THE BAY STATE MONTHLY.
A Massachusetts Magazine.
VOL. III. OCTOBER, 1885. NO. V.
* * * * *
HON. WILLIAM W. CRAPO.
By Edward P. Guild.
A citizen of Massachusetts, eminent in public and private life, and now in the prime of manhood, is the Hon. William W. Crapo, of New Bedford. He is the son of Henry Howland Crapo, a man of marked abilities and with a distinguished career, whose father was a farmer in humble circumstances in Dartmouth, the parent town of New Bedford, and able to give but meagre opportunities for education to his son. Henry had, however, a thirst for knowledge, and his determination in providing himself with the means of study affords a parallel to the early life of Lincoln. It is told of him, that having no dictionary in his father's house, he undertook to be his own lexicographer in the task of preparing one. He soon fitted himself as a school teacher and afterwards became a land surveyor in New Bedford. As a man of ability and integrity, he at once began to rise to positions of trust, and among the offices he held were those of City Treasurer and Trustee of the Public Library. He was interested in the whale fisheries, then the great enterprise of this famous seaport, and was a successful business man.
In 1857, having made extensive timber purchases in Michigan, he removed to that state, where he took an active part in political affairs. In 1865, he was elected Governor of that State and held the office for four years. He was a lover of books all his life, and was the author of articles on horticulture in which subject he was an enthusiastic amateur.
William Wallace Crapo was born in Dartmouth, May 16, 1830, and was the only son in a family of ten children. He inherited his father's passion for learning and knowledge, and although his father's means were limited, he was given all possible opportunity for study. He was first in the New Bedford public schools, then at Phillips Academy in Andover, where he prepared for college. He graduated at Yale—which has since conferred upon him the Degree of Doctor of Laws,—in the class of 1852. Deciding on the study of law, he attended the Dane law school at Cambridge, and subsequently entered the office of Governor Clifford in New Bedford. In February 1855, he was admitted to the Bristol bar, and in the following April was elected City Solicitor, an office which he continued to hold for twelve consecutive years.
Mr. Crapo's first active part in politics was about a year after his admission to the bar. Fremont and Dayton were in 1856 nominated as the Republican candidates for the Presidency and Vice Presidency. Mr. Crapo was an earnest surporter of the candidates and made very effective speeches in their behalf in his section of the state. In the same year he was chosen to the Massachusetts House of Representatives, and the following year, when only twenty-seven years of age, was tendered a seat in the Massachusetts Senate, but declined the honor. His father this year removed to Michigan, and the son who remained became a worthy successor to the confidence and respect of his fellow-citizens. He was actively interested in the establishment of the New Bedford Water-works, and from 1865 to 1875 held the office of Chairman of the board of Water Commissioners. As Bank President, as director in extensive manufacturing corporations, and in other similar positions of trust and responsibility he acquired the reputation of being a sound business man, and an able financial manager. In all of these positions he has ever enjoyed the complete confidence and respect of his associates.
Mr. Crapo has been a diligent student of the history of the Old Colony and especially of the early settlement of Dartmouth, and he has rendered valuable contributions to the historical literature of the State. The address delivered by him at the Bi-Centennial Anniversary of the town of Dartmouth in 1864 and his address at the Centennial Celebration in New Bedford in 1876 exhibit his accurate research and his facility of clear and forcible expression. The closing sentences of the latter address were as follows:—-
"We must preserve the results of the past. But this is not our whole duty. The work of our fathers is not completed. Our honor and safety is in still further achievements of public justice and orderly freedom, and to the advancement of the common welfare. Our mission is a continuous and steady development of conscientiousness, a moral and religious growth, keeping pace with advancing intelligence, science and liberty. We attain to it by those common virtues which our fathers exercised: honesty, frugality, integrity and unfaltering devotion to duty. We need but follow the old plain paths, and, undazzled by the superficial glitter and pretentious show of ambitious self-seekers, march steadily forward to the attainments of a trained and vigorous virtue, to purity, strength and solidity. Thus will we keep unsoiled our inheritance, and transmit it, beautified and glorified, to those who come after us.
"We have seen the forest fall before the strong arm of the pioneer; we have seen the shores lined with masts, and the waters white with sails; we have seen the triumphs of restless, cunning labor; but not in physical power nor in populous cities, not in factories nor palaces, nor richly laden fleets, are the elements of natural greatness, nor its safety, but in the courage, integrity, self-denial and temperance of the people, and the spirit of mental enterprise and moral freedom which inspires them."
But the reputation of Mr. Crapo in Massachusetts and the country at large rests preeminently upon his services in the National House of Representatives. He was elected to fill a vacancy in the Forty-fourth Congress and was returned at three successive elections, enjoying to an unusual degree the favor and approbation of his constituents. In the Forty-fifth Congress he was a member of the committee on Foreign Affairs. In the Forty-sixth he served on the committee on Banking and Currency, and was chairman of this important committee in the next Congress. He introduced the bill to extend the charters of the National Banks, and by his skillful and persistent efforts the bill became a law to the satisfaction of all sound business men. In his connection with this bill, Mr. Crapo added to his reputation as an able lawyer, that of a sound financier and a judicious statesman.
Representing a constituency whose interests are largely identified with the fishing industries, Mr. Crapo has naturally been considered a champion of the fishermen. A strong speech was made by him on the resolution recommending the abrogation of the fishing articles of the Treaty of Washington, of which the following is an example:—
"For seventy years this Government, and prior to that the Colonies, paid liberal bounties to aid the development and increase of our fishing marine. These bounties have been abandoned, and the New England fishermen, relying upon their energy and enterprise do not ask a renewal of them. But they do ask that the United States shall not offer a bounty to build up this industry in the hands of rivals. When we are confronted with a declining merchant marine, when the carrying trade is passing into the hands of foreigners, when we remember that our whaling fleet, which twenty years ago numbered 600 ships with 18,000 sailors, the best sailors on the globe, disciplined and educated in voyages of three and four year's duration—is now reduced to 163 vessels with less than 5,000 men, we may well inquire, where are we to look for experienced seamen to man our navy in case of foreign war? We can build vessels of war in a few weeks when the emergency arises. With our resources of timber, and iron and copper, and every material entering into the construction of our vessels, we can build ships at short notice in our private shipyards, even if we cannot in our navy yards, but efficient and hardy sailors come only from the training and experience of years of toil and danger upon the sea."
This brief extract illustrates Mr. Crapo's logical, direct method of making an argument. When occasion presents itself, he is capable of rising to heights of eloquence equalled by few who sit in the National Capitol. The following passage is from a brief speech occasioned by the presentation to the United States, April 22, 1880, of Thomas Jefferson's writing desk on which was written the original draft of the Declaration of Independence. Mr. Crapo offered a joint resolution of acceptance and in closing his eloquent remarks said:—
What memories crowd upon us with the mention of these names. Washington, the soldier, whose sword was drawn for the independence of his country; Franklin, the philosopher, the benefactor of his race, who with simple maxims pointed out the road to wealth and who disarmed the lightning and the thunderbolt; Jefferson, the accomplished and enthusiastic scholar, whose marvelous genius and masterly pen gave form to that immortal paper which proclaimed liberty to all mankind. These are names never to be forgotten. These men were the founders of the Republic. Their name and fame are secure, and in the centuries which are to follow will be treasured by a grateful and loving people among their choicest possessions. Mr. Speaker, the nation gladly accepts and will sacredly keep this invaluable relic. The article itself may be inconsiderable, but with this simple desk we associate a grand achievement. Upon it was written the great charter of civil liberty, the Declaration of American Independence. We pay to the heroic hand who signed that wager of battle the honors which are paid to the heroes of the battlefield. It was not valor alone which secured to us self-government. The leaders in the revolt against the tyranny and the established institutions of the old world had courage of opinion and were full of mature wisdom and incorruptible patriotism. The men who signed the paper pledging their lives, their fortunes and their sacred honor in support of the Declaration, and who made their fearless appeal to God and the world in behalf of the rights of mankind, were both lion-hearted and noble-minded.
Upon this desk was written in words as pure and true as the word of inspiration that document which opened up 'a new era in the history of the civilized world.' Its fit resting place is with the nation's choicest treasures. It is a precious memorial of Jefferson, more eloquent and suggestive than any statue of marble or bronze which may commemorate his deeds. In accepting it in the name of the nation we recognize the elevated private character, the eminent virtue, the profound knowledge, the lofty statesmanship, and the sincere patriotism of Jefferson, and we honor him as the father of popular government and as the great apostle of liberty.
To the pledge of safe custody with which we accept this gift, we join the solemn promise that with still greater fidelity we will guard the inheritance of free institutions which has come to us through the valor of Washington and the wisdom of Jefferson, and that we will faithfully transmit, undimmed and unbroken, their richest legacies—"Liberty and the Union."
At the Republican State Convention held in Worcester, September 21, 1881, Congressman Crapo was chosen president, and made an address which was regarded as a splendid defence of the Republican Party. In its course he said:
"No occupation is more honorable than the public service. The desire to engage in it is a worthy one. The ambition to hold and properly discharge the duties of a position under the government is creditable to the citizen. The public offices in this country should be as freely open to all as are places in other vocations of life. No man should be debarred by birth, or locality, or race, or religious, or political belief from engaging in the public service. To deserve this he should not be required to render partisan service or personal allegiance to any party leader, nor be compelled to purchase the favor or patronage of any public official. The public offices are a public trust, to be held and administered with the same exact justice and the same conscientious regard for the responsibilities involved as are required in the execution of private trusts. The test for appointments should be superior qualifications, and not partisan attachment nor partisan service; continuance in office should depend upon real merit demonstrated in the actual performance of duties and not upon the urgency of Congressmen or petitions of other citizens."
