The Annual Meeting was held at the Algonquin Club, No. 217 Commonwealth Avenue, Boston, on Wednesday, 21 November, 1894, at half-past five o’clock in the afternoon, the President, Dr. Benjamin Apthorp Gould, in the chair.

    After the records of the last Stated Meeting had been read and approved, Dr. Gould spoke as follows: —

    It is with extreme satisfaction that I congratulate the Society upon the continuance of its successful activity and upon the encouragement given by the experience of its second year to the confident faith which led to its establishment. Notwithstanding the peculiar obstacles offered by the financial condition of the country, the Society has gone steadily forward with its work and seems already to have earned high recognition, as well as a position of influence through a field far wider than this immediate community. We have reason to hope that its resources may, at no distant day, be such as to provide it with a local habitation where its books, its relics and its mementos can be preserved and made accessible without imperilling their safety; and various intimations have been received that as soon as this shall have been secured objects and documents of much value will be offered for its acceptance.

    At the time of our first Annual Meeting, one year ago, our Roll contained the names of seventy-seven Resident Members; and, before the close of the season, twenty-three others had been added, — thus filling out its full number of one hundred. It is with satisfaction and gratitude that I am able to-day to report this number as still unbroken. The Nomination List, moreover, is abundantly supplied with names which would do honor to the Society, and whose possessors would render it service. Details of its history during the year and of the plans now under consideration will be given you in the Report of the Council; and the Treasurer will present the account of its finances.

    I am sure that it will not be deemed inappropriate, but rather that it will give utterance to the feeling of all our members, if I express what must be the general sentiment, in lamenting the eminent citizen whose remains have to-day been consigned to their last resting-place. Although not our fellow-member here — for he had attained the age of eighty-three years before our Society was organized — he was the senior member of two kindred societies and long the presiding officer of one of them. Moreover, he traced his lineage directly to John Winthrop, Governor of the Colony of Massachusetts Bay. He had himself filled many of the chief offices of state, enjoying the respect and personal regard of men of all political parties, as a patriotic citizen and good man. We offer our condolence to his colleagues and to his kindred.

    At the conclusion of the President’s remarks the Hon. Charles W. Clifford offered the following Resolutions which were adopted unanimously by a rising vote: —

    Resolved, That the close of the earthly career of the Hon. Robert Charles Winthrop is an event of such transcendent interest to all students of history, as well as to every citizen of our Nation who is proud of its illustrious founders and of those of their successors who have emulated their virtues, that this Society claims the privilege to take notice of the death of this eminent patriot, polished orator, thorough scholar, and amiable and generous citizen, who for so many years gracefully presided at the councils of our oldest historical society.

    Resolved, That though we recognize his high natural gifts as qualities not to be acquired by art, we commend his example of patriotism, industry, fidelity, and urbanity to those who are seeking to mould their lives according to the best models of devotion to noble ends.

    The Report of the Council was read by the Corresponding Secretary.


    The Annual Report of the Council naturally divides itself into three parts: first, the detailed report of what has taken place during the year, which is required by the By-Laws of the Society to be presented at the Annual Meeting; second, a statement of the present condition of the Society; and third, such suggestions as to the future, as the Council wish to offer for the consideration of the members.

    One year ago, the list of Resident Members of the Society counted only seventy-seven. On this, the second anniversary of our Annual Meeting, we assemble with the allotted number of one hundred names upon our Roll. Two names have also been added during the year to the list of Honorary Members.

    The losses which we sustained during the first year of our existence as a Society bring before us all the more vividly the cause that there is for congratulation that we stand to-day with our ranks unbroken.

    Five Stated Meetings other than the Annual Meeting have been held during the year. At all of these the attendance of members was very satisfactory. Communications, either historical or biographical in character, were submitted by members at each of these meetings. All of these, whether they were in the form of written essays, of oral statements, or of addresses, were referred to the Committee of Publication. The gentlemen appointed to prepare Memorials of our late fellow-members, Frederick Lothrop Ames and Francis Parkman, have performed their allotted tasks, and these have also been sent to the press. The printed Transactions of the November, December, January, and February meetings have been distributed among the members. Owing to causes beyond the control of the Committee, the Transactions of the March and April Meetings are not yet ready for distribution.

    In the Report of the Council submitted at the last Annual Meeting, it was stated that Volume II. of our Publications would contain the Royal Commissions of the Provincial Governors and their Instructions. It was thought when this statement was made that the volume would have been delivered to members before this time. Notwithstanding the fact that the manuscript copies of the Commissions are in the hands of the printer, various circumstances have concurred to delay their publication.

