A Stated Meeting of the Society was held, at the invitation of Mr. Roger B. Merriman, at No. 175 Brattle Street, Cambridge, on Thursday, April 25, 1929, at half after eight o’clock in the evening, the Vice-President, James Hardy Ropes, 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. Philip Putnam Chase, Dr. George Richards Minot, Mr. Stewart Mitchell, Mr. Arthur Orlo Norton, and Mr. Robert Walcott, accepting Resident Membership; and from Mr. George Macaulay Trevelyan, accepting Associate Membership.

    Mr. Richard Ammi Cutter of Cambridge, Dr. James Lincoln Huntington of Boston, Mr. Clifford Herschel Moore of Cambridge, and Mr. Francis Parkman of Cambridge, were elected Resident Members; and Mr. Charles Thornton Libby of Yarmouth, Maine; Mr. Hosea Ballou Morse of Arden, Camberly, England; Mr. Vernon Louis Parrington of Seattle, Washington; Mr. James Harvey Robinson of New York; and Mr. Chauncey Brewster Tinker of New Haven, Connecticut, were elected Corresponding Members; and Mr. Lawrence Counselman Wroth of Providence, Rhode Island, was elected an Associate Member.

    The Vice-President appointed the following Committees in anticipation of the Annual Meeting:

    To nominate candidates for the several offices, —

    Messrs. James Phinney Baxter, 3d, Charles Eliot Goodspeed, and Lawrence Shaw Mayo.

    To examine the Treasurer’s accounts, — Messrs. Allan Forbes and Nathaniel Thayer Kidder.

    Mr. John Noble spoke on:


    The General Court of the Province of Massachusetts Bay, at the winter session of 1719–1720, passed an act236 declaring lotteries to be “common and publick nusances,” and imposing fines of £200 on the promoters and £10 on every person who shall “play, throw or draw” at any lottery whether by “dice, lotts, cards, balls or any other numbers or figures, or in any other way whatsoever.” The preamble terms them “mischievous and unlawful games . . . whereby the children and servants of several gentlemen, merchants and traders, and other unwary people have been drawn into a vain and foolish expence of money, which tends to the utter ruine and impoverishment of many families, and is to the reproach of this government, and against common good, trade, welfare and peace of the Province.”237

    A generation later the military and naval operations against the French in Canada cost more money than could readily be raised by taxation238 and the General Court resorted to lotteries in place of further exercise of the taxing power.239 The practice of raising money for military and other governmental needs soon extended to State and municipal improvements and later to religious, charitable and educational objects, — for example: rebuilding Faneuil Hall, which “in the providence of God” had been “consumed by fire”;240 winding up the defunct land bank;241 clothing the Massachusetts troops in the Continental Army;242 disposal of wild lands in Maine;243 building bridges, over the Parker River in Newbury,244 and over the Saco;245 and repairing Long Wharf.246 In Connecticut, money was raised by lottery to build the State House at Hartford; in Maryland, for an endowment for Baltimore College; and in Rhode Island, to build a meeting house.247 Lotteries were an ordinary incident of everyday life in Massachusetts for nearly seventy-five years. They began to die out early in the last century, and by 1830 were extinct.

    During the period that lotteries flourished, under legislative sanction, four were granted for the benefit of Harvard College.

    The first of these was granted in 1765, for the building of a new dormitory. This lottery never went into operation.

    The second, granted in 1788 for the purchase of an orrery, accomplished its purpose with a margin over.

    By the third, granted in 1794 for the erection of a new dormitory, part of the money for building Stoughton Hall was raised. But, after four classes had been drawn, the lottery was suspended, and the Corporation was obliged to collect from one or more defaulting underwriters and defend a suit for commissions by one of the managers.

    The fourth, granted in 1806, produced enough money to build Holworthy Hall and to replace the amount taken from general funds for the completion of Stoughton Hall.

    On a stormy night in January, 1764, Harvard Hall caught fire and, together with the College library, which was housed in it, was totally destroyed.248 Massachusetts, Stoughton and Hollis Halls and Holden Chapel caught fire, but were saved by the efforts of citizens, aided by heavy snow.

    The General Court had appropriated £2000 in 1762 and more thereafter for the erection of “a new College at Cambridge” (Hollis Hall), and immediately after the fire they voted to rebuild “Harvard College,” at the expense of the Province, and appropriated £2000 to begin work.249 But the original Stoughton Hall was “an unsubstantial piece of masonry, grown weak with age and unfit longer to be occupied.”250 At the same time, the number of students had increased so fast that as many as ninety were unable to get rooms in the college yard.251

    The members of the General Court felt that they had done enough for the college for the present, and, to meet the further expense of replacing Stoughton Hall, granted the first of the Harvard College Lotteries. The act252 is entitled, “An Act for raising by lottery the sum of £3200, for building another hall for the students of Harvard College to dwell in.”

    The preamble recites that the buildings “are greatly insufficient” for lodging the students, and will become more so when Stoughton Hall shall be

    pulled down as it appears it soon must be by reason of its present ruinous state; that there is no fund for erecting such buildings and considering the great expence which the General Court has lately been at in building Hollis Hall, and also in rebuilding Harvard College it cannot be expected that any further provision for the College can be made from the public treasury, so that no other resort is left but to private benefactions, which, it is conceived, will be best excited by means of a Lottery.

    The directors of the lottery appointed by the act were Thomas Hubbard, Harrison Gray, Thomas Flucker, Edward Holyoke, Joseph Lee, John Winthrop, Esquires, and Mr. Thomas Gray;253 and they were ordered to draw up a plan for the lottery subject to the approval of the Governor and Council. The net proceeds of the lottery were to be paid over to the treasurer of the Province to be expended under the direction of the Governor and Council for the erection of the new building.

    This lottery never got going. President Holyoke died in 1769. In November of that year the Corporation requested Mr. Hubbard to call a meeting of the managers,254 and in June, 1771, appointed the President, Dr. Eliot, and Dr. Cooper a committee “to wait on the gentlemen appointed to be Managers of the Lottery granted by the General Assembly to the College to desire their acceptance of that important trust.”255

    A year later a second committee was appointed, “to concert some measures for carrying the Provincial Act for a college lottery into execution and make report.”256 The managers, however, having done nothing, finally announced that they would not serve, and the Corporation had to petition the General Court to appoint new managers in their places.257 At the session of 1772–1773 an act was passed to “amend . . . and carry into execution” the act of 1765, and Joseph Jackson and William Blair Townsend, Esquires, and Jonathan Mason, William Greenleaf, Samuel Austin, and Henry Hill, merchants, were appointed in place of the former managers.258

    The new Managers tried to put the lottery into operation, but had little success in disposing of the tickets. They appealed to the President and Fellows to underwrite the unsold tickets, and announced that they would resign if the Corporation did not do so. This request was brought up in a meeting of the Corporation February 14, 1775, and a vote was passed to underwrite the unsold tickets to the number of two thousand.259

    June 1 was fixed as the date for commencement of the drawing, but before that day arrived, Smith’s column had marched on Lexington, and the Province was up in arms. The outcome of the lottery is tersely stated in a note in the records of the Corporation: “N.B. The Managers of the aforesaid Lottery afterw’d gave it up, the war breaking out.”260

    In 1788 the General Court passed an act granting a lottery “for the purpose of purchasing an Orrery made by Joseph Pope, for the use and benefit of the University at Cambridge.” The sum to be raised was not to exceed £550 after paying the expenses of management. The act appointed Samuel Eliot, Henry Hill, and Aaron Dexter, Esquires, or any two of them, to be managers.261 Any surplus above the cost of the orrery was to be paid to the Treasurer of the University for general uses.262

    The preamble states that: “His Honor the Lieutenant Governor and several other persons of respectable characters have petitioned this Court that an Act may pass authorizing such Managers as may thereby be appointed to raise by Lottery a sum of money for the purpose of purchasing an Orrery made by Joseph Pope of Boston, for the use and benefit of the University at Cambridge”; and after expressing the willingness of the General Court, “at all times to encourage the efforts of ingenuity,” declares its approval of the plan as one which has “the advancement of Science and the public good for its object.”

    Three thousand tickets in this lottery were sold at $2 each, and out of the proceeds there was paid one capital prize of $1,000, one prize of $300, one of $200, two of $100, three of $50, fifteen of $20, and six hundred and seventy-three of $3. The drawing was held at the State House in Boston, March 10 to 14, 1789.263

    This lottery was so successful as to yield £71–14–9 for the benefit of the University, over and above all expenses and the amount paid for the orrery.264 The Corporation passed a vote thanking the managers “for their great attention to the business by which the design was so speedily and happily carried into execution.” Their letter transmitting a copy to the managers concludes: “And while they view with pleasure this noble and useful machine which does so much honor to Mr. Pope, they feel highly grateful to the Managers of the Lottery for their politeness and generosity in freely giving their time and trouble by which means a handsome Sum has been received into the treasury of the College.”265 The instrument is now in the Jefferson Laboratory.

    Stoughton Hall was dismantled in 1779.266 The brick walls were sold at auction, but no one wanted them and the college had to bid them in. They were pulled down in the winter of 1781–1782.267 In 1786 the Corporation appointed a committee to take steps to revive the lottery.268 No further action was taken at that time. The people were still feeling the effects of the war, and there was not enough money available for speculation to insure the success of a new lottery in addition to those that were already in operation. But within the next five years popular excitement over lotteries grew apace. Rev. Jeremy Belknap wrote to his friend Ebenezer Hazard of Philadelphia, March 23, 1790: “You could scarcely imagine what a rage we have here for lotteries. Eight thousand tickets sold in four days in the Marblehead lottery. The scheme calculated on the plan of a Dutch lottery. I wonder Secretary Hamilton does not hit upon a lottery. It would be more popular than laying a duty on salt, which, if he does, will greatly injure our fisheries.”269

    In 1793 the Corporation felt that the time was ripe to go ahead with the plan, and a petition270 was drawn up and presented to the General Court; and on June 14, 1794, an act was passed granting a lottery for the purpose of raising £8,000.271 By this time lotteries had become so numerous that scarcely a number of the Independent Chronicle or Columbian Centinel is without a list of a drawing, plan of a new class, or advertisement of tickets for sale. In every city or town of any size there were one or more lottery offices where tickets in all current lotteries in Massachusetts and other states were on sale. The effect on the welfare and morals of the people had already become a matter of spirited debate.272 The Rev. William Bentley, a graduate of Harvard in the class of 1777, and pastor of the East Church at Salem, wrote in his diary:

    The attention to lotteries is so great that a Gazette extraordinary was printed this day in this town to announce the fortunate numbers in the first class of the Marblehead lottery. The effects are already visible. The poorest people are spending their time and interest to purchase tickets. . . . The proposed object at Charlestown is to repair the streets of a town which were destroyed by the war;273 at Williamston to provide a free school; at Lancaster to repair bridges swept away by a late freshet; at Marblehead to secure a causeway leading to the Neck and save the harbor; and of the state to pay the state debts. The sale is amazing rapid, hundreds sell at a time for speculation and there is hardly a person who is not an adventurer, and some times large parties buy conjointly so as to pay themselves their money again.274

