Ten years ago in New York, on the top floor of a tenement-house, in a miserable room without furniture, a dying woman lay on a pallet, in the last stage of consumption. A charitable lady who visited her asked what she could do for her. The dying woman replied: "My hours are numbered, but how can I die in peace when night and day I hear the beating by her mother-in-law of the unhappy little girl who lives in the room next to mine." And, in fact, for a month her heart had been torn by the cries of this child, Mary Ellen, kept in confinement by this brute. Much moved by this recital, the visitor felt impelled to demand the interference of the police. They told her this was impracticable unless she was able to furnish proof of her allegation. She knew the facts only upon hearsay, and only in case a misdemeanor were actually proved would it be possible for the police to interfere as she desired. The charitable feelings of the lady would not permit her to stop here. She made inquiries among benevolent societies. But here again she experienced a check. The societies could not receive the child except upon legal commitment by an order of court. And charitable persons with the most benevolent tendencies, being consulted on this difficulty, confessed themselves at a loss to suggest a remedy in the case, and declared that it was dangerous to interfere between parents and children; that in so doing one is liable to become involved in inextricable difficulties, since the heads of the family are the best guardians of their children. However, the sorrowful appeal of the dying woman echoed continually in the ears of her whose charitable aid had been implored. She resolved upon a supreme effort to rescue this child. She sought Mr. Henry Bergh, a man who has never been deaf to a cry of despair, and who has devoted his life to the protection of animals. Mr. Bergh considered the life of a child to be quite as valuable as that of a beast, and gave it as his opinion that the tribunals should be appealed to. A warrant was immediately procured and the child was produced in court, its face covered with horrible wounds. A pair of scissors with which these wounds had been inflicted were produced. The facts in the case caused a profound sensation in the court and throughout the city. The mother-in-law was arrested, found guilty, and the little girl was taken from her hands to receive an education which has rendered her an elegant and accomplished young woman.
Humble beginnings, which it will be well for us to bear in remembrance for the confusion of our pride! It is from the protection of animals that has sprung, in New York, that of the child. And, when we contemplate the great number of societies in the United States,—the Humane Society of Saratoga, of Bangor, of Keene, of Taunton, of Connecticut, the Western Pennsylvania, the Tennessee Society, those of Nashville, of Cleveland, of Cincinnati, of Indianapolis, of Chicago, of Peoria, of Sangamon, of Quincy, of Minnesota, of Minneapolis, extending, simultaneously, their help to children and to the brutes, we shall be no longer astonished either at the combination of effort explained by this historic origin, or especially at a philosophy which rightly esteems that cruelty commences with the animal, only to end fatally with the human being. The proceeding instituted at the instance of Mr. Henry Bergh was a most valuable precedent. The establishment of a method of rescue, encouraged complaints, which, till then, had been silent, of the abandonment, misery, or sufferings of children. Mr. Bergh's society found itself besieged, and, after deliberation with his counsel, it was determined to establish another in New York, whose special mission should be the protection of children. An old gentleman of high respectability, belonging to the sect of the Quakers, Mr. John D. Wright, was elected to the presidency, which office he held until his death, which occurred on the 21st of August, 1880. His successor is Mr. Elbridge T. Gerry.
However, inasmuch as the authority with which the society sought to be invested had reference to public justice, and involved the power to appear for the defence of the interests of others, and to require the cooeperation of public officials, a law was indispensable, in order to confer these powers. Such a law was passed August 21, 1875, whose provisions covered not only the case of the New York society, but determined the functions of all institutions of a similar nature. On condition of complying with the prescribed formalities for acquiring a corporate existence, the law granted to these institutions the right to make complaints, in any jurisdiction, of violations of the statutes regarding children; it set forth, formally, the duty of magistrates or officers of police, to cooperate with the societies acting in the limits of their several jurisdictions. The boundaries of the ground of protection were thus defined, but there was still lacking the requisite legislative authority. Experience showed that, besides the misdemeanors of common law—attempts upon the morals, murder, assault and battery, etc.—a multitude of offences against children remained unpunished. The society, therefore, solicited and obtained from the Legislature, powers which permitted it to repress acts of cruelty towards children that the law failed to reach. The first of these measures was the law of 1876, forbidding the employment of minors under sixteen years as dancers, beggars, street peddlers, as gymnasts or contortionists, or in indecent occupations prejudicial to their health or perilous to their life. Then came the law of June 6, 1877, forbidding the admission of minors under fourteen years into public places, liquor saloons, balls, concerts, theatres, unless accompanied by a parent or legal guardian. With these laws, which it caused to be interpreted in the courts in certain test cases, the society arrived at the most satisfactory results. There were no longer seen in New York those juvenile beggars whose miserable appearance is made an instrument of gain by their worthless masters; those vagrants who disguise their vagabondage under the pretext of imaginary professions, collecting cigar stumps and rag picking; those little girls who sell flowers at the doors of houses of bad repute, often concealing under this ostensible occupation infamous transactions with panders who keep them in their pay. A determined warfare was declared against the Italian padroni, who thrive upon the toil of the little unfortunates to whom they pretend to teach music, and whom they utilize as peddlers and chimney-sweepers. The conviction of the too notorious Ancarola was the signal for the suppression of these shameless villains; the purchases of children ceased, and the cause of humanity triumphed, thanks to the combined efforts of the society and of the Italian consul, after long and earnest conferences. It is not only the Italians, but the children of all nationalities, who have profited from this powerful patronage: Hungarian, German, Chinese, Irish, French. One of our compatriots, a girl of fourteen years, came one day to implore its aid. Her father was a drunkard, who had reached the lowest round in the ladder of degradation; her mother had no means of subsistence except concubinage, nor her two sisters except prostitution. She begged that they would save her from this life of shame. The society received her, procured her a position, a good education. Learning that she was heiress to a considerable property left by a grandfather, the society took active steps in France to secure to her her rights. Unfortunately, the agent who had possession of the estate became insolvent after having squandered the property, and it was impossible to recover it. The society continued to care for the young girl up to the day of her marriage to a young man enjoying a regular salary of $1,200, and worthy of her in all respects.
The strict watch kept upon the liquor saloons contributed equally to improve the condition of children. Many were in the habit of being sent by confirmed drunkards to buy the "liquid poison!" They thus promoted this vice whose hardened subjects would prolong It even beyond the grave by asking that "a bottle of whiskey may be put in their coffin." The obedience of the children was rewarded by invitations to drink, which initiated them in debauchery. It was among women abandoned to drink that lived Eliza Clark, a child of eleven years, paying for the drinks with the gains which she realized from dancing or singing; in return, the women gave her brandy to drink and tobacco to smoke, so that when she was found she resembled "a beast more than a human creature." They also suppressed the playing of pool for drinks by minors, instituted by saloon keepers to induce them to drink liquor, which was the reward of those whom fortune favored in the game.
The police of the theatres performed their duty conscientiously, and the statutes were obeyed. The necessity of being accompanied by an adult was felt to be a strange restraint by these gamins eager for the theatre, whose attractions led them to abandon school, work, and family, and to procure the money for their admission by stealing it from their parents, or at a pinch from strangers; and where they would mingle, between the acts, with pick-pockets and low characters who encouraged them in the ways of vice. And for a stronger reason, the child was more carefully protected against the perils of the stage than against those of the auditory. Juvenile performances were forbidden, and the youthful performers were excluded successively from the Columbia Opera House or Theatre des Folies, from the Italian Opera, from the Gem Theatre, from Parker's American Theatre, and from the Juvenile Opera. Permissions for individual performances were peremptorily refused even to parents who were actors. Here the work of the society encountered serious obstacles, and it is necessary to quote from Mr. Elbridge T. Gerry in order to appreciate the motives by which the society was actuated in combating with vigorous purpose the opposition which it met with: "The Press, which is influenced to a considerable extent by the representations of theatrical managers, often criticises severely any attempt to deprive the public of what it is pleased to call its legitimate amusements, by the suppression of such entertainments. And many pronounced patrons of the dramatic art even maintain that such exhibitions are indispensable to the proper development of a dramatic education, and that when the necessities of the parents require it, charity should encourage the children to procure this means of obtaining a livelihood. But let us examine the other side of the question. When the curtain rises in the theatre, a draught of warm air rushes from the audience on to the stage, and often paralyzes for some moments the vocal chords of the actors. When the curtain falls, the cold air comes down from the flies, and the children, who have become over heated by their physical exertions, shiver to the marrow before they are able to accustom themselves to this sudden change of temperature. Every night these things are renewed. During the day the children sleep as best they can. Their nervous system is rapidly undermined; their digestion becomes impaired. It is rare that one can point to instances of children arriving early at positions of eminence in the dramatic art. It is true that there are a few who shine as stars in the theatrical profession, and who entered upon their dramatic career in early childhood; but these are rare exceptions."
It is not only on the stage that the morals of the children have been protected; the keepers of low resorts have been prosecuted by the society.
It has shut up the den of the too celebrated Owney Geoghegan, who long defied the law and the police, encouraging the efforts of prostitutes to debauch young girls. Women of notorious reputation, who enticed away the children of respectable mechanics to sell them for money, have been severely punished. In short, not content with bringing to justice these outrageous offenders with a firmness which has made it the terror of these oppressors of childhood, the society has been the instrument of checking acts even of carelessness or imprudence. It no longer permits the drunkard to keep his children in a cellar where the rats bite their feet; or the mercenary father to allow his son to engage in a wager, dangerous to his health, to make a hundred miles in twenty-four hours; or a man to ride a bicycle bearing on his shoulders his five-year-old daughter.
