February Meeting, 1942

    A STATED Meeting of the Society was held at the Club of Odd Volumes, No. 77 Mt. Vernon Street, Boston, on Thursday, February 26, 1942, at three o’clock in the afternoon, the President, Kenneth Ballard Murdock, in the chair.

    In the absence of the Recording Secretary, Mr. Walter M. Whitehill was designated as Recording Secretary pro tempore.

    The records of the December meeting were read and approved.

    Mr. Charles Cortez Abbott of Cambridge and Mr. Robert Peabody Bellows of Boston were elected Resident Members of the Society.

    Mr. Edmund S. Morgan read a paper entitled “Puritan Tribalism.”

    Mr. Morgan also presented by title the following paper:

    A Boston Heiress and Her Husbands: A True Story

    IN the year 1656 Anna Keayne was the most eligible débutante in Boston. At the age of sixteen she had been “very well and carefully educated,” and furthermore her grandfather had just left her £900 in his will. Although the good people of Boston may have looked with some bitterness upon this dowry—for Robert Keayne had become notorious by his hard bargains—Anna was nevertheless accepted as a respectable member of society. Her grandfather, in spite of his harsh business dealings, had long been a member of the church in good standing. He had attended regularly, taken notes on the sermons, and even begun to write a commentary on the Bible. At the time of his death he had completed three precious volumes of this work, which he declared he would not part with for a hundred pounds. There could be no question that, aside from his too great attention to worldly wealth, he was a good Puritan. His grandchild would be accepted even in the most exclusive and godly circles. Besides, the old merchant had in his will partially atoned for his failings. His neighbors and customers must have been somewhat softened toward Anna by the fund of £120 he had left to the poor and the £300 he had left to the town for the erection of public buildings.625

    Anna’s parents could not bear such close scrutiny as her grandparents. Her father, Benjamin Keayne, the only son of old Robert, had made what at first seemed to be a fortunate marriage with Sarah Dudley, daughter of Governor Thomas Dudley and sister of the poetess Anne Bradstreet. But Sarah had turned out to be a shrew, and the match had proved “unhappy and uncomfortable.” Some time after Anna’s birth Benjamin accused his wife of adultery, obtained a divorce, and went off to London,626 leaving her to marry again and to get herself in trouble with the church by “Irregular prophecying in mixt Assemblies.”627 Benjamin never questioned, however, that Anna was his child. Before he departed for England, he placed her in the hands of her grandparents, and they brought her up with loving care and proper discipline. Robert Keayne provided in his will that her education be continued, if necessary, in some godly family to be chosen by his executors, “where she may have hir carnall disposition most of all subdued and reformed by strict discipline.”628 He probably did not mean to imply that Anna was particularly susceptible to the temptations of the flesh. Like all Puritans he assumed that every human being is endowed with a “carnal disposition” which it is part of the business of education to subdue.629 There is no reason to believe that Anna’s character at the time of her grandfather’s death was in any way questionable. In spite of her mother’s shady reputation, she herself was a respectable, wellbred young lady with a fortune of £900—assuredly the best match in town.

    Her grandfather, whose love for her was evident to everyone, had given some instructions in his will about her prospective husband. He had advised that she marry “some man truely fearing God,” and had instructed the overseers of his will “to provide some fitt and godly match proportionable to hir estate and condition that she may live comfortably and be fitt to doe good in hir place and not to suffer hir to be circumvented or to cast away hirselfe for want of counsell and watchfullness upon some swagering gentleman or others that will Looke more after the enjoying of what she hath, then liveing in the feare of God and true love to hir.” In order to be sure that Anna should follow the instructions of her guardians, he charged her “that she would not dare to set hir affections upon any in that kind without there advice counsell and helpe.”630 It may seem hard that a girl should have to receive permission from her grandmother, or worse still from the overseers of her grandfather’s will, before falling in love; but such was the custom in seventeenth-century Boston. Children, especially if possessed of sizeable fortunes, were supposed to allow their parents or guardians to make their matches for them.631

    The proper man appeared a few months after her grandfather’s death. Edward Lane, a London merchant reputed to be worth £1,800 (a suitor was expected to be worth at least twice as much as his future wife), thirty-six years old and single, arrived at Boston aboard the Speedwell on July 27, 1656.632 It was not long before he was making overtures to Anna’s guardians, and since he seemed to be well qualified in godliness and in worldly goods, Mrs. Keayne gave him permission “to make tryall for the gayning of my Grandchilds affections as to marriage.”633 Thereafter, following a common custom, he sent a friend often to visit Anna and to gain her affections for him. With the friend he sent many pieces of gold for her to assure her of his own affection and at the same time, doubtless, to remind her that he was a man of wealth, worthy to be her suitor. The eloquence of the friend—or of the gold—soon prevailed, and the couple became affianced.634

    Hitherto Lane had remained pretty much in the background. Now he stepped prominently into the picture. Mrs. Keayne, thankful for the prospect of having a man in the family once more, decided to hand over to him the job of executing her late husband’s will, for she had scarcely begun the task of carrying out the manifold orders contained in that lengthy document. Since Anna was still under age and since her dowry must be paid from the estate, Lane was easily persuaded of “the great benefitt it would bee vnto me in respect of the securitie of my wiues portion” to take over the task.635 After he had agreed to do so, however, he discovered that, according to the terms of the will, he would lose a part of his wife’s portion if she should die before reaching the age of eighteen. Because of this and other dubious provisions of the will, Lane thought it advisable to have an express agreement drawn up concerning the exact amount due to Mrs. Keayne as the widow, so that the remainder, minus all bequests and legacies, might be entirely his.

    For so grave a matter the assistance of an impartial tribunal was necessary. Accordingly Lane and Mrs. Keayne each chose two friends to meet together as an arbitrating committee and decide “what they shall judge just and equal to be payd and receiued by one or other.”636 A week later, after perusing the 158 pages of Robert Keayne’s will, this committee drew up an agreement to which Lane and the widow set their signatures: Mrs. Keayne was to receive a house and land, an annuity of forty pounds, plus four hundred pounds in money; Lane was to have everything else, and he gave bond for a thousand pounds to pay all the bequests and other debts owed by the estate. In addition Mrs. Keayne left all preparations for the coming wedding up to the bridegroom. She agreed to “allow unto the said Edward Lane, the summe of fifty pounds for the more contentfull and comely apparrelling of Anna Keayne the younger [Mrs. Keayne’s name was Anna too] his intended wife together with what he sees meet to lay out for the marriage solemnity that so the said Anna the elder may be freed from all troubles in making provision for the same. . . .”637 With these preliminaries out of the way the stage was at last set for the wedding, which took place on December 11, 1657, under the direction of Governor John Endecott.638 Since church weddings were not allowed, Anna had no chance to display her “contentfull and comely” apparel to an admiring congregation; but if she and her husband followed colonial custom, they invited their friends to a feast after the ceremony. Here Anna was able to show off her new gown, while friends toasted her with “sack-posset” and rum. Perhaps, if the authorities had not been displaying too much strictness lately, there may even have been dancing.

    Had Edward Lane been a normal man, the story might have ended here, with the couple living happily ever after. But an ugly rumor soon began to be heard in Boston, and fifteen months after the wedding popular suspicion was confirmed by a petition which Mrs. Lane presented to the Court of Assistants.

    To the Honoured Court of Assistants now Assembled at Boston

    May it please this Honoured Court to pitty the sad and disconsolate condition of your handmaid, laboring under a bondage, from which reason and religion doth set her free, yet needing and craving the Authority to doe the same.

    Your petitioner hath bin deceived in a contract of marriage with Mr. Edward Lane, to whom (upon an essentiall mistake) shee gaue her selfe as a wife, and hath not bin wanting in the duty of that relation, expecting the performance of an husband on his part, wherin he hath been from first to last altogether deficient; which for seaven monthes I bare without imparting my grief to my nearest friends, who then understanding the same; and hoping and desiring more private help, put him upon seeking remedy by physick, which he also attended making use of Mr. Snelling, who practised upon him with forcible medicines, but without successe, so that by the counsell of the overseers of my Grandfathers will (to whom he acknolidged his infirmity) he was advised to seek further help from more physitians; and accordingly he made knowne his case to Mr. Eire, Mr. Clerk, and Mr. Megeke, and hath been under their hands neer seaven monthes. And your petitioner hath by absenting herselfe with his consent, and returning to him through difficulties applyed herselfe to accomodate him. All which notwithstanding the said Mr. Lane hath been and doth continue uncapable of performance of the marriage Covenant: by reason wherof, as also from the sense of the great and manifold inconveniences of the publick notice of it, your petitioner is (tho with shame and affliction) enforced to fly to your justice for succour and reliefe by declaring mee free from the sayd pretended Contract of marriage with Mr. Lane. And by ordering him to repaire the damage and wronge to my person and estate as your justice shall judg meet.

    My patient silence in this condition cannot prejudice my cause with your wisdomes which will not think it meet or tolerable, for a woman after just complaint in such case made, to remaine under the power of a pretended husband, and to yield herselfe to bee the subject of vaine experements, to the dishonour of her name, danger of her person and estate which cannot bee prevented but by a present release declared by this honoured Court which is the humble and earnest petition of your handmaid

    Anna Lane639

    Upon receipt of this document the court sent for Lane and asked him if his wife’s charge were true. “After a considerable pause his answer was that he must speake the truth he could not say he had performed the office of a husband.” Accordingly, after due deliberation, the magistrates declared the marriage to be dissolved.640

    It soon appeared, however, that Anna was not the only one who had been deceived. The bequests and debts owed by the estate of Robert Keayne amounted to much more than the value of the estate itself. By the terms of the agreement which he had signed Edward Lane was a loser by more than five hundred pounds. He, too, now sought relief in court, pointing out that he had assumed the executorship because of the marriage. The marriage having been dissolved, he ought therefore to be relieved of the burden and reimbursed for the expenditures he had made.641 The court’s first reaction was to appoint a committee empowered to examine all the evidence and instructed “to make a loving and amicable agreement, if it may be, to mutual satisfaction of the sajd Mr. Lane and Mrs. Anna Keajne, thereby to prevent further trouble to this court.”642

    The court did not escape further trouble so easily. The widow Keayne had made a bargain, and like her husband she meant to see that it was kept. She refused to listen to any compromise and presented an answer to Lane’s petition in which she pointed out that Lane had entered the agreement with his eyes open. If the court were to release him from his obligations, she said, it would be plain “to the world that no man or woman of what condition soeuer of sound mind or theire friends so being can make any bargaine, but the Court may vndoe it which I hope will not be asserted, much lesse practised.”643 Mrs. Keayne was saying that business is business, but the court had heard that plea before from the lips of her late husband. To him they had replied, in a fine of two hundred pounds, that business may be business, but it is not justice. They now returned the same answer to her: they discharged Lane from the executorship and ordered the overseers of the will to reimburse him with 650 pounds, plus two years’ rent from most of the houses and lands in possession of the estate.644

    Anna Lane now began to regret her action, for it was plain that she was not so desirable a match as she had at first appeared to be. Lane told her that because of deficiencies in her grandfather’s estate her dowry “must fall Short more then twoe therdes.”645 Furthermore, he was slow about returning her personal property, which he may have been keeping as a pledge until his 650 pounds were paid. Lane was naturally somewhat piqued at Anna’s exposure of his infirmity, especially since he knew that “the phycitians that have administred vnto mee can finde no naturall Defect in mee as they have Declared and are still ready to Declare.”646 He continued to take treatments and after a time became convinced that his weakness had ceased. Friends now tried to patch things up, and because of Anna’s uncertainty about her estate she was the more willing to listen to them. Her grandmother later related: “I have severall times found my Daughter in a roome with Mr. Lane and Mr. Cooke to my great greif and have been angry with Mr. Cooke about it; And he hath Led me out and said lett them alone I would have her try him for he is a man; And to Convince me told mee some thing that was so Immodest I cannot write it.”647

    The result of these meetings was that on December 12, 1659, two years after their first marriage and nine months after the annulment, the couple went once more to the Governor and asked to be married again. The episode and its sequel were later recalled by Edward Hutchinson:

    Edward Hutchinson aged 53 years or Thereabouts sworne saith That when Mr. Edward Lane and Anna his wife Came together the second Time they sent for mee to the house of Leift. Richard Cooke and There they Declared to Mee (I comeing ouer late to goe with them to the Gouernours) that they had been at the governours to Desire to be married againe; but the governour told them that they being seperated by the Court it was not for him to Joyne them together; but if they were both sattisfied that the Cause was remoued That moved the Court to Declare their Marriage a Nullity he said that that Declareation would not make it a Nullity; for it was not man that could part Those god Joyned together Therefore told them they should be well advised and be vpon good Grounds which they sayd they Declared they were. Then he Told them as they said, That it being Their owne act Their first Marriage was good and the Nullity was voyde; And Desired The Lord to blesse them together after which we being together some of vs merrily Jesting with them said They must have made some Tryall or elce they could not soe Declare; They said both of them it may be they had what was That to us vpon our parteing away Capt. Olliver bidding them both good night Mrs. Lane Answered she Questioned not as good a night as any woman In Boston next morning Capt. olliver and my self goeing to visitt them Capt. Olliver askeing her if now she had received sattisfaction so as to be satisfied the Impediment that Mr. Lane had before was remoued; she Answered it was now otherwise with him then before; and she was sattisfied in his sufficiency as a man This is the substance of what I heard and Though I will not be perticular to all the words yett as near as my memory serves it was in these words above or words to the like effect.648

    To all outward appearances the whole affair was now patched up. Lane once more became executor of the will, though the agreement between him and the widow Keayne this time provided that she should have simply an annuity of twenty pounds and possession of the new house in Boston. Furthermore, he stipulated that if any more debts appeared “that hath not as yet beene taken notice of,” and beyond the value of the estate, the overseers of the will should take steps to assist him in the payments.649 On this basis the couple lived quietly together for the next four years. Edward became well established as a Boston merchant and attested his prosperity to his neighbors by sporting a London hat with a silver hatband.650 Anna meanwhile demonstrated that this time her marriage was genuine by giving birth to two children, a boy and a girl. The little girl, named after her mother, died at the age of eight months, but the boy, named after Edward, lived until 1680, meeting his death at the age of eighteen in Leyden.651

    Early in 1664 Anna sailed for England, on what business is not known, but it was evidently understood in Boston that her husband would shortly follow. Before he could do so, however, he was dead. When Anna returned to Boston two years later, it was with a new husband, also a Bostonian who had been visiting England, Mr. Nicholas Paige. Now once more the rumors began to spread. It was said that Anna had married Paige before Lane had died, for some persons had received letters from Paige before the latter event in which he made mention of his wife.652 Since there were bound to be enemies in Boston of any descendant of Robert Keayne, the grand jury soon got wind of the matter and conducted an investigation which resulted in an indictment against Anna for adultery. Before the trial took place, Anna gave herself away by proposing to the Court of Assistants a question to be resolved by the magistrates: “whether a woman may not have children by a man that is not in the eye of the world accounted her husband and yet not be accounted an adulteresse.”653 The cat was now out of the bag, and in the trial that followed evidence was produced that the boy who bore the name of the late Edward Lane was really the son of Nicholas Paige. Richard Cooke came into court and affirmed that “about two yeares since upon Mrs. Hannah Lanes going for England this deponent was desired to come unto the house of Mr. Edward Lane . . . at which time this deponant did heare Mrs. Lane acknowledge that the Children which She then had had were Mr. Page his Children and not mr. Lanes.”654 The whole truth came to light, however, when the following document, dated December 6, 1663, was brought forth:

    To all whom this present writing may concern this is to certify that whereas thear was a marriage between Edward Lane of Boston in the County of Suffolke in New England and Anna Keayne of the said Boston living together sometime, I the said Edward Lane being wholly insufficient through weakness and infirmity never in the least manner to performe the duty or office of a husband to the said Anna nor never knew her carnally: Upon Petition to the Court of Assistance held at Boston March, ’58, The Court upon good considerations pronounced the marriage a nullity wee wear bouth free from each other nine months after upon some considerations wee came to live togather and have so continued togather four yeares but the same weaknes and insuffitiency continuing to this day I thinke it not convenient for her any longer to bare the name of my wife who in truth before God is none. Therefore I utterly disown her and disseize her never more to maintain her or looke at her as any relation to me more then a friend from the date hereof for though we have made one house our habitation yet we have made use of tow beds therefore this is to atest the cause and truth of our seperation as is done by a coppy taken out of the Records As witnes my hand And in part of requitall for that great wrong I have done her I freely give her the pasture which was her Granfathers which lys behind the house of Goodman Pells.655

    Confronted with the situation which was now apparent, the magistrates and the jury could not agree whether or not Anna Paige, formerly Anna Lane, should be punished for adultery. The matter was therefore brought before the General Court of the colony, where, as the record reads,

    . . . vpon a full hearing of the case, the Court found hir guilty of much wickednes, but vpon a motion from hirself, the Court gaue hir oppertunity to make acknowledgment of such hir great offences which were charged vpon hir, which accordingly she hath donne to the satisfaction of this Court, who doe hereby declare their acceptation of it, so as she make the like acknowledgment in open Court when called thereto; that as the Court hath seene the fruits of her repentance, so it may be declared to others also. The sajd Anna Page came into the Court, and openly made acknowledgment, in like manner, to the Courts acceptance, who ordered that Mrs. Page pay the charge of the witnesses, and so is discharged.656

    Apparently the General Court was as puzzled by the case as the inferior court had been; but just as Governor Endecott had decided that Anna’s first marriage had not been truly annulled, the court now must have decided that neither the first nor the second marriage had been truly a marriage. Thus although it was clear that Anna had committed “much wickedness,” the Court was not ready to say that she was guilty of adultery, and so she escaped virtually scot-free.

    Having thus come out of danger, she and her husband began to take cognizance of her former estate. Besides the pasture he had granted her in the paper renouncing her as his wife, Lane had assigned her, in a paper dated four days earlier, the mansion house of Robert Keayne “wherein I the said Edward Lane now Dwell.” This grant was made on condition that she make no further claims whatever to his estate.657 Twelve days later Lane, who was evidently a sick man, had made out another paper. Stating that he did not know “what condition he the said Edward Lane may fall into or what Providences as concerning himselfe may fall out in one regard or in an other &c.,” he transferred his property to Richard Cooke and John Wiswall of Boston, merchants, in return for his maintenance and for payments of all his debts.658

    Accordingly when Anna and her new husband returned from England, they found Richard Cooke and John Wiswall installed in the possession of most of her grandfather’s property. Now the whole thing became apparent to Anna: it had all been a plot on the part of Richard Cooke from the very beginning. It was he who had persuaded her to marry Lane in the first place, he who had carried to her the pieces of gold and the messages of affection.659 After the annulment it was he who had persuaded her of Lane’s sufficiency and had brought them together again.660 He had even been present when the paper was drawn up in which Lane assigned her the mansion house in return for a resignation of all other claims to the estate. She had been so desperate at the time to free herself that she had not thought of what she was so blithely resigning; and yet twelve days later Cooke, with his accomplice Wiswall, had it all in his own hands, even the rich farm at Rumney Marsh that had been her grandfather’s pride. And then when she returned home from England, Cooke, wearing her grandfather’s big ring and Lane’s hat with the silver band,661 had furnished the principal evidence against her in the trial for adultery. It was only too clear that the whole business had been deliberately, diabolically planned.

    She had good evidence of Cooke’s malice toward her now that he had her estate. Several people were ready to report his reaction when he heard that she and her husband were returning from England. On the day when the news reached Boston, Ursula Cole and Alice Tilly both informed Cooke about it and warned him that she was coming to recover her lost property. Cooke had replied that he would see her hanged if she tried to do it.662 John and Mary Mansfield told Anna how Cooke had stormed about the matter, how he had accused her of poisoning her husband, how he had sworn to “vse all the meanes he Could” to have her hanged, and had said that if he failed to get her hanged in Boston, “he had a sonn in Barbadious: that should goe from thence to England: to prosecute the Lawe to hange hir there.”663

    The case seemed to be open and shut, and Anna promptly petitioned the General Court to recover from Cooke and Wiswall all the property which Lane had given them.664 She demonstrated that her marriage to Lane had been a conspiracy on the part of Cooke to get her property and her grandfather’s into Lane’s hands so that Cooke might eventually have it for himself. He had known that Lane was impotent and that therefore there could be no heirs; he had also known that Lane was sick and could not live long. He had even offered that fact to her grandmother as a reason for allowing the second marriage. The widow Keayne—who had since become Mrs. Samuel Cole—came into court and testified that Cooke had told her that Lane “was very sickley and would not live aboue Three or four years and Therefore fear not but Lett your Daughter have him and she may Quickley have an other husband.” Mrs. Cole was convinced that Cooke from the very start had “not only Indeavored to ruin my Daughter but mee.”665

    Anna rested her case not only on this evidence of conspiracy but likewise on the claim that her second marriage with Lane was not valid because it had never been consummated. Therefore, she said, the contract which depended upon that marriage and which put the estate again into Lane’s hands was likewise invalid. It was “Founded vpon the same mestake of a marriage as the former and upon the same Ground: Cann not bee of aney force to the prejudice of your petetioner.”666

    But the General Court was weary of this eternal squabble over Robert Keayne’s property and refused to believe the story which to Anna was so obvious. To her melodramatic pleas the icy reply was given that it was not thought “suiteable to reuive troubles to the Court” in a matter which had already been settled once before.667 Having herself failed, Anna persuaded the overseers of the will to make a similar plea the following year, but they too were denied.668 With this rebuke she gave up the struggle for a while and settled down to a happy and normal life as Mrs. Nicholas Paige. Neither she nor her husband had forgotten the injury which Richard Cooke had done them, but justice was not yet to be had. They would bide their time, and some day, perhaps, the opportunity to recover their lost heritage would come. In the meantime there was no use crying over spilt milk. Nicholas had some capital of his own, and by careful investments and hard work gradually increased it. Before many years passed, he had become one of the leading merchants of Boston and had recouped by his ships and shops as much as he and Anna had lost through the machinations of their enemies.

