VILLA DESIREE, PAU, May 28, 1870.
MY DEAR MR. WINTHROP, I fear I owe an apology, not for the
present communication, but for deferring it so long. I left New York
in October last, under medical advice, to pass the winter in the south of
France. I was encouraged to hope that I should be able to return in
the spring in improved health. But the winter was exceptionally severe,
and left me so much reduced, that the spring, instead of bringing a
PEABODY EDUCATION FUND. 145
renewal of strength, has brought only greater weakness and exhaustion,
so that I am almost forbidden to hope for any future improvement.
Under these circumstances, I feel it to be my duty, as one of the
Trustees of the Peabody Education Fund, to place myself at your dis
posal. I have been prevented by various causes from taking that part
in the administration of this important Trust, which I hoped to take in
the future, and which seemed especially incumbent on those of the Trus
tees who belonged to that section of the country which the Trust was
created to benefit. I know how difficult it is to administer even so con
siderable a fund, in such a mariner as to work out any apparent or recog
nized results in so vast a field ; and I was the more anxious, on that
account, to take my share of the duty and of the responsibility. I have
therefore deferred this communication as long as possible, and I send it
with regret even now. But I will not allow myself to obstruct a cause
that I cannot serve. I do not remember whether the number of Trus
tees is limited or not, but in any case it may be desirable that my place
should be filled by one who has the power (as well as the will) to be
actively useful. You may, therefore, if you please, receive this as my
resignation, or I will send my resignation in any other form that you
Allow me to add, that I earnestly hope you may be able so to admin
ister this Trust as to make it productive of all the good results that Mr.
Peabody intended from it. Its creation was well-timed, and was the
expression of a patriotism so comprehensive, and a munificence so sur
passing, as to overpower all prejudice and silence all cavil. It has
already, I think, had a good effect ; and I trust that, by its silent but
constant operation, it may continue to exert an increasing and expanding
influence, in reviving and restoring, through all sections of our common
country, that fraternal feeling, which in the beginning made the Union
possible, and which alone can finally preserve it, or make it worth pre
I am, with great respect and regard, yours truly,
E. A. BRADFORD.
I lost no time in replying to this letter ; informing Mr. Brad
ford that the question would remain open until this Annual
Meeting of the Board, and expressing an earnest hope that his
health might, in the mean time, be sufficiently restored to war
rant the withdrawal of his resignation. A private letter received
from him, within a few months past, indicates no change in his
146 PEABODY EDUCATION FUND.
decision ; and it is for you, therefore, to act upon his resigna
tion as you may see fit. 1
The death of our honored and beloved associate, ADMIRAL
FARRAGUT, occurred on the 14th of August last ; and this Board
was represented at his funeral in Portsmouth, a few days after
wards, by Governor Clifford and myself. Many more of us,
including the President of the United States, were present at
the grand obsequies attending his final interment, in New York,
on the 29th of September.
