APRIL MEETING, 1904.
A Stated Meeting of the Society was held at No. 25 Beacon Street, Boston, on Thursday, 28 April, 1904, at three o’clock in the afternoon, the President, George Lyman Kittredge, LL.D., in the chair.
The Records of the last Stated Meeting were read and approved.
The President appointed the following Committees in anticipation of the Annual Meeting:
To nominate candidates for the several offices,—Mr. S. Lothrop Thorndike, the Rev. James Hardy Ropes, and Mr. Henry E. Woods.
To examine the Treasurer’s Accounts,—Messrs. Francis Blake and John Noble, Jr.
The President announced the death on the second of April of the Hon. John Andrew Peters, formerly Chief-Justice of Maine, a Corresponding Member; and expressed his regret that the Hon. James Phinney Baxter, who had hoped to be present and to pay a tribute to the memory of Mr. Peters, was detained in Portland by his official duties as Mayor. He then spoke briefly of the academic, legal, and judicial career of the Chief-Justice, dwelling particularly on the high reputation of his published opinions and on the national importance of the cases which came before him, involving as they often did far-reaching principles of rights in water-ways and of the law of lumber operators.
Mr. Frederick J. Turner of Madison, Wisconsin, a Corresponding Member, was present, and made a communication presenting unpublished documents from the English Public Record Office, the Archives of the Department of State at Washington, and the Archives du Ministère des Affaires Étrangères at Paris, elucidating Blount’s Conspiracy, 1795–1797.1
The Rev. Henry A. Parker made the following communication on—
THE REVEREND GEORGE BURDETT.
The Rev. George Burdett who came to Salem in 1635, after some unpleasant experience of the Court of High Commission, is on several accounts an interesting person. Quint, quoting Belknap’s Manuscript Church History, says:
This Burdet from a pretended quarrel with the Bishops and ceremonies of the Church of England, had about the year 1634, left Yarmouth in England, and coming over to Salem, was received as a member of the church there, (was admitted freeman there 2 September 1635), and employed to preach among them for a year or more, being an able scholar and of plausible parts and carriage. . . . While he continued here he corresponded with Archbishop Laud, and a copy of a letter to the Archbishop, wrote by Burdet, was found in his study.2
It was not altogether unnatural for Belknap to suppose that Burdett’s quarrel was a pretended one, but as a matter of fact it is perfectly clear that there was no pretence about it, nor was it by any means a matter of ceremonies only for which Burdett was in trouble in England.
It so happens that we can follow almost the entire course of Burdett’s case before the High Commission: for it begins 18 February, 1633–34, and ends 5 May, 1636, thus falling within the limits of the first two of those volumes of the Acts of the Court of High Commission which are still extant. From the end of the second of these volumes, 19 May, 1636, the Acts are lost, excepting the volume of entries beginning 11 November, 1639, and ending 7 December, 1640. Indeed all the records of the High Commission remaining to us, put together, cover but a little over three years and three months. I have thought, therefore, that an arrangement of the entries of the Court concerning Burdett’s case with some other papers concerning him might interest the Society.
Burdett was a University man, being Master of Arts, though of which University I do not know.1 He had been a clergyman for some years, for “he had from 1626 to February 1633–4 exercised preaching in Brightwell, Saffron-Walden, and Havering, and for twelve years [months] had been public lecturer of Great Yarmouth.”2
Henry Swinden, in his work on Great Yarmouth, gives an interesting account of the post-reformation history of the parish. It is sufficient for our purpose to note that for some years before Mr. Burdett’s appointment as lecturer, there had been much and varied contention in the parish.3 Mr. Burdett’s name was not one of the two at first proposed by the town authorities to the choice of the Council, but was added to those of the original nominees, Mr. Vincent and Mr. Norton, or substituted for one or other of them, with the result that he was chosen by the Council 29 September, 1632.4
The following notices of Burdett are from the Calendars of State Papers unless otherwise stated.
- 1632, October 29. The Bailiffs and others of Great Yarmouth to George Burdett A.M. Grant of annuity of 100 I. per annum to the same George Burdett, elected Lecturer of Yarmouth, so long as he shall continue resident amongst them, and shall duly preach the word of God as their lecturers in former times have been accustomed to do.1
- 1632–33, January 1. Ludham. Bishop Corbet, of Norwich, to the Council. Received their letter of the 13th December, from the hands of the Bailiffs of Yarmouth, on the 22nd of that month, and admitted George Burdett, whom the Council had appointed lecturer, in that place. Hopes he will conduct himself to the advantage of the church. The inhabitants are anxious that he should not want a living, the writer that he should not scatter poison. Christ sent forth shepherds, the people hanker after hirelings, so that the keepers as well as the flock are to be looked after.2
The Bishop was clearly not enthusiastic about Burdett, though whether he had any special reason for his evident reserve does not appear. It was on the same date (1 January, 1632–33) that “the articles indented of an agreement between the bailiffs, &c. of Great Yarmouth and Mr. Burdett” were “made and concluded” with the consent of all parties concerned. The agreement is in part as follows:
Item, It is agreed that the said Mr. Burdett shall weekly preach one sermon every Sunday, and one sermon every Wednesday (being a market day, and the usual day for the lecture) at such hours as the lecturers in the said town have formerly used to do.
Item, It is agreed that he shall preach one sermon on every coronation day for the king’s majesty, and upon every great festival day, i. e. upon the feast of St. Michaelmas the Archangel, the feast of all Saints, the fifth of November, Christmas Day, Twelfth Day, candlemas Day, Ascension Day, and on the twenty-ninth of August, being the day of election of bailiffs and other officers in the said town, and also upon the session days.
Item, It is agreed that he shall be helpful to the curate in the said town in the administration of the sacrament of the Lord’s supper, when he is thereunto required.3
Trouble between Mr. Burdett and the curate must have broken out at once, for in the Calendar of State Papers we find the following:
- 1632–33, March 19. Ludham. Minute of proceedings at a meeting before Bishop Corbet, of Norwich, for the decision of certain differences between Matthew Brookes, minister of Great Yarmouth, and George Burdett, lecturer there, both those persons then appearing, together with Thomas Johnson and—Meadows, burgesses of Yarmouth. The Bishop ordered that the minister and lecturer should each of them read prayers before his sermon; that all fees should go to the minister; that the lecturer should preach on all the “scarlet days,1 as they name them,” and the minister should preach “the blessing to their fishing yearly, which they call the fishing sermon.” On Wednesday the lecturer was to begin his sermon at ten o’clock in the morning, but if there happened on that day a christening sermon, marriage sermon, or funeral sermon, or sermon at the churching of any woman, then the lecturer was to begin his sermon at eight o’clock in the morning. [This paper is a copy of the original sent by Bishop Corbet to Bishop Laud, and he has added in a note that two other things were left to his consideration. The minister wished that Mr. Burdett should assist him in the communions “which are great and often;” the lecturer that he might have power to appoint a substitute during his forty days’ absence allowed him in the year. Bishop Corbet states his own opinion and asks Bishop Laud’s counsel on these points.]1
The account of this, given in Swinden’s History, is more full in some respects. It there appears that the burgesses, Johnson and Meadowe, “brought letters from Mr. Bailiffs, which signified their desires and consent, that all differences might be presently decided, and ordered by the bishop, which depended between their minister and lecturer, of which letters there are copies in the bishop’s register.” And the “conclusions” are said to have been agreed to by all the parties. The minister and lecturer were each to “read divine prayers before their own sermons;” the point evidently being, not that the prayers were to be read, not omitted, but that each should read at the same services at which he preached. The minister (as distinguished from the lecturer)—
shall have all fees belonging to christenings, marriages, funerals, the churching of women, and all other duties whatsoever properly belonging to his curateship.
