December Meeting, 1957

    A STATED Meeting of the Society was held at its House, No. 87 Mount Vernon Street, Boston, on Thursday, 19 December 1957, at three o’clock in the afternoon the President, Mr. Richard Mott Gummere, in the chair.

    The records of the Annual Meeting in November were read and approved.

    The Corresponding Secretary reported the death of Francis Henry Taylor on 22 November 1957, the day following his election to Honorary Membership in the Society.

    Messrs. Malcolm Freiberg, of Belmont, and Paul Whitman Etter, of Cambridge, were elected Resident Members, and Mr. Thomas Randolph Adams, of Providence, Rhode Island, was elected a Corresponding Member of the Society.

    Mr. Whitehill announced that the Council had commissioned a wood engraving of its House by Mr. Thomas W. Nason, N.A., for presentation to Mrs. Llewellyn Howland as a token of the Society’s appreciation. Proofs of this engraving may be purchased by members. It is reproduced as the frontispiece of this volume.

    Mr. Edwin Williams Small, read a paper entitled: “The Battle Road of the 19th of April 1775—Then and Now.” The material presented by Mr. Small has subsequently been incorporated in The Lexington-Concord Battle Road, April 19th, 1775, issued by the Old Colony Trust Company, Boston, in 1960, and in the Final Report of the Boston National Historic Sites Commission, 87th Congress, 1st Session, House Document No. 107 (Washington: U. S. Government Printing Office, 1961), which he drafted for the Commission. Three members of this Society were members of the Boston National Historic Sites Commission during its existence: Mr. Mark Bortman, Chairman, Hon. Leverett Saltonstall, and Mr. Walter Muir Whitehill.

    The Editor read a letter from the Reverend Henry Wilder Foote to the Reverend Duncan Howlett, dated 3 December 1957 concerning:

    The Latin Grace Used at the Society’s Dinners

    ONE day when I was in Oxford,—I think it must have been in 1924, though it may have been on an earlier visit,—I dropped in for a look at the great dining hall of Christ Church College. There I saw the Lectern which a student could mount to repeat the Latin grace which I saw pinned to the board, and which I liked so much that I copied it then and there. I have always supposed that it is of mediaeval origin, but have no evidence as to its date, though I have since seen another grace very similar to it but less perfect in wording.

    After my return home I used it on a few occasions, and it always aroused interested inquiries. Then when the late Gus Loring (father of the present A.P.L.) was elected president of the Colonial Society, he asked me to say grace at the dinner and I ventured to use it, feeling that the colonial ancestors of those present would have understood it even if most of my modern hearers didn’t. Loring was delighted and thereafter insisted that I repeat it each year, and after he died his successors in office carried on the “tradition” thus established some twenty years ago, in spite of my repeated remonstrances that some other parson’s voice should be heard. Frankly, I was embarrassed to be thus distinguished year after year when men like Bishop Nash or Father Lord were never called upon.

    This year when my doctor advised against my attendance at the dinner, I so informed Richard Gummere, who had stipulated that I use the Latin grace, and offered to give him a copy if he wanted to pass it on to another. Probably because of his illness a few days before the dinner he did not ask for it, hence your lapse into English,301 which was the natural thing for you to do under the circumstances,—though I am interested, and not displeased to hear that there was regret that the Latin form was not used.

    I have told the tale at this length for your guidance, or that of others, should the question of the Latin grace arise in years to come, and enclose herewith a copy of the Latin, with my translation. Perhaps you will think it worthwhile to preserve this story, should there be a request that the “tradition” thus established be renewed next year. I hope then to be present,302 for my health is now much improved, but at my age predictions are vain illusions.

    Gratias Tibi agimus, Deus omnipotens,

    pro his ac universis donis Tuis,

    quae de Tua largitate accepimus,

    qui es Dominus Deus in sæcula sæculorum.


    We give Thee thanks, Almighty God, for

    these and for Thy other countless gifts,

    which we receive from Thy bounty, O Thou

    who art Lord God, forever and ever.