MARCH MEETING, 1900.
A Stated Meeting of the Society was held at No. 25 Beacon Street, Boston, on Wednesday, 21 March, 1900, at three o’clock in the afternoon, President Wheelwright in the chair.
The Records of the Stated Meeting in February were read and approved.
The Corresponding Secretary reported that since the last Meeting a letter had been received from Dr. Moses Coit Tyler accepting Corresponding Membership.
President Wheelwright announced the death of the Honorable Edward John Phelps, an Honorary Member, and remarked upon the fact that Professor Phelps’s death made the first break in either the Honorary or Corresponding Rolls of the Society. He then paid this tribute to the memory of our late associate: —
Since our last Stated Meeting we have lost by death one name from the short list of our Honorary Members. There have been but seven names in this list, and that of the Honorable Edward John Phelps was the second name to be inscribed upon it; his is also the first to be starred. Mr. Phelps was elected an Honorary Member on the twentieth of December, 1893, when President Cleveland was also admitted to our fellowship. In his letter of acceptance, he desired to express his “thanks for the distinguished compliment conferred upon him, — a compliment,” he added, “which I very highly appreciate.” He subsequently showed the genuineness of this appreciation and the interest he at once took in our Society by twice making long journeys to attend our Annual Meetings, — those of 1894 and 1899. The day after the first of these meetings, Mr. Phelps drove to Cambridge and called upon our then President, Dr. Gould, to express the pleasure he had enjoyed. At both these meetings, or rather at the dinner which followed them, he contributed to the intellectual feast by speeches in which he fully justified his reputation as an after-dinner speaker. At the last of these dinners, — that of November, 1899, — your President had the privilege of having him for his right-hand neighbor at the table and can testify to the unrivalled charm of his conversation, with its happy mingling of wit and wisdom.
Mr. Phelps died at New Haven, Connecticut, where he had a residence, on the ninth of March. He had been ill with pneumonia for nearly two months, but until within a week of his death it was confidently believed by his physician that he would recover, because of his strong constitution and in spite of his advanced age. During his illness, messages of sympathy were constantly addressed to him from all parts of the country and from abroad, including one from Queen Victoria, inquiring as to his condition and expressing a hope for his recovery. At a time when it was thought that his restoration to health was assured, this Society also sent him a letter of congratulation.
Though born in Vermont, Mr. Phelps had in his veins good Massachusetts blood, which we of The Colonial Society of Massachusetts may be pardoned for believing may have been not without influence upon his character and career. His ancestor William Phelps, born in England in 1599, came to New England in 1630 and first settled at Dorchester, Massachusetts; but after residing there five or six years removed with his family to Windsor, Connecticut. Here they remained for several generations, intermarrying, meanwhile, with some of the most eminent families of that Colony, some of them, also, originally of Massachusetts stock.
Mr. Phelps was born at Middlebury, Vermont, on the eleventh of July, 1822, and was educated at Middlebury College. After graduating, in 1840, he studied law with his father, with Horatio Seymour, and at the Yale Law School, was admitted to the bar in 1843, and began practice in New York City, but soon removed to Burlington, Vermont, which became thereafter his habitual place of residence. Here he soon acquired the reputation of a sound lawyer and able advocate and was entrusted with many important cases. Though in a measure shrouded from public gaze in the remote county town he had chosen for his residence, his legal ability and attainments were not unmarked by his professional brethren, and in 1880 he was chosen President of the American Bar Association. He had already received, in 1870, the degree of LL.D. from his Alma Mater. Yale University gave him the honorary degree of A.M. in 1881 and he was at the same time made a professor in the Yale Law School. The University of Vermont conferred upon him the degree of LL.D. in 1887 and Harvard did the same in 1889.
Mr. Phelps was best known to the general public as our Minister to England, to which post he was appointed by President Cleveland in 1885. As the immediate successor of Lowell it was at first feared that he might appear to disadvantage in the comparison; but such apprehensions soon proved groundless and the new appointee at once achieved, without effort, a popularity unsurpassed by any of the long line of distinguished men who had preceded him in the office. He became popular with the entire nation, from the Sovereign down to the plainest of the plain people. One passport to popular favor he had, very potent with Englishmen, which Lowell lacked, — he was an enthusiastic sportsman, and brought home, at the end of his mission, several pair of antlers as trophies of his skill in deer-stalking among the Highlands of Scotland.
On his departure from England, Punch assured him of —
John Bull’s best wishes
And Mr. Punch’s too;
and the London Times of the twelfth of March, 1900, in announcing his death, said: —
Among the gifted men who have represented the United States here, Mr. Phelps was one of the most successful alike in social and in diplomatic duties. He will long be remembered as one of the best and wisest of his country’s servants.
Not only is our Society called upon to mourn the loss of a distinguished member, but Mr. Phelps’s death is a loss to the whole nation, at a time when new and perplexing problems are confronting us at home and abroad, when there is sore need of wise counsellors and honest and well-equipped officials. It is, perhaps, as an educator that Mr. Phelps will be most missed. Profoundly learned in constitutional and international law, he delighted in nothing so much as in training young men for his own noble profession. His duties as professor in the Yale Law School were most congenial to him, and he continued the zealous performance of them so long as health and strength and life itself lasted. May we not hope that his labors in this field may bear fruit in the coming generations?
We have lost, the nation has lost, in Mr. Phelps, a pure patriot, a diligent and faithful public servant. Learned in the law, he was equally well versed in letters; a fluent speaker, an able writer; witty without acerbity, a master of epigram and not unskilled in verse; proficient in manly exercises, a lover of the woods and ardent in the chase; a genial comrade with men, a favorite companion with women; a sturdy democrat, immovable where principle was concerned, but yielding gracefully and with tact in matters non-essential; equally at home in the cottage and the court; he was, in short, a very perfect specimen of the true American gentleman, dignified without arrogance, affable without condescension, and possessed of that true good breeding which attrition with the best society often fails to give, but which springs spontaneously from a kindly nature. Long may such be found among us!
Mr. Henry H. Edes then said: —
It will be remembered that when the Courts of the Commonwealth were removed from Court Square to their present quarters in Pemberton Square, Boston, there was much speculation concerning a fine Copley portrait, signed and dated 1767, of a man in a scarlet gown whom nobody could identify. Mr. Augustus T. Perkins describes this picture as a “three-fourths length, in the Judge’s room of the Supreme Court, at Boston,” and calls it a portrait of “Judge Hayward, of South Carolina.”779 The canvas now occupies a conspicuous place in the Social Law Library. Our associate Mr. Justice Barker of the Supreme Judicial Court and Judge Francis W. Hurd made many inquiries and much research to ascertain the name of the original of this interesting and mysterious picture but without success. Some of the older members of the Bar recollected that Chief-Justice Shaw once said that the Library owned a portrait of one of the Judges of the Courts in one of the Southern Colonies; but none could remember his name.
Engraved for The Colonial Society of Massachusetts from a portrait by Copley in possession of the Social Law Library of Boston.
In conversation a few days since, with Mr. Francis Wales Vaughan, Librarian of the Social Law Library, he told me that he believed he had solved the mystery. In looking over the account-book of the Treasurer, he found the following entry under date of 10 August, 1829: —
To cash pd. Daniel Merrill for moving picture of Martin Howard presented to the Social L. Library by Miss A. H. Spooner . . . .50
Investigation at the Suffolk Probate Office showed that Anna Howard Spooner was put under guardianship in 1802, and the inference was at once drawn that she was the donor of the portrait. It was in vain that the Records of the Proprietors and of the Trustees of the Library were searched for some acknowledgment of this gift, the entry in the Treasurer’s books, apparently, being all that remained on paper bearing upon the identity of the portrait. Finally, however, in making a thorough search among some old vouchers, letters, and other papers in the Treasurer’s custody, Mr. Vaughan found Miss Spooner’s letter, dated in August, 1829, presenting to the Library780 the portrait of her grandfather painted “by Mr. Copely.” A postscript to the letter states that the portrait is given for the purpose of showing the dress of the Judges before the Revolution.
Martin Howard was a prominent man in both Rhode Island and North Carolina. His father, Martin Howard, Senior, was a resident of Newport, Rhode Island, and, with other of his townsmen, was “admitted free of the Colony” of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations at a session of the Assembly on 3 May, 1726.781 Unlike his son, he does not appear to have made any impression upon public affairs, but that he was well descended may reasonably be inferred from an item in the estimate of his son’s losses at the hands of the Newport mob, in August, 1765, to be mentioned hereafter. The son was born in England,782 and, doubtless, was brought hither in early childhood by his father.783
Martin Howard, Jr., as his name appears in the public records for many years and as late as 1765,784 studied law under James Honyman, Jr., and became a practitioner at the bar in Newport where he mostly resided. He was appointed by the Assembly one of the Commissioners to go to Albany to confer with the Six Nations on the fourteenth of June, 1754,785 and in August, 1756, one of a committee to prepare a bill to authorize a lottery for raising £10,000 to carry on the building of Fort George.786 On the eighteenth of August, 1760, and again on the twenty-first of September, 1762, he was named on a commission to revise the laws of the Colony.787 His activities, however, were not confined to his profession and his public services to the Colony. For three years (1752–1755) he was librarian of the Redwood Library,788 and he was long an active and influential member of Trinity Church.789
Of Howard’s first marriage the following record, in the handwriting of Dr. MacSparran, has been preserved in the Register of St. Paul’s Church, Narragansett, under date of 29 December, 1749: —
The Banns of marriage between Martin Howard Junr and Ann Conklin being duly published in Trinity Church in Newport on Rhode Island, and certification thereof being had under the Hand of ye Revd Mṟ James Honyman Rector of said church; said Partys were Joind together in holy matrimony at the House of Major Ebenezer Brenton790 Far of said Ann on Friday the 29th of Decemr 1749 by the Revd. James Macsparran D:D: Incumbent of St Pauls in Narraganset the Parish where said Partys did then reside.791
The Register of Trinity Church, Newport, preserves the dates of baptism of three children of Martin and Ann Howard, — Ebenezer-Brenton, 14 August, 1751, Elizabeth, 26 July, 1752, and Ann, 24 August, 1754, but no more.792
As the Revolution drew on, Howard became an ardent Loyalist, and with Dr. Thomas Moffatt, a Scotch physician, and Augustus Johnston, Attorney-General of the Colony, he was appointed to office under the Stamp Act. On the twenty-seventh of August, 1765, the mob made a demonstration against the stamp officers, drawing their effigies through the streets and hanging them on a gallows, and injuring Howard’s person. On the following day, it attacked and dismantled the houses of Howard and Moffatt who fled the town, taking shelter on board the British sloop-of-war Cygnet then riding at anchor in the harbor. Believing it to be unsafe to remain in the Colony, they sailed for England.793
The wreck of Martin Howard’s house was complete. It stood on a lot of land bounded by Spring, Stone and Broad streets, the latter now known as Broadway, on which the house fronted. Not only were the contents of the house destroyed and thrown into the street, but doors and window-frames were torn out and an unsuccessful attempt was made to pull down the chimney. The house, in its dismantled condition, was sold by auction, after its owner’s flight, to John G Wanton794 who restored it. His family and descendants have since owned and occupied it.795
On his way to England, Howard tarried at Halifax, Nova Scotia, where, in the same year, he wrote two political pamphlets, the first of which was inspired by another written by Governor Hopkins, who had been his associate in the delegation from Rhode Island to the Colonial Congress at Albany in the summer of 1754.796
Howard did not remain long in England, whence he took passage for North Carolina, where great honors awaited him. The Assembly of 1767 divided the Province into five judicial districts, and adopted a new court law.797 Moore says that —
Edenton, New-Bern, Wilmington, Halifax and Hillsboro were the points at which the Superior Courts were to be held, Martin Howard was Chief-Justice, and Richard Henderson and Maurice Moore were Associates. Judge Howard had recently been involved in trouble with the people of Rhode Island because of his opinions concerning the Stamp Act. He was a man of real learning in his profession, and of unusual literary culture for that period. It has been the habit in North Carolina to disparage his memory, but apart from his loyalty to the King and to England, the land of his birth, nothing remains to his discredit which might not be imputed to some of his associates on the North Carolina bench, who have been so abundantly eulogized in all our annals. Judge Howard, even in the heat of the Revolution, though sympathizing with the King, received the respectful consideration of such men as Judge Iredell, who had the magnanimity to ignore the small hatreds and defamations so prolific in all times of upheaval and change. Judge Maurice Moore was the son of General Maurice Moore, who came with his brothers Roger and George in 1710 to renew the ancient settlement of their grandfather, Sir John Yeamans. He was the most cultivated native North Carolinian of that time. He had been for years leader of the North Carolina Bar.798
Shortly after Howard’s appointment to the Bench, and in the same year, he came to Boston and was painted in his official robes by Copley, as already stated. He married for his second wife, Abigail Greenleaf,799 the young daughter of Stephen Greenleaf, Sheriff of Suffolk, and tradition relates that the portrait was painted at the time of his marriage, no record of which, however, or of the publishment of it, is to be found in the Boston town or church records.
Returning with his bride to North Carolina, Judge Howard entered upon a short career which was marked by turbulence and great popular excitement. In his judicial capacity he had to deal with the “Regulators,” of whom the Rev. Herman Husbands, “the ambitious Quaker,” who has been fitly characterized as “a craven-hearted wretch [and] noisy demagogue,” was a leader.800 Moore thus describes the trial: —
Nearly four thousand men had assembled to watch the fortunes of a wretch, who could thus so easily agree to abandon their cause when danger seemed threatening himself. He was acquitted of the charge laid against him in the bill found by the grand jury, but William Butler and two others, far more innocent than Husbands, were convicted and committed to prison for six months, with the added punishment of heavy fines.
Colonel Edmund Fanning, likewise, was indicted at the same time in five different cases for extortion in office. He pleaded “not guilty” but was convicted in all and sentenced by the court to pay a fine of one penny in each case. These five entries in the handwriting of James Watson, Clerk of the Superior Court of Orange county, may be yet inspected, and are the dumb, yet eloquent witnesses of the eternal shame resting upon the memory of that court. It is hard to believe that Maurice Moore could have been consenting to such a mockery of justice He had been loud in his denunciations of such crimes as those whereof Fanning now stood convicted, and had gone to such lengths that the partisans of Tryon were open in their charges of complicity on his part with the worst schemes of the Regulators. His subsequent course in the General Assembly, where he was so powerful in shielding the defeated insurgents, showed that he had not lost his sympathies for the outraged people. Again when Judge Howard was driven from the court house in Hillsboro in 1770, Judge Moore was treated with consideration. The subsequent violence of the Regulators to both of his colleagues is proof positive that on the names of Martin Howard, Chief-Justice, and Richard Henderson, his associate, should lie the odium of an infamous defeat of justice. They allowed Governor Tryon, with his loose morals and bad passions, to sully the reputation of a court which might have been illustrious for rectitude as it was for the real learning of the Judges. Howard has paid a fearful penalty in the obloquy historians have cast upon his name,801 but Richard Henderson, in the virtues of his nobler sons, has been so mantled by charitable speeches, that his name has gone unwhipped of justice.802
McRee’s estimate of the Chief-Justice is worth quoting: —
Martin Howard, . . . of . . . Rhode Island, . . . being forced by popular indignation to fly that province, sought shelter in North Carolina, where, after the suicide of Judge Berry, he was made Chief Justice by Governor Tryon; he was also a member of Tryon’s council. His office as judge terminated with the expiration of the law creating the court, in 1773. He is represented by Jones, Wheeler and others, as devoid of all the virtues of humanity, a ferocious despot, an execrable copy of the English Jeffreys. I cannot but suspect that the picture has been exaggerated; it has been blackened out of all resemblance to any being who ever sat upon the Bench within my knowledge in North Carolina. The Judge was certainly the ablest lawyer, and the most highly cultivated member of his court. The fact that he was permitted to reside quietly on his plantation until July, 1777, when he withdrew from the State; the further fact that he was kindly remembered by such a man as James Iredell, whose respect clung to him in his fallen fortunes, and the tone of the following letter, consist but badly with the moral deformity and atrocity attributed to him; and induce the belief that the removal of a little rhetorical lampblack will disclose a man, differing, it is true, politically, from the mass of the population, but in other respects, the peer of the proudest citizen of the realm. The letter of Howard to Iredell, dated 20th May, 1773, referred to by Jones as a confession of “malignity,” has disappeared from Mr. Iredell’s collection of papers.
