A STATED Meeting of the Society was held at No. 25 Beacon Street, Boston, on Thursday, 29 February, 1912, at three o’clock in the afternoon, the President, Henry Lefavour, LL.D., in the chair.
The Records of the last Stated Meeting were read and approved.
The Corresponding Secretary reported that letters had been received from Mr. Fred Norris Robinson, Mr. Roger Bigelow Merriman, and Mr. Chester Noyes Greenough, accepting Resident Membership.
Mr. Lincoln Newton Kinnicutt of Worcester, and Mr. Samuel Eliot Morison of Boston, were elected Resident Members.
The President announced the death at Cambridge, on the twenty-second instant, of the Rev. Dr. Edward Henry Hall, a Resident Member; and Mr. Andrew McF. Davis paid a tribute to his memory.
Mr. Henry H. Edes called attention to a letter written March 13 or 17, 1782, by Mary Washington to her son George.347
Mr. John W. Farwell exhibited a well-preserved and unrecorded deed on parchment of land in Dorchester, executed in 1694, which bore several interesting signatures, among them that of Judge Sewall.
The Rev. Samuel Lee, while Pastor of the Church at Bristol, Rhode Island, received from Nehemiah Grew, M.D., of London (famous as a pioneer in vegetable physiology), a long document, consisting of two series of numbered questions. The first series related to the Colony of Massachusetts and to Harvard College; the second and more elaborate series had to do with the Indians of New England. Grew’s document seems not to be extant, but Lee’s reply is preserved, in holograph, in the British Museum (Sloane MS. 4062, fols. 235–236).348 It is fully dated at the end: “June 25. 1690. at Mount Hope.” Lee sent the letter to Samuel Sewall at Boston, with a request that he forward it to Grew. This appears from the outside of the letter, where we read, in Lee’s hand:
For the very Learned Doctor Nehemiah Grew. M.D. at his Lodging in Fleetstreet.
Capt Saywell I pray inclose it in yors when you write to him, with my service.
Under this request, Sewall has written:
Recđ these Observations
Jany 24. 1690/1
Under date of February 5, 1691, Sewall notes in his Letter-Book:349 “To Dr. Nehem. Grew, inclosing Mr. Lee’s Observations, and some few animadversions of my own.” Sewall’s covering letter has also found an asylum among the Sloane MSS. (4067, fols. 140–141).350 Both letters are now printed for the first time.351
Engraved for The Colonial Society of Massachusetts from a rare contemporary print
Nehemiah Grew, M.D. (1641–1712), was the son of Obadiah Grew, D.D. (1607–1689). Sewall made the acquaintance of the Grews, father and son, when he was in England in 1689. Under April 4th of that year he notes in his almanac: “Dr. Nehemiah Grew son of Dr. Obadiah Grew formerly of Baliol Colledg, Oxford,352 lives at Racket Court in Fleet-Street near Shoe-Lane. — Leave a Ps[alm]. B[ook]. there.” On April 6th he called on Dr. Obadiah Grew at Coventry, and was “very candidly and kindly received,” and on the 8th he “din’d with Dr. Obadia Grew and his Daughter and 2 Kinswomen.”353 On the 20th he records in his Diary that he gave one copy of “Revolution”354 to “Dr. Grew of Coventry” and one to “Dr. Nehemiah Grew,” and on the 24th he remarks: “Writt to Dr. Grew, inclosing my Psalm-Book, in Turkey-Leather, and 4 of Mr. Cotton Mather’s Sermons.”355 On July 4th, he copies into his Diary a farewell letter “to Dr. Obadia Grew of Coventry.”356
Since both Mr. Lee and Dr. Grew have been deemed worthy of a place in the Dictionary of National Biography, it is unnecessary to dilate upon them here. For convenience, however, I may note that Lee, after a distinguished career in the mother country, sailed from Gravesend on June 24, 1686, and arrived in Boston on August 22d.357 He was called to the Church at Bristol on November 9th of the same year, and began his labors there on April 10, 1687.358 Late in 1691 he sailed for England with Captain John Foy. The ship was captured by the French and taken to St. Malo,359 where Lee died in December.360 “In his Return for England,” writes Cotton Mather, “the French took him a Prisoner, and uncivilly detaining him, he died in France; where he found the Grave of an Heretick, and was therein (after some sort, like Wickliff and Bucer) made a Martyr after his Death.”361 The reader will remember that Mather’s third wife (Lydia, the widow of John George) was Lee’s daughter.362
It is an odd circumstance that, in the letter now first printed, Lee himself seems to forecast his own fate. In a postscript,363 after describing bayberry candles, he remarks:
I have made some & might have sent you a candle for your Epictetus Studies: but I feare as yet they will saile into France if you send us not some Frigots to convey them & us to you: yt may be of great comfort to ye Country under yr many dangers & likewise I should hope to see you by ye leave of or gracious God but I dare not yet venture in ships of no force, who run into S. Macloviꝯ364 to see yt port: The Ld đđ. us.
Mr. Lee was a scholar of wide and profound attainments. He left a noble collection of books behind him when he sailed for England. It was dispersed after his death. A great part of it came into the hands of Duncan Cambell, the Boston bookseller, whose catalogue of the collection may be found in the Boston Public Library.365 I have seen volumes that once belonged to Lee in the Boston Athenaeum, in the New York Society Library, and in the library of the Massachusetts Historical Society.
Mr. Lee says, at the end of his letter, that he received most of his intelligence from “one Mr Arnold a practitioner in Physick of good request in Rhode Island, who hath conversed [i. e., associated] much with the Indians.” This was beyond a doubt Caleb Arnold, of Portsmouth, Rhode Island, the son of Governor Benedict Arnold (1615–1678), of Providence and Newport, who was the son of William Arnold (1587–c.1676) of Providence. Caleb Arnold was born December 19, 1644, and died February 9, 1719. His will was proved March 9, 1719. The inventory of his estate includes books valued at £17, gallipots, vials, three eases of bottles, mortar, pestle, and lancets. He describes himself as “practicioner of physic.”366
In 1687 Dr. Nehemiah Grew sent a set of queries relating to the Virginia Indians to the Rev. John Clayton. It was much shorter than that which he afterwards sent to Lee. Clayton’s replies are printed in the Philosophical Transactions.367
The notes which I append to Lee’s letter are of course merely intended to be suggestive, not to exhaust any of the many subjects which he broaches.368 I have often referred to Mr. C. F. Adams’s edition of Morton’s New English Canaan, but I wish here to make a particular acknowledgment of indebtedness to his learning and industry.
[Rev. Samuel Lee to Nehemiah Grew, M.D.]
[First page: Sloane MS. 4062, fol. 235 a]
[ I h]ave369 sent you such replies as I could collect in this [part of the] world to yor Questions; praying yor candid acceptance [ b]riefe answers.
[1. In New Engl]and370 there is a very pretty [ ] a handsome library & severall [c]onveniencies for Scholars at a place now called, Cambridge about 5 or 6 miles frō Boston & is styled, the Colledge, hath a president & some fellowes, It was given by one Mr Harvard & calld by his name. They take degrees of Batchelor & Mr of Arts but proceed no further. It was instituted by ye Governour & Magistrates of ye Massachussets Colony in the yeere. 1642. as I [ ]371 not much salary: (2)372 the Revenue of Charleston Fery goes in ꝑt to it I think. (3) about 40 or 50 students: but stands much at a stay by reason of changes & troubles.
4373 No Corporation in a strict forme: no degrees in physick or Licentiates regular (5) no approbation, but by their patients: & the physitians are great patients in yr purses. (6) no Lectures or instructors but their owne pia or dura mater — salit in laeva parte mamilke. (7) Practitioners are laureated gratis with a title feather of Doctor. Potecaries, surgeons & midwifes are dignified acc. to successe: (8) they use the London dispensatory at pleasure or any other, tyed to none.
9. Apotheciaries make mithridate without inspection for they have it frō London. (10) They are punisht wth noli me tangere or a persicaria siliquosa to snap agt them, if they faile. (11) I know of no licenses: but are Licentiâ deteriores. (12) 3 or 4 in that great towne wch is about a mile in Length & full of people, counted by some about 7000d374 of all sortes as I think I have heard if not more. (13) There is a pretty hospitall upon the com̄on for ye poore. may containe it may be 30 or 40 or more. (14) As for fees no great matters, ad libitū, or like or cooks fees in Oxo͞n on friday nights. (15) Physitians may make or buy or send to the Potecaries. Quod libet, licet. (16) Potecaries doe practise what they will, physick & Surgery. (17) Barbing is a trade by it self: & tooth drawing is used at pleasure. (18) No Company, yt I know of; unles at ye Taverne. (19) I know not above 3 or 4 & not concerned by authority. Things are very raw here in these cases, udum & molle lutum. (20) Apprentices serve for yeeres as any other trade
21375 They visit whom they please. Surgeons are of no Fraternity or guild but yr guelt what they can get. not many. & no qualification but frō their owne chest & boxe
24376 I thinke no bills of mortality at least not printed, but some observation in ye registers. (25) of midwifes every one takes whom they please. (26) I knew one Dr Avery since deceased, a man of pretty ingenuity: who from the Ars veterinaria fell into some notable skill in physick and midwifery & invented some usefull instrumts for that case. & besides was a great inquirer and had skill in Helmont & chemicall physick & he had one notion wch He mention (tho’ alien from your enquiries) that if a ships planks & boards be laid from sterne to head in the graine as it grew from root to top: it were a great377 facilitation to its quicker moti[on thro’ ye water] & so I end the 1st row of enquiri[es.]
As to the Indians
1378 Generally flaking black hai[re. they have no] beards or thin haires.
2 not so early.
3 more flat and dank faced but [ ] & tawny colourd: like the Tartarians. & I doe humbly judge that they come ꝑtly from ye African Phoenicians as may seeme by Diod. Sic. 1. 5. & ꝑtly frō ye Easterne Tartars’from Japan-ward It being as yet questionable whether Japan be an Hand or joynd to the Norwest of America. καὶ ἐσσαμένοισι πύθεσθαι.379
4. Much at one: only ye legs & hands are much smaller.
5. From 4f &½ to 6 & that rarely few so high or above.
6. generally leane & lank
7. No hermaphrodites. Some Monstrous births but few & none crooked.
8. much at one: but short of it, seldome till 18 or 19. 380 none (10) much at one. The English have some times put some to nurse to them & done well
11 nothing extraordinary. (12) not much but ye Negroes here are very rank hardly endurable (13) nothing at all, but in consumptions. 14. much more then we, by eating beanes & Indian come 15. rarely, nor the English but little 16. when in great anger, they look swarthy & black, in other cases, not at all. 17. No weepers under ye greatest torments, nor cry so much as, oh; tho’ ye cut ym in pieces. Onely ya women in a little measure. I knew an Indian weep bitterly at a funerall.
18 No foole among Indians: but some borne deafe, & so, dumb: but very ingenious to demonstrate yr mindes
19. Great memories, especially in injuries
20. None in ye world, its thought like ym & they count him all one woman that cries out of any
21. very patient in fasting, & will gird in their bellies till they meet with food; but then none more gluttons or drunk on occasion. Theyle eat 10 times in 24 houres, when they have a beare or a deare & are great fishermen.
22. Can’t speak to it: but think they doe not
23. Its uncertaine. they sleep & eat at all times & require as much as we
24. Seldome or rarely. 25 Some have tunable voices & sing finely in their half Christian meetings but want method
26. varies as dyet 27. beare 3 or 4 times as much physick as ye English in all cases. 28. much as ye English
29. Quick in motion: but not such strength as the English unles these shou’d degenerate381 by hot & cold excesses & dyet
[Second page: fol. 235 b]
[30. Mo]re old women then men. wars & [other] causes wasts ym. many men there be [of] great age 80, 90 & some of 100 [that carry] baskets on yr backs at a great [pace bu]t usually they burden their [old wiv]es. wch is unkindly 31. little or [none]. 32 rather barren, no twins that we heare of 33. Same exactly, variatis variandis 34. hardly marriageable till 18 or 19 or till yr menses flow & thats late (35) not so long as the English. 36. The French poxe & the Sebeniack or Consumption & yts very mortall, else few diseases, a pure aire generally.
37 That dreadfull disease & arrow of God is not knowne here, nor as I can heare in all America. Q. whether the many minerals especially Quicksilver & Arsenicall fumes may not extinguish such atomes would be inquired, as tis said 40 mile round the quicksilver mines in Friuli. or what other latent providence of God is in it, is worth yor Learned inquisition If you think good, nor is the gout, nor rupture, nor Scurvy nor rickets observd amg ym
38. Small pox very frequent & dangerous
39. not observed. 40 It is com̄on, & calld cosh-caska. 41. not at all.
42. no contagious distemper: but the consumption: from wch they fly, as being catching among ym, but not among ye English
43. They use two herbs, wch are rank poyson the one like chervil, ye other like columbines: but no names can we tell: they are very secret in such things, pownd ym & drink ym in water. & swell till they dye in 6, 8, or 12 houres
44. None but the Ratlesnake: wch turnes all the body into a speckled hew in a few houres, with great paine, tongues & heads work with the poyson
45. never: they have little or no love, but are almost like the beasts.
