A Stated Meeting of the Society was held at the house of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, Boston, on Thursday, 22 March, 1917, at three o’clock in the afternoon, the President, Fred Norris Robinson, Ph.D., in the chair.

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

    Mr. Samuel E. Morison read a paper on A Generation of Expansion and Inflation in Massachusetts History, 1713–1741, speaking in substance as follows:

    This was the first period of comparative peace that the Colony and Province had enjoyed since the outbreak of Philip’s War in 1675. In settlement, the intervening years had hardly sufficed to make up the ground lost by Indian frontier attacks. Only one new township was started between 1692 and 1711; as compared with 78 in the next 30 years. In this period, however, settlement was extended in a very different way from the old colonial method. New townships, instead of being granted to actual settlers, were given to groups of land speculators, sometimes as a reward for services in the French and Indian wars. Very few of the original grantees or proprietors ever used the land themselves. It was their custom to give away a few lots to bona fide settlers, in order to comply with the terms of the grant, but to hold the rest for sale when the value had risen. In the meantime, the laws of the Province exempted it from taxation. This land inflation was brought to a close by the Massachusetts-New Hampshire boundary decision in 1740. The Bay Province had previously claimed everything west and south of the Merrimac, while New Hampshire claimed a line running due west of the Merrimac’s mouth as its southern boundary. The Privy Council, however, finding Massachusetts more troublesome than New Hampshire, gave the latter her present southern boundary, which was much more than she claimed. This left the majority of the new townships in New Hampshire territory. At about the same time the Maine-New Hampshire, the Massachusetts-Rhode Island, and the Massachusetts-Connecticut boundaries were settled, equally to the disadvantage of the Bay Province.

    The Peace of Utrecht, in 1713, also brought an expansion of those branches of industry and commerce for which Massachusetts was already famous. The molasses trade with the French West Indies was thrown open, and the distillation of rum began on a large scale. Shortly after, the negro population of West Africa began to develop a thirst for New England rum in preference to French brandy. This opened the way for Massachusetts capitalists to enter the unsavory slave trade. Furthermore, the Treaty of Utrecht, by eliminating the French from Acadia, left the New England fisheries without serious rivals, and the exports of dried fish to the West Indies and the Mediterranean greatly increased. Off-shore whaling was another maritime development of the period. Nantucket fitted out her first sea-going whaler in 1715, and within a generation Yankee whalers were to be found in every part of the world. The first schooner was launched in 1713, and shipbuilding increased by leaps and bounds. We have just celebrated the bi-centenary of Boston Light, and marine insurance began in 1724.

    The trade and commerce of Massachusetts was, however, much hampered by her dependence on paper money. The Province had perforce adopted paper currency during the wars, and now found it difficult to return to specie payments. “Old tenor,” “middle tenor,” and “new tenor” followed in bewildering succession. A private bank was formed in 1739 to float notes on mortgage security, and much of the bitter provincial politics of the period is explained by the antagonism of the Land Bank to the sound-money men. An act of parliament declared it illegal, and threw the financial system of the Province into such confusion that a small panic ensued. King George’s War, which was shortly afterwards declared, gave the finishing touch to this period of expansion and inflation.

    Mr. Albert Matthews read the following—


    When, on November 1, 1758, Dr. Nathaniel Ames wrote to his son Nathaniel, then a sophomore at Harvard, asking for a meeting and saying that he “would bring those Instruments in Order to be fixed up for your Use,”549 there is no means of ascertaining with certainty whether the instruments were astronomical, mathematical, or surgical. Astronomy and mathematics had from the beginning been included in the college curriculum, and that Ames pursued these studies is shown by some entries in his Diary:

    • 1760 Nov. 17 finish’d Dialling enter’d Trigonometry.
    • 1760 Dec. 12 Calculated on Eclipse with Flag.
    • 1761 Feb. 16 begun to recite Wats’s Astronomy.550

    Yet, though there were no regular medical courses at Harvard before 1782, it is by no means impossible that Ames was pursuing studies under some Cambridge physician or surgeon, though if such was the case it is one of the earliest instances of the sort that has been recorded.