    Apropros of the Harvard College Lottery Mr. Bentley wrote: “The College lottery is granted to build another hall for the use of the students. This liberty for building Colleges and Meeting Houses seems a public license to the Clergy for speculation, which many of them cheerfully embrace”; and again, “The idea of Lotteries is reprobated seriously by some people. Mr. Barlow’s remonstrance to the National Convention has been printed, upon which they have been said to have declared, ‘Lotteries, whatever their nature may be or under whatever denomination they may exist, are suppressed.’”275 A contributor to the Salem Gazette276 quoted this letter of Mr. Joel Barlow in full in protest against the Harvard College Lottery:

    Since I am treating of morals, the great object of all political institutions, I cannot avoid bestowing some remarks on the subject of PUBLIC LOTTERIES. It is a shocking disgrace of modern governments, that they are driven to this pitiful piece of Knavery, to draw money from the people. But no circumstance of this kind is so extraordinary as that this policy should be continued in France, since the revolution; and that a state lottery should still be reckoned among the permanent sources of revenue. It has its origin in deception; and depends for its support on raising and disappointing the hopes of individuals — on perpetually agitating the mind with unreasonable desires of gain — on clouding the understanding with superstitious ideas of chance, destiny and fate, — on diverting the attention from regular industry, and promoting a universal spirit of gambling, which carries all sorts of vices into all classes of people. Whatever way we look into human affairs, we shall ever find that the bad organization of society is the cause of more disorders than could possibly arise from the natural temper of the heart. And what shall we say of a government that avowedly steps forward, with the insolence of an open enemy, and creates a new vice, for the sake of loading it with a tax? What right has such a government to punish our follies? And who can look without disgust on the impious figure it makes, in holding the scourge in one hand, and the temptation in the other? You cannot hesitate to declare, in your constitution, THAT ALL LOTTERIES SHALL BE FOREVER ABOLISHED.277

    The scheme or plan of a lottery comprised the sale of serially numbered tickets issued in successive classes of twenty thousand or more tickets to a class. The ratio of prizes to the total number of tickets issued was about 1 to 3. There was usually one “grand prize” in each class, equal to 10 to 20% of the total sum to be raised, and lesser prizes increasing in number as their amounts decreased. The period of drawing a class usually lasted from one to two months and a day’s drawing consisted of a fixed number of tickets greater in proportion to the total number of tickets than to the number of days of the drawing. Consequently, as the day fixed for drawing the grand prize was always well along toward the close of the drawing, undrawn tickets commanded a premium, increasing as the day approached to nearly double their original price. The tickets were sold at lottery offices which flourished like the bucket shops of a hundred years later, and advertised extensively in the newspapers.278

    The total amount payable in prizes was about seven-eighths of the total par value of the issue. Out of the remaining one-eighth the managers took their commission,279 and the expenses of printing advertisements, tickets and results, and any incidental expenses. Each manager undertook to dispose of a portion of the tickets, and this was often accomplished in practice by selling the tickets to the lottery offices at a discount equal to the amount for which the managers were accountable. Thus all the premiums that could be got for the tickets over and above their par value, went to the lottery offices. It is doubtful if the net amount realized for the object of the lottery was ever more than 10% of the total par value of the tickets. But while the percentage of profit was small, an “adventurer” stood little chance of getting more money back than he paid for his ticket. The holder of one ticket out of twenty thousand would stand to win an independent fortune; one in about two hundred stood to win $100 or more; about one in three stood a chance to get his money back; and the rest were bound to lose what they put in. The chances were fair enough from the point of view of the man who could afford to lose; but, owing largely to the type of advertising matter put out by the lottery offices, the main body of adventurers were of the poorer classes who could ill afford to lose;280 and there is no doubt that the lottery had an especial appeal to the unemployed.

    The act granting the lottery to Harvard College in 1794 appointed Benjamin Austin, Jr., George R. Minot, Samuel Cooper, Henry Warren and John Kneeland, managers. They were the men who had managed the last preceding state lottery. They immediately entered into negotiations with the Corporation regarding their compensation, and after some discussion it was agreed that the managers should receive a commission of 5% on the amount of tickets sold by them respectively, and 3% on the unsold tickets returned to the Corporation previous to the drawing.281

    The managers then having been sworn to the faithful performance of their duties282 drew up and published the plan of the first class. The affidavits of Kneeland, Minot, and Warren, taken by Samuel Barrett, Justice of the Peace, and Cooper’s affidavit, taken by Thomas Crafts, Justice of the Peace, are preserved in the collection of papers in the Harvard College Library.283

    Twenty-five thousand tickets were to be issued at $5 each; the proceeds to be subject to a deduction of 12½% for the purposes of the lottery. The prizes were —one of $10,000, two of $5,000, three of $2,000, six of $1,000, ten of $500, twenty of $200, sixty of $100, ninety of $50, one hundred of $40, one hundred and twenty of $30, one hundred and sixty-one of $20, two hundred of $10, and seven thousand five hundred and eighty-five of $8. The total number of tickets which would draw some prize was eight thousand three hundred and fifty-eight as against sixteen thousand six hundred and forty-two blanks. The act expressly forbade the selling of fractional parts of tickets at an advance.284

    The published statement of the plan is followed by the announcement:

    The managers believe it enough to induce the Public to become Adventurers to inform them that the object of this Lottery is to erect a new Building at the UNIVERSITY in Cambridge for the further accommodation of the students. The Friends of literature are to be found everywhere, and when its cause can be served and a good chance for personal emolument at the same time presents itself, this double inducement, it is conceived, must operate in favor of the Lottery.

    The drawing of the first class began November 13, 1794, at the Representatives’ Chambers in Boston. A page in the Independent Chronicle of January 1, 1795, is devoted to a complete list of results of the drawing. In the same number is announced the plan of the second class, the drawing of which began April 9, 1795. In this class there were fifteen thousand tickets issued at $5 each; the largest prize being of $10,000, and the chance of winning some prize being the customary one in three. Twelve and one-half per cent of the total proceeds was reserved for the purposes of the lottery, as in the first class. The drawing of the third class began September 17, 1795. In this class there was no grand prize; but out of the fifteen thousand tickets — ten were entitled to a prize of $1000, ten to $500, ten to $400, ten to $300, ten to $200, forty to $100, and so on down to forty-five hundred entitled to $8; a total of five thousand and forty-five being entitled to some prize, as against nine thousand nine hundred and fifty-five blanks.285

    The tickets in the first three classes seem to have been easily disposed of and this led the managers to a more ambitious plan for the fourth class. This consisted of twenty-five thousand tickets at $10 each. There was one prize of $20,000, two of $10,000, two of $5,000, five of $2,000, ten of $1,000, thence scaling down to seventy-three hundred at $16; a total of eight thousand four hundred and twenty-two prize tickets, as against sixteen thousand five hundred and seventy-eight blanks. The last number drawn was to receive an additional prize of $5,000.286 The drawing of this class was advertized to begin in January, 1796, but, the sales of tickets being insufficient to pay the prizes, was postponed until April and again until September 15.287 Meanwhile, the managers had advised the Corporation that they would call the lottery off and return the money to the adventurers unless the College would take the unsold tickets off their hands.288 This the Corporation declined to do. The managers, how-ever, commenced the drawing September 15 and continued until September 28, when the further drawing was suspended by order of the Corporation.289

    The drawing was resumed in December, 1796, and ran for thirty-five days.290

    In the Treasurer’s books credit is given to the lottery for a total net amount of $18,392.61, after deducting bad debts and the amount paid in settlement of a suit for commissions by one of the managers. The new building cost $23,064.59 and the difference was made up out of the general funds or “stock” of the College.291 But the amount credited to the lottery includes interest at 6% compounded annually from July 1 in each year to July 1, 1804. The total cash receipts from the lottery were $11,435.06.292


    engraved for the colonial society of massachusetts from the original owned by harvard college library

    The managers, before they would consent to start another class, repeated their demand that the College be responsible for unsold tickets. The progress of the discussion does not appear in the records, but the Corporation refused to be drawn into such an undertaking and a deadlock followed.293

    The troubles of the President and Fellows, however, did not end with the drawing of the fourth class. The holder of the ticket that won the $20,000 prize was unable to collect in full and drew a draft on Benjamin Austin, Jr., the manager by whom the ticket was signed. Austin accepted the draft but did not pay it, and there followed a bitter controversy in the public prints in which Austin writing under the name of “Honestus” did not scruple to take part.294 The ticket holder, Col. Silvanus Reed,295 appealed to the Corporation to bring suit in his behalf, on Austin’s bond, but Austin attacked first by suing the College for commissions on tickets sold and unsold, and money alleged to have been paid out in expenses. The Corporation appointed counsel to defend the suit.296 In the lower court there was a finding for the College. Austin appealed and the case was finally settled without trial.297

    In the Spring of 1798, the Corporation had authorized the president to apply to the legislature “to obtain a prolongation of the time allowed for the operation of the lottery,” which in the act of 1794 had been limited to four years.298 But the law suit with Austin and difficulties with other managers, which, however, did not reach the courts,299 evidently must have shaken the Corporation’s confidence in their ability successfully to continue the effort. At all events, the plan of applying to the legislature for an extension of the act of 1794 was dropped. Thus the lottery for the erection of the new Stoughton Hall came to an end with its object but partly accomplished.

    The difficulties experienced with the lottery of 1794 did not deter the Corporation from again resorting to a lottery for raising money which was used for the building of Holworthy Hall, but they saw to it that the act granting this lottery should leave to them the privilege of choosing the managers. The act was passed March 14, 1806, and is entitled “An Act for Raising the Sum of $30,000 for the use of the University at Cambridge.” It provides that the money raised shall be used for “replacing to the funds of said University the sum taken therefrom for erecting the new building called Stoughton Hall, and for the purpose of repairing Massachusetts Hall, or erecting a new building on its scite” if the Corporation shall deem it preferable to repairing the old building.

    On April 29, 1806, the Corporation met and appointed John Williams of Deerfield, Nicholas Tillinghast of Taunton, John Mellen of Cambridge, Phillips Payson of Charlestown and John Gardner of Boston to be managers.300 The managers proceeded to draw up and publish the plan of the first class, which was drawn at the rate of five hundred tickets daily for 40 days commencing January 22, 1807.301

    The number of tickets was twenty thousand of the par value of $5; the aggregate of all the prizes, $85,754, and the surplus out of which all the expenses had to be paid, $14,246. The method of drawing was announced as part of the plan. The first ticket drawn on the fifth, tenth and fifteenth days to receive $500, and that on the twentieth and twenty-fifth, $1000, the grand prize of $15,000 was to be drawn on the thirtieth day.302 On the intervening days, the drawings for the lesser prizes were to be held. Following the prevailing custom in announcing the first class of a new lottery, the managers exhorted the public to “adventure,” as follows:

    The managers solicit the patronage of the public in general and of the friends of literature and the University in particular; and, considering the object of the lottery, anticipate their liberal assistance. It will be pleasing to reflect that by adventuring in this lottery, they will combine the prospect of gain with the certainty of benefiting the University, and by lending their aid to the means of education will promote the best interests of their country.

