Rhode Island Historical Society.

Proceedings of the Rhode Island Historical Society (Volume 4) online

. (page 1 of 17)
Online LibraryRhode Island Historical SocietyProceedings of the Rhode Island Historical Society (Volume 4) → online text (page 1 of 17)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook


^<^ yj^}i&'^



PROCEEDINGS OF THE

RHODE ISLAND
HISTORICAL SOCIETY

1905-1906




PROVIDENCE

PRINTED FOR THE SOCIETY
1908



PROCEEDINGS



OF THE



RHODE ISLAND i,£^.
HISTORICAL SOCIETY



1905 - 1906




PROVIDENCE

PRINTED FOR THE SOCIETY
IQO8






PUBLICATION COMMITTEE
1906



George Parker Winship
William MacDonald
Harry Lyman Koopman



Gift

The Society

■OV I '' ISI3



TABLE OF CONTENTS









Page


List of Officers, ........ 5


Abstract of Proceedings ....






7


Annual Meeting .....






9


President's Address ....






12


Librarian's Report, ....






31


Treasurer's Report, ....






42


Report of Library Committee






46


Report of Lecture Committee






48


Report of Committee on Grounds and Buildings






49


Necrology ......






50


List of Donors .....






66


List of Members .....






72



OFFICERS

OF THE

RHODE ISLAND HISTORICAL SOCIETY,

Elected January 9, 1906.



President.
WILFRED H. MUNRO.

Vice-Presidents .
William MacDonald, Robert H. I. Goddard.

Secretary.
Amasa M. Eaton.

Treasurer.
Robert P. Brown.

Librarian and Cabinet-Keeper.
Clarence S. Brigham.

STANDING committees.

Nominating Committee .

Edward I. Nickerson, George C. Nightingale,

Benjamin F. Briggs.

Library Committee.

William D. Ely, David W. Hoyt,

Theodore F. Green.



6 RHODE ISLAND HISTORICAL SOCIETY.

Lecture Committee.

George G. Wilson, Howard W. Preston,

Clarence S. Brigham.

Publication Committee.

George P. Winship, William MacDonald,

Harry Lyman Koopman.

Committee on Grounds and Buildings.

Edwin Barrows, Norman M. Isham,

Alfred Stone.

Committee on Genealogical Researches.

George T. Hart, Fred A. Arnold,

Charles W. Hopkins.

Committee on Necrology.

Kuh^h M. Eaton, Clarence S. Brigham,

George F. Weston.

Finance Committee.

J. Edward Studley, Augustus R. Peirce,

Robert P. Brown.

Audit Committee.

Ferdinand A. Lincoln, John W. Angell,

Christopher Rhodes.

Procurators.

For Newport, George Gordon King,

Pawtucket, Samuel M. Conant.

North Kingstown, David S. Baker,

Hopkinton, George H. Olney.



PROCEEDINGS.



PROCEEDINGS

April, 1905, to January, 1906.



Quarterly Meeting, April 4, 1905.

The regular quarterly meeting was held April 4, 1905. The
President, Professor Albert Harkness, in the chair.

The minutes of the last meeting were read and, on motion,
approved.

The report of the librarian was read and accepted.

Upon the recommendation of the nominating committee,
Dr. Franklin Chase Clark, Mr. Jere Campbell, and Mr. Hora-
tio B. Knox, all of Providence, were elected members of the
Society.

After remarks concerning some gifts lately received, the
Society adjourned.



Quarterly Meeting, July ii, 1905.

The regular quarterly meeting was held July 11, 1905, the
secretary in the chair.

The minutes of the last meeting were read and approved.

The report of the librarian was read and accepted.

Upon the recommendation of the nominating committee,
Dr. Frank Elisha Burdick, of Providence, was elected an active
mem.ber of the Society.



8 rhode island historical society.

Quarterly Meeting, October 3, 1905.

The regular quarterly meeting was held October 3, 1905, the
President, Professor Albert Harkness, in the chair.

The minutes of last meeting were read and, on motion, ap-
proved.

The report of the librarian was read and accepted.

On motion of the nominating committee, Mr. Charles
Manchester Perry, of Providence, was elected an active mem-
ber of the Society.

