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Title: The Bay State Monthly — Volume 1, No. 1, January, 1884
Author: Various
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "The Bay State Monthly — Volume 1, No. 1, January, 1884" ***

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A Massachusetts Magazine





    (This table of contents alos contains listings
     for articles in the other issues.)

Abbott, Josiah Gardner _John Hatch George_

An Incident of Sixteen Hundred and Eighty-Six _Mellen Chamberlain_

Ansart, Louis _Clara Clayton_

Arthur, Chester Alan _Ben: Perley Poore_

Beacon Hill Before the Houses _David M. Balfour_

Boston Tea-Party, The

Boston, The First Schoolmaster of _Elizabeth Porter Gould_

Boston, The Siege of, Developed _Henry B. Carrington, U.S.A.,

Boston Young Men's Christian Association, The _Russell Sturgis,

Boundary Lines of Old Groton, The _Samuel Abbott Green, M.D._

British Force and the Leading Losses in the Revolution

British Losses in the Revolution

Bunker Hill _Henry B. Carrington, U.S.A., LL.D._

Butler, Benjamin Franklin

Chelsea _William E. McClintock, C.E._

Defence of New York, 1776, The _Henry B. Carrington, U.S.A., LL.D._

Dungeon Rock, Lynn _Frank P. Harriman_

Early Harvard _Josiah Layfayette Seward, A.M._

Esoteric Buddhism.--A Review _Lucius H. Buckingham, Ph.D._

Fac-Simile Reprint of Daniel Webster's Fourth-of-July Oration, Delivered
in 1800.

Family Immigration to New England, The _Thomas W. Bicknell, LL.D._

First Baptist Church in Massachusetts, The _Thomas W. Bicknell,

First Schoolmaster of Boston, The _Elizabeth Porter Gould_

From the White Horse to Little Rhody _Charles M. Barrows_

Fuller, George _Sidney Dickinson_

Gifts to Colleges and Universities _Charles F. Thwing_

Groton, The Boundary Lines of Old _Samuel Abbott Green, M.D._

Groton, The Old Stores and the Post-Offices of _Samuel Abbott Green,

Groton, The Old Taverns and Stage-Coaches of _Samuel Abbott Green,

Harvard, Early _Josiah Lafayette Seward, A.M._

Historical Notes

Historic Trees: The Washington Elm; The Eliot Oak _L.L. Dame_

Lancaster in Acadie and the Acadiens in Lancaster _Henry S. Nourse_

Lovewell's War _John N. McClintock, A.M._


Loyalists of Lancaster, The _Henry S. Nourse_

Massachusetts, The First Baptist Church in _Thomas W. Bicknell,

Massachusetts, Young Men's Christian Associations of _Russell Sturgis,

New England, The Family Immigration to _Thomas W. Bicknell, LL.D._

New England Town-House, The _J.B. Sewall_

New York, 1776, The Defence of _Henry B. Carrington, U.S.A., LL.D._

Ohio Floods, The _George E. Fencks_

Old Stores and the Post-Office of Groton, The _Samuel Abbott Green,

Old Taverns and Stage-Coaches of Groton, The _Samuel Abbott Green,

One Summer.--A Reminiscence _Annie Wentworth Baer_

Perkins, Captain George Hamilton _George E. Belknap, U.S.N._

Poet of the Bells, The _E.H. Goss_

Railway Mail Service, The _Thomas P. Cheney_

Reuben Tracy's Vacation Trips _Elizabeth Porter Gould_

Revolution, British Force and Leading Losses in the

Revolution, British Losses in the

Rice, Alexander Hamilton _Daniel B. Hagar, Ph.D._

Siege of Boston Developed, The _Henry B. Carrington, U.S.A., LL.D._

Town and City Histories _Robert Luce_

Webster, Colonel Fletcher _Charles Cowley, LL.D._

Webster, Daniel, Fourth-of-July Oration of

Wilder, Marshall P. _John Ward Dean, A.M._

Young Men's Christian Associations _Russell Sturgis, Jr._

Young Men's Christian Associations of Massachusetts _Russell Sturgis,


Bells of Bethlehem, The _James T. Fields_

His Greatest Triumph _Henrietta E. Page_

Rent Veil, The _Henry B. Carrington_

Song of the Winds _Henry B. Carrington_

Tuberoses _Laura Garland Carr_

Yesterday _Kate L. Brown_

[Illustration: Marshall P. Wilder]


_A Massachusetts Magazine_

VOL. I. JANUARY, 1884. No. 1.

       *       *       *       *       *



[Librarian of the New England Historic Genealogical Society.]

The editors of THE BAY STATE MONTHLY, having decided to begin in its
pages a series of articles devoted to the material advancement and
prosperity of Massachusetts, and the record of her past greatness, have
selected the Honorable Marshall Pinckney Wilder as a representative man,
and have decided that his memoir shall be the initial article in the
series, and also in this periodical. He has as a merchant won for
himself a high position, and by his enterprise has essentially advanced
the business of the city and the State. He has also been active in
developing our manufacturing industries, while his name is first on all
lips when those who have increased the products of the soil are named.
His life affords a striking example of what can be achieved by
concentration of power and unconquerable perseverance. The bare
enumeration of the important positions he has held and still holds, and
the self-sacrificing labors he has performed, is abundant evidence of
the extraordinary talent and ability, and the personal power and
influence, which have enabled him to take a front rank as a benefactor
to mankind.

MARSHALL PINCKNEY WILDER, whose Christian names were given in honor of
Chief-Justice Marshall and General Pinckney, eminent statesmen at the
time he was born, was the eldest son of Samuel Locke Wilder, Esq., of
Rindge, New Hampshire, and was born in that town, September 22, 1798.
His father, a nephew of the Reverend Samuel Locke, D.D., president of
Harvard College, for whom he was named, was thirteen years a
representative in the New Hampshire legislature, a member of the
Congregational church in Rindge, and held important town offices there.
His mother, Anna, daughter of Jonathan and Mary (Crombie) Sherwin
(married May 2, 1797), a lady of great moral worth, was, as her son is,
a warm admirer of the beauties of nature.

The Wilders are an ancient English family, which The Book of the
Wilders, published a few years ago, traces to Nicholas Wilder, a
military chieftain in the army of the Earl of Richmond at the battle of
Bosworth, 1485. There is strong presumptive evidence that the American
family is an offshoot from this. President Chadbourne, the author of The
Book of the Wilders, in his life of Colonel Wilder gives reasons for
this opinion. The paternal ancestors of Colonel Wilder in this country
performed meritorious services in the Indian wars, in the American
Revolution, and in Shays' Rebellion. His grandfather was one of the
seven delegates from the county of Worcester, in the Massachusetts
convention of 1788, for ratifying the Constitution of the United States,
who voted in favor of it. Isaac Goodwin, Esq., in The Worcester
Magazine, vol. ii, page 45, bears this testimony: "Of all the ancient
Lancaster families, there is no one that has sustained so many important
offices as that of Wilder,"

At the age of four, Marshall was sent to school, and at twelve he
entered New Ipswich Academy, his father desiring to give him a
collegiate education, with reference to a profession. When he reached
the age of sixteen, his father gave him the choice, either to qualify
himself for a farmer, or for a merchant, or to fit for college. He chose
to be a farmer; and to this choice may we attribute in no small degree
the mental and physical energy which has distinguished so many years of
his life. But the business of his father increased so much that he was
taken into the the store. He there acquired such habits of industry that
at the age of twenty-one he became a partner, and was appointed
postmaster of Rindge.

In 1825, he sought a wider field of action and removed to Boston. Here
be began business under the firm-name of Wilder and Payson, in Union
Street; then as Wilder and Smith, in North Market Street; and next in
his own name at No. 3 Central Wharf. In 1837, he became a partner in the
commission house of Parker, Blanchard, and Wilder, Water Street; next
Parker, Wilder, and Parker, Pearl Street; and since Parker, Wilder, and
Company, Winthrop Square, having continued until this time in the same
house for forty-seven years. Mr. Wilder has lived to be the oldest
commission merchant in domestic fabrics in active business in Boston. He
has passed through various crises of commercial embarrassments, and yet
he has never failed to meet his obligations. He was an original director
in the Hamilton (now Hamilton National) Bank and in the National
Insurance Company. The former trust he has held for fifty-two years, and
the latter for forty years. He has been a director in the New England
Mutual Life Insurance Company for nearly forty years, and also a
director in other similar institutions.

But trade and the acquisition of wealth have not been the all-engrossing
pursuits of his life. His inherent love of rural pursuits led him, in
1832, to purchase his present estate in Dorchester, originally that of
Governor Increase Sumner, where, after devoting a proper time to
business, he has given his leisure to horticulture and agriculture He
has spared no expense, he has rested from no efforts, to instil into the
public mind a love of an employment so honorable and useful. He has
cultivated his own grounds, imported seeds, plants, and trees, and
endeavored by his example to encourage labor and elevate the rank of the
husbandman. His garden, greenhouses, and a forest of fruit-trees have
occupied the time he could spare from business, and here he has
prosecuted his favorite investigations, year after year, for half a
century, to the present day.

Soon after the Massachusetts Horticultural Society was formed, Mr.
Wilder was associated with the late General Henry A.S. Dearborn, its
first president, and from that time till now has been one of its most
efficient members, constantly attending its meetings, taking part in its
business and discussions, and contributing largely to its exhibitions.
Four years since, he delivered the oration on the occasion of its
semi-centennial. One of the most important acts of this society was the
purchase of Mount Auburn for a cemetery and an ornamental garden. On the
separation of the cemetery from the society, in 1835, through Mr.
Wilder's influence committees were appointed by the two corporations,
Judge Story being chairman of the cemetery committee, and Mr. Wilder of
the society committee. The situation was fraught with great
difficulties; but Mr. Wilder's conservative course, everywhere
acknowledged, overcame them all and enabled the society to erect an
elegant hall in School Street, and afterward the splendid building it
now occupies in Tremont Street, the most magnificent horticultural hall
in the world. It has a library which is everywhere acknowledged to be
the best horticultural library anywhere. In 1840, he was chosen
president, and held the office for eight successive years. During his
presidency the hall in School Street was erected, and two triennial
festivals were held in Faneuil Hall, which are particularly worthy of
notice. The first was opened September 11, 1845, and the second on the
fiftieth anniversary of his birth, September 22, 1848, when he retired
from the office of president, and the society voted him a silver pitcher
valued at one hundred and fifty dollars, and caused his portrait to be
placed in its hall. As president of this association he headed a
circular for a convention of fruit-growers, which was held in New York,
October 10. 1848, when the American Pomological Society was formed. He
was chosen its first president, and he still holds that office, being in
his thirty-third year of service. Its biennial meetings have been held
in New York, Philadelphia, Cincinnati, Boston, Rochester, St. Louis,
Richmond, Chicago, and Baltimore; and it will hold its next meeting in
Detroit. On these occasions President Wilder has made appropriate
addresses. The last meeting was held, September, 1883, in Philadelphia,
when his last address was delivered. In this address, with his usual
foresight, he proposed a grand reform in the nomenclature of fruits for
our country, and asked the co-operation of other nations in this reform.

In February, 1849, the Norfolk Agricultural Society was formed. Mr.
Wilder was chosen president, and the Honorable Charles Francis Adams,
vice-president. Before this society his first address on agricultural
education was delivered. This was a memorable occasion. There were then
present, George N. Briggs, the governor, and John Reed, the
lieutenant-governor, of the State, Daniel Webster, Edward Everett,
Horace Mann, Levi Lincoln, Josiah Quincy, president of Harvard
University, General Henry A.S. Dearborn, Governor Isaac Hill, of New
Hampshire, the Reverend John Pierpont, Josiah Quincy, Jr., Charles
Francis Adams, and Robert C. Winthrop,--of which galaxy of eminent men,
the last two only are now living. It was the first general effort in
that cause in this country. He was president twenty years, and on his
retirement he was constituted honorary president, and a resolution was
passed recognizing his eminent ability and usefulness in promoting the
arts of horticulture and agriculture, and his personal excellence in
every department of life. He next directed his efforts to establishing
the Massachusetts board of agriculture, organized as the Massachusetts
Central Board of Agriculture, at a meeting of delegates of agricultural
societies in the State, held at the State House, September, 1851, in
response to a circular issued by him as president of the Norfolk
Agricultural Society. He was elected president, and held the office till
1852, when it became a department of the State, and he is now the senior
member of that board. In 1858, the Massachusetts School of Agriculture
was incorporated, and he was chosen president; but before the school was
opened Congress granted land to the several States for agricultural
colleges, and in 1865 the Legislature incorporated the Massachusetts
Agricultural College. He was named the first trustee. In 1871, the first
class was graduated, and in 1878 he had the honor of conferring the
degree of Bachelor of Science on twenty young gentlemen graduates. He
delivered addresses on both occasions. In 1852, he issued a circular in
behalf of several States for a national meeting at Washington, which was
fully attended, and where the United States Agricultural Society was
organized. Daniel Webster and a host of distinguished men assisted in
its formation. This society, of which he was president for the first six
years, exercised a beneficial influence till the breaking out of the
late Civil War. On Mr. Wilder's retirement he received the gold medal of
honor and a service of silver plate. He is a member of many other
horticultural and agricultural societies in this and foreign lands.

Colonel Wilder, at an early age, took an interest in military affairs.
At sixteen he was enrolled in the New Hampshire militia, and at
twenty-one he was commissioned adjutant. He organized and equipped the
Rindge Light Infantry, and was chosen its captain. At twenty-five five
he was elected lieutenant-colonel, and at twenty-six was commissioned as
colonel of the Twelfth Regiment.

Soon after his removal to Boston he joined the Ancient and Honorable
Artillery Company. In 1856, he was chosen commander of the corps, being
the one hundred and fifty-fifth in command. He had four times previously
declined nominations. He entered into correspondence with Prince Albert,
commander of the Royal Artillery Company of London, founded in 1537, of
which this corps, chartered in 1638, is the only offspring. This
correspondence established a friendly intercourse between the two
companies. In June, 1857, Prince Albert was chosen a special honorary
member of our company, and twenty-one years later, in 1878, Colonel
Wilder, who then celebrated the fiftieth or golden anniversary of his
own membership, nominated the Prince of Wales, the present commander of
the London company, as an honorary member. Both were commanders of the
Honorable Artillery Company of London when chosen. The late elegantly
illustrated history of the London company contains a portrait of Colonel
Wilder as he appeared in full uniform on that occasion.

In 1839, he was induced to serve for a single term in the Massachusetts
Legislature, as a representative for the town of Dorchester. In 1849, he
was elected a member of Governor Briggs's Council, and the year
following a member of the senate and its president, and he is the the
oldest ex-president of the senate living. In 1860, he was the member for
New England of the national committee of the "Constitutional Union
Party," and attended, as chairman of the Massachusetts delegation, the
national convention in Baltimore, where John Bell and Edward Everett
were nominated for President and Vice-President of the United States.

He was initiated in Charity Lodge, No. 18, in Troy, New Hampshire, at
the age of twenty-five, exalted to the Royal Arch Chapter, Cheshire No.
4, and knighted in the Boston Encampment. He was deputy grand master of
the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts, and was one of the six thousand Masons
who signed, December 31, 1831, the celebrated "Declaration of the
Freemasons of Boston and Vicinity"; and at the fiftieth anniversary of
that event, which was celebrated in Boston two years ago, Mr. Wilder
responded for the survivors, six of the signers being present. He has
received all the Masonic degrees, including the 33d, or highest and last
honor of the fraternity. At the World's Masonic Convention, in 1867, at
Paris, he was the only delegate from the United States who spoke at the

On the seventh of November, 1849, a festival of the Sons of New
Hampshire was celebrated in Boston. The Honorable Daniel Webster
presided, and Mr. Wilder was the first vice-president. Fifteen hundred
sons of the Granite State were present. The association again met on the
twenty-ninth of October, 1852, to participate in the obsequies of Mr.
Webster at Faneuil Hall. On this occasion the legislature, and other
citizens, of New Hampshire were received at the Lowell railway-station,
and were addressed by Mr. Wilder in behalf of sons of that State
resident in Boston.

The Sons celebrated their second festival, November 2, 1853, at which
Mr. Wilder occupied the chair as president, and delivered one of his
most eloquent speeches. They assembled again, on June 20, 1861, to
receive and welcome a New Hampshire regiment of volunteers, and escort
them to the Music Hall, where Mr. Wilder addressed them in a patriotic
speech on their departure for the field of battle.

The two hundred and twenty-fifth anniversary of the settlement of
Dorchester was celebrated on the Fourth of July, 1855. The oration was
by Edward Everett; Mr. Wilder presided, and delivered an able address.
On the central tablet of the great pavilion was this inscription:
"Marshall P. Wilder, president of the day. Blessed is he that turneth
the waste places into a garden, and maketh the wilderness to blossom as
a rose."

In January, 1868, he was solicited to take the office of president of
the New England Historic Genealogical Society, vacated by the death of
Governor Andrew. He was unanimously elected, and is now serving the
seventeenth year of his presidency. At every annual meeting he has
delivered an appropriate address. In his first address he urged the
importance of procuring a suitable building for the society. In 1870, he
said: "The time has now arrived when absolute necessity, public
sentiment, and personal obligations, demand that this work be done, and
done quickly." Feeling himself pledged by this address, he, as chairman
of the committee then appointed, devoted three months entirely to the
object of soliciting funds, during which time more than forty thousand
dollars was generously contributed by friends of the association; and
thus the handsome edifice at No. 18 Somerset Street was procured. This
building was dedicated to the use of the society, March 18, 1871. He has
since obtained donations, amounting to upward of twelve thousand
dollars, as a fund for paying the salary of the librarian.

In 1859, he presided at the first public meeting called in Boston, in
regard to the collocation of institutions on the Back Bay lands, where
the splendid edifices of the Boston Society of Natural History and the
Massachusetts Institute of Technology now stand. Of the latter
institution he has been a vice-president, and the chairman of its
Society of Arts, and a director from the beginning. General Francis A.
Walker, the present president of the Institute, bore this testimony to
his efforts in its behalf at the in banquet to Mr. Wilder on his
eighty-fifth anniversary: "Through all the early efforts to attract the
attention of the legislature and the people to the importance of
industrial and art education, and through the severe struggles which so
painfully tried the courage and the faith even of those who most
strongly and ardently believed in the mission of the Institute, as well
as through the happier years of fruition, while the efforts put forth in
the days of darkness and despondency were bearing their harvest of
success and fame, Colonel Wilder was through all one of the most
constant of the members of the government in his attendance; one of the
most hopeful in his views of the future of the school; ever a wise
counsellor and a steadfast ally."

He was one of the twelve representative men appointed to receive the
Prince of Wales in 1860, at the banquet given him in Boston, Edward
Everett being chairman of the committee; also one of the commissioners
in behalf of the Universal Exposition in Paris, 1867, when he was placed
at the head of the committee on horticulture and the cultivation and
products of the vine, the report of which was published by act of

In 1869, he made a trip to the South, for the purpose of examining its
resources; and in 1870, with a large party, he visited California. The
result of Mr. Wilder's observations has been given to the public in a
lecture before the Massachusetts State Board of Agriculture, which was
repeated before the Boston Mercantile Library Association, Amherst
College, the Massachusetts Agricultural College, Dartmouth College, the
Horticultural Society, the merchants of Philadelphia, and bodies in
other places.

His published speeches and writings now amount to nearly one hundred in
number. A list to the year 1873 is printed in the Cyclopaedia of
American Literature. Dartmouth College, as a testimonial to his services
in science and literature, conferred upon him, in the year 1877, the
degree of Doctor of Philosophy.

The Honorable Paul A. Chadbourne, LL.D., late president of Williams
College in a recent Memoir of Mr. Wilder remarks: "The interest which
Colonel Wilder has always manifested in the progress of education, as
well as the value and felicitous style of his numerous writings, would
lead one to infer at once that his varied knowledge and culture are the
results of college education. But he is only another illustrious example
of the men who, with only small indebtedness to schools, have proved to
the world that real men can make themselves known as such without the
aid of the college, as we have abundantly learned that the college can
never make a man of one who has not in him the elements of noble manhood
before he enters its halls."

In 1820, Mr. Wilder married Miss Tryphosa Jewett, daughter of Dr.
Stephen Jewett, of Rindge, a lady of great personal attractions. She
died on a visit to that town, July 21, 1831, leaving four children. On
the twenty-ninth of August, 1833, Mr. Wilder was united to Miss Abigail,
daughter of Captain David Baker of Franklin, Massachusetts, a lady of
education, accomplishments, and piety, who died of consumption, April 4,
1854, leaving five children. He was married a third time on the eighth
of September, 1855, to her sister, Miss Julia Baker, who was admirably
qualified to console him and make his dwelling cheerful, and who has two
sons, both living. No man has been more blessed in domestic life. We
know not where there would be a more pleasing picture of peace and
contentment exhibited than is found in this happy family. In all his
pursuits and avocations, Mr. Wilder seems to have realized and practised
that grand principle, which has such a bearing and influence on the
whole course of life--the philosophy of habit, a power almost omnipotent
for good or evil. His leisure hours he devotes to his pen, which already
has filled several large volumes with descriptions and delineations of
fruits and flowers, proved under his own inspection, and other matters
pertaining to his various relations in life.

