Danvers (Mass.).

Centennial celebration at Danvers, Mass., June 16, 1852 online

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A second Cavalcade of nearly 300 horsemen, led by the Mounted
Band of the Boston Lancers, terminated the grand programme of the
pageant. This Cavalcade was under the marshalship of the following
gentlemen :

Francis Dane, Esq., Chief Marshal.
Jos. S. HoDGKiNS, and W^m. J. C. Kenney, Aids.
Assistant Marshals.
Jos. F. Dane, C. A. Gardiner,

Wm. a. Dodge, Henry C. Poor,

John A. Lord, H. O. Wiley,

Charles Page, D. C. Tibbetts,

George Prescott.



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After great exertions on the part of the Chief Marshal and his as-
sistants, the streets were so far cleared of the multitude of people and
vehicles, that the procession was put in motion. Moving down Main
street, it countermarched at the Salem line, near the Great Tree, and
on its return passed through Holten street, at the junction of which
with Aborn street, it passed under a noble triumphal arch. Passing
Aborn street into Washington street, it went through another beautiful
arch, thrown over the latter street near the residence of David El well,
Esq., and continued to the Monument, which was tastefully dressed
with flags, and then passing up Main street, turned into Central street,
marching the whole length of it, and countermarching, reached the
Old South Church about noon. The School procession here turned up
Lowell street, under direction of their marshals, and proceeded to a
large tent provided for their accommodation. The remainder of the
procession entered the Church, where the address was to be delivered.

The Church being filled and the assembly quieted, the exercises
took place in the following order, viz. :

1. Voluntary on the Organ.

2. Invocation, by Rev. James W. Putnam.

3. Anthem.

4. Reading the Scriptures, by Rev. James Fletcher.

5. Prayer, by Rev. Israel P. Putnam, of Middleborough,

6. Original Hymn, by F. Poole.

Father ! to Thee we raise
Our hymn of grateful praise

In long arrears !
We sing thy blessings sown.
In all our pathway strewn.
And ev'ry kindness shewn

These Hundred Years.

Where once the Indian trod,
The House to worship God

Its altar rears :
We at its shrine appear,
Whose Fathers worshipped here,
In faith and holy fear.

These Hundred Years.

Upon this native soil
Our fathers erst did toil

In hopes and fears :
We love their pleasant vales,
The hill sides and the dales,
The legends and the tales,

These Hundred Years.

We love our verdant hills,
The gently rippling rills
Delight our ears ;



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We love the blood that runs
In veins of noble ones,
The Fathers and the Sons ;
These Hundred Years.

How many a stricken heart
Has felt Death's keenest dart

With bitter tears !
In his cold arms have slept
The friends our h'earts have kept,
The loved ones fondest wept,

These Hundred Years —

Oh, God ! we know how brief
Our life of joy or grief

To Thee appears.
Compared with Thy Forever !
V How short the space we sever.

To be recovered never !

— A Hundred Years.

Our Father ! may thine hand
Still bless the beauteous land

Our love endears —
In falling — pray restore us,
In blessings hover o'er us,
Make glad our path before us,

A Hundred Years.

7. Address, by John W. Proctor.

8. Music, by the Band.

9. Poem, by Andrew Nichols.

10. Psalm, selected from a collection in use 100 yeare ago, " Faith-

fully translated into €txglisll llletrc ; For the Use, Edification, and

Comfort of the Saints in Publick and Private, especially in New

England^

Psalm LXVII.
To the Musician, Neginoth. A Psalm or Song.

GO D gracious be to us, and give
His blessing us unto ;
Let him upon us make to shine
His countenance also. Selah.

2 That there may be the knowledge of
Thy way the earth upon :

And also of thy saving health
In every nation.

3 O God let thee the people praise,
Let people all praise thee ;

4 O let the nations rejoyce.
And glad O let them be.

15



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For judgment thou with righteousness

Shall give thy folk unto ;
The nations that are on the earth,

Thou shalt them lead also.

5 O God, let thee the people praise,

Let people all praise thee,

6 Her fruit abundant by the earth

Shall then forth yielded be.

