Annual Meeting

    November, 1936

    THE Annual Meeting of the Society was held at the Algonquin Club, No. 217 Commonwealth Avenue, Boston, on Saturday, November 21, 1936, at a quarter after seven o’clock in the evening, the President, Samuel Eliot Morison, in the chair.

    With the consent of those present, the reading of the records of the last Stated Meeting was omitted.

    The Corresponding Secretary reported the death, on May 3, 1936, of Walter Cabot Baylies, a Resident Member; and, on July 1, 1936, of George Arthur Plimpton, a Corresponding Member.

    The Corresponding Secretary reported the receipt of a letter from Mr. Curtis Nettels, accepting Corresponding Membership in the Society.

    Mr. Henry Joel Cadbury, of Cambridge, was elected an Associate Member of the Society.

    The Annual Report of the Council was read by Mr. Robert Walcott.

    Report of the Council

    DURING the year the Society has held its three usual meetings: that in December at the house of Mr. Augustus P. Loring, Jr.; that in February, on invitation of Mr. Stephen W. Phillips, at the Club of Odd Volumes; that in April, at the invitation of Mr. Zechariah Chafee, Jr., at the Signet Club, Cambridge. The attendance has been good, the papers interesting, and the discussions lively.

    The Society has elected the following members:

    • Resident: Richard Mott Gummere
    • Dr. Albert Warren Stearns
    • Robert William Glenroie Vail
    • Associate: Eldon Revare James
    • Corresponding: Reginald Coupland
    • Curtis Nettels

    During the past year we have lost from our membership by death two Resident Members who joined the Society in the second year of its existence, forty-three years ago:

    Walter Cabot Baylies, Resident, 1893, died May 3, 1936; descendant of the early historian of Plymouth Colony, prominent cotton textile cloth manufacturer and financier.

    Frank Brewster, Resident, 1893, died November 25, 1935; an eminent classical scholar and a partner of one of our founders, Charles Sedgwick Rackemann, in the foremost firm of conveyancers in the city of Boston.

    Two Corresponding Members have died:

    George Arthur Plimpton, Corresponding, 1903, died July 1, 1936, at the age of eighty. He was for many years President of the Board of Trustees of Amherst College and Treasurer of Barnard College, and was celebrated for his invaluable collection of text-books and for his gifts to his alma mater and to Wellesley College.

    James Harvey Robinson, Corresponding, 1929, died February 16, 1936. Graduated from Harvard College in 1887 with his brother, the late Professor Benjamin Lincoln Robinson, he took his Ph.D. at Freiburg in 1890. Two years later he was appointed Associate Professor of History at Columbia University, and he remained an active teacher in that university for over forty years. Besides well-known text-books in European history he wrote The New History and The Mind in the Making, landmarks in modern historical thought and historiography.

    We regret to record also the loss of the beloved Sir Charles Harding Firth, Honorary, 1934, who died February 19, 1936, after a lifetime devoted to historical teaching and writing at the University of Oxford where he was Regius Professor of Modern History. Stimulating as a teacher, productive as a scholar, generous as a friend, he has left hundreds of Americans his debtor for expert advice and kindly encouragement. His knowledge of New England colonial history was both wide and deep. “His fortitude and resolute will, no less than his knowledge, fitted him above all men to be the historian of Oliver Cromwell.”

    At the last Annual Meeting the Society adopted a new and simplified seal, designed by Dr. Harold Bowditch and Mr. Pierre La Rose.

    During the past year the Society has published and distributed Volume XXVIII of its Publications, containing the Transactions from December, 1930, through April, 1933. Volume XXXII, continuing the Transactions, is now in active preparation. The Society continues its support of the New England Quarterly.

    The Treasurer presented his Annual Report, as follows:

    Report of the Treasurer

    In accordance with the requirements of the By-laws, the Treasurer submits his Annual Report for the year ending November 14, 1936.

    Statement of Assets and Funds, November 14, 1936







    Loan to Principal



    Investments at Book Value:


    Bonds (Market Value $111,081.25)



    Stocks (Market Value $53,346.25)






    Savings Bank Deposit



    Total Assets









    General Income



    Martha Rebecca Hunt Fund Income



    Total Funds



    Investments as of November 14, 1936

    BONDS Book Value  

    $5,000 Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway Company General 4’s, 1995



    5,000 Bell Telephone Company of Canada First 5’s, Series B, 1957



    5,000 Canadian Pacific Railway Equipment Trust 5’s, 1944



    5,000 Central New England Railway Company First 4’s, 1961



    5,000 Central Pacific Railway Company First and Refunding 4’s, 1949



    5,000 Chester Water Service Company First 4½’s, 1958



    5,000 Chicago and Western Indiana Railway Company Consolidated 4’s, 1952



    5,000 Chicago Junction Railways and Union Stock Yards Company Mortgage and Collateral Trust Refunding 5’s, 1940



    $5,000 Cleveland, Cincinnati, Chicago and St. Louis Railway Company Refunding and Improvement 4½’s, Series E, 1977



    5,000 Grand Trunk Western Railway Company 1st 4’s, 1950



    5,000 Indianapolis Power and Light Company First 5’s, 1957



    5,000 Minneapolis, St. Paul and Sault Ste. Marie Railway Company First Refunding 6’s, Series A, 1946



