A Stated Meeting of the Society was held at the house of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, Boston, on Thursday, 17 December, 1914, at three o’clock in the afternoon, the President, Frederick Jackson Turner, LL.D., in the chair.

    The Records of the Annual Meeting were read, and, after being slightly amended, were approved.

    Mr. Albert Matthews made the following communication:


    Under the auspices of the Cape Cod Pilgrim Memorial Association, on August 20, 1907, was laid the corner-stone of the monument at Provincetown commemorating the landing there of the Mayflower passengers on November 11–21, 1620. In his address delivered upon that occasion, President Roosevelt said:

    The coming hither of the Puritan three centuries ago shaped the destinies of this continent, and therefore profoundly affected the destiny of the whole world. . . . We cannot as a nation be too profoundly grateful for the fact that the Puritan has stamped his influence so deeply on our national life. . . . The splendid qualities which he left to his children, we other Americans who are not of Puritan blood also claim as our heritage. You, sons of the Puritans, and we, who are descended from races whom the Puritans would have deemed alien — we are all Americans to-day. We all feel the same pride in the genesis, in the history of our people; and therefore this shrine of Puritanism is one at which we all gather to pay homage, no matter from what country our ancestors sprang.647

    In the early part of this address, which later became political, the speaker used the words Puritan and Puritanism frequently, but the terms Pilgrim and Pilgrim Fathers not once; and his hearers listened in vain for a contrast between the Pilgrims of the Plymouth Colony and the Puritans of the Massachusetts Colony. There was considerable dismay in this part of the country — a dismay not allayed when it became known that the President had only just learned of the existence of such a distinction.648

    It is perhaps well for us New Englanders, who are too apt to insist that the Mayflower Compact649 was the beginning of constitutional government in this country, and too prone to forget that a legislative assembly met in Virginia a year before the sailing of the Mayflower, to have our cherished notions challenged or ignored. For, after all, the distinction that we in New England now so sharply draw between the Pilgrims of the Plymouth Colony and the Puritans of the Massachusetts Colony is one of somewhat recent growth, is more or less local, and is still far from being universally recognized.

    It is not a little singular that, in spite of the numerous volumes that have been written about the Pilgrims and the Puritans, it has hitherto occurred to no one to investigate the term Pilgrim Fathers. What is the history of this term? What is its origin? Is its application appropriate? What is its precise meaning? Why are the settlers who came before 1692 to what is now the State of Massachusetts differentiated as the Pilgrims of the Plymouth Colony and the Puritans of the Massachusetts Colony? The present paper is an attempt to answer these questions.

    History of the Term

    Forefathers’ Day was first celebrated at Plymouth in 1769 and in Boston in 1797 or 1798. Accounts in some detail will be given of the celebrations at Plymouth down to 1820 and of the early Boston celebrations. It will perhaps be thought that these accounts are unnecessarily long. Ordinarily, in illustrating the history of a term, it is necessary to quote only the sentence containing the term in question and enough of the context to show clearly its exact meaning. The present case, however, is an unusual one in that passages which do not contain the term Pilgrim Fathers may yet be of value in showing exactly what those who did employ the term meant by it. There are other reasons, too, which make it desirable to quote in full many of the accounts. The half-century from 1769 to 1820 was a momentous one in our history. The writers about to be quoted witnessed the American Revolution, the adoption of the Federal Constitution, our strained relations with France at the close of the eighteenth century, the transfer of the national government from the Federalists to the Republicans or Democrats, the purchase of Louisiana, the abolition of slavery in some of the States and the prohibition of the importation of slaves into the country, the War of 1812 with England, and “the era of good feelings” which was ushered in by the inauguration of President Monroe.650 Moreover, it was a period when people took their politics very seriously, when party feeling was extremely bitter, and when antagonists applied to one another epithets that now, fortunately, are seldom encountered in political warfare. In addition, that period saw the introduction of an American episcopate, the spread of Unitarianism, and many departures from the customs and manners of “the fathers.” The feelings engendered by these great political, religious, and social changes are reflected in the discourses delivered on Forefathers’ Day and even more in the newspaper accounts of the celebrations.

    Plymouth Celebrations

    On January 13, 1769, twelve young men, —

    having maturely weighed and seriously considered the many disadvantages and inconveniences that arise from intermixing with the company at the taverns in this town of Plymouth, and apprehending that a well regulated club will have a tendency to prevent the same, and to increase not only the pleasure and happiness of the respective members, but also will conduce to their edification and instruction, do hereby incorporate ourselves into a society by the name of the Old Colony Club.651

    On Wednesday, December 20, 1769, it was —

    Voted, That Friday next be kept by this Club in commemoration of the first landing of our worthy ancestors in this place.652 That the Club dine together at Mr Howland’s,653 and that a number of gentlemen be invited to spend the evening with us at the Old Colony Hall.654

    Accordingly on December 22655 the celebration took place:

    Old Colony Day.

    Friday, December 22. The Old Colony Club, agreeable to a vote passed the 20th instant, met in commemoration of the landing of their worthy ancestors in this place. On the morning of said, day, after discharging a cannon, was hoisted upon the Hall an elegant silk flag with the following-inscription, “Old Colony 1620.” At eleven o’clock a.m. the members of the Club appeared at the Hall, and from thence proceeded to the house of Mr Howland, innholder (which is erected upon the spot where the first licensed House in the Old Colony formerly stood). At half after two a decent repast was served up, which consisted of the following dishes; namely, —

    1. 1. A large baked Indian whortleberry pudding.
    2. 2. A dish of sauquetash.656
    3. 3. A dish of clams.
    4. 4. A dish of oysters and a dish of codfish.
    5. 5. A haunch of venison roasted by the first jack brought to the Colony.
    6. 6. A dish of sea-fowl.
    7. 7. A ditto of frost-fish and eels.
    8. 8. An apple pie.
    9. 9. A course of cranberry tarts, and cheese made in the Old Colony; dressed in the plainest manner (all appearances of luxury and extravagance being avoided, in imitation of our worthy ancestors whose memory we shall ever respect).

    At four o’clock p.m., the members of our Club, headed by the steward carrying a folio volume of the laws of the Old Colony,657 hand in hand marched in procession to the Hall. Upon the appearance of the procession in front of the Hall a number of descendants from the first settlers in the Old Colony drew up in a regular file and discharged a volley of small arms, succeeded by three cheers, which were returned by the Club, and the gentlemen generously treated. After this appeared at the Private Grammar School opposite the Hall a number of young gentlemen, pupils of Mr Wadsworth,658 who to express their joy upon this occasion, and their respect for the memory of their ancestors, in the most agreeable manner joined in singing a song659 very applicable to the day. At sun setting a cannon was discharged and the flag struck.

    In the evening the Hall was illuminated, and the following gentlemen (being previously invited) joined the Club; . . .

    The President (being seated in a large and venerable chair which was formerly possessed by William Bradford, the second worthy Governor of the Old Colony, and presented to the Club by our friend Dr. Lazarus LeBaron of this town) delivered the following toasts successively to the company; namely, —

    1. 1. To the memory of our brave and pious ancestors the first settlers of the Old Colony.
    2. 2. To the memory of John Carver and all the other worthy governors of the Old Colony.
    3. 3. To the memory of that pious man and faithful historian Mr. Secretary Morton.660
    4. 4. To the memory of that brave man and good officer Capt Miles Standish.
    5. 5. To the memory of Massasoit, our first and best friend and ally of the natives.
    6. 6. To the memory of Mr. Robert Cushman, who preached the first sermon in New England.661
    7. 7. The union of the Old Colony and Massachusetts.
    8. 8. May every person be possessed with the same noble sentiments against arbitrary power that our worthy ancestors were endowed with.
    9. 9. May every enemy of civil or religious liberty meet the same or a worse fate than Archbishop Laud.
    10. 10. May the Colonies be speedily delivered from all the burdens and oppressions they now labor under.
    11. 11. A speedy and lasting union between Great Britain and her Colonies.
    12. 12. Unanimity, prosperity, and happiness to the Colonies.

    After spending the evening in an agreeable manner in recapitulating and conversing upon the many and various adventures of our forefathers in the first settlement of this country and the growth and increase of the same, at eleven o’clock in the evening a cannon was again fired, three cheers given, and the Club and company withdrew.662

    On December 19, 1770, it was —

    agreed upon and resolved that the twenty-second day of December, being the day of the first landing of our pious forefathers in this town, and which has been kept as a solemn festival in commemoration of the heroic transaction, falling in this year upon Saturday,663 being an unsuitable time for that purpose, it was therefore resolved that Monday the 24th of this instant be set apart and religiously kept for that purpose.

    On December 24 the members met at ten at Mr. Howland’s house, where they were joined by others; at twelve, “after having amused themselves in conversation upon the history of emigrate colonies and the constitution and declension of empires, ancient and modern, they were served with an entertainment foreign from all kinds of luxury, and consisting of fish, flesh, and vegetables, the natural produce of this Colony; after which, the company being increased . . . a number of toasts were drank grateful to the remembrances of our ancestors, and loyal to those kings under whose indulgent care this Colony has flourished and been protected.”

    On this occasion two or three new features were introduced, among them an oration — or, as the records of the Club say, “words . . . spoken with modesty and firmness” — by Edward Winslow, Jr., and a poem by Alexander Scammell.664

    In 1771 December 22 fell on Sunday, and so —

    Monday the 23d of December . . . was celebrated as a day of festivity in commemoration of that important event, The landing of our forefathers in this place. . . . At noon the Club, being joined by a number of the most respectable gentlemen in town, met in a spacious room at the house of Mr Wetherell, innholder, when they partook of a plain and elegant entertainment, and spent the afternoon in cheerful and social conversation upon a variety of subjects peculiarly adapted to the time. At sunset . . . the members of the Club, with the gentlemen of the town, repaired to the Hall, where the aforesaid subjects were reassumed, and several important matters relative to the conduct of our ancestors were discussed with freedom and candor, and a number of pleasing anecdotes of our progenitors were recollected and communicated by some of the aged men who favored us with their company. An uncommon harmony and pleasantry prevailed throughout the day and evening, every person present exerting himself to increase the general joy. The Old Colony song665 with a number of others was sung, after which the company withdrew.

    On the same day the Rev. Chandler Robbins addressed a letter to the Club in which he said:

    I’m told it was expected by some that as the anniversary of our forefathers’ arrival in this place fell out on the Sabbath past, I would have taken some public notice of it in the pulpit. I must acknowledge I think there would have been a great propriety in it, and I am sorry it was entirely out of my mind that that was the day till I was reminded of it to-day; otherwise I should certainly have taken notice of it, and attempted to say something suitable to the occasion. However, ’t is past now; but I would on this occasion, if it would not be esteemed assuming in me, humbly propose to the gentlemen of your Society whether it would not be agreeable, and serve for the entertainment and instruction of the rising generation more especially, for the future on these anniversaries to have a sermon in public some part of the day peculiarly adapted to the occasion, wherein should be represented the motives that induced them to undertake such an enterprise, the amazing dangers and difficulties they conflicted with and overcame, the piety and ardor with which they persevered through numberless discouragements and opposition, the time, manner, and other circumstances of their first arrival, with all the train of surprising events that ensued, the appearances of the Divine Providence and Goodness for them, the noble and godlike virtues with which they were inspired, so worthy the imitation of their posterity, etc., etc., with many other things that would naturally fall in upon a discourse of this kind. . . . I do but propose the thing, gentlemen, for your consideration this evening, and if it should prove agreeable I would beg leave to suggest one thing further; namely, that the minister to preach the sermon be chosen by your Society somewhere within the Old Colony, . . .

    In their reply, dated December 31, 1771, and approved by the Club January 7, 1772, the committee to whom this letter was referred, said in part:

    We have impatiently waited for a proposal of this kind to be made to some gentleman of the clergy by persons whose ages and situations and life have given them greater influence than ourselves; but as it has been hitherto omitted, we would modestly request (as you are the pastor of the first church that was gathered in the Old Colony, have the greatest advantages and opportunities for collecting all the historical facts and other materials that may be necessary for this work, and in every other respect are peculiarly qualified therefor) that you would upon the ensuing anniversary prepare and deliver a discourse “suitable to the time.”

    Accordingly, on December 22, 1772, “(to show our gratitude to the Creator and Preserver of our ancestors and ourselves, and as a mark of respect justly due to the memories of those heroic Christians who, on the 22d of December, 1620, landed on this spot) the members of this Club joined a numerous and respectable assembly in the meeting-house of the First Parish in Plymouth, and after an hymn of praise and prayer to God, the Reverend Mr Chandler Robbins delivered an historic and pathetic discourse.” His sermon “closed with an address to the audience which did honor to humanity and himself;” the “New England Hymn, composed by Doctr Byles,666 sung with uncommon melody, finished the exercise;” then “the members of the Club, together with the reverend gentlemen of the clergy and others the most respectable of the congregation, repaired to the house of Mr Howland, where a table was spread and abundantly furnished with the various productions of this now fruitful country, at which the Honble General John Winslow presided;” and “after partaking of these bounties, and spending a few hours in the most social conversation upon the history of our country, the adventures of our ancestors, etc. (subjects at this time peculiarly pleasing), the company proceeded to Old Colony Hall, where the same sociability and harmony prevailed throughout the evening.”667

    This celebration was thus noticed in the Boston Gazette of December 28, 1772:

    Tuesday the 22d of this instant December, was observed in the ancient Town of Plymouth, as a Day of public Festivity, in Commemoration of the important Event, the Landing of their Forefathers in that Place. In the Morning the Rev’d. Mr. Robbins (having been previously requested) delivered to a numerous and respectable Congregation, (consisting of a Number of the Reverend Gentlemen of the Clergy and others, Inhabitants of Plymouth and the Towns in the Vicinity,) a Discourse adapted to the Occasion, from those remarkable Words of the Psalmist,668 . . . — The profound Silence and solemn Attention which was observable thro’out this vast Concourse of People, sufficiently demonstrated their Approbation of the Sentiments of the Speaker. — A plain and elegant Entertainment was prepared at a public House, at which the Gentlemen of the Clergy, and a large Number of others, the most respectable of the Congregation, were present. The Afternoon passed in recapitulating and recollecting a Variety of curious Anecdotes of our venerable Predecessors, Subjects at this Time peculiarly pleasing. — The Evening was spent at OLD COLONY–HALL, in the most social Manner. — Joy, Gratitude and Pleasure were apparent in the Countenances of every Person, through the whole of this agreeable Day and Evening (p. 2/2).669

    On January 6, 1773, the Rev. Charles Turner was invited by the Club to preach the next anniversary sermon; but the “uncommon harmony and pleasantry” that prevailed in 1771 had, owing to the growing political turmoil, disappeared before the anniversary day was reached, and the records of the Old Colony Club itself, most of whose members were Loyalists, came to an abrupt end with an entry dated December 15, 1773.670 It is certain, however, that Mr. Turner’s sermon was duly preached; and probably it was delivered before the Club, the town, and the First Parish.671

    The celebration in 1774 was thus noticed in a Boston newspaper:

    Messieurs Edes & Gill,

    THE 22d of December was celebrated at Plymouth, in commemoration of the first landing of our Ancestors in New-England: — A learned and ingenious Discourse was delivered on the Occasion, by the Rev. Mr. Gad Hitchcock, of Pembroke, from Genesis 1, 31; and Psalms 119, 134; which, for the honor of the dissenting Clergy, and for the benefit of mankind, will speedily be published. A splendid entertainment was provided at Mr. Howland’s, and propriety and decorum marked the conduct of the day. We the Posterity of those illustrious Heroes are now suffering under the galling pressure of that power, an emancipation from which, was one grand object they had in view, in the settlement of this Western World; in the prosecution of which divine enterprize, they, with Christian magnanimity, surmounted the most discouraging obstacles; and it may safely be affirmed, that all the potent thunders of Britain, cannot reduce us to more tremendous sufferings, than those distinguished patrons of religion and freedom, animated by a sacred ardour, patiently endured. But, wonderful as it may seem, a pitiful number, who bear the names, and descended from the loins of these ever to-be-revered Patriots, by their infernal intrigues, and persevering obstinacy, have involved their native Country, enriched with the Blood of their Fathers, in accumulated Calamities and Distresses; but (by the gracious munificence of Heaven) many rays of light breaks through the gloom which surrounds us; and, Nil desperandum, Deo duce, et auspice Deo.672

    From 1774 to 1780, both included, Forefathers’ Day was celebrated by the town of Plymouth. For the next twelve years –– from 1781 to 1792, both included — there was no celebration. In 1793 the day was again celebrated, when a sermon was preached by the Rev. Chandler Robbins.673 Of the celebration in 1794, we have the following account:


    Plymouth, december 23, 1794.

    YESTERDAY, being the anniversary of the landing of our ancestors at this place, which was the first lasting settlement, made in New-England, a number of gentlemen of this and the neighboring towns convened to celebrate the day. With social glee and harmony, they partook of a frugal meal, which was designed to bring to remembrance the circumstances of those good and great men, whose memories they were assembled to revere. Various anecdotes, respecting their emigration and settlement, were related by those, acquainted with the early history of the country; and the mind was led to recollect, with veneration and sublime pleasure, the daring enterprise, the noble zeal, and the determined valor, of that illustrious band, who, in this place, laid the foundation of empire; and who prepared, in this western clime, an asylum for the persecuted and oppressed of the old world. — Several toasts were given, pertinent and sentimental; and the following ode, written for the occasion, was sung and repeated, with the most sensible satisfaction and pleasure.674

    Then follows the ode written by Judge John Davis.675 If the day was celebrated in 1795 and 1796, no accounts have been found; but the celebration in 1797 was thus described:

    Plymouth, Dec. 23, 1797.

    mr. russell,

    I AM aware it will be a political apostacy with some people to trace up a descent from the wicked island of Great-Britain. But from no country wicked as it is, had I rather be descended than from that. The manners, the religion, and the future policy of a country are influenced for ages by the manner, the religion, and the sciences of the country of the first settlers. To the country of our forefathers, long illustrious for their treatment there, as well as the virtue and sufferings in this, are we indebted, with our own improvements, for the most of our civil enjoyments. Accordingly it has been a custom to commemorate their landing in this town, on the 22d Dec. 1620, by some public testimony of a grateful recollection. This year it was likely to pass over in silence by the gentlemen — sensible of this advantage, the young Ladies took up the neglected outcast like the daughter of Pharoah, and nourished it for their own. In the evening they gave the Gentlemen an elegant Ball; and the taste and decorations of the entertainment, were equalled only by the splendor of the usual constellation of beauty in the hall. In the midst of festivity our pleasures were by no means destitute of sentiment. A beautiful Ode, composed sometime since by J. Davis, furnished an agreeable interlude, in which the fanciful antiquarian might think himself conversant with his “rude forefathers.” Indeed, the whole went on with the regular confusion that gives fluidity to mirth, and dancing and careless conversation, and charming good humour gave way only to a spirited song composed by B. Seymour, which finished the evening.

    A. B.676

    Of the celebration in 1798, the following account has been preserved:

    Celebration of our Forefathers.

    Plymouth, Dec. 25.

    THE 22d inst. being the anniversary of our forefathers landing in this place, was celebrated with every demonstration of decent conviviality and filial respect. This was not confined to a few individuals, but excited a general joy, that pervaded the bosoms of hoary age and prattling childhood. A discharge of cannon announced the dawn, and the vessels in the harbour, among others the Governor Carver and Miles Standish, displayed their colours, in honor of those venerable worthies, whose names they bear.

    At 11 o’clock, the inhabitants of the town, accompanied by several respectable gentlemen from the vicinity, assembled in the meeting-house, where the Rev. Dr. Robbins, in a reverential and impressive manner, peculiar to himself, offered a solemn tribute of thanks to the Supreme Ruler of the Universe, for his divine and providential patronage, extended to the small though illustrious band of heroes, who at this inclement season began here, and by their indefatigable perseverance, effected a settlement, which, considered in all its circumstances, has scarcely a parallel in the annals of mankind. Doct. Zacheus Bartlett, in an oration, replete with good sense and a knowledge of antient history, traced the general principles of emigration, feelingly pointed out the striking events which distinguished the enterprise of our ancestors, and introduced and enforced many excellent political observations.

