be confidei 
to Mr. Benjamin Franklin Stevens, a native of Ver- 
mont, but for the last twenty years an officer of the 
State Department residing in London. 

Both these proposals are warmly pressed upon 
the attention of Congress by more than three hun- 
dred gentlemen more or less prominent in the world 
of letters, and who upon any subject upon which they 
unite may be supposed to express the best literary 
judgment of the country. 

The proposal is also specially commended to the 
careful attention of your honorable body in a letter 
from the honorable Secretary of State and by two 
of his distinguished predecessors in that Department 
of the Government. 

The descriptive index for the preparation of which 
the aid of Congress is invoked is designed to give a 
general notion of the contents of every document 
relating to America within the period above referred 
to; its dimensions, or the number of words of which 


it consists ; where it is to be found ; whether printed 
or not in print, and, if printed, where ; whether an 
original or a copy ; the special uses, if any, which 
it served in foreign cabinets; and any official minutes 
which from time to time may have been made 
upon it. 

With such an index the historical student might 
see at a glance what documents are extant in the 
archives of England, France, Holland, and Spain 
that lie in the path of his investigations, where he 
must address himself for copies and their approximate 
cost. Historical societies. State and other public 
libraries, could with equal facility recognize the 
documents of particular interest to their constituents 
respedlively and the cost of copies, so that they 
might regulate their orders according to their re- 

Your committee have been favorably impressed 
by the proposal of the memorialists, and are per- 
suaded that a descriptive catalogue of the character 
commended to your consideration in the letter of 
the honorable Secretary of State, if placed within 
the reach of American scholars, would prove the 
beginning of a new era in historical literature in 
the United States, and within no long period of 
time would throw floods of light from unexpected 
quarters upon the circumstances which led to the 
early disintegration of the British empire in America, 
and to the establishment of the peculiar and unpre- 
cedented form of government which has in part 
replaced it. 

Mr. Stevens appears to have been many years 
employed in investigations which should have fitted 
him exceptionally for the task you are advised to 
confide to him. Upon this point the testimony 
before your committee is conclusive. 


Mr. Stevens assures your committee that the 
work under consideration is already well advanced i 
that about ninety-five thousand separate papers are 
already catalogued, and that he has a clerical force 
of experts at his command sufficient to complete it 
within a period of less than three years. He esti- 
mates the work complete will embrace about one 
hundred and fifty thousand diflerent titles, and will 
occupy the equivalent of not less than twenty 
printed volumes of one thousand royal odlavo pages 

For this he asks compensation at $5 for the 
equivalent of a printed roval o^vo page, each page 
to contain not less than five hundred words, or for 
the whole of the sum of $100,000. 

In view of the fa£b that the archives to be ex- 
plored are scattered over four different European 
states ; that a familiarity with more than as many 
languages will be required in cataloguing their 
contents ; that the number of seats in the European 
archives allotted to students is usually but two; 
that the hours for working rarely exceed two in 
each secular day, except as a special favor, not 
readily accorded ; that the records to be catalogued 
are rarely if ever indexed, rendering it necessary 
for searchers to turn over every document leaf by 
leaf; that in addition to a general description of 
the tenor of each document any official minutes 
indorsed upon it have to be transcribed, and when 
the document is a translation, the accuracy of that 
translation must be verified ; that those documents 
which have been printed must be noted and where 
the printed copies may be found ; that the dates of 
undated documents must be fixed approximately, 
duplicates collated, difficult passages deciphered, and 
all this information finally arranged, digested, and 


presented in a clean, fair copy, it has seemed to 
your committee that the price which Mr. Stevens 
places upon his undertaking is not excessive ; that 
it could probably be done by no one else, if at all, 
at such a rate, nor, for the reasons already suggested, 
without expending upon it many years more of 
time; and, finally, that the country will have in 
such an index, if secured, a property worth to it 
many times its cost. 

Vour committee do therefore respeftfuUy re- 
commend the adoption of the accompanying joint 

February 4, 1887. — Committed to the Committee 
of the Whole House on the state of the Union 
and ordered to be printed. 

Printed as Report No. 3962, forty-ninth Con- 
gress, second session. 

Mr. Stevens to Mr. Bayard. 

United States Government Despatch Agency, 
4 Trafalgar Square, London, 

Sir : January 14, 1888. 

On the 19th of January, 1887, the Depart- 
ment communicated to Congress the memorials of 
several historical societies and of many eminent 
men of letters with reference to my index catalogue 
of the American manuscripts in European archives. 

The Library Committee reported favorably on 
the joint resolution which it presented for carrying 
out the desired objed, but Congress adjourned with- 
out further aAion. 

I have continued to prosecute the work with as 
much zeal and energy as my limited means would 
permit, and I am now ready to begin to make a fair 


copy and to deliver this index catalogue work when 
funds are available. 

I have found and indexed many more documents 
within the year. Some of these are of supreme 
importance, and the existence of a large portion of 
them is not known to any living writer of American 

I pray the matter may be again presented to 

I have, etc., B. F. Stevens. 

Hon. Thos. F. Bayard, 

Secretary of State^ Washington. 

Mr. Stevens to Mr. Bayard. 

Sir : London, February 1 1, 1888. 

