APRIL MEETING, 1897.
A Stated Meeting of the Society was held in the Hall of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences on Wednesday, 21 April, 1897, at three o’clock in the afternoon, the President, Edward Wheelwright, in the chair.
After the Minutes of the last Stated Meeting had been read and approved, the President appointed the following Committees, in anticipation of the Annual Meeting: —
To nominate candidates for the several offices, — the Hon. John Lathrop and Messrs. Frederick Lewis Gay and Frank Brewster.
To examine the Treasurer’s Accounts, — Messrs. Richard M. Saltonstall and Eliot C. Clarke.
The President announced the death, since the March Meeting, of the Hon. Darwin Erastus Ware, and spoke of his warm interest in the Society and its work.
Mr. James Bradley Thayer then paid this tribute to the memory of his friend and classmate: —
As life goes on with those of us who are nearing the goal, one is continually reminded of the way in which human experience repeats itself. The things that we have been hearing of all our lives, and have little heeded, perhaps, are now coming home to us, as these heavy experiences thicken about us, this swift vanishing of friends, “this losing,” of which a great man has truly said, out of the depths of a grievous personal experience, that it is the “true dying.”
A few months ago, near the end of November, our President, Dr. Gould, died; he was, to many of us, a dear friend. As one of the pall-bearers at his funeral, I came away from his grave in the same carriage with our associate, General Walker. He was the image of manly strength as he sat there and talked of different varieties of men in his vigorous, eager way, — of men who stand still instead of growing, and of men whose powers and character, as he said, “double themselves every five years.” He himself seemed to me then a present illustration of his own text. It was but a few weeks later when this strong man was in his grave.
Again, only a little later, towards the end of February, at the funeral of another of our associates, Mr. Shattuck, with whom I had been a partner in business and a very old friend, I walked as a pall-bearer by the side of another of my oldest friends. But a few weeks later, on the second of this present month of April, came the swift tragedy of tins friend’s death; and we are here now to commemorate Ware, as we have met before, so lately, to speak together of Shattuck, Walker, and Gould.
Of Shattuck, Ware himself had been named to write some sketch for the annals of our Society; and he had just begun to write it. On Monday evening, the twenty-ninth of March, just before the sudden disorder of the next day, which ended his own life on the third night following, after he had returned from presiding over a meeting of the Examiner Club, he sat down to write; but he was soon interrupted. I hold in my hand the single pencilled sentence that was then written. It was this: —
“When an associate who has attained eminence in one’s calling dies, we who were content to merely witness his performances and to give them our praise, at once begin to consider what were the sources of his power, and, if he had a place in our affections, by a certain contradiction in nature, we console ourselves by such contemplation of his virtues as shall deepen in our hearts the sense of irretrievable loss.”
That sketch must now be finished by another hand; and these words, before a month is out, furnish the text for our meditations upon him who wrote them.
My acquaintance with Ware began nearly forty-nine years ago, when we both entered College, in the autumn of 1848. We were friends from the start, and have been friends ever since, without a break. Indeed, no one who had once been Ware’s friend could ever be otherwise, — he had himself so true a heart and so cordial an enthusiasm of feeling, and in character and intellect, he was so attractive, so helpful, and so valued a companion. He came to College from the Salem schools, in company with seven others.
His father owned and cultivated a large farm on the seashore, just over the Salem line, in Marblehead; hut Ware went to school in Salem, and he stood, in the College catalogue, as one of eight boys from that town. Two others, from neighboring towns, always counted, among their classmates, as belonging to the Salem group; and these ten men later on included among them, in the persons of our associate Thorndike, the two Choates (William and Joseph), and Darwin Ware, half of our “first eight,” as they used to call the highest scholars in the Class.
I cannot recall my first meeting with Ware, but probably we came together as two out of a saving remnant of half a dozen or so who were known to hold, at that unpropitious time, pretty hot anti-slavery sentiments. These few, in that Presidential year of our entering, when General Taylor had just been nominated, were sure to meet at Faneuil Hall on those rousing occasions when Charles Sumner and Richard H. Dana, Jr., and other leaders of the “conscience Whigs” and the Free Soilers, gave what seemed to us such splendid utterance to the anti-slavery sentiment of the time.
In college, Ware was not only a high scholar, but a favorite in the Class, prominent, respected by all, and a member of the leading Societies. His friend, the Rev. Edward H. Hall, of the Class just before ours, truly said of him the other day, in an admirable short address at Ids funeral, that —
“the enthusiasm for higher thought and love of philosophical speculation which he showed, singled him out among his fellows almost as much as did his sturdy moral sense and the scrupulous conscience which led him, when occasion demanded, to bid defiance to all the accepted customs and traditions of our little College world.”
As an illustration of the qualities last referred to in this passage from Mr. Hall’s remarks, — Ware’s courage and independence of thinking, — it is remembered by his friends that at his initiation into one of the chief of the College Societies, at a point where, according to a venerable usage, the novice is required, by an awful voice, to “Swear!”, Ware obstinately refused to swear, and, after an ineffectual struggle with him, the unheard of variation of affirming him had to be resorted to.
Graduating in 1852, high in rank, as I have said, and in the esteem of his class, Ware was a teacher, for a year, in a school at Jamaica Plain; and then, returning to Cambridge, he graduated at the Law School in 1855. He continued his studies at the Law School for another year, and left it, when I did, in 1856. At the beginning of his practice, through the introduction of a classmate, he became associated with a much older lawyer who had a large business, and, in particular, had many cases in the courts; but this lawyer lacked ability to handle his work, and the discrimination to judge when to begin litigation and when to abstain from it. Ware was at once plunged into the thick of actual practice, in the trial of cases for the entering of which in the courts he had been in no way responsible. It happened, as was inevitable, that he lost many of these cases, — probably no more than he should have lost but still so many as to excite remark. It was the opinion of his friends that these facts hurt him for a good while. In 1866, this arrangement was ended, and he formed a law partnership with John T. Morse, Jr., which continued until 1872, when he became the partner of our associate, George S. Hale. It was at about this period, I believe, that he declined the offer of a place on the Supreme Judicial Bench of the Hawaiian Islands.
In 1863 Ware was a member of the Massachusetts House of Representatives from Marblehead, where he had fixed his residence; and during 1864 and 1865 he was a Senator from the district which included Marblehead. In 1866 he was placed by Mr. McCulloch, the Secretary of the Treasury, on a commission to revise and codify the customs, revenue, and shipping laws of the United States, and in the winter following he passed several months in Washington upon this service. From 1866, for eight years he was an important member of the Massachusetts Board of Harbor Commissioners. This place he resigned in 1874, upon entering into a law partnership with Peleg W. Chandler and our associate, John E. Hudson. In 1878, this firm was dissolved, but Ware always maintained a close business relation with Mr. Chandler until the death of this older friend, when he became one of the executors and trustees under his will.
While Ware was in the Senate in 1865, he performed a service to his University, and, through that, to the State and the country, of great and lasting importance. He framed and carried through the Legislature a measure which was the beginning of a new era in the University, — the law which broke up the old system of electing Overseers by the Legislature, and intrusted the choice of that important body to the College alumni. The suggestion of this, as Ware told us at our Annual Dinner last November, was first made to him by Professor Child; and both he and Dr. Walker assured Ware at the outset that no greater benefit than this could be conferred upon the University. Mr. Ware had strong coadjutors, in particular, Francis E. Parker, at that time a member of the Senate, and Horace H. Coolidge, his classmate, then a member of the House; but the measure was Ware’s own; it was he that originated it, watched over it, and saw it through from beginning to end; and the task was a hard one. The Bill passed the Senate by only a single vote, and the House, also, by a very narrow majority; nothing saved it but the persistent and vigilant exercise of skill, address, and abilities of no common order. Ware himself regarded this as the worthiest accomplishment of his whole life. It was, indeed, a service which deserves to be permanently commemorated at Cambridge.
Ware’s place at the Bar was a good and honorable one. He was a sound lawyer and a safe and sagacious adviser, who thought out his problems thoroughly and with conscientious fidelity. But honorable and good as his place was, he did not have that eminence and high distinction at the Bar which we, his old friends and admirers, had anticipated for him, and which his powers and attainments justified us in expecting. What I have already said may intimate some of the causes which led to this, — the circumstances of his first entrance upon practice, and the extent to which he was drawn away from the law by his service in the Legislature, his employment at Washington, and his eight years of work on the Harbor Commission. Such withdrawals and interruptions in legal practice for nine or ten of the best years of a man’s life mean much.
There was another cause, and I will come to that in a moment or two. Ware, in his early days, was very much drawn to public life. He had been brought up in a household burning with interest in the greatest National questions of the day, those arising out of Southern Slavery and its relations to the National Government. He was not only a man of warm sympathies and an ardent and enthusiastic temperament, but also, from his youth up, he was a very serious-minded person, given to reflection and brooding upon all the gravest intellectual problems connected with the subjects that most interested him. He had formed to himself an inspiring image of what a competent and high-minded public man might do for his country, and in Ids earlier days, he would gladly have seen the door open for his own entry upon so great and worthy a career. Had circumstances favored that ambition, I believe that he would have been one of the ablest and wisest of American statesmen, worthy to have ranked among the leaders at any period of our history. The opportunities of such a career would have struck the deepest springs of his life; they would have roused all that strong enthusiasm that burned in him to the end, and would have called out all that capacity for solid and effective thinking which his friends perceived in him. There would, indeed, have been some faults to overcome; some luxuriances would have dropped off, some obstructions would have burned away. In some of his early addresses, in his political days, it seemed to his cooler friends that weighty thinking and high sentiments and force of expression were marred by somewhat that was crude and grandiose. But these were the faults and redundancies that naturally attended certain admirable qualities in the earlier stages of their development, — strong qualities that would have carried him far in public life.
As things turned out, Ware did not enter on public life; and in the career that actually fell to him, there was a certain lack of harmony in his powers which went to lessen his distinction at the Bar. With all his remarkable capacity for profound, comprehensive, and accurate thinking, yet the ordered expression and utterance of it was difficult. While, therefore, he would now and then come out with a really masterly handling of a subject, with a thoroughly admirable statement of it, and while he was always capable of this, he was, nevertheless, too apt to let the difficulties of the process appear in his utterance. He was, therefore, less effective as a speaker and as a writer than was to be expected; he lacked mobility of mind, and that quickness of faculty and ease of utterance which would have seconded so admirably his weighty gifts. It should be added that these embarrassments came partly from the fact that he knew so well when a thing was perfectly worked out and expressed, and because he could not be satisfied with anything that fell short of his own high and difficult standard.
