THE BAY STATE MONTHLY.
A Massachusetts Magazine.
VOL. III. NOVEMBER, 1885. NO. VI.
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HENRY W. PAINE.
BY PROF. WILLIAM MATHEWS, LL.D.
Among the callings acknowledged to be not only useful, but indispensable to society, there is no one, except the medical, which has been oftener the butt of vulgar ridicule and abuse than the legal. "Lawyers and doctors," says a writer on Wit and Humor in the British Quarterly Review, "are the chief objects of ridicule in the jest-books of all ages." But whatever may be the disadvantages of the Law as a profession, in spite of the aspersions cast upon it by disappointed suitors, over-nice moralists, and malicious wits, it can boast of one signal advantage over all other business callings,—that eminence in it is always a test of ability and acquirement. While in every other profession quackery and pretension may gain for men wealth and honor, forensic renown can be won only by rare natural powers aided by profound learning and varied experience in trying causes. The trickster and the charlatan, who in medicine and even in the pulpit find it easy to dupe their fellow-men, find at the bar that all attempts to make shallowness pass for depth, impudence for wit, and fatal for wisdom, are instantly baffled. Not only is an acute, sagacious, and austere bench a perilous foe to the trickery of the ignorant or half-prepared advocate, but the veteran practitioners around him are quick to detect every sign of mental weakness, disingenuous artifice, or disposition to substitute sham for reality. Forensic life is, to a large extent, life in the broad glare of day, under the scrutiny of keen-eyed observers and merciless critics. In every cause there are two attorneys engaged, of whom one is a sentinel upon the other; and a blunder, a slip, an exaggeration, or a misrepresentation, never escapes without instant exposure. The popular reputation of a lawyer, it has been well said, is but the winnowed and sifted judgment which reaches the world through the bar, and is therefore made up after severe ordeal and upon standard proof.
These observations are deemed not inappropriate as an introduction to a sketch of the life of one of the most eminent lawyers of New England, whose career may be regarded as signally worthy of imitation.
HENRY WILLIAM PAINE was born August 30th, 1810, in Winslow, Maine. His father, Lemuel Paine, a native of Foxborough, Mass., was a graduate of Brown University, and a lawyer by profession, who began practice in Winslow, Maine, in partnership with Gen. Ripley, afterwards the hero of Lundy's Lane. Owing to poor health, Mr. Paine, sen., soon abandoned the law for other pursuits. He was familiar with the representative English authors, and specially fond of the Greek language and literature, which he cultivated during his life. He had a tenacious memory, and could quote Homer by the page. Henry Paine's mother, Jane Thomson Warren, was the daughter of Ebenezer T. Warren, of Foxborough, the brother of General Joseph Warren, who fell at Bunker Hill. Of the three children of Lemuel and Jane T. (Warren) Paine, Henry William was the second.
After the usual preparatory education, Mr. Paine entered Waterville College (now Colby University) in 1826, and graduated in 1830, at the age of twenty, with the highest honor of his class. During the last year of the college course, he was principal of Waterville Academy, then just founded for the preparation of young men for college. He spent eight hours a day in charge of his pupils, of whom there were eighty-two, and at the same time kept up with his class in the college studies. As a teacher he was greatly beloved and respected by his pupils, whose affection was won by no lack of discipline, but by his kindly sympathy, encouragement, and watchful aid in their studies. He had an eye that could beam with tenderness, or dart lightnings; and it was a fine moral spectacle, illustrating the superiority of mental over physical force, to see a bully of the school, almost twice his size, and who, apparently, could have crushed him if he chose, quail under his eagle gaze, when arraigned at the principal's desk for a misdemeanor. It is doubtful if ever he flogged a scholar; but he sometimes brought the ruler down upon the desk with a force that made the schoolroom ring, and inspired the lawless with a very wholesome respect for his authority. The fact that from that day to this his office has always been a kind of Mecca, to which his old pupils, whether dwellers in "Araby the Blest" or in the sandy wastes of life, have made pious pilgrimages, shows how deeply he was loved and how highly he was honored as a teacher.
Immediately after graduation Mr. Paine was appointed a Tutor of Waterville College, and discharged the duties of that office for a year. He then began the study of law in the office of his uncle, the late Samuel S. Warren, of China, Maine, and continued the study in the office of William Clark, a noted lawyer in Hallowell, Maine, and, for a year, in the Law School of Harvard University, where he was the classmate of Charles Sumner, Wendell Phillips and B.F. Thomas. In the autumn of 1834, he was admitted to the bar of Kennebec County, Maine. Beginning his professional career at Hallowell, he prosecuted it there with signal success till the summer of 1854, having for twenty years a practice not surpassed by that of any member of the Maine bar. During the sessions of 1836, 1837, and again in that of 1853, he represented the citizens of Hallowell in the lower house of the State Legislature. He was also for five years Attorney for Kennebec County. During his stay in Maine, he was repeatedly offered a seat on the bench of the Supreme Judicial Court of that State; but, having an unconquerable aversion to office of every kind, civil or political, he declined to accept the honor pressed upon him. In 1853 he was offered by his political friends, then the dominant party in the Legislature, a seat in the United States Senate; but he refused to be nominated. In the summer of 1854, in accordance with a long cherished resolve, which he had been prevented from executing before by a promise to his father that he would not leave Maine during that parent's lifetime, he removed to Cambridge, Mass., and opened a law-office in Boston. Here he at once entered upon a large and lucrative practice, both in the State and Federal courts, which kept steadily increasing for over twenty years, till declining health and partial deafness compelled him to withdraw from the courts of justice, and confine himself to office business. During this period, his opinion on abstruse and knotty points of law was often solicited by eminent counsel living outside of Massachusetts, and he sent written opinions to attorneys in nine different states. As Referee and Master in Chancery, he was called upon to arbitrate in a great number of difficult and complicated cases, involving the ownership and disposition of large amounts of property. His decisions in these vexed cases, which often involved the unravelling of tangled webs of testimony, and the consideration of the nicest and most delicate questions of law, were luminous and masterly, and so impartial withal, that the litigants must have often been convinced of their justness, if not contented,—etaim contra quos statuit, aequos placatosque dimisit.
In 1863 and 1864 Mr. Paine was nominated, without his consent, by the Democratic party of Massachusetts, a candidate for the office of Governor. With much reluctance he accepted the nomination, but, as he expected, and doubtless to his joy, failed of an election. In 1867, on the resignation of Chief Justice Bigelow, the office of Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Massachusetts was offered by Governor Bullock to Mr. Paine, who, not wishing to give up his large and profitable practice at the bar, declined to accept. This decision, though a natural one, is much to be regretted by the citizens of this state. Coming from an eminently judicial mind, his decisions, had he sat on the bench, would have been models of close, cogent reasoning, clearness, and brevity, worthy of the best days of the Massachusetts judiciary.
Shortly after his removal to this State Mr. Paine was associated with Rufus Choate and F.O.J. Smith in the defence of Judge Woodbury Davis, of Portland, Maine, who had been impeached by the Legislature of that State for misconduct in his judicial office. In an editorial article upon the trial, which appeared after its termination, in the Kennebec Journal, published at Augusta, the Hon. James G. Blaine, the writer, declared epigrammatically that, in the defence of Judge Chase, "Paine furnished the logic, Choate the rhetoric, and Smith the slang."
From 1872 to 1883 Mr. Paine was Lecturer on the Law of Real Property at the Law School of the Boston University, an office whose duties he performed with great credit to himself, and profit to those whom he addressed. So thoroughly was he master of his subject, difficult and intricate as it confessedly is, that in not a single instance, except during the lectures of the last year, did he take a note or scrap of memoranda into the class room.
While he has always been a close and devoted student of the law, Mr. Paine has yet found time for general reading, and has hung for many an hour over the pages of the English classics with keen delight. For Homer and Virgil he still retains the relish of his early days, and, in the intervals of professional toil, has often slaked his thirst for the waters of Helicon in long and copious draughts. How well he appreciated the advantages of an acquaintance with literature, he showed early in a suggestive and instructive lecture on "Reading," which we heard him deliver before the Lyceum at Hallowell more than forty years ago. With his lamented friend Judge B.F. Thomas, he believes that a man cannot be a great lawyer who is nothing else,—that exclusive devotion to the study and practice of the law tends to acumen rather than to breadth, to subtlety rather than to strength. "The air is thin among the apices of the law, as on the granite needles of the Alps. Men must find refreshment and strength in the quiet valleys at their feet."
With his brethren of the bar Mr. Paine has always held the friendliest relations, and he has enjoyed their highest esteem. To none, even the humblest of his fellow advocates, has he ever manifested any of the haughtiness of a Pinkney, or any of that ruggedness and asperity which gained for the morose and sullen Thurlow the nickname of the tiger. Amid the fiercest janglings and hottest contentions of the bar, he has never forgotten that courtesy which should mark the collision, not less than the friendly intercourse, of cultivated and polished minds. His victories, won easily by argumentative ability, tact, and intellectual keenness, unaided by passion, have strikingly contrasted with the costly victories of advocates less self-restrained. Though naturally witty and quick at retort, he has never used the weapon in a way to wound the feelings of an adversary. In examining and cross-examining witnesses, he has assumed their veracity, whenever it has been possible to do so; and though he has had the eye of a lynx and the scent of a hound for prevarication in all its forms, yet he has never sought by browbeating and other arts of the pettifogger, to confuse, baffle, and bewilder a witness, or involve him in self-contradiction. Adopting a quiet, gentle, and straightforward, though full and careful examination, winning the good-will of the witness, and inspiring confidence in the questioner, Mr. Paine has been far more successful in extracting the truth, even from reluctant lips, than the most artful legal bully. He knows that the manoeuvres and devices which are best adapted to confuse an honest witness, are just what the dishonest one is best prepared for. It was not for all the blustering violence of the tempest, that the traveler would lay aside his cloak. The result was brought about by the mild and genial warmth of the sun.