Mr. Brookes, the curate, held his office by appointment of the Dean and Chapter of Norwich, who had successfully maintained their right of appointment as against the custom, which had lately grown up, of appointment by the town, and had put out Mr. Brookes’s town-appointed predecessor, Mr. John Brinsleye, M.A. Under the circumstances, there was evidently likely to be friction between the town-chosen lecturer and the curate; and evidently they got in each other’s way, in their use of the church. The provisions for keeping them apart are more elaborate than one would suspect from the account in the Calendars, and were in part as follows:
Item, It is ordered that the lecturer shall preach all the scarlet days (as they call them) and that the minister shall preach the blessing to their fishing yearly, which they call their fishing sermon.
Item, That the lecturer upon Wednesday, being his day to preach, begin his sermon about ten of the clock in the forenoon, except occasion fall out, either by reason of a christening sermon, marriage sermon, funeral sermon, or at the churching of any woman at that time; then it is ordered, that the minister shall have his pulpit free at ten of the clock, giving notice the day before to the lecturer, and the lecturer to begin his sermon at eight of the clock in the morning, on the same day.
Item, It is ordered that if there shall happen any such occasion, as is before named, for the minister to preach on Sunday in the afternoon, it being the lecturer’s time to preach, then the minister shall give warning to the lecturer on the day before, and the lecturer shall supply the forenoon’s course.
Item, It is ordered that upon Sunday in the afternoon, the minister begin catechising at two of the clock, and so continue half an hour, then prayers to begin and read by the lecturer, then christenings to be performed by the minister, and then sermon to begin presently after.
In July following, Mr. Burdett was cited by Mr. Brookes to appear before the chancellor of Norwich, for not bowing at the name of Jesus, as he ought to have done; where he made his appearance, attended by several gentlemen of Yarmouth, that offered to be sworn that he did actually bow at the name of Jesus; and he himself answering the chancellor’s demand, sayd that in that point he had, did, and would observe the canon. Notwithstanding Mr Brookes’s letter, and his own affirmation, corroborated by some of his friends testimony, had sufficient weight with the chancellor, to order Mr Burdett to be suspended. However, upon the bailiffs interceding with the bishop in August following, the suspension was taken off, and Mr Burdett made his reconciliation with the chancellor.1
Matters, however, went from bad to worse between the parish clergy at Yarmouth and the lecturer, for Matthew Brookes the curate gave information against Burdett before the Court of High Commission, which we find thus referred to on the first day of the now extant Acts:
- 1633–34, February 18. George Burdett, clerk. Schism, blasphemy, and raising new doctrines in his sermons as lecturer of Great Yarmouth.2
This I take it is the return made to the Court by its counsel, of charges brought for which he considered that there was sufficient reason to proceed in the case. The preliminary proceedings in this case were doubtless the same as those we can follow in the case of Brookes, against whom Burdett promptly brought a counter accusation, as we shall see.
- 1634, April 24. George Burdett, clerk, of Yarmouth, Norfolk. Depositions of witnesses to be published.1
- 1634, May 8. . . . Time given to propound his defence.2
- 1634, June 12. His defence referred to Sir John Lambe and Dr. Gwynn. . . . Defendant’s defence admitted and time given for proof of the same. Motion for delivery to him of his first bond for appearance, he having given a second bond under an order of the court. This motion being objected to, in regard that he stood charged with blasphemy, schism, and other crimes of a foul nature, it was referred to Sir Henry Marten and Sir John Lambe.3
The same day we find the entry of the beginning of Burdett’s counter suit. The information laid against a man having been “reduced to writing,” “some counsel employed by ‘the Office’ prepared articles of accusation, and the defendant was summoned by letters missive to appear” before the Court. If he did not come, “he was attached and brought up in custody.4 On his appearance he was called into court and directed to take an oath to answer articles of accusation. He was not informed of their nature, nor, save in a very general manner, to what subjects they related. He was not told by whom they were exhibited.5 . . . He was simply called upon to swear that he would make full, true, and perfect answers to whatever articles were lodged in the court against him, so far as he knew, or believed, or was bound by law. If he refused to take the required oath he was committed for contempt of court. If he took the oath he was admonished by the commissioners to be examined within a prescribed time, and called upon to give bond not to depart without leave.”1
- 1634, June 12. Matthew Brooks and Thomas Cheshire, clerks, of Yarmouth, Norfolk. Brooks appeared and took oath to answer articles. Cheshire alleged that he could not appear in person in Mr. Brooks’s absence, having to officiate the cure of Yarmouth, that being a populous and great parish, and therefore prayed a commission which was granted. It was further alleged that Mr. Burdett being questioned in this court at the suit of Mr. Brooks, he had maliciously preferred these articles against the defendants, the consideration whereof was referred to Sir Henry Marten and Sir John Lambe.2
- 1634, June 19. Matthew Brooks and Thomas Cheshire. Cause to be proceeded in; Cheshire’s answers to be returned by 1st August.
George Burdett, clerk. Being no beneficed man, defendant is to give a new bond to appear on warning; commissions ordered for examination of witnesses.3
- 1634, June 26. George Burdett, clerk, of Yarmouth. Many schismatical people in Yarmouth being likely to be produced as witnesses for Mr. Burdett, a sworn clerk of the office of the Registrar of this court may be appointed to examine such witnesses.
