A Stated Meeting of the Society was held in the Hall of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, on Wednesday, 20 January, 1897, at three o’clock in the afternoon, the First Vice-President, the Hon. John Lowell, in the chair.
After the Records of the December Meeting had been read and approved, Judge Lowell said: —
It is my duty to announce the death, since our last meeting, of General Walker, one of the most distinguished members of this Society. The history of his life has been repeatedly given in the newspapers since that event, and in the Resolutions passed by different organizations of which he was a member. I will only recapitulate here shortly some of the principal events of that history. He had a natural and hereditary fondness for what Carlyle calls the “dismal science,” the one with which most of us are afraid to meddle. After he was graduated from Amherst College in 1860, at the age of nineteen, he studied law in the office of Devens and Hoar at Worcester. Fortunately for us, his intention to become a lawyer was not realized; but the course of his life was changed by the breaking out of the war. We have plenty of good lawyers in Massachusetts, but there are few men who could do the work that he has done. There are few who could rival him in the study of Statistics; few, as I have said, who would study as he did the science of Political Economy; few who could so admirably fill the position of head of a great collegiate institution.
Enlisting in the regiment recruited by his friend Charles Devens, he soon achieved distinction in the war, and during the last two years was Chief of Staff — a position of great responsibility, requiring capacity of a superior quality — of that General called “the Superb,” — Hancock. He performed his duties with enthusiasm and won the friendship of his leader. His position as staff officer was not only one of great importance, but it involved personal exposure. He showed courage in the performance of his duties and was wounded once at least. He bore with him from his career in the Army a high reputation for gallantry, for diligence, and for usefulness. He wrote the history of the Second Corps, with enthusiasm, but with little mention of himself.
After the war General Walker became a journalist, as assistant editor of The Springfield Republican. Afterwards he was a professor at Yale for some years. Still later he was the head of the Bureau of Statistics. He was the Superintendent of two Censuses and successfully mastered and marshalled their statistics, and made them the best we have had. He was for a time a lecturer at Harvard. Finally he found his most appropriate place as head of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Under his supervision the Institute has flourished, and greatly increased in the number of its teachers and pupils and in the variety of its courses; and this success, although not altogether to be credited to him, is nevertheless due to his influence in no inconsiderable part. It does not need that the head of such an institution should be a scholar, a lecturer, a teacher, but it is essential that he should be a man who under emergencies could command an army or be the head of a great industrial enterprise, — one who has a knowledge of men and a faculty of dealing with them. He had these qualities, combined with extraordinary powers of conciliation. He had the power of managing not only men, but boys. The qualities of his heart had as much to do with his success as those of his mind. Besides the performance of his duties at the Institute, his activities were manifold, perhaps too much so for his strength.
The success of the Institute made a great impression throughout the world. Last year students came there from all the countries of America, including Canada, from Europe, Australia, and from Japan, to take advantage of the courses of instruction given there. This was partly due to the world-wide reputation of its head. He was especially well-known in Europe. He received the highest honors not only of Harvard, Amherst, Yale, and Columbia Colleges, but of the Universities of Edinburgh, St. Andrews and Dublin, and other European institutions of learning, I believe.
At our last meeting the members of this Society were called upon to express their feelings at the loss of their President. Dr. Gould was to us all that Walker was to the Institute of Technology. Walker was sixteen years younger than Gould, and might confidently have expected many years of continued usefulness. Like Gould he was stricken suddenly, without premonition and without loss of any of his faculties. In our liturgies we pray to be delivered from sudden death, but in our hearts we pray for it.
We have no communications from him, no memoir from his pen in our published Transactions. He has spoken to us at our Annual Meetings, and it is quite probable that if he had lived he would have found time in the midst of his multifarious activities to do something for us of a more permanent character.
At the conclusion of Judge Lowell’s remarks, Dr. George L. Goodale paid a warm tribute to the memory of his classmate and friend, giving a graphic account of General Walker’s college life at Amherst, and remarking upon his tact and influence with the undergraduates, his studious and methodical habits, his close economy of time, and his powers in debate.
The Hon. George S. Hale spoke of General Walker’s life in Boston as the head of the Institute of Technology, — which maintained its high rank at home and abroad under his wise administration, — and as an active member of many literary and scientific associations and social clubs. Continuing, he said: —
President and General Walker, to give him his most conspicuous titles, was born in 1840, graduated at Amherst in 1860, enlisted in the Army in 1861, was Chief of Staff, wounded at Chancellorsville, a graduate of Libby Prison, an Adjutant-General, a Brevet Brigadier-General, an officer of the French Legion of Honor, a Latin and Greek teacher, an editor, Chief of the Bureau of Statistics in the Treasury Department, Superintendent of the Ninth and Tenth Census, a Professor of Political Economy and History in The Sheffield School at Yale, a Lecturer at Harvard and Johns Hopkins, and, in 1881, elected President of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, — fit successor of the admirable William B. Rogers. He wrote upon General Hancock, A History of the Second Army Corps, The Making of the Nation, and the Indian Question; on Wages; Land and its Rent; Money; Money and its Relation to Trade and Industry; Political Economy, etc.
I might speak of General Walker as a citizen and public official, an educator, an author, an economist, a historian, a statistician, an orator, a soldier, and as our associate, or in his happy hour of social pleasure —
“A man so various, that he seem’d to be
Not one, but [many men’s] epitome.”
I do not say all mankind’s epitome, for I do not include the motley array which Dryden credits to his hero. He was entitled to high qualities, moral and intellectual, by inheritance, as the son of Amasa Walker, — a student, an economist, busy in public affairs, — whose book on the Science of Wealth, a manual of Political Economy, went through eight editions.
Honors were showered upon General Walker. Every morning we met him with a new Doctor’s Halo. He was a Doctor of Laws from Amherst, Yale, Harvard, Columbia, and the Universities of St. Andrews, Edinburgh, and Dublin. He deserved these honors, and made people like to honor him. Always accessible, although always at work, always at leisure, and in his reception-room never repellent, those of us who have had occasion to consult him cannot fail to recall with pleasure the open office, almost on the street, to which he welcomed us with cordial counsel. The manner of his sudden death may lead us to suspect that this activity on his part prepared the way for it. He loved social life and was fluent and ready in social intercourse. As a citizen, most independent, free from personal interest, and ready for any public work like Parks, Schools, Libraries, or Art, —
“Totus, teres atque rotundus.”
Mr. John Noble read the following paper on —
In the office of the Clerk of the Supreme Judicial Court for the County of Suffolk is a remarkable and unique collection of papers running through the whole of the Colonial and Provincial periods, and extending from 1629 to 1800. They are more than 250,000 in number, and consist mainly of what were once the files of the various courts of the Colony and the Province of Massachusetts Bay, of the Superior Court of Judicature held in the several counties, and of the Supreme Judicial Court previous to the present century. They are made up not only of the original pleadings in the cases, but also of exhibits, evidence, copies of records and documents used in the trial of those cases, and of all sorts of collateral matter introduced therein. Besides these files of court there are great numbers of miscellaneous papers, records, wills, deeds, correspondence, and papers of every sort of legal and historical character, to be referred to hereafter.
How such a collection, so large and of such varied character, originated and accumulated admits partly of probable explanation and is partly matter of surmise. Through the Colonial period the Assistants appear to have exercised all the three functions of government, judicial, legislative, and executive, to a greater or less degree; at the outset and in the early years all these powers seem to have been vested in the Magistrates sitting as a Court of Assistants, and it was only gradually that the separation of the government into different branches took place. Matters of every description were within their cognizance. Their records and documents would naturally contain papers of every character and on almost every subject of public concern, some in the shape of originals, some as copies. Carefully preserved and handed down from year to year, through the proper official channel, they would in themselves make a numerous collection. Then, as their judicial powers became more distinctly defined and were separately exercised, the files of court, if they ever had that distinctive form, and later the files of their successors, the courts of appellate and highest original jurisdiction, through the lapse of time, the vicissitudes of years, carelessness, accidents, and indefinite assignable causes, lost their original file arrangement, and became mixed in a heterogeneous mass, — perhaps, however, no less carefully preserved.
Into this collection might naturally come valuable papers and documents deemed worthy of preservation, which had no prescribed abiding place. Down to a comparatively recent time, it had only a qualified recognition as a part of the court records, though held jealously within court custody. It was bulky and cumbersome, more or less in the way, undoubtedly, and so it bad floated about, a part of it at least for a century and a half, from one place of deposit to another, — cellars, attics, chests, drawers, and various receptacles. There is a tradition that some of the papers were stored in the Old South Meeting-House during the Revolution, and that the chests were broken open by the British soldiers, who found softer slumbers by spreading their blankets on the contents. Certainly the appearance shows rough usage and is not inconsistent with such a supposition, and the cinders of British pipes may account for many suspicious holes.
Until the present work of restoration and arrangement was begun, a large part of the papers was in the custody of the Superior Court, though even then supposed unquestionably to belong to the Supreme Court. This may he easily accounted for. Down to 1855 the clerkship of the two courts in Suffolk County was joint, the two officials serving in either. Upon the establishment of the Superior Court for that county in that year, in place of the Common Pleas, the clerkships were made distinct. One of the incumbents cared little for such accumulations of the past, the other cared much. The latter, with his antiquarian and historical predilections, gladly assumed an undesired and unprescribed charge, and carried this portion of the treasures to a new field. This part of the collection was known to antiquaries, genealogists, and local historians; it had also furnished material for many valuable and important legal writings.
Between 1875 and 1880 various efforts were made for the safety and preservation of this great mass of valuable and important papers, to collect them together, bring them into the proper custody, find a safe lodgment for them, and arrange them for convenient reference and use. Chief Justice Gray was especially interested in the matter, and once remarked that could this purpose be satisfactorily and successfully accomplished in his time, he should regard it as one of the best monuments of his administration. Various obstacles, however, came up and the undertaking was delayed, but not abandoned. Finally, in 1883, all difficulties had been overcome, and satisfactory arrangements made for accomplishing the work.
On the twenty-third of October, 1883, an Order of the Board of Aldermen was approved by the Mayor “that the Clerk of the Supreme Judicial Court be authorized . . . to arrange conveniently for examination and reference the Early Files in Suffolk County;” and an appropriation was made for the purpose; and later a further order was passed authorizing him “to employ such assistance as will be required.” An Order of the Supreme Judicial Court, through its then Chief Justice, Marcus Morton, was made that its Clerk,
“in pursuance and furtherance of the Order of the Board of Aldermen, . . . be directed to remove all the Court Files and papers now deposited in various drawers in the recording room of the Clerk of the Superior Court, or wheresoever the same be; and also any papers and files deposited in various boxes, chests, and otherwise, in different rooms in the Court House . . . to such room in the Court House as he may be authorized to take for the purpose of carrying out and executing said Order; and to take all necessary and appropriate measures”
therefor. A room was duly assigned, to which the entire collection was removed at once, and placed in security. All was done, of course, with the concurrence and approval of the Superior Court, which gave every assistance in the matter, and at last the work was begun.
Carrying out these orders, Mr. William P. Upham, under whose charge the Court Files in Essex County had been so satisfactorily arranged, was selected as the most competent and fit person, and engaged to take the direct charge of the work of arranging, repairing, and mounting the papers; and with a good force of assistants the start was made early in December of that year, 1883. Many of the papers were in a deplorable condition, in the last stages of disintegration and decay, — some at first sight seeming beyond the hope of restoration, and all needing repair to a greater or less extent. All, with scarcely an exception, have been repaired and preserved; a very few, a percentage not worth considering, were so caked and matted together as to defy every solvent and process tried to separate them, and remained to the last a paper brick, — preserved however, to await further developments and advances; and in a very few cases nothing was found but a mass of fragments too minute to be recognized or distinguished, or only a residuum of dust.
The work of repair and preparation was difficult and delicate, requiring the greatest care and dexterity. It would take too long to go into any details of the various and successive processes; the papers speak for themselves. These manuscripts have now been cleansed from the dust of years, repaired, strengthened, mounted, and securely bound in some six hundred folio volumes, accessible for an indefinite future. They have been arranged by cases, wherever practicable, and in strict chronological order for the one hundred and seventy years which they cover. Wherever found in their original files they have been kept together, and wherever by means of any indorsement or other indication they could be restored to their original arrangement, this has been done. It has been the intention to arrange the whole collection in one body, in the order of time of their use in the courts wherever ascertainable; where this cannot be known, they have been arranged chronologically by their last dates. The collection consists accordingly of a chronological series of papers, used in successive suits, and parallel with the Court Records, interspersed with manuscripts which cannot be identified with any particular case, but arranged by dates to be brought as nearly as possible to their proper place in the series. The papers are numbered consecutively by cases or by the separate papers where they occur, the numbers reaching about 100,000 of groups. There are also two volumes of Plans, and one of Births, Marriages, and Deaths.
Within a few weeks, through the courtesy of the Massachusetts Historical Society, some 15,000 or 20,000 papers, evidently a part of the files of the Superior Court of Judicature, in a very broken and confused condition, which came into the custody of the Society some seventy years ago,193 have been transferred to my charge. These papers are now in process of similar arrangement.
