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Title: The Bay State Monthly — Volume 2, No. 4, January, 1885
Author: Various
Language: English
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*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "The Bay State Monthly — Volume 2, No. 4, January, 1885" ***

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[Illustration: Geo. D. Robinson Governor of Mass. 1884.



_A Massachusetts Magazine_.


JANUARY, 1885.

No. 4.

       *       *       *       *       *



[Assistant Editor of the Boston Journal.]

His Excellency George D. Robinson, at present the foremost citizen of
Massachusetts, by reason of his incumbency of the highest office in the
Commonwealth, is the thirtieth in the line of succession of the men who
have held the office of Governor under the Constitution. In character,
in ability, in education, and in those things generally which mark the
representative citizen of New England, he is a worthy successor of the
best men who have been called to the Chief Magistracy. His public career
has been marked by dignity and an untiring fidelity to duty; his life as
a private citizen has been such as to win for him the respect and good
will of all who know him. He is a man in whom the people who confer
honor upon him find themselves also honored. He is a native of the
Commonwealth, of whose laws he is the chief administrator, and comes of
that sturdy stock which wresting a new country from savagery, fostered
with patient industry the germs of civilization it had planted, and
aided in developing into a nation the colonies that, throwing off the
yoke of foreign tyranny, presented to the world an example of government
founded on the equal rights of the governed and existing by and with the
consent of the people. His ancestors were probably of that Saxon race
which for centuries stood up against the encroachments of Norman kings
and nobles, which was led with willingness into the battle, the siege or
the crusade that meant the maintenance or advancement of old England's
honor, or in the cause of mother Church, and which was possessed of that
brave, independent spirit that, when the old home was felt to be too
narrow an abode, sought a new-country in which to plant and develop its
ideas of what government should be. However this may be it is certain
that from the first settlement of the Massachusetts Bay Colony the
family was always represented among the most honorable of its yeomanry,
and among its members were pillars of both Church and State. His
immediate ancestors, people of the historic town of Lexington, were
active citizens in the Revolutionary period, and in the great struggle
members of the family were among those who did brave and effective
service in the cause of liberty.

George Dexter Robinson was born in Lexington, February 20, 1834. Born on
a farm, his boyhood and youth were spent there, and his naturally strong
constitution was improved by the outdoor exercise and labor which are
part of the life of the farmer's boy. But the future Governor did not
intend to devote himself to farming. With the aim of obtaining a
collegiate education he attended the Academy in his native town, and
followed his studies there by further preparation at the Hopkins
Classical School in Cambridge. Entering Harvard University he was
graduated at that institution in 1856, and receiving an appointment as
Principal of the High School in Chicopee, Massachusetts, he accepted it,
filling the position with success during a period of nine years. He
retired from it in 1865. Meanwhile he had devoted much time to legal
studies, which he continued more fully during the next few months, and
in 1866 he was admitted to the bar in Cambridge. Chicopee, the town
wherein his active career in life had begun, he made his permanent home,
and with the various interests of that town he identified himself
closely and pleasantly, exemplifying in many ways the character of a
true townsman, and associating himself with every movement for the good
of his fellow citizens. In 1873 he was elected to represent the town the
ensuing year in the State Legislature, and as a member of the House he
was noted for the promptness and fidelity with which he attended to his
legislative duties. Two years later he was a member of the State Senate,
and here, as in the House, he displayed conspicuous ability as a
legislator in addition to that fidelity to his responsibilities which
had long been characteristic of him in any and all positions. His
qualifications for public life received still wider recognition the year
he served in the Senate, and he was nominated by the Republicans of the
old Eleventh District as Representative in Congress. He was re-elected
for two successive terms, and after the re-apportionment was elected
from the new Twelfth District in 1882, but before taking his seat was
nominated by the Republicans for the office of Governor, to which he was
elected. He took his seat, however, in order to assist in the
organization of the new Congress, and, after that work was accomplished,
resigned to enter upon the duties entrusted to him by the people of the
whole Commonwealth. He had sat in the Forty-fifth, Forty-sixth,
Forty-seventh and Forty-eighth Congresses. Of his career in Washington
it would not be possible to give a better summary than one given by
"Webb," the able Washington correspondent of the Boston Journal, which
is here given in its entirety:

Mr. Robinson took his seat in the Forty-fifth Congress, which met in
extra session, in October, 1877. He was prompt in his seat on the first
day of the first session. Regularity in attendance, and constant
attention to public business, have been characteristics of Mr.
Robinson's Congressional career. He is in his seat when the gavel falls
in the morning; he never leaves it until the House adjourns at night. He
does not spend his time in importuning the departments for clerkships,
but he welcomes the civil service law. He does not take the public time,
which belongs to his constituents, for his private practice in the
United States Supreme Court. He is in the truest sense a representative
of the people. He is quick in discovering, and vigorous in denouncing
an abuse. He as quickly comprehends and as earnestly advocates a just
cause. He is a safe guardian of the people's money and has never cast
his vote for an extravagant expenditure; but he does not oppose an
appropriation to gain a reputation for economy, or aspire to secure the
title of "watch dog of the Treasury," by resorting to the arts of a

When he entered Congress, he went there with the sincerity of a student,
determined to master the intricate, peculiar machinery of Congressional
legislation. He has become an authority in parliamentary law, and is one
of the ablest presiding officers in Congress.

In the Congress which he first entered the Democrats were in power in
the House. "They had come back," as one of their Southern leaders (Ben
Hill) said, "to their father's house, and come to stay." Mr. Randall was
elected Speaker. He put Mr. Robinson on one of the minor standing
committees--that of Expenditures in the Department of Justice--and
subsequently placed him near the foot of the list on the Special
Committee on the Mississippi Levees. Before the latter committee had
made much progress with its business, it was discovered that where
"McGregor sits is the head of the table." Mr. Robinson, at the extra
session of the Forty-fifth Congress, took little active part in the
public proceedings. He was a student of Congressional rules and

At the second session of the Forty-fifth Congress he began to actively
participate in the debates, and from the outset endeavored to secure a
much needed reform in Congressional proceedings. He always insisted
that, in the discussion of important questions, order should be
maintained. He followed every important bill in detail, and the
questions which he directed to those who had these bills in charge
showed that he had made himself a master of the subject. He took
occasion to revise upon the floor many of the calculations of the
Appropriations Committee, and to urge the necessity of the most rigid
economy consistent with proper administration.

It was at the third session of the Forty-fifth Congress, January 16,
1879, that Mr. Robinson made his first considerable speech. It was upon
the bill relative to the improvement of the Mississippi River. He was
very deeply impressed with the magnitude of the problems presented by
that great river, and, while he was willing that the public money should
be wisely expended for the improvement of the 'Father of Waters,' he did
not wish that Congress should be committed to any special plan which
might prove to be part of a great job, until an official investigation
could be had. The interest with which this first speech was listened to,
and the endless questions with which the Southern men who favored
absolutely the levee system plied him, showed that they understood that
great weight would be given to Mr. Robinson's opinion, and that they did
not wish him to declare, unconditionally, against their cause. The
speech was a broad and liberal one, but extremely just. It had been
intimated in the course of the debate that Eastern members, who did not
favor the improvement of the river, refused to do so on account of a
narrow provincialism. Mr. Robinson showed them that New England is both
just and generous, and that the country is so united that a substantial
benefit to any portion of it cannot be an injury to another. He made
some keen thrusts at the Southern State rights advocates, who were so
eager for the old flag and an appropriation, and he reminded them that
whatever might be thought of the dogma of State sovereignty, "the great
old river is regardless of State lines, of the existence of Louisiana,
and, whenever there is a defective levee in Arkansas, over it goes into
Louisiana, spreading devastation in its course." Mr. Robinson insisted
that "Congress has no right to spend $4,000,000 out of the public
treasury immediately without investigating a theory and a plan which
proposes to render such an expenditure wholly unnecessary," and he
maintained that the greatest possible safe-guards should be provided
against any extravagant expenditure on the part of the Government. The
relations of New England to such an undertaking he thus broadly stated:

"I am not deterred by any considerations that when the great river is
open to commerce to an enlarged extent more freight will go down its
bosom and be diverted perhaps from the great cities on the Atlantic
shore. I am willing that the whole country shall be improved and opened
for its best and most profitable occupation. This territory, whose
interests are affected by this, is greater than the whole of New
England. I am not afraid that whatever improvements may be made there
New England will be left out in the cold. Whatever conduces to the
prosperity of the West or South will benefit the East and North. We are
parts of one great whole, and, if it is necessary under a proper policy
to spend some money from the Treasury of the United States to meet the
wants of those States lying along the Mississippi River, I hope it will
not be begrudged to them, but it should not be done, and the Government
should not be committed, until the plans, have received a careful
consideration and the indorsement of the proper officers."

At the third session of the Forty-fifth Congress, Mr. Robinson, from his
minor place on the Committee on Expenditures in the Department of
Justice, introduced a bill relative to the mileage of United States
Marshals, which proposed an important reform.

In the Forty-sixth Congress, at the first session, Mr. Robinson, on
account of the marked abilities which he had shown as a lawyer and a
debater, was appointed a member of the Judiciary Committee, a position
which he held through the Forty-sixth Congress with honor to his
district and his State. From the outset of the Forty-sixth Congress Mr.
Robinson, to the great surprise of many older members, who were not able
to fathom the mystery of the rules, took front rank as a debater on
points of order, and showed that his months of silent observation and of
earnest study had brought their fruit. His discussion of points of order
and of the rules was always characterized by good sense. He did not seek
to befog a question by an extensive quotation of authorities. He
endeavored to strip the rules of their technicalities and to apply to
them the principle of common sense. Sometimes, however, he was almost in
despair, and once in the course of an intricate discussion he exclaimed
(March 28, 1879): "If there is a standing and clear rule that guides the
Chair, I have not yet found it."

At the second session of the Forty-sixth Congress, Western and Southern
Democrats united their forces in support of an amendment to the
"Culbertson Court bill," which was designed to limit the jurisdiction of
the United States courts. Some of the strongest advocates of this
amendment were men who, although living in Northern States, were
unfriendly to the Union, and who, since the war, have been continuously
aggressive in their efforts to place limitations upon national power.
Mr. Robinson was a member of the Judiciary Committee and spoke upon the
bill. His speech upon this measure attracted more attention than any
speech he had delivered before that time. It commanded the undivided
attention of the House, which was so interested in it that, although the
debate was running in the valuable time of the morning hour, Mr.
Robinson, on motion of a Democrat, Mr. Randolph Tucker, after the
expiration of his time, was requested to continue. The speech was a
powerful, logical, patriotic defence of the federal courts. A few
extracts from the general parts of this speech furnish an excellent
illustration of the abilities of Mr. Robinson as a debater and orator,
as well as of his strong convictions. He spoke as the son of a Jackson
Democrat would be likely to speak. He vigorously opposed the increase in
the limit from $500 to $2,000 as proposed by the Southern and Western

After quoting the opinions of Chief Justices Story and Marshall to show
that the right of Congress to establish federal courts could not be
denied without defeating the Constitution itself, Mr. Robinson
continued: "I say, then, that those constitutional provisions give to
the citizens of the different States their rights in the federal courts.
I say again, it is not within the constitutional power of Congress to
make discriminations as to citizens in this matter. It has been taken as
settled that the corporations of the States for purposes of jurisdiction
are citizens of the States in which they are created. Can you
discriminate? Why, in the famous Dred Scott decision, the Supreme Court
did discriminate, and said that a negro was not a citizen within the
meaning of the Constitution, nor entitled to sue in the Circuit Court of
the United States. The nation paused and held its breath, and never
recovered itself until after the bloody strife of the war, when was put
into the Constitution that guaranty that no such doctrine should ever be
repeated in this country. If Congress can exclude the citizens of a
locality, or the citizens of one color, or the citizens of one
occupation, or the citizens of certain classes of wealth or industry,
surely it can exclude any other citizens. If you can, in this bill and
under our Constitution, declare that the citizens, or any portion of
them, in this country, because they act in their corporate capacity,
shall lose their rights in the federal courts, it is but the next step
to legislate that the man who is engaged in rolling iron, or in the
manufacture of cotton, or of woolen goods, or is banker, or 'bloated
bond-holder,' shall not have any rights in the federal courts. There is
no step between them. There may be a discrimination as to
subject-matter, but not as to citizens. The distinction is very broad,
and in recognition of it my argument is made." In the discussion of the
apportionment at the Forty-sixth Congress, third session, Mr. Robinson
eloquently defended the honor of Massachusetts against the aspersions
which had been cast upon the Commonwealth by General Butler in his brief
as attorney in the Boynton-Loring contest. In the course of the debate
Mr. Cox called attention to this brief and suggested that if it were
true the representation of Massachusetts should be curtailed. Mr.
Robinson entered into an explanation of the reading and writing
qualification for suffrage in Massachusetts. As General Butler was the
assailant in this case, Mr. Robinson said:

"I propose to show this matter was understood before 1874. Turn to the
debates in the Congressional Globe, volume 75, and in 1869 in this
House, and within these walls. General Benjamin F. Butler made this
speech in reply to an inquiry made by the gentleman from New York, the
Chairman of this Census Committee. He says:

"Everybody in Massachusetts can vote irrespective of color who can read
and write. The qualification is equal in its justice, and an ignorant
white man cannot vote there and a learned negro be excluded; but in the
Georgia Legislature there was a white man who could hardly read and
write, if at all, voted in because he was white, while a negro who spoke
and read two languages was voted out, solely because he was black. It is
well that Massachusetts requires her citizens should read and write
before being permitted to vote. Almost everybody votes there under that
rule, certainly every native-born person of proper age and sex votes
there, and there are hundreds and thousands in this country who would
thank God continually on their bended knees if it could be provided that
voters in the city of New York should be required to read and write.
They would then believe Republican government in form and fact far more
safe than now."

After exposing the assertions of General Butler, Mr. Robinson concluded
as follows:

"For twenty-three years it has been written before the people of that
State that to entitle them to vote and hold office they shall first
learn to read and write. Near to every man's dwelling stands a public
free school. Education is brought to the door of every man. These
school-houses are supported with almost unbounded munificence. Children
have been born in that time and have attended school at the public
expense, and the general education of the people has been advanced.

* * * I will not take any time in talking about the policy of the law.
There are some and many people in the State who do not think it wise to
require the prepayment of a poll tax. People differ about that. Some
time or other that may be changed; but for sixty years it has been the
law, and it so remains. Looking into the Constitution and the laws of
the sister States of Virginia and Georgia and Delaware and Pennsylvania
we find similar provisions of the same antiquity justified by the
communities that have adopted such legislation. And we say to all the
States we leave to you those questions of policy, and we commend them to
your judgment and careful consideration. Does any one claim that
representation should be reduced because of insanity or idiocy, or
because of convicts? Does any one claim that all laws requiring
residence and registration should be done away? And yet they are on the
same line, on the same principle. There is not one of these
prerequsites, on which I have commented, that it is not in the power of
the person who desires to get suffrage to overcome and control and
conquer so that he may become a voter. But if he be a black man he
cannot put off his color. He cannot, if he were born a member of a
particular race, strip himself of that quality; nor can he, if he has
been in servitude; nor can he, if he has been in rebellion, take out
that taint; nor can he, if he has been convicted of other crimes, remove
his record of criminality. These are an inherent, inseparable,
indissoluble part of that man. But his education, his registration, his
residence, his payment of a portion of the burdens of the State, and the
other matters, are in his power and his control. I find it to be in
accord with the wisdom of the people of the country that it is the true
policy to let the States govern those matters for themselves. The
Constitution of the United States touches those things that are out of
the man's control."

In the filibustering contest over the rules in the Forty-seventh
Congress, first session, Mr. Robinson made a very earnest speech, which
commended itself to all except the extreme filibusters. Stripping the
contest of its technical parliamentary points, Mr. Robinson said: "Our
rules are for orderly procedure, not for disorderly obstruction; not for
resistance." Continuing he said that no tyranny is one-half as odious as
that which comes from the minority. "Our fathers," he said, "put our
Government upon the right of the majority to rule." To the charge of one
of the minority that the purpose of the majority to proceed to the
consideration of the election cases was tyranny, Mr. Robinson said:

"Tyranny! Because the majority of this House proposes to go forward to
action in a way that, upon their oaths, they declare to be right and
proper, and in their judgment is to be vindicated, you say that is
tyranny! But it is not tyranny for you in a minority forsooth to say,
unless it goes just the way we want it, it shall not go at all. That is
to say, in the language that you have thrown out here and have
fulminated in the caucus, you will sit here till the expiration of this
Congress rather than you shall not have your way. I commend to my friend
some other dictionary in which he will find a proper definition of the
word tyranny."

To show to what logical result the theory of the right of the minority
to prevent legislation or the consideration of public business would
lead, the following illustration was used: "But this very day suppose by
some great calamity the chair of the Speaker was left vacant and we were
confronted with the necessity of electing a Speaker. Elect him under the
rules, you say. Yes, but under the Constitution, greater than the rule.
But, say one-fifth of this House, you shall not proceed to elect a
Speaker unless you will take a man from our number; and we will move to
adjourn, to adjourn over, and to take a recess. You shall never organize
this House so long as we can call the yeas and nays. Do you believe that
we are in that pitiable plight?"

On the subject of civil service Mr. Robinson improved one minute to
express his views in this manner:

"I am heartily in favor of this bill. It is in the right direction. We
have read enough in the platforms of both political parties; here is a
chance to do something.

"In some of the States of this country have just been inaugurated
officers of the Democratic party; and I have noticed they have made
haste, no matter what their declarations have been in recent platforms,
to turn out well tried public servants and put in some of their own
retainers and supporters. I want this Congress here and now to express
itself in this bill, so that it may be in accord with the sentiment of
this country.

"I hear some gentlemen say, 'Oh, yes, we are for reform, but this does
not reform enough,' I am somewhat alarmed when I find a man who says he
wants to reform but cannot begin at all unless he can reform all over in
one minute. If there is not enough in this bill, still let us take it
gladly, give it a cordial welcome and support, and we will pass some
other bill some day which will go as far as our most progressive friends

The position of Mr. Robinson on the tariff and River and Harbor bills
needs no explanation to Massachusetts readers. He opposed the River and
Harbor bill and voted to sustain the President's veto.

The political campaign of 1883, which resulted in Mr. Robinson's
election as Governor, was an interesting and somewhat exciting one. His
Democratic competitor for the office was General Benjamin F. Butler, who
was then Governor, and who took the stump in his peculiarly aggressive
way, arraigning bitterly the Republican administrations which had
preceded his own and appealing to his own record in the office as an
argument for his re-election. His elevation to the Governorship the year
before had been the result of some demoralization in the Republican
party, and was the possible cause of more, unless a candidate could be
found able to harmonize and draw together again the inharmonious
elements. That Mr. Robinson was such a man was indicated very clearly in
the fact that the nomination sought him, in reality against his wish,
and was accepted in a spirit of duty. Accepting the leadership of his
party in the State Mr. Robinson at once applied himself to the further
duty of making his candidacy a successful one, and to that end placed
himself in the view of the people all over the Commonwealth in a series
of addresses that were probably never surpassed for excellence in any
previous political campaign. He is an interesting and impressive
speaker, an honest man in the handling of facts, logical in his
arguments, choice in his language, which is rich in Anglo-Saxon phrases,
and with the admirable tone of his utterances combines a clear and ready
wit that, never obtruding itself, is never missing when the place for it
exists. He made himself thoroughly acquainted with questions at issue,
and with questions in general connected with the interests of the
Commonwealth. His addresses commanded attention and commended themselves
to the common sense of the people, and the result was inevitable. He
entered upon the administration of affairs with his customary vigor, and
during his first year in office won the respect of men of all shades of
political opinion by the ability and impartiality with which his duties
were performed. While neglecting none of the details of official
business Governor Robinson found time to attend to those social
requirements that have long been imposed upon the Chief Magistrate,
dignifying by his presence and enlivening by his timely remarks all
kinds of gatherings, the aim of which has been to broaden social
relations, or to advance the welfare of the community in any way. In the
election of November, 1884, he was again the Republican candidate for
Governor, and was re-elected. In his personal appearance Governor
Robinson is what might be termed a clean-cut man. He is of good stature,
compactly built, with a well-shaped head and a face in which are seen
both intelligence and determination. His temperament is very even, and
though he does not appear to be a man who could be easily excited, he is
one who can be very earnest. His manners are pleasant, and in meeting
him a stranger would be apt from the first to accord him, on the
strength of what he appears to be, full respect and confidence.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: Oliver Ames]



[Editor of the Boston Traveller].