Colonel Wilder has shown us by his life what an individual may
accomplish by industry, perseverance, and the concentration of the
intellectual powers on grand objects. Without these, no talent, no mere
good fortune could have placed him in the high position he has attained
as a public benefactor. He has been pre-eminent in the establishment and
development of institutions. Few gentlemen have been called upon so
often, and upon such various occasions, to take the chair at public
meetings or preside over constituted societies. Few have acquitted
themselves so happily, whether dignity of presence, amenity of address,
fluency of speech, or dispatch of business, be taken into consideration.
As a presiding officer he seems "to the manner born." His personal
influence has been able to magnetize a half-dying body into new and
active life. This strong personal characteristic is especially remarked
among his friends. No one can approach him in doubt, in despondency, or
in embarrassment, and leave him without a higher hope, a stronger
courage, and a manlier faith in himself. The energy which has impelled
him to labor still exists.

Mr. Wilder is now president of the New England Historic Genealogical and
Society, the American Pomological Society, and the Massachusetts
Agricultural Club. He is senior trustee of the Massachusetts
Agricultural College, and senior member of the State Board of
Agriculture, and of the executive committee of the Massachusetts
Horticultural Society. He is senior director in the Massachusetts
Institute of Technology, the Hamilton National Bank, the New England
Mutual Life Insurance Company, and the Home Savings Bank. He is an
honorary member of the Royal Historical Society of Great Britain; a
corresponding member of the Royal Horticultural Society of London, and
the Societe Centrale d' Horticulture of France; and a fellow of the
Reale Accademia Araldica Italiana of Pisa.

Well did Governor Bullock on a public occasion speak of Mr. Wilder as
"one who has applied the results of his well-earned commercial earnings
so liberally that in every household and at every fireside in America,
when the golden fruits of summer and autumn gladden the sideboard and
the hearthstone, his name, his generosity, and his labors are known and
honored." He is also known and honored abroad. The London Gardener's
Chronicle, the leading agricultural paper in Europe, in April, 1872,
gave his portrait and a sketch of his life, in which is introduced the
following merited compliment:--

"We are glad to have the opportunity of laying before our readers the
portrait of one of the most distinguished of transatlantic
horticulturists, and one who, by his zeal, industry, and determination,
has not only conferred lasting benefits on his native country, but has
by his careful experiments in hybridization and fruit-culture laid the
horticulturists of all nations under heavy obligations to him. The name
and reputation of Marshall P. Wilder is as highly esteemed in Great
Britain as they are in America."

In closing this sketch, we may remark that complimentary banquets were
given him on the eightieth and the eighty-fifth anniversaries of his
birth. On the former occasion, September 22, 1878, the Reverend James H.
Means, D.D., his pastor for nearly thirty years, the Honorable Charles
L. Flint, secretary of the Board of Agriculture, the Honorable John
Phelps Putnam, judge of the Massachusetts Superior Court, and others,
paid tributes to the high moral character, the benevolent disposition,
and the eminent services, of the honored guest of the evening.

The last banquet, September 22, 1883, on his completing the ripe age of
eighty-five, was a much more important occasion. The banquet was held,
as the former was, at the Parker House, in Boston, and over one hundred
gentlemen participated, among whom were some of the most distinguished
persons in this and other States. Charles H.B. Breck, Esq.,
vice-president of the Massachusetts Horticultural Society presided, and
the venerable Reverend Dr. George W. Blagden invoked a blessing. Mr.
Breck addressed Mr. Wilder, who responded. Addresses were then made by a
number of Mr. Wilder's friends, among them the Honorable Alexander H.
Rice and the Honorable Nathaniel P. Banks, ex-governors of
Massachusetts, his Honor Oliver Ames, lieutenant-governor of the State,
his Honor Albert Palmer, mayor of Boston, General Joshua L. Chamberlain,
ex-governor of Maine, the Honorable Frederick Smyth, ex-governor of New
Hampshire, Professor J.C. Greenough, president of the Massachusetts
Agricultural College, General Francis A. Walker, president of the
Institute of Technology, the Honorable Francis B. Hayes, president of
the Horticultural Society, the Reverend Edmund F. Slafter, corresponding
secretary of the New England Historic Genealogical Society, John E.
Russell, secretary of the State Board of Agriculture, and Major Ben:
Perley Poore, secretary of the United States Agricultural Society, and
ex-commander of the Ancient and Honorable Artillery Company. Other
societies with which Mr. Wilder is connected were also represented, as
the Massachusetts Society for the Promotion of Agriculture, the New
England Agricultural Society, the New England Life Insurance Company,
the Hamilton Bank, the Home Savings Bank, the Grand Lodge of Masons, and
the Second Church of Dorchester. Letters were received from the
Honorable Robert C. Winthrop, president of the Massachusetts Historical
Society, his Excellency Benjamin F. Butler, governor, and the Honorables
John D. Long, William Claflin, and Thomas Talbot, ex-governors of the
State, Dr. Oliver Wendell Holmes, the Honorable Dr. George B. Loring,
United States Commissioner of Agriculture, and the Honorable Francis W.
Bird, president of the Bird Club, The addresses and letters are to be
printed in full. A few extracts follow:

Dr. Holmes referred to Mr. Wilder as: "The venerable and venerated
friend who has outlived the fruits of fourscore seasons, and is still
ripening as if his life were all summer."

Mr. Winthrop wrote: "No other man has done so much for our fields and
gardens and orchards. He has distinguished himself in many other lines
of life, and his relations to the Legislature of Massachusetts and to
the Historic Genealogical Society will not soon be forgotten. But his
name will have its most enduring and most enviable association with the
flowers and fruits for whose culture he was foremost in striving, both
by precept and example. He deserves a grateful remembrance as long as a
fine pear is relished or a brilliant bouquet admired."

Governor Rice said: "There is hardly a public enterprise of the last
three generations, scarcely a pursuit in life, or an institution of
patriotism, discipline, or charity, that does not bear the signet of his
touch and feel the vigor of his co-operation. Why, sir, it may be said,
almost with literal truth, that the trees which this great arborist has
planted and cultivated and loved are not more numerous than the
evidences of his handiwork in all the useful and beneficent departments
of life; and all the flowers that shall grow to the end of time ought to
bear fragrance to his memory."

Mayor Palmer said: "Time would fail me to recount his great and
honorable services to society and the State. It must suffice to say that
no name of this century is written more imperishably in the affection
and esteem of Boston and Massachusetts than the name of him, our honored

Dr. Loring wrote: "It is with pride and satisfaction that the business
associations of the city of Boston can point to him as a representative
of that mercantile integrity which gives that city its distinguished
position among the great commercial centres of the world."

Governor Banks said: "I can scarcely enumerate, much less analyze, the
numerous and important social and national enterprises which make the
character and career of our distinguished guest illustrious."

Governor Chamberlain said: "We rejoice in this honored old age,--this
youth, rounded, beautified, and sweetened into supreme manhood; and we
rejoice also that it shall remain for after times an example and
inspiration for all who would live true lives, and win the honor that
comes here and hereafter to noble character."

President Greenough thus spoke:--"The line of buildings which to-day at
Amherst graces one of the fairest landscapes in New England, and the
sound and practical education which they were built to secure, are to be
a lasting monument to his foresight, his patriotism, and his eloquent

Mr. Russell said: "To him the agriculture of the Commonwealth owes a
debt that can never be paid; the records of our board are a monument of
his good works more enduring than brass. And, sir, in view of his
venerable years, so lightly borne, his interest in all the active
affairs of men, and his continued powers of social enjoyment, I may well
repeat the wish of the poet Horace, expressed in one of his invocations
to the Emperor Augustus: 'Serus in coelum redeas.'"

Major Poore said: "Mr. President, I am confident that the distinguished
gentlemen around these tables will long remember to-night, and recall
with pleasure its varied homages to Colonel Wilder, thankful that we
have so pure a shrine, so bright an oracle, as the common property of
all who reverence virtue, admire manhood, or aspire to noble deeds.
Succeeding years will not dim the freshness of Colonel Wilder's fame;
and the more frequently we drink at this fountain, the sweeter we shall
find its waters.

  'You may break, you may shatter the vase, if you will,
  But the scent of the roses will hang round it still.'"

       *       *       *       *       *



It has been said that there is nothing contrived by man which has
produced so much happiness as a good tavern. Without granting or denying
the statement, all will agree that many good times have been passed
around the cheerful hearth of the old-fashioned inn.

The earliest tavern in Groton, of which there is any record or
tradition, was kept by Samuel Bowers, Jr., in the house lately and for a
long time occupied by the Champney family. Mr. Bowers was born in Groton
on December 21, 1711, and, according to his tombstone, died on "the
Sixteenth Day of December Anno Domini 1768. Half a hour after Three of
the Clock in ye Afternoon, and in the Fifty Eight year of his age." He
kept the house during many years, and was known in the neighborhood as
"land'urd Bowers,"--the innkeeper of that period being generally
addressed by the title of landlord. I do not know who succeeded him in
his useful and important functions.

The next tavern of which I have any knowledge was the one kept by
Captain Jonathan Keep, during the latter part of the Revolution. In The
Independent Chronicle (Boston), February 15, 1781, the Committee of the
General Court for the sale of confiscated property in Middlesex County,
advertise the estate of Dr. Joseph Adams, of Townsend, to be sold "at
Mr. Keep's, innholder in Groton." This tavern has now been kept as an
inn during more than a century. It was originally built for a
dwelling-house, and, before the Revolution, occupied by the Reverend
Samuel Dana; though since that time it has been lengthened in front and
otherwise considerably enlarged. Captain Keep was followed by the
brothers Isaiah and Joseph Hall, who were the landlords as early as the
year 1798. They were succeeded in 1825 by Joseph Hoar, who had just sold
the Emerson tavern, at the other end of the village street. He kept it
for nearly twenty years,--excepting the year 1836, when Moses Gill and
his brother-in-law, Henry Lewis Lawrence, were the landlords,--and sold
out about 1842 to Thomas Treadwell Farnsworth. It was then conducted as
a temperance house, at that time considered a great innovation on former
customs. After a short period it was sold to Daniel Hunt, who kept it
until 1852, and he was followed by James M. Colburn, who had it for two
years. It then came into the possession of J. Nelson Hoar, a son of the
former landlord, who took it in 1854, and in whose family it has since
remained. Latterly it has been managed by three of his daughters, and
now is known as the Central House. It is the only tavern in the village,
and for neatness and comfort can not easily be surpassed.

In the list of innholders, near the end of Isaiah Thomas's Almanack, for
1785, appears the name of Richardson, whose tavern stood on the present
site of the Baptist church. It was originally the house owned and
occupied by the Reverend Gershom Hobart, which had been considerably
enlarged by additions on the north and east sides, in order to make it
more suitable for its new purposes. Mine host was Captain Jephthah
Richardson, who died on October 9, 1806. His father was Converse
Richardson, who had previously kept a small inn, on the present Elm
Street, near the corner of Pleasant. It was in this Elm Street house
that Timothy Bigelow, the rising young lawyer, lived, when he first came
to Groton. Within a few years this building has been moved away. Soon
after the death of Captain Jephthah Richardson, the tavern was sold to
Timothy Spaulding, who carried on the business until his death, which
occurred on February 19, 1808. Spaulding's widow subsequently married
John Spalter, who was the landlord for a short time. About 1812 the
house was rented to Dearborn Emerson, who had been possession of it for
a few years.

During the War of 1812 it was an inn of local renown; and a Lieutenant
Chase had his headquarters here for a while, when recruiting for the
army. He raised a company in the neighborhood, which was ordered to
Sackett's Harbor, near the foot of Lake Ontario. The men were put into
uniforms as they enlisted, and drilled daily. They were in the habit of
marching through the village streets to the music of the spirit-stirring
drum and the ear-piercing fife; and occasionally they were invited into
the yard of some hospitable citizen, who would treat them to "the cups
that cheer but not inebriate," when taken in moderation. William Kemp
was the drummer, and Wilder Shepley the fifer, both noted musicians in
their day. Sometimes his brother, Moses Kemp, would act as fifer.
William is still alive, at the advanced age of nearly ninety-five years,
and gives many reminiscences of that period. He was born at Groton on
May 8, 1789, and began to drum in early boyhood. His first appearance in
the public service was during the year 1805, as drummer of the South
Company of Groton, commanded by Luther Lawrence, afterward the mayor of
Lowell. He has been the father of nine children, and has had thirty
grandchildren, thirty-three great-grandchildren, and one
great-great-grandchild. Mr. Kemp can even now handle the drumsticks with
a dexterity rarely equaled; and within a short time I have seen him give
an exhibition of his skill which would reflect credit on a much younger
person. Among the men enlisted here during that campaign were Marquis D.
Farnsworth, Aaron Lewis, William Shepley, and John Woodward, of this
town; and James Adams, and his son, James, Jr., of Pepperell.

It was about the year 1815 that and Dearborn Emerson left the Richardson
tavern, and moved down the street, perhaps thirty rods, where he opened
another public house on the present site of Milo H. Shattuck's store.
The old tavern, in the meantime, passed into the hands of Daniel
Shattuck, who kept it until his death, which occurred on April 8, 1831.
The business was then carried on during a short time by Clark Tenny, who
was followed by Lemuel Lakin, and afterward by Francis Shattuck, a son
of Daniel, for another brief period. About the year 1833 it was given up
entirely as a public house, and thus passed away an old landmark widely
known in those times. It stood well out on the present road, the front
door facing down what is now Main Street, the upper end of which then
had no existence. In approaching the tavern from the south, the road
went up Hollis Street and turned to the left somewhere south of the
Burying-Ground. The house afterward was cut up and moved off, just
before the Baptist meeting-house was built. My earliest recollections
carry me back faintly to the time when it was last used as a tavern,
though I remember distinctly the building as it looked before it was
taken away.

Dearborn Emerson married a sister of Daniel Brooks, a large owner in the
line of stage-coaches running through Groton from Boston to the
northward; and this family connection was of great service to him. Jonas
Parker, commonly known as "Tecumseh" Parker, was now associated with
Emerson in keeping the new hotel. The stage business was taken away from
the Richardson tavern, and transferred to this one. The house was
enlarged, spacious barns and stables were erected, and better
accommodations given to man and beast,--on too large a scale for profit,
it seems, as Parker and Emerson failed shortly afterward, This was in
the spring of 1818, during which year the tavern was purchased by Joseph
Hoar, who kept it a little more than six years, when he sold it to Amos
Alexander. This landlord, after a long time, was succeeded in turn by
Isaac J. Fox, Horace Brown, William Childs, Artemas Brown, John
McGilson, Abijah Wright, and Moses Gill. It was given up as a hotel in
1856, and made into a shoe factory; and finally it was burned. Mr. Gill
had the house for eight years, and was the last landlord. He then opened
a public house directly opposite to the Orthodox church, and called it
The Globe, which he kept for two years. He was succeeded by Stephen
Woods, who remained only one year, after which time this also was given
up as a public house.

Another hostelry was the Ridge Hill tavern, situated at the Ridges,
three miles from the village, on the Great Road to Boston. This was
built about the year 1805, and much frequented by travelers and
teamsters. At this point the roads diverge and come together again in
Lexington, making two routes to Boston. It was claimed by interested
persons that one was considerably shorter than the other,--though the
actual difference was less than a mile. In the year 1824 a guide-board
was set up at the crotch of the roads, proclaiming the fact that the
distance to Lexington through Concord was two miles longer than through
Carlisle. Straightway the storekeepers and innholders along the Concord
road published a counter-statement, that it had been measured by sworn
surveyors, and the distance found to be only two hundred and thirty-six
rods further than by the other way.

The first landlord of the Ridge Hill tavern was Levi Parker, noted for
his hospitality. He was afterward deputy-sheriff of Middlesex County,
and lived in Westford. He was followed, for a short time, by John
Stevens, and then by John H. Loring, who conducted the house during many
years, and was succeeded by his son Jefferson. After him came Henry L.
Lawrence, who kept it during one year; he was followed by his
brother-in-law, Moses Gill, who took the tavern in April, 1837, and kept
it just five years. When Mr. Gill gave up the house, he was followed by
one Langdon for a short time, and he in turn by Kimball Farr as the
landlord, who had bought it the year previously, and who remained in
charge until 1868. During a part of the time when the place was managed
by Mr. Farr; his son Augustus was associated with him. Mr. Farr sold the
tavern to John Fuzzard, who kept it for a while, and is still the owner
of the property. He was followed by Newell M. Jewett; the present
landlord is Stephen Perkins, a native of York, Maine, who took it in
1880. The house had been vacant for some years before this time. A fair
is held here regularly on the first Tuesday of every month, for the sale
of horses, and buyers are attracted from a long distance. At one time
this property was owned by Judge Samuel Dana, who sold it to John H.

As early as the year 1798 there was a tavern about a mile from the
Ridges, toward Groton. It was kept by Stephen Farrar, in the house now
standing near where the brook crosses the Great Road. Afterward one
Green was the landlord. The house known as the Levi Tufts place in this
neighborhood was an inn during the early part of this century, conducted
by Tilly Buttrick. Also about this time, or previously, the house
situated south of Indian Hill, and occupied by Charles Prescott,--when
the map in Mr. Butler's History was made,--was an inn. There was a
tavern kept from the year 1812 to 1818 by a Mr. Page, in Mr. Gerrish's
house, near the Unitarian church in the village. There was also a
tavern, near the present paper-mills of Tileston and Hollingsworth, kept
for many years (1825-55) by Aaron Lewis, and after him for a short time
by one Veazie. It was originally the house of John Capell, who owned the
sawmill and gristmill in the immediate neighborhood. Amos Adams had an
inn near Squannacook, a hundred years ago, in a house now owned by James

Just before and during the Revolution a tavern was kept by George
Peirce, in the south part of the town, within the present limits of
Ayer. This landlord was probably the inn-holder of Littleton, whose name
appears in The Massachusetts Gazette, of August 8, 1765. The house was
the one formerly owned by the late Calvin Fletcher, and burned March 25,
1880. It was advertised for sale, as appears from the following
advertisement in The Boston Gazette, September 27, 1773:--

    To be Sold at PUBLIC VENDUE, to the highest Bidder, on
    Wednesday the 3d Day of November next, at four o'Clock in the
    Afternoon (if not Sold before at Private Sale) by me the
    Subscriber, A valuable FARM in Groton, in the County of
    Middlesex, pleasantly situated on the great County Road,
    leading from Crown Point and No. 4 to Boston: Said Farm
    contains 172 Acres of Upland and Meadow, with the bigger Part
    under improvement, with a large Dwelling House and Barn, and
    Out Houses, together with a good Grist Mill and Saw Mill, the
    latter new last Year, both in good Repair, and on a good
    Stream, and within a few Rods of the House. Said Farm would
    make two good Livings, and would sell it in two Divisions, or
    together, as it would best suit the Purchaser. Said House is
    situated very conveniently for a Tavern, and has been improved
    as such for Ten Years past, with a Number of other
    Conveniences, too many to enumerate. And the Purchaser may
    depend upon having a good warrantee Deed of the same, and the
    bigger Part of the Pay made very easy, on good Security. The
    whole of the Farming Tools, and Part of the Stock, will be sold
    as above-mentioned, at the Subscriber's House on said Farm.


    Groton, Aug. 30, 1773.

The gristmill and sawmill, mentioned in the advertisement, were on
Nonacoicus Brook. In the Gazette, of November 15, 1773, another notice
appears, which shows that the tavern was not sold at the time originally
appointed. It is as follows:--

    The Publick are hereby Notified that the Sale of the FARM in
    Groton, which was to have been sold the 3d Instant on the
    Premisses, at the House of Mr. George Peirce, is adjourn'd to
    the house of Mr. Joseph Moulton, Innholder in Boston, where it
    will certainly be Sold to the highest Bidder, on Wednesday the
    1st Day of December next, at 4 o'Clock, P.M.

The following advertisement appears in The Independent Chronicle
(Boston), September 19, 1808; the site of the farm was near that of
Peirce's inn, just mentioned. Stone's tavern was afterward kept by one
Day, and subsequently burned.

    A FARM--for Sale,

    Containing 140 acres of Land, situated in the South part of
    _Groton, (Mass.)_ with a new and well-finished House, Barn, &
    Out-houses, and Aqueduct, pleasantly situated, where a Tavern
    has been kept for the last seven years;--a part of the whole
    will be sold, as best suits the purchaser. For further
    particulars, inquire of THO's B. RAND, of _Charlestown_, or the
    Subscriber, living on the Premises.

    Sept. 12. JESSE STONE.