    A hymn adapted to the occasion, and the appropriate Ode of “Sons of renowned Sires,” composed for a former celebration, closed the exercises. In the afternoon a large company partook of a dinner, provided by Mr. Wethrell, in which were to be found all the varieties, that our bays, shores and woods afford, and the pleasures of the social board, decorated with a piece of the consecrated rock, were heightened by commemorating the eventful scenes, of which our mother town has been the theatre. The favorite songs of “Adams and Liberty,” “Hail Columbia,”677 and the aforementioned Ode were sung with great animation and applause, and among others the following toasts were drank.

    The Day.

    Our Forefathers. May the blessings purchased by their perseverance, sufferings and toils, enkindle a flame of gratitude in the bosoms of their descendants, that shall be extinguished only by the last beat of their hearts.

    The antient town of Plymouth. May every view of the consecrated rock, excite in its inhabitants, an emulation of the enterprize and industry of the first settlers.

    The venerable Sachem Massasoit, whose unshaken adherence to treaties, forms a dignified contrast, to the “punie faith” of modern Frenchmen.

    Success to the Fisheries, and unfading laurels to the able negociators, who secured to the United States this incalculable source of wealth, and nursery of seamen.

    Governor Sumner. May his Administration be as wise and pure, and his memory as lasting and precious, as the first Governor of the Old Colony.

    The memory of Dr. Jeremy Belknap. May some future Biographer, render that justice to his exalted merit, which his masterly historic pages, have done to our illustrious ancestors.

    Congress. May it be purged from the unblushing perfidy of Mason,678 and the polluted saliva of Lyon.679

    The warm political feelings of the time were hinted at by the Plymothean who wrote the account of the 1797 celebration. The main exercises of the day were always conducted with dignity at Plymouth, but the informal entertainments which followed afforded opportunities for the display of partizanship which were not neglected; and the toasts offered in 1798 drew from a Boston newspaper the following criticism:


    By their truly pious and worthy Minister and others of the primitive stamp as to Religion and Politics (as given in Saturday’s Centinel) does real honor to the memory of their departed worthies. The doings of some Federalists of the modern stamp after Dinner, is a melancholy discovery that in Plymouth as well as Boston, there are too many of their Posterity who dishonor them by their sentiments and practises, and are melancholy evidences that they are indeed the degenerate Plants of a noble Vine.680

    The Rev. Chandler Robbins died in 1799 and was succeeded by the Rev. James Kendall, who was ordained on January 1, 1800. Hence in 1799 “The day was so near that appointed for the ordination of the Rev. Mr. Kendall, that it was not celebrated by a public discourse;”681 nor, apparently, by a private meeting. Of the celebration in 1800, we read:

    FEAST Of the “SONS of the PILGRIMS” at PLYMOUTH.

    Plymouth, Dec. 24, 1800.

    THE anniversary of the first landing of our Fore-fathers in this town, which forms a distinguished era in the history of our country, was celebrated on the 22d instant, in a manner worthy the interesting occasion. . . .

    When assembled in the sanctuary, the Rev. Mr. Kendall, introduced the exercises, with an appropriate prayer, . . . After singing an ode, composed for the celebration, by a gentleman of the town, who has taken deep draughts at the “castalian fount;” John Davis Esq. delivered a discourse, in which with his accustomed ability and delicacy, he traced the heaven born Pilgrims,682 through the immense toils, hardships and perils, they were compelled to conflict with, from debilitating scarcity, and pestilential disease, from the rage of the elements, and the desolating sword of the wilderness, from the first impression of their feet, on the shores of this new world, until their settlement assumed the face of security, and in a natural as well as moral sense, “the wilderness blossomed as the rose.” In fact, this discourse, will be a valuable acquisition as a picturesque and correct historical epitome, of one of the most stupendous enterprizes, recorded in the annals of time, and effected by a set of worthies, who exhibited a hardihood of character, and a dignified Christian philanthropy, unknown in the systems, or to the feelings, of infidel philosophers.

    The services concluding, with another ode, sung on former similar occasions; a very large number of the inhabitants of Plymouth, with strangers of the first distinction, both of the clergy and laity, met at Mr. Wetherell’s and were richly regaled, from a table plentifully furnished, . . .

    After this congenial entertainment, the following toasts were drank by the company with great cordiality. . . .

    The memory of the governors Carver, Winslow, Prince and Bradford. In whom were eminently combined, the suavity of a Sumner, the intelligence of a Bowdoin, the fortitude of a Trumbull, and the energy of a Gilman.683 . . .

    The memory of the intrepid Captain Miles Standish, who, by his active vigilance, in shielding the illustrious Pilgrims, from the remorseless tomahawk, merited, like Lincoln684 the appellation of the christian hero. . . .

    The Boston pilgrim society.685 Descended from the same renowned origin, may no other emulation be known, than a solicitude of superior excellence.

    Toasts were also drunk to John Adams, Governor Strong, Massasoit, Uncas, the memory of Dr. Belknap; and “A splendid ball in the evening, in which the ladies, brightened by their charms, the scene of hilarity, closed the celebration; and perfect decency and rational enjoyment were the order of the day.”686

    In 1801 an interesting piece of pageantry687 was performed:

    Plymouth, Dec. 25.

    The anniversary of the landing of our ancestors, at Plymouth, was celebrated here on the 22d inst. with filial piety, and affectionate regard. The usual procession was formed, headed by the public officers, and consisting of the inhabitants of all ages, with many gentlemen of distinction from the vicinity, preceded by Capt. Turner’s independent company, in complete uniform; and making a circuit round the town, escorted the officiating clergyman, accompanied by several of his respectable brethren, to the meeting-house of the Rev. Mr. Kendall. After a solemn address to Heaven, and singing an appropriate ode, the Rev. Mr. Allyne, of Duxhorough, in a well chosen discourse, delighted a crouded audience, by pourtraying with great energy of illustration, the exalted character of the Pilgrims, . . . The solemnities of public worship being ended, the gentlemen were sumptuously regaled with all the varieties of fish and wild meat the climate affords at this season, at Old Colony, and Freedom Halls; no one room being spacious enough to accommodate the whole company. After dinner, the following toasts were drank at Old Colony Hall: . . .

    An Indian, dressed in the habilaments of a sachem, met Capt. Turner in the place where Massasoit was first discovered, and the emblems of peace and friendship, which were interchanged, brought into view, an interesting scene, that existed soon after the arrival of our ancestors. A sprightly ball at Old Colony Hall, in which the ladies, by their participation, heightened the social enjoyment, crowned the anniversary festival.688

    In 1802 among the toasts were the following:

    Christianity and the Clergy: —Washington believed—Adams believes, and what if Tom Paine and his friend689 do not believe?

    May the New-England sun of federalism, which illumines a Strong, a Trumbull, a Gilman, and a Tichenor, no longer suffer a partial eclipse in the state of Rhode-Island.690

    Our Sucktash and our Chowder:691 — May they never be supplanted by the soup-meagre of France, or the revolutionary whiskey of the ancient dominion.

    The memory of a Belknap, a Phillips, a Lowell, and a Minot692 — Worthy of being enrolled among New-England Sages.

    The President of these United States — May he, by his future administration, prove that he has at heart the good of his country.693

    In 1803 the Rev. John T. Kirkland delivered “a pathetic prayer and very excellent discourse;” from “this mental feast, about one hundred gentlemen, with grateful hearts, retired to the ‘Feast of Shells,’694 which displayed a sumptuous variety, consisting, not of clams and succatash alone, but of the more delicious rarities of the soil and forest: — nor was the table abandoned until the cheering glass, accompanied by the usual number of toasts, both appropriate and patriotic, closed the interesting scene;” in the evening, “the decorated Hall was crouded by a brilliant assembly of ladies and gentlemen, the progeny of the Pilgrims;” and among the “toasts drank by the younger sons of the Pilgrims in the Town House” were the following:

    3. “The enlightened government of France.” — May it be remunerated for the quit-claim of Louisiana, while our citizens “manage their own affairs in their own way, unopposed by fiscal exactions.”

    7. “The daughters of pierless dames.”695— May they never put off the swaddling clothes of their pristine virtue, in exchange for the habliments of a Walstoncraft.696

    In 1804 it was “a proud reflection, that native hymns and odes furnished the songs, and the joy of the day;” and in the afternoon “a large company of citizens, and literary strangers, partook of an elegant dinner, where the moral and votive festivity of the entertainment was occasionally enlivened by the following toasts; and a brilliant Ball ‘sent away the night in song:’”

    6. John Adams, late President of the United States: — Whose private rectitude and honor, the slanderous tongue of party has never dared to assail. . . . 8. The memory of Gen. Hamilton — “whose developement of truth, was lucid as its path.” . . . 12. The constitutional power of impeachment. “It poisons Justice, when the rancour of party tinctures her current.” . . . The Upas of Monticello. May Judge Chase697 keep to the windward. . . . Johnny Randolph.698 May he find it a hard chase to run down an independent Judge.699

    These toasts drew from a Boston Republican paper the following comment:

    THE federalists, in every transaction, evidence the folly and inconsistency of their conduct. The Plymouth pilgrims have carefully confined their approbation of John Adams to his private character; and under this distinction, have presumed to screen their disapprobation of his public acts. Their toast is, “John Adams, late President of the U. S. whose private rectitude and honor, the slanderous tongue of party has never dared to assail.” This is altogether applied to his private “rectitude and honor.” But, in a subsequent toast, they reprobate in the strongest terms his public conduct; which is thus evinced — “the memory of Gen. Hamilton, whose developement of truth, was lucid as its path.” — Every man knows what Hamilton wrote about Mr. Adams: if then he was accurate in what he said, surely Mr. A. was of all men the most improper person for President. Thus glares the inconsistency of these modern pilgrims — Hamilton was “lucid in the developement of truth,” when he calumniated Mr. Adams in his political reputation!!700

    In the following letter we have a suggestion that was not carried into effect until twelve years later:


    THE important atchievements and pious examples of illustrious characters of former times, are both interesting and instructive to rising generations. Among the glorious events recorded in our history, none claim our grateful recollection more, than the pilgrimage of our venerable fore-fathers. As a testimony of high respect for their characters and memory, the anniversary of their landing and establishment on our shores, should be commemorated as “the glory of children are their fathers.” What scene can be more interesting to the best feelings of the human heart, than a social union, celebrating the virtues and recounting the sufferings of our pious ancestors. While in the full enjoyment of their inestimable inheritance, let it not be imagined that prosperity has contracted our hearts, or debased our character; but, let us pay our annual tribute to their shrine, and perpetuate the theme to future generations. Plymouth should be the consecrated spot; there the footsteps of our fathers, the revered rock, and their more sacred relics are proper objects to employ our contemplations and animate our zeal. The duties of the anniversary have for several years past devolved upon a few individuals, and although we express no apprehension that the genuine sons of the Pilgrims will “be weary in well doing,” yet inauspicious circumstances may exist by which the occasion may be perverted, or the celebration discontinued. It is therefore extremely desirable, that an institution for the purpose should be established, upon principles honorable to ourselves, and to those whose virtues we commemorate. The writer would propose, that an association be formed, to be denominated the Pilgrim Society. The number of members to consist of 101, corresponding with the number of the first settlers. Whether the members should be selected from the native inhabitants of the late Old Colony exclusively, the writer is not prepared to determine; nor is he tenacious of the precise number, should that be deemed inadequate to the purpose intended. The first object of the society should be, to render permanent the celebration of the anniversary. — By assessment or subscription, a fund should be raised, and a proper edifice erected for the festive occasion. In one of its apartments may be deposited such appropriate portraitures and antiquities, as can be procured. A valuable collection might probably be obtained, by donations from those who are generously disposed to promote the views of the institution. A monument, erected contiguous to the edifice, and inscribed to the memory of the Pilgrims, would be a valuable acquisition. But the particular objects which the institution may embrace, as also the necessary arrangements for its formation, are reserved for future consideration. The foregoing observations are intended merely to solicit attention to the subject. The scheme is at present immature — it is expected that it will receive improvement, or a more eligible one be devised.

    A. B.701

    Plymouth, Jan. 3, 1807.

    In 1816 the sermon was preached on December 22, which that year fell on Sunday; but on Monday “a large and respectable number of citizens and strangers, partook of an excellent dinner,” at which “appropriate toasts and occasional songs added to the pleasure of the festival;” and “A splendid Ball in the evening graced with the beauty and elegance of a brilliant collection of the ‘Daughters of peerless Dames,’ concluded the celebration.”702

    The following accounts of the celebrations in 1817, 1818, and 1819 are given, because they indicate the nature of the discourses delivered in those years, which were never printed.


    Was celebrated at Plymouth, on Monday last, in the usual appropriate style, and with undiminished interest. The severity of the weather did not prevent a full attendance on the exercises and entertainments of the day. The address by the Rev. Mr. Holley, corresponded to the high expectations which were entertained, and his admiring audience will long cherish the remembrance of a performance in which just and elevated sentiments, embodied in the happiest expression, were delivered with peculiar grace and oratorical ability. It was the first visit of Mr. Holley to the Old Colony. Early in the morning of the anniversary he viewed the places, which, from any peculiar circumstance, are considered as the most striking memorials of The Fathers, and in the short interval between the return from his walk about town and taking his assigned place in the desk, he was introduced to some aged inhabitants, whose communications suggested considerations, which he thought applicable to the occasion. The reflections originating from these sources, and from ascertaining his own descent from an ancient settler in the territory, formed an apt and pleasing introduction to his Discourse, and created a sympathy of the happiest tendency. The eloquent speaker was followed by his audience with cheerful, animated and unremitted attention through the train of refined and weighty considerations which he ingeniously associated with the subject. It will not be attempted, in this notice, to analyze the Discourse. With its fine polish, there was a solidity of material, rendering it a most acceptable intellectual entertainment, and we hope that the request of the Selectmen, of a copy for publication, will not be denied.703 . . .


    Plymouth, Dec. 26, 1818. The Landing of our Forefathers at Plymouth was celebrated at that place on the 22d inst. by the inhabitants of that ancient town and its vicinity. — The descendants of the Pilgrims, forgetting all differences of party and opinion, united to celebrate the occasion with an affectionate remembrance of their common origin. A procession was formed at 11 o’clock, and escorted to the Meeting-House the Rev. Mr. Kendall by the Standish Guards, a new military corps, under the command of Capt. Weston,704 who now made their first public appearance, and by their correct discipline and military appearance proved themselves worthy of their illustrious name and descent. — The anniversary oration was delivered by the Hon. Wendell Davis, of Sandwich, and gave high satisfaction to a crowded audience. It was an animated and eloquent description of the toils and sufferings, the pious resignation and triumphant perseverance of our venerable Ancestors.705 . . .

    Plymouth, Dec. 25, 1819.

    THE landing of our Forefathers, at Plymouth, was celebrated at that place by their descendants on the 22d, with filial gratitude and joy. The celebration was conducted by the Pilgrim Society, which has recently been established to commemorate this distinguished enterprise, and to perpetuate the respect, which is due to those illustrious men, who, surrounded by danger and exalted by religion, became the founders of an empire. . . . An eloquent and interesting address was delivered by Francis C. Gray Esq. of Boston, who delighted a crowded assembly by displaying the toils and sufferings, the ardent piety and triumphant perseverance of our venerable ancestors, connected with impressive inculcations of maxims, principles and practice corresponding to the illustrious model suggested by the occasion.706 . . .

    It is usually stated that the first celebration under the auspices of the Pilgrim Society707 was in 1820, when Daniel Webster delivered his famous oration; but the last extract shows that the celebration of 1819 was “conducted by” the Pilgrim Society, on which occasion Mr. Gray, the orator, gave a toast to “The Pilgrim Society — instituted in honor of the Forefathers, may it be durable as their fame.” On the same day, also, “an elegant standard, with appropriate emblems, the gift of some gentlemen of Plymouth, was presented to the Standish Guards, from the rock of our Forefathers, by John Watson, Esq.;” and “the usual sequel to the entertainments of this anniversary, a Ball, in the evening, gave a cheerful close to the exercises of the day.”708

    Of the celebration in 1820 we read that “The ball in the evening was attended by more than 600, of all ages; and the costume of the Ladies was at once beautiful and uniform; uniting to real elegance the simplicity of their venerable foremothers;” and that among the toasts drunk were the following:709

    8. New England’s Worthies — and the memory of their illustrious biographers — Belknap and Eliot.

    9. The character of William Penn.

    The memory of Lady Arabella Johnson,710 the Queen of the Pilgrims, and a Martyr in their cause.

    The memory of Gov. Winthrop; the friend and protector of the Plymouth Pilgrims.

    The memory of Gov. Endicott; worthy to be the Chief Magistrate of a Colony of Puritans.711

    Boston Celebrations

    The following letter was printed in the Boston Gazette of December 28, 1772 (p. 2/3):

    Messi’rs Edes & Gill,

    I Was Yesterday informed that the Inhabitants of the ancient Town of Plymouth celebrated the Anniversary of the Landing of their Ancestors in that Town, in a Manner which demonstrated their Sense of the invaluable Blessings of that Liberty for which their Fathers left their native Country; and also their Gratitude to the supreme Disposer of all Events, under whose Direction they steered to this new World, and by whose Assistance their arduous Undertaking was so happily accomplished — The whole Colony of Plymouth are under indispensable Obligations to be ever mindful of those Vertues which so eminently distinguished their illustrious Progenitors. — Nor can it be supposed that the respectable Town of Salem, the most ancient Settlement in what was called the Massachusetts Colony, can suffer the memorable Day to pass unnoticed, in which their ever honored Predecessors first reached the American Shore: And the most publick Demonstration of their Thankfulness to the great Governor of the Universe, as well as a firm and steady Resolution to do all in their Power to transmit to their Posterity the noble Birthrights derived from those Ancestors—is what God and their Fellow Countrymen have the justest Right to expect from them.


    Nahant Beach, Dec. 24, 1772.

    This suggestion appears to have fallen on deaf ears. But in 1797 the Rev. Jeremy Belknap and others are said to have held a private celebration in honor not of the first settlers at Salem or at Boston but of those at Plymouth, though of this I have been unable to find a contemporary account. In 1798, however, a public celebration took place. Up to this time, as already pointed out, the Plymouth celebrations had always been dignified and free from partizan politics, but at once the Boston celebrations became a high Federalist carnival. In an interleaved copy of Thomas’s Almanack for 1798, the Rev. John Eliot recorded: “Dec. 22. Dined Concert Hall. Feast of Shells.”712 In the Massachusetts Mercury of December 25 appeared this —


    ☞ It is with regret that we feel ourselves obliged to omit the details of the celebration of the most important day in our History — the arrival of our Forefathers. They are in Press and situated exactly in the place of the preceeding News — and was the only matter which could be withdrawn without a total derangement of our form. ☞ They shall appear on Friday (p. 2/4).

    In the Columbian Centinel of December 26 was printed this announcement:


    ☞ We are necessitated to defer many articles intended and prepared for this day — Amongst others the particulars of “The Feast of the Sons of the Pilgrims” (p. 2/4).

    The following account appeared in the Massachusetts Mercury of December 28:


    The 177th Anniversary of the arrival of our Forefathers at Plymouth, was celebrated by a respectable Company at Concert Hall, on Saturday last. Gen. Lincoln presided, and Joseph Russell, Esq. was Vice President. A Dinner, composed of similar food to what sustained our renowned Predecessors, in the arduous task of commencing our Country, was provided. The Hall was decorated with the sacred Portraits and bright Swords of our pious and brave Ancestors. The Independent Spirit of their Sires, is fully inherited by their sons. The innovations of the Mother Country were opposed with a Courage which commands Success — — — nor is the same energy wanting to repel the attempts of any other Power. The Genius, Integrity and Patriotism of this large and respectable Company is amply evidenced by the following Toasts.