On the 13th of January I requested the 
Department to purchase the 10928 pages of peace 
transcripts from European archives which are now 
deposited in the library on approbation. 

On the 14th of January V wrote with reference 
to the catalogue index of historical manuscripts 
upon which I have been engaged, and requested 
that the matter piay be again presented to Con- 

I hope the joint resolution introduced into both 
the Senate and House last year may be again intro- 
duced this year. 

« « « « « 

In the possible contingency that the catalogue 
index subject has not again been put before Con- 
gress this session, I come to you now with this 
urgent request that the purchase of the peace tran- 
scripts may be considered favorably, and that all 
needful steps may be taken for carrying out this 
objedt, for these reasons, viz. : 


(i) These unpublished transcripts are of the 
greatest historical interest, and they all bear on our 
origin as a nation, and they go far to fill up the gaps 
in the diplomatic correspondence published by the 

(2) The acquisition of the peace papers has been 
desired by the Department for several years. 

(3) Whatever amount of money I get for these 
transcripts I intend applying towards pushing my 
catalogue index forward to completion. 

If the two proje£b can not go before Congress 
together, it is presumed the purchase of the tran- 
scripts had better be put forward first. The tran- 
scripts are a visible, valuable, and immediately useful 
property. The cash proceeds of the transcripts will 
most materially aid me in completing the index 
catalogue, and so enable me to put it forward next 
year as a finished work, and to lay it before the 
Department as a visible property. 

♦ ♦ « ♦ ♦ 

I have, etc., ' B. F. Stevens. 

Hon. Thos. F. Bayard, 

Secretary of State. 

Mr. Bayard to the President of the Senate. 

Department of State, 
Sir: Washington, March 29, 1888. 

I have the honor to recall to the attention of 
the Senate, the proposal heretofore made by Mr. 
Benjamin F. Stevens, a citizen of the United States, 
residing in London, to supply to the Government of 
the United States accurate transcripts of a large 
number of documents in the archives of different 
Governments illustrative of the early history of the 
United States, and especially those bearing upon 


the American Revolution and the War of Inde- 
pendence, thus forming a colle£tion of hitherto 
unpublished State papers of appreciable value, the 
acquisition of which would enrich the archives of 
this Government and put within reach of the Ame- 
rican student of this important historical field in- 
formation now pradically inaccessible. 

The first proposal of Mr. Stevens in this regard 
was referred to the chairman of the Library Com- 
mittee of the Senate bjr a letter of my predecessor, 
Mr. Frelinghuysen, dated January 27, 1883, ^^~ 
companied by a strongly recommendatory letter of 
Mr. Lowell, the United States Minister at London, 
and these communications were printed as Senate 
Mis. Doc. No. 29, of that session. 

Subsequently, Mr. Stevens essentially modified 
his proposal and submitted a plan for furnishing the 
coUeAion of transcripts in question in printed form. 
His letter, dated March 17, 1884, which very fully 
set forth the nature of the comprehensive work 
undertaken by him, was in turn referred by Secre- 
tary Frelinghuysen to the Senate Committee on the 
Library, and was printed, with accompanying papers, 
as Senate Mis. Doc. No. 84, Forty-eighth Congress, 
first session. The proposition then submitted was 
not, however, adted upon by Congress. 

In 1886, under the suggestion of officers of this 
Department to whom specimen volumes of the 
historical transcripts in question had been exhibited, 
Mr. Stevens reverted to his original proposition, 
and placed on deposit in the Department library a 
number of neat and accurate copies of papers of 
value in connedtion with our early history, with a 
view to their being added to the archives of the 
Department of State if Confess should make pro- 
vision for their purchase. These papers are con- 


tained in 37 bound volumes, and comprise about 
10,000 closely written pages. 

In a letter addressed to me on the 22d of April, 
1886, in relation to his last proposal, Mr. Stevens 

says : 

The coUe^lion of transcripts to which I refer embraces, so 
far as known, a complete series of the letters and instructions 
from the French Government to its own ministers in America 
from the time of the alliance until the ratification of the treaty 
of peace, together with the letters from the French ministers 
in America to their own Government during the same period. 
There is also a complete series of the manuscripts m the 
archives of England, Holland, and Spain, relating to the 
American peace negotiations at Paris, from March, 1782, 
until the exchange of the ratifications of the treaty in 1784. 
♦ ♦ ♦ In this series is nothing that has been heretofore pub- 
lished, and each paper comine from the record office in 
England or from the archives m France has been carefully 
compared with its original, and is absolutely corre6k as to 
phraseology, and each one is complete, not being an extra6k 
or a portion of a letter. 