The descendants of William Ames, the Puritan, who settled in Braintree,
are a representative New England family. Their history forms an
honorable part of the history of Massachusetts, and fitly illustrates in
its outlines the social and material advancement of the people from the
poverty and hardships of the early Colonial days to the wealth and
culture of the present. In the early days of the Colony they were poor,
as were their neighbors of other names, but they honored toil and
believed in the dignity of honest labor. Industry was with them coupled
with thrift. They recognized their duty to the State and gave it such
service as she demanded, whether it were honest judgment in the jury
box, the town meeting and the General Court, or bearing arms against the
Indian marauder, and the foreign foe. State and Church were virtually
one in these primitive times, and such services as were delegated to
individuals by church, by school districts, or by the town, were
accepted by the members of this family as duties to be unostentatiously
performed, rather than as bringing with their performance either honor
or emolument. With their thrift they coupled temperance. They labored
subduing the forests, on the clearing and at the forge. Artisans, as
well as agriculturists, were needed; and they became skilled artisans.
Muskets were as indispensable to these pioneers as hoes or spades; and
so they made guns, then farming tools. They made shovels first for their
neighbors, then for their township, then for their State and country. As
their state advanced they kept pace with it. They found an outlet for
the products of their skill at a neighboring seaport, and through this
and other outlets secured markets in distant countries. Industries and
enterprises which would in time develop other industries and enterprises
became the special objects of their encouragement. Where avenues of
prosperity and success were lacking, they must be created; and in
recognition of this necessity this family took the lead in making the
seemingly inaccessible, accessible, and the far, near, by building a
railway across the Continent. In this barest and most meagre outline of
the history of a single family may be found in miniature an outline of
the history of the development of Massachusetts, of New England.

In the early part of the seventeenth century the Ames family became
prominently identified with the Puritan movement in England. William
Ames, the divine and author, was among those who for conscience's sake
forsook his home, finding refuge in Holland. He became known to fame not
only as an able writer, but as Professor in the Franeker University.
Richard Ames was a gentleman of Bruton, Somersetshire, England. Neither
of these cast in their fortunes with the first Puritan settlers of
Massachusetts; but it is doubtful if the sufferings for conscience's
sake of those who remained behind were after all less rigorous than were
the sufferings of those who, self-exiled, sought homes in New England.
The two branches of the family were united by marriage and from them
descended the Honorable Oliver Ames, Lieutenant Governor of the
Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

The Ames family commence their genealogical tree with the first New
England ancestor, William Ames, son of Richard Ames of Bruton,
Somersetshire, who came to this country in 1635, and settled in
Braintree in 1638. A few years later he was joined by his brother, John
Ames, who settled in Bridgewater.

John Ames, only son of William Ames, was born in Braintree in 1651;
married Sarah Willis, daughter of John Willis; and in 1672 settled in
Bridgewater with his uncle, John Ames, who was childless, and whose heir
he became in 1697. He had five sons, one of whom was Nathaniel, the
grandfather of Fisher Ames. His estate was settled in 1723.

Thomas Ames, fourth, son of John and Sarah (Willis) Ames, was born in
Bridgewater in 1682: married in 1706 Mary Hayward, daughter of Joseph
Hay ward.

Thomas Ames, eldest son of Thomas and Mary (Hayward) Ames, was born in
Bridgewater in 1707; married in 1731 Keziah Howard, daughter of Jonathan
Howard; and died in 1774.

Captain John Ames, second son of Thomas and Keziah (Howard) Ames, was
born in Bridgewater in 1738: married in 1759 Susannah Howard, daughter
of Ephraim Howard. He was a commissioned officer during the war of the
Revolution. A blacksmith by trade he also rendered the patriot cause
service by the manufacture of guns. His account book, still in
existence, also proves that he was engaged in the manufacture of shovels
in 1775.

Oliver Ames, third son of Captain John and Susannah (Howard) Ames, was
born in West Bridgewater April 11, 1779. For a number of years he was
employed at Springfield in the manufacture of guns by his brother, David
Ames, who was the first superintendent of the armory, appointed by
President Washington; and as early as 1800 was engaged in the
manufacture of shovels. In 1803 he married Susannah Angier, a descendant
of President Urian Oakes of Harvard College, and the same year he
removed to Easton where greater facilities were afforded for carrying on
his business. At first his goods found an outlet to markets at Newport,
Rhode Island, and at Boston; and a one-horse vehicle was sufficient for
the transportation of the raw material to, and the manufactured goods
from, his factory. He was a man who combined in himself rare executive
ability and mechanical skill, and gradually built up a large and
flourishing business. A great impetus was given to manufacturing during
the last war with Great Britain, and Mr. Ames availed himself of every
opportunity to enlarge his business. The one-horse method of
transportation was soon supplanted by six-horse teams; and when, on his
retirement from active business in 1844, the firm of Oliver Ames and
Sons was formed, the business had grown to large dimensions.

Honorable Oakes Ames, eldest son of Oliver and Susannah (Angier) Ames,
was born in Easton, January 10, 1804; married November 29, 1827, Eveline
Orville Gilmore; and entered heartily into the enterprises inaugurated
by his father. Under his supervision the manufacture of shovels grew
into giant proportions. A railroad, constructed to the very doors of the
factories, furnished facilities for transporting to them yearly fifteen
hundred tons of iron, two thousand tons of steel and five thousand tons
of coal, and for carrying away from them more than one hundred and
thirty thousand dozen shovels, in the manufacture of which employment
had been given to five hundred workmen. The fame of the goods kept pace
with the advance of civilization; and on every frontier, in all quarters
of the globe, were found as instruments of progress the Ames shovels.

It is not so much as the successful manufacturer, however, that Oakes
Ames will be remembered, as the master mind through whose perseverance
and indomitable energy, and in the face of seemingly insurmountable
obstacles, was forced to completion the pioneer railway across the
Western Continent. He gained a deserved and enduring fame as the builder
of the Union Pacific Railroad, and that magnificent work will ever stand
as his proudest monument. During the former part of the war of the
Rebellion he rendered important service to the Union cause by his shrewd
and sagacious counsels in State affairs, and a little later for ten
years represented the Second Massachusetts District in the National
House of Representatives. He died May 8, 1873.

Honorable Oliver Ames, second son of Oakes and Eveline O. (Gilmore)
Ames, was born in North Easton, February 4, 1831. [See genealogical foot
note]. He received his early education in the public schools of his
native town and at the North Attleboro, Leicester, and Easton Academies.
Having thus laid the foundation of a liberal education, he entered the
shovel works of his father, where he served an apprenticeship of five
years, thus mastering the business in all the minuteness of its details.
At the age of twenty, appreciating the value of a more thorough
scholastic training, he took a special course at Brown University,
placing himself under the special tutelage of President Francis Wayland.
The bent of his mind in this, his early manhood, is perhaps best seen
from his favorite branches of study, which were history, geology, and
political economy. Having finished his collegiate studies, he returned
to North Easton where he soon demonstrated that he was possessed of the
same splendid business qualities by which his father and grandfather had
fought their way to success. His natural love of mechanical employments,
which is a marked family trait, soon displayed itself in several
inventions; and his inventive genius, coupled with his perfect knowledge
of the business, has brought about important changes and improvements in
the business of the firm. During this time he served honorably in the
State militia, rising from the rank of Lieutenant to Lieutenant Colonel.
In 1863 he was admitted a member of the firm of Oliver Ames and Sons,
and for several years personally superintended the various departments
of the firm's immense establishment at North Easton. At his father's
death in 1873 the numerous financial trusts held by the latter devolved
on him, and he has been, and is, President, Director, or Trustee of a
large number of institutions and corporations, including railroads,
national banks, savings banks, and manufacturing corporations. In 1880
Mr. Ames was elected to the State Senate, and was re-elected in 1881.
With the exception of having served on the School Committee of Easton
this was the first office to which he had been called by the suffrages
of his fellow-citizens. He had, however, taken a deep and active
interest in political matters, and had rendered efficient political
service by his connection with the Republican Town Committee of Easton,
as Chairman and Treasurer, since the formation of the Republican party.
As a member of the State Senate he was diligent and painstaking in
attendance upon his Legislative duties, and was known as one of the
working members of the body. He served during each year of his
membership on the Committees on Railroads, and Education. In 1882 he
received the Republican nomination for Lieutenant-Governor upon the
ticket headed by the name of Honorable Robert R. Bishop as the candidate
for Governor. In that tidal-wave year Mr. Bishop was defeated by General
Butler, but Mr. Ames was elected by a handsome plurality; and it is not
too much to say that by his courteous official demeanor towards his
Excellency, Governor Butler, during the somewhat phenomenal political
year of 1883, coupled with his firmness and good judgment in opposing
the more objectionable schemes of that official, he contributed much to
the restoration of the Republican party to power at the ensuing State
election. He was re-elected in 1883, and again in 1884, and has now
entered upon his third term of service. His political, like his business
life, has been characterized by a straightforward honesty of purpose, by
the strictest integrity, and by an energetic, able, and faithful
performance of trusts accepted. Mr. Ames is the possesor of large
wealth, but he has most conclusively proven that such possession is in
no sense a bar to a faithful and efficient service of his fellow
citizens in positions of trust and honor. His rare executive ability has
been of good service to the Commonwealth, in whose affairs he has
exercised the same good judgment and marked executive ability, as in his

It is, perhaps, as a financier that Oliver Ames has won his widest
reputation. Upon the death of his father the management of the vast
enterprises which the later had controlled, suddenly devolved upon him.
The greatness of the man showed itself in that he found himself equal to
the emergency. The Oakes Ames estate was, at the time he took upon his
shoulders its settlement, not only one in which immense and diversified
interests were involved, scattered throughout different states of the
Union, but it was also burdened with obligations to the extent of eight
millions of dollars. The times were most unpropitious, the country being
just on the eve of a great financial panic when immense properties were
crumbling to pittances. He undertook the Herculean task of rescuing at
this time this estate from threatened ruin, and of vindicating the good
name of his father from undeserved censure. He had in this gigantic work
to meet and thwart the plots of rapacious railroad wreckers, and
schemers; but his thorough mental discipline united with his intensely
practical business training, and coupled with his native energy, tact,
good sense, and fertility of resources, stood him in good stead. He
inspired capitalists with confidence, money was forthcoming to further
his carefully matured plans, and the ship freighted with the fortunes of
his family, was, by his steady hand, piloted securely amidst the shoals
and quicksands of disaster, and by rocks strewn with the wrecks of
princely fortunes, to a safe anchorage. He rescued the property from
peril, met and paid the enormous indebtedness resting upon it, paid a
million of dollars or more of legacies, and had still a large surplus to
divide among the heirs.

As a business man his sagacity seems almost intuitive. As an
illustration of this, his work in developing the Central Branch of the
Union Pacific Railroad may be instanced, a work which at the same time
gave him high rank as a railroad manager. At the time he connected
himself with the undertaking, only the first hundred miles of the road
were in running order. He first made a thorough personal investigation
of the proposed line, and satisfying himself as to its capabilities for
business, he pushed the enterprise through to completion, building two
hundred and sixty miles of road, and fully equipping it for operation.
His judgment, which at the time was somewhat questioned by other
experienced railroad managers and financiers, was fully justified by the
result, which was a complete financial success.

One of the most impressive traits in the character of Oliver Ames is his
veneration for the memory of his distinguished father. He fully believes
that the hastily and unjustly formed verdict of censure pronounced upon
Oakes Ames, both by public opinion and by the United States House of
Representatives, will ere long be reversed, and that his memory will be
honored by the country, as it so justly deserves. Indeed he has already
had the gratification of seeing this verdict reversed, so far as public
opinion is concerned; and it only remains for Congress to remove its
undeserved vote of censure, for Oakes Ames to take his appropriate and
honored place in American history. There is little doubt that Mr. Ames
will yet see this ambition of his life realized. As to this censure,
Massachusetts, where Oakes Ames was best known and appreciated, has
spoken through her Legislature by the following resolution, which
unanimously passed both House and Senate in the spring of 1883:

     "Resolved, in view of the great services of Oakes Ames,
     representative from the Massachusetts Second Congressional
     District, for ten years ending March 4, 1873, in achieving the
     construction of the Union Pacific Railroad, the most vital
     contribution to the integrity and growth of the National Union
     since the war:

     "In view of his unflinching truthfulness and honesty, which refused
     to suppress, in his own or any other interest, any fact, and so
     made him the victim of an intense and misdirected public excitement
     and subjected him to a vote of censure by the Forty-second Congress
     at the close of its session;

     "And in view of the later deliberate public sentiment, which, upon
     a review of all the facts, holds him in an esteem irreconciliable
     with his condemnation, and which, throughout the whole country
     recognizes the value and patriotism of his achievement and his
     innocence of corrupt motive or conduct;

     "Therefore, the Legislature of Massachusetts hereby expresses its
     gratitude for his work and its faith in his integrity of purpose
     and character, and asks for like recognition thereof on the part of
     the National Congress."

The beautiful Oakes Ames Memorial Hall at North Easton, erected by his
sons, is an impressive monument of filial devotion and respect. This
village of North Easton, the home of Mr. Ames and other members of the
Ames family, as well as the seat of the extensive shovel works, deserves
more than a passing notice, enriched and beautified as it has been by
this family, until it has become one of the most charming of New England
villages, and presents a model which deserves to be widely copied. The
old and substantial factories, built of granite, present the neat
appearance which characterizes the buildings in some of our oldest navy
yards. The employes have many of them grown old in the service of the
firm; and well paid, intelligent, and satisfied, are themselves the
owners of their attractive cottage homes and take a just pride in the
welfare of the community. The concrete walks, macadamized roadways, and
well kept yards and lawns evince thrift. The elegant railway station, a
gift to the village from one member of the family, is a model of
architectural beauty and convenience. The Gothic church and parsonage of
the same style of architecture, are befitting adjuncts of the park-like
cemetery, where rests the dust of the blacksmith ancestor who bravely
struggled amid adverse surroundings to found the fortunes of his family,
and build up a business which has extended wherever civilization has
made its way. The Memorial hall, before-mentioned, is on a commanding
cliff, overlooking the town; close by is the elegant structure known and
endowed as the Ames Free Library; and in another direction is the
temple, dedicated to the cause of popular education, that emblem of New
England's power, the school-house, all monuments of the munificence of
the Ames family, and of the deep interest its members take in the
welfare of their native town. In the triangle near the centre of the
village, formed by the converging of the principal streets, is a
declivity, where art has so arranged the rough and irregular forms of
New England boulders as to re-produce a unique scene from some Scotch or
Swiss village. This "rockery," as it is called, is clothed in summer
with verdure and flowers, and from its summit one finds an extended and
charming view of the village, with its cottages, its workshops, and the
villas of the proprietors of the latter. These villas, each set in
extensive grounds, are models of architectural elegance, and are
surrounded by most artistic landscape gardening. Conspicuous among these
is the residence of the subject of this sketch, facing, as it does, a
spacious well-kept lawn, and overlooking a lake, an exquisite gem in its
emerald setting.

The public spirit of the Ames's finds one of its most marked
illustrations in this model and typical New England village; and no
small share of what has been achieved for it is due to the warm heart
and open hand of Oliver Ames. He has ever shown himself an ardent friend
of popular education, and justly holds that the New England common
school lies at its foundation. For a period of twenty years he found
time, amid a multiplicity of weighty business cares, to serve upon the
School Committee of his town and to give the benefit of his experience,
judgment, and personal supervision to the promotion of the efficiency of
this one of the very fundamental of American institutions, the common
school. Oakes Ames left a fund of $50,000, the income to be used for the
benefit of the school children of North Easton village. Through the wise
thoughtfulness of Oliver Ames many of the privileges arising from this
fund have been extended to the other sections of the town; and it hardly
need be said that the schools of Easton are among the objects of the
fondest pride of its citizens.

Mr. Ames, though absorbed in the cares pertaining to the management of
gigantic business interests, yet finds time for the appreciative
enjoyment of the amenities and refinements of life. He posesses a
cultivated appreciation of music, literature and the drama, and his
artistic taste is evinced by his valuable and choice collections of
paintings and statuary. Architecture has been with him a special study,
and his magnificent winter residence, recently completed on Commonwealth
Avenue, in our city of Boston, is a monument of his own architectural
taste. In Europe this residence would be called a palace, here it is
simply the home of a representative American citizen. Peculiarly happy
in his domestic relations his home is beautified and ennobled by the
virtues of domestic life. A generous hospitality is dispensed within its
portals, where on every hand are found the evidences of the cultured
refinement of its occupants. A tour of a few months in the Old World not
only gave Mr. Ames needed rest and relaxation from business cares, but
also furnished him with opportunities for observation which were most
judiciously improved. In his religious belief he is a Unitarian, and has
for many years been an active member of the Unitarian Society of North

In his native town he is unusually respected and beloved, and with the
working-men in his factories he enjoys an unbounded popularity. This is
but natural, since he is himself a skilled artisan, an inventive and
ingenious mechanic, familiar through a personal experience with every
detail of the work in which they are engaged. This, coupled with his
native kindness of heart, and his unpretentious manners, makes him the
model employer.

The custodian of great wealth, he uses it in a spirit of wise
benevolence, and his public and private benefactions, while large, are
made without ostentation or affectation. Affable, approachable,
companionable, devoted and faithful in his personal friendships, it is
little wonder that some of them now and then impulsively speak of him as
"the best man in the world."

In the full vigor of a robust manhood, Mr. Ames attends to his vast
private business affairs, performs faithfully his official and public
duties, finds time for his favorite authors, and keeps fully abreast
with current thought and the progress of the age. His brow is yet
unwrinkled and cares rest lightly upon him. Free from the pride of
wealth, temperate, conservative, clear-headed, and distinguished for his
strong common sense, his generous, unsuspicious nature, and unswerving
fidelity to the interests committed to his trust justly win for him a
multitude of friends.

Faithful in his devotion to the principles of the Republican party, and
in his services to his native Commonwealth, Massachusetts has reason for
a just pride in her Lieutenant Governor. His name may yet stand the
Republican party of the State in good stead in a political exigency not
unlikely to arise in the near future. Whatever may be said of the causes
of the defection from the Republican ranks which took place in the last
national campaign, there is no doubt about one of its results,--it has
driven the Republican party to seek a closer alliance with the
working-people of the Commonwealth. The Republican bolters were almost
exclusively drawn from the aristocratic end of the party. It was Harvard
and Beacon Hill that revolted. To make good the loss the Republican
leaders had to appeal for support to the same class of voters which gave
to Republican principles their first triumphs,--the intelligent
mechanics and artisans, the laboring men. However many or few of the
deserters of 1884 may re-join the standard now that Mr. Blaine is
defeated it is not likely that for many years to come, if ever, the
Republican party in Massachusetts will be able, to lean upon the immense
majorities of former years, that ran away up to sixty, seventy, and
eighty thousand. With a Democratic administration installed at
Washington, and the power and prestige which that fact will imply and
apply in the local politics of the States,--and in no State more
powerfully than in Massachusetts, where the shifting body of Independent
voters, so-called, is largely made up of the Hessian element that will
incline to whichever side has spoils to bestow,--the Republican party in
order to hold Massachusetts will have to cultivate and strengthen the
alliance which it formed in the late election with the laboring class of
voters. It will have to revert to the sympathetic and liberal policy
touching all questions that affect labor, and the welfare of the working
people of the State, which marked the earlier years of its power. The
Ames family is linked in the popular mind with that policy. And justly
so, too! Oakes Ames was a true friend to labor, as well as one of the
most practical; and the fine instinct which guided him in making of
North Easton a model industrial community, where the happiest relations
of mutual confidence and support have subsisted between employer and
employed, he bequeathed to his sons, and to Oliver in an especial and
marked degree. It has been said, and there is no element of exaggeration
in the statement, that if all our large capitalists and manufacturers
could succeed in establishing the same rapport between themselves and
their employes which the Ameses have always maintained at North Easton,
the vexed problem of capital and labor would be solved; for there would
be no more conflict between them. Oliver Ames is held in the same high
esteem and almost affectionate regard by the working people of the Old
Colony district, where the interests of the Ames Manufacturing Company
are centred, in which his honored father was held before him. As the
father so the sons! When the time comes, and it is not far off, that the
Republican party in Massachusetts shall feel the necessity of getting
nearer to her common people, and, in order to retain its supremacy in
the State, of offering to their suffrages a man whose whole life has
been spent in close and friendly relations with her working-men, it will
be strangely blind indeed, to its opportunity, if it shall not turn to
the present popular Lieutenant Governor, and present the name of Oliver
Ames as one well fitted to lead the revival of Republicanism among the
working-classes, and certain, if presented to them, to be endorsed by a
splendid majority for the first office in the popular gift.



RICHARD AMES of Somersetshire, England.

I. William, who came to America and settled in Braintree, Massachusetts.

II. JOHN AMES, born in 1651; son of William Ames, married Sarah Willis
(daughter of John Willis of Duxbury, whose will was proved in 1693). In
1672 he settled in Bridgewater with his uncle, and became his heir in

III. THOMAS AMES, born in 1682; lived in Bridgewater and married in 1706
Mary Hayward (daughter of Deacon Joseph and Sarah [Mitchell] Hayward,
and granddaughter of Thomas Hayward and of Ephraim Mitchell, the latter
of whom came to America in the third ship, arriving at Plymouth in 1623)

IV. THOMAS AMES, born in 1707; married in 1731 Keziah Howard (daughter
of Jonathan and Sarah [Dean] Howard, and granddaughter of John and
Martha [Haywood] Howard of Duxbury).

V. CAPTAIN JOHN AMES, born 1738; died July 17, 1805; married in 1759
Susannah Howard (born in 1735: died January 11, 1821). She was the
daughter of Ephraim and Mary (Keith) Howard; great granddaughter of John
Howard of Duxbury and Rev. James Keith.