Few advocates have had more success with juries than the subject of this sketch. The secret of this success has been, not more the admirable lucidity and cogency of his addresses, than the confidence and trust with which his reputation for fairness and truthfulness, and his evident abhorrence of exaggeration, have inspired his hearers. Another explanation is, that he has avoided that rock on which so many advocates wreck their cases,—prolixity. Knowing that, as Sir James Scarlett once said, when a lawyer exceeds a certain length of time, he is always doing mischief to his client,—that, if he drives into the heads of the jury unimportant matter, he drives out matter more important that he had previously lodged there,—Mr. Paine has taken care to press home the leading points of his case, giving slight attention to the others.
That Mr. Paine has been animated in the pursuit of his profession by higher motives than those which fire the zeal of the mere "hired master of tongue-fence," is shown by the comparative smallness of his fees, especially in cases exacting great labor. Great as has been his success in winning verdicts, and sound as have been his opinions, it is doubtful whether there is another lawyer living of equal eminence, whose charges for legal service have been so uniformly moderate.
Reference has been made to Mr. Paine's wit. Several striking examples might be cited; but two must suffice. Some years ago, when he was County Attorney, a man who had been indicted in Kennebec County for arson, was tried, and acquitted by the jury on the ground that he was an idiot. After the trial, the Judge before whom the case had been tried, sought to reconcile Mr. Paine to the verdict by some explanatory remarks. "Oh, I'm quite satisfied, your Honor," said Mr. Paine, "with the defendant's acquittal. He has been tried by a jury of his peers"—On another occasion, Mr. Paine was making a legal argument before an eminent judge, when he was interrupted by the latter, who said: "Mr. Paine, you know that that is not law." "I know it, your Honor," replied the advocate, with a deferential bow; "but it was law till your Honor just spoke."
From 1849 to 1862, Mr. Paine was a member of the Board of Trustees of Waterville College. In 1851, he was elected member of the Maine Historical Society, and also of the American Academy. In 1854, his Alma Mater conferred on him the honorary degree of Doctor of Laws.
In the relation of marriage, Mr. Paine has been very happy. In May. 1837, he was united to Miss Lucy E. Coffin, of Newburyport, a lady of rare endowments, both of head and heart.
Few men have started in a professional career with a more vigorous and elastic constitution than Mr. Paine's. Endowed with an iron frame and nerves of lignum vitae, he very naturally felt in youth that his fund of physical energy was inexhaustible; but, like thousands of other professional men in this fiery and impatient age, he finds himself in the autumn of his life afflicted with bodily ills, which he feels that with reasonable care he might have escaped. Toiling in his profession year after year from January to December, with no recreation, no summer vacation, no disposition to follow the wise advice of Horace to Torquatus,—
rebus omissis Atria servantem postico falle clientem,
—working double tides, and crowding the work of eighty years into forty, Mr. Paine finds that, large as was his bank account with Nature, he has been overdrawing it for years, and that he has now to repay these drafts with compound interest. The lesson he would have young professional men learn from his experience, is, that they should account no time or money wasted, that contributes in any way to their physical health,—that gives tone to the stomach, or development to the muscles. Let them understand that, though suffering does not follow instantly upon the heels of transgression, yet Nature cannot be outraged with impunity. Though a generous giver she is a hard bargainer, and a most accurate bookkeeper, whose notice not the eighth part of a cent escapes; and though the items with which she debits one, taken singly are seemingly insignificant, and she seldom brings in "that little bill" till a late day, yet, added up at the end of three score years and ten, they may show a frightful balance against him, which can have no result but physical bankruptcy.
In Mr. Paine's physiognomy the most noticeable features are the broad, massive, Websterian forehead, and the sparkling eyes.
In summing up the characteristics of Mr. Paine as a lawyer and as a man, the writer, who was his pupil at Waterville Academy, and has enjoyed his friendship to this day, cannot do better than to cite the words of an acute observer who has known him intimately for many years. Chief Justice Appleton, of Maine, did not exaggerate, when he said: "He is a gentleman of a high order of intellect; of superior culture; in private life, one of the most genial of companions; in his profession, a profound and learned lawyer, as well as an accomplished advocate."
To conclude,—if the subject of this imperfect sketch has occasion to regret his excessive devotion to his calling, he can have no other regrets. At the close of a long, most useful, and most honorable career, which has been marked throughout by the severest conscientiousness and the most scrupulous discharge of every professional duty, he is happily realizing that blessedness which Sir William Blackstone, when exchanging the worship of the Muses for that of Themis, prayed might crown the evening of his days:—
"Thus though my noon of life be past, Yet let my setting sun at last Find out the still, the rural cell, Where sage Retirement loves to dwell! There let me taste the homefelt bliss Of innocence and inward peace; Untainted by the guilty bribe, Uncursed amid the harpy tribe; No orphan cry to wound my ear, My honor and my conscience clear; Thus may I calmly meet my end, Thus to the grave in peace descend."
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BY CHARLES A. PATCH, MASS., VOLS.
In all great wars involving the destinies of nations, it is neither the number of battles, nor the names, nor the loss of life, that remain fixed in the mind of the masses; but simply the one decisive struggle which either in its immediate or remote sequence closes the conflict. Of the hundred battles of the great Napoleon, Waterloo alone lingers in the memory. The Franco-Prussian War, so fraught with changes to Europe, presents but one name that will never fade,—Sedan. Even in our own country, how few battles of the Revolution can we enumerate; but is there a child who does not know that Bunker Hill sounded the death-knell of English rule in the land? And now, but twenty years since the greatest conflict of modern times was closed at Appomattox, how few can we readily recall of the scores of blood-stained battle-fields on which our friends and neighbors fought and fell; but is there one, old or young, cultured or ignorant, of the North or of the South, that cannot speak of Gettysburg? But what is Gettysburg either in its first day's Federal defeat, or its second day's terrible slaughter around Little Round Top, without the third day's immortal charge by Pickett and his brave Virginians. In it we have the culmination of the Rebellion. It took long years after to drain all the life-blood from the foe, but never again did the wave of Rebellion rise so gallantly high as when it beat upon the crest of Cemetery Ridge.
The storming of the heights of Inkerman, the charge of the noble Six Hundred, the fearful onslaught of the Guards at Waterloo, the scaling of Lookout Mountain,—have all been sung in story, and perhaps always will be; but they all pale beside the glory that will ever enshroud the heroes who, with perhaps not literally "cannon to right of them" and "cannon to left of them," but with a hundred cannon belching forth death in front of them, hurled themselves into the centre of a great army and had victory almost within their grasp.
To describe this charge, we will go back to the evening of the 2nd of July, and recall upon what basis the cautious Lee could undertake so fearful a responsibility. The victorious Southrons fresh from their triumphs at Fredericksburg and Chancellorsville had entered the North carrying consternation and dismay to every hamlet, with none to oppose; their forward march was one of spoil, and it was not till the 1st of July that they met their old foemen, the Army of the Potomac, in the streets of Gettysburg, and after a fierce conflict drove them back. The second day's conflict was a terrible slaughter, and at its close the Federal Army, although holding its position, was to a certain extent disheartened. Many of our best generals and commanding officers were killed or wounded, scores of regiments and batteries were nearly wiped out, Sickles' line was broken and driven in and its position was held by Longstreet. Little Round Top, the key of the position, was held only at a frightful loss of life, and Ewell upon the right had gained a footing upon the Ridge. The Rebel army was joyful and expectant of victory. The morning of the 3rd of July opened clear and bright, and one hundred thousand men faced each other awaiting the signal of conflict; but, except the pushing of Ewell from his position, the hours passed on relieved only by the rumbling of artillery carriages as they were massed by Lee upon Seminary Ridge, and by Meade upon Cemetery Ridge. At twelve o'clock Lee ascended the cupola of the Pennsylvania College, in quiet surveyed the Union lines, and decided to strike for Hancock's Centre. Meanwhile, Pickett with his three Virginia brigades had arrived from Chambersburg and taken cover in the woods of Seminary Ridge. What Lee's feelings must have been, as he looked at the hundred death-dealing cannon massed on Cemetery Hill, and the fifty thousand men waiting patiently in front and behind them, men whose valor he knew well in many a bitter struggle—and then looked at his handful of brave Virginians, three, small, decimated brigades which he was about to hurl into that vortex of death,—no one will ever know. The blunder that sent the Light Brigade to death at Balaklava was bad enough, but here were five thousand men waiting to seek victory where, only the day before ten thousand had lost their lives or their limbs in the same futile endeavor. Leaving the college, Lee called a council of his generals at Longstreet's headquarters, and the plan of attack was formed. It is said that the level-headed Longstreet opposed the plan, and if so it was but in keeping with his remarkable generalship. The attack was to be opened with artillery fire to demoralize and batter the Federal line, and was to be opened by a signal of two shots from the Washington Artillery. At half-past one the report of the first gun rang out on the still, summer air, followed a minute later by the second, and then came the roar and flash of one hundred and thirty-eight rebel cannon. Almost immediately one hundred Federal guns responded and the battle had begun. Shot and shell tore through the air, crashing through batteries, tearing men and horses to pieces; the very earth seemed to shake and the hills to reel as the terrible thunders re-echoed amongst them. For nearly an hour every conceivable form of ordnance known to modern gunnery hissed and shrieked, whistled and screamed, as it went forth on its death-mission till exhausted by excitement and heat the gunners slackened their fire and silence reigned again.