46. being not acquainted with their waies: onely heare, yt conjuration is frequent among ym. & then one appeares like a rattlesnake & sometimes like a white-headed eagle (47.) None (48.) none but ye negroes much afflicted. (49) they have generally very easy labour (50) have not heard or observed it. (51) not long. For they goe a digging Clams at 3 dayes end (52) we know little or nothing of any such matter. (53) nor can say but little to that. (54.) none. (55) none but whats comon to ours. (56) not so difficult. & mostly but little at all & their teeth continue longer. They eat not so much sugar: wch being but ye salt of the cane impaires or sweet teeth exceedingly382
57. Not observably, no [ ]
58. A very com̄on distemp[er ] kernels & breakings out [ ]
59 Accidentally as other nati[ons but not] hsereditary (60) Autumne genera[lly.]
61 none. 62. distemꝑs usually follow but not any ꝑticular one
63 Norwest cures all. South east is unwholsome southwest when strong & with a seaturne breeds headakes & nervous distempers.
64. more changeable & unconstant then I ever found in England, contrary to ye usuall saying that Ilanders weathers are most various.
65. We haue not had it here: nor did I think of bringing one, com̄ing in some hast: but find both heat & cold to be far more impetuous & hardly tolerable at times, severall dyed in ye y. 1689 of heat.
66. Any sort of meat they can get. None comes amisse & eat of all sorts night & day: & gird in yr bellies till they get some as before no curiosity in dressing, lay it before the fire, & dry yr fish & venison & ye usuall stuff is, Indian come powdrd & mixt with water & call it No-cake by an English terme
67. As to swine flesh they eat it freely when they can get it & ordinarily sell it for Rum. swine at sea townes feed on Fish & are not so wholsom
68. Nothing more frequent then gorging when they have it & are beastly drunkards. Cry & howle extremely when they are drunk, I think I have heard them about half a mile severall times
69. Their onely sauce is hunger.
70. Their bread (such as ’tis) is made of green or old come, baked under ye ashes. & call it, pone. It must be alwaies new, never holds 2 daies together
71. water onely: unles they get Rum or brandy. 72 most notoriously. 73 when sick they drink water hot or yr herbs in it infused or boild. rather
74. for diversion: Their tobacco is like henbane & take it in a Lobster or crabs claw
75. They wash them & put up their heeles close to their nates & tye ym downe to a board & ’tis thought is ye cause they never are bursten. & when fowle wipe ym with mosse & tye them up againe & carry ym at yr backs
76. Suckle a yeere com̄only & feed ym
77 with any thing ye child will eat & usually with clams. 78 Never but if the mother dye: the men give them oysters to suck. (79) They have many poysons & are expert in yr use. The women often poyson ym selves & children: if yr husbands will not owne them.
80. Roots & herbs
81. It’s a question not fit to be spoken to or inquired of ym. pardon this Query for any answer
82. what they please.
83 a sort of football & dancing & a kind of dice made of plum-stones before the English came.
[Third page: fol. 236 a]
[84. b]ut a string to tye [ ] Now some begin to [ ye] English 85. Skins turnd [ ] & now are much affected to [ ]ew truck in. or any blewes.
86. Use hot baths on all occasions by the water side, heat a stone & put it into ye hole where they sit & in the height of yr sweat leap or run into the water (87. no other (88 none at all, (89 Seldome or never wash but greaze yr faces & when mourners black them
90. physick is practisd, by yr priests & conjurers who 1st conjure to knowe whether they shall dye. 91. We think not 92. all in Generall but 1st they inquire of yr oracle & if that saies they shall dye, they use nothing. 93. none 94. no more judgment then a horse. 95. No thing at all: onely wt their oraacle informes ym being usually a rattlesnake, a crow or a hawke or &c
96. Of simples: herbs or roots in water & drink it
97. plants onely, roots chiefly: they have one excellent root, called by us a snakeroot but is indeed no other then what Parkinson Trib. 2. c. 25. §. 6. calls. Helleborus niger Saniculre folio, major, pag. 214. ed. 1640. wch they use in decoctions & truly is an excellent Alexipharmacon in all sudden & dangerous fevers, to drive poyson from the heart
98. Little or none, but Rakoons oile for aches 99. none. 100. Nor milk till the English came 101 None at all; I think they know nothing of it 102. They use a root called now by them since the English came by ye name of Sleep & smoake it among yr Tobacco
103. They use a root for philters: but will not tell us, what is its name or discover it. (104 None at all (105. They pownd ye herb or root & boile it in water & when in hast, use it cold.
106. None either purgative or vomiting, onely as sd before of decoctions. 107. None at all but when they poyson ꝑsons. onely yr powwawes use the bark of a tree to vomit ꝑsons 7 daies before they are admitted into that order. If they cannot beare their poysonous vomits, they dye & as for y’ usuall physick they use nothing but roots & barks. & specially of a certaine sort of alder, wch gives a notable vomit
108. None at all. but Cure the poxe easily with a root wch they will not tell
109. If any, in fevers. Not consumptions They have no dropsies nor Quartan agues
110. No rule at all, let it work as ’twill
111. by chewing what root they use, & wth ye masht root, anoint yr joints & some they swallowe downe, No plague in this Country blessed be God onely violent & somewhat virulent fevers383
112. Snakeroot. wch I sd befor[e] is ye same with ye 6th Hellebor.
114. Very rarely. If a Pow-w[aw de]signe such a thing. & can spy the [man] make water, he digs a hole in ye s[and] & puts a herb into it & ye man shall never make water more. They have many evil charmes but not knowne to us or as to ye cure of diseases
115. Some skill they have, but very little manuall opation.
116. Never let bloud (117. None; but scarify a place with sucking
118. None at all.
June 25, 1690. at Mount Hope.
I recd most of this intelligence From one Mr Arnold a practitioner in Physick of good request in Rhode Hand, who hath conversed much with the Indians
Yors to serve you in any Xan Service to my power & leisure: pray divine successe on yor labours
One thing I would annexe of a rare sort of Candle found out last y. 1689 wch is made of a gum̄ous matter gatherd by boiling of ye berries of a little bush or shrub wch they here call bay berries but I take it to be a sort of myrtle but ye leaves are deciduous in sharp winters. It is very odoriferous & lasting & fit for students. I have made some & might have sent you a candle for your Epictetus Studies: but I feare as yet they will saile into France if you send us not some Frigots to convey them & us to you: yt may be of great comfort to ye Country under yr many dangers & likewise I should hope to see you by ye leave of or gracious God but I dare not yet venture in ships of no force, who run into S. Macloviꝯ384 to see yt port: The Ld đđ us. —
ye385 wick of silkgrasse spun like cotton serves for candles
have ye Loadstone 7 mile frō Boston.
There is a root wch they call Makerell & is singular in gripings of ye belly I have seen it dry: but not as yet, growing. Galingale. Some judge it a sort of wild Gentian.386
Letter of the Rev. Samuel Lee to Dr. Nehemiah Grew
Engraved for The Colonial Society of Massachusetts from the Original among the Sloane Mss.(4062:235) in the British Museum
For the very Learned Doctor Nehemiah Grew M.D. at his Lodging in Fleetstreet.
Capt. Saywell I pray inclose it in yors when you write to him, with my service.387
Reeđ these Observations
Jany 24. 1690/1388
[Samuel Sewall to Nehemiah Grew]389
[First Page: Sloane MS. 4067, fol. 140 a]
[I]390 reed ye Reud Mr. Lee’s Observations but y[e lett]er yt inclos’d them was pleas’d to ask my [adu]ice of th[ ] that by my experience of ye American N[ati]ves in t[ ] Travail, and by the Information of [o]thers, I find the [ ] Eye & Hair; both black: excepting [t]he hoary head pro[ ] of ye Foreskin, ’tis the Indians custom to flay off the h[air from the head of] such of their Enemies as they kill in Fight. I have sent s[ome of the scalps to] Charles Morton a Physician who lodges at K. Wms Head in Bp Gate [ ] ye Left hand as you goe to ye Gate. No 74. The Indians now use English pipes391 [for] ye most part, sometimes Stone, or Wood garded in ye inside with Pewter I [know] not what shift they might formerly make; as they used Axes of Stone of w[hich] I have one by me, and till’d their Ground with ye shells of Fish. At N[arra]ganset (formerly ye chief place of Indians in N E) One gave me an account [of] a Dance held by a great woman, who had met with many Adversities in [ye] Loss of near Relations &c A Day & place was apointed yt so persons far [& near] might be present, Considerable Provision made for Entertainment of the[m a]f[ter] yr fashion. When the Company was met, she made several Speeches to them importing her former Calamity, and hopes of future Prosperity, [ ] now and then danc’d a considerable time, gave many Gifts, and had a new Name given to herself. When a Maid’s Menses are first taken notice of, a little house, or rather Tent call’d a Wigwam, is provided for her, [and] she is kept apart by herself. The Hair upon the forheads of the young Females is cut in such a fashion, from time to time, that one may defie what form Nature has plac’d them in. No 63. Mr. Lee lives at Mount Hope or Bristow, a place fifty miles off, upon the Sea, which bears south[erly or] souwest; whereas the Sea is to ye Eastward of us. So that what is sp[oke] of the Souwest Wind, must be interpreted of that place: for [ ] ’tis a pleasant wind: West, & Norwest very Serene. And hardly any [are] bad with us from South East to North. Our North-East brings the [most] uncomfortable Storms, so that ’tis almost become a Proverb, North East, Neither good for Man nor Beast. ’Twould be a vain thing to goe about to dissemble the severity of our Winters; only most ancient [inha]bitants judge there is an abatement of their former rigor; the clear[ing of] ye Ground of Wood being the cause of it, as is conjectur’d. Our H[arbour be]ing near ye Sea, and being Salt Water, is not easily frozen. Capt. W[ear392 came] away from Cows ye first Dec’ and arriv’d* here ye 24th of Jany [ ] open Chan̄el, thô have had a
[The following remark is written in the left-hand margin of the page:]
[*T]wo more Ships are since arriv’d yt saild from Plimo xr. 19.393 bringing supplies of Arms and Amūnition [in] which ye mercifull Goodness of God is much to be acknowledged, considering our great want, and diffi[culty] of the Winter Season.
very severe Winter for Frost & [ ] thing that makes ye Harbour refuse the Impositions of ye Cold, [is the Tide,] which swells higher than ordinary when the Perige and Change or Full [of ye Moon] are coincident, by which means (especially if the wind blow hard) the Ic[e is bro]ken & driven out to Sea. Yet somtimes when many Accidents meet, ’tis fr[ozen] so hard, that a Cart and Oxen may pass over loaden. We have some Compen[sation] in a pleasant Serenity of ye Air, and moderation of our Day[e]s [ ] being about nine hours long from Sun to Sun: for Boston is not [so norther]ly as 42d & 30ms ’Tis built on an Island & Peninsula extended in [length] from N. East to Souwest about a Mile & half, from the Ferry to the For[ti]fication. The Buildings reach but little more than a Mile and quarter and more thinly at ye South-end. My House stands just a Mile from ye Fe[rry.] The Continent affords great plenty of Wood & Coal: but ye Coal in ye [ ] Dominion, and for that reason, & bee. make not so sweet a fi[re it is] not much used yet394
[Second Page: fol. 140 vo]395
[h]as lat[ely gone t]horow the Tow[n]
a sor [e mor]tal Fever in Town & Country. I [ ]
f two [of] our Burying Places. There are tw[o]
[Ru]mney-Marsh [&] Muddy-River wch belong to Boston
least some of ye dead at Boston; the latter at Roxbury,
[a]lmost compassed with Salt; yet we have very good
Wells of Fresh Water. But I shall tire you
[ th]ings yt are of so remote concernment to you. My humble
[Servi]ce to Doctor Grew of Coventry,396 if living. I am
Sir, your humble Servt
[Fourth page, fol. 141 vo]
Doctr Nehemia Grew in Racket Court near Shoe-Lane in Fleet-street
The Colony and Harvard College
1. “Instituted in 1642.” A manifest error. The College was founded in 1636. John Harvard’s benefaction was in 1638, and in that year the name Harvard College was decided on, and the first class was formed. 1642 is the date of the Act establishing the Overseers of Harvard College.
2. “The ferry betweene Boston & Charlestowne is granted to the colledge,” Massachusetts Colony Records, October 7, 1640 (i. 304). See also Quincy, History of Harvard University, ii. 271.
3. “About 40 or 50 students.” Twenty-two persons received the degree of Bachelor of Arts in 1690; eight in 1691; six in 1692; fifteen in 1693. Increase Mather was Rector of the College when Lee wrote.
4. The fourth reply must refer, not to Harvard College, but to the medical profession, winch was not organized in corporate form (like the Royal College of Physicians in London) or subject to any fixed control. This appears to be the meaning of “no corporation in a strict form.” What follows under the same head and under No. 5 bears out this interpretation: “No degrees in physick or licentiates regular,” etc. The incorporation of Harvard College took place in 1650, and the Charter of that year, with the Appendix of 1657, remains in force.
