A Stated Meeting of the Society was held at No. 25 Beacon Street, Boston, on Thursday, 27 December, 1906, at three o’clock in the afternoon, the President, George Lyman Kittredge, LL.D., in the chair.
The Records of the Annual Meeting in November were read and approved.
The Corresponding Secretary reported that letters had been received from the Rev. Dr. Edward Everett Hale and Mr. Arthur Lord accepting Resident Membership.
Mr. Caleb Benjamin Tillinghast of Boston, and the Rev. Thomas Franklin Waters of Ipswich, were elected Resident Members.
The Treasurer reported that he had received one hundred dollars from Mr. Robert Hallowell Gardiner, a Corresponding Member; and on the motion of the Treasurer it was voted that the thanks of the Society be sent to Mr. Gardiner for his acceptable gift.
MEMOIR OF DR. THOMAS YOUNG, 1731–1777.
A few weeks ago the Rev. William Ladd Ropes (H. C. 1816) put into my hands a letter written by Dr. Thomas Young in September, 1769. The letter is badly mutilated, parts of it having been destroyed by mice and dampness. With great difficulty the faded portions which remain have been deciphered, and both the original and the copy are now submitted to the Society.
This interesting and valuable paper belongs to the Trustees of the Andover Theological Seminary. It was received with a large collection of manuscripts from the representatives of the estate of the late Rev. Dr. Egbert Coffin Smyth, whose wife, born Elizabeth Bradford Dwight, was a descendant of Jonathan Edwards, through the Dwight branch of the family from which she inherited these documents. One or two passages in this letter suggest the probability that it was written to a clergyman; it was certainly addressed to a liberally educated man who lived at some distance from Boston, whose name was written at the bottom of the second page; but, unfortunately, this name has been almost obliterated. Who, then, was the receiver of this letter?
Miss Mary Woolsey Dwight, a sister of Mrs. Smyth, remembers that many years ago some ancient manuscripts, somewhat damaged, were found in the old residence of the Ellsworths in East Windsor, Connecticut, and added to the Edwards-Dwight collection of family papers. As Ann Edwards, born 28 April, 1699,1 a sister of Jonathan Edwards and daughter of the Rev. Timothy Edwards (H. C. 1691), long, the minister of the church at East Windsor, married in 17342 Captain John Ellsworth (1697–1784) of that town, this clue to the name of the recipient of Dr. Young’s letter was followed up with gratifying results.
While mice have destroyed almost the whole of the name of the person to whom this letter was addressed, enough remains to show that his surname undoubtedly began with the letter P, and that the second letter was either o or e. Investigation showed that the Rev. Thomas Potwine (Yale, 1751), born in Boston 3 October, 1731,3 was ordained 1 May, 1754, first minister of the Second or North Society in the locality called Scantic, now known as the First Congregational Society in East Windsor, and continued his ministrations till his death 15 November, 1802, at the age of 71.4 His daughter Elizabeth, born 24 March, 1768, married, in 1792, Captain Job Ellsworth (1765–1849) of East Windsor,5 a kinsman of Captain John Ellsworth, above mentioned.
It was also discovered that the Rev. Joseph Perry (H. C. 1752), born in Sherborn, Massachusetts, 15 August, 1731,6 and “distinguished for talents, learning and piety,” was ordained 11 June, 1755, as colleague of the Rev. Timothy Edwards (H. C. 1691),7 who soon after died, 27 January, 1758,8 leaving Mr. Perry sole pastor of his flock till his death, 21 April, 1783.9 He was chaplain of Colonel Erastus Wolcott’s State Regiment at Boston, January–March, 1776.10 Stiles says of Perry:
When the war of the American Revolution broke out he eagerly espoused its principles, and both in public and private threw the whole weight of his influence in favor of the patriot cause. Nay, more, for when the company from East Windsor marched to Boston early in 1776, this fearless pastor accompanied them.11
It thus appears, beyond a reasonable doubt, that Dr. Young’s letter was written either to the Rev. Thomas Potwine or to the Rev. Joseph Perry. The text of the letter follows.
[Boston, September, 1769]
When an ho [cler-]12 gyman writes me that he an my family are so also, and les remains my friend and servtly considering that ultra posse nemo ob of sense and hum [or] sends me half a sheet of good fine [paper writt]en over one side only and that in characters as large as treat, quod etiam crescit eundo. Almost every s you say, then Sir it is quite lucky the Comet ha[s been good] enough to visit us in such a dry season for diversion: however if the news brot by Capt William Nicols13 in a short passage from Cadiz [be true] that france spain and prussia had formed a strict alliance the objects of which were to overturn hanover, to put holland under the command of an absolute sovereign and then give law to Britain: if this I say be true you will for sometime have new matter enough to engage your speculation. For my own part could I find leisure there seem subjects yet remaining whereon I think I coud spend time agreeably, such as writing a new paraphase on the canticles or conjectures on the meaning of ye time and times and half a time in which the prophesy is to be fulfilled. However these weighty undertakings with many of equal importance may be excused till the age of beads and prayer books, I being as yet no more than a man of this world, coud have read with a good share of pleasure a little history of your undertakings successes or disappointments; future prospects, observations and reflections on all these [four words erased]
I have put Mr. Mason’s14 letter in Capt Freeman’s bag who sails for London first fair wind.15 Mr Otis last Tuesday evening16 in the British Coffeehouse17 was insulted and set upon by Shanap Morgan alias John Robinson, and with the assistance of six or eight such scoundrels as himself almost murdered before any but one person ss Mr John Gridley18 coud interpose in his favor. Mr Otis has a large cut on the forehead and many bruises however is not dangerous.19 One of the Ruffians is taken and bound over the reforming Justice the hon.ble James Murray and Mr. John Mein being his sureties the night of the binding Murray was hiss’d by a thousand in Fanuel Hall20 Mein had signs at his bookstore and printing office21 so besmeared with dirt that they are taken down His business is pretty well over for North America and how he will like the thin repast of his native country is not mine to determine Shan is [word erased] [word erased] absconded:22 may he never again shew his dirty face in our horizon. The officers of the customs and army having for some time in a manner exclusively held the bar room of the British Coffeehouse since this fray it is intended to keep a moderate number of the friends of Liberty there every evening to convince them that no part [of the] Province (Meins Book store [and] the Dens of the importers a[nd Customs Com]missioners only excepted) has been so perfectly be privileged walks of f citizens. I Doctr Warren to[day] met one of the assassins of Mr Otis at the Coffeehouse [and] demanded satisfaction on his behalf. The fellow plead his being under bonds.
The Doctor said he had not adverted to that and then expected a compliance he declined all further conversation on of the moves of that party they seem to nts of this town are not so hypochondriacally careful dear persons as they conceived them at first view. putations of opposition at landing in the first place de with fear. Finding no such thing and setting it all to apprehensions elated them beyond measure. When they now [be]gin to find the reach of our policy and intrepidity of the indi[vi]duals they have had to deal with, it much diminishes the conceit of their omnipotence.
Mr Winthrop23 has had his telescope put in order to view the comet and provided he finds suitable intervals of good weather we hope he will give us some curious observations on so considerable a Phenomenon. I saw it two nights successively the latter was called up half after three in the morning, and carried 5 miles out of town so that I saw it till daylight: by what I cou’d conjecture from its celerity and direction it seems to fall perpendicular into the body of the sun However unassisted by instruments or perhaps much accuracy to use them this dogma is not expected to enter the essentials of your faith on these portentous bodies. A matter more immediately interesting to me is that Doctr Warren now first in business in this town called upon [me] last night and says Sir I now wait upon you to signify my high satisfaction that your character interest and business rises fast in this town and I now assure you Sir that whatever may heretofore have happened I have now a real esteem of you and hearty friendship for you which I desire you may henceforth credit on the honor of a Gentleman. By this accession I am now as well settled respecting medical friendship as I can wish Doctr Church24 having since your kind mediation continued as faithful and agreeable a friend as ever man was blest with. After having such a confounded parcel of trash from me you cannot in conscience stab me off next time with a of and then ‘add no more’ but lest you should, [and I] be always cheated by you
I add no more but remain
your affec, friend
and humble serv
Considering the prominent part Dr. Young took in public affairs during the years which immediately preceded the breaking out of hostilities and the early years of the Revolutionary War, it is remarkable that his name is not found in our biographical dictionaries. It is for this reason that I have attempted to gather, from widely scattered sources, the principal facts in his career.26
A journal27 of my Voyage and Travels from the County of Longford in the Kingdom of Ireland to Pennsylvania in America, Anno Dom. 1729.
I took my journey from the County of Longford on Friday the 9th day of May: came to Dublin ye 12th ditto. Entered on shipboard the ship call’d the George and Ann ye 18th. Sett sail the 20th. . .
Discovered land on ye Continent of America ye 4th day of October 1729.
James Clinton, Esquire, who lived near Belfast, in the north of Ireland, had a sister named Margaret; and one son named Charles, and two daughters, viz: Christiana and Mary. Margaret, the sister of James, was married to my great-grandfather, John Parks, and had a son named John (who was the grandfather of Arthur Parks), and two daughters, Jane and Barbara. About the year 1700, the whole connexion removed to the county of Longford, and lived nearly continguous to each other near Edgeworthstown, where Jane Parks was married to my grandfather, John Young, and had [a son named John, and] a daughter, Mary; and my grand-aunt, Barbara Parks (sister to Jane and daughter of Margaret Clinton), was married to John Crawford30 and had three sons, viz: Matthew, Alexander and Joseph, and a daughter named Mary. After my grandfather John Young died, his widow (Jane) was married to Thomas Armstrong.31 They lived in this vicinity (Edgeworthstown) until sometime in the year 1727 or 1728, when the whole connexion growing more and more dissatisfied with the government, resolved to emigrate to the then colony of New York; and as if bound together by the indissoluble ties of consanguinity and friendship, the greatest number of those who had emigrated from the north, with some additional members, engaged a ship at Dublin, commanded by a Captain Rymer, and all paid their passage money there, and had the ship bound to them for the faithful performance of their agreement. They laid in a sufficient stock of provisions for an ordinary passage, but instead of a common passage he kept them at sea twenty-one weeks and three days. During the passage they one morning came in full sight of the coast of Virginia, which the boatswain, who was an old seaman, affirmed he knew perfectly well, as he had frequently been on that coast before, but the captain called him a lying, skulking dog, and immediately ordered to put the ship about and put off to sea; in consequence of this unequivocal disclosure of the captain’s intention to famish them all to death at sea, William Armstrong (my father’s half-brother) would have put him to death, had he not been forcibly restrained. Colonel Charles Clinton, who by his age and superior abilities, appears to have been the head or chief of the connexion, who had a better knowledge of the laws than the others, told them that unless the other officers belonging to the ship would join them, their rising forcibly against the captain would, upon trial, be adjudged piracy. But the spirits of the officers were so completely subdued by the tyrannical conduct of the captain, who had killed a man on board by striking him on the head with a pipe-stave, that they dare not join the passengers against him. In this shocking dilemma, the captain extorted from them a very considerable sum of money, as a bribe for landing them on any part of the coast. Soon after this agreement he landed them at Cape Cod.
For several days previous to their landing, their allowance had been a half biscuit, and half a pint of water for twenty-four hours. In consequence of this cruel treatment many of the passengers died, and amongst this number who perished with famine, was Thomas Armstrong. He was a very valuable man. His son William and his daughter Margery, shared the same fate. They arrived at Cape Cod in the fall, and remained there until spring, and then sailed for New Windsor in Ulster county, where Colonel Charles Clinton, Alexander Denniston, and my father, John Young,32 bought three farms adjoining each other,33 and lived in the greatest friendship and harmony; and called their neighborhood Little Britain.
The Cols, two sisters, Christina and Mary, lived some years contiguous to their brother and then removed to New York. Sometime in the year 1729 or ’30 my father married his cousin, Mary Craivford, daughter of Barbara and sister to Jane Parks. By this means the descendants of John Young have derived a double portion of Clinton blood, from their grandmothers, which they prize much more than to have been related to the assuming, family of Livingston. My father had four sons, to wit: Thomas, Joseph, John and Isaac; and three daughters, viz: Jane, Mary and Barbara. Thomas was born the 19th of Feby. 1731. He exhibited very early signs of a fertile genius, and surprizing memory. Our grandmother, Jane, was a good English scholar and learned us to read, and by the time Thomas was six years old he could read any English book correctly and fluently. As there were but few children in their new settlement, they had no schoolmaster. But my father, who was a tolerable arithmetician, undertook to teach him with the assistance of Cocker’s Arithmetic. My father found little more necessary than to explain the reasons of each operation, in the first questions in each of the first rules, when he took up the business himself and went through the book without any further instruction. This uncommon rapid progress in the acquisition of useful knowledge, by a person so young, excited the admiration of many. Sometime after Mr. John Wilson, a famous mathematician, opened a school about four miles distant, to which the young self-taught student was sent. The neighbors who knew the strength of his genius, told the master that he would acquire great credit by teaching him; but it appears that the genius of our young student was not confined to one track — he was extremely sprightly and playful and his invention quite equal to his other talents, which he did not fail to exercise in a pretty full school, by diverting the attention of the scholars from their studies. The master called at the house of one who had said so much in praise of Tommy’s great genius, who asked him how Tommy improved? The master replied, “I have as yet suspended my judgment concerning him, but if his other talents are equal to his invention of means to excite laughter and merriment, he is surely a most surprising lad.”