I am informed that much interest was expressed 
in this opportunity for acquiring the materials for 
the history of the negotiations for the definitive 
treaty of peace with Great Britain, offering, as the 
colledtion of transcripts in question does, the first 
complete record of the events of the period named, 
from a foreign point of view, which has ever come 
to America; and, if I am not misinformed, the 
members of the committee shared this interest and 
favored an amendment to the sundry civil appro- 
priation bill then pending to provide the amount 
requisite for the purchase. A£tion, however, was 
not taken, and the proposition was lost sight o^ 
when Mr. Stevens presented a more comprehensive 
scheme for supplying a full and accurate digest and 
catalogue of all documents found in the public and 
private archives of Europe relating to the early 


history of the United States, and covering the 
eventful period from 1763 to 1783. The latter 
proje£l was warmly seconded by many historical 
societies and eminent men of letters in this country, 
as was attested by numerously signed memorisJs 
to Congress during the last session. In this rela- 
tion I have the honor to refer to the letter which I 
addressed to the President pro tempore of the Senate 
on the 19th of January, 1887, printed in Senate 
Ex. Doc. No. 43, Forty-ninth Congress, second 

Neither of these proje£b can be considered as 
a£hially pending before the present Congress, and 
I am urgently solicited by Mr. Stevens to take such 
a^on as may be proper for the revival of one or 
both of them in order that they may receive due 
and final consideration. 

Without modifying the views I had the honor to 
express last year touching the advantage of possess- 
ing so comprehensive a descriptive historical index 
of foreign state papers relating to the Revolutionary 
period of our country, and deeming it worthy of 
attentive consideration on its merits, I regard it 
wholly independent of the earlier proposal, and not 
in any way in conflidt therewith. From a pradical 
point of view, I should deem it unfortunate if the 
valuable colle£tion of transcripts of historical records 
now temporarily deposited in this Department should 
be suffered to leave its custody and cease to be avail- 
able for our own use or for the benefit of historical 
scholars. This coUeSion is in itself complete and 
imique, and if Congress should be indisposed to con- 
sider the two distin£l propositions of Mr. Stevens, I 
should be inclined to give preference to the one now 
immediately acceptable, and advocate enriching our 
collection of historical material by acquiring this ex- 


tensive series of transcripts covering an epoch of our 
national life as to which our present records are ad- 
mittedly deficient. 

In order to present the whole subjed connededly, 
I transmit herewith copies of the several printed 
documents referred to, and also copies of Mr. 
Stevens's letters to me urging the renewed considera- 
tion of his projefb. I have the honor to be, sir, 
your obedient servant, T. F. Bayard. 

The President pro tempore of the United States 

March 31, 1888. — Ordered to be printed and re- 
ferred to the Committee on the Library. 

Printed, with accompanying papers, as Senate Ex. 
Doc. No. 133, Fiftieth Congress, first session. 

Leaving with Congress the question 
of the deposited volumes of Transcripts, 
in the hope that future aftion might be 
taken both as regarded these and the 
Catalogue-Index, I continued for some 
years longer the work of that Index, 
until at last I was compelled, by the 
enormous quantity of material I had in 
hand, to stop, in order to revise, classify, 
and make a fair copy of the whole in 
some form available for less private use. 
The British, French, Spanish and Dutch 
entries were brought into one homo- 
geneous whole, the dates stridtly limited 
to the twenty years from 1763 to 1783, 


and the Alphabetical Index made in 
double entry, so as to give, in the case 
of correspondence, the names not only 
of writers but of receivers. 

I estimate the total as being about 
161,000 items. 

The form in which this Index of 
Documents in European Archives 
RELATING TO AMERICA is now presented 
is threefold, as described on the title- 
page, since besides the chronological 
and alphabetical indexes of my earliest 
scheme, I give, as stated in my circular 
of November, 1885, page 239, what was 
the basis of both, namely, the calendars 
or lists of the papers in the order in 
which they exist in their respective 

These calendars or lists form the ist 
Division, in 50 volumes, of the work. 
They are clearly written in a tabulated 
form, showing the date, place of address, 
name of writer and addressee or other 
brief heading, description of document — 
whether original or copy — , its approxi- 
mate length, and the reference folio, 
page or number. They are put forward 
in three ways : first, by a full list where 


every paper in a volume relates to Ameri- 
can affairs; second, by a more partial 
list, noting specially the American papers 
and dealing briefly with others on other 
subjedts or outside the limit of the dates 
specified, dismissing them with a formula 
which answered my purpose in the 
words " not indexed " ; and thirdly, by 
seledting and noting only the one, twenty 
or thirty papers which might relate to 
the subjeft in hand. The intention was 
originally in these lists to show on the 
facing pages when an entry existed else- 
where, but it was found better to deal 
with this in the Chronological Arrange- 
ment, Part II. of the work. 

I need say nothing of the value of 
these calendars or lists except that thus 
a student in another continent may have 
in his hands and see at a glance tiie con- 
tents of, for example, volume 142 of the 
"America and West Indies" series in the 
English Record Oflice or volume 20 of 
the " Etats-unis " in the French Foreign 

Taking first the Public Record Gflice 
of England, I have opened with the 
" America & West Indies " series as by 


far the largest and most important in 
American material. Of these are in- 
dexed either in whole or in part 339 
volumes, comprising the local, civil, 
social, political and judicial history of 
each of the colonies or provinces, the 
military dispatches of the successive com- 
manders-in-chief — Generals Gage, Sir 
William Howe, Sir Henry Clinton and 
Sir Guy Carleton, and the operations of 
the various campaigns. The " Board 
of Trade " series (my volumes 1 1 to 1 5) 
relates more closely to the civil adminis- 
tration of each colony until the outbreak 
of hostilities, when one after another of 
the royal governors and civil officers 
had precipitately to vacate their govern- 
ments. The volumes of Afts and 
Minutes or Journals of the legislative 
bodies form a valuable portion of this 
set. In this entire series 357 volumes 
are dealt with. The "Colonial Cor- 
respondence" (my volume 16), referring 
as it does more to the West Indies, 
Canada, Newfoundland and Nova Scotia, 
is dealt with mainly by seleAion, noting 
only such papers as in some way relate 
to the war. The subdivision Canada, 


however^ indexed more fully, contains 
the dispatches of Sir Guy Carleton and 
General Haldimand commanding in 
Canada, and also the correspondence 
relating to General Burgoyne and the 
expedition which ended in the capitula- 
tion of Saratoga. 

