Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

volume relating to the famous Antinomian controversy, which between 1636 and 1638 convulsed the infant colony of Massachusetts Bay. In so doing I, of course, had occasion to make use of Dr. Masson's work. I can only say it then impressed me as an almost inexhaustible mine of recondite learning. To read it as literature was, I should admit, impossible; my recollection also is that it then lacked an index; but in it, somewhere, if the investigator had but patience to look, was everything relating to the period with which it dealt, and its controversies. It represents, in a word, an amount of learning based on careful investigation of original material connected with a single individual and environment illustrative of the time in which that individual lived, which, so far as my knowledge goes, is without a parallel. Nor was this conclusion peculiar to me; for, I remember, in one of the notes to his history, the late S. R. Gardiner, referring to some original material discovered by him in the archives, makes the assertion that, so far as he knew, it was the only bit of material of a similar character relating to that period which seemed to have escaped the prior search of Dr. Masson. His patience was inexhaustible; his assiduity and capacity for labor knew no limit. Chosen an Honorary Member before the recent rule as respects our Honorary list was established, Dr. Masson, nevertheless, as an historical writer and investigator, came strictly within both the letter and spirit of that rule. In the field of historical study his was an international reputation, recognized and unquestioned.

In accordance with our present custom in the case of Honorary Members, I shall presently call on our associate Mr. Wendell to pay tribute to him. I had anticipated that Mr. Perry would also have had a word to add in this connection; but he has not been able to attend to-day.

Of our fifty Corresponding Members, the names of John Marshall Brown, chosen at the May meeting, 1879; John Andrew Doyle, chosen at the May meeting, 1887; and Sir Spencer Walpole, chosen at the December meeting, 1904, have disappeared from the roll as it stands in the recently published twentieth volume of our Proceedings. As the Society is aware, it is not usual to take special notice of the decease of Corresponding Members. Nevertheless, of those named, Mr.

1 2 Proceedings, xv. 51-54 ; xx. 396.

[ocr errors]

Doyle and Sir Spencer Walpole both rendered such conspicuous and valuable services in the historical line, and as the name of the former is so connected with our early American annals, it seems proper that exception should in their cases be made. I shall therefore call upon Professor Edward Channing, of Harvard, and Dr. Rhodes, to pay brief tributes, the first to Mr. Doyle and the second to Sir Spencer Walpole. I will merely myself say, in connection with the latter, that I regard Sir Spencer Walpole as the highest authority of which I have knowledge on the extremely intricate and very important European diplomatic complications of the period of our War of Secession, the years between 1860 and 1865. As bearing upon the important issue of European intervention in our internecine struggle, the full story of those complications has never yet been disclosed. I hope, at some future time, myself to contribute towards a more intimate understanding of it. I will now only say that, should I succeed in so doing, I shall be mainly indebted for my success to the investigations of Sir Spencer Walpole and his “ History of Twenty-five Years." Though for some time I carried on more or less correspondence with Sir Spencer, and he rendered me essential service in connection with what I have written of the period and complications referred to, I never met him personally. It was otherwise with Dr. Rhodes. Only most recently he was Sir Spencer's guest, having thus had an opportunity to observe him in his chosen and distinctive character of the English country gentleman.

EDWARD E. Hale, having been called on first, read a tribute to Mr. Denny as follows:

In the death of Henry Gardner Denny the Society loses a member who was profoundly interested in our work, and for many years was an intelligent officer of the Society.

There was every reason which the heredity people would assign for his interest in the history of Massachusetts. On his mother's side he descended directly from Henry Gardner, the first treasurer of the State of Massachusetts under the Constitution of 1780, as he had been since 1774 the only treasurer of the Province of Massachusetts Bay, from the moment when that Province parted company with George the Third.

When Governor Gage dissolved the General Court of the

Province, it formed itself into a Provincial Congress, and on October 28, 1774, appointed Henry Gardner of Stow to act as receiver-general and treasurer. It instructed the people of the Commonwealth to pay their taxes to him instead of to Harrison Gray, who was the royal treasurer.

Since that memorable vote no taxes have been paid in Massachusetts to the English Crown. It would seem as if Henry Gardner might be called the first person who by public act was instructed to commit high treason against the King. This Henry Gardner had graduated at Harvard College in 1750, and later was representative of the town of Stow, in the western part of Middlesex County. In 1778 he removed to Dorchester in Massachusetts. I think he was always called “ Treasurer Gardner.” His son, Dr. Henry Gardner, of Dorchester, was the grandfather of our friend.

