OLD DARTMOUTH HISTORICAL SKETCH
The Gosnold Memorial
Being a Full Account of the Proceedings at the Dedication of the Gosnold Memorial at Cuttyhunk
September 1, 1903
[Note–The "old Dartmouth Historical Sketches" will be published by the society from time to time and may be purchased for a nominal sum on application to the Secretary].
PROCEEDINGS AT THE DEDICATION
Three hundred years ago Bartholomew Gosnold landed on the shore of Cuttyhunk, and on the little islet within the pond at the west end of the island built a fort where he and his companions might be secure from any attack by Indian foes.
Yesterday, another band landed upon that spot, its purpose the dedication of a tercentenary memorial to the gallant captain and his company. This memorial, a simple shaft of stone, into the structure of which are wrought stones from the identical fort erected three centuries ago, uplifts itself, brave in its loneliness, to stand steadfast for centuries against winds and waves which lash the island of Cuttyhunk.
Yesterday's gathering for the dedication was unique in one way. Never before has the island seen such an assemblage of men prominent in public life. Eminent historians, scholars, lecturers and divines, men representing millions won in the business world, were grouped with the stalwart natives of the island about the monument during the exercises, all equally interested in the historic significance of the event.
The Old Dartmouth Historical Society has a large share in the honors of the occasion, in being made the custodian of the place where was built the first English habitation on the New England coast.
The pilgrims from this city were taken to Cuttyhunk on the steamer Genevieve, which came to an anchorage near the western shore. At the start the sky was overcast but the sun soon burned its way through the light cloud-veil, and by early afternoon was shining brightly.
When the party arrived off Cuttyhunk, the stone tower, which loomed up dead ahead, a squat but sturdy sentinel, was the object on which all eyes first centered. Then, lying at anchor, the graceful steam yacht Quickstep, aglow with signal flags from bowsprit to stern, fluttering a welcome to the visitors, claimed attention. Beyond this, there was nothing but a lonely sweep of beach and the rolling hills of the island, till presently moving specks along the shore showed that the islanders were gathering for the dedication.
Out from the shore put a fleet of skiffs, into which the Genevieve's passengers were quickly transferred for disembarkation. Some of the newspaper men had thought to draw an interesting comparison between the landing of Gosnold's men in 1602 and the customary up to date landing trip in Cuttyhunk motor boats. But the motor boats were not on the scene yesterday and the landing was probably much after the Gosnold fashion. Skiff-full by skiff-full the latter-day explorers were transported to the beach, there to wait at the transfer station of the shore line till other skiffs ferried them to the islet. All reached their journey's end without mishap, save the one or two in over-eager landing, jumped in, over shoes. But that did not matter, for as one said, "There are no colds in a salt-water wetting."
On the grassy inlet, the arrivals from New Bedford were quickly assembled, and then the island residents began to debark, until the gathering numbered about 100.
The grass was thickly sprinkled with the gold of dwarf sunflowers, and soon after arriving every visitor had adorned himself with one of the yellow blooms.
The dedicatory exercises, which lasted two hours, included a number of interesting historical addresses, with remarks in lighter vein by Henry H. Rogers, following as the dessert of the literary menu.
Applause was frequent during the speeches, and at the close three cheers were given the citizens of Cuttyhunk for their earnest work, and for the success of the memorial project. Then three more were given for the owners of the islet because of their generosity in giving a deed of it to the Historical Society.
The ceremony occupied two hours, and at the end, the New Bedford party re-embarked for home.
As the yacht wheeled for her homeward flight, there was a shout on board, "Salute the tower!" Every one waved his hat, and the tower, as the distance obliterated the sight of the pond and strip of beach intervening, seemed to advance to the shore to bid farewell to those who had rendered it honor.
The following went down on board the Genevieve:
Charles S. Randall and Mrs. Randall, Rev. Francis E. Abbott, LL.D., of Cambridge, Rev. George L. Chaney of Leominster, Frank B. Sanborn of Concord, Rev. Leonard Woolsey Bacon, D.D., of Assonet, Charles Francis Adams of Boston, Henry H. Rogers, Rev. Dr. William Elliott Griffis of Ithaca, N.Y., and Mrs. Griffis, Captain J. A. Shipton, U.S.A., Rear Admiral George F. Winslow, U.S.N., retired, Commander William R. Randall, U.S.N ., retired, George G. Wolkins of Boston, Congressman William S. Greene, Walton Ricketson, George Fox Tucker, Ellis L. Howland, Arthur E. Perry, Captain Thomas R. Rodman, Henry B. Worth, Dr. Arthur Ricketson, Rev. William Carruthers, J. Henry Sears of Provincetown, Mrs. Walter Clifford, George H. Tripp and Mrs. Tripp, Miss Elizabeth Watson, Morgan Rotch, Abbott P. Smith, Lloyd S. Swain, Frank M. Youd of New York, William E. Hatch, Charles F. Shaw, Edmund Wood, Benjamin Anthony, Herbert E. Cushman and Mrs. Cushman, George R. Stetson, Frank Wood and Mrs. Wood, Mrs. E. V. Kendall, Henry N. West and Mrs. West, Austin T. Howland, Reuben E. Swift, William H. Mathews, John Duff, Otis S. Cook, William C. Taber, William A. Wing, Joseph G. Tirrell, Edward L. Macomber, Zebina B. Davis, Charles H. Gifford, Charles W. Holland, Frank C. Bennett, S. T. Rex, Charles H. Geils, George S. Hart, Charles H. Brewster of New York, Edward H. Hicks, John T. Livesey.
On board Frederick Grinnell's yacht, Quickstep, were:
Frederick Grinnell and Mrs. Grinnell, Miss Rebecca Steere of Providence, Miss Eleanor A. Allen, Francis B. Greene, Horatio Greene of Chicago, Arthur G. Grinnell, Francis B. Grinnell.
Charles S. Randall's catboat, Shadow, carried the following party:
Miss Hilda Clifford, Miss Rosamond Clifford, Jack Clifford, Randall Clifford, Jack Griswold of New York.