The Admiralty Records are valuable 
from a naval point of view. The con- 
tents of the volumes of "Admirals* 
Dispatches'* on the American station 
are noted in full, while from those on 
the Jamaica and other stations all en-< 
tries not American are omitted. Of 
the " Captains* Letters ** are seledted 
only those captains who commanded 
ships of war on the American station, a 
compilation having previously been made 
from the Navy List Books describing the 
ships on that station from 1775 to 1783. 
This compilation, arranged alphabetic- 
ally according to the names of the ships, 
forms my volumes 22 and 23. Though 
I have not been able to go into the 
question of ships* logs I believe many 
are still preserved. 

The Foreign Office Records in the 
Public Record Office open up the Eu- 


ropean phase of the subjecft with the 
correspondence of the British ambas- 
sadors or ministers at the various courts, 
and include all that relates to the Armed 
Neutrality and the Russian Mediation. 
That of France, so closely concerned in 
the struggle, contains the open, secret, 
or most confidential dispatches of Lord 
Stormont, so many of which I have been 
able to give in my Facsimiles, with all 
the information as to French diplomacy 
and American negotiation down to the 
declaration of war with Great Britain in 
1778. Here also are the records of the 
general peace negotiations in 1782 and 
1783. The series " German States " (my 
volume 26) contains the papers with 
regard to the obtaining the supplies of 
Brunswick, Hessian, Waldeck and other 
auxiliary troops. Papers relating to the 
services of these troops are found in the 
"America and West Indies," in the Royal 
Institution and in the British Museum, 
but appalled by the enormous proportions 
my catalogue had already reached, I was 
not able, as I should have liked to do, to 
add the contemporary records from the 
Hessian side which exist in Germany. 


In the Home Office Records are in- 
dexed a number of bundles entitled 
" Miscellaneous," consisting of addresses 
to the King from towns and counties in 
England and Scotland testifying their 
abhorrence of the American rebellion 
and their own loyalty. I am informed 
that these addresses may shortly be de- 
stroyed as cumbrous and of little his- 
torical value. If so, it will be interest- 
ing to know from my catalogue that at 
one time they did exist. 

Amongst the Miscellaneous Collec- 
tions are placed first the manuscripts 
preserved in the Royal Institution. 
These are the Head Quarters papers of 
the British commanders-in-chief at New 
York which remained in the possession 
of the last of these commanders — Sir 
Guy Carleton, afterwards Lord Dor- 
chester — or of his secretary Maurice 
Morgann. Such papers as the dispatches 
to and from the home government are 
duplicates of what are found in the 
Public Record Office, but many others 
are not found elsewhere, such as letters 
to and from officers at various posts, 
subsistence accounts, pay warrants, re- 


ports of his Majesty's Provincial troops, 
and the memorials and organization for 
the support of loyalists and distressed 

Since I had the privilege of indexing 
the manuscripts of Lord Auckland they 
have been acquired by the British 
Museum and are now Additional MSS. 
34,412 et seq. This explains why my 
references are simply to "Auckland 
MSS." They divide theniselves natur- 
ally for this period into two parts : (i) 
the private or secret service papers con- 
cerning the doings in Paris of the 
American agents sent over to obtain the 
open or secret assistance of France and 
Europe, during which time Mr. Eden 
was Under Secretary of State ; and (2) 
those relating to the unsuccessful com- 
mission for restoring peace which was 
sent out to America by the British 
ministry in the spring of 1778, and of 
which he was a member. I have been 
able to give many of them in my Fac- 

Most of these private colle6tions have 
been or are being calendared by the 
Royal Commission on Historical Manu- 


scripts, but it was thought advisable to 
repeat here a short title index to the Ame- 
rican papers both for the sake o£ com- 
pleteness and of convenient reference. 

In my letter to Mr. Secretary Fre- 
linghuysen on the 4th of November, 
1882, I mentioned as one of my earliest 
undertakings the incorporation of the 
Haldimand Papers in the British Mu- 
seum into my Chronological Index. 
While the various items, within the 
limits of my dates, appear there and in 
my Alphabet, I should state here that 
having regard to the full calendars ot 
these volumes (Additional MSS. 21,661 
to 21,885), issued at stated periods by 
the Canadian Government, under the 
diredlion of Dr. Douglas Brymner, I 
have thought it unnecessary to repeat 
them in volume 36 of my ist Division 
where the other British Museum papers 
appear. The same consideration has 
led me to omit, for the most of these 
Haldimand Papers, the prkis or abstradl 
usually given to each document in the 
Chronological Arrangement. Having 
the advantages of comparison, I have, 
whenever a discrepancy in dates or 