I have named his descent from the Gardners first because he bore their name. His father, Mr. Daniel Denny, was himself a remarkable character in our Massachusetts history, Personally, I have reason for speaking of him with enthusiasm, because long before Henry Denny was born, when I was a little boy, I remember Daniel Denny in my father's house. For he was one of the little cluster of insane fanatics who believed with my father that what they called a railway was practicable and desirable between Boston and Albany. By people at large they were considered as madmen, and indeed were abused as such in public assemblies. As late as 1827 I find the following interesting passage in a report to the Massachusetts legislature: “A railway is a carriage road so formed that the wheels move on rails of any hard surface of iron, wood, or stone, instead of forming ruts or tracks.”

Mr. Daniel Denny was one of these insane men. It is the fashion now to speak of them as plutocrats who assume by their wealth the command of the resources of the country ; but they were not spoken of so then. He was born in Leicester, and was one of the old Leicester family of Denny, who from the early days were distinguished in the history of Worcester County.

Mr. Henry G. Denny's mother, Harriet Joanna (Gardner) Denny, as I have said, was the daughter of Dr. Henry Gardner, who was the son of the treasurer. Mr. Denny, our associate, was the eldest son of Daniel Denny. He was born

on June 12, 1833. He was fitted for Harvard College at the Chauncy Hall School, and in 1848, at the age of fifteen, he entered college.

The class has distinguished itself in various walks of life, and I am glad to see present with us contemporaries who will testify to his life-long interest in the University. He was a member of Phi Beta Kappa, and the present members of that society will be eager to express their gratitude for his services in its varied administration. Almost from the moment of his graduation until he was disabled by illness of late years, he was ready for service in any line in which he could lift where he stood. He was utterly careless as to title or public reputation; if he could be of use, he made himself so.

He studied law in the Law School and with the late Francis Watts. He was a member of the American Academy, of which Treasurer Gardner was one of the founders. Somebody said that for the generation of his active life, he was the Boston Library, - meaning that he watched over the interests of the old Boston Library in every detail and made it the admirable and important institution which it is. It would be almost impossible to tell of how many philanthropic societies he was the careful and trusted treasurer. He was chosen into this Society in 1866; he was for many years our Cabinet-Keeper, and served on various committees.

In the critical years before the Civil War he could be relied upon by the leaders in anti-slavery opinion for any service, private or public. I should find it hard to say when Henry Denny was at his best, but he was never more entertaining than he was if you could start him in private on describing the duties of young volunteers whose business it was to protect Wendell Phillips and Lloyd Garrison at one and another public meeting. He was an active member of Salignac's drill corps through the war. I remember a phrase of his there when he was disappointed by some failure in the meeting of a company, “ Let us drill in the manual; no man was ever perfect enough in the manual," -- a phrase which, whether true or not, gives a perfect illustration of the accuracy of his daily life.

Mr. Denny, from early life, was a careful student of the English language. I do not quite understand why I find no printed papers of his in our own library or in our own trans

[ocr errors][ocr errors]

actions which would illustrate his interest in good English. His private library was especially strong in such English and American books as illustrate the growth of our language from Chaucer's time down. And that was a hardy man who dared enter into discussion with him on any matter of detail regarding spelling, or local habits, or what one might call the “annals” of the English language. His grief when the press failed in such matters was always amusing, and a young author was fortunate who could obtain his advice. There are almost unnumbered citations of his gifts to the Society in the indexes to our Proceedings. But one looks in vain for what he would be glad to find, - his vigorous and terse comments on written history or on passing events.

John D. LONG paid the following tribute to Mr. Lincoln :

Solomon Lincoln, who was born in August, 1838, and who died last month, entered the class of 1857, at Harvard, at the beginning of its second year. From that time on to his graduation he and I sat side by side on the recitation benches, he preceding me in alphabetical order as he did in rank and date of birth. He quickly and easily rose to his level and, when Joseph May by reason of ill health left college in our senior year, became our first scholar. His characteristics then were his characteristics all through life, — well tempered, quick in apprehension, mature in character, of a singularly orderly habit, high-minded, a model of deportment yet full of humor and open to all the innocent and rational enjoyments and good times of life, winning the absolute confidence of associates and authorities, and equal to whatever trust or duty came to him. I recall him at that time, short and fair, a handsome youth with frank face and honest eyes and always a bearing that united personal dignity with courteous and kindly manner. He had a mind that worked with easy and accurate directness to results and achievement. I should not say that he was a hard student in the sense of a dig or grind, if I may use those college phrases, but a masterful and sure one, always superior to his task and giving himself the broader range which made him socially a delightful and contributory comrade. And his life was pure as crystal.

I see before me now that picture of the ideal youth. I see another, the same picture but enlarged and developed, - the

« ZurückWeiter »