THE BAY STATE MONTHLY.
A Massachusetts Magazine.
VOL. I. FEBRUARY, 1884. NO. II.
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Hon. ALEXANDER HAMILTON RICE, LL.D.
By Daniel B. Hagar, Ph.D.
[Principal of the State Normal School, Salem.]
Massachusetts merchants have been among the most prominent men in the nation through all periods of its history. From the days of John Hancock down to the present time they have often been called by their fellow-citizens to discharge the duties of the highest public offices. Hancock was the first governor of the State. In the list of his successors, the merchants who have distinguished themselves by honorable and successful administrations occupy prominent places. Conspicuous among them stands the subject of this sketch.
Alexander Hamilton Rice, a son of Thomas Rice, Esq., a well-known manufacturer of paper, was born in Newton Lower Falls, Massachusetts, August 30, 1818. He received his early education in the public schools of his native town and in the academies of the Reverend Daniel Kimball, of Needham, and Mr. Seth Davis, of Newton, a famous teacher in his day, who is still living, in vigorous health, at the venerable age of ninety-seven years. As a boy, young Rice was cheery, affectionate, and thoughtful, and a favorite among his companions. His earliest ambition was to become a Boston merchant. After leaving school he entered a dry-goods store in the city. He there performed his duties with such laborious zeal and energy that his health gave way, and he was compelled to return to his home in Newton, where he suffered many months' illness from a malignant fever, which nearly proved fatal. About two years later he returned to Boston, and entered the establishment of Messrs. J.H. Wilkins and R.B. Carter, then widely known as publishers of music books and of dictionaries of various languages, as well as wholesale dealers in printing and writing papers. Three years of service in their employ laid the foundation of the excellent business habits which led to his ultimate success.
During this time he was a member of the Mercantile Library Association, in company with such men as Edwin P. Whipple, James T. Fields, Thomas R. Gould, afterward the distinguished sculptor, and many others who were, active participants in its affairs, and who have become eminent in literature or in public life. Young Rice was a careful student in the association, though sharing less frequently in its exercises than some others. His decided literary tastes finally led him to resolve upon the enlargement of his education by a collegiate course of study. He accordingly entered Union College, Schenectady, New York, then under the presidency of the venerable Dr. Eliphalet Nott, where he was graduated in 1844, receiving the highest honors of his class on Commencement Day. His classmates bear testimony to the fact that his career in college was in the highest degree honorable to himself and to the institution of which he was one of the most respected and popular members.
At the time of his graduation his purpose was to study law and to pursue it as a profession; but soon afterward delicate health interposed a serious obstacle, and a favorable offer of partnership in business with his former employers induced him to join them in the firm which then became known as Wilkins, Carter, and Company, the senior member of which was a graduate of Harvard College, and, at one time, a member of its Faculty. The present firm of Rice, Kendall, and Company, of which he is the senior member, is its representative to-day, and is widely known as one of the largest paper-warehouses in the country.
In 1845, Mr. Rice married Miss Augusta E. McKim, daughter of John McKim, Esq., of Washington, District of Columbia, and sister of Judge McKim, of Boston, a highly-educated and accomplished lady, who died on a voyage to the West Indies, in 1868, deeply lamented by a large circle of acquaintances and friends, to whom she had become endeared by a life of beneficence and courtesy.
After his graduation from college, Mr. Rice, having again engaged in mercantile business, pursued it with great earnestness, fidelity, and success. These qualities, together with his intellectual culture and his engaging address, eminently fitted him for public service, and early attracted favorable attention. He first served the city of Boston as a member of its school-board, in which capacity he gave much personal attention to the schools in all their various interests. To his duties in connection with the public schools were soon added those of a trustee of the lunatic hospital and other public institutions.
In 1853, Mr. Rice was elected a member of the common council, and a year later he was president of that body. In 1855, he received, from a large number of citizens of all parties, a flattering request that he would permit them to nominate him for the mayoralty of Boston. He reluctantly acceded to their request, and, after a sharply-contested campaign, was elected by a handsome majority. His administration of city affairs proved so satisfactory that he was re-elected, the following year, by an increased majority. By his wisdom, energy, and rare administrative ability, Mayor Rice gained a wide and enviable reputation. He was instrumental in accomplishing many reforms in municipal administration, among which were a thorough reorganization of the police; the consolidation of the boards of governors of the public institutions, by which much was gained in economy and efficiency; the amicable and judicious settlement of many claims and controversies requiring rare skill and sagacity in adjustment; and the initiation of some of the most important improvements undertaken since Boston became a city. Among these may be mentioned the laying out of Devonshire Street from Milk Street to Franklin Street, which he first recommended, as well as the opening of Winthrop Square and adjacent streets for business purposes, the approaches to which had previously been by narrow alleys. The magnificent improvements in the Back Bay, which territory had long been the field of intermittent and fruitless effort and controversy, were brought to successful negotiation during his municipal administration, and largely through the ability, energy, and fairness with which he espoused the great work. The public schools continued to hold prominence in his attention, and he gave to them all the encouragement which his office could command; while his active supervision of the various charitable and reformatory institutions was universally recognized and welcomed. The free city hospital was initiated, and the public library building completed during his administration.
Endowed with gifts of natural eloquence, his public addresses furnished many examples of persuasive and graceful oratory. Among the conspicuous occasions that made demands upon his ability as a public speaker was the dedication of the public library building. On that occasion his address was interposed between those of the Honorable Edward Everett ard the Honorable Robert C. Winthrop, both of whom were men of the highest and most elegant culture, possessing a national reputation for finished eloquence. The position in which the young Boston merchant found himself was an exceedingly difficult and trying one; but he rose most successfully to its demands, and nobly surpassed the exacting expectations of his warmest admirers. It was agreed on every hand that Mayor Rice's address was fully equal, in scope and appropriateness of thought and beauty of diction, to that of either of the eminent scholars and orators with whom he was brought into comparison. It received emphatic encomiums at home, and attracted the flattering attention of the English press, by which it was extensively copied and adduced as another evidence of the literary culture found in municipal officers in this country, and of American advancement in eloquence and scholarship.
At the close of Mr. Rice's second term in the mayoralty of Boston, he declined a renommation. While in that office, he was faithful to the men who had elected him, and abstained from participation in party politics farther than in voting for selected candidates. Originally, he was an anti-slavery Whig, and, upon the formation of the Republican party, he became identified with it.
When he retired from the office of mayor, in January, 1858, it was his intention to devote himself exclusively to business; but an unexpected concurrence of circumstances in the third congressional district led to his nomination and election to Congress by the Republicans, although the partisan opposition was largely in the majority. He continued to represent the district for eight consecutive years, and until he declined further service. He entered Congress just before the breaking out of the Civil War, and became a participant in the momentous legislative events of that period. He witnessed the secession of the Southern members from the two houses of Congress, and served through the whole period of the war and through one Congress after the war closed, embracing one half of President Buchanan's administration, the whole of Lincoln's, and one half of Johnson's. He served on the committees on the Pacific Railroad, on the District of Columbia, and on naval affairs, of which last important committee he was chairman during the two closing years of the war. In this last position he won much reputation by his mastery of information relating to naval affairs at home and abroad, and by his thorough devotion to the interests of the American Navy. Mr. Rice did not often partake in the general debates of Congress, but he had the confidence of its members to an unusual degree, and the measures which he presented were seldom successfully opposed. When occasion called, however, he distinguished himself as a debater of first-class ability, as was shown in his notable reply to the Honorable Henry Winter Davis, of Maryland, one of the most brilliant speakers in Congress, in defence of the navy, and especially of its administration during the war period.
Notwithstanding his arduous labors as chairman of the naval committee, Mr. Rice's business habits and industry enabled him to attend faithfully to the general interests of his constituents, and to many details of public affairs which are often delegated to unofficial persons or are altogether neglected. All of his large correspondence was written by himself, and was promptly despatched. Governor Andrew used to say that whenever he needed information from Washington, and prompt action, he always wrote to the representative of the third district.
At home Mr. Rice has filled many positions of prominence in business and social life. He was for some years president of the board of trade, and of the National Sailors' Home. He was president of the great Peace Jubilee, held in Boston in 1869, the most remarkable musical entertainment ever held in America, embracing an orchestra of twelve hundred instruments, and a chorus of twenty thousand voices. The opening address of this jubilee was made by Mr. Rice. He was also the chairman of the committee to procure the equestrian statue of Washington for the Public Garden in Boston, and of the committee that erected the statue of Charles Sumner. He delivered an appropriate address at the unveiling of each of these works, and also at the unveiling of the statue of Franklin, erected during his mayoralty in front of the City Hall. He has also been president of the Boston Memorial Society, and of the Boston Art Club, as well as of many other associations.
Mr. Rice was elected governor of Massachusetts in 1875, and was twice re-elected. His career as governor was characterized by a comprehensive and liberal policy in State affairs. While he was always ready to listen to the opinions and wishes of other men, his administration was strongly marked by his own individuality. His messages to the Legislature were clear and decisive in recommendation and discussion, and his policy in regard to important measures was plainly defined. He never interfered with the functions of the co-ordinate branches of the government; on the other hand, he was equally mindful of the rights of the executive. Always ready to co-operate with the Legislature in regard to measures which the welfare and honor of the Commonwealth seemed to him to justify, he did not hesitate to apply the executive veto when his judgment dictated, even in relation to measures of current popularity. He thoroughly reorganized the militia of the State, thereby greatly improving its character and efficiency, besides largely diminishing its annual cost. His appointments to office, though sometimes sharply criticised, proved, almost without exception, to have been judiciously made, and in many instances exhibited remarkable insight into the character and aptitude of the persons appointed.