Then Pickett and his brave legion stood up and formed for the death-struggle; three remnants of brigades consisting of Garnett's brigade:—the 8th, 18th, 19th, 28th, 56th Virginia; Armistead's brigade:—the 9th, 14th, 38th, 53rd, 57th Virginia; Kempers's brigade:—the 1st, 3rd, 7th, 11th, 24th Virginia. Their tattered flags bore the scars of a score of battles and from their ranks the merciless bullet had already taken two-thirds their number. In compact ranks, their front scarcely covering two of Hancock's brigades, with flags waving as if for a gala-day, Gen. Pickett saluted Longstreet and asked, "Shall I go forward, sir?" but it was not in Longstreet's heart to send those heroes of so many battles to certain death; and he turned away his head,—when Pickett with that proud, impetuous air which has earned him the title of the "Ney" of the Rebel army, exclaimed, "Sir! I shall lead my division forward!" The orders now rang out, "Attention! Attention!" and the men, realizing the end was near, cried out to their comrades, "Good-by, boys! good-by!" Suddenly rang on the air the final order from Pickett himself, as his sabre flashed from its scabbard,—"column forward! guide centre!" And the brigades of Kemper, Garnett and Armistead moved towards Cemetery Ridge as one man. Soon Pettigrew's division emerged from the woods and followed in echelon on Pickett's left flank, and Wilcox with his Alabama division moved out to support his right flank—in all about fifteen thousand men. The selection of these supports shows a lack of judgment which it would almost seem impossible for Lee to have made. Pettigrew's division was composed mostly of new troops from North Carolina, and had been terribly used up in the first day's fight, and were in no condition to form part of a forlorn hope. Wilcox's troops had also received very severe punishment in the second day's engagement in his attack on the Ridge and should have been replaced by fresh well-tried brigades. But the movement had now begun and Lee with his generals about him watched anxiously for the result.
It was nearly a mile to the Union lines, and as they advanced over the open plain the Federal artillery opened again, ploughing great lanes through their solid ranks, but they closed up to 'guide centre' as if upon dress-parade; when half way over Pickett halted his division amidst a terrible fire of shot and shell, and changed his direction by an oblique movement coolly and beautifully made. But here occurred the greatest mistake of all. Wilcox paid no attention to this change of movement, but kept straight on to the front, thus opening a tremendous gap between the two columns and exposing Pickett's right to all the mishaps that afterwards overtook it. To those who have ever faced artillery fire it is marvellous and unexplainable how human beings could have advanced a mile under the terrific fire of a hundred cannon, every inch of air being laden with the missiles of death; but in splendid formation they still came bravely on till within range of the musketry; then the blue line of Hancock's corps arose and poured into their ranks a murderous fire. With a wild yell the rebels pushed on, unfalteringly crossed the Federal line and laid hands upon eleven cannon.
Men fired in each others faces; there were bayonet thrusts, cutting with sabres, hand to hand contests, oaths, curses, yells and hurrahs. The second corps fell back behind the guns to allow the use of grape and double canister, and as it tore through the rebel ranks at only a few paces distant the dead and wounded were piled in ghastly heaps. Still on they came up to the very muzzles of the guns; they were blown away from the cannon's mouth but yet they did not waver. Pickett had taken the key to the position and the glad shout of victory was heard, as, the very impersonation of a soldier, he still forced his troops to the crest of Cemetery Ridge. Kemper and Armistead broke through Hancock's line, scaled the hill and planted their flags on its crest. Just before Armistead was shot, he placed his flag upon a captured cannon and cried "Give them the cold steel, boys!"; but valor could do no more, the handful of braves had won immortality but could not conquer an army. Pettigrew's weak division was broken fleeing and almost annihilated. Wilcox, owing to his great mistake in separating his column was easily routed, and Stannard's Vermonters thrown into the gap were creating havoc on Pickett's flank. Pickett, seeing his supports gone, his generals, Kemper, Armistead and Garnett killed or wounded, every field officer of three brigades gone, three-fourths of his men killed or captured, himself untouched but broken-hearted, gave the order for retreat, but band of heroes as they were they fled not; but amidst that still continuous, terrible fire they slowly, sullenly, recrossed the plain,—all that was left of them, but few of five thousand.
Thus ended the greatest charge known to modern warfare. Made in a most unequal manner against a great army and amidst the most terrific cannonade known in wars, and yet so perfect was the discipline, so audacious the valor that had this handful of Virginians been properly supported they would perhaps have rendered the Federal position untenable, and possibly have established the Southern Confederacy. While other battle-fields are upturned by the plough and covered with waving grain, Cemetery Ridge will forever proudly uphold its monuments telling of glory both to the Blue and the Gray, and our children's children while standing upon its crest will rehearse again of Pickett's wonderful charge.
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THE PATRIOT, SAMUEL ADAMS.
BY EDWARD P. GUILD.
Three years ago the old State House in Boston was restored to its original architectural appearance. After having fallen a prey to the ruthless hand of commerce, been surmounted with a "Mansard roof," disfigured by a legion of business signs, made a hitching place for scores of telegraph wires, and lastly been threatened with entire demolition by the ever arrogant spirit of "business enterprise"; the sentiment of patriotic veneration asserted itself and came to the rescue. With an appropriation of $35,000 from the city, work was begun in the fall of 1881, and by the following July the ancient building had been restored to almost exactly its appearance in the last century. As the Old State House now stands, it is identical with the Town House which Boston first used for its town meeting May 13, 1713. This was nine years before the birth of the man destined to become the foremost character in the Boston town meeting of the eighteenth century—Samuel Adams. Probably no other man who ever lived has been so identified with the history of the Old State House as was he. The town meetings were held in Faneuil Hall after 1742, but through the stormy years when the Assembly met in the old building, Samuel Adams was in constant attendance as clerk. His desk, on which he wrote the first sentences ever ventured for American independence, and by which he arose, and, with hands often tremulous with nervous energy, directed the exciting debates, is to-day in the old Assembly chamber in the western end of the building. In 1774 he went to Congress, but for a long period afterward the Old State House was again his field of labor, as senator, as lieutenant governor and then as governor.
The life of Samuel Adams ought to be more familiar than it is to the patriotic young men of to-day, but some excuse is found in the fact that a popular, concise biography has, until lately, not been written. The excellent three volume work of Mr. Wells, Adams' great grandson, although admirable as an exhaustive biography, is too voluminous for the common reader; but since the appearance of Prof. Hosmer's recent book there can be no reason why any schoolboy should not have a clear idea of the life of the man who organized the Revolution.
It is only as a patriot that Samuel Adams claims our attention. Although college bred he was a man of letters only so far as his pen could write patriotic resolutions and scathing letters against the government of King George. These letters were printed for the most part in the "Boston Gazette," published by Edes & Gill in Court Street. As a business man he was never a success. For years he kept the old malt house on Purchase Street, but he gave the business little thought, for his mind was constantly engrossed in public matters, and at last he made no pretext of attending to any matter of private business, depending for support only upon his small salary as clerk of the assembly. No one will ever accuse Samuel Adams of any selfish ambition, and, although his every act will not bear the closest application of the square and rule, yet he never deceived nor used a doubtful method in the least degree for personal gain.
Adams did not begin his public career early in life. In 1764 he was chosen a member of the committee to instruct the representatives just elected to the General Court, and the paper drafted on that occasion is the first document from his pen of which we now have any trace, and is memorable, moreover, because it contains the first public denial of the authority of the Stamp Act. Adams was now forty-two, his hair was already touched with gray, and "a peculiar tremulousness of the head and hands made it seem as if he were already on the threshold of old age." He had, however, a remarkably sound constitution, a medium sized, muscular frame, and clear, steel-gray eyes.
Among those closely connected with Adams in the public service, which, from this time on, became his only thought, were John Hancock and James Otis. Adams contrasted strongly with both of these men. Hancock was the richest man in the province and as liberal as he was wealthy. In the general jubilation that followed the repeal of the Stamp Act, he opened a pipe of Madeira wine before his elegant mansion opposite the Common, and so long as it lasted it was freely dispensed to the crowd. The dress of Hancock when at home is described as a "red velvet cap, within which was one of fine linen, the edge of this turned up over the velvet one, two or three inches. He wore a blue damask gown lined with silk, a white plaited stock, a white silk embroidered waistcoat, black silk small-clothes, white silk stockings and red morocco slippers." Adams was in marked contrast with Otis in temperament. The former, always cool and collected and his words based on deliberate reason, was the extreme of the other who carried his arguments in a flood of impetuous eloquence. "Otis was a flame of fire," says Sewall. But although Otis was once almost the ideal of the people, his erratic tendencies at last unfitted him for a leader.
One reason of Sam Adams' prestige with the masses was his common and familiar intercourse with mechanics and artisans. Hancock, Otis, Bowdoin and Curtis, on account of their wealth and ideas of aristocracy, kept more or less aloof from the workmen; while Adams, plainly clad and with familiar but dignified manner, was often found in the ship yards or at the rope walks engaged in earnest conversation with the homely craftsmen. Indeed, nothing pleased him more than to be talking with a ship carpenter as they sat side by side on a block of oak, or with some shopkeeper in a sheltered fence corner. Most of his writing was done in a little room in his Purchase Street house where night after night his busy mind and quill were kept at work on his trenchant letters for the "Gazette," which were signed with significant nom de plumes in Latin.
The year 1768 was made notable by the arrival in Boston from England of the 14th and the 29th regiments. The main guard was quartered in King (now State) Street, with the cannon pointed toward the State House, and the troops occupied various houses in the vicinity. In the next year the Governor, Bernard, was recalled, and Thomas Hutchinson, although remaining nominally lieutenant governor, became acting chief magistrate. He now appeared the most conspicuous figure among the royalists, and Samuel Adams became more distinctly the leader of the patriots. Neglecting all other affairs, he was content to live on a pittance, which he was enabled to do by a frugal and helpful wife.
Affairs were now approaching a crisis. A consignment of goods from England, sent in defiance of the non-importation agreements, was not allowed to land and had to be returned. One importer, a Scotchman, would not sign the agreements, so after much remonstrance, Samuel Adams arose in town meeting and grimly moved that the number present, about two thousand, should resolve itself into a committee of the whole, wait upon the obstinate merchant and use such persuasion as should be necessary to secure a compliance. But no vote was needed, for the Scotchman was present, and rushing to the front with knees trembling and in a squeaking voice, rolling his r's like a well-played drum, exclaimed:— "Mr. Mode-r-r-rater, I agr-r-ree, I agr-r-ree!" greatly to the amusement of the people.
