Oliver N Bacon.

A history of Natick, from its first settlement in 1651 to the present time; with notices of the first white families, and also an account of the centennial celebration, Oct. 16, 1851, Rev. Mr. Hunt's address at the consecration of Dell Park cemetery, &c. .. (Volume 2) online

. (page 16 of 22)
Online LibraryOliver N BaconA history of Natick, from its first settlement in 1651 to the present time; with notices of the first white families, and also an account of the centennial celebration, Oct. 16, 1851, Rev. Mr. Hunt's address at the consecration of Dell Park cemetery, &c. .. (Volume 2) → online text (page 16 of 22)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

and folly, if not by the outbreakings of the angry and rougher
passions, what a figure must you make in the eyes of a sober and
virtuous woman to whom you stand in the nearest relation ! How
must she be affected by so melancholy a spectacle, sometimes
casting her eyes upon you with an aspect of full concern and pity,
and perhaps some mixture of just resentment ; then upon her chil-
dren with looks full of grief and dejection, with the language of most
expressive silence, unable to utter herself either to you or to them !
xo them what can she say relating to you, but what must, at least
implicitly, impeach and censure your conduct ? And what can she
say to you, to which you will pay any regard, if those faculties are
stupefied by the fumes of liquors, which should lend a listening ear
to what she might offer, with all the prudence and tenderness which
could be reasonably expected from one in so perplexed a situation ?

But there is a supposition which strikes the mind more forcibly,
and is really more grevious and confounding than this ; it is that of
the other head of the family being overcharged and disordered by
the operation of strong drink. To see a woman in this condition,
setting aside all the delicacy, modesty, and sobriety of her sex, so
far from " managing her affairs with discretion " like a good house-
wife, that she is unable to manage them at all ; to see her dis-
gorging her folly through the want of regard to the modest reserve,
which, when properly timed, sits so agreeably on the sex ; to see
and hear her venting her rage or her vanity, according to the ascend-
ency which different passions may have over her ; to behold a fe-
male form overspread with all the marks and tokens which usually
attend a fit of drunkenness ; her children around her without direc-
tion, without instruction, and in vain calling upon her for the sup-
plies of daily food, or warm and decent clothing, which it is her
provmce to prepare for them ; her husband nonplussed, discon-
certed, grieved, and justly offended, her sex disgraced, and all who
are any way connected with her ashamed.

Had not some parents been too remiss in the important duty of


restraining their children and others of their household, and allowed
them to be too much at their own disposal, it is probable there would
not be so many instances of young persons being so vicious, and so
much inclined to excess, as there now are. If, therefore, you have
the common feelings of humanity, and much more, if you have any
parental affection and bowels of Christian compassion for the souls
and bodies of your children, if you have any concern for their repu-
tation and usefulness in this world, and for their everlasting happiness
in the next, keep them from such disorderly houses, and from asso-
ciating with those who are known to be given to excess.

And if it is your duty to prevent your children from frequenting
taverns and drinking to excess, certainly you are under obligation to
abstain from them yourselves. Taverns were never designed for
town dwellers, and the consequence of your example may be great.

I have been thus plain in setting forth the dreadful consequence
of frequenting taverns, from an earnest desire of throwing in my mite
to prevent their taking place-. But the text and subject leads me.

Thirdly, to form a more particular address to those who are li-
censed to keep public houses of entertainment, and to vend and retail
spirituous liquors.

There is scarcely any person in common life, who has so great an
influence, either to be serviceable or hurtful to society or individuals,
as your employment gives occasion for you to be.

As you conduct in your particular department, so the morals of
many among us will be more or less affected. Suffer me, therefore,
with all freedom which is consistent with decency, and with all that
plainness which may be used without giving offence, to put to you
the following queries : —

In the first place, then, do you keep close to the original design of
your appointment to this business, which is almost entirely for the
refreshment and accommodation of those who are journeying, and of
those who cannot, without great inconvenience and expense, transact
some particular kinds of business elsewhere, and also that private
families may not be incommoded by travellers on the road, especially
at unseasonable hours ? If you suffer town dwellers to sit drinking
and carousing in your houses until ten or eleven o'clock in the
evening, or until midnight, or beyond it, do you not act beside the
intention of your being allowed to keep public houses, and pervert
their use and design ?


