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NOVEMBER MEETING, 1907.
The stated meeting was held on Thursday, the 14th instant, at three o'clock, P. M.; the President in the chair.
The record of the October meeting was read and approved ; and the Librarian read the list of donors to the Library during the past month.
The Corresponding Secretary reported the receipt of a letter from Professor Pasquale Villari in response to a minute adopted at the October meeting.
The Cabinet-Keeper reported the gift from the Cambridge Historical Society of their medal struck by Tiffany and Company of New York, from a design by Bela L. Pratt, to commemorate the centenary of the birth of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. He also presented a medal of President Charles W. Eliot, designed by Leon Deschamps and struck at the French mint in 1907.
The President reported that the Council had appointed the President, Edward Stanwood, and James Ford Rhodes a Committee to publish the Proceedings of the Society, pending the choice of a permanent Editor to fill the vacancy caused by the resignation of Charles C. Smith,
The PRESIDENT then said:
As the chance concurrence of the ceremonies connected with the unveiling of the John Cotton Memorial with the date of our October meeting interfered with the regular order of our procedure at that meeting, the present is for all practical purposes our first meeting after the usual summer interim. The announcements which should have been made in October will be made to-day.
So far as the Society is concerned, the occurrence of most considerable importance during the five months of intermission has been the resignation of our Editor. The Society will remember that at our annual (April) meeting Mr. Smith declined re-election as Treasurer, retiring from the position held by him through so many years. Mr. Lord was then chosen his successor; while a recognition of the outgoing Treasurer's continued and faithful services was spread upon our record. It appeared in the serial number of our Proceedings, laid upon the table at the October meeting. It was at the April meeting further intimated that Mr. Smith proposed to resign the position of Editor also. This he has since done in a letter dated June 1, thus closing another phase of service and term of long usefulness in connection with our Society. Mr. Smith's work as Editor began with his appointment by the Council on the 14th of November, 1889, and has since been continuous, thus covering a period of nearly eighteen years.
During those years, besides other services to the Society, Mr. Smith has edited thirteen volumes of our Collections, from Vol. IV. of the Sixth Series to Vol. VI. of the Seventh Series, – both inclusive. He has also brought out sixteen volumes of our Proceedings, from the fifth to the twentieth of the Second Series. An aggregate of no less than twentynine printed volumes have thus received his editorial care. He had previously been a member of the Committee to publish the first and eighth volumes of our Fifth Series of Collections, and the third volume of our Sixth Series, together with nine volumes - tenth to eighteenth-of our First Series of Proceedings, and two volumes of Early Proceedings (17911855), making in all no less than forty-three volumes, either edited by him exclusively or in co-operation with others.
It hardly needs to be said that this record represents an amount of editorial work far exceeding, both in scope and value, that done by any other official or member ever connected with the Society. Mr. Smith's work, moreover, speaks for itself; painstaking, careful, accurate, suppressive of the editorial self, it has maintained the high standard traditionally borne by the publications of this Society.
I am unwilling also to close this testimony of mine to the character of Mr. Smith's work without especial reference to the volume of our Proceedings placed on the table at our last meeting, – the twentieth, and closing volume of our Second Series. In its general make-up, in the nature and value of its contents, it is in my judgment the fitting consummation of Mr. Smith's editorial labors, - in all respects, a model of what a publication of that character should be. The historical inter
est of its contents is fully up to the mechanical excellence of the volume, and the editorial work is in keeping with both.
It is needless to say that the resignation of Mr. Smith leaves a void in the Society's organization difficult to fill. Connected with the Society by long membership, he had not only a familiarity with its publications possessed by no other person, but his personal acquaintance with its past membership and his knowledge of its traditions were peculiar and unequalled. These cannot be transmitted. Most important and valuable factors in our peculiar editorial work, they disappear with him. In these respects the void occasioned by Mr. Smith's withdrawal cannot be made good in any successor.
No new Editor has yet been decided on. The matter has, however, engaged, and is still engaging, the earnest attention of the Council, and a selection will, it is hoped, be made at a not remote day.