Matthew Brooks, clerk, and Thomas Cheshire, clerk, of Yarmouth. Similar order to the preceding as to examinations. Brooks to have copies of his articles and answers, and to be licensed to depart on bond.4
- 1634, October 9. George Burdett. Motion to be made by Dr. Rives next court day.5
- 1634, October 16. Matthew Brooks and Thomas Cheshire, clerks, of Great Yarmouth. Mr. Guy was ordered to be suspended, but afterwards his suspension was forborne by order of the Archbishop till he had further examined the matter.6
- 1634, October 16. George Burdett, clerk, of Great Yarmouth. Witnesses sworn, and in order that Mr. Brooks the prosecutor might not unnecessarily be kept from his cure, counsel were admonished to use expedition that the cause might be heard this term.1
- 1634, October 23. George Barret [Burdett], clerk. Witnesses produced not only in this cause, but in that against Brooke.2
- 1634, October 23. Matthew Brooks and Thomas Cheshire, clerks, of Yarmouth, Norfolk. Cause continued.3
- 1634, October 23. George Burdett, clerk, of Yarmouth, Norfolk. Names of witnesses sworn; Burdett to examine what witnesses he would betwixt this and the next court day, and then publication to be had; counsel on both sides to prepare their briefs ready so that the cause may be heard the last court day save one.4
- 1634, October 30. George Burdett, clerk, of Yarmouth. The Bishop of Norwich made report that he had released Mr. Burdett of the suspension inflicted on him by his chancellor, Dr. Corbett, if no new cause of scandal appears, whereupon the cause to be prepared for sentence 0025
- 1634, October 30. Matthew Brooks and Thomas Cheshire, clerks, of Yarmouth, Norfolk. To prepare their defence within a fortnight, and leave it in the registrar’s office.6
- 1634, November 6. Matthew Brooks and Thomas Cheshire, clerks, of Yarmouth. Motion made that certain charges in the articles related to matters which were formerly objected against Mr. Brooks at the Council table, and were then heard by his Majesty in person, and ordered and determined, whereupon it was moved that they should be expunged: but it being stated that the defendants and also witnesses had been already examined thereon, the court determined to let the cause be taken as it now stands, with reservation of power to consider the same at the hearing of the cause.7
- 1634, November 6.—Matthew Brooks and Thomas Cheshire, clerks. Motion for purging the articles rejected.8
- 1634. November 13.—George Burdett, clerk.—Monday next appointed for cause to be informed in and finally sentenced.9
- 1634, November 20. George Burdett, clerk. Put off till next term and then to be finally sentenced.10
- 1634, November 20. Matthew Brookes and Thomas Cheshire, clerks. To be heard next court day after Burdett’s cause.1
- 1634, November 27. Matthew Brookes and Thomas Cheshire, clerks, of Yarmouth. Upon petition of Brookes that his cause against Mr. Burdett was begun two terms before Burdett began his suit against him, it was ordered that the former cause should be heard the first court day of next term.2
- 1634–35, January 29. George Burdett, clerk. Defendant monished to appear next court day to hear judgment.3
- 1634–35, January 29. Matthew Brookes and Thomas Cheshire. Matthew Webb and John Rose sworn as witnesses upon the matter of defence, and Mr. Burdett sworn and admonished to answer on the matter produced by Brookes and Cheshire.4
- 1634–35, January 29. Matthew Brookes and Thomas Cheshire, clerks. Motion that this cause might be heard together with the cause against the promoter the next court day, to which counsel for the defence answered that the commission was not yet sent up, but stood to be transmitted at the next session. Witnesses produced on part of defendants, and Mr. Burdett, the promoter, were sworn and monished to be examined before the next court day.5
- 1634–35, February 3. George Burdett, clerk. Cause came on for sentence; brief of the proofs read.6
- 1634–35, February 5. Matthew Brookes and Thomas Cheshire, clerks. Depositions ordered to be published saving the answers of the promoter, and the cause to go to report.7
- 1634–35, February 5. George Burdett, of Yarmouth, clerk. Defendant stood charged, that being a priest in holy orders he had from 1626 to February 1633–4 exercised preaching in Brightwell, Saffron-Walden, and Havering, and for twelve years8 hath been public lecturer of great Yarmouth. In preaching at Yarmouth from the text Rom. in. 25., he taught that our redemption by Christ was by ordination,—First, in respect of Christ himself, who was to be redeemed, for otherwise there could have been no redemptive faculty at all in his bloodshed, and that all that he did in that kind had but satisfied for himself as a creature; secondly, in respect of man, who was to be redeemed, thereby, as he said, to confine the merits of Christ’s sufferings to a certain number, all others to be utterly excluded. And thereupon he said, we should be careful not to stretch the merits of Christ beyond their line. On the Sunday next after Easter 1633, preaching in opposition to what was preached in the forenoon by Mr. Cheshire, defendant said, “They think all well if they can but extend the merits of Christ large enough,” and then he went on in words here quoted, to limit the merits of Christ’s death to the elect. On the 19th May, 1633, defendant was present at a sermon of Mr. Cheshire, in which he had spoken of the duty of ministers not to be dumb dogs, but to bark and bite too when there was an intrusion of heretical or schismatical doctrine; thereupon defendant, in the afternoon, remarked on the dogs and curs which would be snarling at the saints, compared them to Cerberus, and said of himself that he would, like the dog at Nilus, lap and away, lest the crocodile should catch him. Further that on 1st May 1633, he preached that “those that are the most forward to bow at the name of Jesus are the greatest hypocrites,” and “that in these days, those that are most ready in their outward performances, are most negligent in weightier matters for their souls’ health.” On another occasion he said “that the ministers of God ought to be called or chosen by the people.” He had also preached “that he would not have God’s people come and assemble themselves at the Holy Communion with the rout and rabble of all sorts, for,” he said, “do you not See what an unhallowed rout of whoremongers and drunkards daily press upon their own damnations in presenting themselves to receive the Communion.” And this was spoken in opposition to Mr. Brookes, the minister, who had admonished the people oftener to come to the Holy Communion, in that there were 1,200 communicants who had not received at Easter 1633. Defendant had been admonished by his ordinary to conform himself to the rites and ceremonies of the Church of England, and in particular to bow his knee at the name of Jesus; and after such admonition in his prayer before a sermon he prayed thus: “Lord God, thou art a spirit, and wilt be worshipped with spiritual worship; thou regardest not the bending of the knee, nor the bowing of the body, nor any other hypocritical service.” He also preached that people might go away from their own parish church two or three miles to hear sermons, and that confession of sins according to the liturgy of the Church of England was no confession, but added that he would make no application, because there were catchers in the church. That on Ash Wednesday 1632 he refused to read the commination, and on other occasions omitted the Ten Commandments, and that he had said that the name of Jesus was to be reverenced, but not in a superstitious manner, as the pulling off of hats, &c. He had also (amongst other things) preached that there could be no resemblance or delineation of any of the persons of the Holy Trinity, and that there was none in the world that could convince him that this or that picture may more resemble Jesus than Judas, or that that image or picture rather resembled the Virgin Mary than the Pythoness in the Acts, or the Witch of Endor; and that he preached that a certain boy having seen the picture of God the Father, as the Papists used to paint him, and being demanded what God was, he answered, “An old fool in heaven, with a white beard.” Being convented before his ordinary, Dr. Corbet, and being demanded what he could say for himself that he should not be suspended, he replied to his ordinary, that he was an incompetent judge of him, and that he did refuse him for his judge, and thereupon endeavoured to go out of court, but was monished to stay, and was suspended by his ordinary. Of all which he was pronounced guilty, and the court finding that he was merely a lecturer, and lived at Yarmouth upon the benevolence of the people, suspended him from the execution of his ministerial function, and ordered him to be removed from his preachership at Yarmouth. He was also ordered to make a public submission in this court, conceptis verbis, of his scandalous, blasphemous, erroneous, heretical, and schismatical opinions, at such time as three of the commissioners should appoint, which submission is afterwards to be intimated and published in Yarmouth church, and lastly he was condemned in good costs of suit, which are to be taxed next court day.1