    The plans of the ensuing classes from the second to the seventh and final were essentially the same as the first, with some variations in the distribution of the amounts awarded to winning tickets and in the order of drawing.303

    An innovation that gave added thrill, adopted in the 5th class, was the giving of blocks of undrawn tickets as prizes on some of the earlier days of the drawing. The splitting of tickets was not forbidden by the act, and in several cases prizes were divided among the holders of fractional warrants issued by the lottery offices representing half, quarter and eighth interest in a specified number.304


    engraved for the colonial society of massachusetts from the original owned by the harvard college library

    By the terms of the act, the managers were required to give bond and to account to the treasurer of the University for the proceeds of sales. One of them, unfortunately, entrusted over two thousand dollars’ worth of tickets to a man in Providence, who neglected to pay for them, and another who had undertaken to handle orders by mail from persons at a distance had difficulty in collecting the money due him, and it became necessary to take measures to enforce the liability upon their bonds.305 There was some delay in settlement of the accounts of the third and fourth classes, and on July 21, 1808, the Corporation voted to recommend the managers not to publish any scheme for another class without the consent of the Corporation.306 This was followed on December 17, 1808, by a vote forbidding the sale of any tickets in the fifth class until the further order of the Corporation, and instructing the managers if any tickets had been sold to recall them immediately.307

    The delay in accounting is not surprising, considering the immense amount of detail required by the practice of recording the result of the drawing of every ticket sold. The managers’ original records were returned to the College, where they were stored until recently in the office of the steward. They are now in the Harvard College Library. They consist of long sheets bound in books, with printed columns of figures — five hundred to a page, divided into five vertical columns of one hundred, in groups of ten, with a space at the right of each column to record the result of the drawing of the corresponding number. At the end of each record book is a recapitulation sheet showing the state of the finances from day to day. The holders of winning tickets in order to obtain payment of their prizes had to surrender their tickets to the managers by whom in turn they were returned to the college as vouchers.308

    In June, 1810, the Corporation instructed the Committee,309 which had been appointed to settle with the managers to consider the expediency of putting the lottery again in action; and, as a result of the report of that committee, the Corporation on February 22, 1811, appointed John Williams, John Mellen and Patrick T. Jackson, managers to proceed with the remaining classes; “having first formed a new agreement with them in which the several subjects of dispute with the former managers are endeavored to be prevented in future.”310 Thereafter, with the exception of competition from the Dixville Road Lottery,311 which was running at the same time, the operation of the college lottery proceeded without impediment or friction.

    The sum realized from this lottery,312 $29,000, was sufficient to restore the “stock” which had been used in the building of Stoughton Hall, and to complete the new building, which was named “Holworthy,” in honor of Sir Matthew Holworthy, whose unrestricted gift of £1,000 in 1678 was the largest gift received by the college to the end of the seventeenth century.313 But, notwithstanding the favorable result of this lottery, an analysis of the figures produces the conviction that lotteries as a means of raising money were wasteful and inefficient. The tickets in the seven classes had a total par value of $805,000. Adding the premiums charged by the lottery offices, it is safe to say that the amount of money that changed hands was not less than a million and a quarter dollars. The amount paid to holders of prize tickets was over $680,000, and the cost of operation, including managers’ commissions, printing, publicity, and the labor overhead incidental to the drawings amounted to about $90,000. The amount realized by the college was about 3.6% of the par value of the tickets, or 2.3% of the amount paid by the public to the lottery offices. The opinions of contemporary writers, who supported the system on economic grounds, are as unconvincing as those of the clergy who condemned them as contrary to the laws of God. The chief evil of them was the disappointment they brought upon the multitude by the shattering of vain hopes.

    Mr. George L. Kittredge spoke on:


    On May 5, 1838, Mrs. Lydia Phillips, of North Andover, gave to the Harvard College Library a black-letter volume entitled:

    A Hvndred Sermons vpo the Apocalips of Iesu Christe, reueiled in dede by Thangell of the Lorde: but seen or receyued and written by thapostle and Euāgelist. S. Iohn: Compiled314 by the famous and godly learned man, Henry Bullinger, chief Pastor of the Congregation of Zuryk. ¶Newly set forth and allowed, according to the order appoynted in the Quenes maiesties, Iniuntions. ¶Thargument, wurthines, commoditie, and vse of this worke, thou shalt fynd in the Preface: After which thou hast a most exact Table to leade thee into all the princypall matters conteyned therin. Math. 17. ☞ This is my welbeloued sun in whom I take pleasure, heare hym. Anno. 1561315

    The dedicatory Epistle (“To the Right Honorable Syr Thomas Wentworth knight Lorde Wentworth Lord Lifetenaunt of the Quenes Maiesties Countie of Suffolk. &c. Hys singular good Lorde and Master. Iohn Daus his obedient Seruaunt wissheth health and peace in the Lorde with thincrease of honor and dignitye.”) is dated “From Ipsewich the kalendes of March. Anno. Do 1561.” The date of publication, then, must have been 1562. There was a second issue in 1573. The final stage in the history of the work is marked by an item in the Stationers’ Register, January 8, 1583–4. Here, as “Bullinger vpon ye Apocalips,” it appears as given up “by Master John Daye” to charitable uses or (to follow the words of the record) as one of the “Bookes yeilded into the hands and Dispocion of the Master, Wardeins, and Assistantes of the Mysterie of the Stacioners of London, for the reliefe of ye poore of the saide Companie.”316

    Two entries in the elegant handwriting of Adam Winthrop, the father of our first Governor, make the volume of uncommon interest, — a copy of verses and a biographical sketch of the translator. The poem, which is on the back of the title-page, runs as follows (Winthrop’s signature interrupting the second stanza):

    Althoughe the author of this booke,

    deserues the greatest praise:

    Yet wel may the Translator looke,

    some thanckes to reape alwaies.

    And thoughe the worke of it selfe bee,

    most rare and excellent:

    Yet greater grace it gets we see,

    when’ tis to Wentworth sent.

    Accepte it then O reader kinde,

    and giue to eche his due:

    Let Bullinger thy fauoure finde,

    and Daus thy censure true.

    Adam Winthrop.

    And as the woorke for matter is

    most heauenly and diuine:

    So doo Lorde Wentworths noble giftes,

    therein most cleerely shine.

    The biographical sketch is on the verso of the flyleaf, opposite the title-page.

    A true narration of the lyfe and deathe of Mr John Daus, the translator of this booke, written by a Scholler of his.

    I cannot shewe where, or when he was borne/or of what parentage he came, neither vnder what schoolemrs he was trained vp in learning/but this I haue hearde him saye, that he was brought vp for diuers yeres together in St Johns College in Cambridge317 & prosceded there to the Bachelors & Mrs actes.318 He was very well learned in the latine & greeke tounges and also in the true knowledge of the holy scriptures. In Queene Maries time he was in service wth the L. Wentwoorth deputie of Calice/vntill it was loste, where he also loste all his goodes & one of his sonnes/from thence he wente into Germanye to keepe his conscience free from Idolatrie, wch then was sett vp in Englande/, and lived poorely there vntill Q. Mary died.319 After whose death he retourned home, and dwelt at Ipswch in Suff many yeres where he taught first a private grāmer schoole/ & afterwardes was chosen mr of the free schoole wthin the saide towne, & continued in that office, vntill one Mr Jermye, a very religious gentleman (who had bin sometimes his scholler) did bestowe freely vppon him the benefice of Sutton in Suff/where he spent the rest of his life, in preachinge the worde of god & teachinge of his flocke./ And there he died, beinge aboue fowrescore yeres olde. Anno dı̃. 15.:

    Besides these C. sermons of Mr Bullengers, vppon the Apocalips, he translated the Com̄entaryes of Mr Sleydan into Englishe320/& the Institutions of Mr Calvin in the largest volume, thoughe Mr Norton afterwardes reviewed the same321/& nowe beareth the name of the translator thereof/ Also he had translated (as I heard him saie) the Ecclesiasticall storie of Eusebius out of greeke into Englishe, wch amongst other thinges/ he lost at the takinge of Calice322


    engraved for the colonial society of massachusetts from the original owned by the harvard college library

    A John Dawes, certainly our man, retired from the mastership of the Grammar School at Ipswich, Suffolk, in 1582. The town records contain an order (dated September 8 of that year) “for the appointment of John Smyth M.A. to be Master of the Grammar School of the town, in succession to John Dawes who for surrendering the same office is to receive from the said John Smyth M.A. an immediate payment of 10£ and an annuity of £6 13. 4. out of the stipend of the office.”323 Under the same date Nathaniel Bacon, in his Annals of Ipswich (1634), gives the record in the following shape324: “Uppon mr Dawes his resignacon, mr John Smith by agreement is elected mr of the Grammer Schoole for life, from Mic[haelmas]: next,” that is, from November 29, 1582. The Venns date the beginning of Dawes’s mastership 1567,325 which I presume is correct. Queen Elizabeth granted a charter to the school on March 18, 1566,326 and in 1567 the schoolhouse, which was adjacent to the Master’s dwelling,327 was repaired.328 The Master (without any name) is mentioned in Bacon’s note of a town record of 1570.329 John Dawes was a resident of Ipswich as early as 1568,330 and was certainly the Master as early as 1572.331

    “Sutton” in the biographical sketch is an error for “Stutton.” The Venns’ dates for Dawes’s incumbency of Stutton (1570–1602) I am unable to control fully. The Mr. Jermy who is mentioned in the MS. biographical sketch as having presented Dawes to that living, was John Jermy, who inherited Stutton from his father, Sir John, in 1560 and died in 1592.332 Both Dawes and his patron were plaintiffs, sometime in Elizabeth’s reign, in a chancery suit. According to their bills, John Jermy, Esq., is the patron and John Dawes, clerk, “the parson of the rectory of Stutton, to which rectory there pertains a manor called The Manor of the Rectory of Stutton, the rights of which manor the bill states to be invaded by [the] defendant,” Richard Broke.333 If the Venns are right in dating Dawes’s incumbency, we may infer that he died in 1602, not, as the biographical sketch has it, in 15—. In 1603, at all events, Mr. Abraham Dawes (perhaps his son) was rector of Stutton (the patron being Sir Isaac Jermy). This we learn from a return made in that year in answer to a circular letter from Archbishop Whitgift. From this return it appears that the parish then contained 178 communicants, and that there were no recusants therein.334 Our John Dawes had a son Joseph, who was B.A. of Cambridge in 1574–5 and M.A. in 1579.335 In 1577 Joseph was usher in the Ipswich school, but he gave up that position in 1580.336 He held various benefices.337

    Our copy of Daus’s translation had long been in the possession of the Phillips family. At the end of the dedicatory epistle is pasted a printed label:

    Samuel Phillips

    His Book.