5. This means, apparently, that physicians do not have to be approved by authority before they may practise. If their patients approve, says Mr. Lee jocosely, that is all that is required.
6. “In their owne pia and dura mater” is a jocose way of saying “in their own brain.” Cf. “One of thy kin has a most weak pia mater” (Twelfth Night, i. 5. 123); “Whatever piety your Fathers pretended in the Pia Mater of their Brains, to be sure it is Ardled into impious matter of Deuilism, in their Childrens crack’d Crowns” ([Joshua Scottow,] A Narrative of the Planting of the Massachusets Colony397). What follows in the letter is from Juvenal’s Seventh Satire, verses 158–160:
Scilicet arguitur quod laeva in parte mamillae
Nil salit Arcadio iuveni.
9. Dr. Grew had asked, it seems, whether the apothecaries were subject to any inspection. In London, it was the duty of the Apothecaries’ Company to examine the drugs and medicines kept for sale and to destroy such as were unsound or adulterated. The College of Physicians acted as Censors of the apothecaries. Thus Dr. Merrett remarks in 1669: — “Whereas Apothecaries are bound to shew publickly to the Censors of the Colledg, and the Master and Wardens of their Company, Mithridate, Diascordium, Alkernies, &c. Yet for all this some of them privately make a great deal more of the Composition then is shewed of unsound Drugs, and some without any view at all.”398 The records of the Company show numerous cases of penalties imposed for selling unsound medicines or for compounding medicines “without public view.” Thus in 1619 one Eason was fined more than £6 for such offences, and his “Methridatie” and “London Treacle” were seized and destroyed.399 In 1624 the Company viewed a “dispensacon of Methridate.”400 Perhaps Dr. Grew’s question applied particularly to this complicated medicine, to the proper preparation of which great importance was attached. Mr. Lee replies, with characteristic jocosity, that the Boston apothecaries import their mithridate from London and therefore may be said to make it “without inspection.”
The New London Dispensatory describes “Mithridatium Damocratis, The Mithridate of Damocrates, taken from the Greek Copy.” There are 48 ingredients, almost all vegetable, besides canary wine and clarified honey. “Make an Electuary.” Salmon (pp. 658–659) gives a whole column to an enumeration of the diseases for which it is good, including the plague, madness, wind, leprosy, cancer, gout, and dysenteria. It “cures the bitings or stingings of any poisonous Creature, expels Poison.”401 Hence, of course, its name, from the Pontic king Mithridates VI.
10. This passage involves a botanical joke. Mr. Lee means that, if a physician is unsuccessful in curing disease, patients will have nothing to do with him. This he expresses by saying that such luckless practitioners are punished with “noli me tangere,” to which he adds the old botanical name of the plant known as “noli me tangere” or “wild mercury” or “quick-in-hand,” — Persicaria siliquosa. The phrase “to snap at them” is explained by the fact that the pods of this plant snap open at a touch, so that the seeds spring out. John Parkinson describes the plant in his Theatrum Botanicum (1640),402 a standard work with winch Mr. Lee was familiar. After the “flowers are past,” writes Parkinson, “there come up in their places, small long joynted pods, hanging downewards, striped as it were all the length of them, wherein is conteined small long and somewhat flat seede, of a duskie colour, which is so hardly gathered, in regard that even before it be thorough ripe, if it be but very lightly handled, the pods will breake, and twine themselves a little, as the pods of some certaine pulses will doe, and the seed will leape forth, yea for the most part, the very shaking of the branches by the winde, causeth the pods to breake open, and shed their seede on the ground, where the ripest may best be gathered if they be taken in time.”
11. “Licentia deteriores.” Another pun. The doctors have no licenses, and by reason of this very license (or lack of restraint) they are the worse. The phrase is from a well-known passage in Terence, Heautontimorumenos, iii. 1. 74 (483): “Nam deteriores omnes sumus licentia.”
13. The “pretty hospital upon the common for the poor” was the almshouse, “ordered by the town in 1660, built, later, on or near the present site of the Athenaeum,” and “rebuilt in 1685–6 (after a fire).” Since Lee wrote in 1690, he was of course referring to the second structure. The Boston almshouse is thought to have been the earliest in the country.403
15. Dr. Grew had evidently asked whether physicians had the right to compound and dispense their own prescriptions, or whether the privilege of dispensing was confined to the apothecaries (compare the note on No. 9, above). Mr. Lee replies that they may themselves manufacture medicines, or buy them and dispense them, or send their patients to the apothecaries with prescriptions to be filled. On February 20, 1721–2, William Douglass, M.D., wrote from Boston to Cadwallader Colden: — “We abound with Practitioners, though no other graduate than myself, we have fourteen Apothecary shops in Boston; all our Practitioners dispense their own medicines.”404
16. The question was apparently whether, in case the apothecaries practised, they confined themselves to medicine, or included surgery as well. In the disputes between the London physicians and the apothecaries, the Barber-Surgeons’ Company had also become involved.405
17–18. These remarks about barbers and “tooth-drawing at pleasure” make it clear that Dr. Grew had based his inquiries on the state of things in London. There are traces of an unincorporated guild or fraternity of barbers (including barber-surgeons) as early as 1308.406 In the same century there existed a similar unincorporated guild or fraternity of surgeons.407 In 1462 the former was incorporated by royal charter;408 the latter continued to exist on the old basis until 1540, when the incorporated Company of Barbers (including barber-surgeons) and the unincorporated guild of surgeons were united by an Act of Parliament, which also provided that no surgeon should practise barbery and that no barber should practise surgery except the drawing of teeth.409 A new charter was granted to this united Company of Barbers and Surgeons in 1605 and in 1629.410 In 1684 all previous charters were surrendered, and in the following year were superseded by a fourth charter,411 which was in force when Mr. Lee wrote. These successive charters, however, had made no substantial change in the make-up of the Company, which still consisted of both barbers and the surgeons, although in 1684 certain surgeons of the Company had petitioned the king to incorporate the surgeons as a separate body.412 In 1745 the growing animosity between the two classes of members led to an Act of Parliament which dissolved the Company, made a separate Company of Surgeons, and reincorporated the barbers as Barbers only.413
Mr. Lee informs his correspondent that in Boston the barbers are not associated with the surgeons (“barbing is a trade by itself”) and that anybody may draw teeth.
19. Apparently Dr. Grew had asked if there was anything in the Colony that corresponded to the Apothecaries’ Company in London. Mr. Lee replies with a pun, — no company except when they meet at the tavern. “Concerned by authority” seems to mean “taken cognizance of (or regulated) by the magistrates or the laws.” The Latin quotation is from the Third Satire of Persius, v. 23: “Udum et molle lutum es.” The poet tells a young man that he is still soft and moist clay, that is, that he needs to be formed on the potter’s wheel.
20. “Apprentices . . . please.” This still refers to the apothecaries. The question of an apothecary’s right to practise medicine (“to visit whom he pleases”) was of much interest in England in the second half of the seventeenth century.
The Worshipful Society of the Apothecaries of London was incorporated in 1617. Their charter separated them from the Grocers, with whom they had been united by a previous charter in 1606. The apothecaries were not empowered to prescribe medicines, but only to dispense them, and the Royal College of Physicians had certain rights of inspection, in order that purity of drugs might be ensured and abuses avoided. In the latter half of the century, however, many apothecaries became general practitioners, and this occasioned a dispute with the physicians.414
Thus Dr. Jonathan Goddard, F.R.S. and Professor of Physic at Gresham College, advocated the preparation of medicines by the physicians themselves, complaining of the evil condition into which the profession had fallen on account of the taking up of medical practice by the apothecaries. “If Patients,” writes Dr. Goddard, “understood their interest, they would take no such satisfaction, as they seem to do, in the Visits of Apothecaries; but rather wish them in their Shops to make, or oversee the making of their Medicines prescribed by Physicians, which are left to their Servants, many times raw and slovenly Apprentices, while the Masters spend their time abroad, Physician-like, in Visiting.”415
These differences were aggravated by the celebrated Dispensary Dispute, which began in 1675 and lasted through the century, though receiving its quietus on the publication of Dr. (afterwards Sir) Samuel Garth’s celebrated poem in 1699.416
When Dr. Grew wrote his inquiries about the condition of the medical profession in New England, the Apothecaries and the College of Physicians were on by no means good terms. It is significant that, in the very year of Mr. Lee’s reply (1690), an attempt was made to arrange an accommodation by which the physicians were not to keep shops for the dispensing of drugs and the apothecaries were to refrain from practising.417
A curious passage, giving an account of the growth of the practice of medicine among the apothecaries, may be quoted from a tract by another London physician, Dr. Christopher Merrett, F.R.S.:418
The next thing to be treated of, shall be the ways of Apothecaries creeping into practice, and their unfitness thereunto. As to the first, heretofore when they were Members of the Company of Grocers, and dispersed in place, as well as in counsel, they then were wholy subordinate to the Physicians, only keeping in their Shops, and faithfully making the prescriptions they received from the Physician, and when made, sending them to the Patient by their men (as they still continue to do in Foreign Countries) and not committing the preparation to raw Boys, or Apprentices, which is the true interest of the Patient they should do here likewise. But in process of time Physicians in acute diseases having taught them somewhat, sent them to visit their Patients, to give them the best account they could of the estate of their health, and effect of their Medicines. And of later years some Physicians took them along with them in their Visits, whereby they acquired a little smattering of diseases, by which means, and their continual officiousness, they insinuated themselves into Families, and by applying (right or wrong) the terms of Art they had learned from the Physicians, they made people believe they had acquired some skill in the Art, and afterwards began to venture a little at practice, and but until these 10 years last past kept themselves within some bounds and limits; but since that time have daily more and more incroached upon our Profession, being assisted by a greater familiarity of conversation with younger Physicians. And in the Plague time (most Physicians being out of Town) they took upon them the whole Practice of Physiek,419 which ever since they have continued, being much helped also therein by the dispersing of Physicians into places unknown to their Patients, by the Fire, but above all by the burning of the Colldg, by means whereof their Government and view of their Shops420 have been omitted, insomuch that now their421 past restraint having insinuated and (as they think) rooted themselves by the aforesaid Artifices.
21. The surgeons are neither associated in a single company with the barbers, as in London (see Nos. 17–18), nor have they any “fraternity or guild” of their own as they had in London before they were united with the barbers in 1540. “Guelt” involves another pun. Gelt, ghelt, or guelt (from the German and Dutch Geld) was a common word for “money” or “pay” in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries.
26. The Avery mentioned by Mr. Lee is, beyond a doubt, Dr. William Avery of Dedham and Boston. He was admitted a townsman of Dedham in 1651,422 and, on February 16, he and his wife were received into the First Church there.423 In March he got permission to set up his smith’s shop.424 This agrees with Lee’s remark that the Avery to whom he refers had formerly practised the “ars veterinaria,” i. e. farriery. William Avery’s name occurs frequently in the records of Dedham, often with the title of Sergeant. In 1609 he was Deputy to the General Court.425 In 1673 he was appointed Lieutenant of the Dedham Military Company.426 In 1675 his name appears in the records with the title of “Mr.;”427 so also in 1679.428 When he began to practise medicine we do not know; but his name bears the title “Doc” in the town records for 1676,429 and thereafter Doc, Do, or Doct is its common prefix.430 On January 1, 1678, he obtained permission “to fell timber of the town common, for a frame of a house to carry to Boston, provided he paid to the use of the town in money two shillings per ton, not exceeding seven ton.”431 This gives us an approximate date for his removal to Boston. In 1680 he offered the town of Dedham £60 for the encouragement of a Latin School,432 and in the same year there is the following important entry in the records of that town:
Capt Dan Fisher make a return of the trust Com̄ited to him selfe and En Tho Fullar of a Some of mony of sixty pounds giuen to the Towne and the Improument for the benifit of a Latine Schoole
The returne is as foloweth be it Here by declared that I Will Auery Phisision now resedent in Boston: some times of the Church of Dedham do out of my Intire loue to the: Church and Towne: thier frely giue the full Some of sixty pound in mony thier of to be wholy for the incoragmt of a latin Schoole as shall be from time to tim so ordered by the Elders or Elder of that Church and select men for the time being desirous yt others whom god shall make able will adde thier vnto that a latine Schoole may generaly be maintayned thier and this to stand vpon record in thier towne Booke.433
In March, 1681, there is a further record about Dr. Avery’s benefaction, as follows: — “it being proposed to the Town whether they will allow twenty two pounds by the year to a lattin schoolmaster whereof seaven pounds shall be mony besides the incom of that 60 pounds given by Docter Avery, it was voated in the afirmitive.”434 And there are other entries relating to this same gift.435
Mr. Lee says that “Dr Avery was a great inquirer and had skill in Helmont & chemicall physiek.” By a lucky chance, two letters that show his inquiring mind and his addiction to chemistry are preserved in the Works of the famous natural philosopher, Robert Boyle, to whom they were addressed.436 They are dated at Boston, November 9, 1682, and May 1, 1684. From them it appears that he was in hot pursuit of the alkahest or universal solvent. He refers to Starkey’s Pyrotechny,437 and mentions438 “the worshipful Mr. Dudley439 and “my worthy friend Mr. Thomas Brattle.”440 In the second letter he speaks of a son “about thirty years of age” as also a “practitioner in physic, and an assiduous labourer at the chemical fire.”441 This son was Jonathan Avery, of Dedham, who first appears in the townrecords in 1681 (with the titleof Doctor),442 and often thereafter.443 Under date-of December 16, 1701, are mentioned “the Heires of Jonath Avery Deceased.”444
Dr. William Avery died in Boston, March 18, 1687.445 His will is preserved in the Suffolk County Probate Files, No. 1526. The testator describes himself as “resident in Boston,” as “practitioner in physiek,” and as “aged about 61 years.” This was in 1683, for the will is dated on the 15th of October in that year. It is signed William Avery, and has two witnesses. Below their signatures is the acknowledgment in the presence of three witnesses, dated March 13, 1686–7. The will mentions the doctor’s wife (Mary), and his four children, William, Robert, and Jonathan Avery, and Mary Tisdale; also his sons-in-law, William Sumner and Benjamin Dyer. There is an interesting bequest to charity which shows that the Doctor was interested in mines, as befitted a loyal student of alchemy:
Jt. Concerning my part in several mines, my Will is, that after all necessary charges already laid out or to be laid out upon them be equally satisfyed, then the profit or income of them while my wife lives, shall be divided to her & to my four children William, Robert & Jonathan Avery & Mary Tisdale, & after my Wife’s decease shall be divided among my said children: And my will is that in all these divisions my son william shall have a double share . . . Further my [Will] is that a third part of all the profit yt shall arise to any & all of my children from the said mines shall be improved for publick & charitable uses according to their own discretion. And my will is that it shall so remain from time to time with them their heirs or successors, that, all necessary charges deducted, a third part of the profit of ye mines aforesaid shall be for publick & charitable use.
