A Stated Meeting of the Society was held in the building of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, No. 28 Newbury Street, Boston, on Thursday, 26 December, 1912, at three o’clock in the afternoon, the President, Henry Lefavour, LL.D., in the chair.787

    The Records of the Annual Meeting were read and approved.

    The Hon. William Howard Taft of Cincinnati, Ohio, was elected an Honorary Member.

    The Editor exhibited photographs of the Boston News Letter of 9 November, 1775, taken from the only known copy of the original in the British Museum.788 That issue consisted of a half sheet, printed on both sides. It was pointed out that some historians cite old newspapers not by their dates but by their numbers. The Editor urged that for two reasons this practice should be avoided: first, owing to the frequent errors made by the printers in numbering; secondly, owing to the fact that deliberate changes in numbering were sometimes made.

    Mr. Albert Matthews spoke as follows:



    Our associate Mr. William C. Lane, Librarian of Harvard University, is constantly receiving requests for information from all sorts of people — graduates and non-graduates, men and women — on all sorts of subjects relating to the College. Since I have been engaged on the work of editing that portion of the early records which the Society will be enabled to publish through the generosity of a member, some of these requests have been turned over to me, while others have been addressed to me directly. Founded six years after Boston, sixteen years after the landing of the Pilgrim Fathers, less than a generation after the permanent settlement of Virginia, with a history stretching over nearly three centuries, and so exceeded in age by scarcely another institution in this country, Harvard College possesses a unique mass of material which is of value and interest alike to the historian, to the genealogist, to the economist, and to the student of education, language, manners, and customs. As long as this material remains in manuscript, so long will it be inaccessible to searchers; for many of the books have no indexes, and the few that have are inadequately indexed. Moreover, some books of great value have already been lost, either through fire or vandalism or carelessness, while others are rapidly going to destruction through handling or the ravages of time. Hence it is imperative that the work of printing the early records, now happily begun, should be prosecuted with dispatch and vigor. This Society is in a position to carry on this work, provided only those interested — whether or not graduates of the College, whether or not members of this Society — will furnish the requisite funds.

    In the most recent account of the University Library we read:

    The collection relating to Harvard College, naturally large, is divided into two classes: (1) the archives, consisting mainly of the original manuscript records, letters, and other official papers of the College, from an early date to recent times; and (2) printed matter and manuscripts of a less official nature. In the first class, which as now bound contains 886 volumes and bundles, there is much material of historical value. . . . The second class is much larger and includes 5,380 volumes.789

    The second class, as it consists chiefly of printed matter, need not detain us. It may be admitted that not all the documents in those 886 volumes and bundles comprising the first class are of equal value; that some should receive immediate attention, while others may well be permitted to await their turn. The purpose of these Notes is to describe briefly only a few of those many volumes and bundles — namely, such as contain the records of the Corporation, of the Overseers, of the Faculty, etc. In the following lists, details are given as to the size of the pages, the number of pages in a volume, and the dates when entries in a volume begin and end. It should be distinctly understood, however, that in the case of certain volumes it is impossible to be either precise or accurate in these details. Especially is this true as regards dates, of which “College Book I” furnishes a good illustration. This volume begins with records extending from about 1643 to 1686; then follows a list of graduates from 1642 to 1795; then follow the Library Laws of 1736 and the College Laws of 1734; and the volume ends with some entries of an early but uncertain date. In addition, the material is often jumbled together in a haphazard way now impossible of explanation. Thus, an entry dated 1644 will be followed by one dated 1673, this by one dated 1643, and so on. Notwithstanding these limitations, it is believed that the following lists will prove useful for reference, as well as indicating what ought to be printed.

    Previous to the time of President Wadsworth (1725–1737), the early volumes of records were known only by title — as “Long College Book,” “Old College Book,” “Old Overseers Book,” “Treasurer Brattle’s Book,” etc. — and were always so cited by President Leverett (1708–1724) in the numerous marginal entries made by him. Six of these volumes were numbered by Wadsworth, I to VI. College Book I (known also as “Long College Book” and “Old College Book”), College Book III, and College Book IV, are described below under the heading Corporation Records. College Book II, known also as the “Old Overseers Book,” was burned when the second Harvard Hall was destroyed by fire in 1764. College Book V790 was Treasurer Brattle’s Account Book, 1693–1713. College Book VI is described below under the heading Miscellaneous Records.

    Corporation Records

    title width height pages records begin records end

    College Book I791





    College Book III






    College Book IV796




    1686 July 23

    1750 Sept. 5798

    College Book VII



    1750 Sept. 17

    1778 April 23

    College Book VIII



    1778 May 5

    1803 Oct. 14

    College Book I is placed under this head for convenience, though it contains Overseers’ meetings and miscellaneous records as well as Corporation meetings. The same remark is true of College Book III. There are in College Book IV also a few Overseers’ meetings and a few miscellaneous records, but it contains the Corporation meetings in an almost unbroken series from 1686 to 1750. After the meeting of September 5, 1750, which occurs in College Book IV, the Corporation records are continued in College Book VII.

    Overseers’ Records

    title width height pages records begin records end

    Vol. I



    1707 Dec. 4

    1743 Oct. 4

    Vol. II




    1744 July 4

    1768 April 8

    Vol. Ill




    1768 May 3

    1788 May 15

    Vol. IV



    1788 May 22

    1805 Sept. 12

    College Book II, also known as “Old Overseers Book,” was burned in 1764. College Books I, III, and IV contain various Overseers’ meetings. It was not, however, until 1707 that the Overseers’ records were regularly kept in books devoted to that special purpose.

    Faculty Records

    title width height pages records begin records end

    Vol. I802




    1725 Sept. 24

    1752 March 3

    Vol. II




    1752 March 6

    1766 Sept. 12

    Vol. III



    1765 Sept. 24

    1775 Jan.3

    Vol. IV


    1775 Jan. 27

    1782 Jan. 1

    Vol. V



    1782 Feb.6

    1788 Nov. 10

    Vol. VI



    1788 Nov. 12

    1797 Aug. 17

    Vol. VII



    1797 Aug. 30

    1806 Aug. 19

    The back of the cover of Volume I is labelled: “Records of the College Faculty / Vol. I / 1725–1752.”803 On the recto of the first leaf is written, probably in the hand of Tutor Flynt: “A booke for Recording the Acts & Agreemts of The President & Tutrs in Harv. College 1725.” On the recto of the third leaf, page 1, is this entry in the same hand: “Harvd College Oct. 30th 1725 Agreed by the President and Tutrs That the Orders & agreemts of Presidt & Tufs be from Time to Time recorded in a book and that the said book be present at the meeting of Presidt and Tutrs about College affaires.”

    Miscellaneous Records

    title width height pages records begin records end

    Leverett’s Diary




    1707 Oct. 28

    1723 Aug. 23

    Wadsworth’s Diary





    1736 Oct. 1

    Hollis Book






    Hopkins Book




    Among the College archives are the above four important volumes. One has written on a fly-leaf at the end these words: “The children of the late Doctor Wigglesworth, present this manuscript volume, with their best respects, to the Corporation of Harvard College. 1797.” The inscription on the back of the vellum cover is difficult to decipher, but apparently reads as follows: “Pres / Leverett / Gift of Dr. / Wiggles- / worth’s / Children”. There is in the book itself no title, but the volume is usually known and cited as “President Leverett’s Diary.” The word “Diary” is a complete misnomer, inasmuch as the volume is not a diary at all, but is really a book of College records. It is wholly in the hand of President Leverett, and contains certain meetings of the Corporation which are not in the Corporation Records themselves. Hence it supplements the latter.

    The second volume is labelled on the back of the parchment cover “President / Wadsworth / 1725–1736”. On page 1 are the words: “Benjamin Wadsworth’s Book (A. Dom. 1725) relating to College affairs.” There is no other title than this, but the volume is usually known and cited as “President Wadsworth’s Diary.” Again the word “Diary” is a misnomer, as the book is really a volume of College records.

    The third volume is variously called College Book VI or Hollis Book. On the recto of the first leaf is written, certainly partly and probably wholly in the hand of President Wadsworth, the words: “College Book N°. 6. in Folio.”805 On page 1 is the following entry in the hand of Wadsworth:

    Anno Dom. 1726. This Book belongs to Harvard College in Cambridge in New England.

    At a Meeting of ye Corporation of Harvard College at Cambridge April. 4. 1726.

    ‘Voted, that mr Treasurer procure a Book, into which shall be transmitted, and a Register kept of, mr Hollis’s Rules, Orders, Gifts & Bounties past and to come; together with ye names, age, and charecter of his scholars, the time of their Entry & dismission; and also all ye Votes of ye overseers & Corporation from time to time relating to ye said orders, Bounties and scholas of ye said mr Hollis.806

    Pursuant to ye Vote above, this Book was procured by ye College Treasurer at the College charge. An. Dom. 1726.

    I shall therefore Insert mr Hollis’s orders &c

    The Hollis Book supplements the Corporation Records and contains matter not in the latter.

    The fourth volume may be called the Hopkins Book, under which name it is frequently cited in the Corporation Records. The back of the cover is labelled “Hopkins Classical School”, but the binding is not old. On February 28, 1726–7, the trustees of Edward Hopkins’s legacy voted to desire “the Corporation of Harvd College to Nominate and Present four suitable Persons resid’ at the College to receive three fourths of the Income of said Legacy and also five boys to be instructed gratis in grammar Learning in the School of Cambridge,” and on March 8th the Corporation voted that certain students and boys were to be presented to the trustees.807 On the recto of the first leaf of the Hopkins Books is written, in the hand of President Wadsworth: “HOPKINTON 1726 This book belongs to Harvard College, it cost five shillings & six pence on March. 23. 1726/7. & was bought to record ye transactions of ye Corporation with reference to Hopkinton affairs.” Like the Hollis Book, the Hopkins Book supplements the Corporation Records and contains matter not in the latter.808

    In addition to the volumes described above, there are in the College archives Treasurer’s Accounts, Steward’s Accounts, Donation Books, and other volumes containing College records. How many, or what portions, of these are worth printing is a question not easily answered and may well be left for future consideration and determination.

