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now wholly unrecorded for us? We had known his character as displayed here. We have now a most authentic and complete development of the process by which that character was moulded and built abroad. The President of the Massachusetts Historical Society has been privileged to do a service which, with most rare felicity, embraces his indebtedness to his own good name, to his official place, and to the city and State which have invested him with so many of their highest honors.
The Honorable Robert C. Winthrop, a descendant in the seventh generation from our honored First Governor, seizing upon a brief vacation-interval in the course of his high public service, made a visit to England in the summer of 1847. He was naturally drawn towards his ancestral home at Groton, in Suffolk. The borough itself, with its own due share of historic interest, from men of mark and their deeds, is composed of one of those clusters of villages which are rare in an English landscape to have some charm in their picturesque combinations. The visitor had the privilege of worshipping on a Sunday in the same parish church where his ancestors, holding the right of presentation, had joined in the same form of service, to whose font they had brought their children in baptism, and at whose altar-rails they had stood for "the solemnization of matrimony," and knelt in the office of communion. The second entry made in the parish register, still retained in the vestry, records the death of the head of the family in 1562. Outside the church, and close against its walls, is the tomb of the Winthrop family, which, by a happy coincidence, had just been repaired, as if ready to receive a visitor from a land where tombs are not supposed to have the justification of age for being dilapidated. The father, the grandfather, and perhaps the great-grandfather of our John Winthrop were committed to that repository. The family name and arms, with a Latin inscription in memory of the parents of the Governor, are legible still. "Beali
sunt pacifici" is the benediction which either the choice of those who rest beneath it, or the congenial tribute of some survivor, has selected to close the epitaph. Only traces of the cellar of the mansion-house and of its garden-plot are now visible to mark the home where the Chief Magistrates of Massachusetts and Connecticut, father and son, had lived together and had matured the "conclusions" on which they exiled themselves. A monstrous and idle tradition, heard by the visitor, as he surveyed the outlines of his ancestral home, prompted him to that labor of love which he has so felicitously performed, and with such providential helps, in a biography. The absurdity of the tradition, equally defiant as it is of the consistencies of character and the facts of chronology, is a warning to those who rely on these floating confoundings of fact and fiction, which, as some one has said, "are almost as misleading as history." Two hundred years and more had seen that manor-house deserted of its former occupants. The neighboring residents had kept their name in remembrance, more, probably, through the help of the tomb than of the dwelling. Speculation and romance would deal with them as an extinct or an exiled family. The story had become current on the spot, that the Winthrops were regicides, and had fled to America, having, however, buried some precious hoard of money about their premises before their flight. Our author suggests the altogether likely idea that a suspicion might have attached to him as having come over to search for that treasure. Little may he have imagined what thoughts may have distracted the reverence of some of his humble fellow - worshippers in Groton Church who whispered the nature of his errand one to another. Our honored Governor and his son of Connecticut had been near a score of years on this soil before Charles L was beheaded. Mr. Savage informs us that he was once asked by a descendant of the father whether he had received before his death tidings of the execution of his old master. The annotator is able to quote a letter from Roger Williams, "to his honored kind friend, Mr. John Winthrop at Nameag," [New London,] lettered on the back, "Mr. Williams of y* high news about the king." This letter, conveying recent tidings, was dated at Narragansett. June 26, 1649, two months after the elder Winthrop had died in Boston.
It was but natural that even the absurdity of the tradition lingering around the traces of the Groton manor should have served, with other far more constraining inducements, to excite in the visitor a purpose to employ his first period of relief from official service in rendering an act of public as well as of private obligation to the memory of his progenitors, — especially as there existed no adequate and extended biography, but only scattered and fragmentary memorials of them in our copious literary stores. Happily for him, and surely to the highest gratification of those who were to be Lis readers, materials most abundant, and of the most authentic and self-revealing sort, in journals and letters, were attainable, to give to the work essentially the character of an autobiography, and that, too, of the most attractive cast. A second visit of the author to England in 1859 — 60, and the most opportune reception of a large collection of original papers, preserved in another line of the Governor's descendants, put his fortunate biographer in possession of the means for completing a work surpassed by no similar volume known to us in the gracious attractions and in the substantial interest of its contents. The book may safely rely for its due reception upon the noble character, complete and harmonious in all the virtues, and upon the eminent public services, of its subject . It has other strong recommendations, affording, in style, method, and spirit, a model for books of the same class, and embracing all those paramount qualities of thoroughness, research, accuracy, good taste, incidental illustration, and, above all, an appreciative spirIt, which stamp the worth of such labors.
