W. G. (William Gillet) Ritch.

Inaugural address of Hon. W.G. Ritch, president : delivered before the Society, Feb. 21 1881, Santa Fé, New Mexico online

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Online LibraryW. G. (William Gillet) RitchInaugural address of Hon. W.G. Ritch, president : delivered before the Society, Feb. 21 1881, Santa Fé, New Mexico → online text (page 1 of 3)
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I't'lllUliAi, HU film 111' 1 !>!>?( MKXIflfl




Ch r, Constitution, and
By-La \vs.

University of California Berkeley





Delivered before the Society, Feb. 21, 1881,
at "The Palace,"

,. _

SANTA FV N F:\V tyEexico. ^


xico. i
/ / *

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C(i\STrnrnoN & BY-LAWS.


- I \ i I



Historical Society of New Mexico,
















LI It Iv A 1,
; i v KKS IT Y <>K


lM0tnrirnl fimrtij of lietu



HON. W. G. RITCH, President,

FEBRUARY 21, 1881.

Members of the Historical Society:

In compliance with n request from you, my colleague.-, o! tin- Hi -
loriral Society of New Mexico, t appear before you this evening to
talk with you in the interest of tin* society, and to make such suyj:e>-
tions, appropriate to the occasion, as I have been able to prepare
amid pressing ollicial duties.

I'IKST (,'<; AN I/ A I ION.

On the laM Monday in December, 1859, a number of .uent lemon res-
ident in New Mexico formed an association called The Historical So-
ciety of New Mexico. This much we learn from the book of coi-
ro*pOtldeitc of that soeiety. over the signature of \Y\i\. J. Sloan, the
lii>t <-orrev|)oiidinLi secretary. We 'earn further from the same
MMiive. that the soeiety was formally oru'ani/el by the adoption of a
oust itntion. and the election of otliecr-. and an addres- delivLM'cd by
the Hon. Kirby licuedict. then chief justice of the Territory. Other
addrev-p^ \\crc -iil>-ei|iient ly delivered belore the -ociety by the Uev.
Samuel (Airman, (iovenmr Win. dilpin <t Colorado, and Colonel
John 11. <.rav>on. the tir-i |>n><idrut of tln> -ociet\. The >ocii-t\
then occupied room* when- the convent of t he Si>ter* of Charity i>
now located, and where it remained until overtaken by the rclcntlo*
distr;ictiun> and \\ reck of the war of the rebellion. The inloro-t ta-
kon in the soricly by the people of New Mexieu. \\ a- attested duriii!;

the few years of its existence, in a large and well arranged collection
of curiosities, specimens and documents, and a considerable number
of books, pamphlets and written contributions. The officers and
members of the society, necessarily absorbed in the imperative duties
of the troublous times, and, there being' no responsible guardian to
care for the^e valuable collections, they soon became scattered, and the
remnants were finally sold to liquidate the indebtedness. Thus was
closed out a fine collection gathered during three years of commend-
able success. It is well to remark here for the information of mem-
bers and others interested, that many of the contributions formerly
made to the society arc still in existence. A tew have already been
discovered to the reorganized society ; others undoubtedly will be.
This work of recovery can be greatly facilitated by a little well-di-
rected effort among the members generally.


On the 21st anniversary of the organization of the society, effected
as stated, and pursuant to a published call signed by David J. Mil-
ler and Louis Felscnthal, members of the old society, and by others,
for the 'purpose, there assembled at the office of the secretary of the
Territory another "number of gentlemen," for the purpose of re-
organizing or re-establishing the Historical Society of New Mexico.
With the result of that meeting you are all more or less familiar.
Under slight modifications of the constitution of the old society, and
on the anniversary before stated, to-wit: the last Monday in December,
1880, was established the society here assembled this evening.


As if to give the society additional character by anniversary ussu
ciation, it is worthy of note that the year 1880 dates the triennial of
the first explorations of Espejo in Astzlan, as the country to the north
of Mexico was then known.

1880 likewise dates the second centennial of the opening of the four-
teen years struggle at Santa Fc, by the Pueblo or Village Indians for
discnthralment from their imperious task masters, and the final es-
tablishment of their freedom from serfdom in the mines.

In addition to these comes the most important of all associations,
when considered in the light of results certain to follow. I, of course,
refer to the opening of railway communication with Santa Fc and with
the Territory generally. From the year 1880 dates the advent of the
railroad into the valley of the Rio Grande from thence communica-
ting through the cardinal points with tlie world. Manifestly, it is an
e.vent to be fraught, with the grandest results ever yet known to
this most ancient and historical land.