But this is not all. Are not the consequences with respect to those
■whom you thus indulge, very pernicious ? A total neglect of family
■worship in the evening, if not in your o^wn families, ■which surely
cannot be so seriously and composedly attended, yet in the families
of those you thus entertain, and an unfitness for the performance of
it in the morning after such excesses ! A ■wasting of the earnings of
the day, to the injury and distress of almost half starved families at
home ; misspending precious time ; inverting the order of nature, turn-
ing night into day ! Inability to satisfy the most righteous demands
of those ■^vho have furnished them upon credit ■with the necessaries
of life ! Casting off the fear of God, and ruining their souls ! Sup-
pose your own children should be reduced to this, through the indul-
gence and allurements of others ; would it not raise the warmest in-
dignation in your breasts, and draw the severest censures from you ?
And should not such examples in others be improved as cautions to
every one how they in the least degree administer the means, or
are instrumental of such wretchedness and misery? They have
precious and immortal souls, the salvation of which, if you have
a proper sense of its importance, you will think it your duty, as
much as in you lies, to promote, beside which, they are your fellow
creatui-es, and members of the same body politic with you. In these
two respects you are connected with them, and are obhged, by the
bonds of nature and the ties of civil society, to prevent them as
much as possible from doing themselves and those nearly related to
them any harm. I therefore warn you against the evils which have
been enumerated ; against being concerned and instrumental in the
least degree in the intoxication of any, or in the consequences which
usually proceed from excessive drinking.

I leave what has been offered, to your serious consideration, and
to the blessing of God to make it successful !

To conclude, let us all be upon our guard while inhabitants of this
ensnaring world, and while we carry about with us these bodies of
flesh, the appetites of which are so apt to be irregular, and to exceec^
their proper bounds, even in things lawful and allowable. And to
our watchfulness let us add prayer to God for the aids of his grace,
without which we shall fail in a day of trial. Lotus remember that
the exact boundaries between sobriety and intemperance are so im-
perceptible, like the shades in a picture, or the colors of a rainbow,
that it is difficult to determine precisely where the one begins and


the other ends, and that, therefore, it will be the wisest and safest to
keep at a distance from the utmost limits, and rather to refrain in
some things, which may be innocent and lawful, than to go beyond
and indulge ourselves in those which are not so.

Let us also be careful to distinguish between temperance, as it is
a natural, and as it is a moral and Christian virtue ; and also as it is
confined to an abstinence from the excessive use of strong drink,
and as it extends to all those duties which are included in the general
idea of sobriety.

We may be strictly sober and temperate as to meats and drinks,
either from covetousness, from motives of worldly prudence, or from
a regular and well-poised constitution, which may be so far from in-
clining us to excess this way, that it may rather make us averse to
every irregularity. But let us consider that we must be so from
conscience towards God ; and that humility, contentment, and the
government of all the passions of the mind, as well as the appetites
of the body, are no less branches of that sobriety which Christianity
requires of us, and that we are under the same obligations to prac-
tise them, as we are to observe the rules of temperance and moder-
ation in the use of spirituous and intoxicating liquors. Let us far-
ther consider, that the same reason and authority which enjoin
sobriety and temperance, oblige us also to the practice of righteous-
ness and piety ; and that if we are ever so eminent in our apprehen-=
sion, and in the eyes of others, in either of these , separate and apart
from the rest, we shall be so manifestly partial and defective in our
obedience, that our righteousness or goodness will not exceed that of
the ancient Scribes and Pharisees, without which we cannot have ad-
mission into the Kingdom of Heaven.

Let us therefore see to it, that we exercise a reverential regard
to God in all the duties of piety, gratitude, and supreme affection ; a
conscientious regard to the rulesof justice, charity, and benevolence ;
and especially a grateful, confidential, and obedient regard to our
Lord Jesus Christ, in his various oflSces, and as that divine person
through whose mediation, atonement, and intercession alone, we have
any ground to hope for acceptance with God in the ways of well
doing, and by the influence and acceptance of Avhose Spirit, we are
enabled to live soberly, righteously, and godly in the world. Let
each of these have a proper place, and their due weight and impor-
tance with us ; and may we all be pious and temperate, faithful, and


just to the end of life, and finally receive the rewards of sudi in the
world above, through the merit and advocacy of our Great Redeem-
er. Amen, and xVmen."

