THE Annual Meeting of the Society was held at No. 28 State Street, Boston, on Saturday, 21 November, 1903, at twelve o’clock, and was immediately adjourned to meet at the University Club, No. 270 Beacon Street, on Monday, 23 November, at six o’clock in the afternoon. At the adjourned Meeting, the President, George Lyman Kittredge, LL.D., occupied the chair.

    The Records of the last Stated Meeting were read and approved.

    The Corresponding Secretary reported that since the last meeting letters had been received from the Hon. John Hay of Washington accepting Honorary Membership, from the Hon. William Babcock Weeden of Providence accepting Corresponding Membership, and from Mr. Winthrop Howland Wade of Dedham accepting Resident Membership.

    Mr. Hay’s letter is as follows:

    Department of State, Washington.

    May 19, 1903.

    Dear Sir:

    I have received your letter of the 23rd of April, in which you inform me that I have been elected an Honorary Member of the Colonial Society of Massachusetts. I have also received the copy of the By-laws and of the Transactions, which you were so kind as to send me.

    I beg you will make known to the Society the sentiments of grateful appreciation with which I accept the distinguished honor which they have conferred upon me.

    I am, Sir,

    Very sincerely yours,

    John Hay.

    John Noble, Esquire,

    Corresponding Secretary, Court House,

    Boston, Massachusetts.

    The Report of the Council was presented and read by the Rev. Edward Hale.


    During the year now closing five Stated Meetings have been held, as usual, in addition to the Annual Meeting and dinner in November. At these meetings, many papers and documents of value and interest were presented.

    A volume of Publications, devoted to the Transactions of the Society, and a serial part of another volume, have been distributed to the members. The funds available for publication have been increased through two gifts,—one of One hundred dollars from Mr. Horace Davis of San Francisco, a Corresponding Member, the other of Ten thousand dollars from the executors of the will of the late Robert Charles Billings. This second gift was secured to the Society through the interest in its work of Mr. Thomas Minns, a Resident Member of the Society and at the time of the gift one of the two surviving executors of the will of Mr. Billings. By the conditions of the gift the entire amount is to be kept as a permanent fund of ten thousand dollars, to be called the Robert Charles Billings Fund, the income only to be used for publications.

    We have lost by death two Resident Members,

    • William Cross Williamson,
    • Samuel Wells;

    and one Corresponding Member,

    • Joseph Williamson.

    A professional man of varied business and social interests, William Cross Williamson was nevertheless able to lead the quiet life he most enjoyed. Devoted to the study of the classics generally, he was known as one of the foremost students of Horace in this country. An occasional writer from his college days on, in both prose and verse, his last poem was the sonnet to his college classmate and chum, James Bradley Thayer, which he read at the memorial meeting of the Society held shortly after Mr. Thayer’s death; while his last prose work was the memoir of his elder brother, Joseph Williamson, published in the October number of the New England Historical and Genealogical Register.

    A leading member of the Boston Bar, Samuel Wells’s ability and judgment not only brought him success and distinction in his profession but made him a valued counsellor in the many business and political organizations with which he was connected. Active for many years in philanthropic work and in reform movements, he took great pleasure also in scientific work, obtaining valuable results from his study of the use of the microscope and especially from its employment in photography.

    Joseph Williamson was by vocation a lawyer, by avocation a biographer and historian. The charming memoir by Mr. William C. Williamson presents a most winning portrait of a man who, a lover of his town and of all the country around it, for fifty years entered into all its everyday, practical aspects, and at the same time was giving testimony to a deeper interest in community and State which found expression in frequent articles and addresses on matters of historical importance, culminating in his magnum opus, the Bibliography of the State of Maine.

    There have been added to our Roll during the year five Resident Members,

    • Ezra Ripley Thayer,
    • Winthrop Murray Crane,
    • John Noble, Jr.,
    • Thornton Kirkland Lothrop,
    • Winthrop Howland Wade;

    three Corresponding Members,

    • George Arthur Plimpton,
    • William Babcock Weeden,
    • Williston Walker;

    and one Honorary Member,

    • John Hay.