    Mr. Goodell, through whose liberality the Society is in possession of these valuable documents, has, from time to time, had considerable correspondence with the British Public Record Office in reference to them. The series now in our possession purports to be complete, but there are reasons based upon the customs of the times and upon statements of historians, for supposing that other Commissions were issued. It was therefore desirable to receive from the Record Office a direct statement that no Commissions of interest to us were on file there, other than those of which copies had already been received. Neal, in the second volume of his History of New England, says: “King Charles II., upon his seizure of the Charter of New England, had sent out Henry Cranfield, Esq., Governor, by Commission from himself; but King James, upon his accession to the crown, displaced him and appointed Joseph Dudley, son of Thomas Dudley, to succeed him.” Douglass in his Summary refers to the current belief that Henry Cranfield, Governor of New Hampshire, had been appointed Governor of New England. He adds that it is certain that the Commission was never published. The association of the name of Cranfield with New England affairs is natural. Edward Cranfield was Governor of New Hampshire. Still, it was not desirable to assume that this positive statement by Neal was an error, until every reasonable effort to secure the supposed Commission had been exhausted. Palfrey, in his History of New England, states that Colonel Piercy Kirk was, in 1684, selected by Charles II. to govern New England. 8 November of that year, an order was issued that Kirk’s Commission and Instructions be prepared. Whether this order was carried into effect is not known. It is certain that Kirk never came to this country as Governor of New England, but it is not an easy task to show that the order to prepare his Commission was not earned out. The necessity was obvious in this case for something more from the Public Record Office, than an ordinary official statement that copies of all the Commissions that could be found had been forwarded. The desirability of more than a mere perfunctory search, in both the foregoing cases, is emphasized by the fact that the papers relating to Colonial affairs covering the period prior to the accession of William III. were left in great disorder and confusion.

    Under William’s regime, orderly methods were inaugurated, and after that date it is much more probable that the failure to find a document means that none such ever existed. Yet even at this later date there are certain gaps in the series of Commissions which call for special reports. It was, for instance, the custom, on the demise of the Crown, to issue new Commissions and new Instructions to Provincial Governors. There are several apparent violations of this rule in the set of Commissions now under consideration, and it was conceived that a special statement ought to be secured from the Public Record Office which should show that the missing documents were not on file. During the summer a member of the Council called on Mr. W. Noel Sainsbury, at his office in Fetter Lane, and in an interview explained to him the necessity for an explicit statement that the several missing documents could not be found. Mr. Sainsbury, whose whole life in the service of the British Government has been spent at work among the Colonial Papers, has recently been retired from active service, but is still permitted, through courtesy, to retain an office in one of the public buildings in Fetter Lane. He stated that his memory was quite fresh as to the search made for these Commissions and he thought he could answer categorically — if he had not already done so — the questions as to the Commissions and Instructions supposed to be missing, in such a way as to be practically a statement that none of them were to be found in the Record Office. Before making this statement he wished to look carefully over the memoranda laid before him, and as he was no longer a regular attendant at the office, this examination might, he said, require some little time. As a result of this interview, Mr. Goodell has since received from Mr. Sainsbury a letter on the subject which has led the Committee of Publication to believe that they can with propriety urge forward the preparation of the volume. The Council announce with pleasure that Mr. Goodell has consented to write the Introduction.

    The foregoing seems to the Council to comprise such facts connected with the doings of the Society during the year as are of interest to the members, with the exception of such as will be disclosed by the consideration of the Treasurer’s statement, showing the present financial condition of the Society, which statement will be separately presented. An examination of the Treasurer’s Report will show that six of our Resident Members have commuted their Annual Assessments. These Commutations have been funded, as is provided in the By-Laws; and the interest alone from this fund is applicable to current expenses. The estimate of income which can be used to meet current expenditures next year is nine hundred and forty dollars from assessments and a few dollars additional from the interest on this fund. It was stated in the last Annual Report that the Council had transferred one hundred dollars from the free cash in the treasury, to a permanent Publication Fund, and it was recommended that a similar course should be pursued each year. Following this suggestion, one hundred and fifty dollars were transferred this year from the free cash in the Treasury to this fund. The opportunity to increase the amount arose from the delay in bringing out Volume II. of the Publications. While the Council point to the growth of this fund as an evidence of what we can do even with our limited means, still we must bear in mind that so much as we propose to transfer in this way must each year be deducted from our estimated free income. If therefore we should next year transfer one hundred dollars, it would make the net income from ordinary sources applicable to expenses a little over eight hundred and forty dollars, a sum scarcely adequate for our purposes.