Although elected a Republican, Governor Rice was thoroughly loyal to the best interests of the State in the distribution of patronage. Every faithful and competent officer whom he found in place was reappointed, regardless of his politics, and the incompetent and unreliable were retired, though belonging to his own party. It is, however, but fair to say, that in making original appointments and in filling absolute vacancies, he gave the preference, in cases of equal character and competency, to men of his own party.
During the centennial year, 1876, the special occasions, anniversaries, and public celebrations were very numerous, and added greatly to the demands upon the governor's time and services in semi-official engagements, in all of which he acquitted himself with high credit to himself and the Commonwealth.
In 1877, he escorted President Hayes to Harvard University to receive the degree of Doctor of Laws, an honor which had been conferred upon himself the previous year; and in 1878 he also escorted Lord Dufferin, governor-general of Canada, to the university, on an occasion made memorable by the visit of that distinguished statesman.
During his whole administration, Governor Rice took a deep interest in the cause of education in the State, as president of the board of education, and in visiting schools and colleges for personal inspection. He also carefully watched over the several State institutions for correction, for reform, and for lunacy and charity, encouraging, as opportunity offered, both officers and inmates, and, at the same time, unsparing in merited criticism of negligence and unfaithfulness.
In a word, Governor Rice's administration of State affairs justly ranks among the administrations that have been the most useful and honorable to the Commonwealth.
In 1881, Mr. Rice was elected honorary chancellor of Union University, his alma mater, and at the commencement anniversary of that year he delivered an elaborate oration on The Reciprocal Relations of Education and Enterprise, which was received with the highest favor by the numerous statesmen and scholars who honored the occasion by their presence, and was afterwards published and widely circulated.
Mr. Rice is still actively engaged in business, and still maintains an undiminished interest in the affairs of public and social life.
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THE OLD STORES AND THE POST-OFFICE OF GROTON.
By the Hon. Samuel Abbott Green, M.D.
Tradition has preserved little or nothing in regard to the earliest trading stores of Groton. It is probable, however, that they were kept in dwelling-houses, by the occupants, who sold articles in common use for the convenience of the neighborhood, and at the same time pursued their regular vocations.
Jonas Cutler was keeping a shop on the site of Mr. Gerrish's store, before the Revolution; and the following notice, signed by him, appears in The Massachusetts Gazette (Boston), November 28, 1768:—
Whereas on the 19th or 20th Night of November Instant, the Shop of the Subscriber was broke open in Groton, and from thence was stollen a large Sum of Cash, viz. four Half Johannes, two Guineas, Two Half Ditto, One Pistole mill'd, nine Crowns, a Considerable Number of Dollars, with a considerable Quantity of small Silver & Copper, together with one Bever Hat, about fifteen Yards of Holland, eleven Bandannas, blue Ground with white, twelve red ditto with white, Part of a Piece of Silk Romails, 1 Pair black Worsted Hose, 1 strip'd Cap, 8 or 10 black barcelona Handkerchiefs, Part of a Piece of red silver'd Ribband, blue & white do, Part of three Pieces of black Sattin Ribband, Part of three Pieces of black Tafferty ditto, two bundles of Razors, Part of 2 Dozen Penknives, Part of 2 Dozen ditto with Seals, Part of 1 Dozen Snuff Boxes, Part of 3 Dozen Shoe Buckels, Part of several Groce of Buttons, one Piece of gellow [yellow?] Ribband, with sundry Articles not yet known of—— Whoever will apprehend the said Thief or Thieves, so that he or they may be brought to Justice, shall receive TEN DOLLARS Reward and all necessary Charges paid.
Groton, Nov. 22,1763 [8?].
==> If any of the above mentioned Articles are offered to Sail, it is desired they may be stop'd with the Thief, and Notice given to said Cutler or to the Printers.
On October 21, 1773, a noted burglar was hanged in Boston for various robberies committed in different parts of the State, and covering a period of some years. The unfortunate man was present at the delivery of a sermon, preached at his own request, on the Sunday before his execution; and to many of the printed copies is appended an account of his life. In it the poor fellow states that he was only twenty-one years old, and that he was born at Groton of a respectable family. He confesses that he broke into Mr. Cutler's shop, and took away "a good piece of broad-cloth, a quantity of silk mitts, and several pieces of silk handkerchiefs." He was hardly seventeen years of age at the time of this burglary. To the present generation it would seem cruel and wicked to hang a misguided youth for offences of this character.
Mr. Cutler died December 19, 1782; and he was succeeded in business by Major Thomas Gardner, who erected the present building known as Gerrish's block, which is soon to be removed. Major Gardner lived in the house now owned by the Waters family.
Near the end of the last century a store, situated a little north of the late Mr. Dix's house, was kept by James Brazer, which had an extensive trade for twenty miles in different directions. It was here that the late Amos Lawrence served an apprenticeship of seven years, which ended on April 22, 1807; and he often spoke of his success in business as due, in part, to the experience in this store. Late in life he wrote that "the knowledge of every-day affairs which I acquired in my business apprenticeship at Groton has been a source of pleasure and profit even in my last ten years' discipline."
The quantity of New-England rum and other liquors sold at that period would astonish the temperance people of the present day. Social drinking was then a common practice, and each forenoon some stimulating beverage was served up to the customers in order to keep their trade. There were five clerks employed in the establishments; and many years later Mr. Lawrence, in giving advice to a young student in college, wrote:—
"In the first place, take this for your motto at the commencement of your journey, that the difference of going just right, or a little wrong, will be the difference of finding yourself in good quarters, or in a miserable bog or slough, at the end of it. Of the whole number educated in the Groton stores for some years before and after myself, no one else, to my knowledge, escaped the bog or slough; and my escape I trace to the simple fact of my having put a restraint upon my appetite. We five boys were in the habit, every forenoon, of making a drink compounded of rum, raisins, sugar, nutmeg, &c., with biscuit,—all palatable to eat and drink. After being in the store four weeks, I found myself admonished by my appetite of the approach of the hour for indulgence. Thinking the habit might make trouble if allowed to grow stronger, without further apology to my seniors I declined partaking with them. My first resolution was to abstain for a week, and, when the week was out, for a month, and then for a year. Finally, I resolved to abstain for the rest of my apprenticeship, which was for five years longer. During that whole period, I never drank a spoonful, though I mixed gallons daily for my old master and his customers."
The following advertisement is found in the Columbian Centinel (Boston), June 8, 1805:—
Would inform the public that having dissolved the Copartnership lately subsisting between AARON BROWN, Esq. SAMUEL HALE and the subscriber; he has taken into Copartnership his son WILLIAM F. BRAZER, and the business in future will be transacted under the firm of
JAMES BRAZER & SON;
They will offer for sale, at their store in Groton, within six days a complete assortment of English, India, and W. India GOODS, which they will sell for ready pay, at as low a rate as any store in the Country.
Groton, May 29, 1805.
"'Squire Brazer," as he was generally called, was a man of wealth and position. He was one of the founders of Groton Academy, and his subscription of L15 to the building-fund in the year 1792 was as large as that given by any other person. In the early part of this century he built the house now belonging to the Academy and situated just south of it, where he lived until his death, which occurred on November 10, 1818. His widow, also, took a deep interest in the institution, and at her decease, April 14, 1826, bequeathed to it nearly five thousand dollars.
After Mr. Brazer's death the store was moved across the street, where it still remains, forming the ell of Gerrish's block. The post-office was in the north end of it, during Mr. Butler's term as postmaster. About this time the son, William Farwell Brazer, built a store nearly opposite to the Academy, which he kept during some years. It was made finally into a dwelling-house, and occupied by the late Jeremiah Kilburn, whose family still own it.
James Brazer's house was built on the site of one burnt down during the winter season a year or two previously. There was no fire-engine then in town, and the neighbors had to fight the flames, as best they could, with snow as well as water. At that time Loammi Baldwin, Jr., a graduate of Harvard College in the class of 1800, was a law-student in Timothy Bigelow's office. He had a natural taste for mechanics; and he was so impressed with the need of an engine that with his own hands he constructed the first one the town ever had. This identical machine, now known as Torrent, No. I, is still serviceable after a use of more than eighty years, and will throw a stream of water over the highest roof in the village. It was made in Jonathan Loring's shop, then opposite to Mr. Boynton's blacksmith shop, where the iron work was done. The tub is of copper, and bears the date of 1802. Mr. Baldwin, soon after this time, gave up the profession of law, and became, like his father, a distinguished civil engineer.
The brick store, opposite to the High School, was built about the year 1836, by Henry Woods, for his own place of business, and afterward kept by him and George S. Boutwell, the style of the firm being Woods and Boutwell. Mr. Woods died on January 12, 1841; and he was succeeded by his surviving partner, who carried on the store for a long time, even while holding the highest executive position in the State. The post-office was in this building during the years 1839 and 1840. For the past twenty-five years it has been occupied by various firms, and now is kept by D.H. Shattuck and Company.
During the last war with England, Eliphalet Wheeler had a store where Miss Betsey Capell, in more modern times, kept a haberdasher's shop. It is situated opposite to the Common, and now used as a dwelling-house. She was the daughter of John Capell, who owned the sawmill and gristmill, which formerly stood near the present site of the Tileston and Hollingsworth paper-mills, on the Great Road, north of the village. Afterward Wheeler and his brother, Abner, took Major Thomas Gardner's store, where he was followed by Park and Woods, Park and Potter, Potter and Gerrish, and lastly by Charles Gerrish, who has kept it for more than thirty years. It is said that this building will soon give way to modern improvements.