    This was the Samuel Phillips who graduated at Harvard in 1708 (A.M. 1715) and became the first minister of the South Parish in Andover. He began to preach there in April, 1710, was ordained on October 17, 1711, and died on June 5, 1771, after a pastorate of almost sixty years.338 The Mrs. Lydia Phillips who gave the volume to the college library was the widow of his great-grandson, Colonel John Phillips (1776–1820).339

    But we can trace the book back still farther. Below the poem is a manuscript note:

    This is Mr Feake his booke

    1634 G P

    “G. P.” is obviously the Rev. George Phillips, who settled at Watertown in 1630 and was the minister there until his death in 1644. The memorandum is in his handwriting340 and the dates fit. He was the great-grandfather of the Rev. Samuel of Andover, and thus we have clear evidence that the Hundred Sermons was in the hands of the Phillips family from 1634 to 1838. Mr. Feake had lent the book to the Rev. George Phillips and had forgotten or neglected to reclaim it, and so it was doubtless a part of Mr. Phillips’s “study of bookes,” which was valued in his inventory at £ 71, 9, 9.

    “Mr. Feake” must be Robert Feake, who became a freeman of Watertown in 1631.341 It is easy to account for his owning a book that had once belonged to Adam Winthrop, for he married Elizabeth, the widow of Henry Winthrop, the Governor’s second son, and she was the daughter of Thomas Fownes (Fones) and his wife Anne, who was the Governor’s sister. Thus there were two natural ways in which a volume of Adam Winthrop’s might come to Robert Feake. That Feake’s (or Mrs. Feake’s) book was never returned to its owner by Mr. George Phillips need not disturb us. Elizabeth Fones lived a life which might well have caused a single item of theological literature from her grandfather’s library to lose whatever interest it may once have had for her.342 Her first husband, Henry Winthrop, to whom she was married in the same month in which both her parents died (April, 1629),343 was drowned at Salem on July 2, 1630, the day after he arrived in America344 and while she was still with her mother-in-law in England. In less than a year the family were congratulating themselves on Mr. William Coddington’s “good affections” to her, but these came to nothing.345 She arrived in New England in November, 1631, and before the end of the following January had married Robert Feake.346 They removed from Watertown to Greenwich, Connecticut, in 1640. Three years later, during her husband’s absence, there were unpleasant rumors about her alleged intimacy with his friend and partner Captain Daniel Patrick.347 But Patrick was soon murdered by a Dutchman.348 By this time Feake seems to have gone mad.349 He and his wife were soon separated. There followed a lively dispute about property, and another scandal (which actually got into court) involving the relations between Mistress Elizabeth and William Hallett. She married Hallett, but the validity of the marriage was doubted, for Feake was still living, and nobody can find any record of a divorce.350 However, her brother-in-law, the younger John Winthrop, who must have known all the facts, stood her friend and appears to have recognized the legality of the Hallett alliance.351 Finally, in 1674, there is a record which shows that Hallett and his wife had parted company and that he was chargeable with an annual sum of £15 for her maintenance. Unfortunately the record does not make it clear whether this was Elizabeth or another. Perhaps she was dead and Hallett had married again.352 Feake himself had died impoverished in 1663.353 No wonder Bullinger’s Apocalypse remained undisturbed in Mr. George Phillips’s “study of bookes.”

    Mr. John H. Edmonds communicated on behalf of Mr. Max Farrand of the Henry E. Huntington Library, a rough draft of legislation relating to the Massachusetts laws of 1660, and commented on it:

    The document in question was originally part of the Massachusetts Archives, but is now in the Henry E. Huntington Library, San Marino, California. It reads:

    For the more Equall Distribution of the law bookes when they shalbe printed, It is ordered by this Court & Authoritie thereof that the printer shall Deliuer the sd bookes to the Country Treasurer, as soone as they are past the presse, who Imẽadiatly vpon the receiueinge of them shall Deliuer or Cause to be Deliuered to euery magistrate one, to euery Deputie of this prsent genll Court one to The Secritary & Clarke of the Deputies one a peece for themselues & three a peece to be keept for the genll Courts vse, to the recorder or Clarke of euery County Court 3 a peece to be kept for the vse of the Severall Courts & the remaynder of the sd bookes the Treasurer shall send to every Countie Treasurer such a proportio~ as is Due to each Countie according to what Charge they beare in the Country rate, & the Countie Treasures are hereby enjoyned to send vpon the Counties Charge vnto euery Towne in the respectiue Counties theire townes proporti~ according to the rule aboue mentioned, & that provisio~ may be made for the easterne pts Its ordered that before the Devisio~ before mentioned there be layd apt fiftie bookes for their supply, provided they make payment to the Country Treasurer for the Same and that Porchmowth and Dover haue twentie layd asid for them they paying for them to the tresurer as aforsd & It is further ordered & Desired by this Court that Mr Thomas Danforth (who was to haue the oursight of the Impressio~) make an Index to the sd booke with all Convenient speed that so the work may be no longer Delayd the Deputies haue past this Desireing the Consent of or honord magists hereto

    William Torrey Cleric.

    8 (4) 1660

    The magistrates do consent pvided that paymt be made by each Towne, to ye Tre͠sr according to the disbursemts by yr Ordr: so as yt no charge be put upon yr County by ye same, & Capt Gookin wth such as ye Depts. shall nominate to Joyn wth him, are to Joyne wth ye Tre͠rs in the division & regulateing both price, & Quality of pay for ye Same

    Th. Danforth. verte folio

    the Deputies Concurre wth or Honord magists. in their last retune, & haue Nominated the Count[y] Treasurers of Suffolk middlesex & Essex to Joyn in the execution of this order with reference to the Consent of or honord magists hereto

    Willia~ Torrey Cleric.

    Consented to Edw Rawson Secre

    of the Lawes


    Genl Court

    8 (4 mo 60

    This order, somewhat amended, was recorded rather carelessly in the Massachusetts Bay Colony “Court Records,” and was passed at the session of the General Court commencing May 30, 1660.354 As recorded it was printed in the Records of the Governor and Company of the Massachusetts Bay in New England, commonly called the Massachusetts Bay Colony Records, under the date of May 31, 1660.355 This date was supplied by the editors, and the date June 4, 1660, which appears in the Huntington Library’s document is no doubt correct. The endorsement “Consented to Edw Rawson Secre” is in the hand of Edward Rawson, Secretary of the Colony, who was much concerned in the publication of the laws. The action of the magistrates is recorded in the hand of one of them, Thomas Danforth. The body of the record and the final notation are in the hand of William Torrey, Clerk of the Deputies or House of Representatives.

    The variations in the original drafts, the manuscripts, and the printed records, are explained by the following, passed in 1647:356

    The lawes being to be put in print, it is meete yt they should be conveniently penned; yr fore it is desired yt ye com̄ittee for drawing up ye lawes wilbe carefull yrin, Sc to yt purpose they have librty to make some change of forme, to put in apt words, as occasion shall require, ꝑvided ye sence & meaning in any law, or p̃t thereof, be not changed.

    Another item of interest in connection with the laws of 1660 is the original draft of the preface which appears on the verso of the title-page of the printed edition:357

    The bookes of lawes, of the first impression, not being to be had for the supply of the Country, putt us upon thoughts of a second; and conceiuing the charge would not be considerable, in respect of the benefit, if all our lawes were (upon this occasion) reuised, composed & reduced unto the first method, wee haue through the blessing of god upon our endeauours effected the same. The former epistle tells you there would bee neede of alterations & additions, and experience doth witnes the same, for while men either through ig[nor]ance or enmity deny or oppose principles & actions of righteousnes, the preseruation of humane society will necessitate the enacting of new lawes or alteration of old, to fitt the remedy to the disease, so it hath beene in former ages, ex malis moribus bona leges, there is the less neede of an apologie for this worke, not that wee conceiue it perfect; some few alterations are made, such lawes as haue beene repealed are left out, and such lawes of a general nature, as haue beene made, since the first impression, till this present & are yet in force, are placed under the former heads, in an alphabetical order, which method being at first taken up (though perhaps not the most exact) hath this convenience & ease, that all lawes referring to such an head are presented to view at once, whereby the reader may with more facillity comprehend the scope & meaning of the law.

    If any shal complaine of incongruous expressions or obscurity in some passages, let them be sure it be so, before they affirme it, Considering the supreame Court, (which ought to be honored) hath perused them, & hath judged meete to publish them as they stand, neither would the time or their honor permit them, as Criticks to call euery word to the tryal, before a jury of gram̃arians. Let it suffice that the meaning is intelligible, though the dress be not the most polished; nor is it necessary, seing, mens legis est lex.

    They, to whom these lawes are Com̃ended as rules to which they ought to Conforme, may find better exercise for themselues, by endeauering to make them liue by executing of them, which will adde a greater luster to them, then elegancy of expression, when lawes may be read in mens liues, they appeare more beautiful then in the fairest print, and promise a longer duration, then engraven in marble, weaker fences will secure against gentle creatures though walls of brasse be insufficient against forcible obtraders; if breach of order doth argue violence of men, more then weaknes of the law, it will be euery mans prudence to defend the authority of the lawes, to auoyd the censure of impetuous; and to couer rather then make gaps, whereat the most innocent may enter, & destroy that prouision which was made for their presentation.

    Lawes are the peoples birthright, and law makers the parents of the Country; undutifull unthrifts, may despise the one and other, but many obligations Com̃and reuerence to both: The light of nature taught the heathen to account them sacrosanct inviolable, religion and ciuil order should make as deepe impressions in Christians, especially where benefit & damage are constant attendants. By this hedge their All is secured against the injuries of men, and whosoeuer breaketh this hedge a serpent shall bite him: they that rush against it will find the thorns will pricke them; they that flye to it for shelter may find the leaues to shade them: to such as you, wee neede no other inducement but the authority of the Apostle 1 Pet: 2. 13 & 17 submit your selues to euery ordinance of man for the Lords sake. Feare God. Honor the Kinge.

    The magists haue past this wth Refferenc to ye Consent of theire brethren the deputs heereto

    14 may 1659 Edward Rawson Secrety

    The Depts Consent hearunto Tho Savage Speaker

    No mention of this preface has been found in the Massachusetts Bay Colony Records for 1659, but legislative action is plainly indicated on the original. Moreover, the printed version ends: “By Order of the General Court.” Was the preface an afterthought?