So great a work demanded accommodations of corresponding magnitude. In 1881, and at the price of $43,000, the society purchased a large building situated at the corner of 23rd street and 4th avenue, one of the most important thoroughfares of New York. Not far from the offices, in the main part of the building, is found a collection of all the instruments of cruelty seized in the legal proceedings,—rods of iron, whips, firebars (barres de poeles), pokers, cudgels (gourdins), and other instruments. These furnish convincing proofs of the sufferings of the children,—for example those of Maggie Scully, when she said: "I do all the work at my aunt's house, and if you do not believe that I have been beaten, look at me, for my aunt has beaten me this morning with a poker." Adjoining the offices are the rooms for the officers and the archives of the institution, containing the papers in each case setting forth the facts and the evidence. On the upper floor is a dormitory, where the children are kept until final disposition is made of them, that is to say, generally during one night. In fact, the work is going on without interruption at all hours of the day and night. If at night a call by telephone is received from the police-station, an officer of the society responds immediately to this appeal.
As is most frequently the case, he finds a drunken woman in the street, with three or four ragged children gathered about her, covered with vermin, without fire or lodging, having been abandoned by the father. The mother is detained at the station, but the children are taken to the society, where they are washed, fed, and for the first time in their lives, perhaps, put to sleep in a bed. On the following day, the children are taken to court. If the parents or guardians are worthy, they are returned to them; if not, the justice commits them to some charitable institution. Some of these have a religious character, and others a secular one; the American judge, in rendering his decision, is influenced by interests of family, of nationality, of race, or of religion of the child, as well as by the requirements of the law. Sick children and nursing infants are sent to the hospital on Randall's Island, the Ladies' Deborah Nursery, and the Child's Hospital. Each of the charitable institutions receives a per capita allowance for children during the time that they remain in their care.
The society does not abandon them, and if a complaint arises of improper treatment, it causes legal proceedings to be instituted against those who are responsible therefor.
A recent case of this kind was that of the "Old Gentlemen's Home."
It will be readily seen that the cases which come before the society must be very numerous: during the nine years of its existence it has investigated 13,077 complaints, involving 52,308 children, prosecuted 4,035 cases, convicted 3,637 offenders, rescued and placed in homes or institutions 7,555 children. In the last three years it has temporarily sheltered and clothed 1,092 children and furnished them with 9,309 meals. These figures acquire a singular force when one reads in the annual reports the curious history of these cases setting forth the facts in detail. In 1882 the magistrates of the city issued 1,267 warrants. On the information furnished, 834 children were held in custody, 1,040 released. The city of New York is compelled to pay for the support of children thus committed to custody. A saving of $108,160 has therefore been realized to the benefit of the tax-payers of New York. In 1883 they received 2,966 complaints; there were 1,176 prosecutions and 1,128 convictions; 2,008 children were placed in institutions of charity. Of 2,341 children arrested 1,078 were held, 1,263 released.
The resources of the society are derived exclusively from the liberality of the public. It receives no aid either from the State or city. On the contrary, it pay taxes even on the water used in the care of the children in its charge. The account of receipts and expenditures amounts to about $17,000. Of the $43,000 which its building cost, $25,000 remain on mortgage. The field in which the society employs its activity is already large, and is rapidly extending. It endeavors to obtain from the legislature laws which will defeat the aims of those too numerous enterprises which, under color of charity, utilize young children, for example, the baby farms and those establishments (called hospitaliers) which have neither the means nor the facilities necessary to their proper conduct. It requires that children shall not be employed in manual labor before the age of fourteen years, and only after their physical capability has been certified to by a physician. It insists on the prohibition of all dangerous occupations. The former articles in this Bulletin on the abuses which exist in the industrial employment of children in New York show how justifiable is this action of the society. "Thousands of children," says Mr. Gerry, "die of diseases contracted in these injurious employments; in this respect our nation is far behind Europe in its means of affording protection to children. In France, severe laws have been in operation since 1841. England has promptly followed this example, and like the English legislation, that of France expressly forbids the employment of children in the manufacture of dangerous substances, of a nature poisonous or explosive. You have only to visit our hospitals to see the little creatures with hand or fingers mutilated, from being employed at too early an age in the operation of machinery. Our negligence makes manifest the wisdom of the French law, whose lesson is so necessary with us." This needed progress will without doubt be made, and the society will continue with increased zeal its charitable work. It gives to the legislator the benefit of a practical experience in the work, to the child its powerful advocacy in the courts, to justice the impartiality of prudent investigations, to public opinion the assurance of the proper conduct of charitable institutions and an impulse in the direction of improvement. It is thus that in this land of enterprise, whose customs are adverse to permitting affairs even of the gravest importance, like the prosecution of crimes or the direction of works of benevolence, to be concentrated in the hands of public officials, the consequences of self-government have been happily corrected in points where they would otherwise become extreme, in regard to children. The New York society is therefore well described by its worthy president, Mr. Elbridge T. Gerry, as "the Hand of Protection." And this hand is too charitable for us to forbear to give it a cordial pressure across the vast expanse of the Atlantic.
* * * * *
THE MIDDLESEX CANAL.
BY LORIN L. DAME, A.M.
The curious traveller may still trace with little difficulty the line of the old Middlesex canal, with here and there a break, from the basin at Charlestown to its junction with the Merrimac at Middlesex village. Like an accusing ghost, it never strays far from the Boston & Lowell Railroad, to which it owes its untimely end.
At Medford, the Woburn sewer runs along one portion of its bed, the Spot pond water-pipes another. The tow-path, at one point, marks the course of the defunct Mystic Valley Railroad; at others, it has been metamorphosed into sections of the highway; at others, it survives as a cow-path or woodland lane; at Wilmington, the stone sides of a lock have become the lateral walls of a dwelling-house cellar.
Judging the canal by the pecuniary recompense it brought its projectors, it must be admitted a dismal failure; yet its inception was none the less a comprehensive, far-reaching scheme, which seemed to assure a future of ample profits and great public usefulness. Inconsiderable as this work may appear compared with the modern achievements of engineering, it was, for the times, a gigantic undertaking, beset with difficulties scarcely conceivable to-day. Boston was a small town of about twenty thousand inhabitants; Medford, Woburn, and Chelmsford were insignificant villages; and Lowell was as yet unborn, while the valley of the Merrimac, northward into New Hampshire, supported a sparse agricultural population. But the outlook was encouraging. It was a period of rapid growth and marked improvements. The subject of closer communication with the interior early became a vital question. Turnpikes, controlled by corporations, were the principal avenues over which country produce, lumber, firewood, and building-stone found their way to the little metropolis. The cost of entertainment at the various country inns, the frequent tolls, and the inevitable wear and tear of teaming, enhanced very materially the price of all these articles. The Middlesex canal was the first step towards the solution of the problem of cheap transportation. The plan originated with the Hon. James Sullivan, who was for six years a judge of the Supreme Court of Massachusetts, attorney-general from 1790 to 1807, and governor in 1807 and 1808, dying while holding the latter office.
A brief glance at the map of the New England States will bring out in bold relief the full significance of Sullivan's scheme. It will be seen that the Merrimac river, after pursuing a southerly course as far as Middlesex village, turns abruptly to the north-east. A canal from Charlestown mill-pond to this bend of the river, a distance of 27-1/4 miles, would open a continuous water-route of eighty miles to Concord, N.H. From this point, taking advantage of Lake Sunapee, a canal could easily be run in a north-westerly direction to the Connecticut at Windsor, Vt.; and thence, making use of intermediate streams, communication could be opened with the St. Lawrence. The speculative mind of Sullivan dwelt upon the pregnant results that must follow the connection of Boston with New Hampshire and possibly Vermont and Canada. He consulted his friend, Col. Baldwin, sheriff of Middlesex, who had a natural taste for engineering, and they came to the conclusion that the plan was feasible. Should the undertaking succeed between Concord and Boston, the gradual increase in population and traffic would in time warrant the completion of the programme. Even should communication never be established beyond Concord, the commercial advantages of opening to the market the undeveloped resources of upper New Hampshire would be a sufficient justification. Accordingly, James Sullivan, Loammi Baldwin, Jonathan Porter, Samuel Swan, and five members of the Hall family at Medford, petitioned the General Court for an act of incorporation. A charter was granted, bearing date of June 22, 1793, "incorporating James Sullivan, Esq., and others, by the name of the Proprietors of the Middlesex Canal," and on the same day was signed by His Excellency John Hancock, Governor of the Commonwealth. By this charter the proprietors were authorized to lay such assessments from time to time as might be required for the construction of the canal.
At their first meeting the proprietors intrusted the management of the corporation to a board of thirteen members, who were to choose a president and vice-presidents from their own number, the entire board subject to annual election. Boston capitalists subscribed freely, and Russell, Gore, Barrell, Craigie, and Brooks appear among the earliest directors. This board organized on the 11th of October by the choice of James Sullivan as president, and Col. Baldwin and John Brooks (afterwards Gov. Brooks) as vice-presidents. The first step was to make the necessary surveys between the Charlestown basin and the Merrimac at Chelmsford; but the science of engineering was in its infancy, and it was difficult to find a competent person to undertake the task. At length Samuel Thompson, of Woburn, was engaged to make a preliminary survey; but the directors, not wholly satisfied with his report, afterwards secured the services of Samuel Weston, an eminent English engineer, then employed in Pennsylvania on the Potomac canals. His report, made Aug. 2, 1794, was favorable; and it is interesting to compare his figures with those of Mr. Thompson. As calculated by Thompson, the ascent from Medford bridge to the Concord river, at Billerica, was found to be 68-1/2 ft.; the actual difference in level, as found by Weston, was 104 ft. By Thompson's survey there was a further ascent of 16-1/2 ft. to the Merrimac; when, in fact, the water at Billerica bridge is almost 25 ft. above the Merrimac at Chelmsford.
