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Hale and John Noble had both passed away. A formal announcement of the fact was, however, necessarily deferred. In now making the customary announcement, I shall, in conformity with the established usage, confine myself, as respects both, strictly to their connection with the Society, and their activities as members of it.
And in the first place, of Dr. Hale. Edward Everett Hale was, at the time of his death, not only the last survivor of his Class, having been graduated at Harvard seventy years before, but, elected a Resident Member of this Society at the meeting of January 10, 1861, his name, as respects seniority, stood second on our roll, a place it had held since the decease of Charles Eliot Norton, less than a year before. His connection with the Society, therefore, covered a period of no less than forty-eight years, during which his name constantly and in many connections appears in our records. The entries relating to him in the indexes of no less than thirty-seven of our forty-two volumes of Proceedings are, indeed, so numerous that any
detailed enumeration of them here would be out of place from its excess. During his long membership he served on many committees; he prepared numerous memoirs ; and it devolved on him to pay tributes, always characteristic as well as eloquent and impressive, to many of our members who had gone before. The last meeting he attended was that of October 8, exactly a year ago. He then contributed remarks on John White, as “the founder of Massachusetts," and referred also to the impending Milton tercentenary. To the next meeting, that of November, though personally absent from it, he sent a feeling tribute to his life-long friend, Charles Eliot Norton.
It is quite needless for me to add that Dr. Hale's impressive personality will long be missed at the meetings of this Society, no less than in the Boston community at large, in which he had taken such active part for more than forty years, and of which as a community his recollections were vivid and personal to the extreme limit of time within the memory of any now living. He has himself recorded them in that volume of his collected writings entitled “ A New England Boyhood.”
Mr. Noble's connection with the Society was much more recent, dating only from the meeting of March, 1899. Yet it is a fact suggestive of the rapidity with which even this Society undergoes mutation that, when he died with the eleventh year
of his membership hardly begun, his name stood fifty-second, or half-way up on the roll. More than a merely elderly man when elected, his contributions to our Proceedings were not infrequent, though he never served upon any committee, nor as a member of the Council. Erudite papers of his, valuable from an historical point of view, will be found scattered through our printed Proceedings, generally derived from his intimate knowledge of the vast mass of raw historical material buried in the records of the Supreme Judicial Court. As examples, I would especially refer to the paper entitled “ A Glance at Suicide as dealt with in the Colony and Province of Massachusetts Bay," contributed at the December meeting, 1902; and to the paper on " Legislation in regard to Highway Robbery in Massachusetts," read at the March meeting, 1905. He also contributed a memoir of the late Chief Justice Walbridge A. Field. Those of Mr. Justice Barker and William P. Upham were also assigned to him ; but he did not live to complete them. The last meeting of the Society at which Mr. Noble was present was that of March, 1907.
Passing to other matters, I have merely to report that, since the June meeting, the work of the Society has gone on steadily along the accustomed lines. The General Index of the second series of Proceedings has at last been finished, and the volume containing it is now upon the table. An additional volume of the Proceedings, the second of the third series, and the fortysecond in regular sequence, is nearly ready for distribution. Another volume of an exceptional character, entitled “ John Foster, the Earliest American Engraver and the First Boston Printer,” prepared by Dr. Green, has also been printed as a publication charged to the “Waterston Fund, No. 2.” Though in no respect uniform with any of the serial publications of the Society, it is one for which the Society has paid, and is in so far responsible. Copies of it, accordingly, have been sent to the members. The work on the contemplated final and monumental editions of the Bradford and Winthrop Histories has gone forward ; steps have also been taken looking to the early publication of the Mather Diaries by this Society in collaboration with the American Antiquarian Society.
My own absence in Europe during the larger portion of the time since the June meeting and my return only two days ago, hardly in time to participate in this meeting, have prevented
my making careful preparation, and entering into a more detailed account of what has been accomplished during the vacation months. I will merely say that measures have been taken toward effecting a better housing of our valuable library and collections, and the arrangement of our books and material so as to render these possessions more accessible to the public as well as to members.
I now call upon Dr. DeNormandie for a characterization of Dr. Hale, and a tribute to the memory of one with whom he was long and closely associated, workers in a common field.
Dr. DENORMANDIE paid the following tribute to Dr. Hale :
Edward Everett Hale was the great humanitarian of our land and our day. He was born in Boston, April 3, 1822, and never wearied of talking of Boston as it was in his boyhood. He was Boston through and through; he loved everything about it, but he was also most cosmopolitan, and, as he once said to me, he was glad to be in Washington, where Massachusetts was rarely mentioned and seemed of very little importance.
