A Stated Meeting of the Society was held in the Hall of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, on Wednesday, 16 December, 1896, at three o’clock in the afternoon.
It had been determined by the Council that the exercises at this Meeting should be in the nature of a Memorial in honor of the late President of the Society, Dr. Benjamin Apthorp Gould, and a Committee190 had been appointed by the Council to prepare suitable Resolutions for adoption on this occasion. A furious snow-storm raged at the time of the assembling of the Society, and prevented the attendance of Vice-President the Hon. John Lowell, who had signified his intention to be present and to say a few words in memory of Dr. Gould. Vice-President William Watson Goodwin was absent in Europe.
Mr. Samuel Wells was called to the chair.
After the Record of the Annual Meeting had been read, Mr. Thomas Minns and Charles Goddard Weld, M.D., were elected Resident Members.
The Corresponding Secretary announced the gift to the Society by Mr. Albert Matthews of a fac-simile reproduction of Bradford’s History of Plymouth Plantation, for which the thanks of the Society were returned.
Mr. Wells then called upon the Committee on Resolutions to submit their Report.
The Committee have the honor of submitting to the meeting what I may designate (because I had no share in their composition) a very excellent series of Resolutions, which I will now read: —
The Members of The Colonial Society of Massachusetts desire to place upon its records some expression of their sorrow on the occasion of the death of its President, Dr. Benjamin Apthorp Gould, on Thursday, the twenty-sixth day of November last.
This grievous loss is the severest blow that could have come upon our Society. In joining those who first organized the Society and in accepting the office of its first President, Dr. Gould brought to it the support and distinction of a name known throughout the world as a leader in his chosen science. To this he added a hearty interest in the objects of this Society, and a faithful attention to the duties of the office which he had accepted. From his earliest youth, Dr. Gould was a remarkable and interesting person. Happily born and bred, he counted always among his friends and intimates some of the ablest men of his time, and he was sought after, as a member, by learned societies in many countries. Such distinctions were the more honorable to him as coming to a man of an unusually out-spoken and even aggressive independence of character and thought, never afraid to speak his mind and never to be attacked with impunity.
Dr. Gould loved the old habits and traditions of life and thought and religious faith and practice in which he had been brought up, and was always ready to bear testimony, on these subjects, to the faith that was in him. He had a wide range of acquaintances, and liked to keep up his association with many varieties of men. For the closer relations of friendship he had a great capacity, and it increased as life went on. He had suffered grievously in his early professional life from calumny and injustice, and afterward from the saddest bereavements in his home. But he kept steadily on at his great tasks until the latest hours of his life; and now, what can be said of few men may be said of him, — that when death came to him all the work which he had laid out to do had been in substance accomplished. He had, indeed, expressed a wish to live until his book upon the Stars of the Southern Hemisphere, for which he had collected material in South America, could be finished. This was not granted him, but he had fully prepared nearly all the book, and had left it in such a shape as to be readily completed by his faithful and devoted assistants. In recent years, his house was growing lonely, as his children grew up, and were married or called away to their own work in life; but his friends always found there the same hearty and delightful welcome. The experiences of life had not embittered him; they seemed, rather, to have softened him, and to have added to his old, engaging qualities of wit, hospitality of thought, and hearty sympathy, a still wider range of appreciation and kindly and charitable judgment His name will be cherished by this Society with gratitude and affection.
Mr. James Bradley Thayer then spoke as follows: —
Others will speak of Dr. Gould’s great achievements in science, of his remarkable intellectual powers, and his distinguished place among the men of his time.
I have only a very few words to say, mainly of Dr. Gould as a friend. Even so, I have little right to speak, as compared with those intimate and life-long companions of his who are here with us this afternoon. But I had grown to be very much attached to him, and am thankful to say a word or two.
Long before I knew him, I remember seeing him on the streets of Cambridge, while I was in college. At that time he was known to us undergraduates as one of that brilliant company of men, including the young Professors Child and Lane, who led a cheerful and hilarious life together at what was called “Clover Den,” in Follen Street. I have a picture in my mind of his striking figure, vigorous and alert, as he walked along the streets gayly conversing with his friends. But it was not until his return from South America that I personally knew him. I had then the pleasure of sharing in the tribute that was paid to him, in May, 1885, when he was welcomed back to Boston at a dinner by his friends. He set up his house at Cambridge, and since then I have known Mm as a neighbor, and had come to love him as a friend.
The Resolutions speak of his great capacity for friendship. That seems to me particularly just and true. There was something very unusual about the cordiality of his greeting, and the warmth and cheer of the friendly glow that he always brought with him. He was full of sympathy and considerate attention, and knew well all those little kindly arts that minister to the happiness of a friend. You valued the more his kindness when you perceived how steadfast and stanch his regard was for his classmates and all his older intimates. And then his wit was so brilliant, and the play of his faculties so keen and quick! And under it all there was a serious and thoughtful mind, interested in all sorts of subjects, so that good and worthy conversation never failed. Of his lighter talk I remember a little instance that happened some years ago, a trivial little matter, to be sure, but it was characteristic of him, and you will pardon my telling it. I had come upon a Spanish sentence somewhere of which I wanted to get the exact meaning, and I went over to see Dr. Gould. I said to him that I had guessed that his long residence in South America would have made Spanish very familiar to him. He looked at the sentence, and told me at once what I wished to know. “Oh yes,” he added, “for fifteen years I talked in Spanish; and all I wrote was in Spanish; — Spanish,” he gravely added, after a pause, “and Arabic.” I was impressed by that. After a moment I said, “I hadn’t known that you were so familiar with Arabic.” “Yes, indeed,” he said; “why, I published several quarto volumes,” pointing to a bookshelf, “almost wholly in Arabic. Look at them!” I went to the books, opened one of them, and saw page after page of tabulated Arabic numerals!
At our Annual Dinner, on the Saturday before his death, he asked me to drive in with him from Cambridge. He was in excellent spirits. As we were driving out, and had nearly reached the new Harvard Bridge, he pointed up to a lighted window on the left. “There’s Mary,” he said gayly, referring to his daughter, Mrs. Thorndike; “I’m coming in to dine with her on Thanksgiving.” It was that affectionate errand on which he was just starting, on the following Thursday, when the end came. A happy end it was for him, — painless, we may believe, and short, and leaving his fame at its highest. But to many of us, his friends, and to our Society, it brings one of the severest of losses.
Mr. Chairman, — I did not expect to speak on this occasion until yesterday afternoon, and therefore I have not written anything, and have only hastily run over my early recollections of my classmate Gould, and I shall have to present them here very much as they have come up in my own mind, without any attempt at proper arrangement.