    On behalf of Mr. James K. Hosmer, a Corresponding Member, extracts were read from some appreciative reminiscences he had written on the late Dr. Horace Howard Furness, also a Corresponding Member. Interesting and entertaining is Mr. Hosmer’s account of his first meeting with Dr. Furness:

    Dr. Furness was three months my senior, and coming from what was then thought to be distant points, he from Philadelphia and I from Buffalo, both sons of Unitarian ministers809 who had gone out from New England, we met as boys of seventeen under the Harvard elms. Our first contact was significant of his character. He was a sophomore, I a freshman, and when shortly after my arrival I found standing on my threshold a light-haired, square-built youth, of manner prompt and incisive, who announced himself as of the class of ’54, I was for a moment disquieted. A story was going the rounds of a sophomore who had a cushion made of leather from the cover of the stolen Chapel Bible and stuffed with freshmen’s hair. The grewsome report was that a cushion of that kind was the proper thing in each sophomore’s room. Was my visitor perhaps the precursor of a hazing party, and was I to be shorn that cushions might be filled for our natural foes? The incentive to Furness’s call proved to be a far different one. My father had among his parishioners Millard Fillmore, then President, who in kindly fashion had shortly before appointed my father to a chaplaincy in the Navy. My father, abounding in spiritual graces and an overflowing household, but not otherwise well-to-do, nevertheless declined the proffered place. He could accept it and not leave his pulpit except for a pleasant vacation cruise now and then with easy duties. It ensured a handsome increase to his salary which his crowding family was taxing heavily, and involved little labor or inconvenience. My father however in those days was a peace man, and besides disinclined to nibble at the public crib while rendering no adequate service. He remained firm in his refusal, a course, I may say, which wron him the thorough regard of Mr. Fillmore, a very good man. His stand, though much criticised and ridiculed, won approval from many high-minded men; and lo, when my sophomore visitor had introduced himself and taken his seat, he forthwith explained that he had heard the story of my father’s refusal of the chaplaincy, that he admired the act, and had come to make acquaintance with the son of that man. Though many thought the minister’s scruples over-nice, the boy Horace Furness judged differently, and the boy was the father of the man.

    Continuing, Mr. Hosmer said:

    The acquaintance thus formed did not grow into intimacy, though my contacts with him were frequent. We were both members of the Institute of 1770 and of the Hasty Pudding Club. I do not recall that he showed much interest in the dramatic activities of the latter organization. We were together members of the Chapel choir, the place in which our harmony resounded being the present Faculty Room, a room then quite large enough for the entire undergraduate body, although now scarcely large enough for the teachers. It is a beautifully proportioned hall, in those days holding on its floor settees for the four classes, whom vigilant proctors watched from a raised seat at the side. At the southern end curved a deep gallery, where sat professors and their families, Felton, Benjamin Peirce, Longfellow, and the rest, their vis-à-vis in the choir loft at the north end being the dozen youths who shared the service with the venerable preachers in the pulpit immediately below. Furness was the mainstay of the treble, carrying the part always clear and strong, while I at his side rendered him a somewhat quavering and uncertain support.

    Mr. Hosmer concluded with a tribute to Dr. Furness as “the chief of Shakespearian scholars in America, probably in the world.”

    Mr. Samuel Eliot Morison read the following paper:


    When going through the manuscripts of the old Federalist leader, Harrison Gray Otis, preparatory to writing his biography, I found extant a number of letters of the years 1785–1794 between the then youthful Otis and his Tory grandfather, Harrison Gray, relating to the latter’s property. This correspondence throws an interesting light on the methods by which the Loyalists of the American Revolution were despoiled of their property, and on the character and views of the victim, a now forgotten Tory who was once considered of sufficient importance by his fellow-citizens of Massachusetts to receive fourth place on a list of “notorious conspirators” drawn up by the General Court.

    Harrison Gray was born in Boston on February 24, 1711.810 His father, Edward Gray, emigrated from Lincolnshire to Boston at the age of thirteen, in 1686, as a simple apprentice, but in the course of time became the owner of extensive rope-walks near the present North Station, the profit from which enabled him to bring up a family of nine children in considerable luxury. By the time of his death he used a coat-of-arms and had acquired a place in the colonial aristocracy; and he left, besides his rope-walks, an estate valued at £5,500, including ten negro slaves.811

    Edward Gray married in 1699 Susannah Harrison of Boston, after whose family this son was named Harrison Gray. Harrison was brought up for a mercantile career, and established in business by his father. In 1750, however, he was elected a representative to the “Boston seat” in the General Court of Massachusetts, which apparently gave him a taste for public life. After two years’ service he was chosen in 1753 Treasurer and Receiver General of the Province, a well remunerated office812 of great dignity that was the gift of the General Court. In that position he must have given satisfaction, for he was annually chosen to it for twenty-one years; and for several years subsequent to 1766 was also elected to His Majesty’s Council for Massachusetts Bay.

    Engraved for The Colonial Society of Massachusetts from a portrait by Copley in the possession of Harrison Gray Otis Esquire

    The list of debts outstanding to Harrison Gray when he left Boston in 1776 indicates that he possessed a large private income, and numerous entries in the gossipy diary of John Rowe show that he knew how to enjoy it. He was a member of the delightful society that enjoyed dinners and house parties at the Inmans’ and Vassals’ and Royalls’; he belonged to the “Fire Club” and the “Number Five Club,” and he passed many a merry evening with John Rowe, Nicholas Boylston, and other choice spirits over a pipe and a bowl of punch at the British Coffee House or the Bunch of Grapes. In 1734 he married Elizabeth Lewis, daughter of Ezekiel Lewis, another prosperous Boston merchant, and by her had four children, Harrison, Lewis, John, and Elizabeth. In the 1760’s the Grays became closely connected by marriage with the leading patriot family of Otis. Harrison’s younger brother John married in 1761 Mary Otis, daughter of Colonel James Otis, and sister of James the Patriot, General Joseph Otis, and Mercy Warren; and in 1764 his only daughter Elizabeth married Samuel Allyne Otis, the youngest member of the same brilliant family. The Samuel Allyne Otises named their eldest child, born in 1765, Harrison Gray Otis after his grandfather, and through his numerous descendants, direct and collateral, the name of Harrison Gray has been transmitted to the present generation in America.

    When we first find Harrison Gray’s name mentioned in connection with the political disputes between the Crown and the Colonies, he was a somewhat shaky member of the popular or Whig party. He had good friends on both sides, for politics had not yet broken up friendship and social groups. With the Otises and Adamses he was a member of the Monday Evening Club — “politicians all,” as John Adams said — that met weekly in the British Coffee House to discuss politics. After one such discussion in 1765, John Adams noted in his diary that “Gray has a very tender mind, is extremely timid. He says, when he meets a man of the other side, he talks against him; when he meets a man of our side, he opposes him; — so that he fears he shall be thought against everybody, and so everybody will be against him.”813 The Treasurer put himself on record, however, as a fairly decided Whig, when in 1765 he signed the address drawn up at town meeting to thank Colonel Barre and General Conway for their “noble, generous, and truly patriotick Speeches at the late Session of Parliament, in favor of the Colonies, their Rights, and Privileges;”814 and when, the following year, he subscribed £20 toward Samuel Adams’s Land Bank debt.815

    Soon after this, however, Harrison Gray began to gravitate toward Toryism. John Adams afterwards ascribed his apostasy to Whiggery to the death, in 1766, of his political and religious mentor, the high Whig clergyman Jonathan Mayhew. “Had Mayhew lived,” wrote Adams in 1815,816 “it is believed that Gray would never have been a refugee. But the seducers prevailed, though he had connected his blood with an Otis.” The worthy Treasurer was indeed susceptible to ecclesiastical influence — a trait of his recorded by Trumbull’s satiric muse in a stanza of M’Fingal817 — and some letters of his that have been preserved show that he regarded the death of his favorite preacher as a public and private calamity.818 He even tried to make amends for his loss by offering his hand to the widow Mayhew — Mrs. Gray having departed this life in the same year with the Reverend Doctor.819 However, Harrison Gray’s subsequent Loyalism is explicable without believing, as John Adams did, that he was “seduced.” Men of means and established position, although liberal in their ideas, naturally gravitate toward conservatism when the issue is fairly joined between rebellion and loyalty. Self-interest would have induced the Treasurer to remain a Whig, for his tenure of office was dependent on the popularly elected General Court. But the natural feelings of the wealthy merchant asserted themselves. He believed that Parliament had conceded enough in repealing the Stamp Act, and, abhorring the boycotts and riots, and other illegal means employed by the Patriots, he saw no cause for excitement when tea was assessed threepence the pound. Although not entirely satisfied with the existing régime, he feared the consequences of violent opposition.

    Treasurer Gray therefore took no part in the measures of opposition to the Townshend Acts, in which many of his friends and relatives were leaders. He continued, however, to frequent the same houses and clubs as before. John Adams gives an amusing account in his diary of a friendly dinner-table argument between Harrison Gray and John Hancock, at the Hon. John Erving’s, in 1771:

    January 10. Thursday. Dined at the Honorable John Erving’s with Gray, Pitts, Hancock, Adams, Townsend, J. Erving, Jr., G. Erving, Boardman. We had over the nominations of Nat. Hatch, to be judge of the common pleas, and Edmund Quincy, to be a justice of the quorum, and H. Gray’s story of a letter from a repentant whig to him.

    H. Gray. “The General Court is a good school for such conversation as this.” That is, double entendre, affectation of wit, pun, smut, or at least distant and delicate allusions to what may bear that name.

