A Stated Meeting of the Society was held at the invitation of Mr. Alfred M. Tozzer, at No. 7 Bryant Street, Cambridge, on Thursday, April 24, 1930, at half after eight o’clock in the evening, the President, Samuel Eliot Morison, in the chair.

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

    The Corresponding Secretary announced the death of Arthur Twining Hadley, a Corresponding Member, on March 5, 1930; of William Howard Taft, an Honorary Member, on March 8, 1930; of Charles Lewis Slattery, a Resident Member, on March 12, 1930; and of Winslow Warren, a Resident Member, on April 3, 1930.

    The Corresponding Secretary reported that letters had been received from Mr. Earl Morse Wilbur, accepting Corresponding Membership, and Mr. Grenville Lindall Winthrop, accepting Resident Membership.

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

    To nominate candidates for the several offices, — Messrs. Henry Wilder Foote, Fred Norris Robinson, and Arthur Stanwood Pier.

    To examine the Treasurer’s accounts, — Messrs. Frank Brewer Bemis and Nathaniel Thayer Kidder.

    Mr. Arthur Orlo Norton spoke on “Some Harvard Text Books of the Seventeenth Century.”

    Mr. Lawrence Shaw Mayo read the following paper, written by Mr. Arthur Howland Buffinton:


    One test of any form of society, any civilization, is its ability to assimilate alien elements. It is no doubt the consensus of opinion that Massachusetts Puritanism cannot meet this test, that not only did it have no powers of attraction, but that its official representatives deliberately pursued a policy of exclusiveness and intolerance. And yet, if this was so, how can one explain the extraordinarily rapid growth of the colony, a growth unparalleled among the continental colonies except Pennsylvania?

    Two facts go far toward supplying an answer to this apparent contradiction. In the first place, since the establishment of a certain religious system was the main purpose of the leaders of the colony, there was no good reason for banishing or excluding those who were sufficiently indifferent in matters religious not to challenge the prevailing form of belief. In the second place, and more important, for practical reasons a policy of exclusiveness was not feasible. An adequate economic basis was necessary to the success of the colony, and the price of economic stability was a considerable measure of toleration for those who could not qualify as Puritans according to the most rigid definition of that term. There were those, no doubt, who recognized that too large an influx of alien elements might endanger the success of the Puritan experiment. Such a one was Captain Edward Johnson, who, in his Wonder-Working Providence, uttered a warning against permitting “Merchants, Inkeepers, Taverners and men of Trade in hope of gaine [to] fling open the gates so wide, as that by letting in all sorts, you mar the worke of Christ intended.”519 But there seems never to have been any serious disposition to exclude those who came primarily to improve the commercial opportunities afforded by the colony, and in the opinion of the ruling oligarchy it sufficed to exclude such from participation in political affairs.

    It is a significant fact, noted by a recent historian, that of the thirty men who, according to the Boston tax list of 1687, paid the largest tax on trade, twenty-two were non-freemen.520 These figures certainly appear to prove that the mere acceptance as residents of persons who contributed to the economic upbuilding of the colony did not mean assimilation, that successful Boston merchants were not necessarily good Puritans. They throw light also upon the contention of Henry Adams that there was a kind of hereditary feud between what he calls State Street and the strictest sect of those who placed adherence to Puritan principles above material considerations.521 It must indeed be confessed that the number of verifiable cases of the assimilation of persons whose antecedents were not markedly Puritan is very small.

    All the more interesting, therefore, is the case of a certain English gentleman of aristocratic lineage and royalist sympathies, who came to Boston in the last years of the Protectorate, when Endicott was Governor and Norton was chief of the Puritan clergy, and when the last great persecution, that of the Quakers, was just beginning. That such a person, at such a time, should have become a good Bostonian and a member of Increase Mather’s church certainly is a surprising fact. This gentleman was Colonel Thomas Temple. From what he wrote, and from what others wrote about him, it is possible to construct a narrative of his Boston experiences.522

    How alien Temple was to the Boston of that day may be gathered from what little is known about his career before he came to Massachusetts. He was born in 1614, the son of Sir John Temple of Stanton Bury, Buckinghamshire. He was the nephew, or grandnephew, of William Fiennes, Viscount Saye and Sele, whose interest in various Puritan colonizing schemes of that period is well known, and through whom, apparently, Temple first became interested in America.523 The Temples were a numerous family, all of whom, so far as we have record, took the side of Parliament in the Civil War, but though at least two of the family were regicides,524 others, after the defeat of the King, favored a compromise and were opposed to the abolition of the monarchy. Among these, as evidence shortly to be presented shows, was Thomas Temple.