The ladies of the place have cheered on these eJSbrts, have formed
themselves into societies, and visited the homes of inebriates, and
cast the rumseller from their sympathy and regard.

The friends of the cause have at times during the progress of the
strife, been cheered by the exchange of congratulations and good
wishes. In 1845 a banner was presented by the Martha Washing-
ton Society, to the Young Men's Temperance Society. The occa-
sion was so interesting and important, that none will regret the in-
sertion of an account of it in the present volume. The exercises
took place in the Congregational Church, which was crowded with
citizens and strangers. Miss Bacon, (now the wife of B. F. Ham,
Esq.,) acted as the representative of the ladies, and Hon. Henry
Wilson, of the Young Men's Temperance Society.

The following is a copy of Miss Bacon's speech, and of General
Wilson's reply to it : —

" Mr. President and Gentlemen of the Young Men's Temperance
Society : — This occasion is a most appropriate one for expressing our
thanks to you for the present interesting and prosperous state of the
Temperance Reform in this village. But a few weeks since, Avhen
this good cause seemed languishing, you came to the rescue, formed
a society, and not merely adopted resolutions, but followed them
with vigorous and persevering action.

Your labors have not been in vain, and are worthy of our sincere
commendation. What should the ladies do but follow so noble an
example ? We felt that it Avas a cause that had done much for
woman, and one in which she must not be contented with a silent
part. We therefore formed a Martha Washington Society, in be-
half of which I now address you. We wish to assure you of our
sympathy and cooperation, and as a testimonial of our friendship
we now present you with this banner. Allow me to call your atten-
tion to its motto : ' Man, the image of God.'

Y'ou are aware that nothing tends so much to destroy this glorious
imace as intemperance ; therefore slay its destroj'er. Let all your
movements be characterized by dignity and love, and at the same


time be fearless and bold in reproving the sin, Avherever and in
whatever form it may be found. Teach by precept and example
that the pledge is a sacred oath that may not be trifled with, with
impunity ; and may your course be onward, may the star of hope
illumine your path until its beams are lost in the brightness of a
full and perfect victory."

Mr. Wilson replied as follows : —

" Madam : — In receiving at your hands this beautiful banner from
the ladies of the Martha Washington Society, permit me, in return, in
behalf of my associates, to tender to you and the ladies whose organ you
are, our sincere and grateful acknowledgments for this expression of
your favor. For this evidence of zeal in our cause, and regard for
our success, you have the thanks of many warm and generous hearts,
that will ever thi-ob with grateful recollection of your kindness till
they shall cease to beat forever. We receive, madam, Avith the
deepest and liveliest sensibility, the kind sentiments you have ex-
pressed in behalf of our Society. Be assured that these sentiments
are appreciated and reciprocated by us.

You have this day, ladies, consecrated and devoted this banner to
the great moral movement of the age. We accept its guardianship
with mingled feelings of pride, hope, and joy. It is indeed a fit and
noble tribute, an offering worthy of the cause and of you. May its
fair folds never be stained or dishonored by any act of ours. Taste-
ful and expressive in design and execution, we prize it highly for its
intrinsic worth, but we prize it still higher as a manifest and enduring
memorial of your devotion to principle and duty. Ever proud shall
we be to unroll its gorgeous folds to the sunshine and the breeze, to
gather round it and rally under it, and guard and defend it, as
we would defend from every danger its fair and generous donors. It
was not intended that the eye should feast alone on its splendor, but
that so often as the eye should gaze upon it, a quick and lively ap-
pi'eciation of the transcendent magnitude of the cause to which you
have devoted it, should live in our understanding and affect our

