A Stated Meeting of the Society was held at No. 25 Beacon Street, Boston, on Thursday, 28 March, 1901, at three o’clock in the afternoon, the President in the chair.

    After the minutes of the last meeting had been read and approved, the Corresponding Secretary reported that letters had been received from Dr. Ephraim Emerton accepting Resident Membership, and from General Joseph Wheeler accepting Corresponding Membership.

    The President announced the death on the fifth of March of Henry Williams, a Resident Member, and paid a tribute to his memory.

    Mr. John Noble, having been called upon, said:

    Our oldest Resident Member, in point of years, has gone from us at the age of more than fourscore. Seldom failing in attendance, until his health gave way, on the eve of our last Annual Meeting, he has always been one of the most interested and devoted members of the Society. No one marking his erect and vigorous form, his strong personality, his alert and energetic mind, would have set him down as a graduate of over sixty years’ standing and one of the few survivors of the Harvard Class of ’37, two only of whom survive

    Mr. Williams’s life was marked by no very striking events. He never held public office, though many private trusts and responsibilities were devolved upon him, as a man of business habits, exact and methodical ways, and of unswerving integrity. Kind, sympathetic and helpful, he was ever ready to do his part whenever duty or occasion called.

    There were few dull lines in the features of his make-up. Independent, keen, aggressive, there was seldom a question as to where he stood on any issue. In his opinions he was always sure and decided, and vigorous in his way of expressing them. He knew what he thought, and he stood by it. He was a warm and steadfast friend, where he gave his friendship; and in his dislikes he was no less determined and persistent.

    Mr. Williams’s life was spent mainly in teaching, and he was most generally and widely known as a teacher; — first, and for many years, as the head-master of one of the Grammar Schools of Boston, and later as the head of a successful and famous private school for girls. He was singularly fortunate, or rather it should be said, singularly and deservedly happy, in gaining and holding the love and respect of the long line of pupils that, through forty years or more, were under his charge, — a regard evidenced often and in many ways in their after life. A touching tribute to his memory was the bunch of lilies laid upon his coffin by some of the very earliest of his scholars, — the few surviving boys of sixty years ago.

    The later years of Mr. Williams’s life were quiet and were spent in leisure among his books and his friends. His habits and tastes were scholarly. He read much, and the best authors. Here too he had his intimates. Scott was an especial favorite; the Waverley Novels he knew almost by heart, and he had read the whole series ten or a dozen times, each new reading coming as a fresh delight. He had gathered from every available source what might illustrate the scenery, character, incident or history of Scott’s works; and the author’s life was almost as real and near to him as his own.

    From the early days of this Society Mr. Williams was upon its Committee of Publication, and one of the most efficient and valuable members. His judgment was good, his perception sharp, his taste delicate, his view conservative. Bred under the training of Professor Channing, who set and sustained so long the standard for the English of Harvard, he was a discriminating and severe cri tic. A faithful and single-hearted lover of “English undefiled,” it was rarely that an infelicity or obscurity or impropriety of word or phrase escaped his quick and delicate intelligence, while on the merits of any article, his estimate was usually sound and judicious. His services here were valuable and important, and his place will be hard to fill.

    In every way a valued member of the Society, Mr. Williams had, by birth, a somewhat unusual claim to its fellowship. Of one of the oldest families of Boston, coeval almost with the Colony, he was also a lineal descendant of two Colonial Governors, — Thomas Dudley and Simon Bradstreet; was connected with a third, by his descent from Lucy Winthrop; counted as another ancestor the Reverend John Cotton; and, through still another, was allied with the founder of Williams College. Knowing our associate as I have through a friendship of more than half a century his death comes to me as a personal grief.

    Mr. Lindsay Swift paid the following tribute to the memory of his venerable friend:

    My acquaintance or, as I may truly say, my friendship with Mr. Williams does not run further back than ten or twelve years, when I used to see him occasionally at the Public Library, then in its old and cozier home on Boylston Street opposite the Common. After we had moved into our new palace on Copley Square, he did not come to see me so often, perhaps because of the infirmity of years. I have always fancied, however, that he was not comfortable in the changed surroundings, though he never expressed his feeling to me in the matter. It was always a pleasure to aid him in his quests for books, for he was not one of those vague people who merely are looking for “something to read.” His object was always definite, and he usually brought a list of desiderata ready for his own and my convenience. Soon he would go away satisfied, and as I found out afterwards, through deeds and not words, very grateful for my slight attention. Gradually we came to know each other better, and then almost intimately; as we met, we would talk of books for which we had a mutual sympathy, or of public events, in his judgments of which be held lofty and exacting standards. Now and then I had the pleasure of dining at his quiet home in Concord Square. Those of you who knew Mr. Williams at his own table, will recall what an honest joy he took in making his guest happy in every way, yet even his choice taste in these matters could not give such pleasure as did his spirit of unaffected hospitality. He was indeed an ideal host. After dinner we would go to his “den” at the very top of the house, and then would follow an hour or so over his excellently-chosen cigars, and I would go away refreshed by the companionship of an elderly man’s wisdom, and by his keen, positive opinions. He was so unfeignedly glad to see me whenever it was possible for me to break through routine, and call on him, that I now make it a reproach to myself that I did not force these occasions far oftener, and enjoy more frequently the entire modesty and simplicity of that delightful home.