We must leave almost unnoticed the author's elaborate chapter on the pedigree and the early history of the Winthrop family. He is content to begin this side of those who " came over with the Conqueror," and to accept for ancestry men and women untitled, of the sterling English stock, delvers of the soil, and spinners of the fabries of which it affords the raw material. He finds almost his own full name introducing a record on the Rolls of Court in the County of York for the year 1200. Adam Winthrop, grandfather of our Governor, himself the father, as he was also the son of other Adams, was born in Lavenham, Suffolk, October 9, 1498, six years after the discovery of this country by Columbus, and in the same year in which occurred the voyage of Vespucius, who gave his name to the continent. This second Adam Winthrop, at the age of seventeen, went to London, binding himself as an apprentice for ten years under the well-esteemed and profitable guild of the " clothiers," or clothworkers. At the expiration of his apprenticeship, in 1526, he was sworn a citizen of London, and, after filling the subordinate dignities of his craft, rose to the mastership of his company in 1551 The Lordship of the Manor of Groton, at the dissolution of the monasteries, was granted to Adam Winthrop in 1544. Retaining his mercantile relations in the great city, and probably residing there at intervals, he seated himself in landed dignity at his manor, and there he died in 1562. His memorialist now holds in his possession the original bronze plate which was put upon his tomb three hundred years ago, and which was probably removed to give place to the new inscription connected with the repairs already referred to. This ancient sepulchral brass bears in quaint old English characters the following inscription: — " Here lyeth Mr. Adam Wynthrop, Lorde & Patron of Groton, whiche departed owt of this Worlde the IXth day of November, in the yero of owre Lorde God MCCCCCLXIL" His widow, who had been his second wife, married William Mildmay; and his daughter Alice married Mr. Mildmay's son Thomas, who, being afterwards knighted, secured to the cloth-worker's daughter the title of " Lady Mildmay." In the cabinet of the American Antiquarian Society at Worcester, the visitor, on the asking, may be gratified with the sight and touch of a curious old relic which will bring him almost into contact with a most agreeable family-circle of the olden time. It is a serviceable possetpot, with a silver tip and lid, both of which are gilded, the cover, still playing faithfully on its hinge, being chased with the device of Adam and Eve in the garden partaking of the forbidden fruit. An accompanying record reads as follows : — " At y* Feast of St. Michael, An°. 1607, my Sister, yc Lady Mildmay, did give me a Stone Pot, tipped & covered wlh. a Silver Lydd." How many comforting concoctions and compounds, alternating with herb-drinks and medicated potions, may have been quaffed or swallowed with wry face from that precious old cup, who can now tell? Probably it ministered its more inviting contents to the elders of the successive generations in the family, while it was known by the younger members in their turn in connection with certain penalties for overeating and chills got from hard play. While having the relic in hand, the other day, the prompting was irresistible to bring it close to the appropriate organ, to ascertain, if possible, what had been the predominant character of its contents. But, faithful as the grave, it would reveal no secrets; having parted with all transient and artificial odors, it has resumed, as is most fitting, the smell of its parent earth.