Ours is a peaceful reform, a moral warfare. We are not called
upon to leave our homes and the loved ones that cluster around our
domestic altars, to go to the field of bloody strife, on an errand of


wrath and hatred. Our battles are bloodless, our victories are

Yet the contest in which we are engaged is a fearful one, for it
is a struggle with the vitiated and depraved appetites and passions
of our fallen race, foes that have triumphed over earth's brightest
and fairest, over all that is noble in man and lovely in woman. These
foes have gathered their victims from every clime and every age.
No age, sex, or condition has escaped — heroes who have led their
mailed legions over a hundred fields of glory and renown, and planted
their victorious eagles on the capitals of conquered nations — states-
men who have wielded the destinies of mighty empires, setting up
and pulling down thrones and dynasties, and stamping the impress of
their genius upon the institutions of their age — orators who have
held listening senates in mute and rapt admiration, and whose elo-
quence has thrown a hale of imperishable light and unfading glory
over their age and nation — scholars who have laid under contribu-
tion the vast domains of matter and mind, grasping and mastering
the mighty problems of moral, intellectual, and physical science, and
left behind them monuments of toil and wisdom, for the study and
admiration of all ages, have been the victims, the slaves of these
foes — foes which we have pledged ourselves to conquer. In this
fearful contest we will bear aloft this banner, and when the conflict
thickens, when trials, doubts, and temptations come around us like the
floods, may it glitter through the gloom, like a beacon light over the
dark and troubled waste of waters, a sign of hope and promise, to
which may come, in the hour of loneliness, sorrow and penitence,
some erring and fallen brother. You can sustain us by your prayers,
and cheer us by your approving smiles. You can visit, as you have
done, the drunkard's home of poverty, destitution, and misery, aritt
by offices of kindness and charity do something to dry up the tears
and alleviate the wants of its neglected and sorrowing inmates.

Every great struggle for humanity has been blessed by woman's
prayers, and aided by her generous toil. The history of our country,
of our own renowned Commonwealth, is full of the noblest instances
of her constancy and devotion. She trod with our fathers the deck
of the Mayflower. She sat beside them in unre pining and uncom-
plaining constancy as they gathered in council, houseless and
homeless in mid-winter, to lay, in prayers and tears, the found-
ations of a free Christian Commonwealth. In the long, perilous


Struggles with the wild sons of the forest, she shared without com-
plaint their privations and dangers. And in the great struggle for
independence, she counselled the wise, infused courage into the brave,
armed fathers, husbands, sons, and brothers, and sent them to. the
field where freedom was to be won by blood. In the great struggle
in which we are engaged to free our native land from the blighting,
withering, soul-destrojing curse of intemperance, our fair country-
women have shown that they inherit the virtues of our patriotic

Ladies ! you have this day given us substantial evidence of your
friendship, sympathy, and cooperation. May we not then indulge
the hope that our Societies will move along in union and harmony,
each in its appropriate sphere of duty, laboring to hasten on the
day when every drunkard shall be redeemed and restored to his
manhood and to society ?

Friends and associates ! We shall doubtless in the changes and
mutations of life be called to separate. Wherever we may go, on
the land or on the sea, in our own or other climes, may a deep and
abiding sense of duty go with us. May the influences of this hour
be ever upon us. May this banner, the gift of those near and dear
to us, ever float in our mind's eye, inciting us to duty, and guarding
us in the hour of temptation. And when life's labors are done, its
trials over and its honors won, may each of us have the proud con-
sciousness that we have kept the pledge inviolate, that we have done
something in our day and generation for our race, something that
shall cause our names and memories to be mentioned with respect and
gratitude, when ' tlie golden howl shall he hrolcen and the silver cord
loosed,^ when our ' hodies ' shall have mouldered and mingled with
the dust, and ' our spirits have returned to Crod ivho gave them.'' "

Among the leaders in this movement may be enumerated, as its
unyielding friends in its first commencement and during its progress,
Rev. Stephen Badger, Rev. Isaac Jennison, John Bacon, 3d, Hon.
Chester Adams, Rev. Martin Moore. It has been advocated from
the pulpit on the Sabbath, and in every house has it been proclaimed
to be a duty to abstain from intoxicating drinks. Young men felt
the influence of these teachings, and now attribute their respecta-
bility and enjoyment to the fact that they have ever given heed to
the lesson.