    5,000 New England Telephone and Telegraph Company First 5’s, Series A, 1952



    5,000 New York, Philadelphia and Norfolk Railroad 4% Stock Trust Certificates, 1948



    5,000 Oregon-Washington Railroad and Navigation Company First and Refunding 4’s, Series A, 1961



    5,000 Southern California Edison Company Refunding 3¾’s, Series B, 1960



    5,000 Texas Electric Service Company First 5’s, 1960



    5,000 Toledo Edison Company First 5’s, 1962



    2,500 United States Cold Storage Company First 6’s, 1946



    4,000 United States Cold Storage Company First 6’s, 1945



    5,000 Virginian Railway Company First and Refunding 3½’s, 1966



    5,000 Western Union Telegraph Company 5’s, 1960



    5,000 Wickwire-Spencer Steel Company Prior Lien Collateral and Refunding 7’s, 1935, Certificate of Deposit



    Total Bonds




    50 shares American Telephone and Telegraph Company



    50 shares Consolidated Edison Company of New York, Common



    100 shares Electric Bond and Share Company $6.00 Preferred



    50 shares E. I. Du Pont de Nemours and Company



    50 shares First National Bank of Boston



    1 share First National Bank of the City of New York



    240 shares General Electric Company, Common



    50 shares Insurance Company of North America



    40 shares Radio Corporation of America, Common



    5 shares Travelers Insurance Company



    50 shares United States Cold Storage Company 7% Preferred A



    50 shares United States Cold Storage Company, Common

    Total Stocks



    First Mortgages on improved property in Greater Boston



    Deposit in Warren Institution for Savings



    Total Investments



    Composition of Funds, November 14, 1936

    Publication Fund, established in 1893 by gift of $100 from Quincy Adams Shaw: composed of sundry small gifts and portions of the Income which were added from year to year. Income only to be used for Publications


    General Fund, established in 1893: composed of Admission Fees and Commutations added to Principal, Gains on Sales of Securities, etc. Income only to be used for Current Expense


    Benjamin Apthorp Gould Memorial Fund, established in 1897 and 1898 by subscriptions in his memory. Income only to be used


    Edward Wheelwright Fund, established in 1900 under his will without restrictions as to use


    Robert Charles Billings Fund, established in 1903 under his will. Income only to be used for Publications


    Robert Noxon Toppan Fund, established in 1904 by a gift in his memory from his widow. Income only to be used


    Robert Charles Winthrop, Jr., Fund, established in 1905 under his will. Increased by $2,000 in 1924 under will of Elizabeth Winthrop. Income only to be used


    Andrew McFarland Davis Fund, established in 1908 by a gift from him to be added to the permanent publication funds. Income only to be used


    William Watson Fund, established in 1916 under his will without restriction as to use


    George Vasmer Leverett Fund, established in 1920 under his will. Income only to be used for Publications


    Martha Rebecca Hunt Fund, established in 1923 under the will of Henry H. Edes. Income only to to be used for special purposes


    Henry H. Edes Memorial Fund, established by sundry subscriptions from 1923 to 1925. To accumulate until it reaches the sum of $10,000. Income only be to used for Publications


    George Nixon Black Fund, established in 1929 under his will without restriction as to use


    Total Funds



    Changes in Principal of Funds

    Total Funds, November 14, 1935



    Add—Additions to General Fund:    




    Admission Fees



    Sale of 50/55 shares General Motors Corporation, received as a dividend from E. I. Du Pont de Nemours & Company



    Profit from Sales of Securities:


    $5,000 Cedars Rapids Manufacturing and Power Company First 5’s, 1953



    5,000 New York Water Service Company First 5’s, 1951



    5,000 Public Service Company of New Hampshire First and Refunding 4½’s, Series B, 1957



    5,000 Texas Corporation Convertible Debenture 5’s, 1944



    Add–Additions to Special Funds:    

    Henry H. Edes Memorial Fund



    Martha Rebecca Hunt Fund



    Total Funds, November 14, 1936



    Income Cash Receipts and Disbursements

    Balance, November 14, 1935










    Annual Assessments



    Sales of the Society’s Publications



    Sale of Metal from Plates of Volume 26



    Total Receipts of Income






    Editor’s Salary



    Services to Editor



    Secretarial Expense



    Stenographic Services



    For Publications:


    Volume 28



    Volume 32




    Purchase of Society’s Publications at Auction



    New England Quarterly



    Annual Dinner



    Notices and Other Expenses of Meetings



    Accounting Services



    Storage on Stock



    Accrued Interest on Securities Purchased



    Blue Winterbottom Cloth



    “The Events of the Year 1935”



    By-laws and Envelopes



    Fire Insurance



    Rent of Safe Deposit Box



    Contribution to Writings on American History



    Revising Design of Society’s Seal



    Proofs of West Church Records



    Shipping Charges



    Postage, Mailing, etc.