But I am exaggerating these things by dwelling upon them. I do not mention them from any love of criticism, but because I would worthily appreciate him, and would speak fitly and truly, and as he himself would wish, of one whom I have loved and admired ever since I knew him. The trifles that I speak of, often working as they did, in the actual circumstances of Ware’s life, to hinder and obstruct him, would, I believe, have burned off like a cobweb, in the ardors of that public career which he might have occupied, which would have roused all his powers into easy and happy co-operation, which would have set him in an arena wherein he would have rejoiced like a strong man to run a race.
In polities, Ware was earnestly allied with the early anti-slavery parties, the Free Soilers and their antecedents, and then with the Republican party, until the nomination of Mr. Blaine. After that he was an Independent, a supporter of Mr. Cleveland, and generally acting rather in sympathy with the Democratic party than with its adversaries.
In his religious opinions he was a Unitarian, and, as among them, he belonged to that large class of Christians, of truly religious persons, who value their denomination chiefly because it asks them no questions.
Such a man was sure to be in demand for a good deal of public and social service. He was repeatedly chosen to the Board of Overseers of Harvard College, he was for many years a Director, and the Treasurer, of the Associated Charities of Boston, a member, and at one time President, of the Tariff Reform League, Vice-President of the Examiner Club, and a member of various other social, charitable, political, and religious organizations.
On the twenty-sixth of May, 1868, Mr. Ware married Miss Adelaide Frances Dickey of Veazie, Maine. She survives him. Their only child also survives him, a member of the Bar and a man of ability and promise, who succeeds to his father’s business.
I must not touch upon matters too private to be mentioned here; but I cannot help saying just a word or two upon one of the most engaging and characteristic aspects of our friend. As I have indicated, he had always a delightful enthusiasm of nature, which glowed in his face whenever he met a friend. Always he was a man of sentiment, a reader and admirer of what is best in poetry and literature and the drama; fond of treasuring up these things in his memory and saying them over. He himself was a poet, and he wrote verse which was strong and good, and full of the high feeling that found expression in his life. And then, what chiefly I wished to say just here, to the end of his days he was a lover. Early in life he had conceived of love as the one great, entrancing dream and flower of human existence. Many a young man has done that, but few are they who in the dust and heat of life have kept the freshness of their early dream, and have lived up to it. Ware was one of these. He had the rare and beautiful qualities, the passion, the delicacy, the force and constancy of character, the true nobility of soul which such a life requires. And thus it happened that through all his life, having once caught sight of his ideal, he “was not disobedient unto the heavenly vision.”
Mr. John Noble followed Professor Thayer, and said: —
To-day, as so many times in the course of the last two years, we have to lament the loss of an Associate. Once again we miss one of our number, and, as before, one of our most prominent and honored members.
In the wide and varied field of interests which Mr. Ware represented, it is hard to say where his loss will be felt the most,— whether in his profession, as the public-spirited citizen, the man of affairs, the scholar of refinement and culture, or the ever-faithful and warm-hearted friend.
As a lawyer, no man was ever truer, not in letter only, but in the exactest requirements of the spirit, to the obligations of that singularly comprehensive and impressive Oath, —
“You will do no falsehood nor consent to the doing of any in Court; you will not wittingly or willingly promote or sue any false, groundless, or unlawful suit, nor give aid or consent to the same; you will delay no man for lucre or malice; but you will conduct yourself in the office of an attorney within the Courts according to the best of your knowledge and discretion, and with all good fidelity as well to the Courts as your clients.”
He had not the brilliant but dangerous gift of ever-ready oratory, but he presented a case with an earnest force and impressive conviction which often well supplied its place, and became at times the most effective kind of eloquence. He tried his cases thoroughly. Not content to rely on certain strong points pressed with a vigor that insured success, his conscience would not allow him to leave a single point untouched or a single argument unpresented which might possibly affect the ultimate decision. All was well studied, solid, impressive. He stood among the leaders in his profession as a judicious counsellor, a sound lawyer, a forceful advocate, and, above all, as a man of unswerving honesty and honor.
As a citizen he was public-spirited, independent, courageous, active, ready to take his part in whatever seemed to him to be for the public good, and to lend the weight of his name or his voice or his labor. He was alive to all that was going on. In the causes of Civil Service Reform and Tariff Reform he was especially concerned, and of the first one of the earliest advocates.
He was identified with several of the Charitable organizations of the City and of the State. For more than thirty years he served the public in various capacities, quietly, without display, or private profit, or personal ambition.
He did good work on the Harbor and Land Commission, and on the Commission for the revision and codification of the shipping, customs, and revenue laws.
He took a strong interest in politics, though never seeking and seldom holding office. One year in the House and two in the Senate make the limit of his public political career, — in each position an intelligent and judicious legislator. One statute at least, were there no other, will be his enduring monument, for institutions live though men die.
Mr. Ware was a loyal son of his Alma Mater. Whatever concerned the College concerned him, and few men were more conversant with its needs and its interests. He served as an Overseer two successive terms of six years, and later one of two years more. He had been proposed again this year as a candidate for the Board of Overseers, and only a few days before his illness had consented that his name should be submitted to the Electors. To him, perhaps, more than to any other one man, the College and its graduates owe the legislation of 1865, which lifted the control of the Board of Overseers out of the accident of politics, office, and profession, and placed it in the safe keeping of those most vitally concerned, — the body of the Alumni. Why should not his portrait be hung in Memorial Hall among those of the benefactors of the College? With such, it would seem, should it find place, and the service he rendered the University receive fitting recognition.
With all his engrossing occupations, he found time for social and literary organizations, to his own pleasure and their profit. He was a man of much reading, of wide information, and refined and catholic taste. Prom his College days he was fond of metaphysics, and speculative philosophy had special attractions for him. The acquaintance then begun with Pythagoras and the old Greek philosophers continued, and took in the philosophical writers of modern times.
Quite recently he had shown ability in another direction somewhat unexpected. Some Sonnets which he wrote have a rare expressiveness and point and rugged strength; and as a journalist he was for a time one of the leading writers on the Boston Post, during its brief and brilliant career under the editorship of our associate, Mr. Edwin M. Bacon.
He had a vein of humor which came out often in the freedom of social conversation, genial, bright, and fresh, which never entered into his more studied utterances, whose main characteristics were always weight and force.
One of his most prominent traits was his ever-ready and chivalrous devotion to a friend or a cause. If either needed him, a word was enough. He threw himself into the breach, whatever and wherever it was, courageously and cheerfully, even at a sacrifice to himself. He might always be relied on to fill a gap or meet an emergency. Another characteristic was his calm serenity of temper, which nothing seemed to disturb. You never saw in him a shadow of ill-nature or moodiness or moroseness. He was not harsh or hasty in his judgments or censorious in his criticisms, though by no means incapable of an honest indignation which would flash out with withering severity at anything mean or low or dishonorable, unjust or oppressive. Most marked of all, in every relation of life, was his high purpose, his sturdy moral sense, his robust conscience, and his independence and courage.
Whatever may be the loss to this Society, to the profession, to the community, we may in some degree measure it and set it down; what it is to those bound to him in a friendship of near fifty years — a friendship that had never known a break or a shadow — is not for words.
Mr. Noble then read the following paper on —
A TRIAL, IN 1685, FOR “FREQUENTING THE COLLEGE CONTRARY TO LAW.”
Among the Early Court Files358 I came the other day across a case somewhat more than two hundred years old, — not important in itself, but of some interest in certain ways. It gives a glimpse of Harvard College in those early days, brings out sharply some peculiar characteristics of Puritanic legislation, throws some sidelights on the social life and conditions of the times, and shows some early forms of legal pleadings. The case, furthermore, is an illustration of a characteristic regard for individual rights and for the enforcement of exact justice, as justice was understood, wherever a legal principle was involved, however insignificant the subject matter. It took place at a critical time in the history of the Colony: the Charter had been vacated the year before by a decree in Chancery; and Governor Bradstreet was nearing the end of his administration. It was also at an interesting point in the history of the College, then just completing its first half-century. Two Resident Fellows, or Tutors, constituted its whole Faculty. The Senior Class numbered fourteen men, the Juniors half as many, while the Freshman class seems to have been even a shade smaller than the one immortalized by Dr. Holmes as so “knocked about” by the Seniors. The only buildings were the Indian College and the new Harvard Hall built some eight years before, after urgent appeals and strenuous exertions. The College was without a President. The Rev. John Rogers had died in office the preceding July. The pleadings in this case refer tenderly to him as one “whose vigilance and authority were sedulously improved for the good of ye Students and preventing all disorders in yt Society;” and Cotton Mather calls him “One of so sweet a Temper, that the Title of Deliciœ humani Generis might have on that Score been given him; and his Real Piety set off with the Accomplishments of a Gentleman, as a Gem set in Gold.”359 Though bearing the title of Reverend he had never been ordained, and so has the distinction given him of being the first layman as well as “the first on the list of graduates of Harvard College who became its President360”; although his classmate Urian Oakes, and Leonard Hoar of the Class of 1650 preceded him in that office. While the case was pending, Increase Mather, who had been a Fellow of the College for some ten years, “by the unanimous desire of the Overseers,”361 was invited to “take special care for ye Government of ye Colledge; and for yt end to act as President till a further settlemt be orderly made;”362 . . . “Priest, Politician and President at once,”363 he took the vacant chair, the first native-born American incumbent of it. Just as the case was concluding, John Leverett, afterward President, and William Brattle became Resident Fellows, to be for several years “the whole College Faculty, and to have . . . almost exclusive direction of the studies and discipline.”364 Thus the case, though a short one, is coincident with a number of events in the life of the College.