    However that may have been, some notes on autopsies and anatomical studies and lectures in the early days will not be out of place. As is of course well known, there was at least one physician — Samuel Fuller — among the Mayflower passengers; and even before the sailing of Winthrop, the Massachusetts Bay Company had in 1629 taken care that physicians should be engaged.551 In a letter to the Rev. Thomas Shepard, dated Roxbury, September 24, 1647, the Apostle Eliot, writing about the Indians, said:

    There is another great question that hath been severall times propounded, and much sticks with such as begin to pray, namely, If they leave off Powwawing, and pray to God, what shall they do when they are sick? for they have no skill in physick, though some of them understand the vertues of sundry things, yet the state of mans body, and skill to apply them they have not: but all the refuge they have and relie upon in time of sicknesse is their Powwaws, who by antick, foolish and irrationall conceits delude the poore people; so that it is a very needfull thing to informe them in the use of Physick, and a most effectuall meanes to take them off from their Powwawing. Some of the wiser sort I have stirred up to get this skill; I have shewed them the anatomy of mans body, and some general principles of Physick, which is very acceptable to them, but they are so extreamely ignorant, that these things must rather be taught by sight, sense, and experience then by precepts, and rules of art; and therefore I have had many thoughts in my heart, that it were a singular good work, if the Lord would stirre up the hearts of some or other of his people in England to give some maintenance toward some Schoole or Collegiate exercise this way, wherein there should be Anatomies and other instructions that way, where there might be some recompence given to any that should bring any vegetable or other thing that is vertuous in the way of Physick; by this means we should soon have all these things which they know, and others of our Countreymen that are skilfull that way, and now their skill lies buried for want of incouragement, would be a searching and trying to find out the vertues of things in this countrey, which doubtlesse are many, and would not a little conduce to the benefit of the people of this Countrey, and it may bee of our native Countrey also; by this meanes wee should traine up these poore Indians in that skill which would confound and root out their Powwaws, and then would they be farre more easily inclined to leave those wayes, and pray unto God, whose gift Physick is, and whose blessing must make it effectuall.

    There is also another reason which moves my thought and desires this way, namely that our young Students in Physick may be trained up better then yet they bee, who have onely theoreticall knowledge, and are forced to fall to practise before ever they saw an Anatomy made, or duely trained up in making experiments, for we never had but one Anatomy in the Countrey, which Mr. Giles Firman (now in England) did make and read upon very well, but no more of that now.552

    Though this passage is well known, having been printed in 1648553 and again in 1836,554 yet it is given here in full because the meaning of the word “anatomy” has been misunderstood. Thus Dr. Samuel A. Green, quoting the last sentence, remarks:

    An “anatomy” is the old name for a skeleton, and Mr. Firmin may be considered, in point of time, the first medical lecturer in the country. His instruction must have been crude, and comprised little more than informal talks about the dry bones before him; but even this might be a great help to the learners.555

    Dr. Green, however, overlooked the fact that in the seventeenth century the word “anatomy” had other meanings besides that of a skeleton. Indeed, the Oxford English Dictionary gives no fewer than eleven definitions of the word, though for our purpose it is necessary to quote four only:

    1. 1. The artificial separation of the different parts of a human body or animal (or more generally of any organized body), in order to discover their position, structure, and economy; dissection.
    2. 2. a. A body (or part of one) anatomized or dissected, so as to show the position and structure of the organs. Hence b. A body or “subject” for dissection. Obsolete.
    3. 3. A model of the body, showing the parts discovered in dissection.
    4. 4. pop. A skeleton.

    Eliot’s wish that there might be “some Schoole or Collegiate exercise this way, wherein there should be Anatomies and other instructions,” his assertion that the young medical students here “are forced to fall to practise before ever they saw an Anatomy made.” and his specific statement that “we never had but one Anatomy in the Countrey, which Mr. Giles Firmin did make and read upon very well,” show conclusively that Firmin lectured on a fresh dissection of a cadaver in all its parts, soft and hard.

    Perhaps it was due to Eliot’s letter that on October 27, 1647, the General Court expressed itself as follows:

    Lastly, we conceive it very necessary yt such as studies phisick or chirurgery may have liberty to reade anotomy, & to anotomize once in foure yeares some malefator, in case there be such as the Courte shall alow of.556

    Writing about 1651, Edward Johnson, describing Harvard College, said that “some help hath been had from hence in the study of Physick;”557 and perhaps this is an allusion to Firmin’s lectures.

    On March 11, 1663, Bray Rossiter was allowed twenty pounds “in reference to openinge Kellies child and his paynes” in visiting and administering to two officials of Connecticut.558 On March 27, 1667, “Mr John Alcock Physician, dyed” at Roxbury, Massachusetts. “His liver was dryed up & became schirrous.”559 It is not quite certain whether, in the former case, the “opening” of the child was before or after death; nor, in the latter case, whether an autopsy was made. However that may have been, autopsies were performed on the body of John Bridge, who died at Roxbury August 20, 1674,560 and on the body of Jacob Goodale, upon whom an inquest was held at Salem June 1, 1676.561 On September 22, 1676, Judge Sewall, with other persons, “Spent the day from 9 in the M. . . . dissecting the middlemost of the Indian executed the day before.”562 At an inquest held at Salem on May 2, 1678, was “searcht the Body of one called Edward Bodye.”563 The next was recorded by Cotton Mather under date of June 11, 1683:

    The first of my Father’s Children that have Dyed and the Ninth of his Children, my little Sister Katharine, dyed this Day.