Near the beginning of the present century there were three military companies in town; the Artillery company, commanded at one time by Captain James Lewis; the North company by Captain Jonas Gilson; and the South company by Captain Abel Tarbell. Two of these officers were soon promoted in the regimental service: Captain Tarbell to a colonelcy, and Captain Lewis to a majorate. Captain Gilson resigned, and was succeeded by Captain Noah Shattuck. They had their Spring and fall training-days, when they drilled as a battalion on the Common,—there were no trees there, then,—and marched through the village. They formed a very respectable command, and sometimes would be drawn up before Esquire Brazer's store, and at other times before Major Gardner's, to be treated with toddy, which was then considered a harmless drink.
David Child had a store, about the beginning of the century, at the south corner of Main and Pleasant Streets, nearly opposite to the site of the Orthodox meeting-house, though Pleasant Street was not then laid out. It was afterward occupied by Deacon Jonathan Adams, then by Artemas Wood, and lastly by Milo H. Shattuck. This was moved off twelve or fifteen years ago, and a spacious building put up, a few rods north, on the old tavern site across the way, by Mr. Shattuck, who still carries on a large business.
Alpheus Richardson kept a store, about the year 1815, in his dwelling-house, at the south corner of Main and Elm Streets, besides having a book-bindery in the same building. The binder's shop was continued until about 1850. It is said that this house was built originally by Colonel James Prescott, for the use of his son, Abijah, as a store; but it never was so occupied.
Joseph and Phineas Hemenway built a store on the north corner of Main and Elm Streets, about the year 1815, where they carried on a trading business. They were succeeded by one Richardson, then by David Childs; and finally by John Spalter, who had for many years a bookstore and binder's shop in the building, which is now used as a dwelling-house. At the present time Mr. Spalter is living in Keene, New Hampshire.
About the year 1826, General Thomas A. Staples built and kept a store on Main Street, directly north of the Union Church. He was followed successively by Benjamin Franklin Lawrence, Henry Hill, and Walter Shattuck. The building was burned down about ten years ago, and its site is now occupied by Dr. David R. Steere's house.
In the year 1847 a large building was moved from Hollis Street to the corner of Main and Court Streets. It was put up originally as a meeting-house for the Second Adventists, or Millerites as they were called in this neighborhood, after William Miller, one of the founders of the sect; but after it was taken to the new site, it was fitted up in a commodious manner, with shops in the basement and a spacious hall in the second story. The building was known as Liberty Hall, and formed a conspicuous structure in the village. The post-office was kept in it, while Mr. Lothrop and Mr. Andruss were the postmasters. It was used as a shoe shop, a grocery, and a bakery, when, on Sunday, March 31, 1878, it was burned to the ground.
The brick store, owned by the Dix family, was built and kept by Aaron Brown, near the beginning of the century. He was followed by Moses Parker, and after him came —— and Merriam, and then Benjamin P. Dix. It is situated at the corner of Main Street and Broad-Meadow Road, and now used as a dwelling-house. A very good engraving of this building is given in The Groton Herald, May 8, 1830, which is called by persons who remember it at that time a faithful representation, though it has since undergone some changes.
Near the end of the last century, Major William Swan traded in the house now occupied by Charles Woolley, Jr., north of the Common near the old burying-ground. It was Major Swan who set out the elm-trees in front of this house, which was the Reverend Dr. Chaplin's dwelling for many years.
Two daughters of Isaac Bowers, a son of Landlord Bowers, had a dry-goods shop in the house owned and occupied by the late Samuel W. Rowe, Esq. About the year 1825, Walter Shattuck opened a store in the building originally intended for the Presbyterian Church, opposite to the present entrance of the Groton Cemetery. There was formerly a store kept by one Mr. Lewis, near the site of Captain Asa Stillman Lawrence's house, north of the Town Hall. There was a trader in town, Thomas Sackville Tufton by name, who died in the year 1778, though I do not know the site of his shop. Captain Samuel Ward, a native of Worcester, and an officer in the French and Indian War, was engaged in business at Groton some time before the Revolution. He removed to Lancaster, where at one time he was town-clerk, and died there on August 14, 1826.
The Groton post-office was established at the very beginning of the present century, and before that time letters intended for this town were sent through private hands. Previous to the Revolution there were only a few post-offices in the Province, and often persons in distant parts of Massachusetts received their correspondence at Boston. In the Supplement to The Boston Gazette, February 9, 1756, letters are advertised as remaining uncalled for, at the Boston office, addressed to William Lakin and Abigail Parker, both of Groton, as well as to Samuel Manning, Townsend, William Gleany, Dunstable, and Jonathan Lawrence, Littleton. Nearly five months afterward these same letters are advertised in The Boston Weekly News-Letter, July 1, 1756, as still uncalled for. The name of David Farnum, America, appears also in this list, and it is hoped that wherever he was he received the missive. The names of Oliver Lack (probably intended for Lakin) and Ebenezer Parker, both of this town, are given in another list printed in the Gazette of June 28, 1762; and in the same issue one is advertised for Samuel Starling, America. In the Supplement to the Gazette, October 10, 1768, Ebenezer Farnsworth, Jr., and George Peirce, of Groton, had letters advertised; and in the Gazette, October 18, 1773, the names of Amos Farnsworth, Jonas Farnsworth, and William Lawrence, all of this town, appear in the list.
I find no record of a post-rider passing through Groton, during the period immediately preceding the establishment of the post-office; but there was doubtless such a person who used to ride on horseback, equipped with saddle-bags, and delivered at regular intervals the weekly newspapers and letters along the way. In the year 1794, according to the History of New Ipswich, New Hampshire (page 129), a post-rider, by the name of Balch, rode from Boston to Keene one week and back the next. Probably he passed through this town, and served the inhabitants with his favors.
Several years ago I procured, through the kindness of General Charles Devens, at that time a member of President Hayes's cabinet, some statistics of the Groton post-office, which are contained in the following letter:—
Post-Office Department, Appointment Office, Washington, D.C., September 3, 1877.
Hon. CHARLES DEVENS, Attorney-General, Department of Justice.
Sir,—I have to acknowledge the receipt of a communication from Samuel A. Green, of Boston, Massachusetts, with your endorsement thereon, requesting to be furnished with a list of postmasters at the office of Groton, in that State, from the date of its establishment to the present time.
In reply, I have the honor to inform you, that the fire which consumed the department building, on the night of the fifteenth of December, 1836, destroyed three of the earliest record-books of this office; but by the aid of the auditor's ledger-books, it is ascertained that the office began to render accounts on the first of January, 1801, but the exact day is not known, Samuel Dana, was the first postmaster, and the following list furnishes the history of the office, as shown by the old records.
Groton, Middlesex County, Massachusetts. Office probably established in November, 1800. Samuel Dana began rendering accounts January 1, 1801. Wm. M. Richardson, October 1, 1804.
From this time the exact dates are known.
Abraham Moore, appointed postmaster January 31, 1812.
Eliphalet Wheeler, August 20, 1815.
James Lewis, September 9, 1815.
Caleb Butler, July 1, 1826.
Henry Woods, January 15, 1839.
George S. Boutwell, January 22, 1841.
Caleb Butler, April 15, 1841.
Welcome Lothrop, December 21, 1846.
Artemas Wood, February 22, 1849.
George H. Brown, May 4, 1849.
Theodore Andruss, April 11, 1853.
George W. Fiske, April 22, 1861.
Henry Woodcock, February 13, 1867.
Miss Hattie E. Farnsworth, June 11, 1869, who is the present incumbent.
Each postmaster held the office up to the appointment of his successor, but it is probable that Mr. Boutwell and Mr. A. Wood, although regularly appointed, did not accept, judging by the dates of the next postmasters.
As to the "income" of the office, to which allusion is made, it is very difficult to obtain any of the amounts; but the first year and the last year are herewith appended, as follows:—
Fiscal Year (1801) (1876) First quarter, $1.91 First quarter, $314.15 Second " 2.13 Second " 296.94 Third " 2.93 Third " 305.71 Fourth " 5.29 Fourth " 294.28
For the year, $12.26 For the y'r, $1,211.08
Trusting the foregoing, which is believed to be correct, will be acceptable to you, I am, sir, respectfully,
Your ob't serv't,
JAMES H. MARR,
Acting First Ass't P.M. General.
It will be seen that the net income of the office, during the first seventy-five years of its existence, increased one hundred fold.
West Groton is a small settlement that has sprung up in the western part of the town, dating back in its history to the last century. It is pleasantly situated on the banks of the Squannacook River, and in my boyhood was known as Squannacook, a much better name than the present one. It is to be regretted that so many of the old Indian words, which smack of the region, should have been crowded out of our local nomenclature. There is a small water-power here, and formerly a sawmill, gristmill, and a paper-mill were in operation; but these have now given way to a factory, where leather-board is made. The Peterborough and Shirley branch of the Fitchburg Railroad passes through the place, and some local business is transacted in the neighborhood. As a matter of course, a post-office was needed in the village, and one was established on March 19, 1850. The first person to fill the office was Adams Archibald, a native of Truro, Nova Scotia, who kept it in the railway-station.
The following is a list of the postmasters, with the dates of their appointment:—
Adams Archibald, March 19, 1850. Edmund Blood, May 25, 1868. Charles H. Hill, July 31, 1871. George H. Bixby, June, 1878.
During the postmastership of Mr. Blood, and since that time, the office has been kept at the only store in the place.
A post-office was established at South Groton, on June 1, 1849, and the first postmaster was Andrew B. Gardner. The village was widely known as Groton Junction, and resulted from the intersection of several railroads. Here six passenger-trains coming from different points were due in the same station at the same time, and they all were supposed to leave as punctually.