    Collection Charges



    Interest on Henry H. Edes Memorial Fund added to Principal



    Total Disbursements of Income



    Balance of Income Cash, November 14, 1936


    Principal Cash Receipts and Disbursements

    Loan to Principal, November 14, 1935




    $5,000 New York Water Service Company First 5’s, 1951



    $5,000 Public Service Company of New Hampshire First and Refunding 4½’s, Series B, 1957, called at 103



    50/55 shares of General Motors Corporation



    $3,000 Texas Corporation Convertible Debenture 5’s, 1944, called at 101



    $5,000 Cedars Rapids Manufacturing and Power Company First 5’s, 1953



    $2,000 Texas Corporation Convertible Debenture 5’s, 1944


    Transferred from Income to Principal:    

    Henry H. Edes Memorial Fund, Income



    Interest on Warren Institution for Savings Account






    Admission Fees



    Total Receipts of Principal






    $5,000 Grand Trunk Western Railway Company First 4’s, 1950



    5,000 Southern California Edison Company Refunding 3¾’s Series B, 1960



    5,000 Virginian Railway Company First and Refunding 1966



    5,000 New York, Philadelphia and Norfolk Railroad 4% Stock Trust Certificates, 1948



    Interest on Warren Institution for Savings Account, added to Principal



    Interest on Warren Institution for Savings Account, transferred to Restricted Income



    Total Disbursements of Principal



    Loan to Principal, November 14, 1936



    James M. Hunnewell


    Report of the Auditing Committee

    The undersigned, a Committee appointed to examine the accounts of the Treasurer for the year ended November 14, 1936, have attended to their duty by employing Messrs. Stewart, Watts and Bollong, Public Accountants and Auditors, who have made an audit of the accounts and examined the securities on deposit in Box 1052–E in the Union Safe Deposit Vaults.

    We herewith submit their report which has been examined and accepted by the Committee.

    Matt B. Jones

    Henry L. Shattuck

    Auditing Committee

    The several reports were accepted and referred to the Committee of Publication.

    On behalf of the committee appointed to nominate officers for the ensuing year the following list was presented; and a ballot having been taken, these gentlemen were unanimously elected:

    • President Samuel Eliot Morison
    • Vice-Presidents Hon. Arthur Prentice Rugg
    • Chester Noyes Greenough
    • Recording Secretary Augustus Peabody Loring, Jr.
    • Corresponding Secretary Dr. James Lincoln Huntington
    • Treasurer James Melville Hunnewell
    • Registrar Robert Dickson Weston
    • Executive Member of Council for Three Years Hon. Robert Walcott

    After the meeting was dissolved, dinner was served. The guests of the Society were Mr. Leonard Bacon, Professor Cecil Bowra, Professor Bruce C. Hopper, Professor Howard M. Jones, Mr. Lewis Perry, and the Reverend Arthur J. Reilly.

    After the dinner Mr. Leonard Bacon read the following verses:

    There see him sit, whose humor Cantabrigian,

    Hostile to virtue and to true religion,

    Has set in motion my satiric twaddle—

    Of all toastmasters-general very model!

    Here I am on my feet, I scarce know how.

    Let him sit quiet! It is my turn now,

    For he let loose this cataract of verses.

    Some count their blessings. Let him count his curses,

    While I with rare rhinocerotic grace

    Indulge a fancy wholly commonplace.

    For who am I, with reasons or with rhymes

    To castigate the folly of the times?

    To chide with tumid epigram gone sour

    The native lunacy that rules the hour?

    You think it insolent, nor do you err.

    But then I too am a New Englander.

    There be who say New England’s but a name

    For a bad attitude in a worse game,

    That justifies cheap pleasure satisfactory

    By giving double width to its phylactery,

    That lives upon destructive criticism,

    Snobism the fine flower of Calvinism,

    A state of mind Cromwellian-Lowellian

    At home in a dour spiritual Porcellian,

    Or, since I’m from New Haven, make it “Bones.”

    The point is to keep well ahead of Jones.

    Such things are said and perhaps even thought.

    We do not take the new time as we ought,

    Or as it wishes, at its own valuation,

    And so are subject to its condemnation

    If we can’t go ladies who advertise

    Intellectual faculties well undersize,

    And with five-color modesty reveal

    That “Camels” add strange glamour to a meal.

    I’ll bet, despite their signatures sublime,

    That they pick Melachrinos every time.

    And doubtless we are apt to feel superior

    About dictators mad with crowd-hysteria,

    Or about the crowd-hysterics ill-advised,

    Who want us fascified or communized.

    We are perhaps ourselves only a cut

    Above those brain-sick who go off their nut,

    Just a little better than the crank who raves

    Of hammer and sickle or the axe and staves.

    Since we can’t stop ’em, let epileptics foam.

    We’ll hope that swastikas will stay at home.

    We don’t like novelists with their wits destroyed,

    Joyces and Faulkners, every Fraud a Freud,

    Retching up from the Unconscious all perdition,

    And coining money out of inhibition,

    Or in the name of honest realism

    Deifying third-form exhibitionism.

    Nor can we love at first sight, “painters that paint

    The whole damned universe the way it ain’t.”

    (Milton once lost that crack, I have been told,

    ’Twixt Damietta and Mount Casius old.)

    They change a girl to a prismatic beast,

    Dadaiste, pointilliste, surréaliste,

    And doughnut nudes in vain stand all revealed,

    Unhouseled, disappointed, unannealed.

    And I fear we shrink from poets who go gleaning

    Ears of strange nothing in harvests of no meaning,

    Who walk in deserts where mirages shine

    And, if you ask for bread, you get a Stein.