    • The Pilgrims of Leyden.” — May the Empire which has sprung from their labours be permanent as the rock of their landing.
    • John Robinson, of whom it was declared hard to judge whether he delighted most in having such a people, or they in having such a pastor.
    • Governor Carver — The leader of the illustrious band, and an early victim to the hardships of their enterprize.
    • Governor Bradford. — Who sought to avoid, not to obtain office; a man of fidelity and honor.
    • William Brewster, ruling elder — to whom his Bible and his arms were alike familiar.
    • Edward Winslow. — Who, “excellent in parts and wisdom,” in all his diplomatic conduct, “cleared the country from blame and dishonor.”
    • Miles Standish. — The military commander of the Pilgrims, foremost in every hazardous enterprize, brave in combat, and forbearing in victory.
    • John Winthrop. — Father and Governor of Massachusetts, “who overcame others by overcoming himself,” and also had the honor of being callumniated by the Jacobins713 of his time.
    • The swords of Endicott and Standish, by which the first Sedition Pole in New-England was demolished.
    • The goodly land, which God has given us. May we never surrender it to Satan.
    • The Liberty of our Forefathers, “a civil, moral, federal liberty,” a liberty for that only which is just and good.714
    • May all movers of Sedition, and lords of mis-rule, whether native or imported, meet the fate of Oldham and Morton, of Mount Wallaston!715
    • Our Fore-Mothers: — let their heroism, patience, and conjugal love be consecrated to everlasting esteem and imitation.
    • To the revered memory of our lamented divine, biographer, and historian, Dr. Belknap, who has conducted us thro’ the pleasant paths of ancient times.
    • The spirit of the Old Colony Executive,716 who for a present of Arrows and a Snake-skin, from a savage enemy, returned powder and ball, with this answer — “If you wish war, you may have it”!
    • The Federal Constitution: like the “shallop of our fathers,” may it find a “Rock” and a shelter in Old Colony virtues and principles!
    • The President of the United States.717 — In the glorious work of animating and guiding the patriotic spirit of his country, may he go on and prosper!
    • Lieut. General Washington. — May his sword be successfully wielded against foreign insolence and oppression, and the hero of American liberty yet have the satisfaction of again contemplating in his retirement, the independence and prosperity of his country.718
    • John Jay. — May the lasting happiness and gratitude of his country, and the plaudits of an admiring world, be the recompense of his talents, patriotism, and services.
    • Alexander Hamilton. — May the future services of this luminary of our western hemisphere be as useful and brilliant as the past.
    • Governor Sumner. — May he long enjoy the rich reward of the love and reverence of his countrymen.
    • Chief Justice Dana.719 — May his fame be as permanent as our law, and our law as pure as his integrity.
    • Timothy Pickering. — The Rock of State, firm while Frenchmen froth around its base.
    • Oliver Wolcott.720 — When French men or the friends of Frenchmen come to our treasury, may he keep the key.
    • Buonaparte, and his army. — May they wander in the wilderness of Egypt without manna to feed, or the brazen serpent to heal them,
    • The Red Sea. — May it continue faithful to the cause of God and men, if the modern Egyptians should attempt its passage.
    • The military and naval establishments of the United States. — May they be encreased and supported in proportion to our exigences.
    • The strong arm of government — May it be felt by intrigaing aliens, and seditious citizenss721
    • The Apostate Talleyrand722 — a man by chance, a bishop by grace, and a knave by instinct.

    The following elegant and patriotic Ode written for the occasion by Mr. Thomas Paine was repeatedly sung amidst the most unbounding applause.723

    Paine’s ode, to the tune of the “President’s March,”724 contained eight stanzas, of which the second and fourth are as follows:

    Round the consecrated rock,

    Conven’d the patriarchal stock,

    And there, while every lifted hand

    Affirmed the charter of the land,

    The storm was hush’d, and round the zone

    Of heaven the mystic meteor shone;

    Which, like the rainbow seen of yore,

    Proclaim’d that slavery’s flood was o’er;

    That pilgrim man, so long oppress’d,

    Had found his promis’d place of rest.


    Sons of glory, patriot band,

    Swear to guard this chosen land!

    To your Children leave it free,

    Or a desert let it be!

    Heirs of Pilgrims, now renew

    The oath your fathers swore for you,

    When first around the social board,

    Enrich’d from Nature’s frugal hoard,

    The ardent vow to heaven they breath’d

    To shield the rights their sires bequeath’d!

    Let Faction from our realm be hurl’d; —

    United, you defy the world; —

    And, as a tribute, scorn to yield

    The Worm, that blights your blossom’d field!


    Sons of glory, patriot band,

    Swear to guard your native land!

    To your children leave it free,

    Or a desert let it be!725

    The account promised by the Columbian Centinel duly appeared in the issue of December 29, and began as follows:


    Celebrated on Saturday Dec. 22, the 177th Anniversary of the landing of their Forefathers at Plymouth Rock. — As it was the day of the nativity of New-England, the commemorating banquet was attended by a very numerous and respectable company, most of whom were lineally descended from the first settlers of the Old Colony. Gen. Lincoln presided, and Jos. Russell, Esq. was Vice-President, at the board of the “Pilgrims,” which was amply and characteristically furnished with every species of wild food, which the elements afford, at this period of the year. The portrait of the pious Wilson, and the swords of Carver and Standish were conspicuous among the embellishments of the hall; and the following toasts evinced that the spirit of the Old Colony patriots had been bequeathed to the inheritors of their soil (pp. 2–3).

    It is thus seen that the term Feast of Shells726 at once made its appearance, and that the word Pilgrim, as specifically applied to an early settler, was first used by Thomas Paine and immediately caught the popular fancy.727

    It was not to be expected that the gross partizanship displayed by the participants in the celebration should have escaped criticism. A communication signed “Propriety” appeared in the Independent Chronicle of December 31:

    TheFeast of Shells.”

    for the chronicle.

    Several of the Rev. Clergy were present.” No doubt recommended by their politicks, suitable persons for such a feast, they boast of feasting on such a dish once in their lives. But politicks gave even shells a relish. — Their parishioners complain that these shepherds feed them with the husks of politicks once a week, without the least tincture of truth to season husks — though they pay them weekly and well, to be served with Christian truth, and not with the fibs and artifices of the Politician.

    The Feasts all Shell and no Fish, as one would conclude, must have ended with — all Bottle and no Liquor. — But that was not the case. It was necessary there should be wine and that the best of priests’ wine, sufficient for twenty-nine Toasts from their priestly lips, which last served to fit them for a song of the American Tom Paine to the tune of the President’s march. . . .

    Strange it was that the managers of that feast, should imagine that those Heavenly Pilgrims could approve of the practice of toasting, to which they were so much averse on earth. They thought it to be of evil tendency, and immoral, and therefore not to be countenanced; they thought it could be borne with only by Baehanalian Topers. To have heard 29 toasts given, must immediately have ended their journey through this then howling wilderness, and carried them strait to their desired home.728

    But those men of sobriety only perceive that they led to tipling, but not that they might be improved by Tories and Courtiers to injure the essential interests of a free and virtuous People. The publisher of the toasts given at the Feast of Shells, says that justice is done to our first and later worthies with affection, cordiality, and sincerity. Yet as to some of those toasts, tho’ called federal, they surely do not discover the features of a Pilgrim, — I mean of one traveling to the land of purity and peace — Such were our venerable Ancestors . . . .

    Let us take a look at some of the Toasts and see if they discover more judiciousness. . . .

    Alexander Hamilton. May the future services of this Luminary of the Western hemisphere he as useful and brilliant as the past.” — Astonishment almost stops my pen. What! and was there no Phineas present, to take up the faithful sword of one of the chiefs of the first Settlers and which helped to decorate the Hall, and with a laudable zeal have avenged the shameful insult offered in this toast to the conjugal purity of those Ancient Worthies?729 And why in the name of common decency did not the brave and virtuous General then in the Chair, give out immediate orders to his Drum Major to go round the Hall and beat to the tune of — “Drunk or sober, go to bed Tom — go to bed Tom” (pp. 2–3).730

    The celebration of 1799 was thus described in the Columbian Centinel of December 25 (p. 3):


    The anniversary of the landing of our Ancestors, at Plymouth, in 1620, was celebrated in this town, on Monday last, by a large number of gentlemen, who dined together at Concert-Hall. The guests were several immediate descendants of the first company of emigrants, with a large number of native citizens sprung from the early settlers of Massachusetts, or the Old Colony; or connected with them by the affection and respect they bear to their memory. Stephen Higginson, Esq.731 presided; and Joseph Russell, and Peleg Coffin, Esquires, officiated as Vice-Presidents.

    The tables were covered with a choice collection of fish, wild meats, and birds: And a shell of uncommon size, borrowed from the Museum of the Historical Society,732 adorned the head of the table, containing the appropriate succatash, sufficient for the numerous company.

    The following toasts were given. [They shall be given to the public on Saturday.]

    After the first toast, an Ode, in honor of the Fathers, was sung, with suitable solemnity by the company to the tune of Old Hundred. Lines adapted to this ancient tune were conceived to be well adapted to the occasion. It was pleasing to recollect that our ancestors sang together their sacred hymns in this tune; which on good ground is supposed to have been composed by the celebrated Reformer, Martin Luther. — The “Plymouth Ode,” composed for the celebration of the anniversary there, in 1793,733 was also performed; and Mr. Paine’s admired song of “Sainted Shades,” composed for the last anniversary.734

    The celebration of this anniversary leads us to the tombs of our Fathers; and naturally excites some degree of not unpleasing sensibility; — But it was the lot of the company who assembled on Monday to have the soothing contemplations on the deeds and characters of the Fathers, overwhelmed by the intelligence of a most afflicting event, which will excite the sympathy of the whole civilized world. In the forenoon of the day, a rumor prevailed, that WASHINGTON was dead! Before noon it was rendered painfully certain.

    Common festivals upon such intelligence would have been omitted: But the impressions arising from the celebration were thought not inconsistent with a due sensibility to the sad event which was announced. The usual expressions of gaiety had no place; and the guests appeared assembled rather for condolence than festivity. Had it been possible, none could wish to exchange his tender emotions, for thoughtless hilarity; since every heart capable of sympathy will pronounce,

    “The broadest mirth unfeeling folly wears,

    Less pleasing far than even Virtue’s tears.”

    At the close of the first Ode to the memory of the Fathers, a tribute of respect was attempted to the memory of the Great Man who has fallen. As the Ode was originally prepared, it concluded with the following verse:—

    Hail Pilgrim Fathers of our race,

    With grateful hearts your toils we trace,

    Oft as this votive Day returns,

    We’ll pay due honors to your urns.

    After the afflicting intelligence of the day arrived, the following lines were added,

    Ah! while we gather round your urn,

    Joins your blest band, great WASHINGTON. —

    Hark, to that knell * — a NATION’S sighs

    Waft his PURE SPIRIT to the skies.

    * The bells were then tolling.735

    In this ode, written by Samuel Davis, the term Pilgrim Fathers occurs for the first time.736 The list of toasts promised by the Columbian Centinel, duly appeared in the issue of December 28:


    ☞ The following are the toasts given at the Feast of the “Sons of the Pilgrims,” at Concert-Hall, on Monday last.

    1. THE 22d of December, 1620. — May its perpetual celebration be a monument to the virtues of our fathers, durable as the rock of their landing.

    2. The President of the United States — The venerable Chief, who sustains our empire, by toils and virtues, like those by which it was acquired. 3. The Administration of the United States. — May it display the wisdom of Carver, the integrity of Bradford, the firmness of Winslow, the piety of Brewster, and the spirit of Standish. 4. The Commonwealth of Massachusetts. — May it ever find Governors like the last;737 resembling Bradford and Winthrop. — Men who did not seek office, yet whom office sought; who were willing to rule, and not less willing to be ruled. 5. The Fathers of New England. — May the healthful stamina of their institutions resist the infection of insidious philosophism. 6. Antient maxims and antient manners. — May they be duly respected by modern policy and modern philosophy. 7. The memory of our Ancestors. — May their ardour inspire and their success encourage their descendants to maintain their birth-rights, and may all their enemies be converted like Massasoit, or suffer like Phillip. 8. The American Judiciary. — Lord Coke’s benediction to them, “The gladsome light of jurisprudence, the loveliness of temperance, and the solidity of justice.” 9. The American Navy. — Let it be remembered, that the ocean it is to defend bore our sires on its bosom. 10. Those Foreign Ministers, who, like Carver, “carry themselves with good discretion,” and like Winslow, “clear the country from blame and dishonor.” 11. Our Envoys to France,738 who will remember that the sons, like the fathers, would rather be blotted from the book of that republic, than “become marginal notes to a French text, which is yet but apocryphal.” 12. The sixteen United Fires.739 — May they bum bright and pure; full of genial warmth to the friends of our country, and of deadly heat to its enemies. 13. Correct systems in politics and religion; and sharp swords to defend the one, and sound sense to maintain the other. 14. May the doctrine older than our fathers never be forgotten, that liberty of the people is inseparable from the authority of the magistrate. 15. The prudent policy of our fathers — welcoming worthy emigrants and refusing to the sons of sedition a resting place for their feet. 16. The antient Town of Plymouth. — Prosperity to those who dwell around the cradle of our country. 17. GEORGE WASHINGTON — “My father, my father; the chariots of Israel, and the horsemen thereof.”

    Engraved for The Colonial Society of Massachusetts from an original in the possession of the Massachusetts Society of Mayflower Descendants

    volunteer toasts.

    From the Chair. Whilst we celebrate the memory of our Fore Fathers, may we imitate their virtues, that we also may be had in remembrance.

    The memory of the Historian of our Ancestors, Dr. Belknap. — Devouring time or barbaric fury shall destroy marble monuments; but nothing shall demolish his labours.

    The virtuous Matrons, who attended the Pilgrims. — The image of their fair example of conjugal love and simple manners will never be wanting in their daughters (pp. 1–2).

    The names of those who presided or were present in 1800 do not appear in the newspaper accounts of that celebration, but among the toasts drunk were the following:

    1. 6. May Federalism, like the Live Oak, though prostrate prove the country’s best defense.
    2. 8. May the exulting notes of antifederalism, like those of the swan, prove the prelude of its death.
    3. 10. May the ghosts of our pious forefathers walk during the approaching reign of infidelity, and deter the daring philosophists from attacking the sacred temple of religion.740

    A correspondent who signed himself “A. X.” thus freed his mind in the Independent Chronicle of December 29 (p. 2/3):

    The fag end of the Faction described.

    THE first settlers in New-England fled from the cruel hand of persecution. . . . When, therefore, the day of their arrival is celebrated as a festival, it ought to be done in a temper suited to the principles which brought them to this country. But in a late assembly, which stiled their entertainment The Feast of Shells, that very spirit of persecution, that malignity of heart, that superb haughtiness of spirit, and that same claim to lawless rule and uncontrouled domination, which drove our Ancestors from Europe, were exhibited at full length.

    The Feast of Shells was introduced some years ago by a number of men, who wished to perpetuate the honor of the first American emigrants. It was not intended as a political engine, to contaminate and wound the true principles of civil liberty. Nor was it intended as a political measure, or for any other purpose, than that of doing honor to the virtues of those who fled to these shores for the enjoyment of freedom.

    The public ought to be informed, that the men who assumed the feast this year, are not the men who originated it. That a number of men, whose politics have poisoned the sources of science, have made even their public devotion subservient to the vilest party purposes — have dissolved the bands of friendship — have subverted all sincerity and truth in political communications — have, under the mask of Federalism, attempted to overthrow the best Constitution on earth. These men contrived to collect themselves, as a party in opposition to the great body of the people. To countenance their indecency and contemptible abuse, they invited others, who perhaps did not know their intentions. The toasts they drank, and all their arrangements was an insult upon the President, the Republic of America, and upon the great body of the Citizens.

    The fact is, that this festival, as they celebrated it, was the overboilings of their chagrin and disappointment. They came forward with the torch of discord in their hand; and the flame was increased by the oil of revenge and disappointment.

    The man who presided at the festival,741 has been the avowed enemy of John Adams. He was no greater friend to Washington before the capture of Burgoyne, than he was to Samuel Adams, John Hancock and Thomas Jefferson.

    The feast was supported by the same men, who feasted Gen. Hamilton, when he was lately in Boston. It was arranged with a view to support the interest of a man, whose morals are as infamous, as his politics are dangerous to the American Republic. . . .

    In 1801 Stephen Higginson presided, while Joseph Russell, Martin Brimmer, and Peleg Coffin assisted as vice-presidents; and among the guests were “the Hon. John Adams, Hon. Timothy Pickering, the President of the Senate, the Hon. Judges of the Federal and State Courts, the President and Professors of Harvard University, several of the Rev. Clergy, the Hon. John Q. Adams, George Cabot, and Fisher Ames, Esquires.”742 The presence of John Adams, Timothy Pickering, and Fisher Ames led the Independent Chronicle of December 24 (p. 3/1) to declare:

    Thefeast of shells,” we understand, was celebrated in this town, on Tuesday last, by a number of rare characters. “Strange times, strange times indeed,” have come to pass! when we can behold the Braintree Lion,743 the Essex Hyena, and the Dedham, Watch-Dog quietly feeding in open day within the same enclosure!!!

    The celebration of 1802 was thus described in the Columbian Centinel of December 25:


    On Monday, the 22d December, was celebrated in this town, the Anniversary of Our Fathers’ landing at Plymouth, Anno Domini 1620. A hundred and one gentlemen, the number that arrived in the first ships, sat down at the “Feast of Shells,” with those joyous and elevated emotions that rise from contemplating the characters of great and good men. Among the distinguished guests were His Honor the Lieut-Governor,744 Gen. Lincoln, The Hon. Timothy Pickering, the Officers of the University, several of the Revd. Clergy of this and the neighboring towns, the Hon. Judge Paine, Hon. Messrs. Cabot, Ames, Dwight and Brigham.745 Stephen Higginson, Esquire, was President of the day, Joseph Russell, Peleg Coffin and Martin Brimmer, Esquires, were Vice Presidents. The Hall was appropriately ornamented with the portraits of Winthrop, Endicott, Leverett, Higginson, Bradstreet, and Wilson; together with an historical painting, “The Landing of the Fathers,”746 from the pencil of Mr. Sargent, and many curiosities connected with the manners and persons of the time. At proper intervals several Odes and Songs, written for this occasion, were sung with the spirit which inspired them, and the festival was concluded with a propriety and gladness of heart becoming the “Sons of the Pilgrims” (p. 2/4).

    Among the toasts were:

    1. 4. Brewster, Cotton, Norton, Higginson, Eliot,747 and the venerable Elders of New-England: . . .
    2. 5. New-England: — Here may Republicanism ever be at home — Democracy ever be an alien.     [“Yankee Doodle.”]
    3. 14. Our Sister Virginia: — When she changes the three-fifths748 of her Ethiopian Skin, we will respect her as the head of our white family. [“Go to the Devil and shake yourself.”]
    4. The memory of Dr. Belknap, the founder of this Celebration: May he be revered with the monuments of our Ancestors, and live in the virtues of their Sons.

    Volunteer by Judge Paine.749

    Great-Britain: May that Nation, which stood the Friend of Liberty when Liberty had no other Friend among the Nations, be refined and confirmed, and remain the Jachin, while the United States of America stands the Boaz, of True Political and Social Liberty, until Sun and Moon shall be no more (p. 2/4).