    Mr. Lawrence Shaw Mayo spoke on


    In turning the pages of the Belknap Papers358 published by the Massachusetts Historical Society a half-century ago I came upon the following passage in a letter from Jeremy Belknap to Ebenezer Hazard, dated May 26, 1783:

    Our old friend, the Bishop of Newington, made his exit last Tuesday, being in the 95th year of his age. Enclosed, you have a specimen of his abilities in the epistolary way; but you must never let it be known to any person in the world, especially at or near Portsmouth, that it is his, or where you got it from. I obtained it a number of years ago, and copied it from the original, under an engagement never to disclose it during his life. It will rank with Hugh Adams’s petition in your collection. Some of your intimates at Portsmouth, particularly Dr. B.,359 would be wounded sensibly if it were known. The lady was his mother.

    Belknap had a propensity for giving nicknames to many of his friends and acquaintances: Joseph Buckminster, minister at Portsmouth, was “the Metropolitan,” John Eliot of Boston was “the Freemason,” Noah Webster was “the Lion,” and in all probability “the Bishop of Newington” mentioned above was the Reverend Joseph Adams who had been the minister at Newington since 1715. He was an uncle of John Adams, who described him in 1770 as an “old gentleman, in his eighty-second year, as hearty and alert as ever.”360 As I had often caught a glimpse of the old parsonage at Newington in passing through the town on my way to Wolfeboro, my curiosity was aroused by Belknap’s reference to its eighteenth-century occupant. What was “the specimen of his abilities in the epistolary way” which Belknap kept to himself for almost eighteen years and then passed on to his friend Hazard for his entertainment? There were other references to it in the printed Belknap Papers, but the original did not appear until with the aid of Mr. Tuttle I found among the Belknap Manuscripts361 the copy which Belknap sent to Hazard in 1783. It is not a complete letter, for when it came under Belknap’s eye it was only a fragment;362 but there is enough of it to indicate the nature of the whole. It was a love-letter written in his seventy-first year by the Reverend Joseph Adams to the Widow Brackett who lived in the adjacent town of Greenland. The fragment begins in the middle of the letter and runs as follows:

    -ed. In this unstable state, and I would add that altho’ some Difficultys may occur to your mind since my absence: I am verily persuaded that by my help & assistance they will by & by fly away as Chaff before the wind — and I will give you a reason or two for it. In the first place, I trust you know & have known so much of my moral character & conduct both as a minister & a Christian that you will not be under any fears of my being a Discredit either to you or family. And as to either you or your children’s spiritual Benefit I trust I shall be no Impediment to that: but being so allyed to them as to stand in the Relation of a Father I shall be often inculcating divine Things upon their minds, & so may be under God instrumental of promoting their spiritual Benefit. & I know, dear Widow, that you will allow that to be more valuable than all Riches, according to what Job says — Job 28, 18: No mention shall be made of coral or of Pearls, for the price of wisdome is above Rubyes. — And as to injureing them in their temporal Interests I trust I shall no more doe it: Then I should wrong my own Children. These Things, dear Madam, I hint unto you to imploy your meditations in my absence — For I must needs tell you that I think I have obtained some little Roome in one corner of your heart, and am persuaded with a divine blessing shall at the next happy meeting obtain more, not but you may wonder at my assurance in this matter. To remove which I would say as Joseph of old said to his Brethren, (Gen. 44, 15.) wot ye not that such a man as I can divine. And to draw to a close, dear Lady, I will tell you that God willing I intend to set out my Journey on the 1st of October next & as I shall be absent 2 sabbaths so on the 3d I purpose to exchange with some young clergyman & if health permit to wait upon you on monday October 22d: and there to rest myself a day or two untill our hearts are so cemented together in Love that there will be no such Thing as parting them asunder. And in Case you will accept this Love-Letter without its being sealed with a kisse, I will promise to seal it with a Dozen Kisses and a Dozen to that at my Return, and so wishing both you and yours all prosperity & espepecially Soul Prosperity I rest your humble Servant &c.

    Joseph Adams

    And how did the courtship end? They were married, but — to use Belknap’s phrase — “in a very uncongenial manner.” The Widow Brackett had lived too long and too comfortably in her own home in Greenland to make it possible for her to consider with equanimity the prospect of residing with Mr. Adams and his children in the parsonage at Newington. No, she would remain where she was and he could come and go as he chose. So Mr. Adams adopted the practise of spending one week with her in Greenland and then an interval of two weeks at his own house in Newington about seven miles distant. “I suppose,” comments Belknap, “the reason of this singularity was the disagreeableness of the match to the children on both sides.”

    Mr. Kenneth B. Murdock read the following note on:


    In 1689, Increase Mather, then in London, wrote to someone in Massachusetts an account of his efforts on behalf of the colony to have its original charter restored.363 In his letter he speaks of the expenses of his mission:

    You cannot suppose that an affair of this nature could be managed without great expenses . . . Whilst I attended at Whitehall, I was necessitated to give money to clerks, & to solicitors; sometimes 5 lb.; sometimes 10 lb.; sometimes 30 lb.; sometimes 40 lb.; at once. And that by the counsel and persuasion of friends of New England. I have borrowed 300 lb. & besides that, I have spent of my own money 150 lbs. I must desire that the country would repay the 300 lbs. which I was constrained to borrow, that I might serve them. I am sure a year ago New England would have given more than 300 lbs. to have enjoyed what they are now assured of. As for the 150 lbs. of my own money I am willing to give it freely, & wish I were able to give the whole 300 lbs. to my country. For I seek them, & not their money.

    Later, in his published account of his agency, the preface of which he dated in November, 1691, before he sailed for Boston, he said:364

    The Countrey was so impoverished by the Wars made upon them, as that they could not send a competent Supply to their Agents for the management of their Affair. Besides what was sent to me out of New-England, I expended upwards of Two Hundred Pounds of my own Personal Estate . . . And I did . . . borrow of a Merchant in London365 above Three Hundred Pounds more, which was Two Years before care was taken for the Repayment of it.

    The last Year, some who were hearty Well-wishers to New-England, wrote thither, That they must consider, their Life, their Religion, the Welfare of their Posterity for ever, depended on a suitable Supply for their Agents366 . . . This notwithstanding, for more than a Twelvemonth, not one Penny was returned: So that I was necessitated, either to suffer Ruine to come upon the Countrey where I had spent the greatest part of my life, or else must borrow Money again to serve them: Which I did, and Engaged all the Estate I have in the World for the Repayment thereof.

    On May 31, 1693, Mather preached the Massachusetts Election sermon, and in the preface to the printed version returns again to the subject of the expenses of his agency.367 He reminded his readers of “four years hard Service, for the preservation of” their “Liberty and Property, and the procuring of Gifts for” them “from Royal and from other Benefactors of greater value than all the Money I did in that Time Expend on your account, and all this without the least Reconpence.”368

    Perhaps by this time Mather’s political foes were accusing him of extravagance during the agency, so that he felt it necessary to justify himself. Certainly he felt this eight years later, after the appearance of Robert Calef’s More Wonders of the Invisible World, in which the author, ostensibly writing about the witchcraft cases, took occasion to attack Mather’s conduct as agent.369 A reply to Calef promptly appeared, and in it Mather wrote:370

    I am also told, that there are some men, who formerly had no great kindness for Robert Calef, but are now, because of his reviling me and my Son . . . become his great Friends; and that these complain, that I spent the Countrey a great deal of Money during my Agency in their behalf. These little men know not what it is to attend in the Courts of Kings, for Four Years together . . . And sure I am, that when I did at the desire of many principal persons in the Countrey, undertake a Voyage for England in April 1688. People in this Province, would gladly have given Ten times more then what I Expended in their Service, on condition they might have Restored and Confirmed to them, what now they enjoy: yea, if it had been but in one Article of it. But besides this, I may truely affirm that in effect, I served the Countrey on Free Cost. For I never demanded the least Farthing as a Recompence, for the Time I spent in attending on their Affairs, but instead thereof, I procured in Donations for the Publick, (besides the Priviledges of the Charter it self . .) at least Nine Hundred Pounds more then all the Expences of my Agency came to.

    From 1689 to 1701, then, Mather consistently maintained that what he spent during his agency was not excessive, in view of the benefits obtained, and repeatedly called attention to the fact that he served without salary and pledged his own estate in order to borrow what he needed. All his statements, however, are general, and give no inkling of the precise amounts he disbursed and the purposes for which they went. Especially interesting, therefore, is a document which gives a more detailed account of his financial operations during his service in London. It is owned by the Henry E. Huntington Library, San Marino, California, where our associate, Mr. Charles M. Andrews, found it. He courteously sent a photostat of it to me, and it is printed here by permission of the Library:

    Expended whilst in the Countries Servise &c.

    Of money’s reed of mr Mason371 in ye years: 1688:1689:



    Of mr Pennoyer’s gift to the Colledge372


    Of mr Thomas Lake373


    Of mr Sewall



    Of mr Bendall and Doctor Cooke374


    Of mr Mason in the yeare 1691


    Of the Corporation for propagateing the Gospell amongst the Indians


    Expended of my owne money for which I charge the Countrey Debitor nothing. 200ł

    . . .

    four Years hard Labor night and day for which I charge the Country Debitor nothing

    . . .



    The above Mentioned Summs [ . . . . . ]375 repayed, excepting the 50li due to the fellows of ye Colledge

    Dyett &c: for my Selfe and one that waited on me Cost 50li pr anñ. I expended aboue 50li pr anñ Coach hier

    The Stated fee’s for the Charters passing through the Seuerall Offices came to more then £270

    I found it necessarie to gratifie seuerall ꝑsons, some with 20:

    Some with 30: Some with 40: Some with 50— guineas &c, as allsoe to bestow dayly gratifications—on Servants belonging to persons of Quallitie, and—manie Visitts on Lawyers &c, in all which and—in all other accidentali Necessarie Charges not less then: 1000li

    Signed Increase Mather

    The aboue account is a True Copie as it was Sent into the house of representatives by mr Increase Mather as attests,

    Ebenezek Prout Clerke to the house of Representatives: June the 7:1694—

    The cost of the agency to the colony seems to be fixed by this at £1391, this sum having been borrowed from time to time by Mather from the various persons named in his account. More interesting is his summary of the way in which the money was spent. His figures are not precisely given, but since he was in England for almost four years his outlay for “Dyett &c.” for himself and for his servant may be computed at £200 and for “Coach hier” at somewhat more than that. He gives the payments for the “stated fees” involved in the passage of the charter as more than £270, and this sum, with the other items and the entry of “not less than £1000” spent on lawyers and “to gratifie” others, make a grand total of £1670. Of this £1391 was charged to the colony; the remaining £279 he apparently furnished himself.