Tommy went on in his thoughtless career, until he one day chanced to displease a pompous young man, who had made considerable progress in figures, who insultingly told him, “since Providence has denied you the capacity or talents to acquire any useful knowledge, you should not interrupt those who have both the inclination and capacity to learn; besides I shall have a great estate to manage, which will require all the knowledge I can gain to manage it, and support my rank. But if you can gain a knowledge of pounds, shillings and pence, it is all you will ever have occasion for.” Tommy, viewing him with the most sovreign contempt, replied: “Sir, you talk very exultingly of your talents and capacity; but I will convince you before the end of six weeks I will be qualified to teach you, and from that period as long as you and I shall live.” From that hour he quit his wild pranks and commenced the attentive student, and fairly verified his promise to the satisfaction and gratification of the whole school. Mr. Wilson’s fame as a Mathematical teacher soon procured him an invitation to open a school in New York, where he removed.
Thomas had from infancy an invincible propensity to the study of physic, and often declared to me, when we were very young, that if it should be proposed by those who possessed the power to confer it, to make him Emperor of the whole earth, on condition that he would relinquish the study of physic, he would spurn the proposal. But as he knew a knowledge of the Languages would be a necessary acquirement, he now turned all his attention to effect this purpose. But as there was no Latin master in the place at that time, he resolved to learn it from books. He accordingly borrowed a Vocabulary and a Concordi from Col. Clinton, who observed that he would find it much more difficult to learn Latin without the help of a Master, than to go through Cocker without assistance. He returned the books in about six weeks. The Col. naturally concluded that Thomas had been convinced of the impracticability of his design; he however examined him to find out what progress he had made, and soon discovered that every word of both books was perfectly imprinted in the memory of his student. The Col. laid by the books and told Tommy that he wished to see his father on business. Our father soon waited on the Col. who told him that it would be almost criminal to let such a promising genius sink in obscurity for want of an education, that could be so easily acquired, and added, “I am going to New York and if you wish to give him the means of improvement, in any degree adequate to the merit of his uncommon diligence and surprising talents, if you will give me the money I will bring him a set of the Classics; and after he has perused them sufficiently, I am confident that, by the assistance of a good tutor, for a few months, will give him a good knowledge of the Latin language.” The plan was executed and when the young student got his books he retired every fair day to a pleasant arbor, composed of young trees interwoven with grape vines so as to render it impervious to the rays of the sun, and was rarely seen except at meal time. But the effect of such intense application became so visible in his conduct that his parents were alarmed with apprehensions, that if he could not be immediately diverted from his studies, his mental faculties might be much injured. Matters were so arranged that one of the Col’s sons called and coaxed him to go home with him, where they would have a variety of books to read; but matters were so contrived that the key of the Col’s library was mislaid and could not be found. He remained in this friendly assylum until he resumed his cheerful sprightly humor. This happened in the golden age when friendship was a reality and not an empty name. He assumed his studies again with more prudence and much better success, for now everything which he learned was indellibly impressed in his memory, and from this period I do candidly believe that he never forgot anything, unless past the power of recollection, that was worth retaining. After he had obtained a very considerable knowledge of his Grammar and other Latin authors, there fortunately came a minister34 to the parish who was a good linguist, under whom he completed his Latin education. And I have reason to believe that although he was not a complete Grecian scholar, he knew the radical meaning of every technical term in the arts and sciences that has been borrowed from that language. He had gained a tolerable knowledge of the High Dutch language by reading their books, which he completed during his medical apprenticeship with Doctor John Kitterman. He could read and understand the French language, but never attempted converse in it, as he was unacquainted with its pronunciation. But as the study of physic was always his darling pursuit, his book on that favourite subject still made one of the selected number. He was indefatigable in the study of Botany, and at a very early period in life, he was acquainted with almost all the indigenous plants in our part of the country, and their virtues.
With these preparatory qualifications he commenced his apprenticeship, probably about the age of 17, and remained about two years, but before the expiration of that time, many of the patients reposed more confidence in the skill of the apprentice than in that of the tutor (Dr. Kitterman). During this period he gained a facility of conversing in both High and Low Dutch. He then took lodgings at the house of Captain [Garret] Winegar35 in Sharon, Conn., and soon acquired fame and a very extensive practice, being frequently called to remote parts in Connecticut, Massachusetts and New York.
It is not known whether Dr. Young’s epic poem, entitled The Conquest of Quebec, was written during his residence in Amenia or later; nor has a copy of it been found. In a memoir on the names of places in Dutch New York, read 31 December, 1816, before the New York Historical Society, the Hon. Egbert Benson says:
Vermont, Green Mountain, and the town of Amenia, in Dutchess county, Pleasant, . . . owe their names to the fancy of Young, the poet; he had a peculiar facility in making English words from Latin ones. In his Poem, the Conquest of Quebec, in describing the portents which he feigned to have preceded the battle of the Plains of Abraham, and which, according to his fiction, appalled the stout heart of Wolfe not a little, the first line of one of the couplets, [was] “vulpine ululations, ursine growls,” and the two concluding words of the next, “predicting owls,” those which preceded have escaped my memory, and it is not now in my power to recover them; sad fate for an epic! “scarce twice five lustres past and out of print.”36
It was during his residence in Amenia that Dr. Young’s friendship with Ethan Allen, then living in the adjacent town of Salisbury, Connecticut, began.37 In his Early History of Amenia, Newton Reed says:
They were often together, and they were also in sympathy in the violence of their patriotism and in their religious unbelief (p. 46).
In his Life of Ethan Allen, Henry Hall writes:
We are told that Allen in his early life was very intimate with Dr. Thomas Young. . . . One of the most noted characteristics of Ethan, his fondness for the society of able men, is illustrated in his association with Young (p. 20).
The following extracts are from “The Allen Family — an unpublished lecture, delivered at Burlington, by Rev. Zadock Thompson, March 16, 1852,” printed in the Vermont Historical Gazetteer, 1867:
I was told by the late Mr. Jehial Johns, who died in Huntington in 1840, aged 85 years, and who knew Ethan Allen in Connecticut,. . .that Allen was about that time on very intimate terms with that noted infidel and historical writer Dr. Thomas Young, and that from him he derived his own infidel notions, and the principal arguments by which he defended them (i. 563).
Mention is made in this letter, you will perceive, of his book on theology. This work was none other than that generally known as Ethan Allen’s Bible. As this was the most remarkable, and most considerable of his works, it being an octavo volume of 477 pages, I will say a few words respecting it . . . .
At the time of Ethan Allen’s youth there were in Litchfield co., Ct., and in Dutchess co., N. Y., which lies adjacent, a number of professed infidels, among whom a Dr. Thomas Young was prominent, both on account of his education and abilities, and also on account of his daring profaneness, amounting sometimes to blasphemy, for which he was once prosecuted, convicted and punished. Young was living on what was called the Oblong in Dutchess co., and very near the line of Connecticut. At the time Pres’t Edwards proposed his famous theological questions, Young engaged in their discussion, and boldly espoused the infidel side, and argued in opposition to the necessity of a Divine Revelation. Ethan Allen had previous to this time been on very intimate terms with Young, had spent much time at his house, and fully imbibed all of his infidel notions. Allen, therefore, entered at once upon this discussion, supporting the same views with Young, and spending a large share of his time in writing. Mrs. Wadhams,38 whom I have already mentioned, and in whose family he resided, informed me some years ago, that Ethan Allen spent one summer at her house employed nearly the whole time in writing. She did not know what he was writing about, but she recollected that once when she called him to dinner he said that he was very sorry she had called so soon, for “he had got clear up into the upper regions.” It seemed at this time, to be generally understood that he and Young were engaged in company, in the preparation of a work in support of infidel principles, and that there was an agreement betweeu them that the one who outlived the other should publish it. When Ethan Allen came to Vermont his MSS. were left in possession of Young. Young engaged, soon after this, very warmly in the cause of the American colonies, and became distinguished as a political writer. . . . He died in Philadelphia . . . and his family returned to their residence in Dutchess county, N. Y. On Allen’s return to Vermont, after his exile in the spring of 1778, he called upon Young’s family, procured his own and Young’s MSS. and took them with him to Vermont. These, as he had leisure he rewrote, altered and arranged them in the form of a book with this title, Reason the only Oracle of Man, or a Compendious System of Natural Religion. The preface of this work is dated July 2, 1782, and it was published at Bennington in 1784 (i. 567, 568).
The substance of Allen’s theology may be expressed in few words. It consisted in a belief in the existence of a Supreme Creator and Governor of the Universe; in a belief that man would be rewarded or punished in a future state in accordance with his doings in this life; that reason is a sufficient guide for man, and that a revelation is unnecessary; and, being unnecessary, has never been made, and is not to be expected. Whether the Oracles of Reason was the sole production of Ethan Allen, or the joint production of him and Dr. Young, may never, perhaps, be certainly known. I am very confident, however, that no person who is familiar with Allen’s other writings, can read the Oracles of Reason without suspicion that some other person beside himself was concerned in its composition (i. 569).
To anticipate a little our story of Dr. Young’s life in Boston, the following correspondence will be read with interest in this connection. The first letter, written by Aaron Davis, Jr., appeared in the Boston News-Letter of Thursday, 26 November, 1772 (p. 2/1). Dr. Young’s cause was instantly espoused by Samuel Adams39 who, over the signature of “Vindex,” published a scathing reply to Davis in the Boston Gazette of Monday, 30 November, 1772 (p. 2/1); and Dr. Young’s letter to Davis, which the Boston Gazette was unable to print for lack of space, appeared in the Boston Evening-Post of the same date (p. 2/2).
I AARON DAVIS, JR.40 TO DR. THOMAS YOUNG.
To Dr. Young
I Perceive the manner in which I spoke of you in a late Town-Meeting has given you offence: If you are so vain as to think yourself of so much importance that a man who expresses a dislike of your character, wounds his Country through your Sides, I believe you are the only man in the world that has so high an opinion of your own importance: for my own part, I believe their is no person with whose character the Interest of the Country is less connected than with your’s.
If you think by giving us your CREED to deceive the vulgar; and palm yourself on them for a Christian, let me tell you, you are much mistaken, there are none, unless whose Eyes party zeal hath blinded, but sees there is nothing in your Creed to distinguish you from the most thorough paced infidels, and virulent opposers of our holy Religion. — Let me ask you plainly, do you believe the scriptures of the Old and New-Testament, or any part of them, to be truely a Revelation from Ood; — or that Jesus of Nazareth was the Son of God, and the appointed Saviour of the world? Do you believe that Jesus is risen from the Dead, or that he is the appointed Judge of the world? — that by him God will judge the world in righteousness, and every man will be rewarded or punished in another world according to the deeds done in the body? — let us have plain, positive, unavasive answers to the foregoing plain questions? — Do you believe it of a whit more consequence to be acquainted with the genealogy of Christ than with those of Paul, or Cephas, Luther, Calvin, or even Mahomet himself? — Have you not freely professed years ago that you tho’t it your indispensible duty to undeceive mankind, and discredit the writings of the bible? — has not your zeal in the Cause of infidelity led you to speak of Jesus Christ; and the Virgin Mary in terms of reproach and contempt too bad to be repeated after you, and too shocking to be published to the world in a common News-Paper?
You seem to complain of it, Sir, that I censured your moral character and set that in an odious light, but let me ask you, and ask the impartial world, whether, or no the man that accustoms himself to curse and swear, and take God’s name in vain and damn his fellow creatures, can be said to be a moral man? — do your acquaintance know and can they witness for you that you are free from such a use of your tongue? — perhaps I am better acquainted with your conversation than you are aware, and let me tell you, to say the least, — if you are the gentleman that keeps that unruly member, the Tongue in due subjection then I will acknowledge my ears have deceived me.
Now, Sir, I do not deny, that I did fully and openly declare in our late Town-Meeting that I did not chuse to have any thing to do with measures, wherein I must follow the lead of such men as Dr. Young, or in words of like import, — and I believe I might further say that if I had any thing of my own private affairs of importance to be transacted I should chuse to commit it to men of virtuous lives and conversations and this is still my opinion, & I hope ever will be so to my dying day: and let me tell you plainly, I do not chuse to put confidence in any man that makes it his business to disparage the religion and dishonour the person of our glorious Redeemer, or that has no more regard for the name of God, or the good of mankind, than to curse and damn his fellow creatures, and take the awful name of God in vain: — such men, I take, with all their pretences to patriotism and benevolence, to have no solid principles of goodness, and are quite unworthy of any special trust and confidence.