Besides the great collection of manuscripts already mentioned, there is perhaps nearly an equal number which have always remained in the Clerk’s office and have kept substantially their original file arrangement. These are the Files of the Superior Court of Judicature for all the counties, the County of Suffolk being by law the depository of the Records of the court of last resort from the beginning down to 1797.194 These files are broken and imperfect, much disarranged and confused by time and perhaps careless handling and accidents; the papers are in many instances worn, frail, and torn, and in need of immediate attention to prevent irreparable loss. On the conclusion of the first part of the work it was deemed advisable to treat and arrange these in a similar manner; and that work is now going on with rapidity and success. When completed it will make a supplemental aggregation of the same character, and the entire collection will fill some 1100 or 1200 folio volumes. A very large number of the missing files of this court have been found in the heterogeneous collection first described, and this goes to confirm the theory there advanced.
In the course of the years that the work has been going on various additions have been received from various sources, — notably some 6000 papers belonging to the files of the Court which were received from the Commonwealth and restored to the proper custody. About an equal number of Records of the General Court and State Papers were transmitted to the Commonwealth, to which they were found to belong.
A working Index, giving the titles of the cases and the principal matter in each case or number, contained in some thirty volumes, has been made; and a more thorough and exhaustive analytical Calendar, supplemented by a classified Index of every name, place, and subject, is now in progress, and is already completed to 1697.
The entire collection when completed will contain not far from half a million of papers, — an aggregation larger and perhaps more important than anything of the kind to be found in this country, unless, possibly, the Massachusetts Archives in the office of the Secretary of the Commonwealth be excepted. It cannot fail to prove of inestimable value and to bring a lasting credit to the County of Suffolk, which with a wise foresight and an intelligent liberality has so generously undertaken and borne the expense, and to the successive administrations, Mayors, and Aldermen, who have shown their constant interest throughout, and afforded every facility for the prosecution and success of the work.
As to the contents of the collection only a brief hint in the most cursory way is possible, without any attempt at detail. The main part consists, as already said, of the files of the courts of last resort through more than a century and a half, bringing down the litigation and life of the people from the arrival of the “Arbella” to the close of the eighteenth century. In the cases, and in the miscellaneous papers connected with them, is involved a multitude of subjects of interest in the earlier history of the State, — the days of the Colony and of the Province, and of the beginning of the Commonwealth. The peculiar feature of the whole, in fact, is the remarkable variety and wide range of subjects of historical, topographical, genealogical, antiquarian, legal, and general interest.
Here are the records of famous causes which have become historic, pleadings, special verdicts, reasons of appeal and the answers to them, writs of review, decisions of the ultimate authority, and papers of every legal description and character.
Here are found duly attested copies — so far as matter is concerned just as valuable as the originals — of deeds and wills and contracts; extracts from court records and town records, the originals of which have been lost; among others, copies of portions of the records of the Court of Assistants, to fill the long-existing gap therein from 1643 to 1673, which will prove of immense value in the work of printing the Records of that Court, now under way, and accomplish a result in no other way possible.
Written evidence sworn to before Magistrates was then more in use than oral testimony. There are consequently a vast number of depositions relating to almost every conceivable subject and coming from every part of Massachusetts, and many relating to matters in the other Colonies. The value of these in illustrating local history, and the prevailing habits and customs of the people, as well as their political, religious, and social condition, and also in tracing genealogies and family histories, is obvious. Much of the evidence taken directly in court is in that shape attested by the Clerk.
Here comes in a new and peculiar value of some importance. As many of the depositions were written by persons unskilled in orthography and consequently written phonetically, they throw light on a subject now little known, but of no slight interest, — the pronunciation of words and names in the earlier times.
Here also are correspondence and documents in the hand-writing of early Colonial Governors, — Winthrop, Endicott, Dudley, Bradstreet, and other leading men in the Colony; and so also of Leverett and others in the time of the Province.
To indicate briefly and summarily a few of the subjects where the papers are numerous, — many concern the early Indian wars; the old French War; the expeditions against Canada, Crown Point, and Louisburg; the story of Fort William Henry; and the Rangers of Brewer and of Rogers. There are also muster-rolls and bills for services and supplies, and other papers of varied character.
The collection is rich in papers relating to the American Revolution and the troublous times preceding it; among other matters the Stamp Act, privateers, hostages, prisoners of war, persons held as “traitors” and as “enemical to the States,” and in number beyond even mention. Matters concerning the Indians are frequently found, — Indian deeds, grants, depositions, erection of Indian towns, trials and inquests with Indians on the jury. The Quakers also appear, — examined as to their belief and dealt with; prosecuted for preaching, absenting themselves from worship, withholding their children from baptism, failing to appear at musters. There are also prosecutions of Anabaptists, Atheists, blasphemers, contemners of the worshipful authorities, seditious speakers.
Witchcraft has its gloomy record in some half a hundred groups of cases and papers.
Harvard College has its share, — copies of Charters, deeds, wills, and memorials and trials, — some of which bring out sharply the contrast between the College of those days and the College of to-day.
Other matters and subjects are to be found too numerous for more than a suggestive, random mention, — slaves; apprentices; bond-servants; lotteries; land-banks; inn-holders’ licenses, with names of taverns, streets, and lanes in old Boston; piracies in Massachusetts Bay; counterfeitings of the currency, with exhibits thereof; cases of hue and cry; inquests; inquisitions; inventories; contracts; executions; plans of estates, lots, towns, and strips of seacoast; issues of old newspapers; papers valuable for the basis of monographs, — such as Mr. Davis, Mr. Gay, and others have made such satisfactory use of, and such as have helped to illustrate Mr. Goodell’s splendid and monumental work, The Province Laws.
Court records are sometimes supposed to be of limited interest and of less value; they are looked upon as merely a story of past litigation, where the question at issue once settled, they have no further value except to perpetuate such settlement and prevent further question; it is thought that practically they have passed into the limbo of obsolete, dead legal lumber. This is far from being the fact. They define rights in subsequent similar situations, they settle legal principles, they determine legal and judicial procedure, they furnish material for reducing the law and its enforcement to a consistent system, they are the foundation of Jurisprudence. Such papers in this collection have a further value, peculiar and distinctive. They illustrate the course of judicial procedure in the Courts of every kind for a hundred and seventy years. They show the gradual process of development from the simple, primitive manuscript forms of process, writs, summonses, venires, verdicts, executions, warrants, etc., to the more formal printed documents of later time. They supplement the record of legislative enactment by showing how from time to time the laws were construed and administered. They show how the fundamental principles of judicial decisions were changed from being at first largely derived from the Bible to being finally as much tied to technicality and precedent as in England itself.
In the early years of the Colony the Reasons of Appeal and the Answers make much use of quotations from Scripture, as citations are now given from text-books and leading cases. A pertinent quotation seemed sometimes decisive in settling a disputed point. Possibly there was sometimes a readier acquiescence in an opinion of Moses than in one of the Lord High Chancellor.
In the Provincial times are often found elaborate arguments of able Counsel, — a source from which much may be learned as to the construction of the law by the ablest minds of that day.
From these considerations and for numerous other reasons, the Records are of especial value to the student of jurisprudence; and in many cases, during the early times, they afford the only means of knowledge upon such subjects. A fairly satisfactory series of Reports for more than a hundred years preceding the earliest printed Massachusetts Reports might be constructed out of the materials here to be found.
Further than the many uses already indicated, these various records and papers are in themselves a no inconsiderable groundwork of history. There is more in them than hard, dry facts, or quaint, barren legal verbiage. They throw side-lights on the character and condition of the country and of the people, through the successive years which they cover. They are something of a study in government, economics, sociology, education, religion, politics, public and private life. A paper dry and unpromising as a Probate Inventory may reveal much of the conditions of the times in numberless directions. Even the adjournment or postponement of a Court may often be not without a certain dramatic interest and historical significance, as, for instance, an Essex term not held in 1694, “by reason of sickness and other more weighty occasions of the Province intervening;” a discontinuance in Hampshire and in York during the Indian War; a postponement “by reason of the sickness or other bodily infirmities of most of the Justices;” at several times from “the prevalence of the small-pox;” again, in 1712, “on consideration of the repeated insults lately made by the Indian enemy,” and “the present danger of travelling within that frontier;” or again “from the great body of snow in the western part of the Province and the uncommon height of the waters in the roads” in Worcester and Hampshire. In 1772 there was an adjournment in Suffolk of the Court which was to be holden “on the morrow,” to a later day, “as grave charges in a Remonstrance and Petition from the House of Representatives were pending before the Governor and Council against Peter Oliver, Esquire, Chief Justice of the Court, and it was uncertain what opinion and resolution said Chief Justice might have formed or would form with regard to the propriety of his sitting and acting in said Court;” again, in 1776, the Court is holden at Concord, “Charlestown being destroyed by the Enemy;” and at Dedham, “Boston having been made a garrison by the ministerial army and become a common receptable for the Enemies of America.” Similar illustrations might be given almost without number.
Things seemingly insignificant merely indicate how wide and diversified is the field of inquiry and research, and it is difficult to set limits to the possibilities opened up by these musty relics that have come down to us. These old manuscripts, too, crumbling with age, brown and time-stained, frayed and torn, and bearing the indescribable air of antiquity, appeal wonderfully to the imagination. There is a mute eloquence in these fragile papers — that have outlived Colony and Province, Puritan Magistrates, Royal Governors and sturdy Rebels, and, as silent witnesses, have seen the shifting scenes of two centuries — which defies expression. As the eye puzzles out the rugged handwriting and the vigorous sentences, the writers seem almost in bodily presence before us. The depositions with their quaint and graphic recitals put us back on the very spot and time; we seem ourselves to be eye-witnesses of the events. The early days are reproduced with a vividness which no formal history can give, and the picture of the times has a local color and atmosphere otherwise unattainable.
Mr. Abner C. Goodell, Jr., expressed his appreciation of Mr. Noble’s admirable arrangement of these papers in the following words: —
Mr. President: — The paper just read describes the work accomplished in Mr. Noble’s office so completely, and indicates the value, historically, of that vast collection of manuscript so clearly and appreciatively, that I think nothing further need be said to illustrate the importance of the work which Mr. Noble so persistently and with such admirable skill and judgment has pushed to completion. But since our Corresponding Secretary has called upon me to testify to the use which he and I have made of these Court Files in our work on the legislation of the Provincial period, I do not feel at liberty to withhold my tribute of unqualified praise of the wise prevision and the spirit of enterprise which induced the undertaking, and to suggest that a grateful recognition by the public is due to Mr. Justice Gray and Mr. Noble, for their united endeavors to secure the co-operation of the city authorities of Boston in this great work. I feel also that it would be doing injustice to the memory of the late Mayor O’Brien not to mention that to his efforts, particularly, is due the success of an undertaking of more value to future students of our local history than all the publications which our historical societies have issued during the progress of this work.
I have been credibly informed that some of the old Files of Suffolk County proved such a burden to an officer who had charge of them many years ago that, on one occasion, he ordered them to be shovelled into the furnace to get rid of the useless lumber! The contrast between the conduct of this man, of old New England stock, and that of Mayor O’Brien, a native of Ireland, with no ancestral claims and no ties of kinship binding him to sacredly regard every record and relic of our past history, should bring a blush to the cheek of every New-England man who reflects upon it.
I most heartily endorse all that Mr. Noble has said of the value of the Reasons of Appeal, filed with the clerks of the Superior Court of Judicature for the first third or quarter of a century, as contributions to our knowledge of the development of Massachusetts Jurisprudence. Indeed, I deem it not impossible to cull enough information from this source to make up a series of Reports of select cases illustrative not only of the origin and growth of the rules of evidence, pleading, and practice, but of the ascertainment and unfolding of the common law, the interpreting of our local statutes and acts of Parliament, and determining how far the latter were in force here, and precisely the effect of the judicial revocation of the Colony Charter upon the ordinances of the Colonial legislature.
Mr. Goodell then, after describing the condition of the Court Files when he began his researches in the damp crypt under the Clerk’s office in the old Court House, where they were stored, narrated some instances showing how they furnish clews to the origin of certain differences, which have never been explained, between the practice of the English courts and our own, and closed with a reference to the remarkable results, in certain lines of historical research, of Mr. Andrew McF. Davis’s studies of Mr. Noble’s collection. These results he considered extremely important in a historical point of view, and, to his mind, they confirm the opinion he has more than once expressed, — that the history of Massachusetts needs to be revised in the light of the vast fund of historical information now made available by Mr. Noble, and the skill and patience of Mr. Upham to whom the details of the work have been intrusted.
Mr. Andrew McF. Davis then said that opportunity had been afforded him to examine this collection and to make use of the treasures which it contained, in a topical research the result of which had been communicated to this Society. He wished to add his testimony to the fidelity with which the work of repairing and mounting the papers had been carried out. Mr. Goodell had many times called his attention to the value of these Files for historical students, yet it seemed to him that use could only be made of them in researches which were confined to narrow subjects, and covered but a limited field of time. Six hundred volumes, containing two hundred and fifty thousand papers, — the present condition of the collection, — could not be satisfactorily examined by any student of general history.
Mr. Henry H. Edes described a scene which he recently witnessed at Mount Vernon on the anniversary of Washington’s death (14 December), where, besides the daily tolling of the bells on the passing river craft, the custom is still annually observed of lowering the flag in front of the noble mansion to half-mast, and placing upon Washington’s coffin a chaplet of ivy and a garland of fresh flowers gathered from the gardens upon the estate.