- 1634–35, February 12. Matthew Brookes and Thomas Cheshire, clerks, of Yarmouth. Ordered that after Mr. Burdett has performed the order in his cause, then their cause be committed to report.2
- 1634–35, February 12.—George Burdett of Yarmouth, Norfolk, clerk. On motion that defendant might be attached till he had performed the order of the court, it was alleged on the contrary side, that then he could not prosecute the cause against Brookes and Cheshire, whereupon it was ordered that the cause against Brookes and Cheshire should be proceeded in no further until Burdett had performed the [order of the] court and paid the costs.1
- 1634–35, February 20. Brooke House. Minutes of a Court for Providence Island. Proposals to Mr. Burdett respecting his entertainment as minister at Providence. He is authorized to make overtures to some godly persons now intending to return to New England, who he hopes may be persuaded to accompany him.2
- 1634–35, March 5. Brooke House. Minutes of a court of Providence Island. Answer received from Mr. Burdett that he could not promise to go this voyage to Providence.3
- 1635, April 16. George Burdett, clerk. Ordered that if the expense of this suit be unpaid, and Burdett cannot be found with the attachment, then Mr. Quested, his surety, be called to bring in the body of Burdett, or to show cause why his bond should not be certified.4
- 1635, April 16. George Burdett, clerk, of Yarmouth, Norfolk. Ordered that if 40 l., a moiety of the costs taxed in this cause, be not paid before next court day, an attachment issue to take Mr. Burdett, if he be to be found in England, else that Mr. Quested, fishmonger, his surety, be called upon to bring Burdett forth or to show cause why his own bond should not be certified into the Exchequer.5
- 1635, April 23. George Burdett, clerk. If Mr. Quested, defendant’s surety, come not next court day, his [bond] is to be certified.6
- 1635, April 30. George Burdett, clerk. Dr. Rives moved that the bond of Quested, defendant’s surety, might be certified into the Exchequer. Dr. Zouch, counsel for Quested, alleged that all matters required by the bond were fulfilled, and desired that it might be cancelled. Reference to Sir Henry Marten and Sir John Lambe to consider both motions and report.1
- 1635, April 30. George Burdett, clerk. Referred to Sir Henry Marten and Sir John Lambe, to take order for certifying Burdett’s bond, given with a surety for his appearance, if they shall See cause.2
- 1635, June 5, George Burdett, clerk. Referred to Sir Henry Marten, and Sir John Lambe to set down order in this cause.3
- 1635, June 23. George Burdett, clerk. His bond of 50 I. ordered to be certified into the Exchequer.4
- 1635, July 9. On the ninth of July we find Mrs. Burdett, his poor wife, petitioning for an annuity for the support of herself and children, in regard of her being destitute and absent from her husband; he being gone for New England. They [i. e. the town of Yarmouth] generously allowed her twenty marks per annum to be paid quarterly, the first payment to be made at Michaelmas next following.5
- 1635, December. Salem, New England. Geo. Burdett to Archbishop Laud. His voluntary exile is exposed to censure, but the truth is, his practice was regular and therein obedience ecclesiastical very real. His judgment in the five articles was moderate, declarations correspondent, the knot of the controversy declined whatever malice did inform, or perjury confirm to the contrary. Wished to impart this to rectify his Grace’s judgment of him and his ways, and to stop the mouth of calumny. The ground of his secession was impetuous and malicious prosecution, “importable expense,” the end tranquillity in distance, which, could he yet enjoy in his native country, it would exceedingly rejoice him. Prays his Grace to accept these lines from him who desires a favourable answer. Endorsed by Laud, “Rec. Feb. 22, 1635–6.”6
- 1636, May 5. Matthew Brookes and Thomas Cheshire, of Yarmouth. It was alleged that Mr. Burdett the prosecutor of this cause having been censured in this court at the prosecution of Mr. Brookes, had gone to New England, by which means Brookes had lost 80 l. costs taxed in this cause. It was further alleged that this cause had been prosecuted in revenge and that remaining undismissed, defendants conceived themselves to be prejudiced in their reputation, the court ordered the same to be dismissed, and defendants to be discharged from any further trouble.1
- 1638, November 29. Piscataqua. Geo. Burdett to Archbishop Laud. Has lately seen a supplication from Massachusetts Bay to the Lords Commissioners for Plantations, which seems to menace revolt and the erection of a new government, but the truth is they have long since decreed to spend their blood in maintaining their present way and humour, and are using all diligence to fortify themselves. Recommends that the river and harbour of Piscataqua, of which they are endeavouring to obtain the command, should with all expedition, be secured for the King’s use, and the port appointed for discharge of ships that bring passengers, in case any be permitted. This would much strengthen the loyal party, as many who go to Massachusetts would go there, but for difficulty of removal. Hears that the Massachusetts magistrates have received from England copies of his letters to his Grace, procured by Mr. Vane. Cannot believe it was with his consent.2
Palfrey gives quotations from this last letter, calendared as above, one quotation being:
The day before the writing hereof, I was credibly informed that Massachusetts magistrates have from England received copies of my first two letters to your Grace, which, themselves say, Mr. Vane procured from your Grace’s chaplain. If this was without your Grace’s consent, it will much more concern your Grace; if with it, which I cannot believe, it will behoove me to consider of it.3
Mr. Quint, quoting Belknap, gives some account of this correspondence:
A copy of a letter to the Archbishop, wrote by Burdet, was found in his study and to this effect, viz.:—‘That he delayed going to England that he might fully inform himself of the state of the place as to allegiance, for it was not new discipline that was aimed at, but Sovereignty, etc. . . .’ By the first ship that came in 1638, a letter was brought from the Archbishop to Burdet, ‘rendering him thanks for the care of his Majesty’s service, and assuring him that they would take a time for a redress of the disorders which he informed them of.’1
Mr. Albert Matthews read the following paper on—
THE WORD PARK IN THE UNITED STATES.
We Americans so generally apply the word “national” to that which pertains to the National Government in distinction from a State Government, that when I received from Dr. Murray a request for information in regard to our National Parks, I took it for granted that a National Park was so called because it was owned and had been established by the National Government. When, however, an investigation into the history of these Parks was begun, it was found that the question was by no means so simple a one as I had supposed. Perhaps, therefore, as the facts are widely scattered, difficult of access, and have never been brought together, it will be worth while to set the matter forth at some length.
