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Proceedings of the Rhode Island Historical Society (Volume 19) online

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foiode Inland IViiitorical %u\t\%




It is deemed proper to say that in publishing annual or other
stated addresses the Society must not I^e necessarily considered
as approving the sentiments or historical vicAvs advanced in those

By order of the Committee on Publication.



lotlf Mnul Ijifitorical fociciij,


^ 16612








Electkd January 10, 1882.


Vice JPresidejits,
William Gammell, Francis Rrinley.

Amos Pehky.

Richmond P. Everett.


Oil JVominafions,
Albert V. Jenks, William Staples,

W. Maxwell Greene.

0)1 Lectures,
Amos Perry, Dr. Charles W. Parsons,

William Gammell.


Bnildiiiy and Groands,
Isaac H. Soutliwick, Henry J. Steere,

Eoyal C. Taft.

0)1 the Lihrarij,

Sidney 8. Rider, Horatio Rogers,

Thomas Durfee.

On Publications,
Dr. Charles W. Parsons, John II. Stiness,
Alexander Farnuin.

On Genealogical liesearches,
Dr. Henry E. Turner, William A. Mowry,

Bennett J. Munro.

Audit Conii/iittee,
Henry T. Beckwith, John P. Walker,

Lewis J, Chace.

For Newport,
North Kingston


George C. Mason,
William J. Miller,
Erastus Richardson,
George H. Olney,
Dr. Charles II. Fisher,
Rev. Emery H. Porter,
David S. Baker, Jr.





At a meeting held January 27, 1881, a resolution was
adopted authorizing the printing of the Proceedings for the
past year, and appropriation was made for the cost of the
work. The Library Committee were charged with its

A paper was read by Mr. William S. Liscomb on the
Loss and Recovery of the Writings of the Greek and Latin

At a meeting held February 8, Professor William Gammell
made touchino; mention of the death of one of the members
of the Society, Professor J. Lewis Diman.

Following these remarks, Professor Gammell read a paper
on the jNIonroe Doctrine, its Origin and History.

At a meeting held February ^"l, a paper was read by
Hon. Rowland Hazard, on the Credit Mobilier of America.

At a meeting held March 8, a paper was read by Mr.
William P. Sheffield, Jr., on the Narragansett Sachems.

At a meeting held jNIarch 22, a paper was read by Dr.
Charles W. Parsons, on the Medical School formerly


existing in Brown University, its Professors and its Grad-

At a meeting held April 2, a paper was read hy Professor
Moses Coit Tyler, on the Traits of American Literature
durhig the jjeriod of the Revolution.

(Quarterly meeting, April 5. A rei)ort was presented by
the Librarj' Committee of its labors during the past quarter.
Appropriations were made for the purchase of a tile of the
Providence Da fl>/ Journal, 1850-1880, for binding the same,
and for the purchase of a furnace for heating the building.
The folUnvinu" ofentlcmen were elected Resident members :
Rev. Comfort Edwin Barrows, of Newport; Robert S.
Andrews, of Bristol ; Dr. John J. DeWolf, of Providence ;
and Nathan F. Dixon, Jr., of Westerly. Professor AVilliani
Gammell presented the following minute concerning the
death of Professor J. Lewis Diman : —


Jeremiau Lewis Diman, D. D., died at his residence in
Providence, February 3, 1881, at the age of forty-nine
years and nine months. A native of Bristol, a graduate
of Brown University in the class of 1851, he studied
theology at Andover, Mass., and was settled as a clei'gyinan
in Fall River, Mass., and also in Brookline, Mass. In 1864
he came to reside in Pro\'idence as Professor of History and
Political Economy in Brown University, and here he per-
formed the most conspicuous services of his life. He was
elected a member of this Society in 18GG, and has made
frequent contributions to its literary exercises. As a teacher
of histor}-, and a scholar of large and varied attainments,
he rose to a })osition and acquired a renown which retlected
distinguished honor not only on the University in Avhich he
was a Professor, but also on the City and State, in both of
which he was regarded as a favorite citizen.


