Abbildungen der Seite

As soon as the question was decided, the antagonisms that had existed while the controversy proceeded, were laid aside. Those who had been conspicuous in opposing the separation acquiesced graciously, and urged all to unite in laying deep and strong the foundations of the new State.

The convention met on October 11. Daniel Cony of Augusta was the temporary chairman, and William King of Bath the perinanent president. In accordance with the act he subsequently became acting governor, and was the first elected governor of Maine. There was a contest over the name of the new State. Columbus was suggested, and also Ligonia, but Maine was the preference of a great majority of the delegates. By a majority of six, 119 to 113, “State ” was preferred to “Commonwealth," and on a reconsideration the majority was nearly forty. There were some earnest debates in the convention upon certain provisions of the constitution, but there was little or no acrimony in the discussion. The session lasted a little more than a fortnight. The constitution was adopted by a vote of 236 to 30, and was signed by the members; and the convention adjourned, October 29. The popular vote on the adoption of the constitution, as officially reported to the convention at its adjourned session, January 6, 1820, was 9,050 in favor and 796 against. More than a thousand votes, of which only 77 were against the adoption of the constitution, were not counted, on account of irregularities. The struggle in Congress over the admission of Maine as a separate State, and the complication of the question with that of the admission of Missouri, form no appropriate part of this narrative. President Monroe signed the Maine bill on March 3, and on March 15, 1820, the separation from Massachusetts became complete.

Attention was called to two serials of the Proceedings which were on the table for distribution, — the first covering the meetings for January, February, and March, and the second containing the record of the April and May meetings; and it was stated that bound copies of the twentieth volume of the second series of the Proceedings would probably be ready for

1 Because the convention first met on the anniversary of the day when Columbus first discovered signs of land.

[ocr errors]

distribution in July; and it was hoped that Judge Chamberlain's History of Chelsea would be ready for publication in October.

Remarks were also made during the meeting by Rev. Dr. EDWARD E. HALE and by Messrs. ARTHUR LORD, ANDREW McF. Davis, and WILLIAM R. LIVERMORE.

After the adjournment the members and a small number of invited guests were entertained at luncheon by the President in the Ellis Hall.


The stated meeting was held on Thursday, the 10th instant, at three o'clock, P. M.; the President in the chair. The record of the June meeting was read and approved; and the Librarian reported the usual list of donors to the Library. In the absence of the Corresponding Secretary from illness, his report was made by Samuel A. Green.

James K. Hosmer, late of Minneapolis, Minnesota, was elected a Corresponding Member.

WILLIAM R. THAYER presented the following minute, which was adopted ; and the Corresponding Secretary was instructed to send a copy of the same to Professor Villari:

The Massachusetts Historical Society congratulates Professor Pasquale Villari on the celebration of his eightieth birthday, after a life of distinguished service in education, letters, and patriotic endeavor, and in producing historical works of international reputation and permanent value.

SAMUEL A. GREEN made the following remarks:

I have been requested by Mrs. Elizabeth Anna (Byles) Ellis, of Burlington, New Jersey, to give in her name a chair of some historical interest, and by associations closely connected with Massachusetts, which once belonged to William Tailer, at different times Lieutenant-Governor of the Province, to whom, during one of his administrations, it was presented by Queen Anne. The chair is made of carved oak, and the carving shows the royal crown supported by cherubs, and also the rose of the royal arms. The caning of the seat and of the back has been renewed, and the solid carved bar in front, forming part of the seat, replaces one that was broken. In other respects it is the same as when used by the LieutenantGovernor nearly two hundred years ago.

1 Lieutenant-Governor, October 3, 1711, to October 4, 1716, and from April 14, 1750, to his death, "at bis Seat in Dorchester,” on March 1, 1731-32; Acting Governor, November 9, 1715, to October 4, 1716, and from June 30 to August 8,

Mrs. Ellis is a lady of advanced age, - having been born on December 11, 1813, -- and a great-great-granddaughter of Lieutenant-Governor Tailer, whose daughter Rebeccą married Mather Byles, a grandson of Increase Mather. By this connection she'is also a descendant of John Cotton, whose memorial statue is to be formally transferred to the First Church this afternoon. It was her sister Miss Sarah Louisa Byles who at the March meeting in 1881 presented to this Library the Bible that once belonged to the Mather family. It was given originally to Mrs. Increase Mather by her father John Cotton, and on the titlepage it bears the autograph of the old Puritan minister. It is a copy of the Geneva version, quarto, printed in London (1599).

Dr. GREEN also said :

The following petition, found among the Massachusetts Archives (CXXVIII. 60) at the State House, suggests a wide range for the imagination. It bears no date, but as Andros was deposed on April 20, 1689, it must have been written before that date. It would be interesting to know what power Mr. Talbot, the writer, had in mind that would propel his engine against wind and tide. Was it the application of steam to machinery ? Almost certainly it was not electricity. He may have been the Bell or Edison of that century, who died without making his mark. At any rate, the petition is a curious old paper, and well worth a note in our Proceedings. It is furthermore of interest as showing at that early period in our history that patents were granted in New England, and that the customary limit was for fourteen years.

Knig Captain Generall & Govern-
er in Cheif over this his Majestys

Territorys of New: E. The humble petition of Christopher Talbot Turner in Boston Humbly sheweth That whereas your petitioner with great pains & expence hath found out an Engine usefull for divers trades men as turners ropemakers smiths & all sorts of mills for corne sider sawmills & almost any thing that is to be done by wheels with sails & also hath discouered to make a boat sail against the wind & tide & sundry other things with more ease & expedition then hath ben discovered hitherto either in Europe or America. & wheras his Majesty & his royall Predicessors haue at all times been pleas'd graciously to Encourage all undertakings of this nature y' whosoever fiuds out any new engine or invention profitable for je common good to grant their letters patents for the sole use therof

Therefore y' petitioner is humbly bold & beggs y y' Excelency will be pleas'd to grant him y' letters pattents for yo sole use & improuement of the said Engine in these his Majesties territories of New: E. for 14 years (as is accustomed) & y no other person shall make use of the same or any such like without y' petitioners consent. who is in duty bound & shall for ever pray


Another instance I recall to mind, where the genius of invention drew near to the door of discovery and found it ajar, but did not enter. It appears in an address made by Wendell Phillips in Music Hall at a Public School Festival, on July 25, 1865, and printed in the “ Boston Evening Transcript” of the next day. The extract is as follows:

There was an old Boston merchant, years ago, wanted a set of china made in Pekin. You know that Boston men, sixty years ago, looked at both sides of a cent before they spent it, and if they earned twelve cents they would save eleven. He could not spare a whole plate, so he sent a cracked one, and when he received the set there was a crack in every piece. The Chinese had imitated the pattern exactly. Now, boys, do not imitate us, or there will be a great many cracks. Be better than we. We have invented a telegraph, but what of that? pect, if I live forty years, to see a telegraph that will send messages without wire, both ways at the same time. If you do not invent it you are not as good as we are. You are bound to go ahead of us.

I ex

It would be interesting to know what germ of an idea was at work in Mr. Phillips's brain at that time. In some matters he was a seer, and perhaps saw the possibilities of the future in wireless telegraphy better than some of his contemporaries. At any rate, the idea never developed and bore fruit. Sometimes it happens that a great discovery is nearly made, but the final stroke is not given in order fully to accomplish it. Often there is a glimmer of a new truth, but yet not clear enough for distinct assertion.

« ZurückWeiter »