Vague reports of the wonders of the Yellowstone had been current for many years before 1870, but these were generally regarded in the light of travellers’ tales.2 In 1859 Captain William F. Raynolds explored the Yellowstone River, and in his report to the Government we get an amusing account of the trappers and hunters:
Is it surprising that men leading such a life, not hearing from civilization oftener than once a year, and then only through the fur companies who send to them to get their furs, and supply them with ammunition and Indian trinkets, but who yet retained a recollection of the outer world they had left, should beguile the monotony of camp life by “spinning yarns” in which each tried to excel all others, and which were repeated so often and insisted upon so strenuously that the narrators came to believe them most religiously.
Some of these Munchausen tales struck me as altogether too good to be lost. One was to this effect: In many parts of the country petrifactions and fossils are very numerous; and, as a consequence, it was claimed that in some locality (I was not able to fix it definitely) a large tract of sage is perfectly petrified, with all the leaves and branches in perfect condition, the general appearance of the plain being unlike that of the rest of the country, but all is stone, while the rabbits, sage hens, and other animals usually found in such localities are still there, perfectly petrified, and as natural as when they were living; and more wonderful still, these petrified bushes bear the most wonderful fruit—diamonds, rubies, sapphires, emeralds, &c, &c, as large as black walnuts, are found in abundance. “I tell you, sir,” said one narrator, “it is true, for I gathered a quart myself, and sent them down the country.”
Another story runs in this wise: A party of whites were once pursued by Indians so closely that they were forced to hide during the day, and could only travel at night. In this they were greatly aided by the brilliancy of a large diamond in the face of a neighboring mountain, by the light of which they travelled for three consecutive nights.
I will end these specimen tales by one from Bridger,1 which partakes so decidedly of a scientific nature that it should not be omitted. He contends that near the headwaters of the Columbian river, in the fastnesses of the mountains, there is a spring gushing forth from the rocks near the top of the mountain. The water when it issues forth is cold as ice, but it runs down over the smooth rock so far and so fast that it is hot at the bottom.2
That such stories should have been regarded with skepticism, is not surprising; yet, as the sequel proved, there was in them a curious mixture of fact and fiction. Our first certain knowledge of that region dates from the autumn of 1869, when it was visited by David E. Folsom, C. W. Cook, and William Peterson.3 In the summer of 1870 it was again visited by a party consisting of Lieutenant Gustavus C. Doane, one sergeant, four privates, and six civilians of Helena, Montana, among the latter being Cornelius Hedges and Nathaniel P. Langford. In 1871 a scientific party, headed by Dr. Ferdinand V. Hayden of the United States Geological Survey, explored the country. It was felt that a region so crowded with marvels and so unsuited for settlement should be set apart for the benefit of the public. Exactly to whom we owe this idea is a matter of some uncertainty and of controversy; but there can be little doubt that to Dr. Hayden more than to any other one man was due its accomplishment.1 The movement, apparently started late in 1870, was carried to completion on March first, 1872. There are now seven National Parks. Their names, locations, and the dates of their establishment are given in the following table:
- Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming, 1 March, 1872;1
- Sequoia National Park, California, 25 September, 1890;2
- General Grant National Park, California, 25 September, 1890;3
- Yosemite National Park, California, 1 October, 1890;4
- Mount Ranier National Park, Washington, 2 March, 1899;5
- Crater Lake National Park, Oregon, 22 May, 1902;6
- Wind Cave National Park, South Dakota, 9 January, 1903.7
All these parks are under the control of the Secretary of the Interior.—In addition to these seven National Parks,1 there are other parks’ established by Congress which are under the control of the Secretary of War.—Though these are, in the Acts creating them, called sometimes National Parks and sometimes National Military Parks, the proper title would seem to be National Military Parks. There are four, as follows:
- Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Park, Georgia, 19 August, 1890;1
- Shiloh National Military Park, Tennessee, 27 December, 1894;2
- Gettysburg National Military Park, Pennsylvania, 11 February, 1895;3
- Vicksburg National Military Park, Mississippi, 21 February, 1899.4
These were of course the celebrated battlefields of the Civil War. There was also established in 1889 at Washington, D. C., the National Zoölogical Park.1 Finally, though strictly speaking they are not National Parks, mention may be made of National Cemeteries.1
It has been stated that the Yosemite National Park was created 1 October, 1890. Yet for at least twenty-two years before that the term “national park” had been applied to the Yosemite Valley. This is a puzzle the elucidation of which is singular. The Yosemite Valley, which previously had been a hiding place for the Indians, was discovered by the whites in 1851,2 and four or five years later was first visited by excursionists. On 28 March, 1864, John Conness of California “asked, and by unanimous consent obtained, leave to introduce” into the Senate of the United States a bill “authorizing a grant to the State of California of the Yosemite valley, and of the land embracing the Mariposa Big Tree Grove; which was read twice by its title, and referred to the Committee on Public Lands.”3 On 17 May Solomon Foot of Vermont, “from the Committee on Public Lands,” to whom the bill was referred, “reported it without amendment.”4 In the discussion of the bill which took place, the word “park” was not used.5 On 30 June an Act, which in part reads as follows, became operative:
An Act authorizing a Grant to the State of California of the “Yo-Semite Valley,” and of the Land embracing the “Mariposa Big Tree Grove.”
Be it enacted, . . . That there shall be, and is hereby, granted to the State of California the “Cleft” or “Gorge” in the granite peak of the Sierra Nevada mountains, situated in the county of Mariposa, . . . and known as the Yo-Semite Valley, . . . with the stipulation, nevertheless, that the said State shall accept this grant upon the express conditions that the premises shall be held for public use, resort, and recreation; shall be unalienable for all time; but leases not exceeding ten years may be granted for portions of said premises. . . .