The Rev. Dr. Joseph H. Allen communicated a Memoir of Mr. William G. Weld, and the Hon. George S. Hale one of the Hon. Martin Brimmer. The Corresponding Secretary, at the request of the authors, who were unable to be present at this meeting, communicated a Memoir of Dr. Edward Wigglesworth by Dr. Henry P. Quincy, and one of the Hon. John F. Andrew by Mr. Edmund March Wheelwright.
by JOSEPH HENRY ALLEN.
In a note of the eighteenth of last August from our late President, urging me to prepare an obituary Memoir of Mr. Weld, he says, “Until quite recently I had cherished the hope of being able to perform this duty of affection myself; but now I have regretfully come to the conclusion that it will be beyond my power.” Circumstances appeared to make it not only imperative but proper for me to accede to this request, which was justified by an acquaintance of something more than fifty years, and by personal interest, on near and special grounds, with our friend’s career from the time of his boyhood to that of his sudden death.
William Gordon Weld, our late associate, was born in Leverett Street, Boston, 10 November, 1827, and died at his house on Commonwealth Avenue, 16 April, 1896.
The name, which was his grandfather’s, was introduced into the family under the following circumstances. On the nineteenth of April, 1775, under the alarm that followed rumors of the skirmish at Lexington, the wife of Eleazer Weld, of Jamaica Plain, fled to Dedham, where her child was born on the eighth of May. On her return, some weeks later, he was brought to the Rev. William Gordon (historian of the War of Independence) for baptism; and when his father was asked the usual question, “What is the name of this child?” he answered, “Your own, sir, if you please.” The boy grew up sturdy and independent. At sixteen, or thereabout, he was dismissed, with a box on the ear, from a lawyer’s office in Roxbury, for disdainfully refusing to lend a hand in some household service: “I was sent here to study law,” said he, “not to learn housekeeping!” He was then shipped as cabin-boy on a vessel belonging to his uncle, Crowell Hatch; at nineteen was master of a packet-ship sailing between London and Boston; and at twenty-seven was attacked off Tunis by an Algerine pirate, whom he beat back in fair fight, and further, recaptured two American vessels that had been seized: this was two years before Decatur’s bold dash into the port of Tripoli and his exploit of destroying the captured frigate “Philadelphia.” Captain Weld followed the sea successfully till early in the War of 1812, when he was taken on his home voyage by a privateer almost in sight of shore, and set adrift in an open boat (which it was his first care to return to its proper owners), stripped of the fruits of near twenty years’ hard service. For he had owned the ship he sailed in, and, as too often happens in such cases, a correspondent’s negligence had left it uninsured against war-risks. The last years of his life were spent in Lancaster, Massachusetts, where several of his children were born, and where he died in August, 1825. He had married, in 1798, the daughter of a Boston merchant, Jonas Clark Minot, eldest brother of the historian and jurist, George Richards Minot. The first of their eight sons was William Fletcher Weld (1800–1881), the father of our late associate, who is well remembered as a large ship-owner and a successful merchant on Central Wharf, a man of great energy, intelligence, and integrity, — also, as those of his nearer circle of friends have testified, of warm domestic affection and great kindness of heart.
The eldest son of William F. Weld, the subject of this Memoir, not only was strongly influenced through life by these family antecedents, but made the family history and genealogy the object of much special study, of which his sumptuously prepared record, now in the library of the New England Historic Genealogical Society, gives easily accessible and interesting proof. To this, by a happy accident, I am able to add a few earlier details which interested him, and which this strongly developed taste in him appears to justify my inserting here.
When in London, in the summer of 1890, I received a letter (from which I will quote presently) from Sir Frederick A. Weld, of Chideock Manor, Bridport, Dorsetshire, — a man who had had a distinguished and remarkable career in the East: he had, as I was told, gone in his boyhood to Australia, and been afterwards governor of Singapore and of Madras, and was now spending his later years in England, where he died two or three years after. In this letter the name “Weld” is claimed to have descended from the Saxon Edric “the Wild,” — that is, “Forester,” rendered Sylvaticus by the ecclesiastical writers, — well known in the story of the Norman Conquest as the holder of a great estate in Western Mercia, where, in league with the Welsh of the border and with other Saxon chiefs, he maintained for five years (1067–1072) a desperate resistance to the Conqueror, in one raid destroying the town of Shrewsbury, but was at length reconciled and confirmed in his estate. This Edric appears, further, to have been the nephew, or more probably grandson (nepos), of a more famous Edric Steorna (“the Grasping”), a man of great ability and craft, Lord of Mercia, the treacherous brother-in-law of Edmund Ironside, whom he at any rate, in 1016, deserted and betrayed in his struggle with Canute, and is charged by his contemporaries with having murdered— some say, with his own hand — the following year.195 This Edric seems to have been the son of one Athelstan, a man in official charge of some ecclesiastical estate. And here the record disappears in the twilight of the old chronicles.
To continue with the letter of Sir Frederick Weld:196 —
“My father having been a younger son, this place [Chideock Manor] is not the old Weld property, Lulworth Castle being the seat of the elder branch. This place, however, though of less importance, has been since 1248 in the possession of the De Chidiocks and the Arundels, from whom I descend maternally; and I could have shown you curious old deeds and charters from A. D. 1248 downward, if you are interested in such matters.
“I imagine that the Boston family were the Lincolnshire Welds, who probably branched off from us in Queen Elizabeth’s time, or [under] James the First. They were Protestants, whilst we were Catholics and Cavaliers. I know that there have been Welds at Roxbury, near Boston, ever since about Charles the First’s time.
“Another old connection of my family with America is through Lord Baltimore. He married Ann Arundel, daughter of Lord Arundel of Wardour; and her sister, Clare Arundel, married Humphrey Weld of Lulworth Castle of that day.
“There was a Weld House in London [near Drury Lane]: its garden walls are now marked by Great and Little Wild — lately Weld — Streets; and they had also another very large House and grounds, called Balines, in the suburbs; and a manor near Barnet. Hertfordshire, — Holdwell. But the original seat, after 1350, was in Cheshire. Edric the Wild — cognomento Guelda (Orderic) — held Wigmore Castle, on the Welsh border. We claim, and have a good case for claiming, descent from him; and I understand that the Welds who went to America have always made the same claim, which is interesting.”
The first of the name who emigrated to the Massachusetts Bay Colony was the Rev. Thomas Weld (or Welde), first minister of Roxbury, who was forced into exile, in 1632, by the persecution of Archbishop Laud. He, however, returned to England in 1641, on “some weighty occasions for the good of the country,”197 and remained there till his death in 1662, an efficient “friend at court” to the Boston colonists. The founder here of the present family was Captain Joseph Weld, son of Edward, of Sudbury, Suffolk, born about 1595, who emigrated hither in 1636. Our late associate was of the seventh generation in descent from him. The succession is as follows: Joseph, 1595–1646; John, 1623–1691; Joseph, 1650–1712; Joseph, 1683–1760; Eleazer, 1737–1800; William Gordon, 1775–1825; William Fletcher, 1800–1881; William Gordon, 1827–1896.
The subject of this notice I recall as I first saw him, a boy of seventeen, taciturn and somewhat shy. He found much of the same difficulty with his grandfather and namesake, under the restraints of a bookish education, and would refer to this, half humorously, in his later years. But a quick and sagacious observation, with a very retentive memory, gave him a mental outfit which always held the respect of his associates and friends. I remember that when a Chinese junk appeared, to everybody’s astonishment, in New York harbor, he had an eager curiosity to visit and explore it; and I heard from him, at his father’s table, a most intelligent and entertaining description, which needed only a little literary practice to do credit to a professional reporter. In general, however, he appeared retiring — perhaps diffident — in communication, unless it might be with a very near friend; while, in expressing a judgment he had formed, he would very likely be positive and abrupt. This, with a certain reserve of temperament and diffidence of speech, may have been what led a friend of his to speak of him as “one of the most misunderstood men in Boston;” for there were qualities and there were acts of his which should have been quickly recognized for what they were, as showing a character strongly marked and easily understood.
His earlier business life, for about twenty years, in the commercial house of William F. Weld & Co., appears to have had less directly to do with the larger enterprises than with the confidential service of the firm. Apart from the strong sense of business responsibility, therefore, it may not have exhibited his more strictly characteristic traits so clearly as they came afterwards to be known. These are expressed with great precision by one who has acted for fifteen years as responsible manager in a business enterprise set on foot and largely sustained by Mr. Weld: —
“He had a good deal of courage and enterprise, and particularly tenacity: he would naturally tend to do what was solidly and substantially for the ultimate good of a Company rather than work for immediate profit. He was courageous and reliable in difficult circumstances.”
And from the same authority I learn that “the great performance of his life was his successful care [as trustee] of his father’s estate, which he doubled by judicious investment;” and that he “was very exact, well informed, and thoroughly posted in the line of real estate and investment, — much better informed than the average man of business.”
Again, among the friends most competent to judge, the promptness, courage, and sagacity of his decision at a doubtful crisis were held in as high esteem as the tenacity of purpose so characteristic in him. A striking example of this decision was when the Great Fire of 1872 had swept away a vast amount of property invested in insurance, including that of the Prescott Company, in which Mr. Weld was the principal stockholder. While the ruins were yet burning, he had already planned and was proceeding to carry out the scheme of reconstructing the company on a stronger foundation, and developing its business on a broader scale. He has since been engaged in directing operations that involved still graver anxieties and were exposed to heavier risks, — in particular, as the President of one of the Cattle Companies of the Western Plains. As to this last, a long tale might be told of difficulties, losses, and hazards, especially in its earlier years, which he met with the same dispassionate sense of what was due to his subordinates, with the same stubborn, usually placid, not always sanguine, but still unbending temper.
In affairs of such complexity it would be only natural if the manner and even the temper of one compelled to direct them from a distance should be described, at times, as arbitrary, dictatorial, and abrupt. If it was ever so with Mr. Weld, two considerations will greatly modify any such judgment of him personally. On the one hand, a very common form of self-assertion, or class pride, was wholly wanting in him: his speech, where it might have been imperious or dictatorial, was noticeably considerate and gentle, so that those in his near personal service often felt an attachment to him affectionate as well as loyal. His elderly butler received me at the door with tears in his eyes on the clay of the funeral; and since his own death I have learned that (though he had never spoken of it) he was one of the evening class of boys whom Mr. Weld had trained in early years in the principles of a business education. On the other hand, those whom he has employed in offices of trust have found in him a steady and persevering confidence, where one of equally keen sagacity with his, but hastier in temper, would have broken short off with such agents — perhaps unjustly. To make this clear might require me to specify more exactly; but, while it would be indelicate and invidious for me to offer judgment, I am sure that the trait indicated was such as I have attempted to describe.
It should be added that, while in personal matters he was often very liberal of gifts, his real generosity was even greater in the time and service he gave to the interests of others. For several years of his early business life he taught regularly, twice a week, an evening class of boys in Pitts Street Chapel, “allowing nothing to interfere with this work,” serving one year with the same strict fidelity as Superintendent. Thus he helped to organize, and labored very effectively in carrying on, the first experiment in free evening schools in this city, — an experiment which has since been carried out and developed as part of the municipal system of public instruction. There are now, I am told, men in active business life who look back with personal gratitude to what he was and did for them, in opening to them that opportunity of a higher education.
Another experiment, which proved less successful, was equally praiseworthy in its motive. It was an attempt, made some thirty years ago, to construct — out of a handsome stone building which he bought for the purpose — a model tenement-house, so as to provide under careful supervision a wholesome and cleanly lodging for families, conveniently near to the docks and business streets. He gave a good deal of thought to what proved a troublesome, costly, and, at length, unsuccessful scheme. But he persevered in it, for some years, with his own dogged tenacity of purpose; and it was not dropped until he was foiled by the incorrigible untidiness and heedless unthrift of the class of tenants for whom it was planned.
Another scheme in which he was strongly interested has proved, through good management, of great and lasting value to the humbler class of borrowers, who, according to a Report upon the subject, were sometimes compelled to pay on petty loans ten times the legal rates of interest, and more: I have myself had to do with a case where the debtor was charged at the rate of ten per cent a month, twenty times the old legal rate. It was in the interest of such that the Pawners’ Bank was established in 1859, — with his active help, though his name is not among the corporators. Under its amended charter, as the Collateral Loan Company, it has in a single year (1894) issued loans to the amount of $677,657, the average amount of each loan being something under seventeen dollars; during 1896 there were made 16,917 loans of five dollars each, or less. Only one in twenty of all the loans has to be settled at auction, and any amount so received over the sum loaned is retained for the owner of the property in pawn. Of this most beneficent institution — if we reckon it by the amount of obscure misery it lightens — Mr. Weld was one of the founders and among the first directors, giving a great amount of time and energy to insure its success.
In the activities which have been now described, as in others which his nearer friends will recall, our late associate showed a deep sense of responsibility in the holding of inherited wealth. This is further evidenced by the characteristic provisions of his will. Among the objects there bountifully endowed are the Home for Aged Women, of which he had been a constant benefactor and watchful guardian; the Butler Asylum for the Insane in Providence, Rhode Island, which had in him a Trustee actively interested in that charge; the Children’s Mission to the Children of the Destitute and the Kindergarten for the Blind, — two of the most beautiful and widely as well as humbly useful of all the charities of this city.