    When shee was opened, it was found, that the right Lobe of her Lungs was utterly wasted and not any thing but about three Quarters of a Pint of Quittor, in the room thereof.

    Shee was not a year old; and had lain sick, for four or five months.564

    The next was on the body of Governor Sloughter of New York, who died July 23, 1691, as appears from a letter to William Blathwayt dated August 6th:

    We must acquaint you that on the 23 Instant [error for Ultimo] his Excellency Coll: Sloughter our Governr departed this life in a very suddain manner, whose body we caused to be opened by the Phisetians and Chururgeans on the place; a copy of whose report to us upon their oaths we have herewith sent you, by which you will see their opinions concerning the cause of his death.565

    The Boston News Letter of January 22, 1705, stated that “On Wednesday morning the 17th Instant, dyed Elizabeth Whetlie, Single Woman, for want of help, being big with Child, who would not own she was with Child, was afterwards opened, and found to be so.”566

    A very interesting proposal is found in a pamphlet entitled, “A Projection For Erecting a Bank of Credit In Boston, New-England. Founded on Land Security. Printed in the Year 1714.” It is in part as follows:

    19. And for a further benefit to the Publick, when there shall be Emitted and Continued at Interest One Hundred and Fifty Thousand Pounds, We give out of the Neet Profits of this Partnership, the Sums following, Viz. . . .

    Two Hundred Pounds per Annum, to be paid to the Treasurer of Harvard Colledge in Cambridge, for the Uses following, Viz. . .

    Forty Pounds per Annum, to a Professor of Physick and Anatomy, Residing there, provided he Read a Lecture once a month, on that Subject567

    In a letter dated July 10, 1716, Cotton Mather mentioned the case of “a Good man, who lived not far from me, (nam’d Mr Call).” who was advised by the surgeons to be cut for the stone, but refused and finally died. “A post mortem examination showed that there was no stone, but that ‘his Bladder was grown entirely schirrous.’”568

    In a letter to William Penn dated May 1, 1717, James Logan, referring to Dr. Cadwallader Colden, said:

    All I know of that bill is only this. He came to me one day to desire my opinion of a proposal to get an act of Assembly for an allowance to him as physician for the poor of this place. I told him I thought very well of the thing, but doubted whether it could be brought to bear in the House. Not long after R. Hill showed me a bill for this purpose, put in his hands by the Governor, with the two further provisions in it, which were, that a public physical lecture should be held in Philadelphia, to the support of which every unmarried man about twenty-one years, should pay six shillings, eight-pence, or an English crown yearly, and that the corpses of all persons whatever that died here should be visited by an appointed physician, who should receive for his trouble three shillings and four-pence. These things I owned very commendable, but doubted our Assembly would never go into them, that of the lectures especially.569

    Logan’s prognostications proved correct.

    Another interesting extract is the following from the Weekly Rehearsal of May 1, 1732:

    Barbados, April 1. We hear that an ingenious young Gentleman is lately arriv’d on this Island, who designs to go thro’ a Course of Anatomy very speedily. Tis said some of the greatest and learnedst Gentlemen have, or design to subscribe to so useful an undertaking (p. 4/1).

    If this unknown physician carried his intention into effect, his was the second course of lectures on anatomy given in the western hemisphere, though at an interval of nearly a century after the first and in an unexpected place.

    On February 20, 1733, took place the trial of “Julian, an Indian Man, who was indicted at the said Court, for the Murder of Mr. John Rogers, of Pembrook, on Sept. 12 last, by stabing him with a Jack-Knife in the Breast at Braintry;”570 Julian was found guilty, was condemned to be hanged, and was executed on March 22. The Boston News Letter of March 30 said:

    The Body of Julian the Indian Man, who was Executed here last Week, having been granted to several young Students in Physick, Surgery, &c. at their Request; The same has for several Days past been dissecting in their presence, in a most accurate manner; and ‘tis hoped their critical Inspection, will prove of singular Advantage. The Bones are preserv’d, in order to be fram’d into a Skeleton (p. 2/2).571

    The following extract is taken from the Boston News Letter of Thursday, March 28, 1734:

    On Thursday last John Stoicks was Executed at Cambridge in the County of Middlesex, for Burglary; he had some time before renounced the Errors of the Church of Rome, in which he had been Educated in; and by the Blessing of God on the Means used with him, ’tis thought he died a true Penitent and sincere Christian. His Body is now dissecting in a very curious manner by some skilful Surgeons in this Town (p. 2/1).

