THE Annual Meeting was held at the Algonquin Club, No. 217 Commonwealth Avenue, Boston, on Tuesday, 21 November, 1893, at half-past five o’clock in the afternoon, the President, Dr. Benjamin Apthorp Gould, in the chair.

    On calling the meeting to order, Dr. Gould spoke as follows: —

    In welcoming you to this, our first Annual Meeting, let me offer congratulations upon the exceptionally encouraging auspices under which the Society has begun its career, and upon the well-founded hopes which its progress during the brief period of its existence justifies us in expecting from its future. Its aims are patriotic, scholastic, and social; and the limitations imposed by the conditions for its membership promise to increase, without restricting, its opportunities for usefulness.

    Out of one hundred Resident Members, to which its number is limited, there have been elected sixty-five during the year 1893, in addition to the fourteen original corporators, — making seventy-nine in all. It has appeared desirable that much deliberation should be used before reaching the prescribed limit; but the list of nominations is kept by the Secretary, as provided in the Second Chapter of the By-laws, and is always open for additions by any member, and for confidential inspection. But even during our short corporate existence, four of the eighty-one have been removed from among us. Two, who had expressed their cordial interest in the new Society, and their approval of its purposes, were unable to perfect their membership, so brief was their last illness. Bishop Phillips Brooks, elected at our first Stated Meeting, died only five days later; and Mr. William Sigourney Otis, elected at the April Meeting, died on the very next day. In addition to these great losses, the Society has suffered two other irreparable ones by the lamented deaths of our public-spirited citizen, Mr. Frederick Lothrop Ames, and our great American historian, Dr. Francis Parkman, whose name suffices to shed luster upon any roll where he inscribed it. We shall cherish their honored memories, and keep them green.

    The Council has designated the Hon. Leverett Saltonstall to prepare a memoir of Mr. Ames, and Mr. Edward Wheelwright to perform the same loving service for Mr. Parkman.

    A Report of the activity of the Society during the year will be presented by the Council, and may indeed be gathered from the first instalment of its Publications, already in your hands.

    Let me renew my felicitations upon the abundant promise of usefulness for the Society in its several spheres of activity, and invoke your individual aid in promoting the ends for which we are associated.

    After the record of the last meeting had been read and approved, the Corresponding Secretary read a letter from the Honorable Leverett Saltonstall regretting that ill health would prevent his serving longer as an officer of the Society.

    The Report of the Council was presented and read by Mr. Andrew McFarland Davis.


    It is the duty of the Council to submit a Report to the Annual Meeting, showing the condition of the Society. Under ordinary circumstances it is apparent that this Report should contain a statement of the events which have affected the interests of the Society during the year. It happens, however, this year, that the first number of our Transactions has come into the hands of the members so recently that it would seem to be a work of supererogation to recapitulate what is there so fully set forth. In preference to making a formal digest of the current history of the Society from that pamphlet, the Council content themselves with the assertion that its pages contain an accurate history of the work of the Society during the first year of its existence.

    The Report of the Treasurer is submitted herewith. It will be understood that the balance which the Treasurer reports as being on hand to-day will be considerably reduced when the bills for printing the first number of our Transactions shall be presented. Voluntary contributions were received from a number of gentlemen who were specially interested in securing the publication of these papers, and who wished to see in print the Royal Commissions presented to the Society by our associate, Mr. Abner C. Goodell, Jr. These contributions, however, were inadequate to meet the entire expenses of the publications, and it must be expected that a less favorable report will be presented at the next Annual Meeting.

    It will be observed that the Society has received from Mr. Quincy A. Shaw a gift of one hundred dollars as an expression of his sympathy with its objects and work. By vote of the Council this gift was at once made the nucleus of a Permanent Fund, the income only of which will be used toward defraying the cost of our publications. By a subsequent vote of the Council, the sum of one hundred dollars was transferred to this Fund from the balance of cash in the treasury at the close of the fiscal year. It is suggested that a similar course be pursued at the close of each year, and that all unrestricted small gifts or legacies to the Society be added to this Fund. In this way such persons as may wish to aid our work, but are unable to give large sums for that purpose, will be encouraged to contribute to our permanent endowment.

    The Council at an early period reached the conclusion that it was desirable to inaugurate the policy of publishing in serial form the proceedings of the several meetings of the Society, and, with more or less fulness, as occasion may suggest, the papers read at these meetings. It was thought best that the general title of all our publications, irrespective of their contents, should be, the “Publications of The Colonial Society of Massachusetts;” but that the contents of the several volumes ought to be classified under the sub-titles, “Transactions” and “Collections.” It was determined that the publications should be uniform, and the size adopted is that known as the royal octavo. It is intended that the standard for size of the volumes of Transactions shall be about 500 pages. As far as practicable, the same rule will be applied to the Collections. The volumes bearing the sub-title “Transactions” will contain: all proccedings, communications, and papers read at meetings, except such special matter as may, for some exceptional reason, be deemed more suitable for classification under the other sub-title. Those entitled “Collections” will contain: selections from the archives of the Society, reprints, or other matter not properly to be included in the Transactions. So far as determined upon at present, Volume I. of the Publications will be devoted to Transactions. Volume II. will be a volume of Collections, and will contain the Royal Commissions to the Provincial Governors and their Instructions, copies of which are now in the archives of the Society in manuscript form. The pamphlet already issued constitutes a part of Volume I. The plates from which the illustrations were printed belong to our associate, Mr. Goodell, who has generously permitted us to use them.