About a generation ago an attempt was made to organize a company for the
purpose of carrying on a hotel in the village, and a charter was
obtained from the Legislature. The stock, however, was not fully taken
up, and the project fell through. Of the corporators, Mr. Potter and Mr.
Smith still survive. Below is a copy of the act:--

    An Act to incorporate the Groton Hotel Company.

    _Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives,
    in General Court assembled, and by the authority of the same,
    as follows:--_

    SECT. 1. Luther F. Potter, Nathaniel P. Smith, Simeon Ames,
    their associates and successors, are hereby made a corporation,
    by the name of the Groton Hotel Company, for the purpose of
    erecting, in the town of Groton, buildings necessary and
    convenient for a public house, with all the powers and
    privileges, and subject to all the liabilities, duties, and
    restrictions, set forth in the forty-fourth chapter of the
    Revised Statutes.

    SECT. 2. Said corporation may hold such real and personal
    property, as may be necessary and convenient for the purposes
    aforesaid, not exceeding in amount twenty thousand dollars:
    _provided_, that no shares in the capital stock of said
    corporation shall be issued for a less sum or amount, to be
    actually paid in on each, than the par value of the shared
    which shall be first issued. And if any ardent spirits, or
    intoxicating drinks of any kind whatever, shall be sold by said
    company, or by their agents, lessees, or persons in their
    employ, contrary to law, in any of said buildings, then this
    act shall be void. [_Approved by the Governor, May 2, 1850._]

In the spring of 1852, a charter was given to Benjamin Webb, Daniel D.R.
Bowker, and their associates, for the purpose of forming a corporation
to carry on a hotel at the Massapoag Springs, in the eastern part of
this town, but the project fell through. It was to be called the
Massapoag Spring Hotel, and its capital stock was limited to $30,000.
The act was approved by the Governor, May 18, 1852, and it contained
similar conditions to those mentioned above in regard to the sale of
liquors. These enterprises are now nearly forgotten, though the mention
of them may revive the recollections of elderly people.

During the first half of the present century Groton had one
characteristic mark, closely connected with the old taverns, which it no
longer possesses. It was a radiating centre for different lines of
stage-coaches, until this mode of travel was superseded by the swifter
one of the railroad. During many years the stage-coaches were a
distinctive feature of the place; and their coming and going was watched
with great interest, and created the excitement of the day. In early
times the drivers, as they approached the village, would blow a bugle in
order to give notice of their arrival; and this blast was the signal at
the taverns to put the food on the table. More than a generation has now
passed away since these coaches were wont to be seen in the village
streets. They were drawn usually by four horses, and in bad going by
six. Here a change of coaches, horses, and drivers was made.

The stage-driver of former times belonged to a class of men that has
entirely disappeared from this community. His position was one of
considerable responsibility. This important personage was well known
along his route, and his opinions were always quoted with respect. I can
easily recall the familiar face of Aaron Corey, who drove the
accommodation stage to Boston for so many years. He was a careful and
skilful driver, and a man of most obliging disposition. He would go out
of his way to bear a message or leave a newspaper; but his specialty was
to look after women and children committed to his charge. He carried,
also, packages and parcels, and largely what is to-day entrusted to the
express. I recall, too, with pleasure, Horace George, another driver,
popular with all the boys, because in sleighing-time he would let us
ride on the rack behind, and even slacken the speed of his horses so as
to allow us to catch hold of the straps.

Some people now remember the scenes of life and activity that used to be
witnessed in the town on the arrival and departure of the stages. Some
remember, too, the loud snap of the whip which gave increased speed to
the horses, as they dashed up in approved style to the stopping-place,
where the loungers were collected to see the travelers and listen to the
gossip which fell from their lips. There were no telegraphs then, and
but few railroads in the country. The papers did not gather the news so
eagerly, nor spread it abroad so promptly, as they do now, and items of
intelligence were carried largely by word of mouth.

The earliest line of stage-coaches between Boston and Groton was the one
mentioned in The Columbian Centinel, April 6, 1793. The advertisement is
headed "New Line of Stages," and gives notice that--

    A Stage-Carriage drives from _Robbins'_ Tavern, at Charles-River
    Bridge, on Monday and Friday, in each week, and passing through
    Concord and Groton, arrives at _Wyman's_ tavern in _Ashley_
    [Ashby?] in the evening of the same days; and after exchanging
    passengers there, with the Stage-Carriage from _Walpole_, it
    returns on Tuesdays and Saturdays, by the same route to _Robbins's_.

       *       *       *       *       *

    The _Charlestown_ Carriage drives also from _Robbins'_ on
    Wednesday in each week, and passing through _Concord_, arrives
    at _Richardson's_ tavern, in _Groton_, on the evening of the
    same day, and from thence returns on Thursday to _Robbins'_.

       *       *       *       *       *

Another Carriage drives from _Richardson's_ tavern in
_Groton_, on Monday in each week, at six o'clock in the morning,
and passing by _Richardson's_ tavern in _Concord_ at ten o'clock
in the forenoon, arrives at _Charlestown_ at three o'clock in the
afternoon. From _Charlestown_ it drives on Tuesday and Thursday in
each week, at three o'clock in the afternoon, and returns back as far as
_Richardson's_ tavern in _Concord_--and from that place it starts
at 8 o'clock in the mornings, of Wednesday and Friday, and runs again to
_Charlestown_. From there it moves at six o'clock on Saturday morning,
and returns to _Richardson's_ tavern in _Groton_, in the evening
of the same day.

It was probably one of these "Carriages" to which allusion is made in
Mr. Winthrop's Memoir of the Honorable Nathan Appleton,[Footnote:
Proceedings of the Massachusetts Historical Society, v, 249, 250.] as

    At early dusk on some October or November evening, in the year
    1794, a fresh, vigorous, bright-eyed lad, just turned of
    fifteen, might have been seen alighting from a stage-coach near
    Quaker Lane,[Footnote: Now Congress Street.] as it was then
    called, in the old town of Boston. He had been two days on the
    road from his home in the town of New Ipswich, in the State of
    New Hampshire. On the last of the two days, the stage-coach had
    brought him all the way from Groton in Massachusetts; starting
    for that purpose early in the morning, stopping at Concord for
    the passengers to dine, trundling them through Charlestown
    about the time the evening lamps were lighted, and finishing
    the whole distance of rather more than thirty miles in season
    for supper. For his first day's journey, there had been no such
    eligible and expeditious conveyance. The Boston stage-coach, in
    those days, went no farther than Groton in that direction. His
    father's farm-horse, or perhaps that of one of the neighbors,
    had served his turn for the first six or seven miles; his
    little brother of ten years old having followed him as far as
    Townsend, to ride the horse home again. But from there he had
    trudged along to Groton on foot, with a bundle-handkerchief in
    his hand, which contained all the wearing apparel he had,
    except what was on his back.

It has been said that the first public conveyance between Boston and
Groton was a covered wagon, hung on chains for thoroughbraces: perhaps
it was the "Charlestown Carriage," mentioned in the advertisement. It
was owned and driven by Lemuel Lakin, but after a few years the owner
sold out to Dearborn Emerson.

The following advertisement from The Columbian Centinel, June 25, 1800,
will give a notion of what an undertaking a trip to Boston was, at the
beginning of the century:--


    The subscriber respectfully informs the public that he drives
    the Stage from _Boston_ to _Groton_, running through
    _Lexington, Concord_, and _Littleton_, to _Groton_: Starts from
    _Boston_ every _Wednesday_ morning, at 5 o'clock, and arrives
    at _Groton_ the same day; Starts from _Groton_ every _Monday_
    morning, at 7 o'clock, and arrives at _Boston_ the same day at
    4 o'clock. Passage through, 2 dols. per mile, 4_d_.


    Seats taken at Mr. SILAS DUTTON'S in _Royal Exchange Lane_.
    Newspapers supplied on the road, and every attention paid to

The given name of Emerson was Dearborn, and not "Danborn," which is a
misprint. Two years later he was running a stage-coach from Groton to
New Ipswich, New Hampshire, and on the first return trip he brought
three passengers,--according to the History of New Ipswich (page 129).
Emerson was a noted driver in his day; and he is mentioned, with
pleasant recollections, by the Honorable Abbott Lawrence, in an
after-dinner speech at the jubilee of Lawrence Academy, on July 12,
1854. Subsequently he was the landlord of one of the local taverns.

It is advertised in The Massachusetts Register, for the year 1802, that

    GROTON Stage sets off from J. and S. Wheelock's [Indian Queen
    Inn], No. 37 Marlboro-Street [now a part of Washington Street,
    Boston], every Wednesday at 4 o'clock in the morning, and
    arrives at Groton at 3 o'clock in the afternoon, same day;
    leaves Groton every Monday at 4 o'clock in the morning, and
    arrives in Boston at 6 o'clock in the afternoon, same day.
    (Pages 19, 20.)

It seems from this notice that it took three hours longer to make the
trip down to Boston than up to Groton,--of which the explanation is not
clear. In the Register for 1803 a semi-weekly line is advertised, and
the same length of time is given for making the trip each way.

About the year 1807 there was a tri-weekly line of coaches to Boston,
and as early as 1820 a daily line, which connected at Groton with others
extending into New Hampshire and Vermont. Soon after this time there
were two lines to Boston, running in opposition to each other,--one
known as the Union and Accommodation Line, and the other as the
Telegraph and Despatch.

One of the drivers for the Telegraph and Despatch line was Phineas
Harrington, known along the road as "Phin" Harrington. He had orders to
take but eight passengers in his coach, and the trip was made with
remarkable speed for that period. "Phin" was a man of small size, and
the story used to be told of him that, on cold and stormy nights, he
would get inside of one of the lamps fixed to his box in order to warm
his feet by the lighted wick! He passed almost his whole life as a
stage-man, and it is said that he drove for nearly forty years, He could
handle the reins of six horses with more skill than any other driver in

William Shephard and Company advertise in The Groton Herald, April 10,
1830, their accommodation stage. "Good Teams and Coaches, with careful
and obliging drivers, will be provided by the subscribers." Books were
kept in Boston at A.M. Brigham's, No. 42 Hanover Street, and in Groton
at the taverns of Amos Alexander and Joseph Hoar. The fare was one
dollar, and the coach went three times a week.

About this time George Flint had a line to Nashua, and John Holt another
to Fitchburg. They advertise together in the Herald, May 1, 1830, that
"no pains shall be spared to accommodate those who shall favor them with
their custom, and all business intrusted to their care will be
faithfully attended to." The first stage-coach from this town to Lowell
began to run about the year 1829, and John Austin was the driver. An
opposition line was established soon afterward, and kept up during a
short time, until a compromise was made between them, Later, John Russ
was the owner and driver of the line to Lowell, and still later, John M.
Maynard the owner. Near this period there was a coach running to
Worcester, and previously one to Amherst, New Hampshire.

The following is a list of some of the old drivers, who were well known
along their respective routes. It is arranged in no particular order and
by no means complete; and the dates against a few of the names are only
approximations to the time when each one sat on the box:--

Lemuel Lakin was among the earliest; and he was followed by Dearborn
Emerson. Daniel Brooks drove to Boston during the period of the last war
with England, and probably later.

Aaron Corey drove the accommodation stage to Boston, through Carlisle,
Bedford, and Lexington, for a long time, and he had previously driven
the mail-coach. He was succeeded by his son, Calvin, the driver for a
few years, until the line was given up in 1850. Mr. Corey, the father,
was one of the veterans, having held the reins during thirty-two years;
he died March 15, 1857, at the age of seventy-three.

Isaac Bullard, 1817-30; William Smart, 1825-30; George Hunt, Jonathan
Buttrick, Thomas A. Staples, Obediah Kendall, Albert Hayden, Charles
Briggs, Levi Robbins, James Lord, Frank Brown, Silas Burgess, Augustus
Adams, William Dana, Horace Brown, Levi Wheeler, Timothy Underwood, ----
Bacon, Horace George, 1838-45; Lyman W. Gushing, 1842-45, and Joseph
Stewart. These drove to Boston. After the stages were taken off, "Joe"
Stewart drove the passenger-coach from the village to the station on the
Fitchburg Railroad, which ran to connect with the three daily trains for
Boston. The station was three miles away, and now within the limits of

Among the drivers to Keene, New Hampshire, were Kimball Danforth,
1817-40; Ira Brown, Oliver Scales, Amos Nicholas, Otis Bardwell, Abel
Marshall, the brothers Ira and Hiram Hodgkins, George Brown, Houghton
Lawrence, Palmer Thomas, Ira Green, Barney Pike, William Johnson, Walter
Carleton, and John Carleton. There were two stage routes to Keene, both
going as far as West Townsend in common, and then separating, one
passing through Ashby, Rindge, and Fitzwilliam, while the other went
through New Ipswich and Jaffrey.

Anson Johnson and Beriah Curtis drove to Worcester; Addison Parker,
Henry L. Lawrence, Stephen Corbin, John Webber, and his son, Ward, drove
to Lowell; the brothers Abiel and Nathan Fawcett, Wilder Proctor, and
Abel H. Fuller, to Nashua; Micah Ball, who came from Leominster about
the year 1824, drove to Amherst, New Hampshire, and after him Benjamin
Lewis, who continued to drive as long as he lived, and at his death the
line was given up. The route to Amherst lay through Pepperell, Hollis,
and Milford.

Other drivers were John Chase, Joel Shattuck, William Shattuck, Moses
Titus, Frank Shattuck, David Coburn, ---- Chickering, Thomas Emory, and
William Kemp, Jr.

The sad recollection of an accident at Littleton, resulting in the death
of Silas Bullard, is occasionally revived by some of the older people.
It occurred about the year 1825, and was caused by the upsetting of the
Groton coach, driven by Samuel Stone, and at the time just descending
the hill between Littleton Common and Nagog Pond, then known as
Kimball's Hill. Mr. Bullard was one of the owners of the line, and a
brother of Isaac, the veteran driver.

Besides the stage-coaches the carrier wagons added to the business of
Groton, and helped largely to support the taverns. The town was situated
on one of the main thoroughfares leading from Boston to the northern
country, comprising an important part of New Hampshire and Vermont, and
extending into Canada. This road was traversed by a great number of
wagons, drawn by four or six horses, carrying to the city the various
products of the country, such as grain, pork, butter, cheese, eggs,
venison, hides; and returning with goods found in the city, such as
molasses, sugar, New-England rum, coffee, tea, nails, iron, cloths, and
the innumerable articles found in the country stores, to be distributed
among the towns above here. In some seasons, it was no uncommon sight to
see forty such wagons passing through the village in one day.

In addition to these were many smaller vehicles, drawn by one or two
horses, to say nothing of the private carriages of individuals who were
traveling for business or pleasure.

For many of the facts mentioned in this paper I am indebted to Mr. Moses
Gill, an octogenarian of Groton, whose mind is clear and body active for
a man of his years. Mr. Gill is a grandson of Lieutenant-Governor Moses
Gill, and was born at Princeton, on March 6, 1800. He has kept several
public houses in Groton, already mentioned, besides the old brick tavern
situated on the Lowell road, near Long-sought-for Pond, and formerly
known as the Half-way. House. This hotel came within the limits of
Westford, and was kept by Mr. Gill from the year 1842 to 1847. In his
day he has known personally seventy-five landlords doing business
between Davenport's (opposite to the celebrated Porter's tavern in
Cambridge) and Keene, New Hampshire; and of this number, only seven are
thought to be living at the present time.



The unit of society is the individual. The unit of civilization is the
family. Prior to December 20, 1620, New-England life had never seen a
civilized family or felt its influences. It is true that the Icelandic
Chronicles tell us that Lief, the son of Eric the Red, 1001, sailed with
a crew of thirty-five men, in a Norwegian vessel, and driven southward
in a storm, from Greenland along the coasts of Labrador, wintered in
Vineland on the shores of Mount Hope Bay. Longfellow's Skeleton in Armor
has revealed their temporary settlement. Thither sailed Eric's son,
Thorstein, with his young and beautiful wife, Gudrida, and their
twenty-five companions, the following year. His death occurred, and put
an end to the expedition, which Thorfinn took up with his marriage to
the young widow, Gudrida; with his bride and one hundred and sixty-five
persons (five of them young married women), they spent three years on
the shores of the Narragansett Bay, where Snorre, the _first_ white
child, was born,--the progenitor of the great Danish sculptor,
Thorwaldsen. But this is tradition, not history. Later still, came other
adventurers to seek fortunes in the New World, but they came as
individuals,--young, adventurous men, with all to gain and nothing to
lose, and, if successful, to return with gold or fame, as the reward of
their sacrifice and daring.

Six hundred years pass, and a colony of one hundred and five men, not a
woman in the company, sailed from England for America, and landed at
Jamestown, Virginia. Within six months half of the immigrants had
perished, and only for the courage and bravery of John Smith, the whole
would have met a sad fate. The first European woman seen on the banks of
the James was the wife of one of the seventy Virginia colonists who came
later, and her maid, Anne Burroughs, who helped to give permanency and
character to a fugitive settlement in a colony, which waited two hundred
and fifty years to learn the value of a New-England home, and to
appreciate the civilization which sprang up in a New-England town,
through the agency of a New-England family.

An experience similar to that of the Virginia settlers--disappointment,
hardship, death--attended the immigrants who, under George Popham,
Raleigh, and Gilbert, attempted to make a permanent home on the coast of
Maine, but their house was a log camp, with not a solitary woman to
light its gloom or cheer its occupants. Failure, defeat, and death were
the inevitable consequences. There was no family, and there could be no
permanency of civilization.

The planting of Plymouth and Massachusetts Bay Colonies was of another
sort. Whole families embarked on board the Mayflower, the Fortune, the
Ann, the Mary and John, and other ships that brought their precious
freight in safety to a New World. Of the one hundred and one persons who
came in the Mayflower, in 1620, twenty-eight were females, and eighteen
were wives and mothers. They did not leave their homes, in the truest
sense,--they brought them with them. Their household goods and
hearthstone gods were all snugly stowed beneath the decks of the
historic ship, and the multitude of Mayflower relics, now held in
precious regard in public and private collections, but testify to the
immense inventory of that one little ship of almost fabulous carrying
capacity. To the compact signed in Plymouth harbor, in 1620, John Carver
signs eight persons, whom he represents; Edward Winslow, five; William
Brewster, six; William Mullins, five; William White, five; Stephen
Hopkins, Edward Fuller, and John Turner, each, eight; John Chilton,
three,--one of whom, his daughter Mary, was the first woman, as
tradition says, to jump from the boat upon Plymouth Rock. In the
Weymouth Company, under the leadership of the Reverend Joseph Hull, who
set sail from Old Weymouth, England, on the twentieth of March, 1635,
and landed at Wessaguscus,--now Weymouth, Massachusetts,--there were one
hundred and five persons, divided into twenty-one families. Among these
were John Whitmarsh, his wife Alice, and four children; Robert Lovell,
husbandman, with his good wife Elizabeth and children, two of whom,
Ellen and James, were year-old twins; Edward Poole and family; Henry
Kingman, Thomas Holbrook, Richard Porter, and not least of all, Zachary
Bicknell, his wife Agnes, their son John, and servant John Kitchen.

Families these,--all on board,--households, treasures, all worldly
estates, and best of all the rich sympathies and supports of united,
trusting hearts, daring to face the perils of an ocean-passage of
forty-six days' duration, and the new, strange life in the wilds of
America, that they might prove their faith in each other, in their
principles, and in God. "He setteth the solitary in families," says the
Psalmist; and the truth was never better illustrated than in the
isolated and weary life of our ancestry, two and a half centuries ago.

To the Pilgrim and the Puritan, wife, children, house, home, family,
church, were the most precious possessions. Nothing human could divorce
ties which nature had so strongly woven. And whenever we think of our
honored ancestry, it is not as individual adventurers; but we see the
good-man, the good-wife, and their children, as the representatives of
the great body of those, who with them planted homes, families, society,
civilization, in the Western World. They came together, or if alone, to
pioneer the way for wife and children or sweetheart by the next ship,
and they came to stay, as witness the names of the old families of
Plymouth, Weymouth, Salem, Boston, Dorchester, in the leading circles of
wealth and social position in all of these old towns. "Behold," says Dr.
Bushnell, "the Mayflower, rounding now the southern cape of England,
filled with husbands and wives and children; families of righteous men,
under covenant with God and each other to lay some good foundation for
religion, engaged both to make and keep their own laws, expecting to
supply their own wants and bear their own burdens, assisted by none but
the God in whom they trust! Here are the hands of industry! the germs of
liberty! the dear pledges of order! and the sacred beginnings of a
home!" Of such, only, could Mrs. Hemans's inspired hymn have been

  "There were men with hoary hair
    Amidst that pilgrim band;
  Why had they come to wither there,
    Away from their childhood's land?

  "There was woman's fearless eye,
    Lit by her deep love's truth;
  There was manhood's brow, serenely high,
    And the fiery heart of youth."


To understand the reasons why thirty-five thousand loyal and respectable
subjects of Charles I should leave Old England for the New, in family
relations, between 1620 and 1625, let us look, if we can, through a
chink in the wall, into the state of affairs, civil, social, and
religious, as they existed in the best land, and under the best
government, the sun then shone upon.