Mr. Weld married, in 1854, Miss Caroline Langdon Goddard, of Brookline, who survives him. Their elder son, William-Fletcher, born 21 February, 1855, a Harvard graduate of 1876, died in 1893, at his estate in Brookline. The younger, Charles-Goddard, a graduate of the Harvard Medical School in 1881, holds an office in Boston as Trustee of the family estate, and is now a member of this Society, having been elected last December to succeed his father, who became a member 8 February, 1893. This notice may fitly close with the following, taken from an Obituary published in the Boston Evening Transcript of 16 April, 1896: —
“William G. Weld died suddenly this forenoon at his residence, No. 6 Commonwealth Avenue. He had been suffering from a severe cold for some weeks, but nothing serious was expected from its effects. Yesterday he was at his business office as usual, and he enjoyed a social evening with his friends last night. This morning he did not feel so well as for the last few days, and for the first time a physician was summoned. Even at this stage no cause was felt for alarm; but an hour later, at eleven o’clock, he died of heart-failure. He retired from active business about twenty-five years ago, but has long been identified with many institutions, being one of the trustees of the Old Ladies’ Home, a director of the Second National Bank, a member of The Colonial Society of Massachusetts, and he was also a director of the Butler Hospital for the Insane in Providence, R. I. Earlier in life he had been a director in various insurance companies, but had resigned from these offices many years ago. He has for years had his residence at Newport, R. I., but has passed his winters in this city. In a quiet way he has always contributed to charities, many institutions having been benefited through his generosity.”
by GEORGE SILSBEE HALE.
Martin Brimmer, born in Boston on the ninth of December, 1829, was the only child of Martin Brimmer, of Boston, and Harriet Wadsworth, of Geneseo, New York, and a descendant of Herman Brimmer, of Osten, near Hamburg in Germany. Martin, the son of Herman, born in Osten, came to New England about 1723. His oldest son, of the same name, died in 1739; and the second son, also named Martin, born in 1742, the grandfather of our associate, — who was thus the fifth of his name, — married Sarah Watson, of Plymouth. He was also a descendant of André Sigourney (Sejourné), born in France, who came to New England from Rochelle in 1686 as one of the French colonists of New Oxford, Massachusetts. André’s son Andrew, also born in France, was the father of Susannah Sigourney, mother of the two brothers who bore the name of Martin Brimmer.
André Sigourney was a Huguenot; and Martin Brimmer, the immigrant, was a member of the Huguenot congregation which worshipped in School Street. He and others were naturalized by a Provincial Act of 1730–31,198 and in his Petition199 he described himself as “A Protestant German came from Hanover.”
Those who loved and admired Martin Brimmer may find in this commingling of races a source of the rare combination of qualities which they trace in him. The quiet reserve and solidity of his German ancestor were enlivened and made attractive by the gracious elegance of manner derived from his French descent. His Pilgrim origin disclosed itself in a New England conscience, tempered by a cheerful Huguenot faith. His gentle courtesy did not weaken his firmness, nor did his fidelity to his convictions in conduct or expression diminish their influence upon those with whom he might not agree.
His father, of the same name, was a successful merchant and useful citizen of Boston, who knew how to acquire and how to use wealth. He served his native city as Mayor for two years, in 1843 and 1844, and was interested in the cause of education, to which he contributed by his public service and private generosity. In Mayor Brimmer’s Address to the City Council of 1843 the first subject to which he feels it his duty to draw their attention is the situation and construction of the County Prison; and in his remarks he comments upon the importance of classifying the prisoners: —
“The untried prisoner should be separated from the convict — the young should not be subject to the contamination of the old offender — and the poor debtor should be separated from both. Apartments entirely disconnected should be provided for females, and all intercourse of every kind with other prisoners be prevented.”
The great objects of a prison, he says, are, “First, the safe keeping of the criminal; and second, as far as may be, his reform.”
Referring to the Public Schools, he warmly declares: —
“Happy the people whose sons and whose daughters may be well instructed at the public charge; and happy, thrice happy, that community all of whose children shall receive a physical, moral, and religious education, to the glory of God and the service of the State.”
In 1844 the Mayor urges —
“the importance of enlarged views in relation to the improvements of the city, in extending and beautifying our streets and public places, in a careful attention to internal health and police, in an enlarged system of internal and external intercourse, in a liberal encouragement of charitable and literary institutions, in a far-sighted preparation for the moral, literary, and physical education of the rising generation. We are to call to mind that, although our borders are narrow, we are the centre of a dense and increasing population; that our city is the capital of an extended portion of our country, looking to our example to be imitated or shunned as our policy of municipal government shall be narrow or enlightened.”
And after speaking of the early establishment of a free school, he adds: —
“It was ordered to be a ‘free school’; it was maintained at the public expense, and it was to be ‘for the town,’ — that is, for all the inhabitants, — and it is hoped that these enlightened sentiments will prevail as long as this community shall exist.”
These are now familiar and accepted thoughts; but it is pleasant to trace the inheritance which stimulated the interest of the son in the objects to which the father gave Iris enlightened efforts.
The son was educated principally by private instruction. His close intimacy with one of his tutors, Francis E. Parker, well remembered for his scholarship, wit, and remarkable judgment, sagacity, and ability, was continued during his life. Mr. Brimmer entered the Sophomore class at Harvard College in 1846, at the age of sixteen, and graduated in 1849 with Charles R. Codman, Horace Davis, Thornton K. Lothrop, Lemuel Shaw, our associates Charles F. Choate and the late James W. Austin, and others. In childhood, and also after his graduation, he spent some time in Europe, where he attended lectures at the Sorbonne, and returning in 1853, at the age of twenty-four, was elected a Trustee of the Boston Athenaeum. Soon after, with a Director of the Emigrant Aid Society, of which he was subsequently a member and an officer, and, as a voluntary service, he visited Kansas to report upon the success of the work for which it was organized. He was interested not only in the cause of freedom, but in charities, public and private, as a State Trustee of the Massachusetts General Hospital, a Director of the Farm School, a Trustee of the Perkins Institution for the Blind, and a Director of the Provident Association; and for twenty-five years he was also President of the Boston Co-operative Building Association. In 1859–61 he was a member of the Massachusetts House of Representatives; in 1864, of the Senate; and in 1876 he cast his vote as a Presidential Elector for Rutherford B. Hayes. Interested in the higher politics, he once allowed his name to be used, in 1878, as a candidate for Congress, but he had no appetite for political service. His health was delicate, and a slight but permanent lameness unfitted him for the active sports of youth, but did not deprive him of a natural and characteristic dignity of carriage. We find him, naturally, in the House for two years a member of the Committee on Public Charitable Institutions, and, in 1861, of that on Education; in the Senate, in 1861, of that on the Treasury, and Chairman of the Committees on Federal Relations and on the establishment of a Military Academy. One of his associates200 in the House writes: —
“I cannot recall that he made any speech; if he spoke at all, it was but seldom; but what I do distinctly recall was his constant attendance upon the sessions of the House, and his close attention to its business. If the Journals of his years of membership are examined, I think his name will be found among the yeas or nays on every roll-call. There never could arise an occasion when he did not have the courage of his convictions. I think he did not know how to dodge. Just what his services were in connection with obtaining from the Commonwealth the grant of land for the Institute of Technology, I do not now remember; but ever since the session that granted the location his name has remained in my mind as one of a small band entitled to the credit of securing the enactment201 that made the establishment of the Institute possible.”
Mr. Brimmer represented Ward 6 in the City of Boston, and one of his associates tells me that a member who was called to account for changing his vote, after a statement by both of them, replied: “The Representatives from Ward 6 in Boston [naming them] are very different men from a great many members of this House. When they make a statement here, we know that they mean to state the exact truth.”
He was an interesting example of that product of a fine intellectual soil which we attempt to describe as “culture,” without pretence or assumption. With the Art Museum, of which he was the leading Founder and long a Trustee, he was identified by a service of nearly twenty-six years. It remains an outward and visible evidence and sign of that love and appreciation of Art which enabled him to assist so wisely in its foundation and permanent establishment. His long service in the management of Harvard College as an Overseer and a Fellow was his rich contribution to the cause of the higher education. The brief examples which he has left of his capacity for expressing the refined and cultivated taste and the wide information which illustrated and guided his efficient action, lead us to regret that he was not more abundant in such efforts. Mr. Brimmer delivered two admirable addresses upon the meaning, the conditions, and the mission of Art, — one at Wellesley College, 23 October, 1889, upon the opening of the Farnsworth Art School; one at Bowdoin College, 7 June, 1894, upon the opening of the Walker Art School, — inspiring textbooks for their pupils, — full of a deep and delicate appreciation of the value and influence of Art, of its historical importance and significance, its elevation and power of elevation, its association with the higher ideals and nobler activities of nations, as “an expression of the hopes, the faith, the life of mankind.” He asks, in the former:202 “Why is it that we establish schools to teach the arts of design, and museums to illustrate them? What is the real significance of these arts?”
The lovers and the students of Art owe much to him for the manner in which, in answer to these questions, he shows its civilizing and educational influence, and makes its study attractive, like “divine philosophy,” and not a mere fancy “engendered in the eyes.” “And when,” he says, —
“led on from one great work to another, we begin to discover their relation to each other and to the life in the midst of which they were produced, then the narrow bounds we have set up fall away, and a wide horizon opens around us on every side. We see that style and execution and design are but the foreground of the scene before us, are but the way through which the mental vision reaches out to great ends. We see that Art, in its widest and truest sense, is not mere luxury or decoration, but an expression of the hopes, the faith, the life of mankind. Through visible images our eyes penetrate to the inner thoughts of men of distant races and remote periods. We contemplate the ideas that filled their minds, the feelings that impelled them, the aspirations in which they found support. We trace the instincts of race, the rise and fall of national spirit, the growth and decay of religions that have passed away. We behold the ideals of beauty in every age and nation as they came forth from the hand of those men who expressed them best. We follow the contending influences which led men now this way, now that, and we mark the impress which the man of genius stamped upon his time. The merest glance over the field is enough to assure us that the end of the study of Art is the knowledge of humanity itself on a side not less instructive or inspiring than we find in the study of literature or of history.”203
It is interesting to observe how he connects with Ids love of Art and its work Ins interest in his country and his countrymen. When he speaks of the triumph of Art in the White City of Chicago, he says, in the address at Bowdoin College, —
“The architects had discerned a great guiding method of monumental art, which had indeed already governed the design of noble works of other days: unity in conception, freedom in adaptation, variety in execution. They had rejected competition. They had avoided the dividing and distracting effect of giving a free hand to individual taste. They had recognized that great purposes are accomplished through the concentration and harmony of competent minds, through the curbing of personal ambitions for the attainment of a common end, through the restraint of emulation within limits prescribed by the common weal. How easily could they have spoiled the result by using other means! How fortunate it would be for any large undertaking, even for the government of a nation, if it were guided by a like principle. In fact, it may be conceived that, if we could apply these springs and rules of action to our own national affairs, we might, perhaps, be even better governed than we are now.”204
And again, in the Address at Wellesley College: —
“Then, remembering that art can have influence only on those who have some opportunity to enjoy it, we may find reason to hope for the broadening of that influence in the fact that the great body of working-people are, on the whole, acquiring a greater command of their time. By a process which has been going on for more than a century, the advance of machinery has steadily tended to reduce the hours of daily labor; and that leisure which the Athenians gained by getting their work done by slaves, which the Florentines gained by getting their battles fought by mercenaries, our age is conquering by a nobler and surer process.”205
Mr. Brimmer’s sketch of the History of the Religion and Art of Ancient Egypt, and of the effect of physical and local causes upon its form and manifestations, and of its elevated religious elements, is of great and permanent interest and value, and characteristic of the writer. He detects the soul of goodness in its form and the dignity and grandeur of its expression, without ignoring its limits and defects. I venture to quote some passages from his selection of the moral precepts of its teachers, as not inappropriate in its description of what he was and what he liked: —
“The Sage warns his pupils against contentious discussions and against repeating unguarded language. ‘Do not repeat an excess of language; do not listen to it; it is something which has escaped from the heat of the soul.’ ‘If thou desirest that thy conduct should be good and free from all evil, avoid bad temper. It is a pernicious malady which leads to discord. . . . When a man has taken Justice for his basis, walks in its ways and dwells therein, there is no place in him for ill humor.’ Activity, contentment, and cheerfulness are dwelt upon as virtues: ‘Be active and diligent through your life, doing more than is required, but see that you do no wrong in your activity. He brings misfortune in his house, he who has a heart without energy. Let your face be light with cheerfulness during the days of your life.’”
Such was the ideal which he realized.
Mr. Brimmer had many appreciative friends. All who knew him were his friends, but some “touched to finer issues” saw more clearly than others the qualities which revealed themselves “in his happier hour of social pleasure.” One of these whom he in like manner appreciated and enjoyed permits me to add to the interest of this paper and to my own imperfect description the impression derived from an intimacy of many years: —
“In trying to put together, as I promised you, some recollections of Mr. Brimmer, I not only feel myself overwhelmed by a flood of memories, reaching back for more than thirty years, but also fully realize how difficult it is to give you an intimate impression of one whose principal characteristics were so balanced and harmonious as his.