LETTER OF MARTIN HOWARD TO JAMES IREDELL.
Richmond,803 May 15th, 1777.
Sir: — Your favor from New Bern gave me no small degree of pleasure. An instance of civility to an obscure man in the woods, is as flattering as a compliment to a worn-out beauty, and received with equal avidity and delight. I have lately been so little accustomed even to the common courtesies of life, that a sentiment of kindness comes upon me by surprise, and brings with it a double, because an unexpected, pleasure.
I sincerely thank you for your obliging expressions; they give me more than I have a right to claim, and greatly overpay any marks of consideration which I may at any time heretofore have shown to you, and which your merit entitled you to receive from me.
I wish you could have conveniently fulfilled your intentions of riding to Richmond. My little family would have been glad to see you, and you would have seen, I think, the best piece of meadow in Carolina, whence (when I leave this country) you might be able to add one to the few observations which may be made upon an unimportant character, viz., that I had made two blades of grass grow where only one grew before — a circumstance among some nations of no small honor and renown. I wish you all happiness, and am, with real esteem,
Sir, your most ob’t serv’t.
During his residence in North Carolina, Howard presented to the Colonial authorities of Rhode Island a claim for compensation for the loss he had sustained at the hands of the Newport mob, in August, 1765. The riot and the resultant damage commanded the attention of Governor Ward and the Assembly for several years,805 but, although the Chief-Justice’s claim was persistently pressed, and reports upon the subject were made by committees, no settlement of it was ever effected. Howard’s “Estimate of damage,” amounting to £324.13.0, has been printed, in full.806 It is dated at Newbern, North Carolina, 26 December, 1772, and contains one item of special interest: —
Four large family pictures, gilt frames; one by Sir Peter Lely £35.0.0
In the summer of 1777, as we have already seen, Judge Howard left North Carolina and sailed for a Northern port. Sabine807 tells us that he revisited Rhode Island where, in conversation with Secretary Ward, he remarked: —
Henry, you may rely upon it, I shall have no quarrel with the Sons of Liberty of Newport; it was they who made me Chief-Justice of North Carolina, with a thousand pounds sterling a year.
The following year (1778) Howard went to England with his family and made his home in Chelsea in the County of Middlesex. In the Gentleman’s Magazine for December, 1781 (li. 593), under date of 24 November, 1781, is recorded the death of —
Martin Howard, esq; chief justice of North Carolina.808
His burial is recorded in the Register of the parish of Saint Luke, Chelsea: —
 Decṟ 1st Martin Howard, Esqṟ809
The following is the full text of Judge Howard’s will: —
I Martin Howard Chief Justice of North Carolina now residing in Chelsea being very weak in body but of a disposing mind to make this my last will & testament, I give to my beloved wife Abigail Howard all my household furniture except what is in my Daughters Chamber & that I give to my beloved daughter Annie Howard together with the plate that was her mothers & Grandfather Howards all the rest of my Estate real & personal wheresoever it be I give & devise to my said wife Abigail Howard & my said Daughter Annie Howard to be equally divided between them & if either of them should die leaving the other the part of hers so dying to pass to the Survivor her Heirs & assigns. I appoint my said wife Abigail Howard & my said daughter Annie Howard to be Executrix’s of this Will
M: Howard (L S)
Signed Sealed & declared by the Testator to be his last Will & testament in the presence of us this sixteenth day of October one thousand seven hundred & Eighty one.
After Judge Howard’s death, his widow and daughter Ann returned to America, and the daughter appears to have resided for a time at Newport. There, on the Register of Trinity Church, we find the following entry of marriage under date of 16 June, 1787: —
Andrew Spooner to Ann Howard.811
Andrew Spooner was a Boston merchant of good family. He was born in Boston 14 March, 1763, the son of John and Margaret (Oliver) Spooner,812 and grandson of John Spooner who emigrated to Boston from England.813 He occupied a three-story wooden house belonging to John Trecothick Apthorp which stood on the westerly side of Bowdoin Square at the corner of Green Street.814 At Trinity Church, Boston, we find the Spooners as well as Mrs. Spooner’s step-mother, among the worshippers. The Register records the baptism of two children, — Ann Howard Spooner, 11 June, 1788, and Andrew Spooner, 15 November, 1789; and the burial of their mother, Mrs. Anna Howard Spooner, at Milton, at the age of thirty-six, on the twenty-third of March, 1791. On the twenty-ninth of April, 1798, the intentions of marriage of Andrew Spooner and Elizabeth Sparhawk of Cambridge, a great grand-daughter of Sir William Pepperrell, were recorded at Boston.815 To them was born a daughter, Elizabeth Sparhawk Spooner, who was baptized at Trinity Church 27 March, 1800.816 Her mother died in the following autumn, and the Trinity Church Register records her burial at Cambridge, at the age of thirty-two, on the eighth of September. Mr. Andrew Spooner did not long survive his wife. The Columbian Centinel of Saturday, 23 January, 1802 (No. 1862, 3/1), contains this announcement: —
DIED. At Laguira, Mr. Andrew Spooner, of this town, Æt. 38.
Before following the descendants of Andrew Spooner, let us retrace our steps and note the fortunes of Judge Howard’s widow. At the time of her husband’s death, Abigail Howard was in her thirty-ninth year. She returned to Boston, and, her mother having died817 more than a year before Judge Howard, she again became a member of her father’s household. Her youngest sister, Hannah Greenleaf, had married, as his second wife, John Apthorp, a wealthy merchant of Boston and London, on the twelfth of December, 1765, and had gone to reside in Little Cambridge,818 in a mansion house built by his father, Charles Apthorp,819 one of the great merchants of Boston, who died in 1758. In consequence of Mr. Apthorp’s delicate health, he and his wife sailed for Charleston, South Carolina, “on board a vessel which, though spoken when a few days out, was never afterwards heard from. It was late in the autumn [of 1772], a severe snowstorm followed them, and it was supposed that the ship was lost at sea with all on board.”820 Their three children, who had been left in the care of their maternal grandparents, found with them a permanent home where they were tenderly and faithfully nurtured until their marriage.821 Their grandfather Greenleaf was appointed their guardian 28 December, 1772.822 Bereft of his wife, the old Sheriff needed the companionship of his widowed daughter and her aid in the care of his orphan grandchildren. He lived to the great age of ninety-one and was buried in his own tomb under Trinity Church, of which he had been a Warden, on the twenty-ninth of January, 1795.823
In less than a year after her father’s death, — on the sixth of January, 1796, — Abigail Howard purchased of Charles Bulfinch, for $5,000, the estate numbered thirteen in Franklin Place, now Franklin Street, Boston824 The house was in the Tontine Crescent,825 ̶ the fourth house below Hawley Street the north-westerly line or the estate Being about eighty-three feet south-west from Hawley street. The locus is nearly identical with the estate now numbered fifty-three and fifty-five in Franklin Street. Here, Madam Howard lived, in a handsomely furnished and well-appointed house, having for neighbors many of the most prominent citizens of Boston;826but she was not destined long to enjoy the quiet comfort of her new home. On the twentieth of May, 1800, her nephew, John Trecothick Apthorp,827 represented to the Judge of Probate that his aunt was a person non compos mentis; and, in due course, Mr. Apthorp was appointed her guardian.828 After a lingering illness, her death829 was announced in the Columbian Centinel of Saturday, 3 October, 1801 (No. 1832, p. 2/4): —
DIED.] Mrs. Abigail Howard, Æt. 58, daughter of Stephen Greenleaf, Esq. late Sheriff of the County of Suffolk, and widow of Martin Howard, Esq. formerly Chief Justice of North-Carolina. — Her funeral will proceed from the house of her nephew, Mr. John T. Apthrop [Apthorp], at the bottom of the Mall, on Monday afternoon, at 4 o’clock, which her relations and friends are requested to attend without further invitation.
From Mr. Apthorp’s account as guardian of Madam Howard, allowed by the Probate Court on the thirteenth of October, 1801, I copy the following interesting item: —
1800. July, By Cash for a Bill of Exchange for her Pension in England, $227.12.
Madam Howard’s will830 directs that her body be buried in her father’s tomb under Trinity Church. It makes many bequests to relatives831 and friends and disposes of much plate and many other valuables. Mrs. Elizabeth Grant of Chelsea College, England, receives a legacy of five guineas. To her eldest and only surviving sister, Mary Phips, wife of David Phips, Esquire,832 Madam Howard gives “all my portraits, that of my late Husband excepted.”833 A paragraph of special interest is in these words: —
Item. To Andrew & Ann Howard Spooner, children of Andrew Spooner by Ann Howard his late Wife, I give my certificates of Six & three percent Stock of the united States Debt & also one half the money that has arisen or shall arise from the sale of a Lot of Land in Newport on Rhode Island which was the Property of my late husband Martin Howard, Esqr to be equally divided between them. To the said Andrew I also give the Portrait of his Grandfather, my late Husband, & the History of Charles 5 in three Vol. Quarto, & To said Ann I give my gold Watch & one Dozn silver Tea Spoons.
Madam Howard gave her library to the Boston Library Society, bequeathed the residue of her estate to the Boston Episcopal Charitable Society, and named the Rev. (afterwards Bishop) Samuel Parker, D.D., sole executor of her will.
The story of Andrew Spooner’s descendants, so far as our present interest is concerned, is briefly told. On the eighth of February, 1802, his three children, Anna Howard Spooner, Andrew Spooner, and Elizabeth Sparhawk Spooner were placed under the guardianship of their uncle, William Spooner, M.D.,834 a prominent physician of Boston.835
Andrew Spooner, the younger, at the age of eighteen, went to France, where he ever after continued to reside, making but one short visit to his sisters in America. He was twice married; and at his death, he left two adult children, a daughter, who subsequently married, and a son, also named Andrew Spooner, who went to Singapore in a mercantile capacity, but he was more interested in science, especially in chemistry, than in commerce and finally returned to France.836 As Copley’s portrait of Chief-Justice Howard was, as we have seen, bequeathed to Andrew Spooner, and was presented to the Social Law Library by his sister of the full blood, the inference is not unreasonable that he gave it to her at or subsequent to the time of his expatriation.
Elizabeth Sparhawk Spooner married at Surry, Maine, on the twentieth of September, 1818, Edward Scott Jarvis,837 of that town, a son of Leonard Jarvis, merchant of Boston and Cambridge, became the mother of nine children, and died 10 June, 1880.838
Anna Howard Spooner, though baptized, as we have seen, at Trinity Church, early became a communicant at the Church in Brattle Square with which her father’s family had been for half a century in fellowship and where he himself was baptized by Dr. Samuel Cooper, 20 March, 1763. Here we find her name enrolled, under date of 4 May, 1806, among those who joined the church during the short ministry of Joseph Stevens Buckminster, one of whose classmates at Harvard she was one day to marry. The social position of her uncle, Dr. Spooner, who was allied to the Winthrops and Phillipses, and of her step-mother’s kindred, — the Apthorps, the Bulfinches and the Vaughans, — brought her into close relations with all that was best in Boston society during the early part of the nineteenth century. We catch a glimpse of her in the family letters of Charles Bulfinch839 and learn from them that his wife regarded her as her child, — a beautiful tribute to her character when it is remembered that Miss Spooner was merely a connection by marriage without a single tie of blood. After her half-sister’s marriage, Anna Howard Spooner also removed to Maine and long resided in that part of Surry which is now Ellsworth, in the County of Hancock.840 There, on Christmas Day, 1844, at the age of fifty-six, she became the second wife841 of the Hon. Leonard Jarvis,842 an elder brother of Edward Scott Jarvis. Leonard Jarvis, born at Cambridge 19 October, 1781, — the day of Cornwallis’s surrender, — graduated from Harvard College in 1800, in the Class with Chief-Justice Shaw,843 Washington Allston, the Rev. Dr. Charles Lowell, the Rev. Joseph Stevens Buckminster, Loammi Baldwin, and Joshua Bates, President of Middlebury College. After a mercantile career in Boston, France and South America, he settled in Maine, where he was Collector of Eastport and Sheriff of the County of Hancock, and was elected a member of Congress. He also held the office of United States Navy Agent at Boston during the administration of Van Buren. He died at Surry on the eighteenth of September, 1854, at the age of sixty-two.844 After Mr. Jarvis’s death, his widow removed to California, where she made her home with the family of Edward Scott Jarvis. Her health, which was then delicate, was restored by the more salubrious climate of California. She died, greatly beloved by all who knew her, at Newark, Alameda County, California, on the twelfth of January, 1889, having attained the great age of one hundred and seven months.
“PREVIOUS LEGISLATION” A CORRECTIVE FOR COLONIAL TROUBLES.
I submit herewith a copy of a document recently acquired by the Boston Public Library. It came into my hands through the courtesy of our associate Mr. Worthington C. Ford. My purpose in communicating it to this Society is to secure the record of an opinion which I have expressed to Mr. Ford as to the date of its origin, and to add thereto a few words as to the peculiar views held by the writer of the paper on the extent of the power of Parliament in legislating concerning Colonial affairs. The sentences in the document which occasion this last suggestion are obscure, and refer to certain contemporaneous events in such a manner as not to make clear the atrocity of the opinions expressed, except to one who is familiar with the affair to which they refer; but when their meaning is explained it is evident that their presence adds greatly to the value of a document which, upon its face, is an interesting contribution to the history of the currency emissions of the first half of the eighteenth century.