On motion of Mr. David W. Hoyt the following resolution
was adopted :

Resolved — That the committee on publication be requested
to consider the expediency of publishing a list of places of
historic interest in Providence and vicinity for use in the pub-
lic schools.

Mr. C. S. Brigham having brought up the matter of mem-
orial tablets, on motion of Mr. William B. Weeden it was

Resolved — That Messrs. MacDonald, Hoyt, Brigham,
Weeden and Weston be appointed a committee to consider
the matter of posting memorial tablets in the city of Provi-
dence and with authority to procure subscriptions for the
purpose.

The usual motion having been made that the President be
instructed to appoint a committee to nominate the officers of
the Society for the ensuing year at the next annual meeting,
the President appointed as such committee Mr. Edward Field,
Mr. John P. Farnsworth and Mr. George F. Weston.

The Society thereupon adjourned.



ANNUAL MEETING.



ANNUAL MEETING, JANUARY 9, 1906.



The eighty-fourth annual meeting was held January 9, 1906,
the President, Professor Albert Harkness, in the chair.

The minutes of the last meeting were read and, on motion,
approved.

The report of the librarian was read and ordered to be
placed on file.

On motion of the nominating committee, the following
gentlemen were elected active members of the Society :
Edwin Aylesworth Burlingame, Providence, Asa Clinton
Crowell, Providence, Frederick Irving Dana, Providence,
Arthur Earle Munro, Providence, Henry Paige, Providence,
Charles S. Foster, Central Falls.

The report of the treasurer was presented and ordered to
be placed on file.

The committee on grounds and buildings presented its
annual report.

The report of the library committee was read and ordered
to be placed on file.

The lecture committee reported that a series of lectures had
been arranged and that the lecturers would be : Rev. Daniel
Goodwin of East Greenwich, Hon. John T. Blodgett of Provi-
dence, Alfred Stone, Esq., of Providence, William B. Weeden,
Esq., of Providence, Amasa M. Eaton, Esq., of Providence,
and Harry Lyman Koopman of Providence.

The publication committee reported orally.

The president then delivered his annual address.



10 RHODE ISLAND HISTORICAL SOCIETY.

The committee appointed to nominate officers and mem-
bers of committees for the ensuing year presented the Ust of
nominees (President Harkness having previously announced
that he must decHne a re-election) which is to be found on
page 5 of this number of the Proceedings.

On motion, the chairman of the committee, Mr. Field, was
instructed to cast the ballot of the Society for the candidates
named. The ballot was cast and the candidates were declared
to be duly elected.

The retiring President then appointed the Rev. Dr. Vose
and Mr. Field as ushers to conduct the newly elected Presi-
dent to the chair, and welcomed President Munro to his new
position in a speech more than usually marked by the grace
and beauty which have always characterized Professor Hark-
ness's public utterances.

The newly elected President made a brief response.

Professor George G. Wilson eulogized the work of President
Harkness and moved that a committee be appointed to pre-
pare a minute expressing the sentiments of the Society upon
the subject. Mr. Edward Field seconded the motion and it
was carried unanimously. The President appointed as mem-
bers of this committee Professor George G. Wilson, Mr.
George F. Weston and Hon. John H. Stiness (all former pu-
pils of Professor Harkness).

On motion of Mr. George P. Winship it was
Resolved — That the grateful acknowledgment of the
Rhode Island Historical Society be extended to the Akerman
Company and the Standard Printing Company of Providence,
and to Mrs. Harriet A. Jackson of Boston, for the gift of the
portrait of the late President of the Society, George Taylor
Paine, and that the secretary communicate this resolution to
the donors.

On recommendation of the committee on memorial tablets,



ANNUAL MEETING. 11

appointed at the last meeting, the following resolution was
adopted.

Resolved — That the executive committee of this Society is
hereby authorized to prepare and have introduced to the
present general assembly, a bill, appropriating a suitable sum
of money for marking historical sites throughout the state.