    This account was the cause of great hilarity among the Democrats. One critic remarked:

    The Toasts given at Vila’s are worthy a serious notice, but as there are so many degenerate Sons of our worthy Forefathers, we could not expect a more decent collection. — The only one which we now particularly notice, is Judge Paine’s; what the old man means is somewhat difficult to explain; his Boaz and Jachin is a new species of Federal nonsense. At the next meeting, we expect he will give Gog and Magog.750

    He concluded by asking “whether it is decent” for a man holding an office worth from ten to fifteen thousand dollars a year to associate with those who throw odium on the President. Another writer said:

    It is asked whether Judge Paine is a Jew or a Christian? One would suppose neither; unless it can be proved that Jews and Christians may drink profane toasts at Bachanalian revels. — To introduce Scripture allusions at a carousal, is a new thing under the sun. But we will not say what the intellectual condition of the learned judge was, after he had voluntarily borne his part of eighty bumpers in honour of our pious & venerable Forefathers!751

    “Plymouth Rock” declared that —

    THE Federal troops seem to be totally disbanded; and the “Grand King,” with all his subalterns, are crying out to the champions of their caisse, to appear on the parade of the newspapers. The scribblers in these several papers, are charged with tardiness; they are called on to rally, and bring into the field all their ammunition. Even Stephen, the Shell-President, the man whom they describe as the most powerful antagonist, seems to betake himself to the back-ground, and, coward like, entices an Old Man to expose his folly, in the uncouth dialect of Jewish phraseology. Stephen has long been an old “Rat,” he smells the trap as well as the cheese, and generally adopts some cunning artifice, when he intends to spring it; but who would think that he should persuade an old fox to his purpose, or should be so artful as to make an old man lug into Vila’s two such heavy pillars as Jachin and Boaz? . . . Stephen, . . . if the old Judge was really under the pressure of Jachin and Boaz, or the whole Porch of the Temple, . . . would not have put forth his little finger to relieve him; but would let him “Go to the Devil and shake himself!”752

    “MUST private character,” asked “Spintext,” “be constantly lacerated by the forked tongue of the envenomed slanderer?” Then, remarking upon the persons present, he continued:

    The officers of Cambridge University. These are the men to teach the “young ideas how to shoot” — to fan into life, the expiring spark of ambition —and to blow the coal of genius into a flame. . . . Was it to inculcate such illiberal principles, that our enlightened Ancestors planted the tree of life in Cambridge? — Would they have nurtured and fostered the tree, if they had been apprehensive of such fruit? — What will be the sensations and reflections of those southern Gentlemen, who have placed their children under the instructions of such men? — Will they feel obliged, when they read, that their enlightened Instructors were regaled at this mock feast of the Pilgrims? — and, with federal devotion and savage glee, drank a full glass to the damnation of more than eight hundred thousand souls! — “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.”753

    “Cotton Mather” made the following —

    Observations on a late Toast at the Feast of Shells.

    IT would be matter of curiosity, if we could have the names of the Sons of the Pilgrims who celebrated at Vila’s the emancipation of our Forefathers from the British house of bondage; we could then form some idea of Judge Paine s Jachzn and Boaz. . . . If the Judge did not mean to confine his idea solely to the Pilgrims present, but intended to embrace Great-Britain as the great Ally of America, in support of the Liberty of the world; yet even this sentiment must be foreign from the intentions of Solomon; . . .

    The whole proceeding of the late Feast seems a jumble of inconsistencies; the Toasts are made up of a farrago of nonsense and impropriety. The Constitution of the United States, or the respective States, are not even mentioned; we can’t say these persons are in favor of either by what they declare; they seem only intent to the elevation of particular men, and these are so strangely connected and designated as to shew the folly of the Baccanalian Pilgrims:— . . . The whole proceeding discovers a paltry attempt to deceive the public in the political views of the Lacoites by leading honest Pilgrims from the right road.754 . . .

    But the most ludicrous part of the whole business commences at the moment when they give “The State of Virginia:” — This ancient State, the birth-place of Washington, is stigmatized with every degrading epithet, and to top the climax, it is accompanied by the tune of “Go to the Devil and shake yourself!” This is a pretty ditty for the Sons of our pious Forefathers: — what an appearance must Gen. Lincoln & Judge Paine, in company with Stephen Higginson, Fisher Ames, Timothy Pickering, Dr. Parker,755 the Reverend Mr. John Gardner,756 &c. &c. make, while attentively listening to the music of Go to the Devil and shake yourself? . . . What a figure must these pious Pilgrims make, while listening to a tune, the appellation of which strikes every man of morality with disgust and horror? . . .757

    In 1803 Stephen Higginson again presided, while Peleg Coffin, Martin Brimmer, and William Tudor were vice-presidents. Among the toasts were the memories of Brewster, Cotton, Norton, Higginson, and Eliot, “the five burning and shining lights in ‘golden candlesticks’ in the early churches of New-England;” and “Louisiana — a country without patriots — May our Patriots without a country occupy what they have bought, and leave us to enjoy what we have inherited.”758 A satirical poem was printed in the Independent Chronicle, of which a few lines follow:

    The modern Clam-Eaters.

    THE Pilgrim’s Sons who dwell on earth,

    God knows from whom they claim their birth;

    On some pretence, as rumour tells,

    Each year renew their feast of shells,

    At faction-hall, where tories meet,

    Apostate whigs and priests to greet; — . . .

    For there the living act their part,

    And lay the bottle close to heart.

    Whilst clams and oysters round are spread,

    And wine to rouse some drooping head.

    Old Stephen mounted in the chair

    Of federal feasts and toasts lord mayor,

    Proclaims again their cause of meeting

    Once more his brother tories greeting.759

    In 1804 Stephen Higginson once more presided, Christopher Gore, Peleg Coffin, and William Tudor acting as vice-presidents. The hall was decorated with portraits of Winthrop, Endicott, Higginson, Bradstreet, and Rogers, and with busts of Washington and Hamilton. One account reads:


    The 184th anniversary of the landing of the first settlers of New-England, was celebrated on Saturday last, in this town, by a numerous company, who dined together, in the usual appropriate style, at Concert-Hall. About 35 years since, this anniversary began to be celebrated, by the Inhabitants of Plymouth, where the first settlement in New-England was effected in 1620. In 1797, it was first noticed in this town, by a small company, of whom the late Dr. Belknap was one. Since that tune, it has been annually observed, by increased numbers. The recent enlargement of the Hall, afforded accommodation to a larger collection, the present year, than had ever before assembled on a similar occasion. Nearly two hundred gentlemen partook of the entertainment, among whom were many of the Clergy of the Town and Vicinity, Officers of the University, the President of the Senate, and several other respectable guests. . . . Sentiment and Song enlivened the feast; and appropriate music accompanied the Toasts, a copy of which we have procured. . . .

    1. 3. The New-England Minority — Like true Puritans, not intimidated, though involved in the “sin and danger of Non-conformity.”
    2. 16. The memory of Lady Arabella Johnson, and all the primitive Dames of New-England, who cheered the toils of the Pilgrims, and participated in the hardships of their arduous enterprise.
    3. Louisiana — A country of golden dreams and leaden realities.
    4. The memory of Dr. Belknap — The American Plutarch; the distinguished Biographer of the Pilgrims.760 . . .

    The pleasures of the feast were greatly enhanced by a number of excellent songs and catches by Mr. Shaw professor of music, and Messrs. Fox and Bernard of the Theatre.761

    It will appear strange to many, that a festival originating in a grateful sense of the virtues of our forefathers, and a desire to perpetuate their memories, should not escape the malignity of democratic opposition. But so it is. The feast of the Sons of the Pilgrims is detested by the ranting Innovators of the present day, and the very mention of the habits and principles of those, to whom we owe many of our best institutions is a rock of offence.762

    The following satirical piece appeared in the Independent Chronicle of December 27, 1804 (p. 2):

    THE PILGRIMS — a dream.

    IN consequence of the parade that is made previously to this mock-celebration, by our eating Aristocracy, I was induced to reflect upon the subject, and was lamenting that such a solemn, providential and virtuous occurrence as that of the landing of our forefathers, at Plymouth, should be thus satirized and rendered into burlesque, by men who neither possess their principles of pious thought nor liberal action; who would rather welcome a British tyrant to our shores, than retreat here from one. In this state of rumination and regret, I fell asleep; and, me thought I was translated to the Concert-Hall, where a great number of well-fed, well-dressed Pilgrims, who had never endured penance beyond a drunken head-ache, were walking about with some impatience, looking at their gold watches, and demanding the dinner forthwith. At length the folding-doors of this magnificent banquet room were thrown open, and the perspiring cooks entered, with all the rarities of the season. . . .

    At the upper end of the room was written, in letters of gold,

    Eamus quo ducit gula, peregrini!

    and at the lower end was inscribed,

    “’T is merry in the hall,

    When chins wag all.”

    I observed that the company attempted to eat their soup, at first, with cockle shells, (a la Palerin) but his honor, the moderator, having spilled some fat broth on a new pair of black satin breeches, he called for spoons, and the antique fashion was abandoned. . . . When they filled a bumper to the memory of our oppressed but honored forefathers, I observed that some quizzing Pilgrims leered in derision, while they gulphed down the votive potation!

    When the cloth was removed, the presiding actor at the serio-tragic comic, annual farce, called on Pilgrim Ben for a sentiment; who archly gave, “in gaining a pint, may we never lose a gallon.” — Some of the party began to murmur at this idea, as a sarcasm, retrospectively levelled at the recent misfortune of the Aristocracy. At length order was restored, by the president calling for the following annual commemorative song or hymn: —

    The Pilgrims in Masquerade,



    IN penance for past folly,

    We Pilgrims, melancholly,

    Get drunk to make us jolly,

    And laugh at Liberty!

    Th’ Electoral Ticket fails us,

    Abhorrent Truth assails us;

    Now what the Devil ails us,

    Is known ’twixt you and me! . . .

    Nor did the fact that the celebration this year occurred on a Saturday escape the notice of the Democrats, as appears from two criticisms:

    Forefathers. — In celebrating the arrival of our forefathers, it is proper, not only that their political, but religious principles should be venerated. — Quere, whether our pious ancestors spent their Saturday evenings in a bacchanalian repast, and trespassed on the solemnities of the Sabbath, by jocular songs, and other demonstrations of irreligion. — But this is modern religion under the sanction of federalism.763

    Say, ye Priests, ye ministers of the pure, peaceable, and holy religion of Jesus, how can you mingle, in the laugh of revenge, the toasts of slander, and the song of personal contempt, on a Saturday evening, and bend with confidence over the board of devotion on the day following!764

    In 1805 the day was celebrated on December 21st, as the 22d fell on Sunday. “Among the gentlemen present,” we read, “were the descendants of Bradford, Winslow, Brewster, Standish, Winthrop and Higginson, the most prominent characters among those who established the oldest colony in this part of America;” but neither their names nor those of the presiding officers were printed in the newspapers.765

    The Independent Chronicle of December 26 remarked:


    It has been announced in our papers, that a number of the “most respectable” gentlemen celebrated the anniversary of the landing of our forefathers at Plymouth. Who these most respectable characters are, we are not told. . . . The toasts on this occasion are a kind of enigmatical declaration of political principles, which would puzzle any man to comprehend. Their volunteers are not promulgated; being, it is supposed, either too absurd for perusal in a cool moment, or too high seasoned for the present taste of the public. We understand, however, that the favorite song of “Rule Britannia,” was sung among the sons of the pilgrims; in honor, no doubt, of the late “glorious victory,”766 which enables the British navy to extend its sovereignty over the ocean. . . . How a merchant767 could sit with composure to hear a song in praise of a nation which had interdicted almost the whole commerce of this country, is as remarkable as any narrative we could find in Mather’s Magnalia. How wonderfully profound must these “wise men of the east” have appeared. A lawyer on one side, a priest on the other, and a merchant on the centre, all joining a chorus — “Rule Britannia, Britannia rules the waves!” . . . Callipee and callipash, clams and oysters, succatouch and pumpkin puddings, turkies, ducks, chickens, beef, venison, meat pies, custards, and other sweat meats; the whole interlaid and dove tailed with cider, punch, wine, brandy, and other mouth waters, forming a salutary repast most grateful to the delicate stomachs of jovial pilgrims in honor of their ancestors.

    How would a Higginson, Broadstreet, Bradford, Winslow, Brewster, Standish, or a Winthrop, have looked, after partaking of such a ponderous meal as these “most respectable” gentlemen carried away under their jackets on Saturday night last! Our worthy forefathers would not have been able to stagger under such a load, especially if some of them had to preach on the next day. Alack a-day, (some of their parishioners would cry) our parson looks as if he had been a husking!

    It is understood, however, that the song was not generally applauded, though some who ought to imbibe the spirit of their ancestors were more elated than others of their brother pilgrims (p. 3/1).

    Under the signature of “Agricola” appeared in the Independent Chronicle of January 2, 1806 (pp. 1–2), the following —

    Reflections on a late Feast of Shells in Boston.

    . . . Some years ago, a number of persons, who had been engaged in the toils, dangers and anxieties of the revolution, proposed to celebrate, annually, the origin of our country, and to honor the memory of the men, who fled to these shores to secure their natural, civil & religious rights. In honor to the ancestors of the country, who were fed with clams, and other bounties of the sea, they called it a feast of shells. There were no parties in politics or religion among them; but all was love, peace, and harmony. No offensive or abusive toasts were given en, no irritating, obscene or lascivious song was heard; but a cheerful, and dignified gravity, adorned the priest and the people, while decent sacrifices were offered, and the libations of temperance and chaste propriety were poured at the passover of New England. . . .

    The terrible party, united under the auspices of colonel Hamilton, held all the ideas of republicanism in derision; . . . He died in the field of murder, in a duel, yet his party, the party at the late feast of shells, celebrate his character, and his praises have even tinged the forms of public devotion with the pollution of guilt.

    This party have crouded themselves into every public place, where impudence can remove the bars of decency and patriotism; and having gained the seats at the feast of shells; having polluted the anniversary, with the principles of monarchy,768 and having served up the leeks, the onions, and the flesh pots of Egypt, on the alter of the New England passover — the men who love the principles of our ancestors, retired from their noisy uproar, and do not appear at the irregular Jubilee.

    But as these men have published their toasts to the world, and have had the audacity to call themselves the principal men of the town of Boston, their indecency of conduct merits some serious remarks. . . .

    This renders it necessary, that the public should know who those heroes of the bottle are, that have the confidence to call themselves the principal men of the town of Boston. Were there any senators, counselors, or representatives there? . . . Were ministers of religion there? if they were, let it be known. Did they smile on the obscene song, or join in the chorus of Brittania rule the waves? . . .

    Besides this, while we are contending for the important and enriching privileges of national nutrality, what will other nations conceive of us, when they shall read in our gazettes, that the principal men of Boston, at a public feast, openly, in the noise of the loud chorus, and in the riotous huzza of the pointed toast, appeared to be already inlisted on one side of the belligerent powers, had realed, by political inclination, over the line of nutrality, and avowed themselves the decided, though intoxicated, volunteers of one party in the European war? . . .

    To this a Federalist replied:

    mr. russell,

    THE toasts given at the last “Feast of Shells,” in this town, which the Chronicle first found innocent or, at worst, enigmatical, are now pronounced, by an infuriated “Agricola,” to be seditious, a profanation of the principles and characters of our ancestors, “an abuse of our happy constitutions and of those who formed and are determined to maintain them.”

    Such wanton perversion of language, such malignant and unqualified calumny of good citizens and respectable men, can only proceed from the pen of an occasional contributor to the Chronicle, whose delirious effusions exhibit a melancholy picture of human extravagance and folly; and who generally interlards his miserable productions with an affected parade of historical learning, of which he knows little; — and with scraps of Latin, of which he knows nothing. . . .

    Agricola” makes a clamorous call for the names of those who so audaciously dined together on this occasion, and seems solicitous to have the Bill of Fare. He knows, or ought to know, that being charged with the high crimes of sedition and rebellion, they are not bound to furnish evidence against themselves. As to their bill of fare, they do not apprehend that they could be endangered by giving it, in all its variety; but in a case so critical, it is discreet to be silent.769 . . .

    The writer’s refusal to divulge the names of those present seems to indicate some uneasiness of mind. At all events, the Boston celebrations reached their height in 1804, and the vigorous attacks on those who managed the festival in 1805 had their effect, for, though the celebrations were continued for a few years, they lost their political significance and soon ceased altogether.770 It is worth noting that at none of these Feasts of Shells was there a discourse, nor does it appear that there were ever any speeches. But in 1813 the day was celebrated by the Massachusetts Historical Society in a formal manner, a notice of which will bring to a close these accounts of Boston celebrations:

    Commemoration of the Landing of the Fathers.

    WE are happy to hear that this interesting anniversary is about to be celebrated by the Massachusetts Historical Society, in a manner appropriate to the occasion and worthy of this highly valuable institution. At eleven o’clock, THIS DAY, the Hon. John Davis, will deliver an ORATION before the Society, in the Stone Chapel; and the Rev. Dr. Freeman and Dr. Holmes will perform suitable religious services. It will be, doubtless, a scene, which the taste and refinement of this metropolis will delight to witness. — And notwithstanding the usual obtrusive modes of attracting public notice have been omitted by the Society, the interest of the occasion and the rank and genius of the speaker will, unquestionably, assemble a large and discriminating audience. We understand that the doors will be opened for ladies at 10 o’clock.771

    Of the celebrations that occurred elsewhere than at Plymouth or Boston, one only need be mentioned — that at New York on December 22, 1805. It was thus described:


    [We present the following account of the proceedings of the Sons of the Pilgrims, in New York, as a just satire on those of this town.]

    On Saturday last the members of the “New England Society,” in this city, celebrated the 185th Anniversary of the landing of their forefathers at Plymouth. An elegant dinner was prepared for the occasion by Mr. Lovett. The Rev. Docts. Rogers and Beach772 performed in a devout and very appropriate manner the accustomed religious services of the table. More than 150 gentlemen of the society, forgetting all differences of party and opinion, united to celebrate the occasion with an affectionate remembrance of their common origin and in the true spirit of a society, the objects of which are friendship, charity and mutual assistance.

    This we believe, is the first time in this state that the descendants of New England, now so extensively diffused, have joined in a public and solemn celebration of that anniversary. . . .

    Among the toasts were the following:

    1. 2. New England. . . .
    2. 3. The city of Leyden. . . .
    3. 5. John Carver, first Governor of the first colony of New-England.
    4. 6. John Winthrop, the venerable founder and first Governor of Massachusetts.
    5. 7. John Smith, who gave to New-England its name, and to its inhabitants a bright example of naval skill and courage.
    6. 8. The descendants of the first settlers of New-York — we respect them as our elder brethren, and may they regard us as members of their family.
    7. 12. The President of the United States — Drank standing.

    It is further stated that “the toasts were interspersed with many excellent Songs,” one of which “had been composed at a few hours’ notice” by Thomas Green Fessenden.773

    In the discourses delivered at Plymouth and in the accounts of the celebrations held there from 1769 to 1798, both included, the words “ancestors,” “ancestry,” “fathers,” and “forefathers” frequently occur, but neither Pilgrim nor Pilgrim Fathers. These terms were first recorded, in 1798 and 1799 respectively, not at Plymouth, where one would naturally expect to find them, but in Boston. It is a reasonable conjecture, however, that they were in colloquial use before they found their way into print; and it seems fair to assume that they arose at Plymouth somewhere between 1793 and 1798.774

    Origin of the Term

    We have seen that, as applied specifically to the early settlers at Plymouth, Pilgrim first appeared in 1798 and Pilgrim Fathers in 1799. To explain how these terms came to be so used, we must glance back one hundred and seventy-eight years. But before doing so, let us consider the words pilgrim and peregrine. The former, derived from the Latin peregrinum, “one that comes from foreign parts, a stranger,” has, with its derivatives, been employed in English literature for over seven centuries in various senses, but chiefly in the following five. (1) “One who travels from place to place; a person on a journey; a wayfarer, a traveller; a wanderer; a sojourner,” found as early as about 1200.775 (2) “One who journeys (usually a long distance) to some sacred place, as an act of religious devotion; one who makes a pilgrimage,” found as early as about 1225. (3) “Figuratively, chiefly in allegorical religious uses,” found as early as about 1225. (4) In American history, as discussed in this paper.776 (5) “An original settler; a new-comer, a recent immigrant.”777 The word peregrine, derived from the Latin peregrinus, has been employed, with its derivatives, in meanings similar to those of pilgrim, for over five centuries. In particular we should note the way in which these words have been employed in the Bible, especially in St. Paul’s Epistle to the Hebrews. In the Geneva version of 1557 — and it was this version which the Mayflower passengers brought with them — Hebrews XI. 13 reads thus:

    And they all dyed in faith, and receaued not the promises, but sawe them a farre of, and beleued them, and receaued them with thanckes, and confessed that they were strangers and pylgrems on the earth.778

    It was design, not chance, that gave to the first child of English parents born in New England the name of Peregrine White.779

    In 1630 Governor Bradford began to write his History of Plymouth Plantation. Referring to the departure from Leyden on July 21–31, 1620, he said:

    And ye time Being that they must departe, they were accompanied with most of their Brethren out of ye citie, vnto a towne sundrie miles of called Delfes-Hauen wher the ship lay ready to receiue them. So they lefte yt goodly & pleasante citie, which had been ther resting place, nere .12. years; but they knew they were pilgrimes & looked not much on those things; but lift vp their eyes to ye heauens, their dearest cuntrie; and quieted their spirits.780

    Heb. 11

    Though Bradford’s History was not published until 1856 it was well known to American historians before the disappearance of the manuscript at the Revolution, and the above passage had more than once made its appearance in print before 1798. The first time was in 1669, when Nathaniel Morton gave it as follows:

    . . . and the time being come that they must depart, they were accompanied with most of their Brethren out of the City, unto a Town called Delfs Haven, where the Ship lay ready to receive them: so they left that goodly and pleasant City, which had been their resting place above eleven years; but they knew that they were Pilgrims and Strangers here below, and looked not much on these things, but lifted up their eyes to Heaven, their dearest Country, where God hath prepared for them a City, and therein quieted their spirits.781

    Hebr. 11. 16.