Col. Baldwin, who superintended the construction of the canal, removed the first turf, Sept. 10, 1794. The progress was slow and attended with many embarrassments. The purchase of land from more than one hundred proprietors demanded skilful diplomacy. Most of the lands used for the canal were acquired by voluntary sale, and conveyed in fee-simple to the corporation. Sixteen lots were taken under authority of the Court of Sessions; while for thirteen neither deed nor record could be found when the corporation came to an end. Some of the land was never paid for, as the owner refused to accept the sum awarded. The compensation ranged from about $150 an acre in Medford to $25 in Billerica. The numerous conveyances are all in Sullivan's handwriting.
Labor was not easily procured, probably from the scarcity of laborers, as the wages paid, $10 a month and board, were presumably as much as could be earned in manual labor elsewhere. "An order was sent to England for a levelling instrument made by S. & W. Jones, of London, and this was the only instrument used for engineering purposes after the first survey by Weston." Two routes were considered; the rejected route was forty years later selected for the Lowell Railroad. The canal, 30 ft. wide, 4 ft. deep, with 20 locks, 7 aqueducts, and crossed by 50 bridges, was, in 1802, sufficiently completed for the admission of water, and the following year was opened to public navigation from the Merrimac to the Charles. Its cost, about $500,000, of which one-third was for land damages, was but little more than the estimate. Commencing at Charlestown mill-pond, it passed through Medford, crossing the Mystic by a wooden aqueduct of 100 ft., to Horn pond in Woburn. Traversing Woburn and Wilmington it crossed the Shawshine by an aqueduct of 137 ft., and struck the Concord, from which it receives its water, at Billerica Mills. Entering the Concord by a stone guard-lock, it crossed, with a floating tow-path, and passed out on the northern side through another stone guard-lock; thence it descended 27 ft., in a course of 5-1/4 miles, through Chelmsford to the Merrimac, making its entire length 27-1/4 m.
The proprietors made Charlestown bridge the eastern terminus for their boats, but ultimately communication was opened with the markets and wharves upon the harbor, through Mill Creek, over a section of which Blackstone street now extends.
As the enterprise had the confidence of the business community, money for prosecuting the work had been procured with comparative ease. The stock was divided into 800 shares, and among the original stockholders appear the names of Ebenezer and Dudley Hall, Oliver Wendall, John Adams of Quincy, Peter C. Brooks of Medford, and Andrew Craigie of Cambridge. The stock had steadily advanced from $25 a share in the autumn of 1794 to $473 in 1803, the year the canal was opened, touching $500 in 1804. Then a decline set in, a few dollars at a time, till 1816, when its market value was $300 with few takers, although the canal was in successful operation, and, in 1814, the obstructions in the Merrimac had been surmounted, so that canal boats, locking into the river at Chelmsford, had been poled up stream as far as Concord.
Firewood and lumber always formed a very considerable item in the business of the canal. The navy-yard at Charlestown and the shipyards on the Mystic form any years relied upon the canal for the greater part of the timber used in shipbuilding; and work was sometimes seriously retarded by low water in the Merrimac, which interfered with transportation. The supply of oak and pine about Lake Winnipiseogee, and along the Merrimac and its tributaries, was thought to be practically inexhaustible. In the opinion of Daniel Webster, the value of this timber had been increased $5,000,000 by the canal. Granite from Tyngsborough, and agricultural products from a great extent of fertile country, found their way along this channel to Boston; while the return boats supplied taverns and country stores with their annual stock of goods. The receipts from tolls, rents, etc. were steadily increasing, amounting,
in 1812 to $12,600, " 1813 " 16,800, " 1814 " 25,700, " 1815 " 29,200, " 1816 " 32,600,
Yet, valuable, useful, and productive as the canal had proved itself, it had lost the confidence of the public, and, with a few exceptions, of the proprietors themselves. The reason for this state of sentiment can easily be shown. The general depression of business on account of the embargo and the war of 1812 had its effect upon the canal. In the deaths of Gov. Sullivan and Col. Baldwin, in the same year, 1808, the enterprise was deprived of the wise and energetic counsellors to whom it owed its existence.
The aqueducts and most of the locks, being built of wood, required large sums for annual repairs; the expenses arising from imperfections in the banks, and from the erection of toll-houses and public houses for the accommodation of the boatmen, were considerable; but the heaviest expenses were incurred in opening the Merrimac for navigation. From Concord, N.H., to the head of the canal the river has a fall of 123 ft., necessitating various locks and canals. The Middlesex Canal Corporation contributed to the building of the Wiccasee locks and canals, $12,000; Union locks and canals, $49,932; Hookset canal, $6,750; Bow canal and locks, $14,115, making a sum total of $82,797 to be paid from the income of the Middlesex canal.
The constant demand for money in excess of the incomes had proved demoralizing. Funds had been raised from time to time by lotteries. In the Columbian "Centinel & Massachusetts Federalist" of Aug. 15, 1804, appears an advertisement of the Amoskeag Canal Lottery, 6,000 tickets at $5, with an enumeration of prizes. The committee, consisting of Phillips Payson, Samuel Swan, Jr., and Loammi Baldwin, Jr., appealed to the public for support, assuring the subscribers that all who did not draw prizes would get the full value of their money in the reduced price of fuel.
In 1816 the Legislature of Massachusetts granted the proprietors of the canal, in consideration of its usefulness to the public, two townships of land in the district of Maine, near Moosehead lake. This State aid, however, proved of no immediate service, as purchasers could not be found for several years for property so remote. Appeals to capitalists, lotteries, and State aid proved insufficient; the main burden fell upon the stockholders. In accordance with the provisions of the charter, assessments had been levied, as occasion required, up to 1816, 99 in number, amounting to $670 per share; and the corporation was still staggering under a debt of $64,000. Of course, during all this time, no dividends could be declared.
Under these unpromising conditions a committee, consisting of Josiah Quincy, Joseph Hall, and Joseph Coolidge, Jr., was appointed to devise the appropriate remedy. "In the opinion of your committee," the report reads, "the real value of the property, at this moment, greatly exceeds the market value, and many years will not elapse before it will be considered among the best of all practicable monied investments. The Directors contemplate no further extension of the canal. The work is done, both the original and subsidiary canals.... Let the actual incomes of the canal be as great as they may, so long as they are consumed in payment of debts and interest on loans, the aspect of the whole is that of embarrassment and mortgage. The present rates of income, if continued, and there is every rational prospect, not only of its continuance, but of its great and rapid increase, will enable the corporation—when relieved of its present liabilities,—at once to commence a series of certain, regular, and satisfactory dividends." They accordingly recommended a final assessment of $80 per share, completely to extinguish all liabilities. This assessment, the 100th since the commencement, was levied in 1817, making a sum total of $600,000, extorted from the long-suffering stockholders. If to this sum the interest of the various assessments be added, computed to Feb. 1, 1819, the date of the first dividend, the actual cost of each share is found to have been $1,455.25.
The prosperity of the canal property now seemed fully assured. The first dividend, though only $15, was the promise of golden showers in the near future, and the stock once more took an upward flight. From 1819 to 1836 were the palmy days of the canal, unvexed with debts, and subject to very moderate expenses for annual repairs and management.
It is difficult to ascertain the whole number of boats employed at any one time. Many were owned and run by the proprietors of the canal; and many were constructed and run by private parties who paid the regular tolls for whatever merchandise they transported. Boats belonging to the same parties were conspicuously numbered, like railway cars to-day. From "Regulations relative to the Navigation of the Middlesex Canal," a pamphlet published in 1830, it appears that boats were required to be not less than 40 ft. nor more than 75 ft. in length and not less than 9 ft. nor more than 9-1/2 ft. in width. Two men, a driver and steersman, usually made up the working force; the boats, however, that went up the Merrimac required three men, one to steer, and two to pole. The Lowell boats carried 20 tons of coal; 15 tons were sufficient freight for Concord; when the water in the Merrimac was low, not more than 6 or 7 tons could be taken up the river. About 1830 the boatmen received $15 per month.
Lumber was transported in rafts of about 75 ft. long and 9 ft. wide; and these rafts, not exceeding ten in number, were often united in "bands." A band of seven to ten rafts required the services of five men, including the driver. Boats were drawn by horses, and lumber by oxen; and "luggage boats" were required to make two and a half miles an hour, while "passage boats" attained a speed of four miles. Boats of the same class, and going the same way, were not allowed to pass each other, thus making "racing" impossible on the staid waters of the old canal. Whenever a boat approached a lock, the conductor sounded his horn to secure the prompt attention of the lock-tender; but due regard was paid to the religious sentiment of New England. Travelling in the canal being permitted on Sundays, "in consideration of the distance from home at which those persons using it generally are, it may be reasonably expected that they should not disturb those places of public worship near which they pass, nor occasion any noise to interrupt the tranquillity of the day. Therefore, it is established that no Signal-Horn shall be used or blown on Sundays."
The tariff varied greatly from year to year. In 1827 the rate from Lowell to Boston was $2.00 the gross ton; but many articles were carried on much lower terms.