    Anna’s new husband was a bold and likeable man, of generous impulses but shrewd in all his public actions. Though not disposed to reckon overmuch with religious scruples in his commercial dealings, he had sense enough never to offend Puritan sensibilities. He did his best to gain the friendship and respect of his community, especially of those men who seemed best qualified to help him. As a result, each new turn of events found him more firmly established in public favor and personal security. When King Philip’s War threatened the colony’s existence, Captain Paige won esteem by commanding a cavalry troop which helped to whip the savages into submission.669 Later, when Edward Randolph came to enforce the Navigation Acts in Boston, Paige gained the commendations of his fellow merchants by threatening to knock Randolph on the head if the latter attempted to board his ships.670 Before long, however, Nicholas saw that the wind was not blowing in that direction. He and a number of other prominent citizens, including Joseph Dudley (Anna’s uncle), made friends with Randolph so that by 1685 the customs officer was writing letters to Dudley in which he sent his respects to “Mr. Page and his lady.”671

    In the ensuing revolutions which rocked the colony Paige played his hand with consummate skill. When the charter was revoked and Joseph Dudley became President of the Council for New England, Nicholas invited him to live at Boston in the house which he and Anna had acquired there. Since Dudley’s own house was in Roxbury, he gladly agreed to live with the Paiges, where his hostess would be his own niece.672 When Andros arrived as Governor of the Dominion of New England, Paige kept in the good graces of that ruler too; but when the people of Boston gathered together to overthrow the tyrant, Paige was on the scene, not exactly assisting the process but apparently not hindering it either.673 While the people called for Dudley’s blood along with that of Andros, they had such confidence in Captain Paige that they placed Dudley in his hands for safekeeping.674 When stable government was finally established under a new charter, Paige had weathered the storm safely. What is more, he had recovered Anna’s property, not only the houses and lands in Boston but the farm in Rumney Marsh as well.

    The fact is that the Cookes had not played their cards so well as the Paiges. Elisha Cooke, son and successor to old Richard, had chosen the wrong side in the struggle—as far as worldly success was concerned. He had never made friends with Randolph. Instead he had led the opposition party, the one which favored resistance to Randolph, resistance to Dudley, resistance to Andros, resistance even to the new charter which Increase Mather obtained in 1691. Consequently it had been no great matter for Paige to procure a judgment returning the lands. As soon as the old charter was revoked, the old county courts dissolved, and a new system set up under control of Dudley, the Paiges entered an action against Cooke. The jury was hand-picked by Paige’s friends; the judges were Paige’s friends;675 the result was inevitable: Paige got the lands (August 5, 1686). When the verdict had been rendered, Cooke appealed to the Council, presided over by Dudley, then residing in Paige’s house. The result again was inevitable, and when Cooke appealed to the King in Council, Dudley required him to give bond of a thousand pounds to Paige to prosecute the appeal (November 2, 1686). This was too much, and Cooke had to abandon the case (December 20, 1686). When he tried to reopen it under Andros, he met with a quick rebuff.

    After the new charter had been established—over his protest—Cooke tried again, but was nonsuited. As a last resort he introduced a special bill in the General Court (February 26, 1701/02) to allow him to have the case reviewed. At the time when he introduced the bill the governor’s chair was vacant, but before the General Court took any action, Joseph Dudley was made governor. Needless to say, the bill received no further consideration.

    In the meantime, since the recovery of the estate, Anna had become the great lady that she must have wished to be when she first married Edward Lane. Paige was now Colonel Paige, with a coat of arms. He had purchased a coach for her and negro servants in livery to attend upon it, a luxury which even the wealthy Samuel Sewall felt himself unable to afford. She and Nicholas moved out to the farm at Rumney Marsh and there lived in regal style, entertaining guests in the most elegant manner. Samuel Sewall, who dined there on November 4, 1690, spoke of the “sumtuous Feast” which he had enjoyed.676 He had already had occasion to admire Anna’s coach, for he had recorded on September 12, 1688: “Rid to Cambridge Lecture, being rainy in the afternoon, Madam Paige invited me, and I came home in her Coach, with Mr. Willard and his wife, and Mrs. Paige’s Boy rid my Horse.”677

    Apparently Boston had agreed to forgive Anna for her scandalous past and to accept her as one of the élite. The Mr. Willard to whom Sewall refers was the minister of the Old South Church, which Anna had joined in 1670.678 Although her husband never joined, that fact was not held against him socially, for by the close of the seventeenth century a large proportion of Boston’s leading citizens were in the same category.

    Thus by shrewd political maneuvering Anna and Nicholas Paige overcame the social and economic handicaps with which their wedded life began and won for themselves a position of the highest rank in Boston society. Anna lived to enjoy her success until June 30, 1704. When the news of her death at Rumney Marsh reached Boston, it caused the whole colony to pause. Sewall recorded the event: “As the Governor sat at the Council-Table twas told him, Madam Paige was dead; He clap’d his hands, and quickly went out, and return’d not to the Chamber again; but ordered Mr. Secretary to prorogue the Court till the 16th of August, which Mr. Secretary did by going into the House of Deputies.”679

    A year before she died Anna had assisted her husband in making a will, the terms of which bring this story back to where it began. The will provided that all the property of Nicholas and Anna, except for a number of small legacies, should be given to their kinswoman Martha Hobbes, who was also to be executrix. The overseers of the will, however, among whom was Governor Dudley, must “Advise and Council this our Executrix in her Mariage with any Person that she may Marry withall And we do hereby leave it as a Solemn Charge upon her and as our dying request that she do take your Advice therein And be very Carefull how she doth dispose of her self in Marryage, And that she match into a good Familly and with one that feareth God, that so neither she and so fair an Estate be not thrown away in her Match.”680

    Mr. Thomas H. Johnson communicated by title the following paper:

    The Topical Verses of Edward Taylor

    EVER since the four-hundred-page manuscript volume of Edward Taylor’s “Poetical Works” was first examined in 1936,681 it has been known that a few of the verses were of special interest to social historians because of the topical nature of the material. The twelve selections here presented comprise all the topical or occasional verses which are sufficiently decipherable to furnish historical and biographical gleanings.682 Eight are elegies, composed between 1671 and 1723: six of them honor colonial magistrates and ministers; one was written on the occasion of the death of Taylor’s wife, and one on that of the death of his sister-in-law. Two selections are in the nature of before his first marriage. The most sprightly and entertaining verse is a college “declamation,” prepared and evidently publicly delivered just before his graduation. The acrostic verses—three of the twelve selections—are very elaborate and are more admirable for their ingenuity than for succinctness or power. The machinery of puns, quibbles, and poetic conceits intrigued the seventeenth-century mind generally, and Taylor was a belated representative of a fashion nearly outmoded at so late a period. The final selection, “Verses made upon Pope Joan,” is a scurrilous and bitter tirade against Romanism. It is possibly the last composition from the pen of this staunch, thoroughly orthodox Congregationalist. Viewed as poetry, all these selections are inconsiderable. But since Taylor is now generally recognized as the foremost American poet before the nineteenth century, the verses perhaps have the importance which always attaches to the poemata of significant writers.

    The first three selections were composed while Taylor was an undergraduate at Harvard and are certainly the author’s earliest known attempts at versifying. The last two were composed in Taylor’s old age; though barely legible, and somewhat difficult to follow, they are animated with admirable vigor. These twelve selections occupy the first thirty-five pages of the “Poetical Works” and are here transcribed in the same chronological order which they follow in the manuscript.683


    An Elegie vpon ye Death of that holy man of God Mr. Sims,684 late Pastor of ye Church of Christ at Charlestown in N. Englnd who departed this life the 4th of 12m Ano Dni 1670/1

    [Ah] mee! ah mee! Could Griefe but make a Poet?

    [Sur]ge after Surge of Sorrow sure would do it.

    [The] Nazarites grow thin; which alwayes stoode

    [As] Objects hatefull to Philistick brude.

    [Who c]ould not stroy them: for like Sampson they

    [Bore o]n their backs proud Gaza’s Gates away.

    [Their stren]gth was such. Yet not to frame or make

    [Jerus]alem of Gaza’s Gate a Gate.

    [They t]imely heav’d it vp to Hebron’s Hill

    [And la]tcht it there a Mocking stock to fill

    [All] such with tickling jests whose pleasure chose

    [To br]eake a jest ore a Philistins nose.

    [Philis]tick Gates thus blown vp by ye aire

    [Are] bussles in a Nazarits bush of haire!

    [Conquer]d Philistia, (Revenge is Sweet)

    [To] give it vent, in Convocation meet

    [     ]ggers Spits: Star-Chamber’d many ly,

    [At the] white Nazarites her darts do fly.

    [Despoil]d of his abundant Grace, & Care

    [They in th]e Wilderness them place prepare.

    [He in] the Wilderness alures apart

    [Deep the]n in bowells speakes vnto their heart

    [He’d have] them build his house compleate, compact,

    [Measures the]n gave them on ye mount exact.

    [The whic]h they tended, & this Sims (alass

    [He ha]th laid down his Square) a Builder was

    [As well as] Pillar, & a Builder who

    [Both built], & long vpheld the building too.

    [          ]

    Where [     ]

    Althô ye Doors be firm, & would [abide]

    Rift off ye bars, & down ye boards will slide

    When Posts do faile, ye Pales & Rales down fall:

    And Vinyards so ly common vnto all.

    Alass! alass! our Wall grows small, & weake:

    Wherein, say you? Our golden Studs do breake

    Althô the Watlings last: the hedge, I take

    Is very feeble losing of its Stake.

    Hereby our Israels glory waxeth thin;

    Compared now to what it once hath bin.

    Our Motto write in teares that all may View it,

    That Predicates our Glory great is FUIT.

    When Death Supplants our Plants & Planters so

    The whole Plantation drinks a Cup of Woe.

    Supplants said I? Soft now, the better Style

    Is, it Transplants them to a richer Soile.

    Yet oh! alass! We Senseless at their Hearse

    Do hardly mourn halfe halfe an hour in verse.

    This man of God wrought hard, that now is gone,

    Within ye Quarrie mines hard hearts of Stone,

    With Pickaxe, Wedge, & Mawle, Gods Word, before

    Christ calld him in to meat; & said, Give o’re.

    Before his Grinders Ceast, & Silver Cord

    Was loost, or ere his Golden bowle, his Lord

    Had broken at ye fountain, ere ’twas night.

    His Almond tree did flowrish all in white.

    He did What God said do, &’s gone away

    His day thus ore, to meet his Masters pay.

    Like to a Shock of Wheate thats fully ripe,

    God inned hath this aged Nazarite

    The Shushemite, him bore, hugd, dandled, she

    Him nurst, & hopt vpon her lap & hee

    When Sick indeed, my Head! me head! out cri’de

    And laying in her bosom Sweetly di’de,

    Whose Death’s great Sorrow should it de our tongue

    Age with ye Swan Would sing his dying Song.

    Tristis modulat[     ]


    An Elegie vpon ye Death of ye Worshipfull Fran[cis] Willoughby Esqe685 Deputy Govnour of ye Masach[usetts] Colony in N: E: who departed at Charlestown 3d m. [1671]

    Begon, begon, my Books, start from my hand,

    Stand off: or offer verse vp as you stand:

    Bleed tears, mine Eyes; Weep blood, my pen: my heart

    Beat vp for Volunteers in e’ry part

    To march in Sorrows Regimentall plot,

    For Willoughby; Oh! Willoughby IS NOT.

    IS NOT’s the burden of my Song by fate,

    Being of Willoughby the Predicate.

    IS-NOT is not to enter in our eares

    Without heart aching Sighs, & Eyes all tears.

    But is not Willoughby? Then beat ye Drum;

    Bid Colledge, Churches, Court, & Country run

    [          ]

    [          ]

    And make a Pa[     ]e mantle for the day,

    And fall like Spouts into His grave as pay.

    Rise Harvard, rise, Stand vp with Watry eyes,

    Vntill a Second Willoughby arise.

    Vnworthy We, oh Worthy he! Well may

    We as we judge this rightly of him say.

    ]ull fraught wth Grace, well fit for

    Glory’s shel


    irmly in glory now enrich



    ]ich Splendent Gems wch do vpon

    each squa


    efulgent Rayes of Sparkling glory



    ] Skillfull Lapidary

    will enl


    nd first imboss in Rings yt weightist



    ]o man gets Weeds a Palace

    to ador


    o weeds as Posies in or hands are



    ]ounting these Sweet enamled Knots

    from when


    onspire perfumed gales not worth ye



    f so, no mervail, Christ when his

    bright E


    nthralld in dust his shining Rosies



    ]woop down, vp picks them: for hereby

    he get


    weet slips of Grace yt he in Glory



    ]e may assure ourselves yt

    blessed she


    ithin Christs garden for Christs garmt



    n which, his Garden flowers may

    clearly sp


    ntails of all their happiness do



    ]oe, for ye Flowers in Graces

    garden shal


    eap into bliss to garnish Glory’s



    ]ook how they thither high as if

    they stil


    ackt room in Grace, or glory’s room would



    ]bserve the Ring of Glory

    where in t


    nely ye Saints as pales of Gold high



    ]pon whose lips in chains of

    praises, Vie


    ncessant Quavers warbling



    ]od Spying Willoughby here on

    our Strin


    lister so bright fitter for Glorys



    ]ath cald him out, & cought him

    here beneat


    ath wrapt his brows about with glory’s



    ]ut art thou gone? is Graces flood

    to eb


    right St[reams]? is grace for thee too coarse

    a We


    ]et Sure it is, yt Graces flowers

    do 1


    onder in glorys Knot most

    sparkling 1


    But what shall Graces choicest slips be got

    [So] prim, & set in Glories flowering Pot?

    [And] Graces Garden ever must Supply

    [     ]ie bright Palace with her gallantry.

    [Nay,] turn thy hand awhile bright glory hence.

    [Tou]ch not our seed plots, nor annoy their Fence.

    [Le]st that our Garden Wane, for so it shall

    [S]carse beare a Single flower t’adorn thy Hall.

    [H]e cannot spare of what remains yet any:

    The last thou gather’d hast is one for many.

    For whom had fervent Pious Prayers prevaild

    [H]e yet had stood within our garden, pal’d.

    He was our Chiefest Deputy for all,

    And now is Deputie in Glory’s Hall.

    And hence we may Rejoyce thô mourn: & count

    How his greate Gain, doth our great loss Surmount.

    Then fruits do drop, it plainly doth appeare,

    [Tha]t Summer is Well Spent, & Winters neer.

    [Then] Cease my Sobs awhile vntil Ive spent

    This Epitaph vpon his monument.

    Here lies the Love, Hope, Reverence, & Eye

    Of Churches, Court, Colledge, & Countery

    Interrd within this dust, which dust shall Arke

    His Angell-Peer again, that Divine Sparke,

    Return from dust (& dusty be no more)

    To bow to him who bled to pay his Score

    And [soar]ing vp in milk white Rayment say,

    Farewell Deaths Cradle, Welfare Judgment day.


    My last Declamation in the Colledge Hall May 5, 1671,686 where four Declaim’d in the Praise of four Languages and five upon the five senses. Those upon the Languages Declaim’d in the Language they treated of: and hence mine ran in English

    העברי לא אנכי ς̀κ εἰμι έλλην nec sum Latinus.687

    But an Englishman.

    My Muse, Ye Muses Nurslings,688 doth come

    To borrow once of you your ears trust689 Drum,

    That with her Tabber stick690 strike up she may,

    An English march thereon, and march away.

    But if you say, what things men first begin,

    Apologies gentlemen-Usher in.691

    I say that these you had from Nuncquam-Prius692

    For me late Complementing neatly by us.

    Yet let no Cross bow black Reflections bend

    It was no lift693 ye other day did lend,

    But laide a Scotch694 before my Wheeles so sore,

    My Tuckles695 almost brake in tugging’t ore.

    But having got it ore, my Muse doth Crave,

    That for her Dead yours [sic] ears may be ye grave.

    But if these Still Pots696 onely Catch, & keep,

    The perfum’de Distillation, & the Reech697

    Which by the heate of Phancy, raisd drops thick

    From the Alimbeck of Sweet Rhetorick:

    Then woe is me! For no such Flowers grow

    Within my Garden; no such Spirits flow

    From mine Alimbeck, neither have I skill

    To rain such hony falls698 out of my Still.

    Could I mint words anew, & had no Stamp,

    Had I a Stamp, & yet a Vice did want,

    Had I a Vice, & had no Plate to draw

    Therethrough, all would not counterpoise a Straw.

    But none of these are mine, I cannot mint.

    I have no Stamp, no Vice, nor plate to print.

    Oh! that my CAN could cask my WILL that I

    My Native speech aright might Dignify.

    Yet Count I pray what I do miss to Scan

    Drops of my WILL that fall beside my CAN

    But why Stand I thus Rapping at the Doore

    I’le draw the Latch, & in, & rap no more.

    Let English then to finde its Worth be presst

    Unto the touch of Generalls Speeches test.

    Speech is ye Chrystall Chariot where the minde

    In progress rides, Cart rutting of ye Winde:

    Whose Coachman drives Coach & Coach horses there

    Rattling along the Mouth in at the eare.

    With which our English doth well Comply.

    But not designing this, I this pass by.

    And say when that our Sparkes Divine design

    To have Commerce with other Sparks Divine

    Its minute thoughts doth spruice699 in Speech to send

    As Angells bright unto an honour’d friend

    From whom like Angells it doth much desire.

    Speech therefore is their Holy dayes attire.

    Now that Speech Wealthi’st is, whose Curious Web

    Of finest twine is wrought, not Cumbered

    With Knots, Galls, Ends, or Thrums:700 but doth obtain

    All Golden Rhetorick to trim the same.

    With which our English is as richly dresst

    As those last Oracles crackt o’re this Desk:701

    Whose Web is of the Purest-finest Twine,

    Such Syllables, & Words as well Combine

    Not like the Hebrew which made Bithner lay

    Hajin as Drum, & Drumstick to afray.702

    Transcends the Greek which easily may delude

    With Vowells consonant the blinde & Rude.703

    Whose Double Consonant too ψ Psi is found

    Tort’ring its Tabberstick that makes it sound.

    It doth excell the Latine too for they

    Make Ach a jack on both sides in their fray.704

    What Cases too have these, & how may we

    Them Number right, & know twice six they bee.705

    One Terminations doth our Epithet

    In Number, Gender, & all Cases set.706

    Two to each Substantive will be enough

    Two fives in other Tongues are found too few.707

    Some words of wch should you persue their train

    With Hue-and-Cry, & them for treason rain708

    They’l die before they’l leave the border Stone

    Of Singulariter that thrid bare Don.709

    Some Strumpet like are pregnant found before

    They marri’de are: & these do evermore

    Nun-like live single lives, yet generaliter

    Do pregnant prove by Abbot Old Pluraliter.710

    And as these amble o’re the Cases light,

    Some will not set a foot within the Right.711

    Some stumbling are found in Casu Dandi712

    Some tumble headlong down into Damnandi713

    Some tripping stumble at ye Genetive so,

    Recover not untill in Ablativo.714

    Some stumbling in one Case leape o’re the fence,

    Into Pluraliter’s fat Pastor thence.715

    Some Cripples are, & some are monsters strange,

    Changing their Sex as their their Numbers Change.716

    Some like to light heeld Hares their Sexes Varie

    Some are both Hic, & Haec, both Philip & Mary.717

    Strange Megrim. Oh this birth becomes a Progeny

    Of Heteroclits718 and their Androgyny.

    In the most noble Genders none arrive

    With us, inferiour to sensatives.719

    What cannot unto sensitives arise

    What ere they be we rightly neutralize.720

    Here should I mount upon the back to pace

    Our English Verbs, & run them in the Race

    With those of other Tongues at Small Expenses

    Over the Lay-Crafft721 of the Moods, & Tenses:

    They many would defective leave behinde

    Some broken winded, & some out of winde.

    But time Declines, I must Declentions leave,

    And step into the Loom the Web to weave.

    Yet know you by the way this yarn so fine

    Described hitherto is single twine.

    Which if we double do how doth abound

    Our English Tongue with many a rich Compound?

    Yea we to make them more significant

    Their Handspiks helve with outland Olivant.722

    Hence rare compounds. We also Decorate

    Outlandish Trist with tags of English plate.

    That outland words do end with English Sounds,

    Of which our Languague richly doth abound.723

    The yarn thus rich, & even spun behold

    Our Web more welthy is than cloath of Gold.

    Not full of Ends, & Thrums which do ore spread

    In Useless Particles the Grecian Web.

    Nor is it gaily,724 as some Frizes725 rare,

    Whose Leakes with Subauditoes,726 Corked are.

    And if occasion serve, we from our Treasure,

    Can Duftaile in a Proverb at our pleasure.

    And to enrich the same there’s many a pin

    Of Outland Twine, compleatly wrought therein.

    If we abirding go, we quickly spie

    In English dwells a Grecian Progeny.

    For Hall was Hatchd, & flew from Ἀυλῆ’s nest

    To us, and in our English mode is dresst:727

    Onely we animate her with our flap,

    By Spiriting the feather in her Cap.728

    And so our Lamp will light you by its flame

    To Greces famous λαμπω whence it came.729

    If a Grammarians Beagles out do run

    T’hunt Hebrew Venison i’th’English tongue

    Out of the Hebrew Stubble he shall start

    The Misers Hare Calld Cash, & breake her heart.730 ק ש

    If he afishing go, he angle shall

    Out of the Hebrew Fishpond KOL our Call731 ק וֹ ל

    Our Colledge Supper too doth easely lie

    Encoffin’de up within the Hebrew Pie.732 כּיּ

    Our Web thus wrought, rich Rhetorick steps in

    As golden Lace a Silver Web to trim.

    There’s scarce a Single thrid but doth entwine

    A Trope, or Figure in’t to make it fine.

    Here lies a Metonymy, there doth sculke

    An Irony: here underneath this bulke

    A Metaphor; Synecdoche doth reare

    And open publickly Shopwindows here.

    These and their Offspring their affections spend

    Our Lady English to Court, & tend.

    Of Swashy733 Figures too there throngs in Store

    Her Dressing to Emblanch, & bro[i]der ore.

    And first decks words, & sounds: where jiming734 feet

    Of measurd stepts in Symphony run Sweet:

    Cloathing our English Muse in Poetry:

    Whose warbling Melody let them descry,

    Whose light Souls in their fingers ends do Caper

    And Dance on Ropes with Cur[t]sies to ye Quaver.735

    But still lest Oratories noble Web

    Should not with trim[m]ing meet be overspred,

    With Epizeuxis736 Lace it laced is,

    And trim’d with Chits737 of Anadiplosis.738

    Whose Bunches Climax-wise are rinkt & twirld,

    And with Anaphoras739 its Frontlet’s purld,

    Whose Selvages are of Epistrophe:740

    And tasled in the middst with Symploce,741

    Epenalepsis742 comes with Crisping pins:

    Epanodos743 her welthy Spangles brings.

    So all the rest pearlelike are set, & spred

    Like to Mosaik Work all ore our Web.

    Thus done, the minde each depper744 minute thought

    Spruc’t up in English Huswifry, enwrought

    With rare Embro[i]derings, and laid with lace

    Set out with Silver Chits & Ribbons grace,

    Tasled with Rhetorick, doth deck to set

    Forth Majesty in e’ry single jet.

    Scorning to lower top sayle, or to stand,

    As yielding reverence, with Cap in hand

    To Latine, Greek, or Hebrew, but now clears

    Its right i’th’right hand is as much as theirs.745

    But yet some Stumbling Block, before I winde

    Up all, I must remove, for feare the blinde

    Should breake their Shins thereat. I hope the Wise

    Are Wise enough better to pupillize

    The Stripplings that Stand at bow peep within

    Their Eyes, than t’let them ripple746 here their Shin.