The Case is a criminal prosecution, in 1685, of one Samuel Gibson and two others “for frequenting the College contrary to law,” and thus transgressing the law, established shortly after the founding of the Colony, entitled Children and Youth. It was begun in the County Court at Cambridge, and carried finally to the Court of last resort, the Court of Assistants, in whose records it holds its place among cases of murder, piracy, witchcraft and the gravest crimes, and civil cases involving all kinds of private rights and questions of public policy. Besides the final record in this volume, there are among the Files eight of the papers in the original case. The first is the Summons, or Warrant: —
To the Constable of Cambr.
In his Maties name. On sight hereof, yon are to warne Saml. Gibson. Saml. Goffe junr. Zach: Hicks junr. That they appeare before the County Court now setting to answer for frequenting the colledge contrary to law. hereof make a true returne & faile not. dat. 8. 2. 1685.
By the Court.
Jonath. Remington. Clericg
Endorsmt I have warnd Saml. Gibson. Samuel Goff junr. Zech: Hicks 8:2: 1685.
John Gove constable.
Tho: Danforth. Recordr.
No complaint or indictment or other pleading appears, and the next paper contains all the evidence produced at the trial, or at least all that remains. It consists of the deposition of a fellow offender, escaping the vengeance of the law perhaps by turning State’s evidence, and perhaps by reason of his tenderer years; together with the confession of the three culprits. The deposition, brief as it is, by its straightforward simplicity and graphic touches, brings the scene before us with all the enormity of the offence. The confession supplies whatever the deposition may lack of legal conclusiveness.
Jonathan Gatliffe aged about 16: years, saith that sometime this winter he was invited by Mr. Wainwright to eating a turkye in his chamber & it was after supper time in Colledge, where were also Sam: Gibson, Sam: Goffe junr. Zach: Hecks & Isaac Wilson. Also he sayth that the next morning after yt it was reported the missing of Mrs. Danforths turkeys. Gm Eccles boy told him that he saw feathers both of turkies & geese in Mr. Wainwrights chamber.
20. 1: 1684/5
Sam. Goff junr: Zechariah Hicks junr. & Samuel Gibson appearing before the court confessed that they had accompanied with the students at Colledge & had been at the eating of a turkey at Mr. Wainwrights chamber, & that it was some time this last winter
Tho: Danforth, Recordr:
The Mr. Wainwright in whose chamber the feast was held, appears by the Quinquennial Catalogue to have been Francis Wainwright of the Junior Class, — then just reaching his majority. His social standing is attested by the fact that his name heads the list of the Class of 1686; followed by that of Benjamin Lynde, in later life Chief Justice of the Superior Court of Judicature. His father was a merchant of distinction in Ipswich, and the family one of wealth and prominence in the Colony, and well connected. His name appears among the Donors to Harvard College. In 1683, during his Sophomore year, he and two “fellow commoners” are recorded as having given “each a silver goblet.”365 After graduation he filled various civil offices in his County, and in military service was a Captain “on an expedition to the eastward” in 1696; “was Colonel of the Red, and second in command in the expedition under Colonel March against Tort Royal in Nova Scotia, in 1707,” in which office he seems to have been severely criticised. He held the same position in a second expedition, becoming the acting commander in it. Both expeditions proved unsuccessful. He died 3 August, 1711, on the eve of his second marriage, to Mrs. Elizabeth Hirst, giving Judge Sewall an opportunity’ to record in his Diary “the most compleat, and surprising Disap̄ointment that I have been acquainted with.”366
Goffe appears to have been the son of Edward Goffe, a large landholder, one of the wealthiest and most prominent citizens of Cambridge, and the successful and honored incumbent of various public offices. He was at the time some twenty-two years old. He inherited the Goffe homestead, a large tract near the present Beck Hall.367
Hicks, probably, was the son of Zechariah Hicks, another prominent and wealthy citizen. He was then a bachelor of twenty-eight, and living on the family estate which was on Brighton Street running from Winthrop Street to Mt. Auburn Street.368
The defendant must have been the Samuel Gibson who appears by the History of Cambridge369 to have been the son of John Gibson, another well-to-do citizen. He was born 28 October, 1644, and consequently the veteran of the party. This was not his first transgression of the strictness of the old Colonial law. In the fall of 1672, some six years earlier than the solemn warning by the Overseers, mentioned hereafter, he was the defendant in a similar trial “for enterteyning some of the Studts contrary to Law.”370 The Warrant in that case runs thus: —
To the Constable of Cambr.
In his Maties name you are required to warne Samuel Gibson, Mr Edw: Pelham, & Jno. Wise that they all appeare before such of ye Magts as shall be prsent this 23 of this instant abt 5: of ye clock in after noon at ye house of Capt. Daniel Gookin, then & there to answr ye complaynt of ye sd Capt, for stealing away one of his turkies, shooting them & other fowles in a theevesh manner, & ye sd Gibson for euterteyneing them at his house, & being an abbettor to them in this their wickednes, and for witnesses you ar to warne such as ye Capt, shall name to you & herof you are to make a true returne under yor hand & fade not at yor perill
Tho: Danforth, Assist
dat. 23: 7: 72.
This warrent was served upon Samuell Gibson accordinge to the Tenor of it by me
John Gove Constal
23 (7) 72.
The Bond given was as follows: —
Samuell Gibson, as principle, & Wm Barratt, & Joseph Sill, as suretyes do acknowledge yms to stand bound Joyntly & sevrally by them to be forfeited & paye to ye Tr͞e͞r of ye Coun. the said Gibson in 5lb. and Suretyes in 50s ape. On condition that ye sd Gibson shall personally appeare at ye next Coun Court to be held at this Towne then & there to answr ye complaynt yt hath been exhibited agt him for confederating with Mr Edw: Pelham & some others in dressing & eating a stoalen turkie, and yt he shall abide ye order of the Court & and not depart without license:
23 . 7 . 1672.
Taken ye day & year above written before Th: Danforth.
The story is well and briefly told by one perhaps unwittingly and unwillingly drawn into the affair: —
Urian Oakes aged 14: yeares & upward do testefie that about 10, dayes since, he & percifell Greene being gathering up fruite in the Marshals orchard, Mr Edw: Pelham came to them with a fowling peece in his hand, & desired him to shoot a fowle of Gm. Farlongs, & when he was disapoynted there, he brought him to ye fence between ye Marshals yard & Capt. Gookins, where sat a turki, & desired him to shoot yt, wch he accordingly did, & ye fowle being killed ye sd Pelham tooke ye coate of ye sd Urean & wrapt up the turkie in it, & sent it by Percifall Greene to Samuel Gibsons & bid him leave it at said Gibsons house.”
There is preserved the following deposition of another actor: —
Percefall Greene aged about 12: yeares & upwards do say yt ye testimony of Urian Oakes is ye truth, & yt he did cary ye said turkie to ye abovenamed Samuel Gibsons, & leave it in his dwelling house.
Gibson’s confession and that of his wife follow: —
Samuel Gibson being examined, do confesse yt about 10 dayes sence, Percifall Greene came to his house, & brought a turkie wrapt up in a coate, & left it there, and was dressed by his wife, and baked in the oven, and in the night following it was eaten, by Mr Pelham, Jno Wise, & Russell Studts & [ ] & Wise & Russell said that sd Pelham did [ ].
Goodwife Gibson his wife do confesse yt wt is above related is ye truth, & yt shee suspected it not to be stoalen, bece: that Mr Pelham said he came by it honestly, & was frequently at their house.
The final record371 is as follows: —
At a coun̄ Court held at Cambridge
Octob 1. 1672.
Present. Capt. — Daniel Gookin
Mr Richd. Russell
Thomas Danforth. Cl . . . . . . . . . . .
Samuel Gibson, being convicted of enterteyneing some of the Studts. contrary to law, is sentenced to be admonished, and to pay a flue of forty shillings in money, and he stands comitted untill it be pd.
Of the actors in this little drama, Edward Pelham, of the Class of 1673, then just entering upon his Senior year, was the son of Herbert Pelham, the first Treasurer of the College.372 Young Pelham, according to all accounts, was a wild fellow, — a cause of anxiety to his father, as appears by his will dated 1 January, 1672–73. The Pelhams lived on the northwest corner of Dunster and South Streets, formerly the residence of Gov. Thomas Dudley.373 John Wise, his Classmate, was afterward a prominent clergyman of Ipswich, “the first man in America ever known to oppose Taxation Without Representation”;374 and Jonathan Russell (H. C. 1675), a Sophomore, was afterward settled as a minister in Barnstable.375 Percival Green (H. C. 1680) was a Cambridge boy; upon graduating, he studied divinity, and after a short settlement in Wells, Maine, died young.376 The boy Oakes, who graduated in 1678, and died the following year, was the son of Urian Oakes, who was afterward President of the College, and at this time had recently entered on his ministry over the Cambridge church.377 Gookin’s name gives a kind of historic interest to the scene of the fatal shot.
“The Marshal’s orchard” and “yard” belonged to Edward Mitchelson, appointed by the General Court, 20 November, 1637, Marshal-General of the Colony,378 — an office equivalent to that of High Sheriff, and held by him till his death, 7 March, 1680–81, at the age of seventy-seven. This estate, where he lived in 1672, was on the northeasterly corner of Massachusetts Avenue and Holyoke Street, extending easterly to Bow Street, and was formerly the homestead of Major Samuel Shepard,379 by whom it was conveyed to him, 29 October, 1650. The house stood at the westerly end of the lot, nearly opposite the residence of his half-brother, Rev. Thomas Shepard, which occupied the present site of Bojdston Hall.380
Adjoining, on the south, the estate of the Marshal, about one hundred feet from Massachusetts Avenue, was General Gookin’s homestead, — an estate which he had bought of Deacon Edward Collins, — the site of winch is now occupied, in part, by the Hasty Pudding Club, — on the easterly side of Holyoke Street.381
At this same Term Gibson was involved in another suit, which from its coincidence in date would seem to have had some connection with the other. Only the Warrant, however, and a suggestive Bill of Particulars remain among the Files, and there is no Record; so we are left to conjecture what lawless reprisal, or failure of credit, or vindictive prosecution, or other cause may underlie the case.382 Somewhat later he again appears upon the Court Records, with characteristic versatility and success.383
Gibson’s occupation is given as that of a glover. Where he acquired his legal knowledge and skill does not appear, unless it was in the school of personal experience. He figures in history as a persistent and uncompromising litigant, who never acknowledged defeat; who fought a case from court to court, and when defeated, invoked the aid of the Great and General Court itself. Two famous cases bring his name into prominence, — Nathaniel Oliver’s case, and the case of Gove v. Gibson.384 The similarity of the style and character of his pleadings with that in the present case is striking. Not less marked is the persistent assertion of legal rights, the acuteness in taking technical points, and the forcible way of putting them, as well as the pertinacity of defence. These two cases are also interesting as showing how carefully and exactly, and with what sharp distinctions, the Courts of that early day could handle a question of law. They also illustrate the relation then existing between the legislative and the judicial branches of the government. Gibson died 20 March, 1709–10.