    That was so poor and old that “my kind muse

    Took the wastrel in, unable to refuse.”

    But our politics I never shall deride,

    Not after what men call the Landonslide,

    Though we found one blessing in the hurly-burly.

    God said: “Where is he?” And, my God, where was Curley?

    What we may seem to be I shan’t defend,

    But now the chief point is to make an end.

    And to make an end I’ll borrow (I’m not nice)

    From nobler poets a well-worn device

    And turn rejoicing to better thoughts and scenes,

    Considering our New England what it means,

    For it does not mean stiff views on Man and God.

    It means wet fog from seaward on Cape Cod.

    It means the road under six feet of snow.

    It can mean Emerson—and Biglow.

    It can mean lightless mills and cornless cribs

    And it can mean Shaler and Willard Gibbs.

    It means high elms, “in August droughts that droop,”

    Lobster-pot buoys and a heeling sloop.

    It means wild roses and it means the white

    Of breakers through the Narragansett night,

    Indian Summer and February harsh,

    Calopogons in a Saugatucket marsh,

    Chocorua with the red dawn on his spike,

    Wild geese high honking and the square-tail’s strike,

    The squirrel scuttling up the oak’s grey boll,

    Crow, tanager, cedar-waxwing, oriole,

    Beech, sassafras, pepperidge, briars that wound and cling,

    And the arbutus that calls home the Spring.

    Mr. Howard M. Jones addressed the Society and its guests as follows:

    Desiderata in Colonial Literary History

    MEMBERS of this audience will doubtless recall that when Mark Twain first met General Grant, whom he greatly admired, he could think of nothing to say. Finally he blurted out: “General, I am embarrassed. Are you?” I am embarrassed, whether you are or not. Out in the mid-west, from whence I come, the Colonial Society of Massachusetts has an almost legendary aspect; and I am tempted to imitate Daniel Webster and address you as “Venerable men!” Nor is the legend without foundation. There are the solid and substantial volumes of your Publications, in which you have followed the example of Samuel Willard, of whom Cotton Mather said that “by his Printed Works [he] has erected himself a Monument, that will Endure when the Famed MAUSOLEUM’S of the World shall moulder down, and be buryed in their own Ruines.” I need scarcely comment upon the famous names among your members—for example, that of the historian of witchcraft in Old and New England; that of the biographer of Increase Mather, whose book has revolutionized the whole concept of colonial biography; and that of the historian of Harvard, of whom I shall boldly say that his volumes have instructed the learned world in the use of academic annals as a key to intellectual history. The president of Harvard is also a member; and to those living in outer darkness on the other side of the Connecticut line, the president of Harvard is an awful figure, somewhere above that brief, transitory shadow, the president of the United States, and not very far below that of Zeus, the father of gods and men. In view of the long line of really distinguished speakers you have had, I can on this occasion only ask you to obey the injunction which Paul laid on the Corinthians when he said: “We then that are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak and not please ourselves.” As for me, though I am far from feeling my calling and election sure, I can at least argue that my speaking to you was foreordained and, like a good Calvinist, rejoice in my own damnation.

    My subject has to do with desiderata in colonial literary history; and I begin by remarking that our first need—perhaps, indeed, our only one—is that there should be a comprehensive history of American colonial literature. Apparently we are not the men our fathers were. When Professor Moses Coit Tyler died at Ithaca in 1900, there passed away not only the last and greatest of the founding fathers of scholarship in American letters, but also, if one is to judge by some of the volumes purporting to be histories of colonial literature which have since appeared, the last person capable of undertaking so tremendous a task. So remarkable was Tyler’s work that it remains today in some respects unsurpassed, and in all respects unrivalled. This fact is the more astonishing when one comprehends the difficulties under which he completed his monumental studies. The first two volumes, A History of American Literature, 1607–1765, were written at the University of Michigan where Tyler was at the time a member of the English department, and were published by the firm of G. P. Putnam’s Sons in 1878. The University of Michigan, at that time only forty years old, was not the institution which it has since become. There was no William L. Clements Library of American historical material to which the scholar might turn, and the university’s general library, though adequate for the modest demands which the collegiate instruction of the day made upon it, contained little of first importance for his purposes. Moreover, the American Historical Association had not then been formed—Tyler was to join in founding it in 1884—and the publications of that organization were of course not available. The inter-library loan system had not yet been dreamed of; and the happy thought of duplicating the library cards of the great American collections and depositing these duplicates in the libraries of other institutions was still far in the future. Under difficulties which would have frightened a weaker man away from his task, Tyler went to work, resolved to deal only with source material and—a characteristic in which it is to be wished that more literary historians would imitate him—resolved also to read all the works which he discussed. The university purchased some materials, and the librarian borrowed more; the publisher hunted up books in the East for the author, who built a fire-proof study to receive these precious documents; Tyler bought as his slender resources permitted him, and devoted his vacations to collections like those of the American Antiquarian Society and the various libraries in Boston and Cambridge. He had, moreover, been profoundly impressed by Buckle’s theory of history, and by the literary criticism of Sainte-Beuve; and had determined to make a careful study of the personality and environment of his various authors, a principle which further increased his trouble by requiring him to inform himself adequately of the biographies and characters of men concerning whom material was usually scattered, and sometimes scanty. It is to the credit of American criticism in the eighties that Tyler’s work, when produced, was at once hailed as an intellectual achievement of a high order. Indeed, some reviewers were so astonished at the prodigious industry represented by these two impressive volumes that they doubted whether there was enough American literature in the period which Tyler had investigated to furnish the basis of a work so thorough and so profound!