    Call not our English, Upstart, Raw, & Bare,

    Its neither Sacred Web, nor colledge ware.747

    Those Accidentall Jewells onely Venture

    To ring the Eare, but not the Essence enter.

    True, true, for Age, and Oracles Divine

    I honour Adams Tongue, & Javans Shrine,

    Above our own:748 but Latine’s upland ground

    Wherein no Spring of Oracles is found.

    Onely a Sluce is Cut with gray Goose Quills

    Wherein an Holy Water Currant drills,

    Over that barren soile from Sacred Springs

    And Such a trench Such waters in ours brings

    And through all Colledges leaves English Satten

    And Cloathed bee in Hebrew, Greek & Latine,749

    This little doth our arguing impare:

    For ancient folk do ancient fashions ware.

    By what is said it seemeth very Cleare

    That English worth with worthi’st tongues may peare

    And go they t’Best-Betrust to Honours Host

    Those three’l be rubbed out to pay the Cost.750

    But whither wander I? I might expect

    A Si Quis up ere this (was it not neckt)

    For my Conclusion.751 Wherefore taking leave

    I do immediately my Desk bequeath

    To whom, I do not say, with large defences

    Do Gratify, but gratulate their Senses.752


    An Elegy vpon the Death of that Holy man of God Mr. John Allen,753 late Past. of the Church of Christ at Dedham, who departed this Life 25th 6m 1671

    The Flappering Soule for news inclined quakes

    Sits on ye lippit of ye eare, & takes

    All news that that way passes: & withall

    Those dangling Words which from ye lips do fall:

    And as each Puff past with its Packet by,

    (Some full of Sorrow, Some all quilt with joy),

    One dropt’s its Packet in’t which down did fell

    My trembling Soule: & it in Sorrow quell.

    For as a Watchman on a Tower, aboue

    The Breastwork, should his breastplate mostly prove

    If open to ye foe, is oft thereby

    Pepst with the bullets to his heart that fly.

    Or as a Rose by morning dew refresht

    Dilates its leaves, all garnesht in its best:

    And best Perfumes to tend ye Sunny day

    Is by a Lightning Flash, yt passt that way,

    All barbd, & Shrivles vp its leaves. & Why?

    Not knowing what to do, to live, or dy.

    Ev’n so our Souls vp soaring high appear

    Aboue ye vpper Region of ye eare

    Bedeckt with Cheering hopes, with good news wedded

    Are by a Churlish thunder Clap beheaded.

    And Shrivled vp in mourners weeds, & feares.

    Swim ore the Seas of Grief in briny tears.

    And hearing Something Crash, there’s cause to doubt

    Another Stud is broke, or Stake pluckt out

    Out of its place. Hence Sinking fears ascend

    Encountring feeble Hopes: & in ye end

    Inquiring what it was, ye answer briefs

    Destroyd all hope, & drowned Fears with Griefe.

    But what’s the matter? Sir, Shew what is done?

    Pluck out ye Plug, & let ye Causes run.

    Alass! alass! alass! & would you know

    Go, hugge ye bussing aire: It will you she.

    For there the Echoes of our Griefs appeare

    Riding Sedan in Circles far & neer.

    But was it meet wth an Antithesis

    To anagrammatize, the Case is this.

    The GRACES ALL ON Allen showing bright

    Are calld ALL IN to bed & bid Good night

    [          ]

    Temples for Christ, who builded builders yielding

    Of him a testimony full, & just,

    Hath Pitcht his Tabernacle in the Dust.

    A man of truth, who truthed it in love,

    Who loved in peace with man & God aboue,

    Hath now laid down (thô late he laid at Sin)

    His Gospell Hilts, &’s gone out of the Ring.

    How are our Spirituall Gamesters slipt away?

    Crossing their Hilts, & leaving of their play?

    Leaving the ring to vs who’de need before

    We take vp hilts, ye Fencing Schoole implore.

    Are Norton, Newman, Stone, Thompson gone hence?

    Gray, Wilson, Shepherd, Flint, & Mitchell since?

    Eliot, two Mather’s Fathers first, then th’Son,

    Is Buncker’s Woodward’s Rainer’s hourglass run?

    With Davenport’s, Sim’s, Wareham’s? Who are gone?754

    That Allen now is Called hence? Shall none

    Be left behinde to tell’s the Quondam Glory

    Of this Plantation? What a bleeding Story

    Doth this present vs with? Mine eyes boile ore

    Thy gellid teares into this Vrn therefore,

    Wherein their Noble ashes are, & know yee

    ALL ENd in ALLEN, by a Paragoge.755

    Haec maetus additif. E. T.


    An Elogy vpon the Death of the Rend & Learned Man of God Mr. Charles Chauncey756 President of Harvard Colledg in N: Englend Who Depart this Life 20th 12m 1671/2 And of his age 80

    A Double Acrostick


    Come weep with me, alas! alas! that Dew



    Hung on our Eyes by Allens Funerall new757


    As yet is Scarce wipt off, but a Relation



    Raising from Chauncey’s Grave an Exhalation


    Like Some bedewing mist from some low place



    (Exhalde, as Sol doth hide [h]is golden face


    Soon’s thresht by th’South winde to a cloud whereby



    Cold trickling tears run down the low’ring Sky)


    Held vp so’s fan’de with Sighs till it appears


    A Cloud of Griefe Dissolv’d in Showers of tears

    A Quadruble Acrostick whose Trible is an Anagram

    Charles Chauncy

    A Call in Churches

    Peace Sobbing Muse, come sum thy loss



    fter yts done, ye Debts yt are to pay


    Rare Learnings gone, a Pollyglotta



    uriously printed in a Silver Voice


    Extract of Greek & Hebrew; Rabbins



    ptly enshrined in his Temples Gray


    Scutchions of Arts, & Artificiall Skill


    ay boxed in his Memory; at Will


    In Schoolmen oft he Cast a wary Eie


    ntently searching out ye good therebie


    Dark Questions would inlighten & explain


    othing but naughtiness he did disdain


    Each Vertue bright & gift Divine had place


    arbuncle like to Stud his Crown wth Grace


    Neat Handmaid to Divinity whose Wealth


    e did improve vnto or living Health


    These Sweets to That Sweet Hony Devv


    nto the Hive of Piety he drevv


    Diffusing all by Pattern, Preaching clear


    ich Pray’res, & such like thrô his Practice heer



    ea would in flaming Zeal stoutly advance


    ouragously against Goliahs Lance


    ea, yea, he would not spare ym Low or High


    e Smote down Sin, Smiting it Hip & Thigh


    Ensigns hereof hung in Gods house there bee


    mbellist Zeale, like Davids shields there See


    Did many a Call in Churches give yt this


    ounds sad; that calls him hence altho to Bliss



    Glory’s thy Crown. Who’de fear a Tomb t’enjoy



    Such Royall Chance? Or Such a Chancelry


    Such Ryal Chance


    Such a Chancelry

    An Acrostick Chronogram

    An. Dni


    Methinks I se the Churches Swim in Tears


    Considering the failing of their Seers.


    Let Harvard mourn, Sons of the Prophets weep


    Who can forebeare? Your Head is dropt asleep.


    Learning hath left your Hall: Your Sun is Set


    Will not Such Words Command your Eyelid Wet?


    Cast in your minde his Conscience, Cure, & Pains


    Laide out vpon you; How his Candle flaims.


    Chiefly to Kindle yours, & others Well


    With Holy Fire that from the Altar fell?


    Were it but meet this Blessed Waite to lay


    In Golden Scales Comparative to weigh.


    It would no hard thing be for vs to finde


    In weighing how he most doth leave behinde.


    If Peters Faith, Pauls Preaching, Johns Love Strong,


    If Noah’s, Job’s, & Daniels Prayers should come,


    Josiahs Spirit, Hezekiahs Heart,


    If Davids sevenfold Dayly Quests revert


    If that the Tishbites Zeale, who did Destroy


    Vile Baals Priests Smiting them Hip, & Thigh.


    Lay in Elijahs Mantle Oucht, was not


    Vpon Grave Chauncie’s back this mantle got?


    If this Elijahs Mantle, as he went.


    Vnto the Kingdom filld with full Content


    Vnto a man had fallen to inherit,


    With double Portion of Elijahs Spirit,


    Vnto Such Riches Sweet he should attain


    Which would inrich: Then Jordains fordless main


    Vnto his Mantle would afford as due


    Large Reverence, & lowly Conjues shew


    Vnclaspt her Watry Mask that so her Sweet


    Imblushing Sands may kiss Elijahs feet,


    In greate Obeysence. But alas we Stand


    In Tears, & Cry The Char’ots Father and


    Just Horsemen of our Israel, but finde


    It is too rich a gift to leave behinde


    Vp then, & se how he doth Swim in Bliss


    Where he in Glorys Throne incrowned is.


    Whence while his Clay incoffinde is, doth Cry


    Who’de feare a Tomb Such Glory to enjoy?


    Who’de feare the Grave? Death’s but the golden Doore


    Wherein we must vnto bright Glories shore.


    Well, Chauncy, well, thou where thou wouldst be, art.


    We Sink in Sorrow judgment, & the Darke.


    In middst of all ye Combat pray do we


    Inable vs, oh Lord, to Shine as Hee.


    Carolus Chancaeus

    Caelo Charus Canus

    Quam Caelo Charus Canus? Collectus et ipse


    Ano Dni

    In justus legitur qui bene justus erat





    This Dove &

    Olive Branch to


    Is both a Post &

    Emblem too758

    These for M[y Dove]

    Tender & Onely [Love]

    Mrs. Elizabeth [Fitch]759

    at her father’s house in




    27 8m 1674

    These for my truely deare, & Endeared Mrs. Elizabeth Fitch mine Onely Love, in Norwich wth Care—I had thought that my Muse should have added a Quaver or two vnto your Music but yt Stage being so thick a Crowded already, there is Scarce any room for it. All therefore yt She shall doe, shall be onely to take ye tune, where you left it & answer, as it were an Eccho, back again vnto yr Song, in this following Ditty.

    Were but my Muse an Huswife Good, & could

    Spin out a Phansy fine, & Weave it Would

    In Sapphick Web, & Cloath my Love therein,

    I’de Carde ye rowls, She Should ye Phansy Spin.

    But I no Rowling Phansy have to run.

    Nor She Such Silken Huswifry ere Spun.

    Hence Coarse Iambick is ye finest she

    Can weave, my Love arrayed in to bee.

    But if in Discontent my Love reply,

    Iambicum amasti Cur? & why?

    Cause She no Silken Huswife is. Yet thus

    She Quavers out her Iambick feet to vs.

    That long’d for Web of new Relation, gay,

    That must be wove vpon or Wedden Day,

    (Whose Warfe, & Woofe are thy true Love, & mine

    Hearts golden Fleece, spun into finest twine)

    Shines like a Web of fulgent gold, all blancht

    With folds of Hearts, & pritty Harps hence brancht

    Sounding ye Lisping Musick of their Strings

    More pleasant than ye Virginalls can ring

    Enamelled with priviledges bright

    With Honours, Duties, & with pleasure right,

    And Faithfulness, which Stands like pearls, & Smile

    On one another Shining all ye While.

    Yet Cares, & Crosses too amongst these meet,

    Like Vineger wch Sugar makes more Sweet.

    Yet here a richer Veane of Excellence

    Darts thro’ this Wealthy Web, & Sparkles. Whence

    A Pillar doth of dazzling glory rise

    With pious Odours, for a Sacrifice

    As bundles of ye Flaming Sunbeams fly

    To glorify whom all Should glorify

    Thus Glory darts its Web, & Him Divine

    Him with a Direct, That a Reflect Shine.

    But yet as Surryps Spoild, grow soure apace

    And Vermine breed: So fares it in this Case.

    If Duty, Faith, & Love be ragged worn

    Then Honours, Pleasures, Priviledges torne,

    Ly gasping, & ye Lisping Musick Deare

    The Pritty Harps play, jars, & wounds ye Eare.

    The golden thrids, those Heart Strings (to be briefe)

    Chafe, Gaul, & fretting breake, for very Griefe.

    Those Hearts Emblancht on Hearts, are Hearts Steept soe

    In pickled Woes, yt bite as Badgers doe.

    And thus this golden web is, e’re its done,

    As black as Hair-Cloth made, all Snick Snarld run.

    And for its glory (yt Choice Sacrifice)

    A Smoke from Hell, as black as Death doth rise.

    My Sweet Heart, thus ye glorious Sparkling fold

    Of this rich Web, you clearly may behold:

    The Glass of it misvsd will proove its Choice

    That’s Excellent whose Fault’s a grievous vice.

    It now remains: Let’s Cloath ourselves, my Dove

    With this Effulgeant Web, & our pickt Love

    Wrapt vp therein: & lets by walking right

    Loves brightest Mantle make Still Shine more bright

    For then its glory Shall ascend on high

    The Highest One alone to glorify.

    Which rising will let Such a glory fall

    Vpon our Lives yt glorify them Shall.

    Which glory that it may till Death abide

    I make my Pray’re, who do myselfe Subscribe

    Thine whilst Mine Own: & yet mine Own whilst Thine

    Thou being Mine alone, I’m Thine, & Mine.

    Edw: Taylor


    A Funerall Poem Vpon ye Death of my ever Endeared, & Tender Wife Mrs. Elizabeth Taylor, Who fell asleep in Christ ye 7th day of July at night about two hours after Sun setting 1689, & in the 39 yeare of her Life760

    Part 1

    My Gracious Lord, I Licence of thee Crave,

    Not to repine but drop vpon ye Grave,

    Of my Deare Wife a Teare, or two: or wash

    That Milk White hand in tears that downward pass.

    Thou Summond hast her Noble part away:

    And in Salt Tears I would Embalm her Clay.

    Some deem Death doth ye True Love Knot vnty:

    But I do finde it harder tide thereby

    My heart is in’t & will be Squeezd therefore

    To pieces if thou draw the Ends much more.

    Oh Strange Vntying! it ti’th harder: What?

    Can anything vnty a True Love Knot?

    Five Babes thou tookst from me before this Stroke.

    Thine arrows then into my bowells broake,

    But now they pierce into my bosom Smart,

    Do Strike & Stob me in the very heart.

    I’de then my bosom Friend a Comfort, and

    To Comfort: yet my Lord I kiss thy hand.

    I Her resign’d, thou tookst her into thine,

    Out of my bosom, yet she dwells in mine:

    And thou her Precious Soule now Swims in bliss,

    Yet while grim Death, that Dismall Sergeant is,

    Between ye Parts Essentiall now remote,

    And hath this Stately Tabernacle broke

    My Harp is turnd to mourning. Organ Sweet

    Is turn’de into ye Voice of them that weep.

    Griefe Swelling girds the Heart Strings where its purst.

    Vnless it Vent the Vessell Sure will burst.

    My Gracious Lord, grant that my bitter Griefe

    Breath thrô this little Vent hole for reliefe.

    Part 2

    My Dear, Deare Love, reflect thou no Such thing,

    Will Griefe permit you at my Grave to Sing?

    Oh! Black, Black Thorne! The Girths of Griefe alone

    Do gird my heart till Gust of Sorrows groan

    And dash a mournfull Song to pieces on

    The Dolefull Face of thy Sepulcher Stone

    My Onely DOVE, thô Harp & Harrow, loe,

    Better agree than Songs & Sorrows doe.

    Yet Spare me thus to drop a blubber’d Verse

    Out of my Weeping Eyes Vpon thy Herse.

    What shall my Preface to our True Love Knot

    Frisk in Acrostick Rhimes? And may I not

    Now at our parting, with Poetick knocks

    Break a Salt teare to pieces as it drops?

    Did Davids bitter Sorrow at ye Dusts

    Of Jonathan raise Such Poetick gusts?

    Do Emperours interr’d in Verses lie?

    And mayn’t Such Feet run from my Weeping Eye?

    Nay, Dude lies vpon mee much: & shall

    I in thy Coffin naile thy Vertues all?

    How shall thy Babes & theirs thy Vertuous shine

    Know, or Persue vnless I them define.

    Thy Grace will Grace vnto a Poem bee

    Althô a Poem be no grace to thee.

    Impute it not a Crime then if I weep

    A Weeping Poem on thy Winding Sheet.

    May be Some Angell may my Poem Sing

    To thee in Glory, or relate the thing.

    Which if he do, my mournfull Poem may

    Advance thy Joy, & my Deep Sorrow lay.

    Part 3

    Your Ears, Bright Saints, & Angells: them I Choose

    To Stough her Praises in: I’le not abuse.

    Her Modesty would blush should you profess,

    I in Hyperboles her praises dress.

    Wherefore as Cramping Griefe permits to Stut

    Them forth accept of Such as here I put.

    Her Husbands Joy, Her Childrens Chiefe Content

    Her Servants Eyes, Her Houses Ornament.

    Her Shine as Child, as Neighbour, flies abroad

    As Mistress, Mother, Wife: her Walke with God

    As Child she was a Tender Pious Bud

    Of Pious Parents, Sprang of Pious Blood

    Two Grandsires, Gran’ams: one or two, she had

    A Father too & Mother, that englad

    The Gracious heart to thinke vpon, they were

    Bright Pillars in Gods Temple shining cleare

    Her Father, & her Mothers Father fix

    As Shining Stars in Golden Candlesticks,

    She did Obedient, Tender, Meek Child prove

    The Object of her Fathers Eye, & Love.

    Her Mother being Dead, her heart would melt

    When she her Fathers looks not pleasant felt.

    His smile Would her enliven, Frown, down pull

    Hence she became his Child most Dutifull.

    As Neighbour, She was full of Neighbourhood

    Not Proud, or Strang; Grave, Courteous, ever good.

    Compassionate: but vnto none was Soure.

    Her Fingers dropt wth Myrrh oft, to her power.

    As Mistress She order’d her Family

    With all Discretion, & most prudently

    In all things prompt: Dutie in this respect

    Would be ye meanest in it not neglect:

    Ripe at her Fingers Ends, Would nothing flinch

    She was a neate good Huswife every inch.

    Although her weakenesse made her let alone

    Things so to go, as made her fetch a groan.

    Remiss was not, nor yet severe vnto

    Her Servants: but i’th golden mean did goe.

    As Mother, Oh! What tender Mother She?

    Her bowells Boiled ore to them yt bee

    Bits of her tender Bowells. She a Share

    Of her affections ever made them ware.

    Yet never chose to trick them, nor herselfe

    In an tick garbs; or Lavishness of Wealth.

    But was a Lover much of Comeliness:

    And with her Needle work would make their Dress,

    The Law of Life wthin her Lips she would

    Be dropping forth vpon them as shee should

    Foolishly fond she was not but would give

    Correction wisely, that their Soule might Live.

    As Wife, a Tender, Tender, Loving Meet,

    Meeke, Patient, Humble, Modest, Faithfull, Sweet

    Endearing Help she was: Whose Choisest Treasure

    Of Earthly things she held her Husbands pleasure.

    But if she spi’de displeasure in his face,

    Sorrow would Spoile her own, & marr its grace.

    Dear Heart! She would his Joy, Peace, Honour, Name,

    Even as her very Life, Seeke to mentain.

    And if an hasty word by chance dropt in:

    She would in Secret Sigh it or’e with him.

    She was not wedded vnto him alone

    But had his joy, & sorrow as her own.

    She, where he chanc’t to miss, a Cover would lay

    Yet would in Secret fore him all Display

    In meekness of Sweet wisdom, & by Art,

    As Certainly would come into the heart.

    She laid her neck vnto ye Yoake he draws:

    And was his Faithfull Yoake Mate, in Christ Cause.

    As to her walk with God, She did inherit

    The very Spirits of her Parents Spirit:

    She was no gaudy Christian, or gilt Weed:

    But was a Read, Israelite indeed.

    When in her Fathers house God toucht her Heart,

    That Trembling Frame of Spirit, & that Smart,

    She then was vnder very few did know:

    Whereof she somewhat to ye Church did show.

    Repentance now’s her Work. Sin poyson is:

    Faith carries her to Christ as one of his.

    Fear Temples in her heart; Love flowers apace

    To God, Christ, Grace Saints, & ye Means of Grace.

    She’s much in Reading, Pray’re, Selfe-Application

    Holds humbly vp, a pious Conversation.

    In wch she makes people [     ]

    Which vnto Westfield Church [     ] did disclose

    Holy in Health; Patient in Sickness long.

    And very great. Yet gracious Speech doth throng:

    She oft had vp, An Alwise God Doth this.

    And in a filiall way ye Rod would kiss.

    When Pains were Sore, Justice can do no wrong,

    Nor Mercy Cruell be; became her Song.

    The Doomsday Verses much perfum’de her Breath,

    Much in her thoughts, & yet she fear’d not Death.


    An Elegy vpon ye Death of yt Holy & Revd Man of God, Mr. Saml Hooker761 Pastor of ye Church of Christ at Farmington, & Son to ye Famous Mr. Thomas Hooker, who was Pastor of, & began with ye Church of Christ at Hartford on Connecticut in N: Engld, who slept in Christ, ye 6th day of November, about one a Clock in ye morning in ye 64 year of his age entered vpon, Annoque Dni 1697

    Griefe sometimes is a duty, yet when Greate

    And geteth vent, it Non-Sense Sobs, doth speake

    Cutting off Sentences by Enterjections

    Made by ye force of hard beset Affections.

    Should I in mine pass thrô this Hemisphere

    And beg of ev’ry Eye a Trickling teare

    To wash thy Tombe, Deare Hooker, bright therein,

    All would not Drown ye Griefe that thence doth Spring

    Shall thy Choice Name here not embalmed ly

    In those Sweet Spices whose perfumes do fly

    From thy greate Excellence? It surely would

    Be Sacraledge thy Worth back to withhold.

    Lord Spare the Flock. Shall brave brave Jon’than dy?

    And David’s place be empty? Sling ly by?

    Before their heads those Almond Trees are white

    And ere they’re mellow’d by old age’s weight?

    When Birds new Hatcht ware, as in nest they ly,

    Presbytick Down, Pinfeatherd Prelacy

    (Young Cockerills, whose Combs soare vp like Spires

    That force their Dams, & Crow against their Sires?)

    Dost thou withdraw? & now? Where are thy Spurs?

    Then to be had? Whose sight would work demurrs.

    Where hast thou left thy Strenth, & Potency?

    And Congregationall Artillery?

    We need the Same, & need it more, & more

    For Babel Canons gainst our Bulwark roare.

    2 To New England

    Alas! alas! New England, go weep.

    Thy loss is greate in him: For he did keep

    Within thine Orb as a bright shining Sun

    To give thee Light, but now his race is run.

    And thô his Epicycle was but Small

    His Shining Beams did fly to lighten all.