The trains on the Fitchburg Railroad, arriving from each direction, and likewise the trains on the Worcester and Nashua Road from the north and the south, passed each other at this place. There was also a train from Lowell, on the Stony Brook Railroad, and another on the Peterborough and Shirley branch, coming at that time from West Townsend.
A busy settlement grew up, which was incorporated as a distinct town under the name of Ayer, on February 14, 1871.
The following is a list of the postmasters, with the dates of their appointment:—
Andrew B. Gardner, June 1, 1849. Harvey A. Wood, August 11, 1853. George H. Brown, December 30, 1861. William H. Harlow, December 5, 1862. George H. Brown, January 15, 1863. William H. Harlow, July 18, 1865.
The name of the post-office was changed by the department at Washington, from South Groton to Groton Junction, on March 1, 1862; and subsequently this was changed to Ayer, on March 22, 1871, soon after the incorporation of the town, during the postmastership of Mr. Harlow.
The letter of the acting first assistant postmaster-general, printed above, supplements the account in Butler's History of Groton (pages 249-251). According to Mr. Butler's statement, the post-office was established on. September 29, 1800, and the Honorable Samuel Dana was appointed the first postmaster. No mail, however, was delivered at the office until the last week in November. For a while it came to Groton by the way of Leominster, certainly a very indirect route. This fact appears from a letter written to Judge Dana, by the Postmaster-General, under date of December 18, 1800, apparently in answer to a request to have the mail brought directly from Boston. In this communication the writer says:—
It appears to me, that the arrangement which has been made for carrying the mail to Groton is sufficient for the accommodation of the inhabitants, as it gives them the opportunity of receiving their letters regularly, and with despatch, once a week. The route from Boston, by Leominster, to Groton is only twenty miles farther than by the direct route, and the delay of half a day, which is occasioned thereby, is not of much consequence to the inhabitants of Groton. If it should prove that Groton produces as much postage as Lancaster and Leominster, the new contract for carrying the mail, which is to be in operation on the first of October next, will be made by Concord and Groton to Walpole, and a branch from Concord to Marlborough.
I am, respectfully, sir, your obedient servant,
The amount of postage received from the office, after deducting the necessary expenses, including the postmaster's salary, was, for the first year after its establishment, about twelve dollars, or three dollars for three months. In the year 1802 it was thirty-six dollars, or nine dollars for three months, a large proportional increase. At this time the mail came once a week only, and was brought by the stage-coach.
Samuel Dana, the first postmaster, was a prominent lawyer at the time of his appointment. He was the son of the Reverend Samuel Dana, of Groton, and born in this town, June 26, 1767. He occupied a high position in the community, and exerted a wide influence in the neighborhood. At a later period he was president of the Massachusetts Senate, a member of Congress, and finally chief-justice of the circuit court of common pleas. He died at Charlestown, on November 20, 1835.
Judge Dana kept the post-office in his own office, which was in the same building as that of the Honorable Timothy Bigelow, another noted lawyer. These eminent men were on opposite sides of the same entry; and they were generally on opposite sides of all important cases in the northern part of Middlesex County. The building stood on the site of Governor Boutwell's house, and is still remembered as the medical office of the venerable Dr. Amos Bancroft. It was afterward moved away, and now stands near the railway-station, where it is occupied as a dwelling-house. Judge Dana held the office during four years, and he was succeeded by William M. Richardson, Esq., afterward the chief-justice of the superior court of New Hampshire. Mr. Richardson was a graduate of Harvard College in the class of 1797, and at the time of his appointment as postmaster had recently finished his professional studies in Groton, under the guidance of Judge Dana. After his admission to the bar, Mr. Richardson entered into partnership with his former instructor, succeeding him as postmaster in July, 1804; and the office was still kept in the same building. During Judge Richardson's term, the net revenue to the department rose from nine dollars to about twenty-eight dollars for three months. He held the position nearly eight years, and was followed by Abraham Moore, who was commissioned on January 31, 1812.
Mr. Moore was a native of Bolton, Massachusetts, where he was born on January 5, 1785. He graduated at Harvard College in the class of 1806, and studied law at Groton with the Honorable Timothy Bigelow, and after his admission to the bar settled here as a lawyer. His office was on the site of the north end of Gerrish's block, and it was here that the post-office was kept. During his administration the average income from the office was about thirty-three dollars, for the quarter. In the summer of 1815, Mr. Moore resigned the position and removed to Boston.
Eliphalet Wheeler, who kept the store now occupied by Mr. Gerrish, was appointed in Mr. Moore's stead, and the post-office was transferred to his place of business. He, however, was not commissioned, owing, it is thought, to his political views; and Major James Lewis, who was sound in his politics, received the appointment in his stead. Major Lewis, retained Mr. Wheeler for a short time as his assistant, and during this period the duties were performed by him in his own store. Shortly afterward Caleb Butler, Esq., was appointed the assistant, and he continued to hold the position for eight years. During this time the business was carried on in Mr. Butler's law office, and the revenue to the government reached the sum of fifty dollars a quarter. His office was then in a small building,—just south of Mr. Hoar's tavern,—which was moved away about the year 1820, and taken to the lot where Colonel Needham's house now stands, at the corner of Main and Hollis Streets. It was fitted up as a dwelling, and subsequently moved away again. At this time the old store of Mr. Brazer, who had previously died, was brought from over the way, and occupied by Mr. Butler, on the site of his former office.
On July 1, 1826, Mr. Butler, who had been Major Lewis's assistant for many years, and performed most of the duties of the office, was commissioned postmaster.
Mr. Butler was a native of Pelham, New Hampshire, where he was born on September 13, 1776, and a graduate of Dartmouth College, in the class of 1800. He had been the preceptor of Groton Academy for some years, and was widely known as a critical scholar. He had previously studied law with the Honorable Luther Lawrence, of Groton, though his subsequent practice was more in drawing up papers and settling estates than in attendance at courts. His name is now identified with the town as its historian. During his term of office as postmaster, the revenue rose from fifty dollars to one hundred and ten dollars a quarter. He held the position nearly thirteen years, to the entire satisfaction of the public; but for political heresy was removed on January 15, 1839, when Henry Woods was commissioned as his successor.
Mr. Woods held the office until his death, which occurred on January 12, 1841; and he was followed by the Honorable George S. Boutwell, since the Governor of the Commonwealth and a member of the United States Senate. During the administration of Mr. Woods and Mr. Boutwell, the office was kept in the brick store, opposite to the present High School.
Upon the change in the administration of the National Government, Mr. Butler was reinstated in office, and commissioned on April 15, 1841. He continued to hold the position until December 21, 1846, when he was again removed for political reasons. Mr. Butler was a most obliging man, and his removal was received by the public with general regret. During his two terms he filled the office for more than eighteen years, a longer period than has fallen to the lot of any other postmaster of the town. Near the end of his service a material change was made in the rate of postage on letters; and in his History (page 251) he thus comments on it:—
The experiment of a cheap rate was put upon trial. From May 14, 1841, to December 31, 1844, the net revenue averaged one hundred and twenty-four dollars and seventy-one cents per quarter. Under the new law, for the first year and a half, the revenue has been one hundred and four dollars and seventy-seven cents per quarter. Had the former rates remained, the natural increase of business should have raised it to one hundred and fifty dollars per quarter. The department, which for some years before had fallen short of supporting itself, now became a heavy charge upon the treasury. Whether the present rates will eventually raise a sufficient revenue to meet the expenditures, remains to be seen. The greatest difficulty to be overcome is evasion of the post-office laws and fraud upon the department.
Like many other persons of that period, Mr. Butler did not appreciate the fact that the best way to prevent evasions of the law is to reduce the rates of postage so low that it will not pay to run the risk of fraud.
Captain Welcome Lothrop succeeded Mr. Butler as postmaster, and during his administration the office was kept in Liberty Hall. Captain Lothrop was a native of Easton, Massachusetts, and a land-surveyor of some repute in this neighborhood. Artemas Wood followed him by appointment on February 22, 1849; but he never entered upon the duties of his office. He was succeeded by George H. Brown, who had published The Spirit of the Times—a political newspaper—during the presidential canvass of 1848, and in this way had become somewhat prominent as a local politician. Mr. Brown was appointed on May 4, 1849; and during his term the office was kept in an ell of his dwelling-house, which was situated nearly opposite to the Orthodox meeting-house. He was afterward the postmaster of Ayer. Mr. Brown was followed by Theodore Andruss, a native of Orford, New Hampshire, who was commissioned on April 11, 1853. Mr. Andruss brought the office back to Liberty Hall, and continued to be the incumbent until April 22, 1861, when he was succeeded by George W. Fiske. On February 13, 1867, Henry Woodcock was appointed to the position, and the office was then removed to the Town Hall, where most excellent accommodations were given to the public.
He was followed on June 11, 1869, by Miss Harriet E. Farnsworth, now Mrs. Marion Putnam; and she in turn was succeeded on July 2, 1880, by Mrs. Christina D. (Caryl) Fosdick, the widow of Samuel Woodbury Fosdick, and the present incumbent.
The office is still kept in the Town Hall, and there is no reason to think that it will be removed from the spacious and commodious quarters it now occupies, for a long time to come. Few towns in the Commonwealth can present such an array of distinguished men among their postmasters as those of Groton, including, as it does, the names of Judge Dana, Judge Richardson, Mr. Butler, and Governor Boutwell.