Inasmuch as the paper has neither date nor address, its exact purpose is difficult to determine, but a mere superficial examination is all that is needed to show that it was prepared during the efforts made to secure Parliamentary legislation with reference to the Colonial currency emissions, about the year 1741. There are references by date to Colonial legislation of 1740, and to a Parliamentary Act of 1741, the latter being the latest date mentioned. During the period of the paper-money craze in the Colonies, Parliament had spasms of activity in discussing the evils of the currency and the possible remedies that could be applied. This activity was promoted, or perhaps at times held back, by outside pressure, just as legislation is forwarded or hindered to-day by the lobby. The subject was before the House of Commons in 1740, after which it disappeared from the Records until 1744. Then it reared its head again, and this time the opponents of paper-money showed such strength that legislation for the restraint of the currency emissions of the Colonial governments would have been secured had it not been for the military situation caused by the war with the French. Louisburg could not have been captured except through the emission of paper-money by Massachusetts. During the interim between 1740 and 1744, it is not to be supposed that the opponents of the Colonial paper-money were quiet. They could petition the Board of Trade, and if the subject was before any Committee of the House of Commons, they could lay their views before such Committee. The document which we are considering was evidently written for some such purpose as this. It is rather in the nature of an argument than of a petition, and it may have been prepared by the writer for use by some person other than himself. It sets forth, in vigorous language, the evils resulting from the Rhode Island emissions. These were vastly disproportionate to the size of the Colony, and the greater part of them were made merely for the purpose of lending the currency thus created to citizens of the Colony. The current expenses of the Colonial Government were met by the interest derived from these loans, and the borrowers in turn profited by lending what they had borrowed to citizens of Massachusetts at a higher rate of interest. The emissions made by the Colony of Rhode Island for this purpose were called Banks, and were referred to occasionally in legislative Acts as the First Bank, the Second Bank, and so on. It is through references to one of these transactions that we are enabled to fix, within a few months, the date of this paper. The document also contains certain assertions as to the amount of the bills of public credit of the Colony of Rhode Island then in circulation. It is of course essential that these figures should agree with the facts as to the bills outstanding which we find in the official statements of the Colony, at the supposed date of the writing.
The subject of the Rhode Island emissions is treated by Douglass, in his Discourse Concerning the Currencies of the British Plantations in America, etc., 1740 (pp. 11–13), in a section which is headed “Rhode Island.” Any person who will compare this paper with the language used in that section will see that the arguments are identical in both, and cannot fail to be struck with the similarity of the two in the construction of their sentences, in the epithets used, and in the general tone that pervades them. The conclusion is inevitable that the paper was either written by Douglass himself, or by some person who, in making use of the arguments furnished by the Discourse, appropriated also Douglass’s unpolished style and his aggressive method of attack. The manner in which the entire paper is permeated with this individuality indicates that the first proposition is the more probable of the two.
One of the conditions as to the date of the document imposed by the writer is that there should have been in circulation at that time four hundred thousand pounds of the bills of public credit of the Colony of Rhode Island. It is true that, in the second clause of “Seventhly” in the paper, the statement is made that they — i. e. the Government of Rhode Island — “have now outstanding upwards of £40,000,” — the amount being stated in figures. This is obviously an error, and any person familiar with the history of the Rhode Island emissions would not hesitate to add the cipher which has been carelessly dropped; but we are fortunately relieved from compulsory reliance upon knowledge of this sort through the fact that, at another point in the paper, under what is termed the Second Reason, the writer states, and this time definitely, in words, that “Rhode Island . . . have now Extant four hundred thousand pounds in their Bills of Credit.” Turning to the official statements which from time to time were made in response to demands from the Board of Trade, or other recognized authorities in London, we find that a Report was made by the Governor of the Colony, about the time that we are compelled to consider, which upon its face does not seem to comply with the facts set forth in the paper, but which may be so construed as to fulfil the conditions therein imposed. The Report845 in question was made by Governor Ward, 9 January, 1740–41, and contains a statement that the bills outstanding then amounted to £340,000. In this Report the then recent emission of the Seventh Bank was put at £20,000. These bills were, however, of the New Tenor, and were equivalent to £80,000 Old Tenor. All the rest of the currency amounts given in the Report are in Old Tenor; and if we reduce this item to the same term, we have the bills outstanding in Rhode Island at that date, according to the official statement of the Governor of the Colony, £400,000. An examination of the statements of the currency emissions of other Colonies made at this time will reveal the fact that no recognition was made in these returns of the different purchasing power of the bills of the different tenors. This, of course, introduces a perplexing element in the official tabulations which the student of to-day is compelled to remedy as best he may. Dr. Douglass, in discussing the Massachusetts Currency, tabulated the outstanding bills in 1718 in Old Tenor. He says, “This table is reduced to Old Tenor, because our current way of computing is by Old Tenor.”846 In the same way Hutchinson, in 1747, estimated that there would be about two million two hundred thousand pounds outstanding in bills of the Province of the Massachusetts Bay, in 1749.847 All the bills emitted under Shirley’s administration were of the New Tenor, and an advocate of the paper money might have claimed that the bills outstanding ought to be stated in terms of New Tenor rather than Old Tenor. Nevertheless, what Douglass says is undoubtedly true. It was the custom to compute in Old Tenor, and the writer of this paper was justified in stating the Rhode Island bills outstanding in 1741 in that tenor. They practically remained at the figure which he gives until 1744.
It is during this period that we must look for the Bank of which, under “Secondly,” the writer says: —
“The last Emission being more Wicked they have reduced it [i. e. the rate of interest] to 4 p Ct. for 10 years & no Interest for 10 Years more,”
and of which he further says, in the third section of “Seventhly,”
“by the Emission Loan of this year they have lowered [interest] from 5 to 4 p Ct. p Ann.”
If we can find an emission which absolutely complies with the above conditions, and which was late enough to permit the expression “this year” to apply to it at the same time that the writer could refer to an Act of Parliament passed in 1741, then we have the means of fixing the date of the paper with certainty. The Seventh Bank seems to comply with all these demands, with the exception that if by the expression “this year” the writer meant “this calendar year,” then this Bank must be excluded from consideration; but if “within twelve months” was meant, then we have a complete compliance with all the requisites of the description of the Bank above given.
The Seventh Bank was originally created in September, 1740. At that time it was enacted that an emission of £20,000 should be made in bills which were to read that they were in value equal to a certain weight in silver, the same being proportioned to the denominational value of the bill and the rate of silver fixed upon for the emission being nine shillings an ounce. Silver was then worth twenty-seven shillings an ounce in Old Tenor, and it was provided that all fees should be one-third as much in the new bills as they had been in Old Tenor. In consequence of Instructions received from the Lords Justices of Great Britain, a new Act was passed in December of the same year, substituting for these bills a new emission rated in silver at 6s 9d an ounce. Fees, by this Act, were made one quarter as much in the new bills as they had been in Old Tenor, and, later, it was specifically enacted that 6s 9d in the new bills were equivalent to 27s in bills of the Old Tenor, thus definitely placing them on the basis of one to four. These proceedings are referred to in the paper in the second subdivision of the fourth section under “Seventhly,” in the following words: —
“In the Additional Act to the Emission Act of Anno 1740, they make some Amendmts. in sd. Act Vizt. That instead of one of these, equal to three of the former, shall be equal to four of the former; because not exactly Agreeable to a late Instruction from ye Lords Justices of Great Britain.”
In the Additional Act, not only was it provided that the bills at the new rate for silver should be substituted, but the entire programme for loaning the bills was re-enacted — thus raising a question whether the loans actually ran from the month of September or from December of the year 1740. They were to be for ten years, and were then to be paid in ten equal annual instalments. There was nothing in the language of either of these Acts which would specifically indicate that no interest was to be paid after the maturity of the loan; but this was clearly the case in some of the former Banks, after which this was modelled, and the custom may be inferred.
The Eighth Bank was established in February 1743–44 and the loans were for ten years at four per cent, and were then to be paid in ten equal annual instalments. This Bank must, however, be excluded from consideration, because, interest having already been placed at 4 per cent, it does not comply with the requisite that by this emission the interest should be reduced from five to four per cent. On the whole, then, it may be concluded that the Seventh Bank was the one referred to, and that in making use of the expression “this year” the writer merely meant to say “within a year.” This would fix the date of the paper in the year 1741. The Act of Parliament referred to by the writer must have been the Act for Restraining and Preventing Several Unwarrantable Schemes in the American Plantations.848 This was approved by his Majesty 25 April, 1741. The paper was, therefore, probably written in the summer of 1741.
It remains for me to point out the language used by the writer of the paper in which he discloses his views as to the powers of Parliament in legislating for the Colonies. At the beginning of the paper the fact is alluded to that Parliament had called upon his Majesty to issue Instructions to the Governors of the several Colonies not to assent to any Act for the emission of bills of credit, unless such Act contained a clause that the same should not take effect until approved by his Majesty. The writer then goes on to say: —
“To evade this, Some lawless Combinations were Entre’d into for forcing a Currency by large Emissions of private Bills; these having the same or a Worse Effect, but not being under the restriction of Royal Instructions, and without the reach of any former Act of Parliament, The Legislature of Great Britain found it requisite to Suppress them by a previous Act.”
This refers to the steps taken for the suppression of the Massachusetts Land Bank, in 1740. What those steps were was fully disclosed in an account of the Land Bank which I communicated to this Society in 1895.849 The subject was again briefly discussed in a paper on the relation of the Currency question to the Politics of the Province read by me at our April Meeting in 1899,850 and was again brought up at our January Meeting this year, in a discussion with reference to the effect of the Navigation Laws upon the prosperity of the Colonies,851 which followed the reading of a paper by our associate Worthington C. Ford. Before embarking once more upon a subject which has so often and so fully been considered by the Society, some apology ought, perhaps, to be made for bringing it up again; but it will be readily understood that the full comprehension of what the writer meant by the suppression of an organization “by a previous Act” may require something more than a mere statement that it has already been explained how this was accomplished. I think, therefore, that I shall be entitled to your indulgence if, for this purpose, I briefly recapitulate the following facts, which have been set forth in detail in the first of the papers above alluded to.
In 1735, the Attorney General, to whom some question had been submitted by the Board of Trade as to the legality of the acts of certain people in Boston who either had organized or proposed to organize, a Bank of some sort, replied that he could see no objection thereto in point of law. In 1736, the Board of Trade actually put itself on record as approving the acts of the merchants of Portsmouth, New Hampshire, who had organized a Company for the emission of bills of credit. In 1741, when Parliament undertook to pass an Act through which the Land Bank could be suppressed, the situation was precisely that described by the writer of the paper we are considering. The Land Bank was “without the reach of any former Act of Parliament,” and the act of its organizers could not be punished through any existing legislation. The English law-makers, therefore, proceed to enact that the so-called Bubble Act, originally passed in 1720, for the suppression and prevention of similar organizations, but which, by its terms, was limited in its application to Great Britain, did originally apply and had continuously applied to the Colonies. With this in mind, the phrase “the Legislature of Great Britain found it requisite to Suppress them by a previous Act,” becomes apparent.
That the atrocious nature of this legislation did not impress the writer of this paper is evident. That it was generally accepted by the hard-money men in the same approbatory spirit will perhaps be assumed from the manner in which Hutchinson, in his narrative of these events, refers to the then unquestioned control of Parliament over public and private persons and proceedings in the Colonies.852 In view of the extent to which this matter has already been discussed before this Society, the mere use of this language would not, perhaps, justify this review of the action of Parliament in 1741, were it not for the added emphasis given to the opinions of the writer by what he goes on to say in the next paragraph. These are his words: —
“If the Colony of Rhode Island Acting under a Charter by Setting up Banks, (the name given in their Acts to their Several Emissions of Loan Money) and Settling of Fees for Transferrs of Rights, as they are Called, do not fall within the explicit design of the Acts Anno 1720 and 1741; There Seems to be an Absolute Necessity for another previous Act of Parliament to put a Stop to their Iniquitous Lawless proceedings in this Affair . . .”
Previous legislation as a corrective for Colonial troubles, could, in the opinion of the writer, be created at any time and to meet any emergency. This opinion as to the power of Parliament in this line is certainly extraordinary.
The text of the document under discussion is as follows: —
Upon Some late Complaints of the Great Damages Sustained by the Traders from Great Britain, and ye. Confusion in Business Arising from a depreciating fallacious paper Currency in the British Plantations in America; The Parliament have taken this Affair into Consideration: But as the Circumstances of the Several Colonies may be Various and different the British Legislature are pleased to take time Maturely to deliberate concerning the most easy and Effectual Methods for Sinking and discharging the same in all the British Colonies with the least prejudice to their respective Inhabitants, and Interruption of ye. Comerce of Great Britain.
In the mean While to put a Stop to the further growth of this Evil, the Parliament Addressed his Majesty to give Instructions to his Governors in the Plantations not to Assent to any Act for Emission of Bills of Credit but with this Saving Clause Vizt. That the same shall not take Effect, until the said Act shall be Approved by his Majesty.
To evade this, Some lawless Combinations were Entre’d into for forcing a Currency by large Emissions of private Bills; these having the same or a Worse Effect, but not being under the restriction of Royal Instructions, and without the reach of any former Act of Parliament, The Legislature of Great Britain found it requisite to Suppress them by a previous Act.
If the Colony of Rhode Island Acting under a Charter by Setting up Banks, (the name given in their Acts to their Several Emissions of Loan Money) and Settling of Fees for Transferrs of Rights, as they are Called, do not fall within the explicit design of the Acts Anno 1720 & 1741; There Seems to be an Absolute Necessity for another previous Act of Parliament to put a Stop to their Iniquitous Lawless proceedings in this Affair for the following Reasons;
1st. In Neglect or Contempt of the late Resolves of the House of Commons, and Subsequent Royal Instructions (having no Accountable Commissioned Kings Governour) they proceed more than ever heretofore in Emitting Enormous Unnecessary Quantities of this fallacious fraudulent paper Currency, and by Supplying therewith their Neighbouring Governments of New England. The Currency’s of the four Governments of New England being promiscuous, they frustrate the Royal Instructions in these Governments and render of none Effect a late previous Act of Parliament Against private Combinations, Emitting of Notes or bubles for a Currency; because in the Neighbouring Colonies, the fraudulent Debtors and others of a Natural Improbity and Depravity of Mind, by Collusion and tacit Combinations Continue to give the Rhode Island Bank Bills a Currency in the same manner as they did the Notes or Bills of a late Suppressed pernicious Combination in Massachusetts Bay; So that the Honest Creditors & Factors for the Merchants in Great Britain, must either take these depreciating Notes to their very great Damage or lay out of their Debts perhaps to their total Loss Insolvency being at present very frequent; All the Reasons made Use of for Suppressing the late Combination, Called the Land Bank, may be Used with greater Strength in this Case; because an Incorporated Mobb are capable of doing more Mischief than a Common Mobb or Combination as pretending the Authority of a Charter to Colour and Screen their Iniquities.
2d. No Country, Society, or Single person can have an Unlimited or Indefinite Credit; when this paper Credit, Exceeds certain Limits, the more such Notes are Emitted, the more their Value must depreciate — But so it is, — Rhode Island a Small Colony with an Imperfect Charter, of about Twenty thousand Inhabitants, Men Women and Children, Whites Indians & Negroes, have now Extant above four hundred thousand pounds in their Bills of Credit; And are under no restraint from making more. It being their designed Iniquitous Advantage to depreciate their own Bills, as will appear in some Subsequent reasons; — By their frequent unnecessary large Emissions, their Bills are become depreciated So that twenty Shillings Sterling, is equal to five pounds and ten Shillings Rhode Island at present, and are in a further depreciating Course to a very Small or no Value: hence so much (which is almost the whole) of their Publick Bills as they can Circulate in the Neighbouring Colonies being of no true Value, is to them Clear Gain, and the Cheat or loss falls in the other provinces, but at length terminates upon ye. Merchants of Great Britain, who for Valuable Goods Sold by their Factors here, are obliged to Accept of a Currency of Small Value or totally lose the Debt.