    If we turn now to the future and ask what are the needs of the Society, in order that it shall continue the work which has so advantageously been set in motion, the answer will be that the first and most pressing want is a Publication Fund. Last year we reported that six hundred and forty-five dollars had been contributed by voluntary subscription to be applied in payment for printing Volumes I. and II. During the year covered by this report there has been one unsolicited gift of twenty-five dollars for the same purpose, but no attempt has been made to secure money by subscription. It has seemed, therefore, desirable to call the attention of the Society to the field of work open to its members, through which the usefulness of the organization can be enlarged and its fame increased, in order that the need for such a Fund may be fully comprehended.

    There are, at the State House, two hundred and forty-four volumes of miscellaneous papers of historical interest, arranged by Dr. Joseph B. Felt, and known as the Massachusetts Archives. They have been much used by historians, and facility of access to their contents has been greatly increased by the preparation of a written chronological index, in seven volumes. The publication of this index would be of great public benefit; this, however, is a work which not only is beyond the means of this Society, but is a positive duty of the Commonwealth. In calling attention to the fact that knowledge of the contents of the Archives can only be obtained by going to the office of the Secretary of the Commonwealth it was not the purpose of the Council to suggest that the Society should publish this index, but simply to point out that members engaged in topical researches at the State House, might furnish for publication descriptive calendars of such documents as they should encounter in the Archives. These, if published, would open up to distant readers a knowledge of the character of information which can there be obtained in the special field under investigation.

    Felt, in his Historical Account of Massachusetts Currency, has performed a work somewhat analogous to that which is herein referred to. Notwithstanding the many defects of this volume, it has a value to the non-resident student of history or economics who is dealing with Massachusetts finance, which makes it indispensable. It does not, however, purport to be a complete key to the Archives, even upon the topic to which it is limited, nor has the subject ever been exhaustively treated. Let us suppose that this Society stood ready to publish full descriptive calendars of the papers to be found in the Archives relating to any topic. See what a field there is in the single subject which has just been mentioned. The various papers relating to the mint and the laws regulating the rates at which foreign silver should pass would perhaps prove attractive to one student; the several issues of the Province, which at first were for the most part mere attempts to anticipate the taxes of the year, through the various stages of their growth in quantity and in length of term, including the attempts to furnish individuals with loans of Province Notes on the security of mortgages on their homes and farms, might be selected by another. The fluctuations of these various issues are partially revealed through legislation on the subject, and these laws if specially calendared could be studied to advantage. The various propositions for Banks of Issue, beginning as early as 1652, re-appearing in 1686, and again in more complete form in 1701; formally presented in the shape of a matured scheme in 1714; and occasionally cropping out thereafter from time to time in the shape of individual propositions, until in 1733 a combination of merchants in Boston issued what were known as Merchants’ Notes; the whole culminating in 1740 in the rival schemes known as the Silver Bank and the Land Bank, — furnish another field on which more light should be thrown. A descriptive calendar of the papers in the Archives which relate to the extraordinary enterprise known as the Land Bank of 1740 would in all probability comprise at least one hundred and fifty separate entries; and if any attempt were made to treat the subject with the fulness to which it is entitled, by grouping with an account of the papers in the Archives a similar description of the entries at the Registries of Deeds and of the papers on the Court Files, this subject alone would fill a volume. Upwards of a thousand citizens were partners in the concern. Whatever the merits and whatever the absurdities of the scheme, there was no reason for supposing, when it was propounded, that the venture which these people were about to enter upon was in any aspect illegal. A majority of the representatives were at that time friendly to the experiment, and yet after the passage by Parliament of the extraordinary Act which asserted that the transaction came within the scope of the Bubble Act, legislation was secured for the closing of the Land Bank and the adjustment of its concerns almost equal, in its disregard of the rights of the delinquent parties, to the Act of Parliament itself in obedience to which these steps were taken. Many persons suffered great hardship from the arbitrary enforcement of these harsh and unusual proceedings. The feeling that was aroused was intense and lasting, and undoubtedly had great influence upon the subsequent course of many public men in Massachusetts. Those were strong words which John Adams used when he said, “The Act to destroy the Land Bank scheme raised a greater ferment in this Province than the Stamp Act did;” yet there can be no doubt that they were true. Where will you turn to find other than brief and encyclopedic accounts of this remarkable experiment, which in its various phases is of interest to students of history, of finance, of economics, and of politics?