    The New England Weekly Journal of Tuesday, January 20, 1736, contained this notice:

    Last Saturday Evening, a Negro Woman belonging to Mrs. Ellis of this Town, being abroad in the Street, was seized with a violent Fit of Coughing, and brought up a large quantity of Blood, and dy’d in a few minutes after. She has been since opened, and was found far gone in Consumption (p. 2/2).

    The following extract is taken from the New England Weekly Journal of February 10, 1736:

    Dedham, Feb. 2. 1735, 6.

    Died here of a Pulmonary Pthisis, Margaret Fisher, Ætat. 26. amongst her other good Qualities, an exemplary publick Spirit and Benevolence to Mankind, deserves to be recorded. When a dying, she earnestly desired, that her Viscera might be Anatomically inspected, for the Benefit of those, who may be afflicted with the like Disorders (p. 2/1).

    Then follows a detailed account of the results of the autopsy. Under the heading “For the Speculation of Anatomically curious, the following Case is inserted,” the same paper also stated that “The: same Day was inspected the Corps of Mr. Lewis, Æt. 45,” and again the details are given.572

    In a letter dated February 17, 1736, Dr. William Douglass said that “we have lately in Boston formed a medical society,” that “we design from time to time to publish some pieces,” and that “there is now ready for the press number one” of a work to be entitled Medical Memoirs. This was to contain five essays, the fourth being “The anatomical inspection of a spina vertosa in the vertebrae of the loins in a young man.”573 This work apparently never saw the light, but Douglass dedicated “To a Medical Society in Boston” his Practical History of A New Epidemical Eruptive Miliary Fever, etc., published in the same year; and in this he remarked: “We have Anatomically inspected Persons who died of it” (p. 14).

    Another proposal to establish some sort of medical lectureship in this part of the world was made in 1739, as appears from an entry in the Massachusetts House Journal under date of July 7:

    Information being given to the House by the Member from Worcester,574 that a certain Gentleman of the Town of Boston, [was] well disposed for the Encouragement and Support of a Professor of Physick within this Province, and for that good Purpose would chearfully contribute out of his own Estate a considerable Sum of Money, provided this Court will join therein in making a Grant of Lands, or otherwise establish a good Fund for the valuable Ends aforesaid; and the same being considered:

    Ordered, That the members of Boston, Charlstown, Roxbury, and Chelsea, be a Committee to treat with the said Gentleman, hear him on his Proposals, and report their Opinion of what may be proper to be done for the encouragement of so good a Scheme.575

    Nothing further is heard of this scheme, and the name of its promoter is unknown, though Dr. Green surmises, but without adducing evidence, that he was Dr. Douglass.576

    In 1746 William Davis, a Boston physician, died, and the inventory of his estate contains these items:

    • Chirurgical Instrumts of all Sorts £120
    • 3 Glass Cases of Veins & Anat 50577

    On September 5, 1750, the Corporation of Harvard College passed the following votes:

    6. That the Thanks of the Corporation be given to Mr William Vassal578 of Boston M.A. for a present to ye College of 12 several Tables of the humane Bones & Muscles finely grav’d & as finely fram’d.

    7. That the Thanks of the Corporation be given to Willm Davis579 of Boston M.A. for a present to the College of humane veins & Arteries fill’d wth Wax.

    8. That the Thanks of the Corporation be given to Mr Francis Archibald580 of Boston Mercht for his Present of a Skeleton to the College.581

    Dr. William Douglass died October 21, 1752, and the inventory of his estate taken August 13, 1753, included —

    a Skeleton, Sundry Medicines, Surgeon’s Instrumts, Vials & Bottles £10 6 10582

    There is no evidence that medical lectures were again delivered in this country until more than a century after Giles Firmin “made his anatomy.” The credit is usually given to Dr. Thomas Cadwalader of Philadelphia, but the exact date of his lectures appears not to be known, the years 1750, 1751, and 1752 being variously given.583 Equally wanting in exactness are the dates of the lectures given by Dr. William Hunter, a Scotchman who died at Newport in 1777. Dr. James Thacher said:

    He came to Rhode-Island somewhere about the year 1752, gave lectures on anatomy, on the history of anatomy, and comparative anatomy, at Newport, in the years 1754, 5 and 6, which were the first lectures given on the science in New-England, if not in America. Advertisements of these lectures may be seen in the Boston papers of that day.584

    The exact date of one of Dr. Hunter’s courses — though there may have been earlier ones — is furnished by the following advertisement:

    At Rhode Island,

    On Monday the 3d of February next, will begin

    An Anatomical Exposition

    of the Structure of the human Body, to which will be added, a brief Explanation of the Principles of the Animal Œconomy; the whole interspersed with occasional Remarks and practical Observations, and to conclude with a Course of

    Chirurgical Operations,

    with the Application of the Bandages.