On account of liability of damage to the banks of the canal, all navigation ceased at dark; hence, at every lock, or series of locks, a tavern was established. These were all owned by the corporation, and were often let to the lock-tender, who eked out his income by the accommodation of boatmen and horses. The Bunker Hill Tavern, in Charlestown, situated so as to accommodate both county and canal travel, was leased, in 1830, for $350; in 1838, it let for $500. The Horn Pond House, at Woburn, in 1838, was leased for $700. In 1825, a two-story dwelling-house, 36 X 18, built at a cost of $1,400, for the accommodation of boatmen and raftsmen, at Charlestown, rented, with stable attached, for $140. In all these cases, the real estate was supposed to pay ten per cent.
Some of these canal-taverns established a wide reputation for good cheer, and boatmen contrived to be overtaken by night in their vicinity. Sometimes fifteen or twenty boats would be detained at one of these favorite resorts, and a jolly crowd fraternized in the primitive bar-room. The temperance sentiment had not yet taken a firm hold in New England. "Flip" was the high-toned beverage of those days; but "black-strap," a compound of rum and molasses, sold at three cents a glass, was the particular "vanity" of the boatmen. In the smaller taverns, a barrel of old Medford, surmounted by a pitcher of molasses, scorning the flimsy subterfuges of modern times, boldly invited its patrons to draw and mix at their own sweet will. "Plenty of drunkenness, Uncle Joe, in those days?" we queried of an ancient boatman who was dilating upon the good old times. "Bless your heart, no!" was the answer. "Mr. Eddy didn't put up with no drunkards on the canal. They could drink all night, sir, and be steady as an eight-day clock in the morning."
When the feverish haste born of the locomotive and telegraph had not yet infected society, a trip over the canal in the passenger-packet, the "Governor Sullivan," must have been an enjoyable experience. Protected by iron rules from the dangers of collision; undaunted by squalls of wind, realizing, should the craft be capsized, that he had nothing to do but walk ashore, the traveller, speeding along at the leisurely pace of four miles per hour, had ample time for observation and reflection. Seated, in summer, under a capacious awning, he traversed the valley of the Mystic skirting the picturesque shores of Mystic pond. Instead of a foreground of blurred landscape, vanishing, ghostlike, ere its features could be fairly distinguished, soft bits of characteristic New England scenery, clear cut as cameos, lingered caressingly on his vision; green meadows, fields riotous with blossomed clover, fragrant orchards, and quaint old farmhouses, with a background of low hills wooded to their summits.
Passing under bridges, over rivers, between high embankments, and through deep cuttings, floated up hill by a series of locks, he marvelled at this triumph of engineering, and, if he were a director, pictured the manufactories that were to spring up along this great thoroughfare, swelling its revenues for all time.
The tow-path of the canal was a famous promenade. Upon Sunday afternoons, especially, numerous pedestrians from the dusty city strolled along the canal for a breath of fresh air and a glimpse of the open country, through the Royal estate in Medford, past the substantial old-fashioned mansion-house of Peter C. Brooks, as far, perhaps, as the Baldwin estate, and the birthplace of Count Rumford, in Woburn. "I love that old tow-path," said Uncle Joe. "'Twas there I courted my wife; and every time the boat went by she came tripping out to walk a piece with me! Bless you, sir the horses knew her step, and it wan't so heavy, nuther."
Meanwhile, under the direction of Caleb Eddy, who assumed the agency of the corporation in 1825, bringing great business ability and unquenchable zeal to his task, the perishable wooden locks were gradually replaced with stone, a new stone dam was built at Billerica, and the service brought to a high state of efficiency. The new dam was the occasion of a lawsuit brought by the proprietors of the Sudbury meadows, claiming damages to the extent of $10,000 for flooding their meadows. The defendants secured the services of Samuel Hoar, Esq., of Concord, assisted by the Hon. Daniel Webster, who accepted a retaining fee of $100 to "manage and argue the case in conjunction with Mr. Hoar. The cause was to have been tried November, 1833. Mr. Webster was called on by me and promised to examine the evidence and hold himself in readiness for the trial, but for some time before he was not to be found in Boston, at one time at New York, at another in Philadelphia, and so on from place to place so that I am satisfied no dependance can be placed with certainty upon his assistance, and," plaintively concludes the agent, "our $100 has gone to profit and loss account."
On the other side was the Hon. Jeremiah Mason, assisted by Franklin Dexter, Esq. This case was decided the following year adversely to the plaintiffs.
With the accession of business brought by the corporations at Lowell, the prospect for increased dividends in the future was extremely encouraging. The golden age of the canal appeared close at hand; but the fond hopes of the proprietors were once more destined to disappointment. Even the genius of James Sullivan had not foreseen the railway locomotive. In 1829 a petition was presented to the Legislature for the survey of a railroad from Boston to Lowell. The interests of the canal were seriously involved. A committee was promptly chosen to draw up for presentation to the General Court "a remonstrance of the Proprietors of Middlesex Canal, against the grant of a charter to build a railroad from Boston to Lowell." This remonstrance, signed by William Sullivan, Joseph Coolidge, and George Hallett, bears date of Boston, Feb. 12, 1830, and conclusively shows how little the business men of fifty years ago anticipated the enormous development of our resources consequent upon the application of steam to transportation:—
The remonstrants take pleasure in declaring, that they join in the common sentiment of surprise and commendation, that any intelligence and enterprise should have raised so rapidly and so permanently, such establishments as are seen at Lowell. The proprietors of these works have availed themselves of the canal, for their transportation for all articles, except in the winter months ... and every effort has been made by this corporation to afford every facility, it was hoped and believed, to the entire satisfaction of the Lowell proprietors. The average annual amount of tolls paid by these proprietors has been only about four thousand dollars. It is believed no safer or cheaper mode of conveyance can ever be established, nor any so well adapted for carrying heavy and bulky articles. To establish therefore a substitute for the canal alongside of it, and in many places within a few rods of it, and to do that which the canal was made to do, seems to be a measure not called for by any exigency, nor one which the Legislature can permit, without implicitly declaring that all investments of money in public enterprises must be subjected to the will of any applicants who think that they may benefit themselves without regard to older enterprises, which have a claim to protection from public authority. With regard, then, to transportation of tonnage goods, the means exist for all but the winter months, as effectually as any that can be provided.
There is a supposed source of revenue to a railroad, from carrying passengers. As to this, the remonstrants venture no opinion, except to say, that passengers are now carried, at all hours, as rapidly and safely as they are anywhere else in the world.... To this, the remonstrants would add, that the use of a railroad, for passengers only, has been tested by experience, nowhere, hitherto; and that it remains to be known, whether this is a mode which will command general confidence and approbation, and that, therefore, no facts are now before the public, which furnish the conclusion, that the grant of a railroad is a public exigency even for such a purpose. The Remonstrants would also add, that so far as they know and believe, "there never can be a sufficient inducement to extend a railroad from Lowell westwardly and northwestwardly, to the Connecticut, so as to make it the great avenue to and from the interior, but that its termination must be at Lowell" (italics our own), "and, consequently that it is to be a substitute for the modes of transportation now in use between that place and Boston, and cannot deserve patronage from the supposition that it is to be more extensively useful...."
The Remonstrants, therefore, respectfully submit: First, that there be no such exigency as will warrant the granting of the prayer for a railroad to and from Lowell.
Secondly, that, if that prayer be granted, provision should be made as a condition for granting it, that the Remonstrants shall be indemnified for the losses which will be thereby occasioned to them.
This may seem the wilful blindness of self-interest; but the utterances of the press and the legislative debates of the period are similar in tone. In relation to another railroad, the "Boston Transcript" of Sept. 1, 1830, remarks: "It is not astonishing that so much reluctance exists against plunging into doubtful speculations.... The public itself is divided as to the practicability of the Rail Road. If they expect the assistance of capitalists, they must stand ready to guarantee the percentum per annum; without this, all hopes of Rail Roads are visionary and chimerical." In a report of legislative proceedings published in the "Boston Courier," of Jan. 25, 1830, Mr. Cogswell, of Ipswich, remarked: "Railways, Mr. Speaker, may do well enough in old countries, but will never be the thing for so young a country as this. When you can make the rivers run back, it will be time enough to make a railway." Notwithstanding the pathetic remonstrances and strange vaticinations of the canal proprietors, the Legislature incorporated the road and refused compensation to the canal. Even while the railroad was in process of construction, the canal directors do not seem to have realized the full gravity of the situation. They continued the policy of replacing wood with stone, and made every effort to perfect the service in all its details; as late as 1836 the agent recommended improvements. The amount of tonnage continued to increase—the very sleepers used in the construction of the railway were boated, it is said, to points convenient for the workmen.
In 1832 the canal declared a dividend of $22 per share; from 1834 to 1837, inclusive, a yearly dividend of $30.
The disastrous competition of the Lowell Railroad was now beginning to be felt. In 1835 the Lowell goods conveyed by canal paid tonnage dues of $11,975.51; in 1836 the income from this source had dwindled to $6,195.77. The canal dividends had been kept up to their highest mark by the sale of its townships in Maine and other real estate: but now they began to drop. The year the Lowell road went into full operation the receipts of the canal were reduced one-third; and when the Nashua & Lowell road went into full operation, in 1840, they were reduced another third. The board of directors waged a plucky warfare with the railroads, reducing the tariff on all articles, and almost abolishing it on some, till the expenditures of the canal outran its income; but steam came out triumphant. Even sanguine Caleb Eddy became satisfied that longer competition was vain, and set himself to the difficult task of saving fragments from the inevitable wreck.
