A Stated Meeting of the Society was held at No. 25 Beacon Street, Boston, on Thursday, 25 February, 1909, at three o’clock in the afternoon. In the absence of the President, Mr. Andrew McFarland Davis was called to the chair.
The Records of the last Stated Meeting were read and approved.
The Corresponding Secretary pro tempore reported that letters had been received from Mr. William Lowell Putnam of Manchester and Mr. Harold Murdock: of Brookline accepting Resident Membership.
Mr. James K. Hosmer, a Corresponding Member, spoke as follows:
Some twenty-five years since, while writing a life of Samuel Adams, I came first to an understanding of his great opponent Thomas Hutchinson. It was impossible to portray Sam Adams without sketching at the same time the figure with whom he was locked in his famous wrestle,—a figure overwhelmed with obloquy from that day to this, but whom we are coming to recognize as a wise statesman and a benefactor of his country.
The American idea is that in any Anglo-Saxon community Abraham Lincoln’s “plain people” can and ought to govern themselves. “Some men are fools all the time; all men are fools sometimes; but all men are not fools all the time.” Here we have a margin, narrow perhaps, but wide enough to give a basis for popular government.
Emerson, in his essay on Politics, quoted approvingly Fisher Ames as saying that monarchy was a trim ship, which sails well and may carry you in comfort; but then, it may strike a rock, when all goes to pieces at once; whereas democracy is like a raft; the discomforts are great; your feet are always in the water; but it will always float and carry you somehow. But when all has been said that can be said against democracy, put it side by side with aristocracy or monarchy and it will bear the comparison well; its crimes and blunders are no greater than those of its rivals, and there are compensating advantages. America has been willing to commit herself to this idea. This was not the idea of Thomas Hutchinson. He was a man of the middle of the eighteenth century, and by our standards un-American. King, Lords, and Commons, the old triple-pillared polity of Britain was good enough for him. To the masses he would give only limited power conditioned on qualifications of education and property. Matthew Arnold’s doctrine of the “remnant”—that in any society the guiding reins must be in the hands of a select few in order to a good result—would have seemed wise to him. So had thought Pym and Hampden, a century before; so thought Pitt, Burke, Mansfield, his contemporaries; Hutchinson was in good company; no doubt there are many even in America who see wisdom in Matthew Arnold’s doctrine of the remnant, and who sail only with trepidation upon the raft to which our society is committed.
Born in 1711, Thomas Hutchinson, nurtured in such theories as have been described, reached manhood, and at twenty-five, having married, and in accordance with the puritanism he always professed joined the church, became selectman of Boston, thus entering upon a career of public service unbroken until the year 1774. He spent a decade in the Assembly, during three terms holding the place of speaker. Proceeding thence to the Council he became there a leading spirit. In the judicial field he was judge of probate, justice of the common pleas, and at length chief-justice. He filled finally the executive positions of lieutenant-governor and governor. He held in fact almost every conspicuous public office in the Province, several of them at one and the same time,—a fact which gave rise to accusations of rapacity and place-hunting, when toward the end his popularity waned. Since there were no emoluments connected with these offices, the pay even when it came being the merest pittance, and since curses came to the public servant more often than blessings, it is more reasonable to describe Hutchinson’s motive as a fine public spirit other than anything lower. An ample private estate made him free to serve the Province; this he did long and unremittingly, until disfavor overtook him and he was at last driven out of the country.
Looking at the manner in which Hutchinson performed his public work, first, what can be said of him as a legislator? He was busy in all ways, but finance was the field in which he was especially a master; and his greatest feat here was the restoration, in 1749, of the currency of Massachusetts to a hard money basis. John Adams no doubt had this transaction in mind, when in 1809 he declared Hutchinson to have been the best financier he had ever known. For fifty years Massachusetts had been given over to issues of irredeemable paper which had reduced the Province almost to a condition of paralysis. The infatuation, at first moderate, became wide-spread and eager; issue followed issue, the neighboring colonies became infected with the same craze, circulating their bills in Massachusetts; the remedies to relieve the embarrassment proved worse than the disease until the evil could scarcely be more acute.