The Town of Boston, is not I am perswaded straitned for persons of spirit and capacity, and I may add of solidity and exemplary religion to serve them in all their important trusts: — and it has always been astonishing to the world how any important trust come to be committed to you the best account that can be given for it, I believe, is that you appeared ready to lead in such bold and exceptionable measures, as to most of the wise and discerning part of the Gentlemen of the Town appeared to be quite imprudent and dangerous, and rather savoured of faction, than boded any good to the public, — and to tell the truth it has given no small offence, to the more solid, judicious part of Town and Country, and not a little disserved the noble Cause of public liberty that you should have been held up in the light of a zealous Patriot, and been put to lead in measures of public importance: — But let your character be what it may, I don’t think, that a set of Athiests or Deists, men of profligate manners and profane tongues are fit persons to be intrusted suffered to lead in the interesting concerns of public liberty and happiness; — and don’t it look quite ridiculous for a Set of Puritans, deeply concerned for their religious as well as civil privileges, as the generality of the good people of this Country are, to set up such men, as I have just mentioned, to be the leaders, guiders and managers in public affairs: — For my part I wish our eyes may be on the faithful of the land, men of Exemplary Religion, united with us in the Faith and fellowship of the Gospel.
What end you designed to answer by the pompous accounts of your reputable Parentage and your comfortable fortune, I know not. — Your account of the early impressions you had of religion, and your concern to be saved, taken with your solemn appeal to God, seems to me to savour of prophanity: — however it agrees well enough with the other parts of your conduct. If you ever had such a serious turn of mind, I wish you had carried it through life, — that of an apostate is a dreadful character, read Heb. 6. 4 to the 8th verse, in a serious hour. — Perhaps, dear Sir, the Gospel is not a cunningly devised fable — and if there were only a perhaps such a text should make an apostate tremble.
It is not impossible that you might be helpful in encouraging Recruits for carrying on the war; but I don’t find you had courage enough to venture your head: — and since the detestable Stamp-Act you may have vapoured away in talk; — Words are but wind — whether your view was to be admired, applauded and promoted, or anything better, you know best.
I now am, and ever have been as steady a friend to the rights and privileges of my country as any man whatsoever, though perhaps not so fond of sounding my own praise as some, and in my humble station shall do all in my power to promote good Government and secure our invaluable liberties, but in this glorious Cause I shall think myself very unhappy to be obliged to consult with, or follow measures dictated by other than men of probity, piety and real Christianity.
I retract nothing that I said about you in the Meeting referred to: — I wish myself and you better men. I have neither leisure nor learning to pursue controversy — I wish my Country men of abler heads and better lives than either of us to lead in public measures.
As I ever did so I now wish you well.
Roxbury Nov. 23 1772
A. Davis, jun.
II SAMUEL ADAMS TO AARON DAVIS, JR.
Dr. Young’s Letter to Mr. Aaron Davis, Jun should have had a Place in this Day’s paper, had we not been pre-engaged with the following.
Mr. A—n D—s.
THE weakness of an adversary, with a man of understanding, will frequently disarm him of his resentment: Who would chuse to enter the lists, when even victory is attended with disgrace? A—n D—s as a Huckster of small Wares, within the Bar-room, or laudably vending Milk and Water, might have grubbed on unnoticed, and not superlatively contemptible; but when he so far mistakes his proper department, as to blunder into the field of politicks, and assume a dictatorial and offensive part, we are compelled with reluctance to scourge the insect, tho’ convinced ’tis but an insect still. We are informed by your fellow townsman, whom we presume must know you well, that you are destitute of feeling; your unexampled effrontery in the publick transaction which has unhappily brought you into notice, added to the consummate assurance evidenced in the stupid composition to which you have tacked your name, are strong circumstances in favour of the position: But is your modesty truly impregnable? Cannot the weapon of stern rebuke arouse your sensibility? Must honest indignation mourn a defeat? I intend to try the doubtful experiment, tho’ you should analize a satyr to be a proof of your general consequence, and extract incense to your vanity from the blackest record of your shame.
In your outrageous zeal for the cause of Christianity, and the Virgin Mary, permit me to question your sincerity: It is evident from your notable performance, that you have been acquainted with the religious principles and immoral practices of the gentleman so very exceptionable to you; for some years past: That he was then as thorough-paced an infidel, as virulent an opposer of our holy religion, as he is now: That he was doing discredit to the Bible then, or to adopt your own phrase, was undeceiving mankind as actively as at any time since: That you was acquainted with the open profanity of his conversation, and if we may take your word for it, was an ear-witness to his oaths and execrations: Why did you not commence a champion in the cause of Christianity some months earlier? It would have had a better appearance, if in your ebullient zeal you had endeavoured to prevent his desseminating such mischievous principles, and seasonably entered your caveat against the pernicious effects of his example: But the cause of Christianity abstracted from political concerns, was not sufficient to awaken your resentment: Will not this my dear sir! occasion suspicions, that all your flaming professions of patriotism will neither discredit nor remove?
Doctor Young (I dare you to contradict me) has ever been an un unwearied assertor of the rights of his countrymen: has taken the post of hazard, and acted vigorously in the cause of American freedom: Such endeavours and exertions, have justly entitled him to the notice, to the confidence of the people; they, from a thorough conviction of his political integrity, have united him with several gentlemen, against whom we presume you can have no just exception, to explain their rights and state their grievances; was not your conscience so delicately offensible, I would ask such an immaculate christian, whether your ideas of reprobation extended not only to the whole committee, but to every transaction in which they could possibly be employed? If not, are you not ashamed of your capricious folly, in rejecting a cause which you profess to have at heart, for the sake of an individual, against whom, your spotless purity has matter of objection.
Shall I be arraigned of want of charity, if I here express my doubt of your veracity in this matter? The cloak of Christianity is the threadbare garb of hypocrisy; and novel cover for political apostates: I suspect ’tis the cause that renders the man obnoxious; the infidel might have perverted the world, and your zeal been smothered in its native bosom of sanctity; in short, had not the cause of liberty found a busy advocate in the man you brand with irreligion, your abhorrence would probably never have found a tongue.
You do not chuse to have any thing to do with measures wherein you must follow the lead of such men as Dr. Young: I apprehend you confine yourself here to political matters; if so, what must those rejected measures be? if just, right and reasonable, the man must be an incorrigible blockhead to reject them, let them originate where they will: if on the contrary, they are improper and exceptionable; you might have discountenanced the measure, without villifying the man.
Inconsiderable and weak as I esteem you, you have still an interest in the constitutional claims of an English subject, equal to a nobleman, equal to an intelligent being: these you have no right to sacrifice even to your own predominant folly. You assert that you are, and ever have been as steady a friend to the rights and privileges of your country, as any man whatsoever, &c. what then is that exact point of discretion, that chaste line of decorum, to which your love of your country will carry you, and no further? All those concerned in consulting and labouring for the redemption of their country, must be very examplary christians, or your patriotism hangs so loosely about you, that your country may perish rather than you will unite for it’s salvation, with a man not com-pleatly orthodox: For no political measures can possibly be reasonable or just, which are not dictated by men of piety and real Christianity: The truth of this observation will appear with peculiar lustre, when we consider what a paultry figure, those antient heathenish states of Greece and Rome made in the primitive ages. You elsewhere shrewdly remark, that it has always been astonishing in the world; how any important trusts came to be committed to Dr. Young; the best account that can be given for it, YOU BELIEVE is, that he appeared ready to lead in such bold and exceptionable measures, as rather savoured of faction than boded any good to the public: which is in plain English, that because the measures he proposed, were dangerous and exceptionable, Therefore the town approved and confided in him. To wave the illiberal slander upon the town; I question most christian sir, whether any article of Dr. Young’s CREED will shock decency and common sense more than this.
The present crisis is truly an alarming one to your country; the few friends of the people have abundant necessity to have their hands strength’ned: the man who deserts now, is the worst enemy of his country: You sir! have done this, with the aggravated guilt of endeavouring to load with obloquy the cause you abandon — I scorn to keep terms with a man I esteem so base — You have provided yourself a Retreat, being assured of the smiles of power; nay more, you are entitled to their favour, for the rank injury you meant to the oppressed people; and we shall probably see such baseness distinguished in the commissioned scroll of SCOUNDRELS and RESCINDERS.
To Mr. Aaron Davis, jun.
However distant I may be from supposing you the contriver of any one sentence of the abusive thing, ushered into the world under the auspices of your name and character, I must at least consider it as a child of your adoption, and thereupon address you as the ostensible author. And even with this provision I am really sorry to find myself necessitated to impute to you more artifice and disingenuous design than any one of your acquaintance believes you capable of; and hitherto have thought beneath your native honesty even to countenance.
The town of Boston alarmed at a recent attack upon their happy constitution and constantly observing that acquiesence under one imposition invited another, concluded to present their fellow subjects in this province especially with a state of their Rights and the infringements of those Rights which have been made in the past ten years.41 To a share of this laborious and important task I was honored with their appointment; and saving all possible deference to the superior understandings of your well known prompters, I should suppose them alone the proper judges in this particular at least, be they ever so much below yourself and associates in every other respect.
But be this matter as it may, the town of Roxbury equally uneasy at the inroads making on their birthrights called a meeting, in which mention was made of the measure planning by Boston. How did you behave on this occasion? You could not espouse a measure in the concertion of which such men as Dr. Young had been employed. Had Machiavel himself concerted the measure, were it apparently good and salutary, and as such adopted by a body of gentlemen, whose capacities you, for some cause, seem disposed to complement, I take it you would have had nothing to do with its origin. The town of Boston have long had that single point in view, to preserve inviolably the right of appointing and rewarding at their discretion their public servants. They may in some instances have appeared somewhat exceptionable to your new connections, by their tenacity of these Rights, but notwithstanding the impudent insinuation of your dictator they still conceive the odious epithet, faction, to be chargeable only to your side. Government, according to that glorious plan concerted by the wisdom, and established by the virtue of their renowned ancestors, they revere; but cannot so readily be convinced that the present system of usurpation, imposition and incessant innovation is that government which any honest man can countenance, much less wish to support. Your professions of readiness to do all in your power for the security of our invaluable Liberties are rendered quite suspicious by the conditions with which you clog them; they are no more than the hacknied rant of the most inveterate enemies of our constitution; and your cloke of Christianity is at this time prostituted with as glaring indiscretion, absurdity and impiety as it ever was done by man.
Were you on board an armed vessel and on the point of being boarded by a pirate, would you refuse acting for the common defence till you had catechized all the sailors and rendered every one of them as orthodox as yourself and as chaste in their expressions?
If we are not to resist the invasions of tyranny till we have incorporated a band of Moseses, Jobs and Samuels for the expedition, I question whether your new party would wish a more flattering condition. To be quite free with you Mr. Davis, your designs are very apparent, and your behaviour very absurd and ridiculous, as well as unjust, and most studiously calculated to take injurious advantages, but I have long since bade defiance to the united force of your cabal. They may flourish and fulminate under the signature of Aaron Davis, jun., Chromes, True Patriot, Freeholder or Landlord, or whatever other guise of patriotism, virtue, or religion they are pleased to assume. But seeing you have been pleased to revive a most detestable falshood, long since abandon’d, I now again bid defiance to you and all your associates to prove that I ever spoke one reproachful word of Jesus Christ or the Virgin Mary in this province. This I think is the third time I have published a challenge of this import; and if it be not now answered, let the public determine what manner of zeal inspires our tory advocates for Christianity.
Your interrogatories seem better calculated for the meridian of Madrid than Roxbury or Boston, and the consideration of them will therefore be suspended till we have advice of your receiving all the appendages of commission necessary to convene a free man before your awful inquisitorial tribunal.
I am Sir, with much meekness of spirit,
Your humble servant,
As his [Dr. Thomas Young’s] practise in the country was very extensive and fatiguing, I urged him to remove to some populous city, where the toil would be less and the profits greater. He at length consented and resolved to remove to Albany, as he and a number of wealthy men were agreeing with Col. John Henry Lydius of the city of Albany for several townships of land of six miles square, which lies in the now State of Vermont. But the great land-jobbers in New York, by endeavoring to defeat Lydius’ title, that they might share in the profits, retarded the settlement of the country, and by their eagerness to grasp the shadow they lost the substance.42
We removed to Albany43 in October, 1764. Doctor Young displayed the strength and power of his mind to very great advantage in combating the great lawyers, in defence of Col. Lydius’ title, but as the history would be too lengthy I must omit it. But when the Stamp Act was passed he exerted himself strenuously to oppose it, and when the Stamps arrived, he was one of a small number who visited the Stamp Officer and caused him to resign. In the fall of 1766 he resolved to remove to Boston, where the energies of numbers of American patriots were in full operation. When he arrived, he soon became an active member of the patriotic band, and was honored by the Tories and British by being classed by them amoug the number of the arch-rebels, to wit; John Hancock, Samuel Adams, the great and truly excellent Doctor Warren, &c. &c. Doctor Young, by his great activity and strenuous exertions to counteract the nefarious design of the British, had excited their indignation to such a degree that two of their officers attacked him one night in the street. They knocked him down and probably supposing they had killed him, ran off. He was carried home to his. family all bloody. When he recovered he said he should certainly have been killed, but as he had seen the blow coming he had moved his head to one side; the weapon in consequence had brushed down his temple, and spent its chief force on his shoulder. But this atrocious attempt to assassinate him had alarmed his wife to such a degree, that when he went out at night she frequently cried until he returned. His friends in consequence advised him to remove to Newport in Rhode Island until some favorable change took place.