3. Their Ordinary Charges of Governmt. are very Small, not Exceeding Six hundred pounds Sterling pr Ann, therefore their publick Bills are not for that End, but are very large, & frequent Emissions — with long periods upon Loan for the private Wicked Gains of people in their Administration.
First the Legislature, & their Electors being generally Debtors, Indigent & Abandoned, find by Experience, that a depreciating paper Currency is an infalible Expedient for fraudulent Debtors to Cheat their Creditors if not restrained; their Creditors here, & Merchants in Great Britain will thereby Suffer more and more; — The Risk of losing or forfeiting their Charter priviledges is no restraint upon them; they are taught by Designing Men Vainly to Imagine that taking away of Charters is odious to the People in Great Britain & therefore Impracticable.
Secondly, The Sharers, that is the Legislature, their Electors & Friends Sell or transferr these Shares for an Immediate ready Money, profit, the Shares in the Loan Ann 1738. were Sold for 35 p Ct. Advance; in the Loan Anno 1740 at 40 p Ct. Advance, or they Let their Shares to their Neighbours and to the people in the Neighbouring Governmts. at 10 to 15 p Ct. pr Ann Interest, they themselves paying into the Treasury only 5p Ct. p Ann (in the last Emission being more Wicked they have reduced it to 4 p Ct. for 10 years & no Interest for 10 Years more.
Thirdly, the Sharers from the known Nature of this Depreciating Money, pay what they borrowed of the publick at a great Discount: for Instance, of the Loan Anno 1715, when Exchange with London was at 65 p Ct., the last paymt. was Anno 1738, Exchange at 400 p Ct.; that is for £100 Sterling Value reced they pay only £35 Sterling Value.
Fourthly, the Sharers upon a Fund of a Small parcell of Land, do continue borrowing of this publick Money in indefinitum, A Man may borrow to half the reputed value of his Land; for Instance, £500, upon a £1000. pounds Worth of Land: after a few Years by Multiplyed Emissions Denominations depreciate, and this same Land becomes Nominally worth £2000, here is a Fund for borrowing of £500, more: In process of more Years, the Nominal Value becomes £3000, which is a further Fund for £500.
Fifthly the present Generation in this Colony (if their Emissions did not fraudulently depreciate) do unnaturally and Wickedly by long periods & postponings leave a heavy load of Debt upon posterity, for the Sake of a little present Money to Squander away; So much paper Money as any Colony does Emit. So much Debt are they Answerable for in themselves & posterity.
Sixthly — There is one Expedient to Save themselves & posterity, which when they arrive at their Height of Wickedness (If they hold their Charter & Continue to Abuse it as at present, if the Parliament do not Interpose) they can & will perpetrate: All parts of their Governmt. Legislature & Executive are Annually Elective, the Electors who are the Debtors, Sharers, or borrowers of this Money, may Chuse such Govr., Assistants & Representatives, from Amongst themselves as may some time or other pass a kind of Act of Indemnity, releasing and acquitting all Debtors to the Governmt., that is themselves: then the possessors of these Bills, that is the few Industrious frugal people of New England, and the Merchants in Great Britain by their Factors here, will Sustain a total loss beyond redress.
Seventhly, The Interest of these publick Loans goes towards the Charges of Governmt. Therefore as they pretend all their Emissions are Virtually to defray the Incurred and Accruing publick Charges, The Iniquity & Falacy of this pretention Appears; 1st only Some part of this Interest is Applyed to Charges of Governmt., & to Save taxing, the Remainder is made a Dividend of profit to each of their Townships.
2. They have Emitted at times £50000, & have now out upwards of £40000, Whereas the Interest of £50000, is more than Sufficient to Defray all their Ordinary Charges of Governmt.
3. Supposing the Interest of any particular Sum of a Loan was requisite to defray publick Charges, by Lowering publick Interest they may Increase the requisite publick principal loan to any Sum, for Instance, lower the Interest on publick Loans from 5. to 1.p Ct p Ann it will require an Emission of 4 times more publick Bills than are now Extant: in fact by the Emission Loan of this year they have lowered from 5 to 4 p Ct. p Ann.
4. The longer and further that this pernicious paper Currency is allowed to take place in the plantations the greater will be the trouble & difficulty to root it out, and perhaps not without making Riots & other bad Consequences, especially in that Licentious perverse Governmt. of Rhode Island who at ye same time when they Neglect, Contemn & Insult Resolves of Parliamt., Kings Instructions & Kings Officers, do in an abandoned false & Hypocritical manner in the Several preambles of their Emission Acts, pretend to the greatest Submission and Loyalty, (Laughing in the face of ye. British Governmt. while they Endeavour to Cut the Throat of its Authority.) A few Instances;
1st. In the preamble to the Emission Act Anno 1715. “Always “depending upon our Dread Sovereigns Countenance & toleration “therein, unto whose Royal Commands this Colony as in Duty bound, “will at all times readily Submit.”
2d. In the Additional Act to the Emission Act of Anno 1740, they make some Amendmts. in sd. Act Vizt. That instead of one of these, equal to three of the former, shall be equal to four of the former; because not exactly Agreeable to a late Instruction from ye. Lords Justices of Great Britain.
3d. In the same preamble, they very falsely pretend a Necessity for Emitting publick Bills (when at the same time none of the principal is Applicable to these pretended Extraordinary Charges of Governmt.; but is divided by way of Loan Amongst the Legislature & their Friends.)
First because they are a Barrier to the other parts of New England — N. B. they have no Vessel of any force excepting a Small Sloop, and their port is at a Considerable distance from Massachusetts Bay, where is the Confluence of Trade; by land they are Encompassed & protected from the Indians by the other provinces of New England, and do not Contribute, towards our Indian Wars.
Secondly, a Constant Charge Attends the Inhabitants of this Colony, above other parts of New England.
NB, = The Charges of their Neighbouring Province of Massachusetts Bay is at all times at least ten times more than that of Rhode Island, with not half the Quantity of Massachusetts publick Bills extant.853
Mr. Robert N. Toppan exhibited a printed copy, in fine condition, of a volume in his possession, and spoke as follows: —
The book exhibited to-day will interest the members of the Society on account of the associations connected with it. It was printed in 1492 and contains a sermon in Latin upon the election of a Supreme Pontiff, delivered before the College of Cardinals in St. Peter’s Church on the sixth of August, 1492, by the Reverend Father Bernardino Carvajal.
Carvajal, born in Spain in 1456, had been Bishop of Astorga, Badajoz, and Cartagena, and was a chaplain of Ferdinand and Isabella. The title-page of the little book calls him the “preacher of the King and Queen of Spain.” Innocent VIII. having died on the twenty-fifth of July, 1492, a conclave was called to select his successor. Before the election took place, Carvajal delivered this sermon in which he speaks of the dangers surrounding and menacing the Church, and after praising the virtues of the deceased Pontiff he describes the necessary qualifications to be considered in electing his successor, quoting the well known text in St. Paul’s epistle to Timothy about the virtues which should be found in a bishop, and ending by demanding, emphatically, the election of a Pope who “will reform and reëstablish the fallen church.”854 His hopes of reform were not realized, for on the eleventh of August,855 five days after the delivery of the sermon, Alexander VI., of the Borgia family, was elected, — one of the most infamous characters in history, whose notorious crimes did more, perhaps, than anything else to hasten the Reformation.
The date of the sermon carries us back in time to the conquest of Granada, and to the departure of Columbus on his first voyage of discovery, as he had sailed only three days before, — on the third of August.
The subsequent career of Carvajal is briefly told. He was made a Cardinal by Alexander VI. in 1493. In 1511, he was sent to Rome as ambassador by King Ferdinand of Spain. He was the principal instrument in gathering together, the same year, the Council of Pisa, which deposed the warlike Pope, Julius II. The Pope, however, in order to counteract the influence and authority of that Council, called the Council of the Lateran, in 1512, which excommunicated those who had taken part in the Council of Pisa, and Carvajal’s name was stricken from the list of Cardinals. The excommunicated and deposed Cardinal took refuge in France, having espoused the cause of Louis XII., but upon the death of Julius II. he returned to Italy, where he was imprisoned by Leo X., but finally pardoned, having humbled himself before the Consistory in presence of the Pope. He was afterward made Bishop of Ostia, and died on the thirteenth of December, 1523.
Mr. President, — After the adjournment of one of the last meetings of this Society which our associate the late Dr. Joseph Henry Allen ever attended, he mentioned, in conversation, that during our Civil War he held a correspondence with Dr. James Martineau, the eminent English philosopher and divine. He told me that some of Dr. Martineau’s letters dealt with the great public questions which then divided our country, and added that they would afford interesting reading to men of my generation. Dr. Allen said that if he outlived Dr. Martineau, then in his ninety-third year, he thought he should make public some portions of this correspondence. I at once expressed the hope that this Society might be selected as the medium of communication when the proper time should arrive, and was assured that my wish should be gratified. Only a few weeks before Dr. Martineau’s death, I mentioned this conversation to one of Dr. Allen’s daughters and told her that if she would some day entrust these letters to my hands, I would communicate them to the Society in her father’s name. Recently, I received from Miss Allen all of her father’s correspondence with Dr. Martineau that he had preserved, and from some of these letters I shall read, this afternoon, such portions as are of special interest. I shall also read a few paragraphs which express Dr. Martineau’s esteem and affection for Dr. Allen, and his high appreciation of his character and attainments.
There are in the collection twenty-two letters, extending in date from 1853 to 1897. Two of these papers are copies of letters written by Dr. Allen to Dr. Martineau in reply to some of his criticisms or strictures; and one was written by Dr. Allen, in 1863, to an unknown English correspondent, in which he refers to Dr. Martineau, to the war for the Union, and to English sentiment on some of the matters at issue.
Dr. Martineau’s letters contain many interesting philosophical reflections and opinions, and brief references to President Kirkland, the Wares, Andrews Norton, Drs. Hedge, Furness, Charles Carroll Everett, James Freeman Clarke and Edward Everett Hale, and Theodore Parker, with an occasional comment on their characters, writings or philosophy.
The text of the letters follows.
JAMES MARTINEAU TO JOSEPH HENRY ALLEN.
Pendyffryn, near Conway, North Wales,
July 15, 1853.
Had I been at all competent to render the least aid towards the completer execution of your admirable plan,856 I should not have delayed so long my answer to your letter of last month. But the truth is, my studies have so long taken a different direction and engaged themselves with philosophy rather than either history or theology, that I have fallen behind the recent literature on your range of subjects, and shall be thankful to go to school to you again, whenever your projected work is published. There is a great and confessed need of such a book in our language: and your conception of the whole subject and evident familiarity with the best sources fills one with hope that the want will be effectually supplied. The recent discoveries of Layard will of course not escape your attention. Ewald’s History is about to appear in an English dress in this country. But I understand from his friend and British representative, Dr. Nicholson, that the translation is by no means satisfactory: and the book, with all its merits, is not adapted, in form and manner, to our national taste. A production native to England, Old or New, will have a higher value for us.857
Jost’s History of the Israelites is no doubt known to you. It is not a book of high merit, however indispensable to a labourer in your field: Mr. Newman, who borrowed my copy for his work on the Hebrew Monarchy, told me that he found it useful. On the Alexandrine development I know of nothing new; unless we are to regard as such the last Volume (published 1852) of Zeller’s Philosophie der Griechen, in which he applies his masterly power of exposition to Philo’s doctrine. In the use of Gfrörer I think a good deal of caution is required. A good many side-lights are thrown in upon the deliquescent stage of Judaism, whether in Egypt or Asia, by writers on the early Christianity; as by Baur in his Christliche Gnosis; Dorner, in his Lehre von der Person Christi; Baur again in his Lehre von der Dreieinigkeit; and of course Lücke in his Commentaries. But I dare say, in all this, I am but giving an owl to Athens. The period with which your history will close is intensely interesting: and the blending of the Hebrew and Hellenic streams of thought and faith always appears to me the most solemn and sublime phenomenon in Divine and Human history. The Unitarianism which will not let them blend but insists on isolating the Judaic element; the Trinitarianism which, sprung from their combination, forgets and disowns its Grecian source, and pretends a pure evangelic origin; affect me painfully as a denial of the greatest and most manifest of Providences, and a mere vain breath of egotism and ignorance against the largest of realised facts. This however may perhaps be a sentiment little shared on your side the water: as here it is regarded with disapprobation and alarm.
It is curious to observe the parallel movement of the religious changes in your country and in ours. The same division among Unitarians exists with us as with you; the same alienation from the Unitarian Association, as unfit for its assumed representative function; the same craving, in the old section, for artificial action and internal organisation, and, in the new, for the full rights of natural sympathy and wider principles of union; the same incipient attempts to disengage the free and earnest spirit of the younger faith from the body of death that clings to it and clogs its action. With us, however, it may not come to an actual schism: rather is a dwindling away of the old element, and re-absorption into society as having finished its separate work, to be expected: and a gradual enrichment and transformation of the new element by the approach towards it and merging into it of free minds detached by similar causes from other hereditary churches. We have no one with the genius, the eloquence, the energy, the nobleness, and the startling heresies of Theodore Parker: else had our dissensions and repulsions been quite as sharp as yours. If we live more peaceably together, I fear it is not that we are more amiable but that we have a life and power less strong. Our scope also is narrower: we have not the whole open field of society to contend for, with nothing but ourselves to blame if we do not conquer it: but only the narrow enclosure of a sect, or, at most, of the set of dissenting sects or heathen aliens, surrounded on all sides by the domain of the National Church, on which no inroad is practically worth contemplating. Our quieter temper is in some degree the result of our poorer hopes and fainter force.
A question of great importance to the future condition of our Churches has recently been decided, not without the greatest difficulty at every step, viz., the position and scope of our only College.858 It ceases to be an institution completely furnished and containing all resources within itself; and annexes itself, as a mere Theological School, to the University College, London. It is a great point gained, that Mr. Tayler is made its principal; — a concession required doubtless by his eminent learning, accomplishment and goodness, but involving an acknowledgment of the advance of the liberal theology which he represents. By the removal to London, my own connexion with the College ceases, — my department being abolished, or supplied by means of a secondary or occasional Lectureship. It cannot in itself be a welcome change, to be withdrawn from studies pursued with some zeal for many years, and not yet brought to their maturity. But the step I believe to be a right one; and individual concerns must lose themselves in wider good. If life be spared and working Resolution do not fail, I shall hope to turn to some account the pursuits of the past ten or twelve years. Whether it be delusion or not, I cannot tell: but those who have themselves struggled through the difficulties of the higher philosophy are always apt to fancy that they can save others some of the perplexities through which they have found a way.
Believe me, my dear Sir, Yours very faithfully,
Rev. J. H. Allen.
JAMES MARTINEAU TO JOSEPH HENRY ALLEN.
Liverpool, Dec. 30, 1856.
My dear Sir,
In the absence of such awakening events as those which called forth your admirable and faithful Sermon (“Reign of Terror”), we have here to tread the round of older and duller topics; and I send you one or two pamphlets on such matters, in the hope that you will permit me to remind you of me in this harmless way. They are slight affairs that need no acknowledgment. Some time or other I hope to send you a worthier exchange for what I owe you.