The Genevieve sailed from the Ferry wharf for the island at 11 o'clock, and a beautifully calm run was enjoyed. Just before reaching Cuttyhunk refreshments were served on board the steamer. The Genevieve came to anchor at 12:45m but considerable time elapsed before all had been taken to ashore, and then the proceedings were delayed to allow the Cuttyhunk people to reach the scene.
The exercises began at 1:45. Charles S. Randall, chairman of the committee, presided, though it had been expected that William W. Crapo would do so. In opening the exercises Mr. Randall spoke as follows:
Ladies and Gentlemen–Your committee regret extremely that William W. Crapo, one of the oldest members of the Massachusetts Historical Society, and the president of the recently incorporated Old Dartmouth Historical Society, cannot be with us today. We depended on him to preside on this occasion, and you will regret his absence. A letter will be read from him later during these exercises.
Forty-five years ago Daniel Ricketson, in his History of New Bedford, devoted three chapters to Gosnold and his comrades and in his book uses the following language: "A small round and castellated form of tower, built of stone, in a rude but substantial manner, would be in good keeping with the historical associations of the spot, and it might be called Gosnold's Tower, or Fort."
Nearly half a century had elapsed before any action had been taken on the suggestion of a tower to the memory of Gosnold, when several years ago the members of the Cuttyhunk club, to which I have the honor to belong, were discussing the landing of Gosnold on this islet and unanimously agreed to build a monument to his memory, provided the owners of the islet would donate it to the club. The owners, when the subject was presented to them by me, objected to deeding the island to any club or society incorporated out of state, and the matter fell through.
In August, 1898, with a party interested in the historical subjects of Massachusetts, Mr. Walton Ricketson, son of Mr. Daniel Ricketson, visited this island. The subject of the forthcoming tercentenary of Gosnold's landing was discussed, and the erection of a monument again considered. Nothing, however, was done towards the accomplishment of the object.
In 1902, Walton Ricketson asked me if I would unite with him in an effort to raise money enough to erect some simple memorial to Gosnold on this spot. I told him I would do so with pleasure, and George Fox Tucker cordially joined with us in the undertaking.
We constituted ourselves a committee of three, determined to make the attempt, not knowing whether it would be a success or failure.
The very prompt and generous response from the members of the Cuttyhunk club and other parties in reply to our circulars gave us great encouragement, and feeling quite confident that we had raised money enough for a simple structure, we came over here on the fourth day of June, the 300th anniversary of Gosnold's landing, accompanied by a few representatives of different historical societies, and laid a corner-stone that can now be seen just above the foundation of the shaft.
We continued receiving subscriptions up to the early spring of this year. The number of subscribers was 112;
The amount collected was $3,121.35
Cost of tower $2,675.00
Architect's bill 133.76
Small bills paid 58.00 2,866.76
Which we trust will meet all the expenses of the dedication, and should there remain any balance it will be given to the Old Dartmouth Historical Society.
There is a fact connected with the ownership of this island which may interest you.
When New Bedford merchants were fitting out a large number of whaleships, the owners of those ships frequently sailed out on them when they started on their voyages, leaving them ten miles south of this spot, and returning on the pilot boat to New Bedford. In 1858 Mr. William C. N. Swift, Mr. Thomas Nye, and Mr. Eben Perry sailed out on one of their ships intending to return to New Bedford with the pilot. A severe storm coming up, they could not reach New Bedford, and had to land on the island of Cuttyhunk, where they passed the night and were hospitably entertained by Mr. Otis Slocum, the owner of the island. In the morning when about to depart they offered Mr. Slocum some compensation for his hospitality, which he declined, and they, desiring to show their appreciation of his kindness, asked him what he would sell them Gosnold's Island for; he told them he would sell it to them for $50. Those gentlemen purchased it, and at their death it became and has remained the property of their heirs, who, with great pleasure, have within a few days signed the deed which I hold in my hand, and which will be read to you, conveying the islet to the Old Dartmouth Historical Society, and with it will go this tower, erected by your generous subscription.
Ladies and Gentlemen, the work of your committee is finished. We welcome you here today, and thank you for assisting us in these interesting exercises.
By direction of Mr. Randall, the following letters were read by the secretary of the committee, Ellis L. Howland:
New Bedford, August 29, 1903
Charles S. Randall, Walton Ricketson, George Fox Tucker, Gosnold Committee:
Gentlemen–It is with regret that I am compelled to decline your cordial invitation to attend the exercises in commemoration of the landing of Gosnold and his fellow voyagers on the island of Cuttyhunk.
This event of genuine historical importance is worthy the structure which you dedicate with appropriate ceremonies. Praise is due to the public spirited persons whose earnest and persistent effort has successfully and satisfactorily accomplished a long desired work. Without aid from national or state governments, a method which has prevailed in recent years, this monument is reared by the voluntary contributions of individuals.
In placing a tower of enduring stone on the spot where 300 years ago a rude fort and store-house stood, you mark the earliest attempt to establish an English colony of the New England coast. This structure in coming years as it meets the gaze of the sailors of Vineyard Sound and Buzzards Bay will remind them of the daring and skill of the first voyagers who penetrated these waters.
An intrepid and enlightened navigator, Gosnold was the product of the spirit of adventure which prevailed at the close of the 16th century. The voyages of Sir Francis Drake and Sir Walter Raleigh had aroused a spirit of restless adventure which grew with the promptings of curiosity and the longings of commercial advantage. It was thus in an age of awakened enterprise that the little bark Concord sailed from Falmouth in England, with a ship's company of 12 officers and seamen and 20 gentlemen adventurers, as the record of the voyage described them. It was a voyage of novelty and defiant heroism, an enterprise full of hazard because enveloped in conjecture and doubt. The outward voyage terminated when they dropped anchor abreast the little islet where a monument is now erected to commemorate the event.
