The Project Gutenberg eBook of The Olden Time Series: Vol. 2: The Days of the Spinning-Wheel in New England

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Title: The Olden Time Series: Vol. 2: The Days of the Spinning-Wheel in New England

Author: Henry M. Brooks

Release date: August 26, 2007 [eBook #22405]
Most recently updated: May 6, 2012

Language: English

Credits: Produced by Juliet Sutherland, Christine D. and the Online
Distributed Proofreading Team at



16mo. Per vol., 50 cents.

There appears to be, from year to year, a growing popular taste for quaint and curious reminiscences of "Ye Olden Time," and to meet this, Mr. Henry M. Brooks has prepared a series of interesting handbooks. The materials have been gleaned chiefly from old newspapers of Boston and Salem, sources not easily accessible, and while not professing to be history, the volumes contain much material for history, so combined and presented as to be both amusing and instructive. The titles of some of the volumes indicate their scope and their promise of entertainment:—

Curiosities of the Old Lottery.
Days of the Spinning-Wheel.
Some Strange and Curious Punishments.
Quaint and Curious Advertisements.
Literary Curiosities.
New-England Sunday, etc.

"It has been the good fortune of the writer to be allowed a peep at the manuscript for this series, and he can assure the lovers of the historical and the quaint in literature that something both valuable and pleasant is in store for them. In the specialties treated of in these books Mr. Brooks has been for many years a careful collector and student, and it is gratifying to learn that the material is to be committed to book form."—Salem Gazette.

For sale by all Booksellers. Sent, post-paid, upon receipt of price. Catalogues of our books mailed free.

TICKNOR & CO., Boston.

[Pg i]



[Pg ii]

"To say that the past is of no importance, unworthy of a moment's regard, because it has gone by, and is no longer anything, is an argument that cannot be held to any purpose; for if the past has ceased to be, and is therefore to be accounted nothing in the scale of good or evil, the future is yet to come, and has never been anything."Hazlitt.

"In my young days, when I was leetle,
The only steam came from the kettle.
"The Gals on good old Dobbins rid then,
But folks don't do as they used to did then.
"Heigho! I grieve, I grieve
For the good old days of Adam and Eve."

From Henry J. Finn's "Good Old Times,"

October, 1827.

[Pg iii]




The Days of the Spinning-Wheel in New England

"Old and new make the warp and woof of every moment. There is
no thread that is not a twist of these two strands. By necessity, by
proclivity, and by delight, we all quote."—Emerson



[Pg iv]

Copyright, 1885,
By Ticknor and Company.

All rights reserved.

University Press:
John Wilson and Son, Cambridge.

[Pg v]


Aberdour, John Lord71Carr, Colonel68
Adams, Samuel71Chase, Samuel & William21
Amherst, General38Clark, John68
Amiel, John53Clark, Stephen13
Amory, Jonathan79Clarke, Richard59
Apthorp, Charles Ward30Clarke, Sukey59
Apthorpe, Charles33Cole, Patrick68
Apthorpe, Rev. Mr.33Colman, Rev. Henry97
Apthorpe, Susan33Cooper, William20
Ashton, John35Copeland, E. Jr.86
Avery, John55, 56Copley, John Singleton59, 72
Crocker, Cornelius10
Balch, Rev. Mr.29Crosby, John60
Balkum, Daniel89
Barnard, Benjamin61Daland, B.97
Belknap, Jeremiah29Dalrymple, Colonel68
Bernard, Gov. Francis35, 36, 37, 46Dana, Rev. Mr.81
Blanchard, Caleb84Darley, Arthur57
Bollan, William9Davis, Joshua60
Bowditch, Nathaniel42Deane, Rev. Samuel93
Bowdoin, Hon. James33Deane, Mrs.93
Bowdoin, Miss33Deshon, Moses15
Brattle, William63Douglass, Mr.39, 41
Breck, Samuel88
Brenton, Benjamin54Eastlake, Sir Charles6
Britt, Thomas59Edes & Gill11,16,32,43
Brown, B.97Elliot, Sally33
Brown, Obadiah64Elliot, Simon33, 85, 86
Bulfinch, Dr. Thomas33Ellis, Mrs.91
Butler, Mr.21Ellis, Rev. Mr.90
Elwell, Edward H.93
Caldwell, James68Emerson, R.W.6
Carpenter, Captain19Erving, John67

[Pg vi]
Flemming, Albert98Minot, George R.70
Flynt, Henry17, 18Monk, Christopher68
Fowle & Draper48Morgan, Captain34, 35
Franklin, Dr. Benjamin24Morton, Captain68
Franklin, Elizabeth24Murray, Mrs.82
Murray, Rev. Mr.82
Gay, Martin59
Gordon, James79Oliver, Andrew37
Gorham, Joseph10
Gray, Samuel68Paine, William50
Green & Russell34, 47, 52Parker, David68
Greene, John68Parkman, Samuel80
Gwin, Captain56Payne, Edward68
Peirce, Benjamin42
Hancock, John69Pelham, Charles72
Haskell, Philemon91Pelham, Mrs.72
Hawthorne, Nathaniel42Perkins, Thomas H.33
Henshaw, Joshua, Jr.59Phenix, John4
Hickling, William61Pickering, Colonel Timothy42, 46
Hill, Colonel John59Pickering, John42
Hill, Katherine59Pickering, Timothy, Sr.44, 46
Holyoke, Edward14Pope of Rome85
Hudson, James9Poynton, Thomas51, 52
Hurd, John62, 63Prescott, John39
Prescott, William H.42
Inch, John16Preston, Captain68
Prince of Wales28
Johnson, Mr.68
Queen Anne6
King Charles I.5
King George II.10Read, Thomas16
King George III.37, 44Revere, Paul71
Rhodes, Captain84
Lee, Francis H.86Rogers, Rev. Mr.13
Lewis, Phillip71Rowe, John54
Loyal, Paul35Ruskin, John99
Russell, Benjamin25
Macaulay, T.B.5Russell, Daniel65
Marshall, Thomas29
Mason, Colonel David39, 40Salisbury, Elizabeth67
Maverick, Samuel68Salisbury, Samuel67
Micklefield, William86, 87, 88Savage, Samuel Phillips63
Scott, William94

[Pg vii]
Shays, Daniel89Washington, George4
Shirley, General William28Waters, Josiah29
Spencer, Herbert6Watson, Mr.21
Stevens, Captain80Webb, Joseph, Jr.71
Storr, Marmaduke60Whipple, Joseph90
Story, Joseph42Whitefield, Rev. George57, 58
Story, William W.42Whitmore, Major-General66
Wickham, Captain56
Temple, Hon. John33Winter, Joshua80
Thorn, Dr.50Willard, Joseph75, 78
Treadwell, Jonathan92Williams, Jonathan70
Wolfe, General James25, 27
Upham, Charles W.47Wood, William13

[Pg 1]



Within the last few years many young ladies have searched country houses or ransacked old garrets to find spinning-wheels, which, like old chairs, tall clocks, and warming-pans, have now become objects of curiosity and interest to those who take a fancy to antique articles. It has become fashionable to have these things to adorn our Queen Anne houses. And brass andirons and shovels and tongs have come into request, so that we may enjoy the luxury of an open wood fire, which, to our mind, is one of the most cheerful things in this world. Some one has remarked "that to be well-dressed gives a feeling of satisfaction[Pg 2] that religion fails to give;" but to us, to sit before a blazing wood fire on a dull, cold evening, gives a feeling of comfort and delight which surpasses anything we know of. What charming companionship in a wood fire! Better than the company of uncongenial persons.

"Old wood to burn,"
"Old books to read:"

these are enough; we will leave out the "old wine to drink."

"This bright wood fire,
So like to that which warmed and lit
My youthful days, how doth it flit
Back on the periods nigher!
Re-lighting and re-warming with its glow
The bright scenes of my youth,—all gone out now."

Glance backward to some years before the Revolution, and we shall find a spinning-wheel in every house, and then, probably, in constant use. Now its place in our homes is taken by the piano. This instrument had not then come into use. Something resembling it,—namely, the spinnet or the harpsichord,—was to be found in some instances; but it was by no means common to find these, for there was but little knowledge of music in America in[Pg 3] those days. A hundred years ago, only one or two churches in Boston had organs, and the public taste, except in rare cases, was decidedly against music of all kinds, especially sacred music. To show how this was, we have heard an old lady say that when she was young, some eighty years or so ago, "musicians, for the most part, were not thought much of" by the most cultivated people of that time; and she assured me that even at a later date, members of military bands, as well as organists and violinists (then called fiddlers) were too often low characters and men much addicted to drinking. The times were too hard for the New England people of those days to cultivate music or indulge in entertainments of any kind except "going to meeting." There was but little money in circulation, and that was almost always in the form of a depreciated currency. Gold and silver were scarce articles, and a large proportion of the necessities of life and luxuries—if luxuries they could be called; they would hardly be so considered by us—were imported from England or elsewhere. The leading occupations were farming, fishing, making New England[Pg 4] rum, importing rum, sugar, and molasses from the West Indies, and dry goods from England. The common people were poor enough, in comparison with the condition of the same class at the present time, when they make as good an appearance as the wealthy did a hundred years ago. It would be safe to say that they have more comforts and conveniences in their homes to-day than the more prosperous had at the time of the Revolution. The humorist, John Phenix, said that "Gen'l Washington never saw a steamboat, nor rode in a railroad car;" and possibly his house was not heated by steam, or furnished with pipes for hot and cold water. Nor did he ever use gas, or the telegraph or telephone. Whether the people who lived then would have shown the extravagance which characterizes our time if they had possessed the means, is a question not easily to be answered; but it is certain they were more frugal than we are, if not more industrious. The Revolution left the masses of the people in rather a destitute condition, and they were forced to be economical. Their habits were so entirely different from modern habits that it would exceed our limits to undertake[Pg 5] to draw a careful comparison. It is said that the people of those days bewailed the degeneracy of the times, and spoke of the industry and frugality of earlier periods.

NORWICH, May 6, 1784.

A correſpondent obſerves, that the extravagances of the preſent day are fully demonſtrated in the broadcloth coats and ſilk gowns,—the powder and feathers, the ruffles and cardinals, the ſilk ſtockings and feet trappings—In the feaſts, the dancing parties and ſelect companies—and what is the more melancholy, all orders and degrees help form the circle.—Where is the ſimplicity in dreſs and manners; temperance in meats and drinks, which formed the virtuous characters of our illuſtrious anceſtors?—O! the degeneracy of the times!

Salem Gazette.

Just as our ancestors did, as Macaulay says, in the days of Charles the First; they thought they were not as good as their ancestors had been. This habit of looking back to a time so remote that "distance lends enchantment to the view," seems to be almost universal. It is this feeling of reverence for the old that makes it so interesting to us, and leads us to look at things of the past poetically rather than[Pg 6] practically; although it is true that sometimes the interest taken in inconvenient and uncomfortable articles arises rather from their age than from anything else. But oftentimes the very simplicity, solidity, and strength of old furniture, for instance, is charming, in contrast with the elaborate, unmeaning carvings and flimsy character of more modern productions. We are beginning to see how much more sensible the Chippendale and other styles commended by Eastlake and some other writers on household art are to much that has been produced in later times. Yet we must allow that prejudice and fashion go a great way in determining our likes and dislikes, in furniture as well as in dress and other things. Very likely in a few years we shall tire of the Queen Anne houses and furniture, and hard floors, and have a surfeit of Anglomania, especially if we carry the taste too far. In this country, as Emerson says, "Every rider drives too fast." It is hard to be simple and slow. We must build fast, eat fast, and live fast. But Emerson says again, "Nature has no respect for haste." Herbert Spencer has given us in a[Pg 7] kindly spirit some hints on this score which it would be well to heed. But we are wandering from our immediate subject. Our desire is to illustrate, in the very words of the people of the period we refer to, the views they entertained of economy and industry, and how they carried them out. We will begin, then, in the year 1759, with a curious letter to the "Boston Gazette" of June 11 of that year, in which the writer gives some account of the cost of provisions at that period.

To the Trading and Farming People of New England.


I Have been coming and going among you ſince the Year 1745. I am now once more on Service in this Part of the World, and not a little ſurprized at the Alteration in the Value of your Proviſions, ſince my Knowledge of your Country. When I firſt came among you, I could have bought a Pound of Beef for a Penny, a Gooſe for a Shilling, a Fowl for three Pence, and ſo in Proportion. It now is, I think, four Pence Sterling for a Pound of Beef, eighteen Pence Sterling for a Fowl, and three Shillings for a Gooſe. Pray Gentlemen, when that is the Price at Boſton, what muſt we pay for it at Louisbourg, after it has gone thro' the Hands of many different People that are to live out of it. Our Pay is not increaſed.[Pg 8]

I would ſay nothing to influence you to ſell cheaper, from Motives diſintereſted or publick ſpirited, as that weighs but little with the Generality of Mankind. But conſider your own Intereſt, the War can laſt but little longer: This Campaign, in all Probability, will put an End to it, then where will you find a Market for your Stock you raiſe. Conſider with the Fall of this preſent Summer, its pretty certain the Soldiers and Seamen at preſent employed for your Defence, will be called to Britain: Take the Market while it holds Gentlemen. We have Beef found us, that is to ſay, the Publick purchaſes it; let us now and then taſte of your Veal, Mutton and Fowls for our Money, and we will ſpend all among you; and we expect both Intereſt and Inclination will prompt you to give us an ample Supply.

I am your Friend, An ANTI-CANADIAN.

In the same paper is an auction advertisement, showing how they mixed the different kinds of property.