The writer of that record accompanying the " Stone-Pot" with its " Silver Lydd" was Adam Winthrop, father of our Governor, and son of the last-mentioned Lord of Groton. This third Adam Winthrop — the sixth child of his father's second wife, and the eleventh of his thirteen children — was born in London, " in the street which is called Gracious," (GraceChurch,) August 10, 1548. Losing his
father at the age of fourteen, he was early bred as a lawyer in London, but soon engaged in agricultural interests at Groton, to the lordship of which he acceded by a license of alienation from an elder brother. There are sundry authentic relies and tokens of this good man which reveal to us those traits of his character, and those ways and influences of his domestic life, under the high-toned, yet most genial training of which his son was educated to the great enterprise Providence intended for him. There are even poetical pieces extant which prove that Adam sought intercourse with the Muses by making advances on his own part, though we must confess that ho does not appear to have been fairly met half-way by that capricious and fastidious sisterhood. Many of his almanaes and diaries, with entries dating from 1595, and from which the author makes liberal and interesting transcripts in an Appendix, have been happily preserved, and have a grateful use to us. They help us to reconstruct an old home, a pleasant one, in or near which three generations of a good stock lived together after the highest pattern of an orderly, exemplary, prospered, and pious household. We- infer from many significant trifles, that, while the old English comfortloving, generous, and hospitable style prevailed there, the severer spirit of Puritanism had not attained ascendancy. Intercourse with the metropolis, though embarrassed with conditions requiring some buffeting and hardship, was compensated by the zest of adventure, and it was frequent enough to quicken the minds and to add to the bodily comforts and refinements of the family. Adam Winthrop must have been a fine specimen of the old English gentleman, with all of native polish which courtly experiences might or might not have given him, and with a simple, high-toned, upright, and neighborly spirit, which made him an apt and a faithful administrator of a great variety of trusts. His old Bible, now in the possession of Mr. George Livermore of Cambridge, represented the divine presence and law in his household, for all its members, parents and children, masters and servants. He entertained hospitably his full share of " the godly preachers," who vere the wandering luminaries, and, in some respects, the angelic visitants of those days. He was evidently a very patient listener to sermons, though we have not the proof in any surviving notebooks of his that one of his excellent son John's furnishes us, that he took pains to transcribe the heads, the savory passages, and the textual attestations of the elaborate, but utterly juiceless sermons of the time. The entries in his almanaes afford a curious variety, in which interesting events of public importance alternate with homely details touching the affairs of his neighborhood and the incidents in the domestic life of his relatives and acquaintance. One matter, as we shall soon see, on which a fact in the life of Governor Winthrop depends, finds an unexpected disclosure from Adam's pen. Here are a few excerpts from these entries:—" 1597. The VI"' of July I received a privie scale to lend the Q. matie [Elizabeth] £XX. for a yere." — " 1602. Sept. the 27lb day in y mornying the Bell did goe for mother [a conventional epithet] Tiffeyn, but she recouered." This decides a matter which has sometimes been disputed, — that, while with us, in our old times, "the passing bell" indicated the progress of a funeral train, anciently in England it signified that a soul was believed to be passing from a body supposed to be in extremis. And a doleful sound it must have been to those of whom rt made a false report, as of " mother Tiffeyn." — " Decem. y* XXI day my brother Alibaster came to my house & toulde me y1 he made certayne inglishe verses in his sleepe, wh. he recited unto me, & I lent him XL'." — " 1603 April y 28lh day was the funeralles kept at Westminster for our late Queene Elizabethe." — "1603. On Munday y* seconde of Maye, one Keitley, a blackesmythe, dwellinge in Lynton in Cambridgeshire, had a poore man to his father whom he kepte. A gentleman of y* same Towne
sent a horse to shoe, the father held up the horses legge whitest his soonne did shoe him. The horse struggled & stroke the father on y* belly with his foote A overthrewe him. The soonne laughed thereat & woulde not helpe his father uppe, for the which some that were present reproved him greatlye. The soonne went fbrwarde in shoinge of y* horse, & when he had doune he went uppon his backe, mynding to goe home with him. The horse presently did throughe him of his backe against a poste & clave his hed in sonder. Mistress Mannocke did knowe y* man, for his mother was her nurse. Grave judicium, Dei in irrisorem patris sui." These little scraps of Latin, sometimes running into a distich, are frequent signs of a certain classical proclivity of the writer. Any one who should infer, from the good man's arbitrary mode of spelling many words, that he was an illiterate person, would be grievously mistaken, in his ignorance of the universal characteristic and license of that age in that matter. The Queen herself was by no means so good a "speller," by our standard, as was Adam Winthrop. The extraordinary way in which letters were then left out of words where they were needed, and most lavishly multiplied where no possible use could be made of them, is a phenomenon never accounted for.