All medical books and apparatus are bequeathed to the Doctor’s son Jonathan. “Jt. My Will is yt my son Jonathan shall have my two Stills, all my Physiek books & instruments, he allowing twenty pound to my executors for ye same.” The three sons are named as executors, but on May 26, 1687, they filed a document renouncing their executorship. This, with the will, is all that the Suffolk Files contain. The will is docketed as taken to the Probate Office by William and Robert Avery on May 26, 1687.
The will of Dr. Jonathan Avery is also in the Suffolk Probate Files, No. 1856. He describes himself as “Jonathan Avery, resident in Dedham . . . Practitioner in Physiek, & aged about Thirty-five years.” The will is dated February 18, 1689, and was recorded in May, 1691. The inventory, which is the only other document in the Files, is dated May 13, 1691, and was sworn to on May 27. The will mentions the Doctor’s wife Sibyll, and his three daughters, Sibyll, Margarett, and Dorothy, all under age. His brother, William Avery, is also mentioned. The inventory values his “Bookes Devinitie & Pisicall & other small books” at £5, and his “Chyrurgion Jnstruments” at £1.
1. A flake is “a lock or band of hair not twisted or plaited.” The following passages (among those quoted in the Oxford Dictionary) make the meaning of the term clear: — “Will you have . . . your mustachoes sharpe at the ends, like shomakers aules, or hanging downe to your mouth like goates flakes?” (Lyly, Midas, iii. 2, ed. Fairholt, ii. 29–30); “The flakes of hair which naturally suggest lightning” (Steele, Guardian, No. 86); “His hair was flaxen, and fell in long flakes upon his shoulders” (Captain Marryat, The Phantom Ship, chap. viii.). The word is the same as the second part of snowflake, and King Lear plays on the two meanings when he speaks of his hoary locks as “these white flakes” (iv. 7. 10).
Josselyn, Rarities, p. 99, remarks: “The Men are somewhat Horse Fac’d, and generally Faucious, i. e. without Beards.” Cf. Smith, p. 19; Wood, part ii. chap. 4, p. 55.
3. “Dank-faced” I do not understand. The only recorded meaning of dank seems to be the ordinary one, — “damp.”
Mr. Lee’s views concerning the origin of the American Indians, though not original, show that he was abreast of his time in ethnology. He thinks that their origin is twofold, — that they “came partly from the African Phoenicians, as may be seen by Diod. Siculus, and partly from the Eastern Tartars, it being as yet questionable whether Japan be an island or joined to the northwest of America.” As to the latter point, he shows his confidence in future discovery by adding a little tag from the Iliad, ii. 119 (καὶ ἐσσομένοισι πυθέσθαι), which, in his special application of it here, signifies “And ’tis for posterity to ascertain.”446
The passage from Diodorus Siculus which Mr. Lee has in mind consists of the nineteenth and twentieth chapters of the Fifth Book, in which Diodorus describes a great island in the Atlantic, several days’ voyage to the westward of Libya (Africa), and tells how it was discovered by certain Phoenician explorers who were blown far out to sea while skirting the African coast after they had passed through the Pillars of Hercules. Both the Diodorus passage and the question whether Japan is connected with America are discussed in Georg Horn’s monograph, De Originibus Americanis,447—a little book which once enjoyed a well-merited reputation, and with which Mr. Lee (like Cotton Mather448 and Samuel Sewall449) was undoubtedly familiar.
The theory that America joined Asia is well known to have been continuously entertained by geographers, with ever-varying degrees of favor, from the time of Columbus until well into the nineteenth century. Even the discovery of Bering Strait in 1728 and Cook’s survey of it in 1728, did not put an end to what we may call the Asiatic theory. As late as 1819, Captain James Burney, who had been one of Cook’s officers, and whose moderation and expert knowledge were alike remarkable, took pains to point out that there was as yet no “satisfactory proof of a separation of America and Asia having been demonstrated by an actual navigation performed.” It was still quite conceivable that the two continents might unite somewhere farther north. “The sea North of Bering’s Strait,” argues Burney, “. . . has in some respects the character of a mediterranean sea,” and in his chart he inserts, just above the seventieth parallel, the legend “Indications of land to the north of the line of soundings.” On the whole, he does not hesitate to maintain that “there is cause to suppose Asia and America to be contiguous, or parts of one and the same continent.”450
When Lee wrote, most geographers believed that Asia was separated from North America by the Strait of Anian, that mysterious forerunner of Bering Strait made popular by Mercator in 1569.451 Others held out for absolute continuity.452 In either case, the idea that a part of America had been peopled by emigrants from Tartary had long been popular. It was espoused, for example, by Edward Brerewood, in 1614.453 “It is certaine,” writes Brerewood, “that the Northeast part of Asia possessed by the Tartars, is if not continent with the West side of America, which yet remaineth somewhat doubtfull: yet certainely, and without all doubt, it is the least disioyned by sea, of all that coast of Asia.”454
What is peculiar in Lee’s remarks, then, is not the Tartar theory (which was well established in men’s minds),455 but the introduction of Japan, and its possible connection with Asia by land, as an element in the problem. This consideration had developed on the basis of a notion (entertained by the Japanese themselves and by them communicated to European visitors) that Yezo extended far to the eastward. This notion had been reported in 1610 by Father Girolamo de Angelis, a Sicilian missionary in Japan.456 He declared that, to the best of his belief, “Jesso” was not an island, but a huge projection of Tartary, lying opposite to Quivira, a similar projection of New Spain, so that the Strait of Anian lay between Quivira and Tartary. In 1621 Father de Angelis visited Yezo, and somewhat modified his view. He decided that “Jesso” was after all an island, separated from Tartary by a strait, though he is ready to admit that the supposed western strait may be only a river. As to the extent of Yezo and its position with respect to the Strait of Anian and America, he seems to have remained of his former opinion.457
These views had a profound and long-continued influence on cartography. Lee, however, was doubtless particularly affected by a more recent report, that of Francoys Caron in 1636.458
Caron was Director of the Dutch East India Company in Japan. In replying to certain inquiries of Philip Lucas, Director-General of the Company, he expressed the opinion that Japan, “called by the Inhabitants Nipon,” is an island; but he declined to make the assertion positively, “for,” he says, “I find that a great part of this country is unknown to the Japanese themselves.” As to the “land of Iesso or Sesso,” that, according to the best information that Caron can get from the Japanese, is an island, separated from the north of Nipon by an arm of the sea. It is of great size, and the Japanese do not know how far it extends, though they have made several attempts to explore it. Caron appears to believe that Yezo is attached to the mainland of Asia.
Georg Horn, already referred to, was probably the intermediary between Caron and Lee. In his De Originibus Americanis he appeals to Caron as affording strong support for the theory that the Americans are, in part, of Tartar origin. “The whole tract of country,” writes Horn, “from Nova Zembla and Japan and the Chinese Wall and Corea, is still unknown to Europeans, so that, if America anywhere comes close to our hemisphere, or joins it, the junction must be in the neighborhood of Cathay, outside the Arctic Circle.” “That North America is rather closely joined to Asia,” adds Horn, “is made easily credible by the description of Japan which Francis Caron has lately published.”459 Then, after quoting from Caron’s Report, he proceeds as follows: — “All this throws much light on the doubtful questions about America which we are investigating. For what hinders us from supposing that Sesso is a part of America, or very close to it? And how well the barbarousness of the inhabitants, as described by Caron, agrees with the New World!”460
Further confusion was introduced into the geography of Yezo by the Dutch discoveries of 1643, but since these had not reached Horn’s ears, and since Mr. Lee shows no signs of being acquainted with them, we need not pursue the subject. The curious will consult Count Teleki’s sumptuous and definitive work on the historical cartography of the Japanese Islands.461
7. Compare Wood, New Englands Prospect, ed. 1635, part ii. chap. 4, p. 54: — “Yet did I never see one that was borne either in redundance or defect a monster, or any that sicknes had deformed, or casualty made decrepit, saving one that had a bleared eye, and another that had a wenne on his cheeke.” Morton, New English Canaan, 1637, p. 32 (ed. Adams, p. 147), notes “not any of them, crooked backed or wry legged.” In Champlain’s Voyage we read: — “Tous ces peuples se sont gens bien proportionnez de leur corps, sans aucune difformite.”462
8. This question probably referred to the menses (cf. No. 34).
10. Dr. Grew had doubtless inquired about flow of milk as compared with that of Englishwomen.
12–14. These were certainly physiological questions, — No. 12 relating to odor, No. 13 to discharge of phlegm, and No. 14 to the movements of the bowels. With Mr. Lee’s answer to No. 14, cf. Williams, Key, p. 100:
There be diverse sorts of this Come, and of the colours: yet all of it either boild in milke, or buttered, if the use of it were knowne and received in England (it is the opinion of some skillfull in physiek) it might save many thousand lives in England, occasioned by the binding nature of English wheat, the Indian Come keeping the body in a constant moderate loosenesse.
16. Probably Dr. Grew had asked whether the Indians change color under stress of emotion, as we do.
17. On the weeping and mourning of the Indians, see Morton, New English Canaan, p. 51, with the passages from Williams, Wood, and others cited by Mr. Adams in his note (pp. 170–171). Thomas Mayhew, 1650, speaks of their “hellish howlings over the dead.”463 Dunton, Letters from New England, borrows from Williams.464 Smith, A Map of Virginia, 1612, p. 30, is like Strachey, p. 90.
18. Compare Williams, Key, chap. 6, p. 40 (ed. Trumbull, p. 68): — “They have also amongst them naturall fooles, either so borne, or accidentally deprived of reason.”
19. Josselyn, Two Voyages, ed. 1675, p. 125, says that the Indians “seldom forget an injury.”
20. “They count him all one woman,” that is, “all one as (just the same as) a woman.” A little bit of Indian English. See Kittredge, The Old Farmer and his Almanack, 1904, pp. 333–378.
21. Cf. Nos. 66, 68.
25. Cf. Wood, pt. ii. ch. 20, p. 82: — “To heare one of these Indians unseene, a good eare might easily mistake their untaught voyce for the warbling of a well tuned instrument. Such command have they of their voices.” Josselyn, Two Voyages, ed. 1675, p. 135: — “Musical too they be, having many pretty odd barbarous tunes which they make use of vocally at marriages and feastings.” Strachey, bk. i. cap. 6, p. 79: — “They have likewise their errotica carmina, or amorous dittyes in their language, some numerous [i. e. metrical], and some not, which they will sing tunable enough.” Vimont, Jesuit Relations, Relation 1042 et 1643 (Paris, 1644), p. 35: — “Les Sauvages se plaisent fort au chant & y reiississent tres bien.”