It was early in the next year, 1770, that the hostility between towns-people and soldiers led for the first time to the shedding of blood. In February a boy, Christopher Snyder, was shot and killed during a disturbance, and in March occurred the "Boston Massacre." The story has been many times told. Quarrels had grown frequent between the soldiers and the rope-walk hands, the soldiers usually getting the worst of it. On the evening of the 5th, an altercation began just below the Old State House, between the sentinel of the guard and a crowd of townsfolk. An alarm was rung from one of the steeples, and many citizens hurried to the place, most of them thinking that a fire had broken out. A sentry was at the corner of King and Exchange streets, where the Custom House stood, and he was assaulted by the boys with snowballs. Captain Preston with seven or eight men rushed to the scene, loaded their muskets and made ready to fire. The mob hooted, struck their muskets and dared them to fire. At last a volley came. Three were killed and eight wounded. At once there was a tumult. The bells were all rung and the populace hurried to and fro. The bodies of the slain lay on the ground which was sprinkled with a light snow, serving to plainly reveal in the clear moon-light the stains of blood.
The 29th regiment repaired to the spot prepared for firing, and there would have been a fierce contest but for the excellent conduct of the acting governor, Hutchinson. He took Captain Preston severely to task for firing at the people without the orders of a civil magistrate, and then, quickly working his way to the State House, took his stand in the balcony of the council-chamber looking down King Street, and made an address promising that the law should prevail and justice should be done to all. The next morning Hutchinson was waited upon by the selectmen who informed him that there would be no peace until the soldiers should depart. Hutchinson claimed, however, that the regiments were not under his command.
A mass meeting was soon held in Faneuil Hall, and was addressed by Samuel Adams. It may readily be believed that he advocated no compromise, and a committee of fifteen was immediately appointed of which Adams was a member. According to instructions, they at once repaired to the council chamber, and demanded the instant removal of the troops. At three o'clock a regular town meeting assembled in Faneuil Hall, but, owing to the great number present, adjourned to the Old South Meeting House. Then the committee of fifteen appeared making their way from the council-chamber to the meeting-house. Samuel Adams was at the head, and as the crowd made way on either hand he bared his head, and, inclining to the right and left, as he passed through the line, kept repeating: "Both regiments or none!" "Both regiments or none!"
In the presence of the dense multitude in the Old South, the governor's reply was rendered: the 29th regiment should go to the castle, but the 14th must remain. Then the cry arose, "Both regiments or none!" and as the shout echoed from every quarter it was plain that the people had caught the meaning of the watchword, given shortly before by Adams. A new committee, also including Adams, was appointed and sent back to the governor, and as they stood in the council chamber the scene was one that John Adams pronounced long after as worthy a historical painting. A few sentences from Adams' address to Hutchinson are clear enough to show the intense earnestness and patriotism of the man.
"It is well known," he said, "that acting as governor of the Province, you are by its charter the commander-in-chief of the military forces within it; and as such, the troops now in the capital are subject to your orders. If you, or Colonel Dalrymple under you, have the power to remove one regiment, you have the power to remove both; and nothing short of their total removal will satisfy the people or preserve the peace of the Province. A Multitude highly incensed now wait the result of this application. The voice of ten thousand freemen demands that both regiments be forthwith removed. Their voice must be respected, their demand obeyed. Fail not then at your peril to comply with this requisition! On you alone rests the responsibility of this decision; and if the just expectations of the people are disappointed, you must be answerable to God and your country for the fatal consequences that must ensue. The committee have discharged their duty, and it is for you to discharge yours. They wait your final determination."
Hutchinson for a long time stood firm, but yielded at last and the troops were removed.
It is not the purpose of this paper to follow Samuel Adams through his active career in the years of the Revolution and the succeeding period. It is always Samuel Adams, the unswerving patriot, the adroit leader, the man of the people. It had long been felt in England that his was the most active spirit in the cause of the patriots, and there was much talk of effecting his arrest and bringing him to trial on the charge of treason, but the move was never made. Adams' courage never failed. He had long given up the idea of any compromise between the colonies and the Crown, and there is nothing conciliatory in his words or acts. When the tea was emptied into Boston Harbor it was easily understood that Adams was the real leader in the action. No one familiar with the life of the great town meeting man, as Prof. Hosmer likes to call him, can doubt that he had the essential qualities of an adroit strategist. Cromwell once locked Parliament out, Adams once locked the Assembly in. He had secured a majority of the members to vote for a Continental Congress, but could the resolve be presented and brought to a final vote before Governor Gage could prorogue the Assembly, as he would use all speed to do, the instant the first knowledge of the scheme reached his ears? On the 17th of June, just one year before the Battle of Bunker Hill, that question was answered. The resolve was offered that day providing for the appointment of delegates to such a congress. Tory members at once essayed to leave the hall to dispatch the news to the governor, but the bolts were fast, and Samuel Adams had the key in his pocket. Two months later the delegates were on their way to Philadelphia,—Thomas Cushing, Samuel and John Adams and Robert Treat Paine.
Events then transpired rapidly. So far, Samuel Adams was almost wholly alone in the idea of independence, but it was declared by Congress less than two years later. For more than twenty years longer, Adams continued in public life, but his greatest work was before the Declaration of Independence rather than after. There were times when the cause of the patriots must have fallen through but for the nerve and skill of this man. Bowdoin, Cushing, Hancock, Otis, and even John Adams could not have been thoroughly trusted in the last years of the colony to bring affairs to a successful issue. But Samuel Adams was fitted by intellect and character, adroitness and courage, tireless energy and by never failing devotion to the public good, to be the man for the time.
When America had become a Republic, and Adams had returned from Congress to his native town, he served as presiding officer of the Senate, then as lieutenant governor, and, upon the death of Hancock, governor, to which office he was several times chosen by the people. He died in 1803, and his dust lies to-day in the old Granary Burying Ground, close by the common grave of the four victims of the Boston Massacre.
The statue in bronze now standing in Adams Square is noble in design, and appropriate for situation. It is in almost the busiest position of the great city, and daily across its shadow pass tens of thousands of mechanics and artisans—the class of men with whom Samuel Adams used to love to hold intercourse. The Old State House and Faneuil Hall are only a stone's-throw distant from the statue, but the face is not looking in the direction of either; it is turned directly toward the visible shaft of granite on Bunker Hill—the monument which marks the first great battle in the struggle for that Independence toward which, in all his labors for so many years, the eyes of Samuel Adams were ever turned.
[Footnote 1: For the reproduction of the above portrait and the two following views of the Old State House, we are indebted to the courtesy of Messrs. Ticknor & Co., the well-known Boston publishers.—Ed.]
[Footnote 2: Samuel Adams. By James K. Hosmer, 1 vol., 442 pp. American Statesmen Series. Boston: Houghton, Mifflin & Co. 1883.]
* * * * *
AUTHORITATIVE LITERATURE OF THE CIVIL WAR.
BY GEORGE LOWELL AUSTIN.
THE LIFE AND PUBLIC SERVICES OF ABRAHAM LINCOLN, sixteenth President of the United States: together with His State Papers, including his Speeches, Addresses, Messages, Letters, and Proclamations, and the closing Scenes connected with his life and death. By Henry J. Raymond. To which are added Anecdotes and Personal Reminiscences of President Lincoln, by Frank B. Carpenter, with a steel portrait, and other illustrations, 1 vol. octavo, pp. 808. New York: Derby and Miller, 1865.
During the Presidential canvass of 1864, the author of this volume prepared a work upon the administration of President Lincoln. That canvass resulted in the re-election of Mr. Lincoln, whose death occurred soon after his second inauguration. As the editor of the New York Times, Mr. Raymond possessed at the time ample facilities to prepare such a book as was needed to interest the public in the life of one whose work was at once as great as it was successful. Up to the day of its publication, this book was the best and most authoritative that had been published. Twenty years have since elapsed, and in many respects it still maintains a just superiority and a historical value that cannot be questioned. Its errors are of omission, rather than of commission; while its merits are so great as to render it indispensable to all future writers on the subject. Every public speech, message, letter, or document of any sort of Mr. Lincoln's, so far as accessible in 1865, will be found included in the volume. The rapidly occuring events of the civil war, with much of their secret history, are tersely and graphically described. The "Reminiscences" of Mr. Carpenter, covering about thirty pages, add interest to the volume.
ABRAHAM LINCOLN: The True Story of a Great Life. Showing the inner growth, special training and peculiar fitness of the Man for his work. By William O. Stoddard. Illustrated. 1 vol. octavo, pp. 508. New York: Fords, Howard & Hurlbert, 1884.
Mr. Stoddard was one of President Lincoln's secretaries during the civil war, and very naturally his work ought to have strong claims upon the interest and attention of American readers. His book is not of a profound or critical character; but a singularly honest and candid and strictly personal biography, simply written for readers of all ages and degrees of intelligence. It sheds considerable light on the political history of the civil war and on the events which led to it. With the military history, it deals but little. Still its brief, vigorous and vivid sketches furnish an exceedingly fascinating bird's eye view of the great struggle. But its most valuable feature is the clearness with which it depicts Lincoln, the man,—his sagacity and patience at critical moments, his keen perception of "popular" sentiment and disposition, his individuality, his distinctive fitness for the tasks and burdens which fell upon him. This work, at once so accurate, so comprehensive, so discriminating and so well written, is one for all Americans, and particularly for younger readers. It has in it a charm possessed but by very few biographies, and a fascination that but few novels can surpass. To enjoy it and to profit by it, one need not always coincide with the author's judgments of men and measures, or his criticisms of military leaders and policies.
THE LIFE OF ABRAHAM LINCOLN. By Isaac N. Arnold. 1 vol. octavo, pp. 462. Chicago: Jansen, McClurg & Co., 1885.