The voyagers were charmed with the glimpse they obtained of the new world. They had discovered, as they declared, a land that was beautiful and fruitful and healthful. It was neither a political nor a religious purpose which brought them here. Had either of these motives dominated their action the little settlement begun by Gosnold would have had a longer life and have made a more lasting impression. They came in the hope of bettering their fortunes. Mingled with the love of adventure was the desire for commercial advantage and the expectation that increased industry and trade would follow the discovery of a new continent. They did not seek to find gold and precious stones as did the early Spanish voyagers, but to establish a colony which should work the soil and acquire for use and traffic products hitherto unknown or insufficiently supplied.
Unfortunately for the permanency of the settlement they found on Cuttyhunk and adjacent islands large quantities of native sassafras, an article at that time highly esteemed in Europe for its supposed medicinal qualities. This was gathered in the expectation of receiving great profit from its sale in London. Gosnold, who held the respect and confidence of all the ship's company, intended to remain with a portion of them, sending the Concord back to England under the command of Captain Gilbert. But those who were to remain became suspicious that they might not in their absence be fairly dealt with in the division of the profits of the return cargo. This led to dissensions causing the abandonment of the settlement and the return of the entire company to England. The homeward voyage was safely made, but disappointment awaited them in the sale of their cargo of sassafras. The quantity carried to England was so largely in excess of legitimate requirements it broke the London market, and in obedience to the inexorable law of supply and demand the price realized dropped to a figure that made the business venture sadly disastrous.
Gosnold's stay at Cuttyhunk was brief, but the voyage was not in vain. The story carried back to England of the wonderful country they had visited stimulated other expeditions and exerted an influence in guiding the Mayflower across the Atlantic eighteen years later. Gosnold did not accomplish as he intended a permanent settlement, but his was the pioneer movement, the first step in the march of New England civilization and the opening of a new continent to industry. The event has historical significance and is appropriately recognized and commemorated in the memorial structure which has been erected.
Wm. W. Crapo.
Intervale, N.H., August 27, 1903.
Dear Mr. Randall–Let me congratulate you and the other members of the Committee on the well deserved success which has waited on your unselfish efforts for the erection of the monument.
Gosnold himself well deserves this tribute. But it is much more than a memorial of him. For all of us New Englanders and for our children such honors to this bold seaman recall the history of his generation. They remind us that our local history belongs to that proudest period of English history. Gosnold and his patron Southampton belonged to the group of men who made the Elizabethan age illustrious, because with one heart and soul they carried out the great policies which have made England the leader of modern civilization. We do not speak of Gosnold without speaking of Southampton. No man speaks of him without thinking of Shakespeare and Spenser; and to build a monument in memory of Gosnold's greatest success, is to commemorate all the great victories of the school of men to which he belonged. They are Raleigh and Granville and Drake, with the other men of the Armada. They are Philip Sydney and even the martyrs of the Reformation.
The exploration of New England, the work of Gosnold, of Smith, of Popham and soon after of the Pilgrim Fathers, is a part of a great system of the boldest adventure in which modern civilization first asserted itself and began its conquest and medieval tyrannies. From that time to this time, the advance has been steady. And when men ask, as they sometimes do, how we are to explain the leadership of American and England, as compared with the present position of the empires of Napoleon, of Charles V or of Charlemagne, he does not find his answer unless he comprehends the position taken by the men who carried out the religious and political policy of Elizabeth's reign and carried it out by planting New England, New York and Virginia. To their determinations of adventure and discovery we owe not only the New England of today and the Virginia of today, but the America of today.
And your ceremony of Tuesday will be much more than an agreeable summer holiday. It marks an epoch of the very first importance in the development of modern civilization.
Always yours, dear Mr. Randall,
Edward Everett Hale.
No. 1,154 Boylston Street,
Boston, August 25, 1903.
Hon. Charles S. Randall, Chairman, etc.:
Dear Sir–With many regrets that I am unable to accept your courteous invitation to be present at the Dedication of the Gosnold Monument, on Tuesday next, I am glad to know that there is to be a monument erected to the memory of Bartholomew Gosnold, on Cuttyhunk.
He was the first man to make an attempt to found a settlement in New England, and, although it was not successful, he had left traces of his visit which will be more lasting than the memorial that is to be dedicated. The very name of the neighboring Cape, so thoroughly identified with the coast of New England, was given by Gosnold on account of the "great store of cod-fish" there taken; and this designation will stick until the last page of history is written.
The "rockie Islet, containing neer an Acre of ground full of wood, on which wee beganne our Fort and place of abode, disposing it selfe so fit for the same,"–according to Archer's account of the voyage,–will always be a spot full of interest.
The early description of this little island, given so fully by one of the number, leaves no doubt whatever as to its identity; and sentiment, always so powerful, will invest the place with an added charm and an increasing romance, as the years roll by.
Many years ago, in the summer of 1869, I remember visiting Cuttyhunk and the little island in the pond, in connection with a small party of gentlemen representing the Massachusetts Historical Society and the American Antiquarian Society. Rev. Dr. Quint, then of New Bedford, and Mr. James B. Congdon were among them; and the impressions of the visit then left on my mind are still vivid images in my memory.
I congratulate you on having an Old Dartmouth Historical Society that will take charge of the shaft, and I trust now the work is begun that it will continue and the neighborhood of New Bedford will be duly marked.
Yours very truly,
Samuel A. Greene,
Secretary Mass. Historical Society.
Bar Island–Somes Sound.
Mount Desert P.O., Maine,
August 26, 1903.
Hon. Charles S. Randall, New Bedford, Mass.:
My dear Mr. Randall–I regret sincerely that I cannot accept your kind invitation to attend the dedication of the Gosnold Monument at Cuttyhunk next Tuesday. It would have been a decided pleasure to land again on that interesting and historic island, where those venturesome men tried to establish a settlement so long ago, and I should particularly like to see the memorial which you have raised there.
In these days of peace and prosperous security, it is well for us to remember the hardships that were endured and the dangers that were faced by the early pioneers in American progress. We owe them much, and their lives may be an inspiration to us still; for, without enterprise and heroism and brave endeavor on the part of individual men and women, the proudest civilization cannot hope to endure nor the greatest country to succeed.
I heartily congratulate you, therefore, on the completion of this tower in memory of Bartholomew Gosnold and his companions, and I beg that you will extend my congratulations to your efficient fellow workers,–Mr. Ricketson and Mr. Tucker.