Charles I succeeded his father, James I of Scotland, in 1624. The great,
good act of James was the translation of our English Bible, known as
King James's Version, a work which, for the exercise of learning,
scholarship, and a zealous religious faith, has not been surpassed in
any age. Take him all in all, James was a bigot, a tyrant, a conceited
fool. He professed to be the most ardent devotee of piety, and at the
same time issued a proclamation that all lawful recreations, such as
dancing, archery, leaping, May-games, etc., might be used after divine
service, on Sundays. An advocate of religious freedom, he attempted to
enforce the most abject conformity in his own Scottish home, against the
well-known independence of that section of his realm, and drove the
Puritans to seek an asylum in Holland, where they might find liberty to
worship God.

In the county of Somerset, the old king consented to an act of tyranny
which would grace the age of Henry VIII. One Reverend Edmund Peacham, a
clergyman in Somersetshire, had his study broken open, and a manuscript
sermon being there found in which there was strong censure of the
extravagance of the king and the oppression of his officers, the
preacher was put to the rack and interrogated, "before torture, in
torture, between torture, and after torture," in order to draw from him
evidence of treason; but this horrible severity could wring no
confession from him. His sermon was not found treasonable by the judges
of the King's Bench and by Lord Coke; but the unhappy man was tried and
condemned, dying in jail before the time set for his execution. Just
about this time was the State murder of Overbury, and the execution of
Sir Walter Raleigh, one of England's noblest sons, brave and chivalric,
who, at the executioner's block, took the axe in his hand, kissed the
blade, and said to the sheriff: "'Tis a sharp medicine, but a sound cure
for all diseases." These and kindred acts serve to illustrate the
history of a king whose personal and selfish interests overruled all
sentiments of honor and regard for his subjects, and who publicly
declared that "he would govern according to the good of the commonweal,
but not according to the common will." With such a king as James on the
throne, is it a wonder that the more intelligent and conscientious of
his subjects--like the Pilgrims and Puritans--sought a home on this side
the Atlantic, where wild beasts and savage men were their only

We are told that "the face of the Court was much changed in the change
of the king" from James to Charles I; "that the grossness of the Court
of James grew out of fashion," but the people were slow to learn the
difference. Of the two evils, James was to be preferred. Charles ascends
the throne with flattering promises, attends prayers and listens to
sermons, pays his father's debts and promises to reform the Court. Let
us see what he does. The brilliant but profligate Buckingham is retained
as prime minister. Charles marries the beautiful Henrietta Maria, the
Roman Catholic princess of France. He fits out fleets against Spain and
other quarters, and demands heavy taxes to meet his heavy expenses.
Parliament is on its dignity, and demands its proper recognition. He
dissolves it, and calls another. That is more rebellious, and that he
summarily dissolves. Men of high and low degree go to prison at the
king's behest, and the disobedient were threatened with severer

The people of England are aroused, as the king of the earth sets himself
against their claims in behalf of the royal prerogative. The king and
the people are at war. Which will come off conquerer? There is only one
answer to that question, for the battle is one between the pigmy and the
giant. The contest grows sharper as the months go on, and the people are
in constant alarm. Murders are common, and even Buckingham, the favorite
minister, dies at the point of the assassin's knife, and the murderer
goes to the Tower and the scaffold accompanied by the tumultuous cheers
of London. Soon comes the Parliament of 1629, in which the popular
leaders make their great remonstrance against the regal tyranny. In that
House sat a plain young man, with ordinary cloth apparel, as if made by
an old-country tailor, "his countenance swollen and reddish, his voice
sharp and untonable," with "an eloquence full of fervor." That young man
is yet to be heard from. His name is Cromwell, known in history as
Oliver Cromwell. His briefly-reported speech of six lines is destined to
be weightier than the edicts of a king. The session was brief. Popery
and Arminianism, unjust taxation and voluntary payment of taxes not
ordered by Parliament, were declared treasonable and hostile principles
in Church and State,--so said Parliament. "You are a Parliament of
vipers,"--so said the king; and, on the tenth of March, Parliament was
dissolved, not to meet again in the old historic hall for eleven long
years; until, in 1640, the majesty of an outraged people rises superior
to the majesty of an outraging ruler. Now follow the attempted riveting
of the chains of a despotic and unscrupulous power, which does not
understand the temper of the common people, nor the methods of
counteracting a great popular upheaval in society.

It is not easy to resist the iron pressure of a tyrant; but, to our
ancestors, it was far better than to accept the peace and profit which
might follow abject submission. To borrow the words of De Tocqueville:
"They cling to freedom for its native charms independent of its
gifts,--the pleasure of speaking, acting, and breathing without
restraint, under no master but God and the Law." The Englishmen of the
first half of the seventeenth century were the fathers of the men who
fired shots at Lexington and Concord, "heard round the world."

But how do the royal prerogatives affect our ancestors in England? Our
fathers were of common mould, and feel the unjust demand of the
tax-gatherer and the insolent demeanor of the Crown officers, who
threaten fines and imprisonment for a refusal to obey. The people are
aroused and are united; some are hopeless, some hopeful. The Crown seems
to have its sway, but the far-sighted see the people on the coming
throne of righteous judgement. What troubles our ancestors most is the
interference with their religious life. Archbishop Laud is now supreme,
and the Pope never had a more willing vassal. Ministers are examined as
to their loyalty to the government, their sermons are read to private
judges of their orthodoxy, the confessional is established, and the
alter-service is restored. It is a time when earnest men and women
cannot be trifled with on soul concerns. Their property may perish or be
confiscated, but the right to unmolested worship is older than Magna
Charta, and as inalienable as life itself. What is to be done?
Resistance or emigration--which? Resist and die, say Cromwell and
Wentworth, Eliot and Hampden. Emigrate and live, say the men and women
who came by thousands from all parts of England during the reign of this
monarch, and made possible the permanent establishment of a new society,
on the basis of social order and family life.

       *       *       *       *       *



On the afternoon of the twenty-sixth of May, 1686, two horsemen were
riding from Boston to Cambridge. By which route they left the town is
now known; but most probably over the Roxbury Neck, following the path
taken by Lord Percy when he went to the relief of Lieutenant-Colonel
Smith's ill-starred expedition to seize the military stores at Concord,
on the nineteenth of April, 1775. Of the nature of their errand--whether
peaceful or hostile,--of the subject of their conversation, as they rode
along the King's highway, neither history nor tradition has left any
account. But when they had reached Muddy River, now the beautiful suburb
of Brookline, about two miles from Cambridge, they were met by a young
man riding in the opposite direction, who, as he came against them,
abruptly and without other salutation, said: "God save King James the
Second!" and then rode on. But soon turning his horse towards the
travelers he most inconsequentially completed his sentence by adding,
"But I say, God curse King James!" and this malediction he repeated so
many times and with such vehemence, that the two horsemen at last turned
their horses and riding up to him, told him plainly that he was a rogue.
This expression of their opinion produced, however, only a slight
modification of the young man's sentiments, to this form: "God curse
King James and God bless Duke James!" But a few strokes of their whips
effected his complete conversion, and then, as a loyal subject, he
exclaimed: "God curse Duke James, and God bless King James!"

Such is the unadorned statement of facts as sworn to the next day in the
Council by these riders, and their oath was attested by Edward Randolph,
the "evil genius of New England." I present it in its legal baldness of
detail. The two horsemen are no reminiscence of Mr. James's celebrated
opening, but two substantial citizens of Boston, Captain Peter Bowden
and Dr. Thomas Clarke; and the young man with somewhat original
objurgatory tendencies was one Wiswell, as they called him--presumably
not a son of the excellent Duxbury parson of the same name; and for the
same reason, even less probably, a student of Cambridge University, as
it was at that early day sometimes called.

The original paper in which the foregoing facts are recorded has long
been in my possession; and as often as my eye has rested on it, I have
wondered what made that young man swear so; and by what nicety of moral
discrimination he found his justification in blessing the Duke and
cursing the King--"unus et idem"--in the same breath. Who and what was
he? and of what nature were his grievances? Was there any political
significance in that strange mingling of curses and blessings? That his
temper was not of martyr firmness was evident enough from the sudden
change in the current of his thoughts brought about by the tingling of
the horsewhip. All else was mystery. But the commonest knowledge of the
English and colonial history of those days was sufficient to stimulate
conjecture on these points. At the date of the incident recorded James
II had been on the throne more than a year, and for a long time both as
duke and king had been hated and feared on both sides of the ocean. The
Duke of Monmouth's ill-fated adventure for the Crown had failed at
Sedgemoor, and his young life ended on the block, denied expected mercy
by his uncle, the king: ended on the block: but not so believed the
common people of England. They believed him to be still living, and the
legitimate heir to the British crown, and that his unnatural uncle was
only Duke James of England. In those days English affairs were more
closely followed by the colonists than at present, and for obvious
reasons; and it is quite open to conjecture at least that the feelings
of English yeomen and artisans were known to, and shared by, their
cousins in Massachusetts Bay, and that Master Wiswell only gave
expression to a sentiment common to people of his class on both sides
the water.

This, however, is mere conjecture. But there are important facts. On the
preceding day, in the Town House, which stood at the head of State
Street, where the old State House now stands, events culminated, in
comparison with which the causes which led to the war of the Revolution
sink into utter insignificance. On the twenty-third of October, 1684, in
the High Court of Chancery of England, judgment was entered on the writ
of _scire facias_, by which the charter of Massachusetts Bay was
vacated; and as a consequence, the title to the soil, with all
improvements, reverted to the Crown, to the ruin of those who had
wrested it from the wilderness, and guarded it from the savage foe. The
old government, so endeared to the people, and defended against kingly
assault with the truest courage, was swept away by arbitrary power, and
in its place a new one established, under the presidency of Joseph
Dudley, and he a recreant son of the colony. It was the inauguration of
this government which had taken place on the day before Captain Bowden
and Dr. Clarke encountered John Wiswell, Jr., on their ride to
Cambridge. There ceremonies of the inauguration were not without
circumstances of pomp, and are set forth in the Council records at the
State House, from which I transcribe the following incidents: When the
new government, the president, and Council were assembled, the
exemplification of the judgment against the charter of the late governor
and company of the Massachusetts Bay, in New England, publicly (in the
court where were present divers of the eminent ministers, gentlemen, and
inhabitants of the town and country) was read with an audible voice. The
commission was read and the oaths administered, and the new president
made his speech, after which, proclamation was openly read in court, and
commanded to be published by beat of drum and trumpet, which was
accordingly done.

The people in the Forum heard these drum and trumpets--young Wiswell,
doubtless, with the rest--and knew what they signified: the confiscation
of houses and lands; the abrogation of existing laws; taxes exacted
without consent or legislation; the enforced support of a religion not
of the people's choice; and navigation laws ruinous to their foreign
commerce, then beginning to assume importance; and from these
consequences they were saved only by the revolution, which two years
later drove James II from his throne. It is difficult to credit these
sober facts of history, and still more to fully realize their
destructive import; but they should always be borne in mind; for if any
one reflecting on the causes assigned by the leaders of the great
Revolution, as justifying the violent partition of an empire, is led for
a moment to question their sufficiency, let him then consider that they
were assigned by a people full of the traditions of the long struggle
against kingly injustice, in the days of the second Charles and the
second James.

A few words--the result of later investigation--as to the actors in the
events of this ride to Cambridge. When Bowden and Clarke had attested
their loyalty by horsewhipping young Wiswell, they took him in charge to
Cambridge, and vainly tried to persuade Nathaniel Hancock, the
constable, to carry him before a magistrate. This refusal brought
_him_ into difficulty with Council; but his humble submission was
finally accepted and he was discharged on payment of costs, on the plea
that upon the change of the government there was no magistrate
authorized to commit him to prison. Not quite so fortunate was John
Wiswell, Jr., for on the third of August the grand jury found a true
bill against him for uttering "these devilish, unnatural, and wicked
words following, namely, _God curse King James_." That he was
brought to trial on this complaint I cannot find. And so the actors in
these scenes pass away. Of Bowden and Clarke I know nothing more; and
the little which appears of John Wiswell's subsequent life is not wholly
to his credit, I am sorry to say, and the more so, as I have recently
discovered that he was once a townsman of mine, and doubtless a playmate
of my kindred at Rumney Marsh.

These actors have all gone, and so has gone the old Town House; not so,
as yet, let us heartily thank God, has gone the old State House which
stands where that stood; on the one spot--if there is but one--which
ought to be dear to the heart of every Bostonian, and sacred from his
violating hand. For here, on the spot of that eastern balcony, looking
down into the old Puritan Forum, what epochs in our history have been
announced: the abrogation of the First Charter--the deposition of
Andros--the inauguration of the Second Charter--the death and accession
of English sovereigns--the Declaration of Independence, and the adoption
of the Constitution of the United States; and here still stands the
grandest historic edifice in America, and within it?--why add to the
hallowing words of old John Adams?--"Within its walls Liberty was born!"

      *       *       *       *       *



It was a beautiful morning in June. The sun was just peeping through the
pines fringing the eastern horizon; fleecy mists were rising, like
"ghosts of the valley," from every brook and low place in field and
pasture, betokening a warm, fair day. As I opened the heavy front door
of Mr. Wetherell's old gambrel-roofed house, and stepped out onto the
large flat stone at the door-sill, every blade of grass was glistening
with dew-drops; such a sweetness pervaded the air as one only realizes
when the dew is on the grass and bushes. At my right, close to the
door-stone, a large bush of southern-wood, or man's-first-love, was
growing; just beyond it and under the "middle-room" windows two large,
white-rose bushes were bending beneath the weight of a multitude of
roses and buds. A large yellow-rose bush claimed the left, and spread
itself over the ground. Single red roses were standing guard at the
corner of the house. A rod or more below the front door the garden fence
stood and looked as if it had been standing for many a year. It was made
of palings, pointed; I should think it was five feet high. The posts had
begun to lean into the garden and the palings were covered with a short
green moss, which seemed soft and growing in the dew. The old gate swung
itself to after me with a bang, and I noticed that a string with a brick
fastened to it and tied to the gate at one end, and twisted around a
stake driven into the ground a few feet from the gate, was the cause of
its closing so quickly. Red-cherry trees loaded with small green
cherries were growing on one side of the garden; purple-plum trees
skirted the other side; and I knew full well how two months later those
creased, mouldy-looking plums would be found hiding in the short, green
grass beneath the trees.

Peach-trees were leaning over the fence in the southeast corner; a long
row of red-currant bushes ran through the middle of the garden; English
gooseberry bushes threw out their prickly branches laden with round,
woolly fruit at the north end. Rows of hyssop, rue, saffron, and sage,
and beds of lettuce, pepper-grass, and cives, all had their place in
this old-fashioned garden. In the southwest corner an immense
black-currant bush was growing on both sides of the fence. Out in the
field below the garden two Bell-pear trees, as large as elms, were
bending their branches, loaded with fruit, a luscious promise for the
autumn-time. A button-pear tree, just beyond, was making up in quantity
what its fruit lacked in quality.

While I was exploring this well-cultivated spot, Mrs. Wetherell called
me to breakfast. The kitchen was a large room, running across one end of
the house; it had four windows in it, two east and two west. All this
space was filled with the fragrance of coffee and cornmeal bannocks.

Mrs. Wetherell said: "I don't know as you will like your coffee
sweetened in the pot, but I always make ours so."

I assured her I should.

During breakfast Mr. Wetherell passed me some cheese, and I asked Mrs.
Wetherell if she made cheese.

"Not this month," she replied, "in July and August I shall. I am packing
butter now."

"Do you think you are going to be contented back here?--you won't see as
much going on as you do at home," Mr. Wetherell asked me.

"O, yes," I answered; "I expect to enjoy myself very much."

Samanthy, the daughter, now well advanced in life, seemed very solemn
and said very little. I wondered if she were sick, or unhappy. A little
later in the day, while I was watching Mrs. Wetherell salt a churning of
butter in the back porch, she said to me: "You mustn't mind Samanthy,
she isn't quite right in her head: a good many years ago she had a sad
blow." She hesitated; I disliked to ask her what it was, so I said "Poor
woman!" "Yes," said her mother, "she is a poor soul. She was expecting
to be married to Eben Johnson, a young man who worked on our new barn.
She got acquainted with him then, and after a year or so they were
promised. Eben was a good fellow, a j'iner by trade. He lived in the
village. In the fall before they would have been married, in the spring,
he had typhoid fever, and they sent for Samanthy. She went and took care
of him three weeks, and then he died. She came home, and seemed like one
in a maze. After a little while she was took with the fever, and liked
to died, and my two girls, Margaret and Frances, both had it and died
with it. Samanthy has never been the same since she got well. Her health
has been good, but her mind is weak." I had noticed that Mrs. Wetherell
seemed very much broken in health and spirits, and after hearing this
story I did not wonder that the blows of Providence had weakened her
hold on life.

Samanthy was very shy of me at first, but after a few days she would
talk in her disjointed way with me.

One morning I was out in the well-house. The well was very deep, and by
leaning over the curb, and by putting one's arms around one's head, one
could see the stars mirrored in the bottom of the dark old well.
Samanthy came out for some water, while I was star-gazing in this way.
She said: "What you lost?"

"O, nothing. I am only looking at the stars."

Samanthy looked as if she thought I might be more profitably engaged. I
took hold of the handle of the windlass, swung off the great oaken
bucket, and watched it descend its often-traveled course, bumping
against the wet, slippery rocks with which the well was stoned.

Samanthy said: "You can't pull that up; it's heavy."

"Let me try," I said. "I never drew water with a windlass."

I had a much harder task than I supposed, but succeeded in swinging the
bucket onto the platform of the curb, and turned the water into
Samanthy's pail. I never asked permission to draw another bucketful.

I noticed below the well a large mound, grass-grown, with an apple-tree
growing on its very top. I wondered how it came there, and one day asked
Mr. Wetherell.

He said: "That's where we threw the rocks and gravel out of the well
fifty years ago; we never moved it. It grassed over, and the apple-tree
came up there; it bears a striped apple, crisp and sour."

I thought, What a freak of Nature! and I wished that many more piles of
rubbish might be transformed into such a pretty spot as this.

Below the mound stood the old hollow tree; its trunk was low and very
large, one side had rotted away, leaving it nearly hollow. Still there
was trunk enough left for the sap to run up; and every year it was
loaded with fruit.

Close by the path across the field to the road stood the Pang
apple-tree. This tree was named Pang because a dog by that name was
sleeping his last sleep beneath the tree. He was much beloved by the
family. I thought, What a pretty place to be buried in! and a living
monument to mark his grave. From the stories I heard of Pang, I know he
must have been a fine dog, and I should have liked to have known him.

Just back of the house stood the cider-house. At this season of the year
the wood for summer use was stored there, but in autumn all the
neighbors brought their apples, and ground them into cider. Samanthy
told me how she used to clean the cider nuts with a shingle; this was
when she was small.

She said: "A cousin of mine, living at Beech Ridge, got his arm caught
while cleaning the pummy out, and ground it all up. After that father
was afraid for we children to do it."

Back of the building I saw thousands of little apple-trees, growing from
the pomace which was shoveled out there year after year.

The loft, over the part where the cider-mill was, was the corn-house. I
went up over the wide plank stairs and looked around.

Traces of snapping-corn and of white-pudding corn were hanging over a
pole at one end. A large chest, filled with different kinds of beans,
stood at one side. On the plates which supported the rafters, marks made
in this wise--[Symbol: Tally mark of 5]--told of the bushels of corn
carried up there and spread on the clean, white floor.

These marks had been made by many hands, and I wondered where they were
now. Some undoubtedly were sleeping the

  "Sleep that knows not breaking:
  Morn of toil, nor night of waking."

Others, perhaps, were making their mark somewhere else.

"Independence Day," as Mr. Wetherell called it, was observed in a very
liberal manner on the farm. A lamb was slaughtered, green peas were
picked, and a plum-pudding made.

Lemonade, made of sparkling spring water, was a common drink. Mr.
Wetherell told me how his father always kept the day. He brought out the
large blue punchbowl and square cut-glass decanters, which his father
used on such occasions.

The next morning after the Fourth, I started out through the field for
the pasture. The grass was tall, and it waved gently in the morning
breeze. The whiteweed and clover sent forth an agreeable perfume. In the
low ground buttercups were shining like gold dollars, sprinkled through
the tall herdsgrass. Yellow-weed, the farmer's scourge, held up its
brown and yellow head in defiance.

On a knoll, a little before I reached the graveyard, I passed over a
piece of ground where the winter had killed the grass roots. Here I
found sorrel, cinque-foil, and a few bunches of blue-eyed grass growing.
Nature seemed to try to conceal the barrenness of the spot with beauty.
It was a grave, decorated.