7 God ev'n our own God shall us bless,

God bless us surely shall :
And of the earth the utmost coasts
They shall him reverence all.

11. Prayer, by Rev. F. A. Willard.

12. Old Hundred — sung by the whole congregation.

13. Benediction.

The extreme and oppressive heat of the weather and the lateness of
•the hour, (nearly 3 o'clock,) rendered it expedient, in the opinion of
the Committee of Arrangements, to omit a part of the Address, which
had already occupied about an hour and three quarters.

The Poem of Dr. Nichols was also omitted. This was a subject of
general regret, and the inhabitants subsequently, at a full town meet*
ing, unanimously and with much enthusiasm requested Dr. Nichols to
read his poem publicly, at some convenient time. To this request he
kindly acceded^ and the poem was accordingly delivered by him, at
the Universalist Church in the South Parish, to a large and highly in-
terested audience.

The vocal music at the Church was of a very high order, being per*
formed by a large and efficient choir of nearly two hundred voices,
under the direction of Mr. Benj. Lang.

After the conclusion of the exercises at the Church, the procession
of ticket holders to the Dinner was formed, and proceeded to a large
canvas pavilion, which was erected on the Crowninshield estate, in a
fine airy position, near Buxton's Hill. This spot was kindly tendered
to the use of the Committee by Hon. F. B. Crowninshield.

EXERCISES AT THE TABLE.

The procession, which had entered the pavilion under escort of the
Military and Firemen, soon occupied the tables, which had been spread
for 1200 persons. After the guests had taken their places, the fact
was formally announced by the Chief Marshal to the President of the
day. Rev. MILTON P. BRAMAN. The President then called upon the
Chaplain, Rev. Israel W. Putnam, of Middleborough, a native citizen of
Danvers, who invoked a blessing.

The feast of good things on the table having ended, the intellectual
repast* was commenced by the President, whose introductory remarks

* The speeches at the table are not given in the precise order in which they
were delivered, and in some instances remarks, intended to be made, have
been furnished at the request of the Committee, by guests who were prevented
from speaking by want of time.



115

were exceedingly brilliant and happy, and were received with great
enthusiasm. To be fully appreciated they should have been heard.

After calling the assembly to order, Mr. BRAMAN said :

The inhabitants of Danvers have, for a considerable period, looked
forward to this day with pleasant anticipations ; and as the time ap-
proached and they became more engaged in preparation for the event,
it acquired in their view a more absorbing interest. It is the first Cen-
tennial which Danvers has witnessed ; it is the last which the present
inhabitants will be permitted to enjoy. They have not spared pains to
contribute to the interest of the occasion. They are anxious that it
should gratify all whose hearts beat with emotions of regard for their
native town, and all who have been pleased to assemble from other
places to unite with them in the entertainments of the day. They
hope that it will be long remembered by those in younger life with
pleasure and benefit ; and that those who are now children and youth,
when they shall become old, shall revert to it as one of the bright spots
of their early years.

Allow me to congratulate the assembly, on this beautiful and brilliant
June day, on the interesting exhibition which has been witnessed ; on
the instructive performance to which we have listened in the house of
worship. Permit me to extend a cordial greeting to numerous stran-
gers who have honored us with their presence, and to thank those dis-
tinguished visiters who have so kindly responded to our invitations, and
from whom we expect such rich additions to the pleasures and advan-
tages of the celebration. When men high in office and eminent for
talent are willing to turn aside from public and important engagements
to afford their presence and speak words of wisdom and sympathy on
such occasions, they are not acting inappropriately to their distinguished
position in the community. It is one of the ways in which they may
very much promote the public, patriotic and useful ends for which tal-
ent and station are conferred upon them.