To be Sold by publick Vendue on Scarlet's Wharff, at the North End of Boſton, THIS AFTERNOON, at IV o'Clock, Sundry Hogſheads of Sugar, four likely Negro Men, and a Parcel of old Copper; Prize Goods lately brought into this Port.

[Pg 9]

On the 19th November we are shown how remittances were made in those days.

We hear that the Treaſurer of this Province has received a Bill of Lading for two Boxes of Portugal Gold, ſhip'd by Mr. Agent Bollan, on board the Mercury Man of War, amounting to Twenty thouſand ſix hundred and eighty Pounds, ſeventeen ſhillings and ſix Pence; being Part of the £27,000 granted by Parliament in 1757, to this Province, to recompence them for the Expences they were at in the Expedition in 1756.—Said Ship may be daily expected.

And here is a description of a vessel of the time.

Mr. James Hudſon came Paſſenger in the Veſſel that arriv'd at Cape-Ann, mention'd in our laſt, which ſaw a Wreck in Lat: 36, he ſays, ſhe was a Frigate built Ship of about 200 Tons burthen, had a Lion Head painted yellow, a ſhort Topgal on Quarter-Deck, a ſmall Tafrail painted yellow, Quarters and Stern painted blue, had a large Trophies painted on her Stern and gilt, full of Water, and no living Perſon on board.

On the 5th February in that year, this was the way they advertised for recruits for the Government[Pg 10] service, offering among other inducements, "a Crown to drink the King's health."

All able-bodied fit Men that have an Inclination to ſerve His Majeſty King GEORGE the Second, in the firſt Independent Company of Rangers, now in the Province of Nova-Scotia, commanded by Joſeph Gorham, Eſq; ſhall, on inliſting, receive good Pay and Cloathing, a large Bounty, with a Crown to drink the King's Health. And by repairing to the Sign of the Bear in King-Street, Boſton, and to Mr. Cornelius Crocker, Innholder in Barnſtable, may hear the particular Encouragement, and many Advantages accruing to a Soldier, in the Courſe of the Duty of that Company, too long to inſert here; and further, may depend on being diſcharged at the Expiration of the Time entertained for, and to have every other Encouragement punctually compli'd with.

There was a meeting of "very agreeable Ladies" in the interests of economy about the same time.

In a large Circle of very agreeable Ladies in this Town, it was unanimouſly agreed to lay aſide the Uſe of Ribbons, &c. &c. &c. for which there has been ſo great a Reſort to Milliners in times paſt——It is hoped that this Reſolution will be followed by others of the Sex throughout the Province—How[Pg 11] agreeable will they appear in their native Beauty, ſtript of theſe Ornaments, from the prevailing Motive of Love to their Country.

We muſt after all our Efforts, depend greatly upon the Female Sex for the Introduction of Oeconomy among us: And thoſe who have the Pleaſure of an Acquaintance with them, aſſure us that their utmoſt Aid will not be wanting.

So ſtrong is the Diſpoſition of the Inhabitants of this Town to take off the Manufactures that come from the Country Towns, eſpecially Womens and Childrens Winter Apparel, that nothing is wanting but an Advertiſement where they may be had in Town, which will be taken in, and publiſhed by the Printers of this Paper Gratis.

Labrador tea began to take the place of green and bohea.

Meſſieurs Edes & Gill,

The uſe of Hyperion or Labradore Tea, is every day coming into more general vogue among people of all ranks. The virtues of the plant or ſhrub from which this delicate Tea is gathered, were firſt diſcovered by the Aborigines, and from them the Canadians learned them. It ſoon became into ſuch repute that quantities were ſent to France, where I have heard ſay, it was ſoon in ſuch demand, as alarmed the French Eaſt-India company, and procured[Pg 12] an ordinance prohibiting the importation of any more on the pain of death. So little do ſome politicians regard the health or even the life of man, when either of them appear to be incompatible with their particular intereſts, views and projects. Before the ceſſion of Canada to Great-Britain, we knew little or nothing of this moſt excellent herb: but ſince that we have been taught to find it growing on every hill and dale, between the Lat. 40 & 60. It is to be found all over New-England in great plenty, and that of the beſt quality, particularly on the banks of Penobſcot, Kennebeck, Nichewannock and Merrimac. Immenſe quantities may be found on the mountains near the great lakes.

Nothing ſhort of the higheſt degree of infatuation and madneſs could ever have prevailed with us to introduce unwholeſome Exoticks. The voice of reaſon crys louder than ever for their perpetual baniſhment; and the further uſe of them muſt be accounted for but by the force of invincible prejudice. This indeed ſometimes leads to a preference of rank poiſon if far fetched and dear bought, to the moſt ſalubrious draught at hand, with little pains or coſt, tho' of ineſtimable value.

A Tea-Drinker.

The following items, Sept. 17, 1759, throw some light on the state of the country in some[Pg 13] parts of New England, where, even if the "Lyons" once seen at Cape Ann by Wood had departed, there were still some bears, one having been seen within two miles of Boston.

We hear from Brentwood, in New Hampſhire Government, as two Children were gathering Beans in a Field, a large Bear came upon them and kill'd them both;—The Bear was purſued, but could not be found.

Alſo from Cheſter, in the ſame Government, that a few Days after the above, another Bear came behind a Woman as ſhe was walking along, not far from her Houſe, and tore off the hind Part of her Gown, which he carried off in his Mouth;—but the Woman happily made her Eſcape from him.

And from Kingſton, in the County of Worceſter, we hear, that on Tueſday laſt as Mr. Stephen Clark of that Town was out a Hunting after Bears, his Next Door Neighbour went out into his Cornfield juſt at Evening, and ſeeing ſomething move which he thought was one of thoſe Animals, ſhott at it, and upon his coming to the place, found it to be Mr. Clark as above-mention'd, ſhot thro' his Head, to his great ſurprize.

We hear from Kittery, that in about 13 Days paſt, ſeven large Bears have been kill'd within a Mile of the Rev. Mr. Rogers's Meeting Houſe.

It is ſaid ſome of theſe voracious Animals have ventured down even to ſome of the Seaport Towns[Pg 14] at the Eaſtward.—Two of them were ſeen at Medford laſt Week; and one of them has been lately killed within two Miles of this Metropolis. Some have weighed above 300 lb. Wt.

Notice to Students of Harvard College:

This is to give Notice to the Candidates for their ſecond Degree at Harvard-College this Year, that they attend at the College by the 11th Day of July next, and if any ſhall neglect their Attendance accordingly, without ſufficient Reaſon therefor, they may not expect their ſaid Degrees this Year.

Cambridge, June 9, 1759.

Edward Holyoke, Preſident.

Notice is hereby given to all who deſire an Admisſion into Harvard College this Year, That the Preſident and Tutors have determined to attend the Buſineſs of Examination on Friday and Saturday the 19th and 20th Days of July next.

Cambridge, June 9, 1759. Edward Holyoke, Pres.

When we remember the present condition of the city of Lynn, it is interesting to note how that place stood in reference to the shoe industry in the year 1762. The "Boston Gazette" of November 2 says:[Pg 15]

We are confidently told, that in the Town of Lynn upwards of Forty Thouſand Pair of Womens Shoes have been made in one Year, equal in Goodneſs to any imported from Abroad—It is thought that in a few Years they will be ſupply'd with Callimanco and other Stuffs manufactured in this Province.

The statement has often been made by connoisseurs that there was no mahogany furniture in America before the Revolution; but this is a mistake, for here, in the "Boston Gazette" of Feb. 5, 1759, is an advertisement announcing the sale of a "Beautiful Mehogany Desk and Book-Case." Probably this was an early specimen of such kind of work, as mahogany, it is said, was not introduced into Europe long before this time.

To be Sold by Moſes Deſhon,

On Dock-Square, Next Wedneſday, at V o'Clock, in the Afternoon, and Friday Evening following.

A Handſome 8 Day Clock, a Braſs Grate, Shovel Fire, Tongs, Tables, and a Variety of other Articles; a fine Aſſortment of Engliſh, Scotch, and French Goods. N.B. A beautiful Mehogany Deſk and Book-Caſe; and a Quantity of Cannon-Powder to diſpoſe of at private Sale.

[Pg 16]

A curious advertisement of a runaway convict in Maryland appears in the same paper, Sept. 15, 1759:—

Fifteen Piſtoles Reward.

Ran-away from the Subſcriber, (living at ANNAPOLIS, in MARYLAND) in June laſt, a Convict Servant Man, named Thomas Read, alias Cutbert, about 25 or 30 Years of Age, 5 Feet, 4 Inches high, well ſet, grey Eyes, large Noſe, and had ſhort brown curl'd Hair. He is ſuppoſed to be in Boſton, or ſome of the Northern Governments; is a Jeweller, and Motto-Ring-Engraver, and is an artful talkative pert Fellow;—can write pretty well, and has doubtleſs help'd himſelf to a Diſcharge, Paſs, or any other Writing to deceive, and ſuit his Purpoſe; His Apparel is probably genteel, as he had Money with him, a Watch in his Pocket, and a large Stock of Pride; By what Name he now goes is uncertain, as he has Impudence eno to pick & chuſe any he ſhould think proper.

Whoever takes the ſaid Convict Servant, and returns him to his Maſter, ſhall have FIFTEEN PISTOLES Reward, and reaſonable Charges paid, by

Annapolis, September 15,

Boston, Printed and Sold by Edes & Gill. 1759.

[Pg 17]

In the year 1762 there appears to have been quite a stir in reference to economy and home productions, and doubtless the spinning-wheels were constantly in use. In the "Boston Gazette," November 2, is a very curious letter of Henry Flynt, a noted teacher, addressed to the ladies of North America.

To the LADIES of North America.


I am one of thoſe who think it not only high Time but of the laſt Importance, that you ſhould be publickly addreſſed: And of the many ingenious Pens, which in the Courſe of a few Years have informed and enlightened this Country, I have often wiſhed that at leaſt ſome one of them had been more particularly devoted to your Service. This would have agreeably prevented me in an attempt to which I find myſelf in all Reſpects but too unequal. Yet relying on your good Senſe and Candour, I venture to lay at your Feet a few well-intended Sentiments, which tho' in a plain homeſpun Garb, I hope will not offend. I am convinced that at this preſent it is not only in your Inclination and Will, but alſo in your Power, to effect more in favour of your Country, than an Army of an Hundred Thouſand Men; and indeed more than all the armed Men on this vaſt Continent.—Can a Woman forget her Ornaments? Yes I know ſhe can. Deborah once judged Iſrael, and ſome think it was never judged much[Pg 18] better afterwards. But what tho't Deborah or Jael of their Ornaments, when the one was contriving, & the other driving the Nail that would go? What tho't beautiful Eſther of her Ornaments, when thoſe of her Kindred & Houſhold were in immediate and imminent Danger, by the Decree treacherouſly obtained by Haman, from the mouth of her beloved and almoſt adored Lord Ahaſuerus the Great? What tho't Judith of her Ornaments, when ſhe was ſevering the Head of Holofernes from his Body, or while flying with the Prize to the Relief of her deſpairing Friends? The Time would fail me, were I to recount the wondrous Deeds and mighty Atchievements of renowned and honorable Women in all Ages.

I have but alluded to a few Inſtances, among many of divine Heroiſm in your Sex, which hath often ſaved a Country, when the dull ploding Wiſdom of man has been totally at a Plunge. How near we are to ſuch a Criſis, is left to the Conjecture of others. It would be a little out of Nature to expect the Birth and Exploits of Heroines to take Place before thoſe of Heroes. I believe we ſhall be furniſhed with both in their Order, as Occaſion may require. All I think at preſent that can be reaſonably expected or deſired of you, is to conſent to lay aſide all ſuperfluous Ornaments for a Seaſon—after which they ſhall be ſurely returned to you again with Intereſts.—You ſhall be cloathed in Purple, and Scarlet, and Fine Linnen of our own, and with other glorious Apparel; which, if poſſible, ſhall add a Luſtre to your native Charms.


[Pg 19]

Newport, R.I., has the reputation of having been engaged in the slave-trade before the Revolution; and the following item, in the "Boston Gazette," June 30, 1762, noticing without comment the arrival of a Guinea trader there, would seem to show it to have been not an uncommon occurrence.

We hear from Newport, Rhode Iſland, That Capt. Carpenter was arrived there from the Coaſt of Guinea, having had 104 Days Paſſage, ten Days whereof they were without Meat, but had a Sufficiency of Rice and Corn. They loſt but ſix Slaves out of 69 they bro't out with them.

On the 5th of November "the gunpowder treason and plot" was formerly pretty generally remembered,—by the boys, at least, who made bonfires and burned tar-barrels. We believe the custom has fallen into disuse except in Salem and Marblehead, where there seems to be a little "Colonialism" left. As recently as 1885 the writer saw a bonfire in honor of the occasion on a hill near the latter place. In 1762 there must have been quite a demonstration, if we can judge anything[Pg 20] by a vote of the town of Boston. Englishmen visiting us have sometimes expressed astonishment at learning that this curious custom should still be kept up here, while it had been abolished at home.

Upon a motion made, Voted, That the Town will take all proper Meaſures, by keeping in their Children and Servants, & other Ways, to prevent the Diſturbances which have ſometimes happened on or about the 5th Day of November.


William Cooper, Town-Clerk.

Tueſday laſt (5th November) being the Anniverſary of the happy Deliverance of the Britiſh Nation from the Popiſh Powder Plot, at Noon the Guns at Caſtle William and at the Batteries in this Town were fired: At One all the nine Men of War then in this Harbour alſo fired.

From the Essex Gazette, Nov. 12, 1771.