    In 1702 Cotton Mather wrote:

    After the fervent Supplications of this Day, accompanied by their affectionate Friends, they took their leave of the pleasant City, where they had been Pilgrims and Strangers now for Eleven Years.782

    If the Reader would know, how these good People fared the rest of the Melancholy Winter; let him know, That besides the Exercises of Religion, with other Work enough, there was the care of the Sick to take up no little part of their Time. ’T was a most heavy Trial of their Patience, whereto they were called the first Winter of this their Pilgrimage, and enough to convince them, and remind them, that they were but Pilgrims.783

    But the Vessel rose again, and when the Mariners with sunk Hearts often cried out, We sink! We sink! The Passengers without such Distraction of Mind, even while the Water was running into their Mouths and Ears, would chearfully Shout, Yet, Lord, thou canst save! Yet, Lord, thou canst save! And the Lord accordingly brought them at last safe unto their Desired Haven: And not long after helped their Distressed Relations thither after them, where indeed they found upon almost all Accounts a new World, but a World in which they found that they must live like Strangers and Pilgrims.784

    In 1767 Governor Hutchinson remarked:

    After eleven or twelve years residence in Holland, . . . one of the congregations . . . determined to remove to America. There were many obstacles in their way and it took up several years of their pilgrimage * to make the necessary preparations for such an undertaking.

    * I think I may with singular propriety call their lives a pilgrimage. Most of them left England about the year 1609, after the truce with the Spaniards, young men between 20 and 30 years of age: They spent near 12 years, strangers among the Dutch, first, at Amsterdam, afterwards, at Leyden. After having arrived to the meridian of life, the declining part was to be spent in another world, among savages, of whom every European must have received a most unfavorable if not formidable idea. Tantum religio potuit suadere.785

    In 1775 the Rev. Samuel Baldwin preached from Hebrews XI. 8, and, referring to Abraham, said:

    It was a hard though just command—“get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house.” He quits all his possessions, foregoes every convenience, in his native land; bids adieu to dearest relatives, when, or whither ever to return again, he knew not; all was uncertainty; he departs, not knowing whither he went: How long he must wander as a pilgrim from city to city, from one kingdom and country to another; what hardships and difficulties he must undergo, to what dangers he must be exposed, he was altogether in the dark, ignorant, and unapprized. . . .

    Abraham, acting agreeable to these, acquitted himself in the best manner, with honour and dignity, with the approbation of his Maker. And while he wandered about, as a pilgrim, altogether uncertain of the time of the fulfilment of the promise, there was a part for him to act, agreeable to his character, as a man of sense and reason, a servant of the most High, and the father of the church of Israel. . . .

    This is the account given of the rise of the Fathers of this country: . . . And as the fathers viewed themselves as absolutely under the direction of providence, they held themselves obligated to attend to its calls.786

    Whether Baldwin had noted the use of Pilgrim by Morton or by Mather, it is impossible to determine; but Baldwin does not apply the term to the early settlers. That is, he does not specifically call the early settlers Pilgrims, though he does compare their condition with that of Abraham.

    In his sermon preached in 1793, the Rev. Chandler Robbins, pastor of the First Church at Plymouth, stated that “although the accounts chiefly must be derived necessarily from historical facts, . . . yet, I shall bring to your view, some circumstances — some ancient anecdotes, which, I presume, have never yet been made public, at least, which I have never seen. I shall take them from the first book of the very ancient records of this church, now in my hands.” These early records had been kept by Nathaniel Morton, a nephew of Governor Bradford. Robbins continued:

    “And now, the trying time being come, that they must depart, (say the records) they were accompany’d by most of their brethren out of the city, into a town called Half-Haven, where the ship lay readye to receive them. So they left that goodly and pleasant city, which had been their resting-place, near twelve yeeres. But they knew they were pilgrimes, and looked not much on those things, but lifted up theire eyes to Heaven, theire dearest country, and quieted their spirits. . . .”787

    Thus, whether the term arose at Plymouth or in Boston, its pedigree can be traced back through Robbins, Hutchinson, Mather, Morton, and Bradford to the departure from Leyden in 1620. There are several cases where the origin of a term must be sought for many years before the term itself came into existence, but there cannot be many to explain which it is necessary to look back one hundred and seventy-eight years.

    Propriety of Application

    “The latest English traveller,” wrote the Rev. Joseph Hunter of London in 1849, referring to Sir Charles Lyell’s visit to Plymouth, “describes . . . the relics which are exhibited of these ‘Pilgrim fathers,’ as they are affectionately called.”788 A little later, however, doubts appear to have arisen in Hunter’s mind as to the appropriateness of the term, and in 1854 he remarked:

    The people of New England pay all proper deference to the colony of New Plymouth as being the parent colony of their country, and they speak fondly, if not wisely, of the persons who established it as The Pilgrim Fathers.789

    3 There is something of affectation in this term, which is always displeasing; and we have seen also very strange applications of it: but further, it appears to me to be philologically improper. A pilgrim is a person who goes in a devout spirit to visit a shrine — real in the first instance but afterwards a place where, it may be, no shrine is, but which is hallowed by some recollections which would deserve to have a substantial representative. An American who visits the place from which the founders of his country emigrated is a pilgrim in the proper sense of the word, whether he finds, a shrine, an altar, or a stone of memorial, or not. But these founders when they sought the shores of America were proceeding to no object of this kind, and even leaving it to the winds and the waves to drive them to any point on an unknown and unmarked shore. There is, however, it must be owned, the same corrupt use of the word Pilgrim in the English version of the Scriptures, “and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth.”3

    In an article called “Puritans — Pilgrims — Palmers,” printed in a Boston newspaper in 1870, Charles C. Hazewell made — or, rather, repeated — the same criticism:

    Is it proper to speak of the men who came over in the Mayflower as “Pilgrim Fathers?” Puritans in language assure us it is not, and they are right, though time and usage, and poetical associations have sanctioned the term, so that it is worse than idle to object to it, seeing that the objection would lead to nothing but a waste of words, — and the objector would, it is probable, be regarded by all good Americans as a bore, Yet we may subscribe to what is said on this subject by one of the best of our authorities on the history of the Pilgrims.

    Mr. Hazewell then quoted the passage from Hunter given above, and added: “In a certain sense, the term is well used, for if the pilgrim be a wanderer, as he is according to one definition of the word, the Separatists who came hither certainly were pilgrims; for they wandered from England to Holland, and from Holland to America.”790

    After what has been said in a previous section,791 it need hardly be pointed out that Hunter’s criticism is due to an entire misapprehension of the history and meanings of the word pilgrim, that the Scriptural use of the term is not “corrupt,” that there is nothing either “philologically improper” or of “affectation” in our use of the term Pilgrim Fathers, and that such use is perfectly legitimate.792

    Meaning of the Term

    For twelve years (1769–1780) the celebrations at Plymouth were purely local, the speakers and participants being either Plymotheans or from the neighboring towns in the Old Colony. For the next twelve years (1781–1792) the celebration fell into abeyance. Revived in 1793 and 1794, it was still local, and in 1797 it was merely a social gathering. It was instituted to commemorate those who “landed” in 1620, and of course only the Mayflower passengers did land in that year. When, therefore, during the first twenty-nine years, the participants spoke of their “ancestors,” “fathers,” and “forefathers,” undoubtedly they had chiefly in mind the Mayflower passengers, even though occasionally they drank toasts to the memories of a few who, like Cushman and Morton, reached Plymouth after 1620. But in 1798 the celebration began to assume a distinctly different character. Though to commemorate the past was, and continued to be, still the main object of the occasion, yet the present assumed a much greater prominence than heretofore; current politics were emphasized; the speakers were generally chosen from beyond the limits of the Old Colony; and the horizon was greatly widened, including the early settlers of Massachusetts as distinct from those of Plymouth. When, too, in 1798, the Boston celebrations began, the field was still further broadened, for the Boston celebrators, while not forgetful of the early Plymouth settlers, naturally had principally in mind the early Massachusetts settlers. Hence by about 1800 the terms Pilgrims and Pilgrim Fathers, which had then become well established, meant any early settlers of either of the two colonies which in 1692 were united under the Province of the Massachusetts Bay.793 And such use of the term continued for many years — indeed, still continues.794

    Towards the middle of the nineteenth century it was felt by some that the terms had been used too loosely. Thus in 1841 the Rev. Alexander Young declared that “The term Pilgrims belongs exclusively to the Plymouth colonists.”795 In 1848 the Rev. Samuel M. Worcester wrote:

    There are those who will “garnish the sepulchres” of the “Pilgrims” of Plymouth Rock, and the “Fathers”* their associates of Salem, Charlestown, Boston, and other primitive settlements; while they are slow to recognize the true secret of the moral worth, and energy, and endurance, by which those godly sires achieved their noble deeds and won their renowned conquests and possessions.

    * Those who came to Plymouth are properly called “The Pilgrims”; — because they had sojourned in Holland. We speak of them as “the Fathers.” But “the Fathers” were not all “Pilgrims.”796

    “It is to be observed,” said the Rev. Alvan Lamson in 1851, “that the term ‘Pilgrims’ belongs exclusively to the Plymouth colonists. It is never by accurate writers applied to the Massachusetts colonists.”797 In 1866 Benjamin Scott spoke of “the Pilgrim Fathers of Plymouth Colony” as “the only persons to whom that term has been historically applied.”798 This restriction, however, of the terms Pilgrims and Pilgrim Fathers exclusively to the Plymouth settlers is recognized at the present time only in the Old Colony itself.

    About the middle of the nineteenth century, also, an attempt was made to define somewhat precisely the meaning of the terms. “Those who came in the first three ships,” said Young in 1841, “the Mayflower, the Fortune, and the Ann, are distinctively called the old comers, or the forefathers.”799 In 1849 Sir Daniel Wilson wrote:

    The arrival of the Anne and Little James, with their new band of emigrants casting in their lot with the founders of Plymouth, marks a period of peculiar interest in the annals of the Pilgrim Fathers. By all the historians of New England these later pilgrims are reckoned with those who came in the Mayflower and Fortune, as the Old Comers or Forefathers. It was the completion of the band of Pilgrims, the aristocracy of the New World, from whom, as from a fount of honour, its titles and its privileges were to be derived to all after ages.800

    The last of the Pilgrim Fathers.

    About 1884 John A. Goodwin remarked:

    The above list closes the catalogue of those who are known as the Pilgrims, the First Comers, or the Forefathers. These names, therefore, are used synonymously for those who came in the “Mayflower,” the “Fortune,” and the “Anne,” with her consort. The number at landing, it will be remembered, was: “Mayflower,” 102; “Fortune,” 35; “Anne,” about 96: total, 233.801

    In 1897 the late Edward Arber made this elaborate statement:

    Who were the Pilgrim Fathers?

    The general answer to this must be:

    All those members of the Separatist Church at Leyden, who voted for the emigration to America; whether they were actually able to go there or not: together with such others as joined their Church from England.

    Membership in the Pilgrim Church was the first qualification: intended, or actual, emigration to New England was the second one.

    This general definition will include the Rev. John Robinson and his family; who were unable to leave Leyden. It also includes the 35 members of the Leyden Church who arrived, at Plymouth in New England, in the Fortune, in November 1621; the 60 who arrived, in the Ann and Little James in August 1623; the 35 with their families, who arrived in the Mayflower in August 1629; and the 60 who arrived in the Handmaid, in May 1630.

    It likewise includes Christopher Martin and his wife, who joined from Billericay in Essex: and Richard Warren, and John Billington sen. and his family; who came from London.

    It also embraces William King, who started from Southampton in the Mayflower on the 5th of August 1620; but who, with Robert Cushman, returned back from the voyage, at Plymouth; . . .

    It further includes hired men, such as John Howland, a Man-servant in Governor Carver’s family; and John Alden the cooper: who both came out in the Mayflower, and eventually embracing the Pilgrim Cause, became honoured men among the Pilgrim Fathers.

    On the other hand, it excludes all those members of the Pilgrim Church who had no wish to go to America. . . .

    It also excludes all hired men who went out in the Mayflower; and who did not become members of the Church in the Old Colony. So all the Mayflower passengers were not Pilgrim Fathers.

    It likewise excludes Thomas Weston and all the seventy Adventurers, as such: for having Shares in the Joint Stock did not make them Pilgrim Fathers.

    It further excludes (though it is very hard to make the exclusion) three of the four London Merchants, now known as the noble Friends of the Pilgrims; who were among the number of the Adventurers, and who also joined with the eight Undertakers of the Colony in the Composition of 15/25 November 1626: Richard Andrews, John Beauchamp, and James Shirley; but it includes the Fourth of these, Timothy Hatherley, because he settled at Scituate about the year 1635.802

    In 1898 the Rev. William E. Griffis remarked:

    The affectionate term “Pilgrim Fathers,” coined by later generations, includes (1) the members of the Leyden church who voted for emigration, whether able or unable to go; (2) those who came from England and joined the church. The Mayflower passengers constituted the “Old Stock” of Bradford’s meaning. Those who reached New Plymouth in the Mayflower, Anne, and Little James were called the “Old Comers,” or “Forefathers.”803

    The terms Pilgrims and Pilgrim Fathers are of popular origin, and so necessarily are incapable of precise definition; and Arber’s fine-spun distinctions are too fanciful and absurd for serious consideration. Suffice it to say that at the present time by the terms are generally meant the passengers who came in the first four ships — the Mayflower in 1620, the Fortune in 1621, and the Anne and the Little James in 1623.

    How the terms came to be applied to them in particular has already been shown. It now remains to point out that the word Pilgrim was also applied to others, though Plymotheans are so accustomed to appropriate the word to their own ancestors as to resent its application to others. Yet it would be strange indeed if a word which had been in common use for four centuries before the sailing of the Mayflower should in the seventeenth century have been restricted to the men and women who came on that historic vessel. There was a ship named Peregrine in 1594,804 at least two others of the same name between 1603 and 1625,805 and one of the same name in Boston in 1659.806 In 1591 there was a ship named Pilgrim;807 another in 1595;808 another between 1603 and 1625;809 and in a letter to Endicott dated London, May 28, 1629, the Governor and Company of the Massachusetts Bay wrote, “Wee send yow also herewth a p̄ticuler of . . . what goods, cattle, or other ꝑvisions, wee now send vpon these 3 shipps, viz, the Mayflower, of Yarmouth, . . . the Fower Sisters, of London, . . . the Pilgrim, of London.”810 Writing about 1651 Edward Johnson said:

    At this time those who were in place of civill Government, having some addition Pillars to under-prop the building, begun to thinke of a place of more safety in the eyes of Man, then the two frontire Towns of Charles Tourne, and Boston were for the habitation of such as the Lord had prepared to Governe this Pilgrim People. . . .

    It being a work (in the apprehension of all, whose capacity could reach to the great sums of money, the edifice of a mean Coledg would cost) past the reach of a poor Pilgrim people, who had expended the greatest part of their estates on a long voyage, . . .

    Thir year [1650] was the first noted year wherein any store of people died, the ayr and place being very healthy naturally, made this correction of the Lord seem the greater, for the most that died were children, and that of an untoward disease here, though frequent in other places, the Lord now smiting many families with death in them, although there were not any families wherein more then one died, or very rare if it were otherwise, yet were these pilgrim people minded of the suddain forgetfulness of those worthies that died not long before, but more specially the little regard had to provide means to train their children up in the knowledg of learning, and improve such means as the Lord hath appointed to leave their posterity an able Minister.811

    In a letter to John Winthrop, Jr., dated October 30, 1660, the Rev. John Davenport said: “It was of Mantoweeze that the land was bought, whereby N. H. [New Haven Colony] bounds extended neare unto Cold Spring, beyond Pilgrims Harbour.”812 Pilgrims’ Harbor was “probably a hut where travellers between Hartford and New Haven found shelter.”813 In 1660 Henry Gardiner wrote:

    . . . if good Society and English Government were there, people would rather live there, than in Africk, Greece, Italy, France, Spain, or England; it transcends all the Baltick Seas, and affords all or any Commodity they have, & more plenty of sundry sorts, and of more concernment to his Majesty, than if all the Baltic Seas were annexed to his Empire; as in a short Epitomy and Anotamy of those countries, from New-found-land to Cape Florida, with Mapps and Cards shall appear, with Collections of 55 years Pilgrimage.814

    In 1694 Joshua Scottow said: “Thus far of the Light and white side of the Pillar, which attended us in this our Wilderness Pilgrimage; the black and dark side remains.”815 In 1702 Cotton Mather, referring to Salem, wrote:

    An Entrance being thus made upon the Design of Planting a Country of English and Reformed Churches; they that were concerned for the Plantation, made their Application to Two Non-Conformists Ministers, that they would go over to serve the Cause of God and of Religion in the beginning of those Churches. The one of these was Mr. Higginson, . . . the other was Mr. Skelton, . . . These Ministers came over to Salem, in the Summer of the Year 1629. . . . ’Tis true, there were two other Clergy-Men, who came over about the same time; nevertheless, . . . we will proceed with our Story; which is now to tell us, That the Passage of these our Pilgrims was attended with many Smiles of Heaven upon them.816

    In 1786 David Humphreys, in his “Poem, On the Happiness of America; Addressed to the Citizens of the United States,” wrote:

    Here equal fortunes, ease, the ground their own,

    Augment their numbers with increase unknown —

    Here hamlets grow — here Europe’s pilgrims come

    From vassall’d woes to find a quiet home.817

    The following extract is taken from the Independent Chronicle of January 6, 1794:

    CONCORD, December 26, 1793.

    At the Anniversary Meeting of the Pilgrim Society in Concord, on the 25th instant, at Lieut. John Richardson’s* for the purpose of commemorating the Divine Nativity; after transacting the necessary business of the Society, they spent the evening in grateful and Christian conviviality, and most cordially drank the following pertinent Toasts on the occasion, viz.

    First. The Birth-Day of our SAVIOUR.

    Second. The Pilgrims in Concord.

    Third. The Day. — While we feast as strangers and brethren, let us rejoice as Christians.

    Fourth. May the light of Reason and Philosophy, banish superstition.

    Fifth. May we never want a Washington, nor a Washington a grateful People.

    Sixth. May the basis of our freedom be virtue, and lasting as time.

    Seventh. May those, who are struggling for Freedom and Equality, ever enjoy them.

    Eighth. May we ever rejoice in each others freedom and prosperity.

    Ninth. Strangers, wheresoever they are.

    After which the Members retired to their respective places of abode, in great good order and filled with many good impressions.

    * A Society formed in Concord, some years since by a number of young Men, who emigrated from various towns, and settled in Concord, and replenished from time to time, with persons only of that description. — The Society now consists of about 20 members.818

    Between 1785 and 1794, the Rev. Ezra Stiles often spoke of the regicides who had taken refuge in New England as Pilgrims.819

    It is possible that when Mather alluded to Higginson and Skelton as “these our Pilgrims,” he may have been influenced by the passage in Bradford’s History, known to him through Morton; but such could not have been the case with the other writers just quoted. It is interesting to find the early Massachusetts settlers called a Pilgrim people or Pilgrims a century and a half before the word was specifically applied to the Plymouth settlers, and a Pilgrim Society at Concord thirty years before a similarly-named society was formed at Plymouth.