Let us briefly review Dr. Young’s career in Boston. As early as 6 June, 1768, with Benjamin Kent, Benjamin Church, Jr., John Adams and Joseph Warren, he signed an Address of the Sons of Liberty of Boston to John Wilkes, which is preserved in England among Wilkes’s papers and correspondence.44 Immediately thereafter, on 14 June, 1768, he was appointed by the Town of Boston on a committee to wait on Governor Bernard at Roxbury to seek a redress of grievances and to request that the Governor “issue your immediate Order to the Commander of his Majestys Ship Romney, to remove from this harbour,”45 and also on another committee “to draw a true state of some late Occurrences in this Town to be transmitted to Mr Agent Debert.”46 Warren, Samuel Adams, the Quincys and other prominent citizens were on both these committees of which James Otis was chairman. On 8 July, 1769, Dr. Young, with other physicians, attended the Selectmen and informed them that they knew of no cases of smallpox in Boston.47 In John Rowe’s Diary we find this mention of him under date of 24 July, 1770:
This afternoon “The Body” [of merchants] as they are called met & just before some of them Proceeded through the streets with Dr Young at their head with Three Flags Flying, Drums Beating & a french Horn — Thos Baker carried one of them for which he is much Blamed by me — The meeting today will I believe prove very Prejudicial to the Merchants & Trade of the Town of Boston (pp. 204, 205).
Writing to Governor Bernard, 28 August, 1770, Hutchinson says:
The infamous Molineux and Young with Cooper, Adams, and two or three more, still influence the mob, who threaten all who import; but it seems impossible that it should hold out much longer.48
In January, 1771, Hutchinson wrote to a correspondent in England:
We have not been so quiet these five years. Our incendiaries of the lower order have quite disappeared. A Doctor Young, whose name has often appeared in the newspapers, has taken passage for North Carolina. He may have a chance among the “Regulators” there. I hope many of the most flaming zealots, who have been at the head of affairs, see their mistake.49
Dr. Young’s stay in the South was brief, since he returned to Boston in season to deliver at the Manufactory House,50 on the fifth of March, 1771, the first anniversary Oration on the Boston Massacre. The anniversary was celebrated annually till 1783. Before the Siege of Boston a “lampooning oration” was delivered in which we find mention of Dr. Young and his associates couched in the violent language of the times of which neither the Whigs nor the Tories had a monopoly. From the virulence of the attacks on Dr. Young, it is evident that he was a thorn in the side of his political opponents.
I cannot boast the ignorance of Hancock, the insolence of Adams, the absurdity of Rowe, the arrogance of Lee, the vicious life and untimely death of Mollineaux, the turgid bombast of Warren, the treasons of Quincy, the hypocrisy of Cooper, nor the principles of Young. Nor can I with propriety pass over the characters of these modern heroes, (or, to use their own phrase, Indians,) without a few observations on their late conduct51. . ..
The eighth of these heroes is Y-g, whose character cannot be drawn by any pen with the consistency that becomes a true limner. Could we raise up the spirit of one of the murderers of St. Stephen, to tell us what a figure Paul cut, when he breathed out threatening and slaughter against his Saviour, then might we form an idea of Dr. Y-g; but since that is impossible, I can only refer you to-his own countenance, wherein you may read his true and genuine disposition. Suffice it to say, this man stands accused of rebellion, not only against his Sovereign, but against his God;— he makes a mock at the merits of his Redeemer, and uses his God only to swear by.52
On 12 March, 1771, Dr. Young was appointed by the Town on a committee to consider the following article in the warrant:
That some steps may be taken to vindicate the Character of the Inhabitants grosly injured by some partial and false publications relative to the tryals of Capt Preston &c.53
This committee reported at an adjournment of the Town Meeting on 19 March, 1771, and recommended “the appointment of another committee to prepare and draw up a true and full account of those Tryals and what preceded them;” and Dr. Young was of the committee appointed for this purpose.54 On 7 May, 1771, he was chairman of a committee to consider the petition of Jacob Emmons for compensation for land taken “to make a new Street or widen the same [Paddy’s Alley] leading from Ann Street to Middle [Hanover] Street.”55 At a meeting of the Selectmen in September, 1771, —
Dr. Thos Young apply’d in behalf of Mrs. Wells & Mrs. Wright for liberty to exhibit the likeness of the late Mr. Whiteneld &c. in Wax Work at Concert Hall.56
On 18 August, 1772, Thomas Young, of Boston, physician, for £216.6.8 purchased of John Newell of Boston, cooper, a dwelling house and land on the southerly side of Wing’s Lane, now Elm Street, only a few rods distant from Faneuil Hall and from the house of his friend Dr. Joseph Warren in Hanover Street.57 It was a small estate, having a frontage of only sixteen and a half feet on Wing’s Lane and an extreme depth, on irregular lines, of thirty-eight feet, as shown on the accompanying plan. The rear line of the premises made a part of the northerly boundary of the King’s Arms Tavern lot, which fronted on Dock Square and the lower part of Cooper’s Alley, now Brattle Street.58 When, a century later, on 6 November, 1872, Washington Street was extended from the foot of new Cornhill to Haymarket Square, both these estates were taken and are now traversed by the roadway. Dr. Young immediately mortgaged his property for £120 to John White of Boston, gentleman; and the signature of his wife, Mary Young, in releasing dower, afforded the only evidence of her given name which had been found before the discovery of Dr. Joseph Young’s narrative.59
When, on 2 November, 1772, the Town of Boston adopted Samuel Adams’s proposal to create a Committee of Correspondence to consist of twenty-one persons, Dr. Young was appointed a member of it. The names of Otis, who was named as chairman, Adams, Warren, Quincy, Oliver Wendell, and other prominent citizens also appear in the list.60
The North End Caucus, a powerful factor in public affairs in Boston at this period, was organized as early as 1767 in the old Salutation Tavern which stood at the upper end of Salutation Alley, now Salutation Street. Later its meetings were held in the Green Dragon Tavern in Union Street.61 In 1772 the membership was increased, and at the first meeting “more than sixty were present. Their regulations were drawn up by Dr. Warren and another gentleman.”62 As Dr. Young was a man of literary ability and the first President of the Caucus,63 in which he took a leading part, it is not unreasonable to infer that he may have been Dr. Warren’s associate in draughting these regulations.
In the matter of the tea, Dr. Young had a prominent part. At a meeting of the Caucus, held at the Green Dragon, 2 November, 1773, it was —
Voted — That a committee be chosen to draw a resolution to be read to the Tea Consignees to-morrow 12 O’Clock, noon, at Liberty Tree: and that Dr. Thos Young and Church, and Warren be a committee for that purpose, and make a report as soon as may be.64
As the Consignees did not appear at Liberty Tree to hear the Resolution read, the Sons of Liberty appointed a committee of which William Molineux was Chairman, to “wait on them to know their determination.”
The principal People that accompanied Mr Mollineux [to the store of Richard Clark and Sons in King, now State, Street] were as Follows — Mr Saml Adams, Mr Wra Dennie, Mr John Pitts, Colo. Heath of Roxbury, Dr Church, Dr Warren, Dr Young, Cap’ Jno Matchet, Cap’ Hopkins, Nat Barker, Gabriel Joh[o]nnot, Ezekl Cheever & about five hundred more as near as I could guess.65
Of the great meeting in Faneuil Hall and the Old South on 29 November to take measures to prevent the landing of the tea, Young was one of the leaders,66 and Bancroft affirms that he held that “the only way to get rid of it [the tea] was to throw it overboard.”67 In his narrative of the proceedings of the Town of Boston at the tea meetings, laid before the Privy Council in 1773, Governor Bernard says:
The persons who principally proposed the questions on which the above resolutions and proceedings were founded were Mr. Adams, Mr. Molineux, Dr. Young and Dr. Warren; and they used many arguments to induce the people to concur in these resolutions.68
On the night of 16 December, when the tea was destroyed, Dr. Young made one of the Tea Party.69 In a communication to the Boston Evening-Post of Monday, 25 October, 1773 (p. 2/2), he wrote:
Tea is really a slow poison . . . [and is] said to be possessed of a corrosive quality, strong enough to injure the hands of the workmen almost intolerably. . . . I have my self been rheumatically affected from my infancy, and in special at the annual changes of spring and autumn had defluxions on the jaws, teeth or other parts, till the Tea became politically poisoned, and then, however much I admired it, leaving it totally off I have gained a firmness of constitution unexperienced before from my infancy. My substitute is chamomile flowers.
At the Town Meeting on 10 May, 1774, Dr. Young was named on a committee to instruct the Town’s Representatives in the General Court, which had been selected by the Caucus the night before at the Green Dragon.70 A month later, 27 June, there was sharp criticism of the conduct of the Committee of Correspondence in Town Meeting, when a “Motion for Censuring & Annihilating the Com̄ittee” was hotly debated and defeated.71 John Rowe notes in his Diary that the debate “lasted all day & adjournd until tomorrow 10 of Clock,” and that the speakers in behalf of the Committee were Samuel Adams, Dr. Warren, William Molineux, Josiah Quincy, Jr., Dr. Young, and Benjamin Kent.72 At the time that the Boston Port Bill was causing great distress, a Town Meeting was held 19 July, 1774, at which an important committee, of distinguished personnel, was appointed “to consider & Report a Declaration to be made by this Town to Great Britain & all the World;” and Dr. Young’s name appears in the list.73
Young’s friendship with Ethan Allen, already mentioned, may account for his selection at this time as the financial agent of Charles Phelps of Marlborough, Vermont, who was actively engaged (1770–1777) “in prosecuting petitions to prevent New York patenting those lands west of Connecticut River and east of New York east line:”
1774, July 27, sent £6, Lawful money, to Deacon Barrett74 of Boston, by Wilder the Postman.75 The money to be delivered to Doctor Tho’s Young of Boston, with a letter desiring him to pay said sum to said Barrett.76
In addition to his professional and public duties, Dr. Young found time to conduct a vigorous correspondence with prominent men in other places77 and to write for the public press and the Royal American Magazine on political, medical, and religious subjects. It has also been said that he was John Adams’s family physician while Mr. Adams resided in Boston, but this is apparently refuted by the statement in the Life of Mr. Adams that Dr.Warren held to him and his family that professional relation.78 The following extract from a letter dated 21 July, 1774, written by Daniel Tyler (II. C. 1771), of Brooklyn, Connecticut, to his classmate Dr. John Warren of Boston, is of present interest:
I was in Boston the other day, and flattered myself with the hope of seeing you, but Dr. Young informed me you had removed to Salem. However, the deficiency of your good company was in a great measure made up by my being honored with the company of Messrs. Cushing, Adams, and Dr. Young, patriots of renown, whose zeal in their country’s cause will hand down their names to posterity, with universal applause.79
A letter written by Dr. Young to Samuel Adams, 4 September, 1774, describes the scene in Harvard Square, Cambridge, two days before, when Judge Danforth publicly, in the presence of four thousand people, resigned his office as a Mandamus Councillor, which Dr. Young and his friend Dr. Joseph Warren witnessed.80 The letters of John Andrews, which afford much valuable information concerning persons and events in Boston at this period, contain the following paragraph under date of 13 September, 1774:
This morning Doctor Young left the town, to settle at Providence, being apprehensive from the measures that are taking that he may be taken up, and therefore thinks it his duty to defeat their purposes, in regard to himself, while it’s in his power.81
The following is an authentic Copy of a Letter which was lately thrown into the Camps, directed,
“To the Officers and Soldiers of his Majesty’s Troops in Boston.”
IT being more than probable that the Kings standard will soon be erected, from rebellion breaking out in this province, its proper that you soldiers, should be acquainted with the authors thereof, and of all the Misfortunes brought upon the province, the following is a list of them, viz: Mess. Samuel Adams, James Bowdoin, Dr. Thomas Young, Dr. Benjamin Church, Capt. John Bradford, Josiah Quincey, Major Nathaniel Barber, William Molleneux, John Hancock, Wm. Cooper, Dr. Chancy, Dr. Cooper, Thomas Cushing, Joseph Greenleaf, and William Denning. — The friends of your King and Country, and of America hope and expect it from you soldiers, the instant rebellion happens, that you will put the above persons immediately to the sword, destroy their houses and plunder their effects; it is just that they should be the first victims to the mischeifs they have br’t upon us.