It would be quite out of place, on this occasion, for me to
dwell on the heroic acts which signalized the career of our
lamented friend, and which had won for him, from so many
sources, the title of "the Nelson of our Navy." As Trustees,
we have only known him after all his conflicts were past, all his
victories achieved ; and while, on the restoration of union and
peace, at which no one rejoiced more than himself, he was en
joying the honor and renown which ever await a gallant and
successful discharge of duty. He was with us at the first
organization of our work in the city of New York, four years
ago, and entered heartily into the plans of our Board for exe
cuting the noble Trust with which Mr. Peabody had honored
us. Absent from the country for a year, during that memorable
cruise of the " Franklin," he did not forget in foreign lands,
and while he was the almost daily recipient of the most flatter
ing attentions from the highest functionaries of Europe, the
cause in which we were engaged. I remember well the eager
ness with which he examined the first Report of our General
Agent when I communicated it to him in Rome, just before he
was summoned to a private audience by the Pope ; and how
deeply interested he was in every evidence of our successful
progress. He was with us on his return, and would not allow
his enfeebled health to interfere with a punctual attendance at
Nor was he willing to plead his growing infirmities as an ex
emption from the honorable service which was soon afterwards
assigned him by the President of the United States, on the
1 Mr. Bradford died soon afterwards.
PEABODY EDUCATION FUND. 147
death of Mr. Peabody. Many of us were witnesses to the zeal
which he exhibited, and the exposures which he encountered,
while in command of the fleet designated for the reception of
the remains of oar venerated Founder, when they arrived on
our shores in her Britannic Majesty s ship " Monarch." As we
saw him standing on the Portland pier on that wintry day,
baring his head to the storm as those remains were landed, we
had sad forebodings that we were witnessing what might prove
to be his last official service. And so it was. Returning to his
home in New York after the ceremonies at Portland were com
pleted, he found himself sufficiently refreshed by a week s rest
to proceed with us to Washington to attend our last Annual
Meeting ; but we left him there, on our adjournment, confined
to his bed, and with little hope that he would ever be well
enough to meet with us again. Early in the summer he sought
refuge from the noise and heat of New York, whither he had
returned in the spring, and passed a few weeks of comparative
comfort and repose at the Portsmouth Navy Yard, where he
I need not say a word in regard to the exalted place which
the grand old Admiral had attained in the estimation and admi
ration of his country. The tributes which have already been
paid to his memory are enough to perpetuate his fame, and to
leave no doubt as to the hold he had acquired on the hearts of
his fellow-citizens. But you would hardly pardon me if I did
not give expression to the feelings of respect and affection with
which he was regarded by his associates in this Board, and to
the deep sense of personal loss which we experience in meeting
for the first time without him. There was an unspeakable
charm in the directness and simplicity of his character. One
might almost have applied to him the words of the great Dram
" He was as true as truth s simplicity,
And simpler than the infancy of truth."
We were, indeed, often in danger of forgetting the unsur
passed, and almost unmatched, daring and heroism of the sailor,
in the mild, modest, affectionate intercourse of the companion
and friend. The one idea of his life seemed to be the faithful
148 PEABODY EDUCATION FUND.
discharge of duty, duty to his country, duty to his fellow-
men, duty to his God. Wherever duty called him, according
to his own conscientious convictions, there he was to be found,
firm and fearless. The consolations of religion were not want
ing for his hours of danger and of decline. He knew where to
find " his Pilot " for the dark flood which he has now crossed.
It is our privilege to remember him, not only as a gallant officer
and a cherished friend, but as a Christian hero.
BOSTON PROVIDENT ASSOCIATION.
REPORT READ AT THEIR ANNUAL MEETING, MAY, 1871.
THE Managers of the Boston Provident Association once
more respectfully submit their Annual Report to the members
of the Association and to their fellow-citizens at large.
Twenty years have now elapsed since this Association was
originally organized. Seventeen years are completed since it
became an incorporated institution.
As we look back over our operations during so considerable
a period, we find abundant cause for gratitude to God for the
success which has attended our efforts in behalf of the poor.
We commenced them in a small hired office, and without a dol
lar in hand for paying our rent or our salaries. Convenient and
ample apartments are now supplied us by the City ; and our
invested funds have been gradually increased by private liberal
ity, until the income is sufficient to defray a large part, if not
the whole, of our incidental expenses. And while not a few of
those who were foremost in our service have passed away, with
out witnessing our full success, others have always been ready
to take their places, and to carry on, with zeal and efficiency,
the great work in which we are engaged.
That work was at the outset, and still is, of a two-fold char
acter : First, to relieve in all suitable ways, and to the extent
of our means, the really deserving poor of the whole city, with
out distinction of age or sex, of creed or nationality; and, Sec
ond, to put a stop, as far as possible, to street-begging, and to
the imposture which so generally attends it.
150 BOSTON PROVIDENT ASSOCIATION.
No one at all acquainted with the history of pauperism in
Boston can hesitate to admit that much, very much, has been
accomplished in this secondaiy work of our society. The num
ber of beggars in our streets has been greatly diminished by the
system which we originated, and which we have steadily pur
sued ; and if that system has not in this respect been completely
successful, the failure must be attributed not so much to any
imperfection of its own as to the refusal of many well-meaning
but inconsiderate persons to co-operate with us in effecting so
important a result.
