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. v :nry cuivrxs 


In Summer Garb 








19 10 

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S!34 9768 


Campestris Ulm, in Summer Garb Frontispiece 


Crawley Elm 10 

John and Madam Hancock. Courtesy of Neale & Com- 
pany 15 

Map of Boston Common, showing approximate topog- 
raphy in 1780, based on Lieutenant Page's Map of Boston 
in 1775 during the siege, and the text of Shurtleff's Topo- 
graphical and Historical Description of Boston, made 

by the Author 16 

Hancock Mansion. Courtesy of the Lothrop, Lee, & Shep- 

ard Company 23 

Beacon Street Mall 30 

Ritchie. Picture of Common. 1804-1811. Courtesy of 

Mr. William H. Hill 39 

Armstrong Path 44 

Lyman Path 50 

Gingko Tree, Public Garden 53 

Map of Boston Common, based on Plan made under direc- 
tion of J. P. Bigelow, Mayor, December, 1851, with 

slight changes made by the Author in 1910 57 

Lafayette Mall, South from West Street 59 

Lafayette Mall, North from West Street 61 

Americana and Campestris 65 

Erechtheum. D'Espouy, Fragments d' Architecture An- 
tique 67 

An "Architectural Gem" ! 68 

George Francis Parkman. Taken in 1864. Courtesy of 

the Boston Athenceum 70 

The Old Elm on the Common. Blown down February 

15, 1876. Courtesy of the Bostonian Society 81 

Map of Boston Common as it is to-day, in 1910, based 
on Maps of the City Surveyor, and modified by the 
Author 86 




CAMPESTRIS ULM 1 belongs to an ancient and noble 
family whose history can be traced back into the mists 
of prehistoric times; they are natives of the middle and 
south of Europe, the west of Asia, and Barbary. Long before 
the advent of man they had made considerable advances in 
civilization, and there is a tradition in the family that it was 
mainly due to the envy excited by the sight of the progress 
that the Ulm had made in the breast of prehistoric man, before 
he had dropped his tail, and when it was uncertain which par- 
ticular form of animal life would emerge on top, that started 
him on his conquering career, and gave him the impetus which 
so largely enabled him to dominate the world. Numerous allu- 
sions to the importance of the family are to be found in his- 
tory, both ancient and modern. They were conspicuous in 
Persian gardens, according to Pliny and other Roman authors, 
and were well known by the Greeks, being among the trees in 
the Academus, or Public Garden, of Athens, according to 
Plutarch, where they had attained such extraordinary size that 
they were selected, with the Plane, to supply warlike engines 
in the Siege of Athens by Sylla, in the war with Mithridates. 
They were frequently mentioned by both Greek and Roman 
poets and writers in terms of praise, and groves of them were 
to be found in their cemeteries. By the Romans, suckers 
were usefully employed in supporting their vines. After the 

l U. campestris {field-loving). Alme; Aume-tree; common Elm. fl., perianth smaller than in 
U. montana; stamens often four; fr., usually obovate. 1.2 in. to 3 in. long, less cuspidate than in 
U. montana, often narrow at base, scabrid above and pubescent, beneath, or nearly glabrous. 
Trunk attaining 20 ft. in girth, with rugged bark; root sending up abundant suckers, h., 125 ft. 
Europe (Britain). — Nicholson's Dictionary of Gardening, vol. iv., p. 120. 

Derivation. Ulmus is supposed to be derived from the Saxon word elm, or ulm; a name which 
w applied with very slight alterations to this tree, in all the dialects of the Celtic tongue. Ulm 
is still one of the German names for the elm; and the city of Ulm is said to derive its name from 
the great number of elm trees that are growing near it. There are above forty places in England, 
mentioned in the Doomsday-Book, which take their names from that of the elm; such as Barn 
Elms, Nine Elms, etc. Synonyms: Orme, Fr.; Ulm, or Riister, Ger.; Olmo, ltd. — Arboretum 
et Fruticetum Britannicum, by J. C. Loudon, p. 1393. 


Life of Campestris Ulm 

decline of the Roman Empire, all through the Dark Ages, 
they were worthy companions of the monks, and assisted in 
keeping alive culture, art, and civilization among the bar- 
barous nations they came in contact with and preserving them 
for the benefit of modern times. For centuries they have been 
the ornaments of avenues and public grounds in France, 
Spain, and the Low Countries, and were great favorites of 
Henry IV., being planted, at his request, by Sully, in ceme- 
teries and promenades, many old trees alive in the time of the 
first French revolution being called Sully, Henri Quartre, or 
Rosni, after their illustrious sponsors. 

They were first introduced into England by the Romans, 
and have since become universal favorites, ranking next to 
the oak in the affections of the people, and fitting companions 
of the nobility in all parts of that favored land, where they 
have attained their highest development, justifying their com- 
mon name of English Elm. Many remarkable individuals are 
described by Loudon in his Arboretum Britannicum, and by 
Jacob George Strutt in his Sylva Britannica, who has given 
us many portraits of famous trees, and who thus describes 
the family, "as having a right, both with respect to beauty 
and utility, to claim a place next to the Oak in dignity and 
rank; it is peculiarly fitted for the length of colonnade with 
which our forefathers loved to make graceful and gradual 
entry to their hospitable halls, loving Society, yet averse from 
the crowd, delighting in fresh air, and in room to expand its 
roots, and affording its aid to all the weaker plants in its 
vicinity, that may seek its support, it presents a pleasing 
emblem of the class of country gentleman whose abode it is 
oftenest found to adorn and protect." Among others, he thus 
describes the Crawley Elm : — 

The Crawley Elm stands in the village of Crawley, on the highroad 
from London to Brighton. It is a well-known object to all who are in the 
habit of travelling that way, and arrests the eye of the stranger at once by 
its tall and straight stem, which ascends to the height of seventy feet, and 
by the fantastic ruggedness of its widely-spreading roots. Its trunk is per- 



Life of Campestris Ulm 

forated to the very top, measuring sixty-one feet in circumference at the 
ground, and thirty-five feet round the inside, at two feet from the base. 

In former ages it would have constituted a fit retreat for a Druid, whence 
he might have dispensed his sacred oracles; or in later times for a hermit, 
who might have sat within the hollow stem with 

"His few books, or his beads, or maple dish," 
and gazed on the stars as they passed over his head, without his reflections 
being disturbed by the intervention of a single outward object; but to the 
benevolent mind it gives rise to more pleasing ideas in its present state; 
lifting up its tranquil head over humble roofs, which it has sheltered from 
their foundation, and affording, in the projects and points around its base, 
an inexhaustible source of pleasure to the train of village children who 
cluster like bees around it; trying their infant strength and courage in 
climbing its mimic precipices, whilst their parents recall, in their pastimes, 
the feelings of their own childhood; when, like them, they disported under 
the same boughs. It is such associations as these that render a well-known 
and favorite tree an object that no art can imitate; no substitute replace. 
It seems to live with us, and for us; and he who can wantonly destroy the 
source of so much innocent, and indeed exalted gratification appears to 
commit an injury against a friend, which we find more difficult in forgiving 
than one against ourselves. It would be impossible to see such a noble 
tree as the Crawley Elm felled without regret; — its aged head brought 
prostrate to the ground, its still green branches despoiled in the dust, its 
spreading roots left bare and desolate. The old would miss it, as the ob- 
ject that brought back to them the recollections of their youth; the young 
would lament for it, as having hoped to talk of it when they should be old 
themselves. The traveller who had heard of its beauty would look for it 
in vain, to beguile him on the road; and the weary wanderer, returning 
to his long-left home, would scarcely know his paternal roof, when robbed 
of the shade of the branches which he had seen wave even before his cradle. 
A stately forest is one of the grandest sights in creation; an insulated tree 
one of the most beautiful. In the deep recesses of a wood an aged tree com- 
mands a veneration similar to that which we are early taught to feel to- 
wards the possessor of royalty, or the minister of religion; but in a hamlet, 
or on a green, we regard it with the gentler reverence due to a parent, or 
the affection inspired by the presence of a long-tried friend. 

From Arboretum et Fruticetum Britannicum. By J. C. Loudon, 
pp. 1379-80, 1381-82 

Description, etc. The common English elm is, perhaps, more frequently 
to be found in the parks and pleasure-grounds of the English nobility and 


Life of Campestris Ulm 

gentry than any other tree, except the oak. It is of a tall, upright habit of 
growth, with a straight trunk, 4 ft. or 5 ft. in diameter when fully grown, 
and attaining the height of 60 ft. or 70 ft. or upwards. It has rather slender 
branches, which are densely clothed with small deep green leaves, some- 
what shining on the upper surface, though rough to the touch. These 
leaves are broad in the middle, and contracted towards each end; being, 
like those of all the other species of elms, unequal at the base, and doubly 
dentated ; and having a strongly marked midrib, with other equally promi- 
nent lateral ribs proceeding from it on each side. The colour of the flowers, 
which appear before the leaves, varies from a dark red to a dull purple. 
According to Evelyn, the common elm will produce a load of timber in 
about 40 years : it does not, however, cease growing, if planted in a favour- 
able situation, neither too dry nor too moist, till it is 100 or 150 years old; 
and it will live several centuries. Young trees, in the climate of London, 
will attain the height of 25 ft. or 30 ft. in ten years, of which there are living 
proofs in the London Horticultural Society's Garden. According to Dr. 
Walker (Nat. Hist, p. 72), the English elm, when planted beside the 
Scotch elm, grows much faster, and produces a greater quantity in the 
same space of time; though that timber is inferior in colour, hardness, and 

Geography. The small-leaved elm is a native of the middle and south of 
Europe, the west of Asia, and Barbary. In France and Spain, it is found 
in great abundance; and many botanists consider it a native of England. 
If not truly indigenous, it appears to have been introduced at a very early 
period, probably by the Romans, and to have been propagated by art; for, 
as Pliny observes, it seldom bears seeds to any considerable extent. Ac- 
cording to Sir J. E. Smith, it is found wild in woods and hedges in the 
southern parts of England, particularly in the New Forest, Hampshire, and 
in Sussex and Norfolk. (See Eng. Fl., ii., p. 20.) 

History. The common field elm was known to the ancient Greeks, as 
it appears evident from Pliny mentioning that the Greeks had two distinct 
kinds, one inhabiting the mountains, and the other the plains. The Romans, 
Pliny adds, had four kinds: the mountain, or tall, elm (U'lmus Atinia, 
our U. campestris) ; the Gaulic elm; the elm of Italy, which had its leaves 
in tufts; and the wild elm. The elm was scarcely known, as an ornamental 
tree, in France, till the time of Francis I. ; and it appears to have been first 
planted there to adorn public walks, about 1540. (See Dist. des Eaux et 
Forets, ii., p. 453.) It was afterwards planted largely, particularly in 
churchyards, by Sully, in the reign of Henry IV.; and, by desire of that 
king, who, according to Evelyn, expressed a wish to have all the highways 
in France planted with it, it soon became the tree most generally used for 
promenades and hedgerows. Many old trees existed at the period of the 


Life of Campestris Ulm 

first French revolution, which were called Sully or Rosni, and Henri 
Quatre; names that had been given to them apparently to commemorate 
their illustrious planters. Bosc states that he himself had seen some of these 
elms in Burgundy, with trunks from 4 ft. to 5 ft. in diameter, which, though 
hollow, yet supported heads capable of sheltering some thousands of men. 
In England, the elm has been planted from time immemorial; and, prob- 
ably, from the era of the possession of the island by the Romans; though 
Dr. Walker supposes it to have been brought over at the time of the Cru- 
sades. The oldest trees on record are, perhaps, those of Mongewell, in 
Oxfordshire, which were celebrated in the time of Leland, in the reign of 
Queen Elizabeth. There may, however, be much older trees; for the elm, 
being a tree of less national importance than the oak, has never possessed 
the same attractions for antiquaries. In Scotland, the English elm was 
hardly known before the union of the two kingdoms. Dr. Walker men- 
tions it, in 1780, as being found nowhere in that country of a large size; but, 
as already mentioned, promising to afford a much greater quantity of wood 
than the Scotch elm in the same space of time. He particularises a tree 
planted in 1771, which, in 1799, was 35 ft. high. In Ireland, the narrow- 
leaved elm is said, in Mackay's Flora Hibernica, to be abundant, but 
scarcely indigenous; and no instances are given of large trees. In the middle 
and southern states of Germany, it attains a considerable size, as will be 
seen by our statistics of this tree in foreign countries. 

As a picturesque tree, "the elm," Gilpin observes, "has not so distinct 
a character as either the oak or the ash. It partakes so much of the oak, 
that, when it is rough and old, it may easily, at a little distance, be mistaken 
for one; though the oak (I mean such an oak as is strongly marked with its 
peculiar character) can never be mistaken for the elm. This is certainly a 
defect in the elm; for strong characters are a great source of picturesque 
beauty. This defect, however, appears chiefly in the skeleton of the elm: 
in full foliage, its character is more marked. No tree is better adapted to 
receive grand masses of light. In this respect it is superior both to the 
oak and the ash. Nor is its foliage, shadowing as it is, of the heavy kind. 
Its leaves are small; and this gives it a natural lightness: it commonly 
hangs loosely, and is, in general, very picturesque. The elm naturally 
grows upright, and, when it meets with a soil it loves, rises higher than the 
generality of trees; and, after it has assumed the dignity and hoary rough- 
ness of age, few of its forest brethren (though, properly speaking, it is not a 
forester) excel it in grandeur and beauty. The elm is the first tree that 
salutes the early spring in its light and cheerful green; a tint which con- 
trasts agreeably with the oak, whose early leaf has generally more of the 
olive cast. We see them sometimes in fine harmony together, about the 
end of April and the beginning of May. We often, also, see the elm planted 


Life of Campestris Ulm 

with the Scotch pine. In the spring, its light green is very discordant with 
the gloomy hue of its companion; but, as the year advances, the elm leaf 
takes a darker tint, and unites in harmony with the pine. In autumn, 
also, the yellow leaf of the elm mixes as kindly with the orange of the beech, 
the ochre of the oak, and many of the other fading hues of the wood." 
(Gilpin's Forest Scenery, vol. i., p. 43.) "The elm throws out a beautiful 
bloom, in the form of a spicated ball, about the bigness of a nutmeg, of a 
dark crimson colour. This bloom sometimes appears in such profusion as 
to thicken and enrich the spray exceedingly, even to the fulness almost of 
foliage." (Ibid, p. 114.) "The branch of the elm has neither the strength 
nor the various abrupt twistings of the oak; nor does it shoot so much in 
horizontal directions. Such, also, is the spray. (Fig. 1232.) It has a more 
regular appearance, not starting off at right angles, but forming its shoots 
more acutely with the parent branch; neither does the spray of the elm shoot, 
like the ash (Fig. 1046, on p. 1222), in regular pairs from the same knot, 
but in a kind of alternacy. It has generally, at first, a flat appearance; 
but, as one year's shoot is added to another, it has not strength to support 
itself; and, as the tree grows old, it often becomes pendent also, like the 
ash: whereas the toughness and strength of the oak enables it to stretch 
out its branches horizontally to the very last twig." (Ibid, p. 113.) As an 
ornamental tree, it is used, both in Britain and on the Continent, more 
especially in France and Holland, for planting in avenues, particularly in 
public walks. For this purpose it is well adapted from the comparative 
rapidity of its growth in any soil, the straightness of its trunk, the facility 
with which it bears lopping, the denseness of its foliage, its hardiness, and 
its longevity. It has also the great advantage of requiring very little pruning, 
or care of any kind, after it has once been planted. There are many fine 
avenues of elms in France, particularly those in the Champs Elysees and 
at Versailles; and in Holland, at the Hague. In England, the principal 
public elm avenues are in St. James's Park, and at Oxford and Cambridge; 
but there are also some very fine ones at gentlemen's seats, especially at 
White Knights, Littlecot Hall, and Strathfieldsaye. 

Where the subject of this sketch was first exposed to light, 
who was his parent, and in what seminary and nursery the 
little seedling passed his early years, has never been disclosed 
by him, and probably never will be known. That he was no 
sucker and his parent a noble tree may confidently be main- 
tained from all the characteristics of the offspring, for sap is 
sap and sap will tell. In all probability his early years as a 
seedling were passed in Old England and, like his kin of Pad- 



Courtesy of Neale & Company 

Life of Campestris Ulm 

docks mall, he crossed the ocean as a sapling and soon after 
took possession of the site where his lifework was to be per- 
formed, and which was destined to be of so much service to 
his adopted town and reflect so much credit upon himself. 
The date of his settlement upon Boston Common can be 
reasonably inferred, from the following application to the 
Selectmen made by his Excellency John Hancock, Esq., Oct. 
26th, 1780, "for liberty to break ground near his seat for the 
pulling up of old trees and putting down others in their room. 
Liberty was accordingly granted, and Mr. Hubbard and Mr. 
Frazier were appointed a committee to view the bank near 
his House." 

Fortunate little Campestris! Thrice fortunate, in your 
sponsors and in the site where you were placed, upon the 
slopes of Beacon Hill, in front of the mansion of John Hancock. 
The "Gleaner" has well said, "As long as America shall 
continue to hold a place among the nations of the Earth, the 
memory of John Hancock will endure." John Hancock was 
the gentleman, par excellence, of Boston town, well described 
by one of his successors, Governor Wolcott, as "a man of dig- 
nity of presence, fond of elaborate ceremonial, elegant in his 
attire, courtly in his manner, a man of education and great 
wealth for that time, a man who threw himself heart and soul 
into the patriotic duties of the hour." 

Madam Hancock, his wife, before marriage Dorothy 
Quincy, was a lovely woman, well bred, refined, thoroughly 
feminine, elegant and fastidious in her dress, the lady par 
excellence of Boston town. They were just the picturesque and 
well mated couple to delight our little Ulm, as they passed 
and repassed, they equally pleased with the sight of the sap- 
ling, that gave every indication of developing in time into a 
noble, gentle tree. 

On the opposite page is a copy of an unfinished likeness of 
Madam Hancock and John Hancock, by Copley, formerly 
owned by her great-niece, Mrs. Woodbury, wife of the late 
Judge L. Woodbury, of the United States Supreme Court. 


Life of Campestris Ulm 

"This is a full-length portrait of Madam Hancock, who is 
represented seated in an arm-chair, easily and naturally; 
gowned in one of those dainty, filmy, white cobwebs of India, 
so choice and costly at that day; a muslin of soft and cling- 
ing texture; with no ornament save a figured black lace fichu 
simply crossed over the bust. The face is marred 1 by a pow- 
dered, frizzed wig, low on the brow, a fashion not as becom- 
ing as her own dark tresses. The pose of the hand and arm 
is the same as in the smaller portrait. 

"John Hancock, in a suit of brown velvet, stands at her 
side." 2 

The virgin soil of Beacon Hill afforded in a pre-eminent 
degree what both Evelyn and Gilpin have described "as the 
delight of the elm;" viz., "gravelly, with a competent depth 
of loam, refreshed with springs," and our little Ulm, in the 
site where he was placed, overlooked in the foreground the 
Common, with its hills and valleys, and enjoyed a distant 
prospect of "smiling hills and laughing vales." 

All the outdoor life of the Hancock Mansion was observed 
by our little Ulm, of much of which he was a part. 

The surface of the Common was essentially the same as 
when Boston was first settled, and is shown by the accom- 
panying map, based to some extent on that made by Lieu- 
tenant Page at the time of the siege, and modified and added 
to, according to the topographical description contained in 
Shurtlejf's History of Boston. The three prominent hills, 
Powder House Hill, Ridge Hill, and Fox Hill, with the inter- 
vening valleys, varied the surface and added to the picturesque- 
ness of the ground. Tremont Street mall was adorned with 
two rows of trees, and the northeast corner of the Common, 
along what is now Park Street and Beacon Street mall, was 
bordered with a line of trees in which our little Campestris 
was placed, where he could delight, as his name, "field loving," 
implies, in the view of the open pasture of the Common. 

1 The Author disagrees with Miss Woodbury that the face is marred by the wig, and considers 
that a low brow is almost universally more becoming to a woman than a high brow. 
a Dorothy Quincy, wife of John Hancock, by Ellen C. D. Q. Woodbury, p. 146. 


Life of Campestris Ulm 

In 1780 four years had elapsed since the redcoats, styled 
by the newspapers of the day "lobsters and canabels," had cut 
down many trees and caused much damage to the Common 
during their occupation (though not to compare with the 
devastation of the "lobsters and canabels'* of more recent 
times), and the selectmen had repaired much of it. 

From Evelyn's Silva, vol. i., pp. 115-18, 126-29 

Ulmus, the Elm. Of this there are four or five sorts, and, from the differ- 
ence of the soil and air, divers spurious : Two of these kinds are most worth 
your culture, viz., the Vulgar, or Mountain Elm, which is taken to be the 
Oriptelea of Theophratus, being of a less jagged and smaller leaf; and the 
Vernacula, or French Elm, whose leaves are thicker and more florid, 
glabrous, and smooth, delighting in the lower and moister grounds, where 
they will sometimes rise to above an hundred feet in height, and a prodigious 
growth, in less than a person's age; myself having seen one planted by the 
hand of a Countess, living not long since, which was near twelve feet in 
compass; and of an height proportionable, notwithstanding the numerous 
progeny which grew under the shade of it, some whereof were at least a 
foot in diameter, that for want of being seasonably transplanted, must 
needs have hindered the procerity of their ample and indulgent mother. 