Very sincerely yours,
Paul Revere Frothingham
August 25th, 1903.
Hon. Charles S. Randall, Chairman Gosnold Committee:
Dear Sir–Your polite request for a letter to be read at the dedication of the Gosnold Tower, in case I am unable to be present at the exercises, deserves a better reply, I fear, than I can make. I hope to join you on the steamer, but shall be quite unable to walk over the hill to the tower itself, as I did last year on the delightful occasion of laying the corner-stone. At that time I hardly expected so fine a result as the photographs show. The extreme simplicity of this monument to the old pioneer navigator gives it in my eyes a great deal of dignity and pleasing appropriateness. Nothing, I think, could be in better taste. The site itself, so near to Cuttyhunk Light, suggests to my fancy that our solid stone tower is itself a new lighthouse–a light house of the mind, to shed a guiding beam over the ocean of the past and direct the voyage of the student of history to events hitherto not enough remembered. No little romance hangs over Gosnold's Landing," and "Gosnold's Islet." It was the first effort of Old England to plant a New England in these latitudes; and, though the first effort failed, the dauntless perseverance of the Anglo-Saxon breed triumphed at last in a degree that no imagination, however wild, could have anticipated three hundred years ago. Our Gosnold Light-house, as I am half tempted to call it, will shine first of all in the long series of tercentennial celebrations that are sure to come. As one of the subscribers, I believe I shall voice the feeling of them all, if I now move a vote of thanks to you and your faithful committee for the splendid success you have achieved in carrying out our common wish. May sturdy old Gosnold and his crew be remembered as long as our tower shall stand.
Very respectfully yours,
Worcester, Mass., August 27, 1903.
My dear Mr. Randall–You may be quite sure that it was with great reluctance that I have declined the invitation to the dedication of the Gosnold Monument. It is strange how people neglect all their lives to visit places near home, even if they have been travelers in distant lands. Every year I resolve that before it is over I will visit the southern islands of Massachusetts, and see Cuttyhunk, where Gosnold landed and where, if Dr. Hale's delightful theory be true, and for one I am a firm believer in it, in Shakespeare's imagination was the scene of the Tempest.
I have some duties at home which make it impossible to join you next week.
I am, with high regard,
Geo. F. Hoar.
The Hon. Charles S. Randall and the Gosnold Committee, New Bedford, Mass.
Letters of regret were also read from United States Senator Henry Cabot Lodge; Professor N. S. Shaler, geologist at Harvard; John Woodbury and George Wigglesworth, trustees of the Public Reservation Society; and others.
At this point in the exercises several passages from Daniel Ricketson's History of New Bedford relating to Gosnold and his colony at Cuttyhunk were read by Mr. Howland from the personal copy of the work, which Mr. Ricketson's family still treasure as the old historian's own volume. The passages read were from the 1st, 11th, and 22nd chapters.
Chairman Randall then called on the several speakers for addresses. The first was Charles Francis Adams, president of the Massachusetts Historical Society. Mr. Adams said: "There is certainly a manifest propriety in my being called on first of the speakers today. It is manifest simply because it so chances that I am the president of, and at this time represent, the Massachusetts Historical Society, the mother of all the historical societies of the country, and therefore the mother of the Old Dartmouth Historical Society. My duty today is somewhat in the nature of offering a benediction. I feel it incumbent on me to be brief. We are not here for a week, and if I went at length into the historical associations connected with the event, it would be several days before I finished.
"I think that none of those from whom letters have just been read have risen to the true historic height of the occasion. Why are we here erecting a monument nearly on the 300th anniversary of Gosnold's coming? Because his landing was the rising of the curtain on one of the great, if not the greatest of world dramas. Some of you will ask if I have not an exaggeratedly large idea of its importance. I choose to fall back on the authority of Darwin, the great naturalist and one of the world's most profound thinkers. I will ask you to listen to six lines from his Descent of Man, in which he unconsciously referred to this very commemoration:
"'Looking to the distant future, I do not think it an exaggerated view to say all other series of events–as that which resulted in the culture of mind in Greece, and that which resulted in the empire of Rome,–only appear to have purpose and value when viewed in connection with, or rather as subsidiary to, the great stream of Anglo-Saxon emigration to the west.'
"We celebrate what was the prelude to a great drama. Suppose the first part of the drama to date from the arrival of Winthrop; the second from the Revolution; and the third from the Civil War. We are acting our part in the third act of the drama. The prelude extends from 1602 to 1630, the date of the settlement of Boston by Winthrop. That is the period which I would like to cover today if time permitted. I will only say that the earlier events were the coming of travelers, not settlers; men who came to exploit the new country for the purpose of trade. Gosnold landed on this coast in 1602, Weymouth three years later, and Hunt 10 years later. We must also bear in mind that the English were not then unknown on this coast, but so familiar on the Maine coast, Gosnold met a Biscayan shallop, with a crew of six men, one of whom was dressed in breeches and a hat."
"Gosnold came here not to settle but to establish a trading post. He could not conceive of the English coming here but for purposes of trade. The explorers had four objects: First, the cod fishery; second, trading for furs; third, the gold and silver mines which existed, according to the stories told to Gorges by the natives; fourth, the capture of slaves. Weymouth was the first kidnapper, carrying home five natives in 1605. In 1614, Captain Hunt carried some 30 Indians to Spain, where he sold them as slaves."
"The settlement of Plymouth, in 1620, introduced a new feature, the presence of women and children. Then the first seeds of American progress were scattered. People came here not as traders, but to settle and develop the new country."
"All this was but the first spattering of the drops of the coming storm. As late as 1630 the British colonists numbered but 300 in all. In 1640 in New England there were no less than 40,000 colonists. The storm now had set in, and the curtain was lifted on the first act of the drama. The prelude lasted 38 years, and at the end the shifting scene fell upon it and then rose on the first act."
"It is not only fitting that this memorial should be raised, but that we should be here with a full realization of the magnitude of the occasion. It is not merely to commemorate the landing on a desolate coast of a man in search of a fortune; but an initial step–as I have already said, the raising of the curtain before the stage on which a drama of supreme interest in the annals of mankind is to be begun. More than three centuries are necessary to develop its plot and significance."