    Gray said he could sometimes consent to a nomination when he could not advise to it, and, says he, “I can illustrate it to you, Mr. Hancock; — Suppose a young gentleman should ask his father’s consent, that he should marry such a young woman, or a young lady should ask her father’s consent that she should marry such a young man. The father says, I cannot advise you to have a person of his or her character, but, if you have a desire, I wont oppose it; you shall have my consent. Now, Mr. Hancock, I know this simile will justify the distinction to a young gentleman of your genius.”

    A light brush happened, too, between Pitts and Gray. Pitts hinted something about the strongest side. Gray said, there were two or three of us, last May, that were midwives, I know; but you have been always of the strongest side; you have been so lucky.820

    Until the time came when there was no middle ground, Harrison Gray was, according to his grandson, a Tory “of mild and moderate principles, and even popular from his known aversion to violent measures.”821 His appointment was annually renewed, even in 1774, by the General Court, where the Whig party was supreme; but I suspect that this was due quite as much to the fact that he accommodated several Patriot leaders by advancing their salaries out of his own pocket when the provincial treasury was empty, as to his popularity and integrity. Gradually he became a more decided Tory. We find him at the Old South, on the eve of the tea-party, opposing the excited proposals of Josiah Quincy by a tactless warning that “such language would be no longer borne by administration; that measures were in train which would bring the authors of such invectives to the punishment they deserved.”822 Afterwards in a town meeting he vainly attempted to persuade his fellow-citizens to pay for the tea lying at the bottom of Boston Harbor.823

    On May 10, 1774, news arrived in Boston of the five coercive measures by which Parliament intended to punish the rebellious town. The two most important were the Boston Port Act, sealing up the port of Boston until compensation for the destroyed tea should be made to the East India Company, and the Massachusetts Government Act, suspending the Province charter, and providing that the Council should henceforth be appointed by the Governor, on a legal writ of mandamus.824 A few days later General Gage arrived with the appointment of governor, and four regiments at his back to enforce the new régime. These measures crystallized the two parties. For Harrison Gray especially no compromise was possible, for his name appeared sixth on the list of mandamus Councillors, which General Gage published on the ninth of August. Following what he deemed to be his duty, he accepted the call. It meant that he recognized the right of King and Parliament to suspend at will the rights and liberties of Massachusetts Bay. Its immediate consequences were estrangement from most of his friends, loss of his position, and unwelcome attentions from the mob; its final consequences were confiscation of his property and a permanent separation from friends and country.

    Harrison Gray resigned his position of Treasurer and Receiver General within a month of his acceptance of a seat on the mandamus Council,825 and in October of the same year the revolted Provincial Congress at Watertown finally deposed him from office.826 Shortly afterward he took up his pen in the Loyalist cause, and published, in January, 1775, a pamphlet entitled “A Few Remarks upon some of the Votes and Resolutions of the Continental Congress, Held at Philadelphia in September, and the Provincial Congress, Held at Cambridge in November, 1774. By a FRIEND to Peace and good Order.”827 A second edition was also published, with the more succinct title of The Two Congresses Cut Up.828 He dwells on the “Gross, Immoral, Nature” and the “Malignant, Atrocious, Nature” of the tea-party, and states that the American Association to prevent all commerce with Great Britain is “no better than if a number of villains should enter in an association to go upon the highway, and rob every gentleman they should meet, with a pious design to relieve their poor brethren who were suffering in Newgate for their crimes.” These performances of course only served further to inflame popular hatred against their author. The Pennsylvania Journal of February 8, 1775, refers to it as a “Despicable pamphlet lately published in Boston, now commonly called the Grey Maggot.”

    During the siege of Boston Harrison Gray, like all Boston Loyalists who were willing to stand up for their principles, remained within the beleaguered town. Early in March, 1776, when the evacuation by the British troops was decided upon, he joined the swarm of Loyalists, who thinking that “neither Hell, Hull, nor Halifax” would be worse than remaining to face the enraged and victorious patriots, set sail for the last-mentioned locality.829 He took with him his sons Harrison and Lewis, and left behind his son Jack, a madcap young Loyalist of twenty, in the Newburyport jail, and his only daughter, Mrs. Samuel A. Otis, broken-hearted at the separation from her father and brothers, and by no means in sympathy with the cause her husband had embraced.830

    Shortly after his arrival at Halifax, the ex-Treasurer wisely abandoned that dreary provincial town for London, the very centre and source of Loyalty and its rewards. There he seems to have led a fairly comfortable life. Together with the Hutchinsons, Clarkes, Sewalls, and other Massachusetts Loyalists, he belonged to a dinner club that met weekly at the Adelphi, Strand; and he is frequently mentioned in the diaries of Samuel Curwen and Edward Oxnard in company with those and other bon vivants among the proscribed Tories.831 He enjoyed an annual pension of £200,832 which, though small in comparison to his previous income, was sufficient for his wants; and he certainly had no regret for the step he had taken. On March 1, 1777, he wrote his brother John Gray, who had adhered to the Patriot cause, that he was sorry his brother’s spirits were so low, but he was confident that the glorious period was hastening when “you will be emancipated from the tyrannical, arbitrary, congressional government under which you have for some time groaned. A government for cruelty and ferocity not to be equalled by any but that in the lower regions, where the prince of darkness is president, and has in his safe custody a number of ancient rebels, who are reserved in chains of darkness to the judgment of the great day!”833

    The smoke from Concord Fight had hardly cleared away before the Provincial Congress of Massachusetts turned its attention to the rich harvest that awaited them in the disposal of Loyalists’ real and personal property. On May 17, 1775, a Resolve was passed and published ordering that no one should take a “deed, lease, or conveyance of lands houses or estates of Mandamus Councillors.”834 After the evacuation of Boston, a committee was appointed to inventory and take possession of the real and personal property in Boston belonging to departed Tories, and to sell the perishable part of the property. Under date of July 6, 1776, Elizabeth Gray Otis informs her father: “The Committee has taken most of your Estate into their hands, what remains Uncle Jackson835 says you have ordered him to sell. Wish you had carried more of your Effects with you, hope and pray you may be well provided for, to say the least I think Colo. Murray treated me very ungenteelly in carrying off so many of our things, but these are strange times.”

    Harrison Gray was included in the Banishment Act of October 16, 1778, declaring him subject to imprisonment if he returned to the State, and “death without benefit of clergy” for a second offence; and he was given the compliment of fourth place, after Bernard, Hutchinson, and Oliver, on a select list of twenty-nine “Notorious Conspirators” whose estates were declared confiscated by an act of April 30, 1779.836 Articles I and VI of the Definitive Treaty of Peace with Great Britain, which was proclaimed by Congress on January 14, 1784, provided that Congress should earnestly recommend the legislatures of the respective States to restore all confiscated estates, rights, and properties, belonging to British subjects, and “that there shall be no future confiscations made.” Massachusetts so far complied with the recommendation as to repeal a second law of April 30, 1779, confiscating estates of absentees, but the “Notorious Conspirators” were expressly excluded from the benefits of this act, and threatened with imprisonment if they returned to America.837 In this matter of Loyalist legislation Massachusetts was no better nor worse than other States of the Union.838 It would be unjust to blame the States for preventing the absentee Loyalists from returning to America. The Loyalists as a body were a talented and upright set of men, but politically they would have formed an irreconcilable and disaffected class, and increased greatly the political difficulties of the new republic. By their espousal of the British cause they made themselves aliens to the United States, and as such, the States in their sovereign capacity had full right to exclude them. But this does not excuse the injustice and wrong inflicted in confiscating the Loyalists’ property. That was a measure not only out of accord with the accepted international law of the period, but unfair in itself, and moreover, it fastens on the Patriots the perpetual stigma of selfishness and sordid motives in promoting the great cause of independence.

    Harrison gray Otis in 1785

    Engraved for The Colonial Society of Massachusetts from a miniature in the possession of Mrs. John Holmes Morison

    Hopeless as the prospect seemed for rescuing any of his American property, Harrison Gray, now seventy-three years of age, began to look about for an agent to undertake the task. This was no easy thing to find, for no lawyer with the slightest desire for a political career cared to have anything to do with the unpopular Tories; and most lawyers of that period were politically ambitious. In 1786, however, he found an ideal agent in the person of his grandson and namesake, Harrison Gray Otis, then twenty-one years of age. Young Otis had graduated from Harvard College in 1783, and, after a course of study in the office of John Lowell, had been admitted to the Suffolk Bar. Since his father had gone bankrupt in 1784, Otis had to support himself, and he was most glad to be appointed a Wrecking agent for his grandfather’s estate. The young lawyer conducted his grandfather’s affairs with such success as to receive another Tory client: Mrs. Susannah Boutineau, a sister of Peter Faneuil, the widow of James Boutineau, late mandamus Councillor and “notorious conspirator;” and he received occasional commissions from another mandamus Councillor, Robert Hallowell, and from a Tory cousin, Mrs. Elizabeth Brown, the daughter of James Otis.

    Before the British Loyalist Commission, in 1784, Harrison Gray made the following statement of the property he had owned at the outbreak of the Revolution.

    Two houses in Westerly Street, Boston, purchased for £333.6.8 in 1757. “These Houses are now in the Possession of his Son in Law. Who writes him that they may be sold & therefore desires to have a deed for them. Says that the Americans found his Will by which he had devised the houses to Eliz his Daughter & wife of Saml. Allen Otis for Life & his children. They have therefore permitted Mr. Otis to remain in it, . . . Mr. Otis has taken part with the Americans & does not doubt his keeping Possession of the Houses, he therefore does not claim them as a Loss.”

    “Three houses in Cornhill, Boston,” for which he paid £1533.14 in 1765.

    “A Tract of Land in Colchester,” purchased from John Denny for £100 Lawful in 1766.

    “A Right & Share of Land in New Boston Conveyance, 2nd June 1767, from Wm. Story,” 300 acres, worth £30 sterling.

    “Furniture Lost, £75. Horse £40. Chaise £35.839 Seven 9 pounders, 4 three pounders, he values them at £207.” [Did the Treasurer fortify his house?]