Off to my right, in a piece of rank grass, where branches of dock had
sprung up, bobolinks were swinging the pale, green sprays, filling the
air with melody. "Bobolink, bobolink, spirk, spank, spink, chee, chee,

I knew that "Mrs. Robert of Lincoln" was sitting contentedly on her
little round nest, under a tuft of grass, very near the sweet singer. I
paused at the graveyard, and looked over the wall. I read: "Margaret and
Frances Wetherell, daughters of John and Hannah Wetherell, aged 18 and
20 years." I knew these were the girls who had died of the fever; a twin
gravestone had been put up to their graves. Another stone told of a
little girl, two and a half years old--Catherine. I reckoned up the
date, and had she been living, she would have been over forty years old.
Many other stones stood there, but I left them without reading the
inscriptions, and hastened on to the pines.

I stepped over the low wall between the field and pasture and walked
down by the brook until I came to the Stony Bridge. This I crossed and
followed up on the broad wheelpath. The pines smelled so sweet: the
grass was short and green: everything seemed calm and cool. I sat down
by a large Norway pine and watched the birds. Right below me I saw a
fox-hole, with the entrance so barricaded with sticks and stones, that I
felt very sure poor Reynard must have been captured unless he dug out
somewhere else. I began to walk around. Six or seven feet to the south
of the besieged door, I discovered another entrance. I don't know
whether some animal was still living in the old house, or no: but this
hole looked as if it were used. A little pine grew in front, a juniper
made its roof and spread its fine branches over the door, squaw vines
and checkerberry leaves grew on either side.

I walked on in the wheelpath. On the north side many tall Norway pines
were growing, with white pines scattered here and there. Crimson
polygalas were carpeting the ground in open spaces; pale anemones and
delicate star-flowers were still blooming under the protection of small
pines; wild strawberries were blossoming in cold places; and I wondered
when they would fruit.

Finally I came to an open field, or what looked like land that had been
cultivated. Hosts of bluets and plots of mouse-ear everlasting, had
taken possession of the land. Small pines were scattered here and there,
like settlers in a new country. Junipers were creeping stealthily in, as
if expecting the axe. There were traces of where a fence had run along.
I concluded that this was years ago a field, but now the cows roamed
over it at will.

Going around in the edge of the woods I came to four pines growing from
one root; two grew on each side close together, and left a fine seat
between the pairs. I sat down there, and felt thankful that I was
living, and that my abiding-place was among the granite hills of New

Soon I saw something move a few rods beyond me in the woods. I looked
again and saw the finest woodchuck I ever saw. He stood in a listening
attitude. I suppose he had heard me, but had not seen me. His fur was
yellow and brown mixed; his nose and feet were black; his countenance
was expressive of lively concern. He disappeared and I left my sylvan
seat, and walked up where the woodchuck had been standing. I found his
home and numerous little tracks around the door. I hastened off, because
I feared my presence would worry him.

I knew it must be near noontime, so I began to retrace my way. I walked
up through the pasture and passed the "Great Ledge." This ledge was on
the side of a steep hill. One side of it was perpendicular thirty feet.
It was covered with crisp, gray moss. In the chinks and crannies on the
top, short grass was growing in little bunches.

As I followed down in the lane which led from the pasture to the
cow-yard, striped squirrels were playfully skipping through the
dilapidated wall, coming out, and disappearing; sitting down and putting
their forefeet up to their faces as if they were convulsed with laughter
to think how the old black-and-white cat had gone to sleep lying on the
wall in the sun, only a few rods below them.

Dinner was ready, as I expected. I told Mrs. Wetherell of my walk over
the Stony Bridge.

"Yes," she said. "Years ago, when I kept geese, one night I went out to
feed them and I found that they hadn't come. I knew something must be
the matter. I started for the brook. When I got out on the hill by the
graveyard, I heard the gander making an awful noise. I hurried on, and,
when I got to the corner of the field, I found a fox jumping at the old
gander as he was walking back and forth in front of the geese and
goslings. I screeched and the fox run. The geese came right up to me. I
was pretty pleased to save them. I had two geese and thirteen goslings
beside the gander."

I said: "Is that a ledge out in the field where sumachs and birches are

Mrs. Wetherell said: "Yes; and that piece of ground is where Father
Wetherell raised the last piece of flax. I don't suppose you ever saw
any growing?"

"No," I said. "Only in gardens. A field must be very handsome."

"Yes, the flower is a bluish purple, with a little yellow dot in the

I asked her when they cut it.

"O, they never cut it; they pulled it after the seeds got ripe; then
they would beat the seeds out of the pods. These pods look like little
varnished balls. When the seed was out, the flax was laid in a wet place
in the field for weeks; occasionally the men would turn it over. When it
was well rotted they dried it and put it up in the barn until March.
Then Father Wetherell would take it down and brake it in the brake.
After that he would swingle it over a swingling-board, with a long
knife; then he made it into hands of flax. The women used to take it
next and comb it through a flax-comb; this got out all the shives and
tow. There was a tow which came out when it was swingled, called swingle
tow. Mother Wetherell said that, years before, when she was young she
used to use this to make meal-bags and under-bedticks of. But I never
used any of it."

I asked her how they used the flax after it was combed.

"Then it was wound onto the distaff."

"What was that?" Mrs. Wetherell smiled at my ignorance, but proceeded
kindly to explain.

"A distaff was made of a small pine top. They peeled off the bark, and
when it was dry, tied down the ends, and put the other end onto the
standard of the wheel. Then they would commence and wind on the flax. A
hand of flax would fill it. I used to be a pretty good hand to spin tow
on a big wheel, but I never could spin linen very even. Old Aunt Joanna
used to spin linen thread; and Mother Wetherell used to buy great skeins
of her. She said it was cheaper to buy than to spend so much time

Mrs. Wetherell told me that I should go up in the garret and see the
wheels and all the old machinery used so long ago.

That evening I asked Mr. Wetherell: "Has there ever been a field beyond
the pines?"

"Yes," he said: "Father cleared that piece nigh onto eighty year ago. We
always called it 'the field back of the pines.' When father got old, and
I kinder took the lead, I said we better turn that field out into the
paster. He felt bad about it at first, but when I told him how much work
it was to haul the manure over there, and the crops back, he gave in.
Them Norrerway pines are marster old; I s'pose they'd stood there a
hundred and fifty year."

I felt a thrill of pity for the old man, now at rest. He must have been
nearly at the base of life's western slope, when he rescued those few
acres from the forest. The little field was his pride, I think it ought
to have been left, while he lived.

One morning when Lucy, as Mrs. Wetherell called her, was washing at the
farm, she said to me: "Did you ever have your fortin told?" I answered,

"Well," she said, "I dunno as I b'lieve all they say, but some can tell
pretty well. Did you ever try any projects?"

"No. How is that done?" I asked.

"O! there's ever so many! One is, you pick two of them big thistles
'fore they are bloomed out, then you name 'em and put 'em under your
piller; the one that blooms out fust will be the one you will marry.
'Nuther one is to walk down cellar at twelve o'clock at night,
backwards, with a looking-glass in your hand. You will see your man's
face in the glass. But there! I don't know as its best to act so. You
know how Foster got sarved?"

"No. How was it?"

"Why! Didn't you never hear? Well, Foster told the Devil if he would let
him do and have all he wanted for so many year, when the time was out,
he would give himself, soul and body, to the Devil. He signed the
writing with his blood; Foster carried on a putty high hand, folks was
afear'd of him. When the time was up, the Devil came: I guess they had a
tough battle. Folks said they never heard such screams, and in the
morning his legs and arms was found scattered all over the cowyard."

I recognized in this tragic story, Marlowe's Faustus. I was much amused
at Lucy's rendering.

A few weeks afterwards she told me how the house where she lived was
haunted. I asked her, "Who haunts it?"

"Why!" she said, "it's a woman. She walks up and down them old stairs,
dressed in white, looking so sorrowfullike, I know there must have been
foul play. And then such noises as we hear overhead! My man says that
it's rats. Rats! I know better!"

I thought that Lucy wanted to believe in ghosts, so I didn't try to
reason with her,--

  "For a man convinced against his will
   Is of the same opinion still."

Lucy was quite an old woman; and I used to think that washing was too
hard work for her; but she seemed very happy. All the while she was
rubbing the clothes over the wooden washboard, or wringing them out with
her hands, she would be singing old-fashioned songs, such as Jimmy and
Nancy, Auld Robin Gray, and another one beginning "In Springfield
mountain there did dwell." It was very sad!

These songs were chanted, all in one tune. If the words had not been
quaint, and suggestive of a century or more ago, I think the
entertainment would have been monotonous,

Lucy brought the news of the neighborhood. One morning she came in, and
said: "John King's folks thinks an awful sight of themselves, sence
Calline has been off. She has sot herself up marsterly. They have gone
to work now and painted all the trays and paint-kags they can find red,
and filled them with one thing another, and set them round the house. No
good will come of that! When you see every thing painted red, look out
for war; it's a sure sign."

One evening late in summer, when I came in from a walk through the
fields, I found in the back porch all the implements for cheese-making.
Mrs. Wetherell said: "It's too warm to make butter, now dog-days have
come in, so I am going to make cheese."

That night all the milk was strained into the large tub. The next
morning this milk was stirred and the morning's milk strained into it.
Then Mrs. Wetherell warmed a kettleful and poured into the tub, and
tried it with her finger to see if it was warm enough. She said: "My
rennet is rather weak, so I have to use considerable."

After she had turned the rennet in, she laid the cheese-tongs across the
tub, and spread a homespun tablecloth over it, and looking up to me, she
said: "In an hour or so that will come."

I made it my business, when the hour was out, to be back in the porch.
Mrs. Wetherell was stirring up the thick white curd, and dipping out the
pale green whey, with a little wooden dish. After she had "weighed it,"
she mixed in salt thoroughly. She asked me to hand her her cheese-hoop
and cloth, which were lying on the table behind me. She put one end of
the cloth into the hoop and commenced filling it with curd, pressing it
down with her hand. When it was nearly full she slipped up the hoop a
little: "to give it a chance to press," she said. After this, she put
the cheese between two cheese-boards, in the press, and began to turn
the windlass-like machine, to bring the weights down.

"Now," said she, "I shall let this stay in press all day, then I shall
put it in pickle for twenty-four hours. The next night I shall rub it
dry with a towel, and put it up in the cheese-room. Now comes the
tug-o'-war! I have to watch them close to keep the flies out."

The forerunners of autumn had already touched the hillsides, and my
thoughts were turning homeward, when one Saturday morning Mr. Wetherell
came in and said: "Miss Douglass, don't you want to ride up to the
paster? I'm going up to salt the steers."

Mrs. Wetherell hastened to add: "Yes, you go; you hain't had a ride
since you been here. Old Darby ain't fast, but he's good."

Eagerly I accepted the invitation, and in a few minutes we set off.

Darby was a great strong white horse, with minute brown spots all over
him. Mr. Wetherell told me stories of all the people, as Darby shuffled
by their houses, raising a big cloud of dust.

When we came to a sandy stretch of road, Mr. Wetherell said: "This is
what we call the Plains. Here is where we used to have May trainings,
years and years ago. Once they had a sham-fight, and I thought I should
have died a-laughing. I was nothing but a boy. We always thought so much
of the gingerbread we got at training; I used to save my money to spend
on that day. Once, when I was about thirteen year old, a _passel_
of us boys got together to talk over training. Jim Barrows said that old
Miss Hammet (she lived over behind the hill there) had got a cake baked,
with plums in it, for training, and was going to have five cents a slice
for it. He said: 'Now, if the rest of you will go into the house and
talk with her, I will climb into the foreroom window, and hook the cake
out of the three-cornered cupboard.' We all agreed. I went in, and
commenced to talk with the old woman; some of the boys leaned up against
the door that opened into the foreroom. After a little while we went out
and met Jim, down by the spring, and we ate the cake. Some way a-nother
it didn't taste so good as we expected. There was an awful outscreech
when she found it out. Jim was a mighty smart fellar. He married a girl
from Cranberry Medder, and they went down East. I have heard that they
were doing fust-rate."

After riding for some time through low, woody places, where the grass
grew on each side of the horse's track, we came to the main traveled
road. Thistles were blooming and going to seed, all on one stock.
Flax-birds were flying among them filling the air with their sweet
notes. Soon we turned into a lane, and came to the pasture-bars, Mr.
Wetherell said: "You stay here with Darby, and I will drive the steers
up to the bars, and salt them."

I got out of the wagon, and unchecked Darby's head, and led him up to a
plot of white clover, to get a lunch. Nature seemed to have made an
uneven distribution of foretop and fetlock in Darby's case, his foretop
was so scanty and his fetlocks so heavy. A fringe of long hairs stood
out on his forelegs from his body to his feet, giving him quite a savage
look. As I looked down at his large flat feet, I felt glad that he
didn't have to travel over macadamized roads.

I sat down on some logs which were lying at one side, and listened to
the worms sawing away, under the bark.

Soon Mr. Wetherell came back with the steers, and dropped the salt down
in spots. We watched them lick it up.

I asked Mr. Wetherell why those logs were left there.

"O, Bascom is a poor, shiftless kind of a critter. I s'pose the snow
went off before he got ready to haul them to the mill; but if he had
peeled them in June or July, they would have been all right; but now
they will be about sp'iled by the worms."

Mr. Wetherell got Darby turned around after much backing and getting up,
for the lane was narrow, and we started homeward.

As we rode slowly along, Mr. Wetherell asked me: "Have you ever been to
the beach?"

I told him, "Yes, and I enjoyed it."

He said: "I always liked to go, but Mis' Wetherell has a dread of the
water, ever since her brother Judson was drowned."

"Was he a sailor?" I asked.

"Yes, he was a sea-capt'n. He married a Philadelphy woman, and they
sailed in the brig Florilla. She was wrecked on the coast of Ireland.
She run on a rock, and broke her in two amidships. Her cargo was cotton,
the bales floated in ashore, and formed a bridge for a second or so. The
first mate and one of the sailors ran in on this bridge, but the next
wave took them out and scattered them, and there was no way to save the
rest. Judson and his wife, and all the crew, except the mate and one
sailor, were all drowned. The mate stayed there for some time, and
buried the bodies which washed ashore. He found Judson's body first, and
had most given up finding his wife's, when one day she washed into a
little cove, and he buried them side by side. He came here to our house,
and told us all about it. It was awful. It completely upsot Mis'
Wetherell. Her health has been poor for a good many year. She has bad
neuralgy spells."

"Come, Darby, get up! you are slower than a growth of white oaks."

After several vigorous jerks, Darby started off at a long, swinging
gait, and we soon reached home.

Only once more did I watch the sun go down behind the western hills,
lighting them up with a flood of crimson light; while a tender, subdued
gleam rested for a moment on the eastern summits, like the gentle kiss a
mother gives her babe, when she slips him off her arm to have his nap.

       *       *       *       *       *


[On hearing them in the hill country of New Hampshire, September, 1880.]

  "The far-off sound of holy bells."

  How the sweet chimes this Sunday morn,
      'Mid autumn's requiem,
  Across the mountain valleys borne,--
      The bells of Bethlehem!
  "Come join with us," they seem to say,
  "And celebrate this hallowed day!"

  Our hearts leap up with glad accord--
      Judea's Bethlehem strain,
  That once ascended to the Lord,
      Floats back to earth again,
  As round _our_ hills the echoes swell
  To "God with us, Emanuel!"

  O Power Divine, that led the star
      To Mary's sinless Child!
  O ray from heaven that beamed afar
      And o'er his cradle smiled!
  Help us to worship now with them
  Who hailed the Christ at Bethlehem!

_James T. Fields, in The Granite Monthly._

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: Boston and Vicinity. _Compiled and Drawn by
Col. Carrington_]



[Author of The Battles of the American Revolution, etc.]

By order of the President of the United States, a national salute was
fired, at meridian, on the twenty-fourth day of December, 1883, as a
memorial recognition of the one hundreth anniversary of the surrender by
George Washington, on the twenty-third day of December, 1783, at
Annapolis, of his commission as commander-in-chief of the patriotic
forces of America. This official order declares "the fitness of
observing that memorable act, which not only signalized the termination
of the heroic struggle of seven years for independence, but also
manifested Washington's devotion to the great principle, that ours is a
civil government, of and by the people."

The closing sentence of Washington's order, dated April 18, 1783, may
well be associated with this latest centennial observance. As he
directed a cessation of hostilities, his joyous faith, jubilant and
prophetic, thus forecast the future: "Happy, thrice happy! shall they be
pronounced, hereafter, who have contributed anything, who have performed
the meanest office, in erecting this stupendous fabric of freedom and
empire, on the broad basis of independence,--who have assisted in
protecting the rights of human nature, and establishing an asylum for
the poor and oppressed of all nations and religions."

The two acts of Washington, thus associated, were but the fruition of
deliberate plans which were formulated in the trenches about Boston. The
"centennial week of years," which has so signally brought into bold
relief the details of single battles and has imparted fresh interest to
many localities which retain no visible trace of the scenes which endear
them to the American heart, has inclined the careless observer to regard
the battles of the War for Independence as largely accidental, and the
result of happy, or even of Providential, circumstances, rather than as
the fruit of well-considered plans which were shaped with full
confidence in success.

Battles and campaigns have been separated from their true relation to
the war, as a systematic conflict, in which the strategic issue was
sharply defined; and too little notice has been taken of the fact that
Washington took the aggressive from his first assumption of command. The
title "Fabius of America" was freely conferred upon him after his
success at Trenton; but there was a subtle sentiment embodied in that
very tribute, which credited him with the political sagacity of the
patriot and statesman, more than with the genius of a great soldier. All
contemporaries admitted that he was judicious in the use of the
resources placed at his command, that he was keen to use raw troops to
the best possible disposal, and took quick advantage of every
opportunity which afforded relief to his poorly-fed and poorly-equipped
troops, in meeting the British and Hessian regulars; but there were few
who penetrated his real character and rightly estimated the scope of his
strategy and the sublime grandeur of his faith.

The battles of that war (each is its place) have had their immediate
results well defined. To see, as clearly their exact place in relation
to the entire struggle, and that they were the legitimate sequence of
antecedent preparation, requires that the preparation itself shall be

The camps, redoubts, and trenches, which engirdled Boston during its
siege, were so many appliances in the practical training-school of war,
which Washington promptly seized, appropriated, and developed. The
capture of Boston was not the chief aim of Washington, when, on the
third day of July, 1775, he established his headquarters at Cambridge.
Boston was, indeed, the immediate objective point of active operations,
and the issue, at arms, had been boldly made at Lexington and Concord.
Bunker Hill had practically emancipated the American yeomanry from the
dread of British arms, and foreshadowed the finality of National
Independence. However the American Congress might temporize, there was
not alternative with Washington, but a steady purpose to achieve
complete freedom. From his arrival at Cambridge, until his departure for
New York, he worked with a clear and serene confidence in the final
result of the struggle. A mass of earnest men had come together, with
the stern resolve to drive the British out of Boston; but the patriotism
and zeal of those who first begirt the city were not directed to a
protracted and universal colonial resistance. To the people of
Massachusetts there came an instant demand, imperative as the question
of life or death, to fight out the issue, even if alone and
single-handed, against the oppressor. Without waiting for reports from
distant colonies as to the effect of the skirmish at Lexington and the
more instructive and stimulating experience at Breed's Hill, the penned
the British in Boston and determined to drive them from the land. Dr.
Dwight said of Lexington: "The expedition became the preface to the
history of a nation, the beginning of an empire, and a theme of
disquisition and astonishment to the civilized world."

The battle of Bunker Hill equalized the opposing forces. The issue
changed from that of a struggle of legitimate authority to suppress
rebellion, and became a context, between Englishmen, for the
suppression, or the perpetuation, of the rights of Magna Charta.

The siege of Boston assumed a new character as soon as it became a part
of the national undertaking to emancipate the Colonies, on and all, and
thereby establish one great Republic.

From the third of July, 1775, until the seventeenth of March, 1776,
there was gradually developed a military policy with an army system,
which shaped the whole war.

Many battles have been styled "decisive." many slow tortures of the
oppressed have prepared the way for heroic defiance of the oppressor.
Many elaborate preparations have been made for war, when at last some
sudden outrage or event has precipitated and unlooked-for conflict, and
all preparations, however wisely adjusted, have been made in vain. "I
strike to-night!" was the laconic declaration of Napoleon III, as he
informed his proud and beautiful empress, that "the battalions of France
were moving on the Rhine." The march of Lord Percy to Concord was
designed to clip off, short, the seriously impending resistance of the
people to British authority. With full recognition of all that had been
done, before the arrival of Washington to assume command of the
besieging militia, _as the "Continental Army" of America_, there
are facts which mark the months of that siege, as months of that wise
preparation which ensured the success of the war. Washington at once
took the offensive. He was eminently aggressive; but neither hasty nor
rash. Baron Jomini said that "Napoleon discounted time." So did
Washington. Baron Jomini said, also, that "Napoleon was his own best
chief-of-staff." So, pre-eminently, was Washington.