    The writing of The Literary History of the American Revolution, 1763–1783, was done at Cornell, where Tyler had been called by Andrew D. White to a chair in American history. In some ways his task was made easier, though the Cornell library was not what we should now call adequate. But other duties intervened, the mass of material proved greater than he had anticipated, and the second two volumes, though thorough and good, neither completed the task which he had originally set himself nor possessed quite the authority of the first two. Taken together, however, Tyler’s four volumes still remain standard.

    Why, then, it may be asked, is there need for a new history of American colonial literature?

    Although Tyler was possessed of critical as well as historical skill, so that, in his first two volumes especially, he sorted out better work from mediocre and laid down the lines along which colonial literature has, in a sense, been studied ever since, other discoveries have been made in the half century since his various volumes appeared. Especially is there a gap between the second volume of The Literary History of the American Revolution and, shall we say, the appearance of Bryant’s “Thanatopsis” in 1817, from which many historians are inclined to date the beginnings of a truly national American letters. Hence, if for no other reason, it would still be desirable to fill out the picture to that year, or to some other significant date, in order that the full sweep of our literary development before the nineteenth century could be understood. Naturally also, there are some errors in Tyler—though it is miraculous, considering the difficulties under which he wrote, how few these are—and some judgments which time has modified or perhaps reversed. More important, however, is an understanding of the presuppositions on which Tyler wrote.

    For while it was Tyler’s purpose to illustrate the interests of the American people as expressed in or determined by their literary production, he belonged to a generation of historians who were primarily concerned with political history in the usual sense; and furthermore, to a school of history which tended to interpret the colonial and revolutionary periods as being marked by a steady and inevitable growth of political and religious liberalism. A greater man than the writers of some text-book histories, he was quite fair to the other side—indeed, in Tyler’s history the literary productions of the American Tories received for the first time full and sympathetic treatment—but he was nevertheless committed to an evolutionary hypothesis, to a doctrine of genetic growth along lines of force, the outcome of which had been determined by a general historical tendency towards liberalism and democracy. He therefore marshalled his thinkers and writers in an order which these presuppositions determined, and showed less curiosity about other phases of human endeavor. He worked fully and ably in the light of the information which he had, and fortunately for us, this information was broad and fine. None the less, it was determined by the historical assumptions of his age. The world of the seventeenth century was in the main closed to him except in its religious and political aspects; and though in the eighteenth century he did not neglect the poets or the casual essayists, the main line of his argument is with the political writers.

    It is probable that every age must reshape the past in its own image; but certainly there is need for a re-examination and revaluation not only of the writers with whom Tyler so ably dealt, but also of the vast bodies of printed matter which he scarcely touched upon, or touched upon not at all. It is true that one or two attempts at such a survey have been made. We may pass over in charitable silence the unfortunate two volumes of Mr. Angoff’s so-called literary history of the American people, but the work of the late Professor Vernon L. Parrington must detain us a little longer. His three-volume study, Main Currents in American Thought, was unfortunately left unfinished at his death; but the first volume of this study, The Colonial Mind, is complete in itself. Mr. Parrington’s approach was certainly fresh, and he delivered himself of many stimulating judgments. No part of this book seems to me so good as the really extraordinary study of the ante-bellum South in the second volume of his work—a study which brings to light important thinkers that the victorious North has cruelly forgotten. Yet there are in The Colonial Mind many excellent passages. There are, unfortunately, also many passages which are not excellent—passages which are vitiated either by Mr. Parrington’s inability to get at the original materials (he was professor in the University of Washington in Seattle) or by his refusal, when he did get at them, to follow the wise dictum of Emerson that every scripture should be read in the light of the spirit which brought it forth. If Tyler was committed to a theory of world-process in history, Parrington was enthusiastically enlisted upon the side of Jeffersonian liberalism. And, like Macaulay, he found that the problem of history was really very simple: there is a bad cause, and there is a good cause, and the business of the historian is to spotlight the hero and underline the villainies of the other side. Temperamentally opposed to Calvinism, it was impossible for him to live sympathetically the life of a seventeenth-century Calvinist. He makes a hero of John Wise, and casts the Mathers in the rôle of spirits who deny; and the same simple dichotomy appears throughout his volumes, varied, it is true, by his honest endeavors to see virtue in the conservatives. If Tyler’s presuppositions were essentially those of political democracy, Parrington’s were those of economic liberalism; and, I think without really meaning to, he pushed the doctrine of economic determinism so far that it damaged his intellectual judgments. Since Parrington, we have had no attempt at a complete survey.