“Striking contrasts in character, dramatic incidents in conduct, and those changing phases of light and shadow which are supposed to add interest to the portraiture of most men, found no part in the equilibrium of that rare personality as I knew it first, when, just returned from foreign travel, I met Mr. Brimmer in the drawing-rooms of Boston. He was scarcely thirty; but his classic face, his distinguished bearing, and those extraneous advantages which belong to large wealth and an old and honored name had already given him that air of prestige which Boston never afterwards failed to recognize as his rightful patrimony. And if with all this a something of coldness and reserve, and a seriousness scarcely youthful, seemed to the casual observer to cling a little too closely to the dignity of his manner, the impression was quickly dispelled, on a nearer approach, by the beauty of a voice and a smile of which I have rarely ever found the counterpart.
“With his marriage to a dear friend my friendship with Mr. Brimmer soon deepened into intimacy; and as my mind goes back to those early days, what memories I recall of that delightful time! Once more I am seated at the ever-hospitable board on Beacon Street, with the bright circle that was wont to gather there, or on the piazzas at Beverly, and among the ferns and rocks and pine-needles of Witch Wood, we once more talk with youthful freshness of all that most interests our minds or is dearest to our hearts! At Beverly, as in Boston, rare spirits would often gather, — Tom Appleton, Frank Parkman, William Hunt, Frank Parker, and others; and le causeur des Lundis, Sainte-Beuve himself, might sometimes have envied those long, inspiring talks, with the pine-trees whispering overhead and the surge of the summer sea not far away! And then in the autumn evenings what moments were those when Mr. Brimmer would read aloud, to a chosen few, some page from Shakespeare, or Dante, or Sainte-Beuve, or Musset, his beautiful voice and rhythmical cadence adding a musical charm to the ‘winged words’! This reminds me of our long dispute — the only one — over Music itself, Mr. Brimmer declaring that he was indifferent to it; in fact, he would laughingly add, ‘it almost amounts at times to a dislike,’ — I always contending that the rhythm and the cadence of his reading disproved his statement. Years afterward, when he confessed his delight in Wagner, and I instantly proclaimed my victory in our long dispute, he answered that the trouble had not been with his musical taste, but with the inferiority of all musical composition up to Wagner’s time!
“Mr. Brimmer’s early years had been passed in France, and that, together with his Huguenot blood, had given him a certain predilection pour le pays du beau langage, and for its art and its literature. But with it all he was truly an American, believing firmly in the institutions of his native land and in the great future that awaited her. It was indeed a rebuke to one’s doubts to hear him talk of America and of the men who had helped to make her what she was and what she promised to become. He had a great admiration for Abraham Lincoln, and was among the first to place him by the side of Washington in the gallery of our great men, where, since that time, the world has for the most part conceded that he belongs.
“In the summer of 1861 I went abroad, where I remained until 1869. On my return I found the same hospitality, the same warmth of welcome, whether in Boston or at Beverly. That brilliant hospitality! those faithful friends! the bright talks, the bons mots, all sparkling and fresh as ever! In the eventful years of my absence, Mr. Brimmer had become a potent influence in Boston that was felt through all her councils, whether of art or of learning, in political or national affairs. At Harvard, and later on at the Art Museum, his opinion was an authority rarely ever differed from; while his occasional addresses at Bowdoin and elsewhere showed the depth of a culture and the ringing notes of an eloquence which made one deeply grieved for its loss in the councils of the Nation.
“And then his courageous cheerfulness! In the most depressing moments of the past and the present, after the defeat of Bull Run, or with the discouragements of later years, Mr. Brimmer still retained his faith in his country and her institutions, always contending that the threatening moments were but passing clouds, — that our institutions were strong enough to stand them, that Civil Service rules and a more enlightened public opinion would bring us through; and, in reply to some pessimistic word which perhaps might betray the longing for a return to older forms of government, he would sometimes ask if the perplexities that were facing the monarchies of Europe were less serious and less threatening than our own.
“The wide range of his interests was backed by a princely liberality; and if ever a man possessed true sanity of mind, with a deep sense of the proportion of things and of the juste milieu, that man was Martin Brimmer. His wisdom seemed to be his most prominent characteristic, — wisdom linked to a temperament that may be truly called faultless, for I think I may safely say that no one ever saw the serenity of that temperament ruffled. Such was my experience in the intimate relation of nearly forty years; such was the experience of those who knew him longer and better than I did. Nor do I feel that I have done full justice to that serenity without telling you what I think was its most remarkable feature. Other men have been strong and calm, but it was the calmness of great self-control; with Mr. Brimmer it was not that, but in its place a cloudless serenity, apparently as unconscious as the mellow light of an autumn day.
“In this rare combination of qualities lay the secret of Mr. Brimmer’s influence, — an influence that followed him into every circle that he entered, whether public or private; and even in these enfranchised days, when the voice of authority seems dead, Mr. Brimmer’s voice was listened to and his opinions accepted as no one’s else I have ever known.
And yet I greatly doubt if he ever willingly proffered his advice to any one; but with what modesty, what diffidence it was given when asked for! — and asked for it was by the highest and the humblest, each one feeling that they had in him a friend. Truly le monde est aux gens calmes!
“From youth Mr. Brimmer’s health, if not delicate, was never vigorous; and as the stress of life increased with years, those nearest him often felt that, with the unceasing calls upon him and his conscientious discharge of them, the sword was rapidly wearing out the scabbard. A severe fall on the pavement one wintry night, as he was returning from a meeting of citizens on the death of Phillips Brooks, gave the last blow to his already declining health. He lay senseless for hours, and although he seemed later to return to his usual activity, yet he never afterwards regained his former strength. As I sat by his coffin on that last sad day in Trinity Church, and looked back on his past, — that unselfish past, — I could not but feel that the old Adam with which so many of us have to struggle had long since died in him, and that while he had shared the common lot of trial and suffering, his inner life had been all Beauty and Peace!”
For myself, I knew Mr. Brimmer so long and so well that I am most glad to pay this tribute to his memory, and yet not so well that I am able to speak as his intimate friend. Possibly for this reason, I may be able to measure the proportions of his character better than those who “saw him upon nearer view,” for he was a man of even traits and fine proportions. Lord Mahon says: —
“It has been justly remarked that of General Washington there are fewer anecdotes to tell than, perhaps, of any other great man on record. So equally framed were the features of his mind, so harmonious all its proportions, that no one quality rose salient above the rest. There were none of those chequered hues, none of those warring emotions, in which biography delights.”
As the observer sometimes fails to appreciate the size of a statue or a noble structure because all its parts are so well adapted to one another, so we sometimes do not fitly measure a noble life or character because we do not find one feature more conspicuous than another. In Johnsonian phrase, ‘Because we miss the nodosity of a Hercules, we do not see the vigor of an Apollo.’
Mr. Brimmer was calm but determined, gracious and dignified, and courteous without any want of firmness. He saw the right, and approved it and followed it. He did not need to carry about a lantern to find or to show a true man. We all saw such a man wherever he went. His personal presence and aspect made his way among men easy and winning, since he had that —
“Sweet, attractive kinde of grace,
A full assurance given by lookes,
Continuall comfort in a face,
The lineaments of Gospell bookes.”
Of his intellectual character, “the constituent and fundamental principle was good sense, a prompt and intuitive perception of consonance and propriety.” For those who knew him best and most closely shared his work for the community he cannot be replaced.
Many, indeed, whom he served in his efforts to elevate their lives and to lift them into an atmosphere of cultured refinement, may not have known their debt to him. It is for us who did know it to recognize and acknowledge it, and to preserve the record of that acknowledgment.
It was impossible not to like him, not to respect him, and not to confide in him. His interest in any good cause was steady and unremitting. Liberal as he was, wealth was his least valuable contribution to the community which he served and adorned, although it illustrated and facilitated his efforts to make himself useful and the world better for his having lived in it.
“Loke who that is most vertuous alway,
Prive and apert, and most entendeth ay
To do the gentil dedes that he can,
And take him for the gretest gentilman.”
Mr. Brimmer became a member of this Society 18 January, 1893. He died at his residence in Boston on the fourteenth day of January, 1896.
Numerous appreciative and discriminating tributes were paid to his memory by his associates of the various organizations in which he had served the public.
He was the last representative of a name honored for more than a century in his native city, which began with Martin Brimmer, the “Protestant German came from Hanover,” and has left to us dear and grateful memories and the undying influence of noble lives.
by HENRY PARKER QUINCY.
Dr. Edward Wigglesworth died in Boston 23 January, 1896. He was born at No. 4 Franklin Place, Boston, 30 December, 1840. He went first to Miss Whitney’s school,206 then to the Chauncy Hall School, and finally to the Boston Latin School. He graduated at Harvard in the Class of 1861, of the sixth generation of Harvard graduates of the family of which he was a descendant, he being the fourth Edward Wigglesworth in this line of graduates. His descent was direct from Edward Wigglesworth, who was born in England, and came from Yorkshire to this country in 1638.207
Dr. Wigglesworth graduated from the Harvard Medical School in 1865. During his connection with the School he entered the army, enlisting as a private in 1862 in a nine-months regiment. Subsequently, on account of his having studied at the Medical School for a year, he was made hospital steward, and later, during the war, he went as a surgeon at the time when volunteer surgeons were called for, and served his country with untiring devotion and constant self-sacrifice. The next five years he spent in Europe studying, in Vienna, in Paris, and in London, his chosen specialty, Dermatology. He made a collection of the best and rarest books, the most perfect models and costly means of illustrating this subject. He presented his models to the Harvard Medical School; and his library was always at the service of any one interested in Dermatology. On his return to this country, in the early seventies, there were but few exclusive practitioners in this branch of medical practice. Feeling that Dermatology ought to be more widely recognized, he established a dispensary of his own for diseases of the skin, which he carried on, regardless of time and expense, until successful departments for the treatment of this class of diseases had been founded in the public institutions of Boston, and he was appointed head of the Department for Diseases of the Skin at the Boston City Hospital, — a position which he held to the day of his death. He was one of the instructora of the Harvard Medical School for several years, impressing the students with his painstaking earnestness, and instilling into their minds the absolute necessity of attention to details for the successful treatment of the complicated diseases of the skin.
Engraved for The Colonial Society of Massachusetts from a photography from life
During these incessant and arduous labors, Dr. Wigglesworth was a frequent contributor to medical literature. He read a paper on Alopecia before the Massachusetts Medical Society in 1871, and contributed to the Archives of Dermatology, of which he was a founder, papers on Fibroma of the Skin, and on Sarcomata of the Skin, in 1875, and on Auto-inoculation of Vegetable Parasites, and on New Formations, in 1878. In the same year he also wrote on Faulty Innervation as a Factor in Skin Diseases, in the New York Hospital Gazette. In 1882, in conjunction with Dr. E. W. Cushing, he published in the Archives of Dermatology a paper on Buccal Ulcerations of Constitutional Origin. In 1883 a communication of his on Purpura from Quinine was published in the Boston Medical and Surgical Journal; and in 1886 he delivered the Annual Address before the American Dermatological Association.
During this time of continuous productive activity there was little medical work of general public importance to this community in which Dr. Wigglesworth was not a participant. His enthusiastic labors in behalf of the Metric System are well known. He was one of the executive committee of the Boston Medical Library Association from its beginning, and did much towards its establishment. He was one of the committee to raise the large sum of money necessary to establish the Harvard Medical School in its present admirable building. “He was very active in the early attempts at securing the registration of physicians, that the citizens of the State might be protected against quackery and extortion.” As a member of the Health Department of the American Social Science Association, he spent years of faithful and persistent effort in promoting its unselfish objects. He never cared for general society, and was very seldom seen in it, so that he was not personally known to a large circle of acquaintances. He did not put himself forward, but was always retiring. Although not appearing to notice what was passing about him, very little escaped his observation. He was imaginative and of a nervous temperament, and took the keenest interest in his work for the public good, which he pursued with untiring energy. Of all shams or frauds of any description he was uncompromising in his condemnation. At the same time he was willing to hear both sides of a question, and showed himself always fair in his treatment of those who were opposed to him, if he thought they were honest in their convictions.
Having ample means of his own, and being able to lead a life of leisure, had he wished it, Dr. Wigglesworth chose rather a career of great activity and incessant labor for the good of others. No one will ever know the amount and extent of his charities. I have no doubt that many discovered only after his death by whom they had been helped.
There was no man more entertaining and agreeable as a companion at dinner, particularly with his intimates, among whom he felt no restraint, and could give free rein to his wit and humor.
He married, 4 April, 1882, Mrs. Sarah Willard Frothingham, and had three children. The eldest, Mary, died in her second year. Two are living, Henrietta-Goddard and Edward.
He was enrolled a member of this Society 20 March, 1893, and when his engagements permitted, showed his interest in our purposes by his attendance at our meetings.
John F. Andrew.
by EDMUND MARCH WHEELWRIGHT.