If every one to whom application for relief or assistance,
either in the street or at the door, would resolutely insist that
such application should be the subject of investigation or in
quiry, by some agent or visitor of our own or of some other
charitable association, the wants of the really destitute and de
serving would be speedily relieved, while all encouragement
to the systematic beggary and imposture, which are among the
prevailing vices of large cities, would be done away. Money
enough would, in this way, be saved or diverted from the idle
and fraudulent to add two-fold, if not ten-fold, to the means for
assisting the meritorious and industrious poor ; and all who are
actually in want would soon be made to comprehend that for
them, as for all others, honesty is not merely the best, but the
Now that, under the auspices and at the urgent instance of
this Association, a Central Bureau of Charity has been estab
lished, where the offices of almost all the principal charitable
agencies of our city are to be found, side by side, under a com
mon roof ; to which every applicant for aid of any sort, and under
any circumstances, may be directed, and where the needy, the
sick, the unemployed, and such as are in immediate want of a
meal or a night s lodging, may find relief, there is no longer
any excuse for those who continue practically to encourage idle
ness and imposture, by yielding to the importunity of such as
make it a business to beg from door to door.
If all our fellow-citizens would keep tickets to the Charity
Bureau always at hand, and would give them to all applicants
for aid ; and if they would send the sums of money, large or
BOSTON PROVIDENT ASSOCIATION. 151
small, which they are willing to bestow on such cases, to the
treasury of this or of some other kindred society, their own
benevolent impulses would be indulged, and the best interests of
the honest and deserving poor would be efficiently subserved.
It is any thing but true charity to give money indiscriminately
to the sturdy beggars on our thoroughfares, to be spent in drink
or profligacy. Nor is it always safe or often wise to trust to the
representations contained in what may seem to be well-authen
ticated papers, even with numerous respectable signatures at
tached to them. The impostures practised through the means
of such papers, often heedlessly signed, have been greatly mul
tiplied of late ; and not a few of those who have given credence
to them have learned too late that they had only ministered to
vice and fraud.
In the first great object of our Association, the relief of the
really destitute or needy, without respect of persons, we may
claim to have accomplished all which the contributions of our
fellow-citizens have enabled us to attempt. The measure of
our relief has been, of course, and must always be, proportion
ate to the means put into our hands. Those means have been
annually increasing, as the operations of our Association have
been extended, and as the confidence of the community in our
work has been developed.
Our total receipts during the first year of our corporate ex
istence were less than $6,000, and were considerably less than
our expenditures for that year. Our resources in 1869-70 were
more than $ 16, 000, though they still were less than our ex
penditures, and we were thus compelled to make up the defi
ciency by selling a part of our invested property.
While, therefore, we gratefully acknowledge the growing
favor of our fellow-citizens, we cannot fail to add that our treas
ury has never received the full supplies which it requires for
our work, and to which we believe it to be justly entitled.
In examining the list of our receipts during the last two
years, we find the whole number of those who have contributed
any thing to our resources has been only about six hundred and
fifty, and of these about one-half have given sums ranging only
from one to five dollars per annum.
152 BOSTON PROVIDENT ASSOCIATION.
Our main supplies have thus come from hardly more than
three hundred persons, and a veiy large proportion of those
supplies from not more than one hundred persons.
That in a great city like Boston, with so many wealthy and
liberal inhabitants, only three hundred persons should have con
tributed more than five dollars each to the treasury of the only
Association for the poor which is co-extensive with the whole
city, and which recognizes no distinction of age, sex, creed,
color, or nationality, would have seemed in the highest degree
improbable. That only six hundred and fifty persons should
have contributed at all to such an Association, would have
seemed absolutely incredible. But the figures on our books
establish these facts, and we state them because we are per
suaded that they can only have resulted from inadvertence or
May we not hope and trust that benevolent men and women,
into whose hands this Report may fall, will see to it that their
proportionate aid is not wanting to such a work in future?