The accommodation offered for travel between Boston and New York before the Revolution must have been slim enough, judging from an advertisement in the "Boston[Pg 21] Gazette" in 1761. Passengers then went by vessel from Providence; that is, "Gentlemen Passengers." Whether ladies were accommodated or not, does not appear; but perhaps they were in the habit of going by stage, taking a week or so to accomplish the journey, or, more than likely, few ever travelled at all in those times. In our day, when every one is on the move, it is hard to realize this state of things.

Notice is Given, That SAMUEL and WILLIAM CHACE, of Providence, have a ſuitable Veſſel that goes ſteadily between there and New-York. So that all Gentlemen Paſſengers and others that incline to take the Rout from Boston to New-York, or from New-York to Boston, may be well accommodated.

Providence, Aug. 29, 1761.

"In 1756," Watson says, "the first stage was started between Philadelphia and New York by Mr. Butler; three days through in summer time, five and six in winter. In 1765 a second stage was started, to go through positively in three days. This was a covered[Pg 22] Jersey wagon,—fare, twopence per mile. In 1766 another stage, called the 'Flying Machine,' was started, to go through in two days,—threepence per mile."

A brief account of Montreal in the "Boston Gazette," March 30, 1761.

NEW-YORK, March 23.

Extract of a Letter from Montreal.

——"The Caſe of the poor Canadians is really deplorable, occaſioned by the bankruptcy of the crown of France. Many of them who had, with great danger and labour, acquired eſtates worth 20,000 l. ſterl. by the fur-trade, or otherwiſe, can now ſcarce procure a dinner. All their remittances from their mother country, conſiſted in bills on the French King, which are not now worth one farthing, as no body whatever will accept of them in payment. It is computed there is above the value of 3,000,000 l. ſterling of theſe uſeleſs paper ſcraps, circulated through the colony, which, as a reward to the wretched inhabitants for all their hardſhips and fatigues, muſt now ſupply the place of affluence and independence. Moſt, if not all of them, are perfectly reconciled to the Britiſh government, as they can now with ſecurity enjoy any little property they have; whereas formerly, Governor Vaudreuil made no ceremony of ſeizing the produce[Pg 23] of their lands, their merchandize and manufactures of every kind, and after conveying them to the King's ſtore houſes, paid to the proprietors any price he pleaſed. If the owners thereafter had occaſion for any of their own commodities, they could not procure them under twenty times the price they had received.

"Montreal in general is a well built town, but incapable of any defence. The churches are elegant, and the houſes of ſome of their principal men are really magnificent; though few in number. The Hotel Dieu is by far the fineſt hoſpital I ever ſaw, every thing in it is extremely neat and convenient.

"The people here are extravagantly fond of dreſs; a ſtranger would take Montreal to be a city inhabited by none but the rich and idle: they are all finely powdered, walk with their hats under their arms, and wear long coats, adorned with tinſel lace, and buttoned down to the extremity. Since I came here, I have not ſeen one man dreſſed like a tradeſman. The ladies in general are handſome, extremely gay, and well bred."

In 1767 the best soap and "dipt" and "mould" candles were sold at the post-office in Boston, according to an advertisement in the "Gazette" of October 26. The candles were made of tallow, and gave but little light, requiring almost constant snuffing. Other kinds of[Pg 24] candles were not in general use in New England in the last century. Sperm oil and sperm or wax candles could be used only by the wealthy. Many families, for economy, made their own candles. This practice was common in New England down to within fifty years.

It will be recollected that Dr. Franklin's father was a tallow-chandler in Boston, and that the Doctor himself worked at the business when a boy. Elizabeth Franklin, whose name appears in the following advertisement, was probably a relative of the family.

Elizabeth Franklin,
At the Poſt-Office,

The best true Crown Soap, Alicant beſt hard Soap, by the Doz. or ſingle Pound, dipt and mould Candles at the loweſt Price.

Every week the burials and baptisms in Boston were thus inserted in the papers. The following is from the "Gazette" of Nov. 23, 1767:[Pg 25]

Buried in the Town of Boſton ſince our laſt,
Five Whites.           Three Blacks.
Baptiz'd in the ſeveral Churches, Four.

This custom was continued many years. We take the following from the "Massachusetts Centinel," April 2, 1788:—

BURIED in town laſt week 11—BAPTISED 14.

Publiſhed by BENJAMIN RUSSELL, near the
State-Houſe, Boſton.

General Wolfe's Manifesto from the "Boston Gazette," Dec. 10, 1759.

As the Manifeſto lately publiſhed was only a Tranſlation from a French Manuſcript, we are requeſted to publiſh the following, which is

General WOLFE's Manifeſto,
as written by Himſelf.

The formidable Sea and Land Armament which the People of Canada now behold in the Heart of their Country is intended by the King my Maſter to check the inſolence of France;—To revenge the Inſults offered to the[Pg 26] Britiſh Colonies, and totally deprive the French of their moſt valuable Settlements in North-America.

For theſe Purpoſes only is the Formidable Army under my Command intended.

The King of Great-Britain wages no War with the Induſtrious Peaſant, the ſacred Orders of Religion, or the defenceleſs Women and Children: To theſe in their diſtreſsful Circumſtances His Royal Clemency offers Protection. The People may remain unmoleſted on their Lands, inhabit their Houſes, and enjoy their Religion in Security. For theſe ineſtimable Bleſſings, I expect the Canadians will take no Part in the Great Conteſt between the two Crowns; But if by a vain Obſtinacy, and miſguided Valour, they preſume to appear in Arms, they muſt expect the moſt fatal Conſequences; their Habitations deſtroyed, their ſacred Temples expoſed to the Fury of an exaſperated Soldiery; their Harveſt utterly ruined, and the only Paſſage of Relief ſtopped up by a moſt formidable Fleet.—In this unhappy Situation, and cloſely attacked by another great Army, what can the wretched Natives expect from Oppoſition!

THE unparelelled Barbarities exerted by the French againſt our Settlements in America, might juſtify the bittereſt Revenge in the Army under my Command; but Britons breathe higher Sentiments of Humanity, and liſten to the merciful Dictates of the Chriſtian Religion. Yet ſhould you ſuffer yourſelves to be deluded by an imaginary Proſpect of our want of Succeſs; ſhould you refuſe thoſe Terms, and perſiſt[Pg 27] in Oppoſition; Then ſurely will the Law of Nations juſtify the Waſte of War, ſo neceſſary to cruſh an ungenerous Enemy: and Then, the miſerable Canadians muſt in the Winter have the Mortification of ſeeing thoſe very Families, they have been exerting a fruitleſs and indiſcreet Bravery for, periſh by the moſt diſmal Want and Famine.

In this great Dilemma let the Wiſdom of the People of Canada ſhew itſelf!

BRITAIN ſtretches out a powerful, yet a merciful Hand, Faithful to her Engagements, and ready to ſecure them in their moſt valuable Rights and Poſſeſſions.

FRANCE, unable to ſupport Canada, deſerts her Cauſe at this important Criſis, and during the whole War has aſſiſted her with Troops, who have been maintained only by making the Natives feel all the Weight of grievous and lawleſs Oppreſſion.


Boſton, November 2, 1761.

Laſt Evening, juſt at Eight o'Clock, this Town was alarmed with the Shock of an EARTHQUAKE.


[Pg 28]

On the 15th of August, 1763, the "Boston Post-Boy" gives the following account of the celebration of a royal birthday:—

BOSTON, Auguſt 15.

On Friday being the Birth-Day of the Prince of Wales, and the Anniverſary of the Acceſſion of the Houſe of Hanover, and alſo of the Surrender of the Havanna, which was the immediate Means of bringing about the Peace; at One o'Clock the Guns at the Caſtle and Town Batteries were Fired; and in the Evening his Excellency the Governor gave a Ball at Concert Hall. There were preſent about 240 Gentlemen and Ladies; the Ball was opened by General Shirley and the Governor's Lady about 8 o'Clock; the Country Dances began about nine, and about ten a Supper Room was opened, where was a very handſome Collation. The Ladies made a brilliant Appearance, and the Company expreſſed the higheſt Pleaſure and Satisfaction on the Occaſion, and broke up about two in the Morning. The whole was conducted with the greateſt Order, Elegance and Decorum.

The great military "occasion" of those days was the annual parade of the Ancient and Honorable Artillery Company. In June, 1763,[Pg 29] that Company celebrated its one hundred and twenty-fifth anniversary. In the "Boston Post-Boy" of June 13 we have this account:—

Monday laſt, agreeable to ancient Cuſtom, the Artillery Company of the Province, appeared under Arms, being the Anniverſary of the Election of Officers for the Company: A Sermon was preached by the Rev'd Mr. Balch of Dedham, at the Old Brick Meeting-Houſe, where his Excellency the Governor, the Members of his Majeſty's Council and Houſe of Repreſentatives, with a Number of other Gentlemen, attended; after which they proceeded to Faneuil-Hall, where an elegant Dinner was provided; and in the Afternoon the following Gentlemen were choſen for the enſuing Year, viz.

Thomas Marſhall, Eſq; Captain,
Mr. Joſiah Waters, Lieutenant,
Mr. Jeremiah Belknap, Enſign.

In the Evening a plentiful Repaſt was given by the Officers newly elected, at Faneuil-Hall; where many loyal Healths were drank.

After the great fire in Boston in March, 1760, this item appeared in the "Gazette" of May 19:[Pg 30]

We hear that Charles Ward Apthorp, Eſq; of N.-York, Merchant, upon hearing of the Calamity which had befallen this Town by the late dreadful Fire, generouſly ordered his Agent here to pay to the Gentlemen appointed to receive the Donations of charitable diſpos'd Perſons the Sum of One Hundred Pounds, L.M. for the Relief of the Sufferers.

Mr. Apthorp, of New York, made this generous donation—a large sum for that time—for the relief of the sufferers of his native place.

On the 30th of March, 1761, the "Boston Gazette" prints the following among its items of news:—

The following Proverbs we hope will not be diſregarded, tho' taken from a Book in the Hands of almoſt every Freeholder in this Province; for they are true Engliſh Proverbs——

Look before you leap—Wiſe Men think twice before they act once—Avoidance is better than late Repentance—Put your Hand in the Lion's Mouth, then get it out if you can—Haſte makes Waſte—Faſt bind faſt find—A Wedge once enter'd, the Log flies—You may add, when you cannot take away—Cut your Coat[Pg 31] according to your Cloth—A raſh Beginning makes a fooliſh Ending—Better late than never—He that acts for others, ſhould act with Caution—Once well done is twice done—A wiſe Man foreſeeth the Storm and ſecureth himſelf——Of all Murderers, Self-Murderers are the moſt ſtupid—A Snake in the Graſs may bite before it is ſeen.

A Word to the Wiſe is ſufficient. Amen.

Boston in Olden Times.—The "Boston Transcript," in a notice of the newspapers published in Boston in 1767, of which there were ten, says: The printer in those days was a man of "all work." If a negro or horse was up for sale, the printer was the seller. The advertisements in these old papers are curiosities in their line. The following notices appeared in the advertising columns of the "Boston Evening Gazette," in 1741:—

"To be sold by the Printer of this Paper, the very best negro woman in this town, who has had the small pox and the measles; is as hearty as a horse, as brisk as a bird, and will work like a beaver."

"To be sold by the Printer of this Paper, a negro man about thirty years old, who can do both town and country business very well, but will suit the country best, where they have not so many dram-shops[Pg 32] as we have in Boston. He has worked at the printing business fifteen or sixteen years; can handle axe, saw, spade, hoe, or other instrument of husbandry, as well as most men, and values himself, and is valued by others, for his skill in cookery."

This item, from a paper of 1767, seems to show that the Government was not then obliged to have a "bill" to uphold silver, for it was evidently in the ascendency; but there was no Western territory at that time, or rather, it had not been discovered.

Gold as well as Silver will be taken for the Tickets, and the Prizes paid off in like Manner. Prizes not demanded within Twelve Months after Drawing, will not be paid, but will be deem'd as generouſly given for the Purpoſe aforeſaid, and applied accordingly.

Tickets to be had of the reſpective Managers, and of Edes and Gill.

Fashionable weddings in the days of the spinning-wheel were not so fully described as they are at the present day. Nothing used[Pg 33] to be said about the "magnificent dresses," "best man," "ushers," "contracting parties," "elegant presents," etc., etc.; there was a simple announcement of the fact. Here are specimens of marriage announcements,—persons belonging to the first families in Boston.

"Boston Gazette," Feb. 5, 1759.

Laſt Thurſday Morning, was married at King's-Chappel, Dr. Thomas Bulfinch, Son of the late Dr. Bulfinch of this Town, to Mrs. Susan Apthorpe, Daughter of the late Charles Apthorpe, Eſq; The Rev'd Mr. Apthorpe perform'd the Ceremony, before a very great Number of Spectators.

"Columbian Centinel," March 26, 1788.

——Mr. THOMAS H. PERKINS, merchant, to Miſs SALLY ELLIOT, only daughter of Mr. Simon Elliot.

"Gazette," Jan. 26, 1767.

BOSTON, January 26, 1767.

Tueſday the Honorable John Temple, Eſq; Surveyor-General of North-America, was married to Miſs Bowdoin, Daughter of the Honorable James Bowdoin, Eſq; of this Town.

[Pg 34]

Specimen of a house in "Corn-Hill," from the "Post-Boy," May 7, 1763.


A Large and Commodious Brick Dwelling-Houſe, pleaſently ſcituated in Corn-Hill: For further particulars Enquire of Green & Ruſſell Printers in Queen-ſtreet.

