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not come into existence until January, 1791, the record of possible semi-centennial membership began only with January, 1841. Thomas Wallcut, the last survivor of the founders, just failed to attain the limit, dying in June, 1810. As, during the sixty-nine years which have elapsed since the fifty-year record thus became possible, seven members only, including Dr. Green, have completed it - or, upon an average, a single instance to each decennium - I assuredly spoke within strict bounds when I said in 1894 that, if the practice should be adopted of taking formal notice of these occasions when they occurred, no apprehension need be felt that "the thing would become of such ordinary occurrence as to sink into a conventional usage."! Furthermore, it is suggestive of the passing character of the membership of even a Society like this, that not only so few of those belonging to it have passed the fiftyyear mark, but that nearly three-quarters of the Society, as it stands today — more than sixty-eight per cent of those now composing it - were chosen into it since I have been its President; in what, to me, seems a period brief indeed.

Turning to our Corresponding roll, the record is even more striking. In that and the Honorary roll, considered as one, and having inscribed upon it nearly a round five hundred names, the bearers of just five passed the fifty-year limit. Concerning four of these, there can be no question ; in regard to the fifth, question might be raised: but, all distinguished men, each attained great age.

The first of the five is Noah Webster; becoming a Corresponding Member in 1792, he died in 1843. The next was Benjamin Silliman; a Corresponding Member from 1808, he died in 1864. The third, Eliphalet Nott, becoming, a Corresponding Member in 1813, died in 1866. Fourth, Gulian Crommelin Verplanck, a Corresponding Member from 1820, died in 1870, completing exactly fifty years. It remains only to refer to the last of the five.

President Quincy stands forth the Nestor of the Society, his term of membership covering close upon sixty-eight years. James Savage follows, with over sixty years. Finally, last of the five on the Corresponding roll, comes George Bancroft. Elected a Resident Member June 26, 1834, Mr. Bancroft ceased to be such in 1819 because of removal from the Com

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1 2 Proc., vii. 399.

monwealth. Immediately made a Corresponding Member, his name appeared on that roll until his death, January 17, 1891. His name was thus borne on one or the other of our rolls fiftysix years, six months and twenty-two days, a period exceeded only by Josiah Quincy and James Savage. They compose a truly remarkable trio, -one in which longevity combines with distinction. Nor is it to me the least interesting, and I might even term it impressive, feature of today's occasion that, in it, the twentieth century stands, so to speak, linked visibly with the eighteenth. The memberships of President Quincy and Dr. Green overlapped each other by more than four years, --- from January, 1860, to July, 1861. The membership of President Quincy began in 1796 ; that of Dr. Green is yet to end.

And now, as a matter of record, I call attention to the fact that, Dr. Green having rounded out the full half-century of unbroken connection, seventh so to do in the long roll of our Resident membership, the Society observes another Golden Anniversary Dr. Green has the floor. In reply Dr. Green spoke as follows:

I cannot say, Mr. President, as maidens sometimes do, " This is so sudden," inasmuch as you gave me timely notice that I should be called on at this meeting to give a few personal reminiscences. It is true that fifty years have come and gone since I was chosen a member of the Society. As I look back over this half-century, it does not seem to be a very long period of time; but to look forward even ten years seems a great way ahead. Gazing into the future our siglit soon dims, and we see only so far as our reason tells us what is likely to happen; but in retrospective vision we see what actually has taken place, and there is no perspective adjustment to be made. A man's hindsight is clearer than his foresight, and it is easier to slide down hill than to climb up.

In the ordinary course of events this golden anniversary would have occurred last month and last year, as I was nominated for membership at the meeting in November, 1859. Of course I was not supposed to know anything about the nomination, but as a matter of fact I did know that it had been made. One day in November as I was going into the Athe

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næum, I met in the large hall a prominent member of the Historical Society just as he was coming out of the building, and he greeted me cordially. We stopped for a moment or two to exchange the time of day, as the saying is, when he told me confidentially that I had been nominated for membership, at the same time adding that I must not mention the fact to a living body. I knew perfectly well when the next meeting would be held, and I awaited the result with fear and anxiety. The second Thursday in December passed, and several more days, and no official notification came from the Corresponding Secretary; and I felt sure that I had been rejected, perhaps on account of my youth, as I should have been the youngest member in the Society. A few more days passed, when one evening I was calling at the house of a kinsman, a member of the Society ; and with some hesitation I mentioned the subject to him and told him my inference that I had been blackballed at the December meeting. He at once relieved my disturbed mind by saying that on account of a severe snowstorm on that day and the small attendance of members there had been no balloting. He said that there were not persons enough present to secure an election, and furthermore in all probability that it would be brought about at the January meeting, which turned out to be true.