    Wherever the terms Pilgrims and Pilgrim Fathers are found after 1798, of course their use is due to the Pilgrims of Plymouth.820 In 1830 John F. Watson published his “Annals of Philadelphia, being a Collection of Memoirs, Anecdotes, & Incidents of the City and its Inhabitants from the Days of the Pilgrim Founders.” In 1831 John V. L. McMahon wrote:

    Leonard Calvert. . . purchased the town from the natives, and established his colony within it by their consent. In pursuance of his agreement with the natives, the colony was disembarked at the town of Yaocomoco, on the 27th of March, 1634, and took possession of it by the name of St. Mary’s. Then and thus landed the Pilgrims of Maryland, and then and thus were laid the foundations of the old city of St. Mary’s, and of our present State. . . . The close of the second century since that event, is now near at hand; and why should not the return of the day, which commemorates the landing of these pilgrims, be the occasion of a jubilee to us? . . . The landing of the Pilgrims of New England, has been the burden of many a story, and the theme of many an oration. . . . Yet whilst we would avoid all invidious contrasts, and forget the stern spirit of the Puritan, which so frequently mistook religious intolerance for holy zeal; we can turn with exultation to the Pilgrims of Maryland, as the founders of religious liberty in the new world.821

    “Thus much,” remarked William L. Stone in 1842, “for the public career of this great Indian benefactor to the Pilgrim Fathers of Connecticut.”822 “It was a beautiful thought,” declared Joseph R. Chandler in 1855, “and does honor to those who entertained it and gave it utterance, and finally put it into practice, to make a public celebration of the ‘Landing of the Pilgrims of Maryland;’” and in the oration he delivered on the occasion, he alluded to “the Pilgrim Fathers of St. Mary’s,” “the Pilgrims of St. Mary’s county,” “the Pilgrim Fathers of Maryland,” and “the Pilgrims of St. Mary’s city.”823 “The Pilgrims of Plymouth,” wrote Whittier in 1872, “have not lacked historian and poet. . . . The Quaker pilgrims of Pennsylvania, seeking the same objects by different means, have not been equally fortunate;” and so he composed his poem “The Pennsylvania Pilgrim,” dealing with Francis Daniel Pastorius.824

    The Pilgrims of Plymouth and the Puritans of Massachusetts

    We now reach the last phase of our subject — namely, the distinction between the Pilgrims of the Plymouth Colony and the Puritans of the Massachusetts Colony. Were the passengers in the Mayflower Puritans in religion? During the past half-century this question has been hotly contested, and admirable authority can be cited in both the affirmative and the negative. The problem is too complex for treatment here, and its discussion is reserved for a future occasion. Moreover, for our present purpose it is immaterial whether the Mayflower passengers were or were not, properly speaking, Puritans. It will be sufficient to show what views have been held on this subject since 1769.

    In 1776 the Rev. Sylvanus Conant said: “In these and the like ways, God as it were searched out and prepared a place in this wilderness for the flight of his little persecuted flock. It must be noticed that the civil and ecclesiastical powers of England at this time, were against them, on account of their puritan principles.”825 “Hence they,” remarked the Rev. Samuel West in 1777, referring to the enemies of “our fathers,” “called them, Fanaticks, Schismaticks, and, in scorn, Puritans; and they doubtless thought that God would be glorified by their thus cruelly persecuting their brethren.”826 In 1794 Belknap stated that in 1620 “A Company of ENGLISH PURITANS, who had resided twelve years in Holland, began a colony in New England, which they called New Plymouth.”827 “Two Centuries are this day completed,” said the Rev. John Chester in 1820, “since the Puritan Pilgrims of New England landed on the soil of the new world;”828 and in the same year the Rev. Daniel Huntington remarked, “Let it ever be remembered with admiration and gratitude, that a Church of English Puritans began the settlement of New England.”829 “A company of these Puritans,” wrote the Rev. Samuel Green in 1828, “among whom were the first of the New England pilgrims, in 1610, bade adieu to their native land and settled in Leyden.”830 “Where were the Pilgrims,” asked Rufus Choate in 1843, “while in this furnace of affliction? Who saw and cared for them? A hundred persons, understood to be Lollards, or Precisians, or Puritans, or Brownists, had sailed away some three thousand miles, to arrive on a winter’s coast, in order to be where they could hear a man preach without a surplice!”831 In the same year Webster spoke of “the Puritans who landed upon the Rock of Plymouth.”832 “But with all their errors,” declared Lewis Cass in 1848, “history has left on record no name in all the annals of religious controversy, brighter or nobler than that of the Pilgrim Puritans, who raised an altar in the western wilderness, and died around it.”833 In 1851 Joseph Banvard spoke of “the forty-one Puritan fathers who signed the memorable compact in the cabin of the Mayflower.”834 In 1855 the Rev. Joseph B. Felt wrote:

    The departure of Columbus for the discovery of a new world, and for opening new sources of commerce, wealth, and knowledge, was an enterprise worthy of the noblest mind; but the undertaking of the Leyden Puritans to found a commonwealth suited to cherish and expand the blessings of civil and religious liberty is one of brighter, sublimer ends.835

    “But of the Congregationalism of the Puritans,” said our late associate the Rev. C. Carroll Everett in 1865, “as represented by Pilgrim Fathers, during the first years of their residence in America, our liberal churches are the true and only representatives.”836

    Not only does writer after writer,837 from 1769 to about 1860, assert that the early Plymouth settlers were Puritans, but during that period apparently no other view was taken. And the same view is still held by many eminent scholars. But in 1866 Benjamin Scott of London advanced an opposite view. Before quoting Mr. Scott, it is pertinent to point out that previous writers, though regarding the early Plymouth settlers as Puritans, were yet alive to the fact that those early settlers were Separatists, while the early settlers at Salem and Boston still regarded themselves as members of the Church of England.838 Thus in 1847 William H. Dillingham, speaking of the Mayflower passengers, said, “A step in advance of their brother Puritans, had entitled them to the designation of Separatists.”839 In 1851 the Rev. Alvan Lamson wrote: “The Pilgrims, or Plymouth Colony, were Separatists; the Massachusetts Colony was mostly composed of Puritans, who had not before left the national church.”840 “The Pilgrims of Plymouth,” declared Charles Sumner in 1853, “were among the earliest of the Separatists.”841

    But while pointing out that the early Plymouth settlers were Separatists, the writers just quoted regarded them as also Puritans. In 1857 the Rev. Edmund H. Sears wrote:

    We will not take our final leave of the good men whose labors and sacrifices we have been reviewing, without a filial tribute to their virtues. This we do, because, with all the eulogy bestowed upon them by popular historians and orators, we doubt if their principles are yet fully understood. They are constantly confounded with the Massachusetts Puritans, whereas they were entirely different in character, temper, principles, and policy.842

    Mr. Sears then proceeded to draw a contrast which presents the Massachusetts Puritans in a very unenviable light. In 1860 the Rev. John Waddington remarked that “Few, comparatively, clearly understand the distinction between the Puritans, and the Separatists who gave rise to the Pilgrim fathers.”843 We are thus brought to the statement made by Benjamin Scott in 1866:

    I propose first to show that the Pilgrim Fathers of Plymouth Colony — the only persons to whom that term has been historically applied, the first successful Anglo-Saxon colonists of America, and the real founders of New England — were not Puritans, as is often carelessly and erroneously reported, but Separatists.

    The difference between the early Puritans and the Separatists was not one of name merely, . . . but wide, fundamental and irreconcilable. . . . It has been asked, “Did the Pilgrim Fathers repudiate the term Puritan as applied to themselves?” I reply they were not and could not, at that day, have been afforded the opportunity of repudiation; no such confusion of terms could then have arisen.844 Their enemies were too vigilant and unrelenting, and they and their predecessors were too truthful to permit of their shielding themselves under the term of Puritan.845

    Mr. Scott’s lecture was widely read in this country and its main contention, that the early Plymouth settlers were not Puritans, though denied by some,846 was accepted by others. “Before tracing the history of this separation,” said the Rev. Henry M. Goodwin in 1870, “let me speak of the difference between the Puritans and the Pilgrims, who are often confounded by many persons. This difference was not one of name merely, but wide and fundamental. . . . The Pilgrim Fathers who founded the Plymouth Colony, and who planted and gave type to our institutions, were not Puritans, but Separatists, men of larger and freer and more catholic spirit, than the Puritans who came after, and settled in Salem and Boston.”847 In the same year the Rev. Henry M. Dexter is reported to have said:

    The speaker did not know if the difference between the Puritans of Boston and the Plymouth Pilgrims was understood by many, but it was important in celebrating the present occasion not to forget this difference. Such men as the Pilgrims of Plymouth were almost impossible to understand. They started in the north of England, — men with one idea, — and that idea was, that they must do right whatever it cost them. They felt that the Anglican church was not right according to the Bible, and that nothing like it could be right. The Puritans started with the same idea, but they did not carry it out. They saw the Anglican church was unscriptural, and said that they must avoid being under the yoke, but they stayed there a long time, and when they came here they believed they were going to still live in vital union with the Church of England. The Pilgrims, feeling they could not do right in England, determined to leave, and went to Holland, but finding there that they were unfortunate in opportunities for the education of their children, they added the idea that was the key note to their action — the missionary idea. This idea was new as they wrought it out; it did not appear in the history of Christianity, and the form in which the American Board of Foreign Missions were now working it out. The Pilgrims’ idea was to come over and worship God in this new country, in their own way, among savages whom they might convert.848

    It was in 1870 also that Robert C. Winthrop spoke of the Rev. Joseph Hunter as having “turned his attention to the Pilgrims of Plymouth, and to the Puritans of Massachusetts, for the latest and best themes of his unwearied investigations;”849 and went on to say:

    An Episcopalian myself, by election as well as education, and warmly attached to the forms and the faith in which I was brought up; . . . I yet rejoice, as heartily as any Congregationalist who listens to me, that our Pilgrim Fathers were Separatists. I rejoice, too, that the Puritan Fathers of Massachusetts, who followed them to these shores ten years afterwards, . . . were, if not technically and professedly, yet to all intents and purposes, Separatists, also; — Semi-Separatists at least, as Robinson himself was called when he wrote and published that book which so offended the Brownists. . . . I would not seem too harsh towards those old prelates of the English Church, by whom Pilgrims or Puritans were persecuted.850

    In 1874 the Rev. Leonard Bacon wrote:

    Those who read the story will understand, I trust — what many are ignorant of, and what some historians have not sufficiently explained — the difference between “our Pilgrim Fathers” and “our Puritan Fathers.” In the old world on the other side of the ocean the Puritan was a Nationalist, believing that a Christian nation is a Christian church, and demanding that the Church of England should be thoroughly reformed; while the Pilgrim was a Separatist, not only from the Anglican Prayer-book and Queen Elizabeth’s episcopacy, but from all national churches. Between them there was sharp contention — a controversy quite as earnest and almost as bitter as that which they both had with the ecclesiastico-political power that oppressed them both, fining and imprisoning the Puritan, and visiting upon the Separatist the added penalties of exile and the gallows. The Pilgrim wanted liberty for himself and his wife and little ones, and for his brethren, to walk with God in a Christian life as the rules and motives of such a life were revealed to him from God’s Word. For that he went into exile; for that he crossed the ocean; for that he made his home in a wilderness. The Puritan’s idea was not liberty, but right government in church and state — such government as should not only permit him, but also compel other men to walk in the right way.851

    In 1876 John A. Goodwin remarked:

    The most common error is to speak of the Pilgrims as Puritans. Yet they never called themselves Puritans and were never known as such by their contemporaries. Puritan divines preached against them while they were in England; Puritan tractarians assailed them while they halted in Holland, and Puritan hostility nearly destroyed their settlement at Plymouth. In that day the term Puritan had a definite meaning, and it can with no propriety be applied to the Pilgrim Fathers. . . . Whatever reforms the Puritan desired, he sought to make within the church. Separation he denounced as schism — a deadly sin. Thus the Puritans were Episcopalians — the low-church wing of their day.852

    In 1878 the Rev. Increase N. Tarbox wrote:

    Let us make another distinction. The people of Plymouth were called Pilgrims, and when we speak of the Pilgrim Fathers, we have special reference to them. The people that settled Salem and Boston and the surrounding towns were known as Puritans, and when we speak of the Puritan Fathers, in our early history, if we use and understand historical language correctly, we shall have primary reference to these dwellers in Massachusetts Bay. The little companies that soon after went out to begin the settlements at Hartford and New Haven, came from the same general class in English society. Indeed, they passed through the gateway of the Bay, to go and found those Connecticut colonies. They were also Puritans. Many persons use these terms indiscriminately, and speak of Pilgrims or Puritans as meaning the same thing. But this is only a confused use of language. Let us ever bear in mind that by the name of Pilgrim Fathers, we designate particularly the men of Plymouth, while the Puritan Fathers are the men of the Massachusetts Bay and the colonies that grew directly out of that.853

    In 1886 William Everett said:

    Brethren, how far are we to carry the parallel? We are proud of our descent from the Pilgrims and our inheritance of that birthright they won so hard. We had rather claim kindred with them than with the heroes of the war for the Union and the struggle for Independence, with the signers of the Constitution and the Declaration. We will not own the name of Puritan for our fathers, though that name would link them with Conant and Endicott, with Winthrop and Cotton, with the apostle Eliot and the martyr Vane.854

    And in 1895 Senator George F. Hoar wrote:

    The commonwealths which were united in 1692 and became the Province of Massachusetts Bay are still blended in the popular conception. Their founders are supposed to have the same general characteristics, and are known to the rest of the world by the common title of New England Puritans. I suppose this belief prevails even in New England, except to a small circle of scholars and descendants of the Pilgrims who still dwell in the Old Colony, and who have studied personally the history of their ancestors. Many of our historians have treated the two with little distinction, except that the suffering of the Pilgrim, the dangerous and romantic voyage of the Mayflower, the story of the landing in December and the hardship of the first winter have made, of course, a series of pictures of their own. Even Mr. Webster, after narrating as could have been done by no other chronicler who ever lived, these picturesque incidents, proceeds in his oration of 1820 to discuss the principles which lay at the foundation of the Puritan State, and which were, in the main, common to both communities.

    Yet the dwellers of Plymouth know well the difference between the Pilgrim that landed here and the Puritan that settled in Salem and Boston. . . .

    Massachusetts has educated the foreigner. She is making an American of him. She is surely, and not very slowly, when we consider the great periods that constitute the life of a State, impressing upon him what is best of the Pilgrim and the Puritan quality and the Pilgrim and the Puritan conception of a State.855

    The distinction now so sharply drawn between the Pilgrims of Plymouth and the Puritans of Massachusetts thus appears to be due to two causes: first, to the belief that the word Pilgrims belongs exclusively or peculiarly to the Plymouth settlers; and secondly, to the notion, which first made its appearance only about half a century ago, that the early Plymouth settlers were not Puritans, while those of Massachusetts were. The purpose of this section has been to show the genesis of this distinction, not to submit that distinction to a critical examination. Yet a few comments may be permissible. Nowadays the fact is too often overlooked that the Plymouth Colony was, except during the first decade of its existence, of slight importance. In 1813 Judge Davis, himself a native of Plymouth, wrote:

    In ten years from the commencement of Plymouth Colony the number of inhabitants did not exceed three hundred. In an equal space of time from the settlement of Massachusetts, more than twenty thousand persons had arrived, and three hundred ships had been employed in their transportation. In money and commodities, in artizans of every necessary description, in the means of defence, and all the furniture of a state, there was a correspondent superiority.856

    After 1643 Plymouth Colony, as our associate Mr. Worthington C. Ford has recently said, “as an historical factor . . . practically ceased to exist;”857 and during the last fifty years of its existence as a separate colony, few persons found their way within its precincts. If, as Scott declared in 1866, the difference between Plymouth and Massachusetts was “wide, fundamental, and irreconcilable,” how comes it that, almost within a few days after reaching here, the Boston settlers themselves became Separatists and adopted the Congregationalism of Plymouth? It is true that no one in Plymouth Colony was put to death for witchcraft, but that fact was not due to a disbelief in witchcraft, for among the capital laws adopted by Plymouth in 1636 was “Solemn Compaction or conversing wth the devill by way of witchcraft conjurac̄on or the like” — a law that remained on the statute book for many years.858 And though no Quaker was put to death in Plymouth Colony, yet Quakers were apprehended and banished in 1657 and disfranchized in 1658, and their books were seized and presented in court in 1659.859 In short, it may well be doubted whether the religious, intellectual, and moral differences between the Plymouth and the Massachusetts settlers were so fundamental as some recent writers would have us believe; and certain it is that these writers have occasionally gone astray in their judgments.860 Finally, much confusion will be avoided by always bearing in mind that the terms Pilgrims and Pilgrim Fathers, as used in American history, were unknown until the closing years of the eighteenth century.861

    Bibliography of the Plymouth Discourses

    List A, a chronological list, gives the year, the day of the month, the day of the week, the name of the body by whom the celebration was held, and the name of the speaker (if there was one) down to 1820; but after 1820 it includes only the celebrations at which were delivered discourses afterwards printed. List B is an alphabetical list of speakers with titles of the discourses printed, or, if a discourse was not printed, the year in which it was delivered.862 Also, down to 1820, the place of residence of the speaker is given. An asterisk (*) denotes that a discourse was printed separately at the time. A dagger (†) denotes that a discourse was printed (in whole or in part) at a later time.863

    A Chronological List of Celebrations





    Old Colony Club




    “ “ “

    E. Winslow, Jr.




    “ “ “




    “ “ “

    Rev. C. Robbins




    “ “ “

    Rev. C. Turner




    Town of Plymouth

    Rev. G. Hitchcock




    “ “ “

    Rev. S. Baldwin




    “ “ “

    Rev. S. Conant




    “ “ “

    Rev. S. West




    “ “ “

    Rev. T. Hilliard




    “ “ “

    Rev. W. Shaw




    “ “ “

    Rev. J. Moore


    No celebration





    Town of Plymouth

    Rev. C. Robbins




    Private celebration


    No celebration or private





    Private celebration




    “ “

    Dr. Z. Bartlett


    No celebration





    Town of Plymouth

    J. Davis




    “ “ “

    Rev. J. Allyn




    “ “ “

    J. Q. Adams




    Third Church

    Rev. A. Judson




    Town of Plymouth

    Rev J. T. Kirkland




    Rev. J. Strong





    Town of Plymouth

    A. Bradford




    Rev. J. Kendall864




    Town of Plymouth

    Rev. A. Holmes




    Second Church

    Rev. S. Stetson




    Town of Plymouth

    Rev J. Freeman




    “ “ “

    Rev. T. M. Harris




    “ “ “

    Rev. A. Abbot


    No celebration





    Town of Plymouth

    Rev. J. Eliot


    No celebration





    Town of Plymouth

    Rev. J. Flint




    First Church

    Rev. E. S. Goodwin




    Town of Plymouth

    Rev H. Holley




    “ “ “

    W. Davis




    Pilgrim Society

    F. C. Gray




    “ “

    D. Webster




    Third Church

    Rev. W. T. Torrey




    Pilgrim Society

    E. Everett




    Third Church

    Rev. R. S. Storrs




    “ “

    Rev. L. Beecher




    Rev. S. Green




    Pilgrim Society

    W. Sullivan




    Pilgrim Association866

    Rev. B. B. Wisner




    “ “

    Rev. J. Codman




    Robinson Congregation

    Rev. A. Cobb867





    First Parish

    Rev. C. Francis




    Pilgrim Society

    Rev. G. W. Blagden




    “ “

    P. Sprague




    Rev. M. Hopkins




    Rev. S. M. Worcester




    Pilgrim Society

    A. C. Spooner




    “ “

    Various speakers868





    “ “

    W. H. Seward




    “ “

    R. C. Winthrop




    First Church

    W. Everett




    Pilgrim Society

    Various speakers869





    “ “

    G. F. Hoar

    B Alphabetical List of Speakers and Discourses

    Abbot, Rev. Abiel, Beverly. A Discourse delivered at Plymouth December 22, 1809, at the Celebration of the 188th Anniversary of the Landing of our Forefathers in that Place. . . . Boston: . . . 1810.

