Abbildungen der Seite

sustained him to the end had not the time come when shattered health compelled him to pause and finally to stop.

The work upon the collection of “ Early Court Files," so called, had gone on without interruption for more than twenty-three years. When finished, the collection will contain - this is Mr. Noble's estimate over one hundred and twenty-five thousand, possibly two hundred thousand, separate cases or matters, some including but a single paper, some fifty and upward, and a few from one hundred to one hundred and fifty. The whole number of individual papers will exceed a million. When Mr. Noble died, some twelve hundred and fisty large folio volumes were already on the shelves, and probably there will be, in the end, nearly or quite fifteen hundred.

Other work of a like nature was going on during these years in the Clerk's office. It was proposed to transcribe, print and distribute the records of the Courts held between 1630 and 1692 by the Governor and Assistants, this being the highest judicial tribunal sitting in the Colony from the time of the settlement to the date of the provincial charter. Of these records there is extant a single complete volume, bound in vellum, - mostly in Rawson's handwriting, and well preserved, - which covers the dates between 1673 and 1692. This completes the line of records of the highest court from 1673, through the Colony, the Province and the Commonwealth, to the present day. Scattered records are found in the State Archives and elsewhere, but they are incomplete, and when they have been reprinted they have been unsatisfactorily transcribed. The object was to produce a consecutive, reliable account of the doings of our highest court from the beginning. In pursuance of this design, the files not only of Suffolk but of Essex and Middlesex as well, and, in fact, of the record offices of the Commonwealth and of the older States of the Union, were ransacked, that nothing might escape notice which could contribute to so rare a consummation. It was found advisable to begin the publication with the volume in the Clerk's office corering the period between 1673 and 1692, though this was the latest and not the earliest period to be covered by the research.

This had been a long desired object. The volume was too valuable and too frail to be subjected to ordinary handling, and was in fact a sealed book to all not versed in archaic penmanship. A copy accordingly had been made by an expert

some years before. This was placed in the hands of the printer, and at this stage of the work the services of Mr. Upham were secured, to read the proof, to see the galleys through the press and to assist in other ways. Much new type was required for special characters, and here Mr. Upham's experience and taste were in requisition. While the printing was going on, material for filling the gaps was collecting. Everything outside Massachåsetts in record oflices and elsewhere had already been secured. The second volume, to cover the years from 1630 to 1643–44, was begun. Mr. Upham verified the copy by the manuscripts in the State Archives and by the Barlow copy, and it was made an exact reproduction so far as manuscript may be reproduced in print. This liad been the aim throughout. Many liberties had been taken in making the reprint in the Massachusetts Colony Records. Every faulty reading and error was now corrected, and absolute accuracy in every point is believed to have been secured in these Records of the Court of Assistants.

Two volumes liave been issued, 1. in 1901 and 11. in 1904. At the time of Mr. Upham's death nearly a fourth of volume III, was in plate and some further pages were in proof.

It was in his work on these volumes that Mr. Upham took especial pride, as it gave full play to his rare qualifications. His knowledge of early colonial history, his antiquarian tastes and his untiring research were of a unique value. The merest fragment of a record was suggestive, and there was at once a recognition of what it represented or bore upon, and where something might be found to explain and illustrate it.

* But for his faithful and invaluable services throughout the more than twenty years we worked together,” says Mr. Noble in closing, “ the perfection of accomplishment which he aimed at, in the details of all this work, would have been impossible. Here was the almost entire occupation of these years of his life, and he regarded the result as bis best monument of labor and achievement. For that reason so much space has been here given to an account of it, and for the further reason that nothing illustrates better his habits of mind, his methods of work, his skill and knowledge in his chosen field, and in so many ways the leading characteristics of the man."



The stated meeting was held on Thursday, the 10th instant, at three o'clock, P. M.; the senior Vice-President, SAMUEL A. GREEN, in the chair.

The record of the last meeting was read and approved; and the Librarian read the list of donors to the Library during the last month.

The Vice-President, for the Corresponding Secretary, reported the receipt of a letter from Samuel W. McCall, of Winchester, accepting his election as a Resident Member of the Society.

He also reported that the Council has accepted the deposit of the Knox Papers of the New England Historic Genealogical Society on the conditions contained in a vote of the Council of that Society on February 2, 1910.