It ni!iy ]ic truly said of Professor Diman that he did more
than any other member of this Society has ever done to
promote a taste for historical studies, and to encourage
others to pursue them. He did this not only as the occupant
of the academic chair, which he so worthily filled, but by
the readiness and success with which, through many years,
he gave lectures at the Friends' School in this city, at the
State Normal School, and to several private ' classes which
were formed for the purpose of persuing the study of history
under his guidance. He also edited with annotations several
volumes, and delivered addresses of singular eloquence and
efiect, on several anniversaries connected with the annals
of Rhode Island. A graceful writer, an eloquent public
speaker, a persuasive minister of religion, an accomplished
and beloved professor, he has been removed from life just
as he was beginning to bear the ripened fruits of his gifted
intellect, his diversified culture, and his manly and well-
rounded character. His early death has brought bereave-
ment and sorrow to every institution with Avhich he was
connected, and to every social circle in which he moved.

At a meeting April 19, a paper was read by the President,
Zachariah Allen, on the Suffrage Movement of 1842 in
Rhode Island.

At a meeting jNIay 3, a paper was read by the Rev. J. C.
Stockl)ridge, D. D., on the Reception in England of the
News of the Surrender of Cornwallis.

Quarterly meeting, July 5. The Library Committee
presented a report of their doings during the past quarter.

A portrait of our late President Samuel G. Arnold was
presented by Mrs. Louisa G. Arnold.

A portrait of Thomas F. Carpenter was presented by
sundry members whose names appear in a subsequent por-
tion of these Proceedino^s.

A portrait of John H. ]\Iason was presented by Mrs.
William F. Fales.


A iiiarl)lo hust of John B. IT. lieonard Avas presented by
William ^[. Bailey.

The followino- orentlemen were elected Resident members:
Messrs. George W. Danielson, Joseph A. Shaw, Thomas A.
Richardson, Jr., Frederick M. Sackett, Joseph C. Johnson,
Daniel Day, and Charles Bradley, all of Providence ; and
James N. Arnold, of North Kingston. The following reso-
lution was adopted : — Resolved, That no person be hereafter
elected a Resident member of this society except upon a
written or printed ap})lication signed by the candidate and
recommended by a member of the society. Blank applica-
tions were ordered, and the Committee on Nominations
directed to carry the resolution into effect.

An informal conversation was held concerning the publi-
cation of a volume of collections. Horatio Rogers was
elected to the place on the Committee on Publications made
vacant by the death of Professor J. L. Diman. A resolution
was adopted directing certain internal improvements, and a
joint special committee was elected, consisting of the com-
mittee on Building and Grounds and the Library Committee,
to carry out the j:)lan. The report of this joint committee
appears in full in these Proceedings.

Quarterly meeting, October 4. The bequest of Mr.
Joseph J. Cooke, to the Society, of tive thousand dollars
in liooks to be purchased at the sale of Mr. Cooke's library,
was announced. The Library Committee and the Joint
Special Committee on Internal Improvements made reports
of their doings. A painting of a portion of Providence
contained in the certificate of membership of John Updike
in the Providence Marine Society, was presented. It is
described in the report of the Library Committee. The
following gentlemen were elected Resident members : Rev.
A. J. F. Behrends, Rev. James G. Yose, John H. ]Mason,
Francis W. Miner, and Oliver S. Cressy, all of Providence ;
Daniel 11. Greene, of East Greenwich ; David S. Baker, Jr.,
of North Kingston ; and William G. Roelker, of Warwick.


A lesolntion, offered by Sidney S. Eider, was adopted,
urging the importance of interesting the inhaliitants of towns
to erect suitable Historic Landmarks in certain localities,
to perpetuate the history in connection with the locality.
Several such places Mere indicated, particularly the place of
burial of the forty dead who were brought from the bloody
field of the Great Swamp fight and buried at Cawcum-
squisick, now the A^illage of Wickford. A committee was
appointed to urge the execution of the project.

At a meeting Nov, 15, a paper was read by Claudius B.
Farns worth, Esq., of the Burial Grounds of Rhode Island,
and their legal status and probable permanence.

At a meeting November 29, a paper was read by Abra-
ham Payne, Esq., on the Separatists of Windham County,

At a meeting December 12, a paper was read by the
president, Zachariah Allen, on the Advent and Dispersion
of the Huguenot Settlers in Rhode Island.