names occurred between the Canadian 
calendars and my own, spared no pains 
to verify my own entry with the original. 
In the five Paris Archives to which 
I have had access the bulk of the ma- 
terial lay in the Bureau des Archives 
des Affaires Etrangh-es, in which alone 
I have indexed fully or by seleAioh 254 
volumes. The series " Etats-Unis " con- 
tains not only the correspondence and 
doings of the American agents in Paris — 
Franklin, Deane, Lee, Adams, and Jay 
— with the French Government, but the 
dispatches between that Government 
and its accredited ministers in Phila- 
delphia — M. Gerard, the Chevalier de 
La Luzerne, and Barb6 de Marbois. 
Very few of these seem to have been lost 
in the transit, and they are in themselves 
a wholly interesting American study.^ 
The series "Angleterre" contains the 
correspondence of the French Ambas- 
sador in London, until his withdrawal 
in 1778. To this series also belong the 

^ These form a large part of the transcripts de- 
posited in the Department of State, Washington. 
See Mr. Bayard's letter of March 29th, 1888, p. 


negotiations on the French side for the 
treaty of peace in 1782 and 1783. 

The Archives de la Marine^ B4 
CampagneSj contain the record of the 
assistance given by the French naval 
army successively under Count D*Es- 
taing, the Chevalier de Ternay, Count de 
Barras, and Count de Grasse, many log 
books of the French ships, and corre- 
spondence of commanding officers. 

The Archives Coloniales naturally 
contain little within these dates of con- 
sequence to the American continent, 
but there are some papers relating to 
Louisiana in the interval between its 
cession to Spain in 1762, and its adtual 
possession by the Spaniards in 1769, the 
French occupation being further ex- 
tended by the residence at New Orleans 
of " ordonnateurs " and " commissaires " 
down to 1782 or 1783. These archives 
were, when I indexed them, housed in 
the same building as the Archives de la 
Marine ; they have since been removed 
to one of the pavilions of the Louvre, 
and there was recently some talk of 
another removal, let us hope, to safer 
and more commodious quarters. 


Besides the Royal Archives at the 
Hague, I was able to include the Huts 
ArcAief (those of the Prince of Orange, 
William V.). A curious feature in this 
collection is the series of deciphered 
copies of the dispatches of the French 
Ambassador resident there to his court. 
Whether adually intercepted or pri- 
vately supplied they are numerous and 
generally in full, though occasionally 
there is a note that the cipher of a par- 
ticular sentence is not known. 

The indexing of the Spanish Archives 
was undertaken in the years 1885 and 
1886. Those at Alcal4 de Hen4res are, 
for this subjedl and period, the largest 
and most important, the papers at 
Simancas being mostly the counterparts 
of correspondence held by the Count 
de Aranda, then Spanish Ambassador 
in Paris. In Alcal4 the archives are 
housed in the old archiepiscopal palace, 
and these papers had apparently never 
been unfolded from the day they were 
read and docketed, as, on opening them, 
the sand used in drying the ink fell on 
the table in showers. The few volumes 
indexed at Seville relate to the Spanish 


colony of Louisiana, and the attempt to 
recover West Florida. 

Maps have been noted and indexed 
only when found mixed with the corre- 
spondence. For maps generally the 
reader is referred to the nrap catalogues 
of the various colle6lions. 

It would hardly be possible to give 
any definite total of the volumes or 
bundles which have thus passed under 
review, so many, especially in the foreign 
archives, though covering the dates de- 
sired, having been turned over only to 
be rejected. Further, in the case of 
private manuscripts which, until sorted, 
are frequently mere chests full of loose 
papers, no idea of the number of volumes 
can be given. In the Royal Archives 
at the Hague, where the correspondence 
for each country is methodically put 
into chronological order, the year 1780, 
for instance, which would be the sole 
reference, may consist of several parts. 
I adlually include, however, calendars 
full, or partial, of 2,385 volumes. To 
these I may add perhaps sixty-seven, 
brief notes of which are entered in their 
proper sequence, as, for example, in the 


scries " France '* in the Public Record 
Office, where I note 494 as being a 
volume of abstradts only, and 509, 
which is dismissed with the words, 
** relating to French finance " ; or in 
the Spanish !A.rchives of Alcal4, where 
4,207 and 4,299 are mentioned only as 
touching donations and subscriptions for 
carrying on the war with England. As 
an approximate total I reckon that 
3,000 bundles or volumes must have 
been handled. 

With regard to the other two Divi- 
sions of the work-— the Chronological 
and Alphabetical arrangements — I have 
extended the Chronology into 100 
volumes by giving to each document a 
precis or abstradt in English of its con- 
tents, with, in most cases, the endorse- 
ment, and the full references to inclo- 
sures or covering letters. Here also are 
shown the various duplicates, copies, or 
extradts of the same letter or paper, 
marked respedtively a, b, c, d, etc., the 
original always taking precedence. 
While I have noted where, according 
to my knowledge, the same document 
may be found printed and published, I 


have only dealt with well-known or 
official American works — with recent 
histories or with periodical literature I 
have not attempted to cope. Where 
reproduced in my Facsimiles I have 
always given the reference number. 