Announcement was made of the gift to the Society by Archibald Murray Howe, of Cambridge, of the papers of James Murray and Thomas Aston Coffin, loyalists, to be known as the “ James Murray Robbins” collection. The letter of gift follows:

Boston, February 2, 1910. CHARLES FRANCIS Adams, Esq.,

President of Massachusetts Historical Society. My dear Sir, — I take pleasure in giving to the Society a collection of manuscripts of the Murray family and its connections.

Their history is told in the preface of “ Letters of James Murray, Loyalist,” edited by Nina Moore Tiffany and Susan I. Lesley, printed in 1901.

Believing that they will be better safe-guarded and more accessible to historical students in the Historical Society than in private hands, I give them, with the understanding that they are to be freely used by any person honestly interested in historical research.

It is my wish that this collection shall be known as the “ James Murray Robbins” collection.

I hope in the future to add to it manuscripts still in the possession of heirs of Mr. Robbins, who was a member of your Society."

Very sincerely yours,


Governor Long reported for the Committee appointed by the Council at the last meeting to oppose the change of the name of Dudley Square to Hale Square, that they had presented a remonstrance on the subject to the Mayor, and that the Board of Aldermen had declined to make the change.

Dr. John Collins Warren, of Boston, was elected a Resident Member of the Society, and Edward Doubleday Harris, of New York, a Corresponding Member.

Governor Long presented a memoir of James Madison Barker, and Mr. STANWOOD one of Egbert Coffin Smyth.

Mr. Mead read, for Professor Hart, who was unable to be present, the following account of the recent celebration at Geneva of the four-hundredth anniversary of the birth of John Calvin, which he, and Mr. Mead also, attended as delegates of the Society :

The QUATER-CENTENARY FESTIVITIES AT GENEVA. To the world at large Geneva seems a place of peace: it lies in a smiling region, far from such centres of turmoil as St. Petersburg, Barcelona and Pittsburg; it was the seat of the famous Geneva Arbitration of 1872; the Geneva Convention is a landmark in the bistory of neutrality. Nevertheless Geneva is and has been for centuries a centre of strife and contention. Right here Cæsar and the Gauls began that contest which was intended to furnish a beginner's Latin text for later school-boys. Here Farel and Calvin planted the standard of reform and set up an independent Protestant state. Ilere their loving neighbor and former lord, the Duke of Savoy, watched his chance and, in 1602, by the Escalade came near extinguishing this torch of modernism. The whole history of Geneva is seasoned with strife. Among her children were Necker, the financier, Madame de Staël, Rousseau and Albert Gallatin, - none of them exactly peacemakers; and Voltaire was a near neighbor.

1 2 Proc., 111. 206.

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

To this day these ancient fends are unextinguished. Of late years this independent and Protestant stronghold has been invaded by people from the French territory which nearly surrounds the city; and there is a distinct rivalry between the native and the immigrant elements, though as in Boston the new-comers take on more or less of the spirit of the place. There are more Catholics than Protestants in the “State,” – that is, the city and surrounding country districts ; and the two confessions clash in the city government and in social life. Nevertheless the Protestant influence is still dominant; a great Salle de la Reformation has been built as a centre of Protestantism; and the recognized protagonist of Geneva, whether looked upon as saint or as iconoclast, is still John Calvin.

In the week of festivities in July, 1909, it was found expedient to disentangle the threads of state policy so that the celebrations of the two institutions of public education should not commit the state to approval of Calvin and all his works. With some difficulty a movement was headed off for a Servetus celebration to be held in the same streets and at the same time as the Calvin function. For there is in Geneva a Servetus cult, principally by free-thinkers who erroneously adopt him as an exponent of protest against all religion. Fortunately the city fathers saw too many explosive elements in this hand-tohand revival of a controversy four centuries old. As eventually arranged, the festival week included four celebrations, - the Church, the College, the Calvin Memorial, and the University, with the addendum of the Historical Pageant. All these events were interlaced and subdivided. But out of the diversity came the unity of a big good time.

Geneva is what is called in America a convention city: in twelve months twenty-six international bodies of various kinds are said to have met there. Abundant and good hotels, a central situation, and beautiful surroundings make the city a place of world pilgrimage. For this occasion extra preparations were made, beginning some three years ago. Each delegate received a packet on reaching his hotel, containing a literature of information: the Schola Genevensis, an account of the College; Les Jubilées de Genève, which is a whole illustrated magazine, including portraits of distinguished delegates ; little booklets such as Au Pays de Genève, with lively colored prints; a Petit

« ZurückWeiter »