I shall not speak of his scientific achievements, because I think that office more properly belongs to some others who are here, but shall rather speak of him as a classmate, and of what I have known of him ever since our college days in consequence of this relation to him.
I never saw Dr. Gould until I met him in 1840 in the recitation-rooms at Cambridge. The freshman class of that day was, in Latin and Greek, divided into three divisions, not alphabetically, but according to the rank in which each one had entered college through the examination for admission. I found myself in the same division with Dr. Gould and with our classmate, Mr. Hale, and in consequence I became better acquainted with Gould and with others in that division than with the majority of the class.
Very soon after the commencement of our course, he invited me to dine with him on Saturday at his father’s house in Winthrop Place in Boston. I accepted the invitation, and afterward I dined with him on Saturdays many times in the freshman and sophomore years. At that time we always walked from Cambridge to Boston and back from Boston to Cambridge, and had much conversation on the way. I recollect that on our way, in one of the earliest of these walks, to my great astonishment he recited whole pages from Homer and from Virgil, and whole odes of Horace and scenes from Terence. It showed a most remarkable memory, which was, I think, one of his great intellectual traits. He retained through life things that he had learned before he was admitted to college, and on many occasions, especially those of a festive character, he would make exceedingly apt quotations from classic authors. This retentive memory served him, too, in his scientific papers afterward.
I wish also to remark in this connection that he had then (and I think he retained it through life) a great predilection for the classics and a great admiration and love for the classic authors. I do not know that he read them much afterward, but he was ready to quote from them at all times in later life.
Another thing that occurred also in those early walks, showing a trait of his character, was the expression of a strong ambition to distinguish himself. I recollect that on one occasion he said if he could gain the reputation and distinction of Edward Everett, he should be ready to sacrifice his life instantly. That, at the time, was a personal ambition, but later it gave place to and became merged in a desire to do something worthy of a man in life, to accomplish something that would characterize properly the dignity of a man, and especially to advance his favorite science of astronomy. Afterward the love of this science took the place of all personal ambition, and later his love of astronomy became merged in a broader feeling even than that. This feeling was, through the enlargement of astronomical knowledge, to advance the intellectual power and dignity and higher welfare of man.
In those days I think he had but little taste, and I should not say that he had any peculiar talent, for mathematics, — I mean the mathematical talent properly so called, because I remember that he now and then “deaded,” as so many others did, and Professor Peirce would write on his book “Take again.” In the earlier part of his college course the classics were his favorite study. I never knew exactly what it was that caused the change in his special studies. His earliest part, which was in the junior year, was a Greek version, Pericles the Athenian being the subject; and I think it was after the middle of the junior year that he first began to devote himself almost completely to mathematics and to science. Perhaps this was done by the advice of Professor Peirce — I think that is very probable, because Professor Peirce advised others of us to make mathematics our special sphere in life. There were in the class seven who took the course of pure mathematics throughout the whole four years of college life. General Wild was one, and Joseph Peabody was another; and another was Charles A. Whitcomb; I was one, and Dr. Gould was one. Professor Peirce, I know, advised me to make mathematics my business in life, but I declined; I presume he advised Gould in the same way. But what, I think, was largely the cause of his change of studies was his admiration for the meetings and proceedings of the British Association for the Advancement of Science. In his junior year he read the Proceedings of that Society, and was filled with admiration for what the Society did and for the men who composed it, and often spoke of them. His part at the beginning of the senior year was on that subject, — the British Association for the Advancement of Science. Its preparation awoke in him a strong enthusiasm that way, and after the beginning of the senior year he gave himself almost completely to the study of mathematics and science.
He developed at that time a capacity for persistent and strenuous application to these studies which was the secret of his success in life. I have visited his room and found him holding his aching head in his hands, yet absorbed in study and working with all his might. It was during the senior year that he especially developed this power of long-continued application. It was the same trait to which, you will remember, Newton ascribed his discoveries, — the power of patient thought. This peculiarity Dr. Gould had, and it was this that enabled him to achieve what he did later in life.
I often visited his room, as he often came to mine; and I want to mention by the way a characteristic thing that came from another of the class, who was at that time a room-mate of Dr. Gould That was Francis Parkman. I think on the first visit that I made to his room I talked over with Parkman the books that we had read, and among other things I told him that I had not then read all of Scott’s novels, and he said, “Oh, how I envy you the pleasure you are destined to have!” He had read them all, and said there was no end to the enjoyment to be had in reading Scott’s novels.
Another trait in Dr. Gould’s character, which has been referred to by Professor Thayer, and which was one of the most remarkable things about him, was the warmth and constancy of his friendships. This is a thing in which the Class of ’44 is perhaps exceptional. We have all been warm, steadfast friends, among whom Dr. Gould was one of the most devoted. In recent years I had been accustomed to meet him during the winter season twice a month at the meetings of the Thursday Evening Club, and we seldom met that he did not take hold of my hand with both his hands and greet me with the warmest expressions. He was accustomed to do this same thing with other members of the Class. It was the very perfection of friendship that he always showed to those who had been his friends.
Professor Thayer has alluded to the mention in the Resolutions of how far he had finished the work he had undertaken to do. I think his life in this respect is remarkable. About three months before Mr. Parkman died, I visited him in his chamber, where he was lying on the sofa. He pointed to a row of books in his bookcase, and said that there was the work of his life; that he had published the last book, had accomplished all that he had set himself to do, and that he felt very happy over it; and I congratulated him on such a completed life-work. I think the life of Dr. Gould was very much the same. He concentrated himself finally upon the work of determining the positions of the Stars in the Southern Hemisphere. After the discovery of the new method of photographing the stars, it was possible to be so much more accurate and to go so much farther that he thought this opened to him a great field; and it raised in him, I think, also a great aspiration for a work that should be of permanent value and use to mankind, and he devoted his life to it from that time. He brought home the results of his observations, and had been working since on the mathematical part of the work and the computation of the positions of the stars as derived from these observations, and he thought he had substantially completed it. He said in his auto-biography that one year more would enable him to finish the work. That was two years ago. I suppose that he had substantially done it. With this, he felt that his active life was a completed life. Very few men can say that; and it is a remarkable thing when a man has completed the work that was his ideal in early days.
There are other things I might refer to, but there are others here who will speak of them. I will only say, further, that when in college we were all very much affected by the preaching of Dr. Walker; and his preaching aroused in Dr. Gould strong religious sentiments which kept their hold upon his mind and heart throughout life.