This work also possesses strong claims upon our attention. It was completed only a few days before the death of its eminent author. Furthermore, Mr. Arnold knew President Lincoln better than almost any other man; they had been intimate friends for more than a quarter of a century, thinking, conversing and working together during all that time. When the civil war broke out, Mr. Arnold entered Congress; became one of the most trusted advisers of the President; and no one better than he knew and comprehended the latter's thoughts and intentions; even the cabinet officers and the private secretaries never approached so near to the heart and mind of President Lincoln as did his life long, trusted and admired friend. In 1867, Mr. Arnold published a "History of Abraham Lincoln and the Overthrow of Slavery" which is a work of rare interest and of exceptional historic value. But this work, in the judgment of the author, was unsatisfactory from the fact that, while it depicted well enough the times, it failed to portray the life of President Lincoln. The later volume meets the deficiency, and in fact leaves absolutely nothing to be desired. The spirit of tenderness broods over its charmful pages. Singularly unpretentious, its very simplicity is eloquent and inspiring, and makes the heart of the reader blend with the grand and noble heart of its subject. Its accuracy is unmarred; it explains all doubts that have ever existed in regard to Mr. Lincoln's motives and acts; it asserts nothing without proving it; it tells the plain, straightforward story, and leaves criticism to others. As a personal biography of Mr. Lincoln's life and character, this book is not only unsurpassed, but it deserves to rank as one of the classics in our native literature.
THE POLITICAL CONSPIRACIES PRECEDING THE REBELLION; or the True Story of Sumter and Pickens, By Thomas M. Anderson, Lieut. Col. U.S.A. 1 vol. quarto, pp. 100. New York: G.P. Putnam's Sons, 1883.
The author assumes that there were "a number of conspiracies" antedating the immediate outbreak of the civil war, but makes no claim that the war was the result of such conspiracies. His narrative, then, is merely descriptive of the events which took place in the period between October 1860 and April 1861, purely resume in character and wholly based upon the disclosures of the Official Records. The author allows himself to criticise men and acts rather freely, and at times captiously; and has evidently intended his book to be a defence of his brother, the hero of Sumter, against certain charges which were once made against him. The old hero needs no defender, even if we suppose that he ever merited criticism. The volume is a small one,—trustworthy as regards its statements and valuable for reference. It may profitably be read in conjunction with the second volume of Mr. Curtis's Life of James Buchanan, also with the small volume, by General Doubleday, entitled The Reminiscences of Forts Sumter and Pickens in 1860-61.
THE PENINSULAR CAMPAIGN OF GENERAL MCCLELLAN IN 1862. Papers read before the Military Historical Society of Massachusetts in 1876-77-78 and 80. Printed for the Society. Vol. I, octavo, pp. 249. Boston: James R. Osgood and Company, 1881.
The Military Society of Massachusetts was organized in 1876, with the object of investigating questions relating to the civil war. Up to the date of the publication of this volume, about forty papers were read, six of them being devoted to the Peninsular Campaign of 1862, eleven to General Pope's campaign of 1862, three to the campaign of Chancellorsville, three to the Antietam campaign, sixteen to the campaign of 1864, and one each to the battle of Mobile Bay and Grouchy controversy,—all, with the exception of the last two, bearing upon the operations of the Army of the Potomac in 1862 and 1864, and including discussions from different standpoints of the objects and general plans of the several campaigns and battles in which it participated, and of the controverted questions that have arisen concerning them. The first printed volume of the Society contains the following papers:—"General McClellan's Plans for the campaign of 1862, and the Alleged Interference of the Government with them," by John C. Ropes, Esq: "The Siege of Yorktown," by Bvt.-Brig.-Gen. John C. Palfrey, U.S.A.: "The Period which elapsed between the Fall of Yorktown and the Beginning of the Seven-Days-Battles," by Bvt.-Brig.-Gen. Francis W. Palfrey, U.S.V. "The Seven-Days Battles—to Malvern Hill," by same author. "The Battle of Malvern Hill," by same author; "Comments on the Peninsular Campaign," by Bvt.-Brig.-Gen. Charles A. Whittier, U.S.V. All of these are earnest discussions,—but of unequal worth—of the various merits or demerits of General McClellan in the Peninsular campaign, or the attitude of the government toward him at that time. The ground is traversed as often before; all the old arguments are again brought into comparison, and a very small amount of new evidence is discovered. What has previously been said in many books and pamphlets and by a score of writers, is here said in one volume by three writers. But nothing appears to be freshly said, and, as usual, the conclusions reached are colored by the political likes or dislikes of their several writers. The sole merit of the volume lies in the fact that its papers embody a mass of very valuable material, gleaned from trustworthy sources, for the future historian. It is very safe to assume, however, that the future historian while expressing gratitude for their investigations, will not be tempted to place much weight upon the conclusions of the gentlemen who hold the monopoly of this volume but have not solved a single mooted question.
LIFE OF JAMES BUCHANAN, Fifteenth President of the United States. By George Ticknor Curtis. 2 vols. octavo, pp. 625, 707. New York: Harper & Brothers, 1883.
The second volume of this exceedingly painstaking and meritorious biography sheds much light upon the events preceding, and those transpiring during, the civil war. As another writer has remarked, "there is something very pitiable, something almost tragic, in the figure of James Buchanan during the last months of his administration." He found himself wavering between two factions, between Right and Wrong. So long as he wavered, the South stood by him; when he ceased to be a wary politician and manifested a decision of character such as the times demanded, the South turned against him as one man. His biographer proves conclusively that the weak and time-serving President was opposed to secession; but as positively proves without intending to do so, that he favored it by his singular unfitness and indifference in emergencies. When secession threatened, Mr. Buchanan took the ground that he would not precipitate war by applying force to prevent a State from seceding, but that he would defend the flag and property of the United States. With this policy in his heart, he permitted public property to be seized, without striking a blow; he discovered treason in his cabinet, and coolly allowed the traitors to consummate their work and to depart. The fact was, that he was a very weak man, and his biographer is the best authority for the statement. The work is important; it will always, as it richly merits, be consulted by students, and may be read with interest and profit by all.
(To be continued.)
* * * * *
ASSESSMENT LIFE INSURANCE.
BY SHEPPARD ROMANS.
Life insurance, by whatever system, plan or method, has, for its fundamental basis, the laws governing the rates of mortality at the different ages. These fundamental laws have been developed and made clear by a vast amount of statistical data obtained from observations among persons insured in life insurance companies among annuitants, among inhabitants of various towns and cities, and among the whole population in certain countries, notably in England and in Belgium. One uniform, unvarying, certain law has been thus established, which is that the rate of mortality, or in other words the cost of insurance, increases as a man grows older. From this law there is no escape. We must accept the inevitable. Hence any system of insurance which is not in accordance with this first principle, this unalterable law of nature, is unsound, and any company, whether charging level premiums or natural premiums, which does not recognize and conform to this fundamental law of nature, is doomed to disaster and wreck, sooner or later.
There are two methods of life insurance worthy of the name, and two only. The one is by payments accurately adjusted to the cost of insurance at each actual age, and which inevitably, unavoidably and inexorably, must increase with the age of the person insured, and the other is by level, or uniform payments extending over the whole duration of life or for a stated number of years. The first is the natural system and has been adopted in part, and imperfectly, by assessment companies; the second is the artificial system, and is the one which has been offered exclusively until lately, by all the regular life insurance companies. Properly carried out, the one is as sound in theory and as safe in practice as the other. In fact, the artificial premiums are the exact mathematical or commuted equivalents of the natural premiums.
Until within the last decade, the level premium system was practically the only one in use. Since then there have come into existence hundreds of co-operative or assessment companies. These institutions have had a wonderful growth. It is claimed that the number of members and the amounts insured, double those, respectively, in the old or regular companies.
Assessment companies do not, strictly speaking, grant insurance. They are rather agencies, or trust companies, and their functions or covenants are to make assessments upon survivors when deaths occur, and to pay over the proceeds of such assessments to the beneficiaries of the deceased members. There is no definite promise to pay in full, and no obligation to pay more than the assessments yield. There is no capital, no risk, no insurance! It is a voluntary association of individuals. There is usually but little if any penalty for discontinuance of membership, and the permanence of such institutions depends mainly upon the volition of their members. They spring into existence suddenly by the voluntary association of a few individuals without capital or personal risk, and as suddenly they may go out of existence by the voluntary act or withdrawal of their members. A breath may create, a breath destroy.
It must be evident then to the merest tyro, that the permanence and success of assessment companies depend upon the most rigid observance of those principles which science and sound business experience have demonstrated to be fundamental. Among these principles may be mentioned the following.
1. Rates of assessments or payments adjusted to the cost of insurance at the actual age of each person. These rates must inevitably and inexorably increase with the age of the individual.
2. The creation of a guaranty, or emergency fund, available not only to meet extra mortality, but as a cement to secure cohesion among the members, and prevent the exodus of the sound lives.
3. An assessment in advance at issue of certificate, otherwise some persons will be insured for nothing and the cost will fall on the persistent members.
As was well said by a contributor in your last number, assessment insurance has its defects, and these are well known to the managers of these institutions, and that great improvements have been made by the National Convention of assessment companies, which is composed of representatives from the best companies organized in almost every state. They recognize existing defects, they point out the remedies, and yet, but few seem to have the courage of their convictions. It is a fact beyond dispute, that with perhaps a half-dozen exceptions, the rates of assessment in every assessment company in the country remain constant as at the age of entry. That is to say, a man entering at the age of forty, pays the rate at forty only, as long as he remains a member. This is a direct violation of the inexorable law of nature which says, that as a man grows older the risk of dying, or in other words the cost of insurance, increases. It is all nonsense to urge that the average age and the average cost will be kept down by the influx of new members. The contract is made with the individual, and unless each person pays enough to compensate the company for the indemnity or insurance furnished to him, it follows of necessity, that others will be overcharged in order to meet the deficiency so occasioned. And this evil is intensified each year as the company grows older. When younger and fresher men find that they are overcharged in order to meet deficiencies arising from the act that older and inferior risks pay less than cost, they will either not enter, or, if members, will speedily desert and join an institution which is on a sounder and more equitable basis. No institution can be permanently successful which does not observe equity. I have no hesitation in saying that every assessment or corporation company which violates this fundamental law of nature by not making its rates of assessment increase with the age of the individuals insured, is doomed, and that disaster and wreck is only a question of time. This is not a new opinion. It's truth is attested by more than one wreck in this country already.