By the new postal law which went into operation on the first of last October, the postage is now two cents to any part of the United States, on all letters not exceeding half an ounce in weight. This rate certainly seems cheap enough, but in time the public will demand the same service for a cent. Less than forty years ago the charge was five cents for any distance not exceeding three hundred miles, and ten cents for any greater distance. This was the rate established by the law which took effect on July 1, 1845; and it was not changed until July, 1851, when it was reduced to three cents on single letters, prepaid, or five cents, if not prepaid, for all distances under three thousand miles. By the law which went into operation on June 30, 1863, prepayment by stamps was made compulsory, the rate remaining at three cents; though a special clause was inserted, by which the letters of soldiers or sailors, then fighting for the Union in the army or navy, might go without prepayment.
[Footnote 1: Diary and Correspondence of Amos Lawrence, pages 24, 25.]
* * * * *
By John N. McClintock, A.M.
On the morning of September 4, 1724, Thomas Blanchard and Nathan Cross, of Dunstable, started from the Harbor and crossed the Nashua River, to do a day's work in the pine forest to the northward. The day was wet and drizzly. Arriving at their destination they placed their arms and ammunition, as well as their lunch and accompanying jug, in a hollow log, to keep them dry. During the day they were surrounded by a party of Mohawks from Canada, who hurried them into captivity.
Their continued absence aroused the anxiety of their friends and neighbors and a relief party of ten was at once organized to make a search for the absentees. This party, under the command of Lieutenant French, soon arrived at the place where the men had been at work, and found several barrels of turpentine spilled on the ground, and, to the keen eyes of those hardy pioneers, unmistakable evidence of the presence of unfriendly Indians. Other signs indicated that the prisoners had been carried away alive. The party at once determined upon pursuit, and following the trail up the banks of the Merrimack came to the outlet of Horse-Shoe Pond in the present town of Merrimac, where they were surprised and overwhelmed by a large force of the enemy. Josiah Farwell alone of that little band escaped to report the fate of his companions.
Blanchard and Cross were taken to Canada. After nearly a year's confinement they succeeded in effecting their own ransom and returned to their homes. The gun, jug, and lunch-basket were found in the hollow log where they had been left the year before.
Enraged by these and similar depredations, the whole frontier was aroused to aggressive measures. John Lovewell, Josiah Farwell, and Jonathan Robbins at once petitioned for, and were granted, the right to raise a scouting party to carry the war into the enemy's country.
At this time the settlements of New Hampshire were near the coast outside of a line from Dover to Dunstable, except the lately planted colony of Scotch-Irish at Londonderry. Hinsdale, or Dummer's Fort, was the outpost on the Connecticut. To the north extended a wild, unbroken wilderness to the French frontier in Canada. Through this vast region, now overflowing with happy homes, wandered small bands of Indians intent on the chase, or the surprise of their rivals, the white trappers and hunters.
A large section of this country, fifty miles in width, was opened for peaceful settlement by the bravery of Captain John Lovewell and the company under his command. In this view their acts become more important than those of a mere scouting party, and demand, and have received, an acknowledged place in New-England history.
The company, which was raised by voluntary enlistments, was placed under the command of John Lovewell. This redoubtable captain came of fighting stock—his immediate ancestor serving as an ensign in the army of Oliver Cromwell. Bravery and executive ability are evidently transmissible qualities; for in one line of his direct descendants it is known that the family have served their country in four wars, as commissioned officers; in three wars holding the rank of general.
At this time Captain John Lovewell was in the prime of life, and burning with zeal to perform some valiant exploit against the Indians.
The first raid of the company resulted in one scalp and one captive, taken December 10, 1724, and carried to Boston.
The company started on their second expedition January 27, 1724-5, crossing the Merrimack at Nashua, and pushing northward. They arrived at the shores of Lake Winnipiseogee, Februrary 9, and scouted in that neighborhood for a few days, when, from the scarcity of provisions, a part of the force returned to their homes.
Traces of Indians were discovered in the neighborhood of Tamworth by the remaining force, and the trail was followed until, February 20, they discovered the smoke of an Indian encampment. A surprise was quickly planned and successfully executed, leading to the capture of ten scalps, valued by the provincial authorities at one thousand ounces of silver.
Captain Lovewell next conceived the bold design of attacking the village of Pigwacket, near the head waters of the Saco, whose chief, Paugus, a noted warrior, inspired terror along the whole northern frontier.
Commanding a company of forty-six trained men, Captain Lovewell started from Dunstable on his arduous undertaking, April 16, 1725. Toby, an Indian ally, soon gave out and returned to the lower settlements. Near the island at the mouth of the Contoocook, which will forever perpetuate the memory of Hannah Dustin, William Cummings, disabled by an old wound, was discharged and was sent home under the escort of Josiah Cummings, a kinsman. On the west shore of Lake Ossipee, Benjamin Kidder was sick and unable to proceed; and the commander of the expedition decided to build a fort and leave a garrison to guard the provisions and afford a shelter in case of defeat or retreat. Sergeant Nathaniel Woods was left in command. The garrison consisted of Dr. William Aver, John Goffe, John Gilson, Isaac Whitney, Zachariah Whitney, Zebadiah Austin, Edward Spoony, and Ebenezer Halburt. With his company reduced to thirty-three effective men, Captain Lovewell pushed on toward the enemy. On Saturday morning, May 8, in the neighborhood of Fryeburg, Maine, while the rangers were at prayers, they were startled by the discharge of a gun, and were soon attacked by a force of about eighty Indians. Their rear was protected by the lake, by the side of which they fought. All through the day the unequal contest continued. As night settled upon the scene the savages withdrew, and the scouts commenced their painful retreat of forty miles toward their fort. Left dead upon the field of battle were Captain John Lovewell, Lieutenant Jonathan Robbins, John Harwood, Robert Usher, Jacob Fullam, Jacob Farrar, Josiah Davis, Thomas Woods, Daniel Woods, John Jefts, Ichabod Johnson, and Jonathan Kittredge. Lieutenant Josiah Farwell, Chaplain Jonathan Frye, and Elias Barron, were mortally wounded, and perished in the wilderness. Solomon Keyes, Sergeant Noah Johnson, Corporal Timothy Richardson, John Chamberlain, Isaac Lakin, Eleazer Davis, and Josiah Jones, were seriously wounded, but escaped to the lower settlements in company with their uninjured comrades, Seth Wyman, Edward Lingfield, Thomas Richardson, Daniel Melvin, Eleazer Melvin, Ebenezer Ayer, Abial Austin, Joseph Farrar, Benjamin Hassell, and Joseph Gilson,—names which should be held in honor for all time.
Both parties seemed willing to retreat from this disastrous battle, each with the loss of its chief. Paugus and many of his braves fell before the unerring fire of the frontiersmen, and the tribe of Pigwacket, which had so long menaced the borders, withdrew to Canada.
The ambitious young men of the older settlements had seen with jealousy a band of strangers, Scotch-Irish Presbyterians, granted a beautiful and fruitful tract, which already blossomed under the industrious work of the newcomers. They clamored for grants which they, too, could cultivate. Every pretext was advanced to secure a claim. No petitioners were better entitled to consideration than the representatives of those who had rendered so large a section habitable.
Massachusetts Bay Colony had long claimed as a northern boundary a line three miles north of the Merrimack and parallel thereto, from its mouth to its source, thence westward to the bounds of New York. Under the pressure brought to bear by interested parties, the General Court of Massachusetts granted, January 17, 1725-6, the township of Penacook, embracing the city of Concord, New Hampshire.
In May, 1727, a petition from the survivors of Lovewell's command was favorably received by the General Court, and soon afterward Suncook, or Lovewell's township, was granted. Only two of the company are known to have settled in the town—Francis Doyen, who was with Lovewell on his second expedition, and Noah Johnson. The latter was the last survivor of the company. He was a deacon of the church in Suncook for many years, received a pension from Massachusetts, and died in Plymouth, New Hampshire, in 1798, in the one hundredth year of his age.
Captain John Lovewell was represented in the township of Suncook by his daughter Hannah, who married Joseph Baker, settled on her father's right, raised a large family, and died at a good old age. A great multitude of her descendants are scattered throughout the United States.
The original grantees of the township, for the most part, assigned their rights to persons who became actual settlers.
In the year 1740, the King in council decided the present line as the boundary between New Hampshire and Massachusetts, thus leaving Suncook, and many other of the townships granted by the latter Province, within the former. For a score of years following, the settlers were harassed by the proprietors of the soil under the Masonian Claim, until, in 1759, a compromise was effected, and Pembroke was incorporated.
In 1774, a new township in the District of Maine, was granted, by the General Court of Massachusetts, to the "proprietors of Suncook," to recompense them for their losses. The township was called Sambrook, and embraced the present towns of Lovell and New Sweden; it was located in the neighborhood of the battle-field, where, a half century before, so many brave lives had been sacrificed.
NOTE.—The townships of Rumford and Suncook, both granted by Massachusetts authorities, made a common cause in the defence of their rights against the claimants under New Hampshire, known as the Bow proprietors. The latter, who were, in fact, the New Hampshire Provincial authorities, and who not only prosecuted but adjudicated the cases, brought suits for such small extent of territory in each case, that there was no legal appeal to the higher courts in England. The two towns therefore authorized the Reverend Timothy Walker, the first settled minister of Rumford, to represent their cause before the King in council. By the employment of able counsel and judicious management of the case, he was eminently successful, and obtained a decision favorable to the Massachusetts settlers. In the meanwhile, the proprietors of Suncook had compromised with the Bow proprietors, surrendering half of their rights—for them the decision came too late. The Rumford proprietors, however, were benefited, and Concord, under which name Rumford was incorporated by New Hampshire laws, maintained its old boundaries as originally granted,—which remain practically the same to this day.