27. “Three or four times as much physic as the English” was doing pretty well in view of the heroic doses of those times. “Suppose,” writes Dr. Merrett, “a Physician hath prescribed a Pint of Juleb, &c. to be taken at four several times,” and again, “When a Physician hath prescribed 20 Pills.”465
30. Cf. Wood, pt. ii. ch. 19, p. 79: — “Spinne out the threed of their dayes to a faire length, numbering three-score, four-score, some a hundred yeares.” Josselyn, Two Voyages, p. 130: — “They live long, even to an hundred years of age, if they be not cut off by their Children, war, and the plague, which together with the small pox hath taken away abundance of them.”
36. The manuscript reads plainly “Sebeniack.” The word is unknown to me. Cf. No. 108.
37. “That dreadful disease and arrow of God” is doubtless the plague, which was regarded as a very special manifestation of God’s wrath. Morton, New English Canaan, thinks that the pestilence of 1616 and 1617 was “by all likelyhood” the plague.466 Cf. No. 111. Cotton Mather, Angel of Bethesda, ch. xx. (MS., p. 113), remarks: — “The proper Plague has never yett visited the Vast Regions of America: Howbeit Pestilential Fevers little better than that, have there made made fearful Ravages.”
40. On cosh-caska compare Hariot’s Report, 1588, sig. C 4 vo: — “Coscúshaw, some of our company tooke to bee that kinde of roote which the Spaniards in the West Indies call Cassauy.”
42. The idea that consumption is “catching” among the Indians, but not among the English, is noteworthy in view of recent discoveries.
That consumption was contagious was a common idea among educated persons when Mr. Lee wrote. The Hon. Roger North, in his Life of his brother, Lord Keeper Guilford, congratulates himself that the latter (then Sir Francis North) was not present when his (Sir Francis’s) wife died (November 15, 1678):
Her distemper . . . was a violent cough attended with a spitting of blood. . . . Every one knows what offences, nay hazards, a nearness to persons, that expire gradually in such consumptions, induceth; for he [Sir Francis] would not be absent from her more than was consistent: and when she must expire, and probably in his arms, he might have received great damage in his health.467
Cf. Cotton Mather’s Diary, ii. 452 (a reference that I owe to our associate Mr. W. L. R. Gifford).
The contagious character of phthisis was well known to the ancients. In the Problems, wrongly ascribed to Aristotle, the question is raised: “Why do those who approach the patient catch consumption and ophthalmia and itch, while they do not catch dropsy and fevers and apoplexy or other diseases?”468
44. Compare Wood, part i. p. 39: — “Whatsoever is bitten by these snakes his flesh becomes as spotted as a leaper.” So Lechford, Plain Dealing, 1642, p. 47: — “There are Rattle-snakes, which sometimes doe some harme, not much; He that is stung with any of them, or bitten, he turnes of the colour of the Snake, all over his body, blew, white, and green spotted; and swelling, dyes, unlesse he timely get some Snake-weed; which if he eate, and rub on the wound, he may haply recover, but feele it a long while in his bones and body.” See No. 97.
Cotton Mather sent the Royal Society two good snake stories in 1712. They are reported, with some changes in form, in the Philosophical Transactions.469 I give them from a copy of the original letter:
A Traveller in this Countrey mett and killed a Rattlesnake; but suffered the Angry Snake to give a Bite before he died unto ye lower end of the Switch, with ye lashes of which he had first spoiled his leaping. He rode on, & a fly disturbing him on one of his Temples, he rubb’d ye place, wth ye upper end of the Switch in his hand, unto which ye poison below had so permeated, that ye Head of ye poor Man Swell’d immediately, and (as I remember) he died upon it. . . . At Cape Fear, one of or people Sporting with a Rattle Snake, provoked him, & suffered him to bite ye edge of a Good Broad Ax; whereupon, immediately ye Colour of the Steeled Iron changed, & at the first blow he gave, when he went after this to use his Axe, ye discoloured part of ye Bitten Iron, broke off without any more ado. I know not whether I have now Sprung a New Game, for the Gentlemen, that are hunting after ye Liquor Alkahest.470
Cf. Mather’s Christian Philosopher, 1721, p. 169: — “And yet [is] this Rattle-snake such a venomous Wretch, that if he bite the Edge of an Axe, we have seen the bit of Steel that has been bitten, come off immediately, as if it had been under a Putrefaction.”
The rattlesnake had attracted the attention of the Royal Society at an early date. In the Philosophical Transactions for May 8, 1665, there is a somewhat amusing passage: — “There being not long since occasion given at a meeting of the Royal Society to discourse of Ratle Snakes, that worthy and inquisitive Gentleman, Captain Silas Taylor, related the manner, how they were killed in Virginia.” It appears that bruised leaves of “Wild Penny-royal or Ditany of Virginia” were fastened in the cleft of a long stick, and this contrivance was kept in front of the snake’s mouth. “She was killed with it, in less than half an hours time, as was supposed, by the scent thereof.”471
Dr. Nehemiah Grew knew a good deal about rattlesnakes before he sent his questionnaire to Mr. Lee. In 1681 he had published an elaborate catalogue of the curiosities of nature and art in the cabinet of the Royal Society.472 I note in his list “the SKIN of a RATTLE-SNAKE,” “about fourteen more SKINS of the RATTLE-SNAKE,” and “several RATTLES of the same Serpent.”473 He gives a particular description of the rattles, and his account of the creature is full of interest. “Those that are bitten with him,” he avers, “sometimes die miserably in 24 hours; their whole body cleaving into chops.”
In 1683 Dr. Edward Tyson had dissected a rattlesnake at the Repository of the Royal Society. An account of the dissection was inserted by Tyson in the Philosophical Transactions for February, 1683.474
46. Cf. Nos. 90, 95, 114. As to the appearance of the conjurer’s demon in the shape of an eagle or a rattlesnake, there is a close parallel in Winslow’s Good Newes from New England: — “This Hobbamock appears in sundry forms unto them, as in the shape of a man, a deer, a fawn, an eagle, &c. but most ordinarily a snake.”475 Winslow, speaking of the Indian “powah,” also remarks: “If the party be wounded he will also seem to suck the wound; but if they be curable, (as they say,) he toucheth it not, but askooke, that is, the snake, or wohsacuck, that is, the eagle, sitteth on his shoulder and licks the same. This none see but the powah, who tells them he doth it himself.”476
In [Thomas Shepard], The Day-Breaking, 1647, p. 21, we find: “They were askt how they come to bee made Pawwahs, and they answered thus, that if any of the Indians fall into any strange dreame wherein Chepian appeares unto them as a serpent, then,” etc. Compare Thomas Mayhew, letter of October 16, 1651, from the Vineyard, in Strength out of Weaknesse, 1652, pp. 28–29:
One of them did then discover the bottom of his witchcraft, confessing that at first he came to be a Pawwaw by Diabolical Dreams, wherein he saw the Devill in the likenesse of four living Creatures; one was like a man . . . Another was like a Crow. . . . The third was like to a Pidgeon . . . The fourth was like a Serpent, very subtile to doe mischiefe, and also to doe great cures, and these he said were meer Devills.
See also Thomas Mayhew’s letter of October 22, 1652, in Tears of Repentance, 1653, [p. 8,] sig. B 2; cf. [Shepard,] The Day-Breaking, 1647, p. 21; Experience Mayhew, Indian Converts, 1727, p. 7.
Father Lallemant, who regards the Huron country as “vne des principales forteresses, & comme vn donjon des Demons,”477 speaks of the devils as appearing in dreams, “tantost en forme de corbeau, ou autre oiseau; tantost en forme de couleuure . . . ou d’autre animal.”478
49. On easy labor see Morton, pp. 31–32, and the authorities cited in Mr. Adams’s note (p. 146). Compare Strachey, p. 110 (Smith, A Map of Virginia, 1621, p. 21); Dunton, Letters from New England, 1686, ed. Whitmore, pp. 268–269 (cf. 2 Massachusetts Historical Collections, ii. 119), from Roger Williams, Key, p. 141 (ed. Trumbull, pp. 170–171); Mather, Magnalia, 1702, Book iii. part 3, p. 192. Cf. No. 51.
51. This evidently refers to women after childbirth. See the references under No. 49. Wood’s testimony is strikingly similar to Lee’s: — “Upon a board two foot long and one foot broade . . . this little Pappouse travels about with his bare footed mother, to paddle in the Icie Clammbankes, after three or four daies of age have sealed his passe-board and his mothers recovery.”479 Winslow, too, remarks: “On the third day after child-birth, I have seen the mother with the infant, upon a small occasion, in a boat upon the sea.”480
56. Cf. Lechford, Plain Dealing, 1642, p. 52: — “They will not taste sweet things.” Josselyn, Two Voyages, ed. 1675, p. 124: — “Their Teeth are very white, short and even, they account them the most necessary and best parts of man.” Josselyn, p. 185, notes how the English “lose their Teeth.” Wood, pt. ii. ch. 19, p. 79, says the Indians do not “experimentally know” “tooth-aches.”
63. Cf. Williams, Key, chap. 14, p. 86 (ed. Trumbull, p. 111): — “This Southwest wind is called by the New-English, the Sea turne. . . . It is rightly called the Sea turne, because the wind commonly all the Summer, comes off from the North and Northwest in the night, and then turnes againe about from the South in the day.”
On the winds, see Sewall’s letter, which adapts Lee’s remarks to Bostonian conditions.481 The proverb quoted by Sewall is still current. I have heard the following traditional rhyme on Cape Cod:
When the wind is to the north,
The fisherman he goes not forth;
When the wind is to the east,
’T is neither good for man nor beast;
When the wind is to the south,
It blows the bait in the fish’s mouth;
When the wind is to the west,
Then ’t is at the very best.
65. Probably Lee is referring to the thermometer, then a rare instrument. See Robert Hooke’s Posthumous Works, 1705, pp. 555–556. When Canon Derham communicated to the Royal Society a specimen of the meteorological observations made at Harvard College, 1715–1722, by Tutor Thomas Robie, he was forced to remark: “I am sorry that Mr. Robie’s Observations want those of the Barometer and Thermometer: Neither of which Instruments were to be gotten in New-England.”482 On February 20, 1721, Dr. William Douglass wrote from Boston to Cadwallader Colden: “I know of no Thermometer nor Barometer in this place.”483 In 1725–6 Mr. Feveryear484 was able to make observations at Boston with both instruments, and Isaac Greenwood, enclosing them in a letter to the Royal Society (May 1, 1727), described them as “the first sett of such Observations that was ever made in New England.”485
66. Cf. Nos. 21, 68. Curiosity means “elaborateness” or “nice care.” No-cake is merely an English corruption of the Indian word (by “popular etymology”). See Williams, Key, p. 11: “Nokehick, Parch’d meal, which is a readie very wholesome food, which they eate with a little water, hot or cold.” Compare the references contributed by Mr. Albert Matthews to the Oxford Dictionary (s. v. nocake). See also Trumbull, Natick Dictionary, 1903, p. 91 (s. v. nꝏhkik) and p. 294 (s. v. meal); Gookin, 1 Massachusetts Historical Collections, i. 150–151. The earliest example of hoe-cake in the Oxford Dictionary is from Joel Barlow’s Hasty Pudding (1793).
67. Dr. Grew’s question about pork may have been prompted by his wish to get evidence as to the fancied descent of the Indians from the Lost Tribes, — a theory well known to have been held by the Apostle Eliot486 (though Cotton Mather thinks it was rather his wish than his belief) and to have been regarded with some favor by Roger Williams.487 In this discussion the feeling of the Indians toward swine was of course much canvassed. “In America,” writes Thorow-good, the choregus of the Jewish theory, “they eate no swines flesh tis hatefull to them, as it was among the Jews.”488 And Ms inference from the supposed fact is largely controverted by Sir Hamon l’Estrange.489 Mather admits that the Indians have “a great unkindness for our Swine; but,” he adds, “I suppose that is because our Hogs devour the Clams which are a Dainty with him.”490
Lee rejects the hypothesis of Jewish origin, as appears from his answer to Grew’s third question, preferring the theory that the Indians “come partly from ye African Phœnicians . . . and partly from ye Easterne Tartars from Japanward.”491 Sewall, in his covering letter, makes no comment on Lee’s views. His silence was doubtless due to deferential courtesy; for, in 1686, in writing to Stephen Dummer, he had shown himself much impressed with Thorowgood’s reasoning,492 and in 1697 he was still on the Jewish side: — “For my own part, what Mr. Downam, and Mr. Thorowgood have written on this head, seems to be of far more weight with me, than what Horning, or any other that I have seen, have guess’d to the contrary.”493 However, the Jewish hypothesis was not particularly acceptable to scholars. Gookin, who was disposed to regard it with favor, declares (in 1674) that “this opinion, that these people are of the race of the Israelites, doth not greatly obtain.”494
68. Cf. Strachey, p. 77: — “They be all of them hugh eaters, and of whome we may saye with Plautus, Nodes diesque estur,495 for which we ourselves doe give unto every Indian that labours with us in our forts, doble the allowance of one of our owne men.” Cf. Josselyn, p. 130: — “They have prodigious stomachs, devouring a cruel deal, meer voragoes, never giving over eating as long as they have it.” See also Wood, part ii. chap. 6, p. 58.496 Morton has a chapter “Of their inclination to Drunkennesse” (book ii. chap. 9, p. 54).
