Mary Caroline Crawford.

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Mary Caroline Crawford

^ulhor of •• The ColUge Girl of JImenca, " etc.





Ul^I^y ^






Little Journeys in Old New England

OneCaoy hecdved

^ ©o>jrn*i« tntry
CLA^ O^ XXc.No.
^^COP? a/

Copyright, igo2
By L. C. Page & Company


All rights reserved

Sixth Impression, October, 1906


Electrotyped and Printed by C. H . Simonds ^^ Co.

Boston, U.S.A.


rHESE little sketches have been
written to supply what seemed
to the author a real need, — a
volume which should give clearly, com-
pactly, and with a fair degree of readable-
ness, the stories connected with the surviv-
ing old houses of jN'ew England. That de-
lightful writer, Mr. Samuel Adams Drake,
has in his many works on the historic
mansions of colonial times, provided all
necessary data for the serious student, and
to him the deep indebtedness of this work
is fully and frankly acknowledged. Yet
there was no volume which gave entire the
tales of chief interest to the majority of



readers. It is, therefore, to such searchers
after the romantic in 'New England's his-
tory that the present book is offered.

It but remains to mention with grati-
tude the many kind friends far and near
who have helped in the preparation of the
material, and especially to thank Messrs.
Houghton, Mifflin & Co., publishers of the
works of Hawthorne, Whittier, Longfel-
low, and Higginson, by permission of and
special arrangement with whom the selec-
tions of the authors named, are used ; the
Macmillan Co., for permission to use the
extracts from Lindsay Swift's " Brook
Farm " ; G. P. Putnam's Sons for their
kindness in allowing quotations from their
work, "Historic Towns of New England" ;
Small, Maynard & Co., for the use of the
anecdote credited to their Beacon Biogra-
phy of Samuel F. B. Morse ; Little, Brown
& Co., for their marked courtesy in the


extension of quotation privileges, and Mr.
Samuel T. Pickard, Whittier's literary ex-
ecutor, for the new Whittier material here
given. M. c. c.

Charlestown, Massachusetts, 1902.

" All houses wherein men have lived and died are
haunted houses." Longfellow.

" So very difficult a matter is it to trace and find
out the truth of anything by history."


«... Common as light is lovCj
And its familiar voice wearies not ever."


" . . . / discern
Infinite passion and the pain
Of finite hearts that yearn."


" '2Y5 an old tale and often told."




Foreword iii

The Heir of Swift's Vanessa 11

The Maid of Marblehead 37

An American-Born Baronet 59

Molly Stark's Gentleman-Son 74

A Soldier of Fortune 90

The Message of the Lanterns 104

Hancock's Dorothy Q. 117
Baroness Riedesel and Her Tory

Friends 130
Doctor Church : First Traitor to the

American Cause 147
A Victim of Twq Revolutions 159
The Woman Veteran of the Con-
tinental Army 170
The Redeemed Captive 190
New England's First " Club Woman " 210
In the Reign of the Witches 225
Lady Wentworth of the Hall 241
An Historic Tragedy 251
Inventor Morse's Unfulfilled Ambi-
tion 264
Where the '' Brothers and Sisters "
Met 279




The Brook Farmers 293

Margaret Fuller : Marchesa d'Ossoli 307

The Old Maiise and Some of Its

Mosses 324

Salem's Chinese God 341

The Well-Sweep of a Song 366

Whittier's Lost Love 366



Sir Harry Frankland (^See j^age ^8)


Whitehall, Newport, E. I. 31
Koyall House, Medford, Mass. —

Pepperell House, Kittery, Maine 66
General Lee's Headquarters, Somer-

ville, Mass. 94
Christ Church — Paul Eevere House,

Boston, Mass. 104
Dorothy Q. House, Quincy, Mass. 123
Eiedesel House, Cambriclp:*\ Mass. 145
Swan House, Dorchester, Mass. 164
Gannett House, Sharon, Mass. 188
Williams House, Deerfield, Mass. 193
Old Witch House, Salem, Mass. 225
Governor Wentworth House, Ports-
mouth, N. H. 246
Fairbanks House, Dedham, Mass. 260 '
Brook Farm, West Eoxbury, Mass. 296 '
Old Manse, Concord, Mass. 324
Whittier's Birthplace, East Haver-
hill, Mass. 380





Ik TOWHEEE in the annals of our
/ \/ history is recorded an odder
phase of curious fortune than that
by which Bishop Berkeley, of Cloyne, was
enabled early in the eighteenth century to
sail o'erseas to Newport, Rhode Island,
there to build (in 1Y29) the beautiful old
place, Whitehall, which is still standing.
Hundreds of interested visitors drive
every summer to the old house, to take a
cup of tea, to muse on the strange story


OLD NEW e:n^gland kooftrees

with which the ancient dwelling is con-
nected, and to pay the meed of respectful
memory to the eminent philosopher who
there lived and wrote.