[Footnote 2: General Timothy Bedel served during the Revolution; his son, General Moody Bedel, served in the War of 1812; his son, General John Bedel, was a lieutenant in the Mexican War, and brigadier-general in the Rebellion.]
* * * * *
By L.L. Dame.
THE WASHINGTON ELM.
At the north end of the Common in Old Cambridge stands the famous Washington Elm, which has been oftener visited, measured, sketched, and written up for the press, than any other tree in America. It is of goodly proportions, but, as far as girth of trunk and spread of branches constitute the claim upon our respect, there are many nobler specimens of the American elm in historic Middlesex.
Extravagant claims have been made with regard to its age, but it is extremely improbable that any tree of this species has ever rounded out its third century. Under favorable conditions, the growth of the elm is very rapid, a single century sometimes sufficing to develop a tree larger than the Washington Elm.
When Governor Winthrop and Lieutenant-Governor Dudley, in 1630, rode along the banks of the Charles in quest of a suitable site for the capital of their colony, it is barely possible the great elm was in being. It would be a pleasant conceit to link the thrifty growth of the young sapling with the steady advancement of the new settlement, enshrining it as a sort of guardian genius of the place, the living witness of progress in Cambridge from the first feeble beginnings.
The life of the tree, however, probably does not date farther back than the last quarter of the seventeenth century. In its early history there was nothing to distinguish it from its peers of the greenwood. When the surrounding forest fell beneath the axe of the woodman, the trees conspicuous for size and beauty escaped the general destruction; among these was the Washington Elm; but there is no evidence that it surpassed its companions.
Tradition states that another large elm once stood on the northwest corner of the Common, under which the Reverend George Whitefield, the Wesleyan evangelist, preached in 1745. Others claim that it was the Washington Elm under which the sermon was delivered. The two trees stood near each other, and the hearers were doubtless scattered under each. But the great elm was destined to look down upon scenes that stirred the blood even more than the vivid eloquence of a Whitefield. Troublous times had come, and the mutterings of discontent were voicing themselves in more and more articulate phrase. The old tree must have been privy to a great deal of treasonable talk—at first, whispered with many misgivings, under the cover of darkness; later, in broad daylight, fearlessly spoken aloud. The smoke of bonfires, in which blazed the futile proclamations of the King, was wafted through its branches. It saw the hasty burial, by night, of the Cambridge men who were slain upon the nineteenth of April, 1775; it saw the straggling arrival of the beaten, but not disheartened, survivors of Bunker Hill; it saw the Common—granted to the town as a training-field—suddenly transformed to a camp, under General Artemas Ward, commander-in-chief of the Massachusetts troops.
The crowning glory in the life of the great elm was at hand. On the twenty-first of June, Washington, without allowing himself time to take leave of his family, set out on horseback from Philadelphia, arriving at Cambridge on the second of July. Sprightly Dorothy Dudley in her Journal describes the exercises of the third, with the florid eloquence of youth.
"To-day, he (Washington) formally took command, under one of the grand old elms on the Common. It was a magnificent sight. The majestic figure of the General, mounted upon his horse beneath the wide-spreading branches of the patriarch tree; the multitude thronging the plain around, and the houses filled with interested spectators of the scene, while the air rung with shouts of enthusiastic welcome, as he drew his sword, and thus declared himself Commander-in-chief of the Continental army."
Dorothy does not specify under which elm Washington stood. It is safely inferable from her language that our tree was one of several noble elms which at this time were standing upon the Common.
Although no contemporaneous pen seems to have pointed out the exact tree beyond all question, happily the day is not so far distant from us that oral testimony is inadmissible. Of this there is enough to satisfy the most captious critic.
Where the stone church is now situated, there was formerly an old gambrel-roofed house, in which the Moore family lived during the Revolution. The situation was very favorable for observation, commanding the highroad from Watertown to Cambridge Common, and directly opposite the great elm. From the windows of this house the spectators saw the ceremony to good advantage, and one of them, styled, in 1848, the "venerable Mrs. Moore," lived to point out the tree, and describe the glories of the occasion, seventy-five years afterward. Fathers, who were eyewitnesses standing beneath this tree, have told the story to their sons, and those sons have not yet passed away. There is no possibility that we are paying our vows at a counterfeit shrine.
Great events which mark epochs in history, bestow an imperishable dignity even upon the meanest objects with which they are associated. When Washington drew his sword beneath the branches, the great elm, thus distinguished above its fellows, passed at once into history, henceforward to be known as the Washington Elm.
"Under the brave old tree Our fathers gathered in arms, and swore They would follow the sign their banners bore, And fight till the land was free."—Holmes.
The elm was often honored by the presence of Washington, who, it is said, had a platform built among the branches, where, we may suppose, he used to ponder over the plans of the campaign. The Continental army, born within the shade of the old tree, overflowing the Common, converted Cambridge into a fortified camp. Here, too, the flag of thirteen stripes for the first time swung to the breeze.
These were the palmy days of the elm. When the tide of war set away from New England, the Washington Elm fell into unmerited neglect. The struggling patriots had no time for sentiment; and when the war came to an end they were too busy in shaping the conduct of the government, and in repairing their shattered fortunes, to pay much attention to trees. It was not until the great actors in those days were rapidly passing away, that their descendants turned with an affectionate regard to the enduring monuments inseparably associated with the fathers. Among these, the Washington Elm deservedly holds a high rank.
On the third of July, 1875, the citizens of Cambridge celebrated the one hundredth anniversary of Washington's assuming the command of the army. The old tree was the central figure of the occasion. The American flag floated above the topmost branches, and a profusion of smaller flags waved amid the foliage. Never tree received a more enthusiastic ovation.
It is enclosed by a circular iron fence erected by the Reverend Daniel Austin. Outside the fence, but under the branches, stands a granite tablet erected by the city of Cambridge, upon which is cut an inscription written by Longfellow:—
UNDER THIS TREE WASHINGTON FIRST TOOK COMMAND OF THE AMERICAN ARMY, JULY 3D, 1775.
In 1850, it still retained its graceful proportions; its great limbs were intact, and it showed few traces of age. Within the past twenty-five years, it has been gradually breaking up.
In 1844, its girth, three feet from the ground, where its circumference is least, was twelve feet two and a half inches. In 1884, at the same point, it measures fourteen feet one inch; a gain so slight that the rings of annual growth must be difficult to trace—an evidence of waning vital force. The grand subdivisions of the trunk are all sadly crippled; unsightly bandages of zinc mask the progress of decay; the symptoms of approaching dissolution are painfully evident, especially in the winter season. In summer, the remaining vitality expends itself in a host of branchlets which feather the limbs, and give rise to a false impression of vigor.
Never has tree been cherished with greater care, but its days are numbered. A few years more or less, and, like Penn's Treaty Elm and the famous Charter Oak, it will be numbered with the things that were.
THE ELIOT OAK
When John Eliot had become a power among the Indians, with far-reaching sagacity he judged it best to separate his converts from the whites, and accordingly, after much inquiry and toilsome search, gathered them into a community at Natick—an old Indian name formerly interpreted as "a place of hills," but now generally admitted to mean simply "my land." Anticipating the policy which many believe must eventually be adopted with regard to the entire Indian question, Eliot made his settlers land-owners, conferred upon them the right to vote and hold office, impressed upon them the duties and responsibilities of citizenship, and taught them the rudiments of agriculture and the mechanic arts.
In the summer of 1651, the Indians built a framed edifice, which answered, as is the case to-day in many small country towns, the double purpose of a schoolroom on week-days, and a sanctuary on the Sabbath. Professor C.E. Stowe once called that building the first known theological seminary of New England, and said that for real usefulness it was on a level with, if not above, any other in the known world.
It is assumed that two oaks, one of the red, and the other of the white, species, of which the present Eliot Oak is the survivor, were standing near this first Indian church. The early records of Eliot's labors make no mention of these trees. Adams, in his Life of Eliot, says: "It would be interesting if we could identify some of the favorite places of the Indians in this vicinity," but fails to find sufficient data. Bigelow (or Biglow, according to ancient spelling), in his History of Natick, 1830, states: "There are two oaks near the South Meeting-house, which have undoubtedly stood there since the days of Eliot." It is greatly to be regretted that the writer did not state the evidence upon which his conclusion was based.
Bacon, in his History of Natick, 1856, remarks: "The oak standing a few rods to the east of the South Meeting-house bears every evidence of an age greater than that of the town, and was probably a witness of Eliot's first visit to the 'place of hills.'" It would be quite possible to subscribe to this conclusion, while dissenting entirely from the premises. It will be noticed that Bacon relies upon the appearance of the tree as a proof of its age. His own measurement, fourteen and a half feet circumference at two feet from the ground, is not necessarily indicative of more than a century's growth.
The writer upon Natick, in Drake's Historic Middlesex, avoids expressing an opinion. "Tradition links these trees with the Indian Missionary." For very long flights of time, tradition—as far as the age of trees is concerned—cannot at all be relied upon; within the narrow limits involved in the present case, it may be received with caution.
The Red Oak which stood nearly in front of the old Newell Tavern, was the original Eliot Oak. Mr. Austin Bacon, who is familiar with the early history and legends of Natick, states that "Mr. Samuel Perry, a man who could look back to 1749, often said that Mr. Peabody, the successor to Eliot, used to hitch his horse by that tree every Sabbath, because Eliot used to hitch his there."