In every level, or uniform premium, there is a provision for the payment to the company of the rate of insurance at the actual present age, (no matter at what age the insurance was affected) on the net amount at risk.
The great danger for co-oporative or assessment companies lies in the facility with which such institutions may be organized, and by men without capital, character, experience or financial ability, who may thus be ushered into corporate existence by the indulgent laws of different states.
The members of the National Association of assessment companies should see to it that the laws of the different states should be so amended as to require at least a small capital, say $25,000, as a guaranty of good faith and ability on the part of the promoters, and that no company should be admitted to membership unless its system was founded on sound principles as demonstrated by science and business experience.
The managers of assessment companies should be careful lest their claims should prove to be unfounded. For instance, the writer of the article in your last number boldly asserts that it "is susceptible of mathematical demonstration that one or two million 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 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." On reflection he must see the absurdity of such statements.
The level premium system is a combination of insurance and investments. The hundred millions are investments, and are necessary for the integrity of the level premium contracts. Any assessment company in which the rates do not increase as the members grow older should be compelled to have the full premium reserve required by state law and actuarial science to be held on level premium contracts. This is capable of mathematical demonstration.
It must be borne in mind that the cost of insurance proper, that is, the provision to meet current death claims alone, is quite as high in the best assessment company as in a regular life insurance company, for this cost depends on the careful selection of lives. The difference in the two institutions is that the former dispenses with the investment element, while the latter exacts it in connection with all their contracts. Hence the price to be paid is greater. But is not the guarantee also greater?
The beneficiary under a death claim in an assessment company has for her security the hope, or promise if you please, that one thousand men will pay ten dollars each for her account. The beneficiary under a death claim in a regular life insurance company has for her security not only the actual payments of ten dollars each by one thousand men, but the definite promise to pay in full by an institution which has ample capital, assets, and surplus to back its contracts.
Assessment insurance is yet on trial, and its only hope of permanent business lies in a rigid compliance with the laws of mortality and of sound business experience.
* * * * *
THE OLD STATE HOUSE.
BY SIDNEY MAXWELL.
The Old State House! Within these antique walls The early fathers of the hamlet met And gravely argued of the town's affairs. Another generation came; and in This hall the Tory Council sat in state While from the burning lips of Otis, or The stem, defiant tongue of Adams sprang That eloquence whose echoes thundered back From Concord, Lexington, and Bunker's Hill! Between those years and ours a century lies; Those patriot's graves are deep with moss and mould, And yet these walls—the same whose shadows fell Athwart the crimson snow where Preston charged— Still cast their shadows; not on troops, nor mob Exasperated by their wrongs, but on A jostling, hurrying throng—freeman each one, Unless in bondage to himself. O Man: Pass not all heedless by, nor imprecate This aged relic of the past because It lies across thy path! From avarice Redeemed; restored unto its former self,— We hail thee, noble Sentry of the years, And greet thee with a thousand loving cheers!
[Footnote 3: The "Boston Massacre," March 5th, 1770.]
* * * * *
THE PRECIOUS METALS.
BY DAVID N. BALFOUR.
From the earliest times to the commencement of the Christian Era, the amount of the gold and silver obtained from the surface and mines of the earth is estimated to be $5,084,000,000; from the latter event to the epoch of the discovery of America, $4,363,374,000 were obtained; from the date of the last event to the end of 1842, an addition of $8,500,000,000 was made; the extensive working of the Russian gold mines in 1843, and subsequent years, added to the close of 1852, $1,400,000,000 more; the quadruple discovery of the California gold mines in 1848, those of Australia in 1851, of New Zealand in 1861, and the silver mines of Nevada and other countries bordering upon the Pacific slope of the United States, added, at the close of 1884, $7,093,626,000, making a grand total at the present time of $26,441,000,000.
The average loss by the attrition of coin is estimated by Prof. Bowen at one-fortieth of one per cent, per annum; and the average loss by consumption in the arts, and destruction by fire and shipwreck, at $9,000,000 per annum. The amount of the precious metals in existence is estimated to be $13,670,000,000, of which gold furnishes $8,166,000,000, and silver $5,504,000,000. Of the amount now in existence, $10,500,000,000 are estimated to be in coin and bullion, $2,000,000,000 in watches, and the remainder in plate, jewelry, and ornaments. Of the amount now in existence, $9,448,000,000 is estimated to have been obtained from America, $1,908,000,000 from Asia (including Australia, New Zealand, and Oceanica); $1,004,000,000 from Europe, and $1,310,000,000 from Africa.
The following statement will exhibit the product of the precious metals throughout the world in 1884:—
Countries. Gold. (America) Silver. Total. Alaska, $300,000 $30,000 $320,000 British Columbia, 2,000,000 80,000 2,080,000 United States, 30,800,000 48,800,000 79,600,000 Mexico, 1,000,000 30,000,000 31,000,000 Guatemala, 40,000 200,000 240,000 Honduras, 50,000 50,000 100,000 San Salvador, 100,000 150,000 250,000 Nicaragua, 100,000 100,000 200,000 Costa Rica, 50,000 50,000 100,000 Columbia, 1,900,000 500,000 2,400,000 Venezuela, 3,000,000 200,000 3,200,000 Guiana, 75,000 50,000 125,000 Brazil, 400,000 50,000 450,000 Bolivia, 50,000 12,980,000 13,030,000 Chili, 60,000 5,000,000 5,060,000 Argentine Republic, 50,000 200,000 250,000 Patagonia, $10,000 $5,000 $10,000 Other countries, 15,000 45,000 60,000 __ __ ___ Total, $40,000,000 $98,480,000 $138,480,000
Countries. Gold. (America) Silver. Total.
Russia, $22,000,000 $300,000 $22,300,000 Prussia, 900,000 8,000,000 8,900,000 Spain, 70,000 2,500,000 2,570,000 Austria, 950,000 1,500,000 2,450,000 Norway, 60,000 300,000 360,000 Other Countries, 20,000 320,000 340,000 __ __ ___ Total, $24,000,000 $12,920,000 $36,920,000
Countries. Gold. (America) Silver. Total.
Borneo, $700,000 $470,000 $1,170,000 China, 600,000 450,000 1,050,000 Japan, 120,000 353,000 473,000 __ __ ___ Total, $1,420,000 $1,273,000 $2,693,000
Australia, $26,000,000 $80,000 $26,080,000 New Zealand, 4,000,000 500,000 4,500,000 Africa, 2,000,000 500,000 2,500,000 Oceanica, 580,000 247,000 827,000 __ __ ___ Grand Total, $98,000,000 $114,000,000 $212,000,000
The following statement will exhibit the annual product of the precious metals at different periods:—
Periods. Gold. Silver. Total.
A.D. 14, $800,000 $4,200,000 $5,000,000 A.D. 500, 200,000 2,800,000 3,000,000 A.D. 1000, 120,000 880,000 1,000,000 A.D. 1492, 100,000 150,000 250,000 A.D. 1550, 800,000 3,200,000 4,000,000 A.D. 1600, 2,000,000 9,000,000 11,000,000 A.D. 1700, 5,000,000 18,000,000 23,000,000 A.D. 1800, 17,000,000 38,000,000 55,000,000 A.D. 1843, 52,000,000 42,000,000 94,000,000 A.D. 1850, 106,000,000 47,000,000 153,000,000 A.D. 1853, 236,000,000 49,000,000 285,000,000 A.D. 1863, 208,000,000 63,000,000 271,000,000
The following statement will exhibit the amount of the precious metals estimated to be in existence at different periods:
Periods. Gold. Silver. Total.
A.D. 14, $427,000,000 $909,000,000 $1,327,000,000 A.D. 500, 100,000,000 400,000,000 500,000,000 A.D. 1000, 65,000,000 200,000,000 265,000,000 A.D. 1492, 57,000,000 135,000,000 192,000,000 A.D. 1550. 76,000,000 284,000,000 360,000,000 A.D. 1600, 105,000,000 391,000,000 496,000,000 A.D. 1700, 351,000,000 1,410,000,000 1,761,000,000 A.D. 1800, 1,125,000,000 3,622,000,000 4,747,000,000 A.D. 1843, 1,975,000,000 5,040,000,000 7,015,000,000 A.D. 1850, 2,368,000,000 4,963,000,000 7,331,000,000 A.D. 1853, 2,942,000,000 4,945,000,000 7,887,000,000 A.D. 1863, 5,107,000,000 4,945,000,000 10,052,000,000 A.D. 1884, 8,166,000,000 5,504,000,000 13,670,000,000
The following statement will exhibit the amount of the precious metals estimated to have been obtained from the surface and mines of the earth, from the earliest times to the close of 1884:—
Periods. Gold. Silver. Total.