John Forrester Andrew was born in Hingham, Massachusetts, 26 November, 1850. His first emigrant ancestor on the paternal side was Robert Andrew of Boxford, County of Suffolk, England, who settled in Rowley in 1656. His great-grandfather, John Andrew, was in early life a silversmith, and afterwards a successful merchant of Salem; late in life he moved to Windham, a small town near Portland, Maine, where he died. His son Jonathan was born in Salem where he lived until manhood, when he too went to Windham and kept there a country store. In this business he was successful, and he was an influential citizen. He married Nancy Green Pierce, who was a teacher in the academy at Fryeburg. Upon his wife’s death, he sold his property in Windham and removed to a farm in Boxford, Massachusetts. John Albion Andrew, his eldest son, born in Windham, was graduated from Bowdoin College in 1837. He married Eliza Jones, daughter of Charles and Eliza (Jones) Hersey of Hingham. His career as a reformer, statesman, and “War Governor” of Massachusetts needs no rehearsal here. The estimate made of Governor Andrew’s character by Mr. Parke Godwin, in a Memorial Address, shows the source of leading characteristics in his son. The father’s moral qualities were the son’s evident inheritance.208
John Forrester Andrew was a pupil at the Phillips Grammar School, Boston, and fitted for college at a Boston private school. He was graduated from Harvard College in 1872. In college, he was a fair student but not greatly devoted to his books, neither was he very prominent in the general college life. His frank nature, quiet wit, pleasant manners, and good fellowship, however, won him general regard. After graduation, he passed a year travelling in Europe, and on his return entered the Harvard Law School, where he was graduated in 1875. He was for one year a law student in the office of Brooks, Ball, and Storey, and the intimacy there formed with Mr. Moorfield Storey had no little influence upon his later political career. 1 September, 1876, he began the practice of his profession, and was associated then, as he was throughout his life, with Mr. Albert Boyd Otis, who had been connected with Governor Andrew in his law practice.
In 1880, Andrew was elected as a Republican Representative to the Legislature from the Ninth Ward of Boston. As a member of the Republican party he served three successive terms in the House of Representatives, and one term as State Senator. He was elected to this last office by the largest majority ever received by any candidate in the district. As Senator, and when in full Standing as a Republican, his personal independence and his contempt for partisan legislation were shown by his votes against the Aldermanic District and the Metropolitan Police Bills. He had voted as Representative to abolish the poll tax as a prerequisite for voting. At that time it required no little strength of conviction to vote in this manner, although few are found to-day who do not see the wisdom of abolishing that source of political corruption. He was a member of the Judiciary Committee of both branches of the Legislature, a member of the Committee on the Revision of the Statutes in 1881, a member of the Committee on Expediting Business in 1882, and a member of the Committee on Bills in the Third Reading and Election Laws during his term of service, and also Chairman of the Committee on Street Railways. He introduced the bill establishing a Civil Service Commission while Senator in 1884, by which the partisan use of public office has been to some extent checked in this State. In the same year he made the motion to abolish the custom of preaching the Election Sermon, which was favorably acted upon by the Legislature. In order to divorce the Church and State still further, he introduced a bill to repeal the law providing that an atheist’s disbelief in God shall affect his credibility as a witness, and he also presented a petition to repeal the law exempting Church property from taxation.
In spite of the independence he had shown in the General Court, Andrew was sent as a delegate to the National Republican Convention at Chicago. He was one of the small group who strenuously sought to prevent the nomination of Blaine. I met him shortly after his return from Chicago. He was quiet and uncommunicative. His willingness to express his own views was obviously controlled by his sense of formal responsibility to his constituents. He assured me, however, that he would not support Blaine. Not long after this he had thrown aside the fiction that the caucus binds its members, a belief which could not long have held at such a juncture a man of his character, and he enthusiastically joined the Independent movement. His first public announcement of this step was made in an interview published 18 July in which he said: —
“There is to-day no great issue between the two great political parties. The main questions, in which everybody is interested, are reform of the Civil Service, reform of the Tariff, and reform in the Currency, and I regard any one of them as safe in the hands of the Democratic as of the Republican party. I do not believe that under the present leaders, the Republican party can stand for the principles of honesty, progress, and reform upon which the party was originally founded. As at present constituted it simply presents an organization struggling to perpetuate its own existence. It seems to me that the country would be safer under the Governor of New York than it would be under Mr. Blaine. Without considering any of the rumors as to Mr. Blaine’s personal character, a recent utterance of his in relation to the distribution of the surplus revenue, a proposition outrageous as well as unconstitutional, shows that he is not fit to hold the office which he seeks.”
No Massachusetts man in this movement sacrificed for the sake of his conscience a more immediate opportunity for political advancement than did Andrew. He had been suesrested as the probable Congressional candidate of the Republican party in his district; indeed, when assured by a leading Republican politician soon after Blaine’s nomination that if he would support the party ticket he could without doubt receive the Republican nomination in the Fifth District, he replied, “I should very much like to go to Congress, but I can’t afford to pay that price for it.” As with his father, “politics with him was a science of truth,” and “his sincerity always identified him with his cause.”209 Andrew’s cause was not that of his own personal preferment. He held other issues to be of minor importance in comparison with sustaining high ideals of public life as the basis of all that is worth fighting for in our political institutions. Andrew was chosen President of the Young Men’s Republican and Independent Club of Boston, an organization which performed the duties of a City Committee.210 To his energy, acuteness, and ability was due not a little of the success which attended the labors of that body.
When Carl Schurz made his memorable speech of 22 October, 1884, in Tremont Temple, Andrew was one of the speakers in the adjoining Meionaon. A part of his speech was as follows: —
“For myself I have never voted anything hut the Republican ticket, and in that I differ from many of the Republican advocates in this State; but if I live until the fourth day of November next, I shall cast my first vote for a Democratic President, and vote for Grover Cleveland of New York, for I believe that he has shown, in the important public offices in which he has been placed, that he can be an honest, able, and fearless executive officer, while the Republicans, in choosing a candidate twice rejected on account of his damaged political character, have disgraced their party and insulted the integrity of the American people. It is not an agreeable thing to leave the party in which you have been born and in which you hoped always to live, but when the question comes between mere party success and the existence of honest government, then every true citizen will stand by his country and let his party look to itself.”
Andrew was nominated in 1884 for the State Senate by a nonpartisan Address indorsed by the Democrats. His refusal to support the Republican candidate for President had excited much bitterly partisan comment in the Republican press, yet in spite of such opposition he was elected by 1400 majority in a district which only a Republican had previously represented. He had been previously urged to accept an Independent nomination as candidate for Congress against Edward D. Hayden, but he replied that he was “interested in defeating a corrupt candidate for the Presidency, not in opposing a good man for Congress.” He early began his championship of a sound currency resting upon a gold basis when in the State Senate of 1885 he offered a resolution, which was defeated, encouraging the Massachusetts representatives in Congress to advocate the passage of the necessary laws to prevent the free coinage of silver under the Bland Act.
In 1885, Andrew was a member of the Municipal Reform Association, by whose endeavors the Boston City Charter was revised and all executive powers taken from the City Council and given to the Mayor. In 1881, he had introduced in the Senate a bill providing that, in cities of a population greater than 75,000, department officers should be appointed by the Mayor and Aldermen without any reference to boards of Councilmen. This anticipated in part the Revised Charter legislation of 1885, which was framed to prevent the mischievous interference with executive business by Committees of the Boston City Council.
In 1886, Mr. Andrew was invited by the Democratic State Committee to be their candidate for Governor. He at first refused to consider the proposition, but when the invitation was renewed, he referred the committee to Mr. Moorfield Storey, with whom he had in the meantime consulted. The result of this conference was that he consented to be the candidate of the Democratic party for Governor upon condition that the party platform should indorse, in an unqualified manner and to his satisfaction, reform of the Civil Service and the Tariff. This agreement was made, and he was nominated as the Democratic candidate for Governor upon a platform thoroughly satisfactory to the Independents, even if it was accepted with hesitation by many of the Democratic politicians. The result of the canvass was a surprise even to many of the tariff reformers. This was the first time the Tariff Reform issue had been pressed as a demand for free raw materials anywhere in the country, and the first time such an issue in the Bay State had been made the particular object of concerted political action by men of standing, education, and property. Andrew ran many thousand votes ahead of the general Democratic ticket, and was defeated by a plurality of but 9,500, Robinson, the Republican candidate of the previous year, having been elected by 22,000 plurality.
The principal work of this campaign, as far as the canvass for the head of the ticket was concerned, fell upon a volunteer Independent Committee. The campaign was somewhat advanced when at a meeting of this Committee certain members reported that many Republicans, dissatisfied with the nominee of their party for the Governorship, would probably support Andrew if the Tariff issue were not so vigorously pressed. Andrew’s closest friends upon the Committee strenuously opposed such a change of attitude, taking the ground that much as they wished Andrew’s success, their object was not to advance his political career except as an incident to the cause of which he was the standard bearer. They declared that if the Committee should take a less positive stand on the Tariff question, they would do no further work in the canvass. The vote was not pressed. Andrew was perfectly contented with the position of his friends, which had been taken without consulting him. The following quotation from Andrew’s letter of acceptance of the Democratic nomination for Governor epitomizes his opinions on the questions of the day: —
“The intelligence of the Nation, irrespective of political parties, heartily supports the earnest efforts of President Cleveland to divorce the Civil Service from politics; to reduce the Tariff to the requirements of times of peace; to lessen the burden of taxation; and to prevent the coinage of a debased currency. These are the principles for which we contend, and Massachusetts, foremost in all reforms, is sure to give them her cordial support.”
An incident of this campaign which had an important effect upon Andrew’s later political career was the formation of an active Tariff Reform Association in the Third Congressional District. This organization conducted an aggressive Free Raw Material campaign against the re-election to Congress of Ambrose A. Ranney. Leopold Morse, the Democratic nominee, indorsed by the Independents, was elected by a plurality of 1818.211
The Third District organization was of the most informal character, but it was made up of active men of strong convictions. This organization played an important part in the politics of this State until the re-districting of 1892 threw its members into three different Congressional districts.
In 1887, it was evident that there was much discontent with Cleveland’s administration among certain leaders of his party, and that the State Convention would take an antagonistic position in regard to Civil Service Reform and the Administration. Andrew therefore declined to be a candidate for a second nomination for Governor.212 Like most Independents, he took no active part in the contest between Ames and Lovering.
In 1888, Andrew was the Democratic candidate for Congress in the Third District. His opponent was Alanson W. Beard. The canvass was very hot. Andrew and his supporters felt that the indirect effect of the work done in this important city District would be influential in forming an amalgamated Democratic and Independent party in the State. Never before was the idea of broadside advertisement in the daily papers, especially in those of the opposite party, carried so far. These broadsides were not merely campaign reviews of the qualities that made Andrew a desirable candidate, but carefully prepared explanations of the principles which the candidate supported were thus published in easily-read type. Thousand of circulars were sent through the mails. Many canvassers and workers at the polls were employed on election day, but further than this a very large, if not an equal number of volunteer workers, men of standing in the community, and fully inspired by the principles that led their candidate, labored assiduously before and on election day for the success of the ticket The result was a great surprise to the Republicans. The one bright spot for the Independents of Massachusetts in the contest of 1888 was the election of Andrew to Congress.
“That we have an issue to-day is due to the courage of our patriotic President. The great question is the revision of the Tariff and the reduction of the revenue. It is estimated that $110,000,000 will be taken the coming year by taxation from the earnings of the people, not one dollar of which is required for expenses of the government, but it is collected solely for the purpose of making a few rich monopolists richer. This great revenue was needed in the time of war, but it is an outrage in the time of peace. The new Republican party of to-day, which found it necessary to admit that it sympathized with morality, declares that rather than touch the present Tariff it would repeal the entire revenue tax, including the tax on whiskey and tobacco. We believe in helping the people to more employment, rather than to more whiskey; to cheaper food rather than to cheaper tobacco. If there is any advantage from the Tariff the employer gets it, and not the working-man. Inventive skill, education, the hopeful ambition of our working-men, and the general diffusion of intelligence, make American labor the most valuable on earth, while the vast area of fertile lands inviting every kind of productive activity increases our prosperity. People who once stood for human freedom at whatever cost of life or treasure, simply because it was right, will ever stand for freedom from unjust extortions of monopolists and the denial to man of his rightful opportunities. The intelligence and conscience of the country won a victory twenty-five years ago; they will again speak for freedom and equality in November next.”
Before passing to an account of Andrew’s services during his first term in Congress, mention should be made of those as Park Commissioner of Boston, to which office he was first appointed 11 May, 1885. In February, 1886, Andrew was reappointed and confirmed for the term of three years from 1 May of that year. He served out the term and held over until his successor, Col. Thomas L. Livermore, was confirmed, 13 May, 1889, Andrew having been elected to Congress at the previous election. When Andrew first entered on the duties of this office, the project of establishing a system of Parks for Boston had scarcely passed beyond the initial stage. The sites of six Parks had been secured, but their construction had barely begun, except in the case of that called the Back Bay Fens, which was about half finished. Not only had little been done, but there was small prospect of doing more. The Legislature had established a tax rate and debt limit which left but slight opportunities for securing money to extend the system or to improve the ground already obtained. The work would have suffered accordingly had not the Commission inaugurated the policy of carrying it on by long term loans outside of the debt limit. This measure, which was ably advocated and successfully carried out by the Board, and in which Andrew took an active part, has been chiefly instrumental in developing the Park System in a progressive and comprehensive manner. The extension of the Marine Park over tide-water lands belonging to the Commonwealth was secured, and the addition of Castle Island, belonging to the United States, was successfully advocated by Mr. Andrew and Joseph H. O’Neil. Plans for connecting the Marine Park with the city were adopted, and funds for this purpose and for extending the main Park System from the Fens to Jamaica Pond were obtained.