A Friend to Gr. Brit. & America.
N. B. — Don’t forget those trumpeters of sedition, the printers Edes and Gill, and Thomas.82
Dr. Franklin B. Dexter says that Dr. Young “took refuge in Newport after the battle of Lexington.”83 At Newport we catch earlier glimpses of Mm in Dr. Ezra Stiles’s Literary Diary:
3. Conversing with Dr. Young on philosophy. Dined at Mr. Channings84 with a Number of Gentlemen, Sons of Liberty from Boston and N. York (i. 461).
December 13, 1774. Last Evening I read a Letter dated Boston yesterday and sent by Dr. Young to Mr. Sec’ry. Ward with this Information, viz. last Evening Dr. Warren desired me to inform you & the rest of our Friends in Newport that, 300 Soldiers more or less are embarked for Newport (i. 501).
December 23, 1774. It is certain that Application has been made to the French Canadians & to the Six Nations of Indians, to joyn the Kings Troops against the Colonies — but as to both without Success, as I see in the New York, N Haven & Boston prints. Dr. Young just from Boston brings the same Acco who conversed with a Gentleman just from Canada. The Tories begin to say that no such Application has been made (i. 503).
Dr. Joseph Young gives the following interesting account of his brother’s experience at Newport:
He accordingly removed there [Newport], and remained until the British concerted their design to seize those who they called the ringleaders of the rebellion and send them in irons to England. But as it would be necessary to seize them all at one time, a particular day was appointed and Wallace of the Rose man-of-war, was deputed to go to Newport and seize Doctor Young, but lest he should have a long passage, I think they allowed him three or four days. He however had a very short passage85 and had time to concert plans with the Tories and watch the Doctor until the arrival of the appointed day. Intelligence of the intent against his liberty was gained by Doctor Young by means of a sewing girl who had frequently been employed in his family, but was now employed in a Tory family. She overheard them whispering and learned that the Dr. was to be taken prisoner that night. She hid her thread to make an errand to go out to get more. She went directly to a merchant who she knew to be a great friend to the Dr. and told him what she had heard. He set off to go to the Dr. but met him by the way, and told him if he was not off the Island before midnight he would be a prisoner on board the Rose man-of-war. The Doctor replied, “What will become of my family?” The generous merchant told him not to concern himself about his family. “You must go off immediately to Philadelphia; I will take care of them and send them to you by water” — which he performed most faithfully without charging the Doctor one farthing. He told him there were spies watching his motions, but that he should come to his house after it began to grow dark; that he would equip him and have him sent off the Island. The Doctor thanked him for his kindness. When he returned home he found two young ladies from a Tory family there who had never visited him before. He was at no loss to guess the cause of such a friendly visit, but assumed a very sprightly air, took his violin and played a number of tunes; then took his oldest daughter into another room pretending to want her assistance to prepare some medicine. He then told her that he had a secret to communicate to her, if she would promise to keep it inviolate even from her mother, which she promised; he then told her the whole, and exhorted her by all means to appear cheerful. He then caused her to pack up some shirts and put the bundle out of a back window. Fortunately about dusk, a messenger called on him to visit a patient at some little distance. He told the messenger to return and that he would set off in a few minutes. The messenger returned, and when it grew dark the Doctor went to his friend, who equipped him in a complete sailor’s dress. Our new made Jack Tar took up his bundle, embarked on board of a boat, and his brother sailors soon landed him on terra firma. He pushed on and soon met his brother fugitives John Hancock and Samuel Adams in Philadelphia; and soon after had the felicity to receive his family from on board of one of his benefactor’s vessels.86
The fugitive hired a house in Philadelphia and fell into some private practice until the General Hospital was established, when he was appointed a senior physician, and with the celebrated Doctor Rush, had the chief care of the Hospital until his death.
In the Pennsylvania Gazette of Wednesday, 26 July, 1775 (p. 3/1), there appeared a paper by Dr. Young on putrid bilious fever. It is dated 17 July, is addressed to Hall and Sellers, the proprietors of the Gazette, and fills almost a column. In this connection it is interesting to quote Dr. Benjamin Rush:
I derived great pleasure from hearing, after the fever had left the city, that calomel had been given with success as a purge in bilious fevers in other parts of the Union besides Philadelphia. Dr. Lawrence87 informed me that he had cured many patients by it of the yellow fever which prevailed in New-York, in the year 1791, and the New-York papers have told us that several practitioners had been in the habit of giving it in the autumnal fevers, with great success, in the western parts of that State. They had probably learned the use of it from Dr. Young, who formerly practised in that part of the United States, and who lost no opportunity of making its praise public wherever he went.88
On 5 August, 1775, Dr. Young wrote from Philadelphia to John Adams a letter which seems to have been in reply to questions of Mr. Adams as to the proper person to be employed to search for minerals, especially lead, “much needed under present circumstances.”89 From Christopher Marshall’s Diary90 we gather several items of interest about Dr. Young after he had taken up his abode in Philadelplhia:
1775, Oct. 10. Dr. Young called at my house, requesting me to endeavor to collect a small supply for Mrs. Cleamuns,91 a woman driven from Boston with several children, whom they purposed to send and settle for the present amongst a set of his friends near Albany (pp. 46, 47).
1776 March 13. After dinner, went to Dr. Young’s. Stayed there hearing him read a piece as answer to Common Sense, called Plain Truth, but very far from coming up to the title (p. 62).
1776 May 30. After dinner went to James Cannon’s . . . Dr. Young being returned from Yorktown, came there to see me . . . Heard of his declaration of his expedition, read his letters from the Committee92 (p. 74).
In the summer of 1776 Dr. Young was attached to the Philadelphia Rifle Battalion.93
The letter-book of Edmund Quincy (1703–1788) contains the draught of an interesting letter dated Lancaster, Massachusetts, 25 March, 1776, to his son-in-law John Hancock, then in Philadelphia in attendance on Congress, in which there are allusions to Dr. Young: “I thank you for your hint to Dr. Y. of writing to me, under cover, the political news of the day.” In a postscript he adds:
Wrote at same time, and enclosed, a letter to daughter Hancock, in which I acquainted her as follows: . . . Refer her to Dr. Y’s letter . . . To send me newspapers or other publications; and to put Dr. Y upon writing frequently of occurrences, especially what relates to French proceedings, either from F[rance] or W[est] Indies.94
Notwithstanding his residence in Philadelphia, Dr. Young appears to have been again in Albany in May, 1776, where he was a member of the Committee of Correspondence as late as the following November.95
Again we have recourse to Marshall:
1776, July 3. Near nine [P. M.] went to meet the Committee of Privates with others at Thorne’s school-room,96 where three speakers, viz., James Cannon, Timothy Matlack [and] Dr. Young flourished away on the necessity of choosing eight persons to be proposed . . . for our representatives in Convention (p. 81).
1776, July 10. To James Cannon’s; drank coffee there; stayed till past nine. There were John Adams, Paul Fooks, Dr. Young, Timothy Matlack (p. 83).
1776, Oct. 21. To the State House Yard, where it’s thought about fifteen hundred people assembled, in order to deliberate on the change of sundry matters contained in Form of Government, settled in the late Convention . . . Chief speakers, against [the] Convention, were Col. McKean and Col. Dickinson; for the Convention, James Cannon, Timothy Matlack, Dr. Young and Col. Smith of York County (p. 98).
In a letter to Samuel Perley dated. 19 June, 1809, John Adams wrote:
In 1775 and 1776 there had been great disputes, in Congress and in the several States, concerning a proper constitution for the several States to adopt for their government. A Convention in Pennsylvania had adopted a government in one representative assembly and Dr. Franklin was the President of that Convention. The Doctor, when he went to France in 1776, carried with him the printed copy of that Constitution, and it was immediately propagated through France that it was the plan of government of Mr. Franklin. In truth it was not Franklin, but Timothy Matlack, James Cannon, Thomas Young, and Thomas Paine, who were the authors of it.97
John Adams wrote to Dr. Benjamin Rush, 12 April, 1809, as follows:
I call you to witness that I was the first member of Congress who ventured to come out in public, as I did in January, 1776, in my “Thoughts on Government, in a letter from a gentleman to his friend,” that is, Mr. Wythe, in favor of a government in three branches, with an independent judiciary. This pamphlet, you know, was very unpopular. No man appeared in public to support it, but yourself. You attempted in the public papers to give it some countenance, but without much success. Franklin leaned against it. Dr. Young, Mr. Timothy Matlack, and Mr. James Cannon, and I suppose Mr. George Bryan were alarmed and displeased at it. Mr. Thomas Paine was so highly offended with it, that he came to visit me at my chamber at Mrs. Yard’s to remonstrate and even scold at me for it, which he did in very ungeuteel terms . . . Paine’s wrath was excited because my plan of government was essentially different from the silly projects that he had published in his “Common Sense.” By this means I became suspected and unpopular with the leading demagogues and the whole constitutional party in Pennsylvania.98
In a paper entitled The Council of Censors,99 Mr.. Lewis H. Meader speaks of “the radical wing of the people’s party, in which were Timothy Matlack, James Cannon, George Bryan, Dr. Thomas Young, and Thomas Paine” (p. 280), and of its great influence in framing the Constitution of Pennsylvania (p. 279). Continuing, he says:
The Constitution of Pennsylvania was launched upon a stormy sea . . . The Whigs divided: some wanted to revise the Constitution, while others wanted it kept as it was framed. The laws were disregarded. The trouble “brought the dregs to the top.”
The influence of Cannon, Matlack, and Dr. Young was still felt. In the opinion of their opponents they held “back the strength of the State by urging the execution of their rascally Government in preference to supporting measures for repelling the common enemy.”
The two chief points of attack in the constitution were the Legislature, with its single House, and the method of amending (p. 285).
Dr. Young’s active interest in public affairs, however, did not preclude the exercise of his profession. At a meeting of the Council of Safety, 14 December, 1776, it was —
Resolved, that Doct’r Thomas Young be appointed to assist Doct’r Potts in taking care of sick soldiers of the army, for which he shall have the rank and pay of Senior Surgeon in the Continental Hospital.100
In the following January he had charge of one of the wards in the “Bettering House,” as it was called, where two smallpox patients were committed to his care.101
A memorial from Dr. Thomas Young was read:
Ordered, That it be referred to the medical committee.102
Unfortunately, however, neither the subject of the memorial nor the action upon it appears; and the memorial itself is not on file.
That Dr. Young and his household had not forgotten their Boston friends is shown by a letter written at Philadelphia 29 April, 1777, by Dr. J. B. Cutting103 to Dr. John Warren concerning hospital arrangements, surgeons’ appointments, and some social matters, in which he says: “Dr. Young’s family send their best regards to you.”104
Reference has already been made to Dr. Young’s friendship with Ethan Allen and to his having coined the word Vermont. His unfortunate and ill-judged attempt to secure the independence of the New Hampshire Grants and its recognition by Congress, — one of his last and most important public acts, — remains to be mentioned. The facts appear in the following Address, which, preceded by a Resolution of Congress of 15 May, 1776, was printed in the form of a handbill:
To the Inhabitants of
A Free and Independent State, bounding on the River Connecticut and Lake Champlain.
Philadelphia, April 11, 1777.
Gentlemen, — Numbers of you are knowing to the zeal with which I have exerted myself in your behalf from the beginning of your struggle with the New York Monopolizers. As the Supreme Arbiter of right has smiled on the just cause of North America at large, you, in a peculiar manner, have been highly favoured. God has done by you the best thing commonly done for our species. He has put it fairly in your power to help yourselves.
I have taken the minds of several leading Members in the Honourable the Continental Congress, and can assure you that you have nothing to do but send attested copies of the Recommendation to take up government to every township in your district, and invite all your freeholders and inhabitants to meet in their respective townships and choose members for a General Convention, to meet at an early day, to choose Delegates for the General Congress, a Committee of Safety, and to form a Constitution for your State.
Your friends here tell me that some are in doubt whether Delegates from your district would be admitted into Congress. I tell you to organize fairly, and make the experiment, and I will ensure your success at the risk of my reputation as a man of honour or common sense. Indeed, they can by no means refuse you! You have as good a right to choose how you will be governed, and by whom, as they had.
I have recommended to your Committee the Constitution of Pennsylvania for a model, which, with a very little alteration, will, in my opinion, come as near perfection as anything yet concerted by mankind. This Constitution has been sifted with all the criticism that a band of despots were masters of and has bid defiance to their united powers.
The alteration I would recommend is, that all the Bills intended to be passed into Laws should be laid before the Executive Board for their perusal and proposals of amendment. All the difference then between such a Constitution and those of Connecticut and Rhode-Island, in the grand outlines is, that in one case the Executive power can advise and in the other compel. For my own part, I esteem the people at large the true proprietors of governmental power. They are the supreme constituent power, and of course their immediate Representatives are the supreme Delegate power; and as soon as the delegate power gets too far out of the hands of the constituent power, a tyranny is in some degree established.