    It seems fitting to mention the recent death of Mr. John Wilson of the University Press, and to call to mind the indebtedness of the Society to his care and workmanship. His father, John Wilson, was born in Glasgow, Scotland, at the age of twenty-one was foreman of a printing-office in Edinburgh, and later took charge of an office at Belfast, Ireland. Here he edited the works of Burns, for which he wrote a memoir, and also prepared the first edition of his treatise on punctuation. At the end of eight years, he took charge of the proof-reading of the Manchester Guardian, and about 1847 he came to Boston, bringing with him letters of introduction to the clergy here from Dr. James Martineau. John Wilson the younger was born at Belfast 28 August, 1826. While at Manchester he learned Latin, Greek, and French in the school of the Rev. John R. Beard, a Unitarian minister at Saltash. Leaving school at fourteen or fifteen, he was with his father as an apprentice for six years. For a year after reaching Boston, the father and the son, as proof-reader and as compositor, were with S. N. Dickinson and Company. They then started business at 21 School Street, Boston, about 1865 removed to Cambridge, and about 1875 bought the University Press. It was Mr. Wilson’s sympathetic interest as well as his mastery of his art which set for the Publications of our Society their high standard of typographical beauty and fitness.

    It only remains to say that by the continued courtesy of the American Unitarian Association the Stated Meetings of the Society have been held for another year in the building of the Association.

    The Reports of the Treasurer and of the Auditing Committee were then submitted, as follows:


    In compliance with the requirements of the By-laws, the Treasurer submits his Annual Report for the year ending 19 November, 1903.



    Balance, 17 November, 1902



    Admission Fees



    Annual Assessments






    Sales of the Society’s Publications



    Miscellaneous items



    Withdrawn from Charlestown Five Cents Savings Bank



    Mortgages, assigned or discharged



    Horace Davis’s gift to the Publication Fund



    Executors of the will of Robert Charles Billings, to constitute a permanent fund





    expenditures and investments.

    University Press, printing



    A. W. Elson and Company, photogravure plates and plate printing



    Clerk hire



    Eva G. Moore, indexing



    Merchants Parcel and Express Company



    Hill, Smith and Company, stationery



    Library Bureau, stationery



    William H. Hart, auditing



    Miscellaneous incidentals



    Deposited in Charlestown Five Cents Savings Bank



    Mortgages on improved real estate in Boston



    Interest in adjustment



    Balance on deposit in State Street Trust Company of Boston, 19 November, 1903





    The Funds of the Society are invested as follows:


    in First Mortgages, payable in gold coin, on improved property in Boston and Cambridge.


    deposited in the Charlestown Five Cents Savings Bank.











    Charlestown Five Cents Savings Bank









    Publication Fund



    General Fund



    Gould Memorial Fund



    Edward Wheelwright Fund



    Robert Charles Billings Fund





    Henry H. Edes,


    Boston, 19 November, 1903.


    The undersigned, a Committee appointed to examine the accounts of the Treasurer of The Colonial Society of Massachusetts for the year ending 19 November, 1903, have attended to that duty and report that they find them correctly kept and properly vouched, and that proper evidence of the investments and of the balance of cash on hand has been shown to us.

    Ezra R. Thayer,

    John G. Palfrey,


    Boston, 20 November, 1903.

    These Reports were accepted and referred to the Committee of Publication.

    Mr. Thomas Minns, on behalf of the Committee to nominate officers for the ensuing year, reported the following list of candidates; and, a ballot being taken, these gentlemen were unanimously elected:





    recording secretary.


    corresponding secretary.






    member of the council for three years.


    Mr. John Noble made the following communication:

    Two original documents of interest and importance, one connected with the first and the other with the second Presidency of Harvard College, have been given to the public for the first time through this Society,1 Another is presented to-night which has to do with the steps taken to secure a third incumbent of the office, upon the death of President Chauncy. Its date is within a few weeks of the occurrence of the vacancy2 and not long before the accession of President Hoar, who followed with a somewhat stormy term of office.