Mr. Chairman and Fellow-members of The Colonial Society:
I am well aware that, at any ordinary time or on any other occasion than that which has called us together to-day in common mourning, my voice should be silent. But in this commemorative meeting I confess that I should feel grieved to miss the opportunity of adding my tribute, and ashamed if I allowed diffidence to dissuade me from uttering the words which may fitly come from the pupil, assistant, associate, and friend of thirty-four years. I have so recently had occasion, in other places, to put on record Dr. Gould’s achievements, as well as an appreciative estimate of his position and influence in astronomical science, that I need not take your time in repetition. But I feel strongly impelled to say something which could not have been appropriately expressed there, although it may be fittingly uttered here. It is this. Do not make the mistake of supposing that this estimate of the magnitude and character of Dr. Gould’s work and influence was controlled by personal affection or unduly magnified by individual admiration. It was written with the full consciousness that, while it would perhaps be more immediately read by friends who knew him in other relations of life, and only by reputation as a man of science, it would also be scrutinized from a critical standpoint by his astronomical colleagues, and that any overstrained eulogy would injure rather than exalt his reputation among those competent to judge. With a due sense of responsibility for a calm judgment of the place which Gould will take in astronomical history, I am willing to say that it is scarcely possible to place this too high. I happen to know that, in an important astronomical treatise now going through the press, the dedication of it to Gould describes him as “the Argelander of America.” How high the pinnacle is to which he is thus assigned, astronomers will appreciate; but I feel safe in asserting that, in the coming century, the parallel, far from being regarded as fulsome, is more likely to be reversed, and that Argelander may be fitly characterized as “the Gould of Germany.”
Allow me a few words more. In looking over Dr. Gould’s correspondence I have been startled at coming upon something probably unknown to any man now living, and which there is nothing improper in divulging here. I trust you will appreciate its significance, not merely as an episode in his career, but as an epoch in American astronomy.
Coming home, in 1848, from his thorough scientific training abroad, with high aspirations of usefulness and consciousness of intellectual strength, and after devoting efforts for two or three years to hold aloft the standard of a pure astronomical science among countrymen too little appreciative to give practical encouragement to them, he finally became disheartened. At this juncture his old friend and teacher, the great master mind of modern astronomy, Gauss, invited him back to Germany to take the chair of Professor of Astronomy and Director of the Observatory at Göttingen. Such a compliment surely had never come to an American; but it failed to turn him from his purpose, although Peirce and Agassiz strongly advised him to accept the offer, urging the argument that he had done all that could be expected of him as a citizen. In the stalwartness of his patriotism he refused to accede, and staunchly determined to struggle awhile longer. In a few months the invitation was warmly renewed, at a time when he was overcome by physical weakness, and he reversed his decision. By a fortunate accident he again put aside the temptation, which might well have dazzled a young man of twenty-seven. But for this, America would have lost him and his splendid record for our higher civilization. His subsequent brilliant career would have redounded to the glory of Germany and to the shame of our native land. This calamity was averted, and his honorable record saved as a precious heritage to this community, by his noble love of country.
Can any words be too tender, or any phrases too appreciative, of the friend we have lost, of the example he has set us?
The Hon. Darwin E. Ware then paid the following tribute to the memory of our late President: —
The distinguished man whose loss we deplore was an astronomer of a world-wide fame due to extraordinary achievements in astronomical science. He was also the President — almost, I might say, the Founder — of this Society, — a Society based upon devotion to the memory of our Colonial ancestry, blended with the national sentiment of patriotism for the country in whose wonderful history so much that is best is derived from the Pilgrim and Puritan fathers. How profoundly he was imbued with the sentiments this Society would inculcate has been observed by us all. He had a genial nature, sympathetic to festive occasions. But his opening discourses at our Annual Dinners set down for the anniversary of the signing in the cabin of the “Mayflower” of the celebrated Compact of government, were delivered in solemn tones and with a gravity of reverence that was almost austere. This enthusiasm for man in history, for the moral side of the world, is not usually found, at least in modern times, combined with devotion to astronomical pursuits. With the ancients it was not so. Thales, the founder of Greek astronomy, was one of the seven wise men of Greece. He was wise with an all-round wisdom. He was philosopher, statesman, and astronomer. Pythagoras founded a school of moral reform. The philosopher Plato was not without his influence on the advancement of astronomical knowledge. Aristotle, who wrote treatises on ethics and politics, wrote also a treatise on astronomy. But the vocation of the modern astronomer is so absorbing, the learning to be amassed so extensive, the methods of investigation so manifold, difficult, and intricate, as well-nigh to exhaust the whole passion of life.
Kant, in his “Theory of Ethics or Practical Philosophy,” says:
“Two things fill the mind with ever new and increasing admiration and awe, the oftener and the more steadily we reflect on them: the starry heavens above and the moral law within.”
It is equally true that no calling appeals so strongly to the imaginations of men as that of the astronomer. This comes of his ability to observe facts beyond the range of common observation, and to combine with them reasonings and calculations to which comparatively few minds are equal. One science in particular, the very monarch of sciences, he must master and make his slave, — the mathematics, — a science of such universal range that no phenomena of the material world are beyond the rule of its majestic formulas. Invested with the power to weigh the planets, to calculate eclipses, to predict the advent of comets, the hours and minutes of tides, to explain the motions and laws of the heavenly bodies, the astronomer seems to the common mind more like an intellectual archangel than a man.
That the sublimities of the stellar universe, its immensities of space, the awful poise and balance of wildernesses of worlds upon worlds and systems upon systems do not fail to impress profoundly not only the philosopher but every reflecting mind, is unquestionably true. It does not, however, usually happen that the votary of the science of the starry heavens is equally impressed with the sublimity of the moral law as manifested in human consciousness and human history. It would seem almost impossible that the incessant contemplation of these infinities of space, these eternities of time, these starlit illimitable ubiquities, should not give a warping bias to an astronomer not endowed with an indomitable humanity. How remote must be his thoughts from human affairs; how vast and cold the solitude in which he lives; how complete his isolation! From the range of the telescope he points night after night and year after year, there comes not a ray or pulsation that reaches the heart. The peril seems almost inevitable that, by contrast, human affairs shall appear altogether petty, and human life an insignificant thing.
Fortunately for most of us, we do our work in the garish light of the matter of fact day, under a monotonous concave of sky, with attention undistracted from the common cares of daily life, except for the passing splendor now and then of a sunrise or a sunset, and at times the transient grandeur of lightning, of thunder, and of storm. The roofs of our houses when we are indoors, the obstruction of building walls and chimney-pots when we are in the streets, and the general appropriation of the night to sleep save us from any danger of too much observation of the stars.
The poet has made a lover at odds with life address to the stars this language of desolation, —
“A sad astrology, the boundless plan
That makes you tyrants in your iron skies
Innumerable, pitiless, passionless eyes
Yet with power to burn and brand
His nothingness into man.”