VI. OLIVER AMES, born April 11, 1779; died September 11, 1863; married
in April, 1803, Susannah Angier (born March, 1783; died March 27, 1847).
Dr. William Ames, the Franeker Professor, had a daughter (2), Ruth, who
came to America in 1637, and married Edmund Angier of Cambridge, whose
son (3), Rev. Samuel Angier, married Hannah, daughter of President Urian
Oakes of Harvard College. Their son (4), Rev. John Angier, married Mary
Bourne, granddaughter of Governor Hinckley. Their son (5), Oakes Angier,
a law student of President John Adams, was the father of (6) Susannah
Angier. Children:

1. _Oakes_, born January 10, 1804; died May 8, 1873.

2. Horatio, b. November 18, 1805; d. Jan. 28, 1844.

3. Oliver, Jr., b. November 5, 1807; d. March 9, 1877.

4. Angier, b. February 19, 1810; d. July 27, 1811.

5. William L., b. July 9, 1812; died in St. Paul, Minn.

6. Sarah A., b. September 9, 1814; married October 10, 1836, Nathaniel
Witherell, Jr.

7. John, 2d, b. April 18, 1817; d. May 14, 1844.

8. Harriett, b. September 12, 1819; m. March 27 1839, Asa Mitchell.

VII. HONORABLE OAKES AMES, born January 10, 1804; died May 8, 1873;
married November 29, 1827, Eveline Orville Gilmore (born June 14, 1809;
died July 20, 1882). Children:

1. Oakes Angier, born April 15, 1829.

2. _Oliver_, b. February 4, 1831.

3. Frank Morton, b. August 14, 1833.

4. Henry G., b. April 10, 1839; died September, 1841.

5. Susan Eveline, b. May 14, 1842; married Henry W. French.

VIII. HONORABLE OLIVER AMES, born February 4, 1831; married March 14,
1860, Anna C. Ray (born January 16, 1840, in Nantucket). Children:

1. William Hadwen, born March 1, 1861.

2. Evelyn Orville, b. April 4, 1863.

3. Anna Lee, b. September 6, 1864.

5. Lillian, b. January 4, 1870.

6. Oakes, b. September 26, 1874.


       *       *       *       *       *




We were changing cars about midnight at Rotterdam Junction, New York,
for the Fitchburg Railroad connection. "You might know we were near
Boston," said a passenger. "See what a comfortable car this is." "Yes,"
remarked a middle-aged gentleman, "I've been away for three weeks, and I
never want to leave Boston for so long a time again." And he gave a sigh
of relief. No doubt many highly enjoyable smiles were called forth by
this innocent confession. Yet the sentiment found an echo in our hearts.
But a North Adams man spoke up rather sharply, "Well, Berkshire County
is good enough for me." The incident has a deeper meaning than appears
at first glance.

Going westward on the Boston and Albany, a heavy up-hill grade is
reached at Chester. The rest of the way lies in a country of hills. A
pleasing prospect meets the eye in every direction. There is nothing
sublime and majestic to inspire the mind and exhilarate the spirits, but
the steadfast, sober hills and the quiet valleys in nature's soft colors
are restful alike to body and soul.

We cross a branch of the River Housatonic, _alias_ Ousatonac,
Ausotunnoog, Awoostenok, Asotonik, Westenhok, and the train stops before
a large, handsome brick station, once the "best in the State," now
restricted to "west of Boston." A broad street on the left leads to the
park in the centre of the town. Here is the Berkshire Athenæum, with its
excellent public library, where we must stay long enough to glance
through the town history, compiled by Mr. J.E.A. Smith.

A century and a half ago an unbroken wilderness stretched between the
Hoosac and Taconic ranges. The mountains rose by steady degrees from the
hills of Connecticut to Mount Mansfield, in Vermont, 4,400 feet above
the level of the sea. The valley, however, dotted with hundreds of
hills, reached its greatest elevation, 1,100 feet, at the foot of
Greylock, fourteen miles north of Pittsfield; thence it sloped
irregularly north and south. The forests contained deer in plenty for
fifty years longer. A few bears, with rather more wolves and Indians,
constituted the remainder of the larger movable objects of the
landscape. The soil was well fitted for agriculture: numerous small
streams were ready to offer their service to settlers.

[Illustration: LAKE ONATA.]

This region remained uninhabited, however, for many years later than
would ordinarily have been the case; not so much from fear of hardships
or Indian troubles as on account of the uncertainty of the land tenures
which could be acquired. Massachusetts, by reason of the Royal Charter
of 1691, claimed to the west as far as the Province of Connecticut
extended. New York, on the other hand, maintained that the eastern
boundary of Connecticut was meant: moreover, that the western boundary
had been agreed upon for special reasons; furthermore, that her own
territory, as successor to the rights granted the Duke of York in 1674,
reached from the Connecticut River to Delaware Bay. Thereupon
Massachusetts referred to the old Charter in force in 1674, which made
the Atlantic and Pacific her eastern and western limits. In return,
attention was called to the clause in that Charter, excepting lands in
the possession of any other Christian State. Now, in consequence of the
discovery of the Hudson in 1608, the Dutch had occupied the country as
far east as the Connecticut, and to their title New York succeeded.
Massachusetts then denied the fact of settlement. Thus the controversy
was prolonged until, in 1773, a line to be run parallel with the Hudson,
at a distance of twenty miles, was agreed upon. But about the year 1720
it became evident that the western boundary of Connecticut would be
established in favor of that province. This arrangement, as the New York
representatives stated, was a result of the boldness of settlers in
pushing westward and occupying the district in dispute. Accordingly,
Massachusetts was encouraged to pursue a similar course, and the first
settlement on the Housatonic was made at Sheffield in 1725. The occasion
of the next advance appears to have arisen from the attention paid to
free education in Boston. That town, in 1735, because of its large
expenditures for public schools, support of poor, and contribution to
the State treasury, petitioned the General Court for a grant of three or
four townships within the "Hampshire wild lands." Three lots, each six
miles square, were given, subject to certain conditions. Within five
years, sixty Massachusetts families must be settled, each possessing a
house (at least eighteen feet square and seven stud), with five acres of
improved land. A house for public worship must be erected, and a learned
Orthodox minister be honorably supported; lastly, a school must be

[Illustration: THE PARK IN 1807.]

[Illustration: THE OLD PARSONAGE.]

One of these townships, Poontoosuck, an Indian word, meaning "winter
deer," was bought at public auction for £1,320, by Colonel Jacob
Wendell, whose descendents have earned lasting honor for the family
name. Philip Livingston, of Albany, and John Stoddard, through older
claims, became associated with him as joint proprietors. The terms of
the grant were not strictly complied with, and, after an unsuccessful
attempt to bring in Dutchmen, a company of forty settlers from Westfield
purchased and took possession of the greater part of the township.
Difficulties with the Indians soon drove them back. The first permanent
settlement was made in 1749, and three years later occurred the birthday
of the town.

[Illustration: MAPLEWOOD AVENUE.]

In May, 1761, the first town meeting was held. At this time the name was
changed to Pittsfield in honor of William Pitt, for his vigorous conduct
of the war against France. Slaves were owned by many of the citizens,
and stocks and a whipping-post were set up. Saw mills and grist mills
were in operation; fulling mills held an important position, and shortly
afterwards the production of iron became considerable. The first
meeting-house was completed in 1770. The most pretentious dwelling-house
was "The Long House," owned by Colonel Williams. The first appropriation
for schools was twenty-two pounds eight shillings, in 1762.

In resistance to British oppression at the outbreak of the Revolution,
Berkshire County required no one to lead the way. "The popular rage,"
wrote Governor Gage, "is very high in Berkshire and makes its way
rapidly to the rest." In response to the Boston Port bill cattle and
money were sent to the sufferers. Resolutions were passed to discontinue
the consumption of English goods at whatever time the American Congress
should recommend such action. In August, 1774, Berkshire set the example
of obstructing the King's Courts. In the expedition for the capture of
Ticonderoga, in the invasions of Canada, and in Burgoyne's campaign, the
town and the county held a place among the foremost in efforts and
sacrifices for the cause of liberty. The recommendations of the
Continental Congress were followed out with promptness and zeal. A
similar spirit was displayed in the relations with the Provincial
Government, so far as they affected the carrying on of the war. Yet,
from 1775 to the adoption of the State Constitution in 1780, the county
was ruled in open resistance to the civil authorities at Boston.
Although representatives were sent to the General Court, the acts of
that body were accepted merely as advice. The judicial and executive
branches of the Government were not recognized. It was maintained that
the new Government should originate from the people on the basis of a
written Constitution and bill of rights. To this end they "refused the
admission of the course of law among them," until their demands should
be complied with. Furthermore, the old Courts were objectionable as
being costly and cumbersome. They were unpopular for the hardness
exercised towards poor-debtors and criminals convicted of trifling
offences. In the absence of the usual means of enforcing the laws, the
town Governments took in charge the administration of justice, acting
either through committees or in town meetings. Public order appears to
have been well preserved, and in the condition of business interests the
want of civil courts was of little consequence.


[Illustration: MAPLEWOOD CHAPEL.]

An opposition of a different kind broke out after the State authority
had been re-established under the new Constitution. The national
Government was involved in difficulties; values were unsettled by the
excessive emission of paper money. Heavy taxes, cruel collection laws,
numerous private debts, and frequent cases of imprisonment for debt,
caused a wide-spread feeling of discontent. The State Constitution was
found fault with from the start, and a clamor arose for the abolition of
the Senate, a change in the basis of representation, and an annual grant
of salaries to all officers. This agitation, in 1786, culminated in an
appeal to force of arms, known from its leader, as Shay's Rebellion. It
is unnecessary to repeat the story of its suppression. The leaders of
the former opposition held aloof. There was a desire felt by the
steadier portion of the community to make a fair trial of the State
Constitution, which afforded a legal means, however slow, for redressing
the heavier grievances. Pittsfield in particular was now advancing in
material prosperity, and looked with disfavor upon any radical changes.


Rev. Thomas Allen, one of the early ministers, was the man most actively
engaged in town affairs at this period of its history. He was of medium
height, slender, of a mild, pleasant countenance. Courteous, sincere and
just, he set his parishioners an example of Christian morals. An
application of doctrines to the practical questions of life was a
favorite subject of his sermons and private conversation. He held small
respect for any religious faith which did not manifest itself in
outward acts, and especially those done for the public good. Endowed
with a keen sense of right and wrong he took his position and maintained
it with zeal. His personal participation in several battles of the
Revolution gained for him the title of "The Fighting Parson." Once, when
asked whether he actually killed any man at Bennington, he replied "that
he did not know; but, that observing a flash often repeated from a
certain bush, and that it was generally followed by the fall of one of
Stark's men, he fired that way and put the flash out."


He was a firm friend of Democracy. During the revolution he was a
radical Whig, and later on became an ardent supporter of Jeffersonian
doctrines. In the second period partisan feelings were very bitter in
the community. When, therefore, he gave full freedom to his thoughts in
articles published in the Pittsfield Sun, and, in accordance with a
practice more prevalent then than now, mingled political subjects with
his Sunday discourses, the Federalist members of the Congregational
Church grew restive under his pastorship. At this time, it should be
noted, Berkshire differed in politics from the rest of the State.
Matters grew worse, until a division of the parish was made and
continued for seven years. Thomas Allen died in 1811, at the age of 67.


Contrary to the custom in almost every other town of the State, and
notwithstanding the statute requirements, public worship in 1809 ceased
to be supported by the town, and nearly an equality of religious sects
before the law was produced. In 1817, after the re-union of the
Congregational Churches, the parish system was revived. It should be
kept in mind that by far the larger part of the population were members
of that denomination, identifying its early history with that of the
town. Rev. Heman Humphrey became pastor, a man of scholarly attainments,
and well fitted to encourage the general longing for a complete

In 1821 a great revival took place, and to strengthen the religious
interest Mr. Humphrey believed it to be essential that, so far as
possible, the town should preserve a solemn quiet, and he endeavored to
substitute religious services in place of the ordinary manner of
celebrating the Fourth of July. This plan was, to a considerable number
of citizens, by no means acceptable, yet the exercises in the Church
were attended by a large and reverent congregation. The meeting-house
stood upon the little square where the people were wont to collect on
all anniversaries. In consequence, there was a very annoying disturbance
from fire-crackers, drums, fifes, and even cannon, and the attempt to
make this national holiday quiet and serious was not repeated. Mr.
Humphrey two years later became President of Amherst College. In 1833
the corporate connection of the Congregational Society with the town
came to an end through the Constitutional Amendment of that year. Two
years later business was in a state of depression, and emigration went
on at a rapid rate. A missionary from the West made known the need in
that great section of Christian emigrants to help mould its character.
From the Baptist Church in one year more than a hundred members set
forth, leaving finally but three men in the Congregation. During the
first half of the century other sects acquired a foot-hold, and are now
supported by large Congregations, composed of the best citizens of the

To turn back again in the narrative of events. Of the town's record in
the war of 1812, little must be said, although much is deserved. In this
matter, as previously in others, the county, by its warm support of the
war party, showed its independence in thought and action of the rest of
the State. Pittsfield was made a place of meeting for recruits; a
cantonment for United States troops was established, and a depot for
prisoners of war, who numbered at times 1,500 or more. The town was most
largely represented in the Ninth and Twenty-first Regiments. The former
won for itself the name of "The Bloody Ninth;" the latter was that
regiment, which, under Colonel Miller at Lundy's Lane, gained undying
fame in a gallant struggle for the enemy's cannon.

[Illustration: RESIDENCE OF E.S. FRANCIS.]

The history of the Berkshire Agricultural Society may be traced back to
its origin in 1807, when Elkanah Watson, who had recently become an
inhabitant of the town, exhibited two fine merinoes, a ram and a ewe, on
the green under the Old Elm. Great interest was aroused, and the
importation of the best foreign breeds of cattle and sheep was
encouraged and carried on by public-spirited and enterprising citizens.
One farmer came into possession of a cow, in which he felt so much pride
that it formed the subject of his conversation at all times and places,
until his friends feared to meet him. At last it gave birth to a calf,
but minus a tail, and the wrathful owner carried the calf, with his axe,
to the back pasture. The Society was organized in 1811. New features
were added from time to time; standing crops were inspected; women were
interested to compete for premiums. The plowing match became a part of
the Pittsfield show in 1818, when a quarter of an acre of green sward
was plowed in thirty-five minutes by the winner. Dr. Holmes, in 1849,
Chairman of the committee, read his poem, "The Ploughman." Many years
before, William Cullen Bryant, then a lawyer in Great Barrington, wrote
an ode for the cattle show. Improved agricultural implements and better
methods of cultivation were some of the material benefits produced by
the fairs. The fame and influence of the Society have reached all parts
of the country. In 1855, exhibition grounds, thirty acres in extent,
were purchased in Pittsfield.

The Berkshire Jubilee of 1844 merits at least a brief mention. It was a
gathering from far and near of those emigrants from the county, who
still held their early home in loving memory. Of the thousands that were
present, many were men of national reputation. Among the exercises, a
sermon of welcome was delivered by the Rev. Mark Hopkins, a prayer was
offered by Rev. David Dudley Field, an address was given by Governor
Briggs, and a poem was read by Dr. Oliver Wendell Holmes.

[Illustration: CENTRAL BLOCK.]

Governor Briggs had become a citizen of Pittsfield two years before. He
was born at North Adams in 1796. When seventeen years of age, after
having spent three years in learning the hatters' trade, he began the
study of law with but five dollars in his possession, which he had
earned at haying. In 1850, after seven consecutive terms as Governor, he
was defeated by a coalition of Democrats and Free-Soilers. He was as
true a friend of a pure civil service as any man of the present day.
Like a well-known English writer on political economy, and for similar
reasons, he refused to furnish money for his own election expenses,
however legitimate; thus, although unwillingly, placing the burden upon
the shoulders of other members of his party, a course which gave equal
satisfaction in both countries. He was distinguished for the consistency
of his life with his religious and temperance principles. Once, it is
said, while exhorting a friend who had already entered the downward path
of immoderate drinking, Mr. Briggs was induced to promise that so long
as the other would abstain from drinking, he, himself, would give up the
use of a collar; and this agreement was kept by both parties for life.
The truth in regard to the anecdote is rather as follows: While County
Commissioner he was often obliged to make long drives, so that besides
the annoyance from wearing a collar, he found great difficulty in
replacing it when soiled. From this arose a habit of dispensing with it
altogether. Once, being rallied on the subject by an old friend, he
offered to resume his collar if the other would cease drinking gin, and
would cut off his cue. The gin and the cue carried the day.

The Berkshire Medical Institute was established in 1822, mainly through
the exertions of Dr. H.H. Childs. The charter provided that degrees
should be conferred only by the President and Trustees of Williams'
College, and according to the rules in force in the school at Cambridge.
The purpose was to secure a uniform practice throughout the State, and
to cause a degree of confidence in the diplomas. The arrangement
continued fifteen years. The tuition fee was fixed at forty dollars, and
board, room-rent and lodging at one dollar and seventy-five cents a
week. In 1825 it became necessary to defray incidental expenses, and pay
the salaries of instructors out of the proceeds from tuition fees. These
were frequently paid in notes, many of which read "when said student
shall be able to pay," and having been distributed among the members of
the faculty, a large number were found afterwards in the deserted office
of the Dean. In 1867 the compensation of each instructor was about one
hundred and thirty dollars, hardly enough to attract young,
inexperienced physicians. Therefore, the college came to an end, having
graduated in the course of forty-four years over one thousand doctors of
medicine, who held rank in their profession equal to that of those sent
out by any college in the country.


The Public Library Association was founded in 1850, with a regulation
excluding forever all prose works of fiction, and on the other hand,
theological writings, unless admitted by a unanimous vote of the
Directors. After a few prosperous years public interest had so far died
out that the library consisted of a few books and a small room, open one
evening in the week by the dim light of a lantern. A timely donation,
and a liberal construction of the rule regarding works of fiction, had a
favorable effect.

A Young Men's Association was organized in 1865, with a library,
reading-room, collection of curiosities, and provision for amusement and
exercise. It had a very successful career for about eight years.
Meanwhile the Library Association, its name having been changed to the
Berkshire Athenæum, was put on a better footing by the liberality and
efforts of Thomas F. Plunkett, who afterwards, together with Calvin
Martin and Thomas Allen, was instrumental in forming it into a free
library. In 1874, by means of a bequest from Phinehas Allen, and the
gift of its present building from Thomas Allen, the Berkshire Athenæum
was placed upon a firm foundation. For the past eleven years it has been
under the efficient management of Mr. E.C. Hubbel, Curator and
Librarian. To-day it contains 16,000 volumes, and with an average annual
circulation of 50,000; less than ten volumes have been lost.

The history of the public schools is in no important respect different
from that in hundreds of other towns. They were first carefully graded
in 1874, and have enjoyed an excellent reputation. By far the greater
proportion of the young folks in town attend them. The system of free
text books was early adopted. The High School, under the care of an able
scholar, Mr. Edward H. Rice, has been steadily growing in favor during
the past few years. Graduates yearly enter the various colleges, and
from neighboring towns a considerable number of its pupils come and pay
the tuition required by law.

For the higher education of young women the Pittsfield Female Academy
was incorporated in 1806, with Miss Hinsdale as principal. It has
continued ever since, usually with a lady at the head, and for the last
few years especially has done good work under Miss Salisbury. The
Maplewood Young Ladies' Institute, the most noted school of education
that has ever existed in Pittsfield, has this year closed an existence
of forty-three years. Its loss will be mourned by many friends in the
town and elsewhere. Among the illustrations is given a view of the
avenue and the chapel; behind the latter stands the meeting-house of
1793, of late years used for a gymnasium.

About the time of Shay's Rebellion the first newspaper, the American
Sentinel, was published. It was printed on a sheet ten by eighteen
inches in size, and gave the greater portion of its space to two or
three prosy essays. Three other newspapers appeared and vanished in turn
until, in the year 1800, the Pittsfield Sun was established by Phinehas
Allen. It remained in his hands for nearly three-quarters of a century,
and to this day gives its support to the Democratic party. James Harding
is the editor. The Argus was started in 1827, as a rival, by Henry K.
Strong. Four years later it was removed to Lenox, and united with the
Berkshire Journal. In 1838 the name was changed to the Massachusetts
Eagle, and soon afterwards it was brought back to Pittsfield. In 1852 it
was given the name, The Berkshire County Eagle, which it bears to-day.
Both of these papers are weeklies. The Journal is of later date, and is
issued daily. Joseph E. See is editor. In mentioning the educational
facilities of a community it would be an act of thoughtlessness to omit
its bookstores. There is but one in Pittsfield. It contains a large
supply of books, selected with judgment, and is well managed by Mr. J.B.

Rev. John Todd became, in 1839, a worthy pastor to the Church, over
which Thomas Allen presided many years before. His early life had been a
struggle for an education against poverty and ill health. It is
interesting to read his estimate of the new congregation to which he was
called after having been for five years pastor in Philadelphia: "It is a
great, rich, proud, enlightened, powerful people. They move slowly, but
they tread like the elephant. They are cool, but kind, sincere, great at
hearing, but very critical. I have never had an audience who heard so
critically. There is ten times more intellect that is cultivated than we
have ever had before. You would be surprised to see how much they read.
The ladies are abundant, intelligent, refined, and kind. A wider,
better, harder, or more interesting field no man need desire." Dr. Todd
became one of the most public-spirited citizens of the town, jealous of
its honor. Educational matters, especially, received his attention and
assistance. His reputation as an author is not confined to his town, nor
to his day. The "Student's Manual" is the best known of his works; the
lectures delivered on returning from a visit to California are well
worth reading.