Hutchinson’s method, completely successful, of affording relief was as follows: Louisburg, on the Island of Cape Breton, was captured from the French in 1745 mainly through the efforts of Massachusetts; and the success being important, in recognition of what the Province had done, the British government indemnified the Province for its expenses, sending over in hard money one hundred and eighty thousand pounds. What should be done with the money? Hutchinson, speaker of the Assembly, put forward a plan which at first excited only ridicule. The irredeemable paper of the Province, at that time in circulation, amounted to between two and three million pounds, so far depreciated that eleven or even twelve pounds of it were equal to only one pound sterling. The indemnity therefore, if applied to taking up the scrip, would cancel nearly the whole, and this was what Hutchinson suggested. He was opposed almost unanimously. The large debtor class, strongly represented in the Assembly, clung to the currency as it was, while the wiser and more scrupulous hard money men found mysterious calamities from the “shock” in their opinion sure to result from the sudden change. Hutchinson stood almost alone, and better evidence cannot be adduced as to his weight of character and wisdom than that he swung the Province slowly round to his view. His plan was adopted: the indemnity, for the most part in the form of Spanish milled dollars, arrived and was at once applied; a state of prosperity succeeded the depression which wonderfully re-invigorated the Province, imparting indeed to a large extent the spirit and initiative which made Massachusetts the leader in the then imminent Revolution. Whether we look at the immense result that followed, or at the force and astuteness with which the great measure was achieved, no more memorable feat of statesmanship was performed in America’s provincial period than the restoration, in 1749, of the Massachusetts currency to a sound basis.
Taking up now Hutchinson’s judicial work, we find uncontradicted evidence that as judge of probate he was careful and humane, retaining the office when it was only an embarrassment because he thought he could help the fatherless and the widow; that as a justice of the common pleas he was exemplary; while as chief-justice he won distinction which is not yet forgotten. Governor Emory Washburn commends515 in strong terms the judicial ability and services of Hutchinson, and it seems probable at the present time that few men indeed have sat in that high place more dignified, more conscientious, or better endowed and equipped. In general he greatly invigorated in the Province the administration of justice.
While busy thus in public ways, Hutchinson yet found time to write a History of Massachusetts Bay which stands in early New England literature as one of its most memorable achievements, and remains to-day one of the most important sources. With this Society no authority will weigh more than Mr. Charles Deane, who declares the History of Massachusetts Bay to have the highest value, proving Hutchinson’s mind to have been a judicial one, full of candor, moderation, and a desire for truth.516 As an historian he had great limitations. The position of Clarendon in the English Revolution, as active protagonist and at the same time describer for posterity of the events in which he moved, was similar to that of Hutchinson a century later; but the American had little of the power of his English prototype in depicting the characters of his fellow-strivers. A century later Hutchinson’s townsmen, Prescott, Motley, and Parkman, exhibited almost unequaled skill in making vivid the events which it fell to them to treat. With these, too, the old Governor makes no good comparison. His work unquestionably is dull; Hawthorne pronounced it scarcely endurable. But his substantial merits are not to be belittled. He imparts a vast body of information accurately gathered from sources to a considerable extent no longer existing, in a form of presentment which, if it has few purple patches, is certainly clear and impartial; in the third volume, which is the story of his own downfall, the cool poise and absence of unworthy acrimony mark him as in a high degree magnanimous.