The poet Pope once assigned to this
bishop " every virtue under heaven," and
this high reputation a study of the man's
character faithfully confirms. As a stu-
dent at Dublin University, George Berke-
ley won many friends, because of his
handsome face and lovable nature, and
many honours by reason of his brilliancy
in mathematics. Later he became a fel-
low of Trinity College, and made the ac-
quaintance of Swift, Steele, and the other
members of that brilliant Old World liter-
ary circle, by all of whom he seems to
have been sincerely beloved.

A large part of Berkeley's early life
was passed as a travelling tutor, but soon
after Pope had introduced him to the


Earl of Burlington, he was made dean
of Derry, through the good offices of
that gentleman, and of his friend, the Duke
of Grafton, then Lord Lieutenant of Ire-
land. Berkeley, however, never cared for
personal aggrandisement, and he had long
been cherishing a project which he soon
announced to his friends as a ^^ scheme for
converting the savage Americans to Chris-
tianity by a college to be erected in the
Summer Islands, otherwise called the Isles
of Bermuda."

In a letter from London to his life-long
friend and patron. Lord Percival, then at
Bath, we find Berkeley, under date of
March, 1723, writing thus of the enter-
prise which had gradually fired his imag-
ination : " It is now about ten months
since I have determined to spend the
residue of my days in Bermuda, where I
trust in Providence I may be the mean



instrument of doing great good to man-
kind. The reformation of manners among
the English in our western plantations,
and the propagation of the gospel among
the American savages, are two points of
high moment. The natural way of doing
this is by founding a college or seminary
in some convenient part of the West Indies,
where the English youth of our plantations
may be educated in such sort as to supply
their churches with pastors of good morals
and good learning — a thing (God knows)
much wanted. In the same seminary a
number of young American savages may
also be educated until they have taken the
degree of Master of Arts. And being by
that time well instructed in the Christian
religion, practical mathematics, and other
liberal arts and sciences, and early imbued
with public-spirited principles and inclina-
tions, they may become the fittest instru-


ments for spreading religion, morals, and
civil life among their countrymen, who can
entertain no suspicion or jealousy of men
of their own blood and language, as they
might do of English missionaries, who can
never be well qualified for that work."

Berkeley then goes on to describe the
plans of education for American youths
which he had conceived, gives his reasons
for preferring the Bermudas as a site for
the college, and presents a bright vision
of an academic centre from which should
radiate numerous beautiful influences that
should make for Christian civilisation in
America. Even the gift of the best dean-
ery in England failed to divert him from
thoughts of this Utopia. ^^ Derry,'' he
wrote, " is said to be worth £1,500 per
annum, but I do not consider it with a view
to enriching myself. I shall be perfectly


OLD :n^ew EA^GLANI) kooftkees

contented if it facilitates and recommends
my scheme of Bermuda."

But the thing which finally made it
possible for Berkeley to come to America,
the incident which is responsible for
Whitehall's existence to-day in a grassy
valley to the south of Honeyman's Hill,
two miles back from the " second beach,"
at I^ewport, was the tragic ending of as
sad and as romantic a story as is to be
found anywhere in the literary life of

Swift, as has been said, was one of the
friends who was of great service to Berke-
ley when he went up to London for the
first time. The witty and impecunious
dean had then been living in London for
more than four years, in his " lodging
in Berry Street," absorbed in the political
intrigue of the last years of Queen Anne,
and sending to Stella, in Dublin, the daily


journal, which so faithfully preserves the
incidents of those years. Under date of
an April Sunday in 1713, we find in this
journal these lines. Swift's first mention of
our present hero: '^ I went to court to-day
on purpose to present Mr. Berkeley, one of
our fellows at Trinity College. That Mr.
Berkeley is a very ingenious man, and a
great philosopher, and I have mentioned
him to all the ministers, and have given
them some of his writings, and I will
favour him as much as I can."