At this time (1843) Boston numbered about 100,000 inhabitants, and was dependent for water upon cisterns and wells. The supply of water in the wells had been steadily diminishing for years, and what remained was necessarily subject to contamination from numberless sources. "One specimen which I analyzed," said Dr. Jackson, "which gave three per cent, of animal and vegetable putrescent matter, was publicly sold as a mineral water; it was believed that water having such a remarkable fetid odor and nauseous taste, could be no other than that of a sulphur spring; but its medicinal powers vanished with the discovery that the spring arose from a neighboring drain." Here was a golden opportunity. Eddy proposed to abandon the canal as a means of transportation, and convert it into an aqueduct for supplying the City of Boston with wholesome water. The sections between the Merrimac and Concord at one extremity, and Charlestown mill-pond and Woburn at the other, were to be wholly discontinued. Flowing along the open channel of the canal from the Concord river to Horn-pond locks in Woburn, from thence it was to be conducted in iron pipes to a reservoir upon Mount Benedict in Charlestown, a hill eighty feet above the sea-level.
The good quality of the Concord-river water was vouched for by the "analysis of four able and practical chemists, Dr. Charles T. Jackson, of Boston; John W. Webster, of Cambridge University; S.L. Dana, of Lowell, and A.A. Hayes, Esq., of the chemical works at Roxbury." The various legal questions involved were submitted to the Hon. Jeremiah Mason, who gave an opinion, dated Dec. 21, 1842, favorable to the project. The form for an act of incorporation was drawn up; and a pamphlet was published, in 1843, by Caleb Eddy, entitled an "Historical sketch of the Middlesex Canal, with remarks for the consideration of the Proprietors," setting forth the new scheme in glowing colors.
But despite the feasibility of the plan proposed, and the energy with which it was pushed, the agitation came to naught; and Eddy, despairing of the future, resigned his position as agent in 1845. Among the directors during these later years were Ebenezer Chadwick, Wm. Appleton, Wm. Sturgis, Charles F. Adams, A.A. Lawrence, and Abbott Lawrence; but no business ability could long avert the catastrophe. Stock fell to $150, and finally the canal was discontinued, according to Amory's Life of Sullivan, in 1846. It would seem, however, that a revival of business was deemed within the range of possibilities, for in conveyances made in 1852 the company reserved the right to use the land "for canalling purposes"; and the directors annually went through with the form of electing an agent and collector as late as 1853.
"Its vocation gone, and valueless for any other service," says Amory, "the canal property was sold for $130,000. After the final dividends, little more than the original assessments had been returned to the stockholders." Oct. 3, 1859, the Supreme Court issued a decree, declaring that the proprietors had "forfeited all their franchises and privileges, by reason of non-feasance, non-user, misfeasance and neglect." Thus was the corporation forever extinguished.
* * * * *
THE TAVERNS OF BOSTON IN YE OLDEN TIME.
BY DAVID M. BALFOUR.
The first tavern in Boston was kept by Samuel Coles. It was opened in March, 1633, and stood near the south-west corner of Merchants row and Corn court, with an area in front on Merchants row and also on Fanueil Hall square, which in latter days have been covered with buildings. It was destroyed by fire during the early part of the eighteenth century, and the older portion of the present edifice was erected in 1737, which has been enlarged on the northerly side. It was towards the close of the last century known as the "Brazier Inn," and was kept by a widow lady of that name. It is now known as the "Hancock House," and is kept by a stalwart Scotchman named Alexander Clarkson. Gov. Vane held a council in the south-westerly room in the second story with Miantonomoh, the Narragansett chief. The same room was subsequently occupied by Lafayette in 1773, and afterwards by Talleyrand in 1798.
The State Arms Tavern was built in 1645, and stood on the south-east corner of State and Exchange streets. It was occupied as the custom-house just before the Revolution.
The Star Inn was built in 1645, and stood on the north-east corner of Hanover and Union streets. It was first kept by Thomas Hawkins, and afterwards by Andrew Neal, a Scotchman. The Scots' Charitable Society, of which the landlord was a member, frequently held its meetings there.
The Roebuck Tavern was built in 1650. It stood on the east side of Merchants row, between Clinton and North streets. It was believed to have been built by a descendant of Richard Whittington, the Lord Mayor of London in 1419, who was famed for his love of cats.
The Ship Tavern was built in 1651, and stood on North street, just beyond the corner of Fleet street. John Vyall kept it in 1663, and it was at one time called "Noah's Ark." The peace commissioners sent over by Charles II. held their sessions there. It was demolished in 1866.
The King's Arms Tavern was built in 1654, and stood on the southeast corner of Washington and Brattle streets, opposite the Samuel Adams statue.
The Red Lion Tavern stood on the north-west corner of North and Richmond streets. It was built in 1654, and kept by Nicholas Upsall, a Quaker, who was persecuted, imprisoned, and banished for his faith. Near this spot the devastating fire of November 27, 1676, broke out in one Wakefield's house.
The Blue Anchor Tavern stood on the site of No. 254 Washington street. It was built in 1664, and kept by George Monck.
The Blue Anchor Tavern (the second of that name) was built in 1665, and stood on Brattle street, upon the site which was afterwards Doolittle's City Tavern. It was first kept by Robert Turner, and was noted for its punch, and was a favorite resort of public men.
The Blue Bell Tavern was built in 1673, and stood on the north-west corner of Batterymarch street and Liberty square; a portion of the Mason building now occupies its site. It was kept by Nathaniel Bishop, and afterwards by Alleric & Drury. In 1692 it was called the Castle Tavern, and ceased to be an inn after 1707.
The Castle Tavern (the second of that name) stood on the south-west corner of Dock square and Elm street. It was erected by William Hudson in 1674, and kept by John Wing in 1687, who gave his name to the street. In 1694 it was called the George Tavern.
The King's Head Tavern was built in 1680, and stood at the northeast corner of North and Fleet streets. It was burnt in 1691, and afterwards rebuilt. It was kept by James Davenport in 1755.
The Seven Star Inn stood, in 1684, on the south-west corner of Summer and Hawley streets. It gave its name to the lane which was afterwards called Bishop's alley. Here, in 1736, was erected of wood the first edifice of Trinity Church. The land, which originally contained 15,000 square feet, was bought of John Gibbins and William Speakman for L450. This edifice was demolished in 1828 and a stone structure erected in 1830, which was burnt in the great fire, November 8, 1872. The site, after having its proportions curtailed, in order to widen Summer and Hawley streets, containing 7,126 square feet, was sold to William D. Peckman, in 1874, for $194,402.
The Sun Tavern stood on the southwest corner of Dock and Faneuil Hall squares. It was built in 1690, and was kept by Samuel Mears in 1724, and by Day in 1753. It was conveyed by Thomas Valentine in 1741 for L2,475 ($8,250); and by Joseph Jackson in 1794 for L1,333-6-8 ($4,444); and by E.P. Arnold in 1865 for $20,000. The Scots' Charitable Society frequently held its meetings there. It was the head-quarters of the British officers during the siege. It is the oldest building in Boston.
The Queen's Head Tavern stood at the north-west corner of North and Clark streets. It was built in 1691.
The Green Dragon Inn was built in 1692. It was first kept by Alexander Smith, who died in 1696, and was succeeded by Hannah Bishop, who was next succeeded by John Cary. In 1734 Joseph Kidder was its landlord. In 1764 it was conveyed by Catharine Kerr, sister to Dr. William Douglas, to St. Andrew's Lodge of Freemasons. It was a hospital during the Revolution. It was the head-quarters of Joseph Warren, John Hancock, Samuel Adams, James Otis, Paul Revere, and other patriots, during the Revolution. It was called the Green Dragon Tavern after the Revolution, and at one time the Freemasons' Arms. Daniel Simpson, the veteran drummer, was at one time its landlord. The Scots' Charitable Society frequently held its meetings there. The Green Dragon building, extending through from Union to (new) Washington street, now denotes its site.
The Salutation Inn stood on the north-west corner of Hanover and Salutation streets. It was built by John Brooking in 1692, and sold to Sir William Phips. John Scollay kept it in 1697, who was succeeded by Samuel Green in 1731. It became famous, later, when William Campbell kept it in 1773, when it was a rallying-place for the patriots who gave rise to the word "Caucus." The resolutions for the destruction of the tea in Boston Harbor were drawn up there. It was also called the "Two Palaverers," from the representation upon the sign of two old gentlemen in wigs, cocked hats, and knee-breeches, saluting each other with much ceremony.
The Golden Bull Tavern was built in 1693, and stood on the south-east corner of Merchants row and Chatham street. It was kept in 1752 by Marston.
The Black Horse Tavern was built in 1700, and stood on the west side of Prince street, which in former days was called Black Horse lane, and Salem street. It was noted as a hiding-place for deserters from Burgoyne's army when stationed at Cambridge.
The Half Moon Inn was built in 1705, and stood on the north-west corner of Fleet and Sun court streets. It was kept in 1752 by Deborah Chick.
The Swan Tavern was built in 1707, and stood at the north-east corner of Fleet and North streets.
The Orange Tree Inn was built in 1708, and stood on the north-east corner of Court and Hanover streets during the Provincial period. White it was kept by Jonathan Wardwell, in 1712, he set up the first hackney-coach stand. His widow kept it in 1724. It was demolished in 1785. It was noted for having a well of water which never froze or dried up.