For though both these sorts are raised of appendices or suckers, as anon 
we shall describe, yet this latter comes well from the samera, or seeds, and 
therefore I suppose it to be the ancient Atinia; for such an Elm they ac- 
knowledge to be raised of seeds, which, being ripe about the beginning of 
May, though frequently not till the following month, will produce them; 
as may be seen abundantly in the gardens of the Thuilleries, and that of 
Luxembourg, at Paris, where they usually sow themselves, and come up 
very thick. 

The Elm delights in a sound, sweet, and fertile land, something more 
inclined to loamy moisture, and where good pasture is produced ; though it 
will also prosper in the gravelly, provided there be a competent depth of 
mould, and be refreshed with springs; in defect of which, being planted 
on the surface of the ground, the swarth pared first away, and the earth 
stirred a foot deep or more, they will undoubtedly succeed; but in this 
trial, let the roots be handsomely spread, and covered a foot or more in 
height, and above all, firmly staked. This is practicable also for other trees, 
where the soil is over moist or unkind; for, as the Elm does not thrive in 
too dry, sandy, or hot grounds, no more will it abide the cold and spungy; 
but loves places that are competently fertile, or a little elevated from these 
annoyances, as we see in the mounds and casting up of ditches, upon whose 


Life of Campestris Ulm 

banks the female sort does more naturally delight. It seems to be so much 
more addicted to some places than to others, that I have frequently 
doubted whether it be a pure indigene or translatitious; and not only be- 
cause I have hardly ever known any considerable woods of them, (besides 
some few nurseries near Cambridge, planted, I suppose, for store,) but 
most continually in tufts, hedge-rows, and mounds; and that Shropshire, 
and several other Counties, have rarely any growing in many miles to- 
gether. In the meantime, some affirm they were first brought out of Lom- 
bardy, where indeed I have observed very goodly trees about the rich 
grounds, with Pines among them; for I hear of none either in Saxony or 
Denmark, nor in France, growing wild, who all came and preyed upon us 
after the Romans. But I leave this to the learned. 

The Elm is, by reason of its aspiring and tapering growth, unless it be 
topped to enlarge the branches and make them spread low, the least offen- 
sive to corn and pasture-grounds; to both which, and the cattle, it affords 
a benign shade; defence, and agreeable ornament; but then, as to pastures, 
the wandering roots, (apt to infect the fields and grass with innumerable 
suckers,) and the leading mother-root, ought to be quite separated on that 
part, and the suckers eradicated: The like should be done where they are 
placed near walks of turf or gravel. 

It should be planted as shallow as may be; for, as we noted, deep in- 
terring of roots is amongst the catholic mistakes, and this the greatest of 
which trees are obnoxious. Let new-planted Elms be kept moist by fre- 
quent refreshings upon some half-rotten fern, or litter, laid about the foot 
of the stem, the earth being a little stirred and depressed for the better 
reception and retention of the water. 

Lastly, your plantations must, above all things, be carefully preserved 
from cattle, and the concussions of impetuous winds, till they are out of 
reach of the one, and sturdy enough to encounter the other. 

There was a cloister of the right French Elm in the little garden near to 
her Majesty's, the Queen-mother's, chapel at Somerset-house, which were, 
I suppose, planted there by the industry of the S. F. Capuchines, that would 
have directed you to the incomparable use of this noble tree, for shade and 
delight, into whatever figure you will accustom them. I have myself pro- 
cured some of them from Paris, but they were so abused in the transporta- 
tion, that they all perished, save one which now flourishes with me: I have 
also lately graffed Elms, to a great improvement of their heads. Virgil 
tells us they will join in marriage with the Oak, and they would both be 
tried; and the success for such ligneous kinds will be the more probable, 
if you graff under the earth, upon or near the very root itself, which is 
likely to entertain the cion better than when more exposed, till it be well 
fixt, and have made some considerable progress. 


Life of Campestris Ulm 

The day before the application of his Excellency, John Han- 
cock, to the selectmen, for a settlement for our little Ulm, the 
infant sovereign Commonwealth of Massachusetts was started 
on her career by the inauguration of John Hancock, as Gov- 
ernor, and the little Ulm and the little Commonwealth were 
destined to observe a good deal of each other from now on, and 
to become quite well acquainted. 

Campestris, as soon as he was thoroughly settled, com- 
menced to take notice of his surroundings. To the southeast 
was the noble mall with its double row of kindred elms, the 
outer row the gift of Jonathan Williams in 1728 and the inner 
row planted by the selectmen in 1734, with a fine footway be- 
tween, where he observed the ladies and gentlemen promena- 
ding, enjoying the delightful shade, and inhaling the refresh- 
ing breezes, which came from the water; to the south were the 
Burying Ground and the path along the ridge, with remains 
of the intrenchments, which the British soldiers had thrown 
up during the siege, while nearer the centre of the Common 
was a Magnificent Tree, one of the well known family of 
Americana Elms, a distant connection of Campestris, graceful, 
well proportioned, and possessing a sturdiness and character 
of his own; he must have stood there before Blaxton's time, 
and was beloved by all the early settlers, and has afforded 
*shade and shelter to many generations of their descendants. 
To the west, and close to the Old Elm, was the Powder House 
Hill, the most prominent elevation on the Common, while 
barely discernible in the distance was Fox Hill, a small low 
hill surrounded by an extensive marsh covered at high tide. 
On the north and immediately in front was the Mansion of 
his sponsor, John Hancock, described in the diary of Dorothy 
Dudley, as: "The magnificent house, standing as it does on the 
brow of the hill, commanding an extensive view of the country 
around, is typical of the prominence and exalted station of its 
owner, who has incurred the deadly displeasure of the royal 
Government, by reason of his determined patriotism. Massive 
stone walls, supporting a tiled roof, from which several dormer 


Life of Campestris Ulm 

windows look forth upon the town and its surroundings; pro- 
jecting balcony over the front door, and broad stone steps and 
paved walk leading from the street. A grand drawing-room 
on the right, where hang the portraits of the Hancock family 
back to the days of the early Puritans ; an immense dining-hall 
out of this designed for large companies; the family drawing- 
room to the left, and a small dining-room out of that; spacious 
halls and chambers elegantly furnished and hung with pic- 
tures of various kinds." • 

"The bedroom furniture and hangings were of gold-colored 

Adams writes that the best houses, in 1766, had "Turkey 
carpets, painted hangings, marble tables, and rich damask 
curtains and counterpanes to the bed," etc. 

There was a garden, elaborately laid out, which ascended 
gradually behind the building to a charming hill in the rear; a 
large nursery and orchard full of many kinds of delicious 
fruit, and ornamental flower-beds bordered with box, some 
being of great size. From the summer house opens a capital 

To the northeast was the summit of Beacon Hill, with 
Beacon and Centry Streets leading to it, while farther east 
were the Workhouse, Bridewell, and Granary with the kindred 
Elms of Paddocks mall beyond. 

West of the Hancock Mansion were the houses of Copley 
stretching along the line of Beacon Street, which continued to 
the water's edge and was extended some distance out on the 
marshes by a boulder wall. Back of the houses of Copley were 
the slopes of Beacon Hill, mostly semi-wild land, covered with 
barberry and other bushes, and showing the remains of the 
fortifications of the redcoats during the siege, upon a mount 
whose name cannot be mentioned in circles polite. 

All the life of the Common was daily exposed to the observa- 
tion of our little Ulm; the cows chewing their cuds under the 
shade of the Old Elm or slaking their thirst in sultry weather 
in pools, or cooling their limbs in the mire of the ponds, while 


Life of Campestris Ulm 

the townspeople were crossing along by paths in all directions. 
But what interested Campestris more than anything else was 
a lovely boulder near by, covered with lichens and with a flat 
place on top : the famous Wishing Stone, described by Shurtleff 
in his Topographical and Historical Description of Boston^ as 
follows : — 

"In this connection the Wishing Stone, which can only be 
remembered by those whose heads have been whitened by 
more than fifty summers, should not be forgotten. It was 
situated just about where the path from Joy Street runs to the 
Great Tree, and was near the Beacon street mall. Its name 
implied the use to which it was formerly put. It has long since 
disappeared, removed probably by persons who were ignorant 
of its associations. 

"It is astonishing how many people there are who have 
personal recollections associated with this old stone. When 
public convenience seemed to require new cross-paths in the 
Common, it was deemed necessary that the old rock, as it 
was called by those unacquainted with its history, should be 
removed from its ancient location. It was therefore blown to 
pieces by the usual process of blasting, and its fragments car- 
ried off, probably to be put to some ignoble use; and the two 
walks leading easterly from the northerly end of the long path, 
near the gingko tree, diverging the one to Winter Street, and 
the other to West Street, were widened and beautified with side 
trees ; for the exact position of this noted stone was in the fork 
of the two paths. The young folks of by-gone days used to 
walk nine times around this stone, and then, standing or sitting 
upon it, silently make their wishes, which, in their opinion, 
were as sure to come to pass, if their mystic rites were properly 
performed, as were the predictions of the famous Lynn witch, 
Moll Pitcher, who flourished in the days of our grand-parents, 
and who died, as perhaps the credulous will be glad to know, 
at Lynn, on the ninth day of April, 1813, aged seventy-five, 
she being at the time the widow of Robert Pitcher, formerly a 
Lynn shoemaker." 


Life of Campestris Ulm 

Many a lark had Campestris watching the swains and 
maidens who resorted to this stone, mostly singly, and many a 
maid at early morn or dusky eve has been startled by the 
sound of the rustling of his leaves and a little wave of light, to 
find on looking round it was only little Camp. The situation, 
surrounding, and outlook of Campestris have been beautifully 
described in the following article taken from the Massachusetts 
Magazine, or Monthly Museum of July, 1789, and substantially 
true of 1780. 

From The Massachusetts Magazine, or Monthly Museum, 

July, 1789 

Description of the Seat of his Excellency John Hancock Esq., Boston, (illus- 
trated by a plate giving a view of it from the Hay Market.) 

His Excellency Governor Hancock's seat is situated upon an elevated 
ground fronting the South, and commands a most beautiful prospect. 
The principal building is of hewn stone, finished not altogether in the 
modern stile, nor yet in the ancient Gothic taste. It is raised about 12 ft. 
above the street, the ascent to which is through a neat flower garden, 
bordered with small trees; but these do not impede the full view of an ele- 
gant front, 56 ft. in breadth and terminating in two lofty stories. The 
East wing forms a noble and spacious Hall. The West wing is appro- 
priated to domestic purposes. On the West of that is the coach house, and 
adjoining are the stables with other offices; the whole embracing an extent 
of 220 ft. Behind the mansion is a delightful garden, ascending gradually 
to a charming hill in the rear. This spot is handsomely laid out, embellished 
with glacis, and adorned with a variety of excellent fruit trees. From the 
Summer House opens a Capital prospect — West Boston and North part 
of the town — Charlestown — Cambridge — the Colleges — the Bridges 
over Charles and Mystic Rivers and all the country in the northern quarter 
to a great extent. The South and West views are not less enchanting, as 
they take in Roxbury and the famous Heights of Dorchester, the possession 
of which by General Washington, during the late war, compelled General 
Howe to evacuate Boston. The cultivated high lands of Brookline, and the 
rugged Blue Hills of Milton and Braintree, whose different appearance 
from the loftiness of their summits, serve as a thermometer to indicate the 
change of the weather, are also thrown upon the eye, together with innu- 
merable farm houses, cultivated Villas, verdant fields, smiling hills, and 
laughing vales; whilst the gently undulating waters of Charles River, and 







Life of Campestris Ulm 

the smooth surface of Dorchester flats, give variety to the whole. Upon 
the East those various islands which are interspersed in the harbor, from 
Castle William to the Light House engross the sight by turns, which at 
last is lost in the ocean, and only bounded by the horizon. 

In front of this edifice is a large level green, called the Common, con- 
taining nearly 45 acres, where upwards of 100 cows daily feed. It is hand- 
somely railed in except on the West, where it is marked by Charles River. 
The Mall, bordering the Common on the east, is ornamented with a treble 
range of trees, many of which afford a delightful shade. Hither the ladies 
and gentlemen resort, in Summer, and inhale those refreshing breezes 
which are wafted over the water. Upon days of election, and public fes- 
tivity, the ground apparently teems with multitudes of every description 
and rank, who occupy themselves in various amusements. Also on this 
commodious lawn, the different military corps perform their stated exer- 
cise, all of which contribute to diversify those variegated scenes, that are 
continually presenting themselves to his Excellency's view. 

The respected character who now enjoys this earthly paradise, inherited 
it from his worthy uncle, the Hon. Thomas Hancock, Esq., who selected 
the spot and completed the building, evincing a superiority of judgment 
and taste. In the time of that venerable gentleman, the doors of hospitality 
were opened to the stranger, the poor, and the distrest; and at every artil- 
lery election, after he was thus happily situated, he annually entertained, 
upon that day, the Governor, the Council, and most reputable personages, 
who previous to this, only tarried upon the field long enough to perform 
the ceremony of receiving and delivering commissions, and then retired. 
The same attentions are shown to this ancient military body, by the present 
possessor, who inherits all the virtues of his patriotic uncle, unequaled for 
politeness, urbanity, and true benevolence of soul. 

In a word, if purity of air, extensive prosperity, elegance and convenience 
united, are allowed to have charms, this seat is scarcely surpassed by any 
in the Union. Here the blasts of Winter are checked by a range of hills, 
thrown in the back ground, which shelter the north and northwest from the 
inclement gale. There the mild Zephyrs of Spring are borne on the pinions 
of the South, and breathe salubrity in every breath; — on one side the flow- 
ery meads expand the party coloured robe of Summer; on the other, golden 
harvests luxuriantly decorate the distant field, and Autumn spreads her 
mantle, filled with richest crops. Now a silent river gently flows along 
delightful banks, tufted by rows of ancient elms, and now the wild wave, 
dashing to the sky, rolls its tempestuous billow from afar. Here glides the 
little skiff on the smooth surface of the polished stream, and there, the sons 
of commerce leave receding shores behind, and sweep across the liquid 


Life of Campestris Ulm 

"Me nee tarn patiens Lacedsemon 
Nee tarn Lavissse percussit campus opimse 
Quam domus Albuneae resonantis 
Et prseceps Anio, et Tiburni lucus, et uda 
Mobilibus pomaria rivis." 

— Horace. 

Volumes would be required to describe all the life of the 
most famous and hospitable Mansion that Boston has ever 
known, and the part played by our little Ulm, mostly in the 
background, as was becoming to a well bred, well behaved 
little tree. 

Growing freely and thriving on the sound, sweet, and fertile 
soil of Beacon Hill, and refreshed with springs, specially 
adapted to his needs, our little Ulm rapidly developed from a 
Sapling into a tall, erect and vigorous type of Youth and Tree- 
hood and displayed his little bulk against the sky, admired by 
all passers by. It was a proud day when he was tall enough 
to peek over the wall of the garden and surprise Madam 
Hancock among her roses and hollyhocks with one of those 
little waves of light for which his kin are famous, and she 
graciously responded with a smile: his tufted shoots began to 
assume the character of entangled cords, especially enticing to 
ladies, and he soon began to put on the airs of a ladies' tree; 
but his time was so busily occupied watching all the life of the 
famous Mansion, and the Common as well, that he had little 
time for flirtation; to descend to the language of modern slang, 
there was something doing all the day, and a large part of the 
night, most of which he felt a keen interest in; his environment 
was just to his taste, and at this time of his life he fairly wor- 
shipped the ground he stood on. 

He was specially pleased when the Governor chanced to 
pass his way, that fortunate man, honored by the proscription 
of King George the Third, and in the doggerel verse sung by 
his soldiers: 

"As for their King, John Hancock, 
And Adams, if they are taken, 
Their heads for signs shall hang up high 
Upon that hill called Beacon." 

Life of Campestris Ulm 

He in every way that was in his power endeavored to show 
his gratitude to his sponsor by waving his branches, rustling 
his leaves, reflecting little waves of light, and in numerous other 
ways trying to attract his attention, which the Governor would 
recognize in his usual gracious, dignified manner. 

The Governor often wore a scarlet coat, with ruffles on his 
sleeves, which soon became the prevailing fashion; at other 
times he wore a heavy crimson Lyons velvet, which had been 
ordered from Paris for Madam Hancock but was decided to 
be entirely unsuited to her slender figure and was made into a 
coat for himself. His dress was always adopted quite as much 
to be ornamental as useful. When abroad, he wore a wig. 

But the special delight of Campestris was when the Madam 
chanced to come under his observation, sometimes mounted 
on a pretty pony, with a light drab colored saddle cloth, highly 
embroidered, or when her coach drawn by four horses with 
two outriders, postilion, coachman, footman, servants in 
livery, and seven horses, drew up at the gate and Madam 
appeared at the door elegantly attired ready to enter; and if, 
as she passed down the paved walk to the gate, she stopped to 
admire the Lilac, especially when in blossom, Campestris be- 
came violently jealous and wondered what she could see worth 
noticing in that old bush. 

The indoor life at the Mansion was almost as fascinating as 
the outdoor to Campestris, whose curiosity was excited, but 
who could only peek in at intervals through doors or win- 

Around his hospitable table all classes were gathered, from 
grave and dignified clergy down to the gifted in song, narrative, 
anecdote, and wit, with whom "noiseless falls the foot of Time, 
that only treads on flowers. ,, At times the Governor, dressed 
in a red velvet cap and a blue damask gown lined with silk, a 
white stock, a white satin embroidered waistcoat, black satin 
small-clothes, white silk stockings, and red morocco slippers, 
was observed dispensing hot punch from a tankard holding a 
gallon or more, called "Solomon Townsend," after a friend. 


Life of Campestris Ulm 

The following amusing stories, descriptive of wigs and the 
manner in which they were worn, are taken from Recollections 
of Samuel Breck, pp. 112, 113. 

"Catharine Macaulay, the historian, when past middle age 
married a very young man by the name of Graham, and came 
with him to Boston about the year 1786. They were much 
noticed. It was the fashion then for men and women to wear 
long head-dresses, with well-frizzled hair covered with powder, 
having previously been curled with hot irons and stiffened 
with pomatum. Decked in this manner Mrs. Graham, ac- 
companied by her young husband, went to dine with a large 
party at my Aunt Hichborn's country-house in Dorchester. 
My father and mother were there. Just before dinner, when 
the company was assembled and sat in the expectation of its 
being immediately announced, a period always grave and 
formal, some one near Mrs. Graham made a remark that 
caused a sudden surprise, and occasioned her to throw her 
head back rather violently, when down fell all its counterfeit 
honors, and exposed her bald pate to the view of the astonished 
company. Mrs. Graham's head-gear was false and so unskil- 
fully fixed that it tumbled to the floor behind her chair. The 
affrighted lady raised her hands to catch her wig, exclaiming, 
* My God ! my God ! ' She might have added, 

" ' Was it for this I took such constant care 
The bodkin, comb, and essence to prepare ? 
For this these locks in paper durance bound ? 
For this with heated irons wreathed around ? 
For this with fillets strained the stranger hair, 
And shaved my own, these foreign curls to wear ? ' 

As it was, her always obsequious husband flew to her assist- 
ance when, retiring to another room, she soon made her toilet 
for dinner." 

The other circumstance alluded to was this: 

"A stranger came to Boston and took lodgings at the best 
boarding-house in town, and somehow or other was introduced 
to a few of the best families. His acquaintances were increasing 


Life of Campestris Ulm 

(he had not yet obtained footing in our family) when one eve- 
ning at supper at Mrs. IngersolPs, where he boarded, a servant 
passing suddenly behind his chair hooked the button of his 
coat into the hind part of a scratch worn by the stranger, and 
carried it off, leaving a bare poll, and oh, shocking to relate ! a 
poll without ears! Both had been dipt close to the head. The 
caitiff recovered his wig and cleared out." 

Persons of eminent position in other countries, as well as his own, were 
often favored guests in Governor Hancock's family. While the French 
fleet was in Boston Harbor, Count d'Estaing and some other persons of 
rank, with their life-guards, visited the Governor. Hancock sent a note to 
the Admiral of the fleet, inviting him to breakfast, with thirty of his officers. 
The Admiral accepted the invitation, but sent a request to the Governor to 
permit him the pleasure of bringing all his officers, including the midship- 
men. This request was granted, but not without some solicitude as to the 
possibility of accommodating three hundred officers and men and providing 
for their entertainment. In those days, there were not the facilities of con- 
fectioners, and other resources of the present time. It was summer, and 
carts and wagons were pressed into the service to bring from the surround- 
ing country the various fruits of the season. 

It was found that milk sufficient for the demand could not be obtained, 
even from the whole vicinity of Boston. Boston Common was at that time 
used as a place of pasturage for cows; and Mrs. Hancock, in her dilemma, 
requested the life-guards and the servants of her family to take pitchers, 
mugs, and bowls, and to milk all the cows on the Common. If any persons 
interfered, they were to be sent to her for explanation. This novel proceed- 
ing made a laughable exhibition to the public, but it was a success, and 
offended no one. 1 

At the annual commencement of Harvard College, it was the custom for 
the Governor and the "Boston Cadets" (his escort) to be present at the 
college exercises. It was Mr. Hancock's pleasure that this military com- 
pany should take their breakfast with him that morning; and as the serv- 
ices at Cambridge commenced at nine, a very early breakfast had to be 
given, in order that all might be in readiness for their place and duties at 
the appointed time. The Governor would have this plan carried out for 
several years, in spite of the great inconvenience it caused to his wife. 
She was compelled, in order to be present at the breakfast table, to sum- 
mon her hair-dresser at four o'clock in the morning; and the day was always 
one of extreme fatigue to her. 

l Mrs. Ellet's Queens of American Society, pp. 121, 122. 