Of Mr. Crapo it may justly be said that on every occasion of life in which he has been called upon for any duty, he has always risen adequate to the occasion, and even exceeded in his efforts the most sanguine expectations of his friends. He has much of that reserve power which does not manifest itself until it is wanted, and then the supply is equal to the demand.
* * * * *
THE AUTHORITATIVE LITERATURE OF THE CIVIL WAR.
By George Lowell Austin.
At the present time, everything bearing upon the history of the American civil war has special interest. Nearly a quarter of a century has passed since the struggle began, and during the interval asperities have died away and peace and harmony hover over a united people.
During the war and in the years immediately following its cessation, a number of soldiers and civilians wrote histories, on the Union side, some of these being careful and exhaustive studies of limited fields of action, and others of the entire field of operations. It necessarily happened, however, that, owing to misconceptions arising from their opposite points of view, their lack of personal knowledge, and the absence of authentic documentary evidence, these writers were not always able to penetrate the plans and purposes of the Confederate leaders, or even to describe with entire accuracy the part borne by the Confederate troops in particular engagements.
As time goes on, the deficiency is being met, and the memoirs of those Confederate soldiers and civilians who bore a prominent part in the struggle, either in the field or the council chamber, and who had a full knowledge of the facts, are fast coming to light, and are perused with more than common interest by military actors and students. The true and exhaustive history of the civil war cannot be written until all the facts shall have been made known. Even then, the reader must always bear in mind who states the facts, and also that the truth is oftener found in the memoir of some gallant and straightforward soldier than in that of a politician.
Of the myriad of bound volumes and pamphlets called forth by the war, a very large number have long since been consigned to oblivion. Many of these were written to bolster up personal ambitions, interests, rivalries and jealousies, while as many more were composed, without regard to facts, to gain dollars and cents. Of none of these productions need anything further be said.
Comparatively speaking, there were but few books relating to the war and published during the war that deserve to be recalled. After the war, quite a number were issued, and, within the last ten years, a large number have appeared, all destined to rank as "authorities" for the future historian. The purpose of the present series of articles is, to give such information in regard to these publications, as shall guide students in mapping out a course of reading, and shall assist persons entrusted with the selection of standard books on war history for use in city and town libraries.
The suggestions and information herein offered are, at their best, only random notes. No special plan, or classification, will be followed by the writer; his sole aim being to include only what is absolutely worthy and "authoritative."
THE AMERICAN CONFLICT:—A History of the Great Rebellion in the United States of America, 1860-64: Its Causes, Incidents, and Results. Intended to exhibit especially its Moral and Political Phases, with the Drift and Progress of American opinion respecting Human Slavery, from 1776 to the close of the War for the Union. By Horace Greeley. Illustrated, 2 volumes. pp. 648, 679. Hartford: O.D. Case and Company.
This work was composed, with the aid of an amanuensis, in the early hours of the morning, before the beginning of the editorial tasks of each day. Mr. Greeley's long connection with the Tribune, as its editor-in-chief, tended to make him more familiar with American politics from 1830 to 1860 than almost any other of his contemporaries, and when he proposed to himself to write the history of the American civil war, he could justly claim to have full knowledge of the causes which had led to it. In the preface to his first volume (1864) he stated frankly that "the History of the civil war will not and cannot now be written." All that he hoped to accomplish, then, was to write a political rather than a military history of the great struggle. He succeeded, and his work deserves to rank as one of the most valuable, and, so far as it goes, accurate and impartial narratives of the contest.
The first volume treats chiefly of the causes and events which culminated in secession, while the second volume (1866) depicts, without embellishment, the military and political victories which ended in the restoration of peace. The author cherished the belief that the war was "the unavoidable result of antagonisms imbedded in the very nature of our heterogeneous institutions: that ours was indeed an 'irrepressible conflict,' which might have been prevented."
In its military portions the work is decidedly weak, and much of interest and value is omitted. For facts, the author relied chiefly on Moore's Rebellion Record, Victor's History of the Southern Rebellion, (embracing important data not found in the Record) and Pollard's Southern History of the War. After a later survey of the war-literature, Mr. Greeley felt justified in the candid claim that his work "is one of the clearest statements yet made of the long chain of causes which led irresistibly to the war for the Union, showing why that war was the righteous and natural consequence of the American people's general and guilty compliance in the crime of upholding and diffusing Human Slavery."
This work won such popular favor that it soon reached a sale of one hundred thousand copies. But when, in 1867, its distinguished author signed the bail-bond of Jefferson Davis, its sale was suddenly checked. The act was an unselfish one; its propriety, however, was questioned by many persons. Whether, on account of it, Mr. Greeley be blamed or applauded, his work merits commendation as a valuable authority on the political history of the American civil war, and ought always, as such, to be consulted.
THE HISTORY OF THE CIVIL WAR IN AMERICA:—Comprising a full and impartial account of the Origin and Progress of the Rebellion, of the various Naval and Military Engagements, of the Heroic Deeds performed by Armies and Individuals, and of Touching scenes in the Field, the Camp, the Hospital, and the Cabin. By John S.C. Abbott. Illustrated. 2 vols. pp. 507, 629. Norwich. Conn: The Henry Bill Publishing Company.
The author of the Life of Napoleon Bonaparte was never too particular in regard to his facts, but those which he made use of he could array with such skill as to completely captivate the judgment of the unwary. In his History of the Civil War, all the enthusiasm of the writer, his easy flow of rhetoric, his vast fund of anecdote, and his characteristic inability to discriminate between truth and falsity, assert themselves. The chief importance of the work consists in its treatment of events, as army-correspondents saw them, and, hence, it comprises many minor features, usually omitted by more sober historians. As a political history, it is almost worthless; as a military history, it is even worse. Still, it possesses a marked value, for the reason already stated, and is attractive by reason of its numerous illustrations, all engraved on steel from original designs,—comprising portraits, battle-scenes, diagrams and maps. The first volume was printed in 1863; the second in 1865.
A HISTORY OF THE CIVIL WAR IN AMERICA:—By The Comte de Paris. Translated with the approval of the author. Edited by Henry Coppee, LL.D. 3 volumes. 8vo, pp. 640, 820, 954. Philadelphia: Porter and Coates.
The first volume of this work was published in 1875, the second in 1876, and the third in 1883. A fourth volume is now in course of preparation, and will conclude the series.
The prime qualifications of a historian, dispassionateness and thoroughness, are everywhere manifest in the splendid work of the Count of Paris. His is the first attempt to produce a full and complete history of the civil war, based upon official records both of the North and of the South. The whole narrative exhibits unsparing and successful research, calm judgment, temperance alike in praise and censure, and an earnest endeavor to deal justly and fairly with both sides of the great conflict and the actors in each. There are chapters in the work which will always provoke discussion, and some of the author's conclusions in special instances may be controverted; still, the great merits of the work, as a whole, cannot but be generally and cordially recognized.
The work is distinctly a military history, without, however, ignoring purely civil transactions when an account of them is needed to throw light on the military movements. The author's theory, relative to the origin of the war may be stated thus:—The South saw that, as the North increased in prosperity, it was decreasing, and was losing the balance of power which it had always held since the adoption of the Constitution. It determined, therefore, to force slavery into the new States and Territories; and, failing in this, it foresaw but two alternatives,—either to give up the cause as lost, or to initiate a conflict and a satisfactory peace from its opponents. It chose the latter, and was thwarted.
The first volume treats of the American army, past and present, of Secession, and the events of the war to the Spring of 1862; the second volume continues the narrative of events from Gen. McClellan's Peninsula Campaign to the issuing of the Emancipation Proclamation. The author, in considering the relations of the commanding general to the administration, praises the former and blames the latter; and, in commending the campaign, shows himself a poor master of the art of war, and in some respects an indifferent critic of practical military operations. The Count of Paris wrote these chapters in 1874.—twelve years after the events, and with ample testimony at his command. It is strange that he could not reach the conclusion, then and now commonly held, that McClellan's treatment of President Lincoln throughout his entire career seems to have been highly insubordinate and apparently based upon the idea that he regarded himself as the nation's only hope, forgetting that to a free people no man has ever become indispensable, however powerful his intellect or exalted his virtues. Barring certain conclusions which are open to easy controversion, the narrative is exceedingly careful, graphic, and in the main truthful.
The third volume (1883) is translated and edited by Col. John S. Nicholson of Philadelphia, and covers the eventful year 1863,—the operations and movements on the Rapidan and the disaster to the union arms at Chancellorsville,—the movements upon Vicksburg, Gettysburg, and the retreat of Lee's array to Virginia. Closer attention is paid, in this volume, to the legislation, administration, finances, resources, temper, and condition generally of the North and the South, and valuable accounts are given of the organization at the North of the signal corps, the medical and hospital service, the military telegraph, the system of railroad transportation for military purposes, the soldiers' homes, and the sanitary and other commissions.
As a whole, and so far as published, the work purports to give an accurate account of what took place in all quarters of the theatre of war, and is generally successful. It never errs on the side of partisanship, but occasionally through ignorance or misapplication of facts. From first to last, it is an honest and straightforward narrative, at times eloquent and at times vivacious. The reader is bored by no flights of rhetoric; but students will always lament a lack of philosophical tone and critical appreciation of men and events. The maps and plans, which are numerous and are furnished from official sources, are all that could be desired.