The "Virginia Gazette" gives an account of an early and bold attempt at British impressment of seamen. This business caused us a great deal of trouble in after years, and was one of the causes of "Madison's War," as the old people were fond of calling it.

The press-gang was one of the peculiar institutions of Great Britain.

BOSTON, October 26, 1767.

By the Virginia Gazette, of the firſt Inſtant, it appears that Captain Morgan, of the Hornet Sloop of War, concerted a bloody riotous Plan, to impreſs Seamen, at Norfolk, for which Purpoſe, his Tender was equipped with Guns and Men, and under Cover of the Night ſaid Morgan landed at a public Wharff, having firſt made proper Diſpoſitions either for an Attack or Retreat, then went to a Tavern, and took[Pg 35] a chearful Glaſs, after which they went to work, and took every Perſon they met with, and knocked all down that reſiſted; and dragged them on board the Tender; but the Town ſoon took the Alarm, and being headed by Paul Loyal, Eſq; a Magiſtrate, they endeavoured to convince Capt. Morgan of his Error, and being deaf to all they ſaid he ordered the People in the Tender to fire on the Inhabitants, but they refuſed to obey their Commanders Orders, and he was ſoon obliged to fly, leaving ſome of the Hornets behind, who were ſent to Gaol, but were afterwards releaſed.

Mr. John Ashton, in his recently published work on "Social Life in England at the end of the Eighteenth Century," informs us that one evening in the year 1790, 2,100 men were pressed in London alone, besides many more at the seaport towns.

In the summer of 1762 there was a severe drought in Massachusetts, and the Governor issued a proclamation recommending public prayers for rain; but it will be noticed that he says if rain should come before the day set apart for prayers, then, instead of humiliation, it would be the duty of the people to make it a day of thanksgiving. The proclamation[Pg 36] referred to was published in the "Boston Post-Boy" of July 13, 1762.

By His Excellency


Captain-General and Governor in Chief, in and over His Majeſty's Province of Maſſachuſetts-Bay in New-England, and Vice-Admiral of the ſame.


For a Day of Public Prayer.

It having pleaſed Almighty God to viſit this Province with another ſevere Drought, which, if it ſhould continue much longer, cannot fail of bringing great Diſtreſs upon the Inhabitants thereof—We are again called upon to ſupplicate the Interpoſition of Divine Providence to relieve this Country from the imminent Danger with which it is threatned, by diſpenſing timely and plentiful Rain.

I have therefore thought fit to appoint, and I do, by and with the Advice of His Majeſty's Council, appoint Wedneſday the Twenty-eighth Day of this[Pg 37] Inſtant July to be a Day of Public Prayer throughout the Province: Whereon the whole People may as at one Time humble themſelves before Almighty God, acknowledging their great Unworthineſs, and confeſſing their manifold Sins, and imploring the Supreme Diſpenſer of all Good, that He would be graciouſly pleaſed not to with-hold from them the Fruits of the Earth, but by ſeaſonable and refreſhing Rains bring what yet remains undeſtroyed to a due and ſeaſonable Maturity.

And whereas ſome Places have been exempted from the general Want of Rain; and it is to be hoped that before the Day appointed as aforeſaid, many others, and poſſibly the whole Province, may have a gracious and timely Relief: It will be our Duty to intermix Thankſgiving with Humiliation, in ſuch a Manner as the State of the Province, and particular Parts thereof, ſhall at that Time require.

And I do order the ſaid Day to be obſerved as a Day ſet apart for Religious Worſhip, and that no ſervile Labour or Recreation be permitted thereon.

GIVEN at the Council-Chamber in Boſton, the Ninth Day of July, 1762, in the Second Year of the Reign of our Sovereign Lord GEORGE the Third, by the Grace of GOD, of Great-Britain, France, and Ireland, KING, Defender of the Faith, &c.

Fra. Bernard.

By His Excellency's Command,

A. OLIVER, Secr'y.

GOD Save the KING.

[Pg 38]

Fire-works to be "play'd off," Aug. 13, 1759. From the "Boston Gazette."

The Publick REJOICINGS in Town this Day, on Account of the Succeſs of His Majeſty's Arms in the Reduction of Ticonderoga, Niagara and Crown-Point, by the Troops under the Command of the victorious General AMHERST, are now beginning—A great Number of People have been employ'd in making Fire-Works, &c. which will be play'd off this Evening, when there will be a handſome illumination.

The "Post-Boy" of November 15 of that year prints the following:—

NEW-YORK, November 15.

The Ships Mancheſter and Edward, that arrived here lately from London, brought over no leſs than 206 Cheſts of Green and Bohea Teas, for the different Merchants of this City.

Since our laſt two Veſſels arrived here from Ireland, with about 2000 Firkins of choice Iriſh Butter, which we hope will bring down the Price of that Article.

We get an idea of men's clothing in 1767 from the following:[Pg 39]

Whereas in the Time of Divine Service Yeſterday, the Houſe of the Subſcriber was broke open, and the following Things ſtolen from thence, viz. a Chocolate-colour Coat and Jacket trim'd with Braſs Buttons, a cloth-colour'd cut-velvet Jacket with white Buttons, a pair Waſh-Leather Breeches with white Buttons, five Silver Tea-Spoons, and one large ditto, mark'd G.P. Whoever ſhall apprehend the Thief or Thieves, ſo that he or they may be convicted, ſhall have FOUR DOLLARS Reward, paid by


Concord, September 14, 1767.

Lectures were not common in the last century. It was not until within fifty or sixty years ago, when Lyceums began to be established, that the lecture system became developed.

We find that in 1769 a Mr. Douglass lectured in Boston, according to an advertisement in the "Chronicle," August 17th.

The well-known Colonel David Mason of the Revolution, who was a prominent figure among the patriots at Leslie's Retreat at the[Pg 40] North Bridge in Salem in February, 1775, was one of the earliest, if not the very first, to lecture in Salem upon a scientific subject. In the "Essex Gazette," Jan. 15, 1771, we find his advertisement:—

No longer than next Week, will
Continue to be exhibited, every Evening in which the Air is dry, (Saturday and Sunday excepted)

A Course of Experiments in that inſtructive and entertaining Branch of Natural PHILOSOPHY, called


To be accompanied with Methodical Lectures on the Nature and Properties of that WONDERFUL ELEMENT,

By David Maſon,

At his Dwelling-Houſe near the North Bridge.
The Courſe to conſiſt of two Lectures,
At a Piſtareen each Lecture.

As the Knowledge of Nature tends to enlarge the human Mind, and give us more noble, more grand and exalted Ideas of the Author of Nature, and if well purſued, ſeldom fails producing ſomething uſeful[Pg 41] to Man, 'tis hoped theſe Lectures may be thought worthy of Regard and Encouragement.

Tickets to be had at the above Place.

Poſitively the LAST NIGHT.
To-Morrow, being Friday,
Auguſt 17, 1769.
Mr. Douglaſs,
Will deliver the
Coats of Arms, Wigs, Ladies-head
&c., &c., &c., &c.
After which, will be pronounced
Some Select Pieces
The most Celebrated
*** Tickets for Admiſſion, to be had of Green and
Ruſſell, and at the Bunch of Grapes in King-Street.
At HALF-a-DOLLAR each.
To begin exactly at 8 o'clock.

[Pg 42]

Thus we see that Salem was early in the field of literature and science. Its citizens must take pride in remembering such great names as Nathaniel Bowditch, William H. Prescott, Joseph Story, Timothy Pickering, John Pickering, Benjamin Peirce, William W. Story, Nathaniel Hawthorne, and many others.

When we see the great waste of paper in these days,—handbills, circulars, and newspapers, which are blowing about the streets at times,—we sometimes wonder how it was in 1767, on October 19, when the following notice appeared in the "Boston Gazette."

This is to give Notice, That on TUESDAY the 27th Inſtant, the Bell-Cart will go thro' Boſton, to collect Linnen Rags for Milton Paper-Mill; as the higheſt Price will be given, all Houſe-keepers and others are deſired to have them in Readineſs.—And, as it appears that all Sorts of Paper now to be imported, will come at a much higher Price than uſual—if People will but ſave their Rags, it will not only be greatly intereſting to the Public that the aforeſaid Mill ſhould have a full Supply, but will alſo[Pg 43] encourage the manufacturing of all ſuch different Sorts of Paper as are generally uſed among us, and a little to ſpare the neighbouring Governments.

Here are two notices,—the first, nearly eight years before the battle of Lexington, sounds warlike; the second is a call to promote greater economy on the part of the inhabitants.

Meſſieurs Edes & Gill,

Pleaſe to inſert the following in your next.

It is rumoured, and ſome ſay with great Probability, that a Body of Troops are ordered to be in Readineſs at Halifax, to embark to any Part on the Continent of America, upon the firſt Notice of Uneaſineſs at the Novelties we daily expect.—It is as certain that America is alſo in Readineſs to defend their Liberties at the Riſque of every Thing elſe—there can be no Heſitation whenever the Alternative ſhall be Slavery or Death—If therefore they wait to know whether we will tamely ſubmit to Slavery, the ſooner the Matter is bro't to a Criſis the better.——But while we have any Opinion of the Integrity and good Senſe of the Parliament of G.B. ſuch Reports will not eaſily gain Credit. Determinatus.

[Pg 44]

The Freeholders and other Inhabitants of this Town, are to meet at Faneuil-Hall, on Wedneſday next, to conſider and agree upon ſome effectual Meaſures to promote Induſtry, Oeconomy, and Manufactures, thereby to prevent the unneceſſary Importation of European Commodities, which threaten the Country with Poverty and Ruin, &c.——

Timothy Pickering, the father of the distinguished Revolutionary officer and statesman of the same name, addressed an open letter to King George III., which is printed in the "Salem Gazette," Oct. 31, 1769. It is a very quaint production, but it shows the writer's love of simplicity and downright honesty. He was a sturdy Puritan.

"Oct. 31, 1769.

"To the King of Great Britain.

"Great Sir,—Your Kingdom is like a Houſe divided againſt itſelf. Something Extraordinary muſt be done. Our Parliaments for fifty years paſt (or ſome of them) have ruined the Nation, in making a monſtrous Debt by hiring Money, while greater Sums have been expended in Pride and Luxury. Thirteen hundred Thouſand Pounds Sterling, the Public Prints tell us, is paid annually to the Dutch as Intereſt money. My Advice is that all Rulers and Officers,[Pg 45] who have high Salaries, drop them, except ſo much as is neceſſary for plain Living;—(Samuel had more Honour in his plain Living with his upright Mind, than Saul had in all his Princely Grandeur,)—And that all unneceſſary Penſions ceaſe together with military Officers half-pay, (How Unequal are our Ways: Theſe Officers muſt have large Half-Pay, while the common Soldiers are not allowed ſmall Half-Pay—who have been expoſed generally to greater Hardships than their Officers. Either let all have Half-Pay or none. The Soldiers are to be reſpected as well as their Officers and are as neceſſary,) and that high Taxes very high be laid on all Pride and Luxury, wherever it is found, the Clergy and the Women not excepted; And that great Taxes be laid on the Rich. I have an Income of but about eighty Pounds Sterling a Year, including my own Hands Labour, nevertheleſs I am freely willing to pay one quarter Part of it in Taxes till my Public Debts are paid. Others that have Two hundred a Year, can with Eaſe pay one half of it in Taxes, if need be. Pay thy Debts; Owe no man anything is Law, Divine and Moral. Immoral Men are in the road that leads to Hell; if they attend Public Worſhip, they are Hypocrites, like the Scribes and Phariſees, of whom Chriſt ſaid, Ye are of your Father the Devil. If I underſtand the Apoſtle, when such Men ſit or kneel at a Communion Table, it is a Table of Devils to them. Pray, Sir, tell your Placemen that the vaſt Multitude of your Subjects are very uneaſy that ſo[Pg 46] much of the Public Money, when raiſed is ſunk in the Gulph of Exhorbitancy. My Governor, Mr. Francis Bernard, demands a thouſand Pounds Sterling a Year; one half that Sum is more than Enough, eſpecially as the Nation is ready to ſink with the Weight of its Public Debt. The Clergy can tell their Congregations that the New Teſtament rather reproves than commands the wearing of coſtly Array and faring ſumptuouſly every Day; And I may venture to tell my Readers that all thoſe who neglect taking a conſcientious care to pay their Debts, private Debts, as well as public, are in the high Way to Deſtruction; the commonneſs of the Sin don't abate the Malignity of it.

P.S. Your Majeſty ſees how diligent Governor Nehemiah was in reforming what was amiſs in Iſrael. He was obliged indeed to contend with the Nobles and the Rulers who oppoſed him, but he ſubdued them, and no wonder! Becauſe he feared God and not Man.

From a loyal Subject of my King and a ſincere Friend to his Kingdom.


Mr. Pickering wrote a letter to his son, while the latter was a student at Harvard College, requesting him not to play at cards, a practice which he regarded as wicked. But the son (Colonel Timothy Pickering afterwards), as Mr. Upham, his biographer, well remarks, was[Pg 47] altogether too busy with his studies to waste time over cards.

We do not observe in the old papers much that would indicate a belief in modern Spiritualism; but it would seem from some accounts that "angels" were occasionally seen. In the cases we quote, the kind of "angels" is not stated. Whether they were real live beauties, or not, can only be conjectured. Who would not now like to buy one of these books at "four Coppers," so as to read all about these angels?


(And Sold by Green & Ruſſel, in Queen-Street,)

A True & wounderful Relation of the Appearance of THREE ANGELS, (cloathed in White Raiment) to a young Man at Medford, near Boſton, in New-England, on the 4th of February 1761, at Night. Together with the Subſtance of the DISCOURSE, delivered by one of the Angels, from the 3d Chapter of Coloſſians, and 4th Verſe.