    Any Gentlemen who intend to favour me with their Company, may communicate it by Letter, or personally with me here, and receive any farther Information from

    Their humble Servant,

    William Hunter.585

    Newport, 3d Jan. 1755.

    Professor Guernsey Jones says that “The Department of Prints and Drawings of the British Museum has an early sketch-book by Copley containing nine anatomical studies, in black and red crayons, signed and dated 1756. They are done with great care and the muscles are named.”586 Copley was then only nineteen years of age, and must have obtained his knowledge of anatomy in Boston.

    When Harvard Hall was burned in January, 1764, among the losses enumerated were —

    A collection of the most approved medical Authors, chiefly presented by Mr. James of the island of Jamaica; to which Dr. Mead and other Gentlemen have made very considerable additions: Also anatomical cuts and two compleat skeletons of different sexes. This collection would have been very serviceable to a Professor of Physic and Anatomy, when the revenues of the College should have been sufficient to subsist a gentleman in this character.587

    A Boston paper in 1770 printed this notice:

    Hingham, December 12. 1770.

    ON the 9th Instant died here in the 62d Year of his Age, and was this Day decently interred Dr. Ezekiel Hersey. He was educated at Harvard-College, apply’d himself to the study of Physic and Surgery; in the practice of which he continued almost Forty Years. . . . As a Testimony of his just Regard for the noble Faculty of Medicks, and desire to promote the Science, in which [he] excell’d, and of his concern for the health and happiness of his Country, in all future Generations, He gave in his last Will a Thousand Pounds, Lawful Money, toward the support of a Professor of Anatomy and Physick in Harvard-College. — This first Example of a public Spirit for such a purpose, may provoke to Emulation, so as that the laudable design may be in time compleated.588

    Thus at last, a century and a half after the permanent settlement of Massachusetts, provision was made for a medical professorship, though more than a decade was yet to elapse before the terms of Dr. Hersey’s will were carried into effect.

    Writing in 1813, Dr. Josiah Bartlett said:

    An association of under graduates, denominated the anatomical society, existed at the university in 1771, and was instituted previous to that time. They held private meetings for a discussion of medical and physiological questions, and were in possession of a skeleton; but their demonstrations were confined to the dissection of appropriate animals, as the examination of a human body was then an extraordinary occurrence with our most inquisitive anatomists.589

    Exact information about this undergraduate society is difficult to obtain. Writing two years later, Dr. Bartlett said that Dr. John Warren of the class of 1771 entered College at fourteen and “graduated at the usual period; he then commenced the study of medicine with his brother,”590 Dr. Joseph Warren. On the other hand, Dr. James Jackson stated in the same year (1815) that “it is probable” that John Warren “had already made choice of his profession; for some of his contemporaries recollect with great pleasure that he took the lead in a College-club established for the study of anatomy.”591 And Dr. Edward Warren, a son of Dr. John Warren, says that the latter “conceived a strong passion for the study of Anatomy, and by his zealous exertions a club was formed in college for its pursuit. Whether or not this was the Sp—r Club, of which we shall find Dr. Eustis speaking hereafter, I cannot say.”592 Finally, Dr. Edward Warren quotes this passage, written by his father “in an account of the origin of the Medical School:”

    In some of the more populous towns, students were sometimes indulged with the privilege of examining the bodies of those who had died from any extraordinary diseases; and in a few instances, associations were formed for pursuing the business of dissection, where opportunities offered, from casualties or from public executions, for doing it in decency and safety. A private society had existed in the university under the denomination of the Anatomical Society, in which brutes were dissected, and demonstrations on the bones of the human skeleton were delivered by the members.593

    This, no doubt, is the authority for Dr. Bartlett’s statement in 1813; but I have been unable to ascertain when Dr. John Warren’s “account of the origin of the Medical School” was written.