The Hon. John T. Blodgett having made verbal report con-
cerning the plans of the commission appointed by the State
of Rhode Island to arrange for Rhode Island's participation in
the Jamestown Exposition, on motion of Mr. C. S. Brigham it
was

Resolved — That, whereas the Jamestown Tercentennial
Exposition, to be held at Hampton Roads in 1907, is to par-
take largely of an historical nature and whereas the general
assembly of the State of Rhode Island have in their wisdom
appointed a commission to draw up plans for Rhode Island's
participation in this exposition,

Resolved — That the Rhode Island Historical Society
hereby expresses its appreciation of the plans of the commis-
sion and respectfully urges upon the general assembly the
need of making a suitable appropriation so that Rhode Island
may be adequately represented along historical lines.

The Society thereupon adjourned.



12 RHODE ISLAND HISTORICAL SOCIETY.



PRESIDENT'S ADDRESS.

The Present Tendency and Prospects of Historical
Studies.



May I ask your attention to a brief consideration of the
present tendency and prospects of historical studies ? At our
last annual meeting we noticed some phases in the develop-
ment of history, with special reference to the old and the new
method of treating historical subjects. In our survey we then
noticed the fact that the eighteenth century had been an age
of great erudition and of learned criticism and had given birth
to Friedrich August Wolf, the eminent philologist, and
Edward Gibbon, the only great historian of which that learned
century could boast. We saw that Gibbon and Wolf might
justly be regarded as the harbingers and prophets of a new era
of historical research, but that the honor of having developed
and formally established the modern school of scientific history
must be accorded to Niebuhr and von Ranke, two of the most
eminent investigators of the last century. It would be diffi-
cult to exaggerate the influence of these two men upon the
scholarship of the world, but the labors of Ranke extended
over a longer period and covered a wider range than those of
Niebuhr. For half a century by precept and example he
taught the modern scientific method of investigation and
research. He founded the historical seminary in the Uni-
versity of Berlin in which young men were trained to continue
the critical work which their master had so successfully in-
augurated. This famous historical seminary, probably the
first of the kind ever established in any part of the world, has
been the prototype and model for the various historical semi-
naries now doing most excellent work in all the great universi-
ties of Europe and America.

Fifty years ago four distinguished American scholars were



president's address. 13

laboring earnestly and successfully in different fields of histori-
cal research. Francis Parkman, the youngest of the four,
then thirty-two years of age, was engaged in collecting
material for that remarkable series of American histories,
entitled France and England in North America. He was
supremely fortunate in his theme, the contest between two
powerful nations for the possession of the new world, a great
and imposing drama, beginning with the first settlement of the
French and English on American soil and ending on the plains
of Abraham in the victory of Wolfe over Montcalm. Motley,
nine years his senior, had just finished his laborious researches
in the archives of Europe for his first great work, the Rise of
the Dutch Republic, a work which has been characterized as
"essentially an epic with William of Orange as its hero," yet
which illustrates some of the best features both of the old
school of historians and of the new. It has instructed and
delighted its readers from that day to this and it will doubtless
continue to instruct and delight them for generations yet to
come. George Bancroft, the scholar, the statesman and the
historian, had just published the seventh volume of his History
of the United States. The successive volumes as they came
from the press received an enthusiastic welcome at the hands
of critics and scholars. The finished work as it stands upon
our shelves has not the charm of Prescott or Motley, yet it is
a monument of great industry and of still greater learning.
Prescott, then at the height of his fame, was engaged upon the
composition of his History of Philip Second. His previous
works had been received with enthusiasm both at home and
abroad and had placed his name among the great historians of
the world.

In Europe many of the leading scholars and thinkers were
studying the great events and epochs of history and recording
their conclusions for the benefit of mankind. Carlyle's His-
tory of the French Revolution, a prose epic, rather than a
sober history, had long been before the public ; the twelfth and
closing volume of Grote's History of Greece was in press ;
Mommsen, the renowned historian of Rome, was soon to be



14 RHODE ISLAND HISTORICAL SOCIETY.

called to the chair of Roman History at Berlin ; the third and
fourth volumes of Macaulay's history of England had just
come from the press and the entire edition of twenty-five thou-
sand copies had been taken by the trade before a single copy
was bound ; Froude, undismayed by Macaulay's success and
perhaps stimulated by it, was planning his History of England
in twelve volumes from the fall of Wolsey to the death of
Elizabeth ; Freeman was just entering upon his life's work in the
field of history, while Green, the author of the History of the
English People was still a student at Oxford. Guizot's History
of Civilization had long been before the public, but was still
recognized as authority ; its learned author was then occupied
with the English Revolution, while Michelet was giving his
days and nights to his life's work, the History of France, in
twelve volumes.