But to a rare nature like Dr. Gould’s the solitudes, the isolations, the inexorable laws familiar to the astronomer’s thought by the very reactions they induced, might only deepen and quicken the courses of human feeling; might stimulate that hunger of the heart that only human relations and human affections could satisfy; might stir into action the deeper instincts of the mind, the sense of personality and of its moral law, against an oppressive domination; might rouse the soul within, towering in the ecstasy of its supremacy above the world of matter, to wreak upon the very stars the defiance,— “I am greater than ye all.”
And here let me say, that I know of no man of science who has seemed to me more exempt from any bias engendered by scientific pursuits. Dr. Gould kept his observatory, his portfolios, and his mathematics in the world to which they belonged. The thoroughness of his culture is shown in the fact that they were not allowed to alienate him from the study of history, the enjoyment of literature, and an active interest in everything affecting the social and national welfare. He was full of human interests. He could repeat with entire truth the words that called out the applause of the Roman theatre, Homo sum; humani nihil a me alienum puto. He touched life at many points, and found companionship everywhere.
In affaire of business and in undertakings involving scientific aims he stood for honor and integrity and the highest practicable ideal, inexorable as the iron plan of the celestial mechanics.
I will not recount the qualities that attracted the regard and won the affection of his fellow-men; I will but read the Dedication he gave to Ins Zone Catalogue of Southern Stars: —
THIS CATALOGUE OF SOUTHERN STARS,
the fruit of nearly thirteen years of assiduous toil,
is dedicated to the beloved and honored memory
MARY APTHORP QUINCY GOULD,
to whose approval and unselfish encouragement
the original undertaking was due,
by whose sympathy, self-sacrifice, and practical assistance
its execution was made possible,
who bravely endured privation, exile, and afflictive bereavement
that it might be worthily finished,
but who has not seen its completion.
Mr. Chairman, thinking of him now, I do not think of his “gray spirit yearning with desire to follow knowledge,” and scaling the gleaming battlements of the universe for a nearer view of what he beheld from afar on earth; but rather I think of him as standing on the shining orb first reached by Dante in his ascent into Paradise, and hearing another Beatrice, “from whom no care of his could be concealed, towards him turning, blithe as beautiful,” and saying unto him, “Fix gratefully thy mind on God, who unto the first star has brought us.”
Mr. S. Lothrop Thorndike followed with some feeling remarks concerning his old friend, between whom and himself the relations had of late become so close. He said: —
Mr. Chairman, — So much has been said that is true and appropriate, that there is little to add, — certainty nothing to controvert. The various events of our President’s distinguished career have been sufficiently mentioned. The points of his beautiful and interesting character have been described, both in the Resolutions and in the remarks already made, in words which must seem to all who had the great pleasure of his friendship simply just and appreciative.
I knew Dr. Gould before he went to South America, just as Mr. Thayer has said that he knew him at that period, merely as a younger man knows an older man of the same college. The date of graduation in those early times makes a great difference. We look upon the man who graduated eight or ten years before us with a sort of filial respect, and upon the man who graduated ten years afterward with a sort of paternal interest. These relations of age last more or less through life, although, as time rolls on, the distances are amazingly shortened.
Knowing Gould in those early days simply as a younger man an older, I still knew him well enough to feel the charm of his social quality, the brightness of his conversation, and the quickness of his wit. Then, too, for our acquaintance, such as it was, must have begun soon after his return from his European studies, there was added in my mind to Ins social attraction an admiring respect for the reputation which he had already won as a rising light of American science.
When he came home from South America, our acquaintance became more intimate. Our ages had grown nearer each other. We were neighbors and friends in Cambridge. We often met in that great social club which is called Freemasonry. Still later in life, within the last few months, we became more closely bound together by certain domestic ties.
I was glad to hear and to agree with what was said by Mr. Sears of Gould’s versatility of mind. This was, perhaps, the most remarkable thing about him. He is known to his brethren in science as the great astronomer, the great master of applied mathematics. In this capacity he is renowned throughout two continents. It is in this capacity that his name is mentioned in scientific journals, in encyclopædias, in the records of learned societies. But we, his neighbors or his associates in matters quite outside of science, knew him so differently. To us, apart from the advantage and delight of his friendship, what was most striking was his general scholarship, and especially his love for what used to be called the humanities. He had been edited, like the Virgil and Horace that we used to study, cura B. A. Gould; for his father, whose name he bore, was the learned teacher whose books instructed, or perhaps harassed, our boyhood. There is extant an early letter of the father, praising the Latin of a letter of the son, and apologizing for replying in English, because he says he is in haste, and in that condition can write more easily in lingua vernacula. He had, besides, lived for many years with the lovely person whom he called Aunt Hannah, but whom we always think of as the poetess of our juvenile days. Whether, as reported, he ever translated an ode of Horace at the age of five, it is not worth while to inquire; but it is certain that his first part in college was a Greek part, that he left college to become the principal of a Latin school, and when he came back from Europe he taught the modem languages in Cambridge. His acquaintance with modern tongues was of an order quite unusual in America. Of course he knew German as well as English, for he was a Doctor of Philosophy at Göttingen. He knew Spanish equally well, for he lived for many years in a Spanish country. He knew French well enough to make an address in that language before the French Academy. He also had a working and speaking acquaintance with Italian, and a smattering of two or three other languages. His Latin, as Mr. Sears has remarked, he never lost. One could not quote a Latin verse to him without his instantly capping it with another; and he made just as bad puns in Latin as in English.
But it was not merely in science or in the languages that he was remarkable. He had the most extraordinary memory. He had read and remembered all sorts of things, some of them curious, out-of-the-way matters, and he had this vast stock of information always on tap. One could touch on almost no subject without finding that it was something about which he had thought and could talk.
A noteworthy trait in his character was his fondness for old matters. He liked things as they had been a great deal better than as they were going to be. This statement must not apply to his science. In that he was always progressive. But in regard to the ordinary affairs of every-day life it is eminently true. He enjoyed much more a meeting of the Society of the Cincinnati or of the Bunker Hill Monument Association, or perhaps even of The Colonial Society of Massachusetts, than he would have enjoyed a dinner of the Reform Club, had he ever gone to one, which I am sure he never did. This fondness for old things he carried perhaps to an extreme. It was that, no doubt, in part which attracted him to Freemasonry. I do not mean to say that this was its only attraction. His first impulse to join it, just before he went to South America, was perhaps the same that in its early days prompted so many merchants and sailors who had business in foreign countries, and desired there some closer tie of companionship and friendship than their business could give them. Then, too, at all times the lodge was a restful place to him. The assertiveness, strong but never bitter, to which he was always prone on questions of religious, political, or social dogma found no place there. He was not moved to bear witness upon any of these topics, and this very circumstance was a relief and a repose. Still, as I have just said, its antiquity was a delight to him. He liked to feel when he went into the lodge room that he was upon the same ground that the Warrens and the Quincys and John Hancock and John Lowell and Paul Revere had trod in the last century, and that nothing there had changed.