At a meeting December 20, a paper was read by Henry
C. Dorr, Esq., on the Hindrances to the Early Growth and
Development of the Town of Providence.

The sixteenth annual meeting, Januar}^ 10, 1882. The
usual annual reports were presented, and will be found in
other parts of these Proceedinsrs. The following^ grentlemen
were elected Corresponding members: Rev. Carlton A.
Staples, of Lexington, iVIass ; Rev. Leander C. JNIanchester,
Lowell, Mass. ; John F. Miller, Washington, D. C.

A portrait of the late President, Albert Gorton Greene,
was presented by his daughter, Mrs. Mary C. G. East-
man, of Concord, N. H.

A portrait of Capt. Thomas Cole was presented by Mrs.
James E. Cranston.

A portrait of Dr. Lewis L. Miller was presented by
Albert V. Jenks.

The Joint Committee on Internal Improvements presented


a report of the operations, and received the thanks of the

A resolution to [)rint the Proceedings, and making- an
appro])riation therefor Avas i)assed, and the Committee on
PClblications charged with its execution.

A proposition to amend the Constitution for the purpose
of increasing tiie amount of the annual tax was introduced.
It was to the effect that each resident member shall , on his
admission, pay an admission fee of ten dollars, and there-
after such tax or taxes as the Society may impose, not
exceeding five dollars in an}' one year.

A resolution was introduced to have the Cabinet closed on
Saturday afternoons. It was referred to the Library Com-

The list of Donors to the Society appears in another part
of these Proceedings, and in the report of the Library Com-
mittee more or less detail is given to these matters. Aside
from these, it may not be im})roper to note the fact an-
nounced at this meeting of the gift of valuable books by
Samuel M. Noyes, Esq.

The following gentlemen were elected resident members l
David W. Hoyt, Rev. William F. B. Jackson, Alexander
Farnum and Oliver B. Munroe, all of Providence.

The Society elected its officers for the year ensuing ; the
result appears in another portion of these Proceedings.



The close of another year has matured a fresh harvest of
historical events for us to gather and bind into sheaves to be
garnered here. Our duties are so quiet and secluded, that
the busy population around us are scarcely aware that their
words and actions are subjected to vigilant notice and re-
corded for future generations. Reporters for journals hover
around to note daily incidents as the}^ occur, and even the
sunbeams, with photographic fidelity, record a smile or a
tear ; while the telegraph and steam power swiftly transfer
a knowledge of passing events throughout the world, to
excite human sympathies.

With the improved facilities for difl'using knowledge of
passing events, and the rapid accumulation of the records of
them, our historic labors become greater eveiy year. After
providing a repository for collections of manuscripts and
books, next follows the task of arranging them in classified
order and of catalomiino; them for facility of reference.
Then comes a necessity for keeping the rooms open daily,
and of providino- an intelligent custodian. This has been
rendered more indispensable by the increased interest in
genealogical researches into family relationsliips.

To meet these increasing demands a sub-division of the
labors of our Society into several departments has been
required, each with a special duty to be performed, and each
charged Avith the responsibilty of making a report annually
of their labors and success.

It is the special duty of the presiding officer, in an annual
address, to give a summary of the proceedings of the
Society ; of the work they have done ; of the success that
has rewarded their labors; and of the difficulties that are
still to l)e overcome.


The increase of the number of memljcrs of the Society is
an evidence of the increased interest in historical investiga-
tions. During tlie past year forty new members have been
admitted ])y the recommendation of the Nominating Com-
mittee, and have duly qualitied themselves by pa3'ment of
the usual admission fees.

The annual report of the Treasurer exhibits the present
financial condition of the Society. An extraordinary in-
crease of receipts from the admission of new mem1)crs has
somewhat im})roved the income ; but the continual demand
for greater expenditures to meet new wants presses upon us.
More especially is there a necessity for obtaining more room
for the rapidly increasing pamphlets and volumes that already
jfill the shelves. More than one hundred and fifty ponderous
volumes of newspapers are piled away in the gallery, and are not
readily availal)le for reference. The recent acquisitions of
numerous valuable portraits of distinguished citizens have
entirely covered the vacant spaces on the walls. These pre-
monitions warn us that for the success of our labors in-
creased accommodations are required, either by the enlarge-
ment of the present building, or preferably by the erection
of a new and spacious edifice, adapted for the future accumu-
lations of historic treasures. May we not hope that some
munificent individual may construct a suitable cabinet and
lecture room as a memorial haJl to perpetuate the remem-
brance of a departed friend, like the adjacent college
memorial hall?