Life of Campestris Ulm 

Many of the colored people were in the habit of marching in procession 
annually, on a certain day, before the Governor's house. When they stopped 
in front of it, he would address them from the balcony. 1 

Among other visitors were Brissot and the famous wit of 
the town, Nathaniel Balch, a hatter well known as the Gov- 
ernor's jester. "The latter had a shop on Washington St., 
opposite Water, where, seated in a broad arm-chair at the 
shop-door, he would keep his visitors in a roar at his witti- 
cisms. The attachment of the Governor was so strong, that 
when he was called away, Squire Balch attended him like a 
shadow; once when Hancock was called upon to visit the dis- 
trict of Maine in his official capacity with Azor Orne of Marble- 
head, Counsellor, their arrival in Portsmouth was thus humour- 
ously announced as follows: On Thursday last arrived in this 
town Nathaniel Balch Esq. accompanied by His Excellency 
John Hancock and the Hon. Azor Orne, Esq." 3 

Brissot afterwards wrote of John Hancock: "He shows 
himself the equal and the friend of all. I supped at his house 
with a hatter, who appeared to be in great familiarity with 
him. Mr. Hancock is amiable and polite when he wishes to be; 
but they say he does not always choose it. He has a marvelous 
gout, which dispenses him from all attentions, and forbids the 
access to his house." Sullivan, in his Letters on Public Charac- 
ters, expresses his opinion that so much gout was caused by the 
general practice of drinking punch in the mornings as well 
as evenings. "The Tankard was prepared early and visitors 
during the day were invited to partake of it. The usual dinner 
hour was one or two; and the suppers were abundant in good 
things. The evening amusements were cards and dancing," 
the dances being the stately Minuet and lively Contra-dances. 

But the Military Pageants in front of the Mansion espe- 
cially interested Campestris. Annually the Boston Cadets 
gathered to escort the Governor to the Harvard Commence- 
ment and were invited in to the Mansion to an early breakfast, 

1 Mrs. Ellet's Queens of American Society, p. 123. 
2 Loring's Hundred Boston Orators. 


Life of Campestris Ulm 

and the hair-dresser was summoned at four o'clock in the 
morning to dress Madam's hair, so she could preside at the 

The annual parade of colored soldiers delighted little Cam- 
pestris more than all others, and as they marched proudly by, 
reviewed by Governor and Madam from their balcony, bear- 
ing a silk flag, the gift of the Governor, with the device a 
pine tree and a buck, and with the initials "J. H." and 
"G. W." above and a scroll bearing the words "The Bucks 
of America," he joined the spectators frantically in the ap- 

From midnight Saturday to sunset Sunday was weekly a 
day of rest for Campestris. He hardly dared to stir a leaf; 
even the cows abstained in large measure from chewing their 
cuds and the Common was deserted. One Sunday, however, 
he was astonished and shocked to observe the Governor taking 
a turn in the mall on his way home from church. He was 
glad to learn the next day that the Governor was fined, and, 
much as he respected his sponsor, felt that it served him right. 

The following incident, connected with circuit life at that period, is 
recorded in the State archives, and may be entertaining to some of our 
readers. It is well known that nowhere more strictly than in New England 
has the Sabbath been consecrated to religious duties. This, particularly 
true of colonial times, long afterwards continued characteristic of its peo- 
ple. Blue laws, in Massachusetts as in Connecticut, punished its desecra- 
tion with heavy penalties. From midnight to sunset, for the day was thus 
mercifully somewhat shortened by law, no hackney-coach was permitted to 
drive in or out of Boston, without warrant from a magistrate; no vehicle 
allowed to move, during service, faster than a walk. Governor Hancock, 
on one occasion, was fined for taking a turn in the mall on his way home 
from church. By the statute of 1792, travelling or other secular employ- 
ments, unless for some purpose of necessity or humanity, was prohibited on 
the Lord's day; and wardens, tithingmen, and other functionaries, were 
clothed with unusual powers to enforce its observance. 1 

Numerous celebrations took place on the Common at the 
close of and immediately after the war, a notable one which 

l Life of James Sullivan, by Thomas C. Amory, vol. i., p. 262. 


Life of Campestris Ulm 

especially interested Campestris being in honor of the victory 
over Cornwallis in 1782, when his army surrendered at York- 
town. A pyramid of cord-wood fifty feet high was piled up in 
the middle of the green and fired at night. 

In 1784 Campestris was delighted to overlook the planting 
of a third row of trees on the Tremont Street mall, and regarded 
with approval the raising of many of the low portions of the 
Common, the filling up of hojes and the grading of uneven 
places, as described more in detail by Shurtleff, in his Topo- 
graphical and Historical Description of Boston, as follows : — 

Quite an agreeable change came over the Common in the year 1784, 
just as the town was beginning to revive from the effects of the revolutionary 
war, by which, especially during the siege, as it has been called, it had 
suffered very much. Two persons, whose names should not be forgotten in 
this connection, were particularly active in procuring subscriptions, and in 
carrying on improvements that have characterized this as the period of 
the great improvement to the Common. John Lucas, Esq., the commissary 
of pensioners for Massachusetts, who resided and had his office in Orange 
street, which it must be borne in mind was that portion of Washington 
street extending from Essex street to Dover street, was one of these; and 
the other was Mr. Oliver Smith, a noted apothecary, who dwelt in Milk 
street, and kept shop in old Cornhill, now the north end of Washington 
street. Under the direction of these gentlemen, many of the low portions 
of the Common were raised, the holes filled up, the uneven places graded, 
the fences repaired, and a large number of trees set out, not only in the 
mall, but in various parts of the enclosure, particularly in the range of the 
ridge of high land leading from West street to the corner of Carver street. 
The amount of money subscribed at the time, and paid in, was ,£285 14s. 7d., 
and the number of liberal contributors somewhat exceeded three hundred. 

To this attempt to benefit the Common the town was indebted for the 
third row of trees in the Tremont street mall, then known as the great mall 
and sometimes as the old mall, to distinguish it from the little mall (or 
Paddock's walk) and the new mall, which was that now called the Beacon 
street mall. On the occasion, the Selectmen, at a meeting held on the 
twenty-sixth of July, 1784, gave permission for the improvements, as is 
made evident by the following minute upon their records: 

"Dr. Smith and other subscribers for planting another Row of Trees in 
the Common, & under the direction of the Selectmen, had liberty granted 


Life of Campestris Ulm 

In 1787 occurred the saddest blow that his sponsors had 
ever known in the death of their only son, nine years old, and 
Campestris sadly watched the Governor's own coach leaving 
the door of the Mansion with the corpse, followed by another 
coach with that worthy gentleman and his amiable lady in 
great affliction. 1 

The next year the former rebellious colonies, now sovereign 
Commonwealths and States, came to an agreement among 
themselves and the infant Samuel was born, familiarly called 
later in life, Uncle Samuel, abbreviated to Uncle Sam, and 
King George's Country became Uncle Samuel's Country, 
though the interpretation of the terms of the agreement is in 
dispute even to the present time. 

One day in 1789 Campestris beheld his sponsor, his limbs 
swathed in flannel, suffering from gout, on his way to make 
that celebrated call on Washington where etiquette thrust into 
the background the more vital question of whether a creation 
is greater than the creators, and the next day Campestris re- 
garded with interest the famous Virginian making his return 

Four years after, Oct. 8, 1793, the saddest event in the life 
of Campestris occurred in the death of his sponsor. He par- 
ticipated in the universal grief and when, after lying in state 
eight days, the funeral wended its way, bearing the body of the 
first, the most picturesque, and the best of all the Governors 
of the Commonwealth, Campestris felt that life would never 
hereafter be the same. 

The arrangements for the procession, taken from John 
Hancock, his book, by Abram English Brown, were as follows : 

Order of Procession 

for the 

Funeral of the late Governor Hancock. 

Funeral Escort 
Under the Command of Brigadier-General Hull. 

independent Chronicle of February 1. 


Life of Campestris Ulm 

Officers of the Militia with side arms. 

Justices of the Peace. 

Judges of Probate. 

Justices of the Court of Common Pleas. 

Attorney- General and Treasurer. 

Justices of the Supreme Judicial Court. 

Members of the House of Representatives. 

Members of the Senate. 

Sheriff of Suffolk with his Wand. 

Members of the Council. 

Quartermaster. His Honor Secretary. 

Adjutant- General. The Lieutenant-Governor. 

Aid-de-camp The pall six of the Aid-de-camp 

to the supported oldest to the 

deceased. by Counsellors. deceased. 


Vice-President and Members of Congress. 

Judges and Secretaries of the United States. 

Gentlemen heretofore Counsellors and Senators of 


Foreign Ministers and Consuls. 

The President and Corporation. 

The Professors and other Instructors of 

Harvard College. 

Selectmen and Town Clerk. 

Overseers of the Poor and Town Treasurer. 

Ministers of the Gospel. 

Members of the Ancient and Honorable 

Artillery Company. 

Committee of Brattle Street Church, of which 

The Deceased was a Member. 

Other Citizens and Strangers. 

Order of March. 

The procession will move from the Mansion House of the late Governor 
Hancock, across the Common and down Frog Lane to Liberty Pole, 
through the Main Street, and round the State House, up Court Street — 
and from thence to the place of interrment. Colonel Tyler will superintend 
the forming of the Procession of Officers which precede the Corpse, and 
Colonel Waters that of the other citizens who follow. 

It is desired that the Procession may move four a breast when practicable. 

October 14, 1793. 


Life of Campestris Ulm 

It detracts from the honor displayed by this pageant to 
learn that the funeral charges were paid from the estate of the 

The following description of the funeral is taken from the 
New Hampshire Gazette, Oct. 22, 1793: 

The body of Governor Hancock lay in state "eight days for the citizens 
to pay their last tribute of respect to his memory. They came in thousands, 
with expressions of grief and affection." The funeral was most impressive. 
At sunrise all the bells tolled for an hour, the flags in town and on the ship- 
ping were "half-hoisted;" the stores were closed. 

"On Monday last the remains of His Excellency John Hancock, Esq., 
Governor and Commander-in-Chief of this Commonwealth, were interred 
with every mark of respect and honor which affection and gratitude could 

The journal continues, "At two o'clock the procession formed. In the 
first carriage was the amiable lady of deceased. . . . Samuel Adams, who 
was Lieutenant Governor, followed the bier as chief mourner. The Vice- 
President was among those that followed the corpse; the members of the 
honorable Senate and House of Representatives of the United States; 
judges of the United States courts, who appeared for the last time in full 
dress, which was their gowns and wigs;" the Secretary of War; the military 
of the town and of the neighboring country, the officers all in uniform with 
side-arms. The Boston Artillery had the Hancock piece of artillery re- 
versed, with a pall of black velvet over it. All the drums in the procession 
"were muffled and covered with crape." There were municipal officers, 
the various incorporated bodies, strangers and citizens; the barristers, who 
"wore black gowns and club wigs," and the "funeral closed by the cap- 
tains of vessels and seamen, with flags furled." . . . "During the move- 
ment of the procession minute guns were fired at the Castle, and from a 
detachment of Captain Bradly's Artillery station on Beacon Hill." 

The Rev. Peter Thacher, his pastor, in the sermon at his 
funeral, remarked, "Perhaps there is not a person in America 
who has done more generous and noble actions than Gov. 
Hancock, and who has, upon all occasions, contributed more 
liberally to public institutions. Besides the grand and hospi- 
table manner in which he entertained foreigners and others in 
his house, he expended large sums for every patriotic purpose, 
and for the benefit of our university, and equalled the gener- 


Life of Campestris Ulm 

osity of his worthy patron to it by his own donations. I should 
be guilty of base ingratitude," continues Dr. Thacher, "did 
I not thus publicly acknowledge numberless instances of kind- 
ness, attention, and liberality, which I have received at his 
hands. These now lie heavy at my heart, and increase my 
sorrow for his loss, though they have not bribed me to exceed 
the truth in delineating his character." 

America never had a more devoted patriot than John Han- 
cock; and the secret motive of his soul was disclosed in the 
declaration he made on taking the oath of office in the old 
State House, in King-street, Oct. 26, 1780, when he became 
the first governor under the new constitution, which is another 
apology for delay, where he remarked, "Having, in the early 
stage of this contest, determined to devote my whole time and 
services, to the utter exclusion of all private business, even to 
the end of the war, and being ever ready to obey the call of my 
country, I venture to offer myself, and shall endeavor strictly 
to adhere to the laws of the constitution." 1 

John Adams remarked, in a letter to Rev. Jedediah Morse, 
D.D., written in 1818, "Of Mr. Hancock's life, character, 
generous nature, great and disinterested sacrifices, and im- 
portant services, if I had forces, I should be glad to write a 
volume. But this, I hope, will be done by some younger and 
abler hand." It is honor enough to John Hancock that his 
daring patriotism, in the direst period of his country's perils, 
rendered him especially obnoxious to the British throne. 2 

"Thy political reputation, Hancock," says Benjamin Austin, "will ever 
be revered by the republicans of America! Thou wilt live, illustrious spirit, 
in the hearts of thy countrymen; and while liberty and the rights of thy 
country are duly estimated; thy name will be held in grateful remembrance. 
The proscription of George the Third is a 'MAUSOLEUM' to thy 
memory, which will survive a ponderous monument of marble! " 8 

John Adams writes of Samuel Adams and John Hancock: "They were 
the first movers, the most constant, steady, persevering springs, agents, 

1 Loring's Hundred Boston Orators, p. 89. 
8 Ibid, p. 117. 
3 Ibid, p. 121. 


Life of Campestris Ulm 

and most disinterested sufferers and firmest pillars of the whole Revo- 
lution." 1 

A Discordant Note 

There have been few men in history who have achieved so much fame, 
and whose names are so familiar, who at the same time really did so little 
and left so slight a trace of personal influence upon the times in which he 
lived, as John Hancock. He was valuable chiefly from his picturesque- 
ness. Everything about him is picturesque, from his bold, handsome signa- 
ture, which gave him an assured immortality, to his fine house, which ap- 
pears in the pictures of the day as the "Seat of his Excellency, John Han- 
cock." His position, wealth, and name made him valuable to the real 
movers of the Revolution, where men of his stamp were almost without 
exception on the side of the Crown; and it was this which made such a man 
as Sam Adams cling to and advance him and which gave him a factitious 
importance. Hancock was far from greatness; indeed it is to be feared that 
he was not much removed from being the "empty barrel," which is the 
epithet, tradition says, that the outspoken John Adams applied to him. 
And yet he had real value after all. He was the Alcibiades, in a certain 
way, of the rebellious little Puritan town; and his display and gorgeousness 
no doubt gratified the sober, hard-headed community which put him at its 
head and kept him there. He stands out with a fine show of lace and 
velvet and dramatic gout, a real aristocrat, shining and resplendent against 
the cold gray background of everyday life in the Boston of the days after 
the Revolution. 3 

John Adams very frankly wrote to William Tudor, who liked neither 
Samuel Adams nor John Hancock: 

"I can say with truth that I profoundly admired him [Hancock], and 
more profoundly loved him. If he had vanity and caprice, so had I, and 
if his vanity and caprice made me sometimes sputter, as you know they 
often did, mine, I well know, had often a similar effect upon him. But 
these little flickerings of little passions determine nothing concerning essen- 
tial characters. I knew Mr. Hancock from cradle to grave. He was radi- 
cally generous and benevolent. . . . Though I never injured or justly 
offended him, and though I spent much of my time, and suffered unknown 
anxiety in defending his property, reputation and liberty from persecu- 
tion, I cannot but reflect upon myself for not paying him more respect than 
I did in his life-time. His life will, however, not ever be written. But, if 
statues, obelisks, pyramids, or divine honors were ever merited by man, 
by cities, or nations, James Otis, Samuel Adams and John Hancock 
deserved these from the town of Boston and the United States." 

1 Dorothy Quincy, by EUen C. D. Q. Woodbury, p. 223. 

a John Hancock, in Memorial History of Boston, Henry Cabot Lodge, vol. Hi. 


Life of Campestris Ulm 

Mrs. Mercy Warren, who was more given to praise others than John 
Hancock, has said: "He declined the smallest concession that might lessen 
the independence and sovereignty of each State, and supported his opinions 
with firmness and dignity equally popular and honorable to himself. 

"His memory was embalmed in the affections of his townsmen." 

Samuel Adams writes that he was "a popular idol, with a large fol- 
lowing." 1 

Not only had Hancock himself been a liberal benefactor of the univer- 
sity, but the wealthy relative whose fortune he inherited had, besides other 
munificent contributions to its wants, endowed one of its professorships. 
In 1772 Hancock was created its treasurer. When he went to Philadelphia, 
for their greater security, he took the papers of the college with his own. 
His incessant duties as president of Congress did not admit of his return, 
and the professors, impatient for the interest upon the bonds, in 1777 sent 
a special agent to receive them. They were delivered, and Hancock gen- 
erously defrayed the expenses of the messenger. With less regard to the 
injury such a step might do to the influence of Hancock, and likewise to 
the State, in Congress, than to have the college bonds in the custody of 
some one legally responsible, they immediately chose Mr. Storer in his 
place. He was, no doubt, greatly mortified; but other sufficient reasons 
can be assigned for his subsequent relations with the college than any 
feeling of resentment. There was a balance of some hundreds of pounds 
in his keeping. The Revolution had swept away all his ready means, in- 
volved him in great losses and heavy expenses for the public service, and 
his large real estate was quite unsalable. In the unsettled and greatly 
depreciated state of the currency, no rule of settlement would have satisfied 
both parties. When, in 1785, the improved state of affairs admitted of an 
equitable standard for adjusting the account, it was liquidated, and the 
balance secured by mortgage. This backwardness to satisfy a debt not in 
his power to pay without great sacrifice of property, is the only blemish 
upon the character of John Hancock. Those disposed to condemn him 
should remember that he had contributed to the Revolution more than one 
hundred thousand dollars, and, after its close, devoted his means without 
reserve to every public object. 

It has been charged against him that he was unduly fond of popu- 
larity; that he too sedulously courted its smiles, was too easily elated by 
its pleasing intoxication. Yet no instance can be fairly stated where any 
such weakness warped his judgment, or made him faithless to duty. 
Human virtue is a central point between extremes; the perfect path lies 
along an elevation inclining away on either side into vice or folly. But 
even here there is a choice. One slope is to the light, the other to the 

1 Dorothy Quincy, by Ellen C. D. Q. Woodbury, p. 223. 


Life of Campestris Ulm 

shadow. How much more creditable to Hancock to have rejoiced in the 
affectionate demonstrations of his countrymen, than if, insensible to their 
applause, he had withdrawn without response into himself, cold, proud 
and repulsive! 

This is a brief and very imperfect outline of the public career of John 
Hancock. We may have done injustice to his memory by this feeble 
tribute; but it cannot suffer at our hands. It is a bright light upon the 
hill-top to cheer and encourage the oppressed, struggling for freedom, 
here and everywhere, now and to the latest generations. But, if his fame 
require no special commemoration; if, with that of the heroes and sages 
raised up by Providence to do homage to the natal star of a great national 
existence, it is destined to survive both bronze and marble; we owe it to 
ourselves, and we owe it to our country, to pay to disinterested public 
service its most valued recompense, our grateful recollections. 1 

Governor Hancock left orders that he should be buried without public 
honor, and forbade the firing of a gun over his grave. The Common- 
wealth chose to have the management of the whole affair, and told Mrs. 
Hancock that the funeral and its expenses belonged to her. She sub- 
mitted reluctantly to the arrangement, but she finally had to pay the bill 
of the obsequies, which amounted to eighteen hundred dollars. 

A will, unsigned, was found after his death in which he gave the bulk of 
his property to the Commonwealth. 3 

Shabby Commonwealth!! thus early in your career you ex- 
emplified the old sayings, that the State can do no wrong, and 
that the dead have no rights that the living are bound to 
respect. You took advantage of Madam's lack of business 
experience and training, and defrauded her of the funeral 
expenses, amounting to eighteen hundred dollars, in a manner 
that, however pleasing to King George the Third, he would 
not have been guilty of, and your example would have made 
even Becky Sharp turn green with envy. 

Long years after, in discussing the matter with Campestris, 
I ventured to excuse the little Commonwealth on the plea of 
youth; but Campestris would not heed this plea for an instant, 
but averred that she was old enough to know better, that she had 
been spoiled by over-much flattery, and vowed that not even 
a poplar would have behaved so meanly. 

1 IAfe of James Sullivan, by Thomas C. Amory, vol. i., p. 282. 
3 Dorothy Quincy, by Ellen C. D. Q. Woodbury, pp. 226, 227. 