[Price only four Coppers.]

☞ Good Allowance to thoſe that purchaſe by the Dozen.

Boston Gazette, Feb. 18, 1761.

[Pg 48]

About this time, also, "angels" made their appearance "at home" (England), as will be seen by another notice from the same paper.

This Day Publiſhed,

(And Sold by Fowle & Draper, in Marlboro'-Street.)

A full Relation of the ſurprizing Appearance of an Angel, in the Pariſh-Church of Gainſbury in Lincolnſhire, on Chriſtmas-Day laſt, in the Morning.—From whom was obtained a Prophecy of many Things that ſhould come to paſs in Europe; but more eſpecially in England and France:—The firſt of which Kingdoms is threatened with ſeveral Judgments on Account of their great Miſimprovement of peculiar Priviledges: Whilſt the latter, notwithſtanding their Endeavours to become great, ſhall be totally deſtroy'd by Diſcord among themſelves, &c. &c. The whole being a loud Call to Repentance.—Publiſhed at the Requeſt of the Pariſhioners, and atteſted to by two Miniſters, and three Eſquires.


In the "Boston Post-Boy" for Dec. 12, 1763, is an account of the dedication of the Synagogue in Newport, [Pg 49]R.I.

NEWPORT, December 5.

On Friday laſt, in the Afternoon, was the Dedication of the new Synagogue, in this Town. It began by a handſome Proceſſion, in which were carried the Books of the Law, to be depoſited in the Ark. Several Portions of Scripture, and of their Service, with a Prayer for the Royal Family, were read, and finely ſung by the Prieſt and People. There were preſent many Gentlemen and Ladies. The Order and Decorum, the Harmony and Solemnity of the Muſick, together with a handſome Aſſembly of People, in an Edifice the moſt perfect of the Temple Kind perhaps in America, and ſplendidly illuminated, could not but raiſe in the Mind a faint Idea of the Majeſty and Grandeur of the antient Jewiſh Worſhip mentioned in Scripture.

We find by the "Salem Mercury" of March 30, 1789, that New Hackensack was fifty or sixty years before Rochester in "rappings" and "table-tippings." Who shall say that these manifestations, whatever they are, are not as old as man himself? The best and wisest of us do not know everything. There may be some science, yet in its infancy, which will some day be explained, so that all these things will then be perfectly understood. The[Pg 50] account here given has no appearance of deception. Had the girl lived a hundred years earlier, she would in all probability have been hanged for a witch; but had she lived in these days, she might have reaped a harvest from lectures and séances.


Extract of a letter from a gentleman at Fiſhkill, dated March 3, 1789.

"Were I to relate the many extraordinary accounts of the unfortunate girl at New-Hackenſack, your belief might, perhaps, be ſtaggered. I ſhall therefore only inform you of what I was an eyewitneſs to. Laſt Sunday afternoon myſelf and wife went to Dr. Thorn's, and after ſitting ſometime, we heard a knocking under the feet of a young woman that lives in the family; I aſked the Doctor what occaſioned the noiſe—he could not tell, but replied, that he, together with ſeveral others had examined the houſe, but were unable to diſcover the cauſe. I then took a candle, and went with the girl into the cellar—there the knocking alſo continued; but as we were aſcending the ſtairs to return, I heard a prodigious rapping on each ſide, which alarmed me very much. I ſtood ſtill ſome time looking around with amazement, when I beheld ſome lumber, which lay at the head of the ſtairs, ſhake conſiderably. About eight or ten days[Pg 51] after, we viſited the girl again—the knocking ſtill continued, though much louder. Our curioſity induced us to pay the third viſit, when the phenomena were ſtill more alarming. I then ſaw the chairs move; a large dining table was thrown againſt me, and a ſmall ſtand on which ſtood a candle, was toſſed up, and thrown in my wife's lap; after which we left the houſe, much ſurpriſed at what we had ſeen."

Advertisements for runaway slaves are very numerous, as well as offers for the sale of single slaves. In some instances negro children are "to be given away." The following notices are taken from the "Boston Gazette" and the "Boston Post-Boy." The descriptions of dress, personal appearance, etc., are very curious.

Ran away from Thomas Poynton of Salem, a Negro Fellow, about 25 Years of Age, a ſhort thick-ſet Fellow, not very black, ſomething pitted with the Small-Pox, ſpeaks bad Engliſh: Had on when he went away, a dark colour'd Cloth Coat, lined with red Shalloon, with Mettal Buttons, a blue Sailor's Jacket, and a flowered German Serge Jacket, black knit Breeches, a Pair grey Stockings newly stock'd, an old Beaver Hatt, and an old Drab Great[Pg 52] Coat: Any Perſon that ſhall take up ſaid Negro, and convey him to Salem, or ſecure him in any Gaol ſhall be well rewarded, and all neceſſary Charges paid.

N.B. All Maſters of Veſſels and others are cautioned againſt harbouring, concealing or carrying off the ſaid Negro, as they would avoid the Rigour of the Law.


Gazette, Feb. 4, 1766.

To be given away,

A Male Negro Child of a good Breed, and in good Health. Inquire of Green and Ruſſell.

Post-Boy, Feb. 28, 1763.


A young Negro Woman about 20 Years of Age, born in this Country, poſſeſs'd of many good Qualifications, is a very good COOK, can handle her Needle well, and do every Kind of Buſineſs about Houſe, and ſold only for want of Employ. Enquire of Green & Ruſſell.

☞ She will not be ſold out of this Town.

Post-Boy, Feb. 28, 1763.

[Pg 53]

Ran away from his Maſter, John Amiel of Boſton, laſt Thurſday Night, a Negro Fellow named Peer, he had on when he went away a cloth colour'd Coat, lin'd and trim'd with red, a black broad cloth Waiſtcoat without ſleeves, a yellow pair of leather Breeches, a large pair of ſilver Buckels, and a good Beaver Hat; he is a thick ſet Fellow, has very large Feet and Legs, and ſpeaks good French and Engliſh. Whoever will apprehend the ſaid Negro and bring him to his Maſter in Boſton, ſhall have TWO DOLLARS Reward, and all neceſſary Charges paid by

John Amiel.

All Maſters of Veſſels and others, are hereby forbid to harbour, conceal or carry off ſaid Negro Servant, as they would avoid the penalty of the Law.

Boston, May 2.

Post-Boy, May 10, 1763.


A Negro Woman, about Twenty Eight Years of Age; ſhe is remarkably healthy, and ſtrong, and ſeveral other good Qualities; and is offer'd to Sale, for no other reaſon, than her being of a furious Temper, and ſomewhat lazy; ſmart Diſcipline, would make her a very good Servant. Any Perſon minded to Purchaſe, may be further inform'd by enquiring of the Printers.

Gazette, May 12, 1760.

[Pg 54]

Newport, Rhode-Iſland, Auguſt 28, 1767.

Ran-away from Benjamin Brenton, a ſhort thick Negro Man named LONDON, has loſt his Toes off both Feet. Whoever brings ſaid Negro to his Maſter, ſhall have EIGHT DOLLARS Reward, and all Charges paid.

Boston Gazette.

Boston, for aught we know, did as much in the slave-trade as Newport; possibly more. The numerous advertisements of "Prime Men and Boys" and "Parcels of likely Negroes" which appear about this time in the Boston papers rather indicate a considerable trade in slaves.

John Rowe,

A few likely Negro Boys, and two Negro Men between 20 and 30 Years of Age. Alſo, Newcaſtle Coals, Liſbon and Salterduda Salt, A few Pipes of Madeira WINES, alſo Fyal Wines, Quart Bottles by the Groce—Hemp—Ruſſia and Ravens Duck—Engliſh Duck of all Numbers—Cordage[Pg 55] Anchors—Oznabrigs—Ticklenburgs—Hooks and Lines—Newcaſtle Crown Glaſs of all Sizes and in Sheets—ALSO, Briſtol Glaſs of all Sizes—All Sorts of Nails—Scotch Snuff, and a variety of Engliſh and Scots Manufactures.

Boston Post-Boy, Dec. 19, 1763.

Juſt Imported from Africa,
And to be Sold cheap at No. 5 Butler's Row.

A few prime Men and Boys Slaves from the Gold Coaſt.


A Parcel of likely Negroes, imported from Africa, Cheap for Caſh or Credit with Intereſt; enquire of John Avery at his Houſe, next Door to the white Horſe, or at a Store adjoining to ſaid Avery's Diſtill Houſe, at the South End, near the South Market:—Alſo if any Perſons have any Negroe Men, ſtrong and hearty, tho' not of the beſt moral character, which are proper Subjects for Tranſportation, may have an Exchange for ſmall Negroes.

Boston Gazette, 1763

[Pg 56]

JUST Imported,


A Number of prime young SLAVES, from the Windward Coaſt, and to be Sold on board Capt. Gwin lying at New-Boſton.

Boston Gazette, July 13, 1761.

To be ſold, a parcel of likely hearty Negroes, both Male and Female from Ten Years of Age to Twenty, imported the laſt Week from AFRICA. Enquire of Capt. Wickham on board the Sloop Diamond, now laying at the Wharff adjoining to John Avery's Diſtill-Houſe near the South Market, or of ſaid Avery at his Houſe next the White Horſe.

We have not been able to find that any of the inhabitants of Salem engaged in the slave-trade; but we notice that at a town-meeting held in the month of May, 1773, the following vote was passed: "That the Representatives of the Town be instructed to use their utmost Endeavours to prevent the future Importation[Pg 57] of Negroes into this Province; their Slavery being repugnant to the natural Rights of Mankind and highly prejudicial to the Province." It is of course possible that some Salem people may have been interested in vessels hailing from other places and engaged in this nefarious traffic, as it is now considered.

Arrival of Irish servants at Boston in 1769.

Arrived from IRELAND,

The Ship King of Pruſſia, Arthur Darley, maſter, has on board 30 Servants, ſome Tradeſmen, viz. Taylors, Shoe-makers, Smiths, Weavers, &c. the remainder Country lads that underſtand Farming buſineſs.——His ſtay here will be ſhort, as he is bound to another Port.

Boston Chronicle, September 25.

The celebrated revival preacher Rev. George Whitefield was in Boston in 1764. We take the following item from the "Boston Post-Boy" of February 24:[Pg 58]

At a Meeting of the Freeholders and other Inhabitants of the Town of Boſton on Friday laſt, it was voted unanimouſly, That the Thanks of the Town be given the Rev. Mr. George Whitefield, for his charitable Care and Pains in collecting a conſiderable Sum of Money in Great-Britain, for the diſtreſſed Sufferers by the great Fire in Boſton, 1760; and a reſpectable Committee was appointed to wait on Mr. Whitefield to inform him of the Vote, and preſent him with a Copy thereof, which Committee waited upon him accordingly, and received the following Anſwer,


This Vote of Thanks for ſo ſmall an Inſtance of my good-will to Boſton, as it was entirely unexpected, quite ſurprizes me——Often have I been much concerned that I could do no more upon ſuch a diſtreſſing Occaſion.——That the Redeemer may ever preſerve the Town from ſuch like melancholy Events, and ſanctify their preſent afflictive Circumſtances to the ſpiritual Welfare of all its Inhabitants, is the hearty Prayer of,


Your ready Servant in our common LORD.

The Rev. Mr. WHITEFIELD preached on Tueſday and Saturday laſt, at the Old South Meeting-Houſe, to large and crouded Auditories.

[Pg 59]

Marriage of Copley, the celebrated painter, from the "Chronicle," Nov. 20, 1769.

Laſt Thurſday Mr. John Singleton Copley was married to Miſs Sukey Clarke Daughter of Richard Clarke, Eſq; and Mr. Joſhua Henſhaw, jun. to Miſs Katherine Hill, Daughter of Col. John Hill.

Thomas Britt

Would take a few young Ladies, &c. to teach them Spelling, Reading, Writing, and Arithmetic, at his School near the Cornfield. ALSO, French taught and tranſlated by ſaid Britt.

Boston Gazette, April 27, 1767.

Where were or where was, as the case might be, the "Cornfields" or "Cornfield" of Boston in 1763? Martin Gay kept a store or lived near there, and in 1767 Master Britt kept a school for young ladies near the "Cornfield."

Choice Engliſh Peas

at the North-Mills, TO BE SOLD, by the larger or ſmaller Quantity, at a low Rate, Enquire of William Paine at ſaid Mills, or of Martin Gay, near the Cornfields, Boſton.

Dec. 12, 1763.

[Pg 60]

When we remember the old pictures and portraits of stately ladies with high headdresses and gentlemen with wigs, the following advertisements are interesting:—

Joſhua Davis, Peruke-Maker.

Hereby informs his Cuſtomers, and others, That he has Remov'd his Shop from the Head of the Long Wharf, next the Crown Coffee Houſe, to the firſt Shop in Mackrell Lane, next the Bunch of Grapes Tavern, where they may be ſerv'd with Fidelity and Diſpatch.

☞ Said Davis makes the neateſt and moſt faſhionable Wiggs, at a moderate Rate.

Boston Gazette, Feb. 18, 1761.

A genteel Gold Watch, made by Marmaduke Storr, to be Sold, inquire of the Printers.

Sept. 14, 1761.