    “States Debts, Princip. & Interest £2336.8.3.”

    “500 acres good land in Hamps.”840

    Taking up the various items separately, at least one of the two houses in Westerly Street was apparently retained by Samuel Allyne Otis, who in 1780 petitioned the General Court to have the “house he now occupies (said to be a part of the estate of Harrison Gray, Esq., an absentee)” confirmed to him. The legislature, evidently unwilling to lose all hold of the confiscated property, “Resolved, that Samuel Allyne Otis, Esq., be and hereby is permitted to occupy the house he now lives in until the further order of the General Court, any Resolve to the Contrary notwithstanding, and that the said Otis have liberty to make such necessary repairs as he may judge sufficient to prevent the said house from ruin.”841 In any case, this piece of property was probably lost when Otis went bankrupt.

    Samuel A. Otis also purchased one of the three brick dwelling houses on Cornhill, which were sold at auction in 1780 under the confiscation act of the previous year.842 The other two went to J. Stanton and David and Jonathan Harris, all three bringing the State £35,600.843

    Since the land in Colchester is not mentioned in the Otis-Gray correspondence, it had probably been confiscated also, and was therefore beyond recovery. In this connection Otis wrote his grandfather on June 2, 1789:

    You seem to intimate that all laws in force against the Refugees must be repeald, and the priviledge of Citizens be allowed them. I have no doubt but any of that number coming to this Country may be naturaliz’d without difficulty and also that those whose estates were not absolutely confiscated may recover their debts. But with regard to those who in this State are distinguishd in the Conspirator Act, I must confess I do not think they will ever be enabled to retreive their property here, as the confiscation of it is considered as perfect and compleated before the peace. However should a contrary construction be admitted, I should sincerely rejoice.844

    The Vermont and New Hampshire land, however, was not irrecoverable, and furnished plenty of occupation for the young lawyer. The 300 acres in the New Boston Conveyance from William Story, that Gray mentioned before the Commission, were not all that he was entitled to from that gentleman. Under date of Sept. 28, 1787, Harrison Gray writes his grandson concerning some lands in Vermont:

    In a letter to my Brother dated Febry. 28, 1785, I enclosed him a deed from William Story for about Eight thousand Acres of Land at Bernardstown, but to my Surprise I have been informed that the pious Mr Story finding the Deed was not upon record, sold the Lands a second Time, to Colo. Jonathan Grout of Petersham, who recorded the Deed. If the Law is open in your State to punish such Villains, I beg you will take proper Steps to have justice done me. I know nothing of his circumstances, but altho’ he should not be able to pay me the full of my demand, I would have such a hypocritical fellow exposed, unless he will compound the matter with you, which I submit to your discretion. The Deed to Col. Grout I believe is recorded in the State of New Hampshire. Mr. Giles Alexander of your City can give you Information concerning it.

    Story’s two Notes of hand I have also sent to my Brother by Capt Davis, when your wicked tender act is repealed, you will meet with no difficulty to compel him to do “Justice” and if he reflects upon the atrociousness of his Crime in regard to the Lands, unless he has a very complaisant conscience he will walk “humbly.”845

    “The pious Mr. Story,” however, was inclined neither to do justice nor to walk humbly, for in 1789 Otis writes that he is “still a pious villain,” and in 1790 that “Old Story is not worth a farthing, & if he had the mines of Peru, I believe he would endeavor to chouse you out of your demand.” In subsequent letters he is described as a “deep noisy vociferous old villain, and I wish you to think what advantage can accrue from suing him, — he being almost a beggar & quite a knave,” — and there this matter rested.

    The history of Harrison Gray’s New Hampshire land is a longer one. The “500 acres good land in Hamps.” were the so-called Gridley Farm in Peterborough, New Hampshire, which Harrison Gray obtained by a judgment on a mortgage from Richard Gridley, the son of the original proprietor.846 The farm was a fine tract of land, including the rich meadows along the lower Nubansit River.847 Harrison Gray had unfortunately refused £400 for it in 1774, and Colonel Willard testified before the Loyalist Commission that he had sold similar land in the neighborhood for 40 shillings per acre.848 Naturally, when the war began, the honest yeomen of Peterborough began to cast longing eyes on these rich lands belonging to a Tory-absentee, whom they considered a traitor to his country; but as New Hampshire had passed no general confiscation act,849 it was necessary to find some ingenious method to rob the absent Tory owner of his property.850 The local authorities of Peterborough conceived in 1779 the happy scheme of buying in the entire tract for the town under cover of a public vendue to pay overdue taxes. About seven of the five hundred acres had already been sold to pay the taxes for 1777, and as the taxes for 1778 amounted to only £10.15.9, it was necessary by artificial means to increase the costs and charges in order to justify in some degree the sale of the entire lot. The town constable, Robert Morison (according to the testimony furnished by his cousin, Jeremiah Smith), therefore “went around” (surveyed) the 500 acres “with as many assistants, as the law would (so they thought) allow;” but as this did not sufficiently increase the costs to the sum of £75 for which the town authorities had decided to buy in the farm, “They then adjourned to the next day, increased their strength and upon calculating the next evening, they had overshot the mark as far as they came short the day before. But the town very generously paid the Constable the whole of his charge, tho’ it exceeded the proceeds of the sale.”

    The auction of Harrison Gray’s property was advertised in Peterborough and the two adjacent towns for the morning of August 16, 1779. No hour was mentioned, as the law required, but the town constable let it be generally known that the hour would be ten o’clock. Intending bidders who arrived shortly before that hour, however, were told that the farm was already sold. “Out-of-town witnesses,” wrote Jeremiah Smith, “will swear that the vendue was before nine o’clock and that those who came from other towns had not a fair chance, that some were bo’t with rum, some flattered, and some threaten’d out of their right of bidding.” Only two persons bid, and the Gridley farm was knocked down to the town’s agent, James Templeton, for three shillings per acre. The following bills for incidental expenses, which Jeremiah Smith recovered, show how ridiculously low was the price, in that period of depreciated continental currency:

    The purchaser Templeton charges the Town in account with the money paid the constable for the towns use —


    To his time 3 days in purchasing Gridley farm


    To 1 Quart Rum


    Blanchard charges Town with rum deld Templeman [sic]


    Major Wilson at whose tavern the vendue was held charges the Town with expence of purchasing the Farm the rum drank I suppose


    These charges paid, the town of Peterborough found itself in legal possession of a very handsome piece of property, which the authorities proceeded to divide up into lots and sell off gradually at auction.851 As the local minister was at that time in want of a parsonage, the town voted, on January 25, 1780, that he “have his choice of lotts no. 2 and no. 3 in Gridley’s farm one of which is to be Granted to him by the town . . . the lot that he shall chuse to be well seeded and fenced all which is to be in full for the par[s]onage heretofore Granted him by sd town.”852 No wonder that when Harrison Gray heard of these proceedings, he wrote his grandson somewhat pungently:

    As I have suffered so much by the villainy of your State who have deprived me of all the property I had which came to their knowledge, for no other Crime than my obedience to those who were in lawful Authority, I am not much surprised that their example should be followed by the Town of Petersboro’. As they have settled a Gospel Minister upon my Lands, I hope in the Course of his preaching; he will give them a sermon upon this Text — “Righteousness exalteth a Nation, but Sin is a reproach to any people.” As you say the sale was fraudulent, I should have had no objection to your ejecting the Tenants provided it could be done at a reasonable expence, but the enormous Sum of one hundred & fifty pounds is too large a sum to sport with to recover the Sum of three or four hundred pounds when the Event of the Action is uncertain. I therefore decline a legal Investigation however my child I herewith enclose you the necessary papers. If you can amicably compound the matter with the Town, I have no objection, but if they refuse, and you think it worth while, you may commence a suit at your own expence and if you are so fortunate as to recover Judgment, I do hereby give you a quit claim to the premises.853

    Harrison Gray lost nothing in giving away his Peterborough land to his grandson. “My Peterborough gift will come to nothing,” Otis wrote him in disgust, “as those fellows are so versed in iniquity that I shall be cheated out of it.”

    On June 26, 1794, Otis wrote Jeremiah Smith:

    It was my intention to have renewed my conversation with you on the subject of the Peterboro’ Lands, but accident prevented me from the pleasure of seeing you a second time in Boston. You may recollect it was my wish the last year that the town would appoint a Committee to treat with me for my title and you seem’d disposed to favor the project as equitable & likely to conduce to an eventual termination of the controversy. I am not less disposed than ever to listen to any reasonable terms of accomodation, but as it might be more convenient for both parties to treat on the spot, I have concluded to go to Peterboro’ in the course of the next month and make the last effort for a peaceful accomodation in person. It would give me satisfaction to meet you at home, as your presence and opinion would be influential with both parties. I will therefore thank you to say at what time in the month of July after the     I may be certain of meeting you in Peterboro’.

    Although there is no further mention of this matter in the Otis papers, it is safe to assume that Otis’s visit to Peterborough was fruitless. The whole affair is a good illustration of the effect of a civil war on regular conceptions of justice and morality. Robert Morison, the constable who had so important a part in this fraudulent transaction, was a deacon of the church, and the other persons concerned were respectable farmers and strict Calvinists. But in their eyes Harrison Gray had forfeited all his property rights by becoming an enemy to his native country, and any means were justifiable in order to vest the title of his farm in the hands of loyal patriots. Possibly, however, if Deacon Morison had been able to foresee that one of his great-grandsons would marry a descendant of Harrison Gray, he would not have been so eager to despoil the latter of his “500 acres good land in Hamps.”