    Those who examine the paper read at our February meeting will discover through the foot-notes that since that paper was submitted, several new historical societies have been organized or incorporated. There is probably enough of interest in the subject to justify the publication from time to time of additional information relative to historical societies in Massachusetts. The list of existing societies given in the number of our Transactions already issued will furnish a basis for any person interested in the subject, upon which he can build. Errors may be discovered, and new information is sure to come; these ought in some way to be revealed to the student through our Indexes, and this result can in turn be secured by watchfulness on the part of our members. Reports to our meetings of the organization of new societies will secure a record and mention in the Index.

    The Council would call the attention of the members of the Society to a curious illustration offered by our own proceedings, of the manner in which the concentration of attention of different individuals upon an historical topic tends to develop knowledge in that direction. Mr. Davis, in his paper, referred to the curious fact that the date and the circumstances of the landing, in the eighteenth century, of the Palatines on Block Island, were shrouded in doubt. Much attention has been attracted to the shipwreck or disaster which brought to that spot a number of Palatine emigrants, yet neither the time of the event nor the attendant circumstances were known. This mystery seized upon the imagination of the Islanders, and the stories of the Palatine Ship and the Palatine Light have become a part of the folk-lore of Block Island. The reference made in that paper to the fact that the writer had seen in the Colman correspondence, in a letter without date, an allusion to some shipwrecked Palatines, called forth a communication from our associate, Mr. Henry H. Edes, at the next ensuing meeting; and a reference to the notes on one of the pages where that communication appears will show that this chance allusion has probably removed all historical doubts concerning the unfortunate Palatines.

    It affords the Council great satisfaction to report that a place has been secured at which the Stated Meetings of the Society will be held during the ensuing year. Application was made by the Council to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences for the use of their Hall, and this privilege was accorded to the Society by a unanimous vote of the Academy.

    There are at present seventy-seven Resident Members of this Society. It had been the hope of the Council that they might report to the Society that we had accomplished the first year of our existence with the full number of those who had accepted membership in the Society still upon our Roll, but such has not been our fortune. The first printed Roll of Members does not contain the name of him who was pre-eminently the man of affairs among the many busy men who have linked their names with the fate of this Society. Few of us realized, until we read the obituary notices which accompanied the announcement of the death of Frederick Lothrop Ames, how vast was the field of business which demanded his attention, and how numerous the organizations in the management of whose affairs he might claim a supervising voice. That he should have found time in the midst of so many pressing engagements to give to Harvard College the benefit of his counsel as a member of the Corporation, is a wonder which increases as we measure the extent of his responsibilities, and is a tribute to his continued loyalty to the college from which he received his degree. It was only through his death that the secret was disclosed that he was the unknown benefactor who had proposed, regardless of cost, to erect a new Library and Reading-Room at Cambridge. It was thoroughly in keeping with the man that the knowledge of this great proposed benefaction, work upon the details of which occupied much of his time during the last few weeks of his life, should have been absolutely concealed so long as his presence was here to guard the secret. We cannot flatter ourselves that his membership of this Society could have called forth any original contributions to our meetings. His time was too much absorbed to have permitted its occupation for this purpose; but we know that we had his cordial sympathy, and while we realize that this is not the place to pronounce his eulogy, we cannot refrain from saying that we deeply deplore his loss.

    After a portion of the first number of our Transactions had actually gone to press, death again invaded our ranks. The Society lost from its list of Resident Members the name of Francis Parkman, the foremost historian of America. The marvellous power of condensation which enabled Parkman to give the results of a lifetime of application in the few volumes which comprise the list of his publications, and the felicity of expression which gave to these volumes a charm which ranked them in popular esteem alongside the productions of the most brilliant writers of fiction, were gifts with which the man was originally endowed. We may study these, but we cannot hope to imitate them. His insight led him, as a young man, to select as a topic for his life-work a field of history in which but little labor had at that time been performed. To fit himself for this work, he made a minute survey of the region about which he proposed to write, familiarized himself with frontier life, studied the habits of the natives, and carefully examined the topographical features of spots where events had occurred the story of which he intended to tell. The value of his narrative was largely enhanced by the manner in which he approached his subject. If we cannot hope to imitate his marvellous diction, nor to rival his sagacity in selecting essential facts from an unassorted mass, yet we may recognize his works as models, and may draw a lesson from the persistency of purpose with which, undeterred by physical disabilities, he steadily pursued the task which he had set for himself.

    The Council are of opinion that something ought to be said relative to the meetings which we propose to hold during the coming year. We are as yet engaged in laying the foundation-stones upon which the superstructure of the Society’s reputation is to be reared. Whatever of fame we are to acquire must be gained from the character and tone of our proceedings. It is of the utmost consequence that our meetings should be well attended; and in order that they may be, it is important that there should be at least one original communication ready for submission at each meeting. It is desirable that the Council should know in advance what they may expect in this direction; and it will be of great assistance if members who have papers already prepared, or in process of preparation, which they intend to read before the Society, will communicate their intentions to the Council.