Who Isaac Wilson was, though his name is embalmed in these old records, history does not show. He may have been the Isaac born 21 August, 1658, the son of Nathaniel Wilson of Roxbury, who moved later to Cambridge Village, where he owned some one hundred and fifty acres;385 or an Isaac Wilson of Newton who was married in 1685.386
Goodman Richard Eccles, whose “boy” had seen the feathers, was a weaver who lived on the westerly corner of Brattle and Ash Streets. He had no son living in 1684.387
Jonathan Gatliffe, apparently, was a Boston boy, belonging to a family of substantial means, the son of Jonathan Gatliffe, described as “sometime of Boston, Mariner,” who was the “only sonne” of Thomas, of Braintree.388
Nathaniel Hancock, who appears upon the Bond, was a prominent man of some fifty years, the holder of various offices in Cambridge, one of which would seem to have required rare discretion, as one of a Committee of three “to have inspection into families that there be no bye drinking or any misdemeanour whereby sin is committed,” &c, in 1675–76; and in 1705, he was a Deacon of the church.389
His fellow-surety upon the Bond, John Gibson, was evidently the father of the defendant, a substantial man of Cambridge, who lived near where are now Sparks Street and Garden Street.390
The unfortunate sufferer from the lawless depredations and lax ideas of property bore an honored name, and there is reason to suppose that she was the wife of Thomas Danforth who was so illustrious in the history of the Colony and the Province, whose various positions of trust and honor can scarcely be enumerated, — Selectman, Town Clerk, Representative, Assistant for twenty years, Deputy Governor for ten, President of the District of Maine, Councillor, Judge, Treasurer of Harvard College and of Middlesex County for years, Commissioner of the United Colonies, and Recorder for thirty-eight years, in which last capacity he copied and attested most of the papers used in this trial. His large estates of over two hundred acres were in the neighborhood of Jarvis and Holmes Fields so well known to the students of to-day, and also included the northeast portion of the College Yard and the Delta.391
Then follows a copy of the record of the County Court: —
At a Coun Court held at Cambr. Apr. 7. 1685. Samuel Goff junr. Zechariah Hicks junr. & Samuel Gibson appearing before the Court & convicted of transgresseng the law. tit. children & youth, sect. 3:
The sd Samuel Goff & Zechariah Hicks, it being the first time of their conviction, are sentenced to be admoneshed & pay costs.
The sd Gibson having been formerly convicted & sollemnly warned by the Overseers of the Colledge not to frequent the company of the schollars as appears by Record thereof made. 21. 3: 1678 in the Colledge books, is sentenced To pay a fine of forty shill: & costs.
Samuel Gibson made his Appeale to ye next Court of Assistants & gave bond to prosecute as the law directs.
Tho: Danforth, Recordr.
The evidence of the former offence, which was the ground of the discrimination in punishment, is a copy from the Records of the Overseers produced at the trial, and is as follows: —
Extracted out of the Records of the Acts of the honble Overseers of Harvard Colledge. At a meeting of the Overseers at Cambridge 21. 3. 1678.
Samuel Gibson was called
before the Overseers &
sollemnly cautioned of
enterteyning any of the
students in his house,
frequenting the Colledges
or drawing them other
wise into his company.
Tho: Danforth. Clericg.
This solemn caution and admonition occurred in the acting presidency of the Rev. Urian Oakes, “a man of bright parts, extensive learning and exalted piety,”392 . . . who “did the Services of a Prœsident even, as he did all other Services, Faithfully, Learnedly, Indefatigably;”393 and, “again unanimously chosen President”394 2 February, 1679–80, died in office, less than two years after his inauguration.
The law transgressed is an illustration of the early legislation of the Colony. It had been in force from about the time of the foundation of the College. It shows the stress which the Puritans laid upon “the good Education of Children,” as “of Singular behoofe and benefitt to any Commonwealth,” and how the civil authority stepped in to regulate private morals and manners, and meet the shortcomings of parents, masters, and natural guardians. It was not content to leave such matters to the influence of public opinion or the individual sense of right and wrong, but brought in the strong arm of the law. All through its legislation the Puritan Commonwealth seems to have regarded the community rather than the individual.
The law on which the prosecution was based is the third section of the Chapter entitled Children and Youth, and is as follows: —
FOrasmuch as the good education of children is of singular behoofe & benefitt to any Common-wealth, & whereas many parents & masters are too indulgent & negligent of their duty in that kind. . . . .
3. Upon information of diverſe looſe, vaine and corrupt perſons, both ſuch as come from forraine parts, as alſo ſome others here inhabiting or reſiding, which inſinuate themſelves into the fellowſhip, of the young people of this Country, drawing them both by night, and by day, from their callings, ſtudyes, & honeſt occupations, & lodging places, to the diſhonour of God and greif of their parents, Masters, Teachers, Tutors, Guardians, Overſeers &c: It is Ordered by this Court and the Authority thereof That whoſoever ſhall any wayes cauſe or ſuffer any young people or perſons whatſoever whether children, ſervants, apprentices, ſchollers belonging to the Colledg, or any Latine ſchoole, to ſpend any of their time or eſtate, by night or day, in his or their company, ſhip or other veſſel, ſhop or houſe, whether Ordinary, Tavern, victualing houſe, cellar or other place where they have to doe, and ſhall not from time to time, diſcharge and haſten all ſuch youths, to their ſeveral imployments & places of abode, or lodging aforeſajd, if their being in any ſuch place, be known to them, or any other ſervant or help in the family, or ſupplying the place of a ſervant at ſea or on land, that then ſuch perſon, houſeholder, ſhop-keeper, ſhip-maſter, ordinary keeper, taverner, victualler, or other ſhall forfeit the sum of forty ſhillings upon legal conviction before any Magiſtrate, or the commiſſioners authorized to end ſmall cauſes, one half to the informer, the other half to the Country; and all Conſtables in their ſeveral limits, are required to act herein as is provided in reference to the Law concerning inkeepers.395
Just how the prosecution was started, whether by the governing Boards of the College or by the civil authorities, no papers have escaped the wasting hand of time to tell.
The College from the time of its founding was an object of peculiar solicitude. Not only were its governing Boards watchful and strict, but Church, ministers, magistrates, and people shared in the interest in its concerns, and felt a right, if not of supervision, at least of criticism. All along this particular period are frequent instances. Some dozen years earlier than this was the —
“humble Petition of John Eliot and some twenty others,” in the name “of some of the people that lyve under the Jurisdiction of the Massachusets government unto our honoured Magistrates . . . to indevor the removal of an evyl . . . in the educasion of Youth at the colledg, . . . that they are brought up in such pride as doth no waves become such as are brought up for the holy service of the lord, either in the Magistracy, or Ministry especialy, and in perticular in their long haire, which lust first tooke head and brake out at the Colledg, . . . and now it is got into our pulpets to the great greife and offence of many godly hearts in the Country,” and questioning “whether all other lusts which have so incorigibly brake in upon our youth, have not first, sprung from the incorigablenesse of this lust.”396
Some eight years after this trial the Corporation felt constrained to make an attack upon another flagrant cause of offence: —
“The Corporation having been informed that the custom taken up in the College, not used in any other Universities, for the Commencers to have plumb-cake, is dishonourable to the College, not grateful to wise men, and chargeable to the parents of the Commencers, do therefore put an end to that custom, and do hereby order that no Commencer or other Scholar, shall have any such cakes in their studies or chambers,” . . .397
under the penalty of a fine of “twenty shillings for each such offence,” and — what perhaps would be more keenly felt — the loss of the cakes.
Such instances and others, and this very trial, bring out the contrast between the rigor and austerity of those times and the laxer ideas of the present. No less striking is that between the position of the College of those early days and its independent and self-centred attitude to-day. Possibly the necessity of even greater strictness and severity began to be felt just now as this seventeenth century was drawing to its close. A change in manners had begun to appear. There had been inroads upon the old Puritanic simplicity and severity, and a spirit of license was cropping out. The College was feeling its influence. The quiet solemnity that marked the Commencement Day of 1642 and the succeeding years had gone. It was beginning to be the great holiday of the surrounding country, with an increasing lawlessness and disorder that before the end of the century made “the attendance of justices of the peace, a police guard by day and a watch by night, for several days and nights together,”398 a necessary adjunct of the occasion.
The defendant, having been convicted in the County Court, felt that a great principle was at stake, that an inalienable right had been assailed, and that it devolved on him to assert and maintain the “unquestionable truth that law is the people’s birthright,” and took his appeal to the ultimate authority. His recognizance has been roughly dealt with by time, and in parts is undecipherable.
Sam: Gibson as principall & John Gibson & Na[th]. Hancock as his suretyes do acknowledge the [ ] to stand bound joyntly & severally in five p [ ] a peice by them to be forfeited & paid [ ] Trear of the County: on Condition th [ ] Samuel Gibson shall prosecute his appeale [ ] this court at next Court of Assistants & in th [ ] time shall be of good abearance & more [ ] shall not transgress agt. the law. tit. ch[ youth with reference to the students of [ ] Colledge,
SamL. Gib [ ]
John Gib [ ]
Nath: Ha [ ]
10. 2. 85.
Tho: Danforth. R.
Gibson’s Reasons of Appeal were entered in the Court of Assistants 6 August, 1685. Like all such papers they throw light upon the forms of judicial procedure at the time. They are a somewhat curious specimen of the crude forms of early pleadings. There is a mixture of legal logic of some acuteness and forensic appeal, in quaint and striking, not to say questionable, orthography that disdains the trammels of the customary and commonplace.