REMINISCENCES OF FORTS SUMTER AND MOULTRIE IN 1860-61. By Abner Doubleday, Brevet Major General, U.S.A. 1 vol. 12mo pp. 184. New York, Harper & Brothers.
The author bore an honorable and responsible part in the actual outbreak of hostilities between the national government and the revolted states, and in this book he gives a simple and faithful recital of some of the more important facts. Though so misrepresented by certain critics, the book is not an attack on Major Anderson's character; on the contrary, it clearly shows, and attempts to show, that that commander firmly subdued all considerations and devices which seemed inconsistent with his duty as a soldier of the United States, and held himself ready to be sacrificed to the trust given him. General (then Captain, 1st artillery U.S.A.) Doubleday was at Fort Sumter during the bombardment, and, as might be expected, his volume gives many incidents of the life of the little besieged band, and of the siege itself, which appear here for the first time, and which throw fresh light upon the conduct and principles of both parties to the conflict. As a personal narrative, it is one of the most charming and instructive relating to the war. The book was published in 1876.
* * * * *
By G.A. Litchfield.
It is the purpose of this article to fairly treat the subject under consideration and to set forth such claims only as can be sustained to the satisfaction of candid and unprejudiced minds. It will not be assumed that the science of Assessment Insurance is perfected; on the contrary, our most advanced thinkers upon the subject are those who see most clearly its defects, and are laboring most assiduously to correct them. Grave obstacles have been encountered in their endeavors to perfect the system. Those who have written upon the subject in the public press have been largely such as have given it but a cursory study, or such as have been totally unfit to discuss it from an impartial standpoint by reason of preconceived notions or prejudices in favor of the level premium system of insurance, if, indeed, they have not been retained for a consideration by that gigantic moneyed monopoly.
So largely has prejudice controlled in the consideration of the subject, that those who have sought judicious and stringent legislation to correct abuses, and to bring the business under equally careful and official supervision as that given other forms of insurance, with a view to making it permanently subserve public interests, have been more than once defeated in their laudable endeavors, because they insisted that no legislation could meet the necessities of the case that did not contemplate it as a permanent institution. Great advances have been made however in the last three or four years, and much that was objectionable has been corrected. Wise legislation has been secured in many States. At the last session of her legislature, Massachusetts signalized an important step in advance, by enacting a law whose provisions indicate an intelligent comprehension of the subject on the part of her legislators, unsurpassed by those of any other State. It has already begun to correct existing evils, as its advocates foresaw it would do.
Several companies dishonestly and incompetently conducted have found it impossible to longer prey upon a too confiding public.
The collapse of fraudulent concerns has furnished an occasion for the enemies of the system to cry out against the system itself, but thinking men are not deceived thereby. As was recently remarked by a distinguished ex-insurance Commissioner of Massachusetts, "Assessment Insurance has come to stay." There is not, as has been claimed by its opponents, anything inherent in the system that fore-dooms it to early and inevitable collapse.
Assessment insurance is natural insurance as against artificial. In the early establishment of life insurance companies, everything was assumption, there was little or no experience to guide in formulating the principles upon which the business should be conducted. There was partial information, it is true, upon certain general facts pertaining to longevity or to mortality laws, under certain conditions, but nothing that could give substantial data upon which to base mathematical calculations for the establishment of a science. Under those conditions, rates of premium were fixed for insurance at the different ages which the experience of many years has shown to be very much higher than is required to meet reasonable expenses, and losses occurring from policies maturing by death.
A rate of mortality was assumed greater than experience has shown to prevail among well selected lives. The important element of lapses was not considered, an element so considerable in its practical bearing upon the requirements of the company to meet its liabilities, that of one million of assumed liabilities upon say one thousand lives, only about $77.000 become actual liabilities by reason of policies maturing by death of the insured.
Assessment insurance instructed by the experience of life companies, adjusts its plans and methods upon the natural basis of fact, and not the artificial one of supposition. It tabulates its rates according to the combined experience of all American companies, requiring the insured to pay a sum proportionate to the amount assured, and to his life expectancy.
It places its risks upon carefully selected lives only, requiring a competent medical examination of the applicant, having regard to his previous health and habits, his occupation or profession, his family history, and such other circumstances as should properly be considered in calculating probable longevity.
We assert without fear, that we shall be successfully controverted, that there is as great care and discrimination exercised in the placing of risks by our representation assessment companies, as in any other form of insurance. Time was when this claim could not have been supported by facts, but that time is not now. Our conservative assessment companies,—and there are many of them that can be fairly so styled, ignore none of the scientific principles upon which life insurance depends for its permanent success. They do believe however that their methods of conducting the business will conserve the interests of a far greater number, and relieve them of a large proportion of the burdens imposed by the older and more cumbersome form.
Assessment companies call upon their policy-holders for such sums as are required to meet actual losses, together with a small amount for expenses and for an emergency fund. Mortuary assessments are called only when there is an amount in hand on that account, insufficient to meet the maximum sum for which a policy is issued. They may be called at stated periods, or as the exigencies of the case shall require. Objection is made to this method that it is unreliable, and cannot be depended upon when the mortality is from any cause unusual or excessive.
It is not claimed by the best informed advocates of assessment insurance, that direct assessments should be the sole reliance of the company. Some other provision should be made which is referred to later in this article, but the main dependence is upon assessments.
If companies are honestly and capably conducted, and risks judiciously selected, there is nothing in the experience of life companies to indicate that mortality assessments on the average will be sufficiently burdensome to seriously threaten the permanence of the institution. Where disaster has been visited upon assessment companies, the cause has been easily traceable to incompetent or dishonest conduct of the business, and utter disregard of the foundation principles of all insurance. It has in no instance been fairly chargeable to defects in the system. With the record before us of our best assessment companies, faithfully and competently administered, paying their losses promptly, at a cost to the insured for a term of years, of one third to one half only, of that in level premium companies, what reason is there for the insuring public withdrawing their patronage.
But we admit that it is not sound policy to depend upon assessments alone, and this view is held by most if not all, who have studied the subject in its various aspects. While for many years, and perhaps indefinitely, a company might be successfully conducted, if under a competent management, depending solely upon assessments, yet contingencies arc liable to arise in which it will be evident that true conservatism and wise forethought would have held in hand some funds for use without imposing, at that particular time, the burden of an assessment upon the policy holders.
The advocates of such conservatism have been met with the argument that it is contrary to the principle of assessment insurance, and a concession to the theory of the level premium plan. But the reply is that the requirements of an assessment company in the form of an emergency or reserve are in no sense comparable with those of a level premium company, and the application of it is upon an entirely different principle, and for an altogether different purpose.
An assessment company may need funds in hand to relieve its members of an assessment when otherwise they might be overburdened, because the death rate fluctuates in different years. Or again, in case of a depleted membership from any cause, the assessment company would need funds in hand to supply any deficiency in the proceeds of an assessment below the face of the maturing obligation. For either purpose a comparatively small sum is required, while the level premium company must pile up tens of millions of overpayments to cover the requirements of the principle on which it conducts its business. It is susceptible of mathematical demonstration that one or two millions of dollars of reserve is adequate to perpetuate any well conducted assessment company for all time, however large or small it may be, while the spectacle is presented to us of level premium life companies holding fifty to one hundred millions of accumulations belonging to their policy holders, from which no possible benefit, in most cases, will ever accrue to them. We therefore emphasize the proposition that a system of insurance that relieves the insurer of one half the pecuniary burden he is compelled to bear under the level premium system, is one that is worthy of fair treatment on the part of a discriminating public, and that the people cannot afford to have impeded in its usefulness by ignorance, prejudice, or moneyed monopolies. We repeat the claim for assessment insurance that it is natural as against artificial insurance.
It is pure insurance as against insurance and banking combined.
It is within the comprehension of ordinary minds. It is adapted to the wants of the people, because they can easily avail themselves of it, and as easily discontinue it without material or considerable loss.
It is within the reach of a much greater proportion of the people on account of its small comparative cost, and the ease with which payments can be made in small amounts. More than sixteen hundred thousand of the citizens of this country are now availing themselves of its advantages, as against about six hundred thousand in level premium companies while the former represent more than thirty-seven hundred millions of insurance, as against about fifteen hundred millions represented by the latter.
The disbursements of assessment companies to families of deceased members reach the munificent sum of more than twenty-two millions of dollars annually. The national organization of Mutual Benefit Assessment Associations of America is exerting a most healthful influence in elevating the standard of those companies that comprise its membership. It embraces organizations from all of the principal States of the Union, and its influence is strongly on the side of scientific and conservative methods and practices.
To be eligible to membership, a company must have its rates of assessment graded according to one, or the combined standard mortality tables, take proper precautions in selection of risks, protect new members at any time in its history against an excessive number of assessments, either by increasing the rate of assessment with advancing years or by accumulating a fund in lieu of advancing rates, will make a full exhibit of its policy data annually to the Convention. This standard upon its publication, compelled favorable recognition upon the part of level premium journals.
Thus assessment insurance has gradually placed itself upon a higher and more scientific basis, until it has commended itself to the most intelligent and thoughtful, and in its wonderful growth outstripped its older and less popular rival, until its obligations to the families of the insured exceed those of level premium insurance to the amount of about two thousand millions of dollars.