    With the active beginning of the life of The Colonial Society it was my good fortune to see considerably more of our colleague. It has always seemed to me that Mr. Williams’s membership stood for more with him than could easily be guessed. Such things are often a matter of course to men of affairs, but his connection with the Society was of importance in his eyes; his interest in its affairs was incessant; and it appeared to stimulate enthusiasm, usually so inert in mature life. Owing to his friendliness, I became acquainted with Mr. Edes, and with others of the Society, and ultimately had the honor of an election as a fellow-member. It was he who persuaded me to undertake the formidable task of indexing our first volume, and I may now confess to you that my reluctance gave way before his evident belief that I was providentially created for just this piece of work. There were hot disagreements over that index, but they were the differences of honest men, and if war raged it was certainly a civil one. How kind and loyal Mr. Williams was all this time, and how anxious to be just to all sides! This was the more notable, because in abstract questions he was an opinionated man. This matter would really be too unimportant to mention, had it not so fully revealed the staunchness and absolute sincerity of my valued friend. As Mr. Edes said to me on the day of the funeral services, the keynote of Mr. Williams’s character was loyalty. Add to this quality his ingenuousness and you have the leading traits of his strong personality before you. At the least suggestion of possible injury coming to a friend whether by implication or by direct attack, he would leap to the front like a sword from its scabbard. He cared little for his own reputation in such an issue; but on the other hand, did he come to see that this very friend, whose cause he had espoused, was in any way at fault, he would unflinchingly try to set him right. His were the essential courage and directness of a man of nice traditions and firm training.

    Our meetings being of necessity infrequent, I used to count much on seeing Mr. Williams at the Cambridge Commencement. It was his habit to stay in Massachusetts Hall till the procession formed and then march with it — this was in his later years — until he reached the outer door of Memorial Hall. There he would patiently stand until all had passed in to the dinner — a loyal son of Harvard, as his careful service in the Secretaryship of the Class of 1837 fully attests. The pathos of Commencement Day, increasing each year, but sweeter and more tender for all that, will be deeper when we fail to see in the future our old friend in his expectant attitude at the entrance to that solemn vestibule dedicated to our immortals.

    We shall fail to do justice to the memory of Mr. Williams if we neglect to speak at this time of his admirable fund of humor, — an integral part of his manliness, and an evidence, I fully believe, of the Divine essence in human character. It was so deep, as sometimes to be unconscious. With one instance I may fitly bring to an end these remarks. In a recent Commencement, I missed him from his usual place hard by the voting booths, but after a little delay he appeared and said that he had been lunching at a private house with the few surviving members of his Class who were able to be present. I inquired after the health of this venerable company, no one of whom could have been under eighty years of age. He was able to give a good account of them as a whole, but admitted that he was deeply concerned for the welfare of one classmate who had taken up the habit of smoking cigarettes. “And, Swift,” said our friend, “if he doesn’t stop it, he won’t live out half his days!” Such was the excellent wit of Henry Williams, and now that he is released from an old man’s loneliness and pain, I like to speak of him naturally, as if he were still alive, enjoying life and meeting its joys and sorrows in his own sturdy, well-bred, and quaint fashion.

    The Corresponding Secretary announced that the Council had made the following assignments of Memoirs: — That of Samuel Johnson, originally assigned to the late Reverend Edward G. Porter, to President Tucker of Dartmouth College; that of Roger Wolcott to the Reverend Arthur Lawrence; and that of Henry Williams to President Kittredge.

    Mr. Henry H. Edes exhibited the gold medal given to Charles Bulfinch, in 1794, by the Proprietors of the first theatre built in Boston, from plans made by him, in recognition of his interest in the undertaking. The theatre stood on the north-westerly corner of Federal and Franklin Streets, now occupied by the Jones, McDuffie and Stratton Company. It was destroyed by fire on the afternoon of 2 February, 1798, and was rebuilt on new plans furnished by Mr. Bulfinch. The façade of this building was much plainer than that of the first building, which is shown, in high relief, on the medal.187

    General Charles G. Loring remarked upon the beauty of the medal and mentioned a conversation he once had with Reginald Stuart Poole, of the British Museum, in which that gentleman inquired who made the design of one of the early silver dollars or half-dollars issued by the United States mint. Mr. Poole said that he regarded that piece as the most beautiful of modern coins.

    Mr. Albert Matthews read a paper on Yankee and Yankee Doodle.188 Mr. William Watson Goodwin, President Kittredge, and Dr. William Watson participated in the discussion which ensued.

    Edward Charles Pickering, LL.D., and Mr. Arthur Richmond Marsh, both of Cambridge, were elected Resident Members.