A few Genteel Grey and light Grey London-made WIGS, to be ſold by JOHN CROSBY, Periwig Maker near the Sign of the Lamb, alſo Wig-makers Ribbons, Silk and Cauls, Bodyed Grizle, and Grizle Hairs for cut Wigs, Bleach'd, Tye and Brown Spencer Hairs, white Goat[Pg 61] Hairs, white, black, and brown Horſe Hairs, Moy Crown Hairs, Cards and Bruſhes, drawing Cards and Bruſhes, beſt Razors, purple Thread, Tupee Irons, & Curling Tongs, Tupee Combs in Caſes, Wig Blocks, Silk Puffs, Hair, Powder, Shaving Boxes, & Bruſhes, waſh Ball Boxes, and waſh Balls, London black Balls with Printed directions, to uſe them very Nice, black Sattin Baggs for the Hair, white, black, yellow; & Bear Grees, Pomatum Excellent with their uſe to make Hair of a good Colour, & to grow thicker, Gold & Silver Powders (ſo called) to clean Gold and Silver Lace & Embroaderry.

Boston Post-Boy, Dec. 12, 1763.

At fires, leather buckets were used by the inhabitants, and were sometimes lost or misplaced, as appears from the following advertisements from the "Boston Gazette":—

Lost at the late Fire on the 5th of November Inſt. a Leather Bucket, No. 2, mark'd Wm. Hickling: Whoever is taken up the ſame, are deſir'd to return it to the Owner, or the Printers hereof.

LOST at the Fire near Oliver's-Dock, on the 14th Day of November laſt, a Pair of Leather Fire Buckets, mark'd Benja. Barnard, and dated 1757.[Pg 62] Whoever will give Information, or bring them to the Printers hereof, ſhall be handſomely Rewarded.

Dec. 10, 1759.

Within the writer's recollection, in nearly every house in Salem two or more fire-buckets, marked with the owner's name, were, when not in use, kept hanging in the front hall. At fires, lanes, as they were called, of men were formed, under the direction generally of the fire-wards, and water was passed from one to another and to the fire from some neighboring pump or cistern.

We see notices like the following of insurance offices; but they were principally for marine risks, as not many fire risks were taken before the beginning of the present century.

Hurd's Inſurance-Office,

At the Bunch of Grapes, State-Street,

Open at all hours of buſineſs, where Policies of Inſurance are underwritten upon the moſt moderate premiums; and the Gentlemen forming this Inſurance Company, whoſe names are inſerted in each Policy, having eſtabliſhed adequate Funds for[Pg 63] the ready payment of ſuch loſſes as may happen, hereby notify, that buſineſs will be done with all poſſible attention, diſpatch and punctuality, by

(Inſurance Broker.)

April 8, 1784.

THIS is to inform all Gentlemen in Trade,


Lately kept in Ann-Street near the Town-Dock, by Samuel Phillips Savage, is removed to the Houſe of the Honorable William Brattle, Eſq; next Door to the Britiſh Coffee-Houſe, King-Street: Where the Buſineſs of Inſurance is carried on as uſual.

Boſton, December 6, 1759.

With regard to policies, the term "under-writer" came from an old custom. There were in old times no joint-stock companies for insurance, but policies were filled out and left at an office kept by some person for the purpose, where any responsible man could sign his name to a particular policy and affix such sum as he was willing to risk, and thus become one of the "underwriters." We[Pg 64] have seen, for instance, a policy for $20,000 with twelve or fifteen names of merchants, signed with various sums from $500 upwards.

A quaint notice of the death of Obadiah Brown, of Providence, from the "Boston Post-Boy":—

PROVIDENCE, June 21, 1762.

On Thurſday laſt died at his Seat in the Country, after two Days Illneſs, Obadiah Brown, Eſq; in the 50th Year of his Age. He was one of the moſt conſiderable Men in this Town: In the various Branches of Buſineſs which he carried on, his Activity was unequalled, his Judgment and Prudence oftener admired than imitated, his Honeſty and Integrity fit to be drawn into Example.—As a Magiſtrate, he was judicious, grave, and reſerved:—As a Friend, conſtant, open, facetious, and cheerful:—In the Relations of a Huſband, Father, and Maſter, the deep and real Sorrow of his Widow, the mournful Tears of his Children, and the unuſual Cries and Lamentations of his Servants, are invincible Proofs in his Favour. His Beneficence is witneſſed by the Sighs of the Poor and Thanks of the Tradeſmen: And his Death is univerſally lamented, becauſe his Life was univerſally uſeful.

[Pg 65]

Notice of Hon. Daniel Russell, from the "Boston Gazette":—

Charleſtown, December 10, 1763.

On Tueſday laſt departed this Life, after a ſhort Illneſs, the Hon. Daniel Russell, Eſq; who, for upwards of Twenty Years, was a Member of his Majeſty's Council for this Province: He alſo ſerved the Province as Commiſſioner of Impoſt, and the County of Middleſex as Treaſurer, for more than fifty Years; in the Diſcharge of all which Offices, ſuch was his conſcientious Fidelity and unſullied Integrity, as procured him univerſal Approbation and Eſteem.

In public and private Life, his whole Conduct was ſuch as evidently ſhowed his invariable deſire and endeavour to preſerve a Conſcience void of Offence both towards God and Man; and by the Rectitude of his Behaviour, to adorn and recommend the holy Religion which he profeſſed, and to approve himſelf to the all-ſearching Eye of the Father of Spirits.

His Memory is greatly honoured by all who were acquainted with him, in whoſe eſteem he was truly that "nobleſt Work of God, An honeſt Man."

It is obſervable that in the ſeveral Offices which he ſuſtained, he ſucceeded his worthy Father and Grandfather; both of whom held and diſcharged the ſame, for a great Number of Years, with unſpotted Reputation.[Pg 66]

His Remains, we hear, will be inter'd on Monday next, on which Day, had he lived, he would have entered the 79th Year of his Age.

"The ſweet Remembrance of the juſt
"Shall flouriſh when he ſleeps in duſt."

Account of the burial of Major-General Whitmore, from the "Boston Gazette":—

BOSTON, December 21, 1761.

Wedneſday afternoon the Corps of Major General Whitmore was interred in the King's Chapple with all the Honours that this Town could give. The Proceſſion went from the Town-Houſe to the King's Chapple in the following Manner; A Party of the Troop of Horſe Guards, the Company of Cadets, the Officers of the Regiment of Militia, the officiating Miniſters, the Corps, the Pall ſupported by ſix regular Officers, the chief Mourners, the Governor and Lieut. Governor, the Council, the Judges, Juſtices, Miniſters, and principal Gentlemen of the Town, a great Number of Coaches and Chariots following. During the whole Proceſſion Minute-Guns were fired. The Corps was placed in the Middle of the King's Chapple whilſt Part of the Funeral Service was performed, and was from thence carried into the Vaults below, and there interred. Whilſt the laſt Service was performing the Cadets fired three Vollies.

[Pg 67]

Notice of Hon. John Erving, from the "Massachusetts Gazette," Aug. 22, 1786:—

Died, laſt Sunday morning, in the 94th year of his age, the Hon. John Erving, Eſq. who, for twenty years, was a member of the Council under the old conſtitution, and one of the moſt eminent merchants in America.

As a man of probity, and ſtrict honeſty, he was univerſally eſteemed. Thoſe who were acquainted with his character muſt regret the loſs of ſo worthy a member of the community. In his domeſtick life he was a tender parent and kind maſter.——His funeral will be this afternoon, preciſely at five o'clock, from his houſe in Tremont-ſtreet, where his friends and acquaintance are deſired to attend.

Notice of the death of Mrs. Elizabeth Salisbury, from the "Massachusetts Centinel," March 28, 1789:—

Laſt Wedneſday night departed this life, very ſuddenly, Mrs. Elizabeth Salisbury, the amiable and virtuous Conſort of Mr. Samuel Saliſbury of this town, merchant. Her funeral will be from his houſe in Marlborough-ſtreet, this afternoon—which her friends are deſired to attend.

[Pg 68]

From the "Boston Chronicle," March 8, 1770:—


For ſome days bye-paſt, there have been ſeveral affrays between the inhabitants and the ſoldiers quartered in this town.

Laſt Monday about 9 o'clock at night a moſt unfortunate affair happened in King-ſtreet: The centinel poſted at the Cuſtom-houſe, being ſurrounded by a number of people, called to the main-guard, upon which Capt. Preſton, who was Captain of the day, with a party, went to his aſſiſtance: ſoon after which ſome of the party fired, by which the following perſons were killed and wounded,

Mr. Samuel Gray, ropemaker, killed.—A Mollatto man, named Johnſon, killed.—Mr. James Caldwell, mate of Capt. Morton's veſſel, killed.—Mr. Samuel Maverick, wounded, and ſince dead.—A Lad named Chriſtopher Monk, wounded.—A lad named John Clark, wounded.—Mr. Edward Payne, Merchant, ſtanding at his entry-door, wounded in the arm.—Mr. John Greene, taylor, wounded.—Mr. Patrick Cole, wounded.—David Parker, wounded.

Early next morning Captain Preſton was committed to gaol, and ſame day 8 ſoldiers.

A meeting of the inhabitants was called at Fanueil-hall that forenoon: and the Lieutenant-Governor and Council met at the Council-chamber, where the Colonels Dalrymple and Carr were deſired to attend,[Pg 69] when it was concluded upon, that both regiments ſhould go down to the barracks at Caſtle-William, as ſoon as they were ready to receive them.

We decline at preſent, giving a more particular account of this unhappy affair, as we hear the trial of the unfortunate priſoners is to come on next week.

This is all the "Boston Chronicle" has to say about that great historical event of the fifth of March, an event which stirred the whole country and filled the minds of the Colonists with a perfect hatred of the British power in America,—"The Boston Massacre." The editor of the paper was probably a Tory.

The "Massachusetts Gazette," Feb. 3, 1774, says:—

We hear that the Hon. JOHN HANCOCK, Eſq; is appointed to deliver the ORATION in Commemoration of the Bloody Tragedy on the 5th of March.

The "Salem Gazette" has this item, March 7, 1782:[Pg 70]

Laſt Tueſday Mr. George R. Minot delivered an elegant and ſpirited Oration, at the old brick meeting-houſe, in commemoration of the horrid maſſacre perpetrated on the 5th of March, 1770, by a banditti of the Britiſh tyrant's 29th regiment.

It may not be of any consequence to the public to know what kind of coat Jonathan Williams wore in 1767, but it may be a matter of curiosity to his descendants now living. We take the following advertisement from the "Boston Gazette," Dec. 28, 1767:—

Whereas there has been taken out of the Houſe of Jonathan Williams in Cornhill, two Great Coats, on the 23d Inſtant, one of his own Wearing a cloth-coloured Drab; the other his Servants, a blue Cloth ditto. Whoever has taken them, and will return the former to ſaid Williams, ſhall have the latter gratis, and no Queſtions aſk'd.


Frequent applications being made to the Town-Cryer, to proceed through the ſtreets in ſearch of Children that have ſtrayed from their home, which[Pg 71] practice often excites unneceſſary alarm to the inhabitants.

The public are reſpectfully deſired, in caſe of any diſcovery of a child, or children ſo loſt or ſtrayed, to bring them immediately to the ſubſcriber at No. 71, Newbury ſtreet.—By an attention to this regulation, Parents and friends may have their anxiety relieved by applying as above.


Constitutional Telegraph, Aug. 8, 1800.

Masonic notice from Paul Revere and others, from the "Boston Post-Boy."

NOTICE is hereby given to the Brethren of the Antient and Honorable Society of Free and Accepted MASONS, That the Feaſt of St. John the Baptist will be Celebrated by the Brethren of St. Andrew's Lodge, (duly authoriz'd, conſtituted and appointed to be held at Boſton, by the Right Honorable, John Lord Aberdour, Grand Maſter of Scotland) on Thurſday the 24th Inſtant, at the Royal-Exchange Tavern in King-Street, Tickets to be had of

Joseph Webb, jun.
Phillip Lewis,
Paul Revere.

Boſton, June 14, 1762.

[Pg 72]

The house of Copley, the celebrated painter, is thus advertised:—

To be LET, and entered on immediately,

That elegant, convenient, and moſt pleaſantly ſituated DWELLING-HOUSE, with a large Garden, and other Land about it, (near his Excellency the Governour's) belonging to Mr. Copley; well known to be completely accommodated for a genteel family. Inquire of CHARLES PELHAM, (at the late Dwelling-Houſe of Mrs. Pelham, at New-Boſton) he being impowered to let it.

May 16, 1789.

Massachusetts Centinel.

Antique luxuries.

Wanted, the following, viz. Fifteen Pair of WOOD DUCKS, Four Pair of WILD GEESE, Three Pair of FLYING SQUIRRELS, Three Dozen of the ſmalleſt Size Terrapeins or freſh Water TURTLES, for which a good PRICE will be given, or for any Part of them.——Enquire of the Printer.

Essex Gazette, Feb. 21, 1771.

We do not see much in the papers about spinning-wheels until after the War of the[Pg 73] Revolution; then there seemed to be what may be called a revival of domestic industry. In 1786 the ladies of Hartford, Conn., formed an Economical Association. They say that they are "fully sensible that our calamities are in a great measure occasioned by the luxury and extravagance of individuals, and are of opinion that it is a duty they owe their country as well as their families to retrench as far as possible all unnecessary expenses." Their articles of agreement were signed, on the 6th of November, 1786, by more than a hundred ladies belonging to the first families in the city. By these articles they engage "not to purchase for next six months any Gauze, Ribbons, Lace, Feathers, Beaver-Hats, Silks, Muslins, and Chintzes, except only for weddings and mourning;" also to "dress their persons in the plainest manner and encourage industry, frugality, and neatness, giving all due preference to the manufactures of their own country." To this they add that "when they receive visits and make entertainments, it will be their study to avoid unnecessary expense, especially on foreign articles." On June 17 of that year the President of Harvard College addressed a[Pg 74] letter to the "Massachusetts Gazette" which is interesting in this connection. This letter we copy to show how economy entered into everything, even a "liberal education." It will moreover be of interest because of the attempt made to regulate the students' dress.