No doubt your book860 is delayed, — and I dare say prudently, — by the absorption of public attention in your great political struggle. At such a crisis, the interest of the Present asserts its paramount rights, and compels the Past to wait for more tranquil hours. Never, I suppose, did the Providence of God commit to human hands a greater trust than is now vested in the citizens of your Northern States. For once, even local and party excitement can scarcely exaggerate the importance of the contest; to the calmest and remotest observer, no less than to the actor on the spot, it appears to involve,―with the destinies of your Continent,―the whole Future of Humanity. I can well believe your report of the liberating and uniting power exercised on the North by the insults of the dominant party. Most of the newspapers and speeches I have seen bear witness to the worthy spirit which has been roused; though among the scanty exceptions I was sorry to see a lamentable article in the September Christian Examiner. One phenomenon, however, of the late Presidential election puzzles me How is it that even at this crisis which so far breaks up party as to leave Fremont without a solitary (popular) vote in the Slave-States, a minority so very large is found to vote for Buchanan in the Free States? I suppose it must be, that the single question of Slave-Extension over territory guaranteed to freedom did not entirely set aside the collateral issues raised by the Democratic party.
I am afraid my friend and neighbour W. H. Channing will give you, on his return, but a very poor account of our Unitarian ecclesiastical affairs; and, what is worse, the account will be true. I think I can perceive that he is thoroughly disappointed with us and hopeless about us: perhaps, hardly allowing enough for the pressure of an Established Church in England, or sufficiently aware of the extent and depth of silent and inconspicuous influence exerted by our theology and our social existence, even on a small scale. Still his impression is essentially just. If you should happen to see a pamphlet called Old School and New, just published, you will see that we are crippled in our activity by foolish distrusts and jealousies; — far more deeply seated than your Boston divisions, because involving the whole difference between the Priestley and the Channing religious philosophy, — i. e., I should say, the greatest difference to be found within the limits of the Christian faith at all. However, a crisis is at hand: and the younger, more living and progressive element will either carry the mass of our churches and institutions with them, or will find media of action and expression of their own, rendering them independent of the dead conservatism which is rotting us all away. New sympathies, not following the old lines of sect, have arisen, and must re-arrange the grouping of our ecclesiastical world; without necessarily doing violence to the older combinations, but tending gradually to supersede them.
Your account of the Divinity School perplexity861 interested me greatly.There seems no solution so good as for the Trustees to appoint either Professors of different theological complexions so as to represent the different parties in the State; or teachers so eminent for learning and candour that their class-room might be a common medium for the instruction of all. Why should such a thing be hopeless?
Our family party unites in kind remembrances: with which
Believe me, my dear Sir,
Ever faithfully yours,
Rev. J. H. Allen.
JAMES MARTINEAU TO JOSEPH HENRY ALLEN.
Auchrannie, Invercloy, Arran, Scotland.
Aug. 2, 1860.
Rev. J. H. Allen,
My dear Sir,
Among the many pleasures too exceptional to be often repeated in this life, on which my proposed visit to the States has led me to reckon, one of the more prominent has been the renewal of my too long-suspended intercourse with you. Your words of hearty welcome are delightful to me; and only add a new intensity to the hope, that my visit to your grand side of the world, — disappointed for the present, — may not always be a dream. Had I set foot in Boston, one of my first enquiries would have been for you. But in consequence of the slow recovery of my friend and Academic Colleague, Mr. Tayler,862 from a recent illness, and the doubt remaining as to his physical strength for the opening work of our Session at the beginning of October, his physician has recalled the sanction under which I accepted the invitation of Mr. Hale,863 and has advised me that I ought not to leave any extra burden on my friend. It will be seen, I trust, by those who have so generously forwarded the proposed visit, that under these circumstances it is no fickle faith, but clear necessity, that has led me to retract my acceptance. I soothe my disappointment, partly by the hope of contributing to my friend’s thorough restoration, partly by stowing away my American vision into that ever open Future which keeps alive so many blessings condemned to die from the present.
You draw a pleasant picture of your altered locality864 and mode of life: and I can sympathise from experience in all your pædagogic troubles and satisfactions. On the whole, I have a good opinion of boy-nature: trustfully and generously treated, it seldom fails to yield a rewarding response. But it keeps one awake, and needs for its management the full vigour of manhood. Old schoolmasters should be prohibited: I would pension them off as emeriti at 45. As to the addition of a second occupation to the minister’s life, I quite agree with your estimate of its advantage — to personal independence, — to freshness of mind and heart, — even to social power. Our best ministers are almost invariably those who are something else than ministers: and the men who have most failed to keep abreast of their age, and have least sympathy with the noblest life of a new time, are precisely those whose time and thoughts seem to have been freest to take in and diffuse whatever the Spirit and the Providence of God might teach.
I half compassionate your labours on Herbert Spencer. I fully admit that he is a phenomenon remarkable enough to demand estimate: and he expresses so vigorously the predominant tendency of science in our time that his influence is likely to increase. But the older I grow the less highly do I prize logical structures, raised with ever so much skill and power on false postulates: and having made up my mind that his basis is wrong, — in Social Science, in Physiology, in Psychology, — and admired a specimen or two of his cleverness in working up from it, I am content to let him go, assured that he will not help me to the real thing I want, — a truer insight into matters Divine, Natural, or Human. But I have not seen his new periodic production.
With kindest regards from my whole circle, Believe me, my dear Sir,
Ever faithfully yours,
JAMES MARTINEAU TO JOSEPH HENRY ALLEN.
10, Gordon St., London, W. C.
Nov. 29, 1861.
My dear Mr. Allen,
If you knew me as well as my old friends here know me, you would be surprised at no epistolary dumbness, however unaccountable to more fluent and demonstrative men. As a school-boy, my mother had to scold me for not writing home: and ever since, I have gone on in the same unprincipled way, and, I fear, have grown worse from having a wife who writes such capital letters, and in such copiousness, as to do duty for both of us. I have no adequate excuse for my dilatoriness toward you. True, I received your book865 after considerable delay. But receive it I did; was delighted with it; and ought to have thanked you for it long ago. Deduct three months from the time (when, being in Scotland, I did not get the book), and a month for bookseller’s delays: and charge the residue to my sins. Only, forgive me at last, and do not cut me off for my infirmity.
Our theological critics scent something amiss, — something German and suspicious, — in your book. They do not like the idea of letting the names in the Scripture Lessons stand for proper, — still less for improper, — men and women; and of opening the natural lines between Hebrew and other history. The best class of readers, however, will thank you for humanizing what had ceased to win them by pretensions exclusively divine; and for letting the consecration spread over the wider field of history. The quiet, lucid style of the book is most agreeable to my taste; and the compression of the matter is admirable.
I fear that the terrible national crisis must for a long time stay the hand of every literary man amongst you; and draw off all interest into one channel. And now, alas! arises the new and dreadful apprehension of war between our two countries! But surely, this cannot be permitted: there must be a body of reasonable public opinion in New England, which may be brought to bear on the government at Washington, and may induce it to restrain the over-zeal of its officers. Through all the excitement produced here by the Trent affair, there is everywhere a disposition to abide by the acknowledged rules of international law, and to insist on nothing which it is consistent with honour and duty to concede. The right of search, which we once claimed against you, we shall be content to suffer from you. All contraband of war is at the disposal of your Prize Courts, — though not of your naval officers without a Court. But Civil Persons, passengers on board our Steamers, between one neutral port and another, cannot in honour be given up, — and that without the trial and award of a tribunal. The impression at your embassy here seems to be, that the San Jacinto people have exceeded their instructions; just as our officers did in the Chesapeake case. God grant that the cloud may blow over!
Ever, my dear Mr. Allen,
Yours very sincerely,
Rev. J. H. Allen.
DRAUGHT OF A LETTER FROM MR. ALLEN TO AN UNKNOWN CORRESPONDENT.
Jamaica Plain, Feb. 23, 1863.
My dear Sir,
I felt some compunction at receiving your very kindly and courteous epistle the day after I had sent one which I am afraid must have seemed a little truculent and unjust. I am forward to acknowledge the friendly spirit of the last leader in the Inquirer866 that I have seen (Jan. 24), and I have read with the highest gratification, in the Leeds Mercury (which you were kind enough to send) and in the Morning Star, the reports of the great meetings at Bradford and Exeter Hall. I trust we are not premature in hailing what seems to be a turn of the tide in English sentiment. And I am sure that, as the elements at work in these last two years get better known, you will see that it was not only necessary, but right and honorable, to stand for the defence of the Union, irrespective of the question of Slavery — all the more, since slavery in the Union was felt to be a doomed thing. Our self-justification rests not on a special philanthropic end to be secured, but on the need of sustaining the large principles of political liberty and civil order. Mr. Newman has seen and stated this distinctly from the first and so has Mr. Mill. You cannot have failed to read their words.Practically, the two questions have been one from the beginning. Witness this sentence from an English letter copied in the Liberator867: —
Recently, an American minister, the Rev. Stephen B. Tyng,868 was prohibited, or rather stopped, while speaking on behalf of the slave in the Young Men’s Christian Association in London — the chairman giving him to understand that, in the present state of feeling, it was a tabooed subject.
I think you cannot wonder at our disappointment and surprise, that so many of our English friends have virtually taken that side. But of this quite enough has been said.
I enclose you a Circular, from which you will see that I have carried out, sooner than I designed, the intention which puts the responsible charge of the Christian Examiner mainly in my hands.869 Just now a large part of my time is taken up by other cares. Still, I hope to do something for it now, and more after a few months. We intend to have a dinner next week, of the old and new friends and managers of the Examiner; and I hope there will come to be a permanent association870 or club of persons in general sympathy with the spirit that is designed to govern the Review hereafter. The points I wish to emphasize are: (1) to make it more distinctly the record and representative of a movement rather than a mere phase of thought; (2) to commit it more definitely to the discussion of the political and social questions of the time; and (3) to give more earnestness to the expression of devout and religious thought — apart from simple theological discussion. Success in the execution will, of course, depend mainly on success in finding the material. I trust and think, however, that the Examiner will be more felt as a living and positive Force.
The lengthening days give a feeling of relief that our summer is drawing nearer — and with it, we trust, our hopes of a real peace; and as well, that the dark season is passing away from the distressed classes among you. The testimony as to the fidelity of the suffering operatives is very touching and noble. I have quoted from a private note of Mr. Newman in the margin of my brother’s defence of Democracy871 (March Examiner), which I hope will come in your way. The Examiner, by the way, is always sent to Mr. Whitfield872 — though sometimes after some delay, in waiting for a box that is to be packed for him.
I fervently trust that the angry and bitter feeling that has prevailed is passing away, and that England and America are drawing nearer now, every day.
With much regard to your family and friends, I am
J. H. Allen.
P. S. May I trouble you to mail the enclosed to Mr. Martineau?
JAMES MARTINEAU TO JOSEPH HENRY ALLEN.
10, Gordon St. London, W. C.
April 14, 1863.
My dear Sir,
It seems a truly happy adaptation which at once secures to the Christian Examiner the advantage of your valuable labours, and furnishes you in your retirement with a congenial pursuit. At a time when, from the magnitude of public interests at stake, only the steadiest minds of a nation can tranquilly keep their balance, it is of the highest moment that a calm, thoughtful, far-seeing spirit like yours, should preside over the higher Journals which help to form opinion among the intellectual classes. How glad should I be, were it in my power at all to co-operate with you in clearing up the deplorable misunderstanding that prevails between the two Englands, — New and Old! But I fear that the modes of judgment, with regard to your great national struggle, are so different on the two sides of the Atlantic, that approximation is to be hoped for only from the arbitration of events. Of two things, materially affecting the international feeling, I wish I could give you the assurance which I profoundly have myself: that there is here no issue desired for your struggle except such as may be most conducive to the well-being and greatness of your Commonwealth, — be it singular or plural: and that there is no change whatever in the English estimate of slavery. We simply do not believe in either the restoration of the Union, or the extinction of Slavery, much less in joint accomplishment of both objects, by process of Civil War.873 And though this purely practical judgment may seem to occupy a humbler level than one which looks exclusively to the ideas said to be represented in the strife, yet it goes to the very essence of right and wrong in the case: for a War which aims at impossible objects, — be they ever so intrinsically good, — is self-condemned. We believe Slavery to be truly, as you say, the cause of the struggle: we do not believe it to be the stake at issue. On the contrary, we regard the division between North and South as the one gleam of hope that has opened on the sad history of the coloured race in America. The Free States, discharged from their slave-responsibilities, would spring at once to the head of the great league of nations against the oppression of an inferior race. But the Free States, reunited with the South, must either pledge themselves again to uphold and sanction the hateful institution; or end it by a conquest and confiscation of magnitude so frightful and uncontrollable as to outbid slavery itself in crime and misery. We may be wrong in these estimates of probability: experience may convict us of miscalculation, and may justify you in the policy which you pursue. But these, and no unworthy political interests or “aristocratic” theories, are the grounds of the English opinion; which is essentially, like the action of the English government, neutral and therefore complained of by both sides. There exist among us Southern partizans, like Mr. Spence874; and Northern partizans, like my friend Newman875 and the Emancipation Society. But, as parties, they are both alike quite unimportant, in comparison with the overwhelming mass of public sentiment that holds the balance between them, and is contributed in equal measure from every order of English society. Notwithstanding the recent organized meetings, provoked into existence by the extravagance of the Times and the Saturday Review, I see no trace of any real change of opinion here. The impression prevalent in America that our working classes sympathise, more than other Englishmen, with the Northern cause while the “aristocracy” wish success to the South, is entirely groundless, so far as I can observe; and indeed is plainly contradicted by the tone of the working-class newspapers. The division of opinion here upon this matter does not go by classes in the least: it is wholly an affair of personal temperament and cast of thought, turning up impartially in every grade of society. The strength of Northern sympathy in England lies among (1) speculative thinkers, like J. S. Mill, whose politics are ideal and socialistic; (2) evangelical philanthropists, who identify the contest with the fate of slavery; (3) doctrinaire republicans, like Stansfeld and Newman, — whose judgments take their complexion from the society of European refugees, — as Kossuth and Mazzini; and (4) critical politicians, like John Bright, kept by temperament in permanent opposition to the Government of the day. All these have a certain following in every class: but, on the whole, they constitute the foreign elements scattered around the organic nucleus of English life. Exactly the same may be said of the well-wishers to the South: they include no nameable class, unless it be the Catholics, — the Irish, — and the military men: they turn up on all sides here and there: but have no weight to disturb the general neutrality, — or rather the impartial sorrow, — with which the war is regarded.
Is it said that this statement is refuted by the act of a ship-builder in furnishing the Confederates with the Alabama? Then it is equally refuted by the act of a manufacturer known to me, who furnished the Federals with 25,000 rifles; and by that agent in Birmingham whom I met the other day, and who, for nearly two years, has avowedly been wholly occupied in sending to your government munitions of war. The law which is set at nought is just the same in both cases: in neither instance can the Government act unless on sworn informations brought before it: and the ease with which the evidence is concealed will always tempt private merchants to enterprizes of this kind, at the risk of capture by the belligerent powers at sea. As the Washington government ordered a war vessel at the very same Birkenhead yard which turned out the Alabama, with what propriety can they complain of an operation which they invited on their own behalf? In truth, the balance of these illegal supplies, it is well known, is enormously in their favour. Besides, your own great jurists have pointed out, that, so long as these supplies have not quitted the home-waters, they violate only a municipal law, of which no foreign power can claim the enforcement; — that only when they are on the high seas do they become amenable to international law; — and that then the execution of that law rests with the belligerent whose rights are infringed, while the private merchant’s government has simply the duty of letting the penalties upon his act take their course. As these principles of neutral right have been defined and upheld mainly by your authoritative men, and applied against our belligerent pretensions in former wars, it does seem hard that we should be denied the benefit of them as soon as the relations are inverted, and should incur, even from such good men as Dr. Hall,876 the groundless reproach of violated neutrality. If the truth were told, is it not the neutrality itself, — and not any violation of it, — which constitutes our offence? And if so, can any calm thinker say that this is reasonable?