The outlook at Cambridge, on the third of July, 1775, revealed the
presence of a host of hastily-gathered and rudely-armed, earnest men,
well panoplied, indeed, in the invulnerable armor of loyalty to country
and to God; fearless, self-sacrificing, daring death to secure liberty;
but lacking that discipline, cohesion, and organized assignment to place
and duty, which convert a mass of men into an army of soldiers.
Washington stated the case, fairly, in the terse expression: "They have
been accustomed, officers and men alike, to have their own way too long

The rapidly succeeding methods through which that mass of fiery patriots
became a well-ordered army, obedient to authority, and accepting the
delays and disappointments of war with cheerful submission, will stand
as the permanent record of a policy which cleared the way for an assured

As early as 1775, Lord Dartmouth had asserted, with vigor, that Boston
was worthless as a base, if the authority of the Crown was to be
seriously defied by the colonies, acting in concert. He advocated the
evacuation of Boston, and the consolidation of the royal forces at New
York. Washington, early after his arrival at Cambridge, saw that the
British commander had made a mistake. His letters to Congress are full
of suggestions which citizens could only slightly value, so long as they
saw Boston still under British control. It is difficult to see how the
war could have been a success, if New York had been occupied, in force,
by Lord Howe in 1775, and the rashness of Gates had not precipitated the
skirmish at Lexington and the battle of Bunker Hill. It is no less hard
to see where and how Washington could have found time, place, and
suitable conditions for that practical campaign experience which the
siege of Boston afforded.

The mention of some of these incidents will suggest others, and
illustrate that experience.

A practical siege was undertaken, under the most favorable
circumstances. The whole country, near by, was in sympathy with the
army. The adjacent islands, inlets, and bays swarmed with scouting
parties, which cut off supplies from the city. The army had its redoubts
and trenches, and the heights of Bunker Hill were in sight as a pledge
of full ability to resist assault. As a fact, no successful sortie was
made out of Boston during the siege; but constant activity and
watchfulness were vital to each day's security. Provisions were abundant
and the numerical strength was sufficient. System and discipline alone
were to be added.

The details of camp life in the immediate presence of skilled enemies
compelled officers and men, alike, to learn the minutest details of
field engineering. Gabions, fasces, abattis, and other appliances for
assault or defence were quickly made, and all this practical schooling
in the work of war went on, under the watchful cooperation of the very
officers who afterward became conspicuous in the field, from Long Island
to Yorktown. THE CAMP ABOUT BOSTON MADE OFFICERS, Its discipline
dissipated many colonial jealousies; and there was developed that
confidence in their commander, which, in after years, became the source
of untold strength and solace to him in the darkest hours of the war.

The details of the personal work of the commander-in-chief read more
like some magician's tale. Every staff department was organized under
his personal care, so that he was able to retain even until the end of
the war his chief assistants. Powder, arms, provisions, clothing,
firewood, medicines, horses, carts, tools, and all supplies, however
incidental, depended upon minute instructions of Washington himself.

A few orders are cited, as an illustration of the system which marked
his life in camp, and indicate the value of those months, as preparatory
to the ordeal through which he had yet to pass.

To withhold commissions, until some proof was given of individual
fitness, involved grave responsibility. He did it. To punish swearing,
gambling, theft, and lewdness, evinced a high sense of the solemnity of
the hour. He did it. To rebuke Protestants for mocking Catholics was to
recognize the dependence of all alike upon the God of battles. He did
it. To repress gossip in camp, because the reputation of the humblest
was sacred; to brand with his displeasure all conflicts between those in
authority, as fatal to discipline and unity of action, and to forbid the
settlement of private wrongs except through established legal methods,
showed a clear conception of the conditions which would make an army
obedient, united, and invincible. These, and corresponding acts in the
line of military police regulations, and touching every social, moral,
and physical habit which assails or enfeebles a soldier's life and
imperils a campaign, run through his papers.

It is in the light of such omnipresent pressure and constraint that we
begin to form some just estimate of the relations which the siege of
Boston sustained to the subsequent operations of the war, and to the
work of Lee, Putnam, Sullivan, Greene, Mifflin, Knox, and others, who
were thus fitted for immediate service at Long Island and elsewhere, as
soon as Boston was evacuated.

It is also through these orders that the careful student can pass that
veil of formal propriety, reticence, and dignity which so often obscured
the inner, the tentative, elements of Washington's military character.

While the slow progress of the siege afforded opportunity to study the
contingencies of other possible fields of conflict, a double campaign
was made into Canada: namely, by Arnold through Maine, and by Montgomery
toward Montreal. This was based upon the idea that the conquest of
Canada would not only protect New England on the north, but compel the
British commanders to draw all supplies from England. The fact is noted,
as evidence of the constant regard which the American commander had for
every exposed position of the enemy which could be threatened, without
neglecting the demands of the siege itself. Frequent attempts were made
to force the siege to an early conclusion. The purpose was to expel or
capture the garrison before Great Britain could send another army, and
open active operations in other colonies, and not, merely in the
indolence of the mere watchdog, to starve the enemy into terms. "Give me
powder or ice, and I will take Boston," was the form in which Washington
demanded the means of bombardment or assault, and gave the assurance
that, if the river would freeze, he would force a decisive issue with
the means already at command.

Meanwhile, he sent forth privateers to scour the coast and search for
vessels conveying powder to the garrison; and soon no British transport
or supply-vessel was secure, unless under convoy of a ship-of-war.

At last, Congress increased the army to twenty-four thousand men and
ordered a navy to be built. Washington redoubled his efforts, confident
that Boston was substantially at his mercy; but seeing as clearly that
the capture or the evacuation of the city would introduce a more general
and desperate struggle, and one that would try his army to the most.

At this juncture, General Howe was strongly reinforced. When he
succeeded Gates, on the tenth of October, 1775, he "assumed command of
all his Britannic Majesty's forces, from Nova Scotia to Florida," and
thus indicated his appreciation of the possible extent of the American
resistance. It was a fair response to the claim of Washington to
represent "_The Colonies, in arms_." Howe's reinforcements had
reported for duty by the thirty-first of December. During the preceding
months, and, in fact, from his arrival at Cambridge, Washington had
freely conferred with General Greene. That young officer had studied
Caesar's Commentaries, Marshal Turenne's Works, Sharp's Military Guide,
and many legal and standard works upon government and history, while
drilling a militia company, the Kentish Guards, and following the humble
labor of a blacksmith's apprentice. He fully appreciated the value of
the hours spent before Boston. Together with General Sullivan, who, as
well as himself, commanded a brigade in Lee's division, he looked beyond
the lines of the camp rear-guard, and spent extra hours in discipline
and drill, to bring his own command up to the highest state of

The following is the theory which he entertained, in common with
Washington, as to the proper method for prosecution of the war; and he
so expressed himself, when he first encamped before Boston and united
his destinies with those of America.

His words are worthy of double recognition by the citizens of the United
States, because they not only furnish a key to the embarrassments which
attended the uncertain policy of Congress during the Revolution, but
they illustrate some of the embarrassments which attended the
prosecution of the war of 1861-65.

First. "One general-in-chief."

Second. "Enlistments for the war."

Third. "Bounties for families of soldiers in the field."

Fourth. "Service: to be general, regardless of place of enlistment."

Fifth. "Money loans to be effected equal to the demands of the war."

Sixth. "A Declaration of INDEPENDENCE, with the pledge of all the
resources of each Colony to its support."

Such was the spirit with which the American army hastened its operations
before Boston. Every week of delay was increasing the probability that
Great Britain would occupy New York, in force. The struggle for that
city would be the practical beginning of the war anew, and upon a
scientific basis.

Lord Dartmouth alone had the military sagacity to give sound advice to
the British cabinet. He maintained that by the occupation of New York,
and the presence of a strong naval force at Newport, Rhode Island
(within striking distance of Boston), and the control of the Hudson
River, the New England Colonies would be so isolated, as neither to be
able to protect themselves, nor to furnish aid to the central Colonies
beyond the Hudson River.

For the same reason, an adequate garrison at New York might detach
troops to seize the region lying on the waters of the Delaware and
Chesapeake, and thereby separate the South from the centre. When General
Howe, in 1775, formally urged the evacuation of Boston and the
occupation of New York and Newport, he also advised the seizure of "some
respectable seaport at the southward, from which to attack seacoast
towns, in the winter."

Washington never lost sight of the fact, that, while an important issue
had been joined at Boston, its solution must be so worked out as to
conserve the general interests of the Colonies as a Nation, and that the
delay which was incident to scarcity of powder, and the resulting
inability to assault the city, was to be employed, to the utmost, in
preparing the troops for an ultimate march to New York, there to face
the British in the field.

The reinforcement of General Howe, at midwinter, when an attack upon the
American lines would be without hope of success, quickened Washington's
preparations for crowding the siege, while constantly on the watch for
some manifestation of British activity in other directions.

Within a week after the garrison of the city had been thus strengthened,
Washington learned that Clinton had been detached, to make some
expedition by sea. General Lee, then in Connecticut on recruiting
service, was ordered to New York to put the city in a condition for
defence, and arrived on the very day that Clinton anchored at Sandy
Hook. Clinton, however, neglected his opportunity, and sailed southward
to attack Charleston. Lee also went South, to co-operate with Governor
Rutledge, in the defense of that city. The repulse of that expedition at
Fort Sullivan (afterwards called Fort Moultrie) could not be known to
Washington; but the knowledge that the British had enlarged their
theatre of active war was a new stimulus to exertion.

The strain upon the American Commander-in-Chief, in view of this rapid
development of hostilities beyond the reach of his army, was intense.
Clinton had been authorized to burn all cities that refused submission.
In a letter to Congress, Washington wrote: "There has been one single
freeze, and some pretty good ice," but a council of war opposed an
assault. At last he conceived an alternative plan, in the event that he
would not have sufficient powder to risk a direct assault, and the two
plans were balanced and matured in his own mind with the determination
to act promptly, and solely, at his own independent will.

Few facts testify more significantly of the value to the army and the
American cause of that long course of training, in the presence of the
enemy, than the preparations thus made by Washington, without the
knowledge of most of the officers of his command. He collected
forty-five batteaux, each capable of transporting eighty men, and built
two floating batteries of great strength and light draught of water.
Fascines, gabions, carts, bales of hay, intrenching-tools, and two
thousand bandages, with all other contingent supplies, were gathered,
and placed under a guard of picked men.

Three nights of _mock bombardment_ kept the garrison on the alert,
awaiting an assault. "On the night of the fourth of March, and through
all its hours, from candle-lighting time to the clear light of another
day, the same incessant thunder rolled along over camps and city; the
same quick flashes showed that fire was all along the line, and still,
both camps and city dragged through the night, waiting for the daylight
to test the work of the night, as daylight had done before."

When daylight came,--

  "Two strong redoubts capped Dorchester Heights."

By the tenth of March, the Americans had fortified Nook's Hill, and this
drove the British from Boston Neck. Eight hundred shot and shell were
thrown into the city during that night. On the morning of March 17, the
British embarked for Halifax.

Five thousand American troops entered the city, under General Ward (the
venerable predecessor of Washington) as the last boats left.

On the eighteenth of March, and before the main army had entered Boston,
General Heath was ordered to New York with five regiments of infantry
and a part of the field artillery.

On the twenty-seventh, the whole army, excepting a garrison of five
regiments, was ordered forward, General Sullivan leading the column.

On the evening of April fourteenth, after the last brigade marched,
Washington started for his new field of duty.

The siege of Boston is indeed memorable for that patient, persistent
pressure by which the Colonists grasped, and held fast, all approaches
to the city, until a sufficient force could be organized for a
systematic siege; but, as the eye rests upon an outline map of the
principal works of the besieging force, and we try to associate Ploughed
Hill, Winter Hill, Prospect Hill, and other memorable strongholds, with
the surroundings of to-day, we are glad to find an abounding source of
comfort in the assurance, that the whole struggle for our National
Independence is indelibly associated with the names, the vigils, and the
experiences which belong to those long months of education in the art
and appliances of war.

Swiftly as that well-instructed army moved to New York, they had only
time to gain position, before they realized the value of their training
in the trenches and redoubts around Boston; and no battle or siege,
including the capture of Yorktown, is without its tribute to the
far-reaching influence which that training assured.

The echoes of the national salute which have so recently commemorated
the one hundredth anniversary of the close of the official career of
Washington as commander-in-chief of the army of the Revolution, may well
be associated with those midnight salvos of artillery which crowned his
first campaign with an enduring success, and, once for all, rescued the
soil of the Bay State from the tread of a hostile foot.

       *       *       *       *       *


[Footnote: Illustrated by pen and ink sketches furnished by the author.]


[Superintendent New England Division United States Railway Mail


It is not the purpose of this paper to give a history of the growth of
this important branch of the government service, so much as to impart,
perhaps to an indifferent degree, the methods of its intricate workings,
and the care and study employed to expedite the vast correspondence of
the country. A system as colossal as the Railway Mail Service of this
country is, could not be organized but through a process of development
meeting needs as they arise. This development is best shown by a
comparative illustration from an early date to the present time.

In 1811, there were 2,403 post-offices, and during the year the mail was
carried 46,380 miles in stages, and 61,171 miles in sulkies and on
horseback. In Postmaster-General Barry's report for the fiscal year
ending November 1, 1834, it is said, that, "The multiplication of
railroads in different parts of the country promises within a few years
to give great rapidity to the movements of travelers, and it is a
subject worthy of inquiry whether measures may now be taken to secure
the transportation of the mail upon them. Already have the railroads
between Frenchtown in Maryland and New Castle in Delaware, and between
Camden and South Amboy in New Jersey, afforded great and important
facilities to the transmission of the great Eastern mail." The lines of
railway at that time, 1834, amounted to seventy-eight miles.

In 1838, the Railway Mail Service began with 1,913 miles of railroad
throughout the country. In 1846, mails were carried over 4,092 miles of
railway, which increased in 1882 to 100,563 miles.

The miles of annual transportation of mail by railroad in 1852 amounted
to 11,082,768, which increased to 113,995,318 in 1882, with an increase
in the number of Railway Mail Service employees from 43 in 1846 to 3,072
in 1882. This wonderful expansion was but proportional with the
development of the country at large. At the close of the war of the
Rebellion, business was at its height. Industry and intelligence were
seeking together new channels for their diffusion. The Pacific Railway
was the grand conception that met this demand, and by its means were
united the borders of the continent, and communication thus made more
frequent and rapid between our interior, the West, and Europe: the most
ancient civilization of the world in the Orient greeted the youngest in
the Occident, and completed the girdle about the earth.

The lumbering stage and caravan laboring across the plains, and the
swift mustang flying from post to post, frequently intercepted by the
wily savage, were but things of yesterday, though fast becoming
legendary. When those slower methods by which correspondence was
conveyed at a great expense and delay, and current literature was to a
great extent debarred, were supplanted by a continuous line of stages,
it was considered a revolution in the wheel of progress, and the
consummation. The possible accomplishments of the present day, if
entertained at all at that time, were in general considered Munchausen,
and not difficulties to be surmounted by practical engineering and
undaunted perseverance. The civilization of the world has kept pace with
its channels of communication and has accordingly rendered invaluable
aid to it. In our country the field in this direction is exceedingly

There is no branch of the government service that reaches so near and
supplies the wants of the people as the Post-Office Department, and
whose ramification may not be inaptly compared to the human system with
its arteries filled with the life-current coursing through the veins and
diffusing health and vigor to the various parts; in the same manner the
people in the different sections of the country interchange their
information. The centres of art and literature, conveying to the vast
producing region in the West the products of their refined taste,
scientific research, and mechanical achievements, keep alive and
propagate the spirit of inquiry, making remote parts of the nation
homogeneous in tastes, knowledge, and a common interest in all matters
of national advancement.

If a map of the United States with every railway that crosses and
recrosses its broad surface were laid before us, it would appear that a
regulated system for an expeditious transmission of the mails in such an
intricate confusion of lines, apparently going nowhere yet everywhere,
would be an impossibility; but by study and untiring energy this has
been accomplished.

The machinery of the Post-Office Department is a system of cog-fitting
wheels, in all its component parts; and were it not so, in the
necessarily limited period and space allotted, the work in postal-cars
could not be successfully accomplished.

The interior dimensions of postal-cars vary, from whole cars sixty feet
in length, to apartments five feet five inches in length by two feet six
inches in width. The most comprehensive conception of the practical
working of the postal-car system, can be formed in a railway post-office
from forty to sixty feet in length; with this in view, we will make a
trip in one. A permit to ride in the car, signed by the superintendent
of the division of the service, is necessary to allow us the privilege;
and it is also required of clerks belonging to other lines. This rule is
necessary, in order that the clerks may perform their work
uninterruptedly and correctly; and also to exclude unauthorized persons
from mail apartments. After a hasty exchange of salutations with the
four clerks, the "clerk in charge" notes our names on his "trip report,"
and we are assigned a spot in the contracted space, where, we are
assured, we will be undisturbed, at least for a while. The trip report
mentioned is used in noting connections missed, and other irregularities
that may occur. The interior of the car is fitted up with a
carefully-studied economy of space, upon plans made under the
supervision of the superintendent of the division, or chief clerk of the
line. Occupying one end of the car are cases of pigeon-holes, or boxes,
numbering from six hundred to one thousand, arranged in the shape of a
horse-shoe, for the distribution of letters. These boxes are labeled
with the names of the post-offices on the line of road, connecting
lines, States, and prominent cities and towns throughout the country. A
long, narrow aisle passes through the centre of the car, on both sides
of which are racks for open sacks and pouches, into which packages of
letters and pieces of other mail matter are thrown; on the sides above
are rows of suspended pouches, with their hungry mouths open. By this
plan, in this contracted space, upwards of two hundred different pouches
and sacks can be distributed into between the termini. On one side of
the aisle is a narrow counter, upon which the mail matter is emptied
from the pouches and sacks; this is hinged to the pouch-rack, and can be
swung back, to enable the clerks to get at the pouches more easily. The
space beyond, divided by stanchions, is for the stowage of mails, and
for their separation into piles.


In order that a minute may not be lost, when passing through tunnels or
standing in dark railway-stations, the lamps are kept burning from the
start to the finish. The last wagon, gorgeously suggestive of a circus,
has arrived with its load of mail, and the busy work receives at once a
new impetus. Several loads, however, have already arrived, and have been
disposed of as much as possible; for the work begins, in some cases,
several hours before the starting of the train. Transfer clerks and
porters deliver the pouches and sacks into the car, the label of each
being scanned and checked by the clerks, to detect if all connections
due are received, and that no mail may be delayed by being carried out
on the road with the other mail and returned. The last pouch is scarcely
received, when a sudden, but not violent, shock announces that the
locomotive is attached to the train, and the start about to be made. The
sound of the gong, seconded by the electrifying and resonant "Aboard!"
of the conductor, and the post-office on wheels is under way. Now, all
is a scene of bustle, but not confusion. The two clerks, to whom are
assigned the duty of distributing direct packages of letters and
newspaper mail, including merchandise, deftly empty the pouches, out of
which pour packages of letters and circulars, to be distributed unbroken
into pouches, and others labeled to this route and different States,
which are in turn to be separated into packages by routes, States, and
large towns, at the letter-case. To the clerk in charge is assigned the
sorting of such letters as are destined to distant routes or terminal
connecting lines; and his associate, or second clerk, is busy
distributing letter mail for local delivery, and into separations for
intermediate connections.

In addition to sorting letters, the clerk in charge has charge of the
registered mail, which requires special care in its reception and
delivery, booking and receipting therefor. Large pouches of registered
mail are also placed in his charge, _en transit_ between large
cities, and represent great value. The peculiar tooting of the whistle,
or a peculiar movement of the train around a curve, warns the fourth
clerk, who is on the alert, of a "catch" station; the letter mail for
that post-office is quickly deposited by the local clerk in the pouch,
the lock is snapped, and he is standing at the door not a minute too
soon or too late; the pouch is thrown out at a designated spot and one
deftly caught an instant after without a slackening of the speed of the
train. The pouch thus caught is taken to the counter, opened and emptied
by the fourth clerk, and the letters immediately placed in the hands of
the second clerk, who assorts the local mail; the through letters, or
those destined to go over distant lines beyond the terminus, are sorted
by the clerk in charge; the local, or second, clerk distributes his mail
as rapidly as possible, with a watchful eye for letters, etc., to be put
into the pouch to be delivered at the next station; the pouch is locked
and everything is ready for the next delivery and "catch." When the
stations at which pouches are caught are within a mile or two of each
other, the greatest activity is needed to assort the mail between
stations, to avoid carrying mail by destination and subjecting it to
considerable delay before its delivery by a railway post-office on the
train to be met at a point perhaps many miles ahead.

[Illustration: "CATCHING" AT FULL SPEED.]

The manner of taking or "catching" the mail from the trackside by some
invisible power on a railroad train plunging through space has seemed to
many a feat of almost legerdemanic skill, when all that is required is a
simple mechanical apparatus and a quick, firm movement of the arm in
using it at the right moment. A crane similar in appearance to the
oldtime gibbet is erected near the track, and may have served as a
warning by its suggestive appearance to some would-be train-wrecker. Its
base is a platform two feet and a half square, with two short steps on
top to assist the person hanging the pouch; a post ten feet in height
passes up through this platform near the edge; a stout joist about five
feet in length is fixed across the top of the post and so balanced that
when relieved of the weight of the pouch it flies up perpendicularly
against the post. The pouch used for this purpose is made of canvas and
is somewhat narrower than the ordinary leathern pouch. It is lightly
suspended by a slender iron rod projecting from the horizontal joist,
passed through a ring at the top and lightly held at the bottom in the
same manner as at the top.