Already the effect is eminently apparent in the character [of tin
people who have become interested in New Mexico: and in no sense

morn notably -o. than in commandinga special visit from ex-presi-
dent (iiant and tainily in -Juno last; and also a visit from President
. \\illi his family and parly, in October follow in,u. The < Imin
pf time Wollld llni- -ecm to annnr well. It u ; - <|ii i I ' opportune as
e-lahlMiinu an or-aiii/al ion basing for not tin-Ira.-! o| iu object -,
tin- reco\ery and prc-er\ at ion of the very historical fact.s, with which
it i - - happih a ociatrd.

In t lie organic law of tin 1 .society, the second Monday of . : annai \
la-l \\;i-Il\cda- the dale for the annual elect ion of olh'ccrs, and t hex
\\ crc accordingly circled.


It \\as your pleasure to honorme with an election to the chief oflice
of \oiir >or"u-ty. I improve thi> opportunity to express to yon my
hi^h appreciation of the honor as an honor worthy of the ambition
of any one, especially if lie feels an interest in the history of the Soul h-
u<-i. I thank yon for this expression ofyonr Unsolicited sn tirade.-.
A^ the be.-t return I can express, I pledge yon an honest pnrpo-e in
the execution of the duties involved; always remembering', that, in
united etlorl and hearty co-operation, alike among members, comtnit-
icc- and ollicers, lies es.-enlial sneee - .


The object of the society, quoting from the con-lit ntioii. \\a>. and

"The collection and preservation under its own care and direction
ol all historical facts, manuscripts, documents, records and memoirs
relating to the history of the Territory: Indian antiquities and enriosi-
lie-: grologieal and mineralogical -}iccinien>: geographical maps and
information and objects of natural history." The purpose is not to
write history under the sanction of the society, but to collect the
material for the future historian and antiquarian.

The basis of Operations thus defined is simple and broad, and 1 be-
lieve will admit every legitimate and desirable -nhjeet. I'pon the im-
portance of an historical society as a medium of di-covery and pre-
-rvation. all in the main will agree.

< n \ I:AI i 1:1: <i-' i 11 1: WUIJK.

It nou become- ii~ to . -0,1-ider in -oine degi-ee the i-haractrj- of the
work and plan- of operation.

\\'e do not a- -nine to originate any lieu -\vU-in: nor i- SUCOMfl ihu-
dependent. Historical societies in the world of science, arc among
Iheolde-l. \Veha\r only to con-nit frceh . and be guided by. the
light of the pa-t adopting that finally which shall best prove il-el!
adaj'ted to our UCCCSftltiOB, and our tutnre will be a-sured.

The might) change that ha- heen wrought inthi>
i-olated frontier during the pa-t few mont h-. ha- brought to t!:e front

\ and vnricd Unties and responsibilities. A thon-and miles of mil-

way planted upon our soil during a brief period, with other thou-
sands centering thereon, are awaking the latent possibilities of our
rich valleys and pastoral ranges and richer mountains and placers of
wealth. The transformation is in some respects magical.

With the scope now opened to the indomitable energy of the indi-
vidual American, the silence and repose which for ages has reigned
unbroken in so many places over the remains of ancient population
will be lilted. Antiquarians and curiosity hunters are already with
ns in considerable force, and collecting and carrying away in wagon
loads that which legitimately belongs to the local historical society.
Other antiquarians and curiosity hunters are coming in still larger
force. Soon, very much will be irretrievably lost to Xew Mexico.
This foraging, so to speak, must be looked after and the rights and
responsibilities of our home institutions examined into and asserted.
With new people coming and to come, new settlements, new mineral
developments, and the building of new citie* and towns, and with the
inseparable new life and fresh vigor, will inevitably come their oblit-
erating cfiects upon the monuments in archaeology and ethnology.
Collections in antiquity, and researches, too, of right, should receive
attention at once. The opportunity is valuable in proportion as made
available in advance of the future. Our abiding hope should be, a.>
our manifest duty is, to snatch from oblivion the wonderful evidences
of the prehistoric people of theSotithwest.


This hope and this duty belongs to the people of the whole Territo-
ry. The pride and iiftcrest to collect and contribute and sustain be-
longs to every section of the Territory alike. Every citizen should
feel an individual responsibility and become interested in accordance
with his opportunities and means. In this manner the society will
not only maintain an existence, but will become healthy, robust and
prosperous; and an institution in which every citizen might and
would feel a just pride and personal interest.