70. Compare Strachey, p. 74: — “Flatt, broad cakes (much like the sacrificing bread which the Grecians offred to their gods, called popanum), and these they call appones.” In the little Dictionarie appended, Strachey gives “Apones, bread” (p. 183). Trumbull, Natick Dictionary, p. 14, compares the Delaware word achpoan, “bread,” given by Zeisberger, with the Natick apwóu, “he roasts or cooks (meat),” also “as used by Eliot, . . . he bakes or cooks (bread or other man. obj.).” See also the references (most of them contributed by Mr. Albert Matthews) under pone in the Oxford Dictionary.
74. Compare Josselyn, New-Englands Rarities, 1672, p. 54: — “Tobacco, there is not much of it planted in New-England; the Indians make use of a small kind with short round leaves called Pooke.” The same author, in his Two Voyages, ed. 1075, p. 76, remarks: — “The Indians in New England use a small round leafed Tobacco, called by them, or the Fishermen Poke. It is odious to the English.” This poke, according to Tuckerman,497 was Nicotiana rustica (Linnaeus), “the yellow henbane of Gerard’s Herbal, p. 356.”498 See also pooke in Trumbull, Natick Dictionary, p. 131, where it is noted that Tuckerman “is unquestionably right in his inference that ‘the name poke or pooke was perhaps always indefinite.’” “It signifies,” adds Dr. Trumbull, “merely ‘that which is smoked,’ or ‘which smokes.’” Cf. No. 102, below. Strachey, pp. 121–122, speaking of Virginia, declares that “there is here great store of tobacco, which the salvages call apooke: howbeit yt is not of the best kynd, yt is but poore and weake, and is of a byting tast, yt growes not fully a yard above ground, bearing a little yellowe flower like to henne-bane, the leaves are short and thick, somewhat round at the upper end.”499
With what Lee says about pipes, compare Rosier’s Relation of Waymouth’s Voyage to the Coast of Maine, 1605, ed. H. S. Burrage, Gorges Society, 1887, p. 124:— “They filled their Tabacco pipe, which was then the short claw of a Lobster, which will hold ten of our pipes full.” Sewall’s letter shows that the Indians had adopted English pipes.500 Cf. Williams, Key, ch. 6, pp. 44–45: — “Sometimes they make such great pipes, both of wood and stone, that they are two foot long, with men or beasts carved, so big or massie, that a man may be hurt mortally by onk of them; but these comonly come from the Mauquáuwogs, or the Men eaters, three or foure hundred miles from us: They have an excellent Art to cast our Pewter and Brasse into very neate and artificiall Pipes.”
75. On the treatment of infants see Wood, part ii. chap. 20, p. 82; Morton, 1637, p. 32 (ed. Adams, p. 147); Josselyn, pp. 127–128.
79. On suicide among the Indians see Sewall’s Diary, October 12, 1715 (ii. 62). Increase Mather says that Squando, the Saco sachem, hanged himself (Illustrious Providences, 1684, chap. xi. p. 361). Morton tells of an Indian who “desperately killed himselfe” when he was drunk (p. 54). The following entry in Stiles’s Diary (March 16, 1789) is very curious:
Mr. Isaacs now a Student in Law in this Town while in Georgia or Caro last year, went out on a party agt the Indians. They pacificated & gave Hostages. One of the Sachems left his son an Hostage. But the son not enduring the Hostage state hung himself. The Indians resented it. The English alledged Suicide. The Indians on Examinn said they could not find that ever an Indian committed Suicide, & therefore believed the English killed the Indian Youth Hostage: and thereupon declared Revenge & Hostilities. N. B. Tho’ Suicide frequent among the English, never among Indians.501
81. Dr. Grew’s question obviously concerned unnatural vice. Dr. Lee asks him to excuse him from making any reply, — “Pardon this Query for any answer.” That the question was neither idle nor unreasonable may be seen from Westermarck, The Origin and Development of the Moral Ideas, chap, xliii. II. 456 ff (1908).
83. On Indian games see the references in Mr. Adams’s note in his edition of Morton’s New English Canaan, p. 138, and cf. A. McF. Davis, Bulletin of the Essex Institute, 1885, xvii. 89 ff.
86. Compare Josselyn, p. 132: — “Their manner is when they have plague or small pox amongst them to cover their Wigwams with bark so close that no Air can enter in, lining them . . . within, and making a great fire they remain there with a stewing heat till they are in a top sweat, and then run out into the Sea or River, and presently after they are come into their Hutts again they either recover or give up the Ghost.” See also Strachey, p. 108 (Smith, p. 29); Mather, Magnalia, 1702, book iii. part 3. pp. 191–192; Clayton, Philosophical Transactions, xli. 149. William Douglass, the opponent of the Mathers and Zabdiel Boylston in the matter of inoculation, approves the Indian “sweathouses” for the treatment of some diseases; see his Summary, Boston, 1749, i. 174. Paul Dudley sent the Royal Society a highly interesting account of a sweating cure performed in 1704 at Exeter, New Hampshire. He added a description of the Indian “houses to sweat” at Nantucket; elsewhere, he says, the aborigines have pretty well abandoned this method of treatment.502
89. On “blacking the face” as a sign of mourning see Morton, p. 51 (with Adams’s note); cf. Wood, part ii. chap. 19, p. 79; Lechford, Plain Dealing, 1642, p. 50; Williams, Key, 1643, chap. 32, p. 193.
90. We may note that Mr. Lee wrote these words (as well as those under Nos. 46, 95, and 114) shortly before the witchcraft prosecution at Salem, for which the belief that the Indians had to do with devils was partly responsible.503 It is needless to cite the many extant accounts of Indian powwows or magicians. See, for references, Adams’s note to Morton (Prince Society edition, pp. 150, 152); Oxford Dictionary, under powwow (noun and verb) and powwower.504 Cf. David Brainerd, Letter to Ebenezer Pemberton, November 5, 1744, p. 37 (appended to Pemberton’s Sermon at the Ordination of Brainerd, 1744); Samuel Hopkins, Housatunnuk Indians, 1753, pp. 23, 24; Journal of George James, in James Walcot, The New Pilgrim’s Progress, 1748, p. 257. There is a curious remark, particularly interesting because of its late date, in President Stiles’s Diary (June 13, 1773):505
The Powaws of the American Indian are a Relict of this ancient System of seeking to an evil invisible Power; . . . Something of it subsists among some Almanack Makers and Fortune Tellers, as Mr Stafford of Tiverton lately dead who was wont to tell where lost things might be found, and what day, hour and minute was fortunate for vessels to sail &c. . . . But in general the System is broken up, the Vessel of Sorcery shipwreckt and only some shattered planks and pieces disjoyned floating and scattered on the Ocean of the human Activity and Bustle. When the System was intire, it was a direct seeking to Satan.
95. Cf. Nos. 46, 90.
97. Compare Francis Higginson, New-Englands Plantation, 1630, sig. C3:
Yea there are some Serpents called Rattle Snakes that haue Rattles in their Tayles that will not five from a Man as others will, but will five vpon him and sting him so mortally, that he will dye within a quarter of an houre after, except the partie stinged haue about him some of the root of an Hearbe called Snake Weed to bite on, and then he shall receiue no harme.
Wood, pp. 38–39, is more circumstantial:
When any man is bitten by any of these creatures [rattlesnakes], the poyson spreads so suddenly through the veines, and so runs to the heart, that in one houre it causeth death, unlesse he hath the Antidote to expel the poyson, which is a root called Snakeweede, which must be champed, the spittle swallowed, and the roote applied to the sore; this is present cure against that which would be present death without it: this weede is ranke poyson, if it be taken by any man that is not bitten, unlesse it be Physically compounded.
Snakeroot was known to Dr. Nehemiah Grew before he received Lee’s letter; for in 1681 he mentions as one of the botanical specimens in the Royal Society’s museum “a sort of SNAKEWEED, growing near the River in Connecticut. So called, because the Root is used for the biting of the Rattle-Snake.”506 The Rev. John Clayton in his replies (from Virginia) to Grew’s inquiries of 1687, mentions “the Root which cures the Bite of the Rattle-snake.” He also remarks that he has had “40 several Sorts” of herbs, “or near that Number, shewed me as great Secrets, for the Rattlesnake-root . . . But I have no Reason to believe, that any of them are able to effect the Cure.” He gives particulars.507
Robert Boyle, in his treatise Of the Reconcileableness of Specific Medicines to the Corpuscular Philosophy, speaks of “Virginia snakeweed” or “serpentaria Virginiana” as a cure “for the bitings of those serpents, which, for the noise they are wont to make with a kind of empty bladders in their tails, the English call rattle-snakes.”508
James Petiver, F.R.S., the distinguished botanist and entomologist, mentions, in 1717, in a list of “Some American Plants . . . lately sent me by the Reverend and Learned Dr. Cotton Mather, at Boston, in New England, and Fellow of the Royal Society,509 London,” a plant called “Ophiophuga, Cottonis Mather.” He adds Mather’s note: — “A Poultiss of this bruised and laid to the Part bitten by the Rattle-Snake, it immediately fetches out the Deadly Poyson: it’s also remarkable, that if put into the Shoes, no Serpent will dare to come near them. A Tea of it is a good Ophthalmiack. C. M.” Petiver appends this remark: — “N.B. I have already 4 or 5 different Sorts of these Rattle-Snake Plants from Carolina, Virginia and Maryland, and this, another, altogether new to me.”510 Doubtless it was the same plant that Mather mentions in a letter to the Royal Society in 1712: — “We have another American plant, which is a certain and speedy cure, and does wonders, for the bite of a Rattlesnake; and is admirable against all Internal as well as external poisons.”511
In his Account of the Rattlesnake, printed in the Philosophical Transactions for March–April, 1723, Paul Dudley mentions bloodroot as a remedy. “Snake-weed” was among the New England curiosities presented to the Royal Society by John Winthrop, F.R.S. (H. C. 1700), in 1734.512 See also Josselyn, Rarities, pp. 38–39, and Two Voyages, p. 114, cited (as well as Higginson and Wood) in Mr. Adams’s note to Morton (p. 213, n. 3). Cf. No. 44, p. 149, above.
Mr. Lee’s reference to Parkinson is exact. See John Parkinson, Theatrum Botanicum, London, 1640, Tribe 2, chap. 25, § 6, p. 214: — “Helleborus niger Saniculæ folio major. The greater purging Sanicle like Hellebor.”
98. Josselyn, New-Englands Rarities, 1672, p. 43, notes the use of “Raccoons greese” by the Indians in the treatment of wounds and aches, and again, in his Two Voyages, ed. 1675, p. 85, he remarks of “the Racoon or Rattoon,” that its “grease is soveraign for wounds with bruises, aches, streins, bruises; and to anoint after broken bones and dislocations.” Morton, p. 79, remarks that raccoon’s oil is “precious for the Syattica.”
103. As to “philtres pour attirer à soy l’amour” see Father Lallemant’s Huron report, p. 74, appended to the Relation of 1643 and 1644 (Paris, 1645).
The classic passage for initiation by vomit among the New England Indians is the description in William Morrell’s New-England, 1625:
Nec priùs excercet crudelia paruulus anna,
Quam patiens armorum vt sit sibi pectus, amaram
Herbis compositam peramaris sorbiat vndam,
Vsq; in sanguineum vertatur lympha colorem,
Vndaq; sanguinea ex vomitu rebibenda tenellis
Vsq; valent maribus: sic fit natura parata
Omnia dura pati: puer hsec cui potio grata,
Pectore fit valido cuncta expugnare pericla.
And here obserue thou how each childe is traind,
To make him fit for Armes he is constraind
To drinke a potion made of hearbs most bitter,
Till turnd to blood with casting, whence he’s fitter,
Induring that to vnder-goe the worst
Of hard attempts, or what may hurt him most.513
See also Winslow, Good Newes from New England, 1624 (Young, ed. 1844, p. 360; 2 Massachusetts Historical Collections, ix. 94); Josselyn, Two Voyages, ed. 1675, p. 60.
108. On this point Cotton Mather had fuller knowledge. In a letter to the Royal Society, 1712, he remarks:
We have a sort of Cranes-bill, which differs little from yours; except perhaps in the Colour of ye Flowre, which with us is of sky-blue, and the largeness of ye Root which is near that of Ginger. Our Indians call it by the name of Taututtipang;514 and from them we learn the manner, and strange effect of using it. It is an Infallible cure, and safely, and Quickly, and easily performs it, for that filthy Disease (the Lues Venerea,) which the just Judgment of God had reserved for our later Ages, wherein so many Fools abandon themselves to the destructive Debaucheries of Unchastity.