In the natural course of things Berkeley
soon heard much, though he saw scarcely
anything, of Mrs. Vanhomrigh and her
daughter, the latter the famous and un-
happy " Vanessa," both of whom were set-
tled at this time in Berry Street, near
Swift, in a house where. Swift writes to
Stella, " I loitered hot and lazy after my
morning's work," and often dined " out



of mere listlessness/' keeping there ^' my
best gown and per ri wig " when at Chelsea.

Mrs. Vanhomrigh was the widow of a
Dutch merchant, who had followed William
the Third to Ireland, and there obtained
places of profit, and her daughter, Esther,
or Hester, as she is variously called, was
a girl of eighteen when she first met Swift,
and fell violently in love with him. This
passion eventually proved the girl's perdi-
tion, — and was, as we shall see, the cause
of a will which enabled Dean Berkeley to
carry out his dear and cherished scheme of
coming to America.

Swift's journal, frank about nearly
everything else in the man's life, is signifi-
cantly silent concerning Esther Vanhom-
righ. And in truth there was little to be
said to anybody, and nothing at all to be
confided to Stella, in regard to this un-
happy affair. That Swift was flattered to


find this girl of eighteen, with beauty and
accomplishment, caring so much for him, a
man now forty-four, and bound by honour,
if not by the Church, to Stella, one cannot
doubt. At first, their relations seem to
have been simply those of teacher and
pupil, and this phase of the matter it is
which is most particularly described in
the famous poem, " Cadenus and Vanessa/^
written at Windsor in 1713, and first pub-
lished after Vanessa's death.

Human nature has perhaps never before
or since presented the spectacle of a man
of such transcendent powers as Swift in-
volved in such a pitiable labyrinth of the
affections as marked his whole life. Pride
or ambition led him to postpone indefi-
nitely his marriage with Stella, to whom
he was early attached. Though he said
he " loved her better than his life a thou-
sand millions of times," he kept her



always hanging on in a state of hope de-
ferred, injurious alike to her peace and
her reputation. And because of Stella, he
dared not afterward with manly sincerity
admit his undoubted affection for Vanessa.
For, if one may believe Doctor Johnson,
he married Stella in 1716, — though he
died without acknowledging this union,
and the date given would indicate that the
ceremony occurred while his devotion to
his young pupil was at its height.

Touching beyond expression is the story
of Vanessa after she had gone to Ireland,
as Stella had gone before, to be near the
presence of Swift. Her life was one of
deep seclusion, chequered only by the oc-
casional visits of the man she adored,
each of which she commemorated by
planting with her own hand a laurel in
the garden where they met. When all her
devotion and her offerings had failed to


impress him, she sent him remonstrances
which reflect the agony of her mind :

'^ The reason I write to you," she says,
" is because I cannot tell it you should I
see you. For when I begin to complain,
then you are angry; and there is some-
thing in your looks so awful, that it strikes
me dumb. Oh! that you may have but
so much regard for me left that this com-
plaint may touch your soul with pity. I
say as little as ever I can. Did you but
know what I thought, I am sure it would
move you to forgive me, and believe that I
cannot help telling you this and live."

Swift replies with the letter full of ex-
cuses for not seeing her oftener, and ad-
vises her to ^^ quit this scoundrel island."
Yet he assures her in the same breath,
" que jamais personne du monde a ete
aimee, honoree, estim^e, ador^e, par votre
ami que vous."



The tragedy continued to deepen as it
approached the close. Eight years had
Vanessa nursed in solitude the hopeless
attachment. At length (in 1723) she wrote
to Stella to ascertain the nature of the
connection between her and Swift. The
latter obtained the fatal letter, and rode
instantly to Marley Abbey, the residence
of Vanessa. " As he entered the apart-
ment/' to quote the picturesque language
Scott has used in recording the scene, '^ the
sternness of his countenance, which was
peculiarly formed to express the stronger
passions, struck the unfortunate Vanessa
with such terror, that she could scarce ask
whether he would not sit down. He an-
swered by flinging a letter on the table;
and instantly leaving the house, mounted
his horse, and returned to Dublin. When
Vanessa opened the packet, she found only
her own letter to Stella. It was her death-