A Bureau of Insurance has been established under the auspices of the National Organization whose object is to gather and compile statistics relating to all phases of assessment insurance, such as the experience of companies with agents and medical examiners, the comparative cost of carrying various classes of risks and in short, everything in the practical working of the business by the companies comprising its membership, that may furnish data for a more scientific basis, and more satisfactory results in the future.
Many assessment insurance companies are not what they ought to be, but there are those worthy of confidence and patronage, whose managers are making the business a careful study, and bringing to its administration, honesty of purpose and large executive ability.
If the insuring public will learn to discriminate and place their risks in the best assessment companies, remembering that insurance in any good company must cost a reasonable amount, they need have no apprehension as to the result.
* * * * *
THE HERO OF LAKE ERIE.
ORATION DELIVERED AT THE UNVEILING OF HIS STATUE AT NEWPORT, R.I., SEPT. 10, 1885.
By Hon. William P. Sheffield.
The battle of Lake Erie was fought seventy-two years ago to-day; and we have convened to dedicate to the public and to posterity a statue in memory of the Commander of the American fleet on that occasion,
Oliver Hazard Perry needs no monument of bronze or marble to commemorate his name, or to illustrate his glory. History has taken these into its keeping and will preserve them for posterity, while genius in battle and heroic valor and unfaltering energy in the performance of high duty, receive the homage of the American people.
Wherever the patriotism of the citizen is the only reliance for the defence of the nation, the people owe it to themselves to show their appreciation of the conduct of those persons who have arisen among them that have been public benefactors, and have conferred distinction upon their localities. They owe it to those who may come after them, that they so manifest their gratitude that it will inspire succeeding generations with a due sense of patriotism, and be an incentive to them to rise above narrow and sinister purposes to the plane of exalted virtues, and be stimulated to the performance of great actions.
Citizens of South Kingstown, the town in which he was born,—of Newport, where he was reared, had his home in mature life, and is buried;—together with the State and people at large, who have participated in his glory, have been impelled by this common sense of obligation to undertake the erection of a memorial statue of Commodore Perry, a task, the execution of which was committed to a native artist, and here is the artist's finished work.
The statue is designed to represent Perry, not as he was superintending the cutting down of the forest for the construction of his ships; not as he was meditating the plan of the battle of Lake Erie or the order of its execution; not as he appeared the evening previous to the action advising his subordinate commanders in the words of Nelson, "No captain can do wrong if he places his ship alongside of that of an enemy;" nor as he was opening the battle flag which bore upon its folds the dying words of a gallant captain; not as he was leaving his wrecked ship with the deck strewed with his dead and dying comrades, when by the received cannons of naval warfare the Lawrence and the battle were lost; but as he appeared in that supreme moment of his life, when he had just gained the deck of the Niagara, before he had recovered his knocked-off cap, and while in distinct succession he was giving orders to "Back the main-top-sail," "Brail-up the main-try-sail," "Helm up" "Square the yards," "Bear down on the enemy's line," "Set the top-gallant-sail," "Hoist the signal for close action," orders which infused new enthusiasm into all the American crews; and as pendant answered pendant, from mast-head to mast-head indicating the reception of the order to break the enemy's lines, hearty cheers went up from the entire American force with a fervor that presaged the result of the impending death struggle.
In contemplating this statue, we should consider the circumstances in which Perry was placed, and the events impending when the artist has undertaken to represent him, as well as in the light of Perry's conduct thereafter and the results therefrom, reflected back upon this critical juncture in his career. For the battle of Lake Erie did not create, but illustrated and brought out in bold outline, the real character of the man.
The crews of the American fleet were of a mixed character. Perry sent from Newport one hundred and forty-nine men and three boys in three detachments. Half of one of these detachments was detained by Commodore Chauncey on Lake Ontario; but shortly before the battle Perry received from that officer a considerable accession to his force. Upon his arrival at Lake Erie, Perry found a few men in the service of the Government on the Lake, and the remainder of his men were made up of new recruits, with a contingent taken from the North Western army of men, naturally brave but without experience on ship-board. Perry had arrayed against him skillful officers who had been taught the art of war, and the methods of victory under Nelson. Brave and highly disciplined seamen in whose vocabulary defeat had had no place, with recruits like Perry's taken from the army, and an auxiliary force of Indian sharp-shooters.
The character of a naval engagement is not to be determined alone by the number of men, the tonnage of the ships, or the weight of the metal involved in the conflict. These are elements to be considered, and in the battle of Lake Erie all of these elements were against the American fleet, but the surrounding and attending circumstances, the conduct of the battle, and the results depending upon its issue are the considerations which go to make the place in the minds of succeeding generations which the event is to occupy. History has not had committed to it for preservation the story of the organization of a fleet, and the conduct of a battle the result of which was more dependent upon the genius, knowledge, energy, and courage of a single individual, than was the battle of Lake Erie.
Other commanders have fought in ships completely equipped for service by other hands, but Perry had to construct, equip, arm and man his ships, and in person to take two of them in succession into action; and it may be well questioned whether he is not entitled to as much credit for his intelligent comprehension of the wants of the occasion, his energy, and perseverance in collecting the materials to supply those wants, and in making up his fleet, as for his genius and courage in action.
Perry, in the beginning, was unfortunate in having succeeded an officer who, in the engagement was his subordinate in command, and in anticipating a ranking officer in bringing on the conflict; but the surrounding circumstances and the positive orders of the Secretary of the Navy made his meeting the enemy a necessity.
The outcome of the attempts which had been made by the Government for the defence of this section of the country had not been such as to inspire sanguine hopes of the result of this action.
The Adams, the only vessel the United States had upon the Lake before the construction of Perry's ships, had been captured. General Hull had ignobly surrendered his force to the enemy at the head of the Lake, General Winchester's army had been lost to the Government, and General Van Rensselaer had been defeated at Niagara.
Perry was to act in conjunction with the northwestern army, under General Harrison, then awaiting the result of the battle to be transported across the Lake, in the event of a victory, to operate against the enemy in his own territory.
Perry's earnest appeal to Chauncey for men, backed by the promise that if he got them he would acquire honor and glory both for Chauncey and himself, or he would perish in the attempt, should be considered in connection with his appeal to the same officer to bring the men, and take command of the fleet. Together they show that the first appeal was not the result of an ambitious desire for vain glory; no mere impulse of emotion or passion; but the outcome of a high resolve wrought in the laboratory of a noble soul, born of that deliberate purpose which permeated his subsequent conduct in the action and which is recorded in the bronze before us.
The men from the army were animated for a desperate exertion; with them the slaughter at the river Raisin was to be redressed, and its repetition in the northwest was to be made impossible. In this disposition for redress the seamen heartily sympathized, for the war was a contest for Sailors' Rights. The American Flag then trailed in the dust, but it was to be restored to its appropriate place in the esteem of the men in that section of the country. With a crew animated by these motives, Perry went into action with the Lawrence and fought the enemy almost single-handed until all the guns of his ship were dismounted, and all but eight of her gallant crew that he left on board, were either killed or wounded, when with a boat's crew he left the Lawrence, boarded and took command of the Niagara, and it is at this moment in the conflict the artist has undertaken to represent him.
Barclay said in his report to the British Admiralty, that when Perry boarded the Niagara, that vessel was fresh in action. Up to that time she had been beyond the effective reach of the enemy's guns, but under her new commander there was no halting in her course as she bore down to break and pass through the enemy's ranks. Every brace and bowline were taut, and every man on board, apprised of what was expected of him, was soon at his post of duty; each, as he took his position, cast a hasty glance at Perry's battle flag then flying from the masthead of the Niagara, and as he took in the dying words of the noble Lawrence, formed a solemn resolve to obey their mandate and made that resolve a sacrament.
As she went into action, the Niagara belched forth a broadside at the Detroit and the Queen Charlotte, then a broadside at the Chippawa, the Lady Provost and the Hunter. These broadsides were repeated in rapid succession with terrific effect. The other American vessels, now in action, whose crews were inspired by the daring of their fleet commander, imitated his example and the combined result was such as Britons could not endure. The eagles of victory soon perched in triumph on the mastheads of the American fleet, and Perry had won the battle which James Madison, then President, said "had never been surpassed in lustre, however much it may have been surpassed in magnitude."
After the action, Perry returned to the Lawrence, changed the dress of a common sailor for an undress uniform, that he might appropriately receive the surrender of the enemy on board the vessel that had been in the hardest of the fight and had suffered most from it; and that the remnant of her gallant crew might witness the submission of the foe which had caused their sufferings.
That relief from apprehension for the safety of the fleet might be given to General Harrison and the settlers on the widely extended domain about the Lake, Perry penned and dispatched to that general a hasty note, in words familiar, and destined to be immortal, telling him "We have met the enemy and they are ours," and another like hasty note, to the Secretary of the Navy, informing that officer that, "It has pleased the Almighty to give to the arms of the United States a signal victory over their enemies on this lake. The British squadron consisting of two ships, two brigs, one schooner and one sloop, have this moment surrendered to the force under my command after a sharp conflict." There is nothing of the valor of the pen or of the exaggeration of self from the ink horn in this concise and expressive note.
The enemy's surrender was gracefully received. Perry soon visited the wounded Barclay, and tendered him every service that it was in his power to render, and every possible attention was given to the wounded of both fleets. Then came the roll-call to see who had answered the final summons to duty on the field of honor, who had received marks of courage in the fight, and who had gone through the dreadful ordeal of battle unscathed. It was then that the tears of sorrow mingled with the exultations of victory which soon were to be shouted along the line of every highway and by-way, from hamlet to village, from village to town, and from town to city, throughout the land.