    An Account of the Pilgrim Celebration at Plymouth, August 1, 1853, containing a list of the Decorations in the Town, and correct copies of the Speeches made at the dinner-table. Revised by the Pilgrim Society. Boston: . . . 1853.870

    Adams, John Quincy, Boston. An Oration, Delivered at Plymouth, December 22, 1802. At the Anniversary Commemoration of the First Landing of our Ancestors, at that Place. . . . Boston, . . . 1802.

    Allyn, Rev. John, Duxbury. A Sermon, delivered at Plimouth, December 22, 1801, Commemorative of the Pious Ancestry, who first imigrated to that place, 1620. . . . Boston: . . . 1802.

    Baldwin, Rev. Samuel, Hanover. A Sermon, preached at Plymouth, December 22, 1775. Being the Anniversary Thanksgiving, in commemoration of the first landing of the Fathers of New-England, there; anno domini, 1620. . . . Boston, . . . Mdcclxxvi.

    Bartlett, Dr. Zaccheus, Plymouth. 1798.

    Beecher, Rev. Lyman. The Memory of our Fathers. A Sermon delivered at Plymouth, on the Twenty-second of December, 1827. . . . Boston: . . . 1828.

    Blagden, Rev. George Washington. Great Principles associated with Plymouth Rock. An Address delivered before the Pilgrim Society of Plymouth, December 22, 1834. . . . Boston: . . . 1835.

    Bradford, Alden, Boston. A Sermon delivered At Plymouth, December 21st, 1804; the Anniversary of the Landing of Our Fathers In December, 1620. . . . Boston: . . . Jan. 1805.

    Cobb, Rev. Alvan. God’s Culture of his Vineyard. A Sermon, delivered at Plymouth before the Robinson Congregation, on the 22d of December, 1831. . . . Taunton: . . . 1832.871

    Codman, Rev. John. The Faith of the Pilgrims. A Sermon delivered at Plymouth, on the Twenty-second of December, 1831. . . . Boston: . . . 1832.

    Conant, Rev. Sylvanus, Middleborough. An Anniversary Sermon preached at Plymouth, December 23, 1776. In grateful Memory of the first Landing of our worthy Ancestors in that Place, An. Dom. 1620. . . . Boston, . . . 1777.

    Davis, John, Boston. 1800. Extracts are printed in J. Morse and E. Parish, Compendious History of New England, 1804, pp. 373–378; and in 1 Proceedings Massachusetts Historical Society, i. 217, 217 note, 507–510.

    Davis, Wendell, Sandwich. 1818.

    Eliot, Rev. John, Boston. 1811.

    Everett, Edward. An Oration delivered at Plymouth December 22, 1824. . . . Boston. . . . 1825.

    Everett, Edward. Remarks at the Plymouth Festival, on the First of August, 1853, in commemoration of the Embarkation of the Pilgrims. . . . Boston: . . . 1853. See also An Account, etc., 1853.

    Everett, William. Discourse delivered in the First Church of Plymouth, Mass. 19 December, 1886 in commemoration of the Pilgrim Fathers. . . . Boston . . . 1887

    Flint, Rev. James, Bridgewater. A Discourse delivered at Plymouth, December 22, 1815, at the anniversary commemoration of the First Landing of our Ancestors at that Place. . . . Boston: . . . 1816.

    Francis, Rev. Convers. A Discourse delivered at Plymouth, Mass. Dec. 22, 1832, in commemoration of the Landing of the Fathers. . . . Plymouth: . . . 1832.

    Freeman, Rev. James, Boston. 1807.

    Goodwin, Rev. Ezra Shaw, Sandwich. The Providence of God in the Settlement of New England. Isaiah lx. 22. Printed in Sermons, by the late Rev. Ezra Shaw Goodwin, Pastor of the First Church and Society in Sandwich, Mass. With a Memoir. Boston: . . . 1834. (Pp. 33–50.)

    Gray, Francis Calley, Boston. 1819.

    Green, Rev. Samuel. A Discourse, delivered at Plymouth, Dec. 20,872 1828, on the two hundred and eighth anniversary of the Landing of the Pilgrim Fathers . . . Boston: . . . 1829.

    Harris, Rev. Thaddeus Mason, Dorchester. A Discourse delivered at Plymouth, Dec. 22d. 1808, at the Anniversary Commemoration of the Landing of our Ancestors at that Place. . . . Boston, . . . 1808.

    Hilliard, Rev. Timothy, Barnstable. 1778.

    Hitchcock, Rev. Gad, Pembroke. A Sermon preached at Plymouth December 22d, 1774. Being the Anniversary Thanksgiving, in Commemoration of the first Landing of our New-England Ancestors in that Place, Anno Dom. 1620. . . . Boston: . . . 1775.

    Hoar, George Frisbie. Oration delivered at Plymouth, December 21, 1895, at the celebration of the two hundred and seventy-fifth anniversary of the Landing of the Pilgrims, . . . Washington, D. C., 1895. See also Proceedings, etc., 1896.

    Holley, Rev. Horace, Boston. 1817.

    Holmes, Rev. Abiel, Cambridge. A Discourse, delivered at Plymouth, 22 December, 1806, at the Anniversary Commemoration of the first landing of the Fathers, A.D. 1620. . . . Cambridge, . . . 1806.

    Hopkins, Rev. Mark. A Sermon, delivered at Plymouth, on the Twenty-second of December, 1846. . . . Boston: . . . 1847.

    Judson, Rev. Adoniram, Plymouth. A Sermon, preached in the New Meeting House, Plymouth, December 22, 1802, in Memory of the Landing of our Ancestors, December 22, 1620. . . . Boston: . . . 1803.

    Kendall, Rev. James, Plymouth. 1805.873

    Kirkland, Rev. John Thornton, Boston. 1803. An extract is printed in J. Morse and E. Parish, Compendious History of New England, 1804, pp. 381–384.874

    Moore, Rev. Jonathan, Rochester. 1780.

    The Proceedings at the Celebration by the Pilgrim Society at Plymouth, December 21, 1870, of the Two Hundred and Fiftieth Anniversary of the Landing of the Pilgrims. Cambridge: . . . 1871.875

    The Proceedings at the Celebration by the Pilgrim Society at Plymouth, August 1st, 1889 of the completion of the National Monument to the Pilgrims. Plymouth: . . . 1889.

    The Proceedings at the Celebration by the Pilgrim Society, at Plymouth, December 21, 1895, of the 275th anniversary of the Landing of the Pilgrims. Plymouth: . . . 1896.876

    Report on the Expediency of celebrating in future the Landing of the Pilgrims, on the Twentyfirst Day of December, instead of the Twentysecond Day of that Month. By a Committee of the Pilgrim Society. Boston: . . . 1850.877

    Robbins, Rev. Chandler, Plymouth. 1772.878

    Robbins, Rev. Chandler, Plymouth. A Sermon preached at Plymouth, December 22, 1793; being the anniversary of the landing of our Ancestors in that place, in 1620. Published at the request of those who heard it, and others; with some enlargements, and particular anecdotes relating to their sufferings before they left England; never before published. . . . Boston: . . . 1794.

    Seward, William Henry. Oration by William H. Seward, at Plymouth, December 21, 1855. Albany: . . . 1856.879

    Shaw, Rev. William, Marshfield. 1779.

    Spooner, Allen Crocker. Speech of Allen C. Spooner, Esq. before the Pilgrim Society, at Plymouth, Dec. 22, MDCCCLI, in reply to the toast, “The Faith of the Pilgrims — May it be our Pillar of Fire, to guide us alike in the day of prosperity and the night of trial.” Boston: . . . [No date]

    Sprague, Peleg. An Address delivered before the Pilgrim Society of Plymouth, December 22, 1835. Boston: . . . 1836.

    Stetson, Rev. Seth, Plymouth. The Substance of a Discourse preached in the Second Parish, Plymouth, December 22, 1806, in memory of the Landing of our Forefathers, 22 December, 1620. . . . Boston: . . . 1807.

    Stores, Rev. Richard Salter, Braintree. The Spirit of the Pilgrims. A Sermon Delivered at Plymouth, December the twenty-second, 1826. . . . Plymouth: . . . 1827.

    Strong, Rev. Jonathan, Randolph. A Sermon, delivered at Plymouth, December 22, 1803, at the Anniversary Commemoration of the First Landing of our Ancestors at that Place. . . . Boston: . . . 1804.

    Sullivan, William. A Discourse delivered before the Pilgrim Society, at Plymouth, on the Twenty Second Day of December, 1829. . . . Boston. . . . M DCCC XXX.

    Sumner, Charles. A Finger-Point from Plymouth Rock. Remarks at the Plymouth Festival, on the First of August, 1853. In commemoration of the Embarkation of the Pilgrims. . . . Boston: . . . 1853. See also An Account, etc., 1853.

    Torrey, Rev. William Turner. A Sermon, delivered in Plymouth, Dec. 23, 1821, on the Lord’s Day after the anniversary of the Landing of the Fathers. . . . Boston: . . . 1822.

    Turner, Rev. Charles, Duxbury. A Sermon, preached at Plymouth, December 22d, 1773. Being the Anniversary Thanksgiving, in Commemoration of the Landing of the Fathers there, A. D. 1620. . . . Boston: . . . M,DCC,LXXTV.

    Webster, Daniel, Boston. A Discourse, delivered at Plymouth, December 22, 1820. In Commemoration of the first Settlement of New-England. . . . Boston: . . . 1821.

    West, Rev. Samuel, Dartmouth. An Anniversary Sermon, Preached at Plymouth, December 22d, 1777. In grateful Memory of the first Landing of our pious New-England Ancestors In that Place, A.D. 1620. . . . Boston: . . . [No date, but 1778]

    Winslow, Edward, Jr., Plymouth. 1771. Printed in 2 Proceedings Massachusetts Historical Society, iii. 416–417.

    Winthrop, Robert Charles. Oration on the Two Hundred and Fiftieth Anniversary of the Landing of the Pilgrim Fathers at Plymouth. 21 December, 1870. . . . Boston: . . . 1871. See also Proceedings, etc., 1871.

    Wisner, Rev. Benjamin Blydenburg. Influence of Religion on Liberty. A Discourse in commemoration of the Landing of the Pilgrims, delivered at Plymouth, December 22, 1830. . . . Boston: . . . 1831.

    Worcester, Rev. Samuel Melancthon. New England’s Glory and Crown. A Discourse, delivered at Plymouth, Mass., December 22, 1848. . . . Salem: . . . 1849.880

    Yeadon, Richard. Speech of Richard Yeadon, Esq., of Charleston, S. C. at the Pilgrim Celebration, at Plymouth, Mass., August 1, 1853. Extract from the Boston Courier, August 5th, 1853. “On the first page we have placed the patriotic speech of Mr. Yeadon, at the Pilgrim Dinner, at Plymouth, on the 1st instant, which speech was complimented by hisses from certain crazy and rabid abolitionists.” New-York: . . . 1853. See also Proceedings, etc., 1853.881

    The reading of this paper was followed by a long discussion. Mr. Arthur Lord pointed out the similarity of creed between the Pilgrims of Plymouth and the Puritans at Salem and Boston, and the greater liberality of the Plymouth colonists in the interpretation of their beliefs and laws.

    The Rev. Edward Hale asked whether it was not a fact that the Plymouth people brought their Congregationalism with them, while the people of the Massachusetts Colony adopted it only after their settlement here, and to some extent under the influence of the Plymouth Colony.

    The Rev. Dr. William W. Fenn spoke as follows:

    With reference to Mr. Hale’s question, it is to be remembered that the Dorchester church was organized, after the Congregational fashion, before that company of Puritans left England. This would seem to indicate that, at least among the more “forward” of the Puritans, there was substantial agreement with the Separatists as to polity as well as to theology. This is corroborated by Endicott’s letter to Bradford in which he says of the Plymouth way, as it had been reported to him by Dr. Fuller, that it was the same which he himself had “professed and maintained ever since the Lord in mercy revealed himself unto me; being far from the common report that hath been spread of you touching that particular.” That final clause reminds us that in some respects Robinson’s company at Leyden differed from the Separatists at Amsterdam, and hence was sometimes called Semi-Separatist. This was owing to their more liberal attitude towards private and public communion with “the godly” of the Church of England which Robinson, after an earlier period of refusal, subsequently permitted. The fact is that Robinson’s company was much less quarrelsome and intolerant than the company at Amsterdam: had it not been, had dissensions arisen at Plymouth like those of the Johnsons, White, Studley, Smith, and Ainsworth, which rent the church at Amsterdam, the Pilgrims might not have survived their first winter here. Moreover, it was because of this milder temper that they were able to enter into fellowship with the Puritans of Massachusetts Bay.

    Mr. George L. Kittredge said he wished that the term Puritan could be eliminated from scientific historical use, inasmuch as it never had a settled meaning such as attaches to “Congregationalist” or “Roman Catholic” (which are terms that everybody understands); and further remarked that laws against witchcraft have nothing to do with the question of toleration.

    Mr. Andrew McF. Davis read the following paper:


    The Charter of the Colony of Massachusetts Bay was annulled in 1684. When the records of the Colony were published the editor continued his work down to 1686, the time when the new government of a President and Council was established. Since Shurtleff’s day there has been no official publication of any of the records of the government of Massachusetts Bay, whether of the President and Council, the revived Colony, or of the Province.

    In 1865, when those who were interested in the matter sought to secure a continuation of the publication of historical material relating to the Province of Massachusetts Bay, they selected for their purpose the laws of the Province instead of the records. A commission was appointed to prepare for publication a complete copy of the statutes and laws of the Province and State of Massachusetts Bay from the time of the Province Charter to the adoption of the Constitution, including all sessions acts, private and public, general and special, temporary and perpetual passed from time to time by the General Court, all incorporations of towns and parishes, and all other legislative acts, of legal or historical importance, appearing on the records of the General Court, with suitable marginal references to the statutes and decisions of the Province and Commonwealth, the orders of the king in council, and such other authorities as in their opinion might enhance the value and usefulness of the work, and to append to the same a complete index.

    Of course, there is much of economic and social interest to historians to be found in the laws, but it may be doubted whether the political importance of the records might not have made it better to have selected the records for publication rather than the laws. For instance, through the publication of the laws we gain no knowledge whatever of the fact that the elder Cooke at the very outset of legislative action in the Province protested against the assignment of a salary to the Royal Governor, thereby at once establishing a precedent which was continued during the entire days of the Province and which drew the lines in the Assembly between the Loyalists and the Colonials, thus permanently establishing two parties in that body. Another incident may be referred to which happened in the days when Joseph Dudley was Governor. Dudley prorogued the Court and in doing so said to the Representatives in substance, “You would better go home, you are not earning your money here. You are doing nothing, and you would better go back to your constituents.” Thereupon the Representatives, before final adjournment, voted to publish their Journal and to distribute copies amongst their constituents in order to show that the statement of the Governor was not true. This custom was followed thereafter during the entire period of the Province, with the result that it created a body of politicians scattered throughout the entire Province, who were familiar with current political events. The way was thus prepared for the cordial reception of the inflammatory material distributed by the committees of correspondence just prior to the Revolution. But, whether or no it would have been better to select the laws or the records, the order to prepare the copy was in the form already stated, and two years afterwards, in 1867, an appropriation for the publication of one volume in the course of the following year was made by the General Court. This brought to the notice of the commission and of those interested in the publication, the fact that marginal references to documents were totally inadequate for the purposes for which the references were made, and after consultation with the Governor of the State it was concluded to go ahead and publish the volume in the form which prevailed during the time the work was carried on under the general authority to publish conferred in 1867.

    The work of editing the publication fell into the hands of Abner C. Goodell, who continued in office down to the year 1896. During these twenty-nine years he published five volumes, covering the public laws from 1692 to 1780, and two volumes of the resolves covering from 1692 to 1707. These volumes of Resolves were numbered 7 and 8. Volume 6 was set aside for the private laws and was only partially prepared at that time, twenty-nine chapters having been stereotyped, twenty-seven of which had been annotated and the notes thereto also stereotyped. The ninth volume at that time was also partially completed.

    During the latter part of this period considerable opposition to the publication of the laws manifested itself each year when the question of making an appropriation came before the Legislature. This opposition was engendered by two classes of persons: those who were absolutely opposed to the publication of the laws under any circumstances, believing it to be a waste of money; and those who were opposed to Mr. Goodell as editor, either through a belief that he was too dilatory in his work or through actual hostility to him personally. The friends of the measure contended that the publication having once begun should be completed, inasmuch as it would throw needed light on the incorporation of many towns and on many questions of social and economic importance. They also urged that the services of Mr. Goodell were of special value in connection with the work and ought to be secured. Their work before committees of the legislature was often made more difficult by Mr. Goodell himself, whose independent personality would not permit him to modify his methods or conciliate his opponents.

    There were at that time three officials at the State House whose friendship would have been of the utmost value to him, but with all of whom he was constantly at odds. One was the Sergeant-at-Arms, who had charge of the rooms at the State House and of the assignment of rooms there and in the buildings rented for officers employed by the State. Mr. Goodell complained that during these twenty-nine years of work on the Province Laws his force had been shifted from room to room thirteen times. In all probability he might have avoided some of these changes if he had been more friendly with the Sergeant-at-Arms. Another was the State Librarian, who had charge of a set of records the volumes of which Mr. Goodell wanted to consult from time to time and frequently wanted to take to his rooms. It would have been, of course, much better for him if he could have maintained friendly relations with the Librarian and thus secured the use of the books in his office without any friction. Mr. Tillinghast, the gentleman then holding that position, was a man of great influence throughout the State, and country members often consulted him, especially on matters within his line such as how they should vote on appropriations to publish. I do not imagine that Mr. Tillinghast ever actively exerted himself against Mr. Goodell, but their relations were such that he could not be relied upon to do anything to aid in securing appropriations for the publication of the Province Laws. Then there was the Secretary of the Commonwealth, who had charge of another set of records and also of the archives. The books from the archives were constantly in use in Mr. Goodell’s office. It would have been impossible in any event for Mr. Goodell to have searched these volumes in the manner in which he was accustomed to without provoking friction, even had the relation between the two offices been absolutely friendly. As it was the heads of the two departments were not on good terms, and the Secretary of the Commonwealth, who was a man of considerable political influence, was not only not to be relied upon to aid in securing appropriations for Mr. Goodell’s work, but he was at all times in favor of securing the work of publication for his own office. He was at that time engaged in publishing a set of laws, which he called “Old Laws,” and he thought that the work being done by Mr. Goodell belonged in his department.

    Such was the condition of things during the latter part of the time Mr. Goodell was in office. His friends were obliged to go to the State House every year when the question of the appropriation for continuing the publication came up, and the clamor against the dilatory nature of his work increased from year to year.

    In 1896, after the usual fight before the committee, the House of Representatives passed the appropriation for the publication of the laws. When the bill reached the Senate the motion was made to strike out a clause in the bill which placed the supervision of the work in the hands of the Governor and Council, and to substitute for that purpose the Secretary of the Commonwealth. This amendment failed of passage, but a second amendment was made to reduce the appropriation to the sum of $4400, which was simply adequate to provide for the clerical and incidental expenses and salaries of Mr. Goodell’s office up to and including June 30th. This motion prevailed and was accepted by the House.

    On the 19th of March Mr. Goodell was instructed by the Governor and Council to go ahead and print all the unpublished resolves up to 1780 and not to allow any annotations to delay the publication. He was further ordered not to make any corrections in stereotyped plates without first having obtained authority from the Governor and Council and he was directed so to prepare his copy as to preclude the necessity for so many corrections in the proof as he had been in the habit of making. The order as to corrections of the plates embarrassed Mr. Goodell in his relations with the State printer and immediately after its adoption he applied for a modification of it so as to permit the work then in the printer’s hands to go ahead. Not receiving any reply to this he wrote again on the 23rd of April and again on the 30th of the same month. On May 8th the Governor and Council granted him permission to make the changes. Meantime the Governor and Council consulted the Attorney-General as to whether the manner in which the work was being carried on was in accordance with the spirit and letter of the original law authorizing the publication. The Attorney-General reported that he did not think it was.