May I add a single word to the remark in the Resolutions of his being of an aggressive character and never subject to attack with impunity? That is very true. Quite by the side of his remarkable capacity for friendship was his capacity for controversy. He was born with this, and he had been trained in it by some bitter experiences. If an adverse opinion approached him in hostile attitude, he was in his earlier days always ready, not with the mild answer, but with the return blow; but this combativeness became much softened in later life. Then, if an adverse opinion approached him, he received it differently. The phrase in our Resolutions, “hospitality of thought,” is an especially happy one. When the opinion different from his own was advanced, he agreed with it no more than before, but he received it hospitably. He greeted it, not with the welcome of a friend, but with the courtesy with which he would have received an opponent under his roof.
Age, Mr. Chairman, has many blessings. Among the chief, perhaps, is this, that if the wine of life is wholesome and pure, it grows sweeter and mellower as it grows older. So it was with Dr. Gould.
At the close of Mr. Thorndike’s remarks, Mr. Edward Wheelwright spoke as follows: —
Dr. Gould was pre-eminently an Astronomer; but he was not only that, — he was emphatically a many-sided man. His character, his natural abilities, and his acquirements would have assured him success in almost any sphere of activity to which he might have chosen to apply himself. I must leave others to tell of his attainments in that noble science to which he devoted his best energies; I can only speak of him as a man and as a friend and classmate. I first knew him when we entered Harvard College together in the class which graduated in 1844. I did not know him intimately while in college. We were separated in our studies and recitations by the alphabetical divisions which then prevailed, and in the classical department by his superior scholarship. We never roomed in the same building nor boarded at the same table. In short, we did not belong to the same set, for there were sets even in those remote days. He came to college well grounded in Greek and Latin, as became a pupil of the Boston Latin School and the son of one of its most distinguished head-masters. He naturally took high rank from the outset in the classical department, and, as already mentioned by Mr. Sears, the first college distinction awarded him was a Greek version in the Exhibition of 2 May, 1842.
At the Dinner given to Dr. Gould at the Vendome, 6 May, 1885, President Eliot, as reported in the Boston Herald, said, “I suppose one reason why Dr. Gould gave a good deal of time to the study of Greek when he was in college was that it was a required study then and that he had to.” But that was certainly not the only reason. He loved Greek and Latin for their own sake, and because he believed that a certain familiarity with them was an indispensable part of a truly liberal education.
In a speech at the Annual Dinner of the Latin School Association in 1886, he made a noble defence of the study of the classics as a sure foundation for scientific investigation, using the words in their broad significance.
“. . . Signs are not wanting,” he said, “that the cause of scholarly culture in America is in greater danger now than ever before since our forefathers’ feet first pressed New England soil. ‘Quis custodiet ipsos custodes.’ But in spite of all the adverse tendencies, are we not warranted in the hope and faith that the Boston Latin School will remain, as of old, a bulwark of classical training and letters against the pseudo-utilitarian tendency of the times; that its energies are not to be devoted solely to the attainment of just so much education, and in just such directions as may happen to be requisite at the time for passing examinations for admission to this or that institution of higher grade; but that its pupils may be assured of such culture as is indispensable for scholarly training, and the school vindicate its old renown as a centre of education for a sphere of far greater radius than the limits of our city of Boston. . . . Let it plant again such seeds as it planted of old, — germs of scholarly taste, intellectual refinement, and scientific investigation, — so that her sons may long continue to look to her with pride, knowing that she has been true to her traditions of the past and to the bright and long-cherished auguries for her future. And when I say scientific investigations, Mr. President, I use the words in no narrow sense. Science, or, in the Saxon form, knowledge, are words too noble to be dwarfed by vulgar misapplication. There is no real science but the knowledge of laws. Acquaintance with isolated facts, no matter how numerous, is not science, nor can it ever be transmuted into science save by the power of generalization, which alone can resolve its chaos into order or transform the mass — rudis indigestaque moles— into symmetry and light”
Again, in replying to certain questions propounded to candidates for the Board of Overseers of Harvard College for the year 1886, he said, in answer to the second question, “as to making it possible to enter Harvard without the knowledge of Greek,” —
“. . . While maintaining that a University should aim at providing instruction in all departments of learning, and that ignorance on one subject ought to deprive nobody of facilities for learning others, it would grieve me if any diploma, of a sort hitherto and elsewhere accepted as a certificate of certain scholarly attainments, should be conferred by our Harvard upon those who do not possess them. I should regret to see the degrees of Bachelor or Master of Arts conferred upon young men who have never learned sufficient Latin, Greek, and mathematics to enter college at present; for these degrees have hitherto had a special meaning, and the procedure would be too much like giving false certificates.”
Plainly his zeal for the study of the ancient classics did not need to be stimulated by any official requirement. It is equally plain that his knowledge of Latin and Greek was no impediment to his early attainment of the highest rank in sciences other than philological. It was a help, not a hindrance. In his later years in college, however, he did not feel the need of giving special attention to the classics, and was apparently satisfied with the proficiency he had already attained in this essential branch of what he was fond of calling “an all-round liberal education.” Henceforth he felt at liberty to devote himself to those studies more closely allied to what he no doubt had premonitions was to be his special calling in life. In the second Exhibition in which he took part, in the first term of his senior year, he was assigned a disquisition on “The British Association for the Advancement of Science,” while at Commencement his part was again a disquisition having for its title “The Infinite in Mathematics.” This part, he says in the autobiography which he furnished in 1869 to the first edition of the Class History,191 “he was not permitted to deliver for want of declamatory ability.” This seems a strange statement in view of his success as a speaker in after life. His style of speaking would not, indeed, be called declamatory; but whenever he had anything to say he Knew how to say it, in a manner appropriate to the occasion, whether in English, Spanish, or German.