Perry wrote to Governor Brooks of Massachusetts a letter condoling with him on the fall of his gallant son in action; for while Perry's brow was laurelled with the wreath of victory, he did not forget that there were mourners weeping for brave hearts which in the fight had been forever put to rest.
The name of Perry was now made a household word from the great Northern Lakes to the Gulf of Mexico, from the Atlantic Coast to the impenetrated wilderness of the West, often repeated at the baptismal font; and a nation's gratitude was soon laid at his feet. As humane in victory as he had been brave in action, his generous kindness won the admiration of Barclay, and his dying comrades showered upon him their blessings and remembered him in their final prayers.
Prayers of gratitude to that Almighty Power which had given victory to the American arms went up from every fireside throughout the Northwest; and mothers pressed their children more closely to their breasts as they thought themselves to be henceforth secure from the scalping-knife of Indian barbarity, and that the savage war-whoop would no more break the sleep of the cradle.
At night-fall many of the dead with all due solemnity were tenderly committed to the deep. The wounded had all been visited and their wants attended to; the worn and weary now sought repose, and a solemn oppressive silence soon pervaded the fleet, save here and there a sound of distress from the wounded. The Captain now retired for reflection, for his mind and heart were too full for rest. He then thought of his young devoted wife whose prayers he believed had been his shield in battle; that his work was yet incomplete while the British had an army on the borders of the Lake, or in Upper Canada,—how he could best aid General Harrison's army; and then resolved on the work of the morrow; when, soothed by reflection, his tired nature gave out, and he, too, sank into a fitful slumber.
The mind of Barclay, relieved of present responsibility, evolved other less pressing but more pensive thoughts. He thought not of himself or his bleeding wound, for he had bled before for his country, when he earned his stars and made his fame secure at Trafalgar; but as the sun went down that night he thought that no more in the evening twilight would the mariners of England standing under the cross of St. George, on that great inland water, sing their national song, "Brittania rules the waves;" no more the echoes of that stirring air rolling over the silver surface of the Lake to its islands and shores would arouse the sturdy dwellers there to join in glad unison in those lofty strains which everywhere, the world over, melt into one every true and loyal British heart. He then was moved by the sadder thought, that on that night the sun of British power which had hitherto dominated the great Northern Lakes of America had gone down forever.
Perry's available vessels were now taken to transport General Harrison's army across the Lake, and up the Detroit river. The Lawrence, as soon as she was put into condition took on board the wounded of both fleets, and under the command of the gallant but wounded Yarnell carried them to Erie. The other vessels were repaired and fitted for other duties, or were to return to Erie.
Perry accompanied General Harrison as a volunteer aid, and participated and bore an honorable part in the battle of the Thames, as he had done in the battle of Fort George, under Chauncey, before the engagement on the Lake.
Upon his return to Detroit, he found a letter from the Secretary of Navy thanking and congratulating him for the eminent services he had rendered his country; and, as he had performed the duty committed to him, granting him leave to visit his family at Newport.
But Perry was first to return to Erie, which he had left the 12th of August. The news of the result of the battle had long preceded his arrival and the people had there been watching and waiting his coming. On the 23d of October, the Aerial, the last vessel of the fleet to leave the head of the lake, came within sight of Erie. She had on board General Harrison, who had then lately defeated General Procter at the Thames, the wounded Barclay, and Commodore Perry. The people from the surrounding country crowded into Erie to welcome the arrival of the victors. Barclay was taken to Perry's quarters and there properly cared for by Harrison and Perry.
The Lawrence was anchored in Misery Bay, in the harbor of Erie, maimed and battered and scarcely able to float, yet having on board her precious freight brought across the lake; Perry now visited this ship, and as he reached her blood-stained deck and beheld his surviving comrades and thought of those who had been in the fight, that were not then on board, he reverently raised his hands in fervent supplication to Him who giveth the victory not always to the strong, to heal the wounds, and bless, and raise up, the sufferers around him; and to sustain and help the widows and orphans the battle had made; and in thanksgiving for the preservation of those who had survived the conflict unhurt. He then returned to the shore to meet the vast concourse of people awaiting his arrival. The dead and the disabled men, the dismounted guns and the broken and tattered ships, told the story of the battle and the price of the victory with more eloquence than the most brilliant imagination could compass. These visible evidences of the strife for the mastery indicated the valor and the woe, incident to the ordeal which had been passed, with an energy and pathos which overpowered the most obdurate will; and the multitude greeted Harrison and Perry with tears and smiles,—rain in sunshine with a heartiness that language is too poor and barren to describe. The living had earned their title to everlasting gratitude, and the dead had fallen as the brave desire to fall, at the post of duty and on the field of victory.
Perry now procured the parole and release of Barclay, and after arranging for his absence started eastward on his journey home; but his progress was everywhere obstructed by evidences of the gratitude of his countymen for his great action. On Monday, the 15th of November, attended by the faithful crew that rowed him to the Niagara, he arrived in Newport, by way of the south-ferry. Here, he was received upon his arrival in a manner alike worthy of his neighbors and friends and of himself.
August 23d, 1819, at the age of thirty-four, he died of yellow fever, at Port Spain in the Island of Trinidad. His remains were brought to Newport in a government ship, and were interred December 4th. 1826. They were conducted to their final resting place by a funeral cortege such as up to that time had never been equalled and since that time has here never been surpassed.
This is but a glance at the man, and the event to which we are here to-day to rear this tribute of our gratitude. There are other names and other figures that come up to view in the memory and gather around the name of Perry, of men who were efficient auxiliaries in the conflict, shared the dangers, and participated in the glory of the battle of Lake Erie, and who are inseparably connected with that event.
Turner, Taylor, Champlin, Almy, Breese, Brownell, and the acting fleet surgeon Parsons were from Rhode Island; Forest, Brook, Stevens, Hambleton, Yarnell and others not less distinguished, were from other states; and the gallant commander of the northwest-army, and his comrades in arms, whom Perry accompanied to the field on the 5th of October, in the battle of the Thames, where Perry's victory was made complete by driving the organized forces of the enemy from upper Canada, are deserving of our remembrance to-day.
To your Excellency the Governor, representing the people of Rhode Island; To your Honor, the Mayor, representing the people of Newport:—
The Committee charged with the duty of providing and erecting this statue of Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry, has performed the work committed to it, and through you dedicate it to the people of the State, and of this city you represent, as the result of its labors. It is not for the committee to comment upon the statue which has been formed and erected under its direction, but with great satisfaction the artist's finished work is submitted to the candid criticism of all who are capable of forming an intelligent judgment upon its merits. Take the statue for those whom you represent, let it be kept as a cherished treasure by the people of the State at large, and especially by the people of the city of Newport. Let no vandal hand deface the monumental bronze. Let it stand defying the wastes of time and the power of the elements, keeping pace with history in its march through coming ages in recalling to each succeeding generation the man and the event which this statue is designed to commemorate, ever inspiring ihe young to patriotism, and solacing the aged with the reflection that a grateful people properly appreciate and appropriately reward their benefactors. Let the ideal Perry shadow the passer by and from its high pedestal apparently cast a glance at each beholder, which shall penetrate and permeate his mind and heart, and possess him completely with the noble and generous purpose, and lofty soul which animated Perry on the occasion which the artist has undertaken to represent him.
* * * * *
A MODEL INDUSTRIAL CITY.
By Fanny M. Johnson.
On a sweeping curve of the Connecticut river, about twelve miles north of the Massachusetts and Connecticut boundary line, is the modern manufacturing city of Holyoke, with a present population of 30,000. It is the most extensive paper making city in the world, and the manufacture of paper is but one of many enterprises. The ceaseless water-power of the great river turns the wheels of numerous industries which, within the third of a century, have been located here and have transformed a sparsely settled rural parish into a busy and populous city.
Holyoke is a New England growth. It does not resemble the smoky cities of the iron regions, nor the languid towns of the South. The swift, powerful current of water does its work without confusion, smoke or waste. Pure breezes sweep along the valley through the mountain rifts, and the mountains serve as barriers to ward off heavy gales and destructive tempests. The slope of the land toward the river gives opportunity for healthful drainage and the vicinity of mountain springs and reservoirs supplies a great requisite for a thickly settled city.
The impression which Holyoke makes upon its visitors is of modern thrift and growth. Travellers by railway who enter the city from the north, look with interest at the great dam, crossing the river from the Holyoke to the South Hadley Falls shore. Rounding the curve, the large brick buildings, spires and chimneys of the city come suddenly into view, the tall tower of the granite city hall rising high above the rest. The buildings are modern in structure and architecture. Little is found here that bears the moss and rime of age.
Less than forty years ago, when the railroad was still a novelty in the Connecticut Valley, a party of capitalists came to view the water-power along the rocky bed of the Connecticut River at the point called the Great Rapids, or Falls of South Hadley, which extended over a mile and a half and had a total fall of 60 feet. The volume of water was gauged and found to aggregate a power equal to 30,000 horse-power. This was in 1847. The next Legislature was petitioned by Thomas H. Perkins, Geo. W. Lyman, Edmund Dwight and others for an act of incorporation as the Hadley Falls Company, "for the purpose of constructing and maintaining a dam across the Connecticut River, and one or more locks and canals in connection with said dam; and of creating a water power to be used by the said corporation for manufacturing articles from cotton, wood, iron, wool and other materials, and to be sold to other persons and corporations, to be used for manufacturing or mechanical purposes and also for the purposes of navigation." The capital stock was fixed at $4,000.000. The Hadley Falls Company purchased the property and franchise of the South Hadley Falls Locks and Canal Company, and extinguished the fishing rights existing above the location of the dam.