It was particularly in his executive capacity that Hutchinson became involved in the calamities resulting finally in his exile and ruin. He became lieutenant-governor in 1758, governor not until 1771; but since Pownall and Bernard, in turn his chiefs, were each for a portion of their terms out of the country, he was in the fore-front for some years while nominally only the second officer. Of the efficiency of his administrative work in general there was no question. The welfare of Massachusetts Bay was well looked after in all respects save one,—its relations with the mother-country. Here the chief magistrate and the people fell into sad disagreement, and it is proper to note with care the position of the Governor. He was first, last, and always an opponent of independence, regarding a separation of the colonies from the mother country as a certain misfortune for England and a still worse misfortune for America. Here he was wrong, but few men in the colonies felt otherwise close up to the year 1776. While America then became free, her people casting off the old ties, Hutchinson remained a British subject and anticipated destruction for his country, which now turned its back upon him. While Hutchinson felt a schism to be deplorable, he would, could he have arranged matters, have provided for an almost complete freedom in the dependency as regards its own affairs. After recognizing a supremacy in the government of England, which, however, was to act only in imperial affairs; each colony was to be left to itself, taxation and legislation in general to be cared for without interference from over sea. The mother-country was to remain in the background, a presence benign but always unobtrusive, never interfering with colonial management except when some great peril threatened the whole empire, or some great general interest was to be advanced. The relation in fact which Hutchinson advocated was no other than the one which exists to-day between England and her dependencies,—a relation under which the British empire has had a prosperity almost unparalleled, and under which the great subordinate states, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and the Cape of Good Hope have remained warmly loyal in their allegiance to the British crown. That Hutchinson should have contended for such a scheme as early as he did, anticipating in his thought the statesmen of the old country, marks him as possessed of high political genius.
Separation, however, came and few in the United States will now say that it was anything but fortunate. Instead of breathing an atmosphere of provincialism we are environed and permeated by the fine stimulus which comes from being citizens of perhaps the mightiest nation in the world. But many a man of our blood thinks to-day that the Anglo Saxon schism was unfortunate and should have been avoided. Certainly it was entirely reasonable that Hutchinson in his time should have taken that position. Having taken it he adhered to it consistently and with manful courage. In 1765, although opposing the Stamp Act, his house was destroyed and his life threatened by a ruthless mob. In 1770 he incurred odium at the time of the Boston Massacre; but his contention that he had no power to order out of Boston the British troops whom the government had stationed there was entirely legal; the disposition of the troops belonged not to him but to the British commander-in-chief. Samuel Adams has always been held to be the special hero in that critical hour, but the conduct of Hutchinson, too, was heroic. When he stood for law and order, in the east balcony of the Old State House, the regiments kneeling in the blood-stained snow ready for street-firing on the one hand, and the townsmen on the other getting ready for battle, holding them apart by his personal force, at last sending the soldiers back to their barracks and the populace to their homes pending the decision of the matter in a properly ordered trial, it was a noble maintenance in the midst of peril of his magisterial duty. In 1773, at the time of the Tea Party, though abhorring the tax scarcely less than did the Sons of Liberty, it was his plain duty as Governor to stand as he did against the riot. Why, it may well be asked, if he disapproved the policy of the government, did he remain in office, consenting to and enforcing a policy he did not approve? This was the reason: he kept hoping that he might bring the British government to take a wiser view. He had reason for his hope, for several eminent statesmen in England were of his way of thinking. He kept hoping that he might induce the town of Boston to forbear until better counsels should prevail across the water. Here, too, he had reason to hope; with his great influence he came near indeed to carrying the day. He was foiled at last, and the record of the breaking down of Hutchinson is one not creditable to the Boston patriots. The story of the Hutchinson Letters is a long one, and has been told elsewhere by the writer of this paper.517 By indirect and underhand means his opinions and character were put in a false light before the unreasoning masses. The best that can be said for the patriot leaders who managed the affair is that they probably had come to feel in the passion of the moment that Hutchinson was the devil and must be fought with his own fire.518
In 1773 Hutchinson was quite borne down; but discredited though he was and about to depart into exile from which he was never to return, there was important work to be done for the Province which could be trusted only to his skilful and experienced management. From his young manhood he had had a main hand in settling the boundaries of the Province,—first, on the side of New Hampshire, then on the side of Rhode Island and Connecticut. A critical and long continued dispute about the western boundary remained to be adjusted with the province of New York, a rival much more difficult to deal with than the smaller New England colonies. Already commissioners had met and after stormy discussion parted without deciding. Now again a Massachusetts commission, with Hutchinson at the head and Joseph Hawley and John Hancock among the subordinate members, met at Hartford. Governor Tryon, Robert R. Livingston, and other New York men, resolved on another attempt. Again the debate was earnest: Hutchinson’s associates were ready to accept the New York demand that the western line of Massachusetts should be the Hoosac mountains. Through his persistency it came about that the line was run instead twelve miles east of the Hudson River, thereby securing for Massachusetts the beautiful county of Berkshire. Hutchinson’s associates cordially recognized that the credit for the arrangement was due to him, and on the return of the commission to Boston there occurred a manifestation quite extraordinary. The Assembly, without looking at Hutchinson’s report, authorized its instant transmission to the King, such a mark of confidence as had perhaps not before been shown,—this at a time when the recall of Hutchinson was about to be demanded as a magistrate unfaithful to his trust.