    The document is the formal propounding to the Governor and Council and to the Overseers of the College of a candidate, by Richard Saltonstall,3 one of the earliest and most liberal benefactors of the College and one of its wisest and staunchest friends. He leaves the candidate unnamed, as one to be at once recognized by his qualifications and fitness. Neither of the three historians of the College—Peirce, Quincy, or Eliot—makes any mention of the occurrence or any allusion to the proposed successor of the revered Chauncy. The question as to the identity of Saltonstall’s candidate is somewhat puzzling. As long ago as 1861 James Savage, speaking of the Rev. John Knowles, said:

    On the d. of Presid. Chauncy, 1672, he was propos. to succeed him as head of Harv. Coll. tho. in Mather’s Hist, we should not look to discov. any thing like it, for that writer is very sparing of his facts in the chap. dev. to his life.1

    It is singular that Savage should have given no authority for so interesting a statement. It is possible, however, that he had in mind a passage in the Journal of the Rev. William Adams, who graduated at Harvard College in 1671. Under date of 25 March, 1672, Adams writes:

    I writt a letter for ye Governor and Mr. Saltonstall draw̄up by Mr. Cobbet to be sent to Mr. Kuowles for him to be Pres. of our Harvard Coll. wc I [A word or two in short-hand].2

    There can, therefore, be no reasonable doubt that the Presidency was offered to Knowles; but does it necessarily follow that Knowles was Saltonstall’s unnamed candidate?

    John Knowles was born in Lincolnshire, and in 1623 graduated at Magdalene College, Cambridge, where he was the chamber-fellow of Richard Vines, the distinguished Puritan divine. Coming to this country in 1638 or 1639, he was ordained in 1640 and settled at Watertown. In 1642 and 1643 he was in Virginia, in 1650 was made a freeman here, and about 1651 returned to England, where he spent the remainder of a long life, dying in 1684.3

    If we compare the known facts about Knowles with the facts about Saltonstall’s candidate, as stated by Saltonstall, three discrepancies appear. First, as to age. Saltonstall says: “Hee is aboue twenty years younger, than Caleb, when Caleb spake to Joshua in ye 14: of Joshua.” Caleb’s words are: “I am this day four score and five years old” (Joshua, XIV. 10). The candidate, then, was less than sixty-five. In a letter written to Increase Mather 6 August, 1677, the Rev. William Hooke says: “Mr Knowls is now about his 76th yeer.”1 This statement, coupled with the fact that Knowles took his A.B. degree in 1623, shows that in 1672 Knowles must have been about seventy. Secondly, as to Fellowship. Saltonstall says: “He was chosen a Fellow of his Colledge.” Knowles, as already stated, graduated at Magdalene College, but he was a Fellow of St. Catharine’s College.2 Thirdly, Saltonstall says: “This nameless person hath lived in New England, but he never had ye publique exercize of his proper [ ] while he lived heer.” Under date of 9 December, 1640, Winthrop writes:

    The church at Watertown ordained Mr. Knolles, a godly man and a prime scholar, pastor, and so they had now two pastors and no teacher, differing from the practice of the other churches, as also they did in their privacy, not giving notice thereof to the neighboring churches, nor to the magistrates, as the common practice was.3

    At the beginning, Knowles was the associate of the Rev. George Phillips; on the death of Phillips in 1644, Knowles became the sole pastor; and in 1647, the Rev. John Sherman was associated with Knowles as pastor. Knowles was called pastor by Winthrop, in the Watertown Records,4 and elsewhere; and it is difficult to see exactly how Saltonstall’s statement can apply to him. On the other hand, a word or two is omitted in the description, and perhaps Saltonstall intended to refer to his candidate as a teacher. The description in its general character fits Knowles quite nearly, and very likely the apparent discrepancies are merely due to a looseness of statement that might not unreasonably be expected under the circumstances.