[Illustration: POUCH HUNG ON "CRANE."]

When the pouch is snatched from the crane, the top piece flies up as
described, and a parallel short joist at the bottom of the pouch drops.
The pouch is strapped small in the middle, resembling an hour-glass,
where the catcher-iron on the car is to strike it. This "catcher"
consists of a round iron bar across the door of the car, and placed in a
socket on each side about shoulder high; a strong handle, similar to a
chisel-handle, projects perpendicularly from this bar; on the under side
of the bar projects, at an angle of about forty-five degrees, a slender
and strong iron rod, slightly turned at the end to prevent its tearing
the pouch, of about three feet in length. As the train approaches the
crane, the operating clerk with a quick, steady throw delivers the mail
at a given point, usually near the crane; he then grasps the handle with
his right hand, swinging the handle over inward; the arm when thrown
outward, the horizontal bar turning in the sockets, comes in contact
with the pouch, striking that part of it narrowed by the strap and
striking the arm near the vertex of the angle into which it is driven by
the momentum of the train; the greater the speed the more securely it is
held there; but the clerk is on the _qui vive_, and as soon as it
strikes the catcher-iron, grasps the pouch to make sure of getting it,
as sometimes if the pouch is not hung properly, the arm will strike it
at such a part as to require the most agile movement on the part of the
clerk to secure it and to prevent its falling to the ground or under the
wheels of the train and being torn to pieces; these cases, however, are
rare, but pouches have lodged on the trucks and have been carried many

To return to the clerks and their work. In the meantime, the "through"
work continues, when the distance between stations and junctions will
allow of it; letters in packages are distributed into boxes with a
celerity and economy of motion which could be acquired only by continued
practice and training of the eye to decipher an ever-varying
chirography, and of mental activity to almost instantly locate a
post-office on its proper route, its earliest point of supply, or
connecting line.

The emptying of pouches continues; package after package of letters roll
out on the counter as though they were potatoes rather than the dumb
expression of every human emotion, or the innocent touchspring of their
awakening. The pouches are labeled to indicate those requiring the
earliest attention, as are also the packages of letters they contain;
this plan prevents, to a great extent, the carrying of mail past its

The packages of letters to be distributed by routes, post-offices, and
States, are taken to the letter-case; those not to be so separated, that
is, unbroken packages, _en transit_, are placed at once into their
proper pouches.

The emptying of sacks of paper mail follows that of the pouches; the
papers and packages of merchandise are faced in a manner to be readily
picked up, their addresses read, and deftly thrown into the mouths of
the pouches and sacks in the racks; this is very skilfully done, as the
want of space requires that they shall be crowded closely together.

The swaying of the train around a curve makes little difference, as the
clerks in a short time learn to follow every motion of the train. A
quick decision, ready eye, and economy of movement as a superstructure
to a good knowledge of his duties, are the invaluable qualities of a
successful railway postal-clerk; and one so equipped soon outstrips his
lagging seniors and associates in grade. As the train approaches a
junction, preparations are made to "close out" that part of the mail to
be delivered at that point, the sacks are tied, the tags or labels
having been attached before starting. The clerks at the letter-case are
rapidly taking the letters from the boxes tying them into packages, and
separating them into piles, which are dropped into their proper pouches
and locked, and so on until all is ready. Let us examine these packages
of letters and at the same time describe the slip system. On the outside
of each package for redistribution, and also inside each direct package,
that is, containing mail for a single post-office, is placed a brown
paper slip, or label, about the size of an ordinary envelope, bearing
its address or destination, which may be that of a post-office, a group
of post-offices supplied therefrom, and labelled "dis." (the
abbreviation of distribution), or for a railway post-office; this slip
also bears the imprint of the name of the clerk who sorted into the
package and is responsible for its correctness, the postmark with date,
and a letter, as "N." for north, or "W." for west, indicating the
direction the train is moving at the time. A similar slip is also placed
loose in each pouch and sack.

The errors discovered in the packages of letters, or among the loose
pieces in the pouches and sacks, are endorsed on the proper slip, signed
and postmarked by the clerk in the railway post-office receiving it.
These errors may be the result of carelessness, ignorance, or
misinformation; in the latter case, had the clerk been properly
informed, perhaps a delay of half an hour or less might have been
avoided if sent by some other route. These error-slips are sent each day
enclosed in a trip report to the division superintendent; if approved,
the record is made, and the clerk in receiving the error-slip at the end
of the month is informed of his mistake, and it is needless to add that
the error, if one of ignorance or misinformation, will not be repeated.
This forms a part of the record of the clerk upon which to a degree his
future advancement depends. The beneficial effect of this system as an
incentive to study, care in distribution, and a commendable rivalry, is

The postmarks on the letters in the package in our hands show that they
joined the current at a junction but a few miles past, and if the
location of one of them is sought on the map, it is found to be an
obscure hamlet on a remote stage route, by which it reaches the
railroad, over which a single clerk in an office seven feet square, or
less, performs local service, and which line makes connection with the
through mail-train on the main road. The letters described are tied in a
package with others, and a label slip placed thereon addressed to some
railway post-office, perhaps hundreds of miles distant, which is reached
unbroken through a many-linked chain of connections; with this package
are others for large cities which will be passed along intact to
destination, and also letters labeled to railway post-office lines
making connections in their turn. The pouches and sacks into which the
packages of letters and papers are deposited will be received at the
next junction into a railway post-office car, sorted and forwarded in
the manner described. In many cases a mail is sent across by a stage
route to connect a parallel line, and thereby feeding a new section.

Mail matter is frequently received, through error, for post-offices on
the line of road but just passed, or for post-offices supplied only by
one railway post-office train moving in the opposite direction; to
provide for such mail a pouch is left at the meeting-point of this
train; and so the train plunges on with its busy workers, its
pleasure-seekers, and its composite humanity, The clerks have long since
become grim with the smut of the train, paling all others but the
fireman, and the long-nursed illusion that all government positions are
sinecures is rudely dispelled by their appearance, and an insight into
their arduous duties. As the train lazily rolls into the terminal
station, pouches and sacks are ready for delivery and the clerks make
ready to leave the car.

The instant the train stops, a portion of the mail, large or small as
the case may be, is delivered into a wagon for rapid transfer to a
railway post-office train about to start from another station. If the
incoming train is late, it may be necessary to exact the utmost speed to
reach the outgoing train, and in many cases it is always necessary to
effect it rapidly. After the transfer mail is disposed of, the labels of
the remaining pouches and sacks are examined, and as the mail is passed
out of the car we are surprised at its quantity, filling a number of
large wagons; this, however, does not constitute the entire mail
distributed _en route_, as the quantities delivered at junctions
and stations aggregate, in many cases, more by far than that delivered
at the terminal station, There are many details of work that our space
forbids us to describe, that are technical and of little interest to the
reader, but are of relative importance. These we must leave, and prepare
for the return journey on the night-train, feeling grateful that our
busy fellow-travelers are to have an opportunity to refresh themselves.

The work performed in a railway post-office on a night-train differs
somewhat from that on a day-train, yet maintaining the same general
principle of distribution. The methods differ, governed by the
connections, and a clerk suddenly transferred from a day-train to a
night-train on the same route, unless thoroughly informed of the train
schedules, of close and remote connections, the time of the dispatch of
direct closed pouches from many post-offices, stage route schedules,
etc.,--which knowledge, even approximating correctness, would be
extraordinary,--would be almost as much at a loss as if transferred to
another route, excepting his knowledge of the location of the
post-offices on his own line. In all cases if a delay occurs, causing a
connection to be missed, it is the duty of the clerk to know at once the
next most expeditious route by which the mail can be forwarded.

The hardship incurred by a night-clerk is greater in many respects than
that of the day-clerk; while in the latter case a continual active
strain is required in the performance of local work and its multiplicity
of detail, yet this is more than offset by the handling of bulky and
heavy through mail and the unnatural necessity of sleeping in the
daytime, which at most affords but a partial rest. On many night-lines
the clerks commence work in mid-afternoon, accomplishing considerable
before the train starts, and as the train plunges through darkness into
the gray dawn and early morning, they sturdily empty pouches and sacks,
and the incessant flow of letters and papers is only interrupted when
approaching some important junction where mail is delivered and received
from connecting lines or post-offices. Everything presents a weird
aspect in a railway-station at midnight,--men flit about in a dazed way
with satchels, the bright light bursting through the doorway of the car
gives a ghastly look to the face of the man who throws in the pouches
and sacks, and all appear like ghosts that will vanish with the approach
of dawn; but we realize the substance of our surroundings when we again
turn our attention to the busy scene in the car. The city distribution
of letters--a feature of the service on night-trains which has greatly
facilitated the early delivery of mails in a few of the larger
cities--has been extended to other cities, and others are still to
receive its benefit. For instance, clerks from the Boston post-office
detailed to do this duty enter the mail-car at the Boston and Albany
Railway at Springfield, Massachusetts, and sort the city letters by
carriers' routes, post-office box sections, banks, insurance offices,
etc. The corresponding train moving in the opposite direction is boarded
by New York post-office clerks making similar separations.

The packages of letters thus made up go direct to their respective
divisions in the post-office, thereby avoiding the delay that would be
caused in passing through other preliminary distributing departments.
This work has been taken up recently by the Railway Mail Service, the
plan enlarged and extended, and added to the other duties of the clerks.
Additional clerks, however, have been employed to perform this work, yet
the others are required to know it, and on lines where additional clerks
were not appointed, to make it their regular duty.

A glance has been given at one of the many links in the continuous
chains of connections that cross and recross the face of the country. A
comparison of the oldtime method and of the railway post-office service
will show the superior advantage of the latter. At some remote hamlet in
Nova Scotia, a letter is started for San Francisco, California. It
crosses the boundary line into the United States and enters at once the
swelling current at Vanceborough, Maine. Leaving that place at 1.35
A.M., Monday, without delay it reaches Boston at 5.10 P.M., is
transferred across the city, leaves at 6.00 P.M., connecting with the
fast mail train from New York City at Albany, through Syracuse,
Rochester, and Buffalo, reaches Cleveland at 6.00 P.M., Tuesday, and
Chicago at 6.00 A.M., Wednesday, where an intermission of six hours
makes the longest delay in the line of connection. The next morning,
Thursday, at 11. A.M., Omaha is reached; Friday, at 6.00 P.M., Laramie,
Wyoming; Saturday, at 6.00 P.M., Ogden, Utah; Sunday, Humboldt, Nevada;
and Monday, at 11.00 A.M., San Francisco. This illustration has been
made to show the far-reaching continuity of connecting lines across the
country, passing through many of the principal cities but not entering a
post-office for distribution, rather than a complexity of connections
almost innumerable in a thickly-settled country, and over which study
and patient inquiry to simplify are ever at work.

Lyons, Wayne County, New York, is located on the New York Central
Railway; a letter is started from that place for Leeds, Franklin County,
Massachusetts; it is received into the New York and Chicago railway
post-office at 8.17 A.M., then it is given to the Boston and Albany
railway post-office at Albany, the latter line connecting at Westfield,
Massachusetts, with the Williamsburgh and New Haven railway post-office,
arriving at destination at 9.37 that night.

Again at 6.08 P.M., from Lyons, another New York and Chicago railway
post-office train passes, but, owing to different connections, disposes
of it differently: from this railway post-office a pouch containing a
similarly addressed letter, with other mail, is delivered at Albany for
the Boston and Albany railway post-office, due to leave Springfield,
Massachusetts, at 7.15 A.M.; this pouch is conveyed from Albany in the
baggage-car attached to an express-train, which train, passing
Westfield, connects at Springfield with the 7.15 A.M. railway
post-office train East. At Palmer a short distance east of Springfield a
return mail is left for the railway post-office that left Boston at five
o'clock that morning; into this mail the letter for Leeds is placed, as
the clerks in the latter-named railway post-office deliver at Westfield
a pouch for Leeds, which place is reached 10.07 that morning, on train
in charge of baggage-master. This illustration is comparatively a simple
one. Many instances could be given where a detour of many miles is made
to gain a few minutes in time. By the old system the letter would, in
all probability, have gone to Albany post-office for distribution,
thence either to New Haven, Connecticut, or Westfield, Massachusetts,
for the same purpose, losing trains at each place waiting to be
distributed, and consuming fully, or more, than sixty-four instead of
sixteen hours. By the old method delays became almost interminable as
the connections became intricate, more so than on a continuous line. The
advantage of the "catcher" system described elsewhere, which enabled
towns to communicate with one another in a few minutes, instead of by
the direct closed pouch system through a distributing office miles away,
consuming hours, is not inconsiderable.

The gain by the present method is incomparable. Intersecting at Albany,
New York, with the line from Vanceborough, Maine, to San Francisco, just
described, or perhaps what may be called the vertebral column of the
system, is the New York and Chicago railway post-office line, known also
as the "Fast Mail" or the "White Mail," as the mail-cars on this line
were originally painted white. A mail-train consisting of four mail-cars
and express-cars leaves New York City at 8.50 P.M., making the through
connection to Chicago. There are two similar trains, leaving New York at
4.35 A.M., and at 10.30 A.M., with a less number of cars; and three
moving in the opposite direction. There are twenty mail-cars on this
line, each interior is sixty feet in length, and the exterior, as
already mentioned, painted white, and bearing the coat-of-arms of some
State and the name of its past or present governor. Each car is devoted
to a special purpose: the distribution of letters and local, or "way,"
work; the distribution of paper mail; and others for storage. The
distributing cars are built upon a different plan from the one
hereinbefore described; the packages, etc., are distributed into large
compartments or boxes slightly pitching back one over the other in a
large case, and the clerk wishing to empty one of them passes into the
narrow aisle to the rear of the case; the pouch or sack is hooked to the
case under the door of the box, and the mail drops into it. Pouches and
sacks are also hung in racks to be distributed into. These cars are
post-offices of no mean pretensions when the amount of work performed is
considered. When it is considered how densely populated the country is
through which this line passes many times each day, and its numerous and
swelling tributaries, the volume of mail conveyed is enormous, yet not

The average amount conveyed during thirty days, in the sixty days in
January and February of 1881, that the weights of mails were taken
between New York City and Buffalo, a distance of four hundred and
forty-two miles, amounted to 4,416,451 lbs.; between Buffalo and
Chicago, a distance of five hundred and forty-two miles, 2,874,918 lbs.
Over the first section 73,607 lbs. per day, the second section 47,848
per day; while either of these amounts does not equal those carried
during the same period between New York and West Philadelphia, on the
route to Washington, a distance of ninety miles, amounting to 6,202,370
lbs. for the thirty days, and 103,372 lbs. per day, the great
discrepancy in miles must be borne in mind and the fact that government
supplies and public documents to the East and North contribute no small
proportion of the amount. The mail between New York and Chicago is
altogether a working mail. It requires more than two hundred and sixty
clerks to handle this mail, who travel annually 2,030,687 miles.

The clerks on the westerly bound trains are assigned the distributing of
mails by route, for all Middle, Western, Southwestern, and Northwestern
States, and on the easterly bound trains for the Middle and Eastern

When such States as New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Illinois, with
respectively 3,070, 3,681, 2,603, and 2,568 post-offices, are taken into
consideration, some idea may be formed of the work required in preparing
a system of distribution, the vigilance required to keep pace with the
frequently changing schedules, and the study of the clerks to properly
carry its requirements into effect. Beyond Chicago, in the new country,
the work of distribution grows less intricate, but the powers of
endurance of the clerks are severely tested. On the line between Kansas
City, Missouri, and Deming, New Mexico, a distance of 1,147 miles, the
clerks ship for a long voyage--five days on the outward trip and the
same on the inward, sleeping and eating on the train.

There are a number of lines in the far West, on which the clerks do not
leave the train for a number of days. Throughout the country the total
number of pieces of ordinary mail handled by 3,855 railway postal clerks
on the lines, during the year ending June 30, 1883, amounted to
3,981,516,280; the number of errors made in their distribution was
958,478 pieces, or a per centage of correct distribution of 99.97. This
minutia of detail is applied to the distribution of a vast bulk of mail.
It is estimated that in Boston, Massachusetts, between eighty and one
hundred tons of mail matter are daily dispatched, and between forty and
sixty tons are daily received; while at New York City this quantity is
more than doubled. Even figures become interesting when they represent
the standard of intelligence and progress, as shown by an increased
correspondence and literature. In no branch of the government service,
it can be safely said, have the tenets advanced by the advocates of the
civil-service reform been so nearly realized as in this bureau of the
Post-Office Department even at that period when the initiatory steps now
being applied to other departmental machinery were considered all but
Utopian,--a system consisting of a probationary period preceding
appointment, and promotion from grade to grade, based upon a practical
and thorough system of examination, had long since been developed up
through an experimental stage to a well-grounded success. The complexity
of the postal system, continually varying in detail, demanded a uniform
system of giving information, and a corresponding test of its operation.
The system of distribution for each State is compiled in tabulated form
in a book or sheet, known as a "scheme," for ready reference when on
duty, or study when off the road. In thickly-settled States, where
numerous railroads cross and re-cross each other in the same county, it
is necessary to have the names of the post-offices arranged
alphabetically; opposite the name of each office is given all its
methods of supply and also the hour the mail reaches that office. In
more sparsely-settled States the schemes are arranged by counties; this
is done where the majority of the offices in a county are supplied by
one or two lines, and the exceptions, which are only specified in detail
in the scheme, by other lines or a number of post-offices. In this case
the clerk memorizes the supply of the excepted post-offices
particularly, the disposition of the remaining post-offices in the
county being the same; it is of the first importance to be properly
informed in which county an office is located, and the line supplying
the principal part of that county. A name prefixed with "north" in one
county may have the prefix of "south" in another, or a similar name in a
remote county. These schemes are compiled at division headquarters, and
the general orders are revised almost daily, informing the clerks of
changes affecting the distribution, and also instructions as to other
duties. From the schemes mentioned, lists of distribution are made and
time computed applicable to each line or train of the States for which
mail is selected.

To return from this preliminary digression to the examinations. These
examinations are of the most practical character and serve to develop
the mental abilities and intelligent understanding of the clerks. To
clearly understand the method, the clerk should be followed step by step
from the time of his probationary appointment into the service, through
the probationary period and his examinations as a full-fledged clerk.
After a month's service on a line, the clerk is assigned a day and hour
for his examination; here is laid the foundation for future usefulness,
the intelligent understanding of a service, acquired by continual study
and inquiry, that gives to all occupations that peculiar zest when
understandingly rather than mechanically followed. A single State, with
the least number of offices, that in the course of duty he will be
required to assort, is selected at the first; it is not expected that it
will be memorized understandingly, or the location of each office fully
known at once, but it forms the basis of inquiry, and develops either
future excellence or mediocrity, or total incapacity. The room in which
these examinations are usually conducted (excepting when a clerk on a
route in a remote part of the division is the subject, in which case he
is visited by the examining clerk) is kept quiet, and nothing that will
distract the attention allowed. He is placed before a case containing
one hundred pigeon-holes, or more, each the width of an ordinary
visiting-card, and sufficiently high to contain a large pack of them.
Cards are then produced, upon each one of which is printed the name of a
post-office, comprising a whole State. The cards are distributed into
the case by the clerk being examined and the number of separations made
as required when on actual duty in the railway post-office. The number
of separations varies according to the connections due to be made; when
the line is through a thickly-settled country, the separations are made
in fine detail. In the State of Massachusetts there are seven hundred
and seventy-two post-offices; and the number of separations made by one
line is upwards of eighty. On the train it is necessary to make many
(what are known as) direct packages that the examination does not call
for. Account is taken of the time consumed in "sticking" the cards, and
questions asked to test the knowledge of connections. A large number of
questions are asked relating to the Postal Laws and Regulations, as
affecting the Railway Mail Service; these latter questions vary in
number from fifty to one hundred. When practicable, during the
probationary period of six months, one examination is held each month,
taking a different State each time.