    In the meantime, modern scholarship—literary, political, religious, economic—has wrought so thorough a transformation in our understanding of both the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries as to make obsolescent, though it can never make obsolete, many of Tyler’s chapters. As I am more familiar with what has been done in the eighteenth century than with what has been done in the seventeenth, I can perhaps best illustrate what I mean from the later period. When Tyler published his first volumes, scholarly interpretation of the eighteenth century in England was just beginning. Men like Sir Leslie Stephen, Austin Dobson, Edmund Gosse, and others were bringing out volumes in the main biographical and critical—that is to say, their task was to establish correct lives for the great eighteenth-century authors, together with adequate texts, and to evaluate these texts in the light of their critical assumptions. It is a commonplace that the romantic and post-romantic generations in England and the United States had experienced an over-violent reaction away from the age of Pope and Johnson and from the literary canons of Augustanism. One of the tasks of the rising generation of critics and scholars in the seventies and eighties was to secure a sympathetic reading for the eighteenth-century men; and it was their valuable achievement to reinform their readers of the literary virtues of the age of reason. Some, indeed, were able to do more; Sir Leslie Stephen, for example, produced his great study of English deism. But the great bulk of the material concerning eighteenth-century literature which Tyler might read was of this critic-biographical order. It was, in the Latin sense of the word, apologetic; and the tasks of clearing the ground and re-establishing the importance of eighteenth-century thought and literature necessarily prevented scholars from making detailed studies of the content of that thought. Moreover, no one can get outside his time. The judgments made upon Pope or Swift or Sterne or Goldsmith were judgments colored by Victorian points of view; and, unhappily, the prestige of a book like Thackeray’s English Humourists of the Eighteenth Century—that curious compound of literary charm and Victorian snobbery—colored the whole view of the eighteenth-century world.

    It is the pleasing illusion of modern scholarship that it understands the eighteenth century—and, for that matter, the seventeenth also—much better than did the Victorians. We have passed out from under the penumbra of Victorian morality, whether for better or worse, just as we have passed out from under the weight of Victorian literary criticism. Great masses of new biographical data have permitted a recasting of the lives of many eighteenth-century thinkers. We now see virtues in the prose and verse of the Augustan age which the Victorians, including Tyler, did not see.

    The interest of this newer scholarship has not been confined to polite letters, but has broadened itself to include the general field of intellectual history. Such a book as the late Professor Kay’s edition of Mandeville’s Fable of the Bees not only gives us an authoritative text of an important work, but traces the history of the ideas which Mandeville presents. And such a study as Professor R. S. Crane’s recent article on the genealogy of the figure who is the hero of Mackenzie’s once notable, though now forgotten, novel, The Man of Feeling, enables us to trace the filiation of ideas which culminate in this sentimental masterpiece. The work of Professor A. O. Lovejoy of Johns Hopkins has been especially influential in the recasting of eighteenth-century scholarship, and literary scholars in this aspect of British life have universally gone to school to the Baltimore philosopher. As it would be tedious to discuss all the important concepts which have been shaped as keys to that famous century, I shall content myself with merely enumerating a few of them. The rich complex of ideas associated with primitivism; the idea of a chain of being; the acceptance of the Newtonian view of the universe, and the working out of the implications and analogies of that concept in the literary, the theological, and even the political spheres; the concept of the imagination and its relation to eighteenth-century notions of reason; the rich and elusive doctrines of deism; anti-intellectualism and its paradoxical twin, intellectual equalitarianism—such are some of the central ideas which the literary historian of the eighteenth century now has at his command for a fuller understanding of the thought and literature of the time.

    Meanwhile a similar revolution has been wrought in the seventeenth-century field, with which I shall not trouble you further than to say that one of its results has been to minimize the break which earlier literary historians had assumed to be true of the period of the Restoration as against the earlier portion of the seventeenth century. The implications of the theory that seventeenth-century thought is more of a continuum than previous historians had supposed are obviously of considerable consequence for an understanding of colonial literature, particularly that of New England, in the period in question.

    Now it can be said, I think, that the transit of civilization from the Old World to the New in the case of the American colonies is one of the most remarkable instances of intellectual transplantation that the world has ever known. One must go back to the colonizing of the ancient Greeks to find its parallel. I do not recall any other colonizing venture in the history of mankind since the Greeks—certainly none in the western world—in which the adventurers, once they were physically established, so quickly and so conscientiously set themselves the task of creating in the wilderness a mature intellectual life. Necessarily this was done under colonial conditions; necessarily few great geniuses appeared, and almost no books of the first order of merit were written. But anyone who sits down to read in orderly fashion the products of the colonial pen must be impressed, I think, with the extraordinary intellectual energy which these sermons, these pamphlets, these controversial volumes display. And if historians of American letters have not in every case been prepared to admit the existence of this relatively high intellectual level among the colonial minds, it has been because of two errors: either they have been looking for something they could not in the nature of the case expect to find, or they have been carrying back into the colonial centuries the standards and predilections of their own day. To search among colonial writers for poetry or prose in the shape of belles-lettres is to search for something which the colonial centuries do not yield. Yet, even with the great example of Tyler before them to teach them better, literary historians, confusing the absence of imaginative works of high order with the supposed absence of intellectual energy, have supposed that the colonial period had little to offer them. As for the fallacy of expecting seventeenth-and eighteenth-century authors to write as if they were living under the consulship of Roosevelt, it is too gross to require comment, except that it is a fallacy which is ever and again being committed by literary commentators.