In the Fifty-first Congress Andrew soon won for himself an influential position by his nice tact, his sincerity, and his knowledge of men and public affairs. Although no orator, he became one of the recognized leaders of the honest-money Democrats in the House. Through the efforts of those Republicans and Democrats who believed in sound money, united up to this time, the passage of the bill for the absolute free coinage of silver at a ratio of 16 to 1 was prevented. Andrew and his honest-money Democratic colleagues voted against all silver legislation, and if the ten Republican Congressmen from Massachusetts had voted with equal steadiness the Sherman Silver Purchase Act would never have been passed. The first Silver Bill, the so-called Conger Bill, which passed the House where there was a Republican majority, was the basis of the Act of 14 July, 1890, — the Sherman Act. The Conger Bill had so small a majority that a change of ten votes would have prevented its passage. In speaking of this contest, Andrew told me that he had learned from the highest Republican authority that the sound-money men of the Republican party considered it necessary to vote for the Sherman Act, as it was feared that if this compromise were not accepted a free silver coinage bill might pass, as President Harrison would give no assurance that he would veto such a measure.
“There never was a particle of danger of the passage of a free coinage bill except from the Republican side of the House. The Republicans were making their bid for the votes of the new silver-mining States in the Presidential election of 1892. . . . When Speaker Reed was convinced that the Eastern Democrats meant to vote their convictions without scheming to embarrass the President, he allowed the question [of silver coinage] to come to a vote. He would not permit it to come to a vote a minute sooner, and he felt a deal of hesitation up to the last moment, because he suspected us of acting from the same petty motives which governed the members of his own party. . . . The Eastern Democrats did not want free coinage, and they did not want silver inflation; they voted against it at the expense of enabling Mr. Reed to claim for his party, as he and his friends are claiming, the credit of having defeated free coinage. They did not initiate any of the legislation of the last Congress, and they never initiated a free coinage bill as a party measure or a measure of the Committee on Coinage while a Democratic Speaker sat in the chair, which was no sooner occupied by a Republican Speaker than silver inflation was adopted as the financial policy of the country.”
Andrew spoke and voted against the McKinley Bill. In his speech of 10 May, 1890, he said: —
“Mr. Chairman, the Committee reporting the Bill say, ‘We have not been so much concerned about the price of articles we consume as we have been to encourage a system of home production.’ That they have not concerned themselves about the consumption is apparent to anyone, but under what principle of political economy they propose increasing the taxes upon established industries when the Government is not in need of additional revenue can be apparent to no one. One thing especially conspicuous in the bill is the marked success with which it absolutely ignores the interests of New England. That section of the country demands lower taxes upon the necessaries of life and cheaper raw materials to benefit their manufactures and give employment to their people. Instead of that they are offered, not only higher duties, but articles which have been free are now made to pay a duty. What New England wants the most has been denied her, and what she wants the least has been forced upon her. The duties upon wool have been increased in spite of petitions from many of the largest manufacturers and dealers in wool, praying that wool may be free. Twenty-two years of high duties upon wool have failed to benefit the wool growers or the manufacturers, or to increase the wages of the operatives. Every country where wool manufactures come into competition with ours has the advantage of free wool.
“That any one should seriously contemplate increasing the duty upon carpet wools seems incredible, yet this bill raises the duty 40 and even 60 per cent. No duty, no matter how high, can cause carpet wool to be produced in the United States; even on lands of Texas that cost nothing, it cannot be produced at a profit.”
He then proceeded to show how the iron industries of New England were adversely affected by duties upon iron ore, coal, and coke, and he presented a petition signed by 598 proprietors and managers of ironworking establishments, asking that these materials should be placed upon the free list, and that the duty on pig iron and scrap iron and steel should be restored to that which prevailed immediately before the war. He further said: —
“When we see the prosperity of the cotton, paper, and leather industries, and know that their raw materials are free, it does not seem unreasonable that the manufacturer of wool and iron should desire free raw materials to revive their fallen industries. In asking to be relieved from oppressive taxes which are burdening the people, we are met with the declaration that we are ‘free traders.’
“There is to-day no party in the country which asks for or desires ‘free trade;’ but if there is anything which will bring such a party into existence, it is the passage of a bill which aims not only to maintain a war tariff twenty-five years after the war for which it was created has ceased, but even to increase that tariff. A bill which adds to the duties upon established industries when the Government has more money than it needs, a bill which is to add to the burden of every citizen by increasing the cost of the necessities of life, a bill which is to deprive the manufacturer of his raw material and which deprives the farmer of an opportunity of selling his surplus product, if it is to meet the approval of the intelligence of the country, must have some stronger argument than mere party expediency or a desire to pay political obligations.”
When the Conference Report on the McKinley Bill was being forced through the House, Andrew made another speech in which he said, quoting from Blaine: —
“The United States has reached the point where one of the highest duties is to enlarge the area of its foreign trade.”
Then, after quoting from Resolutions of the Merchants Association, and from an opinion of the Secretary of the Home Market Club, both favoring such legislation as would tend to increase the export trade of the country, he proceeded: —
“This evidence from high Republican authorities shows that the provisions of this bill are absolutely antagonistic to the needs of the people. In order to allay opposition and to seem to meet the popular will, it is proposed to amend this Bill by adding a section which pretends to grant reciprocity of trade with foreign countries. The amendment provides that whenever the President finds the government of another country which produces sugars, molasses, coffee, tea, and hides, raw and uncured, imposing duties upon American products, which he considers reciprocally unequal and unjust, it shall be his duty to tax those articles coming from that country. He must also suspend by Proclamation the provision which places these articles upon the Free List. It is safe to say that such extraordinary power has never in recent years been given by a free people to the Executive. We here permit the President, at his own discretion, to tax the property of individuals. Section 8 of Article I. of the Constitution of the United States provides that ‘The Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes, duties, imposts, and excises,’ and nowhere is a provision to be found by which this power can be exercised by any. one else. Neither has the President the power to make a treaty which this amendment would seem to imply that he had.
“The passage of this Bill must cause great uncertainty in business and great injury to any one engaged in dealing in hides, or the manufacture of leather, or trading in coffee or sugar. When any other government, no matter how insignificant it may be, imposes a duty upon any of these articles which the President ‘deems to be reciprocally unequal and unreasonable,’ ‘it shall be his duty’ to levy these taxes. What a condition in which to place trade! and how can any one engaged in it know what prices may be at any moment in any of these articles? Sugar coming from one country is free, while if imported from another country it must pay a duty. Hides imported to-day may be free but if coming in to-morrow are taxed one and a half cents per pound, or free from one country and taxed if from another!
“Such government interference which no man at any time may guard against may destroy the most solvent merchant by the effect upon prices.”
During the debate upon the Ship Subsidies Bill (27 February, 1891), Andrew made a speech a part of which was as follows: —
“Before taxing the entire community in order to subsidize a few shipbuilders and owners, before taking millions of money annually from the people in order to give a bounty to a few who are engaged in an unprofitable business, it would be better to examine into the cause of this unfortunate condition of our commerce and remove the evil, rather than impose upon the country an additional burden.
“The iron industry of Massachusetts, once prosperous, is now almost extinct owing to our tariff laws. The largest concern in the State is about to put its plant into Illinois, yet it would not be considered wise legislation to give a bounty to any one going into the manufacture of iron. The State of Maine, with its magnificent harbors and convenient proximity to the coal and iron fields of the Provinces, should, under wise tariff laws, be a flourishing community; but if the reports of the recent census are to be believed, there has been a falling off in the population of many of the counties in that State; yet no one would advocate taxing the whole people to allow Maine to establish manufactures. Thirty years ago America was the equal of any country in its commerce. Then ships were made of wood and used sail; to-day they are made of iron or steel and propelled by steam, but our flag is rarely seen upon the seas. If an American wishes to engage profitably in the foreign trade he must sail his ship under the flag of another country. It costs too much to build a ship in this country; and a foreign-built ship cannot be registered here. The fact that the English ship can make money while the American does not, cannot be due to the difference in wages of seamen in the two countries, because in the past, when we were able to compete with England, we paid our sailors higher wages.
“England pays no duties upon the materials which go into the construction of her ships, and she allows her people to buy their ships in the cheapest market. This is also true of Germany and France, while America puts a heavy duty upon raw materials. In the case of structural iron, the duty is 114 per cent ad valorem, and upon anchors and chains it amounts to 38 or 49 per cent ad valorem. . . . Many of the best informed experts in shipping believe that the true method to revive our commerce is not by subsidies, but by removing the oppressive taxes upon shipbuilding and allowing our people to buy ships where they can get them the cheapest.”
Tariff Reformers throughout New England looked to Andrew as their special representative in this Congress, and he presented many petitions for free wool and iron ore, and for reduced taxes on products of the farm.
As a member of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, Andrew prepared a careful Report in favor of aiding European countries in the suppression of the slave trade. In this Report he made public for the first time the Brussels Treaty which sought to stamp out that trade on the African coast. The final ratification of the treaty was due in no small measure to his exertions.
As a member of the Committee on Civil Service Reform, Andrew again had opportunity to show his hearty support of the merit system as a measure of immediate necessity and practical importance.
Andrew’s second election to Congress, in 1890, was by the largest plurality ever given a Democratic candidate in the Third District. His opponent was Edward L. Pierce. The Democratic victories that year in Massachusetts exceeded the expectations of the most sanguine supporters of Cleveland’s policy. Six other Democratic Congressmen were elected; and William E. Russell was chosen Governor of Massachusetts for the first time.
In the Fifty-second Congress we find Andrew again the wise, sturdy and sincere supporter of Tariff Reform, Honest Money, and Civil Service Reform, and strenuously opposing all proscriptive legislation directed against particular races of men. He could well say with his father, “I know not what record of sin awaits me in the other world, but this I know that I was never mean enough to despise a man because he was ignorant, or because he was poor, or because he was black.” He opposed the Chinese Exclusion Act, voting against the majority of his own party, and he was one of three members of the Committee on Foreign Affairs who refused to sign the provision in the Conference Report requiring “credible white witnesses.” He also proposed a bill to repeal so much of the Exclusion Act as prevents persons of African descent from becoming witnesses in a court of law. He showed his independence of the Democratic party whip by being one of the few of that party who voted against the Anti-Option Bill.
During his second term in Congress, Andrew maintained his stout battle for more enlightened tariff laws. On the first bill-day he introduced bills to make raw wool, iron ore, and tin plate free of duty, and in a later measure sought especially to except hides from the list of articles on which the President was authorized, under the reciprocity clause, to levy duties upon his own judgment, without special act of Congress. He also introduced a bill to repeal the bounty on sugar given by the McKinley Tariff Act and sought to carry out by another bill the wishes of the Boston Associated Board of Trade in regard to the repeal of certain crudities and oppressive provisions of the McKinley Administrative Act.
The Free Ship Bill, drawn by the Hon. John M. Forbes, was also introduced by Andrew.
While he never concealed his opinion on any public matter, and while he frankly expressed lus judgment on men and affairs, Andrew never made enemies in so doing. He won the confidence of men whose ideas were most divergent from his own. He always respected the individuality of other men, and they in turn respected his. There was nothing of the Pharisee in his nature. “Andrew was an almost universal favorite,” says a close observer of Washington affaire, “and was one of the men whose straightforward sincerity and lack of partisan feeling gained him almost as much influence on one side of the House as on the other.” The high regard in which he was held by all factions of the Democratic Congressmen is shown by the fact that he was one of the few men who opposed the nomination of Mr. Crisp for Speaker of the House who were appointed by him to chairmanships of important committees. He was re-appointed a member of the Committee on Foreign Affairs, and he was made Chairman of the Committee on Civil Service Reform, of which he was a member in the Fifty-first Congress.
Of his work upon the last-named Committee, Mr. Theodore Roosevelt says: —
“Better than any words I could write for a Memoir is what I have already said about Mr. Andrew in my article on Civil Service Reform in the August (1895) Scribner. It was written, of course, before I knew of his sad death. He combined courage, principle, and common-sense, and this made him a literally invaluable ally, for he was both disinterested and effective. He was the best Chairman of a Civil Service Committee that we have ever had in the House of Representatives since the present Civil Service Reform Law went into effect.”
Next in importance to Andrew’s work for the maintenance of an honest currency was that which he did as chairman of this Committee. He was a sincere believer in the reform of the civil service, and contrary to the opinion of not a few avowed advocates of the cause, he felt that however valuable were the rules governing the Civil Service, as a check upon the use of the appointing power for personal or party ends, and however useful such rules might be in forming public opinion to recognize and to oppose such demoralizing use of power, the people should be taught by the example of those in authority that the Civil Service could be reformed without rules if their public servants did not take improper advantage of the power intrusted to them. A worthy official, even if not protected by Civil Service Rules, could not, with his approval, be supplanted by a partisan “worker.”
One of the members of the Civil Service Reform Committee of the Fifty-second Congress213 says: —
“He [Andrew] was prominently the working, active member of the Committee. I did not consider the Committee at the outset very warmly for the Reform, but Mr. Andrew succeeded in obtaining two of the strongest Reports that ever came from the Committee, and of the most sweeping character: one authorizing the registration of laborers in every department of the Government under reform rules, and the other providing for the choice of fourth-class postmasters according to the merit system.”