Life of Campestris Ulm 

As the years rolled by after the death of his sponsor, the 
first Governor, Campestris developed more and more the 
characteristics which distinguished him in later life: his bole, 
or trunk, even in youth showed promise of the stateliness and 
grandeur evidenced by his portrait and so faithfully described 
as characteristic of his kin by Geo. B. Emerson, in his Trees 
and Shrubs of Massachusetts: 1 

The English elm is a noble tree. If it has less grace than the American, 
it has more stateliness and grandeur. It has more of the strength of the 
oak. It is distinguished from the American elm by its bark, which is 
darker and much more broken; by having one principal stem which soars 
upwards to a great height, and by its branches, which are thrown out more 
boldly and abruptly and at a larger angle. Its limbs stretch out horizon- 
tally, or tend upwards, with an appearance of strength to the very extremity. 
In the American, they are almost universally drooping at the end. Its 
leaves are closer, smaller, more numerous, and of a darker color. It has 
been objected to this elm by Gilpin (Forest Scenery, vol. i., p. 90) that it 
wants a definite character, that it has often so great a resemblance to an oak 
that it may, at a distance, be mistaken for it. The observation is undoubt- 
edly well founded, but to one who would gladly have the satisfaction of 
looking on the king of trees, but cannot wait for its tardy growth, it is very 
far from an objection. The American elm is so planted everywhere, that 
it is possible to be weary of seeing it; in which case, as a variety, the sight 
of a stately English elm is a relief. It has, moreover, the advantage of 
being clothed in an unchanged foliage, several weeks longer than our 
native tree. 

The English elm continues to increase for one hundred, or one hundred 
and fifty years, and probably much longer, although compared with the 
oak, it is not a long-lived tree, the very old ones being usually hollow at 
the base. For several centuries it has been planted for ornament, on avenues 
and public walks in France, Spain and the Low Countries, and in England, 
immemorially. When full grown, it is four or five feet in diameter, and 
sixty or seventy feet high. Raised from seed, it forms innumerable varie- 
ties, distinguished by their difference in habit and appearance, time of 
leaf and peculiarity of hue, and by the qualities of the wood. These varie- 
ties, some of them very valuable, are propagated by shoots, and by graft- 
ing. Like the American elm, it is of very rapid growth. Evelyn says it 
has been known to rise to the height of a hundred feet in less than a 

i Trees and Shrubs of Massachusetts, by Geo. B. Emerson, pp. 300, 301. 





























Life of Campestris Ulm 

There are many fine trees of this kind in Boston, Roxbury, Dorchester, 
and some other neighboring towns, but none of very great size. 

The largest on the Mall, bordering Boston Common, was measured by 
Professor Gray and myself in 1844, and found to be twelve feet and three 
inches in circumference at three feet from the lower side, and eleven feet 
two inches at five feet. It is a stately and very beautiful tree. The Euro- 
pean elms on Paddock's Mall, near Park Street Church, are said to have 
been planted in 1762, by Major Adino Paddock and Mr. John Ballard. 
In 1826, several of them measured nine feet at four feet above the ground. 
Several of them now measure nine feet ten inches at four feet, having 
grown only half an inch annually, for the last twenty years. This, however, 
is not surprising, as they are immediately surrounded on all sides by an 
almost impenetrable pavement, and must get all their nutriment from a 
distance on one side, beyond a heavy wall. A differently constructed gutter, 
allowing the water and drainings of the street to penetrate, would doubtless 
quicken their growth. 

Providentially we are enabled to reproduce the earliest 
authentic portrait of Campestris, at the age of twenty-four 
to thirty years 1 from the date of his settlement here. 

It is a reduced copy of a water-color which was found by the late Andrew 
Ritchie in a shop in Paris, and is now owned by his son, Colonel Harrison 
Ritchie. It represents the Common and neighborhood somewhere be- 
tween 1804 — when the Amory House, seen and still standing on the 
corner of Beacon and Park Streets, was erected (see view of Park Street, in 
Memorial History of Boston, vol. iii., p. 232) — and 1811, when the mon- 
ument seen over the stable of the Hancock House was taken down. The 
mansion of the first governor under the Constitution ranges in the line of 
the Capitol; and the trees in front of it are probably the ones referred to in 
a letter of Theodore Lyman, Sept. 25, 1815, when he writes about the 
gale of that month to Edward Everett, his classmate, then in Germany: 
"How many lamentations has poor Madam Scott made over that beau- 
tiful row of elms opposite her house, which, with about fifteen of the 
largest trees in the mall, have been levelled." 3 The widow of Hancock 
had married one of Hancock's sea-captains, Captain James Scott, and 
was still living in the house. 

Campestris stands at the left of the line of those trees in 
front of the Mansion at the Belknap (afterwards Joy Street) 

Campestris always computes his age from the time of his settlement on Boston Common, 
and not from the time he was a seedling in the Nursery. 

2 Memoir of Theodore Lyman, Jr., p. 11; also see Shurtleff, Description of Boston, p. 321. 


Life of Campestris Ulm 

entrance to the Common, the by-paths which led to it unmis- 
takably indicated. His portrait, although a sketch, discloses 
much of the expression and character which distinguished 
him in later life. 

Miss E. S. Quincy described to the editor of the Memorial History of 
Boston other houses seen in the picture. That on the extreme left was 
built by Mr. John Phillips in 1804-5, and long occupied by him. It is 
still standing, with the entrance changed to Walnut Street, which was cut 
through on its upper side, and the house is spoken of in a communication 
by Mr. Wendell Phillips, given in a note to Mr. Bugbee's chapter in Vol. iii. 
It was bought about 1829, and greatly improved, by Lieut.-Governor 
Thomas L. Winthrop (father of the Hon. Robert C. Winthrop) , who died in 
it. The large house next on the right was built about 1805, by Thomas 
Perkins, and fronted on Mount Vernon Street. The block on that street, 
just west of Joy Street, now occupies its site. The garden is at this day 
covered by the houses with deep front yards, which are on the westerly 
side of Joy Street. The house with columns was built by Dr. Joy, with a 
garden in front of it. A traveller, a few years earlier (1792) , had described 
this house: "The front is among the neatest and most elegant I have seen. 
It is two stories high, overcast, and painted a kind of peach-bloom color, 
and adorned with semi-columns, fluted, of Corinthian order, the whole 
height of the edifice." 1 This house was removed about 1835 and rebuilt at 
South Boston. 

From 1793 to 1804, Campestris had observed many changes 
in Beacon Hill and West Hill (Mt. Vernon or Copley's Hill, 
as it was occasionally called): The disappearance of the 
Beacon; the building of the new State House; the building of 
the houses of Joy, Perkins, and Phillips, as described above; 
the grading of the surface of Copley's tract, cutting down the 
summit of the hill and filling in the marsh; the laying out of 
Charles Street; the disappearance of the barberry, huckleberry, 
and blueberry bushes and wild roses. Wendell Phillips thus 
describes the building of his father's house : 

"Every incident that contributes to the life of the picture is valuable, 
though it may seem trivial; so I add this as illustrating how small Boston 
limits were 80 years ago. My father, the first mayor, built in 1804-5, the 

l Mass. Hitt. Soc. Proc., March, 1871, p. 61. 


Life of Campestris Ulm 

first brick house that was built on Beacon St. It still stands on the western 
corner of Walnut and Beacon Sts. Above and below there were a few 
wooden houses and next the State House stood Hancock's stone house. 
This street (Beacon) was then considered out of town. When Dr. Joy was 
advised to take his wife out of town for the benefit of country air he built 
her, eighty years ago, a wooden house, which stood where Mrs. Tudor's 
house now does, on the western corner of Joy and Beacon Sts.; the lot 
went back to Mt. Vernon St. or near it. 

"I have often seen loads of hay, cut on the square between Joy, Walnut, 
Mt. Vernon and Beacon Sts., carried in to Dr. Joy's front gate, where 
Mrs. Armstrong's front door stands now. When my father moved into 
his Beacon St. house, his uncle, Judge V. Wendell, was asked in State 
Street what had induced his nephew to move out of Town." 1 

Dr. Joy's purchase is described by "Gleaner," as follows: — 

Dr. Joy was desirous of getting a house in the country, as more healthful 
than a town residence, and he selected this locality as "being country 
enough for him." There were, indeed, then but two houses west of the 
square, which he purchased, one of them occupied by Charles Cushing, 
Esq., the other by "Master" Vinal, both standing on the Copley estate. 
The barberry bushes were flourishing over this whole area, as they now 
do on the hills of West Roxbury. And he was right in believing that no- 
where else could he inhale purer breezes than those which were wafted 
across the Boston Common and the river that then washed its borders. 
There were then no noxious exhalations from the "Back Bay;" and they 
do not, indeed, even now, reach as far as this favored spot. 

The prices paid by Dr. Joy were £100, £66, 13s., 4d., $500, and £337, 
or about $2,000. 2 There now stand on this land twenty-two dwelling- 
houses, among which are many of the very finest in our whole city. Dr. 
Joy sold off all the westerly and most of the northerly portions, retaining 
for his own occupancy the southeast part of the estate, measuring 97 feet 
on Beacon street, and 254 feet, 7 inches on Belknap street, now called Joy 
street. On this he erected a modest and graceful wooden dwelling-house, 
which was eventually removed to South Boston Point, where it is still, 
or was recently, standing, on land of Benjamin Adams, Esq. Here he 
lived till his death, in 1813. He left a widow, Abigail, and two children, 
Joseph G. and Nabby; and, in 1833, this reserved lot was sold by his heirs 
for $98,000, and upon it were erected three dwelling-houses on Beacon 
street and the four southerly houses of the block on Joy street. 3 

1 James M. Bugbee, in Memorial History of Boston, vol. Hi. 

^"Gleaner's" figures. 

3 "Gleaner," in Record Commissioners, 5th Report, pp. 135, 136. 


Life of Campestris Ulm 

Since the year 1784, many trees have been set out upon the 
Common, forming the several malls and avenues which now 
give ornament to it. 

The Park Street mall was laid out by Charles Bulfinch in 

The mall on Beacon street was laid out during the years 1815 and 1816, 
the neighboring street being widened and straightened. The expense was 
defrayed from a subscription raised in the year 1814 for the purpose of 
defence against a contemplated attack from the British in the Madison 

The Charles street mall was commenced in the year 1823, and completed 
in 1824, during the first year of the mayoralty of the elder Quincy. In 
1826, through the energy of the same gentleman, the old poplar trees 
which used to disfigure the Park street mall were unceremoniously cut 
down early one morning, and the beautiful elms set out in their place by 
his own hands. The two American elms, which formerly stood within 
the sidewalk of the same mall outside of the fence, were very early placed 
before the old town buildings, which have been before alluded to as being 
situated upon Centry street. Several unsuccessful attempts have been 
made to have these old landmarks of ancient days removed; and although 
one of these venerable shade trees has been obliged to yield to incorrigible 
fate, yet one of the twins of the forest still remains, defying the axe, as it 
has heretofore the storms and winds. 

The Boylston street mall was extended across the burial-ground in 
1836, two rows of tombs being closed for the purpose; and with this im- 
provement the Common became for the first time entirely surrounded with 

Besides the malls which ornament the sides of the Common, there are 
many paths, or walks, which traverse it in various directions, chiefly as 
"short-cuts" from one to another of the several openings in the fence, at 
the approaches of the different streets and avenues that radiate from all 
parts of the enclosure. The walk leading to Carver street from West 
street gate (built under the direction of ex-Alderman Samuel Hatch) has 
for a long time been known by those frequenting the Common as Ridge 
Path, on account of the bluff-like appearance it formerly had on its westerly 
side. Lyman Path, with its magnificent trees, elms and maples, led from 
West street to Joy street openings. Long Path and Armstrong diverged 
also from the Joy street opening, the former leading to the corner of Tre- 
mont and Boylston streets, and the latter to Winter street; and Brimmer 
Path led from Winter street to Spruce street. Other walks than these have 


Life of Campestris Ulm 

been variously designated by persons in the habit of passing through them. 
Why should not that which runs in a southerly direction from the Great 
Tree, and by the four Balsam Poplars or Aspens, be called Bigelow Path, 
in remembrance of the ex-mayor who planted the quivering-leaved trees 
beside it ? And why not give the name of Quincy Path to the walk leading 
from the corner of Park and Beacon streets to West street, in honor of the 
venerable man who during the early years of his mayoralty did so much 
to improve the Common ? 

All the walks in the enclosure of the Common have had trees set out at 
their edges since the adoption of the city charter, it being the pride of the 
committees of each year to do something to beautify and adorn this favorite 
holiday resort of the citizens. 

In 1830, about the time of the bicentennial celebration of the naming of 
the town, it was proposed, by persons who certainly could not have had 
much reverence for the past, to change the name of the Common and malls 
to "Washington Park." This endeavor, however, did not meet with public 
favor; and the old name, homely perhaps, but sufficiently good, has con- 
tinued in use until the present day. May it never be recorded in our city 
annals that such a folly as that then contemplated has been perpetrated ; for 
it is sufficiently discreditable to Boston that the names of many streets 
which once were the record of the munificence of the honored dead have 
been unwittingly changed to gratify the vanity or please the fancy of 
modern innovators. 1 

Campestris enjoyed and was pleased with the laying out and 
planting of the several malls surrounding the Common, but 
as his name, field-loving, implies, was decidedly of the opinion 
that a grave mistake was made in planting and planning the 
cross-paths. Under this treatment, a large part of the previous 
charm of the Common disappeared. The cross-paths, in most 
cases, should have followed slightly curved lines, which could 
have adjusted themselves to the contours of the surface and, 
with sufficient shade provided by the malls along its borders, 
the cross-paths would have been far more attractive and 
beneficial, if open to sunlight and air; an occasional grouping 
of trees over the surface of the Common would have provided 
all the variety needed. For at least nine months in the year 
sunlight and air are more needed along the cross-paths than 

1 Shurtlef}'s Topographical History of Boston. 


Life of Campestris Ulm 

shade, and a wholesome use of the Common and a delight to 
the eye would have resulted, instead of providing a shady 
resort for loafers. As one looked down the Armstrong, Lyman, 
and Long paths and observed the jumble of trees of Acers, 
Tilias, Americana Ulms, Liriodendrons, Populus, etc., and 
reflected that instead of crossing the ocean westward, as a 
sapling, Campestris could have gone over to the Continent, 
one might sing of him, as Bill Bobstay, boatswain's mate, 
sang of Ralph Rackstraw in Pinafore: 

Boatswain: He is an English Ulm. 

For he himself has said it, 
And it is greatly to his credit 
That he is an English Ulm. 

All: That he is an English Ulm. 

Boatswain: For he might have been a Roosian, 
A French, or Turk, or Proosian, 
Or perhaps Italian. 

All: Or perhaps Italian. 

Boatswain: But in spite of all temptations 
To belong to other nations, 
He remains an English Ulm. 

Most of the Americana Elms planted along the malls and 
cross-paths were a crooked, inferior lot of suckers, entirely 
lacking the graceful, well-proportioned, sturdy character of 
the Old Elm, which was a seedling. The Americana Elms, 
even at their best, can never possess the dignity and charm 
that made the early planting of Common or Tremont Street 
malls with Campestris Ulms, in 1728 and 1734, "the pride 
and ornament of the Town." 

Campestris had bravely withstood, in the thirty-five years 
of his settlement, many a gale and storm, but the great gale 
of Sept. 23, 1815, was to try his treehood as it had never been 
tried before. Friday, the day before, a storm of rain from the 


Life of Campestris Ulm 

northeast commenced. All through the day it was not alarm- 
ing, but that night it rained hard, and the wind increased in 
violence until toward morning, when it abated considerably. 

At daybreak, the Common was deserted; no men were seen 
on the by-paths, nor cows near the Great Tree and the ponds. 
No swains or maids hovered around the Wishing-Stone; 
everything endowed with locomotion had taken to cover, glad 
enough to abdicate their fancied superiority and leave the 
trees to bear the brunt of the storm. Along the line of Com- 
mon Street, bordering the mall were, first, the outer row of 
noble Jonathan Williams trees of 1728; the middle row of 
trees, planted by the selectmen in 1734, both rows, kindred of 
Campestris; and, lastly, on the inside, the later mixed row of 
American and English elms and sycamores of the 1784 plant- 
ing. By the burying-ground stood the kindred elms of Pad- 
dock, and along the line of Park Street stood a mixed row of 
trees, while on Beacon Street, in front of the Mansion of 
Hancock, were the line, mostly of kindred trees, of Governor 
Hancock's planting, with Campestris on the left of the line. 

The Old Elm at the base of Powder-House Hill and the 
small trees along the ridge and scattered about, of the 1784 
planting, alone remain to be mentioned. The trees needed no 
barometer to inform them there was a dreadful storm about 
to break over their devoted heads, and they felt it in all their 

At dawn the wind veered to the east, became brisk, and the 
rain came down in torrents. At nine the rain nearly ceased, 
but the wind became a gale, lasting until a quarter before 
eleven, then suddenly shifting, without rain, from the east to 
southeast, increasing steadily in violence until at noon it 
became a hurricane. Up to this time Campestris had borne 
himself as bravely as the bravest, and all the trees, though 
sorely tried, had escaped unscathed; but those old veteran 
trees of the Williams planting had lately passed down the 
lines the warning that the crisis of the storm was imminent. 
Campestris braced himself for the final struggle, with his 


Life of Campestris Ulm 

head borne proudly on his straight, upright trunk, his supple, 
leathery roots and rootlets clinging tightly to the soil, all at 
tension. The fury and force of the wind were such as never 
in his life before had he experienced. It was the real gale 
that had arrived. 

For the next hour Campestris did nothing but madly sway 
back and forth with his limbs and branches, his tufted twigs 
fluttering wildly, his shoots tangling themselves into knots, 
his leaves scattered with the wind, his deep roots holding for 
dear life to the sub-soil of the hill. The air was full of the 
debris torn from the roofs of buildings and of branches stripped 
from the trees, besides countless sea-birds driven wildly be- 
fore the wind. Crash after crash followed one another, as 
the trees in the line where he stood were torn up by the roots 
and thrown down upon the ground. Campestris thought his 
last hour had come; perspiration 1 rolled down his trunk and 
he felt he could not endure the strain longer, when provi- 
dentially at one o'clock the wind shifted to the southwest and 
soon sensibly abated; the worst was over, and Campestris 
relaxed and rested from his strenuous exertions. But, alas, 
at what cost ! A survey of the field disclosed eleven of the trees 
in the line where he stood torn up by the roots and lying on 
the ground, together with thirteen in the mall, mostly in the 
latest planting of 1784, and three in Paddock's mall, and 
grieved he was over "the injury done to the Mall, that superb 
promenade, the pride and ornament of the Town." 

The incidents of the above description are mainly taken 
from the Boston Daily Advertiser of Monday, Sept. 25, 1815; 
from the Chronicle of the same date; and from Shurtleff's 
History, the account of which was as follows: — 

1 The air contains, especially during the summer months, all the principles of vegetation: 
Oil for the perfect food, water to dilute it, and salts to assimilate it. These are greedily absorbed 
by the vessels of the leaves and bark, and conveyed to the innermost parts of the plant for its 
growth and fructification. When the air happens to be cold and moist, this absorption takes 
place. When it is hot and dry, the same vessels throw off the superfluous moisture by perspira- 
tion. In animals, the kidneys and pores of the skin carry off the superfluity. The vegetable, 
not having kidneys, perspires more than the animal. — Plants: Their perspiration proved. 
Evelyn's Silva, vol. vi., p. 123. 


Life of Campestris Ulm 

Great September Gale of 1815 

This tremendous gale, which will ever be memorable in the annals of 
Boston, occurred on Saturday, the twenty-third of September, commencing 
from the east, about an hour before noon. At twelve o'clock the wind 
changed to the southeast, blowing with an increased violence, amounting 
to a hurricane; but, fortunately, continued but a short time, shifting at 
about one o'clock to a southwesterly direction, when it ceased in its vio- 
lence. The damage to buildings was exceedingly great. Several of the 
chimneys of the State House were upset, as were, also, about sixty others in 
different parts of the town. The steeples of the Old South, Ilollis Street, 
Charles Street Baptist, and Park Street meeting-houses were much in- 
jured, and barely escaped being blown down. The roofs of several build- 
ings were taken off, and a great destruction of slates and window-glass 
ensued from the violence of the gale. Sea-birds were driven in quantities 
forty or more miles inward from the sea, and sea-swallows (commonly 
known as Mother Carey's chickens) were seen in the vicinity of the wharves 
— a circumstance never before known, as they are rarely seen within several 
leagues of land, their home being upon the deep waters of the ocean. One 
building was entirely blown down and burnt, — the old wooden glass-house 
in Essex Street; and the shipping in the harbor and at the wharves was 
very much injured. But we are told that the most impressive scene was 
exhibited on the Common and its immediate vicinity. Many of the old and 
stately trees which formed the old mall, and skirted the Common, were 
torn up by their roots and prostrated, carrying the fences with them; and 
several of the large elms of Paddock's mall shared the same fate, over- 
turning a portion of the brick wall of the burial-ground. One of the trees 
of the old mall measured then seven feet and eleven inches in girth. The 
sycamores and elms fared alike. The trees which suffered most were in 
the westerly row at the north part of the mall, and several were opposite 
the State House. It is remarkable that the older trees on the outside of the 
mall, which had been planted more than eighty years, withstood the tempest 
comparatively unharmed; while those in the most leeward row, and which 
were of younger growth, were prostrated, the wind at the time of its great- 
est violence coming from a southeasterly point. In a short time the trees 
were trimmed and raised to their places; and, though they made a sad 
appearance the remainder of the year, most of them lived, and have en- 
dured several hard blows since. The sycamores have, however, within a 
short time fallen a sacrifice to a blasting disease. 