Sec. 2. And be it further enacted, That there shall likewise be, and there is hereby, granted to the said State of California the tracts embracing what is known as the “Mariposa Big Tree Grove,” . . . with the like stipulation as expressed in the first section of this act.1
At that time the Legislature of California met once in two years, and the Legislature of 1861 had already adjourned before the passage of the above Act of Congress. On 28 September, 1864, the Governor of California appointed himself and eight others “a Board to manage said premises,” who “shall be known in law as ‘The Commissioners to manage the Yosemite Valley and the Mariposa Big Tree Grove.’”2 The above grant was accepted by the State of California 2 April, 1866;3 but litigation at once arose over the preemption rights of certain settlers, and this controversy remained unsettled until December, 1872, when the Supreme Court of the United States rendered its decision in favor of the Commissioners.4
Neither the word “park” nor the term “national park” is found in any legal document relating to the Yosemite Valley. Indeed, it would be strange if the term “national park” were to occur, for by the Act of 30 June, 1864, Congress surrendered its jurisdiction over the tract to the State of California. In a report made to the House of Representatives 2 July, 1870, George W. Julian said:
But the truth is that the property in these cases was not appropriated by Congress for public uses in any just or legal sense. The entire valley was granted to the State of California, and the jurisdiction of the United States over it has totally ceased. It belongs to the State, subject to the uses and purposes specified in the act, and the control of the State commissioners, and is not a national reservation or park at all.1
Yet at the very time that Julian made this statement, which would seem to be legally unassailable, the tract was already beginning to be popularly known as the Yosemite National Park. In a memorial to the Assembly of California, drawn up in January, 1868, Professor Josiah D. Whitney, then State Geologist of California and Chairman of the Commissioners to manage the Yosemite Valley, said:
The action of Congress was an exceptional one. The Yosemite Valley being an exceptional and in every way remarkable locality, it was the object of the Act by which it was donated to the State to make of it something of the nature of a public park, a place of resort where, unlike other famous objects of natural scenery, the visitor would not be hampered with petty exactions and tormented by extortionate demands.1
In a book written later in the same year Professor Whitney declared:
No: the Yosemite Valley is a unique and wonderful locality: it is an exceptional creation, and as such has been exceptionally provided for jointly by the Nation and the State—it has been made a National public park and placed under the charge of the State of California.2
In 1869 Charles L. Brace wrote:
After this was done, the whole valley, together with the Mariposa grove of Big Trees, was transferred to the State by Congress, to be preserved as a park and public ground forever,—a most wise provision.3
In 1871 Samuel Kneeland observed:
A few years since, some scientific men, familiar with California, and especially with this Valley, undertook to obtain the signatures of their fellows throughout the land, . . . remonstrating against the enormity of permitting the claims of private individuals to stand in the way of the reservation of this Valley as a public park forever.1
In 1872 Charles Nordhoff wrote:
Who goes to California will certainly visit the Yosemite; and a corporation with a lease of twenty or thirty years could very well afford to put up large and comfortable hotels, and spend a hundred or even two hundred thousand dollars in beautifying this “National Park.”2
In 1873 John E. Lester said:
Upon a final hearing of this cause before the Supreme Court of the United States, and after full consideration, the Court has made its decision, confirming the grant to California, and declaring the title of Hutchings3 void. They lay down the following law, which, applied to the facts relative to all the settlements now made there, would seem to settle the matter beyond all question, and thus make this valley a national park.4
In 1880 Dr. Lafayette H. Bunnell, who had been one of the first to enter the Valley in 1851, said:
The late claimants to this lovely locality, “this great moral show,” have been relieved of their charge by act of Congress, and fifty thousand dollars given them for their claims. It will probably now remain forever free to visitors. The builders of the toll roads and trails should also receive fair compensation for their pioneer labors in building them, that they may also be free to all. When this is done, this National Park will be esteemed entirely worthy of this great republic and of the great golden State that has accepted its guardianship.
Perhaps no one can better than myself realize the value of the labors performed by the early pioneers, that has made it possible for tourists to visit in comfort some of the most prominent objects of interest; but “a National Park” should be entirely free.5
It was clearly Professor Whitney who first called the Yosemite Valley a National Park, and soon the designation beeame well established. But though the Yosemite Valley has passed out of the jurisdiction of the National Government and into the control of the State of California, nevertheless the National Government was concerned in so far as the original grant was due to it; and this fact, no doubt, is responsible for the popular use of “National Park” in connection with the Yosemite Valley.
The tract set apart 1 October, 1890, as the Yosemite National Park is quadrangular in shape, and about in its centre is a small oval tract. We have, then, this curious result, that while, strictly speaking, the quadrangle is the Yosemite National Park, and has been in existence fourteen years only, yet the oval or the Yosemite Valley—completely surrounded by the quadrangle—has been popularly called the Yosemite National Park for thirty-six years.1
Deserving of comment is another use of the word Park, which is peculiar to the Rocky Mountains in Colorado and the adjacent country. The word is there applied to a valley shut in on all sides by high hills or mountains. My attention was first drawn to this use of the word when, in the summer of 1887, I encountered the thing itself. No one can visit Colorado without at least hearing of its parks, and no one can travel in the Rockies without seeing them and being attracted by their beauty.—The most noted are North, Middle,1 South, and San Luis Parks. They vary in size from the huge San Luis Park, into which the State of Connecticut could be put, to a little park a mile or two across. These parks are striking in formation, and I have never seen anything quite like them either in our Eastern States2 or in Europe. It is thought by geologists that they are the beds of former lakes. In North, South, and Middle Parks are the headwaters of the North Platte, the South Platte, and the Colorado Rivers, respectively, the first two flowing into the Atlantic, the last into the Pacific; while in San Luis Park rises the Rio Grande del Norte, which finds its way into the Gulf of Mexico.
Exactly when this use of the word arose, I have been unable to ascertain, and no doubt the point is impossible of determination, for the hunters and trappers who wandered through them late in the eighteenth and early in the nineteenth centuries left no records. On their outward trip in 1805 and on their homeward trip in 1806, Lewis and Clark crossed the Rockies far to the north of the Colorado Parks. Pike in 1806 actually entered South Park, but neither described its peculiar features nor gave it a name. Long in 1820, Frémont in 1842 and again in 1843, were in the near vicinity of the Parks, but did not penetrate into them. On his homeward trip from the South Pass, however, in 1844, Frémont visited all three of the more famous Parks; and it is probable that in the following passages we have the earliest description of these Parks, written by one who had actually traversed them, which has appeared in print. Under date of 13 June, 1844, Frémont writes:
Issuing from the pines in the afternoon, we saw spread out before us the valley of the [North] Platte, with the pass of the Medicine Butte beyond, and some of the Sweet Water mountains; but a smoky haziness in the air entirely obscured the Wind River chain.
We were now about two leagues south of the South Pass, and our course home would have been eastwardly; but that would have taken us over ground already examined, and therefore without the interest which would excite curiosity. Southwardly there were objects worthy to be explored, to wit: the approximation of the head waters of three different rivers—the Platte, the Arkansas, and the Grand River fork of the Rio Colorado of the gulf of California; the Passes at the heads of these rivers; and the three remarkable mountains coves, called Parks, in which they took their rise. One of these Parks was, of course, on the western side of the dividing ridge; and a visit to it would require us once more to cross the summit of the Rocky mountains to the west, and then to re-cross to the east; making, in all, with the transit we had just accomplished, three crossings of that mountain in this section of its course. But, no matter. The coves, the heads of the rivers, the approximation of their waters, the practicability of the mountain passes, and the locality of the three Parks, were all objects of interest, and, although well known to hunters and trappers, were unknown to science and to history. We therefore changed our course and turned up the valley of the Platte instead of going down it.
Again, on 14 June, 1844, Frémont remarks:
The next day we continued our journey up the valley. . . .