The old Governor sailed out of Boston harbor June 1, 1774, exiled never to return. The west wind that filled the sails probably bore to his ears the sound of the bells tolling at the closing of the harbor by the Boston Port Bill, the penalty that the town had brought upon itself by the Tea Party. He expected confidently to return, but the return never came. His private fortune was confiscated; his family and friends, the Tories in general, were driven out. But for his pension he might have died a pauper. Before he died he saw the independence of the Thirteen Colonies practically established, for them in his honest but short-sighted view a great calamity. England, moreover, shorn of its best dependencies, in unsuccessful war with France and Spain, seemed a broken power. While outwardly shattered, disaffection was working at her heart. While Hutchinson lay dying, in June, 1780, the Gordon riots appeared likely to lay London in ashes. Meantime, his private afflictions were great. The careers of his two elder sons were ruined, his younger son and his two daughters sank at his side into premature graves. In his latest consciousness overwhelming catastrophe appeared to be involving everything he most valued and loved. Indeed, it is pathetic that such a death should have come to a man so honorable, so long and so ably serviceable!
Will a time ever come when Massachusetts will make proper amends to Thomas Hutchinson? Hutchinson Street in Boston discarded his name in scorn and became Pearl Street; Hutchinson town, in Worcester county, rejecting the title, hastened to become Barre. A truer judgment is coming to prevail concerning this worthy who in his day so promoted the greatness and honor of Massachusetts. It is confined, however, to the studious few. There is no memorial in the land he so loved and served to show that such a man ever lived, and no acknowledgment has ever been made that a great public benefactor has been treated with ingratitude.
Mr. William T. Piper stated that a field containing ten acres at Milton called “Governor Hutchinson’s Field” was given to the Trustees of Public Reservations in 1898 and that a description of it and the circumstances of the gift, together with some information prepared by our associate Mr. Charles S. Rackemann, may be found in the Report of the Trustees for that year.519
Mr. William C. Lane spoke of Governor Hutchinson as a loyal son of Harvard College, and presented two extracts from the College Archives illustrating his friendly relations with the College, remarking,—
The first extract is from the records of the Corporation in 1771, when Hutchinson, having lately received his appointment as Governor in Chief, was invited by the Corporation to dine in the College Hall in Cambridge. The record reads as follows:
At a Meeting of the Corporation of Har. Coll. 19 March 1771.
Lieut. Govr Hutchinson having lately recd a Commission appointing him Capt Genl and Govr in Chief over this Province, It is thot proper, according to the Usage of the College to invite his Excellency to dine with the Corporation at the College on such day as shall be agreable to him—
That The Honble and Revd the Board of Overseers be invited to dine with the Corporation in Company with his Excell.y in the Coll. Hall on said day. And
In Case the Genl Court be setting on that day, that the Speaker & Honble House of Representatives be invited also to dine with the Corporation in Company with his Excellency in the College Hall on the said day.
Thursday Mar. 28th 1771—The Corporation waited upon his Excellency the Governor with the following Address
May it please your Excellency
The President & Fellows of Harvard College wait upon your Excellency to congratulate you on your Appointment to the first Chair of Government in this Province.
It reflects an honor on the College, that one of its sons, after having sustained, with great Dignity and Reputation, a Variety of public Offices, is advanced by the King to this high station.