    The early records of Harvard College have not been published, nor is it likely that the College will ever print them. Quincy selected many extracts from Books I. and III., but he did not make public a single entry from among the many with which the first book teems, relating to the vanished building constructed with Harvard’s bequest. The account-books of Treasurer Richards were described by Mr. Sibley, but he made no mention of the significant entries of which illustrations are contained in the published Transactions of our January meeting. The Steward’s account-books in early times have been described in print, but a mere description of their contents is not what economists want. Their pages contain a record of the prices of provisions for a long series of years, which is of inestimable value and ought not to be permitted longer to remain in obscurity.

    The Town Records and the Records of the First Church of Cambridge have never been printed. It is to be hoped that the example of Boston and of so many of the smaller places near that city will inspire Cambridge to perform this obvious duty; but if for reasons of economy the city government should hesitate to assume an expenditure of this nature, for which there is no immediate, pressing necessity, perhaps they would co-operate with some society like this in the performance of that work.

    There still remain unpublished the records of many of the smaller towns, the establishment of which dates back to an early period of our history. Thanks to efforts in that behalf, these records are better cared for to-day than ever before, but such is not the case with many of the records of the early churches. These latter documents rank with the town records themselves in value for historical purposes. Adequate care has never been taken of them. They are generally to be found in the homes of clerks of parishes, or of ministers, subject to all sorts of contingencies at the hands of forgetful men and irresponsible children. A member of the Council, in search last summer of information contained in the records of one of the early churches of the Colony, after having run down the house in which they were temporarily lodged and the trunk in which they were deposited, himself saw a young child seize and tear across its face, a page of the very record which he had travelled so far and taken such pains to consult. It is the imperative duty of societies like our own to do what they can to preserve knowledge of the contents of records subject to contingencies of this sort, by securing their publication at an early date.

    Other fields have been pointed out to the Council in which the income of a Publication Fund could be applied with credit to the Society and advantage to the public; but enough has been said to show that there are abundant opportunities for the use of such a fund. The multiplication of examples might weary the Society, but would not add force to what has already been said. If funds can be secured to enable us to accomplish a part only of that which has been already suggested, the Society will be recognized as a public benefactor, and its fame will be permanently established.

    The second want of the Society is a habitation. It is one of the peculiarities of the statutes of this Commonwealth that the Certificate of Incorporation of a Society like our own does not designate its place of abode or business. We have always held our meetings in Boston, but there is nothing in our By-Laws that compels us to do so. Our President is not a resident of Boston. Our Corresponding Secretary is not a resident of Boston. The Society has not even a Box in the Post Office; nor is it in any official sense entitled to a Post-Office address. It seems to the Council as if the time had already come when the Society ought to assert itself and secure a temporary habitation, where letters and papers addressed to the Society could be left, and where books and packages could be delivered. Such a room or office ought to be in a building which is not especially exposed to fire, and ought to have in it a vault in which the books, papers, and memorials of the Society could be deposited. Until this can be accomplished there can be no feeling that the Society is a permanent institution, nor can its members take a just and proper pride in its work.

    The statement of the needs of the Society which has just been set forth in this Report is made in response to repeated questions put to members of the Council by different members of the Society. The Publication Fund has been placed first in order, because the Council believe that when members see that the work of the Society is creditable, they will not permit it long to remain without some sort of a habitation. The temptation is strong to reverse the order, because until we have some fire-proof vault in which we can store valuable documents we cannot hope to have them deposited with us; but on the whole the Council have concluded to present these wants in the order in which they have been named to you, for the reasons above given. It would not be inconsistent with the dignity and character of the Society if each of these funds were twenty-five thousand dollars; nor when we look at the amount of money at the disposal of some of the older societies engaged in analogous work, need we despair of seeing in our treasury, at an early day, adequate provision for our wants in each of these directions. We have a right to build our hopes upon the experience of others. Such loyalty to the Society as shall furnish liberal provision for its needs can only be aroused by admiration for its work and faith in its permanence. The Council believe that when the first volume of our Publications shall be placed before the public, its reception will be grateful to the members of the Society. Of this they would have felt even more confident if they could promise that among the resources of the forthcoming volumes would be found a paper based upon the interesting remarks on various untilled fields of historical research, made at our last Annual Dinner by a distinguished fellow-member of the Society, and if we could have been permitted to incorporate in our published Transactions, precisely as delivered, the learned dissertation upon court practice in colonial times, with which we were, on the same occasion, instructed and entertained by another of our members. It is not too late for this to be accomplished, and perhaps these gentlemen will be moved by the appeal which the Council now makes to all members to aid during the coming year in making the proceedings at our meetings of interest. All must bear in mind that the Society has not yet got beyond what was termed in last year’s Report laying the foundation-stones upon which our fame must ultimately rest, and that the character and tone of our meetings must be maintained if we would make permanent the esteem in which the Society is already held by the public.