On Monday, the twenty-fifth of September, two days after the great 
gale, the Selectmen held a meeting, and among other minutes on their 
records is the following, which gives a sufficiently minute account of the 
damage to the trees: 


Life of Campestris Ulm 

"A very violent gale of wind having on Saturday last done great damage 
to the town in general, but particularly to the Common, by rooting up thir- 
teen large trees in the Mall, & eleven in the line of Beacon street, & three 
by the burying ground in Common street, the chair informed the board that 
he had employed a number of labourers to replace them — they approved 
his proceeding, & appointed the chairman [Charles Bulfinch, Esq.] & Mr. 
[Jonathan] Hunnewell to superintend the work." 


One morning in 1820, in his fortieth year, Campestris ob- 
served a cluster of workmen around his old friend, the Wishing- 
Stone, one holding a drill, while another was swinging a 
heavy sledge-hammer. After a time this ceased, and another 
man seemed to be busy ramming and tamping something into 
a hole. Shortly after there was a great scampering of cows 
driven wildly at a distance and the cluster of men dispersed 
in various directions along the several paths, waving their 
hands as a warning. One man left behind lingered a short 
time, and then ran rapidly away. There was a flash, an ex- 
plosion, the air was filled with smoke, and when it cleared, to 
the astonishment and grief of Campestris, his beloved boulder, 
the friend of his youth, was observed blown to fragments. 
In the language of trees, Campestris exclaimed, as he shook 
his limbs, "What have you done, you stupid louts, you churls 
and sons of churls? Know ye not, that it was no common 
stone; that, hallowed as it was by the vows of countless swains 
and maids, it possessed a sentimental value which, translated 
into dollars and cents, the only measure of value your vulgar, 
commonplace lives can appreciate, would amount to a sum 
you could never replace by your labor, if your lives were pro- 
longed beyond the age of Methuselah ? Would that you were 
buried in the debris of your own blast. Alas, alas!'* he 
soliloquized, "a large part of the pleasure of my life has de- 
parted," and sadly he watched the stupid, indifferent men 
load the fragments on a drag and carry them away. 

In after years Campestris could never allude to the destruc- 
tion of his old friend without manifesting his grief and sorrow. 


Life of Campestris Ulm 

He maintained that it was one of the most fatuous acts that 
the Old Town ever perpetrated ; that if the old Wishing-Stone 
had been preserved, it would have become as celebrated and 
famous as the Frog Pond; that it would have been the Mecca 
to which people from all over the land would have resorted; 
that even in time it might have filled that place in the affec- 
tions of the townspeople now held by the Blarney Stone, and 
the whole later history of the town been changed. 

One summer day in July, 1824, shortly after noon, Cam- 
pestris was startled by observing a dense black smoke arising 
from the front of Beacon Street, near Charles. It was blowing 
a gale from the northwest, and shortly after the wooden houses, 
outbuildings, and fences were all ablaze. The old hand-tubs 
were soon rattling by, followed by crowds of men and boys, 
running in the direction of the fire, along the street, the mall, 
and the various by-paths. 

Among the rest was " Gleaner," who ran rapidly by without 
taking any notice of Campestris. He afterwards wrote a 
graphic description of the fire, as follows : — 

The Beacon-Street Fire 1 

On Wednesday, July 7th, 1824, just before two o'clock, the bell of Boston 
rang an alarm of fire, and instantly a dense mass of black smoke was seen 
to overhang the entire city. I have always been an amateur at fires. If 
the calamity must happen, I like to be present, to behold what sometimes 
proves to be a most magnificent spectacle. I was then a young man, — in 
my teens, — and hastening from 'Change to the corner of Park street, I 
saw at once that a most furious and destructive conflagration had com- 
menced. The wind was blowing a hurricane from the northwest. When I 
reached the bottom of the Beacon-street Mall, a stream of fire was pouring 
through the passage-way west of Mr. Bryant's house, from carpenter 
shops and other combustible premises on Charles and Chestnut streets. 

The flame was of the full width of the passage-way, and it was curling 
round into the front windows of Mr. B.'s house, which was then nearly 
finished and ready for occupancy. The out-buildings and fences of all 
that range of dwelling-houses were then of wood, so that the fire was also 
making its fearful approaches in the rear. I have never seen, before or 

l Fifth Report of the Record Commissioners, pp. 178, 179. 


Life of Campestris Ulm 

since, any similar occasion of a more appalling character. The hasty 
removal of household furniture, much of it being thrown from the windows, 
which were broken out for the purpose; the panic of the occupants, as they 
and their children were obliged to fly, some at a notice of a few minutes; 
the crackling of the flames, the intense heat, the falling of the walls of one 
dwelling-house after another, as the fire proceeded along the street; the 
shouts of the firemen; the mass of spectators filling the bottom of the 
Common and the rising ground in its centre, the jets of flame often spring- 
ing over a space of several feet, the burning fragments borne aloft over 
our heads to remote parts of the city; the magnitude of the danger, which 
led to the covering with wet blankets of houses even as distant as Mr. 
Otis's and Mr. Sears's, — formed together an aggregate of sights and 
sounds which can never be forgotten. 

As those houses which at first were not thought in great danger, one 
after another, took fire and were consumed, owners who originally decided 
not to have their furniture moved were at last obliged to remove it so hastily 
that much was ruined, and much more was necessarily left behind. In 
some instances old family portraits and inherited articles of furniture, 
rendered invaluable by the associations of a lifetime, were thus reluctantly 
surrendered. On the other hand, a tin-kitchen was saved, and its viands 
cooking for dinner were protected from the danger of being overdone. 

Extensive removals were made from several houses, which were even- 
tually saved, as in the case of Mr. William Appleton's and others. The 
Common presented a curious medley of miscellaneous articles, the shab- 
biest household utensils side by side with elegant drawing-room carpets 
and ornaments. Bottles of wine which had not seen the light for twenty 
years were summarily decapitated without any ceremonious drawing of 
corks, and the Juno or Elipse vintage was probably never quaffed with 
greater relish than when it refreshed the parched throats of the exhausted 
firemen. Other amateurs, without having their apology, imitated iheir 
example, and the scene assumed rather a bacchanalian character. One 
gentleman, desirous of withholding further fuel from this conflagration, 
locked up his wine-cellar, and left its contents to be at least harmlessly 

Seven dwelling-houses on Beacon street, east of the passage-way, were 
burnt, besides the entire range of buildings between the passage-way and 
Charles street. The fire was at last successfully checked at the house of 
the late Mr. Eckley. I suppose that it always happens that in a large fire 
somebody's policy has just expired. This was, I believe, the case with the 
late Mr. Henry G. Rice. To many besides him that was a very sad and 
discouraging day. Mr. Bryant had the advantage over his neighbors of 
not being incommoded by any furniture or family, as he had not yet taken 


Life of Campestris Ulm 

possession. It is satisfactory to reflect that all the pecuniary loss then 
sustained has, undoubtedly, been much more than made good by the 
greatly enhanced value of real estate in that vicinity. And, independently 
of all the direct and perpetual advantages, of the most inestimable char- 
acter, derived by our citizens from the Boston Common, it should never 
be forgotten that it was solely owing to the existence of this open space on 
this occasion that the entire southern portion of our city was not destroyed. 
The range of trees at the foot of the Beacon-street Mall rendered a truly 
important service. Suffering the flames of martyrdom, they died at their 
post of duty. 

A burning cinder lodged in my eye, causing a violent inflammation, and 
bringing to an abrupt close my meditations on this striking spectacle, and 
a like inflammation of the same organ now brings to a like abrupt close 
the speculations of "Gleaner." 

The Copley land on Beacon Hill about the year 1800 began 
to be rapidly covered with houses, and, as "Gleaner" writes 
in 1855, "the homes of a large proportion of those most dis- 
tinguished among us for intellect and learning, or for enter- 
prise, wealth, and public spirit were located there." 

The site of Copley's house on Beacon Street was sold to 
Harrison Gray Otis. The houses of Otis and Sears are thus 
described by "Gleaner": 1 

The stone mansion of Mr. Sears was originally a much lower building, 
having only one bow in the centre, instead of two bows or projections. 
It fronted on a yard or carriage-way, laid out on the easterly side of his 
lot. It was a very graceful and beautiful building, and a great ornament 
to the street. He subsequently erected an additional house on the east, 
covering the whole front of his lot, and also making radical changes in the 
original structure. On this lot of Mr. Sears, behind the house, stood a 
barn, which was converted into a temporary hospital for the wounded 
British officers after the battle of Bunker Hill. When Mr. Sears was digging 
for the foundation of his house, the workmen came, at a depth of several 
feet under the surface, to a gigantic moccasined foot, perhaps 2 \ feet long, 
broken off at the ankle, and carved from a kind of a sandstone not found 
in this vicinity, which he presented to the Boston Athenaeum, where it 
now is — [not]. 

"Master Vinal" would doubtless be much gratified to find that his 
humble house has attained to such high distinction in these later times. 

l "Gleaner" Record Commissioners, pp. 169, 170. 


Life of Campestris Ulm 

And even Mr. Copley would admit that the houses of Messrs. Sears, 
Parker, and Appleton have more than made good the two domiciles which 
are delineated in all the dignity of yellow paint, with doors, windows, and 
chimneys, on the original plan of the Mount Vernon Purchase (in Lib. 192) . 
Except the old powder-house, we have seen that only these two houses ap- 
pear on a plan of an estate containing a million of square feet, upon which 
now stand probably five hundred houses. 

After Mr. Otis had sold his mansion house on Mt. Vernon street, he 
removed to an elegant and spacious house which he erected on Beacon 
street, next west to Mr. Sears's, and here he lived till his death. His lot 
was 120 feet front by 165 feet in depth. The easterly portion was a fine 
garden. Land at last became so valuable that he did not feel justified in 
retaining for a mere matter of sentiment this beautiful enclosure, which 
had long pleased all eyes, and decided to convert it to a more substantial 
use. He accordingly, in 1831, sold the easterly part to Mr. Sears, for 
$12,412.50 (L. 356, f. 227), who proceeded to erect a house, and on the 
west part Mr. Otis himself erected another. The bow of Mr. Otis's man- 
sion house, which originally projected into the garden, still projects into 
this house, though this encroachment is ingeniously disposed of and con- 
cealed by its interior arrangements. When the houses were erected on this 
garden there was found what had the appearance of an old well, entirely 
filled up with beach sand. Its existence was before unknown. The founda- 
tions of the new buildings were constructed by arching it over. And per- 
haps, after many a year yet to come, it may again astonish the spectators. 
The mansion house itself, after Mr. Otis's death, was conveyed to, and is 
now owned by, Samuel Austin, by whom it has been thoroughly renovated. 
There is, perhaps, on the whole, no more desirable residence in Boston. 1 
Mr. Austin paid for it the sum of $60,000. 

Campestris much regretted, in 1830, the exclusion of his 
long-time friends, the cows, whom he had become accustomed 
to watch, for fifty years, upon the grass land of the Common, 
or resting under the shade of the Old Elm, or being driven to 
pasture in the morning and back again in the afternoon; but 
he realized that the growth of the town made it necessary. 

In 1835 a notable event occurred in the life of Campestris in 

1 The Author agrees with "Gleaner" that there was in 1855 no more desirable residence in 
Boston than the house of Otis, — as true in 1910 as in 1855, — but regrets that sentiment should 
not have triumphed, and the garden been retained; and believes that no possible use that could 
have been made of the proceeds of the sale could have exceeded in value the gratification of his 
own eye and those of his neighbors and the passers-by. 



Life of Campestris Ulm 

the transplanting of the Gingko Tree 1 from the garden of 
Gardner Green, through the personal efforts of Dr. Jacob 
Bigelow, to a place on the Common, across the mall, directly 
opposite the site of Campestris. He had never observed such 
a singular tree before. He looked down upon the Gingko 
with the same cold, disdainful, contemptuous air that English- 
men usually assume when travelling outside their own land. 
Poor little beggar! he internally remarked, and pitied the 
slowness of his growth. But had he possessed the power of 
locomotion, by going to the Public Garden, close to the Ether 
Monument, he might then have realized that a tree trans- 
planted never becomes as vigorous and rapid growing as one 
undisturbed, and that the handsome Gingko growing there, 
a portrait of whom is shown on the opposite page, has made a 
most remarkable growth in the space of about thirty-five 
years — possibly due in part to the dead horses and cats re- 
ported to have been buried in this part of the ground, affording 
the same agreeable food that his countrymen are reputed to be 
fond of in their own land. Likewise, if Campestris could 
have travelled to China, the native land of the Gingko, he 
would have found trees far surpassing in grandeur and size 
any of his own proud family. 

The following interesting information was afforded the 
author by the kindness of the late Francis B. Forbes: 

May 2, 1907. 
Dear Mr. Curtis: 

Regarding the Maidenhair tree, I succeeded in finding my copy of 
Bunge's original paper on North China plants, and I enclose copy (or 
rather translation) of what he says. 

Loudon has quoted him correctly, but probably not at first hand, as he 
omits the simple explanation given for the enormous trunk in question. 
It is all very interesting, and, if I can hit upon further details, I will let 
you know. Sincerely yours, 

F. B. Forbes. 

1 The view of Beacon Street mall, west from the bole of Campestris, with the Gingko Tree on 
the left, is shown opposite page 30. Another view of Beacon Street mall in 1880, with Cam- 
pestris, the largest tree on the right, is shown in Marshall P. Wilder s article, p. 611, vol. iv., 
Memorial History of Boston. 


Life of Campestris Ulm 

May 4, 1907. 
Dear Mb. Curtis: 

In Siebold & Zuccarinis' Flora Japonica I find, under Gingko triloba L. t 
a quotation from Endlichen, an eminent botanist of the first half of last 
century. The original Latin is diffuse and inelegant, but the meaning is 
perfectly clear, and I enclose a free translation which I am sure you will 
find interesting and conclusive. Yours sincerely, 

F. B. Forbes. 

Enumeratio Plantorum quas in China boreali collegit Dr. Al. Bunge, Anno 

Tbanslations of St. Petebsbubg Academy of Sciences. 


March 7, 1832. 
Salisburia Adiantifolia Sm. Rather rare in gardens and near Buddhist 
temples. Flowers in April. A very beautiful and extremely high tree, often 
having suckers starting from the roots, growing fast, close to the trunk, 
which is finally increased in size by their adhering to it. I myself saw, near 
the Temple Tan-dshe-ssy, such a tree, very old, whose history goes back 
to the Juan dynasty, having a circumference of about forty feet, very 
lofty, in full leaf, and having no other signs of age than its great height. 

[Free translation from passage quoted from Endlichen by Siebold & Zuccarinis, Flora 
Japonica ii.,f 7b, published 1870.] 

Gingko biloba L. Each seed has most frequently two or three, but some- 
times more, embryos. These, in germinating, swell and press together so 
closely that, often in their first sprouting, they become confluent as one 
seedling plant. This method of growth is artificially imitated by Chinese 
and Japanese gardeners, who bring together many suckers into a single 
stem, so as to multiply the strength of the tree. Accordingly, specimens are 
found, here and there, with trunks of a monstrous size of foliage. 

In January, 1859, Governor Nathaniel P. Banks, in a mes- 
sage to the Legislature of the Commonwealth of Massachu- 
setts, made the following suggestions in reference to the pur- 
chase of the Hancock Mansion: 

During the past year I made official communication to the then living 
representative of the late Governor Hancock, with a view to provide for a 
future purchase by the legislature, of the Hancock House, and its transfer, 
upon the decease of the proprietor, to the Commonwealth. His great age, 


Life of Campestris Ulm 

and increasing infirmities, made it impracticable to enter upon any nego- 
tiations for this purpose. His death has been recently announced to the 
public; and I suggest that the legislature consider what measures may be 
now expedient, as regards a possible transfer, at some future time, of this 
estate to the Commonwealth. I know no subject that could better occupy 
the attention of the legislature on the birth day of Washington. The 
dignity and the duties of the chief executive magistrate alike require that he 
should reside at the capitol. Men who have official intercourse with him 
have a right to demand it, and if any executive service call him to any part 
of the State, the capital is the only central point of divergence. My own 
experience leads me to the conclusion that for the efficient discharge of any 
class of duties his residence here will soon be indispensable. 

This estate is the last that retains the Revolutionary tone and character. 
It was originally a part of that upon which the Capitol buildings now stand. 
It is hallowed by associations connected with the memory, and the fre- 
quent presence of Washington, Franklin, Lafayette and other patriots. 
Its illustrious occupant, the President of the Congress of Independence, 
whose bold signature to the Declaration, which interprets better than 
eulogy or history the spirit and character of those who pledged their lives, 
their fortunes, and their sacred honor in defence of its principles, — that 
illustrious patriot cherished through life the expectation that it would 
ultimately become the Executive Mansion of the Commonwealth, and if 
there be any conscious connection of separated existences, his spirit would 
mourn as the people will mourn when it shall disappear from the sight of 

The suggestions of the Governor, the former "Bobbin Boy," 
so creditable to him, showing that the loom and the dancing- 
school are sometimes as favorable in promoting the growth of 
sentiment as the halls of a University, were reported upon 
favorably by a joint committee of the Legislature, but en- 
countered active opposition from the rural districts, and were 
defeated. The opposition in the House, as reported in the 
newspapers of the day, was ably led by the member from 
Newburyport, — a shrewd, cunning, and wily lawyer, a grad- 
uate of Harvard College, who possessed exceptional ability in 
knowing how to befog a question and make the worse appear 
the better reason. 

He was ably seconded by the member from Canton, who 
implored the members to be on the alert against executive 


Life of Campestris Ulm 

measures. He declared that the liberties of the Commonwealth 
were imperilled; that she would not tolerate this measure; 
defeat it, and her liberty was safe; consummate it, and her 
liberty would be lost, forever. The member from Middleboro, 
midst laughter and applause, declared it to be no test of 
patriotism to vote away other people's money; that there were 
plenty of old houses in Middleboro, but they were not asking 
other people to buy them. 

The "Boston Clique" were handled without gloves; the 
opposition won: the Great and Good General Court, in their 
wisdom, rejected the pernicious measure, and the Common- 
wealth breathed freely once more. 

In 1863 the debt of the Commonwealth to Madam Hancock 
and the heirs for unpaid funeral expenses amounted, at six per 
cent compounded annually (we have the authority of former 
treasurer Storer of Harvard College as to the equity of thus 
computing a debt), to twice the amount asked for the estate. 
The former town, now city, receives, after all the increase in 
values, an annual tax on the land of about $2,500. The heirs, 
in 1863, offered the mansion, with pictures and other objects 
of historical interest, for about the sum of one hundred thou- 
sand dollars, with the design of preserving it as a memento of 
Colonial and Revolutionary history. The offer was rejected. 
If the city owned the mansion to-day, and only twenty-five 
cents admission was charged, does any one doubt that interest 
on many times that amount would be obtained ? Nearly fifty 
years have elapsed; is there a man, woman, or child within the 
limits of the Commonwealth that does not now regret the 
action then taken, and would they not sanction the payment of 
many times the amount then asked, to replace the famous old 
mansion ? 

Veritably, sentiment pays. 

Campestris, when informed of the behavior of the Common- 
wealth, though greatly moved, was not surprised; he had long 
noted her ingratitude and lack of consideration for the widow 
and heirs of her first governor. He sorrowfully overlooked the 


Life of Campestris Ulm 

tearing down of the solid granite walls of the mansion, and the 
carting of the material away, and the erection of the two modern 
brown-stone houses in its place, to be followed long years after 
by a mean and inconspicuous 18 x 21 inch bronze tablet, 
clamped to an iron fence and bearing an inscription marking 
the site as the residence of John Hancock. Henceforth recol- 
lections of the dear old mansion and the glorious outdoor life 
enjoyed by him in connection with it must suffice. 

In December, 1851, Mayor Bigelow had a map of the Com- 
mon made by the city engineer, showing the location and names 
of all the trees thereon. This map has been reduced and is 
shown on opposite page. The following is the list of trees on 
the Common at that time: 

American Elms 

English Elms 







Slippery Elm 

Total 1,255 

At this time, as shown by the map, a large proportion of the 
English elms of the 1728 and 1734 planting had died and had 
been replaced with other trees, mostly American elms. There 
were only 9 left in the 1728 row, 4 in the 1734 row, 10 in the 
1784 row, 4 in row along Beacon Street (including Campestris), 
and 5 south of Beacon Street mall. Of these, in 1910, only 1 is 
left in the 1784 row, 1 in same row of a somewhat later planting, 
the 2 by the Shaw Monument, Campestris, and 5 south of 
Beacon Street mall. 

The author measured the following trees in 1910: 

Campestris Ulm. 

Girth, 3 ft. above ground, 14 ft., 5 in. 
Height, 88 ft., 3 in. 






Black Aspen 



Black Ash 



White and Silver Leaf Maple 



Rock Maples 



Arbor Vitae 






Fir Trees, Mayor's Grove 


Life of Campestris Ulm 

Gingko on the Common. 

Girth, 3 ft. above ground, 4 ft., 9 in. 

Height, 56 ft., 9 in. 
Gingko on the Public Garden. 

Girth, 3 ft. above ground, 8 ft., 4 in. 

Height, 65 ft. 
Three English Elms (south side of Beacon Street mall). 