According to his own testimony, in the Class History above referred to, “he worked hard in college, but not with sufficient regard to college routine;” and he adds that he “found Channing a severe trial.” This means, I suppose, that he found it difficult, as many others have done, to write themes upon set subjects in which he took no special interest. He was wont also in later years to complain of the injustice of assigning to the rhetorical department an undue influence in determining the rank of the student. It was probably owing to his comparative ill success in rhetoric that he failed to attain a higher place in the rank-list of his class, and that he was given at Commencement a Disquisition only, and not a Dissertation or an Oration. His standing, however, was sufficiently high to entitle him to membership in the Φ B K. In the Commencement Order of Exercises he is noted for “high distinction” in Mathematics and Physics. Another cause for his failure to obtain a higher rank in college might be found in the fact that at the end of the freshman year he incurred the penalty of “suspension” for four months for complicity in the making of a bonfire. This involved the loss of a considerable number of marks. It will be difficult, doubtless, for those who knew Dr. Gould only by reputation, as a grave mathematician and astronomer, to conceive of him as participating in this boyish prank, in which, however, he had as coadjutor and fellow-sufferer a classmate who is now a most grave and serious member of the legal profession, —
“With many a well-placed trust weighed down.”192
Boys will be boys, even if they afterward become astronomers and trustees; and to be thoroughly a boy is not a bad preparation for becoming emphatically a man, totus teres atque rotundus.
But to those who knew him in the familiar intercourse of everyday life, Dr. Gould was never the grave mathematician and astronomer. He was no pedant. He never posed, never paraded his scientific acquirements. He did not go about, so to speak, with a telescope under his arm and an equatorial in his waistcoat pocket. He did indeed delight, in his later visits to Europe, as he has himself told me, to meet one or more of his old instructors or fellow-students in astronomy, in some quiet Swiss valley, and to lie on the grass and “talk shop” with them by the hour. Rarely, if ever, was there anything professional in his talk among his non-professional friends at home.
My intimacy with him increased after leaving college. My position as Secretary of the Class brought me constantly into relation with him as one of the original members of the Class Committee, and made me the vehicle of communication between him and the Class as a body. It thus fell to me to acquaint him with the action taken by the Class on several occasions, notably on the death of his wife. During his long exile in South America, the fact that I had myself once been in that part of the world, and that I had some knowledge of Spanish and of the characteristics of Spanish American populations, was a new bond of sympathy between us. He was a constant attendant at the Annual Meetings of his Class on Commencement Day when at home, and was always the life and Soul of these meetings. His cheerful and cordial manner, his great fund of anecdote, his retentive memory of whatever had taken place in our college days, his eager desire to know all that had happened to each of us since graduating, his exuberant wit and humor, his contagious laugh, his apt quotations, especially from the classics, — all these made him a most delightful companion. He was fond of a good dinner and of good wine, though using always a wise moderation in the enjoyment of both, and has been more than once heard to declare that so long as he was President of The Colonial Society those adjuncts should never be wanting to its Annual Meetings. It is fitting that in memory of him the custom be preserved. Esto perpetua!
Evidence of Dr. Gould’s versatility may be found in the list of societies, other than scientific, to which he belonged. He was a member of the Massachusetts Society of the Cincinnati and the Bunker Hill Monument Association, of both of which he was Vice-President; of the New England Historic Genealogical Society, in which he was for a time Councillor and afterward Vice-President; of the Bostonian Society; of the St. Botolph Club, and not a few others.
Genealogy was a favorite study with him. A year or two ago he completed an exhaustive genealogy of the Gould family which had occupied him at intervals for forty years.
He also, as a diversion, gave from time to time considerable attention to the study of astrology.
Intensely patriotic, he was very proud of his inherited membership in the Cincinnati, whose meetings he never failed to attend when possible. Of the Bunker Hill Monument Association, he could boast that he was the eldest in date of all living members, his father having caused his name to be entered on the rolls when he was only a few months old.
An instance may be given of his qualifications for a mercantile career. His father, after retiring from the position of Principal of the Boston Latin School, engaged in trade with China and the East Indies. In these enterprises he had met with reverses, and at his death, in 1859, his affairs were greatly embarrassed. Dr. Gould, as his executor, found it necessary, in order to settle the estate, to continue his father’s business. This he did for more than four years with eminent success, proving himself to be possessed of business abilities which, had he so chosen, might possibly have made him one of our merchant princes.
But Gould valued money only as a means, not as an end, and was glad, at the earliest possible moment, to lay aside the merchant’s ledger and to take up again his astronomical studies. His whole life is a shining example of unselfish devotion to science. He was wholly free even from personal ambition. He strove not to make himself a name, but to advance the cause of Science, and especially to gain for American Astronomy an equal footing with that of Europe.
Of his connection with this Society and his work in its behalf it is needless to speak. One of its Founders, he has been from the beginning its head and its heart. To him we all looked for counsel and guidance and encouragement. Its interests were very dear to him, and its success his constant desire. We certainly owe it to him to do our utmost to make it all that he wished it to be.
Mr. Chairman and Fellow-members of The Colonial Society of Massachusetts:
The vivid recollection of Dr. Gould’s presence with us at our last meeting makes it impossible for us to think of him as absent now. And therefore we all feel that the words which we bring as a tribute to his memory must be those which we should not hesitate to employ if he were in truth with us here to-day.
You have asked me to refer to Dr. Gould’s relations to scientific organizations. Perhaps your wishes can best be carried out if our time is devoted to a brief consideration of Dr. Gould’s conception of the highest type of a scientific organization, namely, a University. My knowledge of his views comes from frequent interviews and from a study of his writings on this subject.
My personal acquaintance with him began soon after his return from South America. Brought nearer together by our official associations in the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the National Academy of Sciences, this acquaintanceship was exchanged for the more precious treasure of intimacy. Although we differed widely in regard to men and things, and sometimes engaged in rather hot controversies, this intimacy was never clouded.
On one occasion I brought to him some perplexing questions concerning the relations of certain plants of the Argentine to their climatic surroundings. The extent and accuracy of his knowledge in regard to this matter, which belonged in a field considered remote from that which he had made his own, introduced naturally the subject of broad scientific training and higher education. The views which he expressed regarding the constitution of colleges and universities showed that he had given to the subject most serious attention. When, however, I said to him that his views were abreast or even a little ahead of the times, he replied that he had published his opinion a good many years ago, in fact, before steps had been taken to supplement college work by university training in this country; but he did not refer me to his printed statement of his views.
Lately I have found the published expression of these opinions. The address to the Phi Beta Kappa Fraternity at Hartford, in 1856, forty years ago, embodies Dr. Gould’s views relative to higher education. Let us remember, as we review them, that they were uttered before Harvard began its transformation, — before, in fact, any of our great colleges had struck out the new paths. Inspired by his studies in Europe, Dr. Gould sought for our country University advantages.