Happy are you that in laying the foundation of a new government, you have a digest drawn from the purest fountain of antiquity, and improved by the readings and observations of the great Doctor Franklin, David Rittenhouse, Esq., and others. I am certain you may build on such a basis a system which will transmit liberty and happiness to posterity.
Let the scandalous practice of bribing men by places, commissions, &c, be held in abhorrence among you. By entrusting only men of capacity and integrity in public affairs, and by obliging even the best men to fall into the common mass of the people every year, and be sensible of their need of the popular good will to sustain their political importance, are your liberties well secured. These plans effectually promise this security.
May Almighty God smile upon your arduous and important undertaking, and inspire you with that wisdom, virtue, public spirit and unanimity, which ensures success in the most hazardous enterprizes! I am, Gentlemen, Your sincere friend and humble servant,
April 12, 1777.
Your committee have obtained for you a copy of the Recommendation of Congress to all such bodies of men as looked upon themselves returned to a state of nature, to adopt such government as should, in the opinion of the Representatives of the people, best conduce to the happiness and safety of their constituents in particular and America in general.
You may perhaps think strange that nothing further is done for you at this time than to send you this extract. But if you consider that till you incorporate and actually announce to Congress your having become a body politic, they cannot treat with you as a free State. While New-York claims you as subjects of that government, my humble opinion is, your own good sense will suggest to you, that no time is to be lost in availing yourselves of the same opportunity your assuming mistress is improving to establish a dominion for herself and you too.
A WORD TO THE WISE IS SUFFICIENT.105
As might have been foreseen, the Council of Safety of New York vigorously opposed the action of Vermont in a letter to the President of Congress.106 The climax of this movement, which was reached less than a week after Dr. Young’s sudden death, is best described in the words of the official record:
MONDAY, June 23, 1777.
A delegate from the State of New-York laid before Congress a printed paper, signed “A word to the wise is sufficient,” containing an extract from the minutes of Congress, and a letter signed Thomas Young, to the inhabitants of Vermont, dated “Philadelphia, April 11, 1777,” which was read:
Ordered, That the letter from P. Van Cortlandt, and the foregoing printed paper, and the papers formerly received from the convention of New-York, respecting the difference likely to arise between that state and the inhabitants of the place called the New-Hampshire Grants, and also the papers received from the said inhabitants, be referred to a committee of the whole.107
On Wednesday, 25 June, the committee of the whole considered the various papers in the case and postponed the further consideration of it.108 The matter was finally disposed of on —
MONDAY, June 30, 1777.
Congress resolved itself into a committee of the whole, to consider farther the letters and papers from the state of New-York, the petition from Jonas Fay, &c.109 and the printed papers; and, after some time spent thereon, the president resumed the chair, and Mr. Harrison reported, that the committee have had under consideration the letters and papers referred to them, and have come to sundry resolutions thereupon, which he was ready to report.
Ordered, That the report be now received.
The report from the committee of the whole Congress being read, was agreed to, as follows:
Resolved, That Congress is composed of delegates chosen by, and representing the communities respectively inhabiting the territories of New-Hampshire, Massachusetts-Bay, Rhode-Island and Providence Plantations, Connecticut, New-York, New-Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North-Carolina, South-Carolina, and Georgia, as they respectively stood at the time of its first institution; that it was instituted for the purposes of securing and defending the communities aforesaid against the usurpations, oppressions, and hostile invasions of Great-Britain; and that, therefore, it cannot be intended that Congress, by any of its proceedings, would do or recommend or countenance any thing injurious to the rights and jurisdictions of the several communities which it represents.
Resolved, That the independent government attempted to be established by the people styling themselves inhabitants of the New-Hampshire Grants, can derive no countenance or justification fron the act of Congress declaring the United Colonies to be independent of the crown of Great-Britain, nor from any other act or resolution of Congress.
Resolved, That the petition of Jonas Fay, Thomas Chittenden, Heman Allen and Reuben Jones, in the name and behalf of the people styling themselves as aforesaid, praying that “their declaration, that they would consider themselves as a free and independent state may be received; that the district in the said petition described may be ranked among the free and independent states, and that delegates there from may be admitted to seats in Congress,” be dismissed.
Resolved, That Congress, by raising and officering the regiment commanded by col. Warner, never meant to give any encouragement to the claim of the people aforesaid, to be considered as an independent state; but that the reason which induced Congress to form that corps was, that many officers of different states, who had served in Canada, and alleged that they could soon raise a regiment, but were then unprovided for, might be reinstated in the service of the United States.
Whereas, a printed paper, addressed to the inhabitants of the district aforesaid, dated Philadelphia, April 11, 1777, and subscribed Thomas Young, was laid before Congress by one of the delegates of New-York, to which address is prefixed the resolution of Congress of the 15th May, 1770, and in which are contained the following paragraphs: “I have taken the minds of several of the leading members of the honorable the Continental Congress, and can assure you, that you have nothing to do, but to send attested copies of the recommendation to take up government, to every township in your district, and invite all the freeholders and inhabitants to meet and choose members for a general convention, to meet at an early day to choose delegates for the general Congress and committee of safety, and to form a constitution for yourselves. Your friends here tell me that some are in doubt whether delegates from your district would be admitted into Congress. I tell you to organize fairly, and make the experiment, and I will ensure you success at the risque of my reputation, as a man of honor or common sense. Indeed, they can by no means, refuse you: you have as good a right to choose how you will be governed, and by whom, as they had.”
Resolved, That the contents of the said paragraphs are derogatory to the honor of Congress, are a gross misrepresentation of the resolutions of Congress therein referred to, and tend to deceive and mislead the people to whom they are addressed.110
Philadelphia, June 28 [Saturday, 1777]. . . . Last Tuesday died of a fever in this city, Doctor Thomas Young, one of the Senior Surgeons of the Military Hospital. He has left a sickly widow and six children wholly unprovided for.111
Another announcement reads:
[Died] At Philadelphia, the 24th of June, Dr. Thomas Young, one of the senior surgeons of the military hospital; formerly of this town. He has left a sickly widow and six children wholly unprovided for.112
Dr. Young’s death and burial occurred on the same day, doubtless on account of the contagious nature of the fever of which he died. In a letter to Governor Jonathan Trumbull, dated Philadelphia, 5 July, 1777, William Williams writes:
We did not arrive here till Tuesday ye 24th ulto. Dr. Young died lately of a Fever caught in attending ye Congress Hospitals in ye City, & was buried the day we came into town, poor man He now knows the reality of things he lately disputed & disbelieved, can find out very little of his last Ideas but believe he died just as he lived, expecting if there was a future State that a man of his Benevolence must be happy.113
Dr. Joseph Young’s account of his brother concludes in these words:
He died in June, 1777, of a most virulent putrid fever, which appeared to be almost as fatal as the plague. His very valuable library, which he had collected with great care and cost, was sold for Continental money, and was in a great measure lost to his family. These are a few of the incidents which occurred in the life of a man of superior talents, and, as far as I am capable of judging, of the most consumate physician I ever knew. He married Mary, the daughter of Captain [Garret] Winegar, of Sharon, Conn.,114 by whom he had two sons, viz: John and Rosmond, and four daughters, viz: Susannah, Catharine, Sarah, and Mary. Rosmond died young. Susan was married to a Mr. [Michael] Knies of Philadelphia, and had two sons, Thomas and John. She died about 1803 or ’4;115 her sons Thomas116 and John removed to the westward of Albany, and their grandmother, Mary Young, lives with them. John Young, the only surviving son of Doctor Thomas, studied physic under his father and was a Mate in the Hospital until his father died, and was then sent to the Hospital at Albany to be under my care. After the conclusion of the War he practiced in Fayette county, Pennsylvania, but removed to Hendersonville, Tennessee, where he was killed by a fall from his horse in November, 1805. He married Mary Hammond at Fayette by whom he had four children, viz: Mary, Thomas, William, and Sarah. Catharine, the second daughter of Doctor Thomas, was married to Mr. Daniel Castle, who removed to near Canandaigua Lake, where she died, but I do not know how many children she left. Sarah was married to Mr. Clark at Sharon or Amenia;117 and Mary was married to a Doctor Strong.118
Miss Mary Hoes Reed, formerly of Amenia and well informed as to its history and families, but now of Rutherford, New Jersey, writes:
I have here a copy of Rev. Ebenezer Knibloe’s Church Records and find the following:
- Nov. 19, 1761 Joseph Young119 married Sarah Brown.
- July 17, 1774 Josiah Strong and his wife admitted to the church.
- June 25, 1776 Mr. Josiah Strong & wife had Lydia baptized.
- Feb. 21, 1779 Josiah Strong had a child baptized by Dr. John Rodgers.
- April 19, 1781 Mr. Merrit Clerk of Oyster River at West Haven [New Haven County, Connecticut] has son Nicholas (born April 17, 1781) baptized.120
- Sep. 16, 1781 Daniel Castle & his wife, daughter of Doct. Thomas Young deceased, had son James baptized by Rev. David Rose.121
- May 12, 1782 Susannah Nase, daughter of Doct. Thos. Young deceased, had her son John baptized by Rev. David Rose.
- May 25, 1783 Daniel Castle and his wife had a child baptized by Rev. David Rose.
The Hon. Lawrence Van Alstyne, Judge of Probate of the Sharon District, Connecticut, sends me the following inscription, copied from a stone in the graveyard at Amenia Union:
Mrs. Susanna Knies, relict of Michael Knies, Esq. and daughter of the late Dr. Thomas Young, died Oct. 14, 1801, aged 44.122
The care taken in these baptismal and burial records to connect children and grandchildren with Dr.Young testifies the respect in which his memory was held, long after his decease, by clergy and kinsfolk.
In Christopher Marshall’s Diary, we get a final glimpse of Dr. Young’s family in Philadelphia, after his decease:
1777, July 14. I went this morning and visited several of our Philadelphia friends, and at the same time in company with our friend George Schlosser, reminded them, as well as some of our Lancaster friends, whom we visited, of the distress poor Dr. Young (deceased)’s family was left in, most of whom, to their honor be it remembered, gave me what they thought proper, in order for me to remit it for their relief, the which I accepted and kindly thanked them on the family’s behalf (pp. 119, 120).
1777, August 20. I gave to James Cannon, to carry to the Widow Young, the donations I collected in this place [Lancaster, Penn.], which, with my own, amounted to Seventeen Pounds, six shillings (p. 122).
Although evidently an advanced thinker in religion and politics whose views failed of the approval of conservative minds, Dr. Young appears to have been a devoted husband and father and a sincere, ardent and unselfish lover of his country, who scorned to take advantage of his position of leadership to enrich himself or his family. It is probable that the only property he left was the equity in the before-mentioned real estate in Wing’s Lane, Boston. Administration on his estate was not granted till 5 May, 1779, when letters were issued by the Probate Court for the District of Sharon, County of Litchfield, Connecticut, to Lieutenant David Doty of Amenia, New York,123 whose sister, Elizabeth Doty, had married, 28 June, 1764, at Amenia Union, John Winegar, a brother of Dr. Young’s widow.124 The only other proceeding of record concerning this estate is the order of Court, 2 September, 1783, already referred to,125 to sell the real estate and make return thereon;126 but none was made. These proceedings plainly indicate that after his decease, some members at least of Dr. Young’s family returned to Amenia to reside.
A paper hitherto unpublished testifies that Dr. Young’s ill-starred efforts in behalf of Vermont, and the straitened financial condition in which he had left his family, were not forgotten by some of the most prominent men in the State.
To the Honbl General Assembly of the State of Vermont convened at Rutland. The petition of the subscribers Humbly sheweth, that your petitioners with many others in this State Retain the highest feelings of gratitude to all those persons who have stood forth in early period and in time of utmost uncertainty & Distress to assist & promote the interest of this State. And we feel a more particular Gratitude to such persons who have exerted themselves & pointed out a system to be pursued to Bring this government into existence & who have acted from the most disinterested motives any farther than respected Humanity & who has in consequence thereof suffered Great Injury in personal character & private property, We beg leave to represent our former worthy friend Docr Thomas Young, Decd as coming completely under this description from the decided part which he took in our favour in the most critical Moments as Respected the existence of this State, having pointed out the system to be pursued to establish Government by a separate jurisdiction & to whom we stand indebted for the Name of (Vermont) We now beg leave to Recom[mend] his family who are left in low and indigent circumstances [to your] Notice & patronage & pray in their Behalf that [your honors] consider the merit due to our Decd friend & [that an] Honbl Compensation be made to them by a Gra[nt of] some land in such part of the State as shall be vacant which after a determination your petitioners will point out. Your petitioners pray that [a] committee may be appointed hereon that the circumstances may be more fully Represented [& a] Report made to your honors as in Duty bound your petitioners ever pray.