From international affairs I gladly turn to “National.” My connexion with the Review is unchanged: and the only novelty is that the Editor is now an Oxford man, a Professor in King’s College, London,877 and that we have formed an alliance with the Oxford Broad Church party, on the theological ground common to them and us. The first result was an excess of Churchmanship in the January number; which will be guarded against in future. It is very difficult, in this country, to keep at once the horizon of thought large and the spirit within it earnest and simple. Men liberal on particular points surprise you with some narrow sectarianism on others: and the true Catholic breadth, of intellect and sympathy combined, is a phenomenon as rare as it is noble. To find it, however, where it exists, and to multiply it by expression, is the great object of the National Review. I shall rejoice to feel that in this we may be fellow-workers in our different spheres. Our publishers tell us that for the last year they have sent no Nationals to America; the war interfering with their previous transactions in some way. So I dare say you may not have fallen in with any recent numbers. God grant that the clouds that darken your atmosphere, and spread their shade to ours, may ere long disperse, and leave us united in the common light of kindred thought and congenial duties to the world!
With kindest remembrances from my wife and young people, and many thanks for the excellent photograph,
Ever, my dear Sir,
Rev. J. H. Allen.
JOSEPH HENRY ALLEN TO JAMES MARTINEAU.
[Draught of a portion only of Mr. Allen’s reply.]
I hope you will not be displeased if I remark on one or two of the points which you have mentioned. 1. The sentence which I have quoted from Earl Russell (date of June 12, 1862) seems to draw a clear line between such offences as blockade-running or the sale of munitions to be delivered in good faith to the purchaser, and the outfitting of an armed vessel like the Alabama, — a distinction which the English government has in practice and in fact acknowledged. 2. As to a question of fact, I believe a false impression has been given in England; and that so far from ordering a vessel built at the same yard with the Alabama, our government has even refused (for the sake of consistency) to purchase foreign ships offered for sale in our own ports; — although it is impossible for us to feel that the sale of arms etc. to a friendly and recognized power is the same thing in law, or at least in morals, with the sale of them to parties occupying the position of insurrectionary leaders, in the interest of a slave-holding despotism. In this last sense, it is true, as you suggest, that the real grievance is “neutrality.”
There is one other point, which I wish might be more carefully considered abroad than it seems to have been. What makes America a nation, is the general respect for the authority of the federal bond. That is our one historical antecedent to fall back on. It is therefore not accurate to suppose that the Free States, alone, would stand in the attitude of a strong nation, by mere separation from the South. Not merely a glance at the map, but the highest knowledge of our politics, would show the fallacy of such a fancy. It is true that the common effort and burden of a war may create such a nation, even in event of separation. But secession, of itself, was well understood to be sheer disintegration; and, if you remember, was freely spoken of as such two years ago, in the Edinburgh and Quarterly. But even this is not the essential point. It is without dispute, that up to the time of secession, the United States had been always regarded as a nation, competent to make treaties, etc. etc. Fort Sumter was one of its possessions, built on National (and not State) territory. Now — aside from the policy of surrendering a fort on the mere demand of a foreign power, which South Carolina claimed to be — what ought the United States to have done, when Fort Sumter was attacked? Till this Question is answered, all argument on the rightfulness of the war is irrelevant.
Again, as to the results of the war. These points should be borne in mind, irrespective of its possible or probable final issue: — (1) It has vindicated the fact of nationality, which (and as you truly say not slavery) was the real “stake at issue.” (2) It has already rescued a territory between five and six times the combined area of England and France from the control of that “Slave Empire of the West” of which the National spoke a few years ago. (3) It has actually revolutionized, without violence or loss (other than the immediate losses of war), the system of labor over immense districts, which the United States now hold in trust. We claim that either one of these results amply justifies the war — by all common maxims of human judgment — apart from the fact that it was inevitable. What, in candour, would be your judgment of us now, if we had refused to fight, or if we should abandon the contest at its present stage? Would it not be something different, and far more contemptuous, than “impartial sorrow”?
I have not the least wish to treat the subject controversially, especially in a personal correspondence with you. But it seems to me that good may be done, on one side, by the frank acknowledgment on the part of Englishmen, that we have done, after all, what they would have held it infamous and impossible not to have done in similar circumstances; and, on the other side, by any assurance that may be given, that the neutrality of the English in this contest is as honest and as friendly as you have represented.
JAMES MARTINEAU TO JOSEPH HENRY ALLEN.
Tŷ Mawr, Penmaenmawr, Conway.
July 8th, 1863.
My dear Sir,
I should sooner have thanked you for your valuable letter, — so strongly yet so gently reasoned, — of the 9th May, had I been able to contribute any new element to the discussion which is supreme in interest for Americans and Englishmen alike. But after the complete exhaustion of the subject by public writers and speakers on both sides of the Atlantic, I feel that the cast of my own personal convictions is of no moment and can give no help: and I shrink, — even in presence of your candid invitation and the certainty of a kindly construction, — from the impertinence of foreign criticism on a national crisis justly awakening the keenest susceptibilities, and fully entitled to work itself out in its own way. Though, however, I am not anxious to urge our opinions upon you, I do earnestly desire to qualify your opinions of us: and especially to convince you that the attitude of English feeling towards the Northern States is absolutely free from every element of hostility. Such a sentiment as you quote from the lips of a friend “unusually fair and large minded,” — that he would compromise with the South for the sake of fighting England, — is so wildly astray from every direction of feeling here as to be simply wonderful. If he had his wish, what would he fight us for? When he sat down to his desk, to write out his Declaration of War, what offences from our Government would furnish the materials of his indictment? The only complaint I have heard is of the building of the Alabama. This, however, was the act of a private person, evading the vigilance of the government: and it now appears, from the decision against the Crown in the case of the Alexandra, that the ship-builder committed no breach of law at all. He had a right to sell ships, as gunmakers to sell arms, to either of the belligerents: only, if the other belligerent stops and seizes them on the way, he suffers his risk and has no redress. By sending out the ship from British waters in an unarmed state, he escaped the operation of the Foreign Enlistment Act, and brought the transaction within the limits of a commerce legitimate in neutral waters, though unprotected from war risks. In order to comply to the uttermost with the requisitions of Mr. Adams, our government has exposed itself to a humiliating defeat in court. Lord Russell, — doubtless fearing this, — had previously offered to Mr. Seward to propose to Parliament amendments rendering the Foreign Enlistment Act more stringent, on condition of the same changes being simultaneously recommended to Congress in your Law, — which is identical with ours. The offer was declined. It is difficult to see what more we could do, than propose to make the law tighter; and meanwhile, try it as it is.
If you have read the judgment of the Chief-Justice, you will doubtless have noticed that he puts upon the same footing the sale of arms and the sale of ships. If the latter gives ground of complaint, so does the former: if our manufacturers offend against you in one article, they offend against the South in another: only, the South cannot stop the arms that go to New York: and you expect to stop the ships that go to Charleston. The adventures of trade are perfectly impartial: they are intangible by law: and are wholly devoid of political significance.
Deeply as I lament that we should be the object of such a feeling as you describe, I cannot admit that its bare existence establishes its justice: and I can confidently affirm that it is quite unintelligible, and without the least response, here. A few irritable and eccentric men, like Roebuck, may doubtless be found, who spurt out splenetic extravagancies against the Northern cause: but against these you must set off the vastly superior weight of positive sympathy and advocacy which that cause receives from a few Englishmen of the highest order, such as Mill, Newman, Gold win Smith, Bright and Cobden. Neither class represents the national feeling; which repudiates alike the temper of the former and the doctrine of the latter.
Great harm, I think, has been done to the European repute of the Northern cause by confusing, in its management, the constitutional and the anti-slavery question, and not keeping its issue clear and simple. I have always held that the attack on Fort Sumter put your government in the right, and compelled the resort to force in reply. The obligation to maintain the Constitution was an obligation to use the forces of the State against Secession. The title of a government to vindicate its authority and property is unimpeachable: and, accordingly, at the outset, all European spectators condemned the connivance of Buchanan and approved of the honest efforts of his successor. But the duty of using a formal right, and the extent to which it should be enforced, must always be limited by the range of possible success. It cannot be a duty, — on the contrary, it is the gravest of political crimes, — to pledge the resources of a State against all odds. No sooner, therefore, did the scale and the resoluteness of the Secession become evident, than the European feeling as to the original right became qualified by the spectacle of overwhelming facts: the problem undertaken by your government was deemed unmanageable: and the war was deplored as likely only to embitter an inevitable separation. Its continued prosecution seemed to imply a presumptuous overestimate of what human will and force can accomplish, and a rejection, too prolonged, of the obvious arbitrament of nature and Providence.
Then, the introduction of a new issue by the Abolitionists at Washington has certainly injured the Northern cause in the appreciation of European statesmen. The removal of Slavery is, in their judgment, no proper object of a war: and is, on the other hand, far too serious and responsible a change to be resorted to incidentally, as a mere instrument of war. It is pre-eminently a work of peace; needing deliberation, time, and organized vigilance and control: and to inaugurate it in the heat and haste of conflict, to impose it as a military penalty, to identify it with confiscation and attainder, is to do all that is possible to make it hateful and hopeless. This, at least, is the view taken, so far I can observe, by all our most experienced and high-minded men of affairs, including the anti-slavery leaders themselves. The proclamation of Lincoln878 captivated a certain number of our philanthropists of sentiment; and alienated others by stopping short of their desires: but, if I mistake not, has had upon our responsible men of action a deeper and more unfavourable effect than any incident since the beginning of the struggle. It has marred the simplicity of your Constitutional cause by introducing, through an overstrained application of belligerent right, a collateral issue far too great to remain collateral.
In all this I feel profoundly my liability to judge amiss, from imperfect command of the data for thinking right. But you ask for my impressions: and I frankly give them. They are open to any correction you may benefit me by bestowing. God grant that we may soon discuss these matters in the retrospect of peace!
I am delighted that you approve of Dr. Sadler’s Liturgy. Your publishers promise me a copy of their reprint. With our united kindest regards,
Ever faithfully yours,
Rev. J. H. Allen.
JAMES MARTINEAU TO JOSEPH HENRY ALLEN.
35, Gordon Square, London, W. C.
Mar. 12, 1881.
Dear Mr. Allen,
I received with real delight your fascinating volume, and not less so your letter, with the good tidings of your probable visit to Europe a few months hence. Before that time I shall hope to have given more than a rapid glance at the Fragments of Christian History, so as to be in possession of some distinct impressions of the several subjects and your mode of handling them. Though, alas, even the small competency I once had to speak on these historical themes I have in great measure lost through the necessary limitation of my later studies to the philosophical subjects with which it is my function to deal. My interest however in the life of past ages, especially, in the history of early Christendom, is even sharpened by my exile from the literature relating to it: and I kindle up at the very titles of your Essays. I sincerely hope that you will not have earned in vain your admirable qualifications for the chair880 which you have temporarily filled; but that a position so congenial will be confirmed to you in permanence.
I am most anxious that, if you come over this summer, your time in London should include the week beginning with the 19th of June. It is the week which closes our College Session: and though the examinations and various meetings render it a very busy time, they gather together a good many friends whom, I think, you would like to see. And, — to urge a more selfish reason, — both before and after those few days I shall be, — with my daughters, — far away in Inverness-shire, where we now live for five months in the year. If, indeed, you would come and see us there, that would be better than London, and we would find our way together to the top of Cairn Gorm and through some of the forest walks. But then, unfortunately, my cottage is very small, and gives me only one bedroom at disposal; and there is no inn or boarding-house within twelve miles: so that my hospitality, — except by day, — is perforce limited to one. It is just possible, however, that I might be able, in some farm house near, to find a supplementary lodging, if you can bring so remote a place within the range of your movements. We shall be delighted to be introduced to your son and daughter.
My young people (no, I must not call them so, for they all remember well your visit of twenty-six years ago) join me in the warm remembrances with which
I am, Yours most truly,
Rev. J. H. Allen.
JAMES MARTINEAU TO JOSEPH HENRY ALLEN.
35, Gordon Square, London, W. C.
Jany. 29, 1884.
Dear Mr. Allen,
I know you will indulgently remember, in excuse for my delayed acknowledgment of your most welcome letter and volume, that “the steps of an old man are slow.” Of your instructive and interesting sketches of Christian History881 I have long ago read the substance (forgive the “metaphysical fiction”) of both volumes; with the result of at once procuring them for the use of our students in the College Library, who are constantly referred to them by my accomplished colleague, Professor J. E. Carpenter, in his Lectures on Ecclesiastical History.
To me they are in a high degree fascinating; none the less, — indeed, rather the more, — that with their underlying philosophical conceptions, as brought out in the chapter entitled Passage from Dogma to Pure Reason, I do not find my usual ways of thinking quite in accord. If I interpret you aright, in your appeal to “fact,” as ultimate verifier, your criticism proceeds upon the Positivist theory of what Knowledge is, viz. that we know only phenomena and their laws of grouping and succession. Now I admit this to be an adequate account of the business of Science and of the conditions of prevision. But I must add that Phenomena cannot be known without Noumena. The word is one term of a Relation, and has no meaning without the other: a phenomenon is a phenomenon of something; it is somewhere and some where; it cannot be thought, but as from a cause: and involves, as correlates, the Noumena Substance, Space, Time, Cause; — all of them, if you please, supplied purely by the Intellect (or Perceptive Power, as Kant would say, of two of them) itself; but not on that account less inherent in the act of knowing and essential factors of it, than the matter of sensation as felt. Why we should consider the phenomenal, i. e. the sensible, side of this relative act, real and trust-worthy, and the intellectual a fiction and a phantom, I cannot see. I therefore hold, with Descartes, that, in these last resorts, “the thought of the mind represents the truth of fact”; and further, that “observed fact” has and can have no better guarantee than such “metaphysical fictions.” “Fact” is ascertained by Perception: and Perception carries in it the “Thought of the Mind,” without which it does not become predication at all: and any distrust felt towards the “Thought” equally affects the “Fact.” To impugn the Noumena is to be left without the Phenomena.
You will see, from this confession, why I do not feel the “despairs of Metaphysics,” or the disaffection towards the schools of speculative philosophy, which the modern preoccupation with the Inductive Sciences has for awhile rendered prevalent. So long as knowledge is a relation, and an antithetic relation, between Knower and Known, it cannot dispense with equal faith in both; and what the Subject, quâ apprehensive, necessarily thinks, enters into the Real no less than what Object universally gives. Philosophy as I understand it, takes charge of the former, i. e. of the constants of knowledge; Science of the latter, — i. e. of its variables. If either pursuit ever dreamt of doing the work of the other, i. e. if it set up for a knowledge of “the Absolute” (which appears to me an unfounded charge), such an illusion merits exposure. But such a mistake is no more implied in the mediæval exaggeration of the Deductive method, than it is in the present overestimate of the Inductive. The error, in both instances, seems to me a mere attempt to cover the defect of the age by overstraining the resources of its strength.