William Elliot Griffis, D.D., L.H.D., president of the De Witt Historical Society of Tompkins County, N.Y., and author of such works as The Mikado's Empire, Brave Little Holland, etc., spoke as follows:
"As fair and full of promise as has dawned the morning of this opening day of the autumn of 1903, so opened the seventeenth century to the men of the old faith and the new hope in the England of our fathers. The quickening pulse of the new Englishman of 1602 was that of a man who felt that his ancient religion had been restored to something of its primitive simplicity, and that therefore the God of his fathers was still his, and ever more clearly so, to bless him in all new ventures for the defense and spread of the true, ancient and simple faith. Inwardly, then, the Englishman of the opening century was fortified for great things. Able to survive and even to smile at past failures, at colonization in America, his young experience now becoming old was attaining to something of prophetic strain. It enabled him to foresee and provide in large measure against disaster.
"Yet beside his inner faith the Englishman of the opening seventeenth century had a novel hope animating him. He felt that a new and boundless field of adventure was his, and that mastery of this would give him what men had already called the New World. This fresh field for restless energy was the ocean. Hitherto the native born Englishman on deck had been for the most part a creeper along coasts, whose heart sank when his beloved island disappeared below the horizon. Furthermore, Italian popes and Spanish kings had made half the globe forbidden ground to him. Even though Drake had "ploughed an English furrow round the world," the king of Spain considered every Englishman a burglar who trespassed on the soil of the New World."
"But in 1602 the boys who had seen the ships of the Armada sink in the English channel were already grown to be men and were ready to tempt the main. Spain's sea power was no more. Nor was her infantry invincible on land any longer. On the sandy soil of Newport (Nieuwpoort) in the Netherlands, the republican native Dutchmen of Maurice and the English allies under Vere had, under the red, white and blue banner, beaten in open field the proud Spanish tercios, and gathered in sheaves of battle flags to hang over the republican congress at The Hague. Who feared giant Spain now? Was not now the ocean the new field of endeavor, and the western world the place in which to begin a new England? So thought Raleigh and Gosnold and the young men eager to set out with him on this first attempt at direct passage across the ocean along a line of latitude, and not by the old southern path, made clear and already well beaten into a sea lane by the Spanish keels?"
"Now in the England of the Tudors, the men of the eastern shore and counties excelled in agriculture, manufactures and trade, while the men of the western shore and shires were expert in ships, boats and fishing. Almost all the great explorers and navigators were Devonshire or west or southwest coastmen. Westward ho! Was their cry and from Gosnold's brain emanated the idea of 'straight west.' He dared and succeeded."
"Now today, on this fair noon, after long storm, we celebrate the triumph of Gosnold's idea and of the voyage of the intrepid men with little ships and big hearts. What if they did not fully master the mysteries of the commissariat, or exaggerated the virtues of sassafras, or lugged logs of cedar three thousand miles across the Atlantic? They were not mere victims of fads or fancies. They realized clearly that they were beginners of a better time, pioneers, leaders, path-finders and that other men would enter into their labors. The followed the gleam."
"Meanwhile, One who rules and overrules ordered their coming. If, as our great friend in Holland during the Revolutionary War, the Baron Van der Capellen, declared, the Germanic race gained the potency of five hundred years' of progress by crossing the Atlantic, then we do today most excellently by honoring the memory of Gosnold the ocean pathfinder, one of the chief of the English leaders of the Germanic peoples to the new world. More especially is it fitting that on this island, within view from the waters that were the scenes of his first successes as navigator, and near the city so long the capital of the whaling industry of the United States, a veritable school of explorers, navigators and brave adventurers, is it fitting to rear in enduring stone, a memorial to the leader of the vanguard that made New England."
"I come today from inland New York's beautiful lake region thus to honor Gosnold's memory and, not least, to thank you men of New Bedford and Boston for your care and thought and labor of love in laying the foundation and rearing the capstone of this simple but impressive monument. May it stand the storms of centuries and reflect the sunshine of ages."
Henry H. Rogers, though not on the list of speakers announced for the day, was called upon by Mr. Randall, for remarks.
Mr. Rogers offered to tell a few stories as to Gosnold. "My grandmother told me," he said, "that Gosnold discovered Fairhaven and that it was left for me to be the superintendent of streets. On my way down here today, one lady told me that I was wrong, that St. Paul discovered Fairhaven and that he went south by way of Padanaram."
"Gosnold didn't know how to give the ledges in this vicinity euphonious names. 'Old Bartlemy' is all right, but think of 'Hen & Chickens,' and 'Sow & Pigs.' They tell a story of Morgan Rotch in New Bedford, or did, when I was a boy. He went down on a whaleship which was going to sea and returned on the pilot boat. The boat was delayed in returning, and when he reached home his father said, 'Morgan, where have you been.' 'I've been out on the Young Phoenix with Bill West.' 'You must have had a rough time,' said his father. 'We did.' 'How far did you go?' Mr. Rotch asked. 'I don't know how far, but it was way beyond Pigs Feet and Ears.'"
Mr. Rogers moved that a vote of thanks be extended to the memorial committee for its faithful service. The motion was put and carried unanimously by a hearty chorus of "Ayes."
Congressman William S. Greene was the next speaker, and his address was as follows:
"Mr. Chairman:–I appreciate the compliment extended to myself in the conferring by yourself and the committee of arrangements of the honor of participating in the exercises of this day, in dedicating the memorial tower at the landing place of Bartholomew Gosnold more than three hundred years ago."
"But I do not arrogate to myself this distinctive honor, for I realize that the position to which it has been my fortune to be called by the suffrages of the people of the thirteenth congressional district of Massachusetts, of which this historic spot forms a part, is responsible for my presence here, and I accept this distinguished honor in behalf of all the people whom I have the honor to represent."