    The document is as follows:

    The Description of a Worthy person humbly propounded (wth due subjection to better Judgments) for a President of ye Colledge in Cambridge: and propounded to the Right Worshipfull and Reverend Overseers of the Colledge; wch person for the present shall be nameless, yet wee doubt not but that his true and proper name, will bee known unto your Worshipps by his Description to be subjoyned, Whereunto, that ye Coast may be clier of some slight objections (not worthy in this case of a more express and particuler mention) wee shall be necessitated to insert and premize these following Propositions.

    First, Paul the aged, or Paul at ye age of 60, or 70 years, is not onely as good, but in some respects much b[ette]r; then Paul not so old by tenn or twenty years. Aged persons emmently righteous, by vertue of that promise Psalme ye 92: 14: shall certainly yeild, more, better, sweeter, and fairer fruit, then they did, or could haue done, when they were not so old by 10: or twenty years. Who would not invite Paul ye aged, in such a case as this of ours is, though wee could not expect his life and continuance with us, aboue 6: or 7 years. If wee were to take a lease of lives, wee would choose rather to take a lease for ye life of this nameless person, than for ye life of Dr. Owen.

    2ly. The Scripture giveth great and weighty Caution concerning youth or younger men, wch may serue for our admonition in ye present case. (Not a Novice etc:)

    [3] ly No one man in England (old or New) hath sufficiency enough for [t]he two places, that is to say, the place of a Pastour, or Teacher to a [C]hurch; and ye place of a President to such a growing Colledge.

    4ly. To rend a Pastor or Teacher fitt for Collegiate worke from any Church, where they are; for ye supply of this place of President, is a practice most irregular, ye Consequences whereof haue been sad to severall Churches in this Countrey.

    5ly. Every person hath his proper gift, and it is ye wisdome of any people to apply proper gifts, to their adequate and most proper objects, Ames, and Twiss considered as Schoolmen, wth all their accademicall accomplishments, both of Arts and Tongues, are a pair of English Worthies most Justly honoured wth a name and place among ye First three, (they were mighty men of valor for ye worke, of ye service, of the house of God. But [consider]ed as Preachers (in wch respect they were both alike) they are [ju]dged to be far short of their Inferiors.

    These things being premized, wee shall proceed unto the Character or Description of ye aforesaid nameless person.

    As to his years, he may be a paralell to Paul ye aged. As to his naturall Care for ye State of this Coun trey in all our best and worst times, he may be a paralell to Timothy (that nonesuch). By his pregnant parts, and his Improovment thereof, in ye Arts, and learned Languages, when he was a Senior Sophister in ye University of Camebridge, he was thought fitt (as ye flower of his year) to be Moderator of ye Sophisters Schools where his worke was every day, each other weeke, in Terme time to make an Oration to ye Sophisters, and other Auditors of all sorts, As also to moderate all Disputations, upon logicall and philosophicall questions, within ye Compass of his week, in wch place, he gaue such proof of his ability, as that thereafter, he was chosen a Fellow of his Colledge, and after that (even all ye time of his residence in Camebridge) being a Tutor, he was honoured not onely wth more Pupils, but wch Pupills more considerable than any of his senior fellows. Hee is Judged by those to whoine he is most and best known to have a singular gift for training up of youth in Univerty Learning: Witness the many learned pupills, wdl Call him Tutor, (whereof one is a worthy eminent Elder in New England: (This nameless person, hath lived in New England, but he never had ye publique exercise of his proper [  ] while he lived heer). There are also many witnesses in this Countrey, that he hath a singular gift, for prudence, gravity, composednes of Spirit, moderation, and yet zeal in governing youth, wth grace to walk before them as a man of God. And because the worke of his place (as President; if ye Lord should so dispose) is Sanctuary worke: wee are willing that what wee say concerning him, shall be either tryed by ye Touchstone; or weighed (wth a grain or two of allowance for his age meerly) in the ballance of the Sanctuary. It were a thousand pitties that such a Prophet should be without honour in his own Countrey, and among his own Acquaintance.