[Illustration: ON NORTH STREET.]

The first manufactories of the town date back to within a few years of
its settlement. Agriculture was, of course, the leading industry, and
was carried on according to the wasteful and, apparently, unwise methods
usual in a newly-settled country. Great attention was paid to breeding
horses and mules, of which many were sent to the West Indies and other
markets. The first carding machine was set up in 1801 by Arthur
Scholfield, an Englishman. Soon he set about making and improving
machines, which he sold to manufacturers in various parts of the
country. The industry was subsequently helped on by the superior quality
of wool, which resulted from the new custom of seeking better breeds of
sheep. About 100,000 yards of cloth, worth as many dollars, were
produced in the county in 1808. After the war which followed came a
season of depression of manufactures; the cessation of the unusual war
demand and excessive importations from abroad were the principal causes.

At this period, when politics were carried into private affairs, as
religion had been some hundred years before, each party must have its
factory. Thus the Housatonic Woolen Mill of 1810 was offset a few years
later by the Pittsfield Woolen and Cotton Company in Federalist hands.
The former enterprise languished before long for want of sufficient
water power. The latter, by a change of ownership, came under the
control of Lemuel and Josiah Pomeroy, and enjoyed the benefits of the
tariffs of 1824 and following years. Other mills went gradually into
operation. But in this instance Yankee ingenuity and versatility found a
difficult foe to master. The proprietors were ambitious and determined
to make their fabrics as firm and as heavy as the best imported goods.
In this they succeeded, but by a clumsy, wasteful process, which
destroyed all profit. Moreover, instead of making a single class of
goods, each factory attempted to satisfy the various demands of the
market. Hence arose multiplied causes of failures, for which remedies
had to be invented. A general business knowledge did not immediately
avail in an industry where matters of detail were of the greatest
consequence. To-day these mills are the principal sources of wealth in
the county. Another branch of manufactures grew up in 1799 when Lemuel
Pomeroy came to Pittsfield, and in addition to the ordinary labor of a
blacksmith began to make plows, wagons, and sleighs. He bought the old
Whitney forge and extended the works from the production of fowling
pieces to that of muskets. Large contracts with State and National
governments brought a profitable business, until, in 1846, the
percussion guns were introduced.

The independant spirit displayed by Pittsfield, or rather by Berkshire
County, in matters of the highest importance, was largely due to the
difficulty of communication with other sections of the country. For the
first eighty years the Worthington turnpike, running by way of
Northampton, was the only means of passage to the east. In 1830 the
Pontoosuc turnpike going through Westfield was completed and transferred
traffic from the old road to the new, which led to Springfield. A little
before this time the Erie Canal project was successfully carried out.
Thereupon arose in Massachusetts a wide-spread desire for engaging in a
similar enterprise. Several routes were explored for a canal from Boston
to the Hudson. One of them passed through Pittsfield at an altitude of
1,000 feet, and the route recommended as feasible was 178 miles in
length, and required a tunnel of four miles under the Hoosac mountain.
One of its opponents showed that according to the Commissioner's data,
fifty-two years would be required in which to finish the tunnel. At this
point came the news of successful steam locomotion in England, and a
discussion began as to the comparative merits of railways and canals.
For several years horse-power was proposed to be employed, but before
actual work began the superiority of steam had been demonstrated. In the
face of indifference, skepticism, and active opposition, which brought
about discouraging delays, the road was built, and the first railroad
train entered Pittsfield May 4, 1841. That week occurred the first
accident. An old man jumped off the train as it approached his house,
and was severely injured. Thus, in 1842, chiefly through the exertions
of Lemuel Pomeroy, the Western Railroad was completed, and trains ran
from Albany to Boston. Several short local roads have since been
constructed, which have done more to bind the county together, and have
contributed greatly to its wealth and comfort. On the west the physical
barriers were less difficult to surmount, and the advent of railroads
has only diminished the inequality. New York is still the metropolis;
the mass of travel, the business relations, are turned in that

In 1844 what is known as the Fire District was organized. Its territory
consists of about two square miles of land, having the Park as a centre,
and includes most of the buildings of the town. It originated from the
unwillingness of the outlying districts to help support a suitable fire
department, of which they, themselves, felt little need. Nevertheless,
at its formation the town granted land and a sum of money. A Chief
Engineer, with seven assistants and a prudential committee were
constituted officers. Subsequently the care of sewers, sidewalks,
water-works, and lighting of streets were assumed by the Fire District,
and the duties were performed by commissioners. A curious controversy,
now settled, arose with the town as to which should look after the
street crossings. The fire department from the start has been sustained
by the zeal of its members, and now, directed by its Chief Engineer,
George S. Willis, enjoys an enviable reputation for efficiency.

[Illustration: THE PARK IN 1876.]

[Illustration: ACADEMY OF MUSIC.]

During the civil war the State and County are found to have acted in
harmony. The old militia system had died out many years before; in 1860
the Pittsfield Guards of 1853 was re-organized under the name of the
Allen Guard, and in January of the following year declared its readiness
to respond to any call from the government. On April 19, within
twenty-four hours from the time of receiving word, the company was on
its way and became a portion of the Eighth regiment. Its Captain was
Henry S. Briggs, later Brigadier General, and after the war elected
State Auditor. Then, at short intervals, until the close of the war, the
town sent men to the front who fully maintained its honorable reputation
gained in former wars. A Ladies' Soldiers' Aid Society was organized and
has received much merited praise for its useful services. The ideal
volunteer soldier of the war was William F. Bartlett. He was a student
at Harvard, not yet of age when the war broke out. In April he enlisted
as a private, was appointed Captain before going to the front, and in
his first engagement showed great coolness, bravery and judgment. He was
a strict disciplinarian and popular with his men. Before the close of
the war he had been brevetted Major-general. In peace he made his
influence felt in the interests of religion and education, and in the
elevation of politics.

Immediately after the war public attention in the town was turned
towards taking suitable action for honoring the memory of its sons who
had died on the field of battle. The result was a monument, one of the
most appropriate ever erected for a similar purpose. It is placed on the
Park, a short distance from the Athenæum. A bronze statue of a
Color-sergeant, as if in line of battle, stands upon a square granite
pillar. He looks earnestly into the distance. The entire effect of the
expression of the countenance and the attitude conveys the impression of
intelligent self-reliance, a true type of our best volunteer soldiers.
On opposite sides of the pillar, are represented in bronze relief the
arms of the United States and of the Commonwealth.

On the others are two shields, engraved with the names of those in honor
of whom this memorial was erected. The shaft bears the following
inscriptions. On the west face:


On the east face:


At the dedication the national flags of the two political parties were
removed from the streets and with them the statue was draped. The town
was crowded with visitors, and a long procession marched through the
streets. A prayer by Rev. Dr. Todd, speeches by General Bartlett and
Honorable Thomas Colt, President of the day, and an oration by George
William Curtis accompanied the unveiling.

The four principal streets of the town, named from the points of the
compass, meet at the Park. North street contains the bulk of the stores
and business places. On the corner of West street is the building of the
Berkshire Life Insurance Company, which was incorporated in 1851, and
has always included among its Directors and Managers the best business
men in the town and county, who naturally take great pride in it as one
of the soundest Life Insurance Companies of the country.

In the same building are three national and one savings bank, besides
the town and other offices. Immediately beyond is Mr. Atwood's drug
store, an establishment of long standing, which would bear favorable
comparison with any similar store as regards either attention or
knowledge of a druggist's duties. Farther along the same street are
Central Block and the Academy of Music. In other parts of Pittsfield
broad streets, lined with tall elms and shady horse-chestnut trees,
invite our footsteps. The dwelling-houses are mostly of wood, built in
the cottage and villa styles of architecture; many are stately edifices;
many are hospitable mansions; all show unmistakable evidence of being
comfortable homes. Scattered over the township, each springing up around
a mill or two, are miniature villages. Their population is largely made
up of foreigners, Irish and Germans, whose condition appears to be
somewhat better than that of the same class in cities. Both sexes are
represented among the operatives. The mills, mostly small, are located
with a view to an opportunity for using water power, yet none are
without steam power as well. In the same neighborhood are the large
farms and expensive estates of the mill-owners, the wealthiest class in
the community. Between the villages, in fact, upon all the roads, every
turn brings in sight pleasing views which never repeat themselves or
become monotonous. The cemetery is itself one of the most beautiful
spots in the neighborhood. A massive granite gateway is being put up,
the gift of the late Thomas Allen. For a long distance the road leads
through a thick forest of maple, pine and oak trees. A swiftly-running
brook crosses the path; a quiet clear pond with grassy banks lies to one
side. If the visitor will remain motionless for a short time, birds and
squirrels show themselves in all directions, and fill his ears with the
sounds of the woods. Far away may be seen the white houses and the
church spires of the town. No resting place for the dead could be more
peaceful, more inspiring to meditation on the part of those who walk in
the light of day. By the grave of General Bartlett stands a cross all
covered with graceful hanging Southern moss. Below is a beautiful bed of
flowers, cared for with a constant devotion, and by the same loving
hands has been added a large natural rock, imbedded in the ground. On it
is fixed a large tablet with this inscription:

  Brigadier General and Brevet Major General
  June 6th, 1840.
  December 17th, 1876.
  A Soldier, undaunted by wounds and imprisonment.
  A Patriot, formost in pleading for reconciliation.
  A Christian, strong in faith and charity,
  His life was an inspiration,
  His memory is a trust.

Pittsfield, although one of the largest towns in the country, is not
ambitious to try a city form of government. Five years ago a charter was
procured, but no action was taken upon it. There is no disposition on
the part of those who favor the plan to force it into notice before
public opinion is ripe on the subject At the annual town meetings where
a majority of the voters are present there have thus far been few
attempts at unfair management. The best portion of the community take
the most active share in the proceedings. Thus there exists a real
Democracy, an inestimable educator of the people possible only among an
energetic people, who, by inheritance, have acquired a love for the
practical; in the absence of arbitrary government have been long
accustomed to the use of political rights, and from their character
combine in their thoughts and actions, reason with understanding and
conscience with religious sentiment.

A review of the lives of these men, who made for the town its honorable
history, brings prominently to one's mind the frequency of instances in
which each gained by his own exertions his influence and reputation. It
is one of the best criterions of excellent social and political
institutions. Lemuel Pomeroy, who in 1799 brought his anvil to
Pittsfield; George N. Briggs, who served as an apprentice four years,
working for eight dollars a year; Thomas F. Plunkett, who for five years
travelled from town to town in Eastern New York, carrying on a trade
with householders and country dealers; John Todd, who worked his way
through college against poverty and ill-health; these are names that
deserve to be handed down to following generations, to the end that
their influence may still remain as an incitement to honest and
unwearied efforts by successors ready to emulate, though not to imitate,
the examples set before them.

       *       *       *       *       *



No man has been universally great. Individuals who have made themselves
prominent among their fellows have done so by achievements in special
directions only, and confined to limited portions of their lives.
Particularly true is this remark when applied to Major Robert Rogers,
the Ranger, who, in our last French war, greatly distinguished himself
as a partisan commander, and gained as wide fame as did any other
soldier of equal rank and opportunity.

I do not introduce him here as a saint, for, as is well known, no
quality of sanctity ever entered his composition; but rather, as the
resolute commander of resolute men, in desperate encounters with a
desperate foe; as a man eminently fitted for the rough work given him to
do. And just here and now I am reminded of a remark made in his old age
by the late Moody Kent, for a long period an able member of the New
Hampshire bar, and there the associate of Governor Plummer, George
Sullivan, and Judge Jeremiah Smith, as well as of Jeremiah Mason, and
the two Websters, Ezekiel and Daniel, all of whom he survived. Said Mr.
Kent, one day, evidently looking forward to the termination of his
career, "Could Zeke Webster have been living at my decease he would have
spoken as well of me, yes, as well of me as he could." If one can summon
to his mind and heart the kindly charity attributed to Mr. Webster, he
may, should he care for it, find a comfortable hour in the society of
this famous Ranger. He was born of Scotch-Irish parents, in the good old
Scotch-Irish town of Londonderry, New Hampshire, in the year 1727.[A] At
the time of his birth, this was a frontier town, and its log houses were
the last civilized abodes which the traveller passed as he went up the
Merrimack valley on his way to Canada. It was the seed-town from which
were afterwards planted the ten or a dozen other Scotch-Irish townships
of New Hampshire.[B] It was the first to introduce and scatter abroad
Presbyterian principles and Irish potatoes over considerable sections of
this Province.

[Footnote A: Stark's History of Dunbarton, p. 178.]

[Footnote B: Parker's History of Londonderry, p. 180.]

Parson McGregor and his people had been in their new homes but four
years when they had ready for occupancy a log school-house, sixteen feet
long and twelve feet wide. It was in this, or in one like it, that
Robert Rogers acquired his scanty stock of "book-learning," as then
termed. But education consists in much besides book-learning, and he
supplemented his narrow stock of this by a wider and more practical
knowledge, which he obtained amid the rocks and stumps upon his father's
farm and in the hunter's camp.

The woods, at this day, were full of game. The deer, the bear, the
moose, the beaver, the fox, the muskrat, and various other wild animals
existed in great numbers. To a young man of hardy constitution,
possessed of enterprise, energy, and a fondness for forest sports,
hunting afforded not only an attractive, but a profitable employment.
Young Rogers had all these characteristics, and as a hunter, tramped
through large sections of the wilderness between the French and English
settlements. On such excursions he mingled much with the Indians, and
somewhat with the French, obtaining by such intercourse some knowledge
of their languages, of their modes of hunting, and their habits of life.
He also acquired a fondness for the woods and streams, tracing the
latter well up towards their sources, learning the portages between
their headwaters, many of the Indian trails and the general topography
of the great area just mentioned.

During the French and Indian wars small bodies of soldiers were often
employed to "watch and ward" the frontiers, and protect their
defenceless communities from the barbarous assaults of Indians, turned
upon them from St. Francis and Crown Point. Robert Rogers had in him
just the stuff required in such a soldier. We shall not, therefore, be
surprised to find him on scouting duty in the Merrimack Valley, under
Captain Ladd, as early as 1746, when he was but nineteen years of
age;[A] and, three years later, engaged in the same service, under
Captain Ebenezer Eastman, of Pennycook.[B] Six years afterwards, in
1753, the muster rolls show him to have been a member of Captain John
Goff's company, and doing like service.[C] Such was the training of a
self-reliant mind and a hardy physique for the ranging service, in which
they were soon to be employed.

[Footnote A: New Hampshire Adjutant General's Report, 1866, vol. 2, p.

[Footnote B: Same, p. 99.]

[Footnote C: Same, p. 118.]

I ought, perhaps, to mention, that in 1749, as Londonderry became filled
to overflowing with repeated immigrations from the North of Ireland,
James Rogers, the father of Robert, a proprietor, and one of the early
settlers of the township, removed therefrom to the woods of Dunbarton,
and settled anew in a section named Montelony, from an Irish place in
which he had once lived.[A] This was before the settlement of the
township, when its territory existed as an unseparated part only of the
public domain. He may, quite likely, have been attracted hither by an
extensive beaver meadow or pond, which would, with little improvement,
afford grass for his cattle while he was engaged in clearing the rich
uplands which surrounded it.

[Footnote A: New Hampshire Gazeteer, 1833, p. 121.]

Six years only after his removal (1755), he was unintentionally shot by
a neighbor whom he was going to visit; the latter mistaking him for a
bear, as he indistinctly saw him passing through the woods. This
incident was the foundation of the story said to have been told by his
son, some years after, in a London tavern. The version given by Farmer
and Moore is as follows, viz.:[A] "It is reported of Major Rogers, that
while in London, after the French war, being in company with several
persons, it was agreed, that the one who told the most improbable story,
or the greatest falsehood, should have his fare paid by the others. When
it came to his turn, he told the company that his father was shot in the
woods of America by a person who supposed him to be a bear; and that his
mother was followed several miles through the snow by hunters, who
mistook her track for that of the same animal. It was acknowledged by
the whole company that the Major had told the greatest lie, when in
fact, he had related nothing but the truth."[B]

[Footnote A: Historical Collections, by Farmer and Moore, vol. 1, p.

[Footnote B: The Great Meadow and the site of the elder Rogers' house is
easily accessible to any person possessed of a curiosity to visit them.
They are in the South-Easterly section of Dunbarton, some six or seven
miles only from Concord. The whole town is of very uneven surface, and
the visitor will smile when he reads upon the ground, in Farmer and
Moore's New Hampshire Gazeteer, that he will find there but "few hills,
nor any mountains." He soon learns that the declaration of its people is
more correct when they assure him that its surface is a "pimply" one.]

As the largest part of Roger's fame rests upon his achievements in the
ranging service of our Seven Years' War, we must recall for a moment the
condition of things in the British Colonies and in Canada at the
beginning of this war.

The thirteen American Colonies had, at that time, all told, of both
white and black, a population of about one million and a half of souls
(1,425,000.)[A] The French people of Canada numbered less than one
hundred thousand.[B]

[Footnote A: Bancroft's History of the United States, vol. 4, p. 127.]

[Footnote B: Encyclopedia Brittanica.]

The respective claims to the Central part of the North American
Continent by England and France were conflicting and irreconcilable. The
former, by right of discovery, claimed all the territory upon the
Atlantic coast from New Foundland to Florida, and by virtue of numerous
grants the right to all west of this to the Pacific Ocean. The latter,
by right of occupation and exploration, claimed Canada, a portion of New
England and New York, and the basins of the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers,
together with all the territory upon the streams tributary to these, or
a large part of the indefinite West.

To maintain her claims France had erected a cordon of forts extending
diagonally across the continent from the mouth of the St. Lawrence to
the Gulf of Mexico. If one will follow, in thought, a line starting at
Louisburg, and thence running up this great river to Quebec and
Montreal, and thence up Lake Champlain to Crown Point and Ticonderoga,
and on westward and south-westward to Frontenac, Niagara and Detroit,
and thence down the Ohio and Mississippi to New Orleans, he will trace
the line across which the two nations looked in defiance at each other,
and see instantaneously that the claims of France were inadmissable, and
that another war was inevitable. It mattered little that of the
forty-five years immediately preceding the treaty of Aix La Chapelle,
fourteen, or one-third of the whole number, had been years of war
between these two neighbors. They were now, after a peace of only half a
dozen years, as ready for a fresh contest as if they were to meet for
the first time upon the battle field. In fact, another conflict was
unavoidable; a conflict of the Teuton with the Gaul; of medievalism with
daylight; of conservatism with progress; of the old Church with the new;
of feudalism with democracy--a conflict which should settle the destiny
of North America, making it English and Protestant, or French and Roman
Catholic; a contest, too, in which the victor was to gain more than he
knew, and the vanquished was to loose more than he ever dreamed of.

Hostilities may be said to have been commenced by the French, when, on
the 18th day of April, 1754, they dispossessed the Ohio company of the
fort which they were erecting at the forks of the Ohio River, afterwards
named Fort Du Quesne.

The plan of a Colonial Confederation, formed at the Albany convention in
July of that year, having failed of acceptance by the mother country and
the Colonies both, the Home government was forced to meet the exigency
by the use of British troops, aided by such others as the several
Provinces were willing to furnish.

The campaign of the next year (1755) embraced:

1st. An expedition, under General Braddock, for the capture of Fort Du

2d. A second, under General Shirley, for the reduction of Fort Niagara,
which was not prosecuted.

3d. A third, under Colonel Moncton, against the French settlements on
the Bay of Fundy, resulting in the capture and deportation of the

4th. A fourth, under General William Johnson, against Crown Point, a
strong fortification, erected by the French, in the very heart of New
England and New York, whence innumerable bands of Indians had been
dispatched by the French to murder the defenceless dwellers upon the
English frontiers, particularly those of New Hampshire, to destroy their
cattle and to burn their buildings and other property.

To the army of this latter expedition New Hampshire contributed, in the
early part of this year, a regiment of ten companies, the first being a
company of Rangers, whose Captain was Robert Rogers, and whose Second
Lieutenant was John Stark. [A]

[Footnote A: New Hampshire Adjutant General's Report, vol. 2, 1866, p.

But a few words just here in explanation of the character of this
ranging branch of the English army. It was a product of existing
necessities in the military service of that time. Most of the country
was covered with primeval forests and military operations were largely
prosecuted in the woods or in limited clearings. The former were
continually infested with Indians, lying in ambush for the perpetration
of any mischief for which they might have opportunity.

It became necessary, therefore, in scouring the forests to drive these
miscreants back to their lairs, as well as in making military
reconnoissances, to have a class of soldiers acquainted with Indian life
and warfare; prepared, not only to meet the Indian upon his own ground,
but to fight him in his own fashion. The British Regular was good for
nothing at such work. If sent into the woods he was quite sure, either
not to return at all, or to come back without his scalp. And the
ordinary Provincial was not very much better. From this necessity,
therefore, was evolved the "Ranger."

He was a man of vigorous constitution, inured to the hardships of forest
life. He was capable of long marches, day after day, upon scant rations,
refreshed by short intervals of sleep while rolled in his blanket upon a
pile of boughs, with no other shelter but the sky. He knew the trails of
the Indians, as well as their ordinary haunts and likeliest places of
ambush. He knew, also, all the courses of the streams and the carrying
places between them. He understood Indian wiles and warfare, and was
prepared to meet them.