In the year 1847, this territory embraced by the river-curve had fourteen houses, a grist-mill and one little shop. There was also a small cotton-mill. From the river, the land rises to the westward, and a mile or more back, on the highway leading from Northampton to Springfield, were two hamlets of farmhouses. Many of these are still standing and are all that this very modern city can show as memorials of a past generation. From the year 1786 the section had been known as "Ireland or Third Parish of West Springfield." It had its two little white meeting-houses, Baptist and Congregational, a modest academy of learning, a country tavern, and its full quota of New England customs, traditions and ideas. Nine daily stages passed over this highway. Families moving from one river-town to another usually transported their goods by the flat-boats on the river.
Many of the homesteads had been in the same family name for generations. Ely, Chapin, Day, Hall, Rand, Humeston and Street were some of the names of early settlers handed down with the family acres from father to son, and their graves crowd the rural cemetery beyond the Baptist Village in the southern outskirts of Holyoke. The name of Chapin abounded most on the East side of the river along the fair meadows of "Chicopee Street." In the first church built there all but eleven of the forty-three original members bore the name of Chapin.
On the A Vest side of the river the Elys were most numerous. The oldest house now standing in Holyoke was an Ely homestead. The farm was held in the family for generations and was the home of Enocn Ely, a revolutionary soldier. He fought in the war of the Colonies against Great Britain, and afterwards took a part in the short-lived Shay's Rebellion to resist the taxes imposed after the war. Party spirit was hot and high, and in the rout of the insurgents Ely took to the woods and remained in hiding while the commander of the pursuing party, gratified his feelings by firing bullets into the front doors of Ely's house. These old double-doors with the bullet marks showing in them were replaced by new ones some years ago, but the original doors still exist in a small dwelling-house on the Plains.
The last of the Elys to occupy this stout-built old house were four spinster and bachelor brothers and sisters. After their death the homestead went to a relative and eventually was bought by its present occupant, Mr. Horace Brown. Long before this change took place, Whig, Federal and Tory had gone to their last rest, and they sleep peacefully together in the old burial-ground overlooking the river; their differences ended, their feuds forgotten.
When the Hadley Falls Company began to plan the New City, as for a few years it was called, negotiations were opened with the farmers living along the river-bend and occupying the lands which the new company wished to own. Mr. Geo. C. Ewing was the company's agent, and one after another the land-owners were persuaded to sell their acres. Samuel Ely was an exception. He held fast to his land property, but some twenty years later, when the sandy acres had become a valuable possession, Samuel Ely sold his farm-lands to Messrs. Bowers and Mosher who surveyed and sold it as building lots and it is now known as Depot Hill. Mr. Ely retained through life the old farmhouse where he was born and reared and where he died in 1879.
In the Summer of 1848, a dam was constructed across the Connecticut river by the Hadley Falls Company. It was finished on the morning of Nov. 16, 1848. A great crowd of ten thousand people collected on the river-bank to witness the filling of the pond and closing of the gates. At ten o'clock the gates were let down and the pond began to fill. The massive foundation stones of the bulk-head at the west end began to move under the great pressure. The water had risen to within two feet of the top of the dam when the break began at about one hundred feet from the east end and the structure tipped over and gave way. A massive wall of water and moving timbers rose high in air, (a sight terrific to remember by those who saw it), and with a mighty roar and sweep the great structure went down the stream in ruins.
Great as this disaster was to the Company, there was no yielding to discouragement. The work of reconstruction was begun at once and a second dam of improved pattern was built upon the site and so strongly constructed that it remains a part of the present dam. Eighteen years later it was improved and strengthened by building a front extension, in such a manner that the dam now has a sloping front, giving it the form of a roof, both the old and the new structure being made absolutely solid. The original cost of the structure in 1849 was $150,000. The cost of the extension finished in 1870, was $350,000. By that time the town of Holyoke and its water-power were rapidly realizing the anticipations of its projectors.
The water of the river is distributed through a series of three canals aggregating three and a half miles in length, the power being repeatedly utilized, as after leaving the first level canal, the water flows from the wheels into the canal of the second level, from the second level into the third level, and thence to the river, which completes its perfect curve to the south of the city.
Among the first colonists of the New City were an army of laborers who came to dig and wall the canals. These settled in shanties and cabins near the river-bank. When the great factories were built, a corps of operatives came to work in the mills. As in Lowell, Manchester and other manufacturing towns, many of the factory-girls came from New England homes, and were distinguished for their independence and thrift. A little later, ship-loads of expert weavers were brought from England and Scotland to work in the cotton-mills. A ship called the "North America" brought a load of 130 young Scotch people who shipped from Broomielaw Quay, in April, 1854. They were induced to come by the superior inducements offered here, and some of the best weavers ever employed in the mills came from Scotland. Later there was a large immigration from the Canadas, and from Ireland.
The entire population by the census of 1850 was 3,715. March 14th of that year the town was incorporated, bearing the name of Holyoke, Governor Briggs approving the bill.
The name selected was historical, from Mt. Holyoke, christened some two hundred years before, but its origin was from Elizur Holyoke, one of the early residents of this section.
The town of Holyoke was formerly a portion of Springfield of which Elizur Holyoke was among the early settlers, coming from England when a youth; and his name is identified with its early records. In 1640 he married Mary Pynchon. the tradition of whose grace and loveliness comes down with the musty records of the past, and lingers like a bright, sweet touch of romance among the historical pages of the grim colonial days.
A notable man of his time was Elizur Holyoke, and he was of a committee chosen to explore and ascertain the precise extent of Springfield, which then extended to Northampton and Hadley. A pretty legend of the valley is Dr. J.C. Holland's story, told in most musical verse of the Mountain Christening.
"On a beautiful morning in June, they say, Two hundred and twenty years ago."
Captain Holyoke and Captain Thomas with a little company of stanch followers started out on a survey of the country.
"Holyoke, the gentle and daring, stood On the Eastern bank, with his trusty four, And Rowland Thomas, the gallant and good, Headed the band on the other shore.
The women ran weeping to bid them good-bye, And sweet Mary Pynchon was there (I guess) With a sigh in her throat, and a tear in her eye As Holyoke marched into the wilderness."
The melodious rhyme goes on to describe the journey up the valley and the night camp, where:
"The great falls roared in their ears all night, And the sturgeon splashed, and the wild-cat screamed, And they did not wake till the morning light Red through the willowy branches streamed."
The story of the naming of Mt. Holyoke is told as follows:
"The morning dawned on the double group, Facing each other on opposite shores, Where years ago with a mighty swoop The waters parted the mountain doors."
"Let us christen the mountains!" said Holyoke in glee, "Let us christen the mountains!" said Thomas again, "This mountain for you, and that mountain for me," And their trusty fellows responded "Amen!"
Then Holyoke buried his palm in the stream, And tossed the pure spray toward the mountain brow And said, while it shone in the sun's fierce beam, "Fair mountain, thou art Mt. Holyoke now!"
How much of this rhythmic legend is true and how much imaginary is uncertain; but it is quite probable that in the course of this survey Holyoke's name was given to the mountain, of which Holyoke city is a namesake.
The town so originated and named grew gradually until the breaking out of the civil war, but its most rapid growth has been since 1865. In 1857 the water-power and property were purchased by a company which organized as the Holyoke Water Power Company, and which has fostered and developed the natural advantages of the place as a manufacturing centre to a wonderful degree.
In the first twenty years of its existence the town acquired a population of about 11,000 and a valuation of nearly $10,000,000. In the sixteen years that have succeeded, the population has almost trebled and the valuation this year is nearly $16,000,000.
There is not another city in the east that can show such swift and at the same time substantial growth as Holyoke has enjoyed during the two decades succeeding the war. In a few years it became the greatest paper-making centre of the country. It has now twenty-four large paper-making corporations, one having the largest paper-mill in the world. A long established cotton mannfacturing company employs one thousand and three hundred operatives. A company manufacturing worsted goods employs one thousand persons, the two mammoth thread-mills have some one thousand names on the pay-rolls. The Unquomonk silk works, which were destroyed by the great Mill River flood of 1874 were re-located in this city, where was found a safe, reliable water-power. There are woolen factories, including a company for manufacturing imitation seal-skin goods and a large blanket mill. The manufacture of Blank books and Envelopes, Steam-pumps, Wire, Machinery, Cutlery, Screws, Fire-hydrants and Steam-boilers, Cement works, Spindles and Reeds, Fourdrinier wire and Rubber-goods are among the city's greatly diversified industries. There are extensive brickyards and stone quarries near at hand and the lumbering business is an important industry.