    He was in Person neat, of lesser Sise,

    With Ruddy Looks, & with quick rowling eyes,

    His Head a Magazeen of Wisdom rich,

    With Spirits fan’d from foggy Vapours which

    Do Reason cloud: a Fine Spun Fancy, Quick,

    Producing Notions brave, & Rhetorick.

    A Son of Such a Father, whose name Flew

    Like Sweet Perfume o’re Englands Old, & New.

    A Son, thô youngest, yet yt did inherit,

    A noble portion of his Fathers Spirit.

    Wise, Pious, Prudent, had a Strong, Cleare Head,

    That entertaind ye Strength of what he red.

    Grave, not Morose, Courteous, yet did Command

    A Distance due, & by a gentle hand.

    Not Verbous, yet his lips would oft distill

    Brave Apophthegms, Facete Wit, & Skill.

    In Councill Choice, deliberate, & full.

    In Disputation Acute. Home, not Dull

    Meek as a Lamb, yet as a Lion, hee

    Could put on Majesty, if needs must bee.

    Keen in Rebukes yet Candid, Corrosive

    Where Cases calld, would to ye bottom rive.

    A True Peace-Maker, Farmington may say,

    Offt in ye fire, & Flame of others fray

    Cala[     ]y-Gem like quencht it, & as fring’d

    With Salamanders Woole, he was not Sindg’d.

    He Steady was: Not on, & Off. His Minde

    John Baptist like’s no Reed Shook with ye Winde.

    Concocted not, thô neatly minced Slops,

    A mess of Windmills, or of Weather Cocks.

    Not Esau like selling his choiceffree S[ ]age

    Then left his Birthright for a bowl of Pottage.

    He, & ye best of Queens we thus describe’m

    Agreeing in one Motto Semper idem.

    A Box of Jewells, String of Pearls bright, High.

    Of Heavenly Graces a Sweet Spicery.

    Humble, & full of Selfe abasement, thô

    Such Excellency did in him e’re flow.

    A Rich Divine: a Pastour very choice

    Dispensing Grace, with a Sweet piercing voice

    (Like to ye Still Small Voice Elijah heard)

    That rended Rocks, & Satans Intrest marr’d.

    In Prayre Sweet, ye musick of which String

    Celestiall Wealth vnto ye Earth would bring

    Like little Paul in Person, Voice, & Grace

    Advancing Christ & Sinfull things out race.

    The Sacred Writ with joy he did attend

    And Scriptures dropt even at his fingers end.

    A Weighty Preacher: never notion Sick.

    An Angel in a Golden Candlestick.

    He had ye knack of Preaching: & did dart

    Christs fiery Shafts into ye flinty heart;

    Till it was broken: Then ye Smarting wound

    Would dress with Gilliads Balm to make it sound.

    The Gospell [          ] well he knew

    Barjona was; & Boanerges true.

    Great Gregry, its said, did Peters Coffin Wrest

    Wide ope, & found his Keyes in’t. (Oh! well Blesst)

    But Hooker bravely handed Aaron Rod

    Christ’s own Choice Keyes, & gently, & for God.

    A Loving Husband; tender Father, who

    With Pious, Rich Discourse, yt was well Spic’d

    With Gospell Grace, to bring them vp to Christ.

    And holy Councill on them he would shoure

    With Death Bed Charges till his dying hour.

    But seing Death Creep on his Fingers ends,

    And on his Hands, & Arms bespeake his Friends

    Thus, Saying, They are Dead, you see and I

    Have done with them: warm cloaths thereto apply,

    But Death admits no check mate. Out he poures

    His Soul on Christ. On him they weep May showers.

    But art thou gone, Brave Hooker, hence? & Why?

    What, wast thou weary of thy Ministry?

    Or weari’d out by thy fed flock? Alas!

    Or did the Countrey’s Sin it bring to pass?

    He was a Samuel in his place, & breath

    Let Israel do him honour at his Death.

    Mourn, mourn, New England, alas! alas!

    To see thy Freckled Face in Gospell Glass:

    To feele thy Pulse, & finde thy Spleen’s not well:

    Whose Vapors raise thy Pericordium t’swell:

    Do suffocate, & Cramp thee & grow worse

    By Hypochondrick Passions of the purse

    Affect thy Brains toucht with ye Turn, till thou

    Halfe Sick of Preachers falst, & Gospell Plow.

    Such Symptoms say, if nothing else will ease,

    Thy Sickness soon will cure thy sad Disease.

    For when Such Studs, as Stop, & Scotch ye Way

    Of thy Declensions are remov’d thy bay,

    Apostasy wherewith thou art thus driven

    Vnto ye tents of Presbyterianism

    (Which is refined Prelacy at best)

    Will not stay long here in her tents, & rest,

    But o’re this Bridge will carry thee apace

    Into ye Realm of Prelates arch, ye place

    Where open Sinner vile vnmaskt indeed

    Are Welcom Guests (if they can say ye Creed)

    Vnto Christs Table, While they can their Sins

    Atone in Courts by offering Silverlings.

    Watch, watch thou then: Reform thy life: Refine

    Thyselfe from thy Declentions. Tend thy line.

    Steeples ware Weathercocks: but Turrits gain

    An Happiness vnder a Faithfull Vane.

    And weep thy Sins away, lest woe be nigh.

    For Angells with thy Lots away do high.

    Part 3 To Connecticut

    Mourn, mourn, Connecticut, thou’st lost a Gem:

    A Carbuncle, (& thou hast few of them)

    Is fallen from thy Crown, a Sun full bright

    Is set, bidding thine Horizon good night.

    Mourn Hartford, mourn; a bud of thine is gone:

    A Gem that grew on thy Foundation Stone

    (Not Stone’s,762 but Hooker’s who did in thee Shrine

    In Light, Life, Line, & Gospell Discipline)

    Who griev’d to see thee warpt from thy foundation

    And leave thy first Love thus, & Education.

    Of all thy Sons thou hast not Such another

    To Stay thy Head, & heart from ill recover.

    Part 4

    Alas poor Farmington, of all ye rest

    Most Happy, & Vnhappy, Blesst vnblesst:

    Most Happy having Such an Happiness:

    And most vnhappy losing of no less.

    Oh! mourn, & weep, remember thou ye Call

    Thy Prophet gave thee to’t before his fall.

    Oh Daughter of my people, that last text

    Gird thee with Sackcloth. Wallow thee perplext

    In ashes. mourn thee lamentably

    As for an onely Son, weep bitterly,

    For loe, ye Spoiler suddenly shall come

    Vpon vs. And his Sermon being done

    The motive to ye Call, ye Prophesy

    Had an accomplishment before your eye.

    For he much Spent desired you to Sing

    A Psalm while he refresht & rested him.

    Which done he prayed over you intent,

    Dismist you with a blessing briefe, & bent

    Vnder ye Spoiler down, yt Suddenly

    Assaulted him, & gave discharg thereby

    Vnto his pulpit of all right of Claim

    For ever after in this man of Fame.

    He bowing goes vnto a neighbours, whence

    After a while he rideth home from thence

    Betook him to his dying Bed perfum’d

    With prayers to God, & Charges he assum’d

    And laid his friends & Wife & Children vnder

    While five dayes run, & Illiak pains did thunder.

    That Hooker now by this Sharp tyranny

    Forcing things back yt should go on, should dy.

    Lord grant it ben’t an Omen of or Fate,

    As shewing our apostate following State.

    Then mourn poore Church, thy Prophets race is run

    As for a Father, or an onely Son.

    After three tens, & Seven years were past

    Vnder thy rocky hill by him, at last

    He thus doth leave thee. Search into thy Sin

    Repent, & grieve that ere thou grievedst him.

    Or rather, God in him, lest Suddenly

    The Spoiler still should on thee come & stroy.

    Lord art thou angry with ye Flock, yt thou

    Dost slay their Shephard? Or dost disallow

    The Fold, & lay it Common that thou smite

    Down dost ye shory yt vpheld it right?

    Shall angling cease? & no more fish be took?

    That thou callst home thy Hooker with his Hook?

    Lord, Spare ye flock: vphold ye fold from falling.

    Send out another Hooker of this Calling.

    Part 5. To ye Family Relict

    Thou mourning Family, what shall I say?

    Shall Passion, or compassion o’re me Sway?

    It is a day of Griefe. Tears are a Dress

    Becoming vs, come they not to excess.

    Then keep due measure. Should you too much bring

    Your too much is too little far for him.

    Thou mourning Widdow!763 oh! how Sad? how Sharp?

    Poor bleeding Soule! how turned is thy Harp

    Into ye Voice of mourning? Organ Sweet

    Into ye bitter Voice of them that weep.

    But yet cheere vp: New England layes her head

    To thine, to weep with thee over thy Dead.

    Thou may’st therefore Spend fewer tears of Sorrow

    Out of thine own, thou dost so many borrow.

    Christs Napkin take, Graces green Taffity

    And wipe therewith, thy Weeping, watry eye

    And thou shalt See thy Hooker all o’re gay

    With Christ in bliss, adorn’d with Glories Ray.

    And putting out his shining hand to thee,

    Saying, My Honey, mourn no more for mee.

    That Love wrongs both yt wills mee with thee hence.

    But joy to see my joy, & Glory mence.

    In Faith, Obedience, Patience, walk awhile

    And thou shalt Soon leape o’re ye parting Stile.

    And come to God, Christ Angells, Saints, & Mee.

    So we in Bliss together e’re shall bee:

    When we did wed, we such a mortall took.

    And ever from that day for this did look

    Wherein we parted are; & one should have

    Griefe, I o’re thy, or thou over my grave.

    The Lot is cast on thee. I first must go

    And leave thee weeping o’re my Grave in woe.

    But Stay thy Sorrow: bless my Babes. Obey.

    And soon thou shall with mee enjoy good day.

    And as for you his Buds, & Blossoms blown,

    Stems of his Root, his very Flesh, & Bone,764

    You needs must have great droopings, now ye Tree

    Is fallen down ye boughs w[h]ereof you bee.

    You have a Father lost, & Choice one too.

    Weeping for him is honour due from you.

    Yet let your Sorrows run in godly wise

    As if his Spirits tears fell from your eyes.

    Strive for his Spirit: rather Christ’s, than His

    To dwell, & not his Flesh, yourselves to bliss.

    Its pitty these in him conjoyn’d, vp grew.

    Together, should be parted here in you.

    Plants of a Noble Vine, a Right, Right Seed.

    Oh! turn not to a Strange Wild vine or Weed.

    Your Grand sire were a Chiefe Foundation Stone

    In this Blesst Building: Father was well known

    To be a Chiefe Good Builder in ye Same

    And with his might did ever it mentain.

    Your Grandsire’s Spirit thrô your Father breathd

    In Life, & on you, as his Life he leav’d.

    Striving to breath into your hearts his Spirit

    As out of him it passed, to inherit.

    Ben’t like Such babes as parents brains outpull

    To make a Wassill Bowie then of ye Skull.

    That Pick their Parents eyes out, & ye holes

    Stuff vp with folly: as if no braind Souls.

    You are of better form than this Sad guise

    Yet beare this Caution: Some apostatise

    And strive your Sires, & Grandsires Life, & Line

    Thrô you their Flesh, & blood may brightly shine.

    Imminde your Father’s Death bed Charge & aime.

    You are his Very Flesh, & Blood, & Name.

    The NAME of HOOKER precious in our story

    Make you more precious, adding to its Glory,

    At the Bright flaming Sun of Righteousness,

    With a Celestiall Light, e’re burning fresh.

    A Cabbinet of Vertue, ever brave.

    A Magazeen of Counsill, Weighty, Grave.

    A Treasury of Grace, th’Imbroideries

    Of th’Holy Ghost in Heart, & Life here lies

    A Temple bright of Piety in print,

    To glorify yt God that dwelled in’t.

    A Stage of War, Whereon ye Spirits Sword

    Hew’d down ye Hellish foes yt did disturb:

    A Cage whose bird of Paradise therein

    Did sing Sweete Musick forth to glories King.

    A Silver Trumpet of ye Temple bright

    Blown by an Angell of Celestiall light

    A Temple deckt, & with all graces spic’de

    For God the Father, Spirit, & for Christ.

    A Golden Pulpit Where an Angell Choice

    Preacht Zions Grace with Sinai’s thundering voice.

    An Oratore of Prayre, which, rapt vp, hopt

    Vp Souls to Heaven, Heaven down to Souls oft knockt.

    Were there a Metempsychosis, we say

    Greate Hookers Soule, Sure, nee possest this Clay.

    Elijah’s Mantle, & ye dust yt fell

    Of th’ Charriot, & ye Horse of Israel.

    Scarce ever dust more glorious made for bliss

    With glorious Grace, or better vsd than this,

    That here now Stript of all that Wealth, & Station

    Doth lie, yet firmly holds its high Relation.

    And here we leave it, till ye last Dayes Shoute

    Breaking its Coffin brings it glorious out.

    And wipe those drops wrung from thy Winding Sheet

    Brave Sir off from our Eyes, that weeping keep,

    With thy White Lawn thou wearst in Glory Gay,

    Charming our Griefe therewith, Amen we say.

    His Epitaph

    A turffe of Glory, Rich, Celestiall Dust,

    A Bit of Christ here in each Cradle thrust

    An Orb of Heavenly Sunshine: a bright Star

    That never glimmerd: ever Shining faire.

    A Paradise bespangled all with Grace:

    A Curious Web o’relaid with holy lace

    A Magazeen of Prudence: Golden Pot

    Of Gracious Flowers never to be forgot

    Farmingtons Glory, & its Pulpit Grace

    Lies here a Chrystallizing till ye trace

    Of Time is at an end & all out run.

    Then shall arise & quite outshine ye Sun.


    An Elogy vpon ye Death of My Hond Sister in Law Mrs Mehetabel Woodbridge,765 wife of the Revd Mr. Timothy Woodbridge, Pastor of ye first Church in Hartford, who departed this life 20th day 10m 1698

    That Griefe, Deare Sister, ore thy Coffin’d Clay

    So stobs my Heart, so Stuffs my Lungs, yt they

    Want room within their Warehouse t’work, & so

    Were not mine Eyes their Cupping Glasses to

    Draw out that Fog, my Spirits would before

    The Cordiall Aire drawn thrô ye Vitall Doore

    Could them revive, faint quite without reliefe.

    Choakt with ye Rising of ye Lungs thrô Griefe.

    Mine Eyes do hatch their Moisture into Pearles

    Mater-perlarum like, within their Shells.

    And Stud thy Coffin with them, quilted ore

    With Wealthy Vertues decking thee before.

    Let ev’ry one an answer to mee bring

    That hath a Teare to wash a Sorrow in

    Whether we have not ground to make our Eyes

    An Altar at this Tomb to Sacrifice

    A Flood of Tears vpon? Its rare to see

    Such precious Dust as Coffin’d here have wee.

    Choice Dust indeed! Dust drilld thrô Choisest pipes

    Into this Vrn: Oh! how this Dust invites

    Our Eyes to Weeping? Oh! its dust yt Came

    Out of ye Quarys three bright Pairs of Fame

    Thy Grandsires Hains,766 & Willis,767 Brightsom Stars

    Connecticuts first, & Choice Governours

    And their Choice Mates, thy Grandams, did so shine

    Bedeckt with beams of Grace, & Life Sublime

    That their Rich Graces shining bright was such

    That would, if possible, make grace to Grutch768

    In other pious Souls, when they should finde

    Their Brightest Graces left so far behinde.

    Modesty while thy Fathers Eyes boile ore,

    His Griefe into thy ashes, having Store

    Forbids my pen, that honour due to thee

    To vtter thence. Yet this to say its Free

    From’s Prim Rose hee to Almond age did Stand

    And Exercise a Magistratick hand,

    In Pious wise. But oh thy Mother Ruth769

    Now Dead, of her my pen is free in truth

    To draw her Shine vpon thy Dust, She were

    A Magazeen of Graces bright, & Cleare.

    Which on thee dropt in Life & as it fled

    Perfuming of thy Dust here Coffined.

    But view ye mortall Frame aright, While as

    It tween ye Cradle, & ye Coffin was.

    The Picture of her Mother in’t she grew

    A Gentlewoman neate, accomplishd, true;

    Quick, Witty, Lovely, Prudent, Grave discreet,

    Kinde, Modest, Affable, & yet would keep

    A Distance due becoming of her place

    And parentage, adorned with a Grace.

    A Bride Successively to Levites three770

    Attending them becoming that degree.

    Her Inward man a Storehouse of rich ware.

    Of Sanctifying Grace, yt made all fair.

    God-Glorifying Shines hence role in Christ.

    Adorning of her Life all over spic’d

    With Grace, Prayre, Holy Reading, Meditation

    Rich Good Discourse. Of Holy Conversation

    An Humble Soule, a Gracious Christian, Meek

    A Loving Wife, a Tender Mother Sweet,

    Obedient Daughter, Sister very Deare

    A Prudent Mistress, Good Neighbor here.

    An Huswife very good, & very neate

    In all Relations comely, & Compleate

    Made Mother Sixteen times, Eleven Stems

    Have Stemd ye Currant to ye Realm of Gems

    Have shot ye Gulph before her, to rejoyce

    Her landing in ye Port of Paradise.

    Five of her Buds behinde her here survive,

    To keep her Vertues, & her Life alive.771

    On whom her Mothers blessing, dying, fell.

    Them to enrich with Wealth yt doth excell.

    Her last Babe brought Deaths Charriot to her Doore:

    In which before she entred, she boyld ore

    With Gracious breathings, dropping vpon all,

    That came a nigh her with her death bed Call.

    That Christ should dy for Sinners! dy for such!

    Was on her Heart; it did affect her much.

    And in greate Faith fain would have pray’re convay

    Her Soule to Christ out of her Tent of Clay.

    Come, one more Pray’re, & Then.—said shee as thô

    She should be where she would bee. Ending so

    At last while all by, sunke in Sorrows deep,

    She entred in Death’s Chariot in a Sleep.


    A funerall Tear dropt vpon ye Coffin of [that holy man of] God, Doctr Increase Mather, Teacher of ye North Church in Boston & pro tempore President of ye Colledg at Cambridge772

    Nigh Sixty years ago I wept in verse

    When on my Shoulders lay thy Fathers herse773

    And now thy Learning & thy piety

    Do loudly call for mourning poetry.

    Should Silence now be hid our Sorrows big

    To get a vent would breake thy Coffin lid.

    Is not [en]during t’smoothred ly in Chest

    Which pleasant were while the Same [is] possest

    All fitting then for Christs rich gospell worke

    The wch then thou [          ]

    But now all Silenced be! tho then [     ]

    Thy pulpits empty: now [     ]

    It’s full of Sorrow & of Sorrows guise

    And hearts are filld with sorrows sorrows rise

    Thy Learning & thy pious life so vext

    [          ]

    And nowhere thee, & in thee [     ] their vice

    Didst wickedly, & wretchedly Scorn Christ

    Making thyselfe their Maypole M[     ] game

    Like Swine yt in ye [     ] wall wthall profane

    Oh! hell black tribe markt out for hell these bee

    Such are ye fruites of ye curst dogberry tree.

    Choosing Romes filthy Whore their godless gay

    Whose Sacrifice was made a Maypole play.

    [     ] Christ hence & all his holy Laws.

    And choosing Flora with her whorish Cause.

    Who made thee black by their more black aspects

    Who for Romes pagan Whore here Christ reject

    Who sing this harlots song: & dance her tunes

    Hell[          ] of Doom

    Hell claims such for her own should they should die

    The Court accepts her plea, nor can’t deny.

    She’d draw her plea still higher & still Christ

    Still on on justice if denide, Vnjust

    It would complain of Heaven too hereby

    Guilty of theft & woefull robbery

    To think of Such acts, makes ye Heavy Heart

    To tremble & for feare to makes a start

    Hence Passion, & Compassion fighting Strive

    Whether of ym two should dy or wch Survive

    Such things as these did make thee often Sob

    But Cutler’s774 Cutiery gave th’killing Stob.

    [     ] consider Sure Christ word stands true

    Even it, or else thyselfe shall Surely rue.

    And seeing Gods word is true, repent & dread

    Mans frothy brains can’t Helmet thy proud head

    Christs wounded Saints & Churches have their stings

    Which ere’t belong will make Sinners within

    To Smart: repent then e’re it be too late

    Lest then eternally smart in ye horrid Lake.

    Who found their faith on Man either greate or Small

    They found on Sand, their building soon will fall.

    Vpon their Heads at last, tho’ they indeed

    Have filld their heads with much & better Speed

    But thou deare Sir chose not ye World to seek

    But didst resolve a better game to keep

    Didst rather choose to run a better race,

    Than Hide-&-Seek, but oft & always chose

    A Breath at Barly breaks or Prison base

    Of Gospell games wch is an Heavenly race

    When other many thro’ some vgly vice

    Like Soure Skegs Fell off from Jesus Christ

    When many left Christ holy word thou stondst fixt to’t

    Which makes my gray goose quill commence thy poet

    Whom many Christ Sweet [     ] much disprise

    And did with pagan Rome her Sacrifice

    Vnto yt Whore yt gave her Whorish stuffe

    To Such base pranks as made Grace Cat[     ]ush

    But thou thy peoples joy, thy pulpits glory

    Thy Country Happiness, thy Happy story

    When yt or Church [          ]

    [          ] sadle and didst ride

    Vnto White Hall,775 & of or gracious King

    Didst gain a New one & home with thee bring.

    Thou with thy pen hast playd Christ intrest Deare:

    And hast recorded his blesst doings here.

    For future ages to behold ye Same

    And hast Embellished his blessed Name.

    But now Deaths Cickle hath thee reapt, Christ Corn,

    Whom by bright Angells art to’s Granry born.

    Away to Heavens Palace there to Sing

    Sweet Hallelujahs vnto Christ our king

    With glorified Saints & Angell bright

    In Davids Michtam all in glorious white

    And in this State I end my mournfull Story

    And End my notes yt leave thee in Endless glory.


    Verses made vpon Pope Joan776

    An English Priest with’s femall brother went

    And here yt brother lay in; out then sent

    Vnto ye Priest, his father, Gilbert namd,

    The child vp grew, soon learning good obtaind

    A promp disputant grew: was men beside

    In [     ] in inky pig Sty & abide

    Did still therein a Certain time & will

    And now broke out his sharpend wit yt still

    Acts quickly shew ymselves & out do Crawle

    Will not lie hid vnder a monkish cawle

    Gilbert ye Name is purely Masculine

    But Natures nature markes it for a Feminine

    But be it Hic or Haec its dads delight

    And for an Epicene we still it write.

    But Gilbert is masculine yt Cheate we see

    Is hood winckt with ye name tho’ He or She

    Time will disclose yt Secret with its roofe

    When nature’s not conceald vnder a moofe777

    But let ye babe a pullet be as still

    It soon will shew if’t be a Cockrill

    But what’s designd of knavery to bee

    We leave ye Case itself & say judge yee.