The results of eflbrts in this cause, so far as they can be expressed
in words, are these : Thirteen places for the sale of intoxicating
drinks have been closed ; more than that number who trafficked in
it to some extent, have abandoned it. A perceptible and almost
universal change in the customs of the people is everywhere seen —
in the houses, in the social habits of the village, in the public opinion
of what is hospitable and kind. Strong drinks are no longer common
refreshments for friends, nor used at committee meetings, musters,
law-suits, or weddings.





The New Style was adopted by Great Britain in 1751, when a
law was passed enacting that the year 1752 should begin on the
first day of January, that the 3d of September should be reckoned
the 14th, and that the intermediate eleven days should be omitted
from the calendar. In the Old or Julian Style the year began the
25th of March, and contained 365 days, 6 hours ; in the New or
Gregorian Style the year began the 1st of January, and contained
365 days, 5 hours, 49 minutes, 12 seconds, differing from the true
tropical year 22 seconds only, and making a difference in the two
styles of one day in 129 years. One is made nearly conformable
to the other by dropping one day from the Old and adding one to
the New in each century, excepting every fourth, whose centennial
year is considered Leap Year.



Several instances occur in the course of our Avork of " double
dating, " deeds, &c., bearing a date of two years, as 1734-5, &c.
It is proper that this practice should be explained. It is to be
referred to the alteration in the calendar.

After the calendar was corrected by Pope Gregory XIII, in
1582, though the correction was immediately adopted by all Catholic
countries, it was not adopted by England until 1752. Most of the
other nations having adopted the New Style, it was thought proper to
pay some regard to it by double dating. It could be used only
between January 1st and March 25th. Thus in the first example in
the history, March 8, 1656-7, it would be '56 in the Old Style,
because the year according to that style would not close until March
25 ; but in the New Style it would be '57, because the year according
to that style had already commenced on the 1st of January.
Double dating ceased about 1752. The New Style was generally
adopted and the Old forgotten.










Mr. Buckingham, in his newspaper reminiscences, gives some
account of Bigelow and his works, which will not be uninteresting
to those who remember him, or to all lovers of poetry and good

" He graduated the second scholar in his class, and all his class-
mates thought he should have been first. After he left college he
taught a school in Lancaster, and commenced a course of study
with Rev. Nathaniel Thayer, of that town, intending to follow the
profession of a clergyman. While here he wrote ' Omnium Gath-
erum,' for the Federal Orrery. To add to his ' slender means ' of
support, while pursuing his preparatory study, he engaged in tlie
management of the Village Messenger, and subsequently wrote for
the Massachusetts Magazine, published in Boston.

I have not been able to ascertain the precise time when Mr.
Bigelow began to preach. It must have been in 1799 or 1800.
About this time he settled in Salem as a teacher, and had a private
classical school of great celebrity, preaching occasionally as circum-
stances favored his disposition for that employment. He was
frequently called upon to preach in the church in Brattle square,

He removed from Salem to Boston to take charge of the Public
Latin School. This place he held several years, and a part of that
time supplied the pulpit of the meeting-house in HoUis street, after
the death of the Rev. Dr. West and previous to the settlement of
Rev. Horace Holley. Several of his pupils are still living to testify
to his worth. Among these are Hon. Edward Everett, Rev. N. L.
Frothingham, Charles P. Curtis, Esq., and Dr. Edward Reynolds.
A propensity to convivial indulgence, first acquired no doubt at
college, brought on infirm health, which compelled him to leave the
school and retire to his native village. Ho passed some time in
Maine, keeping school and writing for newspapers ; but Natick was his
home, and there he always found a retreat when pursued by poverty


and sickness. He was accustomed to walk to Boston, sometimes to
ride with people who followed the marketing business, and spend a
day or two in the newspaper printing offices, write poetry for his
friends the editors, and then return to his rural retreat.

The latter part of his life he spent principally at Cambridge, where
he was employed as a proofreader at the University printing office.
This was an employment suited to his age and taste.

While he was engaged in teaching Mr. Bigelow prepared and
published several books for the use of pupils preparing for a colle-

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 16 18 19 20 21 22

Online LibraryOliver N BaconA history of Natick, from its first settlement in 1651 to the present time; with notices of the first white families, and also an account of the centennial celebration, Oct. 16, 1851, Rev. Mr. Hunt's address at the consecration of Dell Park cemetery, &c. .. (Volume 2) → online text (page 16 of 22)