He was the son of Nathan Hale, and was a grand-nephew of the Nathan Hale hanged as a spy by the British in 1776. His father was a journalist, one of the editors of the “ Boston Weekly Messenger," the first weekly periodical devoted to politics and literature published in the United States. In 1814 he purchased the “ Boston Daily Advertiser,” for many years the only daily paper in Boston. He was one of a club that founded the North American Review” in 1815 and the “ Christian Examiner" in 1823.
Young Hale was a journalist from childhood. He had been through every department of a newspaper office, and was always more or less closely connected with the press until a fortnight before he died. He says of himself he was cradled in the sheets of his father's Boston Daily, which led Samuel Bowles of the “ Springfield Republican" to say they had only one good journalist in all Boston, and they were spoiling him in the pulpit.”
When very young, he went to a dame school; at nine, entered the Boston Latin School a year in advance because he had already studied Latin ; and graduated from Harvard at seventeen. For two years he was usher in the Boston Latin
School, and at the same time read church history and theology with Drs. Lothrop and Palfrey ; and in 1812 was licensed by the Boston Association of Ministers to preach, which he did at various places, among others at Washington in the winter of 1814-45; and in 1846 began his first settled pastorate at the Church of the Unity in Worcester, which lasted for ten years. Here began his life-long friendship with Senator Hoar. Here at once began that life-long interest in everything which pertained to the welfare of the community in which he lived, or of that wider fellowship of humanity for which he always labored.
When he was asked to serve on the School Committee, he said he would rather serve on the Overseers of the Poor. On this board he became interested in the pauper question, in all immigrant matters, in making plans for immigration to Kansas; and went all over New England lecturing about Kansas and the way to it. It was at Worcester that Mr. Hale's public literary career really began. He wrote prize papers wherever publications offered prizes, and often got them; papers on “ The Old and the New, face to face,” and “ The Organization of Emigration”; and here too he wrote his first book, " The Rosary," published in 1818.
It was from Worcester that he went to Hartford, October 13, 1852, to marry Emily Baldwin Perkins, a granddaughter of Lyman Beecher and a niece of Henry Ward Beecher and Harriet Beecher Stowe; and the wedding journey was in a horse and chaise. And I rather think that at Worcester he spent more time upon his serwons than he ever did afterwards, when every literary, philanthropical, theological, political, or religious question engaged his attention, for he told me once that whenever he wanted a good sermon in his later ministry he took one he had written in Worcester, and added to or changed it as he went along. He always had a happy faculty of wandering off from his manuscript and bringing in just what he pleased, and sometimes seemed to disregard his manuscript altogether.
In 1856 he came to the South Congregational Church in Boston, then on Washington Street. Here began a wonderfully prosperous ministry of wide influence. Soon after, a large church was built on Union Park Street and a great congregation gathered. The church was filled ; the music was
most attractive; the vesper service was crowded. Dr. Hale was perhaps at that time the most influential clergyman in Boston. He was a preacher of great personal enthusiasm and magnetism. He touched upon every subject which concerned human welfare ; his voice was heard at every meeting which had any philanthropical purpose ; he had a new plan almost daily for some social betterment. As a lecturer he was going all over New England ; as a writer it seems as if he had an article almost every day in some paper or magazine. Strange to say, he took no very active interest in the anti-slavery movement, which was then just culminating in angry and brilliant discussions under the lead of Garrison, Phillips, Samuel J. May, and all those sturdy defenders of the cause ; threatening serious divisions to many churches, and hurrying the country on to its tremendous civil conflict.
When some one asked him how he could do so many things, he replied that he never did anything himself if he could find any one to do it for him. Of remarkable physical vigor and earnestness himself, he delighted to set others at work, and always had manifold interests with which to enlist them. He had published “My Double or how he undid me," "The Man without a Country,” two of his best writings, which had immense popularity, and aroused much enthusiasm and admiration among
the young men; and his name and fame were rapidly spreading over the whole land. Occasionally, during the awful days of the Rebellion, he rose to wonderful heights of eloquence. His personality was always most remarkable and attractive. He had a great faculty of drawing others to him and arousing them to do something, and a great gift for friendship. His conversation was always animated, full of interesting Boston reminiscences. In his earlier ministry he was more like the rugged John the Baptist calling the people to repentance; in his later preaching he always reminded me of one of the prophets arousing the people to righteousness; or like the venerable Apostle John in Patmos, who stretched forth his hand and said, "Little children love one another,” which was for him the essence and sum of religion, so Dr. Hale with endless repetition kept saying, “ We are the children of God," “ God's Kingdom must be here." In 1862 he came to give me the charge at my ordination over the South Parish in Portsmouth. I remember the great amusement he created