He then gives details of the method of treatment, and adds that “with no other means, the Wretches, who have been so far gone in the foul disease, as to ly roaring with the Anguish of it, have in about a Fortnights time received a thorough Cure.”515
James Petiver, F.R.S., remarks in 1717, that Mather had sent him a certain plant, “Taututtipoag, so called by the Indians.” He quotes Mather’s note to the effect that “a Tea of this inwardly, and a Pultiss to the Part grieved, is the grand Medicine here for the foul Disease.” Petiver adds: — “This is a sort of Geranium. Batrachoides, longiùs radicatum, Ray 31: p. 1061.”516
The Rev. John Clayton, in replying to Grew’s questions about Virginia, remarks: “Among the Indians they have a Distemper which they call the Yaws, which is nearly related to the French-pox; which they are said to cure with an Herb that fluxes them: But this I have only by Hear-say.”517
I have not found makerell elsewhere as the name of an herb or root. Gerard gives “Macrell Mint” as a synonym for “Speare Mint,”518 but this cannot well be the plant to which Lee refers.
Among the curiosities presented to the Royal Society by John Winthrop, F.R.S., in 1734, were “Myrtle berries, of which are made candles and soap. (Myrica.)” and “one of the candles and pieces of the soap.”519 See also Kittredge, The Old Farmer and his Almanack, p. 189.
Mr. Albert Matthews spoke as follows:
Ninigret appears to have been a generic name520 for the sachem of the Niantic Indians. The first Ninigret was a man of note, to whom there are numberless allusions in the literature of the seventeenth century, and died soon after King Philip’s War. He married twice, leaving a daughter by one wife and a son and two daughters by another. On his death he was succeeded by his eldest daughter, and she in her turn by her half-brother Ninigret. This Ninigret is rather vaguely stated to have died “some where about 1722.”521 The date is approximately recovered by the account of his funeral given below, taken from the New England Courant of February 4, 1723. As that ceremony took place on January 7, 1723, it is probable that his death occurred early in that month, or possibly late in the preceding month. It will be observed that the writer speaks of the “very imperfect” “Account of this Monarch lately given in the Gazette.” This probably appeared in the Boston Gazette of January 21, but unfortunately cannot be recovered, as no copy of that issue is known.
To the Author of the New-England Courant.
Newport Rhode-Island. Jan. 26.
BEing in the Narraganset Country on the 7th Instant, I happen’d to be at the Funeral of no less a Person than King Ninnicraft, the chief Sachem of that Part of the Country: And it being usual to favour the Publick with some Account of the Lives and Deaths of Great Person ages, and finding the Account of this Monarch lately given in the Gazette to be very imperfect, if you have room in your next, you may insert as follows. Viz. That on the 7th Instant was interr’d at Westerly in the Narraganset Country, the most renowned King Ninnicraft, who dy’d a few Days before by drinking too largely of that Princely Liquor vulgarly called Rhum, of which he is said to have drank two Gallons at a Sitting. His Bearers were some of the principal Gentlemen of this Government. The Town-Company of English, and a considerable Number of Indians under Arms attended at his Funeral. When they came to the Grave, his Queen open’d the Coffin, and pour’d in a Bottle of Rhum, and it being the King’s Favorite Liquor while living, she set two full Bottles in the Coffin, one on each side his Head: Afterwards she laid two Pipes of Tobacco well lighted on his Breast, and a Cake or two of Bread, with a Pot of Nokaeg,522 were likewise put into the Coffin. The Sachem being thus supply’d with proper and sufficient Provision, the Coffin was nail’d up; upon which a great Mourning follow’d among the Royal Family. The Grave was very large and deep, lin’d at the Bottom and Sides with Matts;523 and the Corps being let down, and neatly cover’d with Rails and Matts, to keep out the Dirt, a second Mourning follow’d, which lasted some time; after which Six or Seven Volleys were fir’d, and the young Prince who is about Seventeen Years of Age, named George Augustus Ninnicraft, was declar’d King by one of the Trustees appointed by this Government524 to take Care of Ninnicraft’s Estate, which ’tis said is worth about Thirty Thousand Pounds. The Narragansets have a Crown among them made of Wampumpeeg, but the Day of the young King’s Coronation is not yet fix’d.525 The old King was between Fifty and Sixty Years of Age when he dy’d: He was a Person of a comely Stature, and had a Princely Aspect. I can learn nothing remarkable in his Life, but that he was a true Lover of Rhum to the very last. ’Tis said the young King is to be sent to the Grammar-School, in order to be educated at Harvard College; and ’tis not doubted but that in a few Years time he will be able to write a Latin Epitaph on his Father: But that he may not be without one till that Time, I take leave to borrow the two following Lines from the Tomb-Stone of a worthy Magistrate at Narraganset, some time since departed.
He from this Vale of Tears, alas, did go,
Like Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego.
I am, SIR, Yours, &c.526
How far the writer of the above was serious, or how far he was in jest, it would perhaps be difficult to determine; but the account is interesting, and I think that its main features may be accepted without hesitation. What is said about rum is possibly an exaggeration, yet the fondness of Indians for “that Princely Liquor” is so notorious that it would be rash to assert that Ninigret’s widow did not act in the way she is said to have done. I am reminded of a story that was printed many years later in a Boston paper and which I here give, because it shows, what is too often overlooked, that the Indians had a sense of humor. It is as follows:
‘Love thy enemies.’
THE New-England Saints (says an English writer) have from time immemorial, most industriously laboured to make good Christians of the Savages on their frontiers. Their intemperate zeal however to make converts, sometimes gives birth to ludicrous circumstances, of which the following is an instance. Some short time ago a party of Indians in that country, reeling with juice of the sugar cane were met by a pious Deacon, who reprimanded them sharply for their indiscretion — The Indians insisted upon it they were good Christians. “Is not the good Christian,” said one of them archly, “he who loves his enemies?” The Deacon answered in the affirmative. “Well then,” replied the Savage, “Rum is my greatest enemy, and I love it as dear as my life.”527
This story, it will be observed, begins with an allusion to “the New England Saints.” That was a term of mild derision applied to the New Englanders, which perhaps had its origin in the title of the New England Psalm Book.528 In 1099 Ned Ward declared that “Pumpkin Porrage” was “as much in esteem with New-England Saints, as Jelly Broth with Old-England Sinners.”529 The term appears to have been more common, however, shortly before and during the American Revolution. The following extract, referring to Boston, is taken from a letter signed “Veritas” printed in the London Gazetteer of November 17, 1770:
Know assuredly, that after the next meeting of the select committee of saints, thy house and thy warehouse shall be cursed in every newspaper; and that the savoury contributions of the full-charged sons of liberty, instead of sinking into the impure recesses of Cloacina, shall besmear thy dwelling, so that there shall be no going out or coming in in safety; thou shalt be dragged from the arms of thy wife and children; thy naked body shall be covered with tar, and ornamented with feathers; thou shalt be carted before the blessed saints of God through every street of the loyal town; from thence thou shalt he carried to the gallows, and thy quarters shall perch upon the tree of liberty; it shall flourish with new fruit; and thy house, name and carcase shall stink, and be held in abomination throughout all the holy land (p. 2/1).
The Boston Gazette of November 4, 1776 (p. 2/2), stated that “the Ship Julius Caesar, of about 400 Tons Burthen, Capt. Azariah Uzuld, mounting 10 Carriage Guns, besides Swivels, and had about 25 Men,” was taken into Boston the evening before; and in the issue of November 11 were printed two letters of which it was said: “The following Letters were taken in the Ship Julius Cæsar, Capt. Uzuld, (as mentioned in our last) and now made public for the Amusement of our Readers.” It was further stated that “The foregoing Letters are suppos’d to be wrote by that ranting, high flying Church Clergyman, Peters, formerly of Hebron, in Connecticut.” One of the letters, dated July 7, 1776, signed “Gratitude” and addressed to Thomas Brown of Halifax, contained this passage:
We hear the King’s Chapel is converted into a schism shop, and a pumguntum is holding forth to the rebel General in that sacred place. I could have borne it if the saints had made use of it as a stable for horses. Their sacriledge is not to be parallelled by Oliver, or all his subterraneous brethren (p. 2/2).
Mr. Kittredge stated that the New England Courant of February 18, 1723, contained this notice: “We hear from Narraganset, that young Ninnicraft the Indian Prince, has been Crowned there with great Solemnity” (p. 2/2).
Mr. Frederick L. Gay communicated a letter written by the Rev. Thomas Shepard (H. C. 1653) of Charlestown, a son of the Rev. Thomas Shepard (1604–1649) of Cambridge, to his son Thomas, who graduated at Harvard College in 1676. Doubtless the letter was written in 1672. The following copy is taken from a commonplace-book written by and belonging to Joseph Green (H. C. 1726), the noted wit, whose name appears on the fly-leaf with the date 1723:
A LETTER FROM THE REVD MR THOS SHEPHARD TO HIS SON ATT HIS ADMISSION INTO THE COLLEGE.530
Dear Son, I think meet (partly from the advice of your renowned Grandfather to myself att my admission into the College, and partly from some other observations I have had respecting studies in that society) to leave the Remembrances and advice following with you, in this great Change of your life, rather in writing, than viva voce only; that so they may be the better considered and improved by you, and may abide upon your heart when I shall be (and that may be sooner than you are aware) taken from thee, and speak no more: requiring you frequently to read over, and seriously to ponder, and digest, as also conscientiously to putt in practice the same through the Lords assistance.
I. Remember the end of your life, which is acoming back again to God, and fellowship with God; for as your great misery is your separation, and estrangement from him, so your happiness, or last end, is your Return again to him; and because there is no coming to God but by Christs Righteousness, and no Christ to be had but by faith, and no Faith without humiliation or sense of your misery, hence therefore let all your Prayers, and tears be, that God would first humble you, that so you may fly by faith to Christ, and come by Christ to God.
II. Remember the End of this turn of your life, vizt your coming into the College, it is to fitt you for the most Glorious work, which God can call you to, vizt the Holy Ministry; that you may declare the Name of God to the Conversion and salvation of souls; for this End, your Father has sett you apart with many Tears, and hath given you up unto God, that he may accept of you; and that he would delight in you.
III. Remember therefore that God looks for and calls for much holiness from you: I had rather see you buried in your Grave, than grow light, loose, wanton, or prophane. God’s secretts in the holy scriptures, which are left to instruct Ministers, are never made known to common and prophane Spirits: and therefore be sure you begin, and end every Day wherein you study with Earnest prayer to God, lamenting after the favour of God; reading some part of the Scriptures daily; and setting apart some time every Day (tho’ but one Quarter of an hour) for meditation of the tilings of God.
IV. Remember therefore, that tho’ you have spent your time in the vanity of Childhood; sports and mirth, little minding better things, yet that now, when come to this ripeness of Admission to the College, that now God and man expects you should putt away Childish things: now is the time come, wherein you are to be serious, and to learn sobriety, and wisdom in alt your ways which concern God and man.
V. Remember that these are times and Days of much Light and Knowledge and that therefore you had as good be no Scholar as not excell in Knowledge and Learning. Abhorr therefore one hour of idleness as you would be ashamed of one hour of Drunkenness: Look that you loose not your precious time by falling in with Idle Companions, or by growing weary of your Studies, or by Love of any filthy lust; or by discouragement of heart that you shall never attain to any excellency of Knowledge, or by thinking too well of your self, that you have gott as much as is needfull for you, when you have gott as much as your Equals in the same year; no verily, the Spirit of God will not communicate much to you in a way of Idleness, but will curse your Soul, while this sin is nourished, which hath spoiled so many hopefull youths in their first blossoming in the College: And therefore tho’ I would not have you neglect seasons of recreation a little before and after meals (and altho’ I would not have you Study late in the night usually, yet look that you rise early and loose not your morning thoughts, when your mind is most fresh, and fitt for Study) but be no wicked example all the Day to any of your Fellows in spending your time Idly: And do not content yourself to do as much as your Tutor setts you about, but know that you will never excell in Learning, unless you do Somewhat else in private Hours, wherein his Care cannot reach you: and do not think that Idling away your time is no great Sin, if so be you think you can hide it from the Eyes of others: but Consider that God, who always sees you, and observes how you Spend your time, will be provoked for every hour of that precious time you now mispend, which you are like never to find the like to this in the College, all your Life after.
VI. Remember that in ordering your Studies you make them as pleasant as may be, and as fruitfull as possibly you are able, that so you may not be weary in the work God setts you about: and for this End remember these Rules, vizt
1, Single out two or three scholars most Godly, Learned and studious, and whom you can most love, and who love you best, to be helps to you in your Studies; Gett therefore into the acquaintance of some of your Equalls, to spend some time with them often in discoursing and disputing about the things you hear and read and learn; as also grow acquainted with some that are your Superiours, of whom you may often ask questions and from whom you may learn more than by your Equals only.
2, Mark every mans Disputations and Conferences, and study to gett some Good by every thing: and if your memory be not very strong, committ every notion this way gained unto Paper as soon as you gett into your Study.
3, Lett your studies be so ordered as to have variety of Studies before you, that when you are weary of one book, you may take pleasure (through this variety) in another: and for this End read some Histories often, which (they Say) make men wise, as Poets make witty;531 both which are pleasant things in the midst of more difficult studies.