For establishing a Portrait Gallery of Rhode Island peo-
ple, wh:it more appropriate place and custody can there be
than a ^\'ell arranged historical Cal)inet, under the custody of
officers specially appointed for preserving them with the
records of the State, and with free access in all future time !
The Portrait Department has been recently enlarged exten-
sively by accessions of photographic pictures and engraved
portraits of numerous Rhode Islanders and of others, which
certainly constitute the most attractive and interesting ob-


jects in our Cabinet. There is a natural desire to see how
our ancestors looked, as well as to read their thoughts and
actions. More especially is this interest felt on l)eholding
the most beautiful of nature's works in the charms of our
female ancestors. I am tempted here to repeat the sugges-
tions in the last annual address for awakening increased
interest in this subject. To preserve vivid memorials of
existing members of society, and "to catch the living man-
ners as they rise," it is specially desirable to include in our
Cabinet the portraits of the estimable women who adorn and
grace modern social life. To accomplish this purpose the
King of Bavaria has collected in a national gallery the por-
traits of the most beautiful women of the kino-dom. This
gallery has taken precedence of all the other picture galleries
for admiration and interest. Inspired Avith emulative zeal,
our great showman, Mr. Barnum, has recently proposed to
pay thirty thousand dollars for a portrait of the most beauti-
ful Avoman in America. The handsomest man he estimates
at less than half price for exhibition to an admiring world.

By preserving family portraits in our historical Cabinet,
instead of keeping them secluded in private parlors, numer-
ous descendants in after times ma}' have free access to view
them and contemplate the charms of their grandmothers here
historically perpetuated.

By keeping the rooms open dail}^ improved facilities are
now oftcred for pursuing historical and genealogical re-
searches. Nearly a thousand names of dift'erent visitors are
inscribed on the register in the Cabinet. People from all
parts of the State now have free access for examining the
State documents and papers deposited here.

For keeping the rooms open daily, and for binding and
otherwise arranging the papers, the aid of the annual a})pro-
priation from the State of five hundred dollars is applied.

Memliers of the legal profession often come here to con-
sult tiles of newspapers for veritications of f\icts and dates
here preserved from their first publication. A lack of funds


has prevented more extensive usefulness in pureliMsing his-
torical cyclopjedias and Avorks on local histories.

The department of Rhode Island history has received
special attention from the Lil)rary Committee, and now con-
tains many publications relating to this State, and as far as
availal)le, the works published or written by natives of the
State. To encourage fresh zeal in historical researclies, it
may be well to notice the increased attention to historical
•publications in adjacent States. In Maine the Historical
Socii ty has enlarged the sphere of its usefulness by estab-
lishing special committees in each county of the State for
collecting local statistics. A new Historical Society has
been instituted at Fredericton, in New Brunswick, and
another at Charlottetown, in Prince Edward's Island.

While our collections of historical papers and pamphlets
have been gradually increasing, and much labor has been
bestowed in arranging and cataloguing them, there appears
to have been a decline in the eificicncy of the Society in
publishing valuable and interesting papers during the past
sixteen years, since the printing of volume vi. of the Ivhode
Island Historical Collections. The Library Committee have
seen fit to permit extracts from the Foster Collection of
Papers to be published by others. The Committee on Pub-
lications recommended last year the publication of selected
papers relating to the times of Governor Cranston, and also
selections from the diary of Ezra Stiles, to constitute vol-
ume vii. of our collections.

The functions of the Publishing Committee are regarded
as a most important dufy for gleaning and presenting to the
public historic events worthy of preservation. In this con-
nection it is gratifying to recognize the zeal and efficient
labors of one of the members of our Society, Mr. Sidney
S. Kider, who has collected the details of vari'ous historical
events and printed them in several volumes denoted "Rhode
Island Historical Tracts." While noticing how much an
individual member has accom[)lislied, we feel that more


might have been accomplished by the united labors of all
our members within the period of the past sixteen years.