It now devolves on me to announce to the Society vacancies in our several rolls of membership, since the June meeting, greater in number than, I believe, were ever before announced at any single meeting. All caused by death, these vacancies, seven in all, have occurred in each of our rolls. Among our more immediate associates, Henry Gardner Denny, a member of the Society since the meeting of December 13, 1866, died in this city on the 19th of September; John Elliot Sanford, a member since the January meeting, 1884, died at his residence in Taunton on the 11th of last month; and, finally, Solomon Lincoln, a member since the November meeting, 1887, died in Boston four days later,
Connected with the Society for over forty years, Mr. Denny, though recently incapacitated from active work and even from attendance, was long not only a useful member, as Cabinet-Keeper and in service rendered on the various committees, but he was valuable as a contributor of historical matter. Chosen Cabinet-Keeper at the April meeting, 1868, he long filled that position. As Keeper he made six reports, all incorporated in our Proceedings, covering the years 1869 to 1874, inclusive. In 1868 and in 1869 he prepared other reports for the Committee on the Memorials of the Antiquities of Boston; and, in 1876, he made a report on the sale of Dr. Shurtleff's copy of the Bay Psalm Book. In 1891 he served on the Committee to audit the Treasurer's Accounts. His last
participation in our meetings was a tribute to that estimable and interesting man, John Wilson, of the University Press, at the May meeting of 1903. He not infrequently took active part in our discussions ; his final attendance was at the April meeting of 1906. A Harvard graduate in the Class of 1852, Mr. Denny took his degree at the University Law School in 1854. At his death his name stood, in order of seniority, fifth on our Resident roll.
I shall presently call upon our associate Dr. Hale to pay tribute to Mr. Denny. The preparation of his memoir has been assigned to our associate Mr. Shaw.
Of Mr. Sanford there is little to be said in connection with the Society. Chosen a member on general principles, as representing Bristol County and the region in which he lived, he was an estimable man and useful citizen. Through a long series of years Mr. Sanford held many official positions of secondary character; but at no time did he identify himself with historical research, and I believe he never was present at more than one of our meetings. He certainly never served on any committee, nor, taking part in our discussions, contributed by so doing to our printed Proceedings. In 1891 he prepared a memoir of Rev. Henry M. Dexter.
Third to die since the June meeting, Solomon Lincoln had been twenty years, lacking one month, a member of the Society, and both a useful and an interested member. Elected in 1887, he in a way succeeded his father, after whom he was named, a member from January, 1845, to December, 1881. Not only was Mr. Lincoln to a certain extent the legal adviser of the Society, but through more than a dozen years he served on its committees, prepared reports, and otherwise interested himself in its work and well-being. Between 1892 and 1895 he was a member of the Council, and in the last year prepared its report. One of the more constant attendants at our meetings, on November 9, 1899, he paid a tribute to his classmate and lifelong friend, John C. Ropes, and later, on October 9, 1902, a similar tribute to Horace Gray. In 1902 he also prepared a memoir of Lincoln Flagg Brigham. Mr. Sanford and Mr. Lincoln were, however, both of them men of a most important and most useful type, – a type which constitutes in fact the saving element of our Anglo-Saxon community. Of education and ability, with a strong sense of self-respect and
personal obligation, they were public-spirited and faithful; above all, they were not eaten up with the craving for office and newspaper notoriety so unpleasantly characteristic of modern life. Useful citizens, they had character.
Of Solomon Lincoln in particular I could otherwise say much, for he and I had been friends during more than half a century, since in fact we had been fellow students in Harvard. We were not, however, graduated in the same year, he being of the class of 1857, while I had preceded him by one year. Friends in college, we had remained friends always since. For his abilities, judgment and character I had a profound respect; for him personally an affectionate regard. In my case his death has left a distinct sense of loss. I do not propose, however, to do more than refer to Mr. Lincoln here outside of his connection with the Society, but I shall presently call on his classmate, Governor Long, to pay fitting tribute to one whom he had known well in many capacities since they sat side by side on the college benches.
The name of David Masson has now for thirteen years stood at the head of our Honorary roll; and his election in 1871 preceded by twenty-five years that of Mr. Bryce, who now takes the vacated leadership as respects seniority. Dr. Masson died at Edinburgh on the 7th of the present month. Born in 1822, he was, when made an Honorary Member, in his forty-ninth year; but his reputation as an investigator was firmly established. Thirty years Professor of Rhetoric and English Literature in Edinburgh University, he was, from 1853 to 1865, the successor of Professor Clough in the chair of English Literature in the University College, London. Honorary Professor of Ancient History at the Royal Scottish Academy, in 1893 he received the appointment of Historiographer Royal for Scotland.
As an investigator and writer, Masson's name is inseparably connected with that of Milton, as author of the monumental work known as “ The Life of John Milton: narrated in connexion with the Political, Ecclesiastical, and Literary History of his Time.” The first volume of this publication, great in every sense, appeared in 1859, and the sixth and last in 1880. When I say that in its line this work is unique, I speak not from general report but as one having authority; for some dozen or fifteen years ago I undertook to edit for the Prince Society a