You will set me down, I fear, as a hopeless subject, when I own to feeling still some “difficulty” in saying that “Matter thinks.” My reason is simply, that “matter” is a word meaning exclusively what is or may be an object of perception; while “thinks” is predicable exclusively of a subject of the perceiving act; and as these exist only in and by antithesis, to unify them is to cancel them. The appreciation of this unconquerable antithesis is gradually gaining ground, I am happy to see, among the living or recent representatives of the “empirical school,” whose first leanings were towards materialism and who still linger on its precincts. There is a marked tendency among them towards a Leibnizian form of conception, — providing, under the name of “Mind-stuff” or some equivalent, a separate germ, in the primordial data, for the future developments of consciousness, concurrent with the initiation and development of the material system. Croom Robertson882 seems to lean in this direction, — as Clifford883 evidently did; and hints to the same effect drop out pretty frequently in the newer literature; — partly, no doubt, influenced by Lotze. I welcome this change, not as introducing a satisfactory hypothesis, but as acknowledging a limit to the resources of evolution, and a returning suspicion of the intractable character of absolute monism.
With regard to Kant, I am quite at one with your appreciation of his stand made upon “the solid ground of Ethics.” But what constitutes its solidity seems to me simply this: that in the Practical Reason he accepts and affirms the implicit postulates of the faculty which he is expounding; while, in the Pure Reason, he challenges and denies their validity. For this difference I see no shadow of justification. The Subjective character of the assumptions, — which is all that he proves in the Pure Reason, — is there used as the plea for discrediting them: in the Ethical book, it is used as the adequate ground for faith in them. But, in this last sound step, he does not pass into any new field of empirical logic; he only repents him of his sins, and makes the amende honorable to his maltreated intuitive forms of thought: he takes back into trust his discarded old tutor, — Metaphysics, — this and nothing else. So that I cannot agree with the view, that the first book abolished the metaphysical régime, and the second inaugurated the inductive.
If we were face to face, I should like to have exchanged ideas with you on other topics, — e. g. Justification by Faith. But such subjects are too large for these days of hurried correspondence. I see that much of the difference in our modes of viewing religious problems is due to my old fashioned habits of mind, less imbued than your younger thought with the rationalizing Zeitgeist. The world is with you. And though I mean to leave a little testimony to the faiths which have been the light of my life, I fully expect that, if listened to at all, it will be soon forgot, lost in the countless waves from which at last some better truth will dawn.
Believe me Ever,
Yours most sincerely,
Rev. J. H. Allen.
JOSEPH HENRY ALLEN TO JAMES MARTINEAU.
[Draught of a portion only of a letter dated 13 February, 1884]
Those laws of thought expressed in the categories of cause, space, time, and the like, I make no doubt whatever are the expression of truth — nay, of truth objective to the mind that thinks. But the mediaeval Realism assumed a good deal more, in claiming that “the thought of the mind represents the truth of fact.” For example, the whole theory of the Logos as a superhuman personality, with its attributes and functions, and the conditions of its manifestation in a human life, was, as I take it, a purely subjective apprehension, developed (like the German’s camel) out of Men’s “moral consciousness” — yet none the less having to them an objective reality, which one might be burnt at the stake for questioning. Those curious questions treated by Thomas Aquinas, with absolute simplicity of faith that he can give a valid answer by a mere mental process (some of which I gave on p. 222 of The Middle Age), are illustrations of a state of mind which only began to be dispelled when Descartes began to think and therefore to be. In short, that menacing and tyrannical system of dogma, from which only a small part of Christendom is yet delivered, is (to our view) a vast and horrible phantasmagory, in which “the thought of the mind is assumed to represent truth of fact.” It is this style of “realism,” not at all that which helps make clear to us the essential conditions of the mental life, that I had in mind; and to insist upon the fact (which our students ought to know) that Protestant orthodoxy is only a stranded wreck of that old phantasmagory.
JAMES MARTINEAU TO JOSEPH HENRY ALLEN.
The Polchar, Rothiemurchus, Aviemore, Scotland.
Aug. 19, 1888.
Dear Mr. Allen,
As Editor of the Unitarian Review and long an observer of our English affairs, you know enough of the Unitarian Home Missionary Board in Manchester, to be aware that its Principal cannot fail to be in the foremost rank of our Theologians and Preachers; and you will readily allow me to commend to your kind regard the present occupant of that office, Rev. J. Edwin Odgers, who, with his equally worthy younger brother, Rev. J. Collins Odgers, is proposing to devote the vacation months to a sojourn in the U. S. A., and especially in New England. You will recognize in them, I venture to say, the true stamp of the English scholar, and the simplicity of the earnest divine. They desire especially to see and know what they can of Harvard and its Divinity School.
I take the opportunity of this note, to thank you for the June number of the Unitarian Review. I found Prof. Everett’s notice of my book884 only too generous in its literary and personal appreciations. And if, in his exposition of my way of thinking, I could not always recognize myself, this no doubt arose from an incapacity in me for transposing myself to his (apparently Hegelian) point of view. Where the theory of knowledge at the outset is different, mutual understanding is thereafter impossible. I felt, therefore, a certain want of a preliminary éclaircissement, such as would have come out, had he addressed any criticism to the opening Book of the Treatise. If you see the Dutch Periodical, De Tijdspiegel and happen to have read, in the July and August numbers, a Review by Profr Van der Wÿck of the Study of Religion and of Prof. Rauwenhoff’s Wijsbegeerte van den Godsdienst, you will catch my meaning. Still, I have every possible reason to be grateful to Prof. Everett. The difference of School is involuntary and inevitable.
I remain, always,
Yours most truly,
Rev. J. H. Allen.
JAMES MARTINEAU TO JOSEPH HENRY ALLEN.
35, Gordon Square, London, W. C.
Jan. 31, 1889.
Dear Mr. Allen,
My friend, Mr. Odgers,885 has made me partaker of his many pleasant and heartening impressions of Boston and Cambridge life; among which none were more welcome to me than those which came out in answer to my enquiries about yourself and your work. He has since communicated to me the proposal886 which your kind letter of the 17th inst repeats with some additions. It has so much to recommend it to the feeling of our co-religionists here, that it is very likely to receive encouragement, especially in the absence, just now, of any periodical organ of liberal theology, beyond the weekly newspaper or purely popular reporters of practical affairs.
I am sorry that my personal judgment, after reflecting on the conditions of the case, is not favourable to the scheme. Our religious position in this country is historically and essentially different from yours. You have, and desire to have, an organized Unitarian Body existing as a Unitarian Church. We have not, and are bound, by our antecedents, our Foundation-deeds, and our professions, not to have; our ecclesiastical existence and life having no relation to any particular type of theological opinion that may happen to be prevalent among us at this or that season of development. A theological organ is, therefore, eo ipso, unfitted for representing the common interests of our religious life.
And, on the other hand, a Review which is to do the important work of a Theological organ of criticism and research, cannot possibly assume the name of a particular type of theology. Such a renunciation of all pretension to intellectual impartiality cannot be corrected by any attempt to make the Unitarian name cover indefinitely more than belongs to its original and well-understood meaning. It grieves me beyond measure, morally even more than logically, to see an ever-increasing tendency to this tampering with the exact meaning of indispensable words.
It strikes me also that, from time to time, there must arise, in either country, questions of pressing interest, social and political, which are of no concern to the other. The local colouring which would thus be imparted to the Review, I do not think it would be desirable either to withhold or to obtrude. I believe that we shall help one another best by the separate work of free hands.
All the more, for this opinion, do I thank you for the copies of the Review which you have kindly sent; and which I am reading with much interest. The report of Dr. Hedge’s recovery delights me more than I can tell.
Believe me, Yours most truly,
JAMES MARTLNEAU TO JOSEPH HENRY ALLEN.
35, Gordon Square, London, W. C.
March 28, 1890.
Dear Mr. Allen,
I am delighted at the prospect of seeing you again on this side of the Atlantic, whether it be in London or in the Scottish Highlands. We shall not remove to our Northern cottage till the third or fourth week in May. But if you are disposed, after that time, to stroll about with me on foot or drive in a little open carriage, among our hills and forests, we shall heartily welcome you, and, if our small cottage should be full, shall easily find you a night’s lodging with a friendly neighbour.
You do well to take counsel with younger and more hopeful men than I in regard to your projected Quarterly Journal:887 and I have little doubt that you may find energy enough to float and conduct the enterprise. More “modern” men will not feel the difficulties which withhold me from participation in it. The phrase “Liberal Theology” is made to cover so much that, in my view, is foreign to Theology altogether, that its intellectual claims carry in them no tincture of religious interest. Were it honestly set forth as “Anthropology,” I should care much for it, in its place and relations: but it is spoiled for study, till it relinquishes its apotheosis. The question “How religions (as human phenomena) grow,” is of much psychological interest; but either evades the question which lies behind it “Whether and how far they are true,” or treats it as a choice of more or less accurate expression of an order of subjective feelings and conceptions, just as the processes of plant growth may be loosely or exactly described. Henry Drummond’s book, Natural Law in the Spiritual World, seems to me a useful reductio ad absurdum of the whole system of illusory analogies between instituted phenomenal order and the Principia of eternal being. To me, Monism in any form, Idealistic or Materialistic, is tantamount to a negation of Religion. I mean, of course, in its logical results, not in the conscious thought of those who hold it.
Your report of Dr. Hedge interests and touches me profoundly. It is natural for us lingering veterans to watch each other’s steps down the declining path with wondering sympathy, and welcome every peaceful reach of the way with a fellowship of thankfulness. I can count on the fingers of one hand the little octogenarian band of comrades in the life-campaign.
Believe me, always,
Yours most truly,
JAMES MARTINEAU TO JOSEPH HENRY ALLEN.
The Polchar, Rothiemurchus, Aviemore, N. B.
July 24, 1890.
My dear Mr. Allen,
Your triple call at Burleigh Street makes me ashamed of my inconsideration in troubling you with Mr. Wylie’s commission. I shall tell him of your good offices, and of my belief that “Tit-Bits”888 is a humbug, depending, like mice, on the nibbling of manuscripts. I am persuaded that he will get nothing back; though perhaps, on my return, I may make another attempt. I thank you heartily for so kindly acting in my stead.
My friend Upton889 and his wife have left us after a fortnight’s sojourn in which we have rambled far and wide, physically over hill and forest, spiritually over more than one universe, actual or possible or impossible. After this annual audit of metaphysical accounts, lean start afresh with a mind at ease, and with less fear of bankruptcy. I wish you could have been a party to our colloquies. But you are better where you are; with Mr. Odgers890 you will at least keep your foot on terra firma, and work out something that is good. Give him my kindest regards, and those of an old friend of his who is with us, Miss Jevons.891
We shall think of you often on your homeward voyage, and long after. May the seas bear you gently, and restore you happily to the dear home.
JAMES MARTINEAU TO JOSEPH HENRY ALLEN.
The Polchar, Rothiemurchus, Aviemore, Scotland.
Oct. 28, 1890.
My dear Mr. Allen,
It interests me much to hear the result of your negotiations with our friends on this side for the establishment of a common organ of religious thought and movement. Old age and temperament forbid me to be sanguine in such matters: but I have no doubt that the enterprise will bear some good fruit, in excellent papers which, without such a μαιευτής892 would never see the light. My own relation to it, — I fear I must definitely say, — can be only that of an eager reader, not of a writer. What I have thus far set forth brings me to a natural pause: and till I know more, or unlearn what I only seem to know, it is fitting for me to be silent and simply look for light.
The October number of your Review can at present be acknowledged with only blind thanks: for it has not been forwarded to me here. I shall doubtless find it when we reach home at the end of this week. I saw the notice of Dr. Hedge in The Unitarian.893 It is pleasant in its truth and tenderness, but needs the more comprehensive and varied portraiture which I expect to find in the Review.894
Mr. A. W. Jackson, I learn, is now in London, and I hope to see him for an evening on Monday next. He has been staying at Oxford; and he and Professor Upton are delighted with each other. He has discovered, in his visit to the old University, that he must make a study of Hegelianism, and follow it from its fountain-head to its English derivates, if he is to understand our problems here and now. I do not wonder that he is half-frightened at the prospect of this task.
I have sent to the press the first volume of the Studies, Reviews and Addresses which I have been selecting and classifying for re-publication. It will be ready, I hope, by Christmas. It will consist chiefly of Personal or Biographical sketches; followed by two or three Political papers. The other volumes will appear, if no hitch occurs, at intervals of three months.
Our return home is invited by a sudden change to winter here; the landscape being clothed in snow from the mountain-tops to our very doors. Yet so lovely is it that my persevering daughter, Gertrude (whom you did not see), has been sitting out in it at Loch-an-Eilan to sketch, and fix the beauty ere it flies.
With our united kind regards, I remain
Yours most cordially,
JAMES MARTINEAU TO JOSEPH HENRY ALLEN.
The Polchar, Rothiemurchus, Aviemore, Scotland.
July 1, 1891.
My dear Dr. Allen,
Our return to these summer quarters, where your presence brightened a few of our days last year, reminds me, not without self-reproach, that I still owe you my acknowledgments for your kind and welcome letter some five or six months ago. Its gift of one volume and promise of another were most acceptable: for I find both stimulus and refreshment in all that you write, and cannot but expect the same from any family memorials edited by yourself and your sisters. The advance of life sheds an ever-tenderer charm over the vanished forms and remembered modes of life that can never re-appear as they were, and yet are still living with new varieties of blossom in the present. Nothing of late has so brought home to me the wonderful depth and extent of modern ecclesiastical and moral change as the late Dean Church’s book on the Oxford Movement, a series of papers, by a large-minded observer, rendered singularly interesting alike by its personal sketches and its connected thread of historical development. The book very seasonably relieves the somewhat oppressive one-sidedness of Dr. Edwin [A.] Abbott’s and F. W. Newman’s volumes upon the late Cardinal.
That my correspondence has flagged of late is due in part to constant pressure from my printers, and in part to my rashness in undertaking a course of fourteen lectures at University Hall, in connection with Mrs. Humphrey Ward’s institution centered there. I did not get many hearers of the half-educated and unsettled class chiefly contemplated by me; the Hall being filled mainly by people with sufficient culture and access to books to render them independent (if they would but use their resources) of any help that I could give. I can only hope that I may have set a few of them to work out for themselves the problems which they are too ready to leave floating in suspense.
Our excellent friend, Dr. Sadler, has been obliged, through failing health, to retire from his charge at Hampstead. Some of the congregation are desirous of securing Mr. Brooke Herford as his successor: and the idea finds favour with those who are anxious to give the society a more vigorous working character. On the other hand, younger names are mentioned as more attractive to hearers belonging to the upper intellectual stratum of the congregation. Means, I trust, will be found for avoiding any hurtful conflict of interest or feeling. The position is a very important and somewhat delicate one: and its difficulties have been admirably neutralized by Dr. Sadler’s Christian tact and catholic temper.