Your Excellency’s thorough Acquaintance with the Advantages of Literature; The affectionate Regard you have expressed for this Seat of Learning; and the important Services you have rendered it, afford us the pleasing Prospect that we shall find in your Excellency a Patron & a Friend, ever ready to protect the Rights and promote the Interests of a Society, founded by our Fathers on the most catholic Plan, & upon which the Welfare of the Community greatly depends.
It shall be our constant Endeavor, that the Youth committed to our Care may be taught all due Submission to Government, as well as the Principles of Civil & Religious Liberty.
We devoutly implore the great Governor of the Universe, to direct and succeed your Excellency’s Administration; and make it honorable to yourself & happy to this People.
To which his Excellency was pleased to return the following Answer,
I return you my sincere and hearty thanks for your Address, which expresses so much Duty & Loyalty to the King, so much Kindness and Respect to me
My Services for the College have fallen short of my Desire and Endeavors.
This public Notice of them by the Corporation is very obliging.
I am bound to embrace every Opportunity, & to improve every Advantage which my present Station may afford for the Encouragement of this eminent Seat of Learning, wch has been of such signal Use to the Province in Civil as well as religious regards.
April 4th 1771.
This Day his Excellency the Governor was pleased to visit the College in Compliance with the Invitation of the Corporation.
His Excellency with his Honor the Lieutenant Governor,520 & the Honorable his Majesty’s Council, in their Carriages, attended by the Sheriff521 of the County of Suffolk, & a Detachment of the Troop of Guards set out from the Province House in Boston, in Procession, and were received at the County Line by the Sheriff522 of the County of Middlesex, and the principal Gentlemen of the Town of Cambridge in their Carriages. At the Steps of Harvard Hall, his Excellency was received & congratulated by the President, Fellows Professors & Tutors in their Habits—In the Philosophy Chamber he was met & welcomed by the Honorable & Reverend Overseers.
The Chapel not being large enough to accommodate the Gentlemen who were present on this Occasion, & the Members of the Society; His Excellency, with the Lieutenant Governor, the Overseers, Corporation, Officers of the College, & the other Gentlemen, went in procession from Harvard Hall to the Meeting House, preceeded by the students of the College, Graduates & Undergraduates.
The General Court being then sitting in the College, a Committee of the Corporation waited on the Honorable House of Representatives to ask their Attendance on the Exercises of the Day. Which Invitation they were pleased to accept off.
The public Exercises began with a handsome Gratulatory Oration in Latin pronounced by William Wetmore A.B.523 To this his Excellency made an elegant Reply in the same Language, testifying his Affection to the Seminary in wch he had his Education, & his Regard to the Interests of Literature.
Then followed an Anthem, composed set to Music & performed by some of the students
The Words of the Anthem.
We have heard with our Ears, O Lord, and our Fathers have told us of thy Might! Thy Wonders which thou didst of Old; how thou didst drive out the Heathen from among them!
For they got not their Land by their own Sword; but it was thy right hand, thine Arm, & the Light of thy Countenance!
O Praise the Lord forever & ever
—How blessed are all they that fear the Lord & walk in his Ways, for thou shall eat the Labor of thine Hands.—O well is thee, & happy shalt thou be.
Lo! thus shall the Man be blessed that fears the Lord. For thus saith the Lord, from henceforth, behold all Nations shall call thee blessed; for thy Rulers shall be of thine own kindred; your Nobles shall be of yourselves, & thy GOVERNOR shall proceed from the midst of thee.
Awake! Awake! Put on thy Strength, O Zion,—break forth into Joy with Hallelujah! for the Lord hath redeemed his People.