Forty years ago the American idea of a University was largely that of a group of professional schools clustered around a common centre for greater convenience in giving professional instruction. May I ask you to see how completely Dr. Gould’s conception at that time differed from that of his contemporaries, and how rightly it can be said that he had fully realized the necessity of having in our country a true University. He says: —
“It is not solely to diffuse the quickening, life-giving streams of truth, but to fill and keep high the fountains whence all the channels are supplied. It is not so much for preparing the student to be a lawyer or physician, as for teaching him the fundamental principles of law and medicine, and imbuing his whole being with the deep truths which underlie those principles themselves. . . . If, for the sake of condensation and antithesis, I might presume to clothe my meaning in a somewhat paradoxical form, — while the usefulness of a College may be measured with considerable propriety by the number and character of its students, that of a University is in the ratio of the number and character of its professors. . . . Surely there can be no confusion as to the boundary line between these two distinct institutions. One is designed to answer the demands of the community and of the age; the other to point out the paths and lead our country on to a higher, nobler, holier, sublimer eminence than it could otherwise attain, or than would otherwise be striven for.”
And, further, —
“We want no University keeping up with the times, and commending itself to the public approval.”
Those who had the privilege of knowing Dr. Gould intimately will bear me witness that this was one of his characteristic paradoxical forms of speech. It must be qualified by what he had in mind and what he said next: —
“We want one which shall be just as far ahead of the age as is consistent with being within hail, — which shall enlarge and expand the mind and taste and appreciation of the public, compelling the admiration of that public, not soliciting its approval. We want a University, which, instead of complying with the demands of the age, shall create, develop, and satisfy new and unheard-of requisitions and aspirations, — which, so far from adapting itself to the community, shall mould that community unto itself, and which through every change and progress shall still be far in advance of the body social, guiding it, leading it, urging it onward.
“That men are born with faculties for progress, with inward promptings to investigation accompanied by the capacity to conduct it, is a sufficient indication that the Creator and Supreme Disposer meant these powers to be cultivated. And the experience of all humanity teaches, that His providence is so exerted as to reward intellectual triumphs by temporal blessings, conferred, if not on the individual, at least upon the race. We know that strong taste, impulses and capacities for searching out the secrets of nature, developing the beauties of art, discovering the laws of existence and of thought, are sparsely and diversely conferred. And since, without the support and aid of society, these lofty impulses cannot be gratified, the conclusion is inevitable, — that it is a duty of the State to promote the culture of special mental powers as well as the education of general capacity, and thus to ensure for the benefit of the Commonwealth the maximum spiritual activity of its citizens. I will not attempt to follow, expand, or illustrate this argument. To you its pursuit, expansion, illustration are in no wise necessary. Indeed, an excuse is needed for the allusion to what is so self-evident and palpable. Would that the apology were not at hand! But till our own America may boast a University where all her sons, whatever their peculiar bent or taste, may find an opportunity to gain new light and larger knowledge, we must dwell on this, were it the tritest of themes, and lay stress on it, were it the most elementary of axioms. . . . The mode of organization is a secondary question, no matter how great may be its intrinsic importance. . . . Spread out before us is the history of a hundred nations, whence we may learn merits, dangers, safeguards. . . . Under any system there will be a living force, a vital shaping energy, which will soon mould everything to such conformation with the other institutions, the manners, the habits of the age, as is needed for establishing the mutual relations through which all the blessings are to flow. In other lands and times, this adaptation has been the work of a ‘historic development’ But in our land it will follow, in like manner, in immeasurably shorter time, from the increased vigor of all the influences which act upon the body social and politic; and, chief of all, from the great fact that it concerns no privileged class, but the whole people, among which and for which and by which it is to exist.”
Mr. Samuel Wells spoke as follows: —
Although our dear friend, Dr. Gould, was engaged all his life in absorbing occupations, in work that seemed to have no limit of hours, no marked resting-places such as men of business or even professional men find arranged for them, yet he gave much of his time to social intercourse with his fellow-men. It did not seem to be with him so much a calculation as to the usefulness of recreation, as a natural and spontaneous enjoyment in the society and conversation of those he loved. Often and often he would drop the work at his desk, and in harsh and inclement weather go to a distance to join a circle of congenial spirits. No one was more welcome than he; his hearty clasp of the hand, his pleasant, often joyous smile brought happiness wherever he came. He was so natural with it all, and so easy and friendly with every one, that when he entered a room where were his friends they would gather round him at once to receive his greeting and listen to his kindly words. He had also a keen sense of humor and a natural and vivacious wit that enlivened his conversation and made intercourse with him always interesting and desirable. It was this love of friends and friendship that led him to join many societies which had social and other functions not connected with his daily work.
Dr. Gould was especially attracted to Freemasonry by the disinterested friendship that he found embodied in its principles and demonstrated in its practice; and the lodge in which he first learned these principles and witnessed their examples, the Lodge of St. Andrew, in Boston, became his Masonic home. For many years he knew every member of the Lodge, and was beloved by them all. He was much interested in the history of this Lodge, chartered in 1756, containing among its members many distinguished men, of whom Gen. Joseph Warren and Col. Paul Revere may be mentioned; and it was expected that Dr. Gould would contribute largely, had he lived, to a Memorial to be prepared to celebrate the one hundred and fiftieth anniversary of the foundation of the Lodge.
Dr. Gould’s character and abilities were such as to entitle him to hold any Masonic office that he might desire. The highest position he attained was that of Deputy Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts. He performed the duties of this office, at the sacrifice of his personal comfort and the neglect of his favorite pursuits, with entire satisfaction to all who were associated with him. No doubt he could have been elected to the office of Grand Master, but he felt that the duties of that office would be too engrossing, and he therefore declined to be a candidate for it.
He was much gratified on receiving the complimentary Degree known as the Thirty-third, or last, conferred only on distinguished Masons; and this honor he fully appreciated.
He found in these associations the gratification of that thirst for love and friendship, honest and truthful, that he longed for. He did not love everybody; he frankly and freely expressed his dislike of shams and pretensions and selfish forthputting; but the true, faithful, and unselfish friend, even if wanting the highest order of intellect or the refinement of scholastic education, he could grasp by the hand and with his frank and beautiful smile say, “My brother.”
To those of us who have been associated with him in these quiet retreats, free from annoying cares, from political or polemic strifes, where heart went out to heart and mutual affection guided our intercourse, his loss is irreparable, his absence leaves a void we cannot fill, and the shadow of our bereavement will never pass away.
The Hon. George S. Hale then said: —
Mr. Chairman and Brethren of the Society:
It is most fitting that I should leave to those whom you have asked to speak to you the larger portion of the eulogy to be given to our dear friend; but I should be very sorry to have a meeting like this close without one word, at least, from myself in recognition and token of a friendship of fifty years — more than fifty years — without a cloud or an interruption, although I cannot assume or expect to add to the interesting reminiscences and the justly measured phrases of glowing appreciation which have occupied us this afternoon.