The importance of such celebrations can hardly be overrated. They
tend to supply materials for the general history of the country. The
history of a nation is the collected result of the account of its several
component parts ; and the more minute and graphic the delineation of
the incidents which compose them, the wider basis they afford for gen-
eral history, and the more freshness, spirit and fidelity do they breathe
into its pages. What is it that gives Macaulay's history so much of its
wonderful fascination and value ? It is not merely the brilliant and
glowing style with which he clothes his ideas, but the industry with
which he has explored ancient and local records, and transferred their
smallest details to his own narrative ; the manner in which he has
caught the spirit of the times on which he writes, and reflected their
very " form and pressure." He has reproduced the past by the clear-
est illustrations, and caused its characters and transactions to pass be-
fore us as in dramatic representation. He is greatly indebted to such
records as correspond with those productions which owe their origin to
our centennial occasions. So are all good historians. Many years
ago, the library of a celebrated German Professor was procured for
Harvard University. He had been employed on a history of the



116

United States, which was left unfinished at his death. With German
inddstry he had made a large collection of American authorities to
assist him in his work. I have seen in that library centennial dis-
courses of some of the most inconsiderable towns of New England ;
discourses in the form of old sermons, smoked and dried, as if the bet-
ter to preserve the facts which they contained.

It has been the fault of general histories that they have been too
general. They have been too formal, stately, grave. They have not
descended enough among facts of less notoriety and magnitude. They
have not gone down into the depths of private life, and " caught the
manners living as they rise." They have therefore been less faithful
representations of past ages, and much less extensively read.

We want occasions that shall give birth to such performances as
those to which I have alluded. They turn the attention of municipali-
ties to their own history. They seize facts that are passing into ob-
livion. They transcribe recollections of those aged persons whose
memories will soon cease to retain their impressions. The history of
New England has been greatly enriched by these commemorations.
They realize a grand idea of Political Economy — the subdivision of
labor. Towns, districts, and individuals are employed in collecting
materials. It requires time, industry and research to prepare historical
notices of quite limited subjects. To recover ancient dates, to obtain
an exact statement of facts long since transpired, to gather up from
various sources the detached and scattered items that belong to any
one topic, is a work of plodding toil. I recently asked Mr. Savage
whether he had completed his preparation of a new edition of Farmer's
Genealogy, a work of three or four hundred pages, which I knew he
had been engaged some time in revising. " Oh no," he replied, " it
is only seven years since I began."

" History," it has been said, " is philosophy teaching by example."
Our history is much more than that. It is Christianity teaching by
example. It is the theory of the Rights of Conscience teaching by
example. It is high-souled Patriotism teaching by example. It is the
idea of Social Advancement teaching by example. It is the spirit of
Republican Liberty and Equality teaching by example. It is the the-
ory of an approaching day of Millennial Happiness and Glory for the
race teaching by example.

With the exception of the history of revealed religion and the intro-
duction of Christianity, ours is the most important and encouraging
that ever unrolled its pages to the eyes of oppressed and suffering hu-
manity. It holds out the light of hope to every other nation under
heaven ; it is to the political world what a sun rising in the West would
be to the natural world, before which the light of the present sun
should grow dim, and whose broad disk should fill the concave of the
heavens.

The history of this town has its importance and interest as a portion
of that of New England. It is connected with the earlier history of
Massachusetts, and with that great struggle by which our Independence
was achieved. We believe that the inhabitants have not lost those
ti'aits which distinguished their ancestry ; that some of the old Puritan
love of religion and religious liberty lingers here ; that the same patri-
otic blood flows in their veins which was poursd out so freely in the*



117

first and subsequent battles of the Revolution ; and, if ever they should
be called again to vindicate their liberties, the young men would go
forth with as much courage and alacrity, to engage in mortal strife, as
those whose names are perpetuated by yonder monumental granite.

We hope that as the citizens of the town turn their eyes more in-
tently upon their history, and commune with the spirits of their re-
ligious and heroic fathers, they \\\\\ catch a new inspiration, and that
they will attach themselves, more firmly than ever, to those institutions
and elements of strength, which have given them their New England
character and prosperity.

The town has not grown so rapidly as some others in the Common-
wealth ; but it has gone forward with a steady, quiet, vigorous growth,
till it stands among the most considerable towns in the State. Our
motto is, "Onwarrf." We have an appropriate name, whose significa-
tion is indicative of progress.