"The event which caused this memorial to be erected has not been recognized in the annals of history as one of the great forces in the founding of the English settlement on the New England shores. Yet undoubtedly the information gathered by these early pioneers, of whom Captain Gosnold was the acknowledged leader, was a very important factor in inducing the migration of the Pilgrim Fathers, who eighteen years later arrived in Provincetown harbor and subsequently established on Plymouth Rock the foundations upon which our great nation was constructed, and the principles from which the enduring features of Christian civilization have emanated, and have been scattered to the remotest part of our national domain."
"Mr. Chairman–Yourself and the gentlemen associated with you in this enterprise of marking the spot where Captain Gosnold and his companions landed on this continent are entitled to the gratitude of your fellow countrymen for this exhibition of public spirit and determination to perpetuate this event for the benefit and instruction of the rising generation."
"The ravages of time and the devastating winds and storms of succeeding centuries have destroyed many of the evidences of the endowments and natural productions with which this island was bountifully supplied by the great Creator, and which cheered the hearts and encouraged the spirits of the early explorers whose memory we venerate today. Now we find this island of the sea populated by the hardy fisherman and the daring pilot who boldly guides the mariner who seeks our shores laden with the products of distant lands, and with the hardy immigrants seeking an opportunity to enjoy the privileges of American citizenship, and also the members of United States life saving station."
"The occupations of these brave and hardy men are all perilous and dangerous, but they are accustomed by long experience to the dangers of the sea, and they assume their various tasks with the same apparent comfort and abandon that is shown by the inhabitants of the agricultural sections of our country."
"The town government, the church and the public school are maintained. United States mail service is furnished daily during the summer and semiweekly during the winter season. The post office department regards it too expensive to supply mail service daily throughout the year, but as this great element of education and civilization is maintained not alone for the profit yields, it has always seemed to me right and proper that the dwellers upon this sea girt isle should have the benefit of daily mail service with the mainland and their brethren and sisters throughout the world."
"The Cuttyhunk Fishing Club and many other citizens frequent these hospitable shores during the summer season to enjoy the pleasure of fishing in the surrounding waters."
"I cannot allow this occasion to pass without a tribute to the faithful service of the officers and surfmen of the United States life saving service, the former having begun their career as surfmen and having been promoted to their responsible stations by reason of their meritorious service."
"The terrible disaster at the Monomoy life saving station on March 17, 1901, and the work of the heroes of the Cuttyhunk life saving station in their memorable service in a previous disaster, deeply touched the sympathetic heart and awakened a liberal response from the generous minded people of New England. But while the senate of the United States have shown disposition to pension the keepers, officers and surfmen of the United States life saving service, the house of representatives thus far decline to grant this simple act of justice to those who are disabled in this service, or to the families of those who as truly lay down their lives in their country's service as do those who fight our battles in the ranks of the army and navy."
"These heroes of the life saving service struggle to save rather than to destroy the lives of their fellow men. Their work is perilous in the highest degree. They are employed only 10 months during the year, their pay being but $65 per month, from which they must furnish their food and clothing (and they frequently lose the later), and they must also provide and pay a substitute if absent except of account of sickness, for which a physician's certificate must be furnished."
"In blinding snow and sand storms they patrol the coast, being required to be most vigilant when the weather is most severe, and the path they are required to travel becomes most treacherous by reason of the angry waves making inroads upon and changing the character of the coast. Amid such environments they look for the distressed and shipwrecked mariner, earnestly listening for the booming gun or some other evidence of disasters which demand from them their [most sublime] courage to meet and sometimes even the sacrifice of life to overcome. The terrible distress these men suffer and the strain to which they are subjected seem altogether beyond the power of human endurance. That these men are entitled to a full year's pay and two months' rest in addition to suitable provisions for themselves and families is my firm belief."
"But, Mr. Chairman and gentlemen, I have digressed too far. Congratulating you upon your successful efforts in providing this permanent memorial to Bartholomew and his associates, I again thank you for the opportunity afforded me to participate in these important exercises, and will leave to the distinguished historians who honor this occasion by their presence the opportunity to give expression the important facts which will make a lasting impression upon the present and future generations."
President George G. Wolkins, of the Old South Historical Society of Boston, said:
"The emotions that surge though one's being on such occasions as this–and that other occasion 15 months ago, when this bit of land was consecrated to the project now so happily completed–are well nigh uncontrollable. The flood of associations with great forces in the history of the race and of the reaction imbues one with a sort of historical consciousness which he may never know again. The transactions in which we are this day participating are altogether unique. The day will stand apart by itself, for though other notable days will come, on precisely such a day as this no second moon will ever rise. Today a duty–a proud duty which is also a high privilege–has been performed. In the presence of representative company the prophecy has been fulfilled by praiseworthy zeal, by whole-hearted enterprise and by a general contribution. Here on this mere fragment of soil–but soil pregnant with meaning–we witness the final act in the erection of a permanent memorial to Bartholomew Gosnold and his company of adventurers. Here, on the three hundredth anniversary of their coming to this spot, we laid the corner stone, and here, on the anniversary of their captain's death, we give to the world this enduring monument. So long as the elements will permit, it will tell the story–fraught with consequence–of the hardy enterprise and bold daring of that company of English navigators. It is well and altogether fitting that posterity should be reminded of such enterprise and such daring; it is well that forgetfulness and neglect should not obscure the fame of Gosnold. But Emerson says in his essay on History: 'A man is a bundle of relations, a knot of roots, whose flower and fruitage is the world. His faculties refer to natures out of him and predict the world he is to inhabit, as the fins of the fish foreshow that water exists, or the wings of an eagle in the egg presuppose air. He cannot live without a world.' So this beautiful monument, standing against the sky sublime and majestic in all its sturdy freshness, means today and shall ever mean, more than the mere fact that here before Jamestown and Plymouth, Englishmen had habitation. Today on this rocky islet we can perhaps realize more fully than in the ordinary course the bleak seashore and the forbidding aspect of the New England to which the fathers came. 'Others, like Aeneas,' said Rufus Choate, 'have fled from the city of their fathers after the victor has entered and fired it. But the country they left was peaceful, cultivated, tasteful, merry England. The asylum they sought was upon the very outside of the world. . . .' Here was the first English settlement in New England. It matters little that Gosnold came here on no errand of religious or civil liberty. He was the associate of Walter Raleigh, that name in many ways the most brilliant in the history of the period. Gosnold was an adventurer. Like Frobisher and Drake and Hawkins he dreamed of finding a short passage to Asia. He had something of the spirit of Sir Humphrey Gilbert, who just as he was about to meet his fate in the stormy seas called out: 'We are as near to heaven by sea as by land.' Little more we know of Gosnold personally, but we know he was the harbinger of English colonization on this forbidding coast. He helped show the way to the stout hearted who made this New England rather than New Spain or New France or New Holland."