The Bull Tavern was built in 1713, and stood on the south-west corner of Summer and Federal streets. It was there that sundry inhabitants at the South End met and formed the project to erect a church on Church green, which was called the "New South," and presided over for a long series of years by Rev. Alexander Young, D.D.
The Light House Tavern was built in 1717, and stood on the south side of King (State) street, on the north-west corner of Devonshire street, opposite the Town House (Old State House). It is not impossible that it may have been standing there in 1742. There was also another tavern of the same name at the North End in 1763, from which the "Portsmouth Flying Stage" started every Saturday morning. It carried six passengers inside; fare 13s. 6d. sterling ($3.25); to Newburyport, 9s. ($2.17). Returning, left Portsmouth on Tuesday.
The Marlboro' Hotel was built in 1708, and took its name from the street In front, and was the first public house in Boston dignified with the name of "Hotel." John C. Calhoun lodged there, while Secretary of War, upon his only visit to Boston, in 1818. McNiel Seymour was its landlord in 1820. He afterwards became landlord of the Atlantic Hotel, opposite the Bowling Green in New York. It had a stable in the rear which accommodated the Providence line of stages. The site of the stable was afterwards occupied by the Lowell Institute building. Agassiz, Lyell, Tyndall, Price, and other scientists, delivered lectures there. Its walls have also resounded with the eloquence of John Quincy Adams, Daniel Webster, Edward Everett, Rufus Choate, Charles Sumner, Bayard Taylor, William Lloyd Garrison, James T. Fields, and other famous men. Lafayette was given a banquet at the Marlboro' upon his visit to Boston, in 1824. The Scots' Charitable Society frequently held its meetings there. About a generation ago it changed its name to the Marlboro' House, and it was conducted on temperance principles. Hon. Henry Wilson, Vice-President of the United States, made it his stopping-place while in the city. The elegant Hemenway building now occupies its site.
The Cross Tavern was erected in 1709, and stood on the north-west corner of North and Cross streets.
The Crown Coffee House stood on the south-west corner of State street and Chatham row, and was built in 1710 by Gov. Belcher; and Mrs. Anna Swords was its first landlord, and she was succeeded in 1751 by Robert Shelcock. The Scots' Charitable Society frequently held its meetings there.
The Bunch of Grapes Tavern was built in 1713, and stood on the north-west corner of State and Kilby streets. Its first landlord was Francis Holmes, who was succeeded in 1731 by William Coffin, by Joshua Barker in 1749, and by Col. Joseph Ingersoll in 1764. It was noted as being the best "punch-house" in Boston. Lafayette was a guest there in 1774. In front of it, on the 4th of August, 1806, Charles Austin was killed by Thomas O. Selfridge in self-defence. The Scots' Charitable Society frequently held its meetings there.
The George Tavern was built in 1720, and stood on the north-west corner of Washington and Northampton streets. It afforded shelter for the patriots in annoying the British during the siege. Its extensive orchard and gardens comprised seventeen acres, and extended south to Roxbury street, and west to Charles river, which, until the modern Back Bay improvement, extended to the west side of Tremont street. The General Court, as well as some of the law courts, sat there prior to 1730. The American post was located there in 1775, which was burnt by the British at night in July of that year. It was near that spot, in 1824, when Lafayette visited Boston, a triumphal arch was thrown across Washington street, bearing the couplet, written by Charles Sprague,—
We bow not the neck, we bend not the knee. But our hearts, LAFAYETTE! we surrender to thee.
The Royal Exchange Tavern was built in 1726, and stood on the south-west corner of State and Exchange streets, the site of the Merchants' Bank building. It gave its name to the street on its easterly side. Luke Vardy was its first landlord, who was succeeded in 1747 by Robert Stone. It was in this building, in 1728, that the altercation began which ended in the first duel fought in Boston, when Benjamin Woodbridge was killed by Henry Phillips. The Scots' Charitable Society frequently held its meetings there.
The Old Mansion House was built in 1732, and stood on the south side of Milk street, between Hawley and Arch streets, on the site of the Bowdoin building. It stood a little back from the street, with large American elms in front, and was a stopping place for old stage lines. Hon. Robert C. Winthrop was born there, and Hon. Henry Dearborn occupied it at the time of his decease.
The Blue Anchor Tavern (the third of that name) was built in 1735, and stood on the north-east corner of Water and Batterymarch streets. It was kept by Joseph Wilson.
The British Coffee House was built in 1741, and stood on the site of No. 66 State street, afterwards occupied by the Massachusetts Bank. It was kept, in 1762, by Ballard, and was largely patronized by British officers. The repeal of the Stamp Act was celebrated there in 1767. The eloquent James Otis was assaulted in it by a British gang, and an injury was inflicted upon his head, which rendered him insane for a long time. The Scots' Charitable Society frequently held its meetings there. Its name was changed to American Coffee House in 1776.
The Cromwell's Head Tavern was built it 1751, and is still standing on the north side of School street, upon the site of No. 13, where Mrs. Harrington deals out coffee and mince pie to her customers. Lieut.-Col. GEORGE WASHINGTON lodged there in 1756, while upon a visit to Gov. Shirley, to consult with him upon business connected with the French war. It was first kept by Anthony Brackett.
The Admiral Vernon Tavern was built in 1743, and stood on the south-east corner of State street and Merchants row, and was first kept by Richard Smith. The Scots' Charitable Society frequently held its meetings there.
The Sun Tavern (the second of that name) was built in 1757, and stood on the east side of Washington street, nearly opposite Cornhill, and was first kept by James Day, and was a popular resort of the Sons of Liberty.
The Julien House was built in 1759, and stood on the north-west corner of Milk and Congress streets, formerly the site of an old tannery. It was first kept by Jean Baptiste Julien, a French refugee. It was the resort of the bon vivants of the town in former days. It is narrated of him that, upon the occasion of a recherche dinner, one of the guests complained that the viands were not sufficiently high-seasoned. "Eh bien" said Julien, "put a leetle more de peppaire." He died in 1805, and he was succeeded by his widow, and afterwards by Rouillard, until 1823, when it was demolished, and supplanted by Julien, afterwards Congress Hall. Miss Frances Ann Wright delivered lectures there in 1829.
The White Horse Tavern stood on the north-west corner of Washington and Boylston streets. It was first kept by Joseph Morton.
The Bull's Head Tavern was built in 1774, and stood on the north-east corner of Congress and Water streets, the site, for several years prior to 1830, of the post-office, Merchants' Hall, and Topliff's Reading-room, and now occupied by the Massachusetts and Shawmut banks, and called the Howe building.
Concert Hall stood at the south-east corner of Hanover and Court streets. It was built in 1750, and was at one time occupied by the Deblois family. It was first occupied as a public house in 1791. It was famous for political meetings, fashionable dancing parties, and public exhibitions. Madrel exhibited his chess-player, conflagration of Moscow, and other wonderful pieces of mechanism there. The famous Belgian giant, Bihin, exhibited himself there. He was a well-proportioned man, and such was his height that the historian Motley stood under his armpits. Amherst Eaton was its landlord in the early days of the century. It was kept of late years by Peter B. Brigham, and was demolished in 1868, in order to widen Hanover street. The Scots' Charitable Society frequently held its meetings there.
The Lamb Tavern was built in 1745, and stood on the west side of Washington street, just beyond the corner of West street. Colonel Doty kept it in 1760, who was succeeded by Edward Kingman in 1826, and by Laban Adams, in whose honor the Adams House was named and opened in 1846. It was a popular resort of the country members of the Legislature.
The Lion Tavern was built in 1793, and stood just north of the Lamb Tavern, and occupied the site of the building for several years known as the Melodeon. In 1835 the tavern was converted into the Lion Theatre, which had a short-lived existence. It was then purchased by the Handel and Haydn Society, and occupied for musical purposes, lectures, and other entertainments. Rev. Theodore Parker began lecturing there soon after the famous South Boston sermon upon the transient and permanent in Christianity.
The North End Coffee House was built in 1782, and stood on the north-west corner of North and Fleet streets. It was kept by the grandfather of the Illustrious David D. Porter.
The Bite Tavern was built in 1795, and stood in Faneuil Hall square, a little west of Change avenue. James M. Stevens was its last landlord. It was a favorite resort of market-men, and ceased to be a public house about a quarter of a century ago.
Holland's Coffee House was built in 1800, in Howard street, near Court street. It was afterwards called the Howard Street House, and kept by William Gallagher, whose tomb "erected by those connected with him by no tie of kindred, who knew, loved, and honored him," stands on Primrose Path in Mt. Auburn. It was afterwards called the Pemberton House. It was a favorite resort of literary, dramatic, and musical people. The Scots' Charitable Society frequently held its meetings there. It was destroyed by fire in 1854, and the site was occupied for a short time by a wooden circular structure called Father Miller's Tabernacle, which, in turn, was burnt, when the Howard Athenaeum rose upon its site.
The Eastern Stage House was built in 1806, and upon the site of No. 90 North street. It was from that spot that the first stage-coach in America started, in 1660, for Portsmouth (N.H.). It was first kept by Col. Ephraim Wildes, and afterwards by his son, Moses. It was built of brick, three stories high, and entered by a flight of steps, and contained sixty rooms. It was the most extensive stage rendezvous in Boston, accommodating the stages to Portsmouth, Portland, Bangor, and Maine, generally. The stages entered its spacious court-yard under an arch leading from North street. After an existence of forty years, it was demolished to make room for commercial improvements.