A.C. $2,171,000,000 $2,913,000,000 $5,084,000,000 A.D. to 1492, 3,842,374,000 521,000,000 4,363,374,000 1493 to 1842, 2,700,000,000 5,800,000,000 8,500,000,000 1843 to 1852, 900,000,000 500,000,000 1,400,000,000 1853 to 1862, 1,869,000,000 560,000,000 2,429,000,000 1863 to 1884, 3,145,626,000 1,519,000,000 4,664,626,000 ___ ___ ___ Grand Total, $14,628,000,000 $11,813,000,000 $26,441,000,000
During the first period (prior to the commencement of the Christian Era,) the annual product of the precious metals was $2,000,000; during the second period (prior to the discovery of America,) it was $3,000,000; during the third period (prior to the extensive working of the Russian gold mines, in 1843,) it was $26,000,000; during the fourth period (prior to the double discovery of the California gold mines in 1858, and the Australia gold mines in 1851,) it was $140,000,000; during the fifth period (which immediately succeeded afore-mentioned discoveries,) it was $243,000,000; during the sixth period (immediately succeeding the double discovery of the New Zealand gold mines in 1861, and the silver mines of Nevada and other countries bordering on the Pacific slope of the United States,) it was $212,000,000. The annual products of the precious metals attained its acme in 1853, when it was $285,000,000. The increase in the amount of the precious metals in existence has been greater during the last forty-years than during the previous two hundred and ninety-four. Of the amount ($6,441,000,000) of the precious metals estimated to have been obtained from the surface and mines of the earth, from the earliest times to the close of 1884, $12,100,000,000 are estimated to have been obtained from America $6,724,000,000 from Asia (including Australia, New Zealand and Oceanica), $3,751,000,000 from Europe, and $2,866,000,000 from Africa.
* * * * *
AMESBURY: THE HOME OF WHITTIER.
BY FRANCES C. SPARHAWK.
Amesbury is only a town. It has defects that would strike a stranger, and beauties that one who has learned to love them never forgets; they linger in glimpses of wood and hill and river and lake, and often rise unbidden before the mind's eye. The poet Whittier says that those who are born under the shadow of Powow Hill always return sometime, no matter how far they may have wandered. He himself, though not Amesbury born, has found it impossible to desert the old home, full of associations and surrounded by old friends. He always votes in Amesbury, and he often spends weeks at a time in his old home. The river that he has sung, the lake that he has re-christened, the walks and drives with which he is so familiar, all exercise their spell upon him; he loves them, just as he loves the warm hearts that he has found there and helped to make warm and true.
But what a stranger would first notice in coming into town is, that the houses, instead of being on land regularly laid out for building, seem to have grown up here and there and everywhere, a good deal in accordance with their own sweet wills, and without the smallest regard to surroundings.
But there are handsome houses in Amesbury, and these are growing more numerous every year. The people themselves would assert that the walks and drives about the village, the hills and the river are the things to be longest remembered about the place. If they were inclined to boasting, they might say also that they had as good a right as any people in America to be considered of ancient stock, for some of the names of the earliest settlers are the familiar names in the town to-day, and few towns in America are older than Amesbury. The names Barnard, Challis, Weed, Jones, and Hoyt, appear on the first board of "Prudenshall," and that of Richard Currier as town clerk. This was in April, 1668, the year after the new town was named.
Early in 1735 the settlement of Newbury (then spelled Newberry) was begun. In a little over three years a colony was sent out across the Merrimac. The plantation was at first called merely from the name of the river. In 1639 it was named Colchester by the General Court; but October 7, 1640, this name was changed to Salisbury, so that in 1638, almost two hundred and fifty years ago, Salisbury began to be settled. It seemed as if there was need of new settlements at that time to counteract the depletions in the Old World, for the Thirty Years' War was still impoverishing Germany; Richelieu was living to rule France in the name of his royal master, Louis XIII; England was gathering up those forces of good and evil which from resisting tyranny at last grew intoxicated with power, and so came to play the tyrant and regicide. For it was about that time that Charles I had disbanded his army, trusting to the divinity that, in the eyes of the Stuarts, did ever hedge a king, and at the same time thrown away his honor by pledging himself to what he never meant to perform. While this farce, which preceded the tragedy, was being set upon the stage of history, here, three thousand miles away, nature had begun to build up the waste, and to prophesy growth.
Salisbury, and afterwards Amesbury, were named from the two towns so famous in England, the Salisbury Plain of Druidical memory, on which is the celebrated Stonehenge, and near by, the Amesbury where was one of the oldest monasteries in England. It is supposed that the towns were so named because many of the new settlers came from those old English towns. The latter name used to be spelled Ambresbury, and Tennyson in his "Idylls of the King" spells Almesbury. After the discovery by Modred of the guilt of King Arthur's fair and false wife, he says:—
"Queen Guinevere had fled the court and sat There in the holyhouse at Almesbury Weeping."
Describing her flight, he tells us that she sent Lancelot
"Back to his land, but she to Almesbury Fled all night long by glimmering waste and weald."
There Arthur sees her for the last time and mourns over her before he goes forth to his last battle with Modred.
On the whole, it is not strange, considering its associations, and moreover the fact that this town in Massachusetts is the only Amesbury in America while so many other names are duplicated, that the people of Amesbury are not willing to merge the name of their town into that of the elder sister, even when those parts called in each "the Mills" are so closely united in interests and in appearance that no stranger could recognize them as two towns. It is only the Powow that makes the dividing line here. Blocks of offices and stores on both sides of the street, among them the post-office, common to both towns, hide the narrow stream at that point, and further up and down the towering walls of the factories make it unobserved. It is not here that one sees the Powow. But there is, or a little time ago there was, a place not far off from this main street where the river is still harassed, yet as it slips past in its silent toil with a few trees hanging low on the right, it has a fascination in spite of its prosaic surroundings; it takes naturally to picturesqueness and freedom.
One of Whittier's early poems speaks of an Indian re-visiting the stream that his forefathers loved, and standing on Powow Hill, where the chiefs of the Naumkeaks, and of the other tribes held their powows. Here for a moment, says the poem, a gleam of gladness came to him as he stooped to drink of the fountain and seated himself under an oak.
"Far behind was Ocean striving With his chains of sand; Southward, sunny glimpses giving 'Twixt the swells of land, Of its calm and silvery track Rolled the tranquil Merrimack."
The Indian's feeling about "These bare hills, this conquered river," was not strange. But to us it naturally occurs that we are more likely to wake up with our scalps on our heads, instead of sleeping our last sleep, while they dangle at a red man's girdle. Yet the very state of warfare that at that time existed between the races showed that in the settlers themselves was an element of savagery not yet eliminated. For in all this fierce strife of the tomahawk and the gun, the Quaker ancestors of the poet Whittier who met the Indians, armed only with kindness and the high courage of their peaceful convictions, were treated by the red men as friends and superiors. In the raids of general devastation they were unmolested. Their descendant has a natural right to express the pathos of the Indian's lot.
There is a fine exhibition of human nature in the records of the first settlement of Amesbury. The place was called "Salisbury new-town" until 1669, and was merely an offshoot of the latter, though much larger in extent than it is today, for now it is only about six miles by three. Then it reached up into what is now Newton, N.H. But why should not the people of those days have been generous as to the size of townships, for as to land, they had the continent before them where to choose?
But in regard to the human nature. The settlers of Salisbury went at first only beyond the salt marshes, their town being what is now East Salisbury. The forests beyond had a threatening look, and were much too near. It was determined, therefore, to drive them back by having clearings and settlements across the Powow. So, December 26, 1642, about three years after this little colony had crossed the Merrimack, a town meeting was held in which it was voted:—"Yere shall thirtie families remove to the west side of ye Powowas river." This motion was very easy to carry. But it had not been voted what families were to move on beyond the immediate protection of the small colony at East Salisbury. Who was to go? Every man sat still in his place and nodded to his neighbor with a "Thou art the man," in manner if not in words. It seems to us a very little thing to give or take the advice, "Go West young man,—or woman." But it was very different then. To do it meant, besides living encircled by forests, to be obliged to go on Sunday through these forests, worse than lonely, to the meeting-house at East Salisbury, and always with the possibility of being at any moment obliged to flee all the distance to that town for comparative safety, perhaps of being obliged to flee in the night. Signals of alarm were arranged by the General Court. Alarm was to be given "by distinctly discharging three muskets, or by continual beat of the drum, or firing the beacon, or discharging a pesse of ordnance, and every trained soldier is to take the alarm immediately on paine of five pound." It was also ordered, "That every town provide a sufficient place for retreat for their wives and children to repaire to, as likewise to keepe safe the ammunition thereof." And also, "That all watches throughout this country bee set at sunset at the beat of the drums, & not bee discharged till the beate of the drum at sunne rising."
But those old Puritans were not men to be bundled by any of the weaknesses of human nature. In ten days, when it was found that nobody had started "westward, ho!" another town-meeting was held, in which, in spite of the dangers to be encountered by the new colony, the first vote was re-affirmed, and it was decided that "the thirtie families be chosen by ye seven men," probably the selectmen. And to ensure the matter, it was determined that this vote should not be repealed except by the consent of every freeman in the town. So, in the spring, this tiny colony went out to Salisbury new-town.
In 1647, a law was passed requiring every township of fifty families to maintain a school. This is the way that the preamble reads:—
"It being one chiefe pr'ject of yt ould deluder, Satan, to keepe men from ye knowledge of ye Scriptures, as in former times by keeping ym in an unknown tongue, so in these latt'r times by pr'suading from ye use of tongues yt so at least ye true sense & meaning of ye original might be clouded by false glosses of saint-seeming deceivers, yt learning may not be buried in ye grave of o'r fath'rs in ye church & commonwealth, the Lord assisting our endeavor. It is therefore resolved," &c.
It seems overturning the cornerstone of our forefathers' intentions to banish from our schools the Scriptures, those finest examples of the strength and beauty of the English language, to say nothing of their lessons in individual self-government, which is the only foundation that a republic can be built upon.
From this old law have grown up all the public schools of Amesbury. There is now a high school, and there are, of course, the required number of small schools; some of these in the outlying districts having very few scholars.
Several years ago Mr. Whittier, who has the keenest sense of humor, told a friend that in one of these the whole number of pupils was three, average attendance one and a half! He was deeply interested in that half child.