Smithson, the founder of that grand institution for research and dii-
fnsion of scientific knowledge, which bears his name, left the follow-
ing sentiment: "The man of science has no country; the world is his
country and all men are his countrymen.' 7 The late Professor Henry,
the able secretary of the Smithsonian Institute in its early history,
embodied the sentiment among the rules of action for its board of re-
gents. That this institution, located at the capital of the nation and
the center of scientific intelligence has proved a wonderful success,
is known and recogni/ed by cverv intelligent citizen of the republic.
So let it be with the founding of the Historical Society of New Mex-
ico. The Southwest is its world, its tield of operation, and all men
in this, its world, should and we believe will become its friend and
patron. This, they will the more readily be as they come more an<

more to realm- that, no other, in the whole range ol' in>litutions.
forms so important a relation to local education, whether it be socie-
ty. commerce or politics. Through it, the resources, apparent nd
latent, geography, as well as ancient, and natural history, and antiqui-
ties in art, are all made familiar, ami available alike to the practical
nnd :est helical. No less in importance is the patriotic effect coming
from thorough familiarity with one's country. P>egetting love of
country and home through familiarity with its histon , in turn brings
love of liberty for the sake of home and country.


not only brings clearly to the mind the best methods in human exper-
ience, familiarizes man with such experiences as .arc worthy of be-
ing adopted and perpetuated among a free people, but likewise, with
o<|iial clearness, brings to the mind in all their ugliness and deformi-
ty the quicksands' and hidden rocks in the sea of life those methods
in political >y>tem<. inconsistent with liberty and happiness those
which we. as rational intelligent beings, arc bound to observe, correct
and avoid. The old maxim, ''history is philosophy teaching by ex-
perience." states the case comprehensively.

We, the people of New Mexico and the Southwest, mu*t look to
these most important matters. No other people look after it for us,
nor as we can. Let us, thcrefre. at once adapt ourselves to the times
and plant with aggressive perseverance this particular institution of
an enlightened people and of the republic: a people and republic with
whom every person present this evening, in common with every good
citi/en of the Southwest, is proud to be numbered.


A lew general remarks with reference to historical societies in the
I 'nited Slates, will, we tru>t, be of interest. The parent socielv -
tahlMicd in America wa-. "The American Philosophical Socieix."
"i":mi/ed at Philadelphia in 171.1, with llenjamin rYanklin as ils ih-i
president. This institution is still in existence, and many present
this evening, who al tended the Centennial in 1*7(1, probably devoted
a half day to it< venerahle collection, so full of inleresl. and of \\ hich
th- people of Philadelphia are justly very proud.

The number of historical societies sinceMhe establishment
of tin- I'niled Slates government is over !!). The tir<l o|'lhe>e u a-
"The Ma - achusrlts IIMorical Society." nrgnni/cil inl71M. Nearly
all of these -oriet it- have perpft iia ted their rga ni/at ion to the piv
ent time, and thereby afford a remarkable illu-l ration of tenacity for

fe and stability of purpose in socieiiev 9iipporte<t us fehft

1\ ai'e, hy pi'i vale cont ribnt ions. These societ ies were ver\

^tarled at an earlv pei-iod in the lijsiory of their particular locnlit ie-.

The\ generally originated iv 1th the people, attd were establlshwt i'\
fid for the people; hence the\ are broad, far-reaobing and uni\

not confined to class interests. They have a special impor-
tance above the societies of the world in general, by reason of the
character of the free institutions of our country. The history of our
land and nation is thus being preserved with a degree of completeness
unknown to any other people, the world over.

In some of the Western States the historical society was among the
institutions first to be considered. The society in Minnesota was es-
tablished by act of the first Territorial Legislature. Such organi/a-
tions thus early are a testimonial to the eminence in civilization to
which these communities had attained from their first political exis-
tence. It is among these frontier states that societies are furnished
with free apartments, and fostered and cared for by free grants ot
money from public funds. Thus, the state of Wisconsin contributes
annually to its historical society about $7,000, expended in purchas-
ing historical works of special merit and in the payment of salaries
and expenses. As a consequence, although comparatively young, the
Historical Society of Wisconsin to-day ranks among the first societies
in the United States.