Earl's Coffee House was built in 1807, and was located at No. 24 Hanover street, upon the site, in part, of the present American House. It was kept by Hezekiah Earl, and was the head-quarters of the New York, Albany, and other stage lines.
Wilde's Tavern was built in the same year, and was located on the north-east corner of (new) Washington and Elm streets. It was demolished in 1874 to make room for the Washington-street extension.
Doolittle's City Tavern was also built in 1807, and stood on the north-west corner of (new) Washington and Brattle streets. It was the head-quarters of the Providence line of stages. It was demolished in 1874 to make room for the improvement before alluded to.
The Exchange Coffee House was built in 1808, and stood on Congress street, upon the site of the present Howard Bank building, and at the time of its erection was the largest house of public entertainment in the United States. It extended through to Devonshire street, with an entrance on State street. It bounded 132 feet on Congress street, with a depth of 94 feet and upwards. It covered an area of 12,753 square feet, was seven stories in height, surmounted with a dome 101 feet in diameter. It had 210 apartments. Its erection was begun in 1805, and occupied two and a half years in construction. Commodore Hull, after capturing the Guerriere in 1812, had a public dinner given him there. The Grand Lodge of Freemasons, and some subordinate lodges, had their head-quarters there. The Scots' Charitable Society frequently held its meetings there. It was destroyed by fire in 1818, rebuilt in 1822, with contracted dimensions, and in 1853 was demolished to give place to the City Exchange on Congress square and Devonshire street. James Wilson, the last of the town-criers, had his office in the Bell-in-Hand Tavern in the basement. At the time of the fire Hon. Henry Clay was a guest in the house, and worked bravely at the engine brakes. Hon. David Crockett, a famous member of Congress from Tennessee, lodged there during his visit to Boston in 1834. He addressed an audience from the eastern portico of the Old State House, and in expatiating upon the prospects of the country, predicted that it would extend within a score of years from the Atlantic to the "Specific." Among his witty sayings will be remembered,—"Be sure you're right then go ahead." He died in 1841, fighting for Texan independence. It was kept in former days by Col. James Hamilton, afterwards by William Gallagher, Hart Davenport, and lastly by McGill & Fearing.
Washington Hotel was built in 1809, and stood in Bromfield street. It subsequently took the name of Indian Queen, and latterly Bromfield House. Selden Crockett was its last landlord. It ceased to be a public house about a dozen years since.
The Elm Street Hotel was built in 1812, and stood on the north-west corner of (new) Washington and (No. 9) Elm streets. It was kept by Hart Davenport. Its yard was obliterated in 1874 to make room for the Washington-street extension, and the building in 1882 for a site for commercial purposes.
The Massachusetts House was built in 1816, and still stands on the south-west corner of Endicott and Cross streets. It is a favorite resort of horse-jockeys and horse-fanciers.
Forster's Coffee House was built in 1817, and stood on the corner of Court and Howard streets. The Scots' Charitable Society frequently held its meetings there.
The Commercial Coffee House stood on the north-east corner of Milk and Batterymarch streets. It was built in 1817, and stood on the site of Hallowell's shipyard. It was kept by William Merriam in 1829, John Low in 1837, Col. Whitney in 1844, and lastly, in 1848, by James Longley, when it ceased to be a public house, and gave place to the Thorndike building. The preliminary meeting of the Mercantile Library Association was held there in 1820. It was a favorite resort of Eastern people.
Washington Hotel (the second of that name) was erected in 1819, and stood on the north-west corner of Washington street and Worcester place. It was kept in 1836, and for a few years succeeding, by Amherst Eaton. The Washington House was built in 1820, and stood on the site of the present Washington market, on the south-west corner of Washington and Lenox streets. The Messrs. Cooley kept it, and it was a favorite resort for sleighing parties.
In 1821 William Fenno opened a tavern in Cornhill square, and afterwards on the east side of Theatre alley (Devonshire street), near the corner of Franklin, adjoining what was the site of the (old) Boston Theatre, and latterly in Province street, near the south-easterly corner of Bromfield street.
The Stackpole House was built in 1732, and was the mansion of William Stackpole, a noted Boston merchant. It stood on the north-east corner of Milk and Devonshire streets, and was first kept as a public house in 1823 by Rouillard, formerly of the Julien House, and was a favorite resort of the choice spirits of former days. It was afterwards kept by James W. Ryan. Among its last landlords was Alexander McGregor, a stalwart Scotchman, and descendant of Rev James McGregor who led the colony which made the first settlement in Deny (N.H.) in 1824. The Scots' Charitable Society, of which the landlord was a member, frequently held its meetings there. It was demolished in 1868, to make room for the post-office edifice.
The Sun Tavern (the third of that name) was built in 1801, and stood on the north-west corner of Battery march and Hamilton streets, and was the mansion of Benjamin Hallowell, who owned a shipyard opposite to his residence. It was first kept as a public house in 1824 by Goodwich, and in 1841 by Capewell, when it ceased to be a public house, and was demolished when Fort Hill was leveled in 1865. It was a popular resort of Eastern people.
The Lafayette Hotel was built in 1825, and stood on the east side of Washington street, opposite Boylston market. It was largely patronized by people from the country. Haskell was its landlord in 1836. The Scots' Charitable Society frequently held its meetings there.
The Tremont House was built in 1828, and opened October 1, 1829. It was owned by William H. Eliot, brother of the mayor of Boston 1837-1840. It was the prototype of the large caravanseries which dot the continent from the Atlantic to the Pacific. Its first landlord was Dwight Boyden, who retired from its management in 1836 to assume that of the Astor House, which was opened May 1 in that year. It was the stopping-place of Webster on his way from Marshfield to Washington. It sheltered President Jackson upon his visit to Boston in 1833, a decade later President Tyler, and President Johnson in 1867. It was the temporary abode of Charles Dickens upon his first visit to America in 1842. Under its roof the Ashburton treaty, defining the north-eastern boundary between the United States and Great Britain, was negotiated by Lord Ashburton on behalf of the mother country, Abbott Lawrence on the part of Massachusetts, and Edward Kent on the part of Maine. Some of the most renowned men in the world have fed at its tables and slept under its roof. It still lives in its pristine vigor, and will not yield the palm to any hostelry in the world.
The Franklin House was built in 1830, and stood on the west side of Merchants row, between North Market and North streets, opposite the head of Clinton street. It was a favorite resort of Eastern people. Joshua Sears, an eminent merchant on Long wharf, made it his home for several years.
The Shawmut House was built in 1831, and stood on the north side of Hanover street, and its site is now absorbed in the American House. The Scots' Charitable Society frequently held its meetings there.
Liberty Tree Tavern was built in 1833, and stood on the south-east corner of Washington and Essex streets, upon the identical spot where formerly stood the famous Liberty Tree, which was planted in 1646, and become famous in Stamp Act times, and was cut down by the British in 1775.
The Mount Washington House was built in 1834 by a company of which Hon. John K. Simpson was president, who occupied the "Old Feather Store" on the corner of Faneuil Hall square and North street, built in 1680. The company became bankrupt, and it was sold in 1839 to the Perkins Institute and New England Asylum for the Blind. Its location on Washington Heights admirably adapts it for the benevolent purpose for which it is now used.
The Maverick House was opened on Noddies or Williams Island on the 27th of May, 1835. At the date of its erection the island contained but a score of dwellings, two or three factories, and a half-dozen of mechanics' shops. Major Jabez W. Barton was its first landlord. It was built of wood, 94 feet long and 85 feet wide, six stories high, and contained more than eighty rooms. In 1838 its width was increased to 160 feet. C.M. Taft became its landlord in 1841. The house, stables, and furniture were sold in 1842 to John W. Fenno for $62,500. The house was taken down in 1845 and a block of buildings erected by Noah Sturtevant. Different parts of the block were respectively occupied as a hotel, dwelling-houses, stores, and offices, until it was burnt January 25, 1857. A new building was erected upon its site, by Mr. Sturtevant, of iron and brick covered with mastic, 130 feet long on Maverick square, with an average width of no feet, and containing 180 rooms. It was opened February 23, 1858, and was called for a decade or more the Sturtevant House, when it resumed its former name of Maverick House. In its rear, on the 25th of September, 1819, a duel was fought by Lieutenants Finch and White between two elm-trees standing between Meridian and Border streets, nearly opposite the Church of the Holy Redeemer. White fell and died upon the spot.
The Pearl Street House stood on the north-west corner of Milk and Pearl streets, and was built in 1816, and was the mansion of William Pratt. It was first occupied as a hotel in 1836. Colonel Shepherd was its first landlord. The Scots' Charitable Society frequently held its meetings there. It was obliterated in the great fire of November 8, 1872.
The Perkins House was built in 1815, and was the mansion of Hon. Thomas H. Perkins, who donated it in 1833 to the Asylum for the Blind. It stood on the west side of Pearl street, about midway between Milk and High streets. It remained there under the management of Samuel G. Howe until the encroachments of business demanded its removal. In 1839 the institution was transferred to the Mount Washington House. The Perkins House was opened in that year under the management of a Scotchman named Thomas Gordon. It was a favorite resort of those who dined down-town. The Scots' Charitable Society, of which the landlord was a member, frequently held its meetings there. It ceased to be a public house In 1848, when it succumbed to the advancing waves of commerce.
The Congress House, built in the same year, was the mansion of Daniel Hammond, and stood on the north-east corner of Pearl and High streets. It was opened as a public house in 1840, and was kept by Hastings, until it was swept away in the great fire before alluded to.