I am expecting Prof. Upton tomorrow for the fortnight’s visit which he annually pays us: and hope to hear of the progress of the little book on Ethics on which he is engaged (by Dr. Percival of Rugby and Dr. Evelyn Abbott of Oxford) for the Home-Reading Library. Mrs. Upton, I am sorry to say, is too much enfeebled by a long rheumatic attack, to come with him so far North. I fear the Oxford climate does not suit either of them well.
My daughters send kindest remembrances.
Ever affectionately yours,
JAMES MARTINEAU TO JOSEPH HENRY ALLEN.
The Polchar, Rothiemcrchus, Aviemore, N. B.
Aug. 21, 1891.
Dear Dr. Allen,
Having just enjoyed some daily communion with you in your two volumes, — the Family Memoir895 and Positive Religion,896 I must indulge myself with a few words of heartfelt thanks by way of Appendix. The biographical volume has interested me profoundly, both by retouching old memories and opening to me new affections towards a whole group of the wise and faithful “whom, having not seen,” I shall henceforth “love.” The early pages carried me back to my Dublin ministry, during which both Dr. and Mrs. Kirkland and Henry Ware Junr and wife were repeatedly visitors at my house, — the former, anxious to find, in their common maiden-name of Higginson,897 a link of relationship between Mrs. K. and my wife. Notwithstanding some vestiges of paralytic affection, Dr. K. left on me an ineffaceable impression of dignity and graciousness, and Mrs. K. of energy and genial vivacity. Mrs. Ware was much out of health, — liable, I think, to fainting fits: and this so far affected his spirits that, though he could never be less than interesting, he hardly satisfied the enthusiasm which his writings had kindled in me. During the Peace-Congress in Paris which your father attended in 1849, I was, with my family, in Germany, dodging “the dogs of war” by various movements, and coming upon traces of it in Berlin and Vienna, in Prague, and the Taunus, and Baden. It was a memorable crisis, the effects of which are still developing themselves in Europe, from Paris to Moscow, from Copenhagen to Palermo. The whole of your father’s life after this visit to Europe, with the successive home changes, is deeply interesting and touching. It was a marvellous triumph of self-control that he could persist in his faithful ways, and not be unhinged and broken down by the thought of the patient sufferer through all those years at home. The peculiarity, which you have as well brought out, of his position as (originally) minister of his town, I greatly admire and respect, and cannot help preferring to the fissiparous disintegration of modern religious society into a Congregationalism, the law of which is, for the most part, the survival of the unfittest. I cannot but envy you your comfortable belief that the actual, being given by evolution, is always the best.
In regard to the essays on Positive Religion, I find myself in this condition. You take me up, page after page, into heartfelt sympathy, admiring what you admire, loving what you love. Our ideals are the same. This concurrence of estimate, as to what is highest and rightest in character and life, I should call an ethical sympathy. There is however an ulterior question: “What and whence is this ideal?” Has it any objective reality? If yes, viz. in some nobler soul than ours, then our reverence for it is still ethical, just as it would be, were it simply an imagining of our own. Whether, over and above its being ethical, it is religious, speaking to us with an authority more than that of human preference, depends, I should say, on its being the manifestation of a Living Divine Will wherein the Holiness suggested is real. This origin of it, as a communion of God with man, is what makes it sacred to me, and turns my obedience to it into worship, and renders possible that trust and love towards it which can subsist only between person and person. But, if I understand you aright, you invert this relation, and regard the word “God” as significant only of an unwarrantable personification of the ideal itself as a subjective phenomenon: so that we, in fact, invent a Divine Righteousness in our desire to borrow a transcendent authority for our own. I am unable to accept this ethical reduction of the contents of Religion, or the postulates on which it is based. While therefore I am, for the most part, at one with your ideals and often greatly moved by your impressive presentation of them, I cannot rest content with their self-authentication and limitation to the Finite world.
We had an interesting visit here from your excellent Miss Bartlett,898 the lady Revd., and were much taken by her. She preached with much acceptance at Monton.899 Her example however does not quite convert me to the new mode.
My daughters unite in warm regards.
Ever affectionately yours,
JAMES MARTINEAU TO JOSEPH HENRY ALLEN.
35, Gordon Square, London, W. C.
Dear Dr. Allen,
On 364 days of the year I wonder at the old Hebrew yearning for length of life and glorification of old age. But the remaining day converts me for twenty-four hours by mere force of congratulation and the charm of the gracious and friendly letters that lie in heaps upon my table: so that I think nothing more delightful than the first step into my 90th year. You have a large share of my gratitude for this happy illusion, if illusion it be: for nothing is more welcome and cheering to me than the benediction which you waft to me over the Atlantic. For a little while the affectionate words of like-minded friends keep at bay the old man’s disheartening feeling that he has outlived his time. But on slipping back into the current of prevailing experience, he feels how it is drifting away from his ideals, and even wandering into desert sands which it cannot fertilise. I look with some anxiety on the tendencies of our religious body both here and in the United States; every critical turn in our history rendering it more evident that, instead of developing the inspiration of our higher traditions, we are surrendering ourselves to the lower. The future, I believe, is not yet closed against us, if there were but a soul great enough to lead us. But it seems, alas! as if “the Sun had gone down upon the Prophets”! I cannot be surprised at the outbreak of divisions, when I see what a so-called Church may come to be in some of your “advanced” stations, and in some of ours.
I shall look with eager interest for your promised volume.900 Probably, the impression which it leaves will be stronger and clearer, from its not being combined with the work of another hand or the history of another time.
With our united kindest regards,
I am, always,
Yours most cordially,
JAMES MARTINEAU TO JOSEPH HENRY ALLEN.
35, Gordon Square, London, W. C.
May 27, 1895.
Dear Dr. Allen,
I am delighted to receive, and delighted to reciprocate, your congratulations. Your day of blessing and family gathering this month901 I can realise with the deeper sympathy from its brightness in contrast with the parallel experiences of my own life. On the same day I visited, with my daughter Gertrude, her mother’s grave, who was taken from us just one year before the Golden Wedding became due. And, instead of being surrounded, as you happily are, by a joyous crowd of descendants, I am quitting the world without leaving a grandchild to hand down the household memory and name. This deepens the sense of solitude which is inseparable from the later stages of so prolonged a life. Yet I am grateful for the lengthened stay, under conditions which leave the essential interests of life still unimpaired, and its energies hardly touched by any disabling infirmity.
My daughters join me in cordial congratulations on your happy arrival at so memorable a date in domestic experience. We are on the eve of our annual removal to Scotland; which obliges me to be brief.
Ever affectionately yours,
JAMES MARTINEAU TO JOSEPH HENRY ALLEN.
The Polchar, Aviemore, Scotland.
Oct. 7, 1896.
Dear Dr. Allen,
I am in your debt for two kindnesses which claim and have my cordial gratitude, — the copy of your Divinity School Address at Harvard;902 and the note offering me the privilege I should so highly value of personally welcoming Miss Charlotte Hedge.903 This, alas! to my deep regret (in common with my daughters), has been missed through our summer flight to these Caledonian Highlands. From a note inclosing yours, which she addressed to my London home, I learn that she must already have left our shores. I can only beg you to assure her that our disappointment is great at the loss of an interview so interesting in itself and connected with memories so sacred.
The Harvard Address I have read and re-read with a sympathy truly delightful. I take for granted that you will issue it in separate and permanent form. All the characterisations which my limited personal or literary knowledge enables me to test appear to me admirable in their discriminative touches. Perhaps it may be pardoned to my nonagenarian predilections, if I say, as the result of the retrospect, that, tried by an intellectual standard, the old School was better furnished for the problems with which the data of its time enabled it to deal, than its successor. Norton, for instance, made out, I think, a stronger case for his position, from the admitted premises of contemporary criticism, than Dr. Furness did for his. And Theodore Parker, to accomplish the great strides which his theology took, had to set his philosophy upon very precarious stilts. James Freeman Clarke, perhaps, represents the nearest approach to a reconciliation of the needs of Christian piety with the claims of modern Science and of critically tested History. But there yet remained behind, as there still remains, to be dealt with in a further step of effective Evolution, the sweeping claim of the Hegelian dialectic; the influence of which is apparent in Dr. Hedge, but not, as far as I can see, reduced to its terms of final estimate. So much do we owe to you, our brethren of the West, in the Past, which you have so faithfully sketched, that our hopes naturally turn to your Future, and we wonder whether, for the crowning stage of our spiritual life, we are to look still further West, to Profr. Le Conte of California University, or to some equally fresh mind similarly freed from the prejudices of our old world.
With our united kindest regards, I remain, always
JAMES MARTINEAU TO JOSEPH HENRY ALLEN.
The Polchar, Aviemore, Scotland.
June 16, 1897.
Dear Mr. Allen,
You must not measure the delight with which I welcomed your Sequel904 by the defective promptitude of my acknowledgment. The tardy pace of a nonagenarian’s reading and reflection keeps him always in arrears with the tasks that watch him with reproachful looks from his book-tray: and day after day have I turned my longing eyes upon your volume, before I could earn, by clearance of overdue debts, the right to enjoy it. At last I am free to report the warm interest and satisfaction with which I have not simply read but studied your five instructive papers; often learning what was quite new to me in the history of your “School of the Prophets,” and almost always sympathizing with you in such estimates of their work as I was at all competent to follow. It is perhaps venial in me if, coming as I do from some “Forty Years” earlier, I cannot fully accept your dictum that, in these “Forty Years later,” the questions raised by the Liberal movement “are not those of theory, but of life,” viz. of “Ethics and of social order.” Are they not, and must they not forever be, both? And is it not the function of the “Liberal movement,” — not to contrast, but to reconcile and unify them? That the thought which is true, and the will which is right should be strangers and even foes to each other, seems to me an assumption at variance with Religion itself, as an interpretation of the Universe. I cannot yield to the modern resolution of Religion into a mere psychological phenomenon of Man, belonging to Anthropology, inflating itself into a Theology; in fact an “Ideal,” but fancying itself “Real.” The tendency of our religious language to slip into this form is, in my view, a misleading deviation from the older phraseology of Personality. Ethics are shorn of their supremacy, unless accepted not simply as giving the rule for finite conduct, but also as the revealer of an Infinite Righteousness. Except in the third paper, I seldom find the pantheistic drift in the forms of expression too strong for me in your delightful personal sketches and comments: of which those on Hedge, Freeman Clarke, Parker and O. B. Frothingham, are rendered profoundly interesting from my having been admitted, more or less, into personal relations of friendship with these admirable and impressive men.
The chief recent fact, of biographical interest, in the experience of our friend F. W. Newman, is his expressed wish (in a letter to Miss Swanwick)905 to be regarded as having become “a Christian.” This means, I think, that having (from Evangelical prepossession) been alienated from the simple Theism of Jesus himself and identified Christianity with Paulinism and its Redemption scheme, he now reverses this, and finds in the personal faith and teaching of Jesus the truths which bring us into right relations with God. He has written, or dictated, an Essay which will explain and justify his final religious position in this sense. He is obliged to employ an amanuensis, and laments his failure of memory. But his letters are quite coherent, and his interest in persons and events still wide awake.
I remain, always,
By the kind permission of Dr. Allen’s daughter, I am able to add the following letter, which Dr. Martineau wrote to Miss Allen after her father’s death: —
35, Gordon Square, London, W. C.
April 14, 1898.
Dear Miss Allen,
I am deeply touched by your kind remembrance of me, as an assured sharer of your sorrow in the early days of your bereavement. In the host of friends whom I have outlived, there are few indeed so congenial to me in counsel and so honoured by me for truth of thought and fidelity of character as your dear father. His evident self-dedication to his work in life, — to find and report and do the right as interpreter of things, human and divine, — won my affection from the first and made me an eager reader of all that he published. The response of his nature to the influence of Henry Ware brought out the tenderer lights of his spirit; which, I have sometimes thought, might have remained latent, had the order of the two lives been inverted. Not even yet, indeed, is the fusion complete with us of rational with enthusiastic religion. Great changes doubtless still impend.
It comforts me much to hear that your father was permitted to make without pain the passage from the mortal to the immortal life. It secures to the survivors a calm and gentle memory, and a sweeter opening to the light of diviner scenes. If I am still a lingerer here, I shall eagerly watch for the appearance of the translation of Renan’s Les Apôtres. But I hope that we may reckon on seeing an edition of your father’s collected writings, — with perhaps additions from his manuscript stores which have not yet seen the light. I feel little doubt, that he has kept up with the recent and ever-growing theological literature published in Germany and France, and perhaps recorded his impressions of it. It cannot but materially affect the future of Christendom. But our “Established Churches” take no notice of it. With renewed thanks for your memorable letter, I remain,
Yours very cordially,
Miss Mary Ware Allen.
The Rev. Henry A. Parker related an episode of the Civil War which threw a side-light upon the character of the United States Secret Service.906
Mr. Davis announced the incorporation of four new Historical Societies: —
GRAND MUSTER LEGION OF THE SPANISH WAR VETERANS.
Purposes. “To perpetuate the Records of the Campaigns of the Spanish-American War of 1898.”
Date of Charter. 9 May, 1899.
MASSACHUSETTS STATE SOCIETY UNITED STATES DAUGHTERS OF 1812.
Purposes. “To perpetuate the patriotic spirit of the men and women who achieved and established American Independence, and in particular to honor the memory of the Soldiers and Sailors of the War of 1812–15, commonly called the second War of Independence, when the authority of the United States upon the high seas was for the first time respected by foreign powers; to collect, publish and preserve the rolls, records and historic documents relating to that period, to encourage the study of their country’s history and the advancement of patriotic work in Massachusetts.”
Date of Charter. 28 December, 1899.
QUINEBAUG HISTORICAL SOCIETY.
Purposes. “The purpose for which the Corporation is constituted is —
(1) To unite persons of good character, and intellectually and socially acceptable, in Southbridge, Sturbridge, Charlton, Dudley and other communities in this section, into a corporate body, to permanently maintain and advance the welfare and purpose of the Society,
(2) To promote in this locality an interest in the research into all matters and things relating to its history and people, and the collection and preservation of the results thereof, whether the same be published, printed or written productions, books, pamphlets, records, maps, manuscript, paintings, engravings, pictures, papers or relics, mementos, articles or objects illustrative thereof, together with the study and investigation of the kindred subjects of literature, poetry, biography, genealogy, science or art, as the society may judge useful to advance the knowledge, culture and taste of its members, and their social and intellectual characters,
(3) To raise and establish a permanent Trust Fund for investment for the use and benefit of the society until the same, with the accumulations thereof, and the additions thereto, shall be judged by the society sufficient or proper to be used for the purchase of premises devoted to the exclusive use of the society,
(4) To provide the means required to defray the necessary current and yearly prudential expenses of the society, by annual assessments not exceeding in amount the sum of One Dollar a year per capita, upon its members, and
(5) To adopt and maintain By-Laws for the membership, officers and the government of the affairs of the society, for the purpose herein stated.”
Date of Charter. 29 December, 1899.
LA SOCIÉTÉ HISTORIQUE FRANCO-AMÉRICAINE.
Purposes. “To encourage the careful and systematical study of the history of the United States and especially to bring forth in its true light the exact part taken by the French race in the evolution and formation of the American people.”
Date of Charter. 6 March, 1900.
John Shaw Billings, D.C.L., of New York City, and Horace Howard Furness, LL.D., of Wallingford, Pennsylvania, were elected Corresponding Members.