    The Reports of the Treasurer and the Auditing Committee were then presented. They are as follows: —


    In compliance with the requirements of the By-Laws, the Treasurer submits his Annual Report, made up to 15 November, 1894.

    While the amount of the funds belonging to the Society is small, the foundation has been laid of a prudent and conservative plan for permanently investing each year some part of its income, as has been foreshadowed in the Report of the Council which has just been read. On the fourth of December, 1893, the Council took action as follows: —

    Voted, That the fund now amounting to Two hundred dollars, of which Mr. Shaw’s gift was the nucleus, be called the Publication Fund.

    Voted, That the five Commutations now in the Treasurer’s hands be made the nucleus of a foundation to be hereafter known as the General Fund; and that all future Commutations be credited to it as they are received.

    The Council has also set apart from the current income of the Society the sum of one hundred and fifty dollars, which has been added to the Publication Fund; and the interest which has accrued has been separated from the other moneys belonging to the Society, apportioned between the two Funds, and deposited in a Savings Bank.

    It is pleasant to note that the publication of our first Serial prompted one of our members to send to the Treasurer his check for twenty-five dollars toward the cost of continuing the work of printing our Transactions. Such contributions, made without solicitation, are not only acceptable as financial aid but are gratifying to the Committee of Publication.

    In accordance with the suggestion of a member of the Auditing Committee of last year, the Council passed the following vote, 4 December, 1893: —

    Voted, That Mr. William H. Hart be appointed to audit the accounts of the Treasurer and to report in writing annually to the Auditing Committee of the Society.

    The Funds of the Society, which have more than doubled since the last Annual Meeting, are invested as follows: —

    • $500
    • in a 6% Mortgage, payable principal and interest in gold coin, on improved real estate in Cambridge assessed for $5,100;
    • 450.
    • in a 5% Mortgage, payable principal and interest in gold coin, on improved real estate in Charlestown assessed for $1,000
    • 85.53
    • deposited in the Charlestown Five Cents Savings Bank.

    The following is an abstract of the Accounts, and a Trial Balance of the books on 15 November, 1894: —



    Balance 21 November, 1893



    Initiation Fees



    Annual Assessments



    Commutations of Annual Assessment from three members






    Voluntary Contribution from a member toward the cost of our Publications





    expenditures and investment

    University Press, Printing



    Heliotype Printing Company



    Suffolk Engraving Company



    John H. Daniels and Son, Plate Printing



    Clerical Service



    Record Books and Stationery



    Miscellaneous incidentals



    Mortgage on improved Real Estate in Charlestown assessed for $1,000 due in five years from 8 January, 1894, at 5% both principal and interest payable in gold coin



    Deposit in Charlestown Five Cents Savings Bank; accrued interest belonging to the permanent Funds



    Balance on deposit in Third National Bank of Boston, 15 November, 1894













    Charlestown Five Cents Savings Bank Deposit-Book No. 41,613







    Publication Fund



    General Fund



    Henry H. Edes,


    Boston, 21 November, 1894


    The undersigned, a Committee appointed to examine the accounts of the Treasurer of The Colonial Society of Massachusetts for the year ending 15 November, 1894, have attended to that duty, and report that they find them correctly kept and properly vouched; and that proper evidence of the investments and of the balance of cash on hand has been shown to us.

    Edward W. Hooper,

    A. Hemenway,


    Boston, 15 November, 1894.

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

    Mr. Charles F. Choate, Chairman of the Nominating Committee, presented the following list of candidates, who were unanimously elected: —





    recording secretary.


    corresponding secretary.






    member of the council for three years.


    Mr. Choate, on behalf of the Nominating Committee, offered the following Resolution, which was unanimously adopted: —

    Resolved, That the thanks of the Society he presented to Professor James Bradley Thayer, the retiring member of the Council, for the encouragement and assistance which he has given to his fellow councillors, and for the cheerful and ready manner in which he has always responded to their appeals for advice.

    After the dissolution of the meeting dinner was served to the members. Dr. Gould presided, the Rev. Dr. Charles Carroll Everett invoked the Divine blessing, and speeches were made by Lieut.-Governor Wolcott, the Hon. Edward J. Phelps, the Hon. Charles W. Clifford, Mr. Abner C. Goodell, Jr., and the Hon. George S. Hale. There were no invited guests.