    The problem of the literary historian of the colonial period is then, as I see it, to evaluate this transit of intellectual interests from the Old World to the New in the light of modern scholarship, and to observe and report the slow change which took place in some of these dominant ideas, their reinforcement or death, as the intellectual life of the New World conformed itself to American demands. Before the task can be completed, we shall doubtless need many more special studies of the type represented by Professor Perry Miller’s valuable book on orthodoxy in Massachusetts or by Professor Hornberger’s researches into the colonial interest in scientific thought. Yet it is not too soon to begin thinking about the general pattern into which these special studies can be fitted. We need synthesis as well as analysis, especially if the analysis is to be properly directed and not to remain, as too many of our literary studies remain, random excursions into the wilderness.

    Many of the materials are at hand, and require only analysis and interpretation. In the preservation and publication of these materials it is a commonplace that New England, and particularly Massachusetts, is well in advance of the rest of the old colonial area. This has arisen partly from the fact that the intellectual life of New England was, in all probability, richer than that of the rest of the colonial world; partly from the fact that New England early displayed an antiquarian interest; and partly from the continuing enthusiasm of societies such as yours. At the same time, it is, I think, fair to say that the excellent zeal of New England historians has inevitably thrown the picture out of balance; and the historian of colonial thought and literature, when he arrives, will have to guard himself against placing New England too much in the center of the picture.

    To avoid this error, much work remains still to be done in discovering and organizing the evidence concerning the intellectual life of the middle and southern colonies. Particularly is the intellectual and literary history of colonial Virginia deserving of more attention than it has received. The Virginians have displayed commendable zeal in recording and discussing their history in the seventeenth century. But, fresh from going through the Virginia historical magazines, I am compelled to report that this zeal does not carry through with the same thoroughness into the eighteenth century. Lest I seem ungracious, let me hasten to add that what I have in mind is the lack of any such studies of eighteenth-century Virginia life as the late Professor Bruce provided for the seventeenth century. Moreover, with reference to both the seventeenth and the eighteenth centuries in Virginia, it is curious how little we really know about the intellectual interests of a colony which was, with Massachusetts, the leader of the American Revolution, not only in men, but in ideas. For lack of proper background studies, men like Patrick Henry, Thomas Jefferson, Washington, Mason, Madison, George Wythe, and the rest of that great and influential group have a curious air of arising out of the void. It is almost impossible to understand, in the present state of our knowledge, why they should have taken the philosophical positions that they did; and not until we have explored more thoroughly than we have yet done the climate of opinion in eighteenth-century Virginia may we hope to have a better understanding of this powerful group of writers and political leaders. Much of the material is available and has only to be interpreted: we have, for example, a rather rich list of the books in Virginia libraries, resulting from the printing of hundreds of Virginia wills; we have a good deal of data about the curriculum of William and Mary College, which remains to be interpreted as Professor Morison has interpreted the data he has accumulated about the early years of Harvard; and we have a good deal of correspondence. We have also Mr. Swem’s extraordinary two-volume work, the Virginia Historical Index, the most exhaustive work of its kind yet prepared, I suppose, and an invaluable tool of analysis to the historian.

    Not all the thirteen colonies are so fortunate as Massachusetts in being able to confine genealogy to a separate magazine. And one of the quirks of human nature over which the literary historian is inclined to sigh is the rage for genealogy which results in a good many pages of the various state historical magazines being devoted to information which, however interesting to the families involved, is of but little value for other purposes. Some odd things also show up in the Swem Index, indicative perhaps of the relative importance of such matters in colonial Virginia, or else, as I am inclined to think, indicative of the interests of those who have concerned themselves with the colonial history of that state. Seven columns of the index are devoted to books, but there are almost as many columns devoted to cattle. Eleven columns are devoted to horses—many of the entries referring to various horses by name—and a total of fourteen columns is devoted to arms, ammunition, and arsenals! Cattle, horses, and guns are obviously of importance to the life of a colony, but the literary scholar may be pardoned for wishing that historians of a state which was distinguished in the eighteenth century for philosophic leadership would pay a little more attention to intellectual history and a little less to blooded horses!

    The historian of colonial American literature will, then, be required to possess a sound knowledge of the results of recent scholarship in the English and Continental fields, no less than in the American. He will have to do a good deal of individual exploring. And he will also, in my judgment, have to display some degree of courage in the way of synthesis and of independent critical judgment. He must be prepared to deal sympathetically at great length with a body of material which does not have the appeal of belles-lettres—that is to say, he will have to be more of an intellectual, and less of a literary, historian than the latter term commonly allows for. That he will discover any new or neglected genius, or that he will turn up any work of first importance is doubtful. Yet among writing of the second order—that is to say, writing that is clear and talented—some surprising finds still await the patient investigator. Many colonial sermons are possessed of considerable eloquence, and most of them are written with a lucidity and intellectual rigor far beyond the attainments of sermon-writers of later times. The political literature of the American Revolution still awaits a historian who will have the courage to pronounce upon its very great merits in that department of letters.