This oak was originally very tall; the top was probably broken off in the tremendous September gale of 1815; as it was reported to be in a mutilated condition in 1820. Time, however, partially concealed the disaster by means of a vigorous growth of the remaining branches. In 1830, it measured seventeen feet in circumference two feet from the ground. It had now become a tree of note, and would probably have monopolized the honors to the exclusion of the present Eliot Oak, had it not met with an untimely end. The keeper of the tavern in front of which it stood had the tree cut down in May, 1842. This act occasioned great indignation, and gave rise to a lawsuit at Framingham, "which was settled by the offenders against public opinion paying the costs and planting trees in the public green." A cartload of the wood was carried to the trial, and much of it was taken home by the spectators to make into canes and other relics,
"The King is dead, long live the King!"
Upon the demise of the old monarch, the title naturally passed to the White Oak, its neighbor, another of the race of Titans, standing conveniently near, of whose early history very little is positively known beyond the fact that it is an old tree; and with the title passed the traditions and reverence that gather about crowned heads.
Mrs. Stowe has given it a new claim to notice, for beneath it, according to Drake's Historic Middlesex, "Sam Lawson, the good-natured, lazy story-teller, in Oldtown Folks, put his blacksmith's shop. It was removed when the church was built."
The present Eliot Oak stands east of the Unitarian meeting-house, which church is on or near the spot where Eliot's first church stood. It measured, January, 1884, seventeen feet in circumference at the ground; fourteen feet two inches at four feet above. It is a fine old tree, and it is not improbable—though it is unproven—that it dates back to the first settlement of Natick.
"Thou ancient oak! whose myriad leaves are loud With sounds of unintelligible speech, Sounds as of surges on a shingly beach, Or multitudinous murmurs of a crowd; With some mysterious gift of tongues endowed Thou speakest a different dialect to each. To me a language that no man can teach, Of a lost race long vanished like a cloud, For underneath thy shade, in days remote, Seated like Abraham at eventide, Beneath the oak of Mamre, the unknown Apostle of the Indian, Eliot, wrote His Bible in a language that hath died. And is forgotten save by thee alone."—Longfellow.
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HIS GREATEST TRIUMPH.
By Henrietta E. Page.
Yet slept the wearied maestro, and all around was still, Though the sunlight danced on tree-top, on valley, and on hill; The distant city's busy hum, just faintly heard afar, Served but to lull to deeper rest Euterpe's brilliant star.
Wilhelmj slept, for over-night his triumphs had been grand, He had praised and feted been by the noblest in the land, And rich and poor had vied alike to honor Music's king, Making the lofty rafters with the wildest plaudits ring.
Now, brain and hand aweary, he had fled for peace and rest, And he should be disturbed by none, not e'en a royal guest. The porter nodded in his chair: I dare not say he slept: But sprang upright, as through the door a fairy vision crept.
A tiny girl with shining eyes, and wavy golden hair, Tip-toed along the corridor, and close up to his chair, And a bird-like voice sweet questioned, "Wilhelmj, where is he? I've brought a little tribute for the great maestro,—see!"
Her looped-up dress she opened, displaying to his view A mass of brilliant woodland flowers, wet with morning dew; Placing his finger on his lip, he pointed out the door; She smiled her thanks, and softly went and strewed them on the floor.
Then like a vision of the morn, with eyes of heaven's own blue, She slowly oped the outer door and gently glided through. Hours after, when Wilhelmj woke he gazed in mute surprise Upon those buds and blossoms fair, with softened, tender eyes.
They took him back long years agone, when, as a happy child, He wandered, too, amid the woods, on summer mornings mild; Aye, back to his home and mother; back to his old home nest, To the blessed scenes of childhood; back into peace and rest.
And when he heard the story,—how the child had come and fled,— "This is my greatest triumph" (with tears the maestro said), "For no gift of king or princes, no praise could please me more. Than this living mat of flowers a child laid at my door."
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THE FIRST BAPTIST CHURCH IN MASSACHUSETTS.
By Thomas W. Bicknell, LL.D.
The act of banishment which severed Roger Williams from the Massachusetts Colony, in 1635, was the means of advancing, rather than hindering, the spread of the so-called heresies which he so bravely advocated. As the persecutions which drove the disciples of Christ from Jerusalem were the means of extending the cause of Christianity, so the principles of toleration and of soul-liberty were strengthened by opposition, in the mind of this apostle of freedom of conscience in the New World. His Welsh birth and Puritan education made him a bold and earnest advocate of whatever truth his conscience approved, and he went everywhere "preaching the word" of individual freedom. The sentence of exile could not silence his tongue, nor destroy his influence. "The divers new and dangerous opinions" which he had "broached and divulged," though hostile to the notions of the clergy and the authorities of Massachusetts Bay, were at the same time quite acceptable to a few brave souls, who, like himself, dared the censures, and even the persecutions, of their brethren, for the sake of liberty of conscience.
The dwellers in old Rehoboth were the nearest white neighbors of Roger Williams and his band at Providence. The Reverend Samuel Newman was the pastor of the church in this ancient town, having removed with the first settlers from Weymouth in 1643. Learned, godly, and hospitable, as he was, he had not reached the "height of that great argument" concerning human freedom; and while he cherished kindly feelings toward the dwellers at Providence, he evidently feared the introduction of their sentiments among his people. The jealous care of Newman to preserve what he conscientiously regarded as the purity of religious faith and polity was not a sufficient barrier against the teachings of the founder of Rhode Island.
Although the settlers of Plymouth Colony cherished more liberal sentiments than their neighbors of the Bay Colony, and sanctioned the expulsion of Mr. Williams from Seekonk only for the purpose of preserving peace with those whom Blackstone called "the Lord Bretheren," yet they guarded the prerogatives of the ruling church order as worthy not only of the respect, but also the support, of all. Rehoboth was the most liberal, as well as the most loyal, of the children of Plymouth; but the free opinions which the planters brought from Weymouth, where an attempt had already been made to establish a Baptist church, enabled them to sympathize strongly with their neighbors across the Seekonk River. "At this time," says Baylies, "so much indifference as to the support of the clergy was manifested in Plymouth Colony, as to excite the alarm of the other confederated colonies. The complaint of Massachusetts against Plymouth on this subject was laid before the Commissioners, and drew from them a severe reprehension. Rehoboth had been afflicted with a severe schism, and by its proximity to Providence and its plantations, where there was a universal toleration, the practice of free inquiry was encouraged, and principle, fancy, whim, and conscience, all conspired to lessen the veneration for ecclesiastical authority." As the "serious schism" referred to above led to the foundation of the first Baptist church within the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, on New Meadow Neck in Old Swanzey, it is worthy of record here. The leader in this church revolt was Obadiah Holmes, a native of Preston, in Lancashire, England. He was connected with the church in Salem from 1639 till 1646, when he was excommunicated, and removing with his family to Rehoboth, he joined Mr. Newman's church. The doctrines and the discipline of this church proved too severe for Mr. Holmes, and he, with eight others, withdrew in 1649, and established a new church by themselves.
Mr. Newman's irascible temper was kindled into a persecuting zeal against the offending brethren, and, after excommunicating them, he aroused the civil authorities against them. So successful was he that four petitions were presented to the Plymouth Court; one from Rehoboth, signed by thirty-five persons; one from Taunton; one from all the clergymen in the colony but two, and one from the government of Massachusetts. How will the authorities at Plymouth treat this first division in the ruling church of the colony? Will they punish by severe fines, by imprisonment, by scourgings, or by banishment? By neither, for a milder spirit of toleration prevailed, and the separatists were simply directed to "refrain from practices disagreeable to their brethren, and to appear before the Court."
In 1651, some time after his trial at Plymouth, Mr. Holmes was arrested, with Mr. Clarke, of Newport, and Mr. Crandall, for preaching and worshiping God with some of their brethren at Lynn. They were condemned by the Court at Boston to suffer fines or whippings. Holmes refused to pay the fine, and would not allow his friends to pay it for him, saying that "to pay it would be acknowledging himself to have done wrong, whereas his conscience testified that he had done right." He was accordingly punished with thirty lashes from a three-corded whip, with such severity, says Governor Jenks, "that in many days, if not some weeks, he could take no rest but as he lay upon his knees and elbows, not being able to suffer any part of his body to touch the bed whereon he lay." Soon after this, Holmes and his followers moved to Newport, and on the death of the Reverend Mr. Clarke, in 1652, he succeeded him as pastor of the First Baptist Church in that time. Mr. Holmes died at Newport in 1682, aged seventy-six years.
The persecution offered to the Rehoboth Baptists scattered their church, but did not destroy their principles. Facing the obloquy attached to their cause, and braving the trials imposed by the civil and ecclesiastical powers, they must wait patiently God's time of deliverance. That their lives were free from guile, none claim. That their cause was righteous, none will deny; and while the elements of a Baptist church were thus gathering strength on this side of the Atlantic, a leader was prepared for them, by God's providence, on the other. In the same year that Obadiah Holmes and his band established their church in Massachusetts, in opposition to the Puritan order, Charles I, the great English traitor, expiated his "high crimes and misdemeanors" on the scaffold, at the hands of a Puritan Parliament. Then followed the period of the Commonwealth under Cromwell, and then the Restoration, when "there arose up a new king over Egypt, who knew not Joseph." The Act of Uniformity, passed in 1662, under the sanction of Charles II, though a fatal blow at the purity and piety of the English Church, was a royal blessing to the cause of religion in America. Two thousand bravely conscientious men, who feared God more than the decrees of Pope, King, or Parliament, were driven from their livings and from the kingdom. What was England's great loss was America's great gain, for a grand tidal wave of emigration swept westward across the Atlantic to our shores. Godly men and women, clergy and laity, made up this exiled band, too true and earnest to yield a base compliance to the edict of conformity. For thirteen years here the Dissenters from Mr. Newman's church waited for a spiritual guide, but not in vain.