    An analysis of our Roll of Membership will disclose the fact that a large proportion of our members are men whose time is absorbed by the demands of professional activity; they possess the tastes essential for the purpose, they are perhaps familiar with topics which they would like to elaborate, but they have not the time in which to do it. We find others whose daily occupations must inevitably bring them in contact with many questions the development of which would be of interest both to them and to us; but unfortunately, they too are busy men, and may not be able to spare the time necessary for the preparation of papers adapted to the wants of our meetings. With regard to members thus situated, while we cannot insist that they shall make any great sacrifice in the service of this Society, yet we trust that circumstances will permit them to identify themselves as active members with the name and fame which we hope to establish for it. They will readily appreciate the fact that specialists can treat history topically with results not to be obtained by the general writer. We have, unfortunately, but too few upon our Roll who have at their command both time and inclination for the preparation of papers. We therefore urge upon all to lend a hand in maintaining the interest of our meetings.

    It will be observed that we have still a number of vacancies to fill before the limit of our membership is reached. The delay upon the part of the Council in presenting the names of candidates for these vacancies has been deliberate. It has been felt that our numbers ought in the main to be increased by the election of men actively interested in historical studies, and preferably by those who may be expected to attend our meetings. Our Society covers the entire Commonwealth, while our meetings are held only in Boston. The necessity for representation at meetings has up to the present time influenced us in the selection of members largely from the immediate vicinity of Boston. It is obviously desirable that we should have local representatives from all parts of the Commonwealth. Bearing in mind the necessities of the situation as above pointed out, it is evident that if the Council should adhere to the policy suggested, some little time must elapse before these vacancies will all be filled.

    On recommendation of the Council, it was unanimously

    Voted, That the cordial thanks of this Society be returned to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences for its friendly courtesy in affording the use of its Hall for our regular meetings during the coming season, and for the gratifying unanimity with which the favor was accorded.

    The Reports of the Treasurer and the Auditing Committee were then submitted.


    In compliance with the requirements of the By-Laws, the Treasurer submits his first Annual Report, made up to 21 November, 1893: —



    Initiation Fees



    Commutations of Annual Assessment from three Members






    Gift of Quincy Adams Shaw



    Contributions from sixteen Members towards the cost of our Publications




    expenditures and investment.

    In procuring Incorporation



    John Andrew & Son Co., Drawing the Seal and Engraving it on Wood



    Henry Mitchell, Engraving the Seal on Steel, etc.



    Clerical Service



    University Press, Printing



    Heliotype Printing Company



    Record Books and Stationery



    Miscellaneous incidentals




    Mortgage on Improved Real Estate in Cambridge, assessed for $5,100, due in five years, from 10 May, 1893, at 6 per cent, both principal and interest payable in gold coin



    [The three Commutations, Mr. Shaw’s gift, and $100 transferred to the Publication Fund from the free cash in the Treasury are invested in this mortgage.]


    Balance on deposit in Third National Bank of Boston























    Publication Fund




    Henry H. Edes,


    Boston, 21 November, 1893.


    The undersigned, a Committee appointed to examine the accounts of the Treasurer of The Colonial Society of Massachusetts, for the year ending 21 November, 1893, have attended to that duty, and report that they find them correctly kept and properly vouched, and that proper evidence of the investment and of the balance of cash on hand has been shown to us.

    William Endicott, Jr.,

    Joshua M. Sears,


    Boston, 21 November, 1893.

    The Nominating Committee presented, through Mr. Francis C. Lowell, the following list of names for officers for the ensuing year; and a ballot being taken, these gentlemen were unanimously elected: —





    recording secretary.


    corresponding secretary.






    member of the council for three years.


    Mr. Lowell, on behalf of the Nominating Committee, offered the following votes, which were unanimously adopted: —

    Voted, That we regret the condition of the health of the Honorable Leverett Saltonstall, which has deprived us so often of the pleasure of his presence during the past year, and which now constrains him to signify his wish not to be renominated for the office of Vice-President; and that we cherish the hope that his restoration to perfect health and to the performance of the social duties in which he has been conspicuously happy, may be not long delayed.

    Voted, That the thanks of the Society be given to John Chester Inches, Esq., for his valuable services during the past year as a member of the Council. While recording our appreciation of these services, and of the substantial aid he has rendered to the Society in carrying on its work, we would further express our earnest hope that he may be speedily restored to health, and so enable us to enjoy the benefit of a renewal of his active interest in our proceedings.

    After the dissolution of the meeting dinner was served to the members. Dr. Gould presided, Bishop Lawrence invoked the Divine blessing, and speeches were made by Mr. William W. Goodwin, Governor Russell, Mr. Justice Lathrop, Mr. James B. Thayer, and Mr. Henry H. Edes. There were no invited guests.

    The Annual Meeting of the Society commemorates the day on which the Compact was signed in the cabin of the Mayflower.