    There are other books and pamphlets which display a rather remarkable degree of literary merit—that is to say, stylistic and rhetorical excellence. While reading in the Huntington Library some years ago, I stumbled upon a pamphlet which may be well known to others, but which was new to me, and which has certainly not received the praise which its racy style and ingenious speculation deserve. Under the unpromising title of An Essay on the Invention, or Art of making very good, if not the best Iron, from black Sea Sand, Jared Eliot published at New York in 1762 an account of his experiments, together with various bits of philosophy about science and religion, which seems to me to possess considerable literary merit. I shall quote from it as an example of the unorganized realms of interest which still await the literary explorer. Eliot explains that he is very much interested in the social implications of new invention, but that “by Reason of my Situation in the Country, Want of proper Instruments to lend Assistance in searching into the Secrets of Nature, and State of Bodies, have been able to make but a slow Progress in that which I have so much at Heart”; and goes on (p. 4) to discuss with delightful frankness his experiments in trying to make iron out of the black sand on seabeaches, which appears and disappears at various seasons of the year.

    I once thought these Sands were brought up by the Waves of the Sea, and then by the Agitation of the Sea in Storms, and by the great Hurry of Waters, were carried back again to the Sea; but am now fully convinced that this Conjecture was unphilosophical, and not founded on true Principles … I am now certain, that the black Particles of these Sands are Iron, well washed from all Impurity, and that they are derived from the upland Earth adjacent, as also from other distant Lands.…

    This somewhat novel theory he defends most ingeniously, arguing (pp. 5–6):

    That what has been called the Generation of Metals in Mines, and those great Beds of Ore called Mountain or Rock Iron, as also Bog Mine Ore, both are no other than a Collection of these Iron Particles, conveyed by Water to such Places as are fit, in their Formation, as in a Bed to receive them; where we find them in such great Masses, and in such a State of Cohesion, that we are obliged to break it up with Crow Bars, Sledges, Wedges, and Gun Powder. There is good Reason to conclude, that this great Collection of Sand Ore would long before now have been formed into Masses as we find it in Bog Mines, and in Mines of Rock Iron, were it not that these Iron Particles are so frequently put in Motion by the Agitation of the Sea, in its Flux and Reflux, that there is not Time to form a Cohesion; this Motion of the Iron Particles is what keeps them so pure and free from all fabulous and other heterogeneous Mixtures.…

    He had, of course, to explain why particles of iron thus floated in the water, but regarding this phenomenon he argues that since “Iron may be plated so thin as to swim in Water, and … these Particles of Iron are much less than Plates made by Hand,” the theory is not improbable. He continues (pp. 7–8):

    As these Particles of Iron were on the Surface of the Sand, so they must have floated on the Top of the Water by which they were conveyed; if these Particles of Iron were much larger, the Velocity and rapid Motion of the Water might thrust them forward, as we see Gravel and even Stones tumbled forward by the Force of Water.

    There is not time to quote Eliot’s curious probings into the circularity of matter, but he is, in my experience, the first person to prove the Resurrection from a theory of metals! Here is the passage (p. 12 note):

    It is well known that Mercury or Quicksilver is a mere Proteus, can by Art be so ordered, as to appear in a great Variety of Forms, of divers Colours, Consistence, and Operation; as that of Salves, Ointments, Pills and Powders; yet can be reduced back to its primitive State—Yea, of itself it inclines to its original State or Condition, for in the Grave Dust of those who in Life had been salivated, it has been found returned back to Quicksilver with all its true Qualities, tho’ it has been exhibited in a very different Form.—So Iron after it has passed through several Stages, and subsisted under various Forms, and having assumed different Types, Colours and Figures, may return each Particle to its original and primitive State: As we may conclude both from Analogy and Experience that this is the Case—From these Facts we may infer, that the Doctrine of the Resurrection is neither inconsistent with, or contrary to the true Principles of Philosophy, as founded on Observation and Experience.

    The question where Eliot derived these philosophical ideas would plunge us back into the intellectual history of Europe and illustrates the need for a mastery of that background in judging American thought. But leaving to the learned the problem of the genesis of his ideas, I make the point that this is very lucid writing, the style easy and familiar, the sense quickly attained. It is as good as the remarkably lucid prose in which Franklin framed his reports on his experiments; and, however fantastic Eliot’s theories may be, there is never the slightest doubt as to what he means. My judgment is that there is much more of this easy, lucid prose in colonial America than our literary historians have supposed; and that to call attention to the merits of such writing would be part of the task of the literary historian.

    But above all we need a history of colonial letters to comprehend the roots of the American tradition. A colored barber in Austin, Texas, was proud of having shaved every governor of the state and every president of the university living in Austin while his barber shop had been operating. One day he told Robert Vinson, then head of the university: “Mistah Vinson, ef I wuz daid, you’d be sorry and send flowers, wouldn’t you, suh?” Mr. Vinson said that was true. “Well,” said Jim, “I’d much rather have the money while I’se alive.” Mr. Vinson saw the point. So did Jim’s other friends, and a sum was raised large enough, not only to send Jim’s boy to a negro college, but to send Jim on a trip. He chose Plymouth as his destination; and some days after his departure, Mr. Vinson was delighted to receive a gaudy postcard of Plymouth Rock, with the message: “Dear Mr. Vinson: this is where our ancestors landed!” Plymouth Rock and Jamestown, Massachusetts Bay and New Amsterdam—these are symbolically where our ancestors landed. And if we are to trace the history of the ideas which have formed the United States, if we are to understand the ideas on which the republic operates, we must, I think, give more careful attention to the intellectual history of the colonial period and to the literature in which that history is embodied than some of our literary critics and some of our literary scholars are at present willing to admit.