The valley narrowed as we ascended, and presently degenerated into a gorge, through which the river passed as through a gate. We entered it, and found ourselves in the New Park—a beautiful circular valley of thirty miles diameter, walled in all round with snowy mountains, rich with water and with grass, fringed with pine on the mountain sides below the snow line, and a paradise to all grazing animals. The Indian name for it signifies “cow lodge” of which our own may be considered a translation; the enclosure, the grass, the water, and the herds of buffalo roaming over it, naturally presenting the idea of a park.1
But while, as already stated, the above is perhaps our earliest description of the three Parks by one who had seen them all, yet it is possible to point to a still earlier description of one of them. Under date of 29 July, 1839, Thomas J. Farnham wrote:
To-day we struck Grand River, (the southern branch of the Colorado of the west,) 20 miles from our last night’s encampment. . . . The vallies that lie upon this stream and some of its tributaries, are called by the hunters “The Old Park.” If the qualifying term were omitted, they would be well described by the name. Extensive meadows running up the valleys of the streams, woodlands skirting the mountain bases and dividing the plains, over which the antelope, black and white tailed deer, the English hare, the big horn or mountain sheep, the grisly, grey, red and black bears, and the buffalo and elk, range,—a splendid Park indeed; not old, but new as in the first fresh morning of the creation. Here also we found the prairie and the large grey wolf, the American panther, beaver, pole cat, and land otter.1
What Frémont called the New Park is now North Park, and what Farnham called the Old Park is now Middle Park. The Indian name for North Park is older than its English name. Though, as already stated, Long in 1820 did not penetrate into the Parks, nevertheless, from the accounts given him by his guides, he described the North Park. Under date of June, 1820, Dr. Edwin James writes:
The North fork at its confluence is about eight hundred yards wide, is shoal and rapid like the Platte, and has a sandy bed. We were informed by our guide who had been repeatedly to its sources, that it rises within the Rocky Mountains, about one hundred and twenty miles north of the sources of the Platte.
It is probably the river which was mistaken by Captain Pike for the Yellowstone, and has been laid down as such on his map, whence the mistake has been copied into several others. It has its source in numerous small streams, which descend from the hills surrounding a circumscribed valley within the mountains, called the Bull-pen. This basin is surrounded by high and rugged mountains, except at the place where the North fork passes into the plains. On each side of this strait, or pass, are high and abrupt rocky promontories, which confine the river to a narrow channel. The diameter of the circumscribed valley, called the Bull-pen, is one day’s travel, about twenty miles.1
Had the word Park been known at that time, it seems probable that Dr. James would have recorded it. The name Bull-pen survived for many years, for as late as 1860 William Gilpin spoke of “the Northern Pare, or Bull-pen.”2 Gilpin, however, suggests a different derivation, and says: “Scooped out of its main mass are valleys of great size and beauty, which have received from the trappers the name of Pares.”1 As many of the trappers and guides were French, this is by no means impossible.2 Gilpin was with Fremont for a while in May, 1843, on his way to Oregon; later he is said to have founded Portland, Oregon; in 1861 he was the first Territorial Governor of Colorado; and it would seem as if he ought to have been in a position to know. Yet I do not remember to have met with the statement elsewhere than in Gilpin’s book.3
In 1847 Francis Parkman wrote:
The western Dahcotah have no fixed habitations. Hunting and fighting, they wander incessantly, through summer and winter. Some are following the herds of buffalo over the waste of prairie; others are traversing the Black Hills, thronging, on horse-back and on foot, through the dark gulfs and sombre gorges, beneath the vast splintering precipices, and emerging at last upon the ‘Parks,’ those beautiful but most perilous hunting-grounds.4
Under date of 13 August, 1853, Lieutenant Edward G. Beckwith said:
The labor of crossing the ridge was completed this morning, and just in advance of the 1 o’clock shower we encamped in, but near, the head of the southern descent of the pass, on the Sangre de Cristo, which is a small stream of clear, cold water, in a beautiful little park or valley. . . . Above this gorge or cañon there is a small park, such as are found on the heads of many of the streams in this part of the country, abounding in deer, elk, and bear, and affording luxuriant pasturage for thousands of head of cattle: indeed, few more inviting spots for grazing can anywhere be found.1
In 1856 Thomas H. Benton, alluding to Fremont’s explorations, wrote:
In this eventful exploration all the great features of the western slope of our continent were brought to light—the Great Salt Lake, the Utah Lake, the Little Salt Lake; at all which places, then desert, the Mormons now are; the Sierra Nevada, then solitary in the snow, now crowded with Americans, digging gold from its flanks; the beautiful valleys of the Sacramento and San Joaquin, then alive with wild horses, elk, deer, and wild fowls, now smiling with American cultivation; the Great Basin itself and its contents; the Three Parks; the approximation of the great rivers which, rising together in the central region of the Rocky Mountains, go off east and west, towards the rising and the setting sun.2
In a letter dated Camp Floyd, Utah, 5 August, 1859, Assistant Adjutant-General Fitz John Porter gave the following instructions:
On account of the imminent danger of being caught in the snows which fall early in the season in the elevated passes of the Rocky Mountains near the Parks, the commanding general will not risk sending you that way.
Moreover, as from the plateau of the South Park an eastern outlet for wagons has not yet been discovered, he thinks it would be more advisable to attempt . . . to unite by a practicable road the eastern with the western slope of the Rocky Mountains.1
In 1859 De Witt C. Peters declared that—
There are two of these natural Parks in the Rocky Mountains. To distinguish them they are called the Old Park and the New Park. As their names imply, they are fair natural examples of the manufactured parks of civilization. In some things nature has lavished upon them charms and beauties which no human skill can imitate. These parks are favorite haunts of the deer, antelope, and elk, while the streams which run through them are well stocked with otter and beaver.2
In 1864 Maurice O’C. Morris remarked:
Indeed, no one should think of leaving this country without visiting the three Parks, which are to be found within a compass of one hundred and fifty miles, and which form a most peculiar feature of the Rocky Sierra. They are known by the names of North, Middle, and South, and are large basins in the heart of the mountains, whence issue some of the large rivers which water this part of the continent; the vegetation in them is abundant, and they are peopled by almost every species of wild animal.3
In 1866 Dr. Ferdinand V. Hayden wrote:
The North Park is oval or nearly quadrangular in shape, is about 50 miles in extent, from east to west, and 30 miles from north to south, occupying an area of about 1,500 square miles. Viewing it from one of the high mountains on its border, it appears like a vast depression which might once have formed the bed of a lake. Its surface is rather rugged, yet there are broad bottoms along the streams, especially the North Platte and its branches. Scarcely a tree is to be seen over the whole extent, while the mountains which wall it in on every side are dotted with a dense growth of pine. The grass grows in the park quite abundantly, often yielding at least two tons to the acre. Streams of the purest water flow through the park, and there are some of the finest springs I have yet seen, a few of them forming good-sized streams where they issue from the ground. I am quite confident that this entire park would make an excellent grazing region for at least six or eight months of the year. Myriads of antelopes were quietly feeding in this great pasture-ground like flocks of sheep.1
On 1 July, 1866, Bayard Taylor declared:
The Parks form a very remarkable feature of the mountain scenery. They resemble, on a smaller scale, the lofty, mountain-bounded tablelands of Cashmere and Thibet. They are still but imperfectly known, and still more imperfectly represented on the maps. I have not been able to find any minute description of their scenery, soil, and climate.2
In 1867 Major William F. Raynolds said that—
About latitude 38°, near the Spanish peaks, the main-dividing crest of the continent takes a westerly trend, and from this point branches off an outlying chain running nearly north and south. This, as it gradually diverges from the range, forms the easterly boundary of the “parks,” in which the Arkansas and the Platte have their sources. Near latitude 41° the main crest trends still more rapidly to the westward, enclosing between it and the outlying range a wide and comparatively level tract, known as the “Laramie plains,” which may be regarded as a fourth “park.” In this series of “parks” the most striking feature is the northerly course of all the streams.3
Between 7 November and 16 December, 1871, the Legislature of Wyoming presented the following Memorial to the Hon. W. W. Belknap, Secretary of War:
Your memorialists, the legislative assembly of Wyoming territory, would respectfully represent, that North Park, one of the three great parks of the Rocky Mountain region is situate partly in Wyoming and partly in Colorado territory, that the chief outlet to said park is at Laramie City, on the Union Pacific Railroad, in this territory, that the Indian title to lands embraced within said parks have been extinguished.
