A Stated Meeting of the Society was held at the house of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, No. 28 Newbury Street, Boston, on Thursday, 25 March, 1915, at three o’clock in the afternoon, George Lyman Kittredge, LL.D., in the chair.

    The Records of the last Stated Meeting were read and approved.

    The Corresponding Secretary reported that letters had been received from Mr. Augustus George Bullock and the Hon. Winslow Warren, accepting Resident Membership; and from Mr. Charles McLean Andrews, accepting Corresponding Membership.

    Mr. Edward Channing and Mr. Edward Bangs Drew, both of Cambridge, were elected Resident Members; and Mr. Evarts Boutell Greene, of Champaign, Illinois, was elected a Corresponding Member.

    Mr. Samuel E. Morison read a paper on Proprietors of Massachusetts Townships, in which he traced the evolution of Commoners or Proprietors from the early days of the Colony, when they constituted the original settlers and grantees of a given township, to the end of the Province period, when they had become absentee landlords and land speculators, frequently engaged in agrarian disputes with the actual settlers.

    Mr. E. P. Merritt exhibited three news-letters of English origin, two of the year 1664 and one of 1665; and spoke as follows:

    These news-letters, forwarded by Joseph Williamson98 to Sir Richard Fanshawe, are presented for the consideration of the Society rather on account of their antiquarian interest than for any historical value which they may possess, to us at least. However, they have already been printed either wholly or in part, in a report of the Historical Manuscripts Commission which consists almost entirely of the correspondence of Sir Richard Fanshawe, Ambassador from Charles II to the Courts of Portugal and Spain. Of the five written news-letters and four autograph letters, sent by Williamson to Fanshawe, contained in that report,99 three of the news-letters and two of the autograph letters are now exhibited. At the time they were written Williamson was secretary to Henry Bennett, Lord Arlington (one of the two Secretaries of State), Keeper of the King’s Library at Whitehall, and Keeper of the Office of His Majesty’s Papers and Records. The several clerks in the Paper Office, under the supervision of Williamson’s chief clerk and deputy, were employed in copying and sending out these news-letters to subscribers, and to persons residing in the various English ports who reciprocated with news items from their part of the country.100 The letters were sent out three times a week and were commonly either “long letters” containing the news of a week, or “short letters” giving the news for two days only. The subscribers as a rule paid £5 a year for the full service.101

    Notwithstanding the prevalence of printed news-sheets at that time, the last half of the seventeenth century was a period of great activity in written news-letters and these were on the whole of more interest and value than the printed sheets.102 The reason was a very simple one. The printed news was both licensed and rigidly censored; the written news was exempt from both restrictions and consequently could cover a wider range of interests. The news-letters are in miniature a very fair prototype of the modern newspaper, containing Parliamentary news, reports of criminal trials, of cases of conspiracy and non-conformity, and of libel suits, news of shipping, both domestic and foreign, war reports, and even society items.

    The history of the terms employed to designate the written and the printed news is of some interest. At the time when these letters were written, 1664–1665, the term news-letter was not in existence. In the endorsements on the letters themselves by the recipient they are variously referred to as a “Written Dyurnall,” “written Gazett,” and “Intelligence.” In Williamson’s autograph letter dated Whitehall May 14, 1663, he refers to the “packett of occurrences which goes with this.” Newspaper and news-letter appear at about the same time, though apparently “news-letter” was developed as a complement to “newspaper” and served to differentiate the written from the printed sheet.

    The earliest citation in the Oxford English Dictionary of “newsletter” is 1674, while “newspaper” is found in 1670. Prior to this time the printed sheets were known as “news-books,” 1652. The “diurnal” was still earlier, 1640, while “courant” or “corante” and “gazette” are found in 1621, and this last term leads back to the earliest form “gazetti” in 1605, which clearly indicates the Continental origin of the word. The early gazettes supplied foreign news only, while domestic news and particularly Parliamentary reports first appeared in the “diurnals” in 1641.103

    Mr. Henry H. Edes exhibited a portrait of Sir Joseph Williamson.