Great care has been taken in the case 
of undated papers, to give them as ap- 
proximately correft a date as possible. 
There are some, however, to which no 
relative date could be attributed, and 
they are placed at the end of the 
chronology. Where a name or date is 
supplied, it is always shown by being 
inclosed within brackets thus [ ]. 

The insertion of a hand or pointer 
1^" in this division indicates that an 
entry should be inserted at that point, 
the entry itself having been discovered 
and added later at the end of that par- 
ticular day. 

In the list of contents placed at the 
beginning of each volume the same 
pointer j^ is used merely to indicate 
the volume then in the reader's hands. 

It should be added that the years 
which have passed since I first began 
to note my references have seen changes 


in the various archives and in the classi- 
fication, numbering, or pagination of 
volumes. The Admiralty Records in 
the Public Record Office, for example, 
are now reclassified and renumbered ; 
also some of the Foreign Office, the 
Domestic George III. in the Home 
Office Records, and the War Office 
Original Correspondence, while in the 
Marine Office in Paris the numbers of 
a few books are changed. Mere bundles 
of papers are at all times liable to be dis- 
tributed. Any antiquated numbering, 
however, could probably be identified, 
and the date is dways a further means 
of recognition. The official pagination 
or numbering of documents in the 
volumes at the date of indexing was 
carefully followed. In some cases there 
was no pagination, and I then endeavoured 
to supply an approximate number to 
assist in identification. But in the case 
of bundles or unbound papers such 
numbering, while necessary for my 
working purposes, must not be taken 
too literally. 

Finally, I do not claim to have ex- 
hausted all the sources in Europe of the 


American history of the period. Some 
series in the Public Record Office may 
have been made accessible to the public 
since my indexes took their present 
form, and some others of minor import- 
ance of which I was aware, I was re- 
luctantly obliged to leave ; but with all 
limitations, this Catalogue Index is yet, 
I believe, and repeat, the sole key to 
the American revolutionary documents 
in European Archives as a combined 

It remains for me to record here my 
great indebtedness to and appreciation 
of the confidence, cordial good-will, and 
co-operation of the custodians, direftors, 
and officials of all the archives I have 
mentioned — in England, of His Ma- 
jesty's Public Record Office, of the 
British Museum and the Royal Institu- 
tion, and of the noble owners of private 
collections ; in France, of the director 
and officials of the Foreign Office, of 
the Marine, of the Colonies, and the 
Archives NationaleSj as well as to Mr. 
Henry Vignaud, Secretary of the Ameri- 
can Embassy, and a trusted friend and 
adviser. Both in Spain and Holland 


courtesy and interest were unexampled. 
I should not fail to acknowledge also 
the ready services whenever applied for 
of the successive American ambassadors 
and ministers at this and other European 

February^ 1902. 


Francis, 77. 
Adee, A. A., 79. 

Albany, 13-17, 199. 

Allen, Ethan, papers of, 135, 

American Antiquarian So- 
ciety, 159. 

Amencan Society in London, 
160, 168-169, 1829 'S4» 

Amsterdam, 104. 

Antwerp, 104. 

Ashbee, Spencer, 161. 

Astor Library, New York, 54, 
55,57, "I. 

Ballard and Brothers, 42, 44. 
Bancroft, George, 78. 
Bamet, Vermont, 1-104. pas- 

ji«r,ii9, 145-151,153-155, 

Bayard, T. F., 169, 247, 249, 

252, 256, 267, 273, 281, 

282, 283. 
Bayliss, Sir Wyke, 160, 161. 
Benedi6l, G. G., 132-137. 
Bigelow, John, 163, 256. 
Bigmore, Edward C, iio- 

Blaine, J. G., 202. 
Boston, 56, 74, 199. 
Brabrook, Mr., 160. 

Brauges, Monsieur, 214. 

British Museum, 52, 57, 61, 
62, 128, 217, 233, 294, 
295, 303. 

British Xylonite Company, 

Brown, Henry J., iii. 

Browning, A. Giraud, 161. 

Burbank, Mr., 154, 155. 

Burlington, 73>i3»»i35,i3^> 
189; University, see Ver- 

Burnside, Gen., 96. 

Bushnell, Dr. Horace, 20-23. 

Carlyle, Thomas, purchase of 

house of, 127-128. 
Charleston, N.H., 9, 11. 
Cheney, John Vance, 134, 


Chiswick Press, 68, 106, 107, 
108, 176. 

Choate, Hon. Joseph H., 77, 

Civil War, the, 50, 73-74. 

Cogswell, Dr., 57. 

Columbia Lodge, i6o. 

Conne6ticut River, 19-20. 

Connecticut Historical So- 
ciety, 159, 181. 

Crerar, John, and his library, 

Croker, T. F. Dillon, 160. 



Crown Pointy map of, 133, 

Darmstadt, 129, 131. 
Dartmouth, Earl of, hisMSS., 

Dartmouth College, N.H., 

confers degree, 159. 
Davis, Ira, 11. 
Davis, J. C. Bancroft, 78, 

Davis, John, 216. 
Dewey, Admiral, 78. 
Diamond, Dr., 161. 
Dwight, Theodore F., 103, 


Elliot, Samuel, 127. 
Evarts, William M., 78, 200, 
»oi, 203, 235. 