Girth, 3 ft. above ground, respectively, 12 ft., 6 in.; 11 ft.; and 12 ft. 
7 in. 
English Elm (Tremont Street mall, near West Street Entrance) . 

Girth, 3 ft. above ground, 13 ft. 

Height, 88 ft., 8 in. 
English Elm (Tremont Street mall, near Attucks Monument). 

Girth, 3 ft. above ground, 10 ft., 6 in. 

Height, 73 ft. 

In December, 1897, the author measured Campestris Ulm 
as, girth, 13 ft., 8 in., showing an increase in 13 years of 9 inches. 

In the early seventies, Campestris was shocked to learn that 
those noble trees, the Paddock Elms, had been massacred. 
Sordid commercialism, prompted by a soulless corporation, 
had finally had its way, and trees everywhere recognized that it 
boded ill for them in the future. 

There is an old saying that a man is never a hero to his 
valet; and the apt explanation is that this is so, not because the 
man may not be a hero, but because the valet is a valet. 

In a similar vein, it could well be said that a tree is never 
noble, but simply so much possible cord-wood, to some men, 
not because the tree is not noble, but because the lives of these 
men are as dead as cord-wood. 

From The Memorial History of Boston, Topography and Landmarks 
of the Last Hundred Years 

Paddock's Elms, too, in whose grateful shade have waited hundreds of 
thousands of intending patrons of the horse-cars, are gone. They were 
watched over in their extreme youth by Adino Paddock, who planted them, 
and who darted out from his shop opposite to shake a boy who had shaken 
one of them. In their full vigor, they fell under the displeasure of city 
foresters who cherish the theory that trees need no moisture for their roots. 


Life of Campestris Ulm 

Branches which spread too far were chopped off remorselessly, and when 
at last the entire removal of the once magnificent row of trees was demanded 
in the name of progress, the amputated stumps were unable to plead for 
themselves to be spared longer. — Vol. iv. 

Topography and Landmarks of the Provincial Period 

Opposite the burying-ground, on the east side of Long-Acre Street, lived 
Adino Paddock, who some years later set out the fine row of English elms 
which flourished down to our own day, a conspicuous ornament of the 
street. The trees were brought from England, and were thought to have 
been planted in 1762. They were cut down a few years ago, despite the 
indignant protest of the press and a large number of prominent citizens. 
Shurtleff, Description of Boston, p. 368, has a chapter on "Paddock's Mall." 
— Vol. ii. 

Campestris had a decidedly poor opinion of most of the 
American elms in his vicinity, but had a great respect and 
admiration for the Old Elm, whose acquaintance he had been 
privileged to enjoy from the time when, as a sapling, he was 
first settled on Boston Common by his sponsor, John Hancock; 
and this noted tree, the Oldest Inhabitant of the Common up 
to the time of his death, in 1876, was a living example proving 
that the Americana family can produce noble trees of the 
first rank. 

This celebrated tree had attained his full growth in 1722, 
and exhibited marks of old age in 1792; and Campestris 
sympathized and lamented over the misfortunes which befell 
him in his later years. He went through the great gale of 1815 
unscathed, but nearly met his death by a storm in 1832. In 
1860, much to the grief and sorrow of Campestris, he was 
seriously dismembered in a gale; and after experiencing more 
misfortunes during a storm in September, 1869, was finally 
destroyed Feb. 16, 1876, when he was broken off near the 
ground. 1 

In the seventies the first serious interference with the surface 
of the Common was made by City Forester Galvin, in the re- 

l The facts noted above are taken from Asa Gray's chapter Hi., vol. i., in Memorial His- 
tory of Boston. A portrait of the Old Elm is shown opposite page 81. For further informa- 
tion see Appendix IV. 


Life of Campestris Ulm 

grading of Powder House Hill to afford a site for the Soldiers' 
Monument; and after the outlay of a most extravagant sum 
of money, spent in obliterating all the natural outlines and 
features of the hill and creating a purely artificial surface, 
which he dubbed the most beautiful spot in America, the poor 
old hill could hardly have recognized herself. 

It was in the fall of the year 1896 that I first became inti- 
mately acquainted with Campestris Ulm, while the upheaval 
of the Common along Tremont and Boylston Street malls was 
taking place, and the whole surface of the Parade Ground was 
torn up to bury an enormous amount of excavation from the 
Subway. Sore at heart over the devastation of the present, and 
apprehensive of the future, I found in him a sympathetic and 
congenial friend. 

One hundred and sixteen years had elapsed since Cam- 
pestris Ulm had been settled upon his site by Governor John 
Hancock. He was now a most picturesque tree in the prime 
of life, and exemplified all the stateliness and grandeur which 
he gave promise of when a sapling, and later as a young tree. 
No knight of the Middle Ages carried himself more nobly 
than Campestris Ulm, with one branch projecting over Beacon 
Street and another across the mall, as if to guard the citadel 
of the American Athens from the despotism of the East and 
the materialism of the West. 

His upright trunk, rising from a secure base, was already 
assuming the dignity and hoary roughness of age; his limbs, in 
part, stretched out horizontally, and others tended upward, 
with an appearance of strength to their very extremities, sup- 
porting a well-balanced head, which in spring was covered 
with a beautiful bloom, of a dark crimson color, followed later 
by a dense foliage of small, deep green leaves. At times he 
received and reflected grand masses of light, that were worthy 
of the best of his kin. Botanists have accused my old friend 
of being polygamous. Whether this is true or not, our inter- 
course has never been disturbed on that account. As years 
went by, my respect and admiration for the character of my 


K S 

Life of Campestris Ulm 

old friend deepened. Prompted by him, I was led to take an 
interest in the lives of his sponsors, Governor and Madam 
Hancock, and in the indoor and outdoor life of that famous 
mansion on Beacon Hill; to inform myself of the upbuilding 
that had taken place on the hill since the land of Copley was 
mostly wild and covered with barberry bushes; to picture with 
his aid the changes that had taken place in the surface of the 
Common since the time of the Revolution; and to ascertain 
the time of tree-planting, and by whom. He was familiar with 
nearly every person of note in the old town since the time of 
his settlement. Our tastes, therefore, were very much alike, 
and I never tired of his society. 

We often conferred together about the care that the Com- 
mon has received in the past. We both agreed that the grounds 
could not possibly have been cared for under a worse system 
than that which is described by Shurtleff in his History of 
Boston, and Edward Stanwood in Memorial History of 

All the walks in the enclosure of the Common have had trees set out at 
their edges since the adoption of the city charter, it being the pride of the 
Committees of each year to do something to beautify and adorn this favorite 
holiday resort of the Citizens. 1 

The Citizens are indebted to the great energy and good taste of the 
several Committees on the Common and the Public Squares, to the City 
Engineers and to the Superintendents, who have usually been designated 
as the City Foresters. 2 

The subsequent changes have been, for the most part, the work of land- 
scape gardeners of the elected sort — men who think inequalities of surface 
are to be removed, who enjoy a straight path more than a crooked one, 
who regard black asphalt as an appropriate material for a park walk, who 
like to line paths with fence rails painted green, who make trees picturesque 
by sawing off the limbs in such a way as to make the mutilation most con- 
spicuous. Notwithstanding all this, the Common was too beautiful to be 
spoiled by years of official disfigurement. 3 

1 Shurtleff, Memorial History of Boston, pp. 328-366. 

*Ibid, p. 355. 

3 Edward Stanwood, Memorial History of Boston, vol. iv. 


Life of Campestris Ulm 

The pith of the matter, Campestris declared, was that the 
best results could never reasonably be expected from change- 
able boards of selectmen, or from mayors, aldermen, and 
superintendents; that most everything done was a compro- 
mise, resulting in poor art. I agreed with Campestris, and 
informed him of an instance in point that came under my 
own observation in a suburban town. A committee of nine 
were selected in town meeting to decide on a design and the 
placing of a soldiers' monument on their Common. On this 
Committee were two who dominated the rest, both self-willed 
and positive in their ideas and tastes. One was determined that 
the monument should be Gothic in*design; the other, equally 
determined in favor of Egyptian. Neither was willing to yield; 
but the versatile architect employed designed a hybrid the like 
of which had never been seen before, and which proved ac- 
ceptable to both. 

The Transit Commission made three serious errors in the 
manner in which the Subway was constructed, as far as the 
interests of the Common were concerned, assuming that their 
original location within the limits of the Common, which later 
experience has shown to be unnecessary, was not also a mistake 
in the beginning. 

In their first report, they recommended that a large part of 
the excavation from the Subway should be used in raising the 
surface of the Common adjacent to Charles Street, the neces- 
sity for which, for both aesthetic and sanitary considerations, 
they state has long been apparent; and furthermore, they add 
(what was evidently of much more vital importance in their 
minds), at a saving in the cost of the Subway. 

The western slopes of Powder House Hill, Flagstaff Hill, 
and Ridge Hill were at that time natural and pleasing to the 
eye. The low land near Charles Street could have been easily 
graded with a very moderate amount of soil; but the Com- 
mission proceeded to bury the enormous amount of sixty to 
seventy thousand cubic yards of earth, defacing nearly the 


Life of Campestris Ulm 

whole surface of the Parade Ground, where one-tenth part 
would have been ample for sanitary and aesthetic reasons — 
as unjustifiable as it would be for a man to put putty on 
his cheeks to improve the appearance of his face. This was 
the most serious mistake they made, because so difficult to 

The second mistake was in placing the roof of the Subway 
so near the surface of Tremont Street mall that it was impos- 
sible to grow there trees of any size. If any citizens have in 
their minds that the row of trees east of the mall is ever going 
to rival the famous trees of the olden time and place new laurels 
on the brow of Lafayette, let them dismiss the idea from their 
minds at once. It is a vain hope; those good little trees have 
seen their best days already. They are doomed to die young; 
they have no deep drainage provided, and hardly depth of soil 
enough for a good-sized flower-pot, and all along the dreary 
granolithic pavement the roof of the Subway is so near the 
surface that there is no opportunity to curtail its limits, even 
with grass. 

The third mistake they made was in not carrying out the 
admirable designs made for the Subway coverings by Edmund 
M. Wheelwright, and leaving out all the accessories which he 
recommended, from short-sighted and petty motives of econ- 
omy, thus spoiling what was capable of being made a pleasure 
to the eye and a credit to the city. 

In Municipal Architecture in Boston, from designs by 
Edmund M. Wheelwright, Part II, there is an admirable 
article by C. Howard Walker, as follows: — 

Preliminary sketches were made by Mr. Wheelwright as City Architect, 
but the buildings were constructed from plans made later by the archi- 
tectural firm of which he is a member. 

The coverings for the stairways to the Subway Stations upon Boston 
Common presented a peculiarly difficult problem. It was not enough that 
the isolated buildings should be acceptable in design; it was essential that 
to a number of small and comparatively inconspicuous units should be 
given a complete architectural effect. These units were but a series of 
utilitarian buildings of the lowest organic type, mere oblong coverings for 


Life of Campestris Ulm 

holes in the ground whose location even was determined by the engineering 

As appears from the preliminary sketches here shown, the problem was 
approached in the only possible rational manner. There was a long, nar- 
row, nearly level mall, at either end of which the coverings were to be 
grouped. The natural surroundings, except for the background of trees, 
gave no assistance. A satisfactory architectural effect had to be gained 
entirely by artificial means. Picturesqueness was out of the question: in 
the first place, the units were too simple and too small; and in the second 
place, instead of variety, there was only deadly monotony of conditions. 
The architects sought therefore to gain monumental effect by formal dis- 
position of masses, by uniting the small units by colonnades or by series 
of lamps or posts; by the use of balustrades or walls; and by flights of 
steps. The coverings at Park street chanced to be so disposed that they 
could be arranged in pairs; and one of the early sketches shows a colonnade 
used to group together each of these pairs. As it was found necessary to 
reduce the number of stairway risers by lowering the grade of the malls, a 
semicircular series of broad steps was suggested at the Park street corner, 
while seats, posts for lamps, and other architectural features completed 
the assembling of the different parts of the design at this the most important 
end of the mall. Here, too, on the axis between the two pairs of coverings, 
the Brewer Fountain was to be placed, an approach to it being given by a 
short flight of steps. This would have been an effective and rational loca- 
tion for this fountain, which in its present situation appears to have been 
dropped there by accident. At the corner of Tremont and Boylston streets, 
under conditions even less favorable, the architects strove by similar means 
to bring together the isolated units. In fact, every expedient which would 
enlarge the apparent area of architectural treatment was applied to this 

The Commission, however, failed to recognize the essential character- 
istics of the architects' designs; none of the accessories which such condi- 
tions required were authorized, and not until the designs had been reduced 
to their lowest terms were they finally accepted. The buildings thus be- 
came merely a series of stone coverings for unrelated holes in the surface 
of the mall. Public criticism at once recognized the inadequacy of this 
solution of the problem. The criticism of these buildings, if analyzed, will 
be found to be based upon their lack of arrangement and haphazard ap- 
pearance, quite as much as upon their severity. The fragments of an excel- 
lent design have been built, and necessarily give testimony to the fact that 
they were merely parts of an unaccomplished whole. It might have been 
as well, poor as would have been their effect in such a situation, if mere 
pavilions of iron and glass, adaptable to any needs as far as covering 



Life of Campestris Ulm 

capacity is concerned, had been here constructed; for the very formality 
and monumental character, both in form and material, of the present build- 
ings was suggested by and related to the scheme which was discarded by 
the Commission. The buildings themselves are of excellent proportions, 
and in the details of mouldings and other features refinement and skill are 
shown. The responsibility for the vulgar over-sized black letters which 
designate the entrances and exits rests with the street railway company 
which has leased the Subway. 

In the first report of the Transit Commission, p. 19, is this 
paragraph : 

The Commission is confident that citizens will soon recognize in these 
substantial improvements, which will permanently add to the beauty and 
salubrity of the Common and Public Garden, some compensations for the 
sacrifices they have made in having the Subway built under the Boylston 
and Tremont street malls. 

The results described above are the fulfilment. It is evi- 
dent that economy of construction and temporary incon- 
venience to the public, as well as to traders along the streets, 
were of much more importance to them than a permanent 
and satisfactory result to the eye. 

I had been reading about the Social Unrest, and the argu- 
ments in favor of greater equality and fraternity had made a 
deep impression on my mind. Eager to expound the new 
doctrine, I repaired to the bole of my old friend. I had often 
noticed a mean-looking, sickly Americana Ulm standing close 
to Campestris and within the sphere of his action, their roots 
intermingling, and for whom my old friend showed a great 
aversion. His age was uncertain, possibly fifty years. On the 
opposite side and close to Campestris stood a little Runt of a 
tree, recently set out by some committee to take the place of 
Campestris at his death. My manner was not quite so respect- 
ful as usual. I made known to him, rather abruptly, that it 
was generally admitted by those best qualified to decide that 
the world owed every tree a living; that, as trees multiplied, 
the available land grew scarcer and scarcer; that it was mani- 


Life of Campestris Ulm 

festly unjust for him longer to enjoy exclusively the most 
desirable site on the Common; and that I had noticed he was 
behaving very badly towards these neighbors, — Americana 
and the little Runt, — and requested his reasons therefor. 

Campestris replied that he had wronged no tree by occupying 
the site that he had stood on for so many years, which was 
vacant when his sponsor settled him there; that ever since his 
family had emerged from the bog they had always asserted 
their right to as much ground in the open as was covered by 
the spread of their branches; that this was indispensable for 
his proper nourishment and best development; and that he 
would share it with no tree. 

I rejoined that those that were fortunate should share their 
good fortune with those that were less so; that Americana 
was not to blame for crowding so close to him — that it was 
the fault of the Committee that had placed him there. I 
urged him again to behave like a brother to Americana. 

Campestris retorted that Americana had bedevilled the 
Committee with his airs and graces, and prevailed upon them 
to place him where they did; that if he would persuade them 
to remove him to a distance he might consent to be a second 
cousin twice removed — nothing nearer. 

I then proposed arbitration, but was informed by Campes- 
tris that, as there were twenty times as many of Americana's 
kin on the Common as there were of his own, it was out of 
the question for him to agree to it, even if he was otherwise 
disposed, which he was not. 

As for the little Runt, set out to occupy his place in the 
future, he considered him for the present beneath his notice. 
My vexation, at this stage of the interview, getting the better 
of me, I ventured to remark that if he were not careful he 
would get himself disliked; but regretted it immediately, for 
Campestris had shown increasing irritation and now stood 
more erect than usual, becoming violently agitated, his head 
swaying back and forth, his limbs shaking, his tufted shoots 
becoming more and more tangled, and his leaves fluttering 


Life of Campestris Ulm 

wildly. Fearing an explosion, I discreetly and hurriedly with- 
drew to a safe distance from that perverse old tree, followed 
by the reflection of angry masses of light. The language of 
trees is difficult to understand in the vernacular, and it is only 
by long practice that I am able to attempt a rather free trans- 
lation of Campestris's words, to this effect: 

"I will not divide and I will not arbitrate, I will not be a 
brother to that mean sucker under any conditions whatever." 

J. P. Mahaffy and other writers have described the group 
of buildings on the Acropolis of Grecian Athens as the most 
perfect and beautiful that the world has yet seen. 

Two of the most prominent and beautiful buildings in 
this group were the Parthenon, the Temple of the Virgin 
Goddess Athena, and the Erechtheum, dedicated to both 
Athena Polias, the guardian of the city, and Pandrosos, the 
goddess of dew. 

Beacon Hill and the adjacent Common bear the same rela- 
tion to the Athens of America that the Acropolis did to Ancient 

Campestris has enjoyed since 1795 the simple and dignified 
front of Bulfinch's State House, corresponding to the Parthe- 
non; but on account of intervening buildings, he is prevented 
from enjoying the later addition, as it tails back on the hill. 

No building on Beacon Hill, since the Hancock Mansion 
was torn down, exactly corresponds to the Erechtheum; but 
Campestris, in common with other inhabitants, for thirty-six 
years has enjoyed the privilege of looking on the "Archi- 
tectural Gem," designed by an unknown American Ictinus, 
shown opposite page 68. Placed in a most conspicuous posi- 
tion, near the West Street entrance to the Common from 
Tremont Street, it is adorned with a particolored slate roof, 
with varying refined color-schemes of successive aldermanic 
committees, and is a most admirable example of American 
jig-saw architecture of the later seventies, faintly reminiscent 
of the indigenous wooden architecture of the Alps. 


Life of Campestris Ulm 

I submitted the account of the errors in commission and 
omission of the Transit Commission to Campestris, who ap- 
proved it in the main, but remarked that to criticise past errors 
was easy, but of little value unless joined to some helpful 
suggestions for the future. With some diffidence, I thereupon 
added the following: First, that the Commonwealth should be 
respectfully reminded that Boston Common was created for 
the benefit of the inhabitants of Boston, and not to be given 
to a greedy corporation for an underground station for the 
benefit of the inhabitants of the Commonwealth. Secondly, 
that the city should carry out the excellent designs of Mr. 
Wheelwright, and extend the architectural treatment around 
the Subway Entrances, all along the line of the Tremont 
Street mall. Thirdly, that those having authority should 
cherish to their utmost those few famous old English elms 
that have survived the ravage and neglect of the past ; that the 
roots of no neighboring trees should be allowed to interfere 
within the limits of the spread of the branches of these vet- 
erans; that they should abandon the practice of setting out 
young trees close to the old ones to take their places when 
dead (about as sensible as to place a lusty young fellow along- 
side the old man's bowl containing nourishment enough for 
only one) ; that the practice of cutting off branches of old trees, 
unless entirely dead, on the specious plea of danger to the 
public, should be abandoned; and lastly, although at the risk 
of being branded as an unbalanced sentimentalist, that the 
wrong done the Parade Ground should be rectified and the 
surface restored approximately as it was before being defaced 
by the Transit Commission. 

Observing the refining and elevating influence of my old 
friend in particular, and of old trees in general, it occurred to 
me that the value of old trees of the first rank, to a community 
like Boston, was little appreciated, and that if ten righteous 
old trees were judiciously distributed within the limits of the 
town, it might be saved, even if it was as wicked as Sodom 


Life of Campestris Ulm 

and Gomorrah. The financial district being specially wicked, 
three at least would be needed there; and after careful exam- 
ination of the map I concluded that Post Office Square, con- 
tiguous to that shrine of Mammon, afforded the most available 
site. I even went so far as to examine the plan of the Square 
and the location of the underground pipes. I realized that 
they also would need protection, and went up to Copley 
Square and examined the large stone posts in front of the 
Library, which seemed well suited for the purpose! These, 
together with good sizable round bronze rails, would afford a 
sort of standing invitation to teamsters and chauffeurs to 
bump, and bump, and bump again. It then occurred to me 
that further consideration had better be postponed until some 
missionary work had been done. 

I had not seen my old friend for some time, when one day I 
visited him and was surprised to note the alteration in his 
appearance. He seemed to have aged years in as many 
months. He also seemed low-spirited, and as if he were af- 
flicted with all those infirmities described by the rustic rhyme 
in Evelyn's Silva: 

The Calf, the Wind-shock, and the Knot, 
The Canker, Scab, Sap, and Rot. 