Amesbury has among its attractions a Lion's Mouth! In the old days of Indian ambushes it must have earned its right to the name. But now the only existing danger is lest one should be eaten up—with kindness. It is a short mile from the mills, and a pleasant walk in spite of its ending! At last there comes a little hollow with a large farm-house on the left, and a grass road winding past it at right angles with the main road and leading into beautiful woods. These woods are the very jaws of the lion; and it is very hard, on a hot summer's day, for those who go into them to come out again. A few rods up the road from the hollow are other houses. People bearing some of the earliest recorded names in Amesbury, descendants of the brave pioneers, are to be found here, or having departed this life, have left good records behind them. One of these latter lived here in the pleasantest way. He and his wife carried on their large farm in an ideal manner; everything was upon a generous scale. There was money enough not to wear out life in petty economies, and largeness of soul enough not to put the length of a bank account against the beauties and refinements of life. The loss of their only child, and a few years afterward of their grand-daughter, one of the loveliest children earth ever held, was—not compensated for, that can never be, but made much less dreary by a friendship of many years' standing between them and their summer neighbors. In this case, too, the gentleman is a native of Amesbury, proud and fond of his birthplace. Every summer he comes to the cottage of this friend, a charming little house only a few rods from the larger one, and spends the summer here with his family and servants. He has made a great deal of money in New York, but fortunately, not too much, for it has not built up a Chinese wall around his heart; his new friends are dear, but his early friends are still the dearest.
Between the Mills and this formidable Mouth of the Lion, is the Quaker Meeting House, a modest, sober-hued building on a triangular green, on which, before it was fenced in, the boys delighted to play ball on the days and at the hours (for the Quakers have meeting Thursday also) on which the grave worshippers were not filing into what cannot fairly be called the house of silence, because it has been known to echo to exhortations as earnest, if not as vehement as one may hear from any pulpit. Still, there are sometimes long intervals of silence, and then the consciousness that silent self-examination is one purpose of the coming together, gives an impressiveness to the simple surroundings. It must have been here that Mr. Whittier learned to interpret so wonderfully that silent prayer of Agassiz for guidance when he opened his famous school from which he was so soon called to a higher life.
"Then the Master in his place Bowed his head a little space And the leaves by soft airs stirred Lapse of wave and cry of bird Left the solemn hush unbroken Of that wordless prayer unspoken While its wish, on earth unsaid, Rose to Heaven interpreted. As in life's best hours we hear By the spirit's finer ear His low voice within us, thus The All-Father heareth us: And his holy ear we pain With our noisy words and vain. Not for him our violence Storming at the gates of sense, His the primal language, his The eternal silences."
Mr. Whittier always goes to this meeting when he is well enough. The May Quarterly Meetings of the Society of Friends are held at Amesbury. There are a good many members of this Society in the town, and there is among them a hospitality, a kindness, and a cordiality that added to their quiet ways and the refined dress of the women makes them interesting.
It goes without saying that Amesbury has also the allotment of churches of other denominations usual to New England towns.
Thirty years ago and more, the Amesbury and Salisbury Mills were two distinct companies. The agent of the former mills, Mr. Joshua Aubin, was a gentleman of fine presence. After he left Amesbury, he sent to the town as a gift the nucleus of its present Public Library, which, although not absolutely free has only a nominal subscription to pay the services of the librarian, and for keeping the books in order.
Mr. James Horton, agent of the Salisbury mills, was more of the rough-and-ready type of man, a little bluff, but frank and kind-hearted. Both gentlemen as it happened, lived in Amesbury and were of one mind in regard to the character of their operatives. It was before the influx of foreign labor, and the men and women in the mills belonged to respectable, often well-to-do American families. Rowdyism was a thing unknown to them, and as to drunkenness, if that fault was found once in an operative, he was reprimanded; if it occurred again, he was at once discharged. And so Amesbury, though a manufacturing town, was in its neatness and orderliness an exquisite little village with the Powow Hill at its back and the hem of its robe laved by two beautiful rivers. After Mr. Aubin's ill health had made him resign his place, the father of Prof. Langley, well-known to science, was agent for a time, and carried on matters in the spirit of his predecessors. But there came a change, the mills were united under one control, and an agent was sent to Amesbury for the purpose of forcibly illustrating the fact that corporations have no souls. He did it admirably. Work was started at high pressure, there came a rush of foreigners into the place, many of the old towns people moved away in disgust, and the new took the place of the old as suddenly as if an evil magician had waved his wand and cried: "Presto!" But this agent soon gave evidence that great unscrupulousness doesn't pay, even as a financial investment. After several other short regimes the present agent, Mr. Steere, came to Amesbury, and the corporation has found it worth while to keep him. The effect of the sudden influx of foreign population into Amesbury has never done away with; it has its "Dublin" in a valley where the corporation built houses for its operatives. And with what indifference to cleanliness, or health these were built! The poor operatives were crowded together in a way that would make neatness difficult to the most fastidious. A physician in Amesbury who considered the poor, presented this state of things so strongly and so persistently to the agent, spoke so forcibly of the moral degradation that such herding increased, or induced, that when it became necessary to build new tenements they were much better arranged. Every manufacturing town in New England has now its unwholesome because untaught population, a danger signal on the line of progress of the republic. It is only popular education that can remove this obstruction of ignorance. The foreign population of Amesbury today is large, and although it gives hands to the mills, it adds neither to the beauty nor the interest of the town. But it gives a mission to those who believe in the possibilities of human nature, and the right of every man to have a chance at life, even if the way he takes it be not agreeable to his cultivated neighbor.
The mills in the days of their greatest prosperity were all woolen mills: now a part of them are cotton mills. They are all running, and, although not with the remarkable success of a score of years ago, have a future before them.
The making of felt hats, now so important a business, was started here a number of years ago by a gentleman who built a hat factory near his house at the Ferry. He was a gentleman in that true sense in which, added to his nerve and will (and he had abundance of both) were those knightly qualities of generosity and kindliness that have made his memory dear, while the Bayley Hat Company, called after him as its founder, bears witness to his business ability.
The great, oblong, many-windowed carriage manufactories meet one at every turn, and often the smithy stands near with its clangor. This business used to be confined to West Amesbury, now Merrimac. At the beginning of the century it was started on an humble scale by two young men, one a wood-worker, the other a plater, while another young man was trimmer for them. One of the firm lived in West Amesbury, the other in South Amesbury, now Merrimac Port, and after each had built his share of the carriage, it was found a little difficult to bring the different parts together. This was the beginning, and now Amesbury ships its carriages over the world. One of the first to bring this business from what was then West Amesbury to the Mills was a young man who in the beginning of the war had been unfortunate in business. He gave his creditors all he had, and went to the front. After serving his time there he came home, went into the carriage business, made money this time instead of losing it, and paid up his old creditors one hundred cents on the dollar. He deserves a big factory and success. And he has both. And he is not the only one of whom good things could be said.
They have a Wallace G.A.R. Post in Amesbury, not in commemoration of the Wallace of old Scottish fame, but of a man no less patriotic and brave who lived among themselves, an Englishman, a shoemaker. He was lame, but so anxious during the Rebellion to have his share in the struggle for the Union that he tried to get a place on board a gunboat, saying that he could "sit and shoot." As this was impossible, the town sent him to Boston as its representative, and he was in the Legislature when the members voted themselves an increase of pay. Mr. Wallace believed the thing illegal. He took the money in trust. One day after his return to Amesbury he limped up to his physician (the same one who had brought about the better construction of the new corporation houses) and handed him fifty dollars of this over pay, to be used at his discretion among the poor, explaining as he did so where the money came from, that he felt that it belonged to Amesbury, and that he returned a part through this channel.
Half way between the Mills and the Ferry stands an old well that a native of Amesbury dug by the roadside for the benefit of travellers because he had once been a captive in Arabian deserts, and had known the torments of thirst. Here was a man to whom the uses of adversity had been sweet, for they had taught him humanity. Mrs. Spofford has written an appropriate poem upon this incident.
The elms in Amesbury are very beautiful, and they are found everywhere; but on the ferry road there are magnificent ones not far from the river. They are growing on each side of the road, arching it over with their graceful boughs.
The Ferry proper near which was born Josiah Bartlett, one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence, is at the foot of the street that runs from the Mills down to the river. In old times there was a veritable ferry here a few rods above where the Powow empties into the Merrimack. This ferry is mentioned in the records, two years after the town had been set upon its feet. In a book written about Amesbury by Mr. Joseph Merrill, a native of the town, it is stated that the town petitioned the general Court for leave to keep a Ferry over the river at this place. This is the record from the same source:—
"The County Court held at Hampton, ye 13th of ye 8th month 1668, Mr. Edward Goodwin being presented by ye Selectmen of ye town of Amesbury to Court to keep ye Ferry over Merrimac river about ye mouth of ye Powow river where ye said Goodwin now dwelleth, the Court do allow and approve of ye sd person for one year next following and until ye Court shall take further orders therein, and ye prices to be as followeth so, for every single passenger two pence, for a horse and man six pence, and for all great cattle four pence, for sheep and other small cattle under two years old two pence per head."
In 1791 there came up a question of a bridge being built across the Merrimac. A town meeting was called to oppose the measure, and in this it was argued that a bridge would throw into disuse the ferry with which much pains had been taken. Precious old fogies! In those days, too, they lived, for they were as old as the centuries. Nothing of the mushroom about them. There is a tradition that once in Revolutionary days, Washington was carried across this ferry. But it is impossible to say what the tradition is founded upon, and how much it is worth.
As to the river, there are rivers and rivers, as the saying is; at some we marvel, some we fear and to some we make pilgrimages as to the Mecca of the faithful. But the Merrimac is a river to be loved, and to be loved the better the more familiar it is. What its poet, Whittier, says about it must be literally true:
"Our river by its valley born Was never yet forgotten."
It is worth while to try to imagine it as he writes it in "Cobbler Keezer's Vision" two hundred and more years ago, when that old fellow was so amazed at the prospect of mirth and pleasure among the descendants of the stern Puritans that he dropped his lapstone into the water in bewilderment.