Your memorialists would further represent that the area of said park is fully 3,000 square miles, or nearly two millions of acres of land, all of which is peculiarly fitted for grazing purposes; that many cattle and sheep growers of this territory desire to place their herds and flocks in said park, but that owing to the roving bands of Indians who from time to time pass through said park and commit depredations, it is considered unsafe. . . .
Your memorialists would, therefore, respectfully but earnestly request that a military post be established in said park, at such place as your department shall deem best, believing that the establishment of such a post would lead to the early settlement of said park, and to many valuable discoveries in minerals.1
In 1872 Dr. Hayden, referring to Box Elder Park in Utah, said:
In the park the river terraces are well defined. . . . The park is surrounded by high mountains, which protect it from great extremes of temperature, and the elevation above the sea is 4,958 feet. The mountainous portions of Northern Utah are full of these beautiful park-like areas, which are most probably the remains of an ancient lake.2
In 1874 Colonel James F. Rusling remarked:
These “parks,” so called, are a peculiar feature of the Rocky Mountains and play an important part in the scenery. There are five of them—North, Middle, South, Homan’s, and San Luis—of which we passed through the last three. They constitute in reality a great system of plateaus or valleys, morticed as it were into the very heart of the mountains, from twenty-five to fifty miles long by half as many wide, disconnected by intervening ranges, yet all alike in their general features.3
In 1893 Dr. Elliott Coues wrote:
In the summer of 1877 I conducted an expedition of the U. S. Geological and Geographical Survey through North and Middle Park. We started from Cheyenne, Wyo., crossed Medicine Bow mountains, and entered North Park by an easy road from the north. Across the Park, to the southwest, is visible Rabbit-ears mountain, so-called from a pair of peaks it presents. We crossed to the foot of this mountain, where we discovered that a way could be found or made into Middle Park, practicable for our wagons. One of the ultimate sources of the North Platte comes down from the Rabbit-ears; but on skirting around the base of this mountain we found ourselves on a head of Muddy creek, one of the side-sources of Grand river. It was but a step from one to the other, and perfectly practicable for a wagon-road, though we had one upset from carelessness of the driver. There was, however, no sign of a road by the way we came for several miles, and probably no wagon had before passed over the ground there.1
When Frémont made his tour of the Parks in 1844, he found them filled with buffalo, antelope, elk, and Indians. The last in particular caused him great anxiety, because a fight was in progress between five hundred Sioux and Arapahoes, and there was every reason for fearing that both contestants, differing about other matters, would at least agree in falling upon him and his party. When the present writer travelled over much of the same route in 1887, there was not an Indian in the entire region, the buffalo had long since disappeared, the game had sought more secluded spots, and, though the country was still rough, the Parks were dotted with ranches and settlements, and the entire aspect of things had altered. I was entirely alone and unarmed, and one day rode fifty miles between inhabited ranches; still, there was no danger from man or beast. Yet this vast change had taken place in barely more than forty years.2
The publication in November, 1905, of Mr. Langford’s Diary of the Washburn Expedition to the Yellowstone and Firehole Rivers In the Year 1870, requires a modification of the statement made above (p. 375) that “to Dr. Hayden more than to any other one man was due” the accomplishment of the Yellowstone National Park project. It is clear that the honor must be pretty equally shared between Mr. Hedges, Mr. Langford, Mr. W. H. Clagett, and Dr. Hayden. But it still remains true that the idea of creating the Park originated with Mr. Hedges; indeed, from the pages of Mr. Langford’s book, we get an interesting glimpse into the very inception of the idea. It was first broached on 19 September, 1870, and on the next day Mr. Langford wrote in his Diary:
Last night, and also this morning in camp, the entire party had a rather unusual discussion. The proposition was made by some member that we utilize the result of our exploration by taking up quarter sections of land at the most prominent points of interest, and a general discussion followed. One member of our party suggested that if there could be secured by pre-emption a good title to two or three quarter sections of land opposite the lower fall of the Yellowstone and extending down the river along the canon, they would eventually become a source of great profit to the owners. Another member of the party thought that it would be more desirable to take up a quarter section of land at the Upper Geyser Basin, for the reason that that locality could be more easily reached by tourists and pleasure seekers. A third suggestion was that each member of the party pre-empt a claim, and in order that no one should have an advantage over the others, the whole should be thrown into a common pool for the benefit of the entire party.
Mr. Hedges then said that he did not approve of any of these plans—that there ought to be no private ownership of any portion of that region, but that the whole of it ought to be set apart as a great National Park, and that each one of us ought to make an effort to have this accomplished. His suggestion met with an instantaneous and favorable response from all—except one—of the members of our party, and each hour since the matter was first broached, our enthusiasm has increased. It has been the main theme of our conversation to-day as we journeyed. I lay awake half of last night thinking about it;—and if my wakefulness deprived my bed-fellow (Hedges) of any sleep, he has only himself and his disturbing National Park proposition to answer for it (pp. 117, 118).
It is worth noting that there is no mention of the Park project1 in the Journal kept by Mr. Hedges at the time, though in a note dated August, 1904, Mr. Hedges wrote:
It was at the camp after leaving the lower Geyser basin when all were speculating which point in the region we had been through would become most notable, that I first suggested the uniting all our efforts to get it made a National Park, little dreaming that such a thing were possible.