During the last year there have l)een twelve meetings of
the Rht)dc Ishmd Historical Society for hearing public
addresses, and also four business quarterly meetings. The
discussions of the subjects presented to the members, after
the reading of the papers, have proved instructive and in-
teresting. Were meetings sometimes held for debating
popular historical events or questions, they might prove

In closing the review of events of the past year, we can-
not fail to remember our associates who have passed away.
A darkness seemed to shroud us for a time on the sudden
withdrawal of a luminary of historic science, J. Lewis Diman,
professor of history. The greatness of our loss has been
impressed on our minds by the eulogies of his useful labors.
Our progress has often been aided by his advice and assist-
ance, and cheered on by his pleasant smiles. An eminent
hero of national history. General Burnside, has been with-
drawn from our circle. After lillino- the measure of martial
fame, numerous eulogies and State honors have consecrated
his sudden death with all the tributes that a mourning people
could bestow on a favorite warrior and statesman. Another
warm friend of the Rhode Island Historical Society was
withdi'awn on the demise of Mr. Arba B. Dike. A recently
admitted member, Mr. Robert S. Andrews, is also gone
from us, with fresh expressions of promised future useful-
ness on his lips. Mr. Joseph J. Cooke, another deceased
member, has not forgotten the interests of our Society, by
a legacy of books from his valuable liln-ary. These may here-
after be available as a residuary donation. Our sympathy
is excited by the sudden accidental death of another bene-
ftictor, Mr. C. Fiske Harris, in the cold waters of a northern
lake. While the departure of these associates deprive us of
their further assistance, we are thereby urged to increased
activity in accomplishing the work here set before us, e'er we


are also called hence to be no more seen. Our combined
labors will leave memorials of useful services in collecting
and arranging in classified order valuable papers and historic
works, and memorials of men of ancient times. For thus
treasuring up historic lore for the benefit of posterity, they
will remember us for the work we have done, as we remem-
ber the work done by our ancestors.

The recent celebration of the centennial of the achieve-
ment of our forefatlters in capturing the British army at
Yorktown, and the reception of the descendants of the
French allies who joined with them to aid in obtaining our
national independence, was a pleasant demonstration of the
grateful remembrance of sympathetic friendship. The
memory of the services in our cause of Baron von Steuben
was also revived ; but the invitation of Germans who were
not his descendants was deemed by our French guests some-
what inap})ropriate, while remembering that the mercenary
German soldiers were our foes in the field, and constituted
nearly half of the British army, and mainly contributed to
prolong the struggle for seven perilous years. But magnani-
mously forgetful of ancient animosities or ignorant of historic
facts, they were cordially received as honored guests by the
present generation of the American people, who forgivingly
raised and honored the British flag on the very field at York-
town, where it was stricken down by their forefathers and
their French allies. With a similar generous imi)ulse our
Providence i)eople once honored an old Hessian soldier by
exalting him to a seat in a barouche among the revolutionary
heroes in a procession on the Fourth of July, because he
deserted, after being captured in fighting against us, and
enlisted in the American army.

In closing this brief notice of historic events and labors,
Ave realize how little has yet been done in analyzing and
truthfully describing the early history of New England in
connection with the treatment of the first settlers of the
colony of Khode Island. The histories of New England


have all been written hy descendants of the Puritans, who
persecuted non-conformists to their peculiar ecclesiastical
and civil form of colonial government. Only one side of
the New England controversies has been hitherto set forth.
It remains for us, as members of the Rhode Island Histori-
cal Society, to bring forward and duly explain the principles
of religious and civil liberty, which were originally adopted
and established by our forefathers in opposition to the
barbarous and tyrannical systems of social government prac-
tised in ancient times.

It has never been duly explained why the colony settled
by the persecuted people of Massachusetts beyond the bor-

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Online LibraryRhode Island Historical SocietyProceedings of the Rhode Island Historical Society (Volume 19) → online text (page 1 of 6)