    In Athens grindlestone she sharpend her wit

    And so to play ye knave shes much more fit

    She tarries not at Athens but doth soon

    Takes vp her trugwheles & so jogs to Rome.

    And here a glorious name obtains even then

    Not so much ’mong ye Vulgar as with learned men

    And here an English learnd man doth peare

    Here a glory greet her Leo in den

    She’s judgd full learned by ye clergy men

    Yea Gilbert is held to be such by th’imperiall Voice

    And so is hipt in Peters Chair in a trice

    And proovs as arch as any of them all

    And John the Eighth is now her coment all

    Now Jack & Jin is now the Common theme

    The Popedom now’s a filthy Epicene.

    And thus we see how popedoms natures vary

    As Cleveland778 tunde it out of Philip & Mary

    And as ye lustfull Sparrow here wee see

    Haec Aquila an Eagle he or shee

    Bishops, Priests, Deacons Will-fill Consecrated

    Temples & Altars raisd Mass Celebrated

    She sacraments administers also,

    Temples & Churches Consecrated shew

    She Crowneth Kings, doth mighty Nobles dubs

    The backs of Such she Stately claps & rubs.

    Sends gifts to Kings, most consecrated toys

    And most ridiculous to wise mens Eyes.

    Holds out her Stinking toes to them to kiss

    And Such as other popes did, so doth this

    This Female Father big with Child soon grew

    She now big bellid was, yet known by few.

    This female Father hood of Popedom had

    As Cockery yt had for her his tred.

    And on her secretly within her nest

    That matter was performd as was held best.

    This Cockrill was sly shewd not his wings

    Nor shewd his Spurs nor Cockscumb but out brings

    His manly instrument yt did ye deed

    But did enclosit vp as all did Speed.

    Gilbert indeed wch is his proper theme

    Is quickly evidencd an Epicene.

    For her ye lustfull Sparrow doth agree

    With Aquilla an Eagle Hee or She.

    The Greeks vse genders onely three. We know

    The Roman tongue hath five & so

    His Fatherhood can in no wise Spare Such

    A gender as ye Gendering pope vse much.

    Resolve me Sir, & if your Headship can

    Which sutes you best ye Woman or ye Man

    The Common gender sutes yt gendring pope.

    And such is [     ] Sir, a well twist rope.

    The Common Gender necessarily

    Doth with ye pope in best of all comply.

    Your Chastity pretended out did thrust

    Such Sorrowfull Words of Gregory pope full just

    When yt his fish pond sends him for fish,

    A many Babies Sculls, a vsuall dish

    Whereon he burst out & it thus was turnd

    Its better far to marry than lust burn’d.

    The Common Gender you make vse of most

    As yt wch best delights your ghostly ghosts

    Your Popedom in dad Gilbert prooves with child

    It brake its prison, So your game is Spoild.

    In his processioning from the Vatican

    To th’Lateran, between Old Nero’s whelp out ran

    His very Guts & so this bastard Spawn

    Not far from those then: a pope whence its fawn

    His belly broke & out rowld ye bastard [     ]

    And in this Childing place is raisd a Cross

    That doth commemorate this Popedom loss.

    And in this Childing place where In’s brought bed

    It is recorded th’pope doth never tread

    And now old Sir, whether you laugh or frown

    You ware her Cleaning on your triple Crown

    Pope Jone’s hard travell did he after bare

    The glorious Stoole calld ye Porphory Chair

    The Spurs & Comb are signs yt often faile

    A surer note is found lying in ye taile

    And hence ye youngest deacon’s made ye toole

    To tunn ye bird even at ye Porphory Stoole

    Fit for to ware yt triple Crown so gay

    And Canning him lest that he be or may

    A Pullet prove & lay another Egge in th’popes warm bed

    [          ]

    In Peters Chair & where he [     ] found

    And now he’s found by feeling he is round

    Surrounded is, & forthwith is Crownd

    Such [     ] matters popish [     ]

    Do stuff religion with worse than Scoggins jests.

    The Editor communicated by title the following paper by Mr. Peter Oliver:

    The Boston Theatre, 1800

    THE variety of entertainment proffered the Boston public in 1800 by the management of the resident theatrical company ranged from Romeo and Juliet to such anonymous eccentricities as Mother Pitcher, or The Lynn Fortune Teller. Early in January Giles L. Barrett, the manager, could have been heard as Shylock—“A Daniel come to judgment. Yea a Daniel!”—and a few weeks later as Wolsey bidding a long farewell to all his greatness. From these heights of tragedy came the inevitable descent into melodrama, followed, happily, by a rise again into comedy with the lighter and more frivolous strains from the songsters and comedians.

    While, despite the music by Dr. Arnold, the Chorus of Moors from Colman’s Mountaineers,

    The sun is sunk and from afar

    See the pale bright evening star,

    Soon the wolf begins to prowl. . . .

    leaves one today with slight regret at having been born too late to enjoy a performance of this once popular favorite, a later song in the same play sounds more attractive:

    Think you your tawny Moor is true, pretty Agnes,

    If I wish for ought but you, this it is dear Agnes,

    Tis to hear the music tinking

    While the lusty wine I’m drinking

    Nothing more dear Agnes.

    Tink-a-tink the music goes,

    While the gugling liquor flows.

    Gugling gugling, glug-a-glug

    Gugling gugling, glug-a-glug

    Glug-a-glug, dear Agnes

    Glug-a-glug, dear Agnes.

    Nearly all the many songs of John O’Keefe and William Shield are good; some are still remembered, such as “Amo Amas I Love a Lass” with its

    O how bella

    My puella.

    and its chorus:

    Rorum Corum Sunt Divorum

    Harum Scarum divo

    Tag-rag-merry-derry, periwig, and hat-band

    Hic hoc horum, gentitivo.

    It is no wonder that The Agreeable Surprise, by the same two, was still popular in 1800 though it had been playing steadily since 1781. O’Keefe, in his recollections, says that the great Macklin, on the first night, said it was the best farce in the English language except The Son-in-Law (also by O’Keefe), and though this comment comes perhaps from a prejudiced source, O’Keefe was a modest man.

    There is room for one more quotation, Lingo’s song from Act I of The Agreeable Surprise, which in the performance in Boston on March 28, 1800, was sung by Mr. Villiers:

    1. Such beauties in view I

    Can never praise too high

    Not Pallas’s blue eyes

    Is brighter than thine;

    Not fount of Susannah,

    Nor gold of fair Danae

    Nor moon of Diana,

    So clearly can shine;

    Not beard of Silenus,

    Nor tresses of Venus,

    I swear by Quae Genus,

    With yours can compare;

    Nor Hermes Caduces,

    Nor flower-de-luces,

    Nor all the nine muses,

    To me is so fair.

    Chorus What posies and roses

    To noses discloses;

    Your breath all so sweet

    To the tip of your lip;

    As they trip, the bees dip;

    Honey sip, like choice flip

    And their Hybla forget

    2. When girls like you pass us,

    I saddle Pegasus,

    And ride up Parnassus

    To Helicon’s stream.

    Even that is a puddle,

    Where others may muddle,

    My nose, let me fuddle

    In bowls of your cream.

    Old Jove, the great Hector

    May tipple his Nectar,

    Of gods the Director

    And thunder above;

    I’d quaff off a full can

    As Bacchus or Vulcan

    Or Jove, the old Bull can

    To her that I love.

    Chorus What posies and roses

    To noses discloses. . . .

    Thus, more or less for ninety evenings between January and the end of the year 1800, the public took some of its pleasure.

    On those ninety evenings were given ninety full-length plays—comedy, tragedy, and what was a little ambiguously called “drama”; eighty-odd secondary pieces, ballad operas, masques, pantomimes, and farces; and some twenty-five less imposing performances designed to mark special occasions: eulogies, monodies, and dirges on the late George Washington during January and February, masonic entertainments and olios, and a few specially advertised popular songs such as Mrs. Rowson’s Standard of Liberty and Paine’s Adams and Liberty, which were announced for October 30 in honor of the birthday of President John Adams.

    The Boston theatre in 1800 differed little from that of New York, Philadelphia, and Charleston. Each city boasted its own company, which usually performed three nights a week until spring (Monday, Wednesday, and Friday were the favorite nights). There would be occasional special performances in town in the summer and fall, but during most of that time the companies were on tour, reopening at home towards the end of October.

    The Philadelphia company covered Baltimore, Annapolis, Norfolk, and Alexandria, while the troupe at Charleston, though playing in that city during the winter and at nearby Sullivan’s Island in the summer, found time to put on a half dozen or so performances in Savannah. The New York company did not go on tour in 1800, though both it and the Boston company had played in Connecticut in previous years. A wave of piety, however, engulfed the Connecticut legislature in this year 1800 with the result that theatrical performances were banned under penalty of a fifty-dollar fine, half of which “shall go to the suer.”

    In 1800, from May 19 until the end of June, the Boston company was in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, where they seem to have performed about once a week. On the Fourth of July most of the players were in Boston again for a special performance of Inkle and Yarico, and a week later, on July 11, they opened the Portland season with Lovers’ Vows and The Widow and the Riding Horse. Here they stayed till the twentieth of August, presenting the thrice weekly performances they were wont to give in Boston, the last of which, Bunker Hill, was described in the Portland Oriental Trumpet as having been played “to an overflowing house.”

    Thence they departed to Providence where the announcement that the theatre would open on September I appeared two days before, and where on September 8 the tragedy The Gamester and the farce The Jew and the Doctor were advertised as the last “before the return of the Company to Newport.” The details of the Newport season are scant. A notice of The Battle of Hexham, announced for Wednesday, September 17, said that the days of performance were Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. The notice for Wednesday, October I, pointed out that this was the last week.

    But as early as the end of August a number of the company had forsaken the road to put on a sort of interim season at the Haymarket Theatre in Boston before the formal beginning of the winter season at the Federal Street Theatre. Performances were given once or twice a week until October 22, which was announced as “positively the last night.”

    Since October, 1799, the Boston company had been under the management of Giles L. Barrett, an Englishman who had come to this country in 1796 and had played first in America in Boston during the first days of the Haymarket Theatre. He went the following year to New York to join the John Street Company but seems not to have been particularly successful, for in January, 1799, he informed the public in a newspaper advertisement of his intent to open a school of fencing. However, on the return of John Hodgkinson from Boston to join William Dunlap at the new Park Theatre in the fall of that year, Barrett repaired to Boston, and in the Independent Chronicle for October 14, referring to himself as “the sole manager of the Boston Theatre,” he announced that “neither pains nor expence will be spared” to assure the success of the coming season. A few minor troubles plagued him early. On October 25 he was forced to advertise that “on no account [was] a Segar to be smoked in the Theatre”; and a few days later he expressed his hope “that no gentleman will take offence at being refused admittance behind the scenes.”

    But the season seems to have opened that fall auspiciously. The craze for Kotzebue was well started. His Count Benyowski was played on October 28, and before the end of the year there were two performances of The Horse and the Widow, at least one of The Stranger, and, in December, four of the favorite, Pizarro. On January 1, 1800, the last year of the century began with William Whitehead’s tragedy, The Roman Father, together with William Bates’s popular pantomime, Humours of Gil Bias, and a monody on the death of Washington as additional attractions.

    The criteria by which theatrical entertainments were then judged differed somewhat from those of today. It was not required, in order that a play might entertain, that it be written the moment before its production, though some of the plays put on in 1800 had just been written and were produced then for the first time. While the play most often given in Boston that year was Thomas Morton’s Speed the Plough, in which “What will Mrs. Grundy think?” fell first on American ears—a play only written in 1798; and while the mighty Kotzebue was the playwright who, by a wide margin, led the list as far as popularity was concerned, with four performances of his Pizarro, three each of False Shame and The Stranger, two of The Wise Men of the East, and single presentations of Count Benyowski, Lovers’ Vows, Self Immolation, and Sighs; still the general run of the repertoire had long since been accepted by the theatre-going public and did not need the element of novelty to sustain it. George Lillo’s tragedy, George Barnwell, had served faithfully from 1731 to be given four times again in 1800; and if O’Keefe, Charles and Thomas J. Dibdin, George Colman, Jr., Thomas P. Lathy, Morton, Arthur Murphy, John T. Allingham, and many of the other playwrights were contemporaries, still Bostonians saw that year a play by Molière and three by Shakespeare, while most of the plays of Mrs. Centlivre, Colley Cibber, Matthew G. Lewis, Samuel Birch, Isaac Bickerstaffe, David Garrick, and Richard Brinsley Sheridan that were offered had stood the test of a quarter of a century or longer.

    Compared with such old favorites as these, the plays of Kotzebue, so far as the details of their plots and action were concerned, were indeed novelties, yet their pattern was apparent and simple and of an ancient popularity. His comedy was really comedy and his tragedy bare and unrelieved tragedy, intended to be very sad—and no doubt on the whole accepted as such—though from its almost complete dissociation from reality it occasionally became unintentionally humorous. When Kotzebue’s heroes and heroines died, as they almost invariably did, they died decisively by being strangled, stabbed, sacrificed on some heathen altar, poisoned, or plunged into some roaring cataract.

    The lighter pieces in the theatrical fare of 1800 were peopled with princes and obles disguised as beggars or rustics. And when a villain plotted his villainy, it was a safe assumption that, for the audience’s comfort, behind some secret panel the hero or heroine or their guardian angel could be observed to be listening.

    Boston, as has been said, had a number of first nights in 1800, notably of plays by Kotzebue and O’Keefe. It also saw a number of plays by American authors. Daranzel, or The Persian Patriot, by “a gentleman of Boston” (David Everett), was given two performances, with the magnanimous promise of the author that if there were a third, the profits should go to the author of the best eulogy of Washington. Also given twice were William Brown’s West Point Preserved, Thomas Pike Lathy’s Reparation, and the anonymous Mother Pitcher, or The Lynn Fortune Teller. There were single performances of John Daly Burk’s Bunker Hill (that “rather discredited” play, as Odell calls it), Brown’s The Times, or A Scarcity of Cash, Lathy’s New England Captive, or The Dey of Algiers Outwitted, and David Humphreys’ Widow of Malabar.

    Also new to the audience were the various special performances in connection with the death of Washington and such popular spectacles as The American Volunteers (three performances) and The Constellation, or America Triumphant. There was novelty, too, in the occasional evenings of music hall or vaudeville entertainment given either by members of the resident theatrical company, such as Mr. Bates or Mr. Villiers, or, as on one occasion in December, by outsiders, Messrs. Maginnis and Robinson.

    Whatever the choice of plays and the acting may have lacked, there was compensation in the magnificence of the spectacles provided when the plots permitted—and sometimes regardless of whether they did or not. The production of Everett’s Daranzel, or The Persian Patriot, with music by von Hagen, included “the storming of a citadel” and the “destruction of the Persian fleet.” Morton’s Columbus included a scene of sacrifice in the Temple of the Sun and “the explosion of a volcano.”

    Pizarro, given on March 7 “with Audin’s new scenery,” piled Ossa on Pelion. Act I was laid in “a magnificent pavilion with a distant view of the Spanish camp”; the first scene of Act II was “a bank surrounded by wild woods and rocks”; the second showed “a procession to the Temple of the Sun and a solemn sacrifice.” Later scenes presented “distant views of the Peruvian camp,” wild retreats among “the stupendous rocks,” dungeons in the rocks, triumphal processions, and a forest hut “in a dreadful storm with lightning and thunder.” The second scene of Act V showed “a torrent falling over a precipice bridged by a fallen tree”; and the newspaper advertisements promised the prospective patron that in this scene he would see “Rolla tearing the tree from the supporting rock as the Spaniards crossed, to dash them into the cataract.” This simple piece concluded with “the funeral procession of Rolla, and a solemn dirge.”

    On another occasion, at a performance of Shakespeare’s Henry VIII there was inserted after the coronation of Anne an episode showing “the mode and manner of delivering the usual challenge given by the Champion of England, on Horseback on the Stage.” The Rival Queens had in Act II “the entry of Alexander the Great into Babylon”; and the afterpiece that same evening, Oscar and Malvina, contained “the ancient broadsword combat; Oscar’s leap from the tower 18 feet high; the death of Carroll on the bridge; and the conflagration of his whole camp.”

    There is a tempting sound to all this. One would like to have seen “the English fleet standing out to sea at moonlight” in Act II of The Widow of Malabar and the procession of Brahmins conducting Mrs. Whitlock as Etimora “to the funeral pyre of her husband.”

    That the spectacles were not all solemn splendor, however, is suggested by the dance of the savages in Robinson Crusoe and by Harlequin in The Garden of Love causing “a withered tree to grow flowers and fruit.” The Temple of Fortune779 first played on January 13, showed “Harlequin’s whimsical transformation into one of the celebrated dancing dogs, and a view of an Inn Yard in which he leaped through the window of a post chaise.” Songs and “comic interludes” were plentifully interspersed in the bills. There were numerous chances to hear Mr. Simpson sing “A Twizzle and a Fizz,” or to see Billy Bates as “a Drunken Buck returning from a frolic,” or to behold the “grand and lofty tumblings, flipflops and sumersaults” of the celebrated Mr. Robinson and Mr. Maginnis. On December 24, after a performance of Kotzebue’s Sighs, Robinson gave his imitation of birds, and the same night Maginnis danced “the much admired Spanish Fandango blindfolded over 13 eggs, playing the castanets.”

    Despite frivolous interludes, however, this was a serious theatrical company, conscientiously engaged in the business proper to it. Nor was it, by the standards of that time, mean fare that it offered to its public. Besides Henry VIII, The Merchant of Venice, and Romeo and Juliet, there were The Country Wife, The School for Scandal, She Stoops to Conquer, and The Rivals. And while the year 1800 regarded Kotzebue as the equal of Shakespeare (indeed a New York paper proclaimed him Shakespeare’s successor), and while such tragedies as several of those by Arthur Murphy performed that year have been described fairly enough as “among the worst that have ever obtained any reputation,” others of the tragedies are not to be despised, and many of the comedies, farces, and ballad operas would be considered adequate and delightful entertainment by most critical standards. Bickerstaffe’s Thomas and Sally, or The Sailor’s Return (this, bear in mind, with music by Dibdin), Garrick’s Bon Ton, or High Life above Stairs and The Lying Valet, Townley’s High Life below Stairs (embellished with a mock minuet by the drunken servants who are the characters), Thomas John Dibdin’s The Jew and the Doctor, Mrs. Siddons’ Quarter of an Hour before Dinner, Fielding’s Mock Doctor (from Molière), Sheridan’s pantomime, Robinson Crusoe, O’Keefe’s Poor Soldier and Highland Reel, both with the charming music of Shield—all these and many more of the productions of that year would do credit to any theatrical season.

    During the first half of the year, up to the summer season, Barrett, the manager, took most of the better parts for himself. He was the Shy-lock and the Wolsey; he was Norval in Douglas, Rolla in Pizarro, Horatius, savior of his country, in The Roman Father, Captain Absolute in The Rivals. Mr. and Mrs. Powell and Mr. and Mrs. Whitlock divided the other desirable rôles with Mr. and Mrs. Harper and Mrs. Graupner.

    Mr. Bates—“Billy Bates”—sometime of London, more recently of Philadelphia and New York, was apparently equal to almost anything and was the backbone and strength of the harlequinade as Harlequin in the several performances of Harlequin’s Wishing Cap, Harlequin Salamander, and Harlequin Dr. Faustus. The full company consisted of the six couples, the Barretts, the Dickinsons, the Harpers, the Powells, the Simpsons, and the Whitlocks, assisted by Mrs. Graupner, Miss Ellen Westray, and Messrs. Kedey, Coles, Bates, Lathy, Munto, and Usher.

    On March 10 Mr. Villiers appeared as Simplicus in The Deserter of Naples, and from then on he was conspicuous in musical rôles. Master Bates and Miss Bates first appeared in the Fourth of July production of Inkle and Yarico at the Haymarket, as did Mr. Maginnis (acrobat and tumbler) and Mr. Downie; and in the afterpiece, Harlequin Dr. Faustus, “a young lady” (so described in the newspaper notices, but not otherwise identifiable) was the miller’s wife. On August 18, in The Busybody, Messrs. Dikes and Moore joined the company. During the spring and summer Mrs. Barrett, like her husband, seems to have done pretty well for herself, playing, among other parts, Portia, Lydia Languish, Floranthe in The Mountaineers, Zaphira in Daranzel, and Cora in Pizarro.

    But in the fall the Barretts were gone, and it was Charles E. Whitlock who, in the Independent Chronicle, made the announcement on October 27 that “the theatre will open this evening” with the favorite comedy Speed the Plough. And as a natural result of displacing Barrett as manager, Whitlock—and his wife—took over the best parts, for such seems to have been the manager’s privilege if he was an actor.

    Whitlock had come to America a few years before from London, where he had attained some success due apparently to the attractiveness of his wife, Eliza, the youngest daughter of the famous Kemble family and the sister of Mrs. Siddons. She as a young girl had met him when she was playing in Bath and had married him in 1785. He was the manager of the Newcastle circuit of theatres and a partner of Joseph Munden. After their marriage she attained some fame in London. In this country she came first to join Wignell and the Philadelphia company. Her first appearance in Boston was on October 3, 1796, in the title rôle of Southerne’s Isabella.

    When Boston’s winter season opened, there were several newcomers: Mr. Jones as Percy, Mr. Pikes as Sir Hubart, and Miss Field as Berthia in Mrs. More’s Percy, Earl of Northumberland (October 30), and in the afterpiece that same night, O’Keefe’s The Poor Soldier, Mrs. Jones,780 the most notable addition to the cast that year, as Nora. A Mr. Parsons joined the company a few days later, and on November 3 Mr. Barnes appeared as Snatch in The School for Scandal.

    Whitlock had competition to meet during the fall and early winter of 1800, as is seen from Messrs. Robinson’s and Maginnis’ advertisement of their third night of separate entertainment at the Haymarket Theatre on December 16. Apparently they were cutting seriously into Whitlock’s business at the Federal Street Theatre, for on the twenty-third Maginnis advertised alone, and Whitlock’s announcement of Sighs a day later offered the added attraction of Mr. Robinson.

    The last performance of the year at Whitlock’s theatre was on December 29 when George Barnwell and Knight’s The Turnpike Gate were given, followed by Mr. Robinson with his imitations of birds and acrobatics.

    So ended the year, one important for many things outside the theatre: for our undeclared war with France; for the rapidly approaching climax of our affairs with the Barbary pirates; for the rising of the star of Napoleon, which had just begun to be apparent in this country; and for the New Deal in American politics that dealt out Adams and the New England conservatives and dealt in Jefferson and the Democratic Republicans. And the year was notable also if only for the fact that in that year, in Boston, people concerned themselves for the first time, as they have not ceased to do, over the possible significance of the state of mind of that terrific lady, not young then, and yet today, after one hundred and forty years, no older—Mrs. Grundy.