    That Temple served in the war, doubtless on the Parliamentary side, may be inferred from the fact that he is called Colonel Temple. It may have been the war which corrupted his morals, for though originally a Puritan in his political sympathies, his moral code was not sufficiently rigorous to prevent him from having a mistress.525 About this phase of his career nothing more is known. Because of his attachment to this woman, whose name was Mrs. Martin, or for some other reason, Temple never married, and during his entire Boston residence he maintained a bachelor establishment.

    Concerning his reasons for coming to America, Temple related, after the Restoration, a very romantic story. In the last days of Charles I’s life, so he tells us, he concocted a plot to free the King. The plot miscarried, but Charles was sufficiently grateful to give to one of his attendants on the scaffold the whispered command to see to it that his son had a care of “honest Tom Temple.” Later, rumors of this plot came to the ears of Cromwell, so that it was necessary for Temple to flee from his wrath. Fortunately a kinsman, Lord Fiennes, son of Lord Saye and Sele, was in high favor with the Protector, and succeeded in getting for him a commission to be Governor of Acadia. Thus his coming to America, so Temple would have us believe, was in the nature of a banishment for adhering to the royalist cause.526

    This is not the place to attempt a recital of the circumstances which put the French colony of Acadia within the gift of Cromwell. It will suffice to recall the fact that it had been taken from the French in 1654 by Sedgwick and Leverett, that it was then occupied for a time by Leverett with a small English garrison, and that in the autumn of 1656 the southerly part of the province was granted to three coproprietors, Temple, William Crowne, and the Frenchman La Tour, Temple being commissioned Governor.527

    Thus provided with a new start in life Temple set out, early in the year 1657, for America, accompanied by a large retinue of servants, as befitted a governor and colonial proprietor. His coming had been heralded by Leverett, who was then in England, and Temple was received by the Massachusetts authorities with the honor due to one of his rank and position.528 As the rude trading posts of Acadia, with their Indian and French population, had no attraction for him, he settled down in Boston, and there he resided for over fifteen years.

    During so long a residence Temple was, of course, brought into contact with every aspect of Boston society. Thus he came to have an intimate acquaintance both with the merchants and “men of gain”, and with the magistrates and clergy who made up the ruling oligarchy. The most striking thing about Temple’s Boston residence is that he found Puritan Boston more tolerable than commercial Boston, and that by the time he left he had become something of a Puritan himself.

    His first contacts were, of necessity, with the merchants. He expected to make a living, if not a fortune, from his province, but to do so required a certain amount of working capital which he did not possess. The only source of income from Acadia was the fur trade, and to carry on this trade a considerable initial outlay was necessary. Goods must be provided to exchange for furs, men of experience must be hired to manage the trade, the trading posts must be garrisoned and protected, for the French who still maintained themselves in the north of Acadia were troublesome.529 Furthermore, Temple and Crowne had bought out the third partner, La Tour, agreeing to pay him yearly a twentieth of the proceeds of the Acadian trade, and the revenues of the province were further encumbered by claims amounting to something over £5000, which the proprietors were forced to assume as the price of their grant.530

    Conscious, doubtless, of his lack of funds and of his ignorance of the fur trade, Temple, before he left England, made an agreement with a prominent merchant engaged in the New England trade, Captain Thomas Breedon by name, whom he appointed to be his deputy and lieutenant in Acadia, and to whom, in connection with two agents of his own, he entrusted the management of his Acadian business.531 For the financing of the trade Breedon associated with himself two prominent Boston merchants, Hezekiah Usher and Thomas Lake, the latter of whom had been previously connected with Leverett in the management of Acadian affairs.532 For a time Temple hoped to get the necessary financial assistance from a company of English gentlemen and merchants which was formed in 1658 to trade with Acadia, but the company’s first venture proving a failure, its members refused to venture more in the enterprise, and Temple remained dependent upon the Boston merchants.