    Besides being charged with saving his grandfather’s confiscated property, Otis was entrusted with the collection of numerous debts, both by Harrison Gray and by Mrs. Boutineau. Article IV of the. Treaty of Peace provided that “creditors on either side shall meet with no lawful impediment to the recovery of the full value in sterling money, of all bona fide debts heretofore contracted.” Most of the States disregarded this obligation, which Congress was entirely powerless to enforce; and some, Virginia for instance, expressly provided that debts to British subjects could be discharged by paying one-tenth of the principal into the State treasury.854 In Massachusetts, however, as Hammond, the British minister, acknowledged, “where great property was at stake, justice has been liberally dispensed, and, notwithstanding a particular regulation of the state warranted the deduction of that portion of the interest on British debts which accrued during the war,855 the courts, in conformity to the plain terms of the treaty, have admitted and directed the quantum of the demand to be regulated by the original contract: and where the contract bore interest, or the custom of the trade justified the charge, the full interest has been allowed to British creditors, notwithstanding the intervention of war.”856

    Measures sequestrating British debts, similar to those passed in other States, were constantly threatened, however, in the General Court of Massachusetts. Otis writes Harrison Gray, February 9, 1789:

    You will be however surprizd when I tell you that a question has been started in our Courts, “whether bonds & notes formerly due to the Conspirators & renew’d in the names of other people may not be avoided.” Should this be adjudged against you, the whole will be irretrievably sunk, but I have no idea that such a decision will obtain. Affairs in this country are gradually returning to good order, and men getting rid of their embarrassments, because more disposed to do justice.

    The danger of such legislation became greater in 1794, when relations with Great Britain reached the verge of rupture. On June 30 of that year Otis wrote a résumé of the situation to his grandfather:

    It is my expectation, this fall, or at farthest next spring, to collect and remit to you all that will probably ever be realized in this country and to close my accounts, unless some unfortunate event should happen to prevent, which is not impossible. What I allude to is the measures which have been or may be adopted by this State relating to the Debts of Absentees. This business has never slept quietly, but certain persons have been constantly attempting to enforce the payment of those debts into the treasury, and even compel agents to account for monies by them remitted. You will naturally presume that I have not been wanting in my endeavors to prevent these measures; but in spite of the exertions of myself and my friends, a Resolve of a disagreeable complection857 has passed the Legislature which I now enclose and as late events have revived the animosity against Great Britain & all who espousd her cause, this may be merely a prelude to acts still more rigorous & severe.

    Such, then, was the situation in regard to Loyalists’ (and other British subjects’) debts: — full power of recovery, but sequestration constantly threatened. Coming down to detail, Harrison Gray sent his grandson in 1787 a list of the outstanding debts owed to him in America, amounting to £8,035.18.7 Lawful.858 Included were —

    Sam A. Otis his Note to which his father was surety,


    Your hond Father’s bond for


    His Note hand




    These entire sums were lost, as at the time of his father’s bankruptcy Otis was too young to know about his affairs and enter a claim on his property in his grandfather Gray’s behalf; and the administration of the estate of his grandfather Otis, the surety for the first-mentioned note, paid legacies before debts, after which the remainder was lost through the bankruptcy of General Joseph Otis, to whom it was entrusted.859

    It is not necessary to enter into details in regard to most of the other debts. Some of the debtors died poor; others paid up in part, or assigned real estate in lieu, after much dunning by Otis. Judgments, minus the war-time interest, were recovered against others. With Mrs. Boutineau’s debts, Otis was also fairly successful, in one case actually taking possession of the estate of a debtor in Newton, and selling it to the tenant. Needless to say, all these transactions were carried on under assignment of the debt to Otis; the knowledge that a hated “Conspirator” was back of it all would have prejudiced juries in favor of the debtor, although the legal right of recovery would not have been affected.

    Most interesting of all the items in Harrison Gray’s estate, both for the amusing letters it called forth from the old gentleman and the side-lights it throws on a prominent character, was the John Hancock debt. This debt was created shortly before the Revolution, by Treasurer Gray advancing £956.16.5 sterling from his private purse to John Hancock for his accrued salary as member of the General Court, in return for Hancock’s note. Apparently the Treasurer was in the habit of doing this in the years just preceding the Revolution, when the treasury was in a chronic state of emptiness, owing to the failure of the, towns to pay their taxes promptly. Many other such debts were paid him shortly after the Revolution, and some remained unpaid in 1830.860 During the siege of Boston, Harrison Gray recovered a judgment against Hancock on this note, and was put in legal possession of three of his houses, valued at £1875 sterling.861 After the evacuation, the houses naturally fell back into Hancock’s hands, and Gray was left with nothing to show for the debt. “As Mr. Hancock is a Gentleman of honor,” he wrote Otis in 1787, “I hope he will settle the Judgment of Court I recovered against him to your satisfaction. I write you so fully upon this subject by Capt. Davis that there is no occasion to add anything further I shall only say that ‘Sugar catches more flies than Vinegar.’”862

    “Sugar” being administered freely by Otis, and proving of no avail, Harrison Gray tried both methods in a letter to Hancock himself. This was sent to Otis to forward, and it still remains among his papers.

    London July 31st 1789


    For many years when we were the happiest people under Heaven we lived together in the habits of friendship, and notwithstanding we did not entirely harmonise in our political principles yet I always had a regard for you as a Gentleman of strict honour integrity and benevolence, insomuch that you would have been the last person that I would have thought capable of availing himself of an act of Government to avoid the payment of an honest debt. Your conscience, must tell you good sir, that no legislative acts can cancel moral obligations.

    Your Excellency no doubt remembers that in July 1775 I obtained a Judgment against you for upwards of nine hundred pounds the Execution of which Judgment was levied on three of your houses, which by appraisment were set off to me in full satisfaction of the Execution in consequence of which I had the legal possession of the premises for a number of years. But in the year863 as you was one of the members who represented the Town of Boston, by your influence you got that Judgment set aside; in order to accomplish which, and to prevent the opposition which would otherwise have been made to your novel and illegal motion you openly declared in the House you would discharge the note of hand upon which the Judgment was founded. You have also given encouragement to my Grandson Mr Otis from time to time that you would satisfy my demand: Notwithstanding which I have not received one farthing to this day but lay entirely at your mercy; for were your courts of Justice open to those who are called notorious conspirators against a State before it had an Existence, I could not avail myself of the aforementioned note of hand as it is not to be found in the clerk’s office. Who the person was that was guilty of this Theft I know not, neither will I hazard an opinion concerning it, however I cannot but think that it lays your Excellency under an additional obligation to pay your old friend what you justly owe him, whatever plea you may hitherto have availed yourself of for your neglecting to do this act of Justice. No plea will stand you instead hereafter, but your inability to pay your debts. Should this be a fact, that you have sacrificed a large fortune in supporting a cause which you looked upon to be just and righteous, I do assure you good sir I am far from having an Inclination to distress you was it in my power, but shall add this loss to the many sufferings I have endured for my firm unshaken loyalty to my King. I do assure your Excellency, that the cool reflections on the conscientious part I early acted in the late unhappy dispute between Great Britain and her Colonies affords me the most exalted pleasure and is a source of consolation to me under the loss of my property of which I have been unjustly deprived, A pleasure which I would not part with for all the honors which your State could bestow. However, though you acted a different part from me and I hope upon principle, I congratulate you upon your reelection to the chief seat in Government. May you discharge the duties of your exalted Station with honor and reputation, and use your endeavours that those acts of your State which militate with the definitive Treaty be repealed.

    I sincerely congratulate you and my dear native country upon federal constitution being so generally approved of which in my opinion is the only measure, that could have saved you from commercial and political ruin, but whether you will ever enjoy more rational liberty than you did when subordinate to the mild and lenient Government of Great Britain, is a question which I don’t pretend to have prophetic knowledge sufficient absolutely to determine, but could I be assured I should live to that period I believe I should be immortal.

    Upon the whole notwithstanding your delay to pay me I cannot yet make up my mind to charge you with being destitute of honor and Justice, but flatter myself you will settle the demand I have against you with my attorney, altho there is no law that will compel you to do if. But should you be of opinion that the act of confiscation is just and righteous, you have no right to avail yourself of it, but as an honest man you ought to pay into the public Treasury what you justly owe me.

    I expect the Honor of an Answer to this letter which will prevent my making the contents of it more public, than at present I desire, as it must hurt the reputation of a Gentleman who formerly stood high in my Estimation.

    No act or resolve of the nature Gray described was passed while Hancock was in the legislature; probably the judgment in question was overruled by an appeal to a higher court. Hancock cannot be blamed in either case, since the original judgment was rendered by an obviously partial court in Boston during the siege. The moral obligation for him to repay the debt remained of course unimpaired; but for Otis to attempt to enforce it was bound to be a hopeless, if not a dangerous task. As we know from the episode of Hancock’s treasurership of Harvard College, financial integrity was not among the virtues of that eminent patriot.864 At this date (1789) moreover, Hancock had been Governor of Massachusetts for several years, and had reached the pinnacle of his power and popularity.865 Although good-natured, it was in his power to blast the political aspirations of anyone who annoyed him. When we find that at the same date the Harvard Corporation found it advisable to approach Governor Hancock in terms of the most abject flattery, when requesting him to square his long outstanding accounts with the College, we can understand that it took no little temerity on the part of young Otis to undertake to recover his Tory grandfather’s debt.