How our Baptist brethren here conducted themselves during these years, and the difficulties they may have occasioned or encountered, we know but little. Plymouth, liberal already, has grown more lenient towards church offenders in matters of conscience. Mr. John Brown, a citizen of Rehoboth, and one of the magistrates, has presented before the Court his scruples at the expediency of coercing the people to support the ministry, and has offered to pay from his own property the taxes of all those of his townsmen who may refuse their support of the ministry. This was in 1665. Massachusetts Bay has tried to correct the errors of her sister colony on the subject of toleration, and has in turn been rebuked by her example.
Leaving the membership awhile, let us cross the sea to Wales to find their future pastor and teacher—John Myles.
Wales had been the asylum for the persecuted and oppressed for many centuries. There freedom of religious thought was tolerated, and from thence sprung three men of unusual vigor and power: Roger Williams, Oliver Cromwell, and John Myles. About the year 1645, the Baptists in that country who had previously been scattered and connected with other churches, began to unite in the formation of separate churches, under their own pastors. Prominent among these was the Reverend Mr. Myles, who preached in various places with great success, until the year 1649, when we find him pastor of a church which he organized in Swansea, in South Wales. It is a singular coincidence that Mr. Myles's pastorate at Swansea, and the separation of the members from the Rehoboth church, a part of whom aided in establishing the church in Swanzey, Massachusetts, occurred in the same year.
During the Protectorate of Cromwell, all Dissenters enjoyed the largest liberty of conscience, and, as a result, the church at Swansea grew from forty-eight to three hundred souls. Around this centre of influence sprang up several branch churches, and pastors were raised up to care for them. Mr. Myles soon became the leader of his denomination in Wales, and in 1651 he was sent as the representative of all the Baptist churches in Wales to the Baptist ministers' meeting, at Glazier's Hall, London, with a letter, giving an account of the peace, union, and increase of the work. As a preacher and worker he had no equal in that country, and his zeal enabled him to establish many new churches in his native land. The act of the English Saint Bartholomew's Day, in 1662, deprived Mr. Myles of the support which the government under Cromwell had granted him, and he, with many others, chose the freedom of exile to the tyranny of an unprincipled monarch. It would be interesting for us to give an account of his leave-taking of his church at Swansea, and of his associates in Christian labor, and to trace out his passage to Massachusetts, and to relate the circumstances which led him to search out and to find the little band of Baptists at Rehoboth. Surely some law of spiritual gravitation or affinity, under the good hand of God, thus raised up and brought this under-shepherd to the flock thus scattered in the wilderness. Nicholas Tanner, Obadiah Brown, John Thomas, and others, accompanied Mr. Myles in his exile from Swansea, Wales. The first that is known of them in America was the formation of a Baptist church at the house of John Butterworth in Rehoboth, whose residence is said to have been near the Cove in the western part of the present town of East Providence. Mr. Myles and his followers had probably learned at Boston, or at Plymouth, of the treatment offered to Holmes and his party, ten years before, and his sympathies led him to seek out and unite the elements which persecution had scattered. Seven members made up this infant church, namely: John Myles, pastor, James Brown, Nicholas Tanner, Joseph Carpenter, John Butterworth, Eldad Kingsley, and Benjamin Alby. The principles to which their assent was given were the same as those held by the Welsh Baptists, as expounded by Mr. Myles. The original record-book of the church contains a list of the members of Mr. Myles's church in Swansea, from 1640 till 1660, with letters, decrees, ordinances, etc., of the several churches of the denomination in England and Wales. This book, now in the possession of the First Baptist Church in Swanzey, Massachusetts, is probably a copy of the original Welsh records, made by or for Mr. Myles's church in Massachusetts, the sentiments of which controlled their actions here.
Of the seven constituent members, only one was a member of Myles's church in Wales—Nicholas Tanner. James Brown was a son of John Brown, both of whom held high offices in the Plymouth colony. Mr. Newman and his church were again aroused at the revival of this dangerous sect, and they again united with the other orthodox churches of the colony in soliciting the Court to interpose its influence against them, and the members of this little church were each fined five pounds, for setting up a public meeting without the knowledge and approbation of the Court, to the disturbance of the peace of the place,—ordered to desist from their meeting for the space of a month, and advised to remove their meeting to some other place where they might not prejudice any other church. The worthy magistrates of Plymouth have not told us how these few Baptist brethren "disturbed the peace" of quiet old Rehoboth. Good old Rehoboth, that roomy place, was not big enough to contain this church of seven members, and we have to-day to thank the spirit of Newman and the order of Plymouth Court for the handful of seed-corn, which they cast upon the waters, which here took root and has brought forth the fruits of a sixty-fold growth.
From a careful reading of the first covenant of the church, we judge that it was a breach of ecclesiastical, rather than of civil, law, and that the fines and banishment from the limits of Rehoboth were imposed as a preventive against any further inroads upon the membership of Mr. Newman's church. In obedience to the orders of the Court, the members of Mr. Myles's church looked about for a more convenient dwelling-place, and found it as near to the limits of the old town and their original homes as the law would allow. Within the bounds of Old Swanzey, Massachusetts, in the northern part of the present town of Barrington, Rhode Island, they selected a site for a church edifice. The spot now pointed out as the location of this building for public worship is near the main road from Warren by Munro's Tavern to Providence, on the east side of a by-way leading from said road to the residence of Joseph G. West, Esq. A plain and simple structure, it was undoubtedly fitted up quickly by their own labor, to meet the exigency of the times. Here they planted their first spiritual home, and enjoyed a peace which pastor and people had long sought for.
The original covenant is a remarkable paper, toned with deep piety and a broad and comprehensive spirit of Christian fellowship.
SWANSEY IN NEW ENGLAND.—A true coppy of the Holy Covenant the first founders of Swansey Entred into at the first beginning and all the members thereof for Divers years.
Whereas we Poor Creatures are through the exceeding Riches of Gods Infinite Grace Mercyfully snatched out of the Kingdom of darkness and by his Infinite Power translated into the Kingdom of his dear Son, there to be partakers with all Saints of all those Priviledges which Christ by the Shedding of his Pretious Blood hath purchased for us, and that we do find our Souls in Some good Measure wrought on by Divine Grace to desire to be Conformable to Christ in all things, being also constrained by the matchless love and wonderfull Distinguishing Mercies that we Abundantly Injoy from his most free grace to Serve him according to our utmost capacitys, and that we also know that it is our most bounden Duty to Walk in Visible Communion with Christ and Each other according to the Prescript Rule of his most holy word, and also that it is our undoubted Right through Christ to Injoy all the Priviledges of Gods House which our souls have for a long time panted after. And finding no other way at Present by the all-working Providence of our only wise God and gracious Father to us opened for the Injoyment of the same. We do therefore after often and Solemn Seeking to the Lord for Help and direction in the fear of his holy Name, and with hands lifted up to him the most High God, Humbly and freely offer up ourselves this day a Living Sacrifice unto him who is our God in Covenant through Christ our Lord and only Savior to walk together according to his revealed word in the Visible Gospel Relation both to Christ our only head, and to each other as fellow-members and Brethren and of the Same Household faith. And we do Humbly praye that that through his Strength we will henceforth Endeavor to Perform all our Respective Duties towards God and each other and to practice all the ordinances of Christ according to what is or shall be revealed to us in our Respective Places to exercise Practice and Submit to the Government of Christ in this his Church! viz. furthur Protesting against all Rending or Dividing Principles or Practices from any of the People of God as being most abominable and loathsome to our souls and utterly inconsistent with that Christian Charity which declare men to be Christ's Disciples. Indeed further declaring in that as Union in Christ is the sole ground of our Communion, each with other, So we are ready to accept of, Receive too and hold Communion with all such as by a judgment of Charity we conceive to be fellow-members with us in our head Christ Jesus tho Differing from us in Such Controversial Points as are not absolutely and essencially necessary to salvation. We also hope that though of ourselves we are altogether unworthy and unfit thus to offer up ourselves to God or to do him a—or to expect any favor with, or mercy from Him. He will graciously accept of this our free will offering in and through the merit and mediation of our Dear Redeemer. And that he will imploy and emprove us in his service to his Praise, to whom be all Glory, Honor, now and forever, Amen.
The names of the persons that first joyned themselves in the Covanant aforesaid as a Church of Christ,
JOHN MYLES, Elder, JAMES BROWN, NICHOLAS TANNER, JOSEPH CARPENTER, JOHN BUTTERWORTH, ELDAD KINGSLEY, BENJAMIN ALBY.
The catholic spirit of Mr. Myles soon drew to the new settlement on New Meadow Neck many families who held to Baptist opinions, as well as some of other church relations friendly to their interests. The opposition which their principles had awakened, had brought the little company into public notice, and their character had won for them the respect and confidence of their neighbors.
The Rehoboth church had come to regard Mr. Myles and his followers with more kindly feelings, and, in 1666, after the death of the Reverend Mr. Newman, it was voted by the town that Mr. Myles be invited to "preach, namely: once in a fortnight on the week day, and once on the Sabbath day." And in August of the same year the town voted "that Mr. Myles shall still continue to lecture on the week day, and further on the Sabbath, if he be thereunto legally called."
This interchange of pulpit relations indicates a cordial sentiment between the two parishes, which is in striking contrast to the hostility manifested to the new church but three years before, when they were warned out of the town, and suggests the probable fact that animosities had been conquered by good will, and that sober judgment had taken the place of passionate bigotry.
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CHURCH SERVICES IN PURITAN TIMES.
The Elders' Advice in Matrimonial Matters.
From the Baptist Church records copied from the Welsh, which were brought from Swansea, Wales, by the Reverend John Myles, we quote, as follows:—