Blessing, & Glory, Salvation and Wisdom, Thanksgiving and Honor and Power & Might, be unto the Lord God Almighty, who sitteth on the Throne, and unto the Lamb forever & ever Amen
Praise the Lord
When the Exercises were over, the procession returned to the Hall, where a genteel Entertainment was provided for his Excellency, the Honorable & Reverend Overseers—the Honorable House of Representatives, & the other Gentlemen. The Whole was conducted with the greatest Decorum and Elegance.524
The second paper is a letter from Hutchinson to the Rev. Andrew Eliot,525 a member of the Corporation, written from London and dated May 26, 1775.526 It is to be noted that at this date the news of the Battle of Lexington had not yet reached England. Captain Derby, who had been sent off by the patriot party in all haste, arrived in Southampton on May 27 and in London on the following day. The news was suppressed by the Ministry for some days, but Governor Hutchinson must have known it promptly. A letter from Edward Gibbon to Edward Eliot, afterwards Baron Eliot, dated May 31, 1775, states that he has heard from Hutchinson the particulars brought by Captain Derby.527
The volumes which Hutchinson says he is sending to the College Library cannot be identified with anything now existing in the Library, and it is altogether likely that they, as well as the objects intended for the Museum, never reached America.
I have desired Col° Dalrymple528 to take with him two Folio and one Quarto Volumes, all which contain four different Translations of the Old Testament, and five of the New into the Latin Tongue. I have desired him to deliver them to you, for the College Library, hoping they may be acceptable and useful. I have seen two or three other Translations which I believe I can obtain.
I send likewise, for the Musæum, a small box containing a Fish converted into Chalk, which I brought from under a Chalk Cliff in Sussex, and was perfect, but, by handling, the Tail is broke off. It is a Sole, a Fish well known here for its delicate taste. There is also part of another, which, being dug into the belly, discovers the grain of the Fish. To some persons they will be curious. In the same box, there are two small pieces of cloth, made by the Otahitee Indians from the Rind or inner Bark of a Tree, and a long string of braided hair, which they work into Ornaments for their Foreheads. Omiah,529 a Native now in England, gave them to me. I wish it may be in my power to evidence my attachment to the College, by something of greater value. I am
Sir Your most obedient
Revd Doctor Eliot.
Mr. Charles F. Mason exhibited three original documents: (1) a parchment dated 14 January, 1655–56, bearing seven grants of land from the town of Medfield to John Bowers signed by Henry Adams; (2) a petition to the General Court dated 19 December, 1664, of Richard Norcross concerning books that had been stolen from the Watertown school by Indians; and (3) a report dated 16 August, 1667, of the committee appointed to investigate the expenditures of the Treasurer of the County of Middlesex, signed by Thomas Danforth, Hugh Mason, and William Stitson. These follow.
To John Bowers530 two Acres and three roods of upland as it lyeth abutting on Bridg street high way toward the north easte and on the waste land toward the northweste and the meadow south weste and the land of Nicolas Rocket toward the south easte
Hen̄ Adames531 Agt
To John Bowers three acres and one roode of upland as it lyeth abutting on the lands of nicolas rocket toward the south easte and on the waste lands on all parts else
Hen̄ Adames Agt
To John Bower ffower Acres & halfe of meadow land as it lyeth Before the end of stop river being Bounded with Charles River Boath toward the south & toward the easte according to the various runing of the river Coming near to a poynt boath toward the north easte and south weste with the waste land on the north weste
Henry Adames Agt
To John Bower Two Acres more or less of meadow Land Linḡ in the uper broad meadow Abutting Againste the highway Toward the south easte and on the waste land on all parts else.