    Theatrical Performances in Boston, 1800

    Federal Street Theatre



    The Roman Father

    William Whitehead

    Humours of Gil Bias

    William Bates

    Monody on the Death of George Washington


    London Merchant, or The History of George Barnwell

    George Lillo

    Humours of Gil Bias


    Monody on the Death of George Washington


    The Merchant of Venice

    William Shakespeare

    The Harlequin Salamander


    Wild Oats, or The Strolling Gent

    John O’Keefe

    The Harlequin Salamander



    John Home

    Monody on the Death of George Washington

    Preparations for a Cruise, or The Boston Sailor

    Mr. Bates, from O’Keefe’s The Positive Man


    The Castle Spectre

    Matthew Gregory Lewis

    The Harlequin Salamander


    Blue Beard, or Female Curiosity

    George Colman, Jr., music by Michael Kelly

    Harlequin’s Wishing Cap, or The Gift of Fortunatus

    The Prodigal

    Francis Godolphin Waldron, from Aaron Hill


    The Prodigal


    Blue Beard, or Female Curiosity

    Colman, Jr.

    Harlequin’s Wishing Cap


    Count Benyowski

    August Frederick Ferdinand von Kotzebue

    Harlequin’s Wishing Cap



    Kotzebue, music by Alexander Reinagleand Raynor Taylor

    Bon Ton, or High Life above Stairs

    David Garrick


    Five Thousand a Year

    Charles Dibdin

    High Life below Stairs

    James Townley


    The Prodigal


    Five Thousand a Year

    Charles Dibdin

    The Adopted Child

    Samuel Birch, music by P. A. von Hagen




    The Horse and the Widow



    Daranzel, or The Persian Patriot

    David Everett, music by von Hagen

    The Ghost

    Susannah Centlivre


    The Battle of Hexham, or Days of Old

    Colman, Jr., music by Samuel Arnold

    The Devil to Pay, or Wives Metamorphosed

    Charles Coffey and John Mottley, from Thomas Jevons



    The Mountaineers

    Colman, Jr., music by Arnold

    The Constellation, or America Triumphant


    Daranzel, or The Persian Patriot

    Everett, music by von Hagen

    The True Born Irishman

    Charles Macklin

    John Codline Returned


    The World As It Goes

    Shakespeare’s Seven Ages

    Eulogy to the Memory of General Washington


    Bunker Hill

    John Daly Burk

    The Spoiled Child

    Dorothy Bland Jordan from Mme. de Genlis782



    Kotzebue, music by Reinagle and Taylor

    The Old Maid

    Arthur Murphy


    The Roman Father


    Monody on the Death of George Washington

    Masonic Olio


    Be Merry and Wise

    Eulogy to the Memory of General Washington



    Thomas Morton, from Thelwel’s Incas, music by von Hagen

    The Jew and the Doctor

    Thomas J. Dibdin


    The Secret

    Edward Morris

    The Waterman, or The First of August

    Charles Dibdin


    The Secret


    The Padlock

    Isaac Bickerstaffe music by Dibdin


    Bunker Hill


    The Constellation, or America Triumphant


    False Shame


    The Waterman, or The First of August

    Charles Dibdin


    False Shame


    The Irishman in London

    William Macready, Sr.



    Lovers’ Vows


    The Village Lawyer

    Macready, Sr., from the French of Charles Lyons


    False Shame


    The American Volunteers



    Kotzebue, music by Reinagle and Taylor

    The American Volunteers


    Henry VIII


    The Deserter of Naples


    Reparation, or A School for Libertines

    Thomas Pike Lathy

    Thomas and Sally


    The American Volunteers


    The Rival Queens, or Alexander the Great

    Thomas Holcroft

    Oscar and Malvina784

    Music by William Shield


    The Rivals

    Richard Brinsley Sheridan

    Inkle and Yarico

    Colman, Jr., music by Arnold


    Reparation, or A School for Libertines


    The New-England Captive, or The Dey of Algiers Outwitted



    Agnes of Bernauer


    The Highland Reel

    O’Keefe, music by Shield

    Ode to the Memory of the Late General Washington


    The Widow of Malabar

    David Humphreys, from the French of Lemierre

    The Maid of the Oaks

    John Burgoyne

    Harlequin Indian


    Next-Door Neighbors

    Elizabeth Simpson Inchbald

    The Agreeable Surprise

    O’Keefe, music by Arnold

    Robinson Crusoe



    Every One Has His Fault

    Mrs. Inchbald

    An Occasional Address

    Anthony Pasquin

    No Song, No Supper

    Prince Hoare, music by Stephen Storace



    The West Indian

    Richard Cumberland

    Robinson Crusoe



    The Married Man

    Mrs. Inchbald

    Hob in the Well

    Colley Cibber

    Robinson Crusoe



    Such Things Are

    Mrs. Inchbald

    Harlequin’s Medley


    Henry II, or The Fall of Fair Rosamund

    Thomas Hull

    The King and Miller of Mansfield

    Robert Dodsley

    The Life and Death of Harlequin


    Self Immolation


    The Times, or A Scarcity of Cash



    The Wrangling Lovers

    William Lyon

    St. Patrick’s Day



    West Point Preserved

    William Brown

    Mother Pitcher, or The Lynn Fortune Teller

    A Masonic Address


    The Spanish Barber

    George Colman, Sr., from Beaumarchais, music by Arnold

    The Garden of Love, or The Wounds of Cupid Healed by Hymen


    The Mayor of Garratt

    Samuel Foote


    Next-Door Neighbors

    Mrs. Inchbald

    Modern Antiques



    West Point preserved

    William Brown

    Mother Pitcher


    A Bold Stroke for a Husband

    Hannah Parkhouse Cowley


    W. Coulton

    Summer Season at The Haymarket



    Inkle and Yarico

    Colman, Jr., music by Arnold

    Harlequin Dr. Faustus

    From The Necromancer by Woodward



    The Busybody

    Harlequin Dr. Faustus

    From The Necromancer by Woodward


    The Country Girl

    Garrick, from Wycherley

    Harlequin’s Invasion

    Garrick, music by George Gillingham



    London Merchant, or The History of George Barnwell


    The Horse and the Widow


    The King and Miller of Mansfield



    The Wise Man of the East


    The Spoiled Child

    Mrs. Jordan


    Next-Door Neighbors

    Mrs. Inchbald

    The Deaf Lover

    Frederick Pilon

    The Virgin Unmasked

    Henry Fielding


    The West Indian


    The Sailor’s Reprisal

    From Tobias Smollett


    The Wise Man of the East


    The Sailor’s Ballad of Lovely Nan

    Charles Dibdin

    The Sailor’s Reprisal

    From Smollett


    Speed the Plough


    All the World’s a Stage

    Isaac Jackman


    Speed the Plough


    The Lying Valet




    She Stoops to Conquer

    Oliver Goldsmith

    The Mock Doctor

    Henry Fielding, from Molière


    Animal Magnetism

    Mrs. Inchbald

    Set a Beggar on Horseback, and He’ll Ride to the Devil788

    Harlequin Medley


    Speed the Plough


    A Beggar on Horseback



    The Rivals


    The Examination of Dr. Last


    The Village Lawyer

    Macready, Sr., from the French of Lyons

    Fall Season of 1800—Federal Street Theatre



    Speed the Plough



    Frances Moore Brooke, music by Shield


    Percy, Earl of Northumberland

    Hannah More

    The Poor Soldier

    O’Keefe, music by Shield

    Adams and Liberty

    Thomas Paine790


    Speed the Plough



    Mrs. Brooke, music by Shield



    The School for Scandal


    The Adopted Child

    Birch, music by von Hagen


    The Natural Son


    The Highland Reel

    O’Keefe, music by Shield




    The Village Lawyer

    Macready, Sr., from the French of Lyons




    The Agreeable Surprise

    O’Keefe, music by Arnold




    The Jew and the Doctor

    T. J. Dibdin


    Speed the Plough


    The Mock Doctor

    Fielding, from Molière


    The Stranger


    The Ghost

    Mrs. Centlivre


    The Castle Spectre


    The Lying Valet



    The Stranger


    Miss in Her Teens



    The Birthday

    T. J. Dibdin, from Kotzebue, orchestral accompaniments by Victor Pelisier

    The Waterman

    Charles Dibdin

    Preparation for a Cruise, or The Boston Sailor


    The Stranger


    The Purse, or The Benevolent Tar

    James C. Cross, music by William Reeve


    The Castle Spectre


    A Quarter of an Hour before Dinner

    “Rev. J. Rose”



    Aurelio and Miranda

    James Boaden

    The Deuce Is in Him

    Colman, Sr.


    The Country Girl

    Garrick, from Wycherley

    The Padlock

    Bickerstaffe, music by Dibdin


    London Merchant, or The History of George Barnwell


    Fortune’s Frolic

    John Till Allingham


    The Mountaineers

    Colman, Jr., music by Arnold

    Fortune’s Frolic



    Romeo and Juliet


    The Spoiled Child

    Mrs. Jordan


    The Votary of Wealth

    Joseph George Holman


    Mrs. Brooke, music by Shield


    The Votary of Wealth


    The Padlock

    Bickerstaffe, music by Dibdin


    The Mountaineers

    Colman, Jr., music by Arnold

    Fortune’s Frolic



    The Votary of Wealth


    All the World’s a Stage



    The Grecian Daughter


    The Turnpike Gate

    Thomas Knight


    Babes in the Wood


    “The Venetian Moore on the Slack Wire”




    Mr. Robinson’s “imitation of Various Birds Egg Hornpipe, Antipodean Whirligig,” etc.


    The Country Girl


    The Turnpike Gate


    Mr. Robinson’s Imitations


    London Merchant, or The History of George Barnwell


    The Turnpike Gate


    Mr. Robinson’s Imitations791

    The Editor communicated by title the following paper by Mr. John E. Alden:

    John Mein: Scourge of Patriots


    DURING the tense months of 1775 which preceded the nineteenth of April there appeared in Boston a small volume entitled Sagittarius’s Letters and Political Speculations, inscribed, with tongue in cheek, “to the very loyal and truly pious Doctor Samuel Cooper.” While there is no record of Boston’s reception of the work, which reprinted articles and extracts that had first appeared in the London Public Ledger, it undoubtedly created a minor sensation at the time, comprising as it did a scathing attack upon Bostonians in general and the leaders of the patriot faction in particular.

    As with any pseudonymous piece of literature the authorship of which is not specifically admitted by its writer, there must ever remain a certain degree of doubt as to who actually wrote these Letters. None the less, there need be little question that their author was one John Mein, a Scotch bookseller who had been in business in Boston from 1764 to 1770.792

    It is true that upon the first appearance of Sagittarius’ letters in London in the Public Ledger they were for a brief time attributed to various persons. Notable among these was William Knox, Under-Secretary of State for America since 1770.793 It is obviously to Knox, for instance, that the following squib from the London Public Advertiser for Friday, May 6, 1774, refers:

    It is a strong proof, says a correspondent, of the extreme good-nature of Lord Dartmouth, that he suffers his secretary to publish, under the signature of Sagetarius a thousand inflammatory falshoods, to justify and promote the present violent and unjust measures, to which his Lordship, both in judgment and feeling, is so much averse.

    This statement, however, brought forth a denial which appeared in the same newspaper on Saturday, May 28:

    The letters signed “Sagittarius” published in the Ledger, having been imputed to a gentleman in a public office by persons in respectable situations, as well as by anonymous writers in the newspapers, in justice to the author of those letters, as well as out of deference to the public opinion, we are authorized to assert that none of the letters signed “Sagittarius” were written by that gentleman, and that he never saw any of the papers intitled “State Papers” published in the Ledger until he read them in that newspaper.

    This denial, however, was not enough for Problematic, who on May 31, 1774, addressed a letter to the Public Ledger in which he stated that the “State Papers” incorporated in Sagittarius’ essays must of necessity have come from Knox’s office, and that, notwithstanding the printed assertion that Knox had nothing to do with them, the latter was assuredly responsible for their publication. Unfortunately, Problematic was unaware of the fact that all the “most secret papers,” as they were called, came, not from the archives of the Plantations Office, but from Governor Hutchinson’s convenient Collection of Original Papers Relative to the History of the Colony of Massachusets-Bay, which had been published in Boston in 1769.

    It was only in July, in the issue of the Public Ledger for the eleventh, that a correspondent calling himself Minos identified Mein as Sagittarius, though by description rather than by name. Although Minos’ letter is long, the violence of its epithets provides a colorful introduction to the man.

    Anecdotes of the Writer of Letters Signed Sagittarius and of such Paragraphs Denominated Political Speculations, as relate to the Americans

    The hero of this letter has no claim to public notice but what arises from his uncommon depravity. He is a Scotchman, and was a pedlar, until the load on his back having aggravated the soreness of an inveterate itch, he quitted this erratic employment, and, with a few old books, transported himself to Boston in New England, where he kept a stall, there called a huckster’s shop.

    In this humble station he was not only industrious, but servile and apparently honest; qualities which procured him the compassionate notice of his superiors, and a recommendation for credit to an eminent bookseller of Paternoster Row [i.e., Thomas Longman]; who, confiding in the alledged honesty and industry of our stallman, entrusted him with a large supply of new, instead of old books; in consequence of which he took a shop, and became a bookseller and circulating library keeper. But this elevation was too great and sudden for the intellects of our pedlar, who soon verified the old proverb, that “a beggar on horseback will ride to the devil.” Forgetting his origin, his obligations, and himself, he became not only prodigal, conceited, arrogant, lazy and profligate, but in the progress of his infatuation, set himself up as a free-thinker, and, assisted by the Dictionaire Philosophique, &c., openly ridiculed the Christian religion. At this period, the Commissioners and Officers of the new created Board of Customs arrived in Boston, and the splendid emoluments annexed to their respectable employments, so allured our hero, that he determined to relinquish every other pursuit, and sacrifice every object, to obtain an office in the revenue; and so strong was his phrensy on this subject, that, to promote the success of his wishes, he would doubtless have betrayed even the Son of God; not from fear, like the first Judas, but from a more heinous depravity. This crime, indeed, was not wanted, either by Governor Bernard or the Board of Customs, and, therefore, at the beginning, he could only prove his servile devotion, by an unremitting attention to the duties of pimp, flatterer, emissary, lyar, and scandal monger to the Junto, from whom he expected preferment. But at length, to strengthen his claims by the most scandalous sacrifices and services, he confederated with a Scotch printer in setting up a news-paper, to be wholly employed in propagating falsehoods, to serve the cause of his party, traducing certain private characters, slandering the people of America, and misrepresenting their measures; and the manner in which this paper was conducted soon gained him an ample portion of public detestation, but without the expected advantage; for his ignominy and baseness of character were so notorious, that even the men to whom he had been so meanly and dishonourably subservient, were ashamed to countenance or gratify his wishes.

    During this time, a considerable number of books had been sold, and the money squandered in drinking and other prodigal excesses; whilst the benevolent creditor, instead of remittances, was amused with fraudulent excuses. At length, however, he was undeceived, and Mr. Hancock, of Boston, was commissioned to secure the few remaining effects, by legal means; in consequence of which the printing press was sold by execution, the slanderous news-paper abolished, and our hero compelled to cross the Atlantic, and seek refuge in London, where, as the only satisfaction left an injured creditor, the carcass of our hero was imprisoned, until the late Act of Insolvency enabled him to elude the payment of his just debts, amounting to more than 2000£. Since this discharge from confinement, our hero, actuated by his former desire of subsisting in idleness, at the public expence, has again become a ministerial writer and place-hunter, and, lest his former scandalous services in America should be thought insufficient, has again devoted himself to the propagation of slander, and zealously undertaken, by every foul expedient, to excite hatred between the people of Great Britain and the people of America, and for this execrable purpose have the letters of Sagittarius been written, which, but for the ignorance of many of your readers, would never have been honoured with the smallest notice, as they consist of old petitions, memorials, letters, answers, &c. copied, with mutilations, from Hutchinson’s History of the Massachusets Bay, and accompanied with malevolent misrepresentations and silly remarks, often repeated, in different words. But so far are these productions from having required, or discovered, abilities in the writer, that a journeyman taylor, with his shears, and the book I have just mentioned (which, en passant, was feloniously secreted by our hero in taking the benefit of the Insolvency Act) might furnish materials for an hundred other letters of Sagittarius, and thereby continue that imposition, under which you have been led to reprint those stale unimportant fragments, and to dignify them with the title of State Papers; all which many of your readers ignorantly believed Sagittarius himself to have laboriously copied from state records in the public offices, and from thence some have referred the letters of Sagittarius to Mr. Knox, and others to Mr. Mauduit, a circumstance which affords but an ill compliment to the abilities of those gentlemen, or to the discernment of your readers.

    The political speculations relative to America (written likewise by our hero) are not indeed the work of shears, but result from the depravity of an assassin, and the invention of a liar; they consist of the most impudent falsehoods (which a knowledge of the names and circumstances of individuals in Boston has enabled the writer more plausibly to invent) and the language in which they are conveyed would disgrace even the mouth of a drunken fish-woman.

    Such, Mr. Printer, have been the actions of Sagittarius; and such is the man, who, after defrauding the most indulgent of creditors, has been almost incessantly, though falsely, reproaching the people of America with neglecting to pay their debts; who, after stiffling every emotion of shame, resisting every dictate of conscience, and violating every principle of duty, of honour, and of gratitude, has, with unprovoked malice, not only slandered the most spotless and respectable private characters, but licentiously aspersed the whole people of Massachusets Bay with the opprobrious names of smugglers, rebels, and traitors.

    It is some time since accident enabled me to discover these later employments and misdemeanours of our hero, but though I could not but feel some indignation, as well as much contempt, from the discovery, I was yet averse from the task of holding him out to public view, knowing that contamination must necessarily result from handling so foul an object. But at length, that sollicitude which nature gave me, and which I hope always to preserve, for the success of the virtuous and discouragement of the vicious, has overcome all other considerations; for, at least, human justice is interested in exposing the crimes of such a wretch, and preventing his success; and all good men should at least hope that no minister will ever be found in this country so insensible to the difference between good and ill desert, so regardless of the consequence of evil example, and so fearful of public censure, as to favour the pursuit, or gratify the wishes of this miscreant.

    Before I conclude, Mr. Printer, give me leave to express my concern, that your paper has been debased by the letters and paragraphs in question. A frequent repetition of such foul outrageous slander, must eventually destroy the force of merited satire; and every blessing resulting from our boasted freedom of the press, will naturally cease, after such outrageous abuses of it.


    One can only speculate as to the identity of the author of this curious mixture of truth and libel regarding Mein, an excellent example of eighteenth-century political journalism and diatribe. Two days later (July 13, 1774) what may be Mein’s own reply to Minos’ attack appeared in the Public Ledger over the signature “Truth.” It is noteworthy that Truth does not deny the identification of Mein as Sagittarius, but simply describes and justifies the latter’s conduct:

    The intemperate language made use of by your correspondent Minos must throw a discredit on those fictitious anecdotes which he would wish to be believed. His whole letter teems with malice, and is a composition of scurrility, misrepresentation and falsehood. The scurrility and falsehood shall be treated with comtempt—the misrepresentations replied to.

    The case of the person alluded to by Minos is a singular proof of the baseness and villainy which have, at all times, actuated the factious confederacy at Boston. Because this person refused to join their unwarrantable combinations, and to aid the circulation of their slanders, he was marked out as an object of destruction. Several ringleaders of the confederacy undertook journies through Massachusets and the neighbouring provinces to ruin his trade, and they also reviled him in their advertisements, for many months, stiling him an enemy to the country.

    Finding the measures of the confederates but too successful, and his trade daily sinking, all his customers being threatened with ill usage, if they continued to deal with him; in justice to himself he laid before the public the deceitful conduct of his persecutors, and proved from the port entries at Boston, that the confederates against importing, had, during the course of a twelve month, imported more than a hundred cargoes of goods of almost every denomination; and this detection was the more severe, as they, at the same time, were trumpeting forth to the rest of the colonies their great virtue and strict adherence to the agreement against importing.

    Such an unexpected conviction roused the fury of the confederates, and as they could not justify their conduct, they were determined to destroy the person who had exposed them. His house, shop, and offices were repeatedly attacked, the windows and window-frames demolished, and such large stones thrown in as to endanger the lives of those within. At last, more than thirty of the confederates, among whom were one of the present select-men of Boston, assaulted him in the street in the open day, with an intention to murder him, which is confirmed by more than twenty depositions, sworn to before a justice of peace, with the province seal annexed to them.

    The confederates in a few minutes amounted to many hundreds, and though by the assistance of the main guard he escaped with life, yet he received a dangerous contusion on the belly, and another large one under the left shoulder blade from a stroke with a spade, aimed at his head by the select-man above-mentioned, who came behind him to give the finishing blow, but happily the stroke only took his shoulder. . . .

    Having missed their . . . [quarry] those very men who had assaulted him went to a justice of the peace, and swore a breach of the peace against the man whom they had assaulted; the select-man being one of that number, though he had given the wound in the back himself. This may be thought a very extraordinary instance of perjury; but the Boston confederates are well accustomed and long practiced in such villainy, and can readily procure all sorts of evidences.

    At the same time, when this attempt was made, another body of the confederates broke into his house, forced the doors, demolished all the windows and frames, and robbed the house of two guns, which one of the thieves has to this day.

    This villainous attempt obliged him to come to England; and it was not to be expected, that when his enemies were the appraisers and purchasers of his effects, that the creditors could be paid. And the Boston advocate, Minos, with great charity, brings the distresses in which this person was involved, by the malignity and persecution of his constituents, as charges against him. Every effort to vindicate the Boston conspirators must prove unsuccessful, their wicked conduct having left their agents no tenable ground; and such attempts to defend them will, as in this case, only cover them with additional infamy.


    The writer of the above letter would be glad of a personal interview with Minos, and for that purpose has left his name with the publishers.

    Not till the issue of the Public Ledger of September 24, 1774, is Mein actually cited by name as being Sagittarius—and even then his name is misspelled.

    The writer of the letters signed Sagittarius, (one Maine, a rank Scotchman) was some time since a petty-fogging bookseller at Boston in America, from which town he escaped on board a vessel bound to England to avoid the merited punishment of being tarred and feathered for his mal-practices. He was scarcely landed on British ground before he was arrested for debt, and thrown into the King’s Bench prison, from whence he was lately released on condition of prostituting his pen to the service of Government, from which he enjoys a salary. Such are the miscreants employed to write against the injured Americans; to vilify the best characters in this free land; to misrepresent the most stubborn facts and authorities, and to give a colour to those arbitrary steps, and persecuting temper, which has long marked the counsels and actions of the present abominable administration.