    Otis described the situation in a letter of April 17, 1790, to Harrison Gray:

    Hond & Dear Sir,

    Your favor by Capt Scott & a duplicate by Bernard are now before me. The principal enquiries which are the object of that letter you will find I have answer’d in my last, to some of them however I will endeavour to afford a more explicit reply. Your letter to Govt. Hancock I did not deliver, the signature being omitted as well to the original as to the Copy. Had this not been the case I should still have exercised the discretion you allowed me and retained the letter. I mean never to sacrifice the independence of my sentiments or to relinquish my freedom of action through an apprehension of exciting the resentment of any man, when my honor or the interest of my employers may be impared by a contrary conduct. Still it is the part of prudence in a young man to refrain from provoking aversion & opposition in instances which may be detrimental to himself and advantageous to nobody. The letter indeed contains none but the most defensible expressions and remonstrances. They were adapted however to inflame the quick & jealous feelings of Mr H. Circumstances have conspired to render him a very susceptible man in some points; a very callous man in others. He has been nursed in the lap of fortune, accustomed to the flattery of the whole people, and cajol’d by artful men into expences which have diminished his fortune & perhaps his importance. His weaknesses are indulged, his foibles applauded and his measures universally supported. Such a man you may readily conceive can only injure a young person obliged like myself to work upon the hill of life, and it is natural enough that he should become arbitrary and overbearing in some instances of his conduct. No good consequences will result from alarming his pride or rousing his anger on the other the debt must by such means be forever lost. I shew’d your letter to several of my friends and to two or three persons who are well disposed towards you, and who know his character. They were all of opinion that he will never pay that debt as a right, but being furnish’d with popular and specious reasons arising from his situation and from the circumstances of the debt he would resist a positive demand, as inconsistent with the duty he owes the State, and make a tender of the debt to the Commonwealth, which would probably allow him to pay in State notes of 6/ in the pound or altogether release it, in which event neither you nor yours would derive any advantage, but by exciting a spirit and disposition of enquiry might not only injure your own demands but those of your friends in this Country. Depend upon me when I assure you that no point can be more clearly settled by our courts than the Doctrine that all the property of a certain class of Absentees was ipso facto confiscated & is seizable to the use of the Government whenever or wherever it may be found.866 And to this Idea however injurious or repugnant to treaties (a point which I do not undertake to decide) those persons who have demands in these circumstances must as they value their interest accomodate & Submit. These traits in the character of Mr H— are I believe undeniably just. They are however diversified by others of a more promising nature. He is naturally liberal & loves the appearance of generosity. His friends have suggested to me that he may be swayed by feelings of compassion while he setts threats at defiance. I hesitate in explaining myself upon this head. I am not in the habit of asking favors or even of appearing to ask them, even of a Grandfather whose candour & parental affection I have no reason to distrust. The reluctance I feel in exposing myself to the possible imputation of being interested, has a long time prevented me from adopting a measure, which is probably the only one that will succeed & to which I was advised two years ago. Viz. To request from you an assignment of the demand & then to state as I can with truth, that the events of war & misfortunes have despoiled me of the fair prospects of inheritance which I once enjoyed. That the property of both my Grandfathers has vanish’d into air, that however he may think himself Justified, by the laws of the State which he governs from making retribution to you, yet those principles cannot apply to your descendants, that the rescue of even a small part of your property from destruction would be an object to me, & finally that I will accede to his own terms, give him up part of the debt and accept the residue in eastern lands. This I believe is the only property he has free from encumbrances, and might (if he would agree) at some future day be useful to me. And this upon my honor is the only chance, as I learn from Col. Hichborn which I have of securing any part of it, and this I am by no means sure will succeed. You will however judge for yourself & if under all circumstances taking his embarrassments into view you prefer gratifying a laudable resentment by publishing your comments upon his Conduct, and giving the debt to the Commonwealth, I have not a word to object. One reflection however will occur viz that whatever tendency your reproaches might have to lessen his Character in England & among good men in this Country, they would perhaps produce a directly contrary effect among numbers in this Country, and really so far from being a punishment might promote his popularity. But my dear Sir, whatever may be your decision, whether to try further for this Debt yourself, or to give it to me or to the Commonwealth or to nobody, I conjure you by your regard for me, to shew this letter to no one but my uncles and afterwards to commit it to the flames. I must not make enemies myself without serving my friends.”

    In consequence of Otis’s refusal to forward his grandfather’s letter to the Governor, the old gentleman sent Hancock a somewhat emasculated copy of the original on July 3, 1790.867 About the same time Otis sent the Governor the following missive of labored politeness:

    Mr. Otis begs leave to inform his Excellency that Judge Sullivan has again returned, and as the Boston Packet sails on Wednesday, being the last vessel destined for London, he intreats his Excellency to have the condescension to attend to his request. Mr. Otis cannot describe the anxiety he feels to have this affair settled in one way or another. He knows not what to write to his friend. The Delay of a day or two, in case of accident will make a difference to Mr. O— in his prospects through life. He is confident that his Excellency is not capable of deceiving him, but the adjustment has been procrastinated in a most peculiar manner. He is confident that if his Excellency would admit him to an interview it might be settled in five minutes. His Excellency has only to name a sum. It will not be a subject of discussion or remark — much time could not be requisite to frame a note and a release. Should the settlement be longer delay’d, Mr. Otis can only regret that some fatality attending him in spite of his utmost exertions to conduct with delicacy and respect, has induced his Excellency to take a less interest in his feelings and wishes, than the magnanimity of his character would inspire in any similar instance.

    Monday, a. m.868

    No result coming from this attempt, further remarks were called forth from Harrison Gray, who apparently refused to consider the assignment of the debt to his nephew. The letter that follows is eminently characteristic of the ex-Treasurer:

    London, January 3d 1792

    Dear Grandson

    The bill for fifty pounds which you last sent me drawn by William Gray on Harrison & Co, is honourably discharged. My reversionary Interest in the Estate which my Brother John left me and my children I have no objection to dispose of, provided that my dear Sister Gray consents; As you have my power of Attorney, I see no occasion at present for sending you another. You may assure Cousin Daws, if he makes a purchase of any part of the premises, that my children will sign any release that he shall send them upon the monies being remitted. Mr Hallowell confirms what you intimate concerning Colo. Turner’s Influence with Governor Hancock, and says no one could exert himself to serve me in this respect more than you have done, for which you have my thanks, though not attended with the-success we had reason to expect. I am sorry that a Gentleman for whom I had so great a respect for his honour and integrity should have no greater claim to those Virtues, than the pious Mr. Story, If he can meet his Judge at the Great Day with confidence, without repentance and restitution, if it is in his power, no public robber need to be discouraged, there being so great a similitude in their crimes. The Governor if he knows anything of Theology, must know, that if I had justly forfeited my Estate, by the wicked Act of confiscation, it was forfeited to Government, and consequently he has no right to avail himself of any part of it — And if he thinks I have been justly deprived of it, he ought as an honest man to pay to Government what he owes me; I hope the Gentleman before he is summoned to make his appearance at the awful Bar of divine Justice, will be blessed with an awakened conscience which will convince him, that it is his duty to discharge his obligation, without which he may assure himself, The Romish Bishop, who stands so high in his Estimation, will not be able to absolve him.869

    It affords me great pleasure my child to hear of the Christian as well as the political opposition you made to the motion in your Town meeting to petition the General Court for the repeal of the Act against plays.870 If your Legislators have any regard for the morality of the people, they will not give the least countenance to the Stage, which by the late Doc. Tillotson is called the Devil’s Chappel; and which is condemned by the primitive Church. The Fathers have given their Testimony against it; I could quote many extracts from the holy Fathers condemning plays, but shall content myself with one from St Chrysostom, who in his preface to his commentary upon St. John’s Gospel, speaking of Plays and other public Shews says “But what I need I branch out, the Lewdness of these spectacles and be particular in description, for what’s there to be met with but Lewd laughing, but Smut, railing and buffoon’ry? in a word it is all Scandal and confusion. Observe I speak to you all, Let none who partake of the holy Table unqualify themselves with such mortal Diversions.”

    I must again my child repeat my desire that you would let me know what sum Colo. Partridge gave you his note for, and whether you have settled with the Executors to Rogers? When is it likely your County Treasurer will be able to discharge the obligation his predecessor gave to Mr. Goldthwait?871

    I add no more at present save my love to your Father and Mother872 and your dear Consort, not forgetting my dear Grandchild Miss Eliza. Gray. If she should have any occasion for any money for her necessary Expence, you will be so good as to supply her, and charge me with it, and let me know what it is.

    God bless you my dear Grandson

    H. Gray.

    On receipt of this prompter, Otis decided to try the effect of another letter on the impervious Governor. It was written in the last week of April, 1792:


    Having waited for a reply to my last application to your Excellency for the payment or security of the debt of honor due to my Grandfather, to the utmost extent of time and patience which decency or propriety could require — after repeated encouragement, assurances and appointments continued for a series of three years, in which my hopes and expectations have been often excited and as often baffled, I am compelled with infinite regret to confess that I am absolutely disheartened from any further attempts of a pacific nature to obtain this debt. With unwearied assiduity I have essayed all the modes of respectful address, and made every appeal to the honor and generosity of your Excellency. With an obstinacy that has subjected me to ridicule I have protested against the assurances of some of your Excellency’s Friends, that all my endeavours to secure payment would be ineffectual, & that your Excellency meant merely to amuse me. It was impossible for me under all circumstances to give Credence to such assertions, or to suppose your Excellency capable of condescending for a moment to mislead or deceive one who had never in any way merited such treatment. I have stated the necessity of a decision upon this subject in terms, and placed it in attitudes which discovered the importance of it to my friends & to myself — and I have the handwriting of your Excellency not indeed in plain english, but in expressive Latin to assure me that justice should be done. My requests have not even extended to the fulness of equity. Interviews have been appointed by your Excellency’s nomination, and before the arrival of the destined hour, I have received messages announcing tidings of your Excellency’s Illness,873 & importing that at a more convenient season I should be honoured with an interview. This convenient season has not yet arriv’d; and when I ventured to remind your Excellency by calling of my own accord at your House, my unfortunate and illtimed presumption has been reproved by refusals to see me and an entire forbearance to make a new appointment. Your Excellency I trust will excuse my recital of these facts. It is by placing them and they are mere uncolored outlines in one ‘view that I hope to convince your Excellency I have reason to complain. I meant not to disuse the language of Respect to the Chief Magistrate, but I have no hopes or fears that can restrain me from using the Language of Truth to any Individual in the Community. It is long since I received the most positive directions to obtain a legal decision on the subject of this debt from a federal Court, not that my friends have sanguine expectations of success here, but in order to produce an adjudication upon a fair statement of all facts, as a foundation for retribution from the Court of Great Britain. I have delay’d obedience to these injunctions through a fond opinion that honor & generosity which I have believ’d to be predominant features in your Excellency’s character would induce a more amicable arrangement. Your Excellency will judge of the success of my motives and of the reasonableness of my despair. It is rendered now my indispensable duty to inform your Excellency that, I shall commence a suit for the amt of the debt at the Circuit Court to be holden in Boston in May next, unless your Excellency sees fit either to sign one of the notes, or pay the money. Possibly the Event of this suit will be adverse to my claim, upon principles that raise up one man and humiliate another, & which perhaps are politically wise and necessary, but which shake not the eternal laws of right and justice. It is however in these principles alone that your Excellency would find refuge or apology in avoiding this debt, and if these principles as a rule of private conduct will stand the test upon the midnight pillow, in the hour of pain and infirmity, and in the contemplation of those future Scenes where Justice will exhibit herself without the aid of definition and use her sword in defiance of earthly tribunals, I am sure I cannot blame your Excellency for living upon the property of my family, and supplying your luxuries from our necessities. If on the other hand, not only the institutes of religion command us to forgive our Enemies, but those of delicacy and honor forbid our remaining under unnecessary obligations to them. And if the Laws of liberality and candour prohibit us to rank among our personal Enemies, those who have merely differed from us in opinion — it will be difficult for your Excellency to allow another application upon this subject.