To John Bowers two Acres and halfe of meadow Land as it lyeth Abutting on Charles River toward the weste And Benjamin Alen toward the north and the Land of John Bowers toward toward the easte with the meadow of nicolas rockwod toward the south
To John Bowers nine acres of upland as it lyeth Abutting on the land of Abraham hardinge toward the easte and on the high way toward the north with the waste Land boath on the weste and south
To John Bowers two acres of upland as it lyeth Be it more or less Being Bounded with the meadow of John Bower toward the south & south easte with the waste land on all parts else
The request of Richard Norcrosse to ye honoured Court assembled in Charles Towne is yt uppon ye examination of John Nunnumpe Indian lately Servant to Mr: Biscoe532 of Watertowne, who was associate to Richard Joittimue Indian with some other Indians as is since reported, in ye robberie donn in Watertowne Schoolehouse out of which they stole 17 greek and Latting books, 15 wheir of are come to hand yt ye aforesaid Nunnumpe might be caused to533 confesse what is become of a new english bible, and a greek booke called minores poetse, in english minors poets boath which are yet wanting, and in reference to ye fact of ye said Indians Richard Norcrosse leaves it to ye honoured Court to act in as in wisdome they shall sees fitt soe he remaineth,
Your worships in all servisable respects
19, of ye 10 Richard Norcrosse534
Wee535 whose names are subscribed, being impowered to take the account of the Treasurer of the County, wee do find that the Treasurer hath disbursed more then he hath received, (the rate of 81ƚ: 15s: 4d.* being all fully accounted) the full sum̄e of twenty six pounds five & one penny. For the paymt whereof, and for the carrӱng on end the occasions of the County for the following yeare, wee apprhend there will be needfull of neere as much to be levyed of the County as was the last yeare, otherwise the will be greatly damnified by the disburssing of his owne estate, whereas wee apprhend that his recompence is not suteable to his trouble and dam̄age otherwise.
Dat. 6. 16th. 1667.
Mr. Albert Matthews spoke as follows:
The following extract is taken from the Independent Chronicle of August 20, 1778:
A medal has been lately struck at Paris, by direction of Mr. Voltaire, in honour of General Washington. On one side is the bust of the General, with the inscription, “George Washington, Esq; Commander of the Continental Army in America:” The reverse is decorated with the emblems of war, and the following inscription:
“Washington reunit par un rare assemblage
Des tolens du Gurrier & des Vertus du sage.”
“General Washington has re-united, by an uncommon assemblage, in his character, the talents of the warrior with the virtues of a philosopher” (p. 3/2).
According to Baker, “the brilliant Frenchman gave us no effigy, but the piece will always be valued for its epigrammatic legend, and as being the first medal issued in honor of Washington.”539
At a previous meeting of this Society it was shown that from 1779 to 1792, inclusive, Washington’s birthday was celebrated in Boston and vicinity on February 11th; that in 1793 it was celebrated on the 22nd; and that by 1795 the 22nd was “the customary” day.540 In 1794, curiously enough, it was celebrated on both the 11th and the 22nd. On the latter day it was “celebrated by a great number of citizens at Concert-Hall,” and the song sung and the toasts given on the occasion were printed in a Boston newspaper.541 The celebration on the 11th is chiefly interesting by reason of the name of the society under whose auspices it occurred. The following extract is taken from the Columbian Centinel of February 12:
Yesterday, being the anniversary of the birth day, of the exalted Chief, whom Providence has raised to preside over the interests of our beloved country, the same was celebrated, in a manner becoming the character of the Genius whose name the society has adopted. Upwards of 50 brethren attended the festival, and the patriotic, sent mental, and convivial toasts; and the song, which combined the pathos of erudition, with the conteur of festivity, added a zest to the anniversary, and gave another example to the world, that true pleasure, is not inconsistent with rational amusement. We have it not in our power to give to the public, the elegant and ingenious toasts which were drank, and we lament that such is our inability (p. 3/1).
This is the only allusion to the Shakespearean Society known to me, and further information in regard to it would be of interest.
Mr. Henry H. Edes referred to an indenture of apprenticeship of James Taylor, Treasurer of the Province of the Massachusetts Bay from 1693 to 1714, communicated at the meeting of the Society held in April, 1908,542 in which Taylor was described as the “son of Christopher Taylor Citizen and Leatherseller of London,” and stated that he had received a letter from Mr. George F. Sutton, Clerk of the Leathersellers’ Company, from which the following extract is taken:
I have caused the Records of the Leathersellers’ Company to be searched and find that on 15th October 1639 Christopher Tayler was admitted to the Freedom of the Company by servitude, he having been apprenticed to George Chalfont.
Later on I find an entry that “Christopher Taylor” became master of this Company in the year 1675.
It is a matter for regret that the Records of the Company for these particular years are somewhat meagre and I am therefore unable to give you any further information.
Notwithstanding the difference in the spelling I am of opinion that Christopher Tayler and Christopher Taylor were one and the same person.