    Whether or not his enemies were right in charging him with extravagance does not appear from this account, of course, but it must have given food for thought to colonial legislators unacquainted with the cost of political negotiations at court.376 Apparently it cost far more to fee — or to bribe — the various persons concerned in the transaction than it did to feed and, presumably, clothe the colony’s representative. Any prejudice there may have been in Massachusetts against lawyers might well have been stimulated by Mather’s reckoning of the sums paid them for their aid. From the modern point of view, however, it seems as though any government might be well pleased to have as its ambassador a man content not only to serve without salary but also to draw heavily on his own purse. It seems safe to suppose that there are now few diplomats who achieve the miracle of spending less on food and clothes for themselves and their households than upon “Coach hier.”

    On behalf of Mr. Samuel Eliot Morison the following paper was communicated by title:


    We are all familiar with the standard method of planting a New England township in the seventeenth century. A group of pious and energetic Puritans, feeling straitened for room in one of the older settlements of the Bay, obtain a grant of land from the General Court, clear the Indian title, lay out a village square, house lots, meadow lots and planting lots, build a meeting house, organize a church, settle a pastor, and in a short time receive the rights and liberties of a New England town. The church and meeting house formed an organic center about which the community was built. No church, no town, was a fixed principle of New England. Edward Johnson, one of the early chroniclers, describes the spread of settlement under headings such as this: “Of planting the 26th Church of Christ at the Town of Haverhill.” It is significant that he makes no mention of Lancaster in his catalogue of the “Wonder Working Providence of Zion’s Savior in New England,” although he wrote seven years after the foundation. The key to this omission may be found in the Journal of Governor Winthrop, who dismisses the bold pioneers of Nashaway with the scornful comment that they were “most of them poor men, and some of them corrupt in judgment, and others profane.”

    Poor Nashaway was a very different sort of settlement from the other New England towns. She was the white blackbird of the flock. Fifteen years elapsed after the first settlement, before the place had a church. For Nashaway was not a town but an experiment. It was designed to be a trading and industrial colony of Massachusetts, just as Canada at that time was a trading and industrial colony of France. The Indian trucking post on George Hill bore in a humble way the same relation to Boston as the French trucking post at Quebec bore to Paris. The promoters of Nashaway — I use the word promoters advisedly — had no ambition to plant a new Church of Christ in the western wilderness, although they had no objection to so doing, if the law required. Their purpose was frankly economic; and although in this they failed, and sunk their small fortunes in the experiment, they were in the long run justified by the industrial enterprise and prosperity that one finds nowadays along the valley of the Nashua.

    There is no need to apologize for this purely secular nature of the foundation of Lancaster. The great Puritan immigration to New England was partly economic in purpose. Governor Bradford, in his “reasons for the removall” of the Pilgrim fathers, stresses the hard competition of an English artisan’s life at Leyden; and Governor Winthrop, in his argument for the Puritan migration, points out how the smaller gentry of the English countryside were being crowded out by the newly rich, and oppressed by the cost of high living. If the primary purpose of the Puritan migration was religious, to establish a new England with laws and ways based on the word of God rather than on the corrupt institutions of Stuart England, the secondary motive of bettering their condition in life was always present. Indeed one of the main implications of Puritanism, which made the creed so admirably suited for colonization, was the doctrine that every man might serve God best in following a chosen calling, with all the skill and energy that was in him. Success in one’s chosen calling, be it farming, trade, profession, or business, was a sign of divine favor: for surely an all-wise and all-seeing God would not allow the wicked to prosper. Industry was a mark of sanctity, for time was God’s gift to man, to improve for his service. Idleness, “waste of precious time” — the injunctions against it are still familiar on the lips of our elders — was one of the deadly sins in the Puritan catalogue, and was stressed again and again in the sermons, laws, and books of the seventeenth century. The Puritans did not condemn holidays, dancing, gambling, and other social diversions of Merry England as sinful in themselves, but because they wasted precious time. The injunction became a social necessity in New England, where the profusion of fish and game and wood, the rapid increase of cattle, and the plentiful harvest of Indian corn, quickly filled hungry bellies and warmed ragged backs, tempting the easy-going and improvident to lead slack, care-free lives, and lay up insufficient provision for the long winter.

    Idleness to be sure has never been regarded as a virtue by any governing class, and it has always been a belief common to men and to the rich that it is the business of women and of the poor to be industrious. Yet it is doubtful whether any body politic ever legislated so severely against idleness and waste of time as the Puritan colonies of Massachusetts Bay, Connecticut, and New Haven. One of the earliest and most persistently enforced laws of Massachusetts Bay was the prohibition on “any person, householder or other,” to “spend his time idly or unprofitably.” Children must be kept at work on household chores or spinning and weaving, lest Satan find mischief for idle hands. Massachusetts legislated against “tobacco-taking” because it consumed time, not because it produced smoke. “Unprofitable fowlers” fell under the legislative ban — but if you were a good shot, you could go gunning all you pleased. Mrs. Rowlandson of Lancaster, in her famous account of her Indian captivity, tells how she rejected a pipe of tobacco tendered by her royal captor, King Philip. She refused — not because it was wicked, or unladylike, or because her husband, the minister, objected (for he sent her a pound of tobacco to console her captivity), but because tobacco “seems to be a Bait, the Devil layes to make men loose their precious time! I remember with shame, how formerly, when I had taken two or three pipes, I was presently ready for another, such a bewitching thing it is: But I thank God, he has now given me power over it; surely there are many who may be better employed than to ly sucking a stinking Tobacco-pipe!”378

    Modern historians who write of early New England, comparing the life of that time to the life of today, too readily conclude that the early settlers had a pretty thin time, with the strict laws and stricter elders, the compulsory church attendance, the two-hour sermons, and absence of any modern form of entertainment. They overlook the fact that the Puritan settlers organized their own churches, and enjoyed the religion they believed in, the sermonizing sort of minister they preferred, and the church government that suited their needs. Their type of religion is repellent to most of us, but it was what they had emigrated from England to secure. Further, modern historians overlook the immense satisfaction obtained by English peasants, tenant-farmers, and artisans in escaping a settled, rigid society where there was little chance to rise, for a fluid society with unlimited natural resources. They got the same “kick” out of clearing their own farms, building their own houses, watching their herds increase and their corn come to harvest, building great fires of huge logs, shooting abundant game, and making apostolic hauls of fish, that the modern Scandinavian or Finnish immigrant does in doing practically the same things today. Per Hansa, the exuberant Norseman in Rölvaag’s Giants in the Earth, had many a counterpart in Puritan New England; and Per Hansa’s wife, Beret, with her old-world thoughts and peasant ways, loathing the rough pioneer life and distraught by the breach with folklore and tradition, must have had many a silent, forgotten sister among the Pilgrim mothers of New England. Lancaster was founded by just such a Giant in the Earth as Rolvaag describes — energetic, ambitious John Prescott, generous to his fellows, public-spirited, eager to make a good living, to found a family, and justify himself in the sight of God and man.

    Apart from agriculture and the maritime industries, there were two fields of enterprise open to the Massachusetts pioneers: furtrading and iron-smelting. Nashaway was planted for both purposes. There was a certain Thomas King of Watertown, a man of little capital but great ambition, who got the idea of establishing a fur-trading post on the Nashua River from an Indian sachem who did his trading at Watertown, and met King there. This sachem of the Nashaways is frequently encountered in the early annals of this town under the name of Sholan, alias Showanon, Shaumauw, Shoniow, Nashowanon, Nashacowan, and Nashoonon. A gentleman with such a variety of names today is likely to be of interest to the Attorney-General’s office, either as culprit or client; but Sholan, in spite of his many aliases, was a faithful friend to the settlers, lived to a ripe old age and died a natural death; although his son, who enjoyed the single and respectable name of Sam, was hanged young.

    Sholan, in company with Masconomo, Wassamagon of the Wachusett region, and the squaw sachem of Nashoba, drifted into the General Court as it was sitting in Boston, and tendered his allegiance to the Colony. They were accepted as loyal subjects of the Bay, after being put through a catechism on the Ten Commandments by some of the piously inclined members of the legislature. I venture to suspect that diligent and pious secretary of the Colony, Mr. Rawson, of a sense of humor in recording the ensuing dialogue in the Court records:

    Puritans: Will you worship the only true God?

    Indians: We do desire to reverence the God of the English, . . . because we see he doth better to the English than other gods do to others.

    Puritans: You are not to swear falsely.

    Indians: We know not what swearing is.

    Puritans: You are not to do unnecessary work on the Sabbath.

    Indians: That will be easy: we haven’t much to do any day, and can well take our ease on the Sabbath.379

    After getting through the Eighth Commandment, the Puritan catechizers decided to skip the last two, and substitute that eleventh commandment of their own that I have mentioned: “You shall not be idle.”

    The Indians, tactfully evading an answer to this most unpleasant injunction, gave their vocal consent to the lot; and in return were given each two yards of scarlet cloth for a coat, a free dinner, and (says Governor Winthrop) “every [one] of them a cup of sack at their departure, so they took leave and went away very joyful.”

    Thomas King had little capital, so he took in a wealthy partner, Henry Symonds of Boston, who had already promoted a tide-mill enterprise in the capital. The two purchased from Sholan a tract ten miles by eight, beginning where an Indian trail crossed the Nashua. Their bounds ran “5 miles to North 5 miles to East, 5 miles to South, 3 miles to West.” This extensive tract eventually became the towns of Lancaster, Berlin, Clinton, Bolton, and parts of Harvard, Boylston, and Sterling. We may picture by a contemporary description of another such ceremony how the deed was signed by Sholan:

    The ceremony Tacomas used in Signing said Deed, was Viz. he caused his eldest Son to lie . . . upon the ground and himselfe made his marke or signe on the Deed upon his Sons back, and then he put himselfe in the same posture and caused . . . his other Sons successively to do the like upon one another’s backs.380

    With such primitive office equipment were the big deals of the seventeenth century consummated.

    King and Symonds built a trucking house on the east slope of George Hill, in May, 1643. It was a well-chosen site, where the Indian trails from the west came down to a ford on the Nashua, to join the Bay Path to Boston. Either the post was not successful, or the Nashaway Indians were not altogether innocent children of the forest, for when Thomas King died, in December of the same year, he left little property, and £18 worth of debts owing him from his Indian customers. Symonds died about the same time, the enterprise passed to other hands, and was pursued with a broader purpose.

    The leading spirits in the new group of promoters of the plantation of Nashaway were Dr. Robert Child, Stephen Day, and John Prescott.

    It is significant that they are always called in the records the “undertakers,” a word which then carried no mortuary connotation, but meant the same as the French word entrepreneur, and much the same as our modern word promoter. If Nashaway had been intended as an ordinary township, these men would have been called proprietors. And it is highly significant that Child, Day, and most of their associates were interested in the iron industry.