    Otis was evidently much pleased with this performance, for he wrote his grandfather on May 1:

    Last week my patience being fairly exhausted and absolutely despairing of our Great Man’s debt, I wrote him a letter in a style to which he is quite unaccustomed, in which after reminding him of the circumstances of the debt, of his promises falsehoods and evasions, I menaced him with a suit at our next federal Court. To this letter I have received no reply, nor do I expect any. He is a mean contemptible pageant, and I do not believe he enjoys the esteem of any man on earth . . . The Legislature in the last Session passed an act providing a mode of naturalizing those persons who had been proscribed, but the Governor would not assent to it.874 This barefaced malignity I impute to his fear that it would gradually open a door to the recovery of the property not actually paid over by those persons to the Government. Another act was also passed of a different complection, inviting all those who are indebted to those persons to come forward and pay the principal into the treasury and be discharged from the residue, and forbidding them to pay their debts to the original creditors. This act was procured through his wicked influence, but it will not affect your concerns here as I have renewed all the notes that will ever be recovered, except the County note, which I shall not suffer them to know to be your property, if possible to conceal it.

    Mr. Otis’s beautiful composition was, however, of no avail, even on the “midnight pillow” and “in the contemplation of those future Scenes.” Governor Hancock died in 1793 without having discharged the smallest portion of the debt.

    Harrison Gray wrote his grandson on February 3, 1794:

    I hope the widow of your late Governour Hancock will discharge the honest debt, he owed me, and make no doubt you will exert your self to have justice done me. If she refuseth to come to a reasonable composition, you know the federal court is open, where I can obtain judgment against her. The same difficulty cannot in point of prudence prevent your prosecuting her, as it did from commencing a Suit against her late Husband. I should be glad my dear Child if you would as soon as possible, send me my account Current. It affords me pleasure to hear that my dear countrymen have no inclination to assist the french highwaymen, Murtherers and Robbers

    Although neither the handwriting nor the diction of the above letter shows signs of great age, it was written just before Harrison Gray’s eighty-third birthday. The old gentleman was becoming too feeble any longer to attend to his business affairs, and Otis’s next letter on the subject of the Hancock debt, dated November 30, 1794, is written to Harrison Gray, Jr.:

    With respect to Hancock’s debt, I have again conversed with Mrs. H & with Mr May. They are apprehensive that if they settle with me, difficulty will arise on the part of the heirs and that the Judge of Probate will not allow their accounts, as the debt is not due to my Grandfather. They intimate further that should they ever be induced to make any payment in this account, they shall insist upon my indemnifying them by a bond against the Commonwealth; & this you could not expect me to do, without countersecurity in this country, or at least giving me an interest in the sum received, equivalent to the risque, as it would always be in the power of an enemy to give me trouble and expose me to refund the whole sum. In short I have taken such unwearied pains with regard to this debt for years past, I have experienced such disappointment deceit & falsehood, that I have almost despaired of receiving a farthing. I will not however relax my exertions in the business, while a glimpse of hope remains, upon this or any other occasion it will afford me sincere and heartfelt pleasure to see you in this Country, to which nothing shall be wanting on my part to make you welcome.

    Harrison Gray did not live to triumph over the heirs of his debtor. His long and eventful life came to an end in London on November 30, 1794, and it remained for his son, Harrison Gray, Jr., to enjoy with Otis the very clever device by which the latter secured partial payment from the Governor’s widow. It is related in Otis’s letter of June 17, 1795:

    Soon after the departure of the last full ships I review’d my application to Mrs. H on the score of Mr H’s debt. As all former arguments had failed, it occurred to me that some advantage might arise from the intended connection of Mrs H and Capt Scott,875 especially as an idea prevailed of her intention to accompany him to England. I therefore gave intimations which I knew would reach her ears, of a determination to prosecute for the debt in England, if Mr Scott should ever be found there after marriage, and this suggestion though it could never have been executed, very unexpectedly produced its effect, and induced the parties concerned to hearken to terms of accomodation. It was finally agreed to pay me £600 L My in five per Cent Stock which was then from 18/ to 19/ in the £ and take from me a bond to indemnify them against the claims of the Commonwealth which I have executed in the penalty of £1200. The Stock has lately risen and I have sold it at par. Your offer to allow me a fourth part of what I might obtain is certainly liberal, as respects other debts but under existing circumstances it is by no means too considerable for the risque and trouble in this particular Case. No man but myself would execute such a bond for 25 per Cent, as it would probably be impossible for you to give me counter security in this Country and evil disposed persons may improve it as a source of injury to me and my family. However I shall be satisfied with that allowance if it is extended to all that I have done as well as what I may hereafter effect. Upon this subject I wish you to be more explicit tho’ I conceive this to be the meaning of your expressions. Inclosed is my account, whereby it appears that I have sav’d more from the ruins of my Grandfather’s fortune than all the agents of all the proscribed Absentees together, excepting the instance of Mrs. Boutineau, for whom I likewise acted.

    Such was the amusing ending of this curious affair. After twenty-one years, two-thirds of the original debt was recovered from the Patriot’s widow by the Tory’s grandson, who was certainly entitled to his twenty-five per cent for his success in the very risky business of recovering the property of Harrison Gray, Loyalist.

    On behalf of Mr. John Woodbury, a Memoir of William Taggard Piper was communicated, which Mr. Woodbury had been requested to prepare for publication in the Transactions.

    William Taggard Piper, who died on July 25, 1911, had been a resident member of the Colonial Society since his election in January, 1894. He was interested in the work of the Society and constant in his attendance at its meetings. In the report of the Council presented to the Society at its annual meeting in December, 1911, he is described as “a rarely conscientious and desirable man who brought to the discharge of his various philanthropic duties a deep sense of responsibility, a valuable experience and a lofty devotion.” He was born in Boston on August 9, 1853. Solomon Piper, his father, was a well known and successful merchant of Boston, to which city he came when a young man from Dublin, New Hampshire. The father was president of the Freeman’s Bank of Boston for twenty-three years and served at different times in both branches of the City Government, and as a member of the Great and General Court. In the History of Dublin may be found record of his generous interest in the town in which his early life had been spent. He died in Boston on October 15, 1866, in his seventy-seventh year. William was descended in the sixth generation from Nathaniel Piper, who came to this country from Dartmouth in Devonshire as early as 1653, and later removed to Concord and thence to Acton, Massachusetts. Solomon, the grandfather of William, was one of the Acton men in the Concord Fight, was present at the surrender of Burgoyne at Saratoga, and served with General Sullivan in Rhode Island. After the war he removed first to Temple and thence to Dublin, New Hampshire. William’s mother, Mary Elizabeth Taggard, the second wife of Solomon Piper, was the daughter of William and Mary Trow (Welch) in New York City but originally came from Hillsborough, New Hampshire. Born in 1815, she was a lady of the old school. Highly refined and yet of strong character, her long companionship with her only child had a marked influence upon his character. As far as I am able to ascertain William Piper was descended in all lines from old New England stock, and his character and actions throughout his useful life would indicate this to be the fact.

    Piper received his early education in the public schools of Boston. He was a Franklin medal boy at the Quincy Grammar School, and again at the Boston Latin School (then under the vigorous rule of Dr. Francis Gardner) he received another Franklin medal and a prize for English composition. He entered Harvard College in 1870, and received his degree of A.B. in 1874. His college distinctions were a Detur, a Lee prize for reading, Second Year Honors in Classics, a Commencement part and membership in the Phi Beta Kappa Society. During his college course he made his home with his mother on Concord Avenue in Cambridge. Later, after his marriage, he built a house on Brattle Street, near Elmwood, where he lived until his death. Soon after graduation he went to England, matriculated at Trinity College, Cambridge, and pursued his classical studies there for two years, travelling about in vacation times and returning to America in 1876. After a short stay in this country he again went to Europe and spent another year, partly in study at Leipzig, and partly in travel. On his return to America he entered the graduate school of Harvard University. In 1881 he received the degree of A.M. and in 1883 the degree of Ph.D. in classical philology. Although he did not make the study or teaching of the classics his profession, he retained through life his interest in classical studies, and his scholarship, especially in the Latin branches, was recognized by other students.