Stand such a man in a pair of stout shoes or moccasins; cover his lower
limbs with leggins and coarse small clothes; give him a close-fitting
jacket and a warm cap; stick a small hatchet in his belt; hang a
good-sized powder-horn by his side, and upon his back buckle a blanket
and a knapsack stuffed with a moderate supply of bread and raw salt
pork; to these furnishings add a good-sized hunting-knife, a trusty
musket and a small flask of spirits, and you have an average New
Hampshire Ranger of the Seven Year's war, ready for skirmish or pitched
battle; or, for the more common duty of reconnoitering the enemy's force
and movements, of capturing his scouts and provision trains, and getting
now and then a prisoner, from whom all information possible would be
extorted; and, in short, for annoying the French and Indian foe in every
possible way.

If you will add three or four inches to the average height of such a
soldier, give him consummate courage, coolness, readiness of resource
in extremities, together with intuitive knowledge of the enemy's wiles,
supplemented with a passable knowledge of French and Indian speech, you
will have a tolerable portrait of Captain Robert Rogers at the beginning
of our Seven Year's war.[A]

[Footnote A: "An engraved full-length portrait of Rogers was published
in London in 1776. He is represented as a tall, strong man, dressed in
the costume of a Ranger, with a powder-horn strung at his side, a gun
resting in the hollow of his arm, and a countenance by no means
prepossessing. Behind him, at a little distance, stand his Indian
followers."--[Parkman's Conspiracy of Pontiach, vol. I, p. 164.]

He received his first Captain's commission in the early part of 1755,
and was employed by the New Hampshire government in building a fort at
the mouth of the Ammonoosuc River and in guarding its Northern and
Western frontiers until July, when he was ordered to Albany to join the
army of Major General Johnson. His first service there was in furnishing
escort, with a company of one hundred men, to a provision train from
Albany to Fort Edward. From this latter point he was afterwards
repeatedly despatched, with smaller bodies of men, up the Hudson River
and down Lake George and Lake Champlain to reconnoiter the French forts.
Some of these expeditions extended as far north as Crown Point and were
enlivened with sharp skirmishes. He was absent up the Hudson upon one of
these when the French were defeated at the battle of Lake George and
Baron Dieskan was made prisoner.

The efficiency of the campaign of the next year (1756), which
contemplated the taking of Crown Point, Niagara and Fort Du Quesne, was
seriously impaired by the repeated changes of Commander-in-Chief; Major
General Shirley being superceded in June by General Abercrombie while
he, about a month later, yielded the command to the inefficient Lord
Londown. The only occurrences of particular note during this campaign
were the capture of our forts at Oswego by General Montcalm and the
formal declarations of war by the two belligents.

Rogers and his men were stationed at Fort William Henry, and made
repeated visits to Ticonderoga and Crown Point to ascertain the power of
the enemy and to annoy him as they had opportunity. They went down Lake
George, sometimes by land upon its shores, and sometimes by water and in
boats. In the winter their land marches were frequently upon snow-shoes,
and their boats were exchanged for skates. On such occasions each Ranger
was generally his own commissary and carried his own supplies.

In his journal for this year (1756) Rogers notes thirteen of these
expeditions as worthy of record. The first was down Lake George on the
ice, in January, with seventeen men, resulting in the capture of two
prisoners and two sledges laden with provisions.

The second was made in February with a party of fifty men to ascertain
the strength and operations of the French at Crown Point. Having
captured one prisoner at a little village near by the fort, they were
discovered and obliged to retire before the sallying troops of the
garrison. With very marked sang froid he closes his account of this
reconnoissance by saying: "We employed ourselves while we dared stay in
setting fire to the houses and barns in the village, with which were
consumed large quantities of wheat, and other grain; we also killed
about fifty cattle and then retired, leaving the whole village in

There often appears a ludicrous kind of honesty in the simple narratives
of this journal. He occasionally seized certain stores of the enemy
which a Ranger could destroy only with regret. He naively remarks, in
narrating the capture in June, of this same year, of two lighters upon
Lake Champlain, manned by twelve men, four of whom they killed: "We sunk
and destroyed their vessels and cargoes, which consisted chiefly of
wheat and flour, wine, and brandy; some few casks of the latter we
carefully concealed."

His commands on such occasions varied greatly in numbers, according to
the exigency of the service, all the way from a squad of ten men to two
whole companies; and the excursions just mentioned afford fair specimens
of the work done by the Rangers under Rogers this year.

Rogers possessed a ready wit and an attractive bonhomie, which made him
agreeable to his men, notwithstanding the necessary severity of his
discipline. A story has come down to us which well illustrates this
trait in his character. Two British Regulars, it seems, a good deal
muddled, one night, by liberal potations, became greatly concerned lest
their beloved country should suffer dishonor in consequence of inability
to discharge its national debt, and their loyal forebodings had, at
length, become painful. The good-natured Captain, encountering them in
their distress, at once relieved them by the remark: "I appreciate the
gravity of your trouble, my dear fellows. It is, indeed, a serious one.
But, happily, I can remove it. I will, myself, discharge at once
one-half the debt, and a friend of mine will shortly pay the other
half." From this incident is said to have arisen the expression, at one
time common, "We pay our debts as Rogers did that of the English

But Captain Rogers had qualities of a higher order, which commended him
to his superiors. His capacity as a Ranger Commander had attracted the
notice of the officers on duty at Lake George. The importance of this
branch of the service had also become apparent, and we shall not be
surprised to learn that, in March, 1756, he was summoned to Boston by
Major General Shirley and commissioned anew as Captain of an independent
company of Rangers, to be paid by the King. This company formed the
nucleus of the famous corps since known as "Roger's Rangers."

In July another company was raised, and again in December two more,
thereby increasing the Ranger corps to four companies. To anticipate, in
a little more than a year this was farther enlarged by the addition of
five more, and Captain Rogers was promoted to the rank of Major of
Rangers, becoming thus the commander of the whole corps.

The character of the service expected of this branch of the army was set
forth in Major General Shirley's orders to its commander in 1756, as
follows, viz.: "From time to time, to use your best endeavors to
distress the French and allies by sacking, burning, and destroying their
houses, barns, barracks, canoes, and battoes, and by killing their
cattle of every kind; and at all times to endeavour to way-lay, attack
and destroy their convoys of provisions by land and water in any part of
the country where he could find them."[A]

[Footnote A: Roger's Journal (Hough's edition), p. 46.]

On the fifteenth of January of the next year (1757) Captain Rogers, with
seventy-four Rangers, started down Lake George to reconnoiter the French
forts; travelling now for a time upon the ice, and by and by donning
snow-shoes and following the land. On the twenty-first, at a point half
way between Ticonderoga and Crown Point, they discovered a train of
provision sledges, three of which they captured, together with six
horses and seven men. The others fled within the walls of Ticonderoga
and alarmed the garrison. Feeling the insecurity of his situation he
commenced at once his return. By two o'clock in the afternoon, his party
was attacked by two hundred and fifty French and Indians, who endeavored
to surround it. A vigorous fight was kept up until dark. Rogers was
wounded twice and lost some twenty of his men. The French, as was
subsequently ascertained, lost one hundred and sixteen. The proximity of
Ticonderoga rendered vain the continuance of the contest, and he availed
him of the shelter of the night to return to Fort William Henry.

For this exploit he was highly complimented by General Abercrombie, and,
at a later period of this same year, was ordered by Lord Londown to
instruct and train for the ranging service a company of British
Regulars. To these he devoted much time and prepared for their use the
manual of instruction now found in his journals. It is clearly drawn up
in twenty-eight sections and gives very succinctly and lucidly the rules
governing this mode of fighting.

The campaign of 1757 contemplated only the capture of Louisburg. To the
requisite preparations Lord Londown directed all his energies. Having
collected all the troops which could be spared for that purpose, he
sailed for Halifax on the twentieth of June with six thousand soldiers,
among them being four companies of Rangers under the command of Major
Rogers. Upon arriving at Halifax his army was augmented by the addition
of five thousand Regulars and a powerful naval armament. We have neither
time nor inclination to consider the conduct of Lord Londown on this
occassion farther than to say that his cowardice and imbecility seem
wonderful. Finding that, in all probability, Louisburg could not be
taken without some one getting hurt, he returned to New York without
striking a blow. If about this time our heroic commander of the Rangers
used some strong language far from sacred, it will become us to remember
"Zeke Webster" and think as charitably of his patriotic expletives "as
we can." He returned to New York three weeks after the surrender of Fort
William Henry, where with his Rangers he might have done something, at
least, to prevent the horrible massacre which has tarnished the fair
fame of Montcalm indellibly.

England and America both were humbled in the dust by the events of 1757
and 1758. Failure, due to the want of sufficent resources is severe, but
how utterly insufferable when, with abundant means, incompetency to use
them brings defeat. Still, we are under greater obligation to Lord
Londown than we are wont to think. His imbecility helped rouse the
British nation and recall William Pitt to power, whose vigor of purpose
animated anew the people of other countries and promised an early
termination of French dominion in America.

Lord Londown was succeeded in the early part of 1758 by General
Abercrombie and plans were matured for capturing the Lake forts,
Louisburg and Fort Du Quesne. By the close of November, the two last,
with the addition of Fort Frontenac, were ours. The movement against
Crown Point and Ticonderoga did not succeed. In the assault upon the
latter Rogers and his Rangers fought in the van and in the retreat
brought up the rear.

In the spring of this year (1758) Rogers went down Lake George at the
head of about one hundred and eighty-men, and near the foot of it had a
desperate battle with a superior body of French and Indians. He reported
on his return one hundred and fourteen of his party as killed or
missing. Why he was not annihilated is a wonder. General Montcalm, in a
letter dated less than a month after the encounter, says: "Our Indians
would give no quarter; they have brought back one hundred and forty-six
scalps." For his intrepidity on this occasion he was presented by
General Abercrombie with the commission of Major of Rangers, before
alluded to.

The adroitness with which Rogers sometimes extricated himself from
extreme peril is illustrated by his conduct on one occasion, when
pursued by an overwhelming number of savages up the mountain, near the
south end of Lake George, which now bears his name. Upon reaching the
summit he advanced to the very verge of the precipice, on the east side,
which descends 550 feet to the lake. Having here reversed his snow shoes
he fled down the side opposite to that by which he had come up. Arriving
soon after the Indians, upon seeing the tracks of two men, apparently,
instead of one, and Rogers far below upon the ice, hastening towards
Fort Edward, concluded that he had slid down the precipice aided by the
Great Spirit, and that farther pursuit was vain.

Mr. Pitt proposed in the campaign of 1759 the entire conquest of Canada.
Bold as was the undertaking it was substantially accomplished.
Ticonderoga and Crown Point were abandoned in July, Fort Niagara
capitulated the same month, and Quebec was surrendered in September.

Their violation of a flag of truce in this last month now called
attention to the St. Francis Indians, who had been for a century the
terror of the New England frontiers, swooping down upon them when least
expected, burning their buildings, destroying their cattle, mercilessly
murdering their men, women, and children, or cruelly hurrying them away
into captivity. The time had now come for returning these bloody visits.
The proffering of this delicate attention was assigned by Major General
Amherst to Rogers. In his order, dated September 13, he says: "You are
this night to set out with the detachment, as ordered yesterday, viz.,
of 200 men, which you will take under your command and proceed to
Misisquey Bay, from whence you will march and attack the enemy's
settlements on the south side of the river St. Lawrence in such a manner
as you shall judge most effectual to disgrace the enemy, and for the
success and honour of his majesty's arms.

       *       *       *       *       *

"Take your revenge, but don't forget that tho' those villains have
dastardly and promiscuously murdered the women and children of all ages,
it is my orders that no women or children are killed or hurt."

In pursuance of these orders Major Rogers started the same day at
evening. On the tenth day after he reached Missisquoi Bay. On the
twenty-third, with one hundred and forty-two Rangers, he came, without
being discovered, to the environs of the village of St. Francis. The
Indians had a dance the evening following his arrival and slept heavily
afterwards. The next morning, half an hour before sunrise, Rogers and
his men fell upon them on all sides, and in a few minutes, ere they had
time to arouse themselves and seize their arms, the warriors of that
village were dead. A few, attempting to escape by the river, were shot
in their canoes. The women and children were not molested.

When light came it revealed to the Rangers lines of scalps, mostly
English, to the number of six hundred, strung upon poles above the
door-ways. Thereupon, every house except three containing supplies was
fired, and their destruction brought death to a few who had before
escaped it by concealing themselves in the cellars. Ere noon two hundred
Indian braves had perished and their accursed village had been

The operations of the next year (1760) ended this long and fierce
struggle. The attempted re-capture of Quebec by the French was their
final effort. The army of the Lakes embarked from Crown Point for
Montreal on the sixteenth day of August. "Six hundred Rangers and
seventy Indians in whale-boats, commanded by Major Rogers, all in a line
abreast, formed the advance guard." He and his men encountered some
fighting on the way from Isle a Mot to Montreal, but no serious obstacle
retarded their progress. The day of their arrival Monsieur de Vaudveuil
proposed to Major General Amherst a capitulation, which soon after
terminated the French dominion in North America.

The English troops, as will be remembered, entered Montreal on the
evening of the eighth of September. On the morning of the twelfth Major
Rogers was ordered by General Amherst to proceed westward with two
companies of Rangers and take possession of the western forts, still
held by the French, which, by the terms of the capitulation, were to be

He embarked about noon the next day with some two hundred Rangers in
fifteen whale-boats, and advanced to the west by the St. Lawrence and
the Lakes. On the seventh of November they reached the mouth of the
Cuyahoga, where the beautiful city of Cleveland now stands. The cross of
St. George had never penetrated the wilderness so far before. Here they
encamped and were soon after waited upon by messengers from the great
chieftain Pontiac, asking by what right they entered upon his territory
and the object of their visit. Rogers informed them of the downfall of
the French in America, and that he had been sent to take possession of
the French forts surrendered to the English by the terms of the
capitulation. Pontiac received his message remarking that he should
stand in his path until morning, when he would return to him his answer.

The next morning Pontiac came to the camp and the great chief of the
Ottawas, haughty, shrewd, politic, ambitious, met face to face the bold,
self-possessed, clear-headed Major of the British Rangers. It is
interesting to note how calmly the astute ally of the French accepted
the new order of things and prepared for an alliance with his former
enemies. He and Rogers had several interviews and in the end smoked the
pipe of peace. With dignified courtesy the politic Indian gave to his
new friend free transit through his territory, provisions for his
journey and an escort of Indian braves. Rogers broke camp on the twelfth
and pushed onward towards Detroit. By messenger sent forward in advance
he apprized Monsieur Belletre, Commandant of the fort, of his near
approach and the object of it. The astonished officer received him
Cautiously. Soon satisfied, however, of the truth of the unwelcome news
thus brought, he surrendered his garrison. On the twenty-ninth of
November the British flag floated from the staff which ever before had
borne only the lillies of France.

On the tenth of December, after disposing of the French force found in
the fort, and having taken possession of the forts Miamie and Gatanois,
with characteristic ardor Rogers pushed still farther westward for
Michilimackinac. But it was a vain attempt. The season was far advanced.
Indeed, the winter had already come, and while the ice prevented his
progress by water, the snows rendered impracticable his advance by land.
With reluctance he relinquished for the first time the completion of his
mission. Turning eastward, after a tedious journey, he reached New York
on the fourteenth of February, 1761.

From New York, there is reason to suppose, that he went this same year
as Captain of one of the His Majesty's Independent Companies of Foot to
South Carolina, and there aided Colonel Grant in subduing the Cherokees,
who had for a year or two been committing depredations upon the
Carolinian frontiers.

From this time onward for the next two years we lose sight of Major
Rogers, but he re-appears at the siege of Detroit in 1763. Hither he
went with twenty Rangers as part of a body of soldiers sent from Fort
Niagara under the command of Captain Dalzell for the re-inforcement of
the beleagured fort. He arrived on the twenty-ninth of July, and on the
thirty-first took an active part in the fierce battle of Bloody Bridge.
His valor was as useful as it was conspicuous on that occasion, and but
for his daring efforts the retreat of the British troops would have been
more disastrous even than it was. Having, for a time, in the house of
the Frenchman, Campean, held at bay a throng of savages which surrounded
it, his escape with a few followers at one door was hardly achieved ere
these burst in at another.

The next glimpse we get of Major Rogers is at Rumford (now Concord)
where he had a landed estate of some four or five hundred acres. Good
old Parson Walker, who here kept open house, and for more than fifty
years watched with solicitude the interests of his parish and his
country, says, in his diary for 1764, against date of February 24:
"Major Rogers dined with us" and again December 22:--"Major Rogers and
Mr. Scales, Jr., dined with me."

It is probable that his private affairs now occupied his attention. A
year or so after the surrender of Montreal he was married to Elizabeth,
daughter of Rev. Arthur Brown, Rector of St. John's Church, in
Portsmouth, New Hampshire. He considered this town his residence, and in
papers executed this very year (1764) sometimes designates himself "as
of Portsmouth," and at others, as "now residing at Portsmouth."

For three or four years, between 1762 and 1765, he trafficked a good
deal in lands, buying and selling numerous and some quite extensive
tracts. Some twenty-five different conveyances to him are on record in
the Recorder's office of Rockingham County, and half as many from him to
other parties.

Some of these lands he seems to have purchased and some to have received
in consideration of military services. In 1764 Benning Wentworth, as
Governor of New Hampshire, conveyed to him as "a reduced officer" a
tract of three thousand acres, lying in the southern part of Vermont.

One[A] conveyance made by him and bearing date December 20, 1762,
arrests our attention. By it he transferred to his father-in-law, Rev.
Arthur Brown, before mentioned, some five hundred acres of land in
Rumford (now Concord, New Hampshire) together with "one negro man, named
Castro Dickerson, aged about twenty-eight; one negro woman, named
Sylvia; one negro boy named Pomp, aged about twelve and one Indian boy,
named Billy, aged about thirteen." For what reason this property was
thus transferred I have no means of knowing. If the object of the
conveyance was to secure it as a home to his wife and children against
any liabilites he might incur in his irregular life, the end sought was
subsequently attained, as the land descended even to his

[Footnote A: The old "Rogers house," so called, is still standing upon
the former estate of Major Rogers, on the east side and near the south
end of Main Street, in Concord, New Hampshire. It must be at least a
hundred years old, and faces the South, being two stories high on the
front side and descending by a long sloping roof to one in the rear. It
was occupied for many years by Captain and Mrs. Roach, and later by
Arthur, son of Major Rogers, who was a lawyer by profession and died at
Portsmouth, in 1841.]

[Footnote B: A portion of this estate was subsequently sold by his
descendants to the late Governor Isaac Hill, of Concord, New Hampshire.]

And I may as well, perhaps, just here and now anticipate a little by
saying that Major Rogers did not prove a good husband, and that
seventeen years after their marriage his wife felt constrained, February
12, 1778, to petition the General Assembly of New Hampshire for a
divorce from him on the ground of desertion and infidelity. An act
granting the same passed the Assembly on the twenty-eighth day of
February and the Council on the fourth of March following.[A]

[Footnote A: "An act to dissolve the marriage between Robert Rogers and
Elizabeth, his wife.

"Whereas, Elizabeth Rogers of Portsmouth, in the County of Rockingham,
and State aforesaid, hath petitioned the General Assembly for said
State, setting forth that she was married to the said Robert Rogers
about seventeen years ago; for the greater part of which time he had
absented himself from and totally neglected to support and maintain
her--and had, in the most flagrant manner, in a variety of ways,
violated the marriage contract--but especially by infidelity to her Bed;
For which reasons praying that a divorce from said Rogers, a vinculo
matrimonii, might be granted. The principal facts contained in said
petition being made to appear, upon a full hearing thereof. Therefore,

"Be it enacted by the Council and House of Representatives for said
State in General Assembly convened, That the Bonds of Matrimony between
the said Robert and Elizabeth be and hereby are dissolved."--[New
Hampshire State Papers, vol. 8, p. 776.]

I may, perhaps, here venture the irrelevant remark that "women sometimes
do strange things," and cite the subsequent conduct of Mrs. Rogers in
evidence of the declaration. After her divorce she married Captain John
Roach, master of an English vessel in the fur trade. The tradition is
that, having sailed from Quebec for London, he most unaccountably lost
his reckoning and found himself in Portsmouth (New Hampshire) harbor.
Here for reasons satisfactory to himself, he sold the cargo on his own
account and quit sea life.[A] After his marriage he lived with his wife
and her son by the former marriage on the estate in Concord, previously
mentioned as having been conveyed by Rogers to her father. Captain Roach
is said to have been most famous for his unholy expletives and his
excessive potations. The venerable Colonel William Kent, now living at
Concord in his nineties, says that Captain Roach one day brought into
the store where he was a clerk a friend who had offered to treat him and
called for spirit. Having drawn from a barrel the usual quantity of two
drinks the clerk set the measure containing it upon the counter,
expecting the contents to be poured into two tumblers, as was then the
custom. Without waiting for this division the thirsty Captain
immediately seized the gill cup and drained it. Then, gracefully
returning it to the board, he courteously remarked to his astonished
friend that when one gentleman asks another to take refreshment the
guest should be helped first, and should there be found lacking a
sufficiency for both, the host should call for more.

[Footnote A: Bouton's History of Concord, p. 351.]