The two Bills above referred to and reported by Andrew as Chairman of this Committee, proposed to more than treble the number of officials then under the Civil Service Rules. There were at that time about 36,000 employees protected by these rules. By the Bill “to exclude political influence in the employment of laborers” he sought to make merit the test for such employment in the Navy Yards and in the public works of the United States. This measure was indorsed by the Federation of Labor and by the Knights of Labor of the District of Columbia, where the actual workings of the merit system had been tested in the gun factory. It was said to have been through Andrew’s co-operation with the representatives of organized Labor that the People’s party in 1892 declared as one of its principles, —
“Should the government enter upon the work of owning and managing all railroads, we should favor an Amendment to the Constitution by which all persons engaged in the government service shall be placed under a Civil Service Regulation of the most rigid character.”
His most important work for Civil Service Reform was the Bill which was framed and presented by him, to regulate the appointment of Fourth-Class Postmasters. The Report made by his Committee on this measure was a strong, frank, and most effective criticism of the Spoils System. This measure did not then become law, nor has this reform yet been established. It differed in its provisions, but not in its principles, from those of the later De Forest Report approved in 1896 by President Cleveland.214
Andrew was one of the few members of the Fifty-second Congress who voted against the Dependent and the Mexican Pension Bills. His many kindnesses to veterans and his interest in the Grand Army Post which bore his father’s name show his regard for the soldiers of the war, but he was too straightforward and patriotic to stoop to coddling them by indiscriminate government bounty or by special privileges.
In the Honest-Money contest of the Fifty-second Congress the good work done by those who had the gift of oratory placed them prominently in the public eye, and but few knew of the quiet but equally effective service done by Andrew in making converts for Sound Money in a House where every vote was needed. In the opinion of his colleague and intimate friend, the Hon. Sherman Hoar, Andrew was the only member of Congress who is known to have made converts and won votes from the opposition. Mr. Crisp said to Mr. Hoar that Andrew was one of the few men he had ever met who had this power. Andrew knew with unfailing instinct whether a man was open to conviction. When he believed that he had found a possible convert to any cause he never was known to discuss the subject with him before a third person. He was indefatigable in working against the free coinage of silver, and it was largely through his efforts that the honest-money contingent of the Democratic party was increased, and held, to the number of seventy, whereby the Senate Free Silver Bill, on 13 July, 1892, was defeated by a majority of eighteen.
It was true of Andrew, as Parke Godwin said of his father, that —
“inflexibly honest in his own convictions, his sincerity always identified him with his cause; while his kindliness and justness won him the respect of those who hated his cause. This was because he worked by persuasion, not blows; by the persuasions of argument and character, and not force.”
As a consequence of his labors during the long hot summer of 1891, he was stricken with a malarial illness. His wife,215 who was most thoroughly sympathetic with his ideas and ambitions, died the following autumn. One who knew him in Washington, says that this illness and —
“the death of his wife left him in a changed condition, from which, in the opinion of his closest friends, he never fully recovered. He did not seem himself during the remainder of his Congressional career, and while he continued to do some of his best work, it was with the indifferent air of a man for whom the joy of living had ended.”
The political situation in 1888 was such that it is surprising that Andrew should have been that year elected to Congress as a Tariff Reformer. His personal popularity and the confidence he inspired by his public life, together with the fine organization of the Tariff Reformers of the Third Congressional District, explains his election.
In the campaigns of 1888 and 1889 in Massachusetts the Tariff issue was strongly pressed by the Democratic candidate for the Governorship, William E. Russell, and the other leaders of the young Democracy. The result of the canvass of 1887 had a good effect. The Independents and Democrats who had not been influential in the party councils of the previous year were allowed to have a candidate and a platform which they could enthusiastically support. These campaigns were truly, as they were intended, campaigns of education, and the seed sown in these years bore astonishing fruit in 1890. In that year the disappointment of many voters with the attitude of the Republicans in regard to the Tariff and Silver questions, the attempted passage of the Force Bill, the passage of the Dependent Pension Bill, and the other extravagances by which the Republican party sought to remove the menace to Protection of a surplus revenue, brought specific examples to the voters’ minds of the dangers which the New Democracy had theoretically pointed out in the discussions of previous years. The results of the election surprised even those most confident of success.
In the re-districting of Massachusetts in 1891 many of the Democratic members of the Legislature were deceived by the extent of the victory of 1890, and some were disinclined to encourage the growth of Mugwump influence in the State. They were therefore easily managed by their more astute Republican colleagues. The Democrats consented to a division of the districts based on the abnormally large Democratic vote of the previous year, and also with the intention of making a second “safe” Democratic district. The effective organization of the Independents in the Ninth District and the well-nigh perfect organization in the Third District were thus broken up. The Third District voters were divided among three newly constituted districts. This action was taken in spite of the protest of all the Independent leaders in those districts whose advice was asked. The Independent organization in Massachusetts was thus practically destroyed.
When Andrew returned, in 1892, to make his third canvass for Congress, honored as he was for his work for Tariff, Civil Service, and Currency Reform, in a year when the Massachusetts Republicans had determined to spare no endeavor to regain their lost supremacy in this State, he had to contest, in a Presidential year, a new District with a normal Republican majority of about 2,000.
The Address indorsing Andrew’s candidacy for re-election was signed by many of the most prominent men of the District, but the impression prevails that in this canvass he lost the aid of some of his leading supporters in past campaigns, because, through the change of district lines, many of these men were no longer in his District — a fact overlooked by many persons. His campaign was conducted with ability and thoroughness. The defection in the Democratic wards of Cambridge, to which in no small measure his defeat was due, sprang from causes honorable to him and to his managers. Much campaign capital was made by Andrew’s opponents of his refusal to meet the Republican candidate in joint debate. Although in no wise pretending to be an orator, Andrew was quick at repartee, and if his health had permitted he would have acquitted himself creditably in such a contest. As one of his closest friends writes, —
“It was want of health and not want of courage that caused him to decline this debate. He told me at the time what his doctor said, but was averse to holding himself out as a sick man.”
He never fully recovered from the effects of the malarial illness which he contracted while fighting for Honest Money during the long session of the summer of 1891. Samuel W. McCall, his opponent, was elected by a plurality of 992. Andrew, although greatly disappointed at tins check to his public career, bore his defeat manfully.
On his return to Washington for the short session of the Fifty-second Congress, immediately before the inauguration of President Cleveland, he introduced a Bill for the practical repeal of the Sherman Silver Purchase Act.216 He was among the first to suggest that this Bill should be referred to the Banking Committee, which had a Sound Money majority, instead of the Coinage Committee, which had a majority of silver men. During this legislative contest, Andrew was in constant consultation with Senator Carlisle, and through him and others with President-elect Cleveland. The Bill was introduced on the first bill-day in the House, and it was a measure that fully represented the wishes of the New York and Boston Chambers of Commerce, and numerous other commercial bodies which had denounced the Sherman Act. By this Bill, Andrew did not propose to repeal the whole of the Act, as that would have revived the Bland Act of 1878, which provided for the monthly coinage of $2,000,000 in silver. If the Republican members from sound-money States had voted in accordance with the wishes of their constituents the Bill would not have been defeated. With this endeavor to ward off financial disaster, Andrew’s career in national politics ended.
In July, 1894, he was again appointed Park Commissioner of Boston by Mayor Matthews. This position, he said, was “the only municipal office he had any desire to fill.” Upon the resignation of Mr. Charles F. Sprague, who had been elected to the State Senate, Andrew became Chairman of the Board, and held that position at the time of his death.
During Andrew’s second term as Park Commissioner, additional land for the extension of the Arnold Arboretum was acquired by agreement with Harvard College, including in this unique public property (which already contained Bussey Hill), the higher reaches of Peter’s Hill, and increasing its area from one hundred and fifty-five to two hundred and twenty-five acres. In conjunction with the Metropolitan Park Commission, a parkway extending from the Arboretum to Bellevue Hill, connecting the Boston Park System with the Metropolitan Parks at the Stony Brook Reservation, was also secured. He favored re-foresting the Harbor Islands, — a plan, which, if carried out, would have added greatly to the beauty of the Bay, — and he recommended the establishment of playgrounds and open-air gymnasiums in different parts of the city.
Andrew was an advocate of the policy of placing Commonwealth Avenue under the control of the Park Commission, which was brought about just before the beginning of his second term. General Walker, in speaking of Andrew’s work as Park Commissioner, said: —
“He was a consistent friend of Civil Service Reform both in theory and practice, and stood up stiffly for protecting the Parks against the encroachment of labor organizations, evangelical associations, and other parties desiring to use them for the purpose of propagandism.”
Andrew opposed the placing of the Park Police under the charge of the Police Commissioners, as an action unjustified by probable improvement in the discipline of the force, and not to be reconciled with holding the Park Commissioners responsible for the control of the Parks.
The fears that Andrew entertained of unsatisfactory results from the abnormal Democratic majority in the Fifty-third Congress were realized. He thought that the Southern congressmen had not acted in good faith towards the Democrats of the East in forcing the Income-Tax provision upon the Tariff Bill. He was thoroughly dissatisfied with the result of the reform movement of a decade, and he saw clearly that, although something had been gained by placing wool, lumber, and salt upon the free list, the disappointment felt by the conscientious and thoughtful people of the country at the pettiness and incapacity shown in Congress would long postpone the probability of rallying any considerable portion of the rank and file of the Republican party to the support of the principles he had so much at heart. He believed that the votes of many Republicans were needed to replace those of Democrats who would leave that party through discontent with those acts of President Cleveland which most commended that leader to the Independents.
“It is a shame,” Andrew, in substance, said to me shortly after the passage of the Tariff Bill of the Fifty-third Congress. “We have spent our money, our best energies, our thought and enthusiasm in seeking to put the public affairs of this country upon a more honest and better basis, only to have our work undone by a group of miserable jobbers.”
When in 1894 public opinion turned in favor of the Republican party, Andrew was surprised only at the magnitude of the reaction. Most Independents sympathized with him in feeling no disappointment at the result of the election that year. Considered as a whole, Andrew thought this expression of public opinion a just rebuke to the Democratic party for the misuse they had made of their power in spite of the President’s protests. He said at this time that he should have had a poor opinion of the intelligence of the American people if they had elected a Democratic Congress that year. He confidently expected, however, that no better, even if as satisfactory results would come from the large Republican majority of the succeeding Congress.
Throughout his public career, Andrew opposed all invasion of local self-government. He introduced the Bill to increase the power and responsibility of Mayors, in which the first step was taken in Massachusetts towards Municipal Reform. He voted against all laws prohibiting the sale of intoxicating liquors.217
As laws making for bad citizenship, he opposed the poll tax as a prerequisite of voting, and the taxation of personal property. He combated legislation which gave especial privileges to individuals or to classes and associations of individuals. No extravagant pension bills bad his support. He opposed most of the so-called Labor Legislation. He was a bold, yet conservative advocate of Tariff Reform. Our restrictive navigation laws met his unflagging criticism and opposition.
One of the most civilized measures passed by the Congress during recent years — the Act by which works of art are exempt from customs duty — was introduced by Andrew.
If he had done no other service, his name should be gratefully remembered by all who hope to see a nobler public life developed in this country, on account of his work for Civil Service Reform.
He introduced the first bill by which a general Civil-Service law was enacted in any State, and he was “the best Chairman of the Civil Service Committee” we have ever had in the House of Representatives. He was the first Congressman to attempt to place under Civil-Service rules the laborers and fourth-class postmasters.
All those who hope to see the country benefited by the assured retention of gold as our standard of value should recognize Andrew’s unremitting and uncompromising work in the cause of Honest Money. Useful as was his public life, his most noteworthy work, so modestly and quietly done as to be unknown to most men, was when, by his tact and powers of personal persuasion, he added to the number of the Democratic opponents of silver coinage, and held them together to defeat the Senate Silver Bill of 1892. Few if any of his colleagues in Congress who knew what he did to this end would deny that a large share of the credit for the defeat of that measure was due to him. His friends knew that the work he did during this and the Fifty-first Congress broke his health and shortened his days.
He came back from Washington in the spring of 1893 in a very weak physical condition, and he did not recover, even in part, his normal strength until the summer of 1894. He then appeared to be in fairly good health, but he often suffered from severe headaches. He was very careful in his diet, and lived with the greatest moderation and simplicity. He died, very suddenly, 30 May, 1895, of apoplexy, which had also caused his father’s death.
He was buried from the First Church in Boston. Seldom are so many people of prominence seen at a funeral, even at that of a public man, as were assembled to pay respect to the memory of John Forrester Andrew.
Mr. Andrew lived in Boston on the northeast corner of Commonwealth Avenue and Hereford Street. His summer house was at Hingham, his mother’s birthplace, where he, too, was born. He had great affection for this town and the country adjoining it. While the appointments of his life were such as befitted his fortune, he lived, both in town and country, in an essentially simple and unostentatious manner.
He was elected a Member of this Society 18 January, 1893. He was a Member and at one time a Director of the New England Historic Genealogical Society. He was President of the Phillips School Association and an Honorary Member of the John A. Andrew Post of the Grand Army of the Republic. He was a member of the Union, Somerset, St. Botolph, Country, and Algonquin Clubs, and of the last he was President from its organization. The Massachusetts Reform Club, the New England Tariff Reform League, the Young Men’s Democratic Club of Massachusetts, and the Reform Club of New York were the political organizations in which he had membership. He was a Trustee of the Massachusetts School for the Feeble Minded; for some time he was President of the Massachusetts Infant Asylum; and at the time of his death he was President of the Home for Aged Colored Women and of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children.