    On July 10, 1879, he was married to Anne Palfrey Bridge, the daughter of the Rev. William Frederick and Elizabeth Guild (Crosby) Bridge. Her father was a graduate of Harvard College in 1846 and of the Harvard Divinity School in 1849, a Unitarian clergyman, and at one time professor of Moral Philosophy at Antioch in Ohio. This marriage proved to be an ideal union and of the utmost importance in the development of the characters of both husband and wife. The early death of the father had, as has already been pointed out, resulted in a close intimacy and a mutual devotion of mother and son. At this period of his life William Piper was known to his friends and acquaintances as a scholarly young man, seriously minded, and reserved in manner almost to the point of shyness. Few of his more intimate friends recognized the latent capacity of the man for effective public work. Anne Bridge was a beautiful young woman of unusual keenness and quickness of mind, thoroughly educated, of charming and attractive manners, and imbued with high and noble ideas of life. This young couple, possessed of ample means for comfortable living and personal enjoyment, united in a life-long endeavor not merely to make their home life beautiful, but to work for the improvement of the life about them. To those who knew them intimately it is impossible to think of them apart from one another. Each entered fully into the interests of the other, and complete mutual confidence resulted in mutual assistance. They were both soon interested in philanthropic work and later, as will be seen, the husband came to hold many public offices. In the meanwhile a family of four children was born to them and a home life established which in its refinement of surroundings, grace of hospitality, and high standard of morality was an example of wholesome living.

    Piper’s interest and activities in philanthropic work begin with the completion of his university studies and the attainment of the doctor’s degree in 1883. In that year he was one of the organizers of the Associated Charities of Cambridge. He acted as the secretary of this board from 1883 to 1889, director from 1889 to 1899, vice-president from 1899 to 1902, and honorary vice-president from that date until his death. For two years, beginning in 1884, he was president and director of the Cambridge Social Union and later, 1896, became a trustee of its permanent fund. In the same year, 1884, he was chosen a member of the parish committee of the First Parish and First Church (Unitarian), on which he served until 1891, and after that date was elected yearly as chairman of the annual parish meetings and served upon various committees of the church.

    In 1886 he was chosen trustee of the Avon Home for Children, a Cambridge charity in which he became deeply interested and to which, throughout the remainder of his life, he gave most freely of his time, his means, and his ability. He became its vice-president in 1888 and president in 1892. Under his administration a new building for the Home was built on Mount Auburn Street. He was chairman of the building committee and was most active in obtaining the necessary funds. He had hoped to add a department for an Infant’s Hospital, a project in regard to which he had made extensive personal investigation, and toward the establishment of which he made a gift in his will. But his greatest service to the Home was the constant, one might almost say continuous, attention which he gave to the details of management. For example, when the system of placing children from time to time in families outside the Home was adopted, he made it his duty from month to month to visit them personally, no matter how great the distance or the inconvenience to himself, that he might report accurately their circumstances. This feeling of personal responsibility which he carried into all his activities combined with his accuracy in observation and clearness of judgment, made him an ideal official.

    In 1899 he was elected a trustee of the Massachusetts Homeopathic Hospital. For eleven years he served upon the Hospital Committee, of which committee he became chairman in 1909. In January, 1910, he was elected president of the corporation and held that position at the time of his death. His connection with this institution was marked by constant and conscientious service. His visits were as accurately timed and as regularly made as those of its staff of physicians. He informed himself of the inmates and gave comfort to the sick and suffering by his quiet presence and sympathetic word. By a strange chance he was himself an inmate of the hospital in his last illness, and it was thus possible for those connected with the institution to show in many ways their regard for him.

    In 1904 the Commonwealth of Massachusetts assumed the charge of the hospitals for the insane, with the exception of that at Boston; and in 1908 took over the Boston Insane Hospital (Pierce and Austin Farms), creating the Boston State Hospital. On the death of Mr. George Leonard in 1909, Piper was appointed by Governor Draper a trustee of the new hospital for the remainder of the term ending February 1, 1910, and he entered at once upon his duties with conscientious zeal. His familiarity with the details of conducting an institution of this character, derived from his experience with the Avon Home and the Homeopathic Hospital, made him a valuable member of the Board. It is pleasant to know that his services were appreciated by Governor Foss, who reappointed him for the full term ending February 1, 1917.

    In 1904 the Cambridge District Nursing Association was founded. Its organization and establishment on a firm basis were due to the untiring and enthusiastic work of Mrs. Piper, who was its president as long as she lived. It is perhaps needless to say that her husband was deeply interested in this fine form of charity and gave helpful assistance to the work she was doing.

    Along with these activities in philanthropic lines, Piper performed important duties as a public official of the City of Cambridge. In 1888 and again in 1889 he was elected a member of the Common Council. In 1890 he served a term as alderman. In 1891 he was appointed a member of the local board of Civil Service Examiners and continued in this office until his death. His most important service, however, was upon the School Committee to which he was elected in 1891. He was chosen president of the board in 1892 and held this position until his retirement from the board in 1909. To one familiar with the duties and responsibilities of a member of a school committee, and especially of its presiding officer, in a large city, the following figures are significant. The population of Cambridge is over 100,000; it has 38 school buildings; over 15,000 pupils and nearly 500 teachers. Its annual expenditures for school purposes are substantially half a million dollars. During the sixteen years of his incumbancy of this office Piper never allowed his comfort or pleasure to interfere with his presence at meetings. If no one else could be found to attend to a matter of detail, he did it himself. He visited the schools, made long excursions to ascertain the standing of candidates for positions and carefully considered appointments, promotions, and complaints. He shirked no responsibility. That he should have held this perplexing position for so many years shows not only his qualities of patience, firmness and fairness, but also his ability to command the respect and regard even of those who may have differed from his judgments. The following extract from the Cambridge Tribune of July 29, 1911, gives satisfactory evidence that his services were appreciated by those who were conversant with them:

    For some sixteen years the president of the board, he exhibited in that capacity those traits which so signally marked his career and indicated him as the accomplished, courteous and fully equipped leader among men. During all that long period, it never occurred to the board to suggest any other name for its president or to demur on the decisions which it was his province to make. Few people in the community have a conscious knowledge of the management of school affairs; but those who are cognizant of the work of the schools fully appreciate the conscientious, skilled and superb work rendered gratuitously all these years by Mr. Piper. Had he been credited with this work alone, the people of Cambridge would be under a vast and an enduring obligation to him.

    The charter of the City of Cambridge provides that one member of the board of trustees of the Cambridge Public Library shall be chosen from the School Committee, and this position was held by Piper from 1892 with the exception of one year, until his death, a period of seventeen years. It is not difficult to understand that to a man of his education and tastes this was the most agreeable and congenial of the public offices which he was called upon to fill. In a memorial sketch prepared for the New England Historical and Genealogical Register, Mr. Clarence Walter Ayer, the librarian of the Cambridge Public Library, writes-as follows:

    To his work for the Library Mr. Piper gave more time, thought and energy than any other trustee. Thoroughly congenial to one of his scholarly tastes, his duties as trustee, especially as chairman of the committee on books, became genuine pleasures. As elsewhere and always he was in close touch with all details of administration and service, and much of this matter he had at call, with or without the aid of an omnipresent note-book, which he kept by him for emergencies which might arise in any of his manifold interests. Generally twice a week, and some weeks oftener, he would come to the library, nearly always bringing back a parcel of books just read, and again taking out a new selection for himself and his family. Occasionally he would stop off on his way back from Boston, with the latest information about certain new books which he had just seen there, and which the library might not yet have received, or had not been able to buy, and thereupon would generally ensue eager discussions of books new and old, comments on current events, and random talks on any other topic, related or, as often, unrelated. As the weeks and years went by, the writer came more and more to look forward to these visits of Mr. Piper, and to count them among the rare pleasures of his library experience.

    In addition to the Colonial Society, Piper enjoyed membership in other associations of literary and historical interests. He was one of the proprietors of the Boston Athenæum. He had been a member since 1892 of the New England Historic Genealogical Society, of which organization he served as an officer and as a member of important committees. He was a member of the corporation of the Trustees of Public Reservations, authorized by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts to receive and hold for the public, gifts of beautiful and historic places. Of social organizations, he was a member of the Union Club of Boston and the Oakley Country Club of Cambridge. He was also much interested in the Cambridge Club, a social organization having occasional meetings for the discussion of public questions, of which club he was successively a director, vice-president and president. The Harvard Travellers Club and the Massachusetts Civil Service Association were other organizations in which he held membership.

    He was his own man of business, employing no secretary and maintaining no office, attending to his private affairs personally and at his home. A directorship in the Cambridge Trust Company was the only business position which he filled. His winter home was in Cambridge and his summer home was at Falmouth. To him and his wife four children were born, all of whom are living: William Bridge (A.B. Harvard, 1903; M.F. Yale, 1905); Elizabeth Bridge (A.B. Radcliffe, 1906; A.M. same, 1911); Anne Taggard (wife of Matthew Hale, A.B. Harvard, 1903); and Ralph Crosby (A.B. Harvard, 1911, three years’ course). In the spring of 1911 both husband and wife were the victims of a mysterious epidemic of malignant tonsilitis; she was the first to go and then it seemed natural and inevitable that he soon followed her.

    William Piper was by nature and training a man of reserved manner. His dislike of self advancement rather than modesty kept him from making known to others his accomplishments. Those associated with him in any one of his many interests were familiar with his work in that particular case, but it was not from him that they learned of his equally efficient work in other places. Indeed, it was not until his work ceased that his friends and co-workers realized the extent, amount, and effectiveness of his activities. His quiet and undemonstrative manner often concealed from the casual acquaintance the keenness of his mind and the quickness of his apprehension, and many of his friends may not have realized how much he enjoyed keen wit and clean humor and how deeply he was moved by the pathetic scenes of life. He was by education and development an idealist, tempered and restrained by common sense and a conscientiousness which we like to think an inheritance from New England ancestry. Summing up the facts of his life, all too brief as it seems to his friends, it appears so well rounded, so complete, that we may think the end not unfortunate. A youth of careful preparation, a happy union and the rearing of a family, the companionship of friends and the regard and respect of associates, over twenty-five years of useful and productive work, and then to depart in the companionship of her who had been his inspiration and reward.

    Engraved for The Colonial Society of Massachusetts from the original in the possession of John Whittemore Farwell Esquire