Samuell Gibson his Reasons of Appeale from the County Court held at Cambridge 7:2: month 1685 to the honred Court of Assistance to sitt in Boston ye first of septembar 1685
Before I come to ye Case give me Leave to premise that as it is an unquestionable truth that law is the peopls birthright so our first law saith Among other things no mans goods or estate shall be taken away from him or any wayes indamaged under colour of law or countauance of Authoritye unies it be by vertue of sume expres law of ye cuntrey waranting the same & established by ye Gen.ll Court & sufficiently publeshed.
I am summoned by a warant directed to ye constable of Cambredge which Requires him to warn Samll Gibson Samll Goffe Zachriah hicks junir. to apere before the county court now sitting to answar for frequenting the Colledg contrary to law se said warant but no law of the Massachusets estableshed by a Genrall Court prohibits me or any else fraquenting the Colledge much les going to the Coledge about my lawfull busnes & ocasion or being invited & wheare no law no transgresión & thearfore I appeale & where no law broken no fine oute to be imposed there is indede an extracte of coledge Records which as I humbly consave has no forse against me for I was not then accused for frequenting the colledge.
2. I now come to the judgment which saith said Gibson having bene formerly convicted & solomly warned by ye oversers of ye coledge not to frequent the coledge or drawing them in to his company as aperes by Record thereof made 21: 3 1678 in ye coledge Booke: is sentensed to pay a fine of 40s. & costs but to whom or what law broken is not said indede at the top of the judgment is expresed that Saml. Gibson appering stands convicted of transgresing the law titell children & youth sect. 3 to that I shall say too things first that I was not convicted secondly I say this yp fore sited law doth not at all condemne me of the breach of it & for that eand I desire the law may be Read briefly it saith thus that whosoever shall cans or suffer any young persons to spend there time or estate by night or by day in his or there company hous shop or vesell or wheare he hath to doe but I did nither nor had I powr to discharde any from coledge wheat I had nothing to doe but to goe upon a civill invitation & to Resave money due to me at ye same chamber as was declared at ye connt court & should I have done it would have bene very unsivell I being no ofiser in coledge nor publick offiser in ye toun & now Gentellmen of ye jury Give me libarty to minde you that you are under oath to give judgment acording to evidenc & the lawes of this jurisdiction & to judge the case acording to former Evidenc & no other & if on your nrrow search into the law fore sited compared with other lawes to say nothing of that coledge Record which is no law & if I be found A transgreser of our lawes I desire no more favour then the law alowes which is due to me as well as any other of his majesties subjects whatsoever & so your appalant craves that this honred Court & Gentellmen of the Jury there considrasion that he may have Reliefe here in so I am under submision
Received. 27. 6. 85.
by Tho: Danforth, Recordr.
The Answer to the Reasons of Appeal is of much the same character. It is more formal and elaborate, has less of the layman’s hand about it, and adheres more closely to the recognized precedents of law and language. It has besides many distinct peculiarities of its own.
Answers to Samuel Gibsons Reasons of Appeale from the Sentence of the County Court at Cambridge. 7. 2. 85
To the Hond Court of Assistants now sitting
His first plea is That there is no Law of the Mattachusetts established by Genll. Court yt prohibitts him or any from frequenting the Colledge. In answer to which it ought to be considered.
1. That the Colledge is a Society legally stated by Charter from the Genll. Court [vid. Law: Tit. Colledge] wherein powr is granted to the Overseers thereof to institute, guide & manage sd. Colledge.
2. That the Overseers saw Reason to prohibitt. Saml Gibson frequenting sd place or of Enterteyning any of the students in his house [vid. Colledge Records] wherein they passed not beyond the limmitts of their pour granted to them to act for the good of sd Society: Every head of a family having pour to warne any whose manners they disapprove from frequenting their house, or otherwise insinuating them selvs into the Company of those Committed to yr Government.
To his Second Plea [That he was not convicted of transgressing the Law Tit. Children & youth. Sect. 8 alleadging that he did neither cause nor suffer young persons to spend their time or estate, by night or day, in his company, shop, house or where he has to do & yt he had no pour to discharge them from the Colledge. This may suffice in way of Answer.
It is a known Maxim in Law Mens Legis est Lex. The Preface of the afore named Law shews both the occasion & end of it, that is. To prevent the mispence of time by youth to Gods dishonour & to the Grefe of yr. Parents, Overseer &c. yt is occasioned thereby. If it be a transgression of sd Law to enterteyn persons under Government of others, in his own house wr he has pour to discharge them, much more to go to a students chamber, Merchants warehouse or such like, & then to occasion such as are under Government of others to mispend theyrtime & estate. The words of sd Law are these “[whosoever shall any ways cause or suffer any young people or persons to spend any of their time & estate, by night or by day in his or theyr company]” And it did appeare to the Hond County Court, That sd Gibson had [both caused & suffred some of ye Schollars belonging to ye Colledge to spend both theyr time & estate in his company] In that he had not withstanding the former prohibition repayred to the Colledge & then accompanied the schollars in feasting at one of the Students Chambers, in the night time, [vid: Gatliffs test & the plantiffs confession]. Now granting he had no pour to discharge them from yr. Chambers, yet was it in his own pour, as well as his own duty, to have kept himselfe from thence.
And all this was by him done & acted to the great greif of the Overseers of the Colledge who had sollemuly cautiond him to a forbearance.
To his plea [That he was invited & went to receive mony due to him this may be considered in way of Answer
1. There was no Evidence produced in Court of his performing any such necessary business.
2. Were it true yt he were invited, It ought to be enquired by whom? He never yet pleaded that any that had the Government of the Colledge did invite him or did allow thereof. It would not be accounted a good plea had any Master of a family complaind against him for frequenting his house against warning to forbeare; for him to say The Servant invited him to a Treatment in his masters house. But would greatly aggravate his offence, thereby occasioning the servant to mispend this masters estate as well as time. And it is an evil yt. parents who with great difficulty do bring up yr. Children in liberall Education are much greived at, theyr Estates being thereby exhausted & theyr children debauched by vain & loose persons frequenting yr chambers.
Now although it be not necessary in point of Law to declare the aggravating Circumstances in this Case, yet seeing ye plant: hath greatly accused ye Court of illegall & hard usage It may have a tendence to sattisfy such whose minds have been prejudiced by the plantiffs reproachfull tounge. And is briefly thus.
The Lord having (as is well known) by death removed the late Reverend President whose vigilance and authority was sedulously improved for the good of ye students & preventing all disorders in yt Society; The plantiffe & sundry others yt were his companions in disorder did make it yr. opportunity to play yr Reaks in ye Colledge more yn formerly some of ym staying yr. the whole night, & they continued so to do untill a discovery was made of their wicked doings; and their manner was this winter last past yr to meet together night after night & theyr mispence of time was not all but they did drive a Trade of stealing Turkies, Geese & other fowle untill they had so cloyd themselvs that they left them stinking in some of the chambers & studies of the students before they could get ym dressed. And one of ym so smelt into ye Towne, as it occasioned sundry persons to be examind, when it appeard that Samuel Gibson was one of sd Company feasting in one of the Students chambers more yn once & yt he was partaker with ym in yr stollen Turkyes. And when one of sd Company was so troubled about his evil doing that he told the plantiffe he was resolved to confess his sin & make his peace with those he had wrongd. yet this notwithstanding the plantiffe did not only couceale ye matter himselfe, but was discouraging him who was more ingenious yn himselfe. And of this there will be full proof wn the matter shall come to an orderly examination. The premises considered & compared with the Evidences on file, it will appeare
1: That the plantiff Saml. Gibson was by ye Hond & Revd Overseers of the Colledge (so constituted & impowred by yc Genll. Court) sollemuly cautioned & warned not to frequent the Colledge.
2. That since that time the plantiffe hath again been atone of ye students chambers where was at ye same time with him a confluenc of students from other chambers & others yt were the Companions of ye plautiffe, & of this his going thither no sattisfactory Reason appeared to ye Court that gave judgment in ye case nor will other appeare to this Hond. Court by ye Evidences on file.
3. It doth appeare yt yr. business was to feast to gether wch was most[ing] the expence of ye students time & estate not only of him yt belonged to ye chamber where he was, but also of others yt were drawne from their own chambers & studyes to accompany him which is directly The breach of that Law Tit. Children & youth.
4. From ye aggravating circumstances in the case, Its as apparent yt the plantiff was not only a Companion of & partaker with theivs in his feasting with ym this last winter, but did also conceale yr Theft & with discouraging words retarded the confession of ye Company, and that they made ye Colledge at least one place where they met together & kept their Randevous
All wch having an inevitable Tendency not only to ye expence of ye schollars time & estate but also to great debauchery & profaneness wch cannot but be a great greif as well to parents as the Hond Overseers of sd. Society: rendring thereby ye Industry of pious & industrious Tutors to be ineffectuall & utterly frustrating the good designs of Parents yt wth great care & charge do there mainteyne yr Children
The case came on before the Second Jury, and their original Verdict is the remaining document in the collection, on a narrow, irregular scrap of paper, like most of the others, brown with age, time-stained, and battered, in the stiff and rugged characters of the time. It reads as follows: —
Samuell Gibson plaintife against the Courts sentence.
The Jury Finds a Reversion of ye former sentence:
The final record399 in the Court of Assistants, in the handwriting of Rawson, is as follows: —
At A Court of Assistants held at Boston, by the Gounor and Compny of the Massachusetts Bay in New England the first day of Septembr 1685.
Simon Bradstreet Esqr Gour
. . . . persons Returnd to serve on ye 2d Jury for tryalls of Appeales for life limbe &c sworne —
Tho Danforth, Esqr dept Gour
Daniel Gookin Senr Esqr
Mr Wm Clarke
for Mr Edwd Broomfield
Jnothan Brigham instd of Mr Clarke — when list [? was called].
Samuel Gibson plaintiff in an Action of Appeale from Cambridg Courts Sentence After the Courts Sentenc & Euidences in the Case produced were read Comitted to the Jury & are on file wth the Records of this Court the Jury brought in their virdict they found for the plaintiff Revercon of the Courts Sentenc.