May we not hope and trust that those, especially, if any such
there still are, who are disposed to complain of the smallness
of our allowances for the poor, will ask themselves whether
they have clone their full share in encouraging us to make those
allowances larger, or have even united in enabling us to do as
much as we have thus far done ?
We are not ignorant or unmindful of the fact that serious
misunderstandings, in regard to our proceedings and our policy,
have served to prejudice the minds of some of our fellow-citizens,
and to prevent their hearty co-operation in our course.
It has sometimes been alleged that not only were our allow
ances to poor families limited to a meagre sum, but that they
were restricted to a single quarter of the year ; in a word, that
we doled out a uniform pittance to all alike during the three
winter months, and that there was the end of our operations.
Such statements are wholly unfounded. Our work is carried
on without intermission through the whole year ; and our vis
itors are instructed to relieve real want and suffering whenever
and wherever they find them, and to the full extent which the
circumstances of each individual case may require.
BOSTON PROVIDENT ASSOCIATION. 153
As a matter of fact, our allowances to different families, in
the way of fuel and groceries, during the last two or three
years, have ranged from less than five dollars to more than
thirty dollars each ; while, in addition to these allowances, a
large quantity of shoes and clothing has been annually distrib
uted among those who stood in need of them.
If, in connection with this material aid, we take into account
the moral support afforded to the honest and industrious poor
by the assurance of our visitors that, under no circumstances,
shall they be left uncared for, and that their real needs shall
always be supplied, it may well be doubted whether we could
do more, without subjecting our Association to the charge of
encouraging an exclusive reliance on charity, instead of that
self-reliance and that self-respect, which are the best securities
against chronic pauperism.
Our Association has, indeed, always encountered, and must
always expect to encounter, the hostility of professional beggars,
whose very occupation it is to prey on the sympathies of the
community, and who shrink from being detected and exposed
in their vagabond life. All such persons will protest that the
Provident Association will do nothing at all for them, and will
either refuse our tickets altogether, or will tear them up on the
doorsteps. Some of these latter will afterwards pretend that
they presented the tickets to our visitors or at our office, and
were refused relief.
If those who are inclined to give credence to such represen
tations would kindly call at our office themselves, or would send
a note of inquiry to our General Agent, they would be abun
dantly satisfied that, except in some case of accident, no worthy
application for aid has ever failed of attention.
The full details of our operations during the past year, and
of our existing financial condition, will be found in the Tables
annexed to this Report, and in the Annual Report of our
Treasurer which precedes them. We may safely leave them
to speak for themselves. .......
And thus, with gratitude for the past and confidence for the
future, we once more commend our work to the blessing of
Heaven and the favor of our fellow-citizens.
SIR WALTER SCOTT.
ADDRESS AT A MEETING OF THE MASSACHUSETTS HISTORICAL SOCIETY
ON THE ONE HUNDREDTH ANNIVERSARY OF HIS BIRTH-DAY, AUGUST
You have not failed to remark, gentlemen, that the centen
nial anniversary of the birthday of Walter Scott, which occurs
to-day, has been thought worthy of distinguished commemora
tion on both sides of the Atlantic ; and some of you may have
observed, in examining the roll of our Corresponding and Hon
orary Members, which has just been prefixed to the new volume
of our printed Collections, that Sir Walter s name was added
to that roll on the 3d of January, 1822.
I know not whether our corresponding secretary of that day
the Rev. Dr. Holmes was as careful in filing his official
papers as his successors have been in later years. But it would
be most interesting to see the letter, if there was one, in which
Scott acknowledged and accepted the election. We could
hardly have a more precious autograph. One would like to
know how far the great poet and novelist appreciated such a
tribute from a land with whose political condition he had but
little sympathy, and of whose literary advancement he could
then have formed no very exalted estimate. We should cer
tainly be curious to hear, if it were still possible, precisely what
was said at Abbotsford when our certificate of membership
reached there, so long ago ; and to learn whether it were thrown
aside with indifference as of little account, or carefully treasured
up among the welcome muniments of a world- wide fame. It
must have borne the attest of a Lowell as well as of a Holmes ;
SIR WALTER SCOTT. 155
but another generation was to pass away, and Scott himself to
pass away with it, before either of those names, venerable as
they both were at home, was to be associated with such distinc
tion, in song or in story, as in our own day has given them a
significance and a known value in lands beyond the sea.