Whether Mrs. Rogers gained by her exchange of husbands it would be hard
to say. That in 1812 she went willing from this to a land where "they
neither marry nor are given in marriage," it is easy to believe.[A]

[Footnote A: Captain Roach died at Concord in May, 1811.]

In returning to Major Rogers, we must not forget that he was an author
as well as soldier. He seems to have been in England in 1765, and to
have there published two respectable volumes of his writings. One is
entitled "Journals of Major Robert Rogers; containing an account of the
several excursions he made under the Generals who commanded upon the
continent of North America, during the late War," and embraces the
period from September 24, 1755, to February 14, 1761. It is doubtless
quite reliable and valuable as a contribution to the history of our Army
of the Lakes during the old French war.[A]

[Footnote A: The full title is "Journals of Major Robert Rogers:
containing an account of several excursions he made under the Generals
who commanded upon the Continent of North America during the late war.
From which may be collected the material circumstances of every campaign
upon that continent from the commencement to the conclusion of the war.
London: Printed for the Author, and sold by J. Millan, bookseller near
Whitehall, MDCCLXV." 8vo., Introduction, pp. viii; Journals, pp. 236.

An American edition of Roger's Journal, ably edited by Dr. F.B. Hough,
was published at Albany in 1883, by J. Munsell's Sons. Besides a
valuable introduction, it contains the whole text of the Journals, an
appendix consisting largely of important official papers relating to
Rogers, and a good index. It is by far the best edition of the Journals
ever published.]

The other is called "a concise view of North America," and contains much
interesting information relative to the country at the time of its

[Footnote A: The full title of this volume is "A Concise Account of
North America; Containing a description of the several British Colonies
on that Continent, including the islands of New Foundland, Cape Breton,
&c., as to their Situation, Extent, Climate, Soil, Produce, Rise,
Government, Religion, Present Boundaries and the number of Inhabitants
supposed to be in each. Also of the Interior and Westerly Parts of the
Country, upon the rivers St. Lawrence, the Mississippi, Christino and
the Great Lakes. To which is subjoined, An account of the several
Nations and Tribes of Indians residing in those Parts, as to their
Customs, Manners, Government, Numbers, &c., Containing many useful and
Entertaining Facts, never before treated of. By Major Robert Rogers.
London: Printed for the Author, and sold by J. Millan, bookseller, near
Whitehall. MDCCLXV." 8vo., Introduction and Advertisement, pp. viii;
Concise Account, pp. 264.]

It is less reliable than the former, but is a readable book, and, when
the author keeps within the bounds of his personal knowledge, is
doubtless authentic. Both works are a credit to Major Rogers. To the
charge that he was an illiterate person and that these works were
written by another's hand, it may be urged, as to the "journals," that
the correspondence of their matter to the written reports of his
expeditions made to his superior officers and now preserved in the New
York State Library, convincingly show that this work is undoubtedly his.
If revised before publication by a should not deprive him of the credit
of their authorship.

Rogers laid no claims to fine writing, but his own manuscript reports,
written mostly in camp and hastily, attest his possession of a fair
chirography, a pretty good knowledge of grammar and spelling, together
with a style of expression both lucid and simple; in short, these are
such compositions as come naturally from a man, who, favored in youth
with but a limited common school education, has in mature life mingled
much with superiors and been often called upon to draft such writings as
fall to the lot of a soldier or man of business. Mr. Parkman also
attributes to Rogers a part authorship of a tragedy long forgotten,
entitled "Ponteach, or the Savages in America," published in London in
1766. It is a work of little merit and very few copies of it have been

[Footnote A: The full title of this book is "Ponteach; or the Savages of
America. A Tragedy. London. Printed for the Author, and sold by J.
Millan, opposite the Admiralty, Whitehall, MDCCLXVI."]

On the tenth of June, 1766, at the King's command, General Gage
appointed Major Rogers Captain Commandant of the garrison of
Michilimackinac.[A] Sir William Johnson, then Superintendent of Indian
Affairs, when apprized of it was filled with astonishment and disgust.
He regarded Rogers as a vain man, spoiled by flattery, and inordinately
ambitious, dishonest, untruthful, and incompetent to discharge properly
the duties of this office.[B] But as the appointment had been made and
could not be revoked, it was determined to accept the inevitable and
restrict his power, thereby rendering him as little capable of
mismanagement as possible. He was ordered by General Gage to act in all
matters pertaining to the Indians under instructions of the
Superintendent of Indian Affairs, and to report upon all other matters
to the Commandant at Detroit, to whom he was made subordinate.[C]

[Footnote A: Journals, Hough's edition, p. 218.]

[Footnote B: Sir William Johnson in a letter to General Thomas Gage,
dated January 34, 1765, says of Rogers: "He was a soldier in my army in
1755, and, as we were in great want of active men at that time, his
readiness recommended him so far to me that I made him an officer and
got him continued in the Ranging service, where he soon became puffed up
with pride and folly from the extravagant encomiums and notices of some
of the Provinces. This spoiled a good Ranger, for he was fit for nothing
else--neither has nature calculated him for a large command in that
service."--[Journals, Hough's edition, p. 215.

The same to Captain Cochrane November 17, 1767, says: "I raised him
(Rogers) in 1755 from the lowest station on account of his abilities as
a Ranger, for which duty he seemed well calculated, but how people at
home, or anywhere else, could think him fit for any other purpose must
appear surprising to those acquainted with him. I believe he never
confined himself within the _disagreeable bounds of truth_, as you
mention, but I wonder much they did not see through him in
time."--[Journals, p. 241.]

[Footnote C: Journals, p. 217.]

Commander Rogers probably reached Michilimackinac in August, 1766. He
soon after demonstrated his entire unfitness for his position by
clandestinely engaging in the Indian trade,[A] and by involving the
government in unnecessary expenses, which he sought to meet by drafts
upon the Superintendent of Indian Affairs, which that officer was
obliged to dishonor. To still further curtail his power, a Commissary
was appointed to reside at the post and regulate the Indian trade. To
this Rogers sullenly submitted, but quarrelled with the officer. As time
went on matters grew worse. He engaged in foolish speculations; got
deeply into debt to the Indian traders; chafed under his limitations;
grew first discontented, and then desperate; entered into treasonable
correspondence with a French officer;[B] and finally conceived a plan of
seeking of the home government an independent governorship of
Michilimackinac, and in case of failure to rob his post and the traders
thereabout, and then desert to the French on the lower Mississippi.[C]

[Footnote A: Same, p. 242.]

[Footnote B: Journals, pp. 234, 235, 236.]

[Footnote C: Same, p. 231.]

His mismanagement and plottings having grown insufferable he was
arrested and conveyed in irons to Montreal in September, 1768, to be
there tried by court-martial for high treason.[A] On some ground,
probably a technical one, he escaped conviction, and at some date
between May, 1769, and February, 1770, he sailed for England.

[Footnote A: Same, p. 231.]

And there, strange as it may seem, the stalwart, cheeky, fine-looking,
wily ex-Commandant was lionized. His acquittal had vindicated his
innocence and established his claim to martyrdom. His books had
advertised him as a hero. His creditors, to whom he owed considerable
amounts, supported his claims in hopes thereby of getting their dues. He
was gazed at by the commonalty. He was feted by the nobility. He was
received by the king and allowed to kiss his hand. He claimed payment
for arrears of salary and other expenses previously disallowed in
England and at home, which was made. Encouraged by his successes he
pushed boldly on and asked to be made an English Baronet, with £600 a
year, and in addition to that, a Major in the army.[A] One is in doubt
which to wonder at the most, the audacity of the bold adventurer, or the
stupidity of the British public. But vaulting ambition had at length
overleaped itself. He failed of the coveted knighthood, and sank by
degrees to his true level.

[Footnote A: Benjamin Roberts in a letter to Sir William Johnson, dated
February 19, 1770, says: "Kingston has a most extraordinary letter from
London, which says that Major Rogers was presented to His majesty and
kissed his hand--that he demanded redress and retaliation for his
sufferings. The minister asked what would content him. He desired to be
made a Baronet, with a pension of £600 sterling, and to be restored to
his government at Michilimackinac, and have all his accounts paid. Mr.
Fitzherbert is his particular friend."--[Journals, p. 256.]

We see nothing more of Major Rogers until July, 1775, when he again
appears in America as a Major of the British Army retired on half pay.
The object of his visit to his native land just at the beginning of our
Revolutionary war was not satisfactorily apparent. Some considered him a
military adventurer, anxious to sell his services to the highest bidder.
Others regarded him as a British spy. He wandered over the country all
the way from Pennsylvania to New Hampshire with very little ostensible
business. His improbable statements, his associations with persons
hostile to the American cause, his visits to places of bad reputation,
as well as his whole general conduct, rendered him a suspected person.

He was arrested on the twenty-second of September following his arrival
by the Pennsylvania Committee of Safety, but was afterwards paroled upon
his solemn declaration and promise that "on the honor of a soldier and a
gentleman he would not bear arms against the American United Colonies,
in any manner whatever, during the present contest between them and
Great-Britain;"[A] yet, on the twenty-sixth of the next November, he
makes a tender of his services to the British government, in a letter
addressed to General Gage, and was encouraged to communicate more
definitely his proposals.[B]

[Footnote A: Journals, p. 259.]

[Footnote B: Journals, p. 261.]

On the second day of December, a little more than a month later, in
shabby garb he calls upon President Wheelock, at Hanover, New Hampshire.
After speaking of his absence in Europe, during which, he said, he had
fought two battles in Algiers, under the Dey, he officiously tendered
his aid in a proposed effort to obtain a grant of land for Dartmouth
College. The President distrusted him, but treated him civilly. At the
close of the interview he returned to the tavern where he passed the
night, and left the next morning without paying his reckoning.[A]

[Footnote A: Same, p. 118.]

Again, on the nineteenth of the same month, at Medford, Massachusetts,
he addresses a letter to General Washington, soliciting an interview,
but his reputation was such that the Commander-in-Chief declined to see

[Footnote A: Same, p. 263.]

Even this did not discourage him. With an effrontery truly wonderful, on
the twenty-fifth of June, 1776, after he had been arrested in South
Amboy and brought to New York, he expressed to the Commander-in-Chief
his desire to pass on to Philadelphia, that he might there make a secret
tender of his services to the American Congress.[A]

[Footnote A: Same, p. 273.]

However, by this time, his duplicity had become so manifest that a few
days after this interview (July 2, 1776) the New Hampshire House of
Representatives passed a formal vote recommending his arrest,[A] which
was supplemented two years later (November 19, 1778) by a decree of

[Footnote A: New Hampshire Prov. Papers vol. VIII, p. 185.]

Finding hypocrisy no longer available, sometime in August, 1776, he
accepted a commission of Lieutenant Colonel Commandant, signed by
General Howe and empowering him to raise a battalion of Rangers for the
British Army. To this work he now applied himself and with success.[A]

[Footnote A: Journals, p. 277.]

On the twenty-first of October, 1776, Rogers fought his last battle, so
far as I have been able to discover, on American soil. His Regiment was
attacked at Mamaronec, New York, and routed by a body of American
troops. Contemporary accounts state that he did not display his usual
valor in this action and personally withdrew before it was over.

The next year he returned to England,[A] where, after a disreputable
life of some twenty-two or twenty-three years, of which little is known,
he is said to have died in the year 1800.

[Footnote A: Parker's History of Londonderry, p. 238.]

Such are some of the more salient points in the career of Major Robert
Rogers, the Ranger. When another century shall have buried in oblivion
his frailties, the valor of the partizan commander will shine in
undimmed lustre. When the historian gives place to the novelist and the
poet, his desperate achievements portrayed by their pens will render as
romantic the borders of Lake George, as have the daring deeds of Rob Roy
McGregor, rehearsed by Walter Scott, made enchanting the Shores of Lock

       *       *       *       *       *



  Through the gorges leaps the pealing thunder;
  Lurid flashes rend the sky asunder;
  On my window-pane, making wild refrain,
      Sharply strikes the rain.

  Wind in furious gusts with angry railing
  Follows the unhappy restless wailing
  Of the sobbing sea, and drives ships a-lee
      None to save nor see.

  Dreaming souls are startled from their slumbers,
  Though sleep still their trembling frames encumbers;
  Helplessly they wait, fearing portent fate,
      Shrieking prayers too late!

       *       *       *       *       *



On the opening of the year 1764 there was in the westerly part of the
town of Lunenburg, Massachusetts, a settlement of about forty families,
consisting of a number of farms, located mostly on the hills surrounding
a narrow valley through which flowed the north branch of the Nashua
River, almost screened from view by a dense forest of pines. These
people were obliged to go four or five miles to Church and town meeting,
over narrow, uneven roads, travelled only on horseback or rough ox
carts. Most of them were of an independent, self-reliant type of
character, and had a mind to have a little town and parish of their own.

Accordingly they commenced a movement for a division of the town of
Lunenburg; and the first petition to have the westerly part of that town
set off was presented in town meeting in 1759. At various other town
meetings a like petition was presented and always rejected, until
January, 1764, when it was granted, and a committee appointed to obtain
an act of incorporation from the Legislature; and at last, on the third
of February, 1764, the Governor of the Colony of Massachusetts Bay
signed the Act, which made Fitchburg an incorporated town, with all the
rights and privileges usually granted, except that the two towns of
Lunenburg and Fitchburg were to have but one representative to the
General Court.

A portion of the territory of Fitchburg was set off a few years later to
form a part of the new town of Ashby.

The first town meeting in Fitchburg was held in the tavern of Captain
Samuel Hunt, on the fifth of March, 1764, when selectmen were chosen,
and other business necessary to the organization of a town government
transacted. The next business after the necessary civil affairs were put
in order was to provide for "Sabbath days' preaching," and the Rev.
Peter Whitney was hired to preach in the house of Thomas Cowdin for a
time. It was also voted to build a meeting-house, which was completed
sufficiently for occupancy in the autumn of 1766, and was located
between Blossom and Mount Vernon Streets, near Crescent Street. The land
was presented to the town by Thomas Cowdin, a new resident, who had
purchased the tavern of Captain Samuel Hunt.

In those days the tavern keeper was a man of great importance by virtue
of his calling, but Thomas Cowdin was in himself a remarkable man.
Energetic and commanding by nature, his varied experience had been of a
kind to call out his peculiar characteristics. A soldier in the
Provincial army, he served actively in the French and Indian wars, and
rose from the ranks to the office of captain. During the war of 1755 he
was employed in returning convalescent soldiers to the army and in
arresting deserters. At one time he was set on the track of a deserter,
whom he found was making his way to New York. He followed him with
characteristic celerity and promptness, and at length found him one
Sabbath morning attending divine service in a Dutch meeting-house.
Cowdin did not hesitate, but entered and seized the culprit at once,
much to the surprise and consternation of the congregation. A severe
struggle ensued, in which he barely escaped with his life, but he
finally overpowered and secured his prisoner. He then took him to
Boston, where he received orders to deliver him at Crown Point. So alone
through the woods for that long distance he journeyed with his prisoner,
who well knew the fate which awaited him; threading each day the lonely
forest, and lying down each night to sleep by the side of the doomed
man. He delivered his prisoner safely at Crown Point, from whence he was
taken to Montreal, and shot. For many years Cowdin was one of the most
influential and prominent men in Fitchburg, and enjoyed to a great
degree the confidence of his fellow citizens. He was the first
Representative to the General Court under the new State Constitution,
and held many town offices. A handsome monument has recently been
erected to his memory by his grandson, Honorable John Cowdin, of Boston.

Preaching being provided for, it was also voted to keep two schools, and
to appropriate the sum of £8 for that purpose. And now the town of
Fitchburg was fairly started out in life. From the towns to the East
energetic young men began to come in with their families, to make new
homes for themselves, so that in 1771 there were from seventy-five to
eighty families, with a total valuation of £2,508,105. The highest tax
payer was taxed on a valuation of £121, and the rate was over ten per

There were now, from time to time, numerous town meetings and many
matters, both grave and trivial, to discuss and settle. Matters civil
and matters ecclesiastical were inextricably blended. There was no
separation of Church and State, but a community firmly believing in a
personal Divine Providence, whose hand interposed daily in all the
affairs of life. We may instance an article in the warrant for town
meeting, January, 1770, which read as follows: "To see if the town will
relieve Widow Mary Upton for Distress occasioned by frowns of Divine
Providence, and abate her husband's rates on Isaac Gibson's and Ebenezer
Bridge's tax lists." The result of the article was that Mr. Upton's poll
tax was abated, and the frowns of Divine Providence were doubtless
changed to smiles.

Time passed on, the town gaining in wealth and numbers, and a
comfortable, prosperous future was the reasonable hope of the
inhabitants; but other scenes than those of peace and quiet were
preparing; the opening scenes of the Revolution were just at hand, and
the curtain was about to rise on the drama of seven long years, so
frought with great results, but so wearisome, painful, and discouraging
to the actors, from whom the future was withheld.

As early as September, 1768, the selectmen of Fitchburg received from
the selectmen of Boston a letter requesting them to call a town meeting
to take into consideration the critical condition of public affairs, and
to choose an agent to meet them in Boston and show there the "views,
wishes and determinations of the people of Fitchburg upon the subject."
A town meeting was accordingly called, and the Honorable Edward Hartwell
was sent jointly by Fitchburg and Lunenburg to be their agent in Boston.

In December, 1773 the selectmen received another letter from the town of
Boston, requesting them to meet and pass such resolves concerning their
rights and privileges, as they were willing to die in maintaining, and
send them to the Committee of Correspondence. A town meeting was held
accordingly, and a committee appointed to draft resolutions. The report
presented by this committee at an adjourned meeting, after expressing
full sympathy in all efforts to resist any encroachments on the rights
and liberties of the American people, concluded as follows:

     "And with respect to the East India tea, forasmuch as we are now
     informed that the town of Boston and the neighboring towns have
     made such noble opposition to said teas being brought into Boston,
     subject to a duty so directly tending to the enslaving of America,
     it is our opinion that your opposition is just and equitable, and
     the people of this town are ready to afford all the assistance in
     their power to keep off all such infringement."

The time had now come when the talk at the tavern, the town meeting, the
Church, and at the daily meeting of neighbor with neighbor, was of the
rights of the colonies, and of the tyranny of the English Government.
The fires of Liberty were already kindled from the North to the South
and from the seaports to the frontier. Fitchburg was not behind in
preparation for the coming storm. In the store building of Ephraim
Kimball, which was near the corner of Main and Laurel Streets, was the
armory of the minute men, about forty of whom were enrolled and
regularly drilled; while by vote of the town fifty dollars was
appropriated for powder, lead and flints.

The eventful nineteenth of April, 1775, at last arrived and found the
little town ready for action. So rapidly did the news spread that at
nine o'clock in the morning the alarm was fired in front of the store of
Deacon Kimball. The company had spent the previous day in drill, and at
the summons the members promptly assembled, and being joined by a few
volunteers, about fifty men took up their line of march for Concord,
under the command of Captain Ebenezer Bridge, who afterwards became
Colonel, and whose regiment, in the battle of Bunker Hill, was engaged
in the fiercest of the contest. With the minute men was sent a large
wagon loaded with provisions, which followed them to Concord, where they
arrived in the evening, too late to take any part in the fight.

It was now necessary to organize a permanent army to defend the towns
around Boston; and Fitchburg and Leominster enlisted a company of
volunteers to serve for eighteen months. At the battle of Bunker Hill
John Gibson of Fitchburg was killed while fighting bravely in the

When the Continental Congress asked the support of the Colonies to the
contemplated Declaration of Independence, the Massachusetts General
Court sent circulars, asking the opinion of the several towns in regard
to the measure. The answer of Fitchburg was as follows:

     "Voted in town meeting, that if the Honorable Continental Congress
     should for the safety of these United Colonies declare them
     independent of the Kingdom of Great Britain, that we, the
     inhabitants of the town of Fitchburg, will, with our lives and
     fortunes, support them in the measure."

In February, 1776, the warrant for town meeting ran thus: "In his
Majesty's name." In May the warrant ran as follows: "In the name of the
writ to us directed, these are in the name of the Governor and people of
Massachusetts Bay." After the declaration of independence the warrant
ran thus: "In the name of the State of the Colony of Massachusetts Bay."

For seven long years the little town of Fitchburg bore bravely and
unflinchingly the hardships of the war. The burden to the inhabitants of
furnishing their quota of men, money, and provisions, was a heavy one,
the depreciation of the currency was ruinous; and they, in common with
the rest of the people, found themselves in serious financial
difficulties at the close of the war. Taxes were high and money scarce,
and the efforts of the authorities to collect the sums levied on the
inhabitants finally led to organized resistance, which has come down to
us under the name of Shay's Rebellion. With it the people of Fitchburg
deeply sympathized, and in the initiatory proceedings they took an
active, though a prudent part. In June, 1786, the town sent Elijah
Willard as a delegate to a convention at Worcester to discuss the
grievances of the people, and voted to defend his property if he should
be taken in person for his attendance, "provided he behaves himself in
an orderly and peaceable manner; otherwise he is to risk it himself."
Deeply sympathizing with the Shayites, the people of Fitchburg did
everything in their power to prevent the collection of taxes by the
authorities, short of armed resistance; and the consequence was that a
military company was quartered among them, much to their indignation;
and had they not soon been prudently withdrawn, bloodshed might have

The population of Fitchburg had not remained stationary during the war,
but had increased from 650 to about 1,000. At its close there was the
nucleus of a village scattered along the road near the river, now Main
Street. One might see Cowdin's tavern, Kimball's saw and grist mill,
Fox's store, a baker's shop, and half a dozen houses between the
American house and the upper Common. The meeting-house upon the hill
back of Main street was a small, shabby, yellow structure; the red store
of Joseph Fox was below, and in the rear of his store his house with
large projecting eaves. The mill and residence of Deacon Ephraim Kimball
were near by. Up the road, and near the present residence of Ebenezer
Torrey, was a bakery and a dwelling-house, and beyond, towards the west,
were two or three houses and a blacksmith shop. Pine stumps, hard-hack,
and grape vines were plentiful by the side of the road. Such was the
village of Fitchburg in 1786.