    Wee shall offer one word more about his Age wch is ye great objection. Hee is aboue twenty years younger, than Caleb, when Caleb spake to Joshua in ye 14: of Joshua: and by ye good hand of God upon him in respect of bodily health, strength, naturall Capacities, and present fitness, for ye worke and service of a President, hee (being a man of faith as Caleb was) may say as Caleb did Joshua 14: 11: I am as strong this day, as I was many years agoe; as my strength was then so is it now, either for ye Arts, or for ye Tongues, or for training up of Pupills or for ye government of a Colledge (wth all the speciall Requisites belonging thereunto.) And as wee said before, Paul ye aged was as good a man and better, then Paul not so old by 10: or 20 years.


    This motion & Discription was presented by Rich. Saltonstall Esqr, to ye Gour & Council & ourseers of ye Colledge mett in Boston 7 mrch 71 & Read: then & is on file for further Seasonable Consideration. 5th mrch 71–2.1

    Those were premises and conclusion two hundred years ago. Extend those premises as we may, widen the College into the great University and the narrow local field into the whole country, broaden the qualifications for office there given into others known and recognized everywhere,—and we can still hold the conclusion sound.

    To-night we join all friends of Harvard,—of education everywhere, of good government in University or Nation, of progress and advance in the aims and achievements of all sorts and conditions of men,—in hoping that the present President of Harvard may round out a full fifty years in the Presidency, and may add as many more as he is willing to give.

    Mr. Henry H. Edes exhibited an original deed, given 1 January, 1684–85, by John Alden to his youngest son Captain Jonathan Alden, of certain real estate in Duxbury. The deed was in the nature of a last will, and is as follows:

    To all people to whom these presents shall come John Allden sen: of ye Towne of Duxbury in ye Jurisdiction of New-plymouth in N: E esquire sendeth greeting. &c.