From published statistics of these societies, down to 1876, we are
enabled to give the following aggregates : Number of members, 27.-
244; volumes in libraries, 482,041: pamphlets, including newspaper
files, 568,801 ; manuscripts, 88,777, and the volumes of manuscripts
1,361; number of printed pages issued by them, principally during the
past seven! y-iive years, is equal to more than 300 volumes of o/>() pages
each. The collection of antiquarian specimens and curiosities are al-
most beyond computation. Incomes are derived chiefly from dues of
membership, and range from $15,000 annually, the amount of the in-
conic of the Society of California Pioneers, and of the Massachusetts
Society respectively, down to nominal sums in a few instances. The
value of the lands, edifices and permament funds of the several societies
amount in round numbers to $2,000,000.

These statistics are certainly very substantial proof of the industry,
patient devotedness and effectiveness of the work. 'With this show-
ing before us and with our vast country only partially developed still
before us, one may fairly become lost in speculation and wonder,
when estimating the importance and value of the historical society of
the future.


Corporally, the Historical Societyof New Mexico, is located at Santa
Fe; incidentally, because of its being the capital of the Territory : but
really and with manifest propriety because of its being the center
of all political, military, ecclesiastic and commercial history, in its
field, during the past three centuries. Santn Fe and vicinity, if tradi-
tions are to count, likewise 1 has a standing in pre-historie limes. We
are all agreed, 1 Ihink, that it may very justly be recorded as af once

thr in,. ' anetallt -md volnminoii- -pei imen wo w

lti'i-1 ancient Io->il of all Ihe-pccimen- that llecr.-*a ril \ \\ i 1 1 i ollllil.l lid

iln- attention of the society.

Tin-; ADOUI-: TAI.A. i: . ONGRJ

A moM important item thii- included, is the old "Adobe ralace;"
I In- I in ii ii- of tin; lonuc-t line of ex cell I ive- knon li to tin I ill I t.'d Male-,
where, during all Ihis lime. l;i\\ .- have been enacted and Indian treat ie~
negotiated, and in thi> lonjr pa-t . I'roiu \\ lie nee i in periou- edicts have
been promulgated and -cut lorili -cattei'in^ death and trrrorall aixxil
Ilie land. \\ r e have thn> ni< ntiniied t his ;nieieiit edilice lor the pMrjuir.'
til' callini: atleiiti<n to tin: l'a<-t that the Old I'alacr. unabridged, -honld
he made (he permanent -eat of the -nrietv. The old \M\\di\\g should
|.e ]ire-er\ c(\, and Urn-. <-oulil he pre-er\ ed. Iloxv hotter pre-er\-e it
than hy dedicating i( to thi> purpox-. To thin end, \\eare in duly
hound to recommend, a> aiiioiii:' the first duties ol' the peo])le of \r\\
Mexico, and of the country, to ineiiioriali/e ( !rigl'CS8. if net:d be. a-k
1'or the MH-ii-ty a charter from Cou^ros'and make it atlirmat ivi-ly na-
tional in character by national authority. The >cope of object miiihl
I hus be enlarged, a more cx.1 ondetl rejiute. a wider ranu'e of i)alron-
and broader field of nsrfnlnr>> could and would thus be assured. A
iientleman. to wlmm \\ e made the -nu-e-t ion the other day exclaim-
ed: "Why. 1 had no idea of the >o<-iet\ taking in so wide a -cope!"
( 'an any per-on i^'ive a -noil iva-oii \\liy we should not con - 'nler it in
I hi- liii'lit'' and \\'ith hope* foi- suocessi'

( 'oniire->, \\ it hin ihe pa-t fe\\ ye;ir-. ha> eiiua^ed in the e>taldi>h-
nien! and i-m-oiirap'nn-nl of national J'ai'ks and ]SIn>iMim>, at the
Vo^ciniie and the Yellow>tone. \\i)h i-oii-idci-able annual expendi-
tures: and why not enra.ire in a National Mu-eum. or in other word =
aNulitMial Historical Society in the Soiit hwe.-t :' u here ihere is an
liistorical field of magnitude, ha\ iiiu'a;i historical edifice the sole pro-
peri \ of t he I ' n i led Slate- >i iiate in the mo-i ancient hist orieal cen-
ter ofthe nation. The precedent-, a- we have noted, is clear in aut hor-
i/in.u. The -nhjeci i- abundantly worthy of the -erioii- eon-ideration
of the diMin-ui-hcd authority in control, (.ivetolhe -ociel y the
pel-main nt control of the 1'alace property, and the rents ihat \\oiild
be derived from Surplus room, would at once place the -ociety upon
i golf supporting basis, ThU proportion ha- an advantage over MM-
I \\ o named in ecuiiomx of c\ )>endit nre: -nrely. Con-re - could not
well alford nc-leciiiiL: to make permanent .-o commendable an in-titu-
lion. It -e, in. to me \\orth\ of an ellbrt. We'll nol obtain it mile
ih- people try for it. Therefore, we -ay. let'- try.