    Mr. John W. Farwell exhibited a copy of the Treaty of Peace in America between James II and Louis XIV, in 1686, printed in London the same year; and spoke as follows:

    I have brought for inspection to-day a copy of an apparently rare pamphlet containing an old treaty of our colonial days, which has been called a Treaty of Neutrality. Its title runs:

    Treaty Of Peace, Good Correspondence & Neutrality in America, Between the most Serene and Mighty Prince James II. By the Grace of God, King of Great Britain, France and Ireland, Defender of the Faith, &c. And the most Serene and Mighty Prince Lewis XIV. The Most Christian King: Concluded the 6/16th Day of Novemb. 1686. Published by His Majesties Command. Printed by Thomas Newcomb in the Savoy. 1686.104

    It provided that no ships or vessels shall be fitted out or employed by either king against the other and that no soldiers of either shall be employed against the other, and that both kings shall retain “to themselves all the Dominion, Rights and Pre-eminences in the American Seas, Roads, and other Waters whatsoever, . . . in such manner as they now possess the same.” “The King of Great Britain’s Subjects shall not direct their Commerce and Trade, nor Fish in the Havens, Bays, Creeks, Roads, Shoars, or Places which the most Christian King holdeth, or shall hereafter hold in America; and in like manner the most Christian King’s Subjects shall not direct their Commerce and Trade, nor Fish in the Havens, Bays, Creeks, Roads, Shoars, or Places which the King of Great Britain possesseth, or shall hereafter possess in America.” The penalty provides for the confiscation of the vessel and cargo, the offence having been proved, with an appeal to the Council of State of the King, whose governors have sentenced the vessel. When the subjects of either of the kings with their shipping are “forced through stress of Weather, persuit of Pyrates and Enemies, or any other urgent Necessity, for the seeking of Shelter and Harbour, to retreat and enter into any of the Rivers, . . . belonging to the other in America, they shall be received and treated there with all Humanity and Kindness, and enjoy all friendly Protection and Help.” They shall also provide themselves with rates and victuals as well as be permitted to repair their ships. They can leave freely, but they must not try to trade or fish, under penalty of confiscation. Signals are arranged for, so that they may be recognized as friendly, when entering port. Should vessels ground or be wrecked, they shall receive proper assistance. Should three or four enter together, they shall immediately report, and shall leave as soon as possible, after taking on provisions or making repairs. Subjects of Great Britain, “inhabiting the Island of St. Christophers, may fetch Salt from the Salt-Ponds there, and carry the same away,” and the French of that island may enter the “Rivers of the great Road” to provide themselves with water, on condition that the salt must be loaded and the water taken in the day time only. The subjects of either nation shall not harbor “the Barbarous or Wild Inhabitants, or the Slaves or Goods, which the said Inhabitants have taken from the Subjects of the other Nation.” Civil and military officers, as well as those who set out private men of war must not do injury or damage to the other. Commanders of private men of war must give sufficient security, which is specified, that they will give full satisfaction for any damages or injuries which they shall commit in their courses at sea contrary to “this present Treaty or any other whatsoever.” The governors and officers of both kings shall give no assistance or protection to any pirates of what nation soever, or allow them any retreat in the ports of either; and they are commanded “to punish, as Pirats, all such, who shall Arm out any Ship or Ships for Privateering, without lawful Commission and Authority,” or shall ask or take “Letters of Mart for arming any ship or ships to go Privateering in America.” The French shall have full liberty to fish for turtles in the Islands of Cayman. This Treaty is not to conflict with the Treaty of Breda (July 21–31, 1667). All treaties heretofore made between the said nations upon the Island of St. Christophers, or elsewhere in America, shall be in force, as formerly. This Treaty is to be ratified and confirmed as soon as may be, and “the Ratifications thereof shall within the space of two Months from the date of these Presents be reciprocally exchanged between both Parties: And within the space of eight Months, or sooner if it may be, be published in all the Kingdoms, Dominions and Colonies, as well in America as elsewhere, of both the Kings.”

    This Treaty was only an incident in the long, exhaustive, and intermittent warfare between the French and English for the possession of a vast disputed territory in America, which culminated in the taking of Quebec by the English, under Wolfe, in 1759. In the course of this warfare, the Indians were exploited by both nations, and were the principal sufferers in the end.