The name Danvers is compounded of the two words " De" and>
"Anvers." We have been informed to-day of the origin of the appli-
cation. I have had a curiosity to ascertain the meaning of the term.
It is well known to many that Anvers is the French pronunciation of
Antwerp, a once flourishing city of Netherlands, and still possessing
magnitude and importance. By the kind assistance of Mr. Sibley, the
Assistant Librarian of Harvard, I have been directed to an old geo-
graphical folio, in which the signification of the name is discussed.
The opinion of the most judicious antiquarians is there stated. Aen-
werp, from which Antwerp is derived, is an old Flemish word denoting
addition, accession, progress. The waters of the river Scheldt, on
whose banks it is situated, carried down a large quantity of alluvial
material, which they deposited on the site of Antwerp, and laid the
foundation of the city. The soil on which it stands is added to the
natural soil — thence the name. It was applied to us with a kind of
prophetic intimation. We accept it as our motto, and as indicative of
our condition. Addition, — gradual, steady addition, — like the deposits
which a river makes of the soil which is diffused through its waters, — -
a rich addition, as all alluvial soil is known to be. Addition to our
agricultural resources, — addition to arts and trade, — progress in re-
sources, wealth, industry, enterprise, virtue, humanity, the spirit and
principles of religion, and every element that contributes to elevate,
adorn, and bless a Town, State, and Nation. The river of our pros-
perity, which flows down from the past, continues to make its constant,
silent deposit of the selectest materials, enlarging, deepening, enriching
the foundations on which we hope to stand till the end of time.

There is one respect in which we claim not only to have made a
great advance, but to stand before the age.

I refer to the great subject of Demonology and spiritual communica-
tions. Whatever there is in spiritual manifestations, either by rapping or
turning over tables, that is supposed to indicate progress in this world
or the other, we can exhibit an account of phenomena which surpass
them all. We are a hundred and sixty years in advance of all these
manifestations. The people of " Salem Village " had communications
with spirits in 1692, and, according to received accounts, spirits much
more powerful than indicate their presence now. They could not only



118

rap floors and ceilings, but rap shoulders and knuckles, and inflict the
most grievous wounds. They could not only turn over tables, but fly
through the air without wings. The people of Danvers have had such
spiritual wonders passing among them that they have little or no taste
for these modern exhibitions. They look down upon them as inferior
imitations. Their reputation is so high in these matters, and their
point of progress so far ahead, that they can afford to stand still and
wait for the age to come up. But you may be assured that if ever
they should see fit to take up this subject again, they will throw every
thing that now appears into the shade. They will exhibit spirits
which will not only turn over tables, but will capsize the White Moun-
tains, and rap loud enough to be heard across the Atlantic. They
hope that they shall not be unduly pressed to make developments in
reference to this matter ; but if they are driven to extremities, and
called upon to vindicate their equality to the progress of the age, they
will not shrink from the effort, and will throw all the glory of the age
into the shade, by reason of the " glory that excelleth."

They have the means of doing this, of which the public are not
generally aware. On the grounds which I occupy, stood, formerly,
the house of Rev. Mr. Parris, in which Salem Witchcraft commenced.
There is a rose-bush which stood in the garden, or front yard connected
with the house, and which 1 think grew there in 1692. And my
reason for the belief is that it gives evidence of being possessed of
extraordinary powers of vitality. It has been cut down by the scythe
in all stages of the moon, and when the signs of the almanac were all
right; it has been repeatedly ploughed up ; but it will live on — it grows
as vigorously and blooms as beautifully as ever. I have no doubt that
it is bewitched — that is, as much bewitched as any person or thing
ever was bewitched. I had cut off" a slip which I intended to exhibit,
but unfortunately have lost it. The audience need not have been
afraid of it ; I am not a medium, and have no means of calling its
latent virtue into action. The bush I suppose to be a reservoir of witch
fluid, which the inhabitants have only to find means to bring into
operation, to make such awful demonstrations as would surpass all
former fame. They have no mischievous designs at present, but will
be ready to put down all rival pretensions when the exigency requires
it. In the meantime, instead of making any further progress in de-
monology, they will turn their attention to more earthly matters.