University in Cambridge,
June 17, 1786.

To the Publiſher of the Maſſachuſetts Gazette.

Every proper attempt of the Governours of the Univerſity to leſſen the expenſe of a liberal education muſt be grateful to the Publick, and meet with their hearty concurrence; the Members of the Community, therefore, in general, and the Parents and Guardians of the Students in particular, it is not doubted, will be well pleaſed with ſome late regulations, made by the Corporation and Overſeers, to introduce economy in dreſs, and will readily perform their part, in carrying them into effect.

By ordering an uniform, the Governours of the Society have removed the temptation to that frequent change of apparel, which may have ariſen from the liberty the Students have had, of chuſing different colours, from time to time: And by entirely prohibiting ſilk (an unneceſſary article in their clothing) a very conſiderable expenſe is prevented.

That the dreſs of the Students be neat and decent is highly proper; but that it ſhould be very ornamental[Pg 75] and expenſive is ever needleſs, and oftentimes pernicious: Nor will any Student, who is ſolicitous to acquire knowledge, and ſincerely diſpoſed to improve his time to the beſt advantage, in obtaining ſuch degrees of it, as may enable him to be extenſively uſeful to the Community, feel a reluctance to economical inſtitutions reſpecting dreſs. He will not only eſteem the ornaments of the mind of vaſtly higher importance than thoſe of the body, but the general good will alſo conſtantly influence his conduct; and he will chearfully encourage every regulation, which tends to promote frugality.

The regulations referred to, I now tranſmit to you, which the Corporation and Overſeers of the Univerſity requeſt you to publiſh, for the information of all concerned.

I am, Sir, your humble ſervant,


At a Meeting of the Corporation, &c.

June 13, 1786.

Whereas the enjoining of an uniform colour, in the clothing of the Undergraduates, and prohibiting a certain ſpecies of materials, in their apparel, will have a great tendency to leſſen the expenſe of dreſs (which, at preſent, conſtitutes too large a proportion of the Collegiate charges) while, at the ſame time, the appearance will be more academical:

Voted, That it be recommended, that the Freſhmen, who ſhall be admitted into the Univerſity the[Pg 76] preſent year, before the end of the Summer Vacation, be provided with coats of blue-gray, being a mixture of deep blue and white wool, as nearly as may be, ſeven eighths of the blue, and one eighth of the white, or, if that cannot conveniently be obtained, of a dark blue colour,—and with waiſtcoats and breeches of the ſame colour, or of a ſtraw colour.

That, when they ſhall procure clothes, afterwards, and while Undergraduates, their coats ſhall be of the colour firſt mentioned, and their waiſtcoats and breeches of the ſame colour, or of a ſtraw colour.

That the Freſhmen, who ſhall be admitted into the Univerſity in the year 1787, and afterwards, ſhall be provided with coats of the colour firſt mentioned, and with waiſtcoats and breeches as laſt mentioned, and ſhall continue provided with clothes of theſe ſpecified colours while they remain Undergraduates.

That all, who ſhall hereafter be admitted, when they commence Sophimores, ſhall have the addition of frogs to the button holes of their coats, the cuff of the ſleeve to be plain.

That when they commence Junior Sophiſters, their coats ſhall have the further addition of frogs on the button-ſide,—continuing the plain cuff; and they ſhall alſo provide themſelves with black gowns, having a cloſe ſleeve and ſlit cuff, to be made according to the direction of the Corporation.

That, when they commence Senior Sophiſters, they ſhall have the further addition of buttons and[Pg 77] frogs to the cuff of their coat, and ſhall alſo have black gowns, with a wide ſleeve,—the mode to be determined by the Corporation.

That when they are admitted to the Bachelor's degree, they ſhall appear in like gowns and clothes as are preſcribed for the Senior Sophiſters.

That the Seniors and Juniors ſhall wear their black gowns, on all publick occaſions, and whenever they ſhall publickly declaim in the Chapel.

That no Undergraduate, to whom theſe injunctions may extend, be permitted to appear within the limits of the College, or town of Cambridge, in any other dreſs than is before deſcribed, unleſs he has on a night gown, or an outſide garment be neceſſary over his coat.

That no part of the dreſs of the Undergraduates be made of ſilk;—and that it be recommended to them, to clothe themſelves in home manufactures, as far as may be.

That theſe regulations be extended to all who ſhall hereafter be admitted into the Univerſity;—and that it be recommended to ſuch as are already Members, to conform thereto, upon principles of economy, as far as may conſiſt with their preſent ſupply of clothing.

University in Cambridge, June 12, 1786.

Candidates for their ſecond degree, at the next Commencement, are notified, that it is expected that they give their attendance at the Univerſity by the 12th day of July; and if any[Pg 78] ſhould not attend by that time, they will not receive their degree this year, unleſs they give ſufficient reaſons for their abſence.

They who deſire admiſſion into the Univerſity this year, are alſo notified, that the Preſident and Tutors will attend the buſineſs of examination on Friday and Saturday, the 21ſt and 22d of July.


In 1788 the industry of the people of Providence, R.I., is set forth in the following notice, from the "Salem Mercury" of November 25:

American Manufactures.

A Providence paper informs, that the Carding and Spinning Machines uſed in England in manufacturing cotton ſtuffs, are introducing into that town by ſome publick ſpirited gentlemen—and that there are few families in that town which are not manufacturing ſome kind of cloth.

It appears from the "Columbian Centinel," July 14, 1790, that the wealthy of that day had a fondness for foreign articles.[Pg 79]

Complaint is very prolifick in all countries. In the United States we complain, that,

Tho' rich at home, to foreign lands we ſtray,
And trade for trinkets our beſt wealth away.

The following advertisement from the "Massachusetts Centinel" recalls the time when cows were pastured on Boston Common.

Strayed, on Saturday laſt, from Boſton Common, and belonging to JONATHAN AMORY, a young red COW, with ſome white on the back and belly, forehead white, ſmall horns, with the tips off. Whoever will bring her to the owner will be rewarded.

Boſton, May 24, 1788.

People were expected to have long memories in old times, judging from the following notification in the "Boston Gazette" of 1760:—

Whereas on the 17th of January 1740-1, twenty-ſeven yards and an half of yard-wide ſheeting linnen, and ſome ſmaller articles, was ſold at Mr. James Gordon's ſhop in Boſton, and deliver'd to[Pg 80] one capt. Stevens, as appears by ſaid Gordon's book; and thro' ſome miſtake in keeping his books, ſaid articles are charg'd to another of the ſame name. If therefore the ſaid capt. Stevens, that really had ſaid goods, or any of his family, or others, can give any light into the matter, it is deſired they would acquaint the printers hereof, and they ſhall be generouſly recompenced for their trouble.

The "small pox" was very troublesome in Colonial times, as this announcement from the "Boston Gazette," Feb. 2, 1761, shows:—

Samuel Parkman hereby informs his Cuſtomers and others, That immediately on the breaking out of the Small-Pox in the back Part of his Houſe in Union Street, he removed his Shop Goods to a Store on a Wharf that they may be ſafe from any Infection, and himſelf to the Houſe of Mr. Joſhua Winter Stationer—The Perſon who had the Diſtemper is perfectly recovered, and departed the Houſe ſome Days ago, and the Houſe thoroughly cleanſed.

The following notice from the "Massachusetts Gazette" reminds us of the time of open fire-places and blazing, cheerful wood-fires:[Pg 81]

The Selectmen would inform the Town, that they have approbated a number of Chimney-Sweepers, who are furniſhed with badges agreeable to the By-Laws, and have ſtipulated to execute their buſineſs faithfully, at the following rates, viz.—For lower-room chimnies, fourteen pence two fifths, or one piſtareen; and for all chamber chimnies, one ſhilling each—that all concerned may govern themſelves accordingly.

Boſton, Sept. 21, 1786.

The spinning-wheel at Ipswich. From the "Columbian Centinel," June 7, 1791.


The Printer is requeſted to record it among the numerous inſtances of female benevolence and harmony, which have been exhibited in theſe times, and ſo well reprove the jarring diſſenſions of the men—that at Ipſwich, lately, at the houſe of the Rev. Mr. Dana, a numerous band of ladies, in harmonious concert, have again "laid their hands to the ſpindle, and held the diſtaff," and preſented the fruit of their generous toil, 118 run of good yarn; viz. 88 linen, 30 cotton; the materials, proviſions, and handſome attendance, all furniſhed by themſelves and thoſe who joined with them.—"Give her of the fruit of her own hands, and let her own works praiſe her in the gates."

[Pg 82]

From the "Salem Mercury," April 28, 1787.

Not long ago a number of ladies belonging to the Preſbyterian ſociety in Newbury-Port, aſſembled at the Parſonage-houſe, with their ſpinning-wheels and other utenſils of induſtry, for the day, to the benefit of their miniſter's family. The aſſembly having firſt united in the ſolemn exerciſes of ſocial worſhip, the buſineſs of the day was opened. Every apartment in the houſe was full. The muſick of the ſpinning-wheel reſounded from every room. Benevolence was ſeen ſmiling in every countenance, and the harmony of hearts ſurpaſſed even the harmony of wheels. The labours of the day were concluded about 5 o'clock; when the fair labourers preſented Mrs. Murray with cotton and linen yarn, of the beſt quality, amounting to 236 ſkeins. Neceſſary refreſhment being paſt, publick worſhip was attended; and a diſcourſe delivered, by the Rev. Mr. Murray, to a large aſſembly, from Exodus 35, 25, And all the women that were wiſe-hearted did ſpin with their hands.

From the "Salem Mercury," Feb. 6, 1787.

There is a young Miſs in New-Haven, who will ſoon wear a ſilk gown of her own make. Such noble induſtry ought to be written in letters of gold. May the ladies profit by the example—and may it[Pg 83] ſoon be eſteemed diſreputable, by both ladies and gentlemen, to wear any thick ſilk but of our own manufacture.

An advertisement in the "Boston Gazette," Feb. 19, 1760, rather indicates that "searchers" sometimes exceeded their powers.

All Perſons who within five Years paſt, have had any Shoes or Boots, ſeiz'd and taken from them, in the Town of Boſton, by any of the Searches and Sealers of Leather there, for being made of Leather unduly tann'd or curried, or on Pretence thereof; are hereby notified to give or ſend in to the Printers hereof, an Account in Writing, of the Number of Shoes, &c. ſo taken from them, the Time when (as near as they can) with the Name of the Perſon that ſeiz'd and took them, and the Name of the Juſtice of Peace to whom Complaint or Information was made concerning ſuch Shoes, &c. by the eighth Day of March next, if they deſire any Recompence for the Injuries they have ſuffer'd by ſuch Seizures.

In 1767 snuff was apparently of more importance, as merchandise, to say the least, than were Bibles and Testaments. In an advertisement it was printed in capitals, while the latter were in smaller type.[Pg 84]

Caleb Blanchard,

In Union-Street, BOSTON.

HAS juſt Imported by Captain Rhodes from London, and Captain Bain from Glaſgow.

A Great Variety of Engliſh, India, and Scotch GOODS, ſuitable for all Seaſons of the Year, which He ſells at the loweſt Rates, by Wholesale or Retail, for Caſh or Treaſurer's Notes.

N.B. Kippen's and Tillich's SNUFF, Bibles and Teſtaments, all Sorts of Stationary, &c. &c. &c.

Boſton, April 19th, 1788.

Whereas ſome perſon or perſons have acted ſo villainous a part, as to make uſe of my name in vending and ſelling Snuff of a very bad quality; not only injuring me in my credit, but cheating the purchaſer, as the Snuff manufactured by me is of the beſt kind, and which I always warrant to be ſuch.

Some of the purchaſers of ſaid bad Snuff have brought the ſame to me, ſuppoſing it to be really of my manufacture; but upon examination, found it to be of a looſe and dry kind, and may be eaſily diſcovered.

Whoever will give information of the perſon or perſons, who thus impoſe on the publick, by making[Pg 85] uſe of my name to vend and ſell ſuch baſe Snuff, ſhall be handſomely rewarded, by their humble ſervant,


N.B. The publick are informed, that to prevent the above deception, the advertiſements on bladders of Snuff, in future, will be altered from letter-preſs, to a copperplate impreſſion. (2m)

Massachusetts Centinel.

The habit of Snuff-taking was formerly very prevalent in New England, as well as elsewhere. Within the writer's recollection it was a very common thing to see the snuff-box passed round for friends to take a pinch. Very few now a days indulge in this uncleanly habit; but a recent traveller relates that on visiting St. Peter's in Rome, the first thing upon entering the church which attracted his attention was seeing the Pope take a pinch of snuff and then shake from his pocket a large old-fashioned bandanna handkerchief, which he applied to his nose. Many years ago a gentleman of Salem was questioned by a stranger about a certain man who happened to be an inveterate snuff-taker and who was at the same time greatly interested in free-masonry. "Yes," said the gentleman, "I know[Pg 86] him."—"He's about one third masonry and two thirds snuff." Mr. Francis H. Lee, of Salem, has a curious collection of a hundred or more snuff-boxes of former generations. They are of various patterns; some are made of shell and tipped with silver, and look quite ancient. Simon Elliot, of Boston, and later Wm. Micklefield, of Salem, were famous snuff manufacturers.

A curious snuff-box, advertised in the "Columbian Centinel," 1819.