Thus the case ends before the Court of last resort in the Colony, — a tribunal august and imposing as an embodiment not so much of legal learning and judicial distinction, as of character, of rugged justice and practical wisdom, and of eminent public service, where the name of every magistrate, from that of the venerable Governor Bradstreet, “the Nestor of New England,” at the head of the list down to that of Judge Sewall at its foot, is identified with the early life and history of Massachusetts.
Mr. Henry H. Edes communicated an unpublished letter from the Hon. Nathan Dane to Judge Nathaniel Gorham, belonging to Miss Theodora Willard, of Cambridge, who has kindly allowed a copy of it to be taken for publication in the Transactions of this Society: —
New York June 6th 1787.
I had the pleasure, yesterday, of receiving yours of the 3d inst. I am very glad the Convention400 come fully into the determination of dividing the powers of Government, and of lodging them in distinct and indépendant hands as Nature seems always to have intended, &c. but in what hands to lodge the Legislative and executive powers so as to collect in the federal Government the greatest strength and stability, and general Confidence, is a work, I think, the Convention will find of vast consideration.
I inclose you, Sir, two Boston papers401 by which you will see how the General Court appeared for the first — in the house 216 members, 156 of them marked with the sign of new Comers. You perhaps may know many of the characters. I find it difficult to recollect hardly any proportion of them — there will in a few days probably be 250 or 260 members in the House — and I believe no man can tell what direction they may take.
We have in Congress402 only four States and two halves. Dr. Holten, Jun403 is in the Legislature, but I hear nothing from him respecting his coming on to N. York. I have nothing particular to communicate, nothing of any consequence from the Eastward.
With great esteem & respect
I am Your friend & Hum. Servant
Hon. N. Gorham404 Esqr
Mr. Edes then called the attention of the Society to the Tablet placed to-day over the State Street entrance of the new structure now being erected at the southeasterly corner of Devonshire Street, commemorating the fact that the first Meeting-House in Boston was built in 1632 on that spot.
Mr. Andrew McFarland Davis communicated the following information respecting a number of Historical Societies in Massachusetts not heretofore reported: —
THE NORTH BROOKFIELD HISTORICAL SOCIETY.
A Society with this name was formed in 1864. The Hon. Charles Adams, Jr., was elected Corresponding Secretary and Librarian. The Society collected materials relative to the history of the Town, which proved useful when the point was reached that the Town was ready to publish them. This was done in 1887, and in an Introductory Note the Committee of the Town having the publication of the History in charge acknowledged their obligation to the Society.
THE NEW ENGLAND NUMISMATIC AND ARCHÆOLOGICAL SOCIETY.
This organization, formed in 1870, is no longer in existence. It published the earlier numbers of a series of papers by Sylvester S. Crosby on the early coins of America and the laws governing their issue.
THE BUNKER HILL HISTORICAL SOCIETY.
This Society was organized 25 April, 1896. Article II. of the Constitution is as follows: —
“The Objects of this Society are to preserve in memory the historical facts of the American Revolution — the patriotic deeds of our ancestors, to treasure the mementos thereof, and especially the mementos and facts of the Battle of Bunker Hill.”
THE QUABOAG HISTORICAL SOCIETY.
This Society, the organization of which was announced in February, 1895 (ante p. 66), was incorporated 22 March, 1895. Its purposes, as defined in the Certificate of Incorporation, are “to collect and preserve all the historical matter relating to the ‘Quaboag District,’ so called, composed of the towns of North Brookfield, Brookfield, Warren, and New Braintree.”
THE MONSON HISTORICAL SOCIETY.
This organization was incorporated 21 May, 1895. Its purposes are “the collection, preservation, illustration, and publication of all records and productions pertaining to the past, present, and future history of the Town of Monson.”
METHUEN HISTORICAL SOCIETY.
Under this title a Society was incorporated 22 May, 1895, for “the prosecution of historical, antiquarian, and literary researches, and the acquisition and ownership of such real estate and personal property as may be necessary for the purposes above named.”
FITCHBURG HISTORICAL SOCIETY.
The organization of this Society was announced in Vol. I., p. 61, of these Publications. It was incorporated 1 February, 1896. In the Certilicate of Incorporation the purposes of the Society are defined to be —
“the prosecution of historical and antiquarian research, the collection and preservation of books, papers, and relics illustrating the history of Fitchburg and the neighboring towns, the publication from time to time of the results of such research, and the holding of such real estate as may be desirable for the purposes of the Society.”
THE BILLERICA HISTORICAL SOCIETY.
This Society was incorporated 18 February, 1896, “for the collection and preservation of objects and facts of local or general historical interest, for the collection of historical relics, the consideration of historical events, the marking of historical locations in the town, and for any other purposes proper for a historical Society.”405
FORT MASSACHUSETTS HISTORICAL SOCIETY.
A Society with this title was incorporated 9 April, 1896, “to purchase, preserve and improve the site within said Commonwealth of Fort Massachusetts, to collect and preserve books, documents and manuscripts relating to the early history of New England, and to gather and preserve relics possessing historical interest.”
THE MEDFORD HISTORICAL SOCIETY.
Under this name a Society was incorporated 22 May, 1896. Its purposes are —
“to collect, preserve, and disseminate the local and general history of Medford and the genealogy of Medford families; to make antiquarian collections; to collect books of general history, genealogy, and biography; and to prepare, or cause to be prepared, from time to time, such papers and records relating to these subjects as may be of general interest to our citizens.”
THE MANCHESTER HISTORICAL SOCIETY.
This Society, referred to in Vol. I., page 57, of our Publications, was incorporated 12 June, 1896. Its purposes are thus defined: —
“To discover, collect, and preserve such publications, manuscripts, pictures, memorials, and specimens as may illustrate local and general history, but particularly the annals and natural history of the Town of Manchester; to establish within the Town a Library and Museum in which such treasures as it may thus receive or procure shall be deposited and kept; and generally foster an interest in historical matters.”
THE PEABODY HISTORICAL SOCIETY.
This Association was incorporated 17 August, 1896, for “the collection, preservation, and study of historical matter relating to the Town of Peabody and its inhabitants.”
LITTLETON HISTORICAL SOCIETY.
A Society with this name was incorporated 30 October, 1896, “to collect and preserve manuscripts, printed books, pamphlets, historical facts, biographical anecdotes, and historical relics, and to stimulate research into local history.”
THE TOWNSEND HISTORICAL SOCIETY.
This Society was incorporated 20 November, 1896, for the following purposes: —
“First. To collect and preserve manuscripts, letters, books, pamphlets, papers, facts, anecdotes, legends, etc., relating to the history of the Town of Townsend, Mass.
Second. To locate historical sites in said Town and caused (sic) to be placed thereon commemorative tablets or monuments.
Third. To stimulate research into the local history of said Town and its people.”
The President announced that of the permanent Publication Fund which it is proposed to raise before the next Annual Meeting of the Society as a Memorial of Dr. Gould, more than Five thousand dollars had been already subscribed.
Mr. S. Lothrop Thorndike communicated a Memoir of the late President of the Society, Benjamin Apthorp Gould, LL.D., which he had been requested to prepare for publication in the Transactions.
Messrs. Louis Cabot, of Milton, and William Cushing Wait, of Medford, were elected Resident Members.
MEMOIR of BENJAMIN APTHORP GOULD, LL.D.
by SAMUEL LOTHROP THORNDIKE.
The memory of Benjamin Apthorp Gould, already perpetuated in the records of the scientific world in which he was a shining light, deserves especial recognition in this Society, of which, without detraction from the praise due to his fellow-workers, he may fairly be called the chief Founder. This recognition has already been bestowed in the proceedings of our first meeting held after his death. The old recollections of classmates, the tender thoughts of neighbors and social friends, the tributes of associates in science, — all found place in those proceedings. It only remains to put upon our record, in succinct form, the story of his interesting and distinguished life.
Benjamin Apthorp Gould was born on 27 September, 1824, in Boston, at No. 5 Winthrop Place, a portion of the city now the centre of active business, but then a quiet and somewhat secluded place of residence. Near his father’s house lived many families whose children Gould played with as a boy and counted among his friends in college and in later life.
He came, on both paternal and maternal sides, of old Colonial stock, his father being sixth in descent from Zaccheus Gould, who came to America about 1638, and his mother, Lucretia-Dana Goddard, daughter of Nathaniel and Lucretia (Dana) Goddard, being also sixth in descent from her first American ancestor. This connection with the early founders of New England was always a matter of interest to Gould, and he spent much time in preparing a genealogical history of his branch of the Gould family. When this was at last published, not long before his death, he said that he had been at work upon it, off and on, for forty years. He also had great pleasure in the connection of his more immediate ancestors with the War of Independence, — his grandfather Gould having been a captain in the army, and his great grandfather Goddard an officer attached to the commissary department of Massachusetts.
Gould’s paternal grandfather, Captain Benjamin Gould, lived first in Topsfield, Massachusetts, the original seat of the family in America; afterwards, in Lancaster and in Newburyport. His wife was Grizzel Apthorp Flagg. He will be remembered by this Society as the subject of a little poem, The Scar of Lexington, written by his daughter, the well-known poetess of our childhood, Hannah Flagg Gould, and once read to us on an occasion of Revolutionary commemoration.
Gould’s father, the elder Benjamin Apthorp Gould, graduated at Harvard College in the class of 1814, — a class presenting many noted names, among them those of President James Walker, Prescott, the historian, Justice Merrick, and the Rev. Dr. Greenwood. He was head-master of the Boston Latin School from graduation, — indeed from some months previous to graduation, having, after the fashion of the day, obtained leave of absence for the purpose, —until 1827. His health having failed, under stress of labor, he then spent some years in European travel. He passed the remainder of his life in active commercial pursuits as a shipowner and India merchant. He had much reputation in his day as a scholar, and was the editor of various classical and educational works.
During his father’s absence in Europe, Gould was left in the especial charge of his Aunt Hannah, in Newburyport. In the Sketch of his life, which he wrote for the volume entitled The Class of 1844, Harvard College, Fifty Years after Graduation,406 he says that “all the memories of his early childhood until his seventh year are thus connected with that noted town and with the prominent men and women who were accustomed to visit his Aunt.” In many of her poems, — among them The Scar of Lexington, above mentioned, — are allusions to the child left in her tender care.