Of the associations that have already interested you so much, my own recollections are close and dear. The Class of 1844 were justly proud of him, and he was kind and devoted and affectionate to us. We were not needed for his glory, but we were very glad to share it by reflected light. Even in such an assembly as this, we shall be excused for the pride with which we remember the trio which adorned our list, — Gould, Parkman, Hunt, — entitled to no second honors in Science, History, or Art. In the Harvard Peerage, which fastidiously preserves a list of “certain honors and positions” held by her sons for nearly two hundred and sixty years, there are only three names among the Bachelors of Art — Edward Everett (1811), George Bancroft (1817), and Alexander Agassiz (1855) — winch bear a larger number of these tokens than his own. I recall the quietness with which not long since he spoke of one of great rarity and dignity then recently received from Prussia as Knight of the Order for Merit, recorded of one only of those three besides himself.
During a large part of his life I had not the pleasure of seeing him and enjoying that friendship of which I have spoken, and which grew warmer and warmer from the days of the kindly hospitality of his father’s house — which Mr. Sears has described — to the last hours of our meeting. It is with delight and pleasure that I recall his companionship, but much of his life I could not share. His own sacrificial absence, his devotion to his duties, and the time which he gave to scientific pursuits here and abroad separated him from us. When he returned after what I have spoken of as his sacrificial absence, it was with pleasure that I was permitted then to express our feeling in regard to him in a few lines communicated to the meeting with which we welcomed him. I hope it will not seem a liberty if I read them to you now, although not new nor written for this occasion, and also I hope that they may be preserved as the expression on the records of this Society of my appreciation and affection.
Bright Argo brings a hero back,
With tales of distant worlds and fair,
Shining in skies beyond our sphere,
Yet weighed and numbered by his care.
Bright with the light of Southern stars,
He seems to wear a Southern cross;
Fit token of the honors won
Through toil and grief, and pain and loss.
From far-off lands to us unknown,
Which see, with pride, his name displayed
On their bright skies, thus made his own.
But not alone “The Southern Crown”
Shall cast its halo round his head:
The stars he worshipped in his youth
Their shining welcomes o’er him shed.
May their “sweet influence” give him rest;
His be the honors they confer;
And long unsaid the fated words, —
“E vivis cessit stelliger”!
May I repeat in another sense the hope that those fated words are still unsaid, and may we remind ourselves that although marked among the stars he still lives, starred himself.
It has been said that he had finished his work. I was a little surprised, remembering that one of his last remarks to me was, “I hope I shall be able to finish my work.” I am very glad if that hope has been, as it has been said, better and more fully accomplished than this may have seemed to imply; but there is a sense, which we all recognize, in which his work is not finished and never will be finished, for it can never be ended for such a mind.
“O, thinking brain that lately with us wrought,
By death surprised at thine unfinished task,
For one a thousand lives thou shouldest ask;
Learning is endless, infinite as thought.
“Go forth, great mind, raised, now a deathless soul!
See, weigh, prove all things scanned with larger eye
Ere thou that slakeless thirst canst satisfy,
What æons needed to o’errun the whole!”
Dr. William Watson called attention to one subject, in which Dr. Gould was deeply interested, to which allusion had not been made by any of the speakers. He said: —
May I say a word with reference to my own acquaintance with Dr. Gould? The allusion which Dr. Chandler has made to Argelander recalls the fact that something like twenty-five years ago I was the bearer of a message which I delivered in person from Dr. Gould to the venerable astronomer at Bonn; and I can never forget the feeling of affection which the old astronomer displayed toward Dr. Gould, and the cordiality with which he greeted me on Ins account.
One thing more has not been mentioned with reference to Dr. Gould, and that is his complete success in filling Mr. Hilgard’s place as the representative of the United States Government in the International Bureau of Weights and Measures at Château Breteuil, just out of Paris. His achievements there were very welcome, and he constantly labored for the advancement of what was very dear to him, — the establishment of the Metric System in the United States.
The Corresponding Secretary then presented the following letter addressed to him, but intended for this Meeting, from Mr. Henry H. Edes: —
Washington, D. C., 14 December, 1896.
My dear Mr. Davis, — It is a matter of deep regret to me that I shall be unable to attend the meeting of The Colonial Society on Wednesday and have a part in the memorial tribute of affection and respect which will then be paid to the memory of Dr. Gould; but absence from the Commonwealth will preclude my being present.
As our fellowship includes so many personal friends of our late President, the affection and esteem in which he was held, his remarkable attainments in science, his achievements at Cordoba, and the charm of his conversation and companionship, will not lack fit expression and commemoration; yet I cannot refrain from sending this brief written expression of my own feelings on this occasion. Personally I have lost by Dr. Gould’s death a very dear friend whose sympathy and cordial co-operation in various undertakings I have enjoyed for many years. Of his many noble and lovable qualities, his genuine modesty — an attribute of great minds — always impressed me as exemplary. When our organization was in embryo, I asked him to join with our associate Mr. Inches and myself in signing the invitations, to attend the Preliminary Conference which resulted in the organization of The Colonial Society of Massachusetts. With characteristic modesty he demurred, saying that while he sympathized with the movement most heartily and would gladly do what he could to aid it, he thought that some other name would carry greater weight than his. He finally consented, however, to append his signature, but it was with the greatest difficulty that he was persuaded to sign first. The success of the movement was most gratifying to Dr. Gould, and he gave to the Society from the beginning not only the prestige of his great name but the most devoted and constant service. No detail of our work was deemed too trivial to deserve his active interest; and his plans for our future were various and practical. He was impatient of the unavoidable delay in putting the Society on a firm financial basis, and he had much at heart the success of the plan proposed at our last meeting for procuring an endowment; indeed, the very last time I saw him, — only three days before his death, — he called on me to express his regret that he had inadvertently omitted to name, during the Annual Dinner, the Committee contemplated in Mr. Whitney’s motion. This Committee, which Dr. Gould was intending to appoint at the meeting next Wednesday, must be named at a subsequent meeting.
As I write, the thought comes to my mind, Why may not the Memorial which without doubt will be raised to this eminent scholar by his friends and admirers take the form of a permanent endowment of a Society he helped to found, of which he was President at the time of his death, which enlisted so large a share of his sympathy, of whose reputation he was jealous, and whose permanence and success he ardently desired?
Very truly yours,
Henry H. Edes.
Andrew McFarland Davis, Esq.
The Resolutions were then unanimously adopted by a rising vote.