At the time of my election the Library occupied the two upper stories of the three-story building at No. 30 Tremont Street, which was owned by the Society, having been bought early in 1856 of the Provident Institution for Savings. A fifteen-year lease of the lower story was then taken by the Suffolk Savings Bank, which ran till March, 1871 ; and in the year 1872 the Society erected on the same site a new building which is still familiar to many of the members. This structure was in process of erection at the time of the Great Fire in November, 1872. A large wooden staircase, with one broad stair half-way up where there was a turn, started at the left of the entry and led to the Library; and the entrance to the Savings Bank was under the stairs at the right of the entry. At the broad stair half-way up was a blind closet without light, gas-jet or ventilation even, which was not objectionable to the eye, but at times in warm weather was decidedly so to the sensitive nerves of the nose.

On entering the Library at the head of the stairs there were




two large rooms not much unlike those in the later building : the first was generally spoken of as the Library, and the other as the Dowse Room, planned substantially as we know it today, though now it is somewhat enlarged. At that period the cabinet was kept in a show-case which rested on a long table in the front room or library; and the articles on exhibition were comparatively few in number. Among the choicest specimens were Washington's epaulettes; the suit of clothes worn by Franklin in the year of his signing the famous Treaty of Alliance between France and the United States in February, 1778; Prescott's noctograph; tea picked up at Dorchester Neck on December 17, 1773, the morning after the Boston Tea Party; Paul Revere's pistol; Philip's samp dish; and various other articles too numerous to mention,

My election into the Society took place at a meeting held on January 12, 1860, and yesterday was the anniversary of the day. I find it difficult now to realize the fact that a full halfcentury has passed since that date. My first attendance was at a special meeting held at the house of Dr. Jacob Bigelow, on January 25, to take suitable action on the death of Lord Macaulay, an Honorary Member of the Society. On that occasion Governor Emory Washburn, chairman of the Standing Committee, offered a set of resolutions, which were duly seconded by Mr. Everett, who spoke of the distinguished scholar and statesman, and also gave an account of his personal relations with the great historian.

My first attendance at a stated meeting was on February 9, when, as I remember well, Mr. Savage came up and congratulated me on my membership and took the pains to introduce me to a few of his friends, saying that I was the baby of the Society, a term which he sometimes used at a later period. I knew Mr. Savage's only son very well, who was in college with me, but not in my class ; and this acquaintanceship, perhaps, caused him to take more interest in me than he otherwise would have taken. Furthermore, in the country we were neighbors, as Mr. Savage's summer residence was at Lunenburg, and my father's home at Groton, ten miles away, just far enough to serve as an apology for butting in unexpectedly at dinner, where I was always a welcome guest. Mr. Savage had the art of using imprecatory language in a way that did not shock bis hearers. In speak

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ing of Cotton Mather at one of the meetings I have heard him pass a judgment on the Boston minister that excited more merriment than criticism.

At this stated meeting in February, the first I ever attended, I remember distinctly the presence of the venerable Josiah Quincy, who then was one of the most distinguished personages in the Commonwealth. He had been a member of Congress for several terms and the President of Harvard College for many years, and in earlier life the Great Mayor of Boston. He was widely known throughout the country as a public man and a scholar; and in his lineage he was directly connected with noted Revolutionary ancestry. My thoughts went back to the time when he gave his last reception at the President's house in Cambridge on Commencement Day in 1815. As a boy it fell to my lot, together with Theodore Chase, an elder brother of our late associate George B. Chase, to be present on that occasion. I remember well how we two lads joined in the procession and passed out of the room ; and then boy-like, bent on doing something absurd, we turned round and joined the procession again at the other end and for the second time shook hands with Mr. Quincy, who had some kind words for us. This puerile act we performed for the third time without detection, and we both then thought that it was very funny. When I was seated in the same room with Mr. Quincy, the recollection of that juvenile prank and the absurdity of the whole affair came back to me as if it were but of the day before instead of happening fifteen years earlier.

At this February meeting Mr. Quincy gave to the Library a manuscript relating to the French West Indies, which had been sent to him many years before, when he was in Congress. Two months later he also gave “ A Plan of the Town and Chart of the Harbour of Boston exhibiting a View of the Islands Castle Forts and Entrances into the said Harbour." This map appeared originally in “ The Gentleman's Magazine" (London) for January, 1775, though in the lower margin it is dated - February, 1775," at the very time when General Gage was making his plans to meet any disturbances that might arise. . At that period Boston filled a very prominent place in English history as it was then the scene of so many political outbreaks. I remember distinctly that Mr. Quincy spoke of the misspelling of certain place-names on the

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