E. COPELAND, Jr., has for sale a most elegant Gold SNUFF BOX set with Pearls, &c. It is about 2½ inches long and from the top a beautiful little Bird rises at command and sings a tune. The movements of the wings, beak, eyes, &c. are perfectly natural, and all its motions while singing are in complete unison with its notes. This is probably as ingenious a piece of mechanism as was ever seen in this town. It will be sold a great bargain.

august 21

In this connection we notice "Micklefield's Indian," as it was called, a well-known landmark[Pg 87] in Salem half a century ago. Mr. Micklefield was much respected, and noted for his liberality and public spirit.

The Subscriber begs leave to inform his friends and the public, that owing to the fall in prices of different Scents and Stock in general, that compose the article of Snuff, he is thereby enabled to sell his different kinds, viz.—Maccoboy, Scented and Plain Rappee and Scotch


at a much lower price than heretofore.—Traders in the neighboring towns that deal in those articles are particularly solicited to call at his Store, sign of the[Pg 88] Indian Chief, corner of Central and Front streets, where they can purchase at very low prices, and warranted of the first quality.


Spanish, half Spanish and common


Cavendish, Ladies' Twist, Pigtail, and all kinds of Manufactured


wholesale and retail.


Salem, Jan. 18, 1827.


From the "Salem Mercury," Nov. 25, 1788.

S. Breck, Eſq. member of the Houſe of Repreſentatives for Boſton, appears in his ſeat with a complete ſuit of American manufactured broadcloth, of an elegant colour.

About 1787 and 1788, spinning-wheel meetings seem to have been very popular. We copy notices of meetings of young ladies in Attleboro', Dighton, Gloucester, Rehoboth, Mass., and Providence and Johnston, R.I., all from the "Salem Mercury."[Pg 89]

Attleboro', June 20. Yeſterday, 63 reſpectable young ladies, belonging to this town, aſſlembled, at 2 o'clock, P.M. at the houſe of Mr. Daniel Balkum, and, to the ſurpriſe and great ſatisfaction of all the friends to induſtry, ſpun, before ſunſet, 199 ſkeins of excellent linen yarn. Induſtry is the genuine ſource of all laudable pleaſure. On it depend all the conveniences of life. Health, the greateſt of bleſſings, depends on induſtry—beauty, on health. If ladies, then, wiſh to be beautiful, they muſt be induſtrious; they muſt animate their countenances with that blooming health which comes from the Spinning-wheel. The fair ſex, when rightly and induſtriouſly employed, are juſtly termed the beauty of this lower creation. Beauty without virtue is contemptible. Merit only gains the heart. Idleneſs is diſgraceful. Induſtry is the ornament of wealth, the ſupport and conſolation of poverty. We hope ſoon to ſee the time, when the fair daughters of America will be clothed in the manufactures of their own hands. Happy are we, that ſome have already ſet the example. May it never be ſaid, that American ladies riſe 15 minutes later than the ſun. May they ever have thread enough in their hands to make a halter for a Shays.

On Tueſday laſt, thirteen young ladies aſſembled, with their ſpinning-wheels, at the houſe of Mr. Joſeph Whipple, in North-Providence, and, between the[Pg 90] hours of eight in the morning and ſix in the afternoon, completed fifty ſkeins of excellent linen yarn.

July 1, 1788.

The ſpinning-wheel, a few years ago imprudently neglected, begins to be held in general reputation by the Fair; and the exploits of ſome on that uſeful machine, are deſervedly celebrated, as worthy of imitation. To thoſe good works of female induſtry may be added the ſingular attachment of two young ladies in Dighton, who ſpun, the 11th inſtant, between the riſing and ſetting of the ſun, thirteen ſkeins and eleven lees of good linen yarn; one ſix ſkeins and ſeven, and the other ſeven ſkeins and four lees. The ſpirit of induſtry is becoming more prevalent, eſpecially among the fair ſex. They begin to lay aſide their uſeleſs and idle viſits, or, at leaſt, make them leſs frequent. When perſons become more induſtrious and mind their own buſineſs, they talk leſs, and to better purpoſe; they become more contented, and the world around them is more peaceable and happy.

Providence Gazette, July 1, 1788.

Providence, May 24. On the 7th inſt. 71 ladies met at the houſe of the Rev. Mr. Ellis, in Rehoboth,[Pg 91] and lodged 187 ſkeins of good linen yarn, which they had ſpun for Mrs. Ellis; and others have ſince added 31. Solomon, in deſcribing a virtuous woman, ſays, "She ſeeketh wool and flax, and worketh willingly with her hands.—She layeth her hands to the ſpindle, and her hands hold the diſtaff." Induſtry is certainly a virtue, which, while it adorns, enriches, ſociety; it baniſhes the languid hue from the countenances of the fair, and adds vigour and vivacity to the mind.—The ſpirited exertions that the daughters of Columbia are making, to manufacture our wool and flax, which are neceſſary for our conſumption, are praiſe-worthy, and demand the approbation and aſſiſtance of every true patriot. We flatter ourſelves with the pleaſing expectation of ſeeing the virtuous fair clothed and ornamented in the genuine productions of their own labour.

We hear from Glouceſter, that on Thurſday laſt nearly thirty young ladies, inſpired with the love of induſtry, aſſlembled at the houſe of Capt. Philemon Haſkell, for the praiſe-worthy purpoſe of a Federal Spinning Match, when, to their honour, their ſpirited exertion produced 99 ſkeins of excellent yarn—practically declaring, that they neither laboured in vain or ſpent their ſtrength for nought. The day thus induſtriouſly concluded, finiſhed not the harmony of their federaliſm; in the evening, to crown the pleaſure of the day, with additional company, they regaled[Pg 92] with an agreeable dance, and, at a modeſt hour, parted in love and friendſhip, with hearts convivial as they met, leaving others to admire their female patriotiſm, and to go and do likewiſe.

In Scotland, the farmers knit as well as the women of their families; but they do this while they are watching their ſheep or cattle, or while they are ſitting by their evening fire in winter. Why cannot our American farmers and their ſons adopt this frugal practice? Time is the moſt precious thing in the world. Its very fragments ſhould be ſaved.

Providence, May 17. Monday laſt, eighteen young ladies aſſembled, with their ſpinning-wheels, at the houſe of Captain Jonathan Treadwell, and ſpun 40 ſkeins of good linen yarn.

May 22. A correſpondent deſires us to mention, that at Johnſton, a few days ſince, four induſtrious young ladies, by "laying their fingers to the ſpindle, and their hands to the diſtaff," completed, in one day, the ſpinning and reeling of 21 fifteen-knotted ſkeins of good linen yarn. Would to God, that the Gentlemen at the head of our political affairs in this State, were half ſo zealous in encouraging our own manufactures, as the fair ſex are; who, at preſent, deſervedly bear the palm, as friends to their country.[Pg 93]

"Spinning Bee. On the 1st inſt. aſſembled at the houſe of the Rev. Samuel Deane of this town, more than one hundred of the fair ſex, married and ſingle ladies, moſt of whom, were ſkilled in the important art of ſpinning. An emulous induſtry was never more apparent than in this beautiful aſſembly. The majority of fair hands gave motion to not leſs than ſixty wheels. Many were occupied in preparing the materials, beſides thoſe who attended to the entertainment of the reſt,—proviſion for which was moſtly preſented by the gueſts themſelves, or ſent in by other generous promoters of the exhibition, as were alſo the materials for the work. Near the cloſe of the day Mrs. Deane was preſented by the company, with two hundred and thirty-ſix, ſeven-knotted ſkeins of excellent cotton and linen yarn, the work of the day, excepting about a dozen ſkeins, which ſome of the company brought in ready ſpun. Some had ſpun ſix and many not leſs than five ſkeins apiece. She takes this opportunity of returning thanks to each, which the hurry of the day rendered impracticable at the time. To conclude and crown the day, a numerous band of the beſt ſingers attended in the evening and performed an agreeable variety of excellent pieces in psalmody. "The price of a virtuous woman is far above rubies, * * * She layeth her hands to the ſpindle and her hands hold the diſtaff."

Cumberland (Portland, Me.) Gazette, May 8, 1788, copied by Edw. H. Elwell, Esq., editor of the Transcript.

[Pg 94]

When spinning-wheels ceased to be used altogether, we are not able to say. Probably they were not in use for any great length of time after the opening of the present century; but possibly in some country places they were used down to the time of the War of 1812, and even later. We are informed that in some remote places in Rhode Island and in Maine spinning-wheels are in use to this day; but these are exceptional cases.

The "Massachusetts Centinel," April 30, 1788, has this advertisement:—

At the Sign of the SPINNING
(Reſolving to quit Trade in the

Will ſell all his GOODS on hand at the STERLING COST and CHARGES. Among which are,

Some elegant Merſailles Bed-Quilts, Merſailles Quilting in pieces, Iriſh Linens, Gauzes, Shawls and Luſtrings of a ſuperiour quality, &c., &c.

A large quantity of ſilk Gloves, Mitts and Fans


[Pg 95]

THE following very curious notice in the "Massachusetts Centinel" in reference to funerals shows what had been customary upon such occasions; the object of these "wholesome regulations" seemed to be to induce economy. Gloves and rings were given to mourners in Salem to within the last fifty or sixty years, and wines or liquors were also furnished.


An economical plan of mourning was adopted, before the Revolution, and its ſalutary effects have been experienced by almoſt every family in this town; ſince which thoſe wholeſome regulations have been paſſed into a law: Notwithſtanding which, it has lately been broken in upon in ſeveral inſtances.—The Inſpectors of the Police—that no one may hereafter plead ignorance, have cauſed the law reſpecting the ſame to be publiſhed, and give notice, that any future breach of it, will be proſecuted without any favour or affection.

Boſton, April 30, 1788.

To prevent exceſs and vain expenſe, in Mourning, &c.

IT IS HEREBY ORDERED, That in future no scarfs, gloves or rings shall be given at any funeral in this town, nor shall any wine, rum, or other spirituous liquor, be allowed or given at, or immediately before or after, any funeral in this[Pg 96] town, under pain that the person or persons giving, allowing or ordering the same shall respectively forfeit and pay the sum of twenty shillings for each offence.

And it is further ordered, That whatever male person shall appear or walk in the procession of any funeral in this town with any new mourning or new black or other new mourning coat or waistcoat, or with any other new black apparel, save and except a black crape around one arm, or shall afterwards on account of the decease of any relation, or other person or persons, put on and wear any other mourning than such piece of black crape around one arm, shall forfeit and pay the sum of twenty shillings for every day he shall put on and wear or appear in the same.

AND no female, of whatsoever degree, shall put on, wear or appear at any funeral in this town, in any other mourning or new black clothes whatever, other than a black hat or bonnet, black gloves, black ribbons and a black fan, on pain to forfeit and pay the sum of twenty shillings; and also forfeit and pay a like sum of twenty shillings for every day she shall at any time at, or after such funeral, put on wear or appear in such new black clothes, as or for mourning, other than black hat, bonnet, black gloves, black ribbons, and a black fan as aforesaid.

In 1790 the town of Salem published in the papers some regulations about funerals; among the fees fixed were these:—

"For each Tolling of the Bell 8d."

"The ſextons are deſired to toll the Bells only four ſtrokes in a minute."[Pg 97]

"The undertakers service in borrowing chairs, waiting upon the Pall-holders and warning the Relations &c. to attend 8/."

"B. Daland and B. Brown are appointed by the Selectmen to ſee that Free Paſſages in the ſtreets are kept open." (This was before carriages were used at funerals.)

Extracts from Mr. Colman's Agricultural Address.


"The establishment of extensive manufactories, and the introduction of power-looms and spinning-jennies, has nearly destroyed the usual household manufactures, and put our other Jennies out of employment. Our ears are seldom greeted now a days in the farmer's cottage with the flying of the shuttle, or the deep base of the spinning wheel. We confess that we have looked upon their departure with a strong feeling of regret; and deem it no small abatement of the advantages, which the establishment of extensive manufactures has obviously yielded to the country, that it removes the daughter from the shelter and security of the paternal roof, and places her in a situation, which certainly furnishes no means of qualifying her for the proper department of woman; to preside over our domestic establishments; to perform her part in the joint labors of the household; and to know how and when and where to use, prepare, and to apply to[Pg 98] the best advantage within doors, the products of man's labor without doors. Many occupations of female industry, strictly domestic however, of a healthy and agreeable nature, are constantly presenting themselves, so that there is little danger that the race of industrious women, and accomplished wives, at least among the country girls, will soon be extinct; and the silk culture, fast gaining ground among us, promises to furnish an unexhausted resource and a profitable employment of female labor."

Salem Observer, 1834.

In one of the numbers of the London "Spectator" for 1884 is an interesting account of an attempt to revive the spinning-wheel industry in England, through the kind offices of Mr. Albert Flemming, for the purpose of helping poor women too old or blind to leave their homes for other work. After considerable difficulty, a wheel was discovered among a store of ancient articles; but no one at first knew how to use it. Spinning was one of the lost arts, apparently. At length, however, an old woman of eighty-four was found who understood the use of the wheel. She taught Mr. Flemming how to spin. A few more old[Pg 99] wheels were found, and some new ones constructed. Then it was some time before a loom could be discovered. Eventually this was accomplished, and the art of weaving taught. The account says that twenty women who were unable otherwise to obtain a living, are now busily at work, happy in being able to provide for their families. They make, it may be added, a good strong, honest linen, specimens of which have been presented to Mr. Ruskin. This account is substantially from the "Living Age," Nov. 1, 1884.

University Press: John Wilson & Son, Cambridge.

Transcriber's note:

These are mainly excerpts from Newspapers. Original spelling was not corrected.