    Tradition has not challenged this contemporary identification of Mein as Sagittarius. On the verso of the title page of the John Carter Brown Library copy of the Mein and Fleeming edition of William Knox’s anonymous Controversy between Great Britain and Her Colonies Reviewed, for instance, there is a note, written in an eighteenth-century hand, describing Mein as the author of Sagittarius’ letters. Isaiah Thomas listed the Boston edition of the letters with the same attribution,794 and all later bibliographers have followed him. There is likewise nothing in the letters which makes it implausible that Mein wrote them, and there is everything to indicate that he did. Sagittarius draws upon an intimate knowledge of Boston and its inhabitants, referring to incidents immediately involving himself. The point of view is that indubitably held by Mein. On grounds of both external and internal evidence, then, he may be accepted as the author of Sagittarius’s Letters and Political Speculations.


    Who, then, was this Scotchman, pictured in such violent hues in the columns of the Public Ledger?

    No full account of John Mein has ever been published although various facets of his life and activities have on occasion been touched upon. Isaiah Thomas has described him briefly as a bookseller and publisher.795 A more recent writer has pointed out that it was Mein who introduced the first circulating library in Boston.796 There have been discussions of the opposition to the nonimportation movement of 1769 which he carried on in the columns of his newspaper, the Boston Chronicle;797 and in other places there are scattered references to his many and varied undertakings. Yet when all the ascertainable facts about him are assembled, the result is still fragmentary.

    The earliest record of Mein is his enrollment on December 3, 1760, as a burgess and guildsman of Edinburgh “in the right of [his] father John Mein, Sclater, Burgess and Guildsman.”798 Even at this time he is described as a bookseller. Mein’s father had in turn been a burgess in the right of his father John, likewise a slater, who was the son of George Mein, “tenant in Essiltown,” and had been enrolled in 1666 as an apprentice to Andrew Cassie, “his majesty’s mason.”799

    What motives, if any, other than the plausible one of ambition and enterprise brought Mein to Boston cannot be said. He appears to have arrived on Thursday, October 18, 1764,800 a passenger aboard the ship George and James, Robert Montgomery master, seven weeks out of Glasgow.

    There also arrived on the George and James the celebrated Robert Sandeman, the disciple of John Glas, whose daughter he had married and whose religious principles he had espoused. Who the other Scots were who are described by Isaiah Thomas as accompanying Sandeman “on a visit to this country with a view of settling here”801 is not fully known, for Sandeman alone was considered important enough to have his name chronicled in the contemporary press.802 Presumably, however, one of them was James Olifant, active as a follower of Glas; and another, James Cargill, elder of the Glassite congregation back in Dunkeld.803 Isaiah Thomas also believed that “a type founder by the name of Mitchelson” arrived in the same vessel.804 Since Mitchelson was a leading member of the Sandemanian church in Boston,805 in addition to being later an employee of Mein, this is reasonable enough. It is very possible that the group also included Sandeman’s nephews Robert and George, sons of his brother William; they were, at any event, in this country shortly afterwards.806

    Despite the fact that Mein came to New England in the company of this Sandeman group, there is no evidence that he shared their peculiar religious views and practices.807 For had he done so, there is little doubt that his political foes would have used his relation with such a popularly distrusted religious body as capital against him. Minos, as quoted in the Public Ledger, alone raised the issue of religion. Mein was called many vile things in Boston by those to whom he was anathema, yet no one there seriously questioned his orthodoxy in religion.

    After his arrival in Boston Mein did not wait long before setting himself up in business. On November 19, 1764, there appeared in the Boston Gazette an advertisement announcing a shop conducted by Mein and Sandeman in Marlborough Street, “nearly opposite to Bromfield’s Lane.”808 Here might be purchased books and pamphlets, including those by Robert Sandeman, as well as Irish linens and “excellent bottl’d Bristol beer near two years old.”

    There is some question as to which member of the Sandeman family Mein’s partner was. Isaiah Thomas, in speaking of Mein, asserts that the latter, when he came to America, was “in company with Mr. Sandeman, a kinsman of Mr. Sandeman of the same Christian name who for a short time was the partner of Mein,” and in another instance speaks of the partner as a nephew of the preacher.809 It is true that Sandeman’s nephew Robert was in America with his uncle during this period. But in 1764 the younger Robert was only eight years old. It is more likely that the relative in question was the other nephew, George, although he was only nine years older than his brother.810 It appears from extant letters written by George Sandeman that he was a person of volatile and uncertain temperament, a problem to his elders. This may readily account for the fact that the partnership was dissolved before many months had elapsed. Sometime between April 11, 1765, when the last advertisement for the Mein and Sandeman shop appeared in the Massachusetts Gazette, and June 17, 1765, when Mein’s name appears alone in the Boston Gazette, the partners had separated. After the latter date the linen goods which had earlier figured in the advertisements were no longer mentioned; obviously this had been Sandeman’s interest in the shop.

    Prior to the arrival of Mein the chief bookshop in Boston had been the London Book Store in King Street, run by James Rivington and William Miller.811 Rivington himself was living in New York, and Miller, his Boston partner, died on October 31, 1765.812 Before that, either because of Miller’s illness or because of financial difficulties, the Boston branch of Rivington’s business had been given up.813 Mein then took over the shop, retaining its name. His first advertisement appeared in the Boston Gazette of October 7, 1765. At this shop, furthermore, and in the same month Mein opened the earliest circulating library in Boston, the catalogue of which was advertised in the Massachusetts Gazette of October 31, 1765, as “this day published.”814 Available to Boston readers were some twelve hundred volumes imported from Edinburgh and London and covering all fields of knowledge.

    In issuing his catalogue Mein entered upon still another phase of his Boston career, that of publisher. Since Mein himself was not a printer, he had to turn to someone else for the actual work of printing. On the basis of typographical evidence it appears probable that it was William M’Alpine, a fellow Scot living in Boston, who was responsible for printing not only the catalogue but the other works published by Mein before 1767 as well.815

    In 1766, further extending his activities, Mein entered into partnership with John Fleeming, another Scotchman.816 Fleeming, who had, according to Isaiah Thomas, been “brought up to printing” in Scotland,817 had arrived in Boston on August 20, 1764,818 and had become associated with M’Alpine.819 He may, indeed, have been the joint printer of the books published by Mein which came from M’Alpine’s press. That Fleeming’s migration bore some relation to the coming of Robert Sandeman to Boston is very possible. For one thing, M’Alpine’s mother-in-law was named Elizabeth Glass,820 a fact which suggests a relationship with John Glas, Sandeman’s father-in-law. In addition, the new firm of M’Alpine and Fleeming promptly published Sandeman’s Some Thoughts on Christianity (Boston, 1765), the earliest of the preacher’s works to appear in America. After entering into partnership with Mein, Fleeming “made a voyage to Scotland, there purchased printing materials for the firm, hired three or four journeymen printers, and accompanied by them returned to Boston,”821 arriving on October 31, 1766, on the snow Jeany, Archibald Orr master, from Glasgow.822

    It is impossible to say what the earliest work issued by Mein and Fleeming was. It may have been an edition of Four Dissertations on the Reciprocal Advantages of a Perpetual Union between Great Britain and her American Colonies which Mein advertised prominently in the Boston Gazette of January 12, 1767, and elsewhere. No such edition has survived, however, if it was ever actually published by them. Of those works issued by Mein and Fleeming which still exist two dispute priority: their Massachusetts Register for 1767 and an edition of James Fordyce’s Sermons to Young Women. Although Evans, in his American Bibliography, ascribes to the former the date 1766, assuming that, as with almanacs, it was printed in the autumn before the year for which it was compiled, it was advertised in the Boston Gazette on February 2, 1767, as “this day published.” Further proof that it was not printed until about this date is found in a letter from Mein to Ezra Stiles, June 18, 1767, in which Mein describes this first number of the Register: “Being the first attempt, and very much hurried, (the whole being collected, printed, and published, in the space of a few Days, about the end of January last) a number of omissions and mistakes unavoidably happened.”823

    It is possible to get some idea of the Mein and Fleeming printing shop from an inventory taken of it in 1770, when it comprised two printing presses, with seven frames of type, including some sixty-five cases.824 It was an active and enterprising establishment. In addition to twenty-six publications commonly attributed to Mein and Fleeming during the years 1767–1769 it has been possible, through careful scrutiny of contemporary sources, to ascribe to the firm some sixteen other titles, among them the first American editions of The Vicar of Wakefield and A Sentimental Journey.825

    As a natural outgrowth of their printing activities Mein and Fleeming also began the publication of a newspaper, the Boston Chronicle, a prospectus for which was issued on October 22, 1767, and the first issue of which appeared on December 21. Edited by Mein, it gained a considerable reputation, continuing to appear till the June following Mein’s flight to England in November, 1769.

    It was not long after starting this newspaper that Mein got himself into difficulties in which his violent and truculent temper came to the fore. In the Boston Gazette of January 18, 1768, there appeared the following letter:

    Salem, January 7, 1768

    Messieurs Edes and Gill,

    Be pleased to insert the following in your Paper, and you’ll oblige your humble Servant,


    When I read the Proposals, for publishing the Boston Chronicle, I tho’t on the Plan with Satisfaction, hoping thereby much good would accrue to America in general, and to this province in particular; with Pleasure I also noted the judicious Advice given Messi’rs Mein & Fleeming by their Friends of Taste. It runs thus:

    “We suppose you intend to study your own Interest; if you would do it effectually, be of no Party, publish and propagate with the greatest Industry whatever may promote the general Good. Be Independent—Your Interest is intimately connected with this noble Virtue—If you depart from this, you must sink from the Esteem of the Publick, to the partial Praise of a Party, who, when their Purposes is serv’d or defeated, may perhaps desert you, and then how can you expect that those whom you have revil’d will support you”—To which at that Time they answer’d.—“Whenever any Dispute claims general Attention, the arguments on both Sides shall be laid before the Publick with the utmost Impartiality.”

    But to the Surprize of many, how are they fallen off from their own Purposes, and the excellent Caution of their Benefactors—Instead of giving impartial Accounts concerning Affairs at Home, and the unhappy Disputes lately arisen between the greatest Men of the Nation; they have made Choice of, or printed under Cloke of being taken from the London Papers, the most infamous and reproachful Invectives, that ever was invented against the worst of Traitors to their King and Country, and who are these that are thus censur’d? why, men held in the highest esteem and veneration in the British Parliament. Patriots & friends and Deliverers of America from Oppression. He who nobly vindicated her Cause, almost against the whole Senate, who cast behind him all Lucre of Gain, when it came in Competition with the Good of his Country, and sacrific’d his Family-Connections and Interest to the publick Welfare. He that through real Infirmities hardly stood, (not to cover his politic Schemes and Ambition as his Enemies would insinuate) but stood though tottering, and in the Cause of Liberty made that heroic Speech before the august House of Commons, in Opposition to the Stamp-Act, sufficient to eternize his Fame, and ought to be written in Letters of Gold to perpetuate his Memory. Could the Sons of America be ingrateful, or countenance the greatest Falsities, rais’d only to prejudice their best Friends and Benefactors—God forbid! Let that Dishonor stain with the blackest Infamy the Jacobite Party—And though Invectives should be daily thrown out, let us keep our Integrity to the Confusion of our Enemies; who, for a long Time have exerted their Power to shake the Props of our Constitution, and bring a free people into Bondage, thereby to satisfy their more than common Avarice, &c.

    The author of this attack upon Mein’s choice of extracts from London papers was, Mein believed, the younger James Otis.

    Jimmy is fond of dating his pieces from Salem, being the town where he has the fewest adherents, and he is suspected from good authority of being the author of the abusive piece in Edes and Gill against me when our Chronicle was first published, which obliged me to call on the printers, and on their refusal to name the authors to ask them one after another to take a short walk; and on their declining it to cane the first of them I mett, which has already cost me about £100 St.826

    The consequences of this attack upon Mein’s editorship and politics are best seen in Edes’s own account of the affair in the Boston Gazette of January 25, 1768:

    From the Massachusetts Gazette of Thursday last

    Mr. Draper

    I have heard an incorrect Account of a Difference between Messirs Edes and Mein, greatly to the disadvantage of the latter: If Mr. Mein has been guilty of an insolent Attempt to break in upon the Liberty of the Press, it is just he should be exposed, and treated with due Contempt: If he is innocent, it is cruel to Propagate such a malicious Representation of his Impudence and Affectation: If therefore by Publishing this you can influence the Parties concerned to give a true State of the Matter, you will oblige a great Number of your Readers who are anxious to know the whole of the Affair, besides your humble Servant.

    Just. Pacis

    The foregoing lays me under an Obligation to communicate to the Public the Affair between Mr. Mein and myself. I am very sorry any Difference has happened; but I have the Satisfaction to think myself altogether blameless in what was published, and in my Treatment of Mr. Mein when he applied to me to know the Author. The following is submitted to the impartial Public, as a true State of the Fact.

    In consequence of a piece signed Americus, published in the last Monday’s Gazette, Mr. Mein came to our office between 4 & 5 o’clock the same afternoon, and there being a number of persons present, he desired to be spoke with in private, accordingly I withdrew with him to another room—when he said, I suppose you know what I am come about. I told him I did not. Well then, said he, I am come to demand the author of the piece you printed against me; and if you will not tell me who he is, I shall look upon you as the author, and the affair shall be decided in three minutes. In reply to which I said, Mr. Mein, above all persons in the world, I should not have thought a Printer would have ask’d such an impertinent, improper question; and told him that we never divulg’d authors; but if he would call on the morrow between 9 & 10 o’clock, being then very busy, I would let him know whether I would tell the author or not,—and added,—if we have transgress’d the law, it is open, and there he might seek satisfaction. He said he should not concern himself with the law, nor enter into any dispute; but if I did not tell the author, he should look upon us as the authors, and repeated it, the affair should be settled in three minutes. I then ask’d him, if what he said with regard to settling the affair in three minutes, was meant as a challenge or threat? which he declin’d answering, but said he would call at the time appointed, and then departed.

    Accordingly the next morning, I was at the office precisely at 9 o’clock, where I found Mr. Mein, who immediately after my entrance, and saying your servant, ask’d whether I would tell him the author of the above piece or no. I told him I would not. He then said he should look upon me and Mr. Gill as the authors. I told him he might and welcome. I then ask’d him what he meant by saying the last night he would settle the affair in three minutes, whether as a challenge or threat? He answered, if I would take my hat, and take a walk with him to the southward, he would let me know. I told him I was not to be at every fellow’s beck, and did not regard him. He then said, I shall look upon you as the author. I reply’d, you may. Your servant, and your servant.

    B. Edes

    It must be admitted that in Edes’s straightforward story of this encounter Mein’s vague threats of violence appear at a disadvantage. The incident and the publication of this article did not help matters along. On the following day Mein met John Gill, Edes’s partner, possibly in the street. A brief picture of the ensuing fray emerges from the summons served upon Mein as its consequence:

    John Mein at . . . Boston on the twenty sixth day of January last in the evening . . . with force & arms, to wit, with a large club made an assault upon . . . John Gill and then & there gave the said John Gill two violent blows . . . upon the back part of the head of the said John Gill and beat, wounded and evil intreated the said John Gill in so grievous a manner that his life was dispaired of and other enormities the said John Mein did committ upon the said John Gill against the peace of our Lord the King.827

    The importance of the incident and of the trial which ensued lies in its revelation of the extent to which the lines were already drawn in Mein’s relation to Boston politics. Edes and Gill represented the local patriots; Mein was ranged in tory opposition. The difference of opinion originally centering about the publication of an extract from a London newspaper criticizing Pitt quickly reached more general proportions, foreshadowing Mein’s involvement in the nonimportation movement in 1769.

    Among those to seize upon the affair in its broader implications was Populus, writing in the Boston Gazette of February 1, 1768.828

    Messieurs Edes & Gill,

    Please to insert the following.

    The Freedom of the Press has been deservedly esteemed an important Branch of our Liberty. We hold it dear, and look on all those as our Enemies who endeavour to deprive us of it. The Dispute therefore between Messieurs Gill and Mein, cannot be looked upon barely as a Dispute between two private Persons, but is of the highest Importance to the Community. If we suffer the Printers to be abused, for resolutely maintaining the Freedom of the Press, without discovering our just Resentment against those who endeavour to force them from their Duty, we shall soon find the Press shut against us—For it cannot be expected that one or two Men who will be subject to the Malice of the publick Enemies, bear to be bruised, and run the Hazard of being assassinated, if the Public, whose Cause they are fighting, do not zealously patronize their Cause. The People in this Province, and this Town in particular, must for the foregoing Reasons, be justified in their general Disapprobation of, & Disgust to Mr. Mein, for his late Spaniard-like Attempt upon Mr. Gill, and in him, upon the Freedom of the Press. And what renders Mr. Mein still more inexcuseable, is the generous Treatment he has received from this People. What Man ever received greater Encouragement in the Business of a Bookseller than he? . . . Could any Man desire to be treated with more Politeness and Friendship than he has been since he came amongst us.829 And what Return has he made to the beneficent Publick? Notwithstanding his pompous Introduction—Have not his Papers been poor and unentertaining? Has he not discovered his Enmity to this Country, by villifying her great and firm Friend, the illustrious Mr. Pitt, under God and the King, the Saviour of Britain, and the Redeemer of America? When justly reproved for deviating from his first Plan, he, instead of reforming, as was expected, endeavoured to suppress the Liberty of the Press, that no further public Notice might be taken of his Misconduct. I would now ask Mr. Mein, what he expects from the Public, and what he thinks the Public expect from him. What Treatment he would have given the Man who used him as he has used Messirs. Edes and Gill? And what he thinks will be the just Reward of his own Presumption?


    The issue of freedom of the press was again raised when the case was argued in court on April 19, 1768.830 John Adams made some notes on the trial, from which it appears that James Otis served as attorney for Gill and that Robert Auchmuty represented Mein.831 The fact that Auchmuty, later to be a Loyalist refugee, defended Mein indicates that the latter was already associated with the tory element in Boston. That the argument likewise followed political lines is seen in the caption Adams gave to his notes: “Gill vs. Mein: News Paper—Jacobite Party.”

    Mein, testifying before the court, asserted in defense of his unfavorable account of Pitt that he thought it “odd that Edes and Gill should desire him to be of no Party. Pitt is a fallen Angell, and given up by his Partizans, since he dwindled into a Lord.” While Auchmuty, in pleading Mein’s cause, emphasized the insults cast upon Mein, Otis asserted that Gill was “assaulted for carrying on a Paper in the Course [of] his Business.” The term “Jacobite” was applied to Mein, and the phrase “liberty of the press” again invoked. At the conclusion of the trial Mein was found guilty and fined £130. Both Mein and Gill, however, appealed the case to the Superior Court of Judicature, which upset the judgment of the lower court to the extent of finding for Gill only £75.

    Mein’s fortunes did not meet another crisis until the following year, 1769, when his personal and editorial opposition to the nonimportation movement of that year brought upon him public opprobrium and, eventually, physical assault. For his refusal to sign and to conform to the nonimportation agreement organized by patriotic Boston merchants who sought to nullify the force of the Townshend Acts Mein’s name was publicly blacklisted. In retaliation, Mein began on August 17, 1769, to publish manifests secured from the customhouse which purported to show that the signers of the agreement were not living up to their word. The controversy continued to wage hotly in the pages of the Boston Chronicle and the Boston Gazette.

    Mein’s Boston career finally reached its climax on Saturday, October 28, 1769. In the Boston Chronicle for Thursday, October 26—which was not, however, published till two days later—Mein had written still another attack upon the “Well Disposed Merchants,” a phrase by which Mein caustically described the Boston patriots in question. The article roused popular resentment towards Mein to a new pitch of wrath and indignation. Already in ill favor, Mein had had to go about armed with pistols. According to George Mason, only a few days before this “two persons who resembled . . . [Mein] pretty much were attacked in a narrow alley with clubs, and would in all probability have lost their lives if the mistakes had not been timely discovered.”832

    Late that Saturday afternoon, between four and five o’clock, Mein and his partner Fleeming were walking up King Street, presumably on their way home from Mein’s bookshop to their lodgings above their printing shop in Newbury Street. One can readily imagine the scene which ensued, the streets full of people busy with their Saturday afternoon shopping. A large crowd of enraged citizens had collected in King Street, including among others William Molineaux, Edward Davis, Captain Samuel Dashwood, Captain Duncan Ingraham, and Lieutenant Colonel Thomas Marshall, several of whom had been referred to unpleasantly by pseudonyms in the Boston Chronicle article.

    According to Mein’s own account of the incident, “The principal people in town [were] among them, encouraging them, and even a selectman, Jonathan Mason, one of the very gravest personages in the town. This mob was preconcerted, and the shops on both sides King street, filled with people waiting for me.”833 Many carried canes. It was Edward Davis who first struck at Mein with his stick. At this Mein drew his pistol, which he cocked and held in readiness while he turned his face to the crowd, walking backwards up the street in the direction of the guardhouse. Elizabeth Cuming, visiting Mrs. Kent, “confined this three weeks with the roomitz” to her house in King Street, heard “a violent skreeming Kill him, kill him,” and looked out the window to see the mob as it slowly pursued Mein in his retreat.834

    Thus harried by the crowd, Mein threatened to shoot the first person who touched him. At length reaching the guardhouse, where officers and sentries were ready to protect him, Mein started up the steps. At this point Thomas Marshall, who had stopped at the shop of one Waldo and furnished himself with a spade, ran up and struck Mein, who had supposed himself now safe, on the back. The blow cut through Mein’s coat and waistcoat and made a wound of about two inches’ length on his left shoulder.

    According to Mein’s own account, Fleeming then fired a pistol shot.

    Mr. Fleeming, who was at a little distance, on seeing . . . [Marshall] coming up, run to us also, but before he came near Marshal had made the blow and was running off; however Fleeming struck at him with a stick he had in his left hand, which just touched Marshal’s back. Fleeming having missed his blow reeled forwards, and in endeavouring to recover himself, grasping his hand close, a pistol he had in his right hand accidentally went off, but the ball went into ground & did no harm.

    Unfortunately, Mein’s explanation—like many another alibi—is almost too elaborate to be credible. All other evidence suggests that Mein himself fired the shot in question. Elizabeth Cuming, like Mein in popular disfavor for persisting in importing goods from England for her linen shop, was sympathetic to Mein and could have had no desire to malign him. None the less, still watching from her window vantage point, she observed that before running inside the guardhouse he “fired a pistel he had in his hand, loded only with powder.” Likewise in the account of the affair published in the Massachusetts Gazette of November 2, it was said that “having got safe into the Entry Door” of the guardhouse, Mein “fired off his Pistol, which tore the Sleeve of a Soldier’s Coat; but whether with a Bullet or only a Wad we cannot say.” This account was widely reprinted, even in the London Chronicle for December 19, 1769. John Rowe put down in his diary for October 28 that Mein “got into Ezekl Price’s office & from thence fired a Pistol & wounded a Grenadier of the 29th Regiment in the Arm.”835

    Having missed their prey, the mob, by this time numbering between one and two thousand persons, proceeded to vent their wrath on a person named George Greyer, accused of having given information about smuggling to British customs officers. This unfortunate man was tarred and feathered and carted through the streets of the town. As the crowd passed along Newbury Street in the direction of the Liberty Tree, they went by Mein and Fleeming’s printing office. At this point a gun was fired from an upper window by a young lad connected with the shop. When, however, the mob broke into the shop, they found no one there, but two guns were discovered and carried away.