The results of these examinations are placed on record, and at the
expiration of the probationary term, this record, together with the list
of errors in sending mail, are forwarded to the Honorable William B.
Thompson, General Superintendent of the Railway Mail Service, in
Washington, District of Columbia, with a recommendation that the clerk
be permanently appointed or dropped out of the service. These
examinations are held at intervals among all the clerks to test their
efficiency, and as an incentive to study, to keep fresh in their minds
the proper disposition of the important mails passing through their
hands. In these examinations a good-natured rivalry exists, and a
vigilant eye is kept by the clerks that their line shall make as high an
average per centage, or, if possible, higher than any other. The per
centage of correctness rarely falls below seventy-five; an average is
generally made of ninety-five per cent. The list of errors made is
closely scanned by better-informed clerks, and no stone left unturned by
them to clear their record, and to satisfactorily settle disputed
points. These discussions and inquiries are invited, not only that all
may feel satisfied with the result, but also that much valuable
information is frequently elicited from the clerks, who in many cases
are situated advantageously to see where practical benefits may be

During the fiscal year which ended June 30, 1882, there were 2,898
examinations of permanent clerks held, and 3,140,630 cards handled; of
this number 208,736 were incorrect, 512,460 not known, making a correct
average per centage of 77.05. This record does not include that of
probationary clerks. This constant watchfulness, it can readily be seen,
redounds to the benefit of the public and results in the most
expeditious methods of forwarding the mails attainable. In some cases a
test of reading addresses of irregular or difficult legibility as
rapidly as possible is given, but this idea has not been generally
adopted. The query naturally arises, Is there no incentive to study
other than to make a good record? There is; for upon this basis,
together with a knowledge of a ready working capacity and
application--both great considerations--are the promotions and
reductions made. Those in charge of lines are fully cognizant of the
status of the men, bearing on all points. The clerks in the service are
classified, those on the small or less important routes according to the
distance. Our attention, however, is drawn particularly to the trunk
lines. The probationary appointee is of class 1, receiving pay at the
rate of eight hundred dollars per annum; but at the expiration of his
six months' probation, if he is retained, he is paid nine hundred
dollars per annum, and placed in class 2. The number of men in a crew on
a trunk line making through connections is governed by the quantity of
work performed, and generally consists of four men, excepting the fast
lines, New York to Chicago and Pittsburgh, where more than one mail-car
on a train is required. With four men in a crew the clerk in charge is
classed 5, and others successively 4, 3, and 2, and paid at the rate of
thirteen hundred dollars, eleven hundred and fifty dollars, one thousand
dollars, and nine hundred dollars per annum. In the event of a vacancy
in class 5, the records of examinations and errors made in the
performance of work are scanned, the relative working capacity of the
eligible men in class 4 considered, and a copy of the records, with
recommendations, forwarded to the General Superintendent. The gap caused
by the retirement of one of class 5, and filled by one of class 4,
necessitates promotions from classes 2 and 3, and also a new appointment
into class 1, probationary, and after that period is passed into class
2, thus preserving a uniform organization.

The selections for promotion are made from the clerks on the entire
line. Thus it will be seen that a graduated system of promotion exists,
based upon merit and competitive examination, and which to the fullest
extent is practical and theoretically satisfactory to the most exacting
civil-service reform doctrinaire. The general supervision of the Railway
Mail Service is under a General Superintendent, the Honorable William B.
Thompson, located in Washington, District of Columbia. It is divided
into nine sections, with offices in Boston, New York City, Washington,
Atlanta, Cincinnati, Chicago, St. Louis, San Francisco, and Cleveland,
and is respectively under the superintendence Messrs. Thomas P. Cheney,
R.C. Jackson, C.W. Vickery, L.M. Terrell, C.J. French, J.E. White, E.W.
Warfield, H.J. McKusick, and W.G. Lovell,--men who have risen from
humble positions in the service, step by step, to their present
positions of responsibility.

It is an erroneous impression that prevails in certain quarters that the
forwarding of mails over the various railroads is arranged by
postmasters; the especial charge and control of the reception and
dispatch of mails is under the Superintendents of the Railway Mail
Service, who, in their turn, are responsible to the General
Superintendent, who, in his turn is responsible to the Honorable Second
Assistant Postmaster-General.

It will readily be seen by the foregoing sketch that a clerkship in the
Railway Mail Service is far from being a sinecure, either mentally or
physically. As the country increases in population and the system
becomes more complex, it is found to be important to the public that the
clerks should be insured against removal except for the following
reasons: "Intemperance, inattention to or neglect of duty, incapacity
for the duties of the office, disobedience of official instructions,
intentional disrespect to officers of this or other departments of the
government, indecency in speech, intentional rudeness of language or
behavior towards persons having official business with them or towards
associates, and conduct unbecoming a gentleman." In several annual
reports the General Superintendent has urged upon Congress that some
provision be made for pensioning disabled clerks. This would seem to be
only fitting justice to the clerks, who hourly incur a risk of either
limb or life.

       *       *       *       *       *


By Elizabeth Porter Gould.

"Mamma, where is the old Witch House? I met on the street this morning
Johnnie Evans and his mother, who came way down from Boston just to see
that, and Witch Hill, and some other places here in Salem that they had
been reading about together this vacation. Why, I haven't seen these
things, and I have lived here all my life. And they said, too, that they
were going to find the house where Hawthorne was born. Who was he,
mamma? I think Johnnie said that the house was on Union Street. Can't I
go there, too? I am tired of playing out in the street all the time. I
want to go somewhere and see something."

So said Reuben Tracy to his mother, as he came into the house from his
play one day about the middle of his long summer vacation. His little
eyes had just been opened to the fact that there was something in old
Salem which made her an object of interest to outsiders; and, if so, he
wanted to see it. As his mother listened to him, her eyes were opened,
too, to her want of interest, through which her boy should have been
obliged to ask this of her, rather than that she should have guided him
into this pleasant path to historic knowledge. But she determined that
this should not happen again. The vacation was only half through, and
there was yet time to do much in this direction. Her boy should not
spend so much time in idle play in the streets. She would begin that
very afternoon and read to him some stories of local history, and
impress upon his little mind, as Mrs. Evans was doing with her boy, by
visiting with him all that she could of the places mentioned. She
herself had not seen Hawthorne's birthplace; she would learn more about
him and his work, so as to tell Reuben, and then they would visit the
place together; after which they would take a trip to Concord and see
where he was buried, and also the places where he had lived, which, she
had heard, were so charming. She could then tell her boy of Emerson and
Thoreau; and, through a sight of the place where the first battle of the
Revolution was fought, she could lead him willingly into the study of

Thus Mrs. Tracy planned with herself. She had suddenly become converted
to a knowledge of her larger duty in the training of her child--her only
child now; for, nearly two years before, death had claimed, in one week,
her two other children, one older and one younger than Reuben; and since
then she had fallen into a sad, listless state of mind which she found
hard to get out of. She was an unusually good mother in the ordinary
sense of the word, since she was careful to have her boy well-fed,
well-clothed, and well-behaved; but now she saw more than that was
required of her.

The good resolution of Mrs. Tracy became so fruitful, that another
week's time found Reuben and herself acquainted with the points of
interest which Johnnie Evans had mentioned, and several more beside.
Mrs. Tracy had accompanied these visits with much interesting
information, which Reuben had enjoyed greatly. Such success led her to
provide something new for the following week. Now, she herself had never
seen the old town of Marblehead,--only four miles from Salem,--although
of late she had been to Marblehead Neck to see a sister who was boarding
there for the summer. So with an eye to visiting the old town, she spent
an hour each day, for several days, reading and talking with Reuben on
the history and legends of Marblehead; and, through the guidance of
Drake's New England Coast, learning what now remained there as mementos
of the past. Then, after having invited two of Reuben's little
playfellows to accompany them, they started, one bright morning, to
drive over by themselves. As they passed up Washington Street in the old
town, Reuben's eyes were looking for the Lee mansion, which he said was
now used for a bank, and which, with its furniture, cost its builder,
Colonel Lee, fifty thousand dollars. They found it, with its date of
1768 over the door, and soon were in the main hall, where was hanging
the same panel paper which was put on when the house was built. They
noticed the curious carving of the balusters, as well as of a front
room, which was wainscoted from floor to ceiling; they wished that it
had never been used for a bank, but that it was still the old mansion as
it used to be; for then they could see, among other things, the
paintings hanging on the walls, of Colonel Lee and his wife, which
Reuben said were eight feet long and five feet wide, and painted by a
man named Copley. His mother smiled when she heard him add, with all the
spirit of Young America: "And he painted them both for one hundred and
twenty-five dollars. Why, just my head alone cost my papa one hundred
dollars; and just think of those two big ones for only one hundred and
twenty-five dollars!"

As all three of the boys sat in the large recessed window-seat, Reuben
declared that he did not see how the window-panes could have been the
wonder of the town, for they were not near as large as his Uncle
Edward's, and nobody wondered at them!

They then imagined, walking in the same room where they then were,
General Washington, as he came there in 1789 to be entertained by the
Lees; and also Monroe, Jackson, and even Lafayette, who had been there,
too. When one of the boys asked if the street in which he lived, in
Salem, was named for that Lafayette, Mrs. Tracy noted the question as a
good sign.

Soon they were in search of the old St. Michael's Episcopal Church, near
there, which they had learned was the third oldest in Massachusetts, and
the fourth in New England, those in Boston, Newbury, and Newport being
the three older. As Mrs. Tracy approached it, she became indignant that
the outer frame had ever been put over the original church with its
seven gables and its towers; she wondered if it could not now be taken
off and leave the old church, as it was meant to be, pretty and unique.
When from the inside she saw the peculiar ceiling, she thought more than
ever that it ought to be and could be done. While she was thus
speculating, the boys were observing the quaint old brass chandelier,
with its candles, a gift from England, also the pillars of the church,
stained to imitate marble. Then they all examined the Decalogue over the
altar, written in the ancient letters, and done in England in 1714. Mrs.
Tracy wished that the old high pulpit and sounding-board had never been
replaced by the desk which she now saw there. The sexton showed them the
old English Bible, which he said had been in use there about one hundred
and twenty-five years. They noticed the little organ, which was very
old, and also sent over from England. As they came out of the church,
they saw, by its side, a graveyard containing some old inscriptions, and
then went on to see the old Town House in the square, which Reuben said
was in its prime in the days of George III. He told the boys to wait
until they should study history, and then they would know more about
this king. That was what he was going to do. Mrs. Tracy noted this
remark as another good sign.

She treated them to some soda-water in Goodwin's apothecary-store,
nearly opposite, so that they could the more easily remember the house,
of which this was the parlor, where Chief-Justice Story was born.

They were still driving up Washington Street, through one of the oldest
parts of the town, when, all of a sudden, Reuben asked his mother to
stop and let him and his friends get out and run up some stone steps,
which he said he knew would lead them up through backyards into another
street. So out they jumped, and soon were up in High Street, following
its winding way over the rocky soil, and amidst old houses, until they
came out to Washington Street again, where Mrs. Tracy had driven on to
meet them. They then drove along Front Street, where they had a fine
view of the ocean, and also of the Neck, so prettily decked with its
unique jewels. Reuben was anxious to go in Lee and State Streets because
they were old and quaint, which they soon found. The boys, much to their
delight, spied some more steps leading to another street, and also
noticed, on much of the way, the want of sidewalks. They touched upon
other streets which they were inclined to call lanes.

So they spent a day in this old town, with its Fort Sewall; its Powder
House, built in 1755; its Ireson's house on Oakum Bay, where Mrs. Tracy
reread to them Whittier's poem on Ireson; its cemeteries, where in one
they found a gravestone bearing the date of 1690. They visited the new
Abbott Hall, which Mrs. Tracy told them to consider as a historical
connecting link between the old and the new. She now felt that they had
seen enough for one day: so, with a promise to drive over again, some
time, to visit more especially the newer part of the town, and also to
drive around the Neck, they left for home. The next day, indeed for
several days, the boys were in high spirits talking over their trip. All
of the boys in the neighborhood were interested to hear of it, and
doubtless some mother was stimulated to do as much for her children. As
for Mrs. Tracy, her sorrow was still keen, but her interest in her
living child's growth was becoming the means of softening its sharpest
edge. She had discovered an elixir which should renew her life to larger

By another week's time Marblehead was pretty well talked over, and Mrs.
Tracy was interested to find another subject for the rest of the
vacation, A few days before, Reuben had asked her what an island was.
She felt then, as she answered him, that a visit to such a place would
give him a much better idea of its capabilities than any description
which she could give. So, now, in thinking over an interesting island
within easy distance, for a day's trip, she recalled the pleasure which,
some years before, she had found in a short stay upon Star Island, among
the Isles of Shoals. When she had decided that this should be the place,
she talked the matter over with Reuben, telling him that he might invite
his cousin Frank, a boy of fifteen years, to come from a neighboring
town and spend the rest of the vacation with him; for he would enjoy
studying with them about the Isles of Shoals before they should all go
to see them. Reuben was delighted with the proposition; he secretly
wondered what had made his mother so _extra_ good lately; he
determined that he would love her more and more, and do all that he
could for her; he did wish that his brother Albert was alive to go with
them, but he was so glad to have his cousin Frank, who was certainly
coming to him the next day.

The following morning brought him, after which the days flew quickly by.
Reuben not only showed to him the antiquities of Salem, but told him
much of Marblehead town. They played together their vacation plays, and
had, each day, their hour's talk and reading with Mrs. Tracy on the
geography and history of the Isles of Shoals. At last they were ready to
go, and the day was set. Mrs. Tracy had invited Reuben's school-teacher,
Miss De Severn, a lovely young lady, whom sad reverses had sent to hard
work, and denied much pleasure in travel, to join her in their trip.
Reuben teased his papa to go with them, but business engagements
prevented his so doing. But he encouraged his son in his pleasure, and
told him that whenever he could tell all that he wanted to see in Europe
he should go there on a tour, but not before. Frank, particularly,
caught his uncle's idea, and determined then to read all the good books
of travel that he could find.

On the pleasant morning of the appointed time they were all on hand in
the Salem station to take the train for Portsmouth; they arrived there
in time to take the steamer Appledore, as it started at eleven o'clock,
for its ten-mile trip to the Shoals. The boys were delighted with the
novelty of sailing between New Hampshire on one side and Maine on the
other. As they passed on the right the quaint old town of Newcastle,
Miss De Severn told them of the old Wentworth house, built in 1750,
which was still standing there, and which still contained the old
portraits of Dorothy Quincy and others. She promised to read to them, on
their return home, the story of Dorothy Quincy, as told by Dr. Holmes,
and also the story of Martha Hilton, the Lady Wentworth of the Hall, as
told by Longfellow. While she was telling them of the old Fort
Constitution, which they soon passed, and other tales of Great Island,
or Newcastle, Mrs. Tracy was enjoying the Kittery side, which also had
its suggestive history. They soon passed the twin lighthouses of Whale's
Back. Reuben was still wondering why that name was given to it, when his
quick ear heard the ringing of a bell afar off in the distance. What
could that be? Then Mrs. Tracy told the boys of the valuable bell-buoys,
of which they had never heard. The sea was just rough enough to cause
the bell stationed there to ring most of the time; and as they passed
it, they declared that they never heard anything more dismal. Frank said
that he should always think of that in a stormy night ringing out to
warn the sailors. After a sail of an hour and a half, they landed at
Appledore Island, the largest of the seven which comprise the Isles of
Shoals, and which altogether make a little over six hundred acres.
Reuben said that they were now in Maine, for Appledore, Smutty Nose,
Duck, and Cedar belonged to Maine; while Star, White, and Londoner
belonged to New Hampshire. His mother was pleased to hear him apply his
geographical knowledge of the place so soon. She was sure now that he
never would forget that fact. They spent a short time in looking around
the island, with its attractive hotel, so finely situated, and its half
dozen pretty cottages. One of them Mrs. Tracy pointed out as the home of
Celia Thaster, who, she told them, was a poetess who had written so
feelingly of the sea, and who had told, in a pretty poem, how in the
years gone by she had often lighted with her own hands the light in the
lighthouse which they could see on White Island, a short distance from
them. The boys wished to go there, as they had never been near a
lighthouse; but as Mrs. Tracy felt that in their limited time Star
Island would, on the whole, afford them more pleasure and profit, they
took the little miniature steamer Pinafore, which constantly plied
between the two islands, and in a few minutes' time were landed on its
historic ground.

After they had dined at the Oceanic, a hotel kept by the same
proprietors as the Appledore House, on the island which they had just
left, they found that they had an hour and a half in which to look
around before the steamer should return to Portsmouth. As they sauntered
along over the rocks back of the hotel, they came near enough to the
little meeting-house, which was standing there, to read on its side the
following inscription:--



Through the kindness of a gentleman who had brought the key to gain
entrance into the interior, they all went in through the little side
door to see a comparatively small room, with about twenty-five pews, and
a quaint desk with a large chair each side of it. Mrs. Tracy said that
when this church was built, in 1800, that island had only fifteen
families and ninety-two persons, while Smutty Nose had three families
and twenty persons, and Appledore had not an inhabitant upon it. Reuben
said that there was a time, more than a hundred years before the
Revolutionary War, when the town of Gosport, which included all the
islands, contained from three hundred to six hundred inhabitants. Miss
De Severn wished that they had time to read some old preserved records
of that place, which were now to be seen at the hotel.

As they came out of the church, Reuben spied the weather-vane, in the
form of a fish, which crowned the little wooden tower, in which was the
bell, still used, although rather dismal in sound.

As they wandered on, Mrs. Tracy noticed that the march of improvement
had torn down most of the old fishing-houses, as well as the little old
school-house, which she knew had once been there. They soon came upon
the old burial-ground among the rocks, where they found inscribed on two
horizontal slabs the only two inscriptions which were there. On one they
saw this tribute:--

  WHO DIED DEC. 7, 1810.  AGED 64 YEARS.

and, on the other, this high eulogy:--

  AND DIED AUG. 12, 1773.  AET 72.


Miss De Severn bowed reverently in honor of such lives having been lived
in the midst of the ignorance and corruption which she knew to have then
pervaded the islands.

From this rocky burial-ground they wended their way to the three-sided
monument, enclosed within a railing, which was on one of the highest
rocks on the island. Frank remembered that it was erected in 1864, in
honor of Captain John Smith, one of the first explorers of the islands;
but as he was ignorant of the meaning of the Turk's head on its top--the
one left of the three which were once there--Mrs. Tracy told him and
Reuben about Smith's successful encounter with the three Turks, as well
as some other tales pertaining to his brave exploits, after which they
read on the sides of the monument the words inscribed in his honor.

As they stopped to gaze around them for a moment, they saw, a little
more than half a mile off, Haley's (or Smutty Nose) Island, with its few
black houses, prominent among which was the one stained by an awful
tragedy. Mrs. Tracy hoped that it would soon be taken down, for it was
too suggestive of terror and wickedness to be always in sight of those
seeking rest and peace on the islands. Reuben said that Smutty Nose was
the most verdant of all the islands, and the one the earliest settled;
while Duck Island, three miles away, was noted for its game. He also
remembered, much to his mother's surprise, that Cedar Island was only
three eighths of a mile distant, and Londoner not a quarter of a mile
away. When Frank added that Appledore was seven eighths of a mile off,
and White Island nearly two miles distant, Reuben, not to be outdone by
him, said that Star Island was three quarters of a mile long, and half a
mile wide, while Appledore was a mile long. They would have gone on till
all their knowledge had been told, if Mrs. Tracy had not suggested that
they continue their walk over the rocks which gave Star Island its
natural grandeur. They would have liked to have remained there all of
the afternoon, to have enjoyed the waves as they dashed up over the
rocks; but they only stopped long enough to find Miss Underhill's Chair,
the name of a large rock, on which Frank read aloud an inscription
stating the fact, that, in 1848, on that spot, Miss Underhill, a loved
missionary teacher, was sitting, when a great wave came and washed her
away. Miss De Severn said that her body was found a week later at York
Beach, where the tide had left it.

On their way back to the hotel they noticed some willows and wild roses,
enclosed in a wooden fence, wherein Mrs. Tracy said would be found the
graves of three little children of a missionary who once lived upon the
island; whereupon the boys searched until they found the three following
inscriptions: "Jessie," two years, "Millie," four years, and "Mittie,"
seven years old. Under the name of Mittie they said was inscribed:
"I don't want to die, but I'll do just as Jesus wants me to."

Mrs. Tracy found herself looking back tenderly to this sacred spot, as
she followed the boys to the other side of the Oceanic to see the ruins
of the old Fort, which Reuben said had been useful before the
Revolutionary War.

On their way to the steamer, which was to leave in a few minutes, they
stepped into a small graveyard of dark stones, of which Mrs. Tracy said
all but one were inscribed with the name of Caswell.

Soon they were on the steamer, bound for Portsmouth, then on the cars
for Salem, where they arrived home in time for supper. They had seen
what they went to see, and Reuben now very well knew what an island was.
Hereafter, geography and history would be more real to him. On the
following Monday, Frank was telling in his home all that he had seen,
thus inspiring a larger circle with a desire to see and to know, and
Rueben was in his schoolroom ready to begin another year's school work.
His teacher was glad to see that he certainly would be a more
interesting pupil for his intelligent vacation rambles, and silently
wished that more mothers would do what his mother has done.

As for Mrs. Tracy, she not only decided to interest herself in the
studies of her boy more than she had done in the past, but she
determined to prepare the way for some little historic excursion for
every vacation which her son should have. Another summer should bring
Concord, surely, and perhaps Plymouth too.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: Alex H. Rice.]

*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "The Bay State Monthly — Volume 1, No. 1, January, 1884" ***

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