On this occasion, which closes the first century of our municipal
existence, it is natural to recur to what has transpired within that
period. It is among the most eventful centuries which have elapsed.
When this portion of Salem was made a district, Washington was only
twenty years of age, and has acquired all his transcendent and immor-
tal fame since that period. The man who wrote the Declaration of
Independence was a lad still younger. Scarcely more thought was
entertained of being severed from the mother country and living under
this republican government, than now exists in China that that country,
in twenty or thirty years, will adopt our political institutions. What a
vast change has taken place in the country and world ! The century
on which we have entered will witness still greater changes. American
Republicanism will have diffused itself over Europe. Republics will
line the whole coast of dark and degraded Africa. Our ideas and



119

institutions will have penetrated the depths of Asia. This town will
probably be a populous city, sending up its numerous spires to the
heavens, and having streets crowded with a busy population.

As we take leave of this day, we look forward with hope, not un-
mingled with solicitude, to the future. We bequeath to the generations
following, of this century, a precious inheritance. We bequeath to
them a soil devoted to God by prayer, and baptized into the name of
Liberty by Revolutionary blood ; and charge them never to alienate
from its high consecration. We bequeath to them the graves and
memory of most worthy men, whose characters we hope they will
ever respect, and whose virtues we trust they will copy. We bequeath
to them a religion whose spirit we pray that they may ever cherish,
and principles of liberty which we hope will ever burn with unquench-
able ardor in their hearts. We bequeath to them homes, which we
desire may continue to be adorned with domestic virtue and the richest
sources of peace. We bequeath to them habits of industry, love of
order, attachment to temperance, privileges and institutions which we
implore that they may preserve and perfect with the greatest care.
We hope that when the morning of June 16, 1952, shall dawn upon
this town, it shall illuminate a religious, free, intelligent, improved,
prosperous, happy people.

The first regular sentiment was then announced as follows : —

His Excellency the Governor — Honorably known for the interest he has taken
in our Revolutionary history. We hail his presence here as a testimony of his
appreciation of the part taken by Danvers in that great struggle for Constitu-
tional Liberty.

Governor BOUTWELL responded substantially in the following
terms :

Ml'. President : — It is true that I have come here to take an humble
part in commemorating the services of your Revolutionary ancestors ;
and the noble character they bore in the great struggle for freedom, is
worthy of all the festivities and pageantry of this occasion.

But it is not to those services only, and the emotions they inspire,
that these moments are dedicated. We are carried to Colonial and
Provincial times, and remember that a Republic was founded at noon-
day, in the sight of the world. Uncertain history traces the Roman
Empire to a band of robbers, while human knowledge seeks in vain
for the origin of the institutions of Great Britian. How fortunate the
contrast which America presents ! Our humble origin, our slow, but
sure progress, as well as present power, all are known. There is
neither uncertainty nor mystery in American history.

These municipal anniversaries are important. The orator and poet
may preserve minute, though well authenticated, facts, and treasure
traditions, which will give life and intelligence to the historian's page.

Each day has its history. All of us help to give character to our
day, and are therefore responsible for that character. So of a town.
Each of our more than three hundred towns has its history. From
the lives and opinions of individual men comes the history of towns ;
and from the lives and opinions of individual men, combined with our
municipal annals, comes the history of states and the nation.



120

It is not a mistake that we judge a town by its leading or notable
men. If a community has produced men of talents, courage, or
learning, it is not an idle delusion in the public mind which gives
prominence to that fact. We cannot but receive the idea of represen-
tative men. Eminent statesmen, orators, warriors and philosophers,
are only the leading statesmen, orators, warriors and philosophers of
the communities in which they dwell. The native nobility of one man
is some evidence of the general, even though inferior, nobility of the
race to which he belongs. Many generations and many men contrib-
uted to the creation of one Shakspeare ; and the fame of one Shak-
speare immortalizes a nation. Washington represented the heart, and
illustrated the principles, of the American people. It would not be
too much to say that he was indebted to his country, and therefore his
countrymen may well share the immortality of his name and character.

It is in this view that I have listened to your story of the deeds of
the heroic men of Danvers and of the County of Essex. First of all,
the fame of those deeds is yours, citizens of Danvers and of Essex ;


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Online LibraryDanvers (Mass.)Centennial celebration at Danvers, Mass., June 16, 1852 → online text (page 10 of 22)