Most of the works which came from the pens of these
scholars during the third quarter of the nineteenth century
were not only works of literature, but genuine histories, the
fruit of long and patient investigation. They are among the
best representatives of the age that produced them. While
they conform to many of the canons of the scientific school,
they are a silent protest against some of the extreme views
now held by the followers of Ranke and especially against the
new historical code which would divorce history from literature.

The last fifty years have witnessed a marvellous awakening
of interest in historical studies and especially in original in-
vestigation and research. The great treasure-houses of his-
torical material have been subjected to such a thorough
search for undiscovered truth as they have never before known.
There is scarcely a period in the whole range of history, ancient
or modern, which has not received new light from these
sources. The Honorable Andrew D. White, our late am-
bassador to Germany, justly characterizes the present as an
epoch of historical studies. He calls our attention to the fact
that a century ago world problems were solved by philosophy,
but that to-day they are investigated in the light of history.
We have discovered that the experience of mankind in the



president's address. 15

countless ages that are past holds instructive lessons for the
present generation ; that the past and the present are related
parts of the life of the race and that they throw light upon
each other. A knowledge of the present greatly aids in the
interpretation of the past and a knowledge of the past is
essential to a full appreciation of the present.

There probably never was a time when historical studies
occupied so large a share of the best thought, not only of
professional historians, but also of scholars and statesmen.
Note the present activity in the various historical societies,
both in our own country and in other lands ; note too the ever
increasing prominence which historical studies and research
are assuming in all the great universities of the world.

A large field of usefulness seems now to be opening before
the various historical societies of the country. They have
already made for themselves an honorable record and have
rendered a service which seems to have been but imperfectly
appreciated either by the public or by the writers of American
historiography. The Massachusetts Historical Society was
organized in 1791 for the express purpose of collecting, pre-
serving and communicating material for a complete history of
the country. Its scope was broad and catholic, not limited to
Massachusetts or even to New England, but embracing in its
beneficent aim the entire country. Almost coeval in its origin
with the birth of our republic, it antedates the modern scien-
tific method of historical research, and for more than a century
it has been industriously collecting the materials without
which the historians of the modern school would be perfectly
helpless. In its new building, opened six years ago, it has a
valuable historical collection, embracing 40,000 volumes, 100-
000 pamphlets and many thousands of manuscripts. That is
surely no mean contribution to the treasured stock of material
so essential to the success of the modern historian. But this
is only one out of hundreds of similar institutions, scattered
over the country and engaged in the same important work.

The New York Historical Society, only thirteen years
younger than that of Massachusetts, with the same learned



16 RHODE ISLAND HISTORICAL SOCIETY.

object in view, with a membership of upwards of a thousand,
with an historical collection of 100,000 volumes and countless
pamphlets, has long been engaged in treasuring up valuable
material for the future historian. Such services are worthy of
recognition and even of grateful appreciation on the part alike
of historians and of the public. And who shall deny to our
own society an honorable place among the guardians of his-
torical treasures and among the investigators in the field of
American history ? The position of Rhode Island in the for-
ward movement of the race which has characterized the last
three centuries is fully assured. It is the pride of our state
that here the doctrine of civil and religious liberty and of
equality among men found one of its earliest and most con-
genial homes. This society has shown itself the faithful
custodian and defender of the fair fame of our state, while at
the same time it has made its contribution to that larger his-
torical enterprise which includes the annals of the whole
country from its settlement to the present day. The future
historian who shall describe the civil and religious institutions
of our country will do well to consult the volumes upon our
shelves and the manuscripts on our files. We could place at
his disposal to-day 25,000 volumes, 50,000 pamphlets and up-
wards of 15,000 manuscripts. But perhaps I have thus far
omitted the most important service which it has rendered to
the cause, which is dear to us all, the deep and abiding interest
which it has awakened and fostered in historical studies
throughout our city and state. An institution like this de-
voted to things of the spirit rather than to mere material in-
terests, with its treasures of learning and rich in the instructive
lessons derived from the experience of our fathers, ought to
be a constant inspiration to us and our children.