    Valuable minerals were among the principal inducements that led the Puritans to New England. It is unfair to ridicule the New England leaders for their persistent search of mineral wealth, or to argue a superior virtue on their part over Virginians and Mexicans, because they failed to find it. Rocky, hilly country like New England generally abounds in minerals, and small quantities even of gold and silver and lead have been found in New England. Bog iron ore of the sort that the English then exploited in the Sussex Weald existed in large quantities in the ponds and marshes of Massachusetts. Good oak was there for making charcoal for smelting, and the prospect of establishing a great iron industry appealed to those who knew something of the nature of metals. Among such men in Massachusetts Bay the most prominent was John Winthrop, Jr., son of the Governor, and himself at a later time Governor of Connecticut. A graduate of Trinity College, Dublin, he was a man of broad education and great natural curiosity, a founder of the Royal Society, friend and correspondent of some of the most advanced Europeans of the period, — men such as Robert Boyle, the father of modern chemistry; Jean Fabre, the French physicist and scientist; Sir Kenelm Digby, the universal genius of his age (who at Winthrop’s request, though a Roman Catholic, gave books to the Harvard College Library); and the Moravian Bishop Komensky or Comenius, that pioneer in modern education whom Winthrop tried to secure for President of Harvard College.381 John Winthrop, Jr., brought over to Boston in 1640 a library of a thousand books and spent much of his time and property in trying industrial experiments. Like many wide-awake scientists of that day, he was interested in alchemy, and “when he died, in 1676, he had long enjoyed the reputation of having discovered the secret of the Hermetic sages.”382 A century later, Governor Jonathan Trumbull of Connecticut told President Stiles of Yale College that a mountain in East Haddam, Connecticut, was called the Governor’s ring, because Governor John Winthrop, Jr., “used to resort [thither] with his servant, and after spending three weeks in the woods of this mountain in roasting ores and assaying metals and casting gold rings, he used to return home to New London with plenty of gold.”383

    Through John Winthrop, Jr., and Robert Child, this little plantation of Nashaway is linked up with the great scientific movements of the seventeenth century. For one of the first undertakers of Nashaway was this same Dr. Child, graduate of Corpus Christi College, Cambridge, student of medicine at Leyden, and a Doctor of Padua. Child, like Winthrop, corresponded with the leading scientists of the day, and like him was keenly interested in alchemy, metallurgy, and the occult arts. He visited New England about 1639, returned to the Old World and during his absence wrote Winthrop, “I intend when I returne to you (god willing) to prosecute ye planting of vines throwly, to try somewhat concerning silkewormes, and would to my power helpe forward ye digging of some good mine, if you haue found any in ye countrey.”384 He lived in Charenton during a whole vintage to observe how wine was made; and doubtless one of the things that attracted him in Nashaway was the hills, which he saw in his mind’s eye lined with terraced vineyards, becoming the Beaune or Chablis of the New World.

    Child returned to New England with Winthrop in 1643, in order to help him exploit a graphite mine and establish iron works. The graphite mine was at Tantiusque in the present town of Sturbridge, Massachusetts. Graphite or blacklead, as Child himself wrote in an interesting treatise on minerals, was in great demand for pencils, and for ladies’ combs, to make gray hair “of a Raven-like or glittering blacknesse, much desired in Italy, Spain, etc.”385 John Winthrop had done considerable prospecting ten years before. Thomas King, the builder of the trading post on George Hill, and Stephen Day (of whom more anon) were employed by him to search for valuable minerals in central Massachusetts. One of the places where deposits of good ore were reported was Nashaway;386 but on account of the remoteness of that place, Winthrop pitched on Braintree and Lynn as the most suitable places to begin iron works. The story of those colonial iron enterprises, prosecuted by an English company organized by Winthrop, with hired servants and Scotch prisoners of Dunbar, is a most fascinating one, and a credit to the far-sightedness of the undertakers; but does not concern us here. The point for us is that Winthrop’s friend, fellow-scientist and promoter, Robert Child, associated himself with Stephen Day et al. in obtaining from the General Court confirmation of the Plantation at Nashaway.387 This amounted to the organization of a new company to settle and exploit the Lancaster region.

    Of Child’s principal associates among the new undertakers of Nashaway, over half were connected in some way with the iron industry. John Prescott, well known both as the first permanent settler of Lancaster and ancestor of a distinguished Massachusetts family, was a blacksmith. Herman Garrett was of the same calling. The name of John Hill crops up frequently in the litigation over the Lynn Iron Works. Joseph Jenks388 was one of the workmen brought over by the Lynn iron interests. He became director of the furnace, and may be regarded as first in a long line of ingenious Yankees. It was Jenks who made the dies for the famous pine-tree shillings, who was granted patents for the back strip on scythes and for a new type of sawmill, and who applied for encouragement for a new method of wire-drawing. Jenks constructed the first Boston fire engine. He founded a respectable family, and one grandson became governor of Rhode Island.

    Stephen Day389 is an equally interesting figure, and stayed with the Nashaway enterprise longer than the others. A locksmith of Cambridge, England, he emigrated with his wife and family in 1638 under contract to work for the Rev. Josse Glover until £55, the cost of his passage, was repaid. Glover died on the voyage, but his widow, a woman of considerable property, purchased the best house in Cambridge, and married the Rev. Henry Dunster, first President of Harvard College. To Stephen Day fell the duty of setting up and operating at Cambridge a printing press that Glover brought out — the first, and for thirty years the only, printing press in the English colonies. During the first four years of its existence Day printed only an annual almanac, an occasional broadside, and the Bay Psalm Book; so it could not have taken very much of his time. He established a locksmith shop in Cambridge, and became a useful member of the community as maker of hardware for houses, and mender of matchlocks for the militia, and of fowling-pieces for the citizens.

    That sort of work did not satisfy Stephen Day. He had not left England to be a tinker all his life. Opportunity for adventure was at hand. In 1642 we find Day prospecting minerals for Winthrop in the Tantiusque country, and buying land for him from the Indians. Doubtless on one of those journeys he looked over the Nashaway country, and determined to buy into the undertakers. It is certain that he mortgaged all the land holdings granted him by town and colony in recompense for his printing enterprise, and went into promoting Nashaway with such enthusiasm that he was committed by county court for “defrauding several men.” Only two days later, however, he was released by the General Court, which apparently condoned a little over-confidence on the part of promoters.

    A legal difficulty in getting the Nashaway plantation going was want of church members. None of the undertakers were communicants of the churches in their several towns, and until they were so received, they could not be freemen or voters of the colony, or organize a church of their own. A neighbor of John Prescott at Watertown was a young cleric from England, Nathaniel Norcross, in want of a job. The undertakers proposed to declare themselves a church and settle the Rev. Mr. Norcross over them, in order to satisfy the law; but that wouldn’t go down with the magistrates and clergy. The undertakers were notified that they must first build houses, “then . . . take some that were members of other churches, with the consent of such churches, . . . and so proceed orderly.” So records Governor Winthrop in his Journal for 1644. Immediately following is his derogatory description of the Nashaway pioneers as “most of them poor men, some of them corrupt in judgment and others profane.” Hence the plantation “went on very slowly, so that in two years they had not three houses built there, and he whom they had called to be their minister left them for their delays.”

    Those hard words were added by Winthrop later than the record of the conference, as one can see from the ink and handwriting as well as the context.390 One naturally infers that they were entered after the Governor had come to regard his son’s friend, Robert Child, as a dangerous radical. For in 1646 Dr. Child headed a grand remonstrance against the Massachusetts Government, demanding the franchise for Episcopalians and others who were not members of the orthodox Puritan churches, and accusing the ruling magistrates of impairing the prosperity and safety of the colony by their narrowminded policy and intolerance. For thus exercising the good old right of petition, Child was arbitrarily fined £50. For appealing against the decision to Parliament, he was fined £200 more, and left the colony, never to return. So Massachusetts and the plantation of Nashaway lost the services of this cultivated gentleman and industrial pioneer. John Prescott, for loyally supporting his partner, got in the black books of the government. Winthrop records with evident satisfaction that the “favorer of the petitioners” lost a pack horse in fording Sudbury River on his way to Lancaster, and a week later his wife and children were almost drowned in the same place.391 Obviously a divine warning to those “agin’ the government!”

    This crossing on the marshy Sudbury River, near where the present state road passes the Wayside Inn, was a serious obstacle for the settlers of Nashaway, for that road, or trail rather, was their only way of getting to Boston. John Prescott’s almost fatal accident led the undertakers of Nashaway to petition the General Court on June 12, 1645:

    Wee the sayd petitoners doe find itt an utter Impossibilitye to proceede forwards to plante at the place above sayd, except we have a convenient way made for the transportation of our Cattell and goods over Sudbery River and Marsh. Now although Sudbery men have begun to sett upp a Bridge over the River yett the worke is now desisted, And the bridge left altogether unusefull, and the marsh now way mended, soe that wee caunot passe to the plantation abovesd without exposing our persons to perill and our cattell and goods to loose and spoyle: as your petitioners are able to make prooffe by sad experience of what wee suffered there within these few dayes. Your petitioners have beene and are much damnifyed by the badnesse of the way at this place: for many of us have beene dependant on this worke above these two yeares past, much tyme and meanes have beene spent in discovering the plantation and providing for our setlinge there. And now the Lord by his providence hath gone on thus farre with the worke that divers of us have covenanted to sitt down together And to Improve ourselves there this summer that wee may live there the wynter next Insuing if God permitt. But unlesse some speedy course bee taken that wee have a way made for the transplanting ourselves, cattell and goods we may perish there for want of Reliefe, not being able to provide for our subsistance there this wynter. Unlesse wee expose ourselves and goods to the perill and spoyle as abovesayd. Your petitioners doe therefore humbly Beseech your Worships that as you have beene pleased to Countenance our beginnings, soe you would please to order that a convenient way bee made at the place aforsd for transportinge our persones cattell and goods, that the worke of God there begun may further proceede and wee have Incouragement to carry on the worke else our tyme, meanes, and labour hitherto expended will be lost. . . .

    Nathaniel Norcrosse

    John Hill

    John Prescot

    Isaacks Waker

    Stephen Daye

    John Cowdall

    Harman Garrett

    Joseph Jenkes.392

    Thomas Scidmore

    Little or nothing was done to mend the menace; the plantation at Nashaway languished; all the undertakers who were primarily interested in iron, except John Prescott, dropped out of the enterprise; and Norcross returned to England. Evidently the iron did not “pan out.” It took capital, even in those days, to start a smelter; and none of the group but the exiled Dr. Child had any capital.

    So the great industrial experiment failed; and Nashaway became instead a farming outpost of Massachusetts. It would have been snuffed out altogether but for the tremendous energy and persistence of John Prescott — the same qualities that appear in his great-grandson, the hero of Bunker Hill, and in the Colonel’s grandson, William H. Prescott, who, though partially blind, yet wrote two of the greatest works in historical literature. Although denied the franchise for not being a church member, John Prescott’s public spirit was eventually recognized by a generous land grant. The knowledge that this prudent, stalwart man was living in the remote frontier settlement, attracted new settlers.