After the return of the family to Winthrop Place, Gould passed two years at the Chauncy Hall School of Mr. Gideon French Thayer, and one at Mr. Henry White Pickering’s.407 He was also, for three months, at the Framingham Academy, of which the Rev. Jacoh Caldwell was master. In 1836, he entered the Boston Latin School, of which Charles Knapp Dillaway was then master.408 Mr. Dillaway was succeeded, in December of that year, by Mr. Epes Sargent Dixwell, and under him Gould was prepared for college. He might easily have been ready for college in 1839, but on account of his youth his father thought it best that he should remain at school another year. In 1840 he received a Franklin Medal. His College Class was that entering Harvard in 1840 and graduating in 1844.
In college he attained distinction in Mathematics and Physics, and his general scholarship was such as to entitle him to the honor of membership of the Phi Beta Kappa. He speaks of himself as working hard, but not with sufficient regard to college routine; as giving far too great a proportion of his attention to the studies of his predilection; as not getting on well with Channing, the Professor of Rhetoric and Oratory; as not being permitted to deliver his Commencement Part for want of declamatory ability, etc. We can hardly join in the regrets that he expresses at all this, when we consider for how much those studies of his predilection counted in after life. That he was cut off from his Commencement Part will easily be understood by all who ever knew him. Often as he was obliged in later life to take part in oral discussion, and excellently as he acquitted himself in more languages than one, he never got used to it. To be called upon to say ten sentences upon his legs was a matter of most intense trial and anxiety.
In this connection and in view of Gould’s subsequent choice of a profession, it is worth mentioning as an evidence of his remarkable versatility, that the earliest “studies of his predilection” were not mathematical. His classmates Sears and Wheelwright both testify to this, the former giving a charming account of walks in the Freshman year, Gould spouting whole pages of Homer and Virgil, odes of Horace, and scenes of Terence. His Junior Exhibition Part was a Greek version. This love for the classics lasted through life, and his retentive memory kept these Latin and Greek stores always available to the end. He also retained his belief in the classics as a foundation for liberal education, and in what is really implied by the degrees in Arts winch our universities confer. At a late period of life he gave his reason for the faith that was in him in an excellent speech before the Boston Latin School Association and in his printed answer to a question upon the advisability of retaining Greek as a condition of admission to college. The change in the chief bent of his study and thought is attributed to the enthusiasm excited in his mind by the proceedings of the British Association for the Advancement of Science; and his Senior Exhibition Part, a Disquisition upon that learned body, was the first fruits of this enthusiasm. It must, however, be said that even during the earlier time, when the classics seemed his chief devotion, the astronomical tendency cropped out now and then. His classmate Capen tells of once finding him, in the Freshman year, hard at work in his room upon an attempt to compute the elements of a comet which had just appeared.
His pecuniary means in college were straitened in consequence of his father’s delayed success as a merchant. He taught school at Lexington in the winter of the Junior and Senior years, and he left college early on leave of absence, as his father had done before him, to take charge of the Roxbury Latin School. His service here was successful but short. At the end of a year he was able to enter upon the pursuit which was thenceforward to be the aim and devotion of his life. He started for Europe in July, 1845, to study Astronomy.
Armed with letters from Ex-President John Quincy Adams and Professor Peirce, he presented himself at Greenwich to Airy, the Astronomer Royal. Professor Airy received him with great kindness, gave him access to the Royal Observatory at all hours, and every facility for learning its routine and the management of its instruments. He also put him in relations with leading astronomers and scientific men, and when, at the end of three months, Gould wished to pass on to Paris, to study the instruments and methods of the Observatory there, Airy furnished him with letters to Arago, Mathieu, and Biot, which gained him the same advantages he had had in England.
Gould spent four months in Paris, working mainly under Faye, already distinguished by the discovery of the Comet which bears his name. But, interesting as he found the science of France and England, it was to Germany that he especially looked for what would be of advantage to him, and it was there that he found the teachers and exemplars that suited him best and laid a fit foundation for the work that was to come. He went first to Berlin, where our minister, Mr. Wheaton, secured him a position in the Observatory under Encke, and where he was present when the planet Neptune was discovered, on 23 September, 1846. Here he remained more than a year. Alexander von Humboldt, whose chief pleasure was in aiding promising students of science, then secured for him the rarely obtained privilege of becoming a private pupil of Gauss, at Gottingen. He remained here for a year or more, taking his Doctorate of Philosophy at the University in 1848. His residence here was interrupted during the early part of 1848 by a severe illness, which made it necessary for him to seek a warmer climate. It thus happened that, during a short stay in Italy and his return journey to Germany, he witnessed many of the events of that year of revolution at Naples, Florence, Venice, Vienna, Prague, Dresden, and Berlin. After leaving Göttingen, he spent some months at the Observatories of Altona, Gotha, and Pulkowa, and then started homeward. “In Paris,” he writes in the Sketch for his Class, he “found Arago a member of the Provisional Government, and was accidentally present at the Constituent Assembly when Louis Napoleon, who had been chosen a delegate, entered the body unexpectedly, took his oath of fidelity to the new Republic, read an Address pledging himself to unswerving allegiance to democratic institutions, and took his seat among the members on the extreme Left.”
Gould reached home in December, 1848, full of zeal for setting the astronomical scholarship of America in its fit place as a rival to that of Germany. But opportunity does not come at once, and he supported himself for two years by giving lessons in Cambridge in French, German, and Mathematics. At this time he, with our associate Professor George Martin Lane, who had been his fellow-student at Gottingen, and Professor Josiah Dwight Whitney, who had been his fellow-student at Berlin, formed a bachelor household, which lasted for many years, and will be delightfully remembered by the habitués of Cambridge during that period.
It was at this time of comparative inactivity and waiting that Gauss, his old master and friend, offered him the chair of Astronomy and the direction of the Observatory at Gottingen. Peirce and Agassiz both advised him to accept the distinguished position. But that would be to break the ideal plan of his life. He had educated himself, and now was determined to work, for the elevation of Astronomy in America, not in Germany, and Gauss’s invitation, however tempting and honorable, was declined.
In 1849, Gould established the Astronomical Journal, to enable American astronomers to publish in their own country their original investigations. This he edited and supported until it was interrupted, first by the Civil War, and afterwards by his absence in Cordoba. In 1886 it was resumed after an interval of twenty-five years, and his will makes provision for its continuance.
In 1852 Dr. Gould received his first public employment. He was appointed to the charge of the longitude determinations of the United States Coast Survey. In this service he continued until 1867, accompanying the surveying parties to the field until they were trained to their work. During this period he passed many winters in Southern cities, and carried a chain of longitude determinations from Greenwich to New Orleans, much of the work being accomplished before anything of the kind was undertaken in Europe.
In 1855 he was appointed Director of the Dudley Observatory at Albany. This he equipped, organized, and carried on for four years without remuneration, during the last year residing personally in Albany. He left the Observatory in 1859, after a contest with some of the Trustees, which was one of the severest trials of his life. His attempt to preserve the institution for purposes of scientific investigation was unsuccessful, although, as he truly stated, “he was supported and his course approved by the chief citizens of Albany and by the body of scientific men throughout the country.”
“The death of his father, in October, 1859,” he relates in the Sketch already mentioned, “rendered it imperative for him to take charge of his business as executor; and the peculiar state of commercial relations at the time entailed the necessity of continuing the business for four years and upwards. This having been successfully accomplished, he returned to astronomical studies, which had never been entirely interrupted.”
It was at this time that the greatest happiness of his life came to him. On 29 October, 1861, he married Mary-Apthorp, daughter of the Hon. Josiah (H. C., 1821) and Mary-Jane (Miller) Quincy. The ideal beauty of this union of twenty-two years with this lovely and brilliant woman could not be better portrayed than in the pathetic words which he prefixed to the Zone Catalogue just completed at her death, and which were quoted by one of the speakers at our commemorative proceedings. During this period also, the versatility of the man, to which allusion has often been made, appeared most strikingly. While vigorously and successfully occupied in unravelling and settling the complicated mercantile affaire of his father’s estate, he was still busy with his scientific work. This, as he says, had never been entirely interrupted. His labor upon the Coast Survey continued, and in 1862 he was appointed to compute the astronomical observations of the Washington Observatory which had never been reduced, and which had been found, after Maury’s treason and flight, to comprise five-sixths of all that had ever been made. In 1862–63 he was also active in promoting the establishment by Congress of the National Academy of Sciences. The first memoir published by the Academy was prepared by Gould, being a reduction of observations of fixed stare made by D’Agelet at Paris in the last century, and being in the estimation of Argelander the most important contribution to Astronomy that America had made.
In 1864 he was made Actuary of the United States Sanitary Commission, his main function being to collect from measurements in the field, and from the records of the State Adjutant-Generals’ offices, material regarding the physical characteristics of our soldiers. The results were afterwards published by the Commission in an important volume entitled Investigations in the Military and Anthropological Statistics of American Soldiers, embodying much valuable information upon the laws of human growth and the relations of stature, weight, strength, and bodily proportion.
Gould’s next service to science was an offer of assistance, in February, 1866, to Lewis M. Rutherfurd in reducing the results of his improved methods of stellar photography to the form which; would he given by ordinary observation. The offer was cordially accepted, and the photographs of the Pleiades were thus computed and the results presented to the National Academy in August, 1866. In 1870 a second memoir was presented by him to the National Academy, giving analogous determinations of the cluster Præsepe.
In August, 1866, soon after the establishment of the Transatlantic Cable, he left home for his last important service upon the Coast Survey. This was the determination of the differences of longitude between Valencia in Ireland and the American continent on the one hand, and the Greenwich Observatory on the other, thus bringing the whole American system into relation with that of Europe. This work was finished early in 1867.
One other piece of work which Gould managed to interpolate into the engrossing labors of the last three years must not be forgotten. In 1864 he had built a small observatory in Cambridge, and until 1867 he occupied himself, in the intervals of other work, in the determination of the right ascension of stars nearest the pole to the tenth magnitude.