In addition, however, to this little centre of population there was in
the westerly part of the town, in the neighborhood of Dean Hill, a
village which boasted a tavern, a store, and a blacksmith shop, and
boldly sat up a claim of rivalship, and even superiority, to the little
cluster of houses in the sandy valley. Its people petitioned to the
General Court, to be set off, with a part of Ashburnham and Westminster,
into a new town. However, a vigorous opposition from the inhabitants of
the remainder of the town prevented its being granted. But, defeated in
one point, the Dean Hill people turned to another. The time had now come
when a new Church was needed, the little old meeting-house on the hill
being too small to accommodate the increased population. So they
determined to have the new Church in their vicinity, and this
determination was the beginning of a protracted struggle to fix upon its
location. A vote was passed in town meeting that the new Church should
be located "on the nearest convenientest spot to the centre," but the
words _nearest, convenientest_, were a cause of furious contention. Town
meeting after town meeting was held--now victory rested with one
faction, now with the other. Finally, after ninety-nine town meetings,
extending through a period of ten years, the great question was settled,
and the spot was chosen near the location of the present Unitarian

But now the leaven of heterodoxy was creeping into New England society,
and the people, to a great extent, turned from the theological doctrines
of their forefathers and adopted Unitarian views. In most places there
was a final division of the original Church, and the formation of two
societies, one of the Unitarian, and the other of Orthodox persuasion.

Fitchburg was agitated in this way for about twenty-four years, during
which time many ecclesiastical councils were held, and debate and
dispute were almost continuous, both in and out of town meeting, for
neighbor was divided against neighbor, and one member of a household
against another. The result was the dissolution of the parochial powers
of the town, and a division into two societies. The Unitarians remained
in the old Church, and the Orthodox built a new building on the corner
of Main and Rollstone streets.

But while religious contention went on, worldly growth and prosperity
increased. Quite a number of manufacturing establishments had commenced
operations, and the value of the little stream that furnished the power
was beginning to be appreciated.

In 1830 there were in Fitchburg 235 dwelling-houses, 2 meeting-houses, 1
academy, 12 school-houses, 1 printing office, 2 woolen mills, 4 cotton
mills, 1 scythe factory, 2 paper mills, 4 grist mills, 10 saw mills, 3
taverns, 2 hat manufactories, 1 bellows manufactory, 2 tanneries, 2
window blind manufactories, and 1 chair manufactory. There were a number
of stone bridges, and a dozen dams on the river; stages communicated
daily with Boston, Keene, and Lowell, and left three times a week for
Worcester and Springfield, and returned on alternate days.

Energetic, enterprising young men were attracted to Fitchburg as a
promising place for a home, and there was the exhilarating, hopeful
atmosphere of a new and growing town, where changes are rapid and
opportunities are many. It was about this time that Rufus C. Torrey
wrote his history of Fitchburg, in which work he was most substantially
aided by his friend, Nathaniel Wood, then a public spirited young
lawyer, who had already accumulated quite an amount of material from
records and conversations with the older residents These two men saved
from oblivion very many valuable facts in the history of the town.

About this time, also, the Fitchburg High School Association was formed
and an academy built, and in 1838 the Fitchburg Library Association was
organized, both of which institutions were valuable educational

From 1840 to 1860 the town continued to grow steadily. New paper mills
were built in West Fitchburg, the chair business enlarged greatly, the
iron business was introduced by the Putnam Brothers, and grew rapidly,
and various other branches of industry were begun and prospered. The
Fitchburg Railroad was built, followed by the Vermont and Massachusetts,
the Fitchburg and Worcester, and the Agricultural Branch Railroads, all
centreing in Fitchburg and bringing an increase of business.

At the breaking out of the war of the Rebellion the town contained
nearly 8,000 inhabitants, and during the war Fitchburg did her part,
answering all calls promptly and sending her best men to the field. Her
history in that contest is well told by Henry A. Willis, in his history
of "Fitchburg in the War of the Rebellion." Nine companies were
organized in the town, and 750 Fitchburg men sent into the field.

The years immediately following the war were years of prosperity and
rapid growth. March 8, 1872, Fitchburg was incorporated as a city. The
infant township of 108 years before had grown to a city of 12,000
inhabitants. The little stream which then turned the wheel of the one
solitary saw and grist mill had since been harnessed to the work of many
mills and manufactories, and on either side were the homes of hundreds,
dependent on its power for their daily bread. Railroads carried the
products of these establishments to the limits of our own and to foreign
countries, and brought to the busy city from the East and from the West
all the necessaries and all the luxuries of life. Can it be that the
dead of past generations, who sleep on the hillside which overlooks the
valley, have seen this transformation, and if so, will they behold all
the changes of the future? Then may this and the coming generations
prove themselves worthy of those who, during the years that have passed,
have been its bone and sinew and life blood.

       *       *       *       *       *



The Legislature of 1884 has placed an act upon our statute book which
rounds out and completes an act looking in the same direction passed by
the Legislature of 1877. Chapter 37 of the Acts of 1884 provides that
"The provisions of chapter ninety-eight of the Public Statutes relating
to the observance of the Lord's day shall not constitute a defence to an
action for a tort or injury suffered by a person on that day."

Chapter 232 of the Acts of 1877 provided that common carriers of
passengers should no longer escape liability for their negligence in
case of accidents to passengers, by reason of the injury being received
on Sunday. This act marked a long step forward in the policy of this
Commonwealth, and made it no longer possible for a corporation openly
violating the law to escape the consequences of its illegal acts by
saying to the injured passenger, "You were breaking the law yourself,
and therefore you have no redress against us."

This was a condition of things which worked a confusion of relations,
and lent "doubtful aid to morality;" resting on "no principle of
justice" or law, and creating a "species of judicial outlawry which
ignored alike the principles of humanity and the analogies of the law."

The provisions more particularly referred to in these Acts are those
relating to travelling on the Lord's day, found in the Statutes as

"Whoever travels on the Lord's day, except from necessity or charity,
shall be punished by fine not exceeding ten dollars for each
offence."--Pub. Stat., Chap. 98, sect. 2. It is an interesting and
curious study to follow the changes made in the Sunday law, so called,
with the accompanying judicial decisions, as one by one the hindrances
to the attainment of simple justice by travellers injured on the Lord's
day have been swept away.

The Pilgrims brought many strange ideas with them to their new home, as
we all well know, and we find these reflected in their statute books in
the form of many "blue laws," some of which may yet be found in changed
garb in the form of constantly disregarded "dead letter" laws in our own
Public Statutes. Interesting as a general discussion of this subject is,
as showing the character and purposes of the founders of the Republic,
we can follow but one division of the Sunday law in its various forms
since it was first framed by our "Puritan ancestors, who intended that
the day should be not merely a day of rest from labor, but also a day
devoted to public and private worship and to religious meditation and
repose, undisturbed by secular cares or amusements," and among whom were
found some who thought death the only fit punishment for those who, as
they considered it, "prophaned" the Lord's day.

As early as 1636 it was enacted by the Court of the Plymouth Colony
that, "Whereas, complaint is made of great abuses in sundry places of
this Government of prophaning the Lord's day by travellers, both horse
and foot, by bearing of burdens, carrying of packs, etc., upon the
Lord's day to the great offence of the Godly welafected among us. It is,
therefore, enacted by the Court and the authoritie thereof that if any
person or persons shall be found transgressing in any of the precincts
of any township within this Government, he or they shall be forthwith
apprehended by the Constable of such a town and fined twenty shillings,
to the Collonie's use, or else shall sit in the stocks four hours,
except they can give a sufficient reason for theire soe doeing; but they
that 'soe transgresse' must be apprehended on the Lord's day and 'paye
theire fine or sitt in the stockes as aforesaide' on the second day
thereafter." It seems, however, that in spite of the pious sentiments of
the framers of the law it was not, or could not be enforced, for in 1662
it was further enacted that "This Court doth desire that the
transgression of the foregoing order may be carefully looked into and
p'r'vented if by any due course it may be."

But even now it seems that the energies of the law-makers were of no
avail in preventing prophanation of the Holy day by "foraignors and
others," so that twenty years later, in 1683, we find that "To prevent
prophanation of the Lord's day by foraignors or any others unessesary
travelling through our Townes on that day. It is enacted by the Court
that a fitt man in each Towne be chosen, unto whom whosever hath
nessessity of travell on the Lord's day in case of danger of death, or
such necessitous occations shall repaire, and makeing out such occations
satisfyingly to him shall receive a Tickett from him to pas on about
such like occations;" but, "if he attende not to this," or "if it shall
appeare that his plea was falce," the hand of the law was likely to fall
upon him while he contributed twenty shillings "to the use of the

In the Massachusetts Bay Province it was early enacted that "no
traveller ... shall travel on the Lord's day ... except by some
adversity they are belated and forced to lodge in the woods, wilderness,
or highways the night before, and then only to the next inn," under a
penalty of twenty shillings.

In 1727 it was found that notwithstanding the many good and wholesome
laws made to prevent the "prophanation of the Lord's day," this same
"prophanation" was on the increase, and so it was enacted that the
penalty for the first offense should be thirty shillings, and for the
second, three pounds, while the offender, presumably a "foraignor," was
to be put under a bond to observe the Sabbath day and keep it holy
according to the ideas of the straight-laced Puritans.

Even this did not put an end to the good fathers' troubles, for in 1760,
"whereas, by reason of different constructions of the several laws now
in force relating to the observation of the Lord's day or Christain
Sabbath, the said laws have not been duly executed, and notwithstanding
the pious intention of the legislators, the Lord's Day hath been greatly
and frequently prophaned" all the laws relating to the observance
thereof were repealed and a new chapter enacted, one section of which,
and the only one in which we are now interested, was the same as the law
of 1727, above quoted.

Thirty-one years later all these laws were again erased from the statute
book and a new attempt was made to frame a law which should leave no
loop-holes for foraignors or others, as follows: "Whereas the observance
of the Lord's day is highly promotive of the welfare of a community by
affording necessary seasons for relaxation from labor and the cares of
business; for moral reflections and conversation on the duties of life,
and the frequent errors of human conduct; for public and private worship
of the Maker, Governor, and Judge of the world; and for those acts of
charity which support and adorn a Christian society. Be it enacted that
no person shall travel on the Lord's day except from _necessity_ or
_charity_, upon penalty of a sum not exceeding twenty shillings and not
less than ten." Notice what an interesting and moral tone is given to
the otherwise dry statute book by these sermonizing preambles which
reflect so well the motives and aims of the men who moulded and formed
the statute laws of the Commonwealth.

In this act appears for the first time that "charity" which since then
has truly "covered a multitude of sins," while it has as often been a
strong tower of defence to corporations clearly shown to have been
careless of their obligations to the public. One of the first cases to
arise in which these words "necessity or charity" must be judicially
construed was Commonwealth vs. James Knox, 6 Mass., 76.

One Josiah Paine had contracted with the Post Master General of the
United States to carry the public mail between Portland and Boston on
each day of the week for two years from October 1, 1808, and Knox, his
servant, was indicted for unlawfully travelling while carrying the mail
with a stage carriage through the town of Newburyport on November 20,
1808, the same being Sabbath or Lord's day, and the said travelling not
being from necessity or charity. Chief Justice Parsons in delivering the
opinion of the Supreme Court, after showing the authority of Congress
under the Constitution to establish post-offices and post-roads, and the
consequent legality of Paine's contract, the statutue of his State
notwithstanding, says that "necessity ... cannot be understood as a
physical necessity ... and when this travelling is necessary to execute
a lawful contract it cannot be considered as unnecessary travelling,
against the prohibition of the Statute." But fearing that this decision
may open too wide the gate to Sabbath breakers the Chief Justice hastens
to add: "But let it be remembered that our opinion does not protect
travellers in the stage coach, or the carrier of the mail in driving
about any town to discharge or to receive passengers; and much less in
blowing his horn to the disturbance of serious people either at public
worship or in their own houses. The carrier may proceed with the mail on
the Lord's day to the post-office; he may go to any public house to
refresh himself and his horses; and he may take the mail from the
post-office and proceed on his route. _Any other liberties on the Lord's
day our opinion does not warrant_."

The report naively says, that after this opinion the Attorney General
entered a _nolle proscqui_.

In Pearce vs. Atwood, 13 Mass., 324, a case which arose in 1816 and
which attracted a great deal of notice at the time, Chief Justice Parker
says: "It is not necessary to resort to the laws promulgated by Moses,
in order to prove that the _Christian Sabbath_ ought to be observed by
_Christians_, as a day of holy rest and religious worship; and if it
were it would be difficult to make out the point contended for from that
source;" and then goes into a long disquisition upon the Mosaic law and
the precepts of the Saviour and finally says that "cases often arise in
which it will be both innocent and laudable for the most exemplary
citizen to travel on Sunday. Suppose him suddenly called to visit a
child, or other near relative, in a distant town laboring under a
dangerous illness; or suppose him to be a physician; or suppose a man's
whole fortune and the future comfort of his family to depend upon his
being at a remote place early on Monday morning, he not having known the
necessity until Saturday evening; these are all cases which would
generally be considered as justifying the act of travelling." Certainly
a somewhat broader view than that taken by the Court seven years

The law remained thus and was re-enacted in the Revised Statutes of
1836, the penalty being raised, however, to ten dollars. In civil cases
arising out of damages sustained by travellers upon the Lord's day,
corporations defendant were quick to take advantage of the law and to
rely upon the illegality of the plaintiff's act of travelling, as a good
defence to his action.

In 1843 arose the case of Bosworth vs. Inhabitants of Swansey, 10
Metcalf, 363. Bosworth was travelling on the eleventh of June of that
year, being Sunday, from Warren, Rhode Island, to Fall River on business
connected with a suit in the United States Court, and was injured by
reason of a defect in a highway in Swansey.

The defendant town admitted that it was by law required to keep the
highway in repair. And plaintiffs counsel argued that as the statute
provided a penalty of ten dollars for travelling on Sunday it could not
be further maintained that there was the additional penalty that a man
could have no legal redress for damages suffered by reason of the
neglect or refusal of defendants to do that which the law required them
to do. But the court ruled, Chief Justice Shaw delivering the opinion,
"that the plaintiff was plainly violating the law and that since he
could recover from the town only, if free from all just imputation of
negligence or fault," in this case he could recover nothing. In deciding
this case, however, the Court was not called upon to construe the terms
"necessity or charity," as affecting the liability of corporations
plainly shown to be negligent in the performance of their duties to
others; but many such cases soon arose.

In Commonwealth vs. Sampson, Judge Hoar said, "the definition which has
been given of the phrase necessity or charity ... that it comprehends
all acts which it is morally fit and proper should be done on the
Sabbath may itself require some explanation. To save life, or prevent
or relieve suffering; to prepare useful food for man and beast, to save
property, as in case of fire, flood, or tempest ... unquestionably fall
within the exception ... But if fish in the bay, or birds on the shore,
happened to be uncommonly abundant on the Lord's day, it is equally
clear that it would furnish no excuse for fishing or shooting on that
day. How it would be if a whale happened to be stranded on the shore we
need not determine." It is needless to remark that this was a decision
affecting the interests of a town upon the coast.

In Feital vs. Middlesex R.R. Co., 109 Mass., 398, plaintiff was injured
while returning from a Spiritualist meeting in Malden, and counsel for
defendant maintained that the meeting was attended for idolatry and
jugglery, and while it might be the right of the plaintiff to be an
idolater and to attend shows, yet she could not do so in violation of
the Statute, which was intended to protect the conscience of the
majority of the people from being offended upon the Lord's day. But the
Court ruled that it could not be said as matter of law that travelling
for such a purpose was not within the exception, and that it must be
left to the jury to say if the plaintiff was in attendance in good faith
for devotional exercise as matter of conscience.

In How vs. Meakin, 115 Mass., 326, the court held that it was not a
violation of the law to hire a horse and drive to a neighboring town to
attend the funeral of plaintiff's brother.

But it was held in a later case that plaintiff, who had been to a
funeral on the Lord's day and was returning therefrom by a somewhat
_circuitous_ route for the purpose of calling upon a relative, was not
entitled to recover for damages sustained by reason of a defect in the
highway. This was the opinion of a divided court as has been the case in
several decisions where the question of "necessity or charity" has been
a close one.

Such are a few of the interesting cases which have arisen in our Courts
involving discussion of the law originally framed in 1636, and which
still makes it a criminal offence punishable by a fine of ten dollars to
walk or ride upon the Lord's day, save from necessity or charity, while
our cities furnish free concerts and license all sorts of performances
in places of public amusement under the guise of "sacred" concerts, upon
the day which our fathers thought and meant should be set apart for
moral reflection ... on the duties of life ... and for public and
private worship of the Maker, Governor, and Judge of the world.

       *       *       *       *       *



BY FRANCES C. SPARHAWK, Author of "A Lazy Man's Work."



A brighter morning for a wedding never dawned. The house was alive with
merry voices and the echo of footsteps hurrying to and fro. The most
fashionable society of the city was to be present at the ceremony which
was to take place at noon. Then would come the festivities, the feast,
the dancing, and after that the drive of the newly-married pair to the
beautiful house three miles away, that Stephen Archdale had built and
furnished for his bride, and that had never yet been a home.

Before the appointed hour the guests began to arrive and to fill the
great drawing-room. There each one on entering walked toward the huge
fire-place, in which on an immense bed of coals glowing with a
brilliancy that outshone the rich red furniture and hangings of the room
lay great logs, which blazed in their fervor of hospitable intent and
radiated a small circle of comfort from the heat that did not escape up
the chimney. The rich attire of the guests could bear the bright
sunlight that streamed in through the numberless little panes of the
windows, and the gay colors that they wore showed off well against the
dark wainscotting of the room and its antique tapestries. The ladies
were gorgeous in silks and velvets which were well displayed over
enormous hoops. On their heads, where the well-powdered hair was built
up in a tower nearly a foot in height, were flowers or feathers.
Precious stones fastened the folds of rich kerchiefs, sparkled on dainty
fingers, or flashed with stray movements of fans that, however
discreetly waved, betrayed their trappings once in a while by some
coquettish tremulousness. The gentlemen were resplendent also in
gold-laced coats and small clothes, gold, or diamond shoe buckles,
powdered wigs and queues, and with ruffles of the richest lace about
their wrists. These guests, who were among the people that in
themselves, or their descendants, were destined to give the world a new
nation, strong and free, showed all that regard to the details of
fashion said to characterize incipient decay in races. But with them it
was only an accessory of position, everything was on a foundation of
reality, it all represented a substantial wealth displaying itself
without effort. The Sherburnes were there, the Atkinsons, the
Pickerings, Governor Wentworth, the first of the Governors after New
Hampshire separated from Massachusetts and went into business for
itself, and others of the Wentworth family. Conspicuous among the guests
was Colonel Pepperrell who had already proved that the heart of a strong
man beat under his laced coat. His wife, well-born and fine-looking, was
beside him, and his son, fresh from College honors, and sipping eagerly
the sparkling draught of life that was to be over for him so soon; his
daughter also, last year a bride, and her husband. These were leaders in
that brilliant assembly called together to the marriage of Katie and
Stephen Archdale.

While waiting for the event of the morning they talked in low tones
among themselves of the wedding, or more audibly, of personal, or of
political affairs.

"It wants only ten minutes of the hour," said one lady, "perhaps our
good parson may not come this morning."

"What do you mean?" asked her companion.

"Why, this; that his wife, perhaps, will lock his study door upon him as
she did one Sabbath when we all went to the house of God and found the
pulpit empty. There's no end to all the malicious tricks she plays him.
Poor, good man."

"Do you know," said a beruffled gentleman in another part of the room to
his next neighbor, "what a preposterous proposal that ragged fellow,
Bill Goulding, made to Governor Wentworth last week? He is a
good-for-nothing, and the whole scheme is thought to have been merely a
plan to talk with the Governor, whom he has wanted to see for a long
time. It gave him access to the fine house, and he stalked about there
an hour looking at the pictures and the splendid furniture while its
owner was taking an airing. The general opinion is that the object of
his visit was accomplished before his Excellency's return."

"Poor fellow! One can't blame him so very much," returned the listener
with a complacent smile, offering his gold-mounted snuff-box to the
speaker before helping himself generously from it. "But what was his

"Something the most absurd you ever listened to. He proposed, if other
people would furnish the money, to establish a public coach from this
city to Boston, to run as often as once a week, and, after the first
expense, to support itself from the travellers it carries; each one is
to pay a few shillings. Where did he expect the travellers to come from?
Gentlemen would never travel in other than private conveyances?" And
these representatives of conservatism threw back their heads and laughed
over the absurdity of the lightning express in embryo. Governor
Wentworth standing before the fire was commenting on some of Governor
Shirley's measures, giving his own judgment on the matter, with a
directness more bold than wise, and the circle about him were discussing
affairs with the freedom of speech that Americans have always used in
political affairs, when a stir of expectation behind them made them take
breath, and glance at the person entering the room. It was the minister.