    In the meantime certain members of the mob which had attacked Mein had gone to Richard Dana, a justice of the peace, and had sworn out a warrant for the arrest of Mein “for having put innocent people in bodily fear.” According to Mein, in his letter to Harrison already quoted, “Their plan was to get me into the custody of the officer, and, it being then dark, to knock [him] on the head; and then their usual sayings might have been repeated again: that it was done by boys and negroes, or by nobody.”

    Having taken refuge in the guardhouse, Mein hid in the garret while Sheriff Cudworth and a constable, accompanied by Samuel Adams and William Molineaux, came in search of him, armed with the warrant just sworn out. After Adams and Molineaux had given up looking for him, Mein, disguised in the uniform of a soldier, was able to slip out of the guardhouse and escape to the residence of Colonel Dalrymple. From this last refuge he went on board His Majesty’s schooner Hope, at anchor in the harbor, where he stayed for a few days before transferring to the man-of-war Rose, the captain of which, Caldwell, had offered Mein the use of his own stateroom and cabin.836

    Mein’s situation in Boston had now become so dangerous that he could hardly remain there longer. In a postscript to a letter written by her sister Ame to Mrs. Elizabeth Smith, Elizabeth Cuming at this time observed: “Mr. Mein tis thought has secreted himself on Bord the Rose for the people are so exasperated they would sertenly kill him if he appered.”837 To be sure, the warrant sworn out against him was returned to Justice Dana, “there being plenty of witnesses that Mr. Mein was first assaulted with great violence.” But when Mein in turn wished to prosecute his assailants, he was warned that “if he appeared abroad he should be made a sacrifice.”

    At this point Mein applied to Governor Hutchinson for armed protection which would enable him to remain in Boston. Hutchinson, wisely preferring not to compromise further his already difficult position, refused to furnish it.838 In addition, Hutchinson thought it “advisable for . . . [Mein] to forbear prosecuting his complaint for some time.”

    There remained only one course for Mein: to leave Boston. With his partner, John Fleeming, Mein left powers of attorney to conduct his business affairs and to sell out his effects. Bearing letters from Governor Hutchinson for Lord Hillsborough and from his friend James Murray to the latter’s sister, Mrs. Elizabeth Smith, then visiting in England,839 Mein sailed from Boston on November 17 aboard the schooner Hope, on which he had first taken refuge. The vessel arrived at Halifax the following Friday, November 21, and was reported off Spithead about the middle of the following month.840

    Mein’s motives in going to England were, to be sure, not entirely those of personal safety, as was ingenuously and frankly admitted by James Murray, who stated that Mein hoped “to make . . . [the] mischievous Intentions [of the Boston patriots] turn out to his Emolument. . . .”841 Mein’s hopes of profit were, however, ill fulfilled. His business affairs in Boston had for some time been in a precarious state. Although between May 13, 1765, and February 9, 1769, Mein had bought from Thomas Longman, the London bookseller, books and merchandise worth almost £2,100, he had paid but £419 on account. In a similar manner Mein was indebted to Messrs. Wright and Gill of London, from whom he obtained supplies of stationery, to the amount of £303.842

    In an attempt to make collections upon their accounts both Longman and Messrs. Wright and Gill gave John Hancock a power of attorney. To be sure, on the verso of the title page of the John Carter Brown Library’s copy of William Knox’s Controversy between Great Britain and Her Colonies Reviewed, already mentioned, the statement is made by the unknown annotator that “Mr. Hancock, on account of . . . [Mein’s] publishing this and other pieces, bought up . . . [Mein’s] English debts, and, making a sudden demand upon honest Mein, with which he could not instantly comply, brought on his ruin.” There is, however, no apparent basis for such an interpretation of Hancock’s rôle. The initiative in the matter came from Longman himself, who, on July 22, 1769, wrote Hancock asking him “to act . . . [on his behalf] in the most adviseable manner in this unfortunate affair.”843 On the other hand there can be no doubt that Hancock was most willing to make full use of this opportunity to embarrass a political opponent, and on March 1, 1770, an attachment was served upon the Mein and Fleeming printing shop in Newbury Street. Apparently, however, some compromise was arranged, for Fleeming continued to publish the Boston Chronicle and to put out books with his own imprint. Not satisfied with the steps which he had taken in Boston, Hancock also suggested to Longman that he get further security of Mein in London.844

    Upon his arrival in London in December, 1769, Mein called upon Longman and informed him that he had made arrangements for terminating his business in Boston and that he would pay Longman when this was done.845 As well he might have been, Longman was skeptical about Mein’s ability to liquidate his debt promptly. In an undated letter, apparently written in February, 1771, Longman wrote Hancock as follows:

    . . . in pursuance of your advice in a former favour, that I should endeavour to get further Security in London, I immediately arrested Him, in hopes of His haveing some Friends that would appear in His behalf, in consequence of which I had the honour of a Visit from Mr Commissioner Robinson846 who assured me that to His knowledge He knew Mein’s Effects were much more then would satisfy not only me, butevery other Creditor, and that when they were sold his friends would take care to bid them in such a manner, that my whole Debt should be discharged. . . .847

    On the basis of the above letter it is probable that Mein was arrested shortly after Longman received Hancock’s letter of May 18, 1770.848 He did not fail to seek release from debtor’s prison. In the letter of February, 1771, already cited Longman went on to report that Mein had “got a hearing in the Court of Kings Bench and endeavoured to obtain His Discharge by a most false and Villanous Affidavit (a Copy of which I hope to get conveyed to you by Mr. Paulfry)849 but without success.”

    Mein’s affidavit, which is dated November 20, 1770, and is addressed to the judges of the Court of King’s Bench, opens as follows:

    John Mein late of Boston in New England Bookseller & printer but now a prisoner in the Kings Bench prison maketh oath and saith that he this deponent carried on the business of a Bookseller and printer in the Town of Boston for several years with great success and benefit to himself whereby he gained a comfortable Support and maintained and employ’d several useful people in the different branches of his business. . . . And this deponent further saith, that . . . Hancock with an intent . . . to distress him the more wrote home Letters to the Plaintiff Longman who resides and is a Bookseller in London importing that the aforesaid Hancock would willingly accept of a power of Attorney from the Plaintiff Longman to whom this deponent was indebted as the Plaintiff Longman alledges in the sum of one thousand six hundred pounds or thereabouts in order to seize or attach the effects of this deponent in Boston aforesaid as he has been inform’d and believes. . . .

    In substance the affidavit, which incorporates letters from Fleeming and other Boston citizens, is an assertion of Mein’s good faith and of the earnestness with which efforts were being made in Boston to satisfy Hancock’s demands.

    How long Mein remained in prison is not known. On the back of a letter written by him to James Murray on February 2, 1772, is the notation, apparently in Murray’s handwriting, “Kings bench.”850 In any event, final judgment against Mein was secured by Hancock in the Massachusetts Superior Court of Judicature in January, 1772, after the case had dragged on for almost two years. Whether Mein’s release came through the benefit of the Insolvency Act, as asserted by Minos in the Public Ledger, or whether he was freed in order to become a writer on behalf of the British government, as claimed by an anonymous writer in the same newspaper, cannot be said.

    In the meantime Mein had also petitioned the government for compensation for his sufferings at the hands of the Boston faction as a loyal subject of the King. On July 1, 1771, Mein wrote his friend James Murray a note which begins: “I have just finished the Memorial. I have made the alteration you spoke of to me. I am exceedingly obliged to you for the favour of delivering it.”851 On the back of Mein’s letter is a draft of a letter from Murray to John Robinson, the Secretary of the Treasury, dated July 2, 1771. It reads:

    Mr Murray of Boston presents his Compliments to Mr Robinson and begs the favour of him to lay before the Lords of the Treasury the inclosed Memorial of Mr Mein. The propriety of the prayer of it can be certified by Sir Francis Bernard, Mr Commissioner Robinson and Mr Steuart,852 now on the spot.

    Mr Murray further begs Mr Robinson to put their Lordships in mind of the Expediency of renewing their last years bounty853 to Mr Mein. His Services & Sufferings and fortunes he has fallen from point him out a just object of Compassion to an administration

    qui humani nihil alienum putat.


    After his flight from New England Mein did not again achieve public notice until the early months of 1774, this time as the probable author of the letters signed “Sagittarius” published in the columns of the London Public Ledger. Unfortunately there exists no complete file of this newspaper, and accordingly all of Sagittarius’ contributions to it are not now available, invaluable as they are as examples of anti-American propaganda of the pre-Revolutionary period. The study of Mein’s writings must, as a consequence, be based upon the essays and paragraphs found in extant issues of the Public Ledger and upon those of the essays that were reprinted in Boston in 1775.854 Each source supplements the other. Although the Boston edition contains forty-four of a total of sixty-two essays, the extant files of the newspaper itself furnish but thirty-one items. Of these only thirteen were duplicated in the Boston reprint.

    It is not possible to say precisely when Mein first began writing for the Public Ledger. However, the earliest of the letters now to be found in the files of that paper is the one in the issue of February 25, 1774, and there is but one document preceding this one in the Boston reprint of the letters, in which the arrangement can be assumed to be chronological. The last letter found in both the extant Public Ledger files and in the Boston reprint is the one dated July 23, 1774. Thus within a period of six months there was a group of over sixty items which provide a comprehensive example of ministerial propaganda designed to shape British public opinion during a period when important measures regarding America were being discussed in Parliament.

    That Mein, in writing for the Public Ledger, was indeed in the pay of the ministry of Lord North appears more than likely. He had, of course, received some sort of bounty from the government while still in prison, and that in return for further compensation he turned his pen to such use is but plausible. Moreover, however intensely he disliked Boston and its patriots, Mein was hardly the man to contribute to the newspapers for the simple pleasures of invective, and there is every reason to accept Isaiah Thomas’ statement that in London Mein “engaged himself under the pay of the ministry, as a writer against the colonies.”855 The letters of Sagittarius represent, indeed, the ministerial point of view and can be best interpreted as journalistic attempts to create or at least formulate a public opinion sympathetic to measures under consideration in Parliament.

    As will be remembered, the first half of the year 1774 witnessed a marked change in British policy towards the American colonies, and particularly towards the unruly town of Boston. However great a prank the Boston Tea Party may seem from the distance of over a hundred and fifty years, at the time it had a far different effect upon the government at home. Following on the heels of the burning in June, 1773, of the Gaspee, the pitching into Boston Harbor of the East India Company’s tea became in England a revelation and a symbol of the utter lawlessness and insubordination of the Bostonians. Franklin, as agent of Massachusetts, had not helped its cause by the most questionable ethics of his transmission to the Massachusetts General Court of the famous Hutchinson letters which had recently come to light.

    While it is true that Lord North and the Earl of Dartmouth, Secretary of State for the Colonies, did not favor the coercive measures subsequently entered upon, the government undertook a course of rigorous action. On March 7, 1774, the King sent a message to both houses of Parliament, accompanied by reports from royal officials in America regarding events there, particularly the Boston Tea Party. A week later the Boston Port Bill was introduced, the aim of which was to close Boston Harbor to shipping as a punishment for the town’s conduct. After the passage of this act on March 25, still another bill, one for “the better regulating government in the province of Massachusetts Bay,” was brought in, designed to alter the charter granted the colony by William III. Despite protests and petitions from colonials and their friends the bill was in turn passed, to be followed by still a third, which provided that trials for capital offenses should be held in England rather than in the colony. These three acts, so drastic in their effect upon the colony, provide the background of contemporary events against which the Sagittarius letters were written, a week-by-week, if not day-by-day, attempt to justify through journalistic means the measures embarked upon by the government.

    Mein’s propaganda follows the general lines of all propaganda: the praise of one’s partisans and, more especially, the criticism of one’s foes. In this case the praise is for the government, as is exemplified in this fulsome encomium of Lord North:

    Lord North was placed in his present station in the most factious times; by his temper, moderation, and firmness, he quelled and totally defeated faction, and gave stability to government which it had not enjoyed during many former administrations. Though the nation had no foreign wars, yet our circumstances were more alarming: we were divided at home; our eastern and western settlements were going to wreck. . . . After four years struggle, the scene now brightens upon us. . . . After these cogent and striking proofs, is it to be imagined that his Majesty, who has enjoyed more real peace and happiness within these few last years than during all the former part of his reign, will part with a minister who has done more real service to the kingdom, than any other, nay than all others for centuries back?856

    But praise, for a variety of reasons, seems to furnish less profitable substance for propaganda than criticism and invective, and it is to the latter that the greater part of Mein’s essays and paragraphs are devoted. These are set on three different planes: of erudition, journalistic description, and personal diatribe verging on slander.

    Mein’s erudition, to be sure, was more illusory than real. Approximately a third of Mein’s contributions to the Public Ledger were devoted to accounts of episodes in the history of Boston. His method was simple but apparently effective. Selecting relevant incidents from the annals of Massachusetts Bay, Mein showed how historical events made imperative the government’s measures curbing the colony, which from early days had been a hotbed of sedition and insubordination. While the alteration of the Massachusetts charter was under discussion in Parliament, Mein produced evidence showing how misused and falsely interpreted the charter had been. One has but to cite a final paragraph from the letter of March 21, 1774, where, after summarizing events in the governorship of John Winthrop, Mein ends by pointing an appropriate moral:

    It is evident . . . that in the most early days of our colonies there were offenders and growing evils, and that the letters patents or charters granted them were even then suspected to be contrary to the law and customs of England. After one hundred and fifty years conviction, it is now surely time to apply the proper remedies; forbearance and affection on our part, have hitherto only roused, in Massachusetts, presumption and defiance; and though our Navy will bring the rebellious Bostonians to speedy submission, yet, till their charter is vacated, and another given them, more suitable to our constitution, every other expedient will be only temporary.

    With the modification of the colony’s charter a fact as a result of the Regulatory Act, other historical incidents were evoked to discredit the colonists, to prove them disloyal, hypocritical, and treacherous.

    A feature of Mein’s historical essays was the inclusion of many “State Papers,” which readers were expected to believe came from the archives of the Plantations Office in London. In view of this, as has been seen, Problematic took the papers to be proof that William Knox was Sagittarius, since he alone would have access to such files. Minos was more astute, insisting that the documents came from no more recondite a source than. Thomas Hutchinson’s History of the Colony of Massachusetts Bay. The fact is, indeed, that these historical articles were culled in part from the History, and, in greater measure, from the Collection of Original Papers Relative to the History of the Colony of Massachusetts Bay, published in 1769 as a companion volume to the first two volumes of the Governor’s History. One has merely to go from the letters to the Papers to find the documents which Mein appropriated to his use. Although frequent adaptations were made, the “State Papers” owe their origin to Hutchinson’s volume and not to laborious burrowings in dusty archives by Mein.

    Less ambitious but more immediate and colorful, on the other hand, were Mein’s journalistic accounts of events in Boston, some taken from his own experiences there, others based upon letters from friends and other correspondents, describing the temper and character of the people of the town. As might be expected, the burden of such essays and paragraphs is that strong coercive measures alone could restore the colony to its rightful and subordinate place in the British empire. This, for instance, is the crux of the letter with which the Boston pamphlet opens, where, after insisting how unruly the Bostonians have become, Mein ends by asserting that “there appears now no other remedy to the disease, but the correcting hand of the supreme legislature.”

    While Mein avenged himself in such terms upon the Boston citizens in general who had made life so miserable for him, he was in addition able, in a series of slanderous attacks in which his propaganda reaches its lowest level, to single out for scorn and invective those particular persons who were especially obnoxious to him. That John Hancock was attacked with acrimony is hardly surprising because of his rôle as a leader of the Boston nonimportation movement, and more particularly because of his part as attorney for Longman and for Messrs. Wright and Gill in their suits against Mein. Mein’s description of Hancock is one that it would be difficult to surpass as an example of journalistic libel:

    When . . . [Hancock] was in London about twelve years ago, he was the laughing stock and the contempt of all his acquaintances. . . . He kept sneaking and lurking about the kitchen of his uncle’s correspondent, drank tea every day with the housemaid, and on Sunday escorted her to White Conduit House . . . but his old schoolfellows and intimates know that though nature had bestowed upon him a human figure, she had denied him the powers of manhood. The girl was therefore in perfect safety.

    In view of Thomas Marshall’s physical assault upon Mein in that memorable fray of October 28, 1769, he could hardly escape Mein’s wrath.

    . . . [Marshall] had the honour, a few years ago, to be Lieutenant Colonel of the Boston militia, whose ragged figures and awkwardness far outstrip our city train bands. At that time an English gentleman in Boston had a curiosity to obtain a list of certain toasts, which were given in the Council chamber on His Majesty’s birthday, and, having some knowledge of this warlike tailor, sent a card to him, requesting a copy of the toasts in writing. The answer of this tailor, soldier and select man, is exactly as follows:

    “Collo. Marshall’s compliments on Mr. — to let him know he can’t give a sortin list of the tosts that pasd at the Councell board not being their abufe 15 minits, but heard, say, vizt, the King, the Queen and royal familey; onion between Great Britain and hur colloneys; His Majestys ministers of state; the governor and provence. when the gards and regiment and train of artillery war dismis after the firings the Capt. marched their respektifs companys to their own houses whare they provided sonteel dinners for their officers and other jontlemen of the town.”

    Such are the great abilities and learning of the mighty men of Boston.

    If this letter is not a complete fabrication of Mein’s fancy, there can be little doubt that Mein himself was the “Englishman” and that he was seeking the information for his newspaper, the Boston Chronicle.

    While Mein had no personal score to settle with Benjamin Franklin, the latter, as the Massachusetts agent, was likewise the object of Mein’s attacks. To Franklin he devoted at least four letters or paragraphs, while passing references to him in unflattering terms are frequent, as, for instance, when Mein observed that “The threats of an old factious agent, who vomits out his venom in the newspapers, are utterly contemptible; he owes his safety not to his innocence, but to the levity of our laws.” Some of Mein’s essays on Franklin attribute to the latter certain pseudonymous letters and paragraphs in the newspapers. In the essay of March 12, for instance, Mein, apparently with good reason, identifies Fabius, addressing Lord Buckinghamshire, as Franklin. And when Mein ascribed to Franklin the “Speech intended to be delivered by the Bishop of St. Asaph in the House of Lords,” he opened a problem of authorship not yet settled. His reasons for such an attribution are at least picturesque, whether or not plausible:

    It is . . . more probable, that the intended Speech is the fruits of the midnight labours of the great and loyal Doctor Franklin. . . . The reasons for imputing this intended speech to Doctor Franklin are, that it contains all that low cunning which so peculiarly marks his writing; that affected moderation; that feigned regard for peace; that compassion for the madness of Britain in refusing to humble her neck to the feet of the Bostonian rebels; that grave impudence, which always places America in the light of a separate, independent, powerful State; that false prophecying, which croaks out threatenings of ruin to our peace, commerce, and kingdom, if the smallest tax is laid on his darling America; and that foolish assurance, which promises us more wealth and power, and permanent greatness, than the world ever saw, if we will only fall down and worship his rebellious constituents.857

    At least two of Franklin’s editors are in disagreement on the question of his responsibility for the tract under discussion, Bigelow asserting that he was its author and Smyth denying it.858 Obviously there was no doubt in Mein’s own mind.

    The last contribution to the Public Ledger which can with assurance be attributed to Mein is dated July 23, 1774. Why was his work brought to an end? Was it simply because the measures in behalf of which he was writing had been passed and his ends achieved? Or was it because the growing certainty of the identity of Sagittarius weakened the influence his articles and essays had carried? Did he perhaps continue to write on behalf of the government under another name or in other forms? Unfortunately these are questions far more easily raised than answered.

    How effective Mein’s career as propagandist was must likewise remain uncertain. At least the measures on whose behalf he wrote were passed by Parliament. His essays were manifestly widely read and discussed, if one may judge from the comments they evoked, and several of the articles were considered of sufficient interest to be reprinted in the London Chronicle. But, as with all propaganda, there remains the problem of whether public opinion is changed or merely crystallized by the expression of previously inarticulate ideas. It is more likely that Mein’s essays expressed rather than created public opinion.

    With the disappearance of Sagittarius’ name from the columns of the Public Ledger we lose sight of Mein. True, there is a letter written by him to James Murray in Boston, dated London, January 11, 1775.859 But, interesting as it is for the political views expressed, it gives no clue to Mein’s occupation at the time. His financial troubles seem to have outlived his public career, for on September 4, 1783, John Pitcairn, an Edinburgh lawyer, was still concerned with Mein’s unpaid debts, and addressed Samuel Eliot, the Boston merchant, then in London, as follows:

    I received yours of the 25th ulto & am much obliged to you for the relation you give of John Meins affairs and for your attention to our Interest. Good Mr Kincaid died 21st Janry 1777 leaving an only son Alexr Kincaid who also died 5th Decr 1777 after appointing Trustees to conduct his Business for behoof of his two Cousins Mark & Chas Kerrs who are both in the Army, as the Trustees act with limited powers they cannot answer Foreign orders without having security for them in Britain, in other respects the Business goes on as formerly, we take Bills on London at 2 mo. and allow 5 per cent discount.

    We will be much obliged to you that you take the most effectual measures to bring John Meins effects in your possession into Cash for behoof of Mr Kinkaids Estate. If any further powers are necessary be so good as write me, however as there will be no opposition I suppose what you have will be sufficient. When you have brought the matter to a period be so good as give me a State and a remittance for the neat proceeds.860

    Mein’s debts to the Kincaid estate undoubtedly dated from his first years in Boston, almost twenty years earlier. It is regrettable that no indication is given as to the nature of “Meins effects” in Eliot’s possession, and how they came there.

    In summarizing Mein’s life and activities it can hardly be said that he was either a great or a good man. Yet it must be admitted that he was unquestionably a more significant figure than has previously been realized. As a publisher he contributed more to the history of printing in America than has been hitherto known, responsible as he was for the first American editions of The Vicar of Wakefield and A Sentimental Journey. His opposition to the nonimportation movement of 1769, it is agreed, was influential in the breakdown of the intercolonial agreements. Whatever weight it may have carried, his anti-American propaganda in the Public Ledger aroused interest and argument, and certainly as a spokesman of the British ministry of the period he wrote essays of importance.

    As a man, however much his misfortunes may have been the result of circumstance, it must be admitted, in view of the violence of his temper and his willingness to distort the truth, that Mein did not always present too admirable a figure. None the less, as a person of considerable intellectual ability and literary skill, who had the unfortunate habit of choosing the unpopular side of a controversy, he deserves to be remembered, a rebel against rebels.