    On the 22nd of May an order was issued to bring out and publish Volume 6 immediately. This involved an abandonment of the work upon Volume 9 which was then being prosecuted under the previous order of the Governor and Council. On the 16th of June notice was given Mr. Goodell that the appropriation of $4400 covered work only to the 30th of June and would then expire; therefore all duties of the officials and clerks in his office would then cease. Mr. Goodell contended that inasmuch as the act originally authorizing the publication was still in force, the mere failure to provide the means of paying the clerks and officials in the office did not of itself terminate their connection with the work, and therefore that the conclusion of the Council as to the termination of his office was not warranted, and he offered twice to carry on the work himself on Volumes 6 and 9, provided the Governor and Council would agree not to oppose him if he should ask the Legislature the next year to provide for his advances in the Deficiency Bill. To this the Governor and Council returned no answer, but on the 16th of July, fifteen days after the date when they had notified him that his duties would cease, they informed him that, as he seemed to have some doubt as to the meaning of their previous communication, in which they stated that the duties of all connected with his office would cease on the 30th of June, they had passed an order that the office of the editor should be discontinued, and the editor and his assistants discharged, and they further ordered that all property and materials in the office should be turned over to the custody of the Sergeant-at-Arms.

    Volume 6 was then completely in type, all the stereotyped notes having been abandoned and marginal references substituted. When Volume 7 came out in 1892, Mr. Goodell had announced that he would make in his preface to Volume 6 some necessary explanations relative to the private acts. He therefore prepared a preface in accordance with that promise and to it he added a history of his connection with the publication of the laws, including all the events that had occurred that spring and including also the various letters that had been sent to him from the office of the Governor. He closed the preface in these words: “This presentation inadequate as it must needs be under the circumstances is as full as the brief time at the editor’s disposal allows before yielding up the keys of his office to the Sergeant-at-Arms, whose demand for them followed within a few minutes the last of the foregoing orders of the Council. Beside this enforced haste the want of opportunity for a new comprehensive study of details as above named must be his apology for disappointing the scholars who have been expecting more satisfactory results.” This preface including this last clause was dated on the 16th of July. He sent it to the State printer, and it was printed and submitted to the Governor and Council for approval. Portions only were permitted to appear in the official edition of the volume. All the personal part was expurgated and only such matter as was deemed of value was published with a statement that these were extracts from a preface written by Mr. Goodell. A limited number of copies having the original as well as the expurgated preface were distributed by Mr. Goodell among his friends.

    For three years after this there was no publication of the Laws. In 1899, however, Governor Wolcott communicated with Mr. Charles Francis Adams and urged upon him to report to the Governor and Council a scheme for renewing the publication of the Province Laws. This Mr. Adams declined, at first, to do, but the Governor, not content with this refusal, a second time appealed to Mr. Adams for his aid in securing the publication of the Laws. In response to this second appeal of the Governor, Mr. Adams told him that if he would refer the matter to a committee of three, consisting of himself, Mr. John Noble, clerk of the Supreme Court for Suffolk County, and Mr. Andrew McFarland Davis, he would undertake it. The Governor at once appointed the committee and a meeting of the same was promptly called by Mr. Adams to be held at the office of Mr. Noble. The three members of the committee were of one mind that it was desirable that the publication of the laws should go on, and that it was of the utmost importance to the state to secure the services of Mr. Goodell as editor if possible. There was therefore no occasion for discussion. When the committee met, Mr. Adams at once moved that Mr. Davis be made chairman, and having carried his point it was agreed that Mr. Noble should act as secretary. It was then formally voted that a report should be made to the effect that the committee recommended that the best method of renewing the publication of the Province Laws was that the office of editor should be conferred upon Mr. Goodell. And it was also agreed that the salary he had been paid heretofore, $2400, was too small, and the committee recommended in case of his appointment that the salary of the office should be raised to $3000. Mr. Davis was designated to prepare this report. At a subsequent meeting of the committee the report was submitted. Mr. Adams said that so far as the contents of the report was concerned, it was all right, but he would like to add a little snap to it, and he did so by making a few of the phrases commending Mr. Goodell’s work somewhat stronger than they were in the original. This report was sent by the committee to the Governor and a copy was forwarded to Mr. Goodell. A short time after this Mr. Davis was summoned to the Governor’s office and was asked if he knew about the preface Mr. Goodell had written which the Council were unwilling to publish. Mr. Davis replied that he knew something about it, but was ignorant of the details. He added that whatever the relations between Mr. Goodell and the Governor and Council might have been at that time, the committee were of opinion that it was of the utmost importance that the State should avail itself of the services of Mr. Goodell to carry on the work. After some discussion the Governor said he was willing to lay aside his feelings and would recommend to the Council the adoption of the report. A short time after this the entire committee was summoned before a committee of the Council, where the report came up for discussion. Mr. Davis was called upon first and stated in a general way what lay at the basis of the report which they had submitted, namely, their belief that the State ought to avail itself of Mr. Goodell’s services. One member of the Council said, “Mr. Davis, you know that we discharged him just a short time ago,” and Mr. Davis replied, “Yes, but it is nevertheless true, that if the State wishes to renew the publication of the laws and wishes to secure the best equipped man to be had for editor Mr. Goodell must be appointed to the place.” A member of the Council then said “you don’t expect us to hire him over again after we have discharged him and then give him an increase of pay?” to which again reply was made, “that is precisely what we recommend, for you did not pay him enough before. His services were worth more than you paid him, and if re-employed he ought to have more.” Following that, both Mr. Adams and Mr. Noble were called upon and added to what had been said the weight of their approval. As a result of it all the Governor and Council authorized the committee to renew the publication of the Laws and Resolves with Mr. Goodell as editor at the same salary that he had before. Thereupon the committee tendered the appointment to Mr. Goodell on those terms. In reply to a communication officially tendering him the position of editor, Mr. Goodell said that he would accept the place only upon the condition that the salary be raised to the sum that the committee had endeavored to secure for him. He asked permission to appear before the committee and argue the question. He was told that it was of no use, that everything had been done that could be done. Nevertheless he insisted upon appearing and on an appointed day did appear, but inasmuch as his refusal to accept the office except with increased pay seemed to preclude the possibility of getting him for the editorship, Mr. Davis shortly thereafter wrote to him, saying that inasmuch as he declined the office it became the duty of the committee to look elsewhere for somebody to perform the work, and that in all probability there was no man in the Commonwealth better fitted to advise the committee in this matter than Mr. Goodell himself. Mr. Goodell was therefore asked to submit for consideration the names of such persons as he thought might be competent to carry on the work. In reply to this Mr. Goodell wrote, giving a list of names, beginning with that of James Bradley Thayer, professor at the Harvard Law School, followed by that of James Barr Ames, who was then the Dean of the Harvard Law School and three or four other names of prominent lawyers. These were all busy men who as a rule would not have thought for a moment of taking the place, but amongst them was the name of Melville M. Bigelow, whose connection with the law school of the Boston University and his office in town in the Tremont Building, brought his field of work so close to the State House that he could very readily divide his time between his various occupations and take on this in addition. Mr. Davis therefore visited Mr. Bigelow and tendered him the nomination for the place. Mr. Bigelow took the office and the publication of the Province Laws was renewed, following, however, the system of marginal references and losing the valuable notes the continuation of which was of so much importance to students. It is not unlikely that Mr. Goodell’s refusal to accept the position was influenced by the fact that he could no longer carry on the system of annotation which had given the Province Laws such value for historians. As a sentimental proposition he might have wished to see his name alone connected with the complete publication, but as an editor he could only have regretted being obliged to furnish such unsatisfactory notes as marginal references. It is evident that the committee in their contention that Mr. Goodell’s services ought to be secured as editor, were influenced by his annotations in the past and that they did not take into consideration the fact that these notes would not be permitted in the future. In conclusion, a word of praise ought to be said of the attitude of the Governor and Council in the matter of the reappointment of Mr. Goodell. It was no small thing for them to lay aside their prejudices and adopt in substance the recommendations of the committee.

    Mr. William C. Lane exhibited one of two known copies of a broadside dated 12 May, 1801, containing a list of all students — including one who had died and eleven who had already left College — who belonged to the Class of 1802. This list, which presumably was printed by the Class, was given to the College Library by Mr. J. de Bernière Smith. It antedates by two years the first list of students known to have been printed by the College.

    The President announced the death, on the tenth of December, of David Rice Whitney, a Resident Member.

    Mr. Francis Russell Hart of Milton was elected a Resident Member.

    The Rev. Edward Hale communicated a Memoir of Edward Henry Hall, which Mr. Hale had been requested to prepare for publication in the Transactions.

    Edward Henry Hall died at his home in Cambridge, Massachusetts, February 22, 1912, after a short illness following an attack of pneumonia. Two years previously he had undergone an operation which proved more serious than had been expected and no doubt taxed his vitality heavily. But he had seemed in excellent health during the summer and fall of 1911, and had been engaged in his usual activities up to the time of his final sickness.

    He was born at Cincinnati, Ohio, April 16, 1831. His father, the Rev. Edward Brooks Hall, was born at Medford, Massachusetts, September 2, 1800. He graduated from Harvard College in 1820 and from the Harvard Divinity School in 1824. He was ordained to his first pastorate at Northampton, as minister of the Second Congregational Society (Unitarian), August 16, 1826, but resigned on account of ill health December 31, 1829. Upon his recovery he took charge of the newly organized First Congregational Church (Unitarian) at Cincinnati, Ohio, in September, 1830, supplying its pulpit until June 13, 1831. In 1832 he was called to the pastorate of the First Congregational Society (Unitarian) of Providence, Rhode Island, and was installed November 14, 1832. He continued in this pastorate, increasingly honored and beloved, until his death, March 3, 1866. He received the degree of S. T. D. from Harvard in 1848. Harriet Ware, his first wife, and the mother of six children of whom Edward Henry was the only one living at the time of his father’s death, was a daughter of Henry Ware the elder, Hollis Professor of Divinity at Harvard from 1805 till 1840, and Hollis Professor Emeritus from 1840 until his death, July 12, 1845. She died June 24, 1838, and Dr. Hall later married Louisa Jane, daughter of Dr. John Park of Boston, who, with their daughter, Harriet Ware Hall, long survived him, and was as a beloved second mother to her stepson.

    Edward Henry Hall prepared for college at the Providence High School, and was admitted to Harvard in 1847, during the presidency of Edward Everett. He graduated from College in 1851, during the presidency of Jared Sparks, and from the Harvard Divinity School in 1855, when James Walker had become president. Among his classmates in college were James M. Codman, Charles Franklin Dunbar, William Watson Goodwin, Samuel Abbott Green, Augustus Thorndike Perkins, William Dwight Sedgwick, George Otis Shattuck, and Frederick Winsor. Frederick Frothingham, George Hughes Hepworth, and Alfred Porter Putnam were among his classmates in the Divinity School, and Joseph Henry Thayer, who later graduated from Andover Theological Seminary, was a student in the Divinity School during Hall’s senior year. He was ordained as minister of the First Parish of Plymouth, January 5, 1859, and continued in this first pastorate until July, 1867. Meanwhile, from September 12, 1862, until June 18, 1863, he served as chaplain of the Forty-fourth Regiment of Infantry, Massachusetts Volunteer Militia, of which Francis L Lee, of the Harvard Class of 1843, was colonel, in active service in the Civil War, winning the respect and confidence of all in the regiment. On February 10, 1869, he was installed as minister of the Second Parish at Worcester.

    Of the task upon which he entered here, and the spirit in which he performed it, his successor, the Rev. Austin S. Garver, spoke with peculiar insight and sympathy in an address which was given in the church of the Second Parish at a memorial service held April 14, 1912, and which was afterwards privately printed. Mr. Garver said:

    The mid-nineteenth century was not a happy time for the liberal preacher. The earlier biblical and creedal liberalism still held sway in most of our churches. . . . The harsher doctrines had been exchanged for milder, but the basis of belief remained much the same. Meanwhile floods of light were let in on these questions from scientific and historical studies which demanded new interpretations and especially fresh search for the foundations of reality. There was much confusion, and timidity. The old landmarks were disappearing, old sanctions were losing their authority. Men inquired if anything would be left. The answer was, all that is remains; nothing has been lost except what is illusory. But after all something precious had gone or was threatened, and the loss or fear was full of pain. . . . It was the early stage of that transition in Christian theology of which we have not yet seen the end. Something of this you must have in mind, if you would understand the difficulty of his [Mr. Hall’s] position, or appreciate the fearless and gentle wisdom, the loving and considerate spirit and the unfailing courtesy and tact, which marked the delivery of his message. For him the past was gone; its religious experiences were not adequate to contain the larger thought of life and God and duty. For many in his congregation whom he most respected, the familiar ideas and phrases were infinitely dear and satisfying. Under such conditions it would be too much to expect and more than the truth would warrant, to say that there was a complete understanding from the first. Yet so evident was his sincerity, so profound and reverent were his convictions, that he soon had the entire confidence of his parishioners. . . . Mr. Hall was fortunate in having a people who were accustomed to think and weigh evidence, and little by little his impressive utterance had its effect and drew men to his side in loyal and admiring support.

    After thirteen years he received an invitation to become the minister of the First Parish in Cambridge, as successor to the Rev. Francis Greenwood Peabody. Partly through a conviction that a minister could not for much more than ten years prepare sermons which would be of fresh and helpful interest to the same body of people, but partly also because of a modesty which prevented him from realizing how strong a hold he had upon the affection of his Worcester church and the community, he decided to accept this invitation. But “he left a sorrowing church behind him; he went away in spite of the entreaties and amid the tears of all, old and young.”

    He was installed at Cambridge March 30, 1882. Here again he won increasingly the respect and affection of his people, and again it was in spite of protests and entreaties that he resigned, March 31, 1893. In the more personal relations with his parishioners he had “by his simplicity and unaffected sympathy with those to whom he ministered,” the Rev. George Batchelor wrote in the Christian Register of February 29, 1912, “attracted and bound to himself many, and especially young people. Although he was never married, he made his home a social centre which was attractive even to the children of the parish.” The party at his house each year, to which the invitations were given in the name of a favorite collie whose birthday was to be celebrated, was an occasion to which the children looked forward eagerly and of which the pleasure will never be forgotten. As regarded his preaching, the years were bringing a more general understanding and acceptance of the newer aspects of faith, and he could present them with increasing confidence in the sympathy and appreciation of his hearers. But the same “fearless wisdom” which had characterized his earlier doctrinal utterances was still in evidence, finding perhaps its most vigorous expression in the sermons on questions of public duty which he preached from time to time as he saw the need of reform in one direction or another. For “no reformer of our time,” to quote Dr. Batchelor’s words again, “had more severe ideals of public and private morality [or was] more faithful in the expression of that which was righteous and of sharp rebuke for everything that seemed to him mean, treacherous or injurious to the common cause.”

    Thus in the sermon for Memorial Sunday included in the volume of Discourses published in 1893, he attacks the abuses incident to our national pension system with a definiteness and vigor and a warmth of indignation which are not less effective when one bears in mind that the speaker has been with his regiment at the front and is a member of the Loyal Legion.

    I am anxious to leave upon you the impression [he concludes] that the entire pension legislation of the last ten years is the most disreputable business in which an honorable nation could possibly engage, that it carries in itself all the elements of corruption, hypocrisy and demoralization, that it is not called for by patriotism, by charity, or by statesmanship, that it is a burlesque upon statesmanship, that it is a libel upon charity, and that it strikes the most cruel blow at patriotism which that noble sentiment ever received. So far as its further encroachments are concerned, we seem for the moment to be powerless; yet this makes it all the more important that the present inexplicable apathy should somehow be shaken, so that the beautiful anniversary which has just passed may resume once more its ancient charm, and we may be able to enter again, as tenderly as twenty-five years ago, into the pathos of the words, “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friend.”

    Similarly in a sermon on “Justice to the Laborer,” he says:

    The point at which the lover of his race should aim, is to treat the suffering classes not as classes, but as men; to secure for them not peculiar privileges, but the common rights of humanity. Less than this can never satisfy them, and ought not to; more than this they cannot hope to receive. I am the more urgent upon this point because there is one flagrant wrong demanding our attention just now for which we have all made ourselves virtually responsible. I have long felt that, if I were to lead any crusade to-day, I should make myself the champion of unorganized labor. I have no quarrel with organized labor in itself, . . . but I cannot forget that . . . there is a vaster body of laborers, more needy . . . and far more friendless, whom their privileged brethren treat only with disdain, and toward whom the world at large seems absolutely indifferent. . . . The thousands who have power to compel it receive our attention; the millions who have no prestige, and can urge no claims but their needs, receive none. Nor can any one wonder at the effect of this strange favoritism upon its recipients, or the growing insolence and tyranny with which they employ the power which the community thus confers upon them. What American heart, unless dulled by long submission to such outrages, can help throbbing with indignation when for four months an entire American community is held in terror, and hundreds of industrious workmen subjected to violence and peril of their lives, solely because the privileged class of laborers do not choose to have any competitors in the field. Surely, it was not for this that the American republic came into existence or American freedom was fought for and won. In our broad territories there is room enough for all; and the man who will not trust to his own merits, but seeks his advancement by robbing his brother of his chance, deserves no toleration whatever. The shame of it is not so much that such a thing as I have just described can happen, as that it can happen and no protest be heard. The evil of this ignoble tyranny is that it works such degradation in the community which submits to it, and postpones so long the final triumph of humanity. For the day of humanity comes when there are no tyrants and no oppressed, but when equal justice is done to all.

    Soon after his resignation from the Cambridge parish he went to Europe for travel and study. On his return to this country he made his home at first at Brookline, Massachusetts, but later removed to Cambridge, and for the last fourteen years or so lived in the house, number 14 Craigie Street, where he died. During these later years he preached sometimes, though not frequently, and was called upon from time to time to officiate at marriages and funerals in the families of former parishioners who turned to him as in a very real sense still their minister. During the academic year 1899–1900 he was lecturer on the History of Christian Doctrine in the Harvard Divinity School. But for the most part he was occupied in study and writing, in an attendance conscientiously regular at the meetings of the numerous organizations of which he was a member, and in a companionship with kindred and friends which he greatly valued, and in which his learning, his kindly humor, his ready wit, and his tender and loyal affection found their freest outlet. In 1874, during his Worcester pastorate, he had published a volume entitled Orthodoxy and Heresy in the Christian Church, and in 1885, while he was minister of the Cambridge parish, Lessons on the Life of St. Paul. When he resigned the Cambridge pastorate a committee of Cambridge “friends and parishioners” obtained his consent, up to that time refused, to print a selection from his sermons in the volume entitled Discourses to which reference has been made. In 1899 he published Papias and his Contemporaries, and in 1906 Paul the Apostle. His various essays in church history were marked by the accuracy and thoroughness, the breadth and honesty and independence which were characteristic of all his work. He received the degree of S. T. D. from Harvard in 1902 at the hands of President Charles W. Eliot, one of his Cambridge parishioners, as “army chaplain in the Civil War, pastor, preacher, candid student of early Christian history, independent, outspoken citizen.”

    From the time of his election as a Resident Member of the Colonial Society of Massachusetts, in January, 1900, he was an interested and constant attendant at its meetings. In November, 1903, he was elected a member of the Council for three years. Besides the memoir of his college classmate and friend, George Otis Shattuck, communicated at the November meeting of the Society 1902,882 he contributed in March, 1904, a paper on the Origin of Congregationalism883 and in March, 1911, a paper on the Relations between the First Church of Hartford and the First Church in Cambridge.884

    In his outward person his strong, clear-cut features, his dignified, vigorous, half military bearing, made him a distinguished figure wherever he was seen. Fond of outdoor life, a lover of animals, he rode his horse the very summer before his death, when already in his eighty-first year. Even more fully he kept to the very last the keen and alert vigor of his mind. Sensitive but fearless, gentle but strong, aristocratic in culture and taste, but in all deep human sympathies most democratic, he will be remembered and cherished by all who have ever known him as indeed “a veray parfit gentil knight.”