"He has come, you see," whispered the lady to her neighbor of the
forebodings. After greeting him, the group about the fire went back to
their discussions. It had been the good parson's horse then, which they
had heard tearing up the road in hot haste; they had not dreamed that so
much speed was in the nag. But Master Shurtleff was probably a little
late and had been afraid of keeping the bride and groom waiting for him.
Master and Mistress Archdale were there; all the company, indeed, but
the four members of it most important that morning, Katie and Stephen,
the bridesmaid, Mistress Royal, and the best man, a young friend of
Archdale's. After a few moments in which conversation lagged through
expectancy, the door opened again.

"Ah! here they are. No, only one, alone. How strange!"

Every eye was turned upon Elizabeth Royal as she came in with a face too
concentrated upon the suggestion under which she was acting to see
anything about her. Without sign of recognition she glanced from one to
another, until her eyes fell upon good Parson Shurtleff watching her
with a gentle wonder in his face. It was for him that she had been
looking. She went up to him immediately, and laid a tremulous hand upon
his arm. She tried to smile, but the effort was so plain and her face so
pale that an anxiety diffused itself through the assembly; it was felt
that her presence here alone showed that something had happened, and her
expression, that it was something bad. She did not seem even to hear the
minister's kind greeting, and she was as little moved by the wonder and
scrutiny about her as if she had been alone with him. At Mistress
Archdale's reiterated question if Katie were ill, she shook her head in
silence. Some thought held her in its grasp, some fear that she was
struggling to speak.

"It is a cruel jest," she cried at last, "but it must be only a jest.
The man's horse is blown, he came so fast. And he insisted on seeing me
and would give this only into my own hands; his message was that it was
life and death, that I must read it at once before the--" She stopped
with a shudder, and held out a paper that she had been grasping; it was
crumpled by the tightening of her fingers over it. There was a sound of
footsteps and voices in the hall; the minister looked toward the door,
and listened. "You must read it now, this instant, before they come in,"
cried Elizabeth: "it must be done; I don't dare not to have you; and
tell me that it has no power, it is only a wicked jest; and throw it
into the fire. Oh, quick, be quick."

Parson Shurtleff unfolded the paper with the haste of age, youth's
deliberateness, and began to read at last. At the same instant a hand
outside was laid on the latch of the door. The room was in a breathless
hush. The door was swung slowly open by a servant and the bride and
bridegroom came in, stopping just beyond the threshold as Katie caught
sight of Elizabeth, and with a wondering face waited for her to come to
her place. But the minister, not glancing up, went sternly on with the
paper; and Elizabeth's gaze was fixed on his face; she had drawn a step
away from him; and her hands were pressed over one another. All at once
he uttered an exclamation of dismay, and turned to her, a dread coming
into his face as he met her eyes.

"What does it mean?" he gasped. "Heaven help us, is it true?"

"Oh, it can't be, it can't be," she cried. "Give me the paper. I had to
show it to you, but now you've seen that it must be all false. Give it
to me. Look, they are coming," she entreated. "Think of her, be ready
for them. Oh, burn this. Can't you? Can't you?" and her eyes devoured
him in an agony of pleading.

"Stop!" he said, drawing back his hand. Then in a moment, "Is any of it
true, this wicked jest at a sacred thing? Was that all so?"


By this time the scene had become very different from the programme so
carefully arranged. The bride and groom had indeed gone across the room
and were standing before the minister. But the latter, so far from
having made any preparations to begin the ceremony, stood with his eyes
on the paper, his face more and more pale and perplexed.

"What is it?" cried Master Archdale, laying a hand on his shoulder.

"Yes, what does it all mean?" asked the Colonel, advancing toward the
minister, and showing his irritation by his frown, his flush, and the
abruptness of his speech usually so suave.

"I hardly know myself," returned Shurtleff looking from one to the

"Let us have the ceremony at once, then," said Master Archdale
authoritatively. "Why should we delay?"

"I cannot, until I have looked into this," answered the minister in a
respectful tone.

"Nonsense," cried the Colonel with an authority that few contested.
"Proceed at once."

"I cannot," repeated the minister, and his quiet voice had in it the
firmness, almost obstinacy, that often characterizes gentle people. His
opposition had seemed so disproportioned and was so gently uttered that
the hearers had felt as if a breath must blow it away, and interest
heightened to intense excitement when it proved invincible.

"What is all this?" demanded Stephen, holding Katie's arm still more
firmly in his own and facing Mr. Shurtleff with eyes of indignant
protest. As he received no immediate answer, he turned to Elizabeth.
"Mistress Royal," he said, "can you explain this unseemly interruption?"

Then all the company, who for the moment had forgotten her share in the
transaction, turned their eyes upon her again.

"That wicked jest that we had all forgotten," she said, looking at him
an instant with a wildness of pain in her eyes. Then she turned to
Katie's fair, pale face full of wonder and distress at the unguessed
obstacle, and with a smothered cry dropped her face in her hands, and
stood motionless and unheeded in the greater excitement. For now Mr.
Shurtleff had begun to speak.

"You ask me," he said, "why I do not perform the ceremony and marry
these two young people whose hearts love has united. I do not dare to do
it until I understand the meaning of this strange paper I hold in my
hand. What do you remember," he said to Stephen, "of a singular game of
a wedding ceremony played one evening last summer?"

The young man looked uncomprehending for a moment, then drew his breath

"That?" he said, "Why, that was only to give an example of something we
were talking about; that was nothing. Mistress,"--he stopped and glanced
at Elizabeth who, leaning forward, was hanging upon every word of his
denial as if it were music--"Mistress Royal knows that was so."

"Yes," cried Elizabeth, "indeed I do."

"Nevertheless," returned Mr. Shurtleff, "it may have been a jest to be
eternally remembered, as all light-minded treatment of serious matters
must be. I hope with all my heart that a moment's frivolity will not
have life-long consequences of sorrow, but I cannot proceed in this
happy ceremony that I have been called here to perform until the point
is settled beyond dispute."

"See how habit rules him like a second nature," whispered Colonel
Pepperrell aside to the Governor. "Nobody but a minister would stop to
give a homily with those poor creatures before him in an agony of

"My dear," said his wife softly in a tone of reproof, laying her hand
warningly on his arm.

"Stephen Archdale isn't the man to stand this," retorted the Governor in
a higher key than he realized. But the words did not reach their object,
for he had already laid hold of the paper in Mr. Shurtleffs hand.

"If this paper explains your conduct, give it to me," he said haughtily.

The other drew back.

"I will read it to you and to the company," he answered. "There can be
no wedding this morning. I trust there will be soon. But first it is my
personal duty to look into this matter."

Katie, whose face had grown rigid, swung heavily against Stephen. "She
has fainted," her mother cried coming forward.

"Take her away," commanded the Colonel. "This is no place for her." But
the girl clung to Stephen.

"I will stay," she said, with a tearless sob. "I must listen. I see it
all, and what he meant, too, that evil man."

"Master Shurtleff," cried the Governor, "I command you to make all this
clear to us at once. If that paper in your hand tells us the cause of
your refusal to marry these young people, I bid you read it to us

The parson, bowing with respect, cleared his throat and began, premising
that Governor Wentworth's commands had been his own intention from the

"It is a confession," he said, "made by one whom many of us have
welcomed to our homes as a gentleman of blameless character and
honorable dealing. Why it was sent to Mistress Royal instead of to
Master Archdale, or the bride, I am at a loss to understand."

Elizabeth raised her head with a flash in her eyes, but anger died away
into despair, and she stood silent with the others, and listened to the
fate that fell upon her with those monotonous tones, each one heavy as
lead upon her heart. She wondered if it had been sent to her because it
had been feared that Stephen Archdale would keep silence.



"I write without knowing to whom I am writing," began the paper, "except
that among the readers must be some whom I have wronged. I can scarcely
crave forgiveness of them, because they will surely not grant it to me.
I don't know even that I can crave it of Heaven, for I have played with
sacred things, and used a power given me for good, in an evil way, to
further my own devices, and, after all, I have not furthered them. I am
a man loving and unloved, one who has perhaps thrown away his soul on
the chance of winning earthly joy,--but such joy,--and has lost it. If
any have ever done like me, let them pity and pardon. I appeal to them
for compassion. I shall receive it nowhere else, unless it be possible,
that the one for love of whom I have done the wrong will out of the
kindness of her heart spare me by and by a thought of pity for what was
the suggestion of a moment and acted on--"

"Skip all that maundering," interrupted Stephen. "To the point. Who is
this man, and what has he done? Let him keep his feelings to himself, or
if they concern you, they don't us."

"No, no, Stephen. Fair play," called out Governor Wentworth. "Let us
hear every word, then we can judge better of the case, and of the
writer's truthfulness."

"Yes, you are right," answered the young man pressing Katie's arm more
firmly in his own to give silent vent to his impatience and his

"And acted on without premeditation," resumed Master Shurtleff. "I left
England early in the spring, and coming to this worthy city of
Portsmouth with letters of introduction to Master Archdale, and others,
I met the beautiful Mistress Archdale. From the first hour my fate was
sealed; I loved her as only a man of strong and deep emotions can love,
with a very different feeling from the devotion her young admirers gave
her, ardent though they considered themselves. I had many rivals, some
the young lady herself so disapproved that they ceased troubling me,
even with their presence at her side. Among the others were only two
worthy of attention, and only one whom I feared. I was reticent and
watched; it was too soon to speak. But as I watched my fear of that one
increased, for age, association, a sternness of manner that unbent only
to her, many things in him showed me his possibilities of success. With
that rival out of my path, my way to victory was clear. There came a day
when, without lifting my finger against him, I could effectually remove
him. I did it. It was unjustifiable, but the temptation rushed upon me
suddenly with overwhelming force, and it was irresistible, for opposite
me sat Katie, more beautiful and lovable than ever, and beside her was
my rival, her cousin, with an air of security and satisfaction that
aroused the evil in me. It was August; we were on the river in a dead
calm, and at Mistress Archdale's suggestion had been telling stories for
amusement. Mine happened to be about a runaway match, and interested the
young people so much, that when I had finished they asked several
questions; one was in reference to a remark of mine, innocently made,
that the marriage ceremony itself, pure and simple, was something
unimaginably short. The story I had told illustrated this, and some of
the party asked me more particularly as to what the form was. Then I saw
my opportunity, and I took it. 'If one of the young ladies will permit
Master Archdale to take her hand a moment,' I said, 'I think I can
recollect the words; I will show you how short the formula may be.'
Master Archdale was for holding Katie's hand, but happily, as it seemed
to me at the moment, she was on the wrong side. I requested him to take
the lady on the other hand, who seemed a trifle unready for the jest,
but was induced by the entreaties of the others, and especially of
Mistress Katie herself. I went through the marriage service over them as
rapidly as I dared, my voice sounding to myself thick with the beating
of my heart. But no one noticed this; of course, it was all fun. And so
that summer evening, all in fun, except on my part, Stephen Archdale and
Elizabeth Royal were made man and wife, as fast as marriage vows could
make them. Nothing was omitted that would make the ceremony binding and
legal, not even its performance by a clergyman of the Church of

A cry of rage and despair interrupted the reader. But he went on

"No one in America knew that I had been educated for the Church and had
taken orders, though I have never preached except one month; the work
was distasteful to me, and when my brother died and I inherited my
grandfather's property, I resigned my pastorate at once. This act shows
how unfit for it I was. But whatever my grief may be, my conscience
commands me to forbid this present marriage, and to declare with all
solemnity, that Stephen Archdale already has a wife, and that she is
that lady, who, until she opened my letter, believed herself still
Mistres Royal."

A burst of amazement and indignation, that could no longer be repressed,
interrupted the reading. Faces and voices expressed consternation. To
this confession had been added names and dates, the year of the writer's
entrance into the ministry, the time and place of his brief pastorate,
everything that was necessary to give his statement a reliable air, and
to verify it if one chose to do so. It was evident that there could be
no wedding that morning, and as the truth of the story impressed itself,
more and more upon the minds of the audience, a fear spread lest there
could be no wedding at all, such as they had been called together to
witness. For, if this amusement should turn out to have been a real
marriage, what help was there? It was in the days when amusements were
viewed seriously and were readily imagined to lead to fatal
consequences. Had Stephen Archdale really married? The people in the
drawing-room that December morning were able men and women, they were
among the best representatives of their time, an age that America will
always be proud of, but they held marriage vows so sacred, that even
made in jest there seemed to be a weight in them. Proofs must be found,
law must speak, yet these people in waiting feared, for their part in
life was to be so great in uprightness and self-restraint, that these
qualities flowing through mighty channels should conquer physical
strength and found a nation. To do a thing because it was pleasant was
no part of their creed,--although, even then, there were occasional
examples of it in practice.

That winter morning, therefore, the guests were ready to inveigh against
the sin of unseemly jesting, to hope that all would be well, and to
shake their heads mournfully.

"Harwin!" cried Master Archdale as he heard the name of the writer; "it
seems impossible. I liked that man so much, and trusted him so much. I
knew he loved my little girl, but I thought it was with an honorable
love that would rejoice to see her happy. No, no, it cannot be true. We
must wait. But matters will come right at last."

"Yes," assented the Colonel across whose face an incomprehensible
expression had passed more than once during the reading; "it will all
come right. We must make it so."

A hum of conversation went on in the room, comment, inquiry, sympathy,
spoken to the chief actors in this scene, or if not near enough to them
for that, spoken to the first who were patient enough to listen instead
of themselves talking.

In the midst of it all Stephen raised his head, for he had been bending
over Katie who still clung to him, and asked when the next ship left for

"In about three weeks," answered Col. Pepperrell, "and we will send out
a person competent to make full inquiries; the matter shall be sifted."

"I shall go," returned Stephen. "I shall make the necessary inquiries
myself, it will be doing something, and I may find the man. We need that
he should be found, Katie and I."

Elizabeth drew back still more; some flash of feeling made the blood
come hotly to her face for a moment, then fade away again.

Katie looked up, turned her eyes slowly from one to another, finding
everywhere the sympathy she sought.

"Go, Stephen, since you will feel better," she said, "but it's of no
use, I am sure. I understand now something Master Harwin said to me when
he left me. I did not know then what he meant. He has taken you away
from me forever." And with a sob, again she hid her face upon his
shoulder. Then, slowly drawing away from him, she turned to Elizabeth,
and in her eyes was something of the fury of a jealous woman mixed with
the bitter reproach of friendship betrayed.

"How could you," she said, "how could you consent to do it?"

She had drawn toward Elizabeth every gaze and every thought in the room;
she had pointed out the substitute on whom might be emptied those vials
of wrath that the proper object of them had taken care to escape.
Elizabeth heard on all sides of her the whispered, "Yes, how could she
do it, how could she consent to do it?" Suddenly she found herself, and
herself alone, as it seemed, made responsible for this disaster; for
the feeling beginning with Katie seemed to grow, and widen, and widen,
like the circles of water into which a stone is thrown, and she was
condemned by her friends, by the people who had known her and her
father, condemned as false to her friendship, as unwomanly. Katie she
could forgive on account of her misery, but the others! She stood
motionless in a world that she had never dreamed of. These whispers that
her imagination multiplied seemed to roar in her ears. But innocence and
pride kept her erect, and at last made her raise her eyes which had
fallen and grown dim under the blow of Katie's words. She swept them
slowly around the room, turning her head slightly to do it. Not a look
of sympathy met her. Then, in the pain, a power awoke within her.

"It is no less a disaster to me," she said. Her words fell with the
weight of truth. She had kept back her pain, no one thought of pitying
her as Katie was pitied, but she was vindicated.

"Does she hate him, do you suppose?" asked Madam Pepperrell in a low
tone of Governor Wentworth at her elbow.

"It is not probable she loves him much," replied that gentleman studying
the girl's haughty face. "I don't envy her, on the whole, I don't envy
either of them." By George, madam, it _is_ hard."

"Very hard," assented Colonel Pepperrell, whose glance, having more
penetration, had at last brought a look of sympathy to his face. "Let us
go up to the poor thing, she stands so alone, and I'm not clear that she
has not the worst of it."

"Oh, no, indeed, not that," returned his wife as they moved forward. But
before they could reach her, being stopped by several who spoke to them,
there was a change in the group in that part of the room. Katie had
fallen, and there was a cry that she had fainted. Stephen stooped over
her, lifted her tenderly, and carried her from the room. He was followed
by Mistress Archdale and his own mother. As he passed Elizabeth their
eyes met, his glowed with a sullen rage, born of pain and despair, they
seemed to sweep her with a glance of scorn, as she looked at him it
seemed to her that every fibre of his being was rejecting her. "You!" he
seemed to be saying with contemptuous emphasis. In answer her eyes
filled him with their haughtiness, they and the scornful curl of her
lip, as she stood motionless waiting for him to pass, haunted him; it
seemed to him as if she felt it an intrusion that he should pass near
her at all. He still saw her face as he bent over Katie.


       *       *       *       *       *



It is not often that a Governor's objections to a measure, which his
veto has defeated, become, even indirectly, the subject of judicial
consideration. Such, however, has been the experience of Governor
Cleveland in connection with his veto of the appropriation, which was
made in 1883, to the Roman Catholic Protectory of the City of New York.
And it must be gratifying to him as a constitutional lawyer, to see the
principles of that veto entirely approved by all the judges of the Court
of Appeals, as well as by all the judges by whom those principles were
considered, before the case, in which they were involved, reached that
august tribunal, the highest in the judicial system of that State.

By an amendment to the Constitution of New York, adopted in 1874, it is
provided that, "Neither the credit nor the money of the State shall be
given, or loaned to, or in aid of, any association, corporation, or
private undertaking."

It would hardly seem possible to mistake the meaning of a prohibition
like this; but this prohibition is accompanied by the following
modification: "This section shall not, however, prevent the Legislature
from making such provision for the education and support of the blind,
the deaf and dumb, and juvenile delinquents, as to it may seem proper;
nor shall it apply to any fund or property, now held by the State for
educational purposes."

The question, how far this qualifying clause limits the proceeding
prohibition, arose first in the Court of Common Pleas, and afterwards in
the Court of Appeals, in the case of the Shepherd's Fold of the
Protestant Episcopal Church _vs_. The Mayor, Aldermen and Commonalty of
the City of New York.[A] The Attorney-General of the State had given an
official opinion, tending to the conclusion that the prohibition is
almost entirely neutralized by the modification. The Judges of the Court
of Common Pleas, and the lawyers who argued this case in either court,
differed widely upon the question, whether money raised by local
taxation by the City of New York, under the authority of the State law,
for the maintainance of the children of the Shepherd's Fold, was, or was
not, "money of the State," and therefore included in the terms of this
prohibition; and when one sees how much is done in the discussions of
the able counsel before the Court of final resort, and by the learned
opinion of Judge Rapello, to reconcile these differences, one can not
but wish that the Old Bay State had a similar Court of Appeals, to
revise and clarify the decisions of her Supreme Court. About twenty-five
per cent, of all the decisions of the General Terms of the Supreme
Court, Superior Court, and Court of Common Pleas, which are carried to
the Court of Appeals, are there reversed; and can any lawyer doubt that,
at least, as large a proportion of the decisions of our Supreme Judicial
Court ought also to be revised and reversed?

[Footnote A: See 10 Daly's Reports, 319; and 96 New York Reports. 137.]

The Court of Appeals says: "It seems to us that that section [to wit,
the prohibition above quoted] had reference to money raised by general
taxation throughout the State, or revenues of the State, or money
otherwise belonging to the State treasury, or payable out of it."

The money claimed by the Shepherd's Fold being raised by local taxation
for a local purpose in the city of New York, and not "by general
taxation throughout the State," the Court of Appeals holds that it is
not within the terms of the Constitutional prohibition, and therefore
reverses the decision of the Court of Common Pleas on that particular
point, while agreeing with it on the main question.

As the money, appropriated to the Roman Catholic Protectory, was
unquestionably money of the State, "being raised by general taxation
throughout the State," that appropriation was unquestionably in conflict
with the prohibition of the Constitution, which the Governor was sworn
to support.

Of the courage and independence displayed by Governor Cleveland in thus
vetoing a measure in which so large a number of his political supporters
might be supposed to feel so deep an interest, this is not the place to
speak. But it is creditable to him as a lawyer that alone without a
single precedent to guide him, relying upon his own judicial sense, and
rejecting the opinion of a former Attorney-General, he challenged "the
validity of this appropriation under that section of the Constitution."
The Protectory, he says, "appears to be local in its purposes and
operations." And being a sectarian charity, he adds, "Public funds
should not be contributed to its support. A violation of this principle
in this case would tend to subject the state treasury to demands in
behalf of all sorts of sectarian institutions, which a due care for the
money of the State, and a just economy, could not concede."

In the higher and broader field of public service--"the grandest throne
on earth"--as the Presidency which he is about to enter, has been
grandiloquently called, let us hope that he will display the same
honesty, capability, and fidelity to the Constitution. We shall then be
assured that the interests of the Republic will suffer no detriment at
his hands.

*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "The Bay State Monthly — Volume 2, No. 4, January, 1885" ***

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