    The people of Nashaway at first had no help from the colony. They were poor men and had to be as self-reliant as pioneers in the Far West. For not only did they fail through lack of means and pious assistance to conform to the accepted pattern of New England expansion, but their leader Prescott had courageously supported Child in his stand for liberty and tolerance. In 1650 the General Court contemptuously rejected the settlers’ petition for leave to tax absentees’ estates in Nashaway, and threatened them — after five years bravery in the wilderness — with confiscation of their land and outlawry of their settlement.

    As we all know nowadays, ruling classes and cliques attempt to justify their acts of oppression and intolerance by reflecting on the morals of those who stand up for their just rights. So we need not be disturbed to find the Nashaway people accused of communism and free love. We learn this from a libel case that grew out of a visit of Samuel Phillips, a minister’s son and Harvard student, to Nashaway in 1651. After returning he was standing at the college buttery hatch,393 doubtless taking a glass of ale with Stephen Day, when a prominent Cambridge citizen, Lieutenant George Whaley,

    demanded of Sr.394 Phillips how all their friends at Nashaway did, to which Sr. Phillips answered they were all well. Mr. Whaley further demanded how he liked the place, he answered very well. It is a desirable place as any was in the country, as he conceaved. Mr. Whaley further asked how he liked the people, he answered he liked them very well only there were some that held this opinion, that all things were in common and said he came one morninge to goodwife Halls house and as soon as he was come goodwife Hall demanded of him whether all things were not common now as in the apostles tyme, and before that Sr. Phillips could give answer she did further say that this is my judgment, that all things are common, mens wives alsoe, at which speech Steven Day was much troubled and grieved . . .395

    This document forms part of the papers of an action for slander brought by Goodwife Hall to clear her name. She finally induced Whaley to acknowledge that whereas Phillips correctly reported her saying that things ought to be in common as in the Apostle’s day396, the remark about “mens wives alsoe” was a figment of his (Whaley’s) imagination. What made the affair all the more deplorable was the fact that Goodwife Hall was a lone woman, her husband being still in England.

    After this show-down the General Court began to relent, and in 1653 granted Nashaway the liberties of a town, and a name. The inhabitants wished to call it after their stout leader Prescott, but it would not do to name a place after a “poor man, corrupt in judgment,” even possibly “profane,” so they compromised on Lancaster, the name of Prescott’s home county in England. There was much litigation about the original undertakers who had never settled, but that was finally cleared up. The town records read:

    And for the Better preserveing of the puritie of Religion and ourselves from the infection of Error we Covenant not to distribute Allottments and to receive into the Plantation as Inhabitants any excominicat or otherwise prophane and scandalus (known so to bee) nor any notoriously erring against the Docktrin and Discipline of the Churches and the state and the Government of this Commonweale.

    Nashaway was evidently making a sincere effort to get back into the good graces of government. The boundaries of the new town were not surveyed and established according to the original Indian deed until 1659. Perhaps the citizens were waiting to get the services of Job Whetcomb and young Jacob Farer, who, not content with throwing in the one rod in thirty that was customarily allotted for swag of chain, laid out a ten-mile line that is today eleven miles long.

    When Nashaway became a regular town, it incurred the obligation to settle a minister, but the people were too few — only ten or twelve families — and too poor to support a church. They found a young Harvard graduate, of whom it may be said that he graduated first in his class of 1652, as he was the only member of that class to graduate. Whatever his scholarly attainments may have been, Mr. Rowlandson was under a cloud for having fastened a very dull and obscure libel to the Ipswich meeting house door.397 Under these circumstances it is likely that he was glad to get any sort of call, and that Lancaster secured him at cut rates, compared with the standard salary for Cambridge-trained parsons. Even then, Mr. Rowlandson had to wait a long time to obtain his meager salary, and only got it in 1658 by threatening to accept a call from Billerica. He proved to be a real shepherd to his people. His devotion and his wife’s suffering during King Philip’s War are a noble page in the early history of Lancaster.

    Stephen Day, it will have been noted in the scandal-mongering incident at the buttery hatch, was “much troubled and grieved” at the report of incipient communism in Nashaway. Day was the only undertaker beside Prescott who kept a continuous interest in the plantation, and for two or more years he owned a house there. In a petition of 1666 he mentions “entertaining both English and Indians at my own house from day to day for some yeares together.”398 One would like to know something of the details. Did our Cambridge printer-promoter hold mixed house parties, or were weekdays devoted to the redskins and week-ends to college boys, such as tattling Sam Phillips? Stephen never moved his family to Nashaway. Possibly Goodwife Day refused to leave snug little Cambridge for the rough frontier, and the company of poor and profane men. So the pioneer turned back to making locks and repairing guns, joined the Cambridge church, and died in the odor of sanctity. The law required that he forfeit his property in Lancaster, and pay a fine of five pounds for failing to settle his grant; but notwithstanding “the Town had so much respect to Mr. Day,” state the records, “that they allowed him that goodman Roper should pay him what his buildings, fencing, etc., might be worth.”399 They could not have been worth much, for Day was satisfied with a payment of fifteen shillings for his improvements. A little later the town followed up this favor by granting Day a proprietor’s lot near Washacomb, provided he paid ten shillings a year taxes; and though he never took this up, finding the ten shillings hard to come by, the lot was later claimed and enjoyed by his step-grandson Captain Bordman.

    Again, in 1667, we find Day petitioning the General Court to confirm his purchase from Sagamore Mathew of forty acres meadow in Nashaway. Mathew was the successor to the many-aliased Sholan as Sagamore of the Nashaway Indians. Sholan died in 1654. There were two candidates for the succession, both of them known by their baptismal names — Mathew who was “very hopfull to learne the things of Christ,” and Sam, a “very deboist and a drunken fellow.”400 The General Court sent Increase Nowell and John Eliot to electioneer for Mathew, and he won. Our Puritan ancestors were always for enforcing prohibition — among the Indians.

    The grant of town privileges to Lancaster was premature, as the inhabitants themselves had to admit in 1657. The Law required that a majority of the selectmen be freemen (church members), but of the twenty or thirty men in the town only three were thus eligible; for there was as yet no church. There were other unspecified “inconveniences and encumberances” that made government by public town meeting impossible. Without doubt lack of experience and education were among them. Some of the newcomers were illiterate, and the presence at least of one Scotch prisoner taken at Dunbar is indicated by the name of Mordicai Mukloade (McLeod). This being the condition of affairs the inhabitants petitioned the General Court to appoint a committee to “put us into such a way of order as wee ar capable of, or any other way which the Honoured Court may judge safest.”401

    The General Court, now helpful and sympathetic as anyone would wish, appointed three eminent commissioners, Major Simon Willard of Concord, Captain Edward Johnson of Woburn, and Thomas Danforth of Cambridge “to heare and determine their sevrall diffrences and greevances which obstruct the present and future good of the towne, standing in power till they bee able to make returne to the Genrall Court that the towne is sufisiantly able to order its owne affaires according to Law.”402 Lancaster was ruled by this commission of three during the next fifteen years.

    The records of this committee show that Lancaster had not undergone the normal development of New England towns. It was necessary to order provisions for the minister, to build a meeting house, cattle pound, town stocks, and roads, to adjust land disputes and reorganize finances, — for the town had gone far enough to acquire a municipal debt.

    In November, 1658, John Prescott announced that he “would by the help of God set up a sawmill” for the good of the town. He was liberally aided by a grant of land, exemption from taxation, and the right to fell pines on the common. The mill was undoubtedly a boon, for the road from Sudbury where the nearest sawmill was located, was a mere trail, impractical for the transportation of logs and lumber. Thenceforth the people could replace their log cabins by clapboarded houses, a distinct step up in the New World.

    The land given to Prescott as a mill site was bounded on one side by a ledge “of iron-stone rocks,” near the site of the Bigelow Carpet Company’s dam in Clinton. The iron workers with whom Prescott had formerly been associated more than once hopefully mentioned this ledge, notable because most of the iron smelted in New England came from bog ore, dug out of marshes or fished up with long-handled rakes from the bottom of ponds. We have no certain knowledge when, if ever, John Prescott attempted to smelt iron from this vein in the rocky ledge, but it was certainly being done by his descendants seventy-five years later, and with unprofitable results. The iron was of a poor, brittle quality. A century ago, the slag heaps were still visible near the old Prescott mill.

    Lancaster was gradually simmering down to the normal condition of a New England country town, with church, school, tavern, town officers, neat houses, civic pride, village center, and a New England conscience. The General Court recognized this in 1672 by granting full township autonomy, making Lancaster a political equal of Boston. For the first time Lancaster sent a native son, Ralph Houghton, as deputy to the General Court. The pioneer period was not yet over, in fact, as the dreadful Indian massacre of 1676 proves; but it was over as far as institutions were concerned. A new chapter opens in the history of this ancient township, when in 1672, by vote of the General Court, it was “betrusted, as other townes are, to mannage their owne affaires.”

    It is natural and proper that the name of John Prescott should be cherished by this town as its principal founder; for he alone cast in his lot among the early settlers. The noble character and sterling common sense of this blacksmith, no less than his strong limbs, made a tower of strength in that weak and tottering plantation. He built the first gristmill, and the first sawmill. If Augustus found Rome a city of bricks and made it one of stone, then Prescott found Lancaster a straggling settlement of log cabins and left it a neat village of clapboarded houses. We should not, however, forget that he was one of a group of the Yankee Tubal Cains who in imagination saw the valley of the Nashua lined with forges, bloomeries, and smelters, and the hillsides festooned with vineyards, a côte d’or in the western wilderness. Dreams as well as facts are the stuff of life, and it may still inspire modern dwellers in the ancient eight miles by ten of the plantation of Nashaway, to know that among their founders were such men as Joseph Jenks, the first Yankee inventor; Stephen Day, who set up the first type and printed the first book in the United States; Robert Child, M.A. Cantab. et M.D. Patav., fighter for liberty in Massachusetts Bay, scientist and man of letters; and Governor John Winthrop, Jr., the scholar who helped to found the Royal Society, the man of action who first established a large industrial plant in New England, the mystic dreamer who alone on the hillsides of Connecticut pursued that search for the philosopher’s stone which has baffled the sages of all time.

    Yet, after all, the settlement was not made by such as these, and if Lancaster is unique for the distinguished character of her undertakers, she is equally so among early New England towns for being actually settled without educated or upper-class leadership. Child and Winthrop carry one’s thoughts back to the civilized Old World, with its wisdom mellowed by centuries of culture in the ancient universities. Prescott and Garrett and Rugg and Smith carry us forward to the westward-striding America of the nineteenth century, for they were of the common people, however uncommon their qualities.

    It is the unique distinction of Lancaster among New England towns of the seventeenth century that it was founded as an industrial experiment, and kept alive, unaided by the pious or the well-to-do, through the courage and persistence and sacrifice of humble folk, “most of them poor men, and some of them corrupt in judgment, and others profane.”