"Vulture-like, Spaniards had descended on the New World with terrible rapacity. Englishmen came peacefully, bringing with them high traditions of civil liberty. 'No man was altogether above the restraints of law, and no man was altogether below its protection,' as Macaulay put it. Spaniards brought power, Englishmen brought liberty. Spaniards conquered and destroyed; Englishmen, through the agency of chartered companies and the industrious efforts of individuals, colonized and built up. On accidents, of discovery, of exploration, of date, depended great consequences."
"It is well that on this occasion–filled with its inspiration–we should assign no small significance to the little company which landed here. We may believe that in the eye of prophecy at lease, the little settlement, temporary as it was, forecasted and, by some singular fatality determined the character of colonization on this coast. We are gifted then with historical imagination. We know then that of all which history teaches, its moral lessons are, perhaps the valuable. It shows us into the presence of venerated ancestors, of whom, as they say, 'the world was not worthy.' It shows us who and what we are. It teaches us to cherish our rich inheritance secured through much tribulation not our own; it warns us that our day and generation is not a separated and insulated portion of man and time. Choate said once that history binds us to our fathers and to our posterity by a lengthening and golden cord. 'It helps us to realize the severe and august presence and paramount claims of our country, and swells the deep and full tide of American feeling.' The inspiration and the thrill of this commemoration lead us on to thoughts as high as the impress left on our minds is deep. Such meetings relating the present more closely to the sturdy, serious past, giving a community something of consequence to talk about for years to come, are sacramental. It is altogether fitting from every point of view. No one here will quite forget the singular charm of these exercises and the incident can and will be made powerfully didactic. No child of this island town will grow up in ignorance of this tower and its wondrous symbolism. We of the younger generation, in whom must be the hope for years to come, will ever remember and pass on to our children the delightful story of its building. We shall not forget the prophetic suggestion of Daniel Ricketson, and now, after more than two score of years, it was happily fulfilled in the words of dedication uttered by his son–the kindly and loveable gentleman who pursued his object with unremitting zeal and singular devotion. We shall remember the other gentlemen who have given generously of their time and means to the same worthy objects. Our remembrance of them will be as whole hearted as our congratulations today. We pledge ourselves to the perpetuation of this memorial. We accept it as a trust to pass on to posterity. We can assure these gentlemen that their effort will not have been in vain."
"But I am not here to try to instruct or to point morals. Indeed, I am not here as an individual at all; nor as one qualified to do justice to the occasion. I am here simply as the representative for the time being of a work in conducting studies in history and politics–a work which has its headquarters in the Old South meeting house of Boston–America's 'nursery of Freedom,' and a work maintained through the testamentary provision of Mrs. Mary Hemenway. She would have been proud to have known of her contribution to the project this day completed. It was Mrs. Hemenway who saved the Old South meeting house by contributing $100,000 toward the fund necessary to prevent its destruction. She saved it; and having saved it, she determined that it should not stand an idle monument. She knew the didactic power of great associations, and everyone who has been in the habit of going to the lectures and celebrations at the Old South knows with what added force many a lesson has been taught within its walls. It was in an Old South lecture that Dr. Griffis pointed out the near approach of the tercentenary of Gosnold's landing and expressed the need of some memorial to mark this spot. In so doing he helped considerably the general object. Mrs. Hemenway would have this monument teach history on a different scale, of course, but still teach just as the Old South meeting house teaches and is a powerful instrumentality for good. We believe that history is good for nothing if it is not good for use. There are glorious traditions to be inbred. Every opportunity should be improved to impress upon the minds of youth that they are citizens of no mean town or city or state, that each has its traditions to be upheld and its responsibilities to be shared by all. If it is desirable that the high school pupil should know the habits of insects, the laws of floral growth, the simple reactions of chemistry, it is certainly even more desirable that he should be led to see the steps in the development of the human race, and should have some dim perception of his own place, and of his country's place, in the great movements of men, something of the broad and tolerant spirit which is bred by the study of past times and conditions."
"These things come to mind on every historical occasion. They seem highly significant and suggestive. Let this splendid occasion be no exception. Let this monument in all its pride of meaning and felicity of position point a moral to all those of uncounted generations who shall scan its outlines against the sky. It shall speak to the living as it speaks of the dead. It shall stand for bold enterprise, for courage, manliness, pride of race, love of country, and the eternal brotherhood of mankind."
The last of the formal addresses was by George Fox Tucker, who spoke on behalf of the Colonial society as follows:
"Had the settlement upon this spot in 1602 been a permanent one, it is probable that the Concord and not the Mayflower would be the treasured name in American history. So indifferent has been the historian to the exploit of Gosnold and of his companions that few of the present day are aware that the Concord made the first direct voyage from Europe across the Atlantic, and that, too, in only 49 days, and that she sought shelter in the harbor, where eighteen years thereafter the Mayflower first found anchorage. The quaint narratives of Archer and of Bruerton, who accompanied the expedition, preserve for us a wealth of incident and of experience, and the physical features of today testify to the acuteness of their observation and to the accuracy of their descriptions."
"Loyalty to their country is a characteristic of English adventurers. The shellfish of Nomansland reminded these brave and hardy men of the shellfish at home; they saw in the blossom of the wild plant the promise of fruit, identical with that which was raised in England; as their little barque passed the lofty outlook of Gay Head they were inspired to call it 'Dover Cliff,' and when, on the following day they landed on this island of Cuttyhunk, they gave it the name of their queen. Thanks to the freedom from the invasions of trade and of commerce, and from the incursions of the relic-hunter, three hundred years have produced little change inshore and upland.'