The building growth of the city has kept pace with the manufacturing. Where a few years ago were acres of woodland, swamps or brambly pastures, are now well-graded streets lined with pleasant houses. Hills have been leveled, ponds and ravines filled and made into valuable real estate. From the highlands in the western part of the city, there are river and mountain views of surpassing beauty. Gradually the building centre is moving westward and many charming homes have been created on the suburban streets. The old stage-road which led from Springfield to Northampton is now a wide, well-graded highway with handsome villas surrounded by spacious grounds. Here are the fine residences of Treasurer R.B. Johnson of the Holyoke Savings Bank, G.W. Prentiss of the wire-mills, Westover, the residence of E.J. Pomeroy, Lawnfield, the house of R.M. Fairfield, "The Knolls" the fine residence of Mr. C.H. Heywood, and on the higest point of all is Rus-in-Urbe, the lookout point of Mr. Foster Wilson. Farther south on the same street are the residencies of Mr. Timothy Merrick, Donald Mackintosh, Oscar Ely, John Cleary and others. The residence streets of Ward six are pleasant with shade trees, blooming gardens and lovely houses. From the most sightly eminence of the ward, the house of William Skinner of the silk-mill overlooks the city. A central and pleasant square encloses the home of W.A. Chase, the agent of the Water Power Company, and houses with all the appointments of elegance and luxury are owned by Messrs. Whiting, Dillon, Farr, Metcalf, Mackintosh, W.A. Prentiss Clark, E.W. Chapin, Ramage, Newton, Corser and many others. Fairmount Square is a new section just opened for good residences. In the southerly part of the city is the farm of Congressman Wm. Whiting with its herds of beautiful Jerseys, and on the Springfield road is the model Brightside farm, the pet life-project of W.H. Wilkinson, blanket manufacturer. This farm is also the home of splendid specimens of the Jersey cow. A majority of the principal streets of Holyoke bear the names that were given them when the town was first mapped out by its prophetic founders, At first Holyoke was chiefly a cotton manufacturing town and of the streets laid out from east to west the names of prominent cotton manufacturing companies of the state alternated with the names of Massachusetts counties. There are Franklin, Hampshire, Essex, Suffolk, and Hampden streets, alternated with Jackson, Sargeant, Cabot, Appleton, Dwight and Lyman, named for noted cotton manufacturing firms. Main street is a long thoroughfare extending north and south and terminating at the river. Canal, Race, and Bridge streets were named from their location. Bowers, Mosher and Ely from former landowners of Depot Hill. John street and Oliver street perpetuate the name of John Oliver; High street was named for its sightly location. West of, and parallel with, High, the streets have the names of woods, Maple, Chestnut, Elm, Walnut, Pine, Beach, Oak, Linden and Sycamore. Many of the streets in Ward seven were named for persons first owning and or building upon them. Northampton street, is the county highway from Springfield to Northampton.
The total area of Holyoke is about fourteen square miles. The first city government was organized in January 1874, and the first Mayor of the city was Hon. Wm. B.C. Pearsons, now judge of the Police court, who held the office three years. The succeeding mayors have been Hon. William Whiting, at present a Congressman from the 11th District, R.P. Crafts, William Ruddy, F.P. Goodall, and James E. Delaney, the present Executive. The city offices and the public library are located in the city hall, a fine granite building which was completed in 1876 at a cost of nearly $400.000. In the same year the city erected a monument on Hampden Square in memory of the soldiers who died in the war of the Rebellion. The handsome open house, where the best of theatrical and musical talent appears during the entertainment season, was built by Messrs Whiting & Brown and was completed in 1878.
The city has four National Banks, and three Savings Banks. It has a daily newspaper, the Transcript, which is the direct successor of the first newspaper printed in Holyoke, in 1849. Under its present title the Transcript has been published since the year 1863.
The water supply for the city is derived from the Ashley and Wright ponds, the water-works having been completed in 1873. Since then, other mountain streams and reservoirs have been united with the water supply of the ponds, to make it adequate for the growing city's needs. The ponds from which the pipes are laid are located some four miles from the City hall.
Holyoke pays liberally to support its public schools. There are eight brick school buildings with all the modern improvements and conveniences for the graded schools, besides suburban school houses and a High school with 160 pupils. The Catholic parishes in the city also support flourishing parochial schools, St. Jerome parish having just completed a huge brick building for a girl's school.
The city has a wealth of new churches. The first little square white church which the Baptists built in the beginning of the century was removed in 1880 and a modern brick church now occupies the site. The Second Baptist Church society in the central part of the city has just completed a fine church edifice. The Second Congregational society, two years ago, dedicated a splendid granite building which cost nearly $100,000, the successor of the plain brick meeting-house which in 1853 was erected at the corner of High and Dwight streets. The city has a large Catholic population and three extensive Catholic parishes each having a capacious church of fitting architecture. The Episcopal people worship in a picturesque stone church on Maple street, and near it is the cozy little Unitarian church. The Methodists built a church of brick on Main street about the year 1870. The First Congregational society has a wooden edifice on Northampton street—the oldest church building in the city since the primitive First Baptist meeting-house was taken down—and the church at South Holyoke where the German residents listen to the services of their faith in the language of the fatherland.
* * * * *
THE LAST PORTRAIT OF DANIEL WEBSTER.
The many who cherish the memory of DANIEL WEBSTER with more than common interest and veneration, are fortunate, in that the records of his life, his habits and his appearance are so complete. The portraits of Webster, now extant, represent the great statesman at numerous periods of his life.
In July, 1852, Mr. Webster was in Franklin, N.H., and there sat for his picture to the local artist of the town, who finished an excellent daguerrotype. The picture was given by Mr. Webster to the Hon. Stephen M. Allen, who now has it in his possession at the rooms of the Webster Historical Society, in the Old South Meeting House, and by whose courtesy it is here reproduced.
In October of the same year, three months after the picture was made, Daniel Webster at his Marshfield home, breathed his last; leaving this portrait the last ever taken of him from life.
* * * * *
By Prof. A.L. Perry of Williams College.
The recent centennial celebration in the town of Heath, Franklin County, Massachusetts, has freshened up an interest in the history of the old fort that was built within its borders, at the opening of the Old French War in 1744, by the State of Massachusetts. The present writer, however, has made a study for many years of that and its kindred forts, has repeatedly visited and critically examined its site, and has in his possession the chief movable memorials of what was indeed a small, yet in its historical connections a deeply interesting, military outpost.
The first white men known or supposed to have ever penetrated the original forests in the town of Heath were Richard Hazen and six others, the surveyor and chain-men and their assistants, who ran the official northern line of Massachusetts in the early spring of 1741. Besides the surveyor himself, who was then a prominent citizen of Haverhill, on the Merrimac, and his son of the same name, then nineteen years old, the party consisted of Caleb Swan, Benjamin Smith, Zachariah Hildrith, Ebenezer Shaw and William Richardson. Under an imperative order from the Privy Council in England, Governor Belcher, who at that time administered government over both Massachusetts and New Hampshire, commissioned Hazen to run the ultimate line between the two, beginning at a point three miles north of Pawtucket Falls on the Merrimac (now Lowell), and extending on a due west course till it should meet His Majesty's other Governments. This arbitrary decision of the Privy Council in selecting the very southernmost point in the whole course of the Merrimac, as the place meant in in the old Charter of Massachusetts in the phrase "Merrimack River," instead of taking, as Massachusetts claimed, the northernmost point of the river in Franklin, N.H., or as New Hampshire had claimed, the point at the mouth of the river, robbed Massachusetts of a strip of territory fourteen miles wide the whole length of the Colony, which New Hampshire had never before claimed, but which her shrewd and unscrupulous Agent now extorted trom the ignorance of English Councillors.
Hazen began his survey March 21, 1741. The English instructions required a course due west, and Governor Belcher and his Council ordered ten degrees for the then variation of the needle, which was not quite enough, so that the line actually ran slightly north of due west, and saved to Massachusetts at the west end of the line (in Williamstown) about 1 deg. and 50 min. After the party left the Connecticut river on April 6, they slept on snow at a depth of two or three feet every night till they crossed the Hoosac river in Williamstown on April 12. "It clouded over before Night and rained sometime before day which caused us to stretch Our blankets and lye under them on ye bare Ground, which was the first bare ground we laid on after we left Northfield." It was on April 9 that they measured the present north line of Heath. Let the clear-eyed surveyor describe in his own words the general situation of the future Fort Shirley.
"At the End of three miles we came to a large brook running Southeasterly and at the End of this days measure to another large brook running Southerly, by which we took Our lodging. Here we tract a Bear and therefore named it Bear brook, both these brooks being branches of Deerfield River. The land this day was some of the best of Land and for three miles together. The last year Pigeons' nests were so thick that 500 might have been told on the beech trees at One time, and they could have been counted on the Hemlocks as well, I believe three thousand at one turn Round. The snow was for ye most part three feet deep, the weather was fair and wind Northwest."
Although Hazen named the last mountain on his line where he supposed the eastern line of New York, would ultimately run "Mount Belcher," in honor of the Governor who had commissioned him to lay it, the just unpopularity of the line itself and Belcher's connection with it immediately caused his recall from his government, and the appointment of William Shirley in his stead. Belcher was Massachusetts born; while Shirley, though British born, became one of the ablest and most successful of all the colonial governors of Massachusetts. The building of Fort Shirley in 1744 and the naming it after the new Governor, as well as the building a little later of the two forts to the westward,—Fort Pelham in Rowe and Fort Massachusetts in what is now North Adams,—all within a couple of miles of the new boundary line, showed a concern of the colony for its now greatly curtailed northern limits, as well as a much greater concern for the defence of the scattered settlements west of the Connecticut river from the French and Indians, who had several well-trod war-paths to the English settlements on the Connecticut and the Deerfield.