The Greyhound Tavern stood on Washington street, opposite Vernon street, upon the site of Graham block. It was built in 1645, and was famous for the excellence of its punch, and was much resorted to by the convivial spirits of Boston and vicinity. Its last landlord was John Greaton. In 1752, and for many years subsequently, the Masonic fraternity celebrated St. John's day there, and the courts sat there during the prevalence of small-pox in Boston. A catamount, caught in the woods about eighty miles from Boston, was exhibited there. It was a recruiting station for enlistments during the French war. Gen. Washington resided there during the winter of 1776. It ceased to be a tavern just after the Revolution. Such was its size that it contained forty fireplaces. On its site was erected the first fire-engine house in Roxbury. A portion of the building still stands in the rear of Graham block.
The Flower de Luce Tavern was built in 1687, and stood on the north-east corner of Bartlett and Blanchard streets. It was there, in 1698, that a meeting was held "to settle about the Muddy river people worshipping In their house." Its last landlord was Samuel Ruggles.
The Punch Bowl Tavern was built in 1729 by John Ellis, and stood in Brookline, about two hundred feet west from the boundary line between Roxbury and Brookline, upon the present site of Brookline gas-works, on the south-west corner of Washington street and Brookline avenue. It was a two-story hipped-roof house, and its enlargement from time to time, by the purchase and removal of old houses thither from Boston and vicinity, resulted in an aggregation of rooms of all sorts and sizes, and produced a new order of architecture, appropriately called "conglomerate" With its out-buildings it occupied a large space, and was of a yellowish color, with a seat running along the front under an overhanging projection of the second story. In front and near each end were large elm-trees. Under the west end stood a pump, which still remains. Its sign, suspended by a high, red post, exhibited a huge bowl and ladle, overhung by a lemon-tree. It had a large dancing-hall, and was a favorite resort for gay parties from Boston and vicinity. It was patronized by British officers before the Revolution. The mill-dam and the bridges destroyed its usefulness, and it was bought by Isaac Thayer, and demolished in 1833, with the exception of one of its adjuncts, which now stands on the easterly side of Brookline avenue, nearly opposite Emerald street.
Kent's Tavern was built in 1747, and stood on the site of Grove Hall, built by, and for many years the mansion of, Thomas Kilby Jones, a famous auctioneer of Boston, and now known as the "Consumptives' Home," on the south-east corner of Washington street and Blue Hill avenue. It was originally the home-stead of Samuel Payson, and was owned by John Goddard in the early part of the last century. It ceased to be a public house in 1796.
Hazlitt's Tavern stood on the corner of Washington and Palmer streets. It was built in 1764, and had a deer's head for a sign. Afterwards it was known as the "Roebuck Tavern," John Brooks being its last landlord. It was first occupied as a public house in 1820, and it was the place of refuge of Edmund Kean when driven by a mob from the (old) Boston Theatre, December 21, 1825.
The Peacock Tavern was built in 1765, and stood at the south-westerly corner of Centre and Allandale streets, near the famous mineral springs. It was kept by Capt. Samuel Childs, who led the minutemen company of the third parish in the Lexington battle. It was purchased in 1794, with forty acres adjoining, by the patriot Samuel Adams, and he occupied it during his gubernatorial term as a summer residence, and afterward until the close of his honorable life.
On the north-west corner of Washington and Vernon streets, where Diamond block now stands, there formerly stood an old house, which was occupied in 1805 as the Old Red Tavern, kept by Martin Pierce.
The City Hotel was built of brick in 1804, and stood near the north-west corner of Washington and Zeigler streets, and was the mansion of George Zeigler. It ceased to be a public house about a third of a century ago.
Taft's Tavern stood at the north-west corner of Washington and South streets, near the Roslindale station, on the Dedham Branch railway. It was built in 1805, and first kept by Sharp & Dunster, and was long famous for good dinners. The widow of Samuel Burrill kept it during the War of 1813-1815. It is now the Roslindale Hotel.
The Norfolk House was built in 1781, and was the mansion of Joseph Ruggles, a well-known lawyer of that day. His uncle Joseph kept an inn in Roxbury in 1765. After the decease of Capt. Nathaniel Ruggles the mansion was the residence of Hon. David A. Simmons, who sold it to the Norfolk House Company in 1825, and it was opened in the following year as a public house, a large brick addition having been built containing a hall for public assemblies, known at first as Highland Hall, subsequently as Norfolk Hall, which, in 1853, was moved to the rear. The old mansion now stands on the north side of Norfolk street, and is occupied as a tenement-house. It was the starting-point of the Roxbury hourly coaches, which began running to the Old South Church on the first of March, 1826; fare, twelve and a half cents. It ceased to be a public house a generation ago, and became the pioneer of that large class of domestic and social comforts designated as "family hotels," no less than sixty of which now stand where, half a century ago, the tide ebbed and flowed.
In 1635 Robert Long with his wife and ten children arrived from Dunstable (Eng.) at Charlestown, and in 1638 purchased the so-called "Great House," originally erected by Thomas Graves for the governor's residence, for court-meetings, and public religious worship, which stood in what is now City square, opposite the Waverley House, and the base of the Town Hill. In a few years it was abandoned. Long paid L30 for the premises, to be used as a tavern, or ordinary. No use of tobacco, no card-playing, and no throwing of dice was allowed. He was allowed the use of a pasture, provided he would fence it, for the use of the horses of the guests. He was liable to a fine of ten shillings for every offence of selling at a price exceeding sixpence for a meal, or taking more than a "penny for an ale-quart of beer out of meal-times," or for selling cake or buns except for marriages, burials, or like special occasions. The tavern was well known afterwards as "The Three Cranes." Mr. Long and his sons following him carried on the house for three-quarters of a century, Robert, the first landlord, died January 9, 1664, and his widow May 27, 1687. In 1683 John, son of Robert, willed the house to his widow Mary, daughter of Increase Nowell. The estate had a brew-house attached to it. In 1711 the property was deeded by Mrs. Long to her son Samuel, and named in the deed as the "Great Tavern." Samuel, in 1712, sold it to Ebenezer Breed, when the house was called "The Old Tavern." The building was probably burnt in the destruction of Charlestown, on the day of the Battle of Bunker Hill, June 17, 1775. Finally, the land was bought by the town, and is now part of City square.
The Cape Breton Tavern was built in 1731, and stood on the corner of Main street and Hancock square. It was burnt in the general conflagration of June 17, 1775.
The Ship Tavern was built in 1748, and stood on the south-east corner of Charles River avenue and Water street. It was kept by Benjamin Gerrish.
The Warren Tavern was built in 1775, and still stands on the south-west corner of Main and Pleasant streets. It was first kept by Eliphalet Newell. It was from that edifice that the procession connected with funeral ceremonies in honor of GEORGE WASHINGTON started on the 31st of December, 1799, when the nation mourned as one man the departed patriot, statesman, and chieftain, "upon whose like they should not look again."
Trumbull's Tavern stood on the north-east corner of Charles River avenue and Water street. It was built in 1771.
The Indian Chief Tavern was built in 1779, and was the mansion of David Wood, an influential citizen of Charlestown. It occupied the site of Harvard Church. It was there that David Starrett, cashier of the Hillsboro', N.H., bank, was said to have been robbed and murdered on the evening of March 26, 1812. Suspicion attached to Samuel Gordon, the landlord. A reward of $200 was offered for the recovery of his dead body, but without success. In 1814 Hon. Nathan Appleton received a letter from Starrett, in South America, whither he had fled owing to the insolvency of the bank. It contained a hall, in the second story, known as "Massachusetts Hall." It was removed in 1818 to the north-west corner of Main and Miller streets, and its name changed to Eagle Tavern. It still stands, although it ceased to be a public house a quarter of a century since.
The Mansion House stood on the south side of City square and north-west corner of Warren avenue. It was erected in 1780 by Hon. Thomas Russell as a family mansion, and occupied by him until his decease in 1796. It was afterwards occupied by Commodore John Shaw, John Soley, Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Freemasons of Massachusetts, and Andrew Dunlap, U.S. District Attorney, who conducted the trial of the twelve pirates of the schooner "Pindu," in 1834. It was first occupied as a hotel in 1835, and kept by Gorham Bigelow, and afterwards by James Ramsay. It was demolished in 1866 to make room for the Waverley House.
Page's Tavern stood at the corner of Main and Gardner streets, and was afterwards known as "Richards'", and more latterly, "Babcock's." It was the starting-point of the Charlestown hourly coaches, which commenced running April 1, 1828, to Brattle street; fare, twelve and a half cents. Passengers were accommodated by being called for, or left at their residences on cross streets. It ceased to be a public house about a generation ago.
Piper's Tavern stood on the south-west corner of Main and Alford streets.
Pierce's Hotel stood on the north-west corner of Charles River avenue and Water street. It was built in 1795 by Hon. Thomas Russell for a family mansion; but he died just before its completion. In one of its rooms was a remarkable clock with a blue dial and moving figures of men, which appeared when the clock struck the hours, and then disappeared. The ordaining council of the first pastor of Harvard Church convened there. It was at one time occupied by Silas Whitney, Jr., who was buried from there with Masonic honors in 1824. Potter, the celebrated ventriloquist, held his exhibitions there, to the delight of the youngsters of that day. It was last kept by James Walker, and its name changed to the Middlesex House. It was destroyed by the great fire of August 28, 1835.