    Know yee that I: John Allden for and in consideration of that read love and parentall affection which I beare to my beloved and dutifull son Jonathan Allden Have of my oune meer motion and free will being ye result of serious deliberation promised given granted aliened enfeoffed and confirmed and by these presents do fully absolutely and clearly promise give grant alien enfeoffe and confirme from me ye sd John Allden my heires exequtores administratores and assignes From ye daye of my Death ensuing unto him ye sd Jonathan Allden his heires exequtores administratores and assignes for ever All my upland in Duxbury aforesaid as it was Layd out by Governour Bradford mr Edward Winslow Joshua pratt and Edward Banges. See old booke of grantes and boundes of landes Anno i637 folio i37 the boundes whereof are as follows: viz ffrom an old pine tree by ye meadow side which meadow afterward was allotted to me ye sd John Alden sen: The Breadth of sd land buttes upon and ranges along Blew fish River to a burnt walnutt stump And from thence for ye length to a wall-nut tree ranging from the abovesd stump west nor-west which was sometime after run by Joshua Pratte and philip Delano sen: unto a white oake tree standing a litle within ye boundes of philip Delanoes land there being a stump or roots of that tree still remaining. And from thence for the breadth at yo head to Greenes harbour old path. And on ye southerly side of ye land bounded partly with my owne meadows and with ye land of Experience michell towards yo upper end. With all my meadows lying between the sd upland and Blew fish river aforesd togather with all and every other parcell of land lying within ye towneship of Duxbury aforesd granted to me John Allden senior either by his ma:ties Court held in Plymouth aforesaid or by the sd towne of Duxbury. with all and singular the priviledges and appurtenances to all and every part or parcell of the above sd land viz upland and meadow be it more or lesse belonging: togather with all my right title and Interest therein and ye housing thereon. TO HAVE and to hold From ye Daye of my Death For which God prepare me All and singular ye above sd parcells of upland and Meadow and housing be they more or lesse with all my right and title in ye singular and universall priviledges and im̄unities to ye same in any wise belonging or yet accrewing unto ye sd Jonathan Allden his heires and assignes for ever from the time above prefixed to his and their proper use and behoofe to be holden according to ye tenure of his ma:ties mannor of east Greenwich in ye County of Kent in ye realme of england in Free and common soccage and not in capite nor by Kts service, the rents and services thereout due and of right accustomed free and cleare and clearly acquitted off and from all other and former promises guiftes grantes bargaines sales leases mortgadges joyntures Dowries extents uses entailes And of and from all and singular other title trouble charges demands and incumbrances wtsoever had made com̄itted omitted suffered or don by me the sd John Allden or by my heires or assignes or any other person or persones w’soever Lawfully clayming from by or under me or ym or any of them. Warranting the title And Guift hereof against all persons whatsoever in by through or under me ye sd John Allden or by my right or title lawfully clayming any right title or interest of or in ye premisses or in any part or parcel thereof wtsoever. And that the sd Jonathan Allden his heires and assignes and everie of ym shall and may by virtue of these presents from time to time and at all times for ever hereafter lawfully peaceably and quietly have hold occupie possess and enjoye all and singular ye before granted premisses with their and everie of their rightes members and appurtenances and have receive and take all ye rents issues and profits thereof to his and their oune proper use and behoofe for ever without any lawfull lett suit trouble deniall interruption ejection or disturbance of me the sd John Allden or my heires or assignes or any other person or persons w’soever Lawfully clayming from by or under me or ym or any of them or by their meanes and consent title interest privitie or procurement. Also I the sd John Alden doe further covenant and promise with and to the sd Jonathan Allden that it shall and may be lawfull to and for the sd Jonathan Allden either by himselfe or his attorney to record and inroll or cause to be recorded and inrolled ye title and tenure of these presents in his ma:ties Court in Newplymouth aforesd according to ye usual order and maner of recording and inrolling deeds and evidences in such case, made and provided for And for ye true performance of these premisses according to ye time above mentioned I the sd John Allden binde my selfe my heires my exequtores and administratores firmly by these presents. In witness whereof I have hereunto set my hand and seale this first daye of January in ye year of our lord god one thousand six hundred eighty and four. Annoq̃] Caroli secundi: Mag: Britaniæ, Galiæ et Hyberniæ regis: 36.

    Signed sealed and delivered, in presence of us Witnesses Ichabod Wiswalle1

    Dauid Allden2

    The words (And ye housing thereon) between ye lnies 25 and 26 and ye words (And housing) between 27 and 28 were interlined before ye sealing and deliverie hereof.

    John Alden

    The Deed above mentioned was ffrely Acknowledg to be the ffree Act and Deed of John Alden Senior above Written So Acknowledg the second of January 1684 before me

    William Bradford3

    Deputy Governour


    Col Jonathan Alden his deed

    This Deed is recorded in ye

    New Booke folio 71: 72

    pr Saml: Sprague recorder

    Entrusted by Maj. Judah Alden

    March 1832

    B. Kent


    Presented to Edwd T. Barker1 by Miss M. A. Alden Duxbury Sept. 27th 1871

    3 years Interest


    2 =

    8 =

    more Interest


    0 =

    8 =

    more Cleard


    1 =

    18 = 4

    D more——


    1 =

    6 = 0

    D more———


    3 =

    0 = 0

    more Cleard


    1 =

    10 = 0

    D more———


    3 =

    8 = 0

    more Cleard


    1 =

    16 = 6



    2 =

    0 = 0

    26 Behind—


    0 =

    8 =

    28 Behind——


    0 =

    8 = 4



    1 =

    12 = 3



    2 =

    8 = 7


    s d

    wayd lords cart ton hay

    2 = 3

    Mr. Augustus Peabody Loring of Beverly was elected a Resident Member.

    After the Annual Meeting had been dissolved, dinner was served. The guests of the Society were Charles William Eliot, William Babcock Weeden, Augustus Peabody Loring, and Edward Field. President Kittredge presided.