Adam Winthrop was for several years auditor of the accounts of Trinity and St. John's Colleges, Cambridge, and records his visits to the University in the discharge of his duties. We have specimens of a. pleasant correspondence between him and his sister, Lady Mildmay, also with his wife, marked by a sweet and gentle tone, the utterance of a kindly spirit, — fragrant records of hearts once so warm with love.
It must have been with supreme delight that Adam entered in his diary, that on January 12, 1587, [January 22. 1588, N.S.,] was born his only son, John, one of five children by his second wife. John came into the world between the years that marked, respectively, the execution of Mary, Queen of Scots, and the visit of the Spanish Armada. We can well conceive under what gracious and godly influences he received his early nurture. His mother died only one year before he, at the age of forty-two, embarked for America, his father having not long preceded her. Evidence abundant was in our possession that John Winthrop had received what even now would be called a good education, and what in his own time was a comparatively rare one. It had generally been taken for granted, however, that he had never been a member of either of the Universities. His present biographer tells us that long before undertaking his present grateful task he had never been reconciled to admit the inference which had been drawn from silence on this point. He remembered, by references in his own Yeading, that by some oversight there had been an omission of names in the Cambridge University Register from June, 1589, to June, 1602, and that no admissions were recorded earlier than 1625. John Winthrop might, therefore, have at least "gone to college," if he had not "gone through college." His biographer had also noticed in the Governor's " Christian Experience," drawn up and signed by him in New England on his forty-ninth birthday, 1636-7, an allusion to his having been at Cambridge when "about 14 yrs of age," and having had a lingering fever there. An entry in the records of his father must have been a most grateful discovery to the Governor's descendant in the seventh generation. "1602. The 2J of December I rode to Cambridge. The VIII"' day John my soonne was admitted into Trinitie College." But the old mystery vanishes only to give place to another, which has a spice of romance in it. John Winthrop did not graduate at Cambridge. He was a lawful husband when seventeen years of age, and a happy father at eighteen.
In a time-stained and most precious document from his pen and from his heart, relating his religious experience, to be re
ferred to more particularly by-and-by, he charges himself in his youth with grievous sin. What we know of his whole life and character would of itself forbid us to accept literally his severe self-judgment, much more to draw from his language the inference which like language would warrant, if used in our times. Those who have even but a superficial acquaintance with religious diaries, especially with such as date from or near that age, need not be told that their writers, when sincerely devout by the Puritan standard, aimed to search and judge their own hearts and lives with all that penetrating, selfrevealing, unsparing scrutiny and severity which they believed were turned upon them by the all-seeing eye of infinite purity. They wished to anticipate the Great Tribunal, and to avert the surprise of any new disclosure there by admitting to themselves while still in the flesh the worst that it could pronounce against them. Men and women who before the daily companions and witnesses of their lives would stand out stoutly, and honestly too, in self-defence against all imputations, and might even boast themselves — as St. Paul did — of a surplusage of merits of some sort, when registering the barometer and the thermometer of their religious experience were the most unrelenting self-accusers. It is safe to say, as a general thing, that those who in that introspection, in the measurement of their heats and chills of piety, grieved most deeply and found the most ingenious causes for self-infliction were either the most calculating hypocrites or the most truly godly. To which of the two classes any one particular individual might belong could not always be infallibly concluded from what he wrote. That comfort-loving and greedindulging, yet picturesque, old sinner, Samuel Pepys, Esq., did not profess to keep a religious diary. But many such diaries have been kept by men who might have covered alternate pages with matter similar to his own, or with worse. We must interpret the religious diaries of that age by aids independent of those