    That Temple was an unpractical aristocrat the merchants were quick to recognize. No sooner had he set foot in Boston than they began to advise him about the management of his household. The merchant Lake wrote to Leverett:

    I fear his noble spirit will not suit with Acadie, or at least the profit of Acadie will not maintain his post. Myself and some other friends have spoken seriously to him for a frugal management of the same. He accepts of advice and saith he will by degrees clear himself of the unnecessary charge, which he is at by many servants, that he brought up, who will be as drones to eat up all the honey, that others labour for, and that he will have but two at most, to wait upon himself.533

    Of his treatment by the merchants Temple at times complained bitterly, alleging that they not only exacted a hundred per cent profit on the goods they sold him, but had the furs from Acadia consigned directly to themselves and put their own valuation upon them.534

    But while the real Bostonians like Usher and Lake contented themselves with making large profits at Temple’s expense, Breedon, who never became thoroughly acclimated in New England, betrayed the interests of his employer. After the Restoration a host of claimants for Acadia appeared, hoping to dispossess one who had accepted a grant from Cromwell. Too poor to go to England in person, — so he alleges, — Temple commissioned Breedon to look after his interests.535 Breedon soon discovered that a certain Thomas Elliott, a groom of the Bedchamber, with the support of the Lord Chancellor Clarendon, seemed likely to secure a grant of the province. Fearing, perhaps, that he would never be able to recover the money due him from Temple if Acadia were granted to another, Breedon agreed to recognize Elliott as proprietor and to pay him £600 a year if Elliott would make him Governor. The bargain was concluded, and Temple was for a time dispossessed, but he hastened to England, enlisted the support of his noble kinsmen, pleaded his services to the late King, and recovered his province, subject, however, to an annual payment of £600 to Elliott. As a further testimony of the royal favor, Temple was at this time created a Baronet of the Kingdom of Nova Scotia, whence his title of Sir by which he is usually known.536

    Doubtless Temple would now have been glad to free himself from his dependence on one who had betrayed him, but he was too much in debt to Breedon to be able to do so immediately. Breedon served him both as banker, providing the necessary capital for carrying on the Acadian trade, and as business manager, for the Acadian furs were consigned to Breedon’s Boston agents, and it may be inferred from his English connections that he attended to the disposing of them in England. Temple, in fact, treated Acadia somewhat as many an English landlord treated his estate, leaving the management to others, getting a precarious living from it, and remaining perpetually in debt.

    In one of his letters Temple complains that the net income from Acadia never exceeded £900 yearly, of which he had to pay Elliott £600. The Boston merchants charged him £180 to transfer this sum to Elliott and to change colonial currency into English money, thus leaving him only £120 a year to live on.537 If this was strictly true, it is a little difficult to see how he succeeded in accumulating so much property in and around Boston. When he mortgaged his Boston property and Acadian interests in 1665 to Breedon and others, he was the owner of the greater part of Noddle’s Island (East Boston), where he kept sheep and cattle, held a lease of Deer Island from the town of Boston, and had a small vessel, used doubtless in the Acadian trade.538 Shortly after this Temple completed the purchase of Noddle’s Island, and at some time undetermined purchased of Edward Winslow a portion of the latter’s share of the Kennebec lands which he and certain others had bought in 1661 of the Plymouth Colony.539

    The mortgage to Breedon reveals the fact that Temple was gradually freeing himself from financial dependence upon one who had played him false. The Acadian trade was now managed by Temple’s own agents, chief among whom was Richard Walker, who at some time in this period was made Deputy Governor of Acadia.540 These agents were to consign the furs to Lake at Boston, who served as agent for Breedon, and Temple promised to pay Breedon £1000 in skins semi-annually until the mortgage was discharged. Despite the outbreak of war between England and France in 1666, Temple was able to carry out his promise, and with the cancelling of the mortgage in 1668 his relations with Breedon, so far as we have record, were finished.541