    Dr. Edward Warren’s query as to whether this Anatomical Society was identical with the Sp—r Club raises an interesting question. In 1773 John Warren went to Salem, and on November 17th of that year Dr. William Eustis, who graduated at Harvard in 1772, wrote to him:

    These are to congratulate you on the pleasing smile which Madam Fortune has been pleased to cast upon you. . . . I beg you would steal one hour from the Salemites, to give us a full detail of your circumstances, . . . The Sp—rs often speak of the loss of their last member, with sorrow which can only be felt among themselves. Good heavens! to reflect on the continued bars we are meeting in our pursuits594.

    In a letter to Warren dated June 5, 1775, Dr. Jonathan Norwood, a classmate, said: “I need not assure you how great satisfaction it would give me to accompany you to the army, where possibly a Sp—r Club might again exert itself for the benefit of mankind.”595 A third letter is thus introduced by Dr. Edward Warren:

    My father was the principal agent in getting up the Anatomical society in college; and he was the principal lecturer. That the members of the society were pretty active, and that their zeal was too great to confine themselves always to comparative anatomy, may be inferred from the allusions to the Sp—r Club, in the early part of this volume. . . . I give here a letter from Dr. Eustis which is without date, but seems to have been written previous to the year 1775, while there was still a royal governor of Massachusetts, and before the alleged treason of Dr. Church.596

    Then follows a longish letter, in part as follows:

    Friday Morning, Boston

    This may serve to inform you, that as soon as the body of Levi Ames was pronounced dead by Dr. Jeffries, it was delivered by the Sheriff to a person who carried it in a cart to the water side, where it was received into a boat filled with about twelve of Stillman’s crew, who rowed it over to Dorchester Point.

    It seems Stillman was very great with Ames, upon whose signifying his desire to be kept from the doctors, Stillman promised that he would get his people to secure him.

    Our determination to have him was fixed as the laws of the Medes and Persians. We had heard it surmised that he was to be taken from the gallows in a boat, and when we saw him carried to the water, we concluded it was a deep laid scheme in Jeffries.

    I’m before my story. You must know that Jeffries (as we heard) had applied to the Governor for a warrant to have this body. The Governor told him if he had come a quarter of an hour sooner, he would have given it, but he had just given one to Ames’ friends, alias Stillman’s gang. So it seems there was a scheme with Lloyd, Jeffries, Clark, etc., to have him, and we imagined, as we knew they were after him, they might spread these reports to baffle us.

    However, when we saw the Stillmanites, we were satisfied Jeffries had no hand in it. When we saw the boat land at Dorchester Point, we had a consultation, and Norwood, David, One Allen and myself, took chaise and rode round to the Point, Spunker’s like, but the many obstacles we had to encounter made it eleven o’clock before we reached the Point, where we searched and searched, and rid, hunted, and waded; but alas, in vain! There was no corpse to be found. . . . We have a ——— from another place, so Church shan’t be disappointed. . . .

    P. S. . . . By the way, we have since heard that Stillman’s gang rowed him back from the Point up to the town, and after laying him out in mode and figure, buried him — God knows where! Clark & Co. went to the Point to look for him, but were disappointed as well as we.597

    The exact date of this letter, which Dr. Edward Warren could not establish, can be determined by internal evidence. In the Boston News Letter of Thursday, October 21, 1773, was advertised “The Confession and Dying Words of Levi Ames, to be executed this Day for Burglary, . . . may be had at the Shop opposite the New Court-House in Queen-Street, Price 6 Coppers.”598 Hence the letter was written October 22, 1773. Several years ago Mr. Gay spoke to me about a certain Thomas Pound, and on my asking whether he was identical with Captain Thomas Pound of the Royal Navy, replied in his dry, laconic way: “Yes. Though condemned to be hanged as a pirate in Boston, he managed to elude the authorities, and thus escaped being preached at by Cotton Mather. What luck!” Levi Ames was hanged too late to suffer that fate, but he was preached at by Cotton Mather’s son the Rev. Samuel Mather,599 by the Rev. Andrew Eliot,600 and by the Rev. Samuel Stillman,601 the last of whom preached two sermons — one before and one after the execution. But what a curious picture of the times this letter presents — three distinct parties struggling for the possession of Ames’s body: Doctors Jeffries, Lloyd, and Clark; the young medical students Eustis, Norwood, Townsend, with “one Allen;” and the Rev. Mr. Stillman’s “gang,” who succeeded by a subterfuge in obtaining a decent burial for the criminal’s remains. One wonders whether Dr. Eustis, when he became Governor of the Commonwealth, recalled his early and unsuccessful attempt at body-snatching.