If such is the record and such the influence of three of the
eastern historical societies, those with which we are most
familiar, what shall we say of the result of the combined action
and influence of 260 or 270 such institutions scattered over the
land, east, west, north and south, having in their united
libraries in 1876 an aggregate of 500,000 volumes, 600,000



president's address. 17

pamphlets and 90,000 manuscripts, — figures which the last
thirty years have doubtless nearly or quite doubled.

The year 1876, it will be remembered, was not only a mem-
orable year in the history of our country, but it also marked
an era in our historical studies. Thinking men began to
appreciate the fact that we had already made a hundred years
of history which would amply reward study, that it was in
many respects the most memorable century that the world
had ever seen, that for a hundred years a free people in this
new world had been working out the hitherto unsolved problem
of self-government. A new impulse was thus given to his-
torical pursuits ; many new historical societies were orgainized
and new life imparted to many of those which had already
seen years of service. Eight years after our centennial the
interest in historical studies and research, fostered as it had
been by the various historical societies of the country, had
become so great that there was an earnest demand for a
central society which should enlist in its support the best his-
torical talent of the entire country. In response to this de-
mand there was organized at Saratoga September lOth, 1884,
the American Historical Association for the promotion of
historical studies in America. Its connection with the govern-
ment through the Smithsonian Institution is a most hopeful
feature. It has already rendered signal service in the interest
of the modern scientific method of historical study and research
and it now opens before us new possibilities for the future.
Why may not a confederation of the leading historical societies
of the country be now formed under the auspices of this
national institution ? Thus might each society be brought
into more intimate and vital connection with the general move-
ment and so make its own contribution to the common cause
more valuable and effective. Such a connection of the leading
societies of the country with each other and with the national
association could not fail to be productive of lasting benefit
to the cause in which they are so earnestly engaged.

But another most hopeful sign for the future of historical
composition is seen in the recent remarkable development of



18 RHODE ISLAND HISTORICAL SOCIETY.

historical studies in the higher institutions of learning, both in
this country and in Europe. Fifty years ago not an American
college or university had a well-organized course in history.
At Harvard the entire work of that department was entrusted
to a single tutor, while at Yale very little attention was given
to the subject. At Columbia and Princeton historical studies
had not yet won recognition. At Brown the first professor-
ship of History was established in 1851 with a single course
extending through the year. To-day we have two fully or-
ganized departments of history, one relating to America the
other to Europe, each under the direction of an accomplished
professor. Our students now have the option of fourteen
distinct courses of which seven extend through the year. The
historical departments of Harvard and Yale command the
services of a large staff of learned professors and instructors
and offer their students a very large number of attractive
courses.

Indeed it is safe to say that in most American colleges and
universities history occupies to-day a much more prominent
position than ever before and that the methods of instruction,
study and investigation are vastly superior to those in vogue a
generation ago. Nor has the improvement in this respect
been less marked in England than in our own country.
Recently a deep interest in historical studies has been awakened
in the universities of Oxford and Cambridge, where half a
century ago such studies had not yet won an honorable
recognition. The first tripos in history at Oxford was estab-
lished in 1870 and the first at Cambridge in 1875. President
Adams of the American Historical Association in his inaugural
address in 1889 called attention to the remarkable fact that
" at the university of Oxford where before 1870 there was no
organized course of history whatever, the study had met with
such favor that a staff of no less than fifteen professors and
instructors was required to give the necessary instruction,"
and he added in regard to the English system in general " that
it might fairly be doubted whether there was anywhere else
in the world a system that secured so general a knowledge of



PRESIDENT S ADDRESS. 19

what may be called the great body of the accepted facts of
history and so discriminating a judgment concerning their
bearing and their significance." Thus in England university
instruction aims to introduce the student to a great body of
historic lore, to impart to him a knowledge of important facts
already known to the learned world, while in Germany it aims
to enable him to discover new truth in the long kept secrets of


1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17

Online LibraryRhode Island Historical SocietyProceedings of the Rhode Island Historical Society (Volume 4) → online text (page 1 of 17)