Rutland 20 Oct 1786
Petition of Et Allen & Jos Fay
Oct 24, 1786 referred to next session. Attest Rosl Hopkins Clk,
Filed 24 Oct 1786.127
This tribute to a forgotten patriot may be fitly closed by the following passage from Ira Allen’s History:
Dr. Thomas Young, of Philadelphia, who greatly interested himself in behalf of the settlers of Vermont; by several publications, he was highly distinguished as a philosopher, philanthropist, and patriot, and for his erudition and brilliancy of imagination. His death was universally regretted by the friends of American Independence, as one of her warm supporters, and by the republic of letters as a brilliant ornament.128
Mr. Thomas Minns presented to the Society four photographs of portraits by Copley of Thomas Hancock, the noted Boston merchant, of his wife Lydia (Henchman) Hancock, and of their nephew John Hancock. The original portraits were recently sold in Boston to settle the estate of the late Washington Hancock of London.
Mr. Minns also stated that there had recently been placed in the First Church in Boston a life-size recumbent statue by Bela L. Pratt of the Rev. John Cotton, the likeness of which had been taken from an original portrait of Cotton in the possession of his descendant Miss Adele G. Thayer of Boston.
Dr. James B. Ayer exhibited some large photographs — showing both the exterior and the interior of the Consistoire, Church of St. Pierre, Geneva — and some printed books129 which illustrate the stay of the English exiles in Geneva and Frankfort, indicating that the local historians are now greatly interested in the subject. The latter feel that a knowledge of the growth of English Puritanism, and consequently a knowledge of our early New England history, cannot be arrived at without an acquaintance with the time of the English exiles’ residence at Geneva and Frankfort and their relations there with Calvin and Knox.
Mr. Albert Matthews spoke of the destruction by fire of the second Harvard College on 24 January, 1764, and of the laying of the foundation of the present Harvard Hall on 26 June following;130 and communicated a poem commemorating the completion of the building in 1766. In a letter dated 15 July, 1765, Governor Bernard said that “a Magnificent Building has been erected and is nearly finished;”131 while Quincy stated that the building was completed in June, 1766.132 The poem in question was printed in the Boston Gazette of 7 April, 1766.133 The author was presumably a graduate of the class of 1763 or 1764 or 1765, as he had not yet taken his second degree; but his identity has eluded research. Mr. Matthews reminded the members that the present Harvard Hall was planned by Governor Bernard, who, according to Hutchinson, “was a very ingenious architect.”134 The poem follows.
The following POEM, written by a young Gentleman who lately receiv’d his first Degree at Harvard College, we doubt not will be acceptable to our Readers.
WHILE some in politics are deep immers’d,
And liberty’s just cause with patriot fire
Defend, nor fear oppressive acts t’ oppose;
Acts, only fit for those ignoble souls,
Is grateful music; O! permit a muse
Unvers’d in state affairs, tho’ freedom’s friend,
To sing of diff’rent themes, soft to the ear —
Parnassian heights, the pure Castalian fount,
And seats to the muses sacred, where the foes
Of science, free from ev’ry anxious care,
With intellectual food may feast their minds.
In Cambridge’ happy plains, behold the piles
Of lofty venerable buildings rise,
The pride, the glory of New Albion’s shore!
To our fore fathers’ memories, what praise
From us their offspring, for their care, is due;
Who, when their strength was small, nor fortune smil’d,
Nor affluence crown’d their labours, strongly urg’d
By love of liberty and virtue’s cause (Sure indication of a noble mind)
Couvinc’d that where dark ignorance prevails,
There superstition reigns, and slavery
Is easily impos’d; fell En’mies both
To noble sentiments, to manly thought,
Laid firm the basis of these happy seats,
From whence the beams of science issuing forth,
Enlighten far and wide this western world!
Nor is the present generation void
Of their great grand sires’ gen’rous sentiments;
A love of lib’ral arts, not to few breasts
Appears confin’d: Our noble senators,
Whose words and actions, when in council met,
The gen’ral voice must ever be esteem’d,
Thro’ our provincial tract (not least in worth
Among her sister colonies confess’d)
Bespeak this love extensively diffus’d.
Nor needs our retrospective view extend,
For such a proof, to times long since elaps’d;
A recent instance of their ardent Zeal,
True learning’s cause, by gen’rous aid, t’ advance,
Each one must recollect, when he surveys
That lofty Edifice, which to the Pray’r135
Of those whose skilful hand our tender youth,
In their pursuit of letters wisely guides,
They bade arise, nor grudg’d to sacrifice
The golden store to such a gen’ral good.
But now, behold! a scene diversify’d
Opes to my busy thoughts. In that dread night
When Hyperborean blasts rush’d o’er the Plain,
When all within their walls, by driving snows,
Were close pent up, what pen the deep distress
And heart-felt pangs can paint, when wak’d from sleep
By cry of fire up-starting in amaze,
From venerable Harvard’s sacred roofs,
Where learning’s treasures lay, the spiral flame
Forth bursting we beheld! Our senators,
By fell contagion, from the Capital
Driv’n out, then took their lodging round these walls:
Quick they rush’d forth amid huge banks of snow,
With resolution arm’d; each active hand,
Obedient to the heart, in learning’s cause Engag’d,
was full employ’d, with force to oppose
The stanch devourer, but alas! in vain!
Down rush precipitate, with thund’ring crash,
The roofs, the walls, and in one ruinous heap,
The ancient dome, and all it’s treasures lie!
The tear forth gushing and the deep fetch’d sigh
Who cou’d restrain, when godlike science felt
A wound so near her heart? But soon our tears
Begin t’ assuage; the fathers of our laud
Command another edifice t’ ascend,
From the same spot where ancient Harvard stood;
But O! how diff’rent, from that antique pile!
In room of Gothic structure, erst the taste
Of Britain’s sons, now Grecian elegance
And Roman Grandeur rising to the view,
Here strike the modern eye. — But thou my muse
No longer hover round these new-built walls;
For what are walls unfurnish’d? empty things;
Fit treasures give them worth, be these thy theme.
To flames a sacrifice, the second place
The ruin’d fabric held; our anxious minds
For loss of books and philosophic aids
Felt far severer pangs: But from our breasts
The heart felt grief, which like a Vulture gnaws
The vitals, soon was banish’d. straight appears
Of Massachusetts’ sons a godlike band.
With hearts engag’d in learning’s glorious cause,
(Full well the worth they knew) nor spar’d their wealth,
When wounded science ask’d it’s pow’rful aid.
Many, with lib’ral hand, bestow’d large gifts;
But like some lofty tow’r, whose rev’rend head,
Erected high, o’ertops the neighbouring roofs;
One, whose beneficence and pious care136
Confer’d the means, by which the sacred Page,
In the original, by Harvard’s sons
Might be explor’d, rose far above the rest
In noble purposes to this fam’d seat.
Tho’ death prevented, by a sudden shaft,
His hand from off’ ring what his heart design’d,
His nephew, who inherits with his wealth,
His gen’rous spirit, gave the purpos’d sum.
Nor was this noble spirit here confin’d;
A sister colony, that oft has sent137
Her tender sons to drink at Harvard’s fount,
Mov’d by her fall, reach’d out a helping hand.
To Britain, patroness of lib’ral arts,
O’er the Atlantic flies the dismal news
Of our calamity. The many hands,
Op’d by the gen’rous heart, to send
Relief From that fam’d isle, my muse could now recount;
But chief to thee, known by a name enrlear’d138
To Harvard’s sons; to thee, whose noble breast
Blind bigotry, offspring of narrow minds,
Fell party zeal, the bane of all that’s good
Ne’er felt, belongs the tribute of her song.
But sure, a Panegyrist’s pen to raise
A monument to thy munificence
Thou need’st not; Harvard’s new built walls contain
Fairest memorials of thy lib’ral soul.
From that grand alcove, destin’d to receive
The learned treasures by thy bounteous hand
Presented, we behold, with wond’ring eyes,
The splendid tomes, throughout the spacious room,
Like orient sol diffuse their beamy glories!
The marble column, the triumphal arch,
Let haughty monarchs raise, with vast expence,
T’ immortalize their name; when these are fallen
To time’s devouring hand a sacrifice,
Treasures like thine, surviving shall record
The lib’ral donor’s worth — How chang’d the scene!
That blow which seem’d to give a deadly stab
To science, proves her friend,’tis that has serv’d
To raise her glory. As the skilful hands
Of those vers’d in the cesculapian art,
T’ a mortal frame, by bloody wounds depress’d,
More than it’s pristine vigor oft restore;
So Harvard’s gen’rous friends her wounds have heal’d;
Nor ceas’d they here, their rich restoratives
Have rais’d her to a height unknown before.
Philosophy again erects it’s head,139
And universal science now puts on
It’s wonted smiles. — O sons of Harvard! say,
Where can be found a lot so blest as your’s!
Fast by your side flows the Pierian spring
Exhaustless, in a thousand diff’rent streams
Courting your lips, ne’er let it court in vain:
Here slake your thirst, the copious draught imbibe,
Fell envy, child of dæmons, from your breasts
Exterminate; but let your youthful minds
Be fir’d with emulation, diffrent guest;
That gnaws upon the vitals, this inspires
To arduous attempts, “attempts in which
Tis glorious ev’n to fall”! — O’er the fam’d page,
Wrote by the learned sages who adorn’d
Old Greece and Rome, O trim the midnight lamp!
From ev’ry fragrant flow’r in learning’s field
Extract the treasur’d sweets: Let ev’ry thought
Be elevated high: Let deathless young,140
And fam’d Longinus all be made your own;
Then take the pen and ease your teeming minds,
Success can never fail. Where am I rapt!
A Genius seems to whisper in my ear, —
Soon shall be seen fair Harvard’s rising glory;
’Tis yet in embryo; lo! her future sons,
Blest with new aids, shall mount the steeps of fame;
Remotest fields of science shall appear
Plain to their view. Some, with sagacious minds
Searching the depths of nature, various truths,
Which even to that bright genius Newton’s self
Lay hid, as if enwrap’d in sev’nfold night,
Shall quick investigate: While others, fir’d
By all the tuneful nine, shall emulate
The Greek and Roman bards; nor shall success
Be wanting: Some, inspir’d with noblest fire,
With Pindar’s impetus shall rush along,
Whose ev’ry verse, with rapid vehemence,
Like to the victors’ car (of which he sings)
By fiery steeds along the Stadium whirl’d,
Or like some torrent, from the mountain’s side
Rolling amain; flows on without control,
In freest measures, emblem of his mind,
Daring, unbounded: Some to Epic song
Shall rise, nor shall their strains discover less
Of grand description, sentiment sublime,
Imagination’s force and fancy’s flight,
Than those of Maro, the fam’d Mantuan bard,
Or British Milton much surpassing both!
Others to gayer themes shall tune the lyre,
And in their song, display the elegance
And courtly wit of Horace’ polish’d strains,
Or charms of old Anacreon’s gentle lays,
Where native beauties strike th’ admiring mind
Beyond the studied ornaments of dress.
Some form’d for public speakers, here shall rise,
With eloquence array’d: Some, from the desk
(In virtue’s cause engag’d) with sacred fire
Shall melt th’ admiring audience: Some, employ’d
To plead the cause of justice at the bar,
Shall gain th’ attentive ear: While others plac’d
In that grand council, where the public weal
Is sought, with zeal inspir’d to serve the state;
Furnish’d with Ciceronian rhetoric;
The soft, the smooth persuasives, from their tongue
Mellifluent shall insinuate; or fill’d
With Grecian energy, with Attic fire,
Shall wield the thunder of Demosthenes,
Rousing such torpid souls as motionless
Could see the state enslav’d. — But cease my muse,
These strains give o’er; the heav’nly form that deign’d
These pleasing futures to disclose, is fled.
O Massachusetts! with a Parent’s care
Protect these happy seats; your genial smiles‡141
Let these enjoy, smiles that must serve to raise
Fair Harvard to that pitch the muse has sung.
Let Cam and Isis then unite and flow
In harmony; the single stream that laves
The banks where Harvard stands shall equal both!
The Rev. Henry A. Parker read the following paper on —
The ancient Yorkshire family of Wentworth is interesting to the student of New England history both on account of Thomas Wentworth, Earl of Strafford, and the other royalist Wentworths of the seventeenth century, and on account of the distinguished American branch of the Wentworths who early settled in New Hampshire.
The family has received rather an unusual amount of attention from a series of eminent genealogists. There is no doubt of its antiquity or of its historical importance, but, as we easily discover, there are great differences of opinion as to details of the pedigree.