OLD NEW e:n^gland rooftkees

warrant. She sunk at once under the
disappointment of the delayed, yet cher-
ished hopes which had so long sickened
her heart, and beneath the unrestrained
wrath of him for whose sake she had in-
dulged them. How long she survived this
last interview is uncertain, but the time
does not seem to have exceeded a few

Strength to revoke a will made in
favour of Swift, and to sign another (dated
May 1, 1723) which divided her estate
between Bishop Berkeley and Judge Mar-
shall, the poor young woman managed
to summon from somewhere, however.
Berkeley she knew very slightly, and Mar-
shall scarcely better. But to them both she
entrusted as executors her correspondence
with Swift, and the poem, ^^ Cadenus and
Vanessa,'' which she ordered to be pub-
lished after her death.



Doctor Johnson, in his '' Life of Swift,"
says of Vanessa's relation to the misan-
thropic dean, '' She was a young woman
fond of literature^ whom Decanus, the
dean (called Cadenus by transposition of
the letters), took pleasure in directing and
interesting till, from being proud of his
praise, she grew fond of his person. Swift
was then about forty-seven, at the age
when vanity is strongly excited by the
amorous attention of a young woman."

The poem with which these two lovers
are always connected, was founded, ac-
cording to the story, on an offer of mar-
riage made by Miss Vanhomrigh to Doctor
Swift. In it. Swift thus describes his
situation :

" Cadenus, common forms apart,
In every scene had kept his heart ;
Had sighed and languished, vowed and writ
For pastime, or to show his wit.
But books and time and state affairs



Had spoiled his fashionable airs ;
He now could praise, esteem, approve,
But understood not what was love :
His conduct might have made him styled
A father and the nymph his child.
That innocent delight he took
To see the virgin mind her book,
Was but the master's secret joy
In school to hear the finest boy."

That Swift was not always, however, so
Platonic and fatherly in his expressions
of affection for Vanessa, is shown in a
'^ Poem to Love," found in Miss Vanhom-
righ's desk after her death, in his hand-
writing. One verse of this runs :

" In all I wish how happy should I be,

Thou grand deluder, were it not for thee.

So weak thou art that fools thy power despise,

And yet so strong, thou triumph'st o'er the wise."

After the poor girl's unhappy decease,
Swift hid himself for two months in the
south of Ireland. Stella was also shocked
hy the occurrence, but when some one re-



marked in her presence, apropos of the
poem which had just appeared, that Va-
nessa must have been a remarkable woman
to inspire such verses, she observed with
perfect truth that the dean was quite capa-
ble of writing charmingly upon a broom-

Meanwhile Berkeley was informed of
the odd stroke of luck by which he was to
gain a small fortune. Characteristically,
his thoughts turned now more than ever
to his Bermuda scheme. " This provi-
dential event," he wrote, " having made
many things easy in my private affairs
which were otherwise before, I have high
hopes for Bermuda."

Swift bore Berkeley absolutely no hard
feeling on account of Vanessa's substitu-
tion of his name in her will. He was quite
as cordial as ever. One of the witty dean's
most remarkable letters, addressed to Lord

OLD :N'EW englais^d rooftrees

Carteret, at Bath, thus describes Berkeley's
previous career and present mission :

" Going to England very young, about
thirteen years ago, the bearer of this became
founder of a sect called the Immaterial-
ists, by the force of a very curious book
upon that subject. . . . He is an absolute
philosopher with regard to money, titles,
and power; and for three years past has
been struck with a notion of founding a
university at Bermudas by a charter from
the Crown. . . . He showed me a little
tract which he designs to publish, and
there your Excellency will see his whole
scheme of the life academico-philosophical,
of a college founded for Indian scholars
and missionaries, where he most exorbi-
tantly proposes a whole hundred pounds
a year for himself. . . . His heart will
be broke if his deanery be not taken from
him, and left to your Excellency's disposal,



I discouraged him by the coldness of Courts
and Ministers, who will interpret all this
as impossible and a vision; but nothing
will do."

The history of Berkeley's reception in
London, when he came to urge his project,
shows convincingly the magic of the man's
presence and influence. His conquests
spread far and fast. In a generation
represented by Sir Robert Walpole, the
scheme met with encouragement from all
sorts of people, subscriptions soon reaching
£5,000, and the list of promoters including
even Sir Robert himself. Bermuda became
the fashion among the wits of London, and
Bolingbroke wrote to Swift that he would
'^ gladly exchange Europe for its charms —
only not in a missionary capacity."