4, Lett not your Studies be prosecuted in an immethodicall or Disorderly way; but (for the Generality) keep a fixed order of Studies Suited to your own Genius, and Circumstances of things, which in each year, att least, notwithstanding, there will be occasion of some variation of: Fix your Course, and the season for each kind of Study, and suffer no other matters, or Persons needlessly to interrupt you, or take you off therefrom.
5, Lett difficult studies have the strength and flower of your time and thoughts: and therein suffer no difficulty to pass unresolved, but either by your own labour, or by enquiry of others, or by both, master it before you pass from it; pass not cursorily or heedlessly over such things (rivet the knottyest place you meet with) ’tis not so much multa Lectio sed sedula et attenta that makes a scholar, as our Phrase speaks.
6, Come to your Studies with an Appetite, and weary not your body, mind, or Eyes with long poreing on your book, but break off & meditate on what you have read, and then to it again; or (if it be in fitt season) recreate your Self a little, and so to your work afresh; let your recreation be such as may stir the Body chiefly, yet not violent, and whether such or sedentry, let it be never more than may Serve to make your Spirit the more free and lively in your Studies.
7, Such books, as it is proper to read over, if they are very choice and not overlarge, read them over oftener than once: if it be not your own and that you are not like to procure it, then collect out of such book what is worthy to be noted therein: in which Collections take these Directions, (1) Write not in loose Papers, but in a fair Paper-book paged thro’out. (2) Write faithfully the words of your Author. (3) Sett down in your Paper-book the name of your Author, with the title of his book, and the page, where you find the Collection. (4) Allow a margin to your paper-book no broader than wherein you may write the letters, a. b. c. d. e. f &c. vizt att the beginning of each observable Collection, if you have more Collections than two or three in a side. (5) When you have written out such a book being marked with some distinguishing character (as 1. 2. 3. 4. &c. or α, β, γ, δ, &c.) prepare another of the same dimensions as near as you can, and improve that as the former, and so onwards: which book may be (as the Merchants Journal is to his principal Ledger) preparatory for your Common-place book, as your reason and fancy will easily Suggest how, by Short reference of any subject to be handled, found in, (suppose) the paper book, β. page 10. margine f. Suppose the subject be [Faith] you need only write in your Common place book [Faith] vide β. 10, f: if the Subject be [hope] write [hope, γ 10 d.] which signifies that there is some Description of that Subject [hope] or some sentence about hope that is observable, or some story concerning that Vertue, & ye like; In the third paper book marked with [γ] and in the tenth page of that book, begun in the margin at the letter [d] [b] as you have leisure, read over your paper books, wherein you have writen your Collections at large, the frequent perusal thereof will many ways be useful to you as your Experience will in time witness.
8, Choose rather to confess your Ignorance in any matter of Learning, that you may instructed by your Tutor, or another, as there may be occasion for it, than to pass from it, and so continue in your Ignorance thereof, or in any Errour about it; malo te doctum esse quam haberi.
9, Suffer not too much to be spent, and break away in visits (visiting, or being visited) let them be Such as may be a whett to you in your studies, and for your profitt in Learning some way of other, so that you be imparting to others or imparted to from them, or both, in some notion of other, upon all Such occasions.
10, Study the art of reducing all you read to practice in your orations &c: turning and improving elegantly to words and notions, and fancy of your authour to Sett of quite another subject; a delicate example whereof you have in your Chrystiados, whereof Ross is the author, causing Virgil to Evangelize:532 and as in your orations, so in all you do, labour for exactness, and acurateness, let not crude, lame, bungling Stuff come out of your Study: and for that end, see that you neither play nor sleep, nor idle away a moments time within your Study door, but remember your Study is your work-house only, and place of prayer.
11, So frame an order your Studies, that the one may be a furtherance to the other (the Tongues to the arts and the arts to the Tongues) and endeavour that your first years Studies may become a Clue to lead you on the more clearly, strongly, profitably, & chearfully to the Studies of the years following, making all still usefull, and subservient to Divinity, and so will your profiting in all be the more Perspicuous and methodicall.
12, Be sparing in your Diet, as to meat and drink, that so after any repast your body may be a servant to your mind, and not a Clogg and Burden.
13, Take pains in, and time for preparing in private for your recitations, declamations, disputations, and such other exercises as you are called to attend before your Tutor or others; do not hurry them off indigestly, no not under pretence of Studying some other matter first: but first (I Say in the first place) attend those (straiten not your self in time for the thorough dispatch thereof) and then afterwards you may apply yourself as aforesaid to your private and more proper Studies; In all which, mind that reading without meditation will be in a great measure unprofitable, and rawness and forgetfulness will be the Event: but meditation without reading will be barren soon; therefore read much that so you may have plenty of matter for meditation to work upon; and here I would not have you forgett a speech of your precious Grandfather to a Scholar that complained to him of a bad memory, which did discourage him from reading much in History, or other books, his answer was, [Lege! lege! aliquid haerebit] So I say to you read! read! something will stick in the mind, be diligent and good will come of it: and that Sentence in Prov. 14. 23. deserves to be written in letters of Gold upon your study-table [in all labour there is profitt &c] yet also know that reading, and meditation without prayer, will in the End be both blasted by the holy God, and therefore,
VII. Remember that not only heavenly and spiritual and Supernatural knowledge descends from God, but also all naturall, and humane learning, and abilities; and therefore pray much, not only for the one but also for the other from the Father of Lights, and mercies; and remember that prayer att Christs feet for all the learning you want, shall fetch you in more in an hour, than possibly you may gett by all the books, and helps you have otherwise in many years.
VIII. Remember to be Grave (not Childish) and amiable and loving toward all the Scholars, that you may win their hearts and Honour.
IX. Remember now to be watchful against the two great Sins of many Scholars; the first is youthful Lusts, speculative wantoness, and secret filthiness, which God sees in the Dark, and for which God hardens and blinds young mens hearts, his holy Spirit departing from such, unclean Styes. The second is malignancy and secret distaste of Holiness and the Power of Godliness, and the Professors of it, both these sins you will quickly fall into, unto your own perdition, if you be not carefull of your Company, for there are and will be such in every Scholasticall Society for the most part, as will teach you how to be filthy and how to jest, and Scorn at Godliness, and the professors thereof, whose Company I charge you to fly from as from the Devil, and abhor: and that you may be kept from these, read often that Scripture Prov. 2. 10. 11. 12, 16.
X. Remember to intreat God with Tears before you come to hear any Sermon, that thereby God would powerfully speak to your heart, and make his truth precious to you: neglect not to write after the preacher always, and write not in loose sheets but in handsome Paper-books; and be carefull to preserve and peruse the Same. And upon the Sabbath days make exceeding Conscience of Sanctification; mix not your other Studies, much less Idleness, or vain and casual discourses with the Duties of that holy Day; but remember that Command Lev. 19. 30. Ye shall keep my Sabbaths and reverence my Sanctuary, I am the Lord.
XL Remember that whensoever you read, hear or conceive of any Divine truth, you Study to affect your heart with it and the Goodness of it. Take heed of receiving Truth into your head without the Love of it in your heart, lest God give you up to strong Delusions to believe lyes, and that in the Conclusion all your learning shall make you more fitt to decieve your Self and others. Take heed lest by seing things with a form of Knowledge, the Lord do not bind you by that Knowledge the more, that in seing you shall not see: If therefore God revealeth any truth to you att any time, be sure you be humbly and deeply thankfull: and when he hides any truth from you, be sure you lie down, and loath yourself, and be humble: the first degree of wisdom is to know and feel your own folly.
Prov. 23. 15. My Son, if thine heart be wise, my heart shall rejoice, even mine.
Copied from the original.
Mr. Matthews made the following remarks:
A year ago, after Professor Kittredge had communicated An Irish Song relating to Washington, I stated that “at the close of the Revolution Washington received a congratulatory address from the Yankee Club of Stewartstown, County Tyrone, Ireland,” and that “this address has apparently not been preserved,” though I quoted an extract, from Washington’s reply.533 Shortly after that meeting, in looking over some notes, I turned up a reference, made so many years before that I had forgotten about it, showing that the address was printed in a Boston newspaper in 1784. The address begins as follows:
ANNAPOLIS, [Maryland] April 29.
The following address was communicated to the printers by the gentlemen through whose hands it was transmitted.
His Excellency GEORGE WASHINGTON, Esq; Captain General and Commander in Chief of the Armies of the United States of North-America.
AT an early period of the contest in which you have been so gloriously engaged, our sentiments met those of the Americans, and though we long doubted the event, our warmest wishes were ever on the side of freedom. Viewing with regret the oppressive scenes of misery under which our native country has long groaned without hopes of redress; and seeing the same direful principle of despotick sway pervading all the courts and countries of the world; we rejoiced to hear that the spirit of America had risen superior to the proud menaces of both regal and ministerial oppression; had thrown off the galling yoke of slavery, and nobly spurned the fetters that were to bind her in all cases whatever.
The address then goes on to say that the situation “for a long time damped our hopes;” that they could not see “how an infant country” “could cope with an antient, powerful and victorious nation;” that it was equally difficult to imagine “who would lead those unexperienced, though zealous bands, to freedom and independence;” that the information that Washington “had undertaken the arduous task” “revived our expectations and filled us with a kind of veneration for such a character;” that they were “lost in admiration of that wisdom, magnanimity, and perseverance, which by triumphing over every danger, established the liberties of the United States on the most honourable and permanent basis;” that Washington’s “exertions have not only vindicated the freedom of your country, but have also shed their benign influence over the distressed kingdom of Ireland;” that to Washington “we acknowledge ourselves indebted for our late happy deliverance, from as baneful a system of policy as ever disgraced the rights of mankind;” and concludes as follows:
And that you, Sir, may long live to enjoy the fruits of your wisdom and magnaminity, to be a terror to tyrants, and shine forth as a glorious example of disinterested virtue and future patriotism, is and will be the constant prayer of, your much obliged, most obedient, and most humble servants.
Signed in the name of the Society,
ALEXANDER DAVIDSON, Chairman.
From the Yankee Club of Stewartstown, in the county of Tyrone, and province of Ulster, Ireland.
June 7, 1783.534
So much has already appeared in our Transactions535 relating to early celebrations of Washington’s birthday, that I hesitate to offer anything more on the subject; yet the following account is of interest because it affords, if I mistake not, an early instance of a celebration of any description by the students of Harvard College. This affair took place on February 22, 1796, and is thus described in a Boston newspaper:
UNIVERSITY OF CAMBRIDGE.
The Colleges were on Monday night beautifully illuminated, in consequence of an application of the students to do that honor to the virtues of their admired WASHINGTON. At Cambridge, that great man began his arduous task for our benefit. Here it was he suffered anxieties inexpressible, as he dared not cummunicate them to his colleagues lest possibly the enemy should know that he had not even the instruments of defence — Here he began his career of glory, and from that time to the present, has been regarded as the most illustrious character, that has ever appeared on the theatre of human actions.
The best feelings of the heart are gratified, when we see the students of this antient seminary trying to do homage to virtues which far transcend those of any hero, of whom they read. For our Washington, unites by an uncommon assemblage, the talents of the warrior with the wisdom of the sage. We owe him much as our General, but more as our President, and the effusions of admiration and gratitude poured forth on the occasion of his birth day, by the studious youth, the pride and hopes of our country, may be not ungrateful to this first of citizens, while it shows to the world at large another instance of this comforting truth, “where knowledge is cultivated, there WASHINGTON is honoured, throughout the Union.”
These young men, preserved what they professed, a consistency of conduct, saying to each other, it would be disgraceful to pretend to honor Washington with riot and disorder. They accordingly retired to their chambers before nine o’clock, and by the time the bells ceased ringing there was not a light to be seen in any of the buildings. Ye teachers of youth! learn from the conduct of these young men, the powerful effect of a great and brilliant example, and never cease to operate on their noblest feelings, if you wish to retain the Roman idea of Education*
Although but two hours was allowed, so suddenly was the business of illuminating the colleges projected, that precisely at 7 o’clock upwards of 3700 lights, glittering at the same time, appeared the effect of enchantment.
On showing this extract to a friend, he remarked upon the surprisingly early hour at which the boys went to their chambers, leading him to conclude that “they had no great enthusiasm over the celebration and that it was pumped up patriotism for the occasion.” The criticism is a perfectly natural one, and yet we must bear two things in mind. First, the stilted language of that day is repugnant to us at the present time, and might lead to erroneous conclusions. Second, it occurred to me that the early hour of retiring was perhaps due not to inclination but to necessity. This proves to have been the case, for the Laws of Harvard College, published at Boston in 1790, contain this provision:
Of Attendance on Collegiate Exercises; Of Vacations and Absence.
THAT the Scholars may make the best improvement of their time, they shall keep in their respective chambers, and diligently follow their studies, excepting half an hour after breakfast; from twelve to two; and, after evening prayers, until nine o’clock.
If any Undergraduates shall be absent from their chambers in the hours assigned for study, or after nine o’clock in the evening, without sufficient reasons, they shall be fined not exceeding eight pence (p. 10).537