    It was the Anglo-French war of 1666–1667 which put an end to Temple’s Acadian venture and ultimately led to his leaving Boston. There are indications that in the years immediately preceding the war, Temple was in a fair way to extricate himself from his financial difficulties; but the war brought added expense for the defense of his province against the French, and Temple had the further misfortune of having a vessel laden with sugar for the payment of Elliott captured by a Dutch privateer.542 To cap the climax Charles II, at the treaty of Breda, agreed to restore Acadia to the French as a price of the recovery of the English half of the island of St. Christopher. Appeals to the King were in vain, and in the summer of 1670 Acadia was finally surrendered to the French.543 According to Temple’s statement he had expended in Acadia over £16,000, of which he still owed to various merchants and gentlemen the sum of £7000. There was due him from the French and Indians of Acadia something over £3000.544

    The cession of Acadia forced Temple to sell his Boston property. After severing financial connections with Breedon he had secured assistance from Hezekiah Usher and Samuel Shrimpton, both prominent merchants, Lake again serving as Boston agent to handle the furs. To cover a debt of some £2700 due Usher and Shrimpton, Temple mortgaged to them in 1668 his Boston property and Acadian interests. To pay this debt he sold Noddle’s Island to Shrimpton for £6000 and transferred to him his lease of Deer Island. This was in 1670. Finally, early in 1673, he transferred his house in the North End to a kinsman, Stephen Temple of Selby, Northamptonshire, in discharge of a debt of £800. Shortly after this Temple returned to England, where he died in March, 1674.545

    Had we no other record of Temple than that of his financial transactions and business interests, his American career would still be of interest to all students of the early history of Massachusetts. Fortunately we have a further record, fragmentary it is true, which reveals his connection with other aspects of the life of the colony. For Temple was something more than a mere resident of Boston; unlike old residents such as Samuel Maverick and merchant strangers like Breedon, who never became reconciled to the Puritan system in church and state, he became, in time, a good Bostonian and a good Puritan. The reason for his rapid acclimatization appears to lie in his naturally affable and sympathetic disposition. Such testimony as we have to his personal qualities shows him to have been a kindly and courteous gentleman, who easily made friends, was not suspicious, and seldom or never gave offense. The merchant Lake noted his “noble spirit”; one who saw him in London in 1662 tells of his meeting frequently with other New England men in the city, and of his characteristic merry way of speaking; and no less a person than Cotton Mather calls him “as fine a Gentleman as ever set foot on the American strand.”546

    From the first he seems to have cultivated friendly relations with the Massachusetts authorities. Perhaps his acquaintance with an influential man like Leverett may have smoothed his path in this respect. In 1658 the General Court not only gave formal recognition to his monopoly of the Acadian trade, but agreed to lend him two hundred pounds of shot for use against the French, who had attacked one of his trading posts.547 The only occasion when there seems to have been any serious disagreement between Temple and the rulers of the colony was at the time of the persecution of the Quakers. A story is told by Bishop, the chronicler of the sufferings of the Quakers, that, when it was proposed to inflict the death penalty upon Stevenson and Robinson, Temple offered to take them away at his own expense and find a refuge for them. Bishop further alleges that a majority of the magistrates favored this proposal, but that they were overborne by the minority and the Deputies.548

    This incident seems not to have shaken the confidence of the Puritans in Temple, for after he had gone to England to recover Acadia, a committee of the General Court wrote asking him to assist their agents and to assure the King of the colony’s loyalty. Leverett also wrote asking him to keep the colony informed about any hostile moves that might be made against it at court.549 That this confidence was in no wise misplaced is proved by a letter written from England at this time, which describes Temple as interceding with the King on behalf of New England, and as exhibiting, in gatherings of New England men in London, a most cordial attitude towards his adopted home.550

    Temple’s attitude was sufficiently pronounced to bring him into disfavor with certain enemies of New England. The writer of the letter just cited speaks of the surprise of Maverick that Temple should stand up for the New Englanders, and of Maverick’s calling them “all rebels.” Another enemy of New England who resented Temple’s attitude was the notorious John Scott. Scott, it appears, was a passenger on the vessel in which Temple returned to America. Later he gave his impressions of Temple to Sir Joseph Williamson. Williamson’s notes “from Major Scott’s mouth” read as follows:

    “T. Temple dwells idlely at Boston & is fooled by them. Fort St. John and Fort Roy! are ye only 2 great places, but T. T. suffers them of Boston to trade thither, & robs ye English . . . Boston persuaded T. T. to raze his forts, 1662, to spare charge, &c., and so he did, to free themselves from us, & take off ye checke wee might bee ovr them.”551

    The longer Temple resided in Boston the more cordial became his relations with its people. During the troublous times of the visit of the Royal Commissioners, his attitude was so discreet that he avoided offending either party.552 During the French war, he cooperated with the Massachusetts government in checking the activities of the French privateers and in defending his province from the French.553 In the closing years of his Boston residence, he identified himself with much that was best in the life of the place. Thus in 1672, when a fund was being raised to build a new building for Harvard College, he subscribed £100 out of a total of £800 raised in Boston.554 At some time in this period, he became acquainted with Increase Mather, who was ordained teacher of the North Church in 1664. Temple’s house was in the North End, near the Battery, we are told, and a number of his associates, notably Lake and Walker, appear to have lived in that part of the town.555 Temple and certain of his friends earned the gratitude of Increase Mather, and won a tribute from his son, by coming to the financial assistance of the elder Mather.556 In 1670 Temple completed the process of assimilation to the New England way by becoming a member of Increase Mather’s church.557 Thus in the last years of his Boston residence, Temple became a benefactor of Harvard College, a member of the North Church, and a friend in need to Increase Mather. It is no wonder that when, in 1673, he finally returned to England, the Governor and Council of the colony gave him a certificate of good character and loyalty.558

    If further evidence is needed concerning Temple’s feelings towards the people among whom he had made a home, it is to be found in a passage in a letter which he wrote to the King in 1670. In the midst of a long protest at the surrender of Acadia to the French, an act which, as he pointed out, was likely to prove detrimental to New England, Temple inserted an eloquent tribute to the virtues of the New Englanders, calling them:

    a people that truely Feare God, and love yor Matie, and dayly pray for you in private and publique, whose lives and fortunes you may freely comand with a word, had yor Matie a right understanding of them: God forgive those (if any there be) who goe about to rayse any other opinion in yor Royall brest, they in truth being the most florishing plantacon under heaven in many respects considering their numberless increase being but of yesterday.559

    Thus Temple’s name must be added to the list of those who saw that the best interests of both old and New England demanded the establishment of a “right understanding” between them. Of all those who attempted to bring about such an understanding, Temple was surely the most disinterested, the one least open to the charge of serving his personal ambition.

    It used to be the custom for every biographer to close with a deathbed scene, for the subject’s bearing and utterances in the closing hours of life were regarded as the final and crowning evidence of his character. It happens that there has been preserved a description of the last days of Temple, written by the Reverend John Collins, a Harvard graduate who at that time was preaching in London. In a letter to Governor Leverett, Collins tells of finding Temple at the house of his former mistress, “his spirit broken, his inward estate dark,” dying of grief and disappointment at his misfortunes, more especially his hard usage at the hands of Elliott, who seems to have pursued him in a vindictive spirit. But what weighed most heavily upon Temple’s mind, according to Collins, were reports echoed back to him from New England to the effect that he had resumed his former relations with his mistress. Temple most solemnly assured Collins that these reports had no basis in fact, and the latter conjectured that poverty had driven him to seek a lodging there. “I hope,” concludes Collins, “[that] he had the root of the matter in him and is gone home to rest.”560 Thus Temple meets the final test of the sincerity of his conversion to the New England way; the former soldier and royalist dies almost in the odor of sanctity.

    Doubtless it would be a mistake to attempt to generalize overmuch from the experiences of one man. In some respects Temple may be regarded as the exception which proves the rule. And yet one cannot help feeling that if a man of the world like Temple, using that term in its best sense, could find Puritan Boston not only endurable but attractive, New England Puritanism cannot have been so harsh and forbidding as its modern critics have represented it to be. In the light of the career of Thomas Temple it becomes easier to believe that that Boston which the great Bostonians of the mid-nineteenth century fondly called “the Hub of the Universe” was but the flowering of the true Puritan spirit.

    Mr. Samuel C. Clough then exhibited a map which he had drawn of Boston in the seventeenth century.