    While other parts of America were involved and suffered in the conflict of the two nations, New York seems to have been the principal battle ground. The English claimed all the territory south and south-west of Lakes Ontario and Erie, extending toward the Mississippi and the Gulf of Mexico, as well as the country of the Hurons and the regions beyond. For good reasons, the French disputed the claim, but what was most desired by both was the trade of the Indians. In 1674, New York had been surrendered to the English, for the second time, and the authority of the Duke of York restored.

    The able and impetuous Frontenac had in 1672 arrived at Quebec, where, as Governor, he quarrelled with his fellow officials, and discord and disorder reigned throughout his stay in Canada. In 1682 he was recalled and replaced by La Barre. On August 28, 1683, Colonel Thomas Dongan, an Irishman and a Catholic, arrived in New York, and succeeded Andros as Governor. The French expected some sympathy from him, because of his religious affiliations, but he was loyal, able, and vigorous in the performance of his duties. The friendship of the Mohawks was encouraged and an alliance was made with the Iroquois, which served to check the activities of the French.

    Dissentions were rife among the French; La Salle had built a fort on the Illinois and the Iroquois were quarrelling with the Illinois. A messenger was sent to Onondaga to assert the claim of the French, but he was unsuccessful. Lamberville, a Jesuit, who resided among the Indians, wrote that the Indians had prepared for any emergency, but in 1684, La Barre was in full campaign, with a large force, and with the purpose to exterminate the Senecas. At Fort Frontenac, many of his soldiers became sick and the few who reached La Famine, on the opposite side of the Lake, were in a serious condition. A council was held with the Indians, which resulted in a treaty which was a truce rather than a treaty. Baron La Hontan accompanied this expedition and has left a good account of it. La Barre was somewhat consoled for his failure, by a letter from the Jesuit, Lamberville, which eulogized him as the savior of the expedition by making peace. While La Barre failed to gain control of the Indians, either by threats or negotiations, Dongan gained a written submission of the Indians to the English and notified Canada that they were under his protection. During 1684 the Indians brought the English to the Lakes for trade, which much disturbed the French, who feared their competition. La Barre being unable to protect the Indians hostile to the Iroquois, he lost their respect. The same year, La Barre sent a message to Dongan, to complain of the Senecas, which he promptly gave to the Indians, who became attached to the English, as the latter supplied them with cheap merchandise and warlike stores.

    La Barre was succeeded in 1685 by the Marquis de Denonville, a pious Colonel of Dragoons. Much was expected from him and that he would restore the prosperity of the colony. He was devoted to the Jesuits and a strong supporter of the king. His instructions were to humble the Iroquois, assist the allies of the French and oppose Dongan, if he encroached upon French territory.

    Dongan, meanwhile, gained control of the Iroquois by promises, presents, etc., so that Denonville readily saw that a severe defeat of the Iroquois was absolutely necessary to restore the prestige of the French, but Dongan kept the Indians informed of the designs of Denonville. Much correspondence passed between Denonville and Dongan, but with little result, although Denonville persisted in building a fort at Niagara. Prior to this, the English had established trading stations and built forts in the Hudson’s Bay territory, etc. In the spring of 1686 the French decided to assert their rights to that territory, and sent an expedition to drive out the English. The forts were taken, but, meanwhile, this Treaty had been signed. Dongan was instructed to give no offence to Denonville, which placed him at a disadvantage, as it was only four months later that similar instructions were sent to Denonville.

    Early in 1685 Charles II was succeeded by James II, a Catholic, who was very much under the influence of Louis XIV, and this Treaty seems to have been inspired by the French.

    It was under these conditions that this Treaty was negotiated. It seems to have had no lasting effect, and it deserves more notice than it has received from historical writers, most of whom appear to have been satisfied with a simple statement that a Treaty of Neutrality had been signed.105

    Mr. Frederick L. Gay exhibited the original deed on parchment dated March 1, 1657–8, given by Richard and Edward Hutchinson to William Brenton, afterwards Governor of Rhode Island, of the estate in State Street, Boston, on which stood the mansion house of Governor John Winthrop. The site is now covered by the Exchange Building.106

    Mr. William C. Lane exhibited the manuscript Orderly Book of Colonel William Thomson, of the Third South Carolina Regiment known as the Rangers. This covers the period from 21 June, 1775, to 3 November, 1778, and contains correspondence with Henry Laurens, the South Carolina Council of Safety, and others.