Farragut, Admiral, 78. 
Farrar, Mr., 42. 
Flower, Edgar, 131. 
Forbes, Col. Paul S., 96, 97, 

98, 99, 100, 102. 
Franklin, Admiral, 78. 
Frelinghuysen, Frederick T., 

204, 215, 220, 229, 236, 

284, 295. 
French Archives. See Paris, 

Godwin, George, 161. 
Goodell, A. C, 250. 
Gower, Lord Ronald, 131. 
Grant, General, 78. 
Granville, Earl, 201, 202, 203. 
Greeley, Horace, 78. 
Grolier Club of New York, 
107, 160. 

Hadley, Mr., 15. 

Hague, the, 128$ archives at, 

Hale, Rev. £. E., 175, 214^ 

Hall, Hubert, 187. 

Harris, Mrs., 95, 99. 

Harrisburg, 55. 

Haswell, Mr., 40, 41. 

Hawes, Col. Alex. G., 5. 

Hay, Hon. John, 78. 

Holland, visits to, 104. 

Hovenden, Mr., 160. 

Howlett, Richard, 162. 

Hubbard, Rev. Austin Os- 
good, 6. 

Humboldt, Baron von, library 
of, 59, 60-64. 

Hunter, W., 79. 

Jameson, John A., 39, 40. 
Jones, Mr. Winter, 52. 

Kenerson, Mrs. J. S., 153, 

Keston, Sir J. B. Lennard*s 

library at, 165. 
Kidder, Rev. Thomas, 11. 
King, Dr., 7-8. 
Kingston, Mr., of the Public 

Record Office, 214. 

Lennard, Sir John Barrett, 

his library, 165. 
Library Association, the, 159. 
Lowell, James Russell, 78, 

185, 188, 200, 201, 20S, 

203, 214, 215, 216, 2l8y 

236, 284. 

Margry, Monsieur, 215. 
Marquand, Heniy G., 256. 
Maryland Historical Society^ 



Memphramagog, Lake, 21. 
Mernaniy C. P., 124. 
Merriam, L. P., 122-123. 
Merrill, Timothy R., 26. 
Minnesota Historical Society, 

Montpelier, 17, 26, 44, 133, 

149, 199. 
Moore, Col. Frank, 96, 100, 


Morgan, John S., 68. 
Morse, Mr., 72. 
Munroe and Co., 95, 99. 

Newbury Seminary, 24-25. 
New Hampshire, governor of. 

9; records, 181; Historical 

Society, 159. 
New Jersey, 172, 199. 
New York, 55, 72, 73, 89, 

257$ map of, 179; Public 

Library, 181. 
Noviomagus Club, 1 60-1 61. 

Owen, Professor, 129. 
Oxford, 165. 

Page, William, artist, brother- 
in-law of B. F. Stevens, 

Panizzi, Sir Antonio, 52. 

Paris, 91, is8, 173, 175-1765 
French Archives in, 173, 
201, 208-212, 214, 218, 
223-224, 225, 233, 235, 
*38, *39» *+7> *48> ^9^- 
a97» 303* «tc. 

Parkman, Mr., 249. 

Passumpsick River, 20. 

Peabody, Mr., 6$^ 67, 71. 

Pease, Professor, 40. 

Pennsylvania Historical So- 
ciety, 181. 

Petherick, Charles J., 79. 

Phene, Dr., 160, 161. 

Philadelphia, 55. 

Pickering, William, 105. 

Plant ins, printers, 105. 

Poole, Wm. F., 214. 

Public Record Office, 172, 
182, 199, 200, 203, 204- 
207, 213, 216, 217, 218, 
220, 233, 236, 237, 247, 
289-292, 300, 302, 303. 

Quaritch, Bernard, 1 1 1. 
Queen^s Diamond Jubilee, 

Read, General, and Mrs., 98. 
Ribier, Monsieur, 214. 
Richards, Mr., 99. 
Richardson, SirBenj. Ward, 

Rodgers, Admiral C. R. P., 

Royal Commission on His- 
torical MSS., 179, 294. 

Royal Historical Society, 160, 
184, 186-187. 

Royal Institution, 179, 214, 
ai7,*33»293, 303- 

St. Johnsbury, 134, 136. 
Salter, Candace, 2. See Mrs. 

Stevens, senior. 
Savage Club, 167. 
Scotland, 112, 113. 
Seward, Hon. W. H., 76, 78. 
Shakespeare bust, 1 2 9- 1 3 1 . 
Sheridan, General, 78. 
Sherman, General and Mrs., 

36, 78. 
Sherman, John, 216, 236, 

Sickles^ General, 78. 

3o8 INDEX 

Sigma Phi Fraternity, i6o. 

Skinner, Mrs., 93. 

Society of Antiquaries, 159, 

Society of Arts, 160. 

Soci^t^ d^histoire diplo- 
matique, 159, 184. 

Somerby, Horatio Gates, 65- 
67, 68, 76. 

Sotheby, Messrs., 62, iii. 

Spain, or Spanish archives, 
173, 212,239,298, 300, etc. 

Stanley, H. M., 78. 