But Berkeley was not satisfied with mere
subscriptions, and remembering what Lord
Percival had said about the protection and

OLD :new ei^glaxd kooftkees

aid of government he interceded with
George the First, and obtained royal en-
couragement to hope for a grant of £20,000
to endow the Bermuda college. During
the four years that followed, he lived in
London, negotiating with brokers, and
otherwise forwarding his enterprise of so-
cial idealism. With Queen Caroline, con-
sort of George the Second, he used to dis-
pute two days a week concerning his
favourite plan.

At last his patience was rewarded. In
September, 1Y28, we find him at Green-
wich, ready to sail for Rhode Island. " To-
morrow,'' he writes on September 3 to
Lord Percival, " we sail down the river.
Mr. James and Mr. Dalton go with me;
so doth my wife, a daughter of the late
Chief Justice Eorster, whom I mar-
ried since I saw your lordship. I chose
her for her qualities of mind, and her un-



affected inclination to books. She goes
with great thankfulness, to live a plain
farmer's life, and wear stuff of her own
spinning. I have presented her with a
spinning-wheel. Her fortune was £2,000
originally, but travelling and exchange
have reduced it to less than £1,500 English
money. I have placed that, and about
£600 of my own, in South Sea annuities."

Thus in the forty-fourth year of his life,
in deep devotion to his Ideal, and full of
glowing visions of a Fifth Empire in the
West, Berkeley sailed for Khode Island in
a " hired ship of two hundred and fifty

The New England Courier of that time
gives this picture of his disembarkation
at Newport : " Yesterday there arrived
here Dean Berkeley, of Londonderry. He
is a gentleman of middle stature, of an
agreeable, pleasant, and erect aspect. He


was ushered into the town with a great
number of gentlemen, to whom he behaved
himself after a very complaisant manner."

So favourably was Berkeley impressed
by Newport that he wrote to Lord Perci-
val : " I should not demur about situating
our college here." And as it turned out,
Newport was the place with which Berke-
ley's scheme was to be connected in history.
For it was there that he lived all three
years of his stay, hopefully awaiting from
England the favourable news that never

In loyal remembrance of the palace of
his monarchs, he named his spacious home
in the sequestered valley Whitehall. Here
he began domestic life, and became the
father of a family. The neighbouring
groves and the cliffs that skirt the coast
offered shade and silence and solitude very
soothing to his spirit, and one wonders not



that he wrote, under the projecting rock
that still bears his name, '^ The Minute
Philosopher," one of his most noted works.
The friends with whom he had crossed the
ocean went to stay in Boston, but no solici-
tations could withdraw him from the quiet
of his island home. " After my long
fatigue of business," he told Lord Perci-
val, " this retirement is very agreeable to
me ; and my wife loves a country life and
books as well as to pass her time contin-
ually and cheerfully without any other
conversation than her husband and the
dead." For the wife was a mystic and a

But though Berkeley waited patiently
for developments which should denote the
realisation of his hopes, he waited always
in vain. From the first he had so planned
his enterprise that it was at the mercy of
Sir Robert Walpole ; and at last came the


crisis of the project, with which the astute
financier had never really sympathised.
Early in 1730, Walpole threw off the
mask. " If you put the question to me
as a minister," he wrote Lord Percival,
" I must and can assure you that the money
shall most undoubtedly be paid — as soon
as suits with public convenience; but if
you ask me as a friend whether Dean
Berkeley should continue in America, ex-
pecting the payment of £200,000, I advise
him by all means to return to Europe, and
to give up his present expectations."

When acquainted by his friend Percival
with this frank statement, Berkeley ac-
cepted the blow as a philosopher should.
Brave and resolutely patient, he prepared
for departure. His books he left as a gift
to the library of Yale College, and his
farm of Whitehall was made over to the
same institution, to found three scholar-



ships for the encouragement of Greek and
Latin study. His visit was thus far from
being barren of results. He supplied a
decided stimulus to higher education in
the colonies, in that he gave out counsel
and help to the men already working

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Online LibraryMary Caroline CrawfordLittle journeys in old New England → online text (page 1 of 14)