    “One Allen,” remarks Dr. Edward Warren, “seems to be in the enjoyment of a nickname. Whether it was the Rev. Ebenezer Allen, a classmate of my father or not, I cannot say.” It hardly seems probable that a youth who presumably was then pursuing his theological studies would be engaged in such an expedition. Further, I think that Dr. Edward Warren misses the point. As I understand it, “Spunker” is not a nickname for Allen, but reveals the name of the Sp—r Club. As to whether the Anatomical Society and the Sp—r Club were identical, the evidence at hand is too meagre for a definite conclusion; but if Eustis in his letter of November 17, 1773, when he spoke of John Warren’s going to Salem as “the loss of their last member,” meant the member most recently elected to the club, then the Sp—r Club could hardly have been an undergraduates’ association.602

    It was Dr. John Warren who gave the first medical lectures in Massachusetts, but as the exact dates of these are uncertain the following advertisements are submitted:

    A Course of Lectures will be delivered this Winter, upon the several Branches of Physick, for the Improvement of all such as are desirous of obtaining medical Knowledge: Those who propose attending, are requested to make Application as soon as possible, as the Course will commence in a few days.

    Boston, January 1, 1781.603

    John Warren, Sec’y, Medical Society.

    A Course of Anatomical Lectures will be demonstrated this Winter, by Dr. J. Warren, to commence in about two weeks from the date hereof.

    Boston, December 3, 1781.604

    Finally, the Harvard Medical School having been established in 1782, on November 22 of that year Dr. John Warren was elected Professor of Anatomy and Surgery.605

    And thus we are brought to our starting-point — the instruments which were “to be fixed up” for young Ames. If students who entered Harvard in 1767 formed an Anatomical Society, it is by no means impossible that those who entered a decade earlier also pursued medical studies. Nor should the fact be overlooked that William Kneeland, whose windows were broken by the undergraduates on October 9, 1760,606 was not merely a Tutor but a physician as well.607 Could young Ames have studied medicine under Kneeland?608

    Mr. Morison also communicated Ephraim Eliot’s private report of the Class of 1780, from his commonplace book:

    Some account of my classmates in College who graduated in 1780609

    David Leonard Barnes a Judge of United States Court in Rhode Island, a good scholar & respectable in Society.

    NathL Bethune a well fitted scholar — turn’d out dissipated, became an intemporate man — was a wholesale liquor dealer.

    Parkman Bradshaw a steady, exemplary man — was too old610 when he commenced scholar — but attended the duty well. Soon after leaving College, in a fit of despair commited suicide.

    William Brooks a well disposed lad, of unexceptionable character, but a poor scholar. I know not what course of life he pursued, but believe was in trade in the district of Maine.

    James Brown the son of a very rich man in Providence. Has not been known in Society out of that town.611

    John Crane a highly orthodox clergyman — a Doctor of Divinity at Providence. Minister at Northfield — a good mathematician & otherwise respectable — for a Hopkinsian.612

    William Croswell a very distinguished mathematical and classical scholar, but so diffident that he has been lost to the world.613

    Philip Draper rusticated from the former class. Had capacity, but was a Rascal.614

    Ephraim Eliot a scholar below mediocrity — never was well fitted for college — not being design’d for a public education, push’d in, because there was a suspension of business owing to war in 1776, but jogg’d along unnotic’d and made a good apothecary. Became paralytic.

    Abel Flynt a tolerable scholar — died young, a student in physic.615

    Aaron Hastings good at classics became insane & died miserable.

    James Hewes smuggled into the class without residence or rank in it at the time of graduating, to the disgrace of the government. A contemptible lawyer — very immoral & despised in society. His only accomplishment, what was called a ready talent at wit & low repartee.616

    Daniel Jenks a clever man middling scholar — died young.617

    Jacob Kimball, an elegant scholar at entrance. Had gone through all the exercises of a freshman before, under Master Moody618. Time being on his hands, & having nothing to employ him, he fell a sacrifice to a parcel of unprincipled gamblers who swindled him. Was a great scientist, psalm singer & composer, in that branch of music. Truly may be said to have been too well fitted. Became a dissipated sot.

    Nehemiah Mason a good scholar & respectable one — unknown his destination619.

    Elias Parkman a hard student, he wanted capacity and made no figure in life. A well disposed man.

    Sylvanus Plympton a decent scholar, & rather more than a quack doctor.620

    Joseph Prince excellent scholar but unfortunate in life. Was burnt to death in the State of Maine.

    Isaac Reed no scholar — an expert gamester — mind Kimball!

    Thomas W. Russel son of an auctioneer — a very distinguish’d scholar — burnt to death by foolish sport after election day playing with squibs. A merchant of Boston, and ought to have been better employed.621

    Daniel Sargent of Chelsea. Taken in to add to numbers in 1776. Never had an idea in his life, except to grease his hair and clean his buckles. No business.