For some years Gould had been impressed with a desire to explore the Southern celestial hemisphere, of which the examination had hitherto been very imperfect. This desire was intensified by his interest in the photographic operations upon which he had lately been busy, especially in their capacity for precise determination of stars much below the ordinary limit of visibility. His idea first took shape in a project for a three-years expedition to Cordoba in the Argentine Republic, but as then situated he could not announce this project at once. He however made some inquiries of Sarmiento, the Argentine minister in Washington, and received a cordial and encouraging response. He then went so far, after getting the promise of pecuniary assistance from a few friends to whom he communicated his desire, as to confer with the artists Repsold upon plans for a meridian circle, the most essential instrument. This was at the time of his longitude expedition to England, in 1866.
In 1868 Sarmiento became President of the Argentine Republic, and the proposed expedition took shape, by his promotion, as a National Observatory. The most necessary instruments were procured and forwarded as soon as possible, including the same photographic telescope by which the observations were taken which Gould had previously computed for Rutherfurd, and the meridian circle upon which the Repsolds had spent three years.
On 28 May, 1870, Gould embarked with his family. Proceeding by way of Europe, he made short visits to Hamburg, Berlin, and Paris, and reached Buenos Ayres in August. The task of constructing and organizing the Observatory necessarily took a long time, and it was not until September, 1872, that the operations could be commenced which would furnish the material for his Magnum Opus, the chief occupation, indeed, of the remainder of his life.
The residence at Cordoba lasted, with some interruptions, until 1885. The history of his work there has been sufficiently told in scientific records, and its importance so amply described that it needs no further recounting here.
The first of the interruptions to his sojourn in Cordoba was caused in February, 1874, by a dreadful calamity. His two elder children were accidentally drowned. His energies were for a time prostrated. He returned with his wife to the United States, that the quiet of home and of old friendships might do what it could to relieve and repair the shock. On 22 June, however, he consented to a public welcome, and gave an account, afterwards printed, of what had been accomplished at Cordoba down to that time. Other short home visits occurred in 1876 and 1880, and a fourth in 1883, when his classmates and friends gave a Dinner in his honor. During this visit he suffered the saddest bereavement of his life. His beloved wife died at Quincy on the twenty-third of June. It was hard to return to Cordoba without her, for her presence there had been the constant support and encouragement of his labors. But the work was still unfinished, and he went back alone, leaving his children here in the care of others.
At last, on 14 April, 1885, he came home to stay, bringing with him unstrung nerves and broken health, but all the materials for his great work complete. On the sixth of May a public Dinner was given him at the Hotel Vendôme. The Hon. Leverett Salton-stall, his classmate and lifelong friend, presided. Most of his surviving classmates were there, as well as many of his older and younger friends. Dr. Gould gave a summary of his work at Cordoba; speeches were made by President Eliot and others; and Dr. Oliver Wendell Holmes read a charming poem, since printed as “A Welcome to Dr. Benjamin Apthorp Gould on his Return from South America, after Fifteen Years devoted to Cataloguing the Stars of the Southern Hemisphere.” Space permits the quotation of only a few of the verses: —
“Once more Orion and the sister Seven
Look on thee from the skies that hailed thy birth, —
How shall we welcome thee, whose home was heaven,
From thy celestial wanderings back to earth?
“Science has kept her midnight taper burning
To greet thy coining with its vestal flame;
Friendship has murmured, ‘When art thou returning?’
‘Not yet! Not yet!’ the answering message came.
“Thine was unstinted zeal, unchilled devotion,
While the blue realm had kingdoms to explore, —
Patience, like his who ploughed the unfurrowed ocean,
Till o’er its margin loomed San Salvador.
“Fresh from the spangled vault’s o’erarching splendor,
Thy lonely pillar, thy revolving dome,
In heartfelt accents, proud, rejoicing, tender,
We bid thee welcome to thine earthly home!”
The reduction of the materials collected at Cordoba into condition for publication was the chief occupation of the remaining twelve years of Dr. Gould’s busy life. To this labor must be added the resumption and continuance of his Astronomical Journal. He also writes to his Class Secretary that “sundry investigations, unfinished at the time of his departure in 1870, are gradually being unearthed from their long sepulture, in the hope that they may yet be brought to a conclusion.” The indomitable will, the persistency and the cheerfulness which, in spite of shattered health, still carried him through these occupations are familiar to all who knew him in his later days. But the task grew harder as the years went on, and as possible working-hours were cut short; and it was made still more severe by the necessity of preparing the text of the volumes embodying the results of the Argentine Observations not only in his own tongue, but in Spanish, — a language no longer in daily use with him.
His pleasant life in Cambridge and his presence at various public celebrations and private gatherings have been sufficiently mentioned in the remarks of the speakers at our December Meeting. His constant attendance at scientific meetings on both sides of the water is also noteworthy; among them the Annual Meetings in Paris of the International Committee of Weights and Measures, upon which he served first as member for the Argentine Republic and afterwards as member for the United States, and in winch he took great interest. It is remarkable that he found time for the various duties, whether of science or friendship, which he assumed; but he had the admirable faculty, so far as his health permitted, of making every minute tell. He was rarely absent from meetings of the American Academy, and of the National Academy of Sciences; and he served as President of the American Metrological Society.
His interest, already mentioned, in the events of our War of Independence attached him strongly to the Society of the Cincinnati and the Bunker Hill Monument Association, of both which bodies he was a Vice-President, and in the latter already named as the next successor to the Presidency. He was also a member of the American Antiquarian Society. His invaluable services to The Colonial Society of Massachusetts need not be here recounted; they appear upon our Records.
A good deal might be added to what has already been said about the wide range of Dr. Gould’s study and acquirement outside of his chosen profession. Perhaps one instance will suffice. On a visit which he made me in the country in the last summer of his life the conversation turned upon the flora, especially the trees, of my neighborhood in Middlesex. I found that he knew far more about them than I did. In answer, possibly, to some look of surprise upon my face, he said lightly, “Yes, at one time in my life I came near being a botanist instead of an astronomer.”
One prominent feature of Dr. Gould’s life must not be passed over, — his earnest and steadfast adherence to the Unitarian faith. Mr. Sears has spoken of the effect which Dr. Walker’s powerful preaching had upon Gould in his college days. The habit of mind, not perhaps then first born, but certainly happily cultivated, continued. While in health he was rarely absent on Sunday from his pew in the First Church in Cambridge; and he was a constant attendant at the meetings of the Unitarian Club.
His well known devotion to Free Masonry deserves a passing mention. He was fond of this Institution not merely for its antiquity, but because of its quality of good fellowship between men of widely different classes, its ignoring of ordinary class distinctions, whether political, religious, or social. All this was quite in line with the fondness, of which our Resolutions speak, for keeping up his association with many varieties of men. He held high Masonic rank, was for two years Deputy Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts, and for eleven years Special Representative of the highest Masonic body in the Northern United States to the corresponding body in the Argentine Republic.
Dr. Gould’s health, always precarious after his return from Cordoba, was further shattered by an attack of grippe in the winter and spring of 1895. In the following summer he was thrown down in Boston by a runaway team. From the lameness and insecurity of foot caused by this accident he never recovered. On the evening of Thanksgiving Day, 26 November, 1896, he stumbled and fell as he was descending the stairs in his own house to go into Boston to dine with his married daughter. His consciousness returned only imperfectly after the fall. Within a few hours this life, which had been so busy, ended quietly and apparently without pain. He had, in effect, finished all that he had set himself to do. His solicitude to complete his great work entitled “Cordoba Photographs” had been gratified, and it will be given to the world as it came from his hand.
It would be pleasant, did space permit, to speak more fully of Dr. Gould’s connection with the history of his beloved science both in Europe and America, of his intimate relations and correspondence with great astronomers of three generations, and of his influence upon the present and the future of American Astronomy. But all this has been done by his and our friend and associate, Dr. Seth C. Chandler, in an admirable sketch in the Harvard Graduates’ Magazine for March, 1897.
The record of Dr. Gould’s life and character would not be complete without mention of his social quality and the cordiality of his friendship. In familiar intercourse he was one of the most engaging of companions, brilliant in conversation, sparkling with good things, and receptive of the good things of others, — like Falstaff, not only witty in himself but the cause that wit was in other men.
Then, too, he never forgot what he had read, and from the vast storehouse of his memory, scraps of curious learning and amusement were always dropping. The fervor of his reception of a classmate, a neighbor, a brother of the lodge, a fellow member of a society, was something only to be felt or seen to be admired. This universal warmth of greeting is with certain men a superficial trait of manner, inducing suspicion rather than reciprocation. With Dr. Gould it was a simple token of hearty good-feeling and sincerity. By the world at large his memory will be preserved in honor and renown. By those who knew him best, by his intimate associates, among whom we are proud to count ourselves, it will be cherished with affection and regret.
The principal degrees and honors received by Dr. Gould in Europe and America are as follows: A. B. Harvard 1844; A. M. Harvard 1847; Ph.D. Göttingen 1848; LL.D. Harvard 1885, Columbia 1887; Master Roxbury Latin School; Honorary Professor University of the Argentine Republic; Fellow University of Chile; Director Dudley Observatory, Albany, and Astronomical Observatory, Argentine Republic; Fellow American Academy; Member American Philosophical Society, and National Academy of Sciences; Fellow Royal Society (London); Honorary Member Astronomische Gesellschaft (Leipsic); Associate Honorary Member Royal Meteorological Society (London), and Royal Astronomical Society (London); Corresponding Member Academy of Sciences (Institut de France), Académie Impériale des Sciences (St. Petersburg), Königliche Akademie der Wissenschaften (Berlin), Königliche Gesellschaft der Wissenschaften (Göttingen), Kaiserliche Akademie der Wissenschaften (Vienna), and Bureau des Longitudes (Paris); Knight Order for Merit (Prussia).
Dr. Gould’s two elder children, Susan-Morton-Quincy, born 26 August, 1862, and Lucretia-Goddard, born 20 November, 1804, perished 8 February, 1874, in the accident already mentioned. His surviving children are Alice-Bache, born 5 January, 1868; Benjamin-Apthorp, born 8 February, 1870 (H. C. 1891); and Mary-Quincy, born 16 April, 1872, married 31 December, 1895, to Albert Thorndike (H. C. 1881).