But, after all, the route by the Hoosac River had been and continued the main path from Canada to New England for the French and their savage Indian allies. Whether they came down the Hudson to the mouth of the Hoosac at Schaghticoke, or struck that river on the flank at Eagle Bridge, there was a well-beaten trail—the old Mohawk trail—along the north bank of that river all the way from Schaghticoke to what is now North Adams; and, in continuation of that river trail, the "old Indian path" over the Hoosac Mountain, directly over the line of the present Hoosac Tunnel, led down to the upper reaches of the Deerfield river and so down to the Connecticut at old Deerfield. It became, therefore, of great moment to Massachusetts to defend the line of the Deerfield in the French and Indian war of 1744-48. A few private houses were fortified in what is now Bernardston, and two or three more further west in Coleraine, particularly Fort Lucas and Fort Morrison, the owners being assisted by grants of men and supplies from the General Court; and during this war and more especially the next and last French war, the Indians often lurked with hostile intent in the vicinity of these extemporized forts, and not infrequently surprised and killed and scalped men from the little garrisons, and carried women and children into captivity to Canada.
But the first regular fort built to protect the valley of the Deerfield and incidentally also the line of the Connecticut, was placed by Massachusetts in the present town of Heath. It was built wholly at the public expense, and garrisoned by regularly enlisted or impressed soldiers, and named Fort Shirley from the enterprising Governor of the Province. John Stoddard of Northampton was then Colonel of the militia of Hampshire, a designation at that time including all of Massachusetts west of the Connecticut River; he was Shirley's right-hand man for this end of the Province, and it was under his general direction that Forts Shirley and Pelham and Massachusetts were erected.
The letter is still extant in Stoddard's own hand, dated July 20, 1744, in which Capt. William Williams is ordered by him "to erect as soon as may be" a block-house sixty feet square "about five miles and a half from Hugh Morrison's house in Colrain in or near the line run last week under the direction of Col. Timo. Dwight by our order." In the same letter, Williams is directed to employ soldiers in the construction of the fort, carpenters to be allowed "nine shillings, others six shillings a day old Tenor." Several other directions are given, and the main outlines of the fort are prescribed; some bills are still extant giving items of money paid out for many different parts of the work; six of the original hewn timbers of the building are in good preservation today in the barn of Orsamus Maxwell in Heath, each stick telling some tale of the original mode of construction; so that, from all these sources of information, a pretty accurate idea of the old fort can be made out to-day, 141 years after it was built.
For the outside, white pine logs were scored down, and then hewn to six inches thick and fourteen inches high; and the scores worked 48 days on these, receiving L14, 8s. for their work, and the hewers 24 days, receiving L10, 16s. The walls of the fort were twelve feet high, thus requiring nine courses of these timbers laid edgewise one above another, each being doweled to the one below by red oak dowel-pins, two of which were pulled out of their quiet resting places of 141 years' duration, in a good state of preservation, by Mr. Maxwell and the writer, Sept. 5, 1885. Those ends of these timbers that came to the four corners of the fort were dove-tailed into each other in the well known manner, so that there were straight lines and strong locking at the corners; and it so happens, that three of the six timbers preserved are corner timbers, and show at one end the exact mode of locking.
There were two mounts on two corners of the fort 12 feet square and 7 feet high; and the houses and barracks within the fort were 11 feet wide with shingled roofs; and the mount-timber, the insides of the houses, and the floors, were all hewn, presumably of the same width and thickness as the wall-timbers. Undoubtedly the whole parade in the middle of the fort was also floored in the same way, as the site of the fort was and is low and wet.
The fort was built in this manner during the months of August, September, and October, 1744; and on the 30th of the last mentioned month, Capt. Williams commenced to billet himself and the soldiers under his command at the fort. He remained there all the winter and spring; about the 1st of March he enlisted 14 of his men for the Louisburg Expedition, at Col. Stoddard's request, whom he took to Boston; but was not himself allowed to embark, and returned to his fort; while later in the season, under a strong call for reinforcements for Louisburg by Gov. Shirley, Williams took 74 able bodied men to Boston, recruited by himself in less than six days mostly in the Connecticut valley, and was given a Lieutenant colonel's commission in the regiment destined for Louisburg commanded by Col. John Choate. They sailed in June, 1745, but the fortress had been taken before they arrived, and the regiment with Williams as acting Colonel was detained there to do garrison duty.
Fort Pelham in Rowe was built by Williams before he left for Louisburg, that is, in the spring of 1745; and in the autumn of that year we find Capt. Ephraim Williams, a kinsman of the other, afterwards founder of Williams College, in command of Fort Shirley and of the line of forts. It is fair to presume that he was appointed to the command on the withdrawal of the other in June; but which of the two built Fort Massachusetts along the same line, or whether either of them, can not now be stated with absolute certainty. It is probable that Ephraim Williams saw to its construction under the Committee of the General Court, of which Stoddard was Chairman; and at any rate he was in command of the whole "line of Forts, viz. Northfield, Falltown, Colrain, Fort Shirley, Fort Pelham, Fort Massachusetts, and the soldiers posted at the Collars, Shattucks Fort, Bridgman's, Deerfield, Rhode Town, and New Hampton," as early as Dec. 10, 1745. Just a year from that time he sends in his account for the entire year,—"In which time he has had three hundred and fifty men under his particular charge and government."
Because it was the first fort built by the Colony in that region, and especially because Fort Massachusetts was captured and burnt by the French and Indians in August, 1746, Shirley became very prominent in that war, and was the headquarters of the successive commanders of the line of forts. Massachusetts was rebuilt early in 1747, and thereafter became the chief work; for both before and after the Peace of Aix la Chapelle in 1748, it was perceived that the sites of Shirley and Pelham had been ill-chosen, and that the route by the Hoosac was the one to be kept open for hostile demonstration towards Crown Point, and the one to be defended against hostile demonstration from all that quarter. Forts Shirley and Pelham, accordingly, which were very differently constructed, ceased to be of much military significance after the Peace, though both were slightly garrisoned for several years after. In 1749 and a part certainly of the next year, there were five men only in Fort Shirley, namely, Lieutenant William Lyman, Gershom Hawks, John Powell, Samuel Stebbins, and Peter Bove. From June, 1725 till the end of May, 1754, one man in each constituted the garrison of Shirley and Pelham. Archibald Powell held watch and ward on the heights of Heath and George Hall on the lofty meadow in Rowe. Each drew his pay from the treasury of the colony; and each had a magnificent lookout from his solitary sentry-box. Monadnock is in plain sight to the east, and Haystack to the north from the site of Fort Shirley and the Hoosacs to the west and Greylock overtopping them greeted the roving gaze of George Hall from the picketed enclosure of Fort Pelham.
There was but one chaplain to the line of forts, Rev. John Norton, appointed from Falltown in 1745, who passed from one to the other as his sense of duty to each garrison might prompt; and Mrs. Norton with one or two children lived in Fort Shirley for more than a year while her husband was in captivity in Canada. Scouting parties of the soldiers were kept constantly passing from fort to fort when not employed in garrison or other duty; their allowance on the march was for each soldier per day one pound of bread, one pound of pork, and one gill of rum; while in garrison each man was allowed per day one pound of bread, and one-half pint of peas or beans, two pounds of pork for three days, and one gallon of molasses for 42 days. It is certain, that one or more cows were kept by the garrison of Fort Shirley, perhaps on account of Mrs. Norton and her children, for there was a cleared field around the fort, and an old cow-bell half eaten up by rust was found not long ago near its site, which site, it must be remembered, was several miles from any habitation of men at any time in the last century.
After an existence of one hundred and forty-one years, the old well of Fort Shirley, which was undoubtedly within the block-house and probably in one corner of the enclosure away from the "parade," is able to tell pretty thoroughly to this day the story of its own construction. Four forest staddles about six inches in diameter, one for each comer of the well, were set upright on the ground, and then ash planks rived from a log about five feet long were pinned or spiked on the outside of these staddles, beginning at the bottom; and this frame being placed on the ground where the well was to be, the earth was thrown out over the sides, and so the well was gradually sunk to the required depth, the plank-siding being added gradually as the shaft was lowered. These rived planks and the tops of the four corner-poles, that can now be seen and fingered less than two feet below the surface of the ground, were not very uniform in thickness, and of course have rotted off at the top by time and exposure; but enough of both has been preserved till this time by constant submergence in the water and in the unusually moist soil above it to betray without any serious question the nature of the materials used and the mode of their employment. One of the corner-posts was a black birch and the bark on it is in a good state of preservation at and below the surface of the water.
The last incident to be mentioned at this time in connection with Fort Shirley relates to the Rev. John Norton, his wife and daughter. Norton was born in Berlin, Conn., in 1716; was graduated at Yale College in 1737; was ordained in Fall Town, since Bernardston, Mass., in 1741; he was the first minister in that town, "but owing to the unsettled state of the times," and to the fact that his people lay right in the angle between the military line of the Connecticut and that of the Deerfield, and had consequently as much as they could do, to maintain their families exposed as they were, he labored there about four years, and was appointed chaplain to the line of forts almost as soon as the men were fairly in garrison. He was in Fort Massachusetts when it was besieged and captured by an army of French and Indians in August, 1746; went captive with the rest of the garrison to Quebec; returned, exchanged, in just a year; and wrote an account of the siege, the journey northwards, the captivity, and the return, a precious little book, which he entitled after a memorable precedent "The Redeemed Captive." His narrative begins as follows.—"Thursday, August 14, 1746, I left Fort Shirley in company with Dr. Williams and about fourteen of the soldiers; we went to Pelham Fort, and from thence to Captain Rice's, where we lodged that night. Friday, the 15th, we went from thence to Fort Massachusetts, where I designed to have tarried about a month. Saturday, 16th, the Doctor with fourteen men, went off for Deerfield, and left in the fort Sergeant John Hawks with twenty soldiers, about half of them sick with bloody flux."