Stevens, Benjamin Franklin, 
birth and early years, 
chaps, i. and ii.j convevs 
imfK>rtant papers to the 
Governor of New Hamp- 
shire, 9; copies historical 
documents at Albany, 
chap. iii. pp. 13-17$ carries 
on historical work at Mont- 
pelier, 17; on the farm at 
Bamet, 18-24; excursion 
with Dr. Bushnell, 20-23 1 
at Newbury Seminary, 24- 
25 ; appointed Deputy 
Secretary of State, Ver- 
mont, 26; straightens out 
money matters of the vil- 
laffe, 33; at the University 
in Aurlington, chap. vi. pp. 
39-51 J works in the Astor 
Library, 54-55$ agent of 
his brother Henry, 54-56$ 
joins his brother in London, 
56-57 5 on the Humboldt 
Catalogue, 59, 61-64$ '^^' 
timacy with Mr. Somerby 
and Mr. Peabody, 65-68$ 
first visit to the Whitting- 
hams at Surbiton, 69; goes 
to America, 72-74$ re- 

turns to London. 74$ in 
partnership with his brother 
Simon, 75$ his marriage 
with Charlotte Whitting- 
ham, 74$ appointed Ameri- 
can Despatch Agent, 76$ 
removes to Surbiton, 82 $ 
and to the Sheaves, 84$ 
visits America with Mrs. 
Stevens, 88-90$ mission to 
Paris, 91995-104$ hiscon- 
ne6tion with the Chiswick 
Press, chap. xiv. pp. 105- 
108 $ his library agency, 
chap. XV. pp. 1 09- 1 1 5 $ visit 
to Scotland for the John 
Crerar Library, 112-113$ 
connection with the British 
X]^lonite Company, chap, 
xvii. pp. 122-125$ the 
Carlyle House Purchase 
Scheme, 126-128$ the 
Shakespeare Bust, 128-131$ 
presentation of papers and 
map to the Vermont His- 
torical Society, 132-135, 
142-143 ; interest in Barnet 
records, 144-152$ endow- 
ment of its cemetery, 153. 
'^SSi &^ of books to its 
Public Library, 156$ to 
the University at Burling- 
ton, 1 56-1 58 $ honours con- 
ferred on him, 150-160$ 
sociedesand clubs or which 
he was a member, 159, 
160, 162, 163, 167, i68j 
visit to Oxford, 165$ his 
Catalogue Index of Ameri- 
can MSS. in European 
Archives,. 172-173, 179, 
180, 181$ Introduction to 
that Index, showing his 



original projects to supply 
transcripts as well as calen- 
dars, 195-304; visit to 
America in connection 
therewith, 157 5 works 
edited and published by 
him, 175-176, 178-1795 
his Facsimiles, 176-179; 
obituary notices, chap. 
xxiv. pp. 182-189. 
Stevens, Candace, mother of 
B. F. Stevens, 10, 29, 39- 

5o» 57-59. 71, 72, 73> 
75, 82, 90, 91, 95, 104, 

Stevens, Charlotte, wife of 
B. F. Stevens, 83, 84, 85, 
88-90, 92, 103, 106, 116, 

Stevens, Enos, grandfather, 

28-29, 147, 153, 155. 
Stevens, Enos, brother of 

B. F. Stevens, 3, 25, 41, 

43. 45j 73. 76. 93- 

Stevens, George, 3. 

Stevens, Henry, father of B. F. 
Stevens, 1-4, 5, 9- 11, 13- 
17, 18, 23-26, 35, 37, 39- 
5o> 54. 55-60, 70, 71, 82, 

90. 13*. 133.145. 146, 199- 

Stevens, Henry, brother of 
B. F. Stevens, 3, 52-64, 
68, 71. 73. 74, 75. 7^, 
103, 105, 1X2, 145, 161, 
172. 183. 

Stevens, Henry Newton, 63. 

Stevens, John Austin, 99, 

Stevens, Dr. Phineas, 147. 

Stevens, Capt. Phineas, 147. 

Stevens, Samuel, 147. 

Stevens, Simon, 147. 

Stevens, Simon, brother of 

B. F. Stevens, 3, 71, 73, 

75, 76, 146. 
Stevens, Sophia Candace, 3, 

6, 20, 76. 
Stevens, Willard, 146, 147. 
Stillman, W. J.. 120. 
Stone, Arthur, 136. 
Stone, Henry, 95. 
Stratford-on- Avon, 129-131. 
Surbiton, 68, 69, 70, 82, 83, 

84, etc. 

Thompson, Mr., now Sir 

E. Maunde, 214. 
Toilet, Judge, 41. 
Train, Mr., 72. 
Treloar, Sir Wm., 130. 
Tuttlc, Dr., 5. 

Urban Club, 163. 

Vermont Historical Society, 

14,41.13*. 134,136,14a. 

143. 159. 199- 
Vermont University, 39-50; 

gift of books to, 156-158; 

confers degree, 159. 
Vermonters,Song of the, 133- 

Vignaud, Mr., of Paris, 214, 

Vincent, Mr., of the Royal 

Institution, 214. 

Walker, Admiral J. G., 78. 

Warren, Arthur, 107, 187. 

Washbume, E. B., Ameri- 
can Minister in Paris, 78, 
95. 96, 97. 98, 100, 102. 

Washbume, Gratiot, 97, 
98. 100, loi, 103. 

Washington, 55, 73, iii.