Some of our young Americans of the highest promise, and
who have long since fulfilled that promise and gone to their
rest, had, however, already enjoyed the personal acquaintance
of " the mighty minstrel of the North," as he was then called,
and had given him some impression of American culture and
American character. As early as 1817 Washington Irving had
spent several delightful da} r s with him ; had sauntered with
him up the haunted glen of old Thomas the Rhymer; had
nestled under his plaid as a shelter from the rain, and had
gathered in that rich store of reminiscences which lends such a
charm to the sketch of Abbotsford in the " Crayon Miscellany."
Indeed, Irving had evidently found his way to Scott s heart,
by his exquisite humor, as early as 1813 ; before even " Waver-
ley " had witched the world, and while Sir Walter was only
famous as a poet. Thcfac-simile of a letter is on our own files,
which is full of interest in its relations both to its writer and
its subject, and which I cannot forbear from reading in this
connection. It is addressed to the late Henry Brevoort of New
York, the intimate friend of Irving, who had sent a copy of
" Knickerbocker " to Scott, who replied as follows :
MY DEAR SIR, I beg you to accept my best thanks for the uncom
mon degree of entertainment which I have received from the most ex
cellently jocose history of New York. I am sensible that, as a stranger
to American parties and politics, I must lose much of the concealed
satire of the piece ; but I must own that, looking at the simple and obvi
ous meaning only, I have never read any thing so closely resembling
the style of Dean Swift as the Annals of Diedrich Knickerbocker. I
have been employed these few evenings in reading them aloud to Mrs.
S. and two ladies who are our guests, and our sides have been absolutely
sore with laughing. I think too there are passages which indicate that
the author possesses powers of a different kind, and has some touches
which remind me much of Sterne. I beg you will have the kindness to
let me know when Mr. Irving takes pen in hand again, for assuredly I
156 SIR WALTER SCOTT.
shall expect a very great treat, which I may chance never to hear of but
through your kindness.
Believe me, dear sir,
Your obliged humble serv t,
No American author, certainly, has ever won a more enviable
compliment than the one contained in this letter, dated " Ab-
botsford, 23 April, 1813," and postmarked " Melrose." What
a picture for Sunnyside might have been made out of the scene
which it describes, by Leslie, or Wilkie, or Stuart Newton !
Scott, surrounded by his wife and guests, reading Irving aloud
night after night, comparing his style alternately with those of
Swift and of Sterne, laughing over his humor till his sides were
sore, and looking eagerly forward to more works from the same
hand, as a treat of which he was loath to be deprived !
But Irving was not the only eminent American who had be
come known to Sir Walter before 1822. Our lamented asso
ciates, Edward Everett in 1818, and George Ticknor in 1819,
had been partakers of his hospitality both in Edinburgh and at
Abbotsford ; and they have both contributed to Dr. Allibone s
" Dictionary of Authors " most interesting accounts of their re
spective visits. It was perhaps at their suggestion that Scott s
name was placed on our honorary roll.
But, however that may have been, we shall all agree that no
worthier or nobler name has ever adorned it. In 1822, Scott
was in the full enjoyment of his fame. No cloud had yet over
shadowed his faculties or his fortunes. " Kenilworth " and the
kt Pirate " had just succeeded to " Ivanhoe," the " Monastery,"
and the " Abbot," in that marvellous series of historical ro
mances which so absorbed and electrified the reading world for
nearly twenty years. It may well be doubted whether so pro
lific and so magnetic a brain had existed since that of Shaks-
peare ; or one which poured forth purer, richer, or more varied
streams of entertainment and instruction for the delight and
wonder of mankind.
It is possible that, in his modest estimate of his own powers,