I sympathetically inquired the cause of so much affliction, 
and was informed that he lately had been greatly disturbed by 
the borings for the new Cambridge Tunnel; that when he 
looked down upon those pygmies who arrogate to themselves 
the title of lords of creation, whose highest ambition is to build 
a continuous city from Boston to New York and bring the 
bulk of that vast population into Park Street Station of an 
afternoon to shop and buy candy, and whose capacity for 
mischief is infinite; and furthermore, when he took into con- 
sideration the probable effect of diverting those underground 
springs on which he had thriven for so many years and which 
had become indispensable to his life, even his iron heart, that 


Life of Campestris Ulm 

had carried him through the great September gale, failed him 
and he felt that his lifework was nearly done. 

I tried to comfort him. I informed him that the refining and 
elevating influence of old trees was appreciated, even in Bos- 
ton; that a citizen 1 had lately died whom he must have often 
noticed, as his house was right across the way, who had been so 
strongly attracted by the sight and knowledge of his virtues 
for many years that he had left the bulk of his large fortune 
for the benefit of Campestris and his kindred trees; and that 
he was almost the first citizen to recognize that the interest of 
the trees and the gratification of the eye were of as much im- 
portance to the welfare of a community as religious, charitable, 
or educational institutions. 

I informed him that possibly some system of irrigation 
might be devised to provide him with a substitute for the deep 
springs; but he refused to be comforted, and asserted that 
Boston no longer cared for old trees. 

With this interview, I bring this brief biography of the life 
of my old and respected friend to a close. 

I trust that his fears are not justified, and that he may for 
many years continue to inhabit the site that he has dignified so 
long. But when that melancholy time shall come that Cam- 
pestris Ulm is no more, and his ashes are scattered to the four 
winds, I think it can be truthfully claimed and not gainsaid that, 
of all the inhabitants, vegetable or animal, tree or man, the 
lives of few have surpassed his in benefits conferred upon his 
adopted town. 

l There died in September, 1908, a citizen of Boston, Mr. George Francis Parkman, who 
had lived for many years in a house overlooking the Common. In a codicil to his wiU dis- 
posing of an ample fortune he bequeathed to the City of Boston a fund, found to exceed 
$5,000,000, "the income of which is to be applied to the maintenance and improvement of the 
Common and the Parks now existing." In the body of the will it is seen that the benefactor 
planned his bequest "to the City of Boston in the hope and expectation that Boston Common 
shall never be diverted from its present use as a public park for the benefit and enjoyment of Us 
citizens." — Boston Common, by M. A. De Wolfe Howe. 



Taken in 186^ 
Courtesy of the Boston Athenaeum 


President Quincy's account of the difficulties of Harvard College with 
John Hancock, treasurer. Hancock Mansion. Defence of Hancock by 
James Spear Loring. The Essex Junto, etc. Personal appearance of Han- 
cock, and an account of the life of Madam after the death of John Hancock. 

[From The Hundred Boston Orators, by James Spear Loring, pp. 86-9.] 

Mr. Hancock married, at Fairfield, Conn., Dorothy, daughter of Edmund 
Quincy, of Boston, Sept. 4, 1775. He had a daughter, who died in infancy, 
at Philadelphia, 1776; and one son, John George Washington, who was 
killed at Milton, when skating on the ice, Jan. 27, 1787, aged nine years. 
He left no descendant. The quaint conceit of Lord Bacon may be applied 
to Hancock: "Surely, man shall see the noblest works and foundations 
have proceeded from childless men, who have sought to express the images 
of their minds where those of their bodies have failed; so the care of pos- 
terity is most in them that have no posterity." 

In Quincy's History of Harvard University, appears a statement of the 
difficulties of the college with John Hancock, who was the treasurer from 
1773 to 1777, which exhibits a dark shade in his history; — not that he 
was wilfully dishonorable, but he could not be aroused to an adjustment of 
financial duties towards the institution; and Rev. Dr. Gray, of Roxbury, 
relates, that Dr. Samuel Cooper and Dr. William Gordon agreed that, at 
an overseers' meeting, the former should introduce a motion for the imme- 
diate settlement of the treasurer's accounts, and which was seconded by 
the latter. But Dr. Gordon spoke so plainly his mind of the singular 
neglect of the treasurer, though so often urged to do it, that the manner was 
thought by Dr. Cooper, who was perfectly mild and polite in everything, 
to be as gross; and therefore he forbore to utter a syllable upon the sub- 
ject, and it passed off at the meeting in perfect silence. This circumstance 
so greatly offended Gov. Hancock, that he removed immediately from 
Jamaica Plain to his residence in Boston, and ceased all future intercourse 
with Dr. Gordon. 

No name stands emblazoned on the records of the corporation, remarks 
Quincy, as a benefactor, with more laudatory epithets, than that of John 
Hancock. But his title to this distinction must depend upon the view 
which is taken of his first subscription of £500. In July, 1767, when no 
motives of policy influenced the corporation, this donation is stated to be 



"the proposed gift of Thomas Hancock;" his "signified intention to sub- 
scribe, towards the restoration of the library, the sum of five hundred 
pounds sterling, the completion of which was prevented by his sudden 
death;" the act of John Hancock is recorded as a demonstration of his 
generous affection to the college, and as having done honor to the memory 
of his uncle, by voluntarily fulfilling his noble intention. "In the donation- 
book of the college, collected by order of the corporation in 1773," the year 
in which Mr. Hancock, as treasurer, took his seat in that board, and when 
he was at the height of his popularity, this gift is recorded on one page as 
exclusively "the gift of John Hancock;" and on the next but one, as "his 
generous fulfilment of the intentions of his late uncle, the Honorable 
Thomas Hancock." It was generally regarded, and probably by Mr. 
Hancock, as an indispensable obligation; and it would have been almost 
impossible for a young man ambitious of popularity and power, on re- 
ceiving an estate, estimated at ,£70,000 sterling, from the bounty of a rela- 
tive, to refuse to fulfil "his signified intention" to subscribe £500 in favor 
of an institution which every man of influence in the province was laboring 
to raise from its ruins. 

If the subscription be placed to the account of its avowed origin, the 
good will of Thomas Hancock, the college was indebted to the bounty of 
John Hancock, as stated in the records of the college, "for a curious dipping 
needle," and, after that event, for the sum of £54 4s. sterling, being the 
excess of the cost of the books ordered by the corporation beyond the £500 
derived from the good will of his uncle; for "a full-length picture of that 
benefactor," and also for a set of the most elegant carpets to cover the floor 
of the library, the apparatus and philosophy chambers, and covering the 
walls of the latter with a rich paper; "for an Account of London and its 
Environs, in six volumes," and "curious Coralline in its natural bed." 
The entire value of these donations certainly did not greatly exceed — and 
was probably less than — the actual loss sustained, according to the state- 
ment of treasurer Storer, his successor, "by Mr. Hancock's long denial of 
the rights of the college, and withholding its property." He says that 
"justice to a public institution, which he essentially embarrassed during a 
period of nearly twenty years," etc., requires a statement of the facts. 

A very obvious apology for the delinquency of John Hancock is to be 
ascribed to the great financial distress of the Old Bay State, incident upon 
the war of the Revolution, rendering it almost impossible to command 
funds for the liquidation of large demands, until long after the peace of 
1783. Did not treasurer Hancock secure an estate on Merchant's-row, by 
mortgage, to Harvard College, Dec. 29, 1785 ? — and, in two years after 
his decease, did not his nephew, John Hancock, Esq., make a payment of 



nine years' interest due the college ? — and Dec. 13, 1802, did not he dis- 
charge the payment of the principal due, and the interest in full to that 
date, as appears by the records in the office of the Suffolk Register of Deeds ? 
But treasurer Storer complains that the heirs refused to pay compound 
interest, whereby the college was a loser of five hundred and twenty-six 
dollars. This was a very natural decision of the heirs, but we will not 
censure the memory of Gov. Hancock for this act of the heirs, which was 
their legal right. 

[From The Hundred Boston Orators, by James Spear Loving, p. 104.] 

In 1780 Hancock was elected a member of the convention that framed a 
State constitution, of which James Bowdoin was president. At that time 
the people of the State were divided into two political parties, with one of 
which the popularity of John Hancock was unbounded; with the other, 
James Bowdoin was the favorite. "In the Hancock party," says Josiah 
Quincy, "were included many of the known mal-contents with Harvard 
College, — men who had no sympathy for science or classical education, 
and who were ready to oppose any proposition for the benefit of that insti- 
tution." Is not this a sweeping denunciation, too severe to credit? On 
the contrary, the party of which James Bowdoin may be considered the 
exponent "included all the active friends of that seminary, and was chiefly 
composed of men regarded by the opposite faction with jealousy and fear, 
to some of whom Hancock then gave the sobriquet of 'The Essex Junto,' — 
the delegates from that county being among the most talented and efficient 
members of the convention." Would it be uncandid to concede that the 
Hancock party embraced a few friends of Harvard College ? Did not Gov. 
Hancock prove, by his public messages, the paternal interest of his heart 
in the welfare of the college ? Does not President Quincy prove it by his 
own statement, where he relates that "Gov. Hancock was induced to 
allude to the necessity of legislative aid, in his speech to the General Court, 
in May, 1791, and to introduce, by a special message, the memorial of 
Samuel Adams and others, a committee of the overseers and corporation, 
of the necessity of making up by the arrearages of the usual grants to col- 
lege officers, — without which, they averred, that 'either the assessment 
on the students must be augmented, or some of the institutions of the col- 
lege must fail of support'? After great debates, the subject was again 
referred to the next session of the Legislature;" and on another occasion, 
in 1781, did not Hancock remark, that the college was, "in some sense, the 
parent and nurse of the late happy revolution in this Commonwealth"? 

On the adoption of the State constitution at that date, John Hancock 



was elected governor, which jstation he occupied until his decease, with the 
exception of the years 1785 and 6, when his great rival, James Bowdoin, 
became his successor. 

[From The Hundred Boston Orators, by James Spear Loring, pp. 105-7.] 

One who saw John Hancock in June, 1782, relates that he had the 
appearance of advanced age. He had been repeatedly and severely afflicted 
with the gout; probably owing in part to the custom of drinking punch, — a 
common practice, in high circles, in those days. As recollected at this 
time, Gov. Hancock was nearly six feet in height, and of thin person, 
stooping a little, and apparently enfeebled by disease. His manners were 
very gracious, of the old style of dignified complaisance. His face had 
been very handsome. Dress was adapted quite as much to be ornamental 
as useful. Gentlemen wore wigs when abroad, and, commonly, caps when 
at home. At this time, about noon, Hancock was dressed in a red velvet 
cap, within which was one of fine linen. The latter was turned up over the 
lower edge of the velvet one, two or three inches. He wore a blue damask 
gown lined with silk, a white stock, a white satin embroidered waistcoat, 
black satin small-clothes, white silk stockings, and red morocco slippers. 
It was a general practice, in genteel families, to have a tankard of punch 
made in the morning, and placed in a cooler when the season required it. 
At this visit, Hancock took from the cooler, standing on the hearth, a full 
tankard, and drank first himself, and then offered it to those present. His 
equipage was splendid, and such as is not customary at this day. His 
apparel was sumptuously embroidered with gold and silver and lace, and 
other decorations fashionable amongst men of fortune of that period; and 
he rode, especially upon public occasions, with six beautiful bay horses, 
attended by servants in livery. He wore a scarlet coat, with ruffles on his 
sleeves, which soon became the prevailing fashion; and it is related of Dr. 
Nathan Jacques, the famous pedestrian, of West Newbury, that he paced 
all the way to Boston, in one day, to procure cloth for a coat like that of 
John Hancock, and returned with it under his arm, on foot. 

Hancock was hospitable. There might have been seen at his table all 
classes, from grave and dignified clergy, down to the gifted in song, narra- 
tion, anecdote, and wit, with whom "noiseless falls the foot of Time, 
that only treads on flowers." 

Madam Hancock gratified the ambition of her husband, in presiding 
with so much graceful ease at his hospitable board and in the social circle, 
that her presence ever infused an enlivening charm. So famed was Han- 
cock for hospitality, that his mansion was often thronged with visitors; 



and frequently did Madam Hancock send her maids to milk their cows on 
Boston Common, early in the morning, to replenish the exhausted"supply 
of the previous evening. On July 28, 1796, widow Dorothy Hancock was 
married, by Peter Thacher, D.D., to James Scott, the master of a London 
packet, formerly in the employ of the governor. She outlived Capt. Scott 
many years, and retained her mental faculties until near the close of life. 
She was a lady of superior education, and delightful powers of conversation. 

Her last days were retired and secluded, in the dwelling No. 4 Federal- 
street, next the corner of Milton-place, in Boston; and those were most 
honored who received an invitation to her little supper-table. She spoke 
of other days with cheerfulness, and seldom sighed that they had gone. 
Her memory was tenacious of past times; and there were but few officers 
of the British army quartered in Boston whose personal appearance, 
habits, and manners, she could not describe with accuracy. Her favorite 
was Earl Percy, whose force encamped on Boston Common during the 
winter of 1774-5; and this nobleman, accustomed to all the luxuries of Old 
England, slept among his companions in arms in a tent on the Common, 
exposed to the severity of the weather as much as were they. The traces of 
those tents have been visible, to a very recent period, on the Common, 
when the grass was freshly springing from the earth, and the circles around 
the tents were very distinct. At the dawn of day, Madam Scott related, 
that Earl Percy's voice was heard drilling the regulars near the old mansion. 

Madam Hancock had an opportunity, after the capture of Burgoyne, 
of extending her courtesies to the ladies of his army, while at Cambridge, 
under the treaty with Gates. They were gratefully received by the fair 
Britons, and ever remembered. When Lafayette was in Boston, during his 
last visit, in August, 1824, he made an early call on Madam Scott. Those 
who witnessed his hearty interview speak of it with admiration. The 
once youthful chevalier and the unrivalled belle met as if only a summer 
had passed since they had enjoyed social interviews in the perils of the 
Revolution. While they both were contemplating the changes effected 
by long time, they smiled in each other's faces, but no allusion was made 
to such an ungallant subject; yet she was not always so silent on this point. 
One of her young friends complimented her on her good looks. She 
laughingly replied, "What you have said is more than half a hundred 
years old. My ears remember it; but what were dimples once are wrinkles 
now." To the last day of life, she was as attentive to her dress as when 
first in the circles of fashion. "She would never forgive a young girl," she 
said, "who did not dress to please, nor one who seemed pleased with her 
dress." Madam Scott died in Boston, Feb. 3, 1830, aged 83 years. 




Extracts from Loudon, descriptive of the English Elm. Extracts from 
Nicholson, describing the English and American Elms. 

[From Arboretum et Fruticetum Britannicum, by J. C. London, vol. Hi., pp. 1873-4.] 

Description, etc. The elms are long-lived trees, with hard wood; rugged, 
and sometimes corky, bark; and zigzag, somewhat slender, branches. 
The leaves are alternate, stalked, deciduous, in general serrated and 
harsh; unequal at the base, and bearing tufts of hairs at the axils of the 
primary veins. The flowers are earlier than the leaves, tufted, copious, 
and dark red; the capsules are pale, chaffy, and light, serving as a wing 
to the seed, which is often imperfect. (See Smith's Engl. Flora, ii., p. 19.) 
The roots of young plants, in some of the species, are of leathery toughness, 
very strong, of considerable length and suppleness. The commoner, and 
perhaps all, the kinds increase rapidly in the number and the size of their 
roots and branches. U. campestris emits suckers from the older roots, 
which are extended under the surface of the soil; but this is not the case 
with U. montana. All have strong upright-growing trunks; but these vary, 
in the several kinds, in their diameters and length. The disposition of the 
branches relatively to the trunk, and to the head which they constitute, 
also varies exceedingly; and considerable difference of character prevails 
in the spray. For. example, the tufted twigs of U. campestris bear very 
little resemblance to the prominent wand-like shoots which stand out 
thinly over the surface of the heads of young trees of U. montana, and all 
its varieties, or allied species; though in old trees the branches spread 
horizontally, and become drooping at their extremities. The tufted shoots 
of U. campestris assume occasionally the character of knots of entangled 
cord; and those tufts are called witch knots in some places. The character 
of the foliage is nearly the same in all the kinds of elm. That of U. cam- 
pestris is very striking, from the smallness of the leaves, their number, 
the depth of their green, and their somewhat rounded figure: they remain 
on, also, till very late in the year. In U. montana, U. m. glabra, U. amer- 
icana, and in some other kinds, the leaves are large, and sometimes pointed, 
with the marginal teeth more obvious, though, perhaps, only from the 
size of the disk; their green is lighter; and, in general, they fall off much 
earlier, than those of U. campestris. The different kinds vary, also, con- 
siderably in their time of leafing. The leaves of all the sorts have the base 
unequal, the margins doubly dentated, and are feather-nerved. The 



flowers are always protruded before the leaves, and are disposed in small 
groups, which give a knotted character to the leafless branches, before 
they are fully developed ; but which afterwards, from their colour, and their 
being supported on peduncles, look like little tufts of red fringe. The 
seeds of the elm, also, differ in the different kinds. "The inner bark of the 
elm is slightly bitter and astringent; but it does not appear to possess any 
important quality. The substance which exudes spontaneously from it is 
called ulmine." (Lindley's Nat. Syst. of Bot., p. 179.) Small bladders 
which possess considerable vulnerary properties are found on the leaves 
of elms, particularly in warm countries. The elm is a native of Europe 
and North America, and part of Asia and Africa, extending as far south as 
the coast of Barbary, and as far north as Russia. The elm has been a well 
known tree since the time of the Romans; and of all the European trees, 
it is that which is most generally cultivated, and most commonly applied 
to agricultural purposes. The reasons for this preference, no doubt, are 
that its culture is extremely easy; its growth rapid; and that it will thrive in 
almost any soil or situation. It may also be transplanted, with comparative 
safety, at almost any age; and the timber will remain uninjured for a 
greater length of time than any other, when exposed to moisture. To 
counterbalance these advantages, the timber is very apt to shrink and 
warp, unless it be constantly moist, or the wood be kept for several years, 
after it is cut, before it is used. The tree, while in a living state, is also 
very often attacked by insects; and the timber is liable to become worm- 
eaten. Trees grown on a dry soil, and singly, make the best timber; but 
they are neither so large nor so long-lived as those grown in a moist soil, 
which form what is called in France le bois gras. Notwithstanding this, 
the elm will not thrive in very moist soil, as it is by no means an aquatic 
tree, like the alder. 

[From Arboretum et Fruticetum Britannicum, by J. C. Loudon, pp. 1374-5.] 

U. Campestris L. The English, field, or common small-leaved, Elm. 

Varieties. These are very numerous, both in Britain and on the Con- 
tinent; and most of them have been selected by nurserymen from their 
seed-beds. Any one, Bandrillart remarks, who has ever observed a bed 
of seedling elms, must have noticed that some have large leaves, and some 
small ones; some are early, and some late; some have smooth bark, and 
some rough bark; and some soft leaves, and others very rough ones. Some 
varieties are higher than others; the branches take now a vertical, and again 
a horizontal, direction. In short, while botanists describe, and cultivators 
sow, they will find that nature sports with their labours, and seems to 



delight in setting at fault alike the science of the one, and the hopes of the 
other. This is always the case with plants that have been long submitted 
to the cultivation of man. The cares that are bestowed upon them, the 
different situations in which they are placed, and the different kinds of 
treatment which they receive, appear to change their native habits. 

[From Nicholson's Dictionary of Gardening, vol. iv., p. 119.] 

The common Elm (U. campestris) grows very rapidly in light, rich 
land; but its wood is proportionately light and porous, and of little value 
compared with that grown on strong land, which is of a closer and stronger 
texture, and at the heart will have the colour, and almost the hardness and 
weight, of iron. 

U. americana delights in a low, humid situation. Its wood is inferior to 
that of the common Elm. 


Extracts from Loudon on the pictorial aspect of trees. Extracts from 
Evelyn on the infirmities of trees. 

[From Arboretum et Fruticetum Britannicum, by J. C. Loudon, vol. i., pp. 193, 

194, 198, 199.] 

The first quality in a tree which will strike a general observer, coming 
to the study with only a few notions relative to form, will be its bulk, or 
the space that it occupies in the landscape which meets his eye. This 
bulk, or magnitude, resolves itself into height and width; and the con- 
sideration which immediately follows is, the outline that the tree makes 
against the sky, or against any other object which appears behind it. The 
next points that will probably attract notice are, the colour of the tree, and 
the degree of brilliancy of the lights which appear on its masses. Subse- 
quently, the attention may be drawn to the trunk of the tree: for example, 
to observe whether it appears to be adequate to the support of the head; 
whether the head appears equally balanced on it; and whether it stands 
perpendicularly, or obliquely, to the surface on which the tree grows. The 
next point is, to observe whether the head is open and airy, or compact; 
and the last, whether the general form of the tree is regular or irregular. 

The different points, to which attention ought to be directed in the study 
of trees and shrubs as pictorial forms, are the following: — the height and 
breadth, or general magnitude, of the tree; the form and outline; the colour, 



light, and shade; the position of the trunk and branches; the mode of 
growth; the mode of tufting; the leaves, and the spray and buds. 

Every object in nature that forms a whole has some expression. If the 
nature of the object is unknown to the beholder, the expression which he 
assigns to it is analogous to that of some object with which he is already 
familiar; and he uses the same terms to describe its appearance as he 
would apply to such objects. For example, a tall, erect, regularly clothed 
tree will be described by the epithets stately, noble, or handsome; another 
kind of tree, with light airy foliage and a wavy stem, will be called graceful ; 
and so on. 