\ i -t> i. i;i> i '.- -111:1 x

I li-ioi ically, the old town Of Santa l-'e. and the Adobe 1'alac.-. ra<-h
belong to the COQlltry. They \\ill c'.ii-lit ute a -hrinc. al which MM-
ful-ure toiiri-l w 11 tarry, and with -in e\ e '" bit SI 11 CSS, we may remark.


will thus become one ef the special inducements to bring pleasure-
seekers crossing the continent by way of Kew Mexico. Emphasize
thift fact by making the Old Palace the seat df a National Historical

Application has already been made for society rooms on the Palace
property. We hope for a favorable response. In any event, whether
the Washington powers are disposed to favor the society or not, therQ
:an be no doubt of the just propriety and just duty of the whole peo-
ple interesting themselves in, contributing to, and helping to sustain
the Historical Society in the work you have declared for in your fun-
damental law.

Good rooms secured permanently, and the'guarantee which will thus
be offered for the safety and care of manuscripts and historical relief
will no doubt be appreciated, aud the owners and holders thereof will
be glad to deposit in the archives their historical treasures and thus
save them from destruction. How many valuable documents the world
over, have already perished by reason of the absence of an Historical
Society. On the other hand think of the number saved by their exis-
tence. No place on this broad continent stands more in need of the
fusteriug care ef an Historical Society than this Territory, Send in
your names for membership promptly, every body, north, sou I li, cast
and west accompanied by the trifling charge for admission,


When the membership shall have been obtained, there will be one
or more suitable persons appointed in every material locality as cor-
responding members, whose special duty it will become to gather and
receive specimens in nature and art, documents and traditions, old
pamphlets and newspaper files; and according as his time and incli-
nation shall prompt, to make written contributions with special re-
ference to his neighborhood, people and locality. Family, genealogical
and precinct histories can be included with the best of results. Too
much,, however, must not be expected from the correspondent. Evert
member in his locality should show his sympathy and support in good
words and material acts. Each member thus has the power to aid
and contribute to ;sueees>.


i* a moat valuable medium through which to arouse interest and in-
cite support, to make known the character and value of the institu-
tion, and to 'diffuse knowledge brought out in approved contributions
and lectures. These good offices, we have no doubt, will be brought
into play, both through solicitations and diffusion, and will be made
valuable proportionately to the interest asserted by the people and
the demand lor knowledge. The newspaper is a follower of public
opinion as well as a leader. The greatest number of copies sold i-
the business view. Domestic necessity and current expense? are with

tin-ill I In- -ainr- realil) a- in other \\:dL- oi 111.-. I IrtWCVer. > < ftrfl
t. bi-lieve. ami do believe. that theprc - >i the Tfri-ih.iv \\ill be in


:ds am-e oi (In- people on Ihi- one-lion. N\Y cut on :iin wydyOllbt, th'at
itor of every material n<>\\ -pan- <\fl be *\- J

ih- L-ood \vill of every editor of every material n<>\\ -papn- <\jfl^ be *\- J /,
i-mpliiied h. \\.-u. I i he -.M-iei\ in honorable etlori- to cultivate not only
it love (in- local hi-ior\ :inil a pride in the object- unl pnrpo.^i^ of /Ue

- is, IHII likcwi^f in tin; inritinu of a hrnllhv intort^i ainoiiu- ihf
peojn 1 *' in making follrct ion.- and rontrihutions; not forget tin< to re-
niiinl tln> collector Mini contributor to affonipaiiy ih<' >:ime with tl^
|..-;ilii\. >-itiiiL'> and ^nrroiindings. in short, tho history td'th^ arti- .:

"iiirilnitiMl. and in tho f-aroiul i)ackin^ and safe transit to tho >oc5o-
iv. Ka.-li ne\v>pap<>r. M ithont douhi. will contribute as in oiherstnte>.
a copy (' their papor rrgnlarly, and thoreby avail itself of an oppor-
tunity to permanently preserve their files for future reference. Here
\\ t; \\ill aUi remark that current pamphlets should not be forgotten.

1 3

Online LibraryW. G. (William Gillet) RitchInaugural address of Hon. W.G. Ritch, president : delivered before the Society, Feb. 21 1881, Santa Fé, New Mexico → online text (page 1 of 3)