Wentworth pedigrees were recorded by Tonge in 1530, the first known visitation of Yorkshire, and probably in every subsequent visitation; and besides the very elaborate study of the Wentworth family by Richard Gascoigne and by his friend Dugdale, the Rev. Joseph Hunter and Colonel Chester — two of the most eminent of the nineteenth century genealogists — devoted special attention to the study of the history of this family. Several of the Yorkshire visitations, all containing Wentworth pedigrees, have been edited by distinguished scholars — Mr. Longstaffe, Mr. Metcalfe, Mr. Foster, and Mr. Clay.142
The family was probably settled not long after the Norman conquest at Wentworth in the parish of Wath, in the wapentake of Strafford, Yorkshire. The family was not by any means of the rank of the great feudatories of those parts, Percy, Warren, and the like, nor did it rank in the same class with the great families of the second rank, subinfeudatories such as Vavasour, FitzWilliam, and Fleming. But it maintained itself, grew stronger, and spread abroad in numerous cadet branches by marriage with heiresses, until before the Civil War it had become one of the greatest of English families. In England, however, all are now gone, and the surname is borne there, so far as appears, by persons of position, only as adopted by descendants of female branches.
Writing in 1831, the Rev. Joseph Hunter, after noting the end of the regular male succession of the senior line, the Wentworths of Wentworth-Woodhouse, by the death of William the second Earl Strafford in 1695, said, “the extinction of the other principal branches of the family took place in rapid succession after that of the eldest branch.” Two had already become extinct: 1631, Wentworth of Gosfield, by the death of Sir John Wentworth; 1667, Wentworth of Nettlestead, by the death of Thomas, Earl of Cleveland; 1695, Wentworth of Wentworth-Woodhouse, by the death of the second Earl of Strafford; 1741, Wentworth of Elmsall, by the death of Sir Butler Cavendish Wentworth, Bart.; 1787, Wentworth of South Elmsall, by the death of Hugh Wentworth, Esq.; 1789, Wentworth of Wooley and Hickelton, by the death of Godfrey Wentworth, Esq.; 1792, Wentworth of Bretton, by the death of Sir Thomas Blackett, Bart.; 1799, the Earls of Strafford of the second creation, by the death of Frederick Thomas, Earl of Strafford; 1800, “a younger branch of Wentworth of Wooley, by the death of Peregrine Wentworth, Esq., the last male who can on sufficient evidence be attached to the stock of this noble family.”143 We may, however, add: 1844, the returned American Wentworths, by the death of Sir Charles Mary Wentworth, Bart.
It is likely that Hunter had him especially in mind in writing as above of Peregrine Wentworth, and with good reason; for the descent of the American family was only proved a generation later by Colonel Chester. Yet the heralds had assigned to Governor Wentworth, the first baronet of this line, arms which were but slightly differenced from the Wentworths of Wentworth-Woodhouse,144 — a proceeding by no means defensible and particularly offensive to the conscientious antiquary. Mr. John Wentworth of Chicago, who compiled the excellent Wentworth Genealogy, says, undoubtedly correctly, that neither the last baronet nor his father knew their line of descent.145 Colonel Chester’s proof, on which he justly prided himself, was not indeed sufficient, as I imagine, to be received as conclusive in the House of Lords in case of a claimant for a peerage, but is very good historical evidence. Hunter says that in the great Civil War all the branches of Wentworth took the King’s side. But we now find, oddly enough, that the history of the house in England closes with the descendant of the Colonial Puritan Elder, William Wentworth of the Hutchinson connection, of Exeter, New Hampshire.
It may be noticed that three branches of the family had attained to earldoms and that four other branches had obtained baronetcies. These honors came rather late. The first peerage in the family was obtained by Sir Thomas Wentworth of the cadet branch of Nettlestead, Suffolk, who was created a baron in 1529 by Henry VIII, who was then engaged in packing the House of Lords with a view to the suppression of the monasteries and the confiscation of their property. After passing through the hands of the Baroness Wentworth, a mistress of the Duke of Monmouth, this barony passed by her sister to Lovelace, to Noel, to Milbanke, to Gordon, to King, which last family now holds it. The fourth Lord Wentworth of this creation was created Earl of Cleveland and distinguished himself as did his son fighting for the King in the Civil War.
This Nettlestead family was founded by the marriage of a Wentworth with the heiress of the Despencers; he came from the cadet house of Elmsall, founded by the marriage of a Wentworth with the heiress of the Bissets.
The main stem, the Wentworths of Wentworth-Woodhouse, only reached the peerage nearly a century later, though William Wentworth, who inherited a Large accession of property from his mother, the heiress of the Gascoignes, was created a baronet in 1611. His second son, Thomas Wentworth, the most distinguished of all the family, may be said to have promptly made up for lost time, for, 22 July, 1628, be was created Baron Wentworth of Wentworth Woodhouse and at the same time Baron of Newmarch and Oversley, while less than five months later, 13 December, 1628, he was created Viscount Wentworth. On 12 January, 1639–40, he was created Baron of Raby, and also Earl of Strafford; so that when he was attainted early in the following year he had three baronies, a viscounty, and an earldom. And it has been said that it was the acquisition of one of these rather superfluous baronies, the Barony of Raby, that lost him his head. One branch of the great family of the Nevils had been Barons of Raby; from them he was descended; but Raby had come into the possession of Sir Harry Vane, the elder, whose intense hatred of Strafford is said to have been caused by Wentworth’s taking from his estate a title which Vane desired for himself, and in revenge pursued him to his death.146 Three months to the day after Strafford was beheaded, his son William received from the King all the peerage honors which had become extinct by his father’s attainder. This was not an act of gratuitous folly on the King’s part, but in fulfilment of a promise made to the late Earl. All, however, became extinct by the death of this William without issue, excepting only this unfortunate Barony of Raby, which, having been created with a special remainder, descended to the grandson of the first Lord Strafford’s elder brother, and is still in existence, having passed in the female line to Conolly and from that family to Byng, which family now holds it.
The famous Earl of Strafford was, however, a younger son, and the eldest line of Wentworth of Wentworth-Woodhouse only came to a peerage when Sir Thomas Wentworth, Bart., in 1695 inherited the Barony of Raby. He was in 1711 created Viscount Wentworth and Earl of Strafford.
The most elaborate pedigree of the English Wentworths is that to be found in the first volume of Mr. John Wentworth’s Wentworth Genealogy, a part of which was printed before by Colonel Chester in the Heraldic Journal (IV. 125–129) and in the New England Historical and Genealogical Register (XII. 120–139). Joseph Foster published in 1874 Pedigrees of County Families of Yorkshire, and the next year, 1875, Mr. Foster edited Glover’s Visitation of Yorkshire (1584–85). Since then Mr. Clay has been publishing in the Genealogist, with many valuable additions, Dugdale’s Visitation of Yorkshire. In various particulars these pedigrees by no means agree among themselves nor with the earlier Wentworth pedigrees.
The line of Matthew Wentworth of Bretton contains a number of the most important points of difference, and furnishes a sample of the difficulties and uncertainties not uncommonly met with in English pedigrees. Matthew Wentworth of Bretton,147 son and heir of Richard Wentworth, inherited his father’s estate in 1488, married Elizabeth Woodruffe, and died leaving two sons and four daughters. His will was dated 10 November, 1505, and proved at York 10 January following. His two sons were both named Thomas. The elder, who was knighted, died childless. This Sir Thomas entered his pedigree at Tonge’s visitation, 1530; he mentions but three of his sisters.
Richard Wentworth, the father of Matthew last mentioned, married Isabel FitzWilliam of Sprotsborough; she was his executrix. His will, made 3 October, 1488, and proved in January following, shows that he left six sons and three daughters. Tonge’s visitation omits one son and the three daughters. Flower’s visitation, 1563–64, gives to him the four daughters of his son Richard, mentioning their husbands, and omits two at least of his own daughters.
Richard Wentworth of Bretton, the father of the last named, married Cecilia, daughter and heir of John Tansley of Everton. His will was dated 20 December, 1447, named his wife executrix, and was probated 29 May, 1449. This Richard was a younger son of John Wentworth of Elmsall, who married one of the heiresses of Dronsfield from whom Richard inherited his Bretton estate. Richard is interesting genealogically because of an extraordinary mistake, or misrepresentation, concerning his marriage. Mr. Clay gives it as above and makes no mention of any other statement.148 In Flower’s visitation, however, taken in 1563–64, while both the sons of Matthew (the great grandsons of this Richard) were still living, Richard’s wife is said to have been Maud, Countess of Cambridge. In the visitation by Glover (1584–85) as edited by Foster, Richard’s wife is given as Maud, Countess of Cambridge, and second daughter to Thomas, Lord Clifford. Foster in his Pedigrees of the County Families of Yorkshire, “authenticated by the members of each family,” gives Richard two wives, first Cecilia Tansley, to whom he assigns all the children except son Richard who was, he says, son of “Maud (second wife) Countess of Cambridge, and daughter of Thomas, Lord Clifford, and relict of Richard, Earl of Cambridge (who was beheaded), son of Edmund Duke of York.” And he might have added relict of John Nevil, Lord Latimer (d. s. p. 1430). She was, indeed, a very great lady, this widow of the Plantagenet Duke of Cambridge — he who appears in Shakespeare’s Henry V; and it is perfectly clear that she never married this Squire Wentworth. The mystery is how there came to be a “family tradition” among the Wentworths that she was their great grandmother, and how they managed to get the heralds, not much more than a hundred years after her death, to record the invention. Mr. John Wentworth rejected the splendid alliance from his pedigree. He says:
In some of the accounts of the family he is said to have married Matilda, daughter of Thomas Lord Clifford, and relict of Richard Plantagenet, Earl of Cambridge; but the present writer can find no evidence of it, nor in fact that any such person ever existed. On the contrary his son William Wentworth, in his will distinctly mentions “John Tansley and Dame Alice his wife and their daughter Cecilia my mother.”149
This, however, might have been compatible with Mr. Foster’s arrangement of two wives. But that excellent and careful antiquary, Mr. Hunter, had long ago shown that Richard Wentworth married Cecilia before Lord Latimer died, and that Cecilia was his wife after the Countess’s death.150 But what did Mr. Wentworth mean by saying of the Countess that he could find no evidence that any such person ever existed? It would seem from this and other things that neither he nor Colonel Chester had consulted Mr. Hunter’s Deanery of Doncaster (otherwise called South Yorkshire), quite the best book yet published on that part of England. Mr. Wentworth in writing of his authorities, says:
The earliest portion of the Wentworth Pedigree rests upon the authority of William Flower, Norroy King of arms, one of the most careful and accurate genealogists ever connected with the College of Arms, who compiled it in the year 1588, and it has ever since remained upon the records of the college, and been accepted not only by that body but by all genealogists as authentic.151
Flower’s visitation as we have it in print certainly shows the most, extraoidinary inaccuracy so far as the Wentworths were concerned, as well in times more remote as in these which fell within a century of his own time. The earlier generations are not by any means the same as those which Mr. Wentworth gives as from Flower’s pedigree of Wentworth in the College of Arms, which would appear to be veiy much worse. And it is only right to say that while there have been many honorable, careful, and learned men in the College of Arms, there have been also heralds who, like many other needy and avaricious professional genealogists outside the College, have been more or less unscrupulous in their efforts to please the vanity of their employers.152
The father of this Richard who did not marry the Countess was John of North Elmsall, who married Agnes, one of the coheirs of the Dronsfield family, according to the two best authorities, Mr. Hunter and Mr. Clay, as also Mr. Foster and Mr. Wentworth, but the visitation pedigrees as we have them of Flower and of Glover insert another John between — namely, he who married a Beaumont and who is, according to better authorities, the brother, not the father, of Richard. We may note by the way that it was Roger, brother of Richard, who founded the family of Nettlestead by marrying the widow of Lord Ros, who became heiress of the Despencers, for which marriage he was in trouble with the Privy Council.
All the authorities agree that the John Wentworth who married the Dronsfield was son of another John and either the son or the grandson of the John who married Joan (or Jane) Tyas: Foster and the Wentworth Genealogy make him the son; the Glover and Flower visitations make him the grandson, of that John, and the son of the Bisset heiress whose name Flower gives as Elizabeth; Glover omits her name; and Hunter, who agrees to the line of descent with some hesitation, calls her Alice.153
All agree that John Wentworth and Jane Tyas are in the line and that this John’s father was William. Flower’s visitation makes John the son of William and Isabel Pollington, the Pollington heiress, and to this agree Foster, Hunter, and the Wentworth Genealogy; but Glover’s visitation inserts two Williams whom the other authorities assert to have been not the father and grandfather, but the brother and the nephew of John who married the Tyas heiress. This William Wentworth who married the Pollington heiress was Wentworth of Wentworth-Woodhouse.
The father of William who married the Pollington heiress was also William of Wentworth-Woodhouse, according to all the authorities, except the Glover visitation, which gives the father’s name as Roger, and does not mention his mother. Flower’s visitation gives Lucy Newmarch as his mother (Newmarch was a great family). Foster, Hunter and the Wentworth Genealogy agree in thinking her to have been Dionisia or Dionysia Rotherfield. Back of this, it would seem that although there is good reason to believe that the same family had owned Wentworth-Woodhouse for a considerable time, the pedigrees are clearly entirely worthless, and may be best shown by parallel columns. Hunter says the pedigree he gives is an old one, but entirely discredits it.
Of the pedigrees which follow, one can take his choice. There seems no reason to believe that either is of any value, or anything like correct.