    William Symmes an excellent scholar — bid fair to make a fine lawyer, but was spoilt by a residence in Virginia, where he became dissipated. Settled in the law in Portland, Maine. Made no figure.

    Jesse Thomas studied physic, went to Maine to practice, where he was probably murder’d to get posession of money. Securities were paid in nine months after he left Marshfield, his native place. He was traced to Vassalborough in 1784, but the murder has never been known of, or its circumstances.622

    James True a steady, clever man, and somewhat of a scholar, when he entered. Became deranged in mind, and died crazy. Followed no business.

    Fortescue Vernon a good scholar, till his grandfather died. Left him much money, after which he became dissipated. He died at sea. Good for nothing, became poor.623

    Arnold Welles a distinguished scholar, and has been much respected through life. Now blind.

    James White came from New Haven late in standing. Appeared a fine classical scholar & very respectable. Died young.624

    Samuel Williams the best scholar in the class except Croswell & very distinguished merchant in London many years.

    Thomas L Winthrop a very good scholar & of distinguish’d rank in society.625

    Mr. John W. Farwell exhibited an original document relating to New Hampshire, and said:

    The following letter is addressed “To the Gentlemen Selectmen or Committee of Safety at Greenland:”

    Portsmouth 10th. Jan. 1776

    Gentlemen —

    The subscriber being Chairman of a Committee, appointed by a vote of this Town, for that Purpose, beg leave to inform you, that the Town have this Day agreed upon, & forwarded a Petition to the Hon. Provincial Congress, praying they will defer taking up Government, for the present, by advices this Day received, we are fully convinced, that such a Measure will have a Tendency, to make Enemies of our Friends, in great Britain as it will look, like a desire of setting up, an Independancy, & We are apprehensive that it will greatly endanger the common Cause, by promoting a Disunion among ourselves, Evils at this Time to be carefully guarded against, if you think with us, we doubt not you’ll call your Town together, as speedily as may be, in order to Petition as we have done?

    I am Gentlemen

    Your Humble Servent

    John Penhallow Chairman.

    On the back are the original minutes of the meeting at Greenland, as follows:

    Colony of New Hampshire Rockingham 88

    At a meeting of the Freeholders & other Inhabitants of Greenland on Friday the 12th day of Jany 1776

    Voted, that Wm Weeks Esqr be Moderator.

    Voted, that Wm Pickering be Clerk, pro tempore.

    Voted, that the Selectmen & Committee of Safety together with Mr Thos Parker be a Committee to make a Draught to remonstrate against the assumption of Government in this Colony & report to this meeting.

    Voted that this meeting be adjourned for one hour.

    Met according to adjournment. The Come appointed to prepare sd Draught reported as follows,

    Voted unanimously that the foregoing Draught be accepted and presented for Benefit of the Town by Wm Weeks, Esqr

    Attest Wm Pickering Clerk P. T.

    In another place, the last clause reads: “Voted unanimously that the foregoing Draught be accepted & that Wm Weeks, Esqr be Desired in Behalf of the Town to present the same.” Another endorsement reads:

    Greenland Jany 12th 1776

    At a tow meating of the free holders of said tow Legally sembled — Voted mag. Wm Weaks moderator. Voted Wm Pickering a Tempore Clark. Voted that there be a Pertition Directed to the honorable Provinchel Congress, magor Wm Weaks to Deliver said to the Congres.

    Prior to this meeting at Portsmouth, the Provincial Congress, as its members were authorized to do, adopted (January 5th) a form of government in which the legislative and executive powers were vested in a Council and House of Representatives,626 but their action met with considerable opposition, which resulted in this meeting at Portsmouth and meetings in several other towns.

    In an anonymous letter, read in Congress, it was alleged that the resolutions were passed in a very thin meeting, to which it was replied that there were upward of two hundred persons present and that the resolutions were passed unanimously. On January 12 a committee was appointed to write to the Congress, requesting to see the original letter, which they stated contained assertions which were utterly false, scandalous and derogatory to the honor of the town, “in order that the author who has been guilty of this Scandalous Falsehood, may receive the reward of his Just Demerit.” On January 16 another town meeting was held in Portsmouth, and a committee was elected to go to Exeter to speak to the petition; and on the 18th the petitions of Portsmouth and nine other towns were read to the House and considered and were fully argued by Mr. John Pickering.

    A little later (February 10th) all these petitions were referred to the Continental Congress and the Declaration of Independence closed the incident.627

    Copies of only two of these petitions, those of Greenland628 and Portsmouth,629 have been preserved.