Character is some circumstance added to expression, which renders it 
more remarkable; and the circumstance which has this effect will generally 
be found to be the accidental exaggeration of some quality belonging to the 
natural expression of the object. 

The expression of trees may be said to be of two kinds: that which pro- 
ceeds from their organic influence on the eye as forms, without reference 
to their nature, and altogether apart from moral associations; and that in 
which moral associations are the principal cause of the expression. 

The association of ideas connected with trees has given rise to what is 
called their moral and historical expression. A tree which is young and 
growing freely, is said to be in good health, and thriving; and one that is 
not growing freely, is said to be sickly. A tree with a thick trunk and 
spreading branches is said to be strong and vigorous; one with a tall and 
slender trunk, to be light and elegant; one with a bending, or serpentine, 
wavy-like stem, as we have before observed, to be graceful; a tree with 
upright growths, to be rigid; and one in which the branches and spray 
droop, to be mournful, or weeping. 

[From Evelyn's Silva, vol. ii., p. 119.] 

So many are the infirmities and sicknesses of trees, and indeed infirmities 
of the whole family of vegetables, that it were almost impossible to enu- 
merate and make a just catalogue of them, and as difficult to find such 
infallible cures and remedies as could be desired, the effects arising from 
so many, and such different causes. Whenever, therefore, our trees and 
plants fail and come short of the fruit and productions we expect of them, 
(if the fault be not in our want of care,) it is certainly to be attributed to 
those infirmities to which all elementary things are obnoxious, either from 
the nature of the things themselves, and in themselves, or from some out- 
ward injury, not only through their being unskilfully cultivated by men, 
and exposed to hurtful beasts, but subject to be preyed upon and ruined by 



the most minute and despicable insects, besides other casualties and acci- 
dents innumerable, according to the rustic rhime: 

The Calf, the Wind-shock, and the Knot, 
The Canker, Scab, Sap, and Rot. 

Whatsoever is exitial to men is so to trees; for the aversion of which they 
had, of old, recourse to the Robigalia and other Gentile ceremonies : but no 
longer abused by charmers and superstitious fopperies, we have, in this 
chapter endeavoured to set down and prescribe the best and most approved 
remedies hitherto found out, as well natural as artificial. 

And first, Weeds are to be diligently pulled up by hand after rain, whilst 
your seedlings are very young, and till they come to be able to kill them 
with shade and over-dripping; and then are you, for the obstinate, to use 
the hoe, fork, and spade, to extirpate Dog-grass, Bear-bind, &c. 

And here, mentioning shade and dripping, though I cannot properly 
speak of them as infirmities of trees, they are certainly the causes of their 
unthriving till removed ; such as that of the Oak and Mast-holme, Walnut, 
Pine, Fir, &c. the thickness of the leaves intercepting the sun and rain; 
whilst that of other trees is good, as the Elm, and several others. 

Secondly, Suckers should be duly eradicated, and with a sharp spade 
dexterously separated from the mother-roots, and transplanted in conve- 
nient places for propagation, as the season requires. 

Here note, That stocks raised from suckers, and employed in grafting 
fruit, are more disposed to produce suckers, than such as come from stones 
and pippins. 

Thirdly, Fern is best destroyed by striking off the tops, as Tarquin did 
the heads of the Poppies: This done with a good wand or cudgel, at the 
decrease in the spring, and now and then in the summer, kills it, as also it 
does Nettle in a year or two, (but most infallibly by being eaten down, at 
its spring, by Scotch sheep,) beyond the vulgar way of mowing or burning, 
which rather increases than diminishes it. 

Fourthly, Over much wet is to be drained by trenches, where it infests 
the roots of such kinds as require drier ground; but if a drip do fret into 
the body of a tree by the head, which will certainly decay it, cutting first 
the place smooth, stop and cover it with loam and hay, or a cerecloth, till 
a new bark succeed. But not only the wet, which is to be diverted by 
trenching the ground, is exitial to many trees, but their repletion of too 
abundant nourishment; and therefore sometimes there may be as much 
occasion to use the lancet, as venisection to animals; especially if the 
hypothesis hold, of superfluous moisture's descent into the roots, to be re- 
concocted; but where, in case it be more copious than can be there elab- 


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orated, it turns to corruption, and sends up a tainted juice, which perverts 
the whole habit of the tree: In this exigence therefore, it were, perhaps, 
more advisable to draw it out by a deep incision, and to depend upon a 
new supply, than, upon confidence of correcting this evil quality by other 
medications, to let it perish. Other causes of their sickness, not always 
taken notice of, proceed from too liberal refreshments and over-watering 
in dry and scorching seasons, especially in nurseries: The water should 
therefore be fitly qualified, neither brackish, bitter, stagnant, nor putrid, 
sour, acrimonious, vitrolic, arenous, and gravelly, churlish, harsh, and 
lean (I mention them promiscuously); and whatever vicious quality they 
are perceptibly tinctured and impregnated with, they are by no means 
proper drink for plants. Wherefore a very critical examen of this so neces- 
sary an element (the very principle, as some think, and only nutriment of 
vegetables) is highly to be regarded, together with more than ordinary skill 
how to apply it: In order to which, the constitution and texture of plants 
and trees are philosophically to be considered; some affecting macerations 
with dung and other mixtures, (which I should not much commend,) others 
quite the contrary, the quick and running spring, dangerous enough, and 
worse than snow-water, which is not in some cases to be rejected : Generally, 
therefore, that were to be chosen, which passing silently through ponds and 
other receptacles, is exposed to the sun and air. This approaches nearest to 
that of rain dropping from the uberous cloud, and is certainly the most 
natural and nursing. As to the quantity, some plants require plentiful 
watering, others rather often, than all at once; all of them sucking it in 
by the roots for the most part, which are their mouths, and carrying it 
thence through all the canals, organs and members of the whole vegetable 
body, digested and qualified so as to maintain and supply their beings and 
growth, for the producing of whatever they afford for the use of man, and 
other living creatures. 


Descriptive of the Old Elm, taken from Shurtkff's Topographical and 
Historical Description of Boston. 

Near the centre of the Common is situated the Great Tree, formerly one 
of the most noted objects of the town, and now a matter of great regard 
with the old inhabitants, who remember it among the earliest things that 
attracted their attention in early youth. But it will not do to pass by this 
noted elm with a simple mention of its place upon the Common. It has 
given shelter and shade to many generations that have passed away, and 



has braved the storms and gales of centuries. As far back as tradition can 
go, it was standing in its majesty and beauty; but it has been reserved for 
the present generation to witness its almost entire destruction. 

It is not often that an occurrence of such small importance as the destruc- 
tion of a tree will cause so much sorrow and regret as did the dismember- 
ment of the Great Tree on Boston Common, which occurred on the twenty- 
ninth of June, 1860, at half-past six o'clock in the evening. During the 
afternoon the appearance of the heavens had indicated a storm of no ordi- 
nary character, and indeed it came, and few will ever forget it, for the 
injury it has done. 

The great fall of water, together with an uncommon gust of wind, broke 
down the limbs of many trees throughout the city, not even sparing those 
of Paddock's mall which had then so recently escaped the threatening axe. 
The Great Tree, the pride of Bostonians, and perhaps the most noted of 
its kind on the continent, suffered with the others; and after standing for 
centuries, the oldest of the traditionary relics of the days of our forefathers 
was in a few moments stripped of its beauty and its magnificent propor- 
tions, to linger out a maimed and displeasing existence, the evidence only 
of the violence of the storm which had so mutilated it. The amount of 
injury the tree sustained was great. Its beauty has been destroyed without 
hope of renewal; and it was the skill only of Mr. John Galvin, the city 
forester, that saved the part that now remains standing; he using eight cart- 
loads of material to fill up the cavity in the tree. 

As soon as the storm abated, the rumor that "The Old Elm Tree is 
blown down " spread rapidly through the city, causing hundreds of citizens 
to go to the spot and see for themselves. To their regret, they found the 
rumor but too true; and very many who visited the locality of the venerated 
tree secured portions of the fallen limbs, to preserve among the choicest of 
the relics of the olden time. 

Although the tree had attained a great age, and uncommon size, it was 
more for its beautiful proportions and graceful limbs than for age or size 
that it gained its notoriety with those who had paid particular attention to 
trees; and the associations connected with its history will always keep it in 
remembrance. Upon its largest limbs, now gone, it has been supposed that 
some of the early executions in the colony took place, and it is certain that 
during the revolutionary struggles of America this tree was one of the 
places of constant resort of the Sons of Liberty, who frequently caused it 
to be illuminated with lanterns on evenings of rejoicing and on festal occa- 
sions. It also served the purpose of exhibitions of popular feeling and in- 
dignation, for many has been the Tory who has been hung in effigy from 
its branches. Perhaps on this account it acquired the name "Liberty 



Tree," which it bore in 1784 (the tree originally bearing the name having 
been taken down), as it is designated on a map of Boston engraved that 
year. Very near this tree occurred, on the third of July, 1728, the duel be- 
tween Benjamin Woodbridge and Henry Phillips, alluded to in a previous 
chapter; and beneath its branches have been enacted many a scene of youth- 
ful valor, in days long past, on the holidays of Election and Independence. 

It would be difficult to assign to the tree even an approximate age; for, 
like the good old ladies so often read of, it has kept its own secret locked up 
closely within its own heart. It has been known, however, as far back as 
tradition can go, and is represented upon the oldest map of the town known 
to exist, and which was engraved in the year 1722, Ninety-two years after 
the settlement of the peninsula, and then was of sufficient size to have 
attained distinction. It is reasonable to believe that it was growing before 
the arrival of the first colonists. A tradition has existed in the Hancock 
family, passed down by Mrs. Lydia Hancock, wife of Thomas, who built 
the house where his nephew, the governor, dwelt, that her grandfather, 
Hezekiah Henchman, set out the tree when he was a boy, which would 
have been about two hundred years ago, as his father, Daniel, the old 
schoolmaster, left Boston as early as 1674. Other accounts from the Hench- 
man family give the honor to the old schoolmaster, who wielded the sword 
as well as the birches, — for he commanded the famous artillery company, 
and served in King Philip's War in 1675 The last tradition says that the 
tree was set out as a shelter for the company. If this was the case, he was 
more provident than his successors, none of whom would have planted a 
tree — though as Dumbiedikes said, it would grow while men were sleeping 
— with such a long prospective view ahead, and in such a place as the 
tree has grown in. Besides, more than one hundred and ninety rings can 
easily be counted in the great branch that was broken off in 1860, and 
which must certainly be several years younger than the tree itself, which 
alone carries back that portion of it to a period as early as the Hancock 
tradition can with certainty go; and, if any reliance can be placed in tradi- 
tional lore, which is extremely doubtful, we must believe that the Quakers 
and perhaps Ann Hibbens, the martyr of the witch delusion, were hung 
from its bough, the former in October, 1659, and the latter in June, 1656, 
when it certainly must have been more than twenty-six years old, and if so 
was growing in 1630. 

The first measurement of the great tree of which any account was made 
was taken in 1825, at the request of some person residing in New York. 

l On Bonner's Map of Boston in 1722, besides the Old Elm, two other frees are shown near 
Park Street, but of what variety there is no mention made in Shurtleffs History. They were un- 
doubtedly short-lived and of little value. 



The dimensions were accurately noted on the second of April, 1825, and 
were as follows: Height sixty-five feet, circumference twenty-one feet 
eight inches at two feet six inches from the ground, and the branches ex- 
tended in diameter eighty-six feet. At the time, it was said, that "this 
pride of our Common is pronounced by judges to be as handsome in form 
as it is large in size and venerable in age, and it may be worth the remark, 
that notwithstanding all the buffeting it has received from storms and 
hurricanes for more than a century, its original beauty and symmetry have 
not been impaired, although it has at times lost many of its branches." 
At this time a gold medal was offered for the best painted picture of it, and 
several were made, and in May the medal was awarded and sent to Mr. 
H. C. Pratt, the successful competitor. 

In 1855, the tree was very accurately measured by the City Engineer, 
who recorded the following dimensions: Height, seventy-two feet six 
inches; girth, one foot above the ground, twenty-two feet six inches; girth, 
four feet above the ground, seventeen feet; average diameter of greatest 
extent of branches, one hundred and one feet. Other earlier measurements, 
by George B. Emerson, Esq., and Prof. Asa Gray, in 1844, show that the 
tree had not ceased to grow as long as it stood. The latest measurement, 
taken by the writer a few months before its mutilation, gave twenty-four 
feet girth at the ground, eighteen feet three inches at three feet, and sixteen 
feet six inches at five feet, showing an increase of only about five inches in 
girth in sixteen years. 

The storm of 1860, which so mutilated the tree, was not the only storm 
which injured its great branches. In the summer of 1832 it was much in- 
jured by the violence of a storm, and its largest limbs were so much cleft 
asunder as to allow them to rest their branches upon the ground; but they 
were subsequently, at much cost and labor, restored to their former position, 
and were sustained in place by iron bolts and braces. By the gale of Sep- 
tember, 1869, a large limb, measuring forty-two inches in circumference, 
was torn from this tree, thus gradually destroying its original beautiful 

Many of the older inhabitants can well remember when there was a 
cavity in its trunk sufficiently large to allow boys to secrete themselves 
within it. This was very noticeable in 1755, when a picture was made of 
it in needlework; but this has almost entirely disappeared, being partially 
closed up by the good treatment and care which have been given to the 
tree, and partly from the raising of the soil at its roots. This opening was 
on the northwest side, and there is also a smaller one, now apparent, on 
the westerly side. 

When the cows were tenants of the Common, having acquired the right 



of pasturage by a vote of the townsmen, passed in May, 1660, empowering 
the Selectmen "to order the improvement and feeding of their common 
by such cattle as they shall deem meet," they were accustomed to shelter 
themselves beneath the wide spreading branches of the Great Tree from 
the burning sun, and to cool their heated hoofs in the damp marshy ground 
around its prominent and far stretching roots. Consequently the immediate 
proximity to the trunk of the tree was extremely muddy, and not fit to be a 
proper place for promenade and shelter in inclement weather for the pedes- 
trians. Many attempts were made, in vain, to expel the quadrupeds from 
their old haunts, which the right of eminent-domain, and the annual tax 
of two dollars, had for many years secured to them; but they kept their 
place, and enjoyed their rights and liberties. The new state of things, when 
Boston became a city by an act of the legislature, signed by Gov. Brooks, 
on the twenty-third of February, 1822, adopted by the townsmen on the 
fourth of March of the same year, and announced by the proclamation, 
completely subjected the poor beasts, as well as their owners, to the mercies 
of a new regime. The gentle Phillips, the first mayor, who was elected to 
office on the sixteenth of April, 1822, and inaugurated on the first of May, 
being as much a lover of true liberty as his gifted son, let the creatures alone 
during his twelve months service in the curule chair; and it was not until 
the iron will of his successor, Judge Quincy, who was transferred from the 
bench of the Municipal Court to the Municipal Chair, raised the price of 
pasturage from two dollars to ten, that a visible change was made in the 
quality and quantity of stragglers upon the Common. It remained, how- 
ever, for the third mayor, Hon. Mr. Otis, noted for his politeness, and 
winning ways, to remove the trouble, as it was considered by those who 
were wont to perambulate the numerous by-paths and byways of the old 
common land, or cow commons, as it might have been called in the days 
of our forefathers. On the tenth of May, 1830, the order was passed that 
banished the four legged gentry from their green pasture, and shady re- 
treat under the old elm. Consequent to this came the raising up of the 
ground-level around the foot of the tree, and the conversion of the marshy 
soil into dry land. Heaps of material were thrown upon the widely ex- 
tending roots, and the damp places were made dry; and with these changes 
the hole in the tree almost disappeared, and very nearly the old tree, our 
ancient friend, came to terminating its vegetative existence; for its growth 
was checked, and its once luxuriant foliage began to wilt, and exhibit 
unequivocal signs of death. The subsequent removal from the tree of this 
ungenial mass of debris which had been placed around its roots made 
room for the good soil which replaced the poor stuff, and again the Great 
Tree began to show its pristine vigor; and the filling up of the low places 



between the great roots, together with the healing process of nature, dimin- 
ished the apparent size of the great hole in the trunk, which had so often 
been the hiding-place of boys, in their sports and pastimes. 

In the summer of 1854, Mayor Smith — he who introduced the squirrels 
that drove away the birds, and afterwards disappeared during the winter of 
1864 — paid considerable attention to the Old Tree. He had it pruned and 
cared for, and placed around it an octagonal iron fence, which bears upon 
an oval tablet secured to the gate the following inscription : 


This tree has been standing 
here for an unknown period. 
It is believed to have existed 
before the settlement of Boston, 
being full grown in 1722, exhib- 
ited marks of old age in 1792, and 
was nearly destroyed by a storm, 
in 1882. Protected by an iron 
enclosure in 1854. 
J. V. C. Smith, Mayor. 

When the Great Tree was measured in the spring of 1860, an offshoot 
was discovered, which had recently, in 1859, started from one of the roots 
on the westerly side of the main tree. 1 This shoot is still alive, measuring 
over twelve feet in height, and about thirteen inches in circumference a 
short distance above the ground, and appears to have received due attention 
from those who have since that time had charge of the Common. Just 
where it emerges from the soil, there is a considerable cavity in the old 
tree; and it would not be surprising if the young tree, vampire-like, were 
to grow and flourish on the life-sap of its parent; and if care is continued 
to be given to it, it may hereafter succeed its parent and become as noted 
in coming centuries as has its distinguished progenitor. 

1 The young tree standing on the site of the Old Elm has recently been proved to be no rela- 
tion of the old tree. On the map of Boston Common in 1910 are shown the locations of both a 
sucker and a scion of the Old Elm. 



Adams, John, Letter, 20, 34, 35 "Gleaner" (Nathaniel Ingersoll 

Adams, Samuel, 36, 73 Bowditch), in Boston Transcript, 

Amory, Thomas C, Life of James 15, 41, 49-52 

Sullivan, 29, 37 Gray, Asa, 39, 59, 84 

Austin, Benjamin, 34 Gray, Rev. Dr., 71 

Bacon, Lord, 71 Hancock, John, 15 

Bandrillart, 77 Hancock, Mrs. Lydia, 83 

Banks, Gov. Nathaniel P., 54 Horace, 24 

Bosc, 13 Howe, M. A. De Wolfe, Boston 

Boston Daily Advertiser, 46 Common, 70 

Breck, Samuel, Recollections, 26 

Brissot, 28 Independent Chronicle, 31 

Brown, Abram English, John Han- 
cock, his book, 31 Lindley, Nat. Syst. of Bot, 77 

Bugbee, James M., 41 Lodge, Henry Cabot, 35 

Bunge Dr Al 53 54 Loring, The Hundred Boston Ora- 
tors, 28, 34, 71, 73, 74 

Chronicle (Boston), 46 Loudon, J. C, Arboretum et Frutice- 

Commission, Transit, First Report tum Britannicum, 9, 10, 11, 53, 

62, 63, 65 76 ' 77 > 78 

Commissioners, Record, Fifth Re- Ly™*" 1 . Theodore, Jr., Memoir, 39 

port, 41, 49, 51 ,_ . _,. „., . ._ - 

Mackay, rlora Hibernica, 13 

Mahaffy, J. P., 67 
Dist. des Eaux et Forets, 12 Masg Hist s ^ ^ 40 

Dudley, Dorothy, Diary, 19 Massachusetts Magazine, or Monthly 

Museum, 22 
Ellet, Mrs., Queens of American Memorial History of Boston, 35, 53, 

Society, 27, 28 58j 59> 61 

Emerson, Geo. B., Trees and Shrubs 

of Massachusetts, 38, 84 New Hampshire Gazette, 33 

Endlichen, 53 Nicholson, Dictionary of Gardening, 

Evelyn, Silva, 12, 16, 17, 38, 46, 69, 9, 78 

Parkman, George Francis, 70 
Forbes, Francis B., Letters, 53, 54 Phillips, Wendell, 40, 41 

Pliny, 9, 12 
Gilpin, Forest Scenery, 13, 14, 16, 38 Plutarch, 9 


Authorities Cited 

Quincy, Josiah, History of Harvard Thacher, Rev. Peter, 33, 34 

University, 71, 73 
Quincy, Miss E. S., 40 Virgil, 18 

Shurtleff, Topographical and His- Walker, C. Howard, 63 

torical Description of Boston, 16, Walker> Dr#> Nat , Hist> 12> 13 
21 30, 39 43, 46, 59, 6181, 83 ^^ Mrg M 36 

Siebold and Zuccannis, Flora J a- „ n , . liT -,, * ** ,, 

Wheelwright, Edmund M., Muni- 

ponica, 53 . ° . .»_,.- 

Smith, Sir J. E., Eng. FL, 12, 76 * ^ al A ™ h * ecture ™ Boston, from 

Stanwood, Edward, 61 Desi 9 ns ^' 63 

Storer, Treasurer of Harvard Uni- Wilder, Marshall P., 53 

versity, 56, 72, 73 Wolcott, Governor, 15 

Strutt, Jacob George, Sylva Britan- Woodbury, Ellen C. D. Q., Dorothy 

nica, 10 Quincy, 16, 35, 36, 37 

Sullivan, Letters on Public Charac- 
ters, 28 


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