"Let me say in conclusion that it is fitting that there should be an expression of acknowledgment to the islanders for their interest and co-operation; to those not only of affluent circumstances, but of limited resources, for their contributions to the fund; to the owners of the islet for their relinquishment of title, and finally to the two senior members of the committee for their devotion to their trust. The privilege of participating in the first tercentennial celebration upon these shores is in large measure due to the disinterested zeal and the unselfish and untiring labors of Charles S. Randall and of Walton Ricketson."
Then came the formal dedication. During all the ceremonies the dedicating tablet commemorating the event had remained covered by draped American and British flags. Walton Ricketson, son of the man who half a century ago wished that a memorial might be erected, stepped forward to perform the last formality.
"In closing these interesting and impressive exercises," said Mr. Ricketson, "I will simply say that in building this memorial tower we have endeavored to carry out the suggestion of our historian. To Bartholomew Gosnold and his companions we now dedicate this islet and tower."
As Mr. Ricketson gave the signal, Frederick S. Allen of Cuttyhunk, one of the oldest and most representative islanders, and Miss Myrtie Bosworth, tugged at the lines which confined the draperies and the flags fell away, disclosing the inscription. This was cut in the face of a flat slate rock, taken from the neighboring shore by S. T. Rex, and cut deep for the contemplation of future generations. The stone is set in the western recess of the lower part of the monument. The inscription is as follows:
And His Companions, Who Landed Here
June 4 (O.S. May 25), 1602,
And Built on this Islet the first English
Habitation on the Coast of New England.
Corner Stone Laid
June 4, 1902.
Sept. 1, (O.S. Aug. 22), 1903,
Anniversary of Gosnold's Death at
With the formal ceremony of dedication ended, the settlement of the custodianship came next. Arthur E. Perry was introduced as a representative of the Perry, Nye and Swift families which own the title. Mr. Perry referred to the days when the whaling merchants were wont to accompany their ships far out to sea and return by the pilot boats, and cited how, on one of those occasions, the islet happened to come into the possession of the families. Out of gratitude for their entertainment by hospitable Otis Slocum, they purchased this islet, never dreaming of its future historical value. Ever since, he said, it has remained in the families, with scarcely an idea on their part that it would ever play any part in the history of the country, till the present monument enterprise was set on foot. In behalf of the owners, he was pleased to be able to contribute this little tract of land as a monument of so significant an event. It had been the original intention to deed it to the Massachusetts Historical Society, but since the advent of the Old Dartmouth Historical Society, he felt that in many ways it was a far more fitting custodian. It gave him pleasure to turn it over to the local society.
Mr. Perry then read the deed. It was signed by Eliza N. Swift, Susan C. Nye, Pemberton H. Nye, Elizabeth Swift, Jennie C. Nye, Harriett E. West, Henry N. West, Reuben E. Swift, J. Edward Gibbs, Arthur E. Perry, Eliza N. Dana (Fairhaven), Rodolphus N. Swift (Providence), Mary L. Swift (New York), and Helen Swift (Providence).
The deed of the land legally carried with it the monument, but on behalf of the committee, George Fox Tucker made doubly sure by formally making a present of the shaft to the Old Dartmouth Society.
"And now," said Mr. Tucker, "your committee having completed their labors, having built a substantial and fitting memorial on this consecrated spot, it is with great pleasure that we unite with the owners of this islet in presenting to the Old Dartmouth Historical Society the result of our labors."
In the absence of President Crapo, Vice President George H. Tripp received the deed on behalf of the Old Dartmouth Historical Society. He spoke as follows:
"In accepting the custody of the Gosnold monument, the Old Dartmouth Historical Society appreciates the honor thus conferred upon an organization, recently formed, but vigorous and energetic in its plans for service in the interest of historical research in this locality."
"We recognize the fact that by the initiative of the members of the Gosnold association our own society came into being. It is indeed a happy augury that we now are entrusted with the care and perpetuity of the work which has been so notably completed. We are presented with the deed of this small island where we stand, with the monument upon it."
"In that immortal story which gives the adventures of Don Quixote and his squire, when Sancho Panza, who had been longing for an island to govern, was finally granted his wish and an island was granted to him, he said 'And now let your island be forthcoming, and it shall go hard with me, but I will be such a governor that, in spite of rogues, Heaven will take me in."
"So we covenant and agree that the Old Dartmouth Historical Society will govern our island and its tower. We will preserve what you have founded; we will perpetuate what you have planted."
"In behalf of the Old Dartmouth Historical Society we thank you for your confidence, and will repay that trust with fidelity and zeal."
Frank B. Sanborn, the well known writer and lecturer, of Concord, was asked to make some informal remarks. Mr. Sanborn said: "Your chairman does not know what he has brought upon you. I will begin the statement of some historical facts, hitherto unknown but very important, by telling a little story. Many years ago there was a little party at the home of Senator Hoar. His oldest grandson, Samuel Hoard, now counsel for the Boston & Albany, was present. He was a small boy, but was full of information and ready to communicate it. Some remark about Columbus was made, and Sammy said: 'I know who Columbus was. He was the first man that ever came to Concord.' There you have a point for research. There is a tradition.
"I want to propose an act of justice to Bartholomew Gilbert, the second in command on Gosnold's vessel. Gilbert was under Gosnold, so why not let the island be called Gilbert, as the island is under the tower. We are taught to have great regard for subordination, and that reminds me of another story, from the East Indies this time. A philosopher was standing near the gates of a city as the king was coming out, mounted on an elephant.
"'What is that?' asked the philosopher of a citizen.
"'That is the king on an elephant,' answered the citizen.
"'But which is the king and which is the elephant?'
"'The king is on the elephant and the elephant is underneath.'
"'But which is above and which is beneath?' persisted the philosopher. There at the citizen couldn't stand it any longer, so he knocked the philosopher down and began to jump on him. 'I am above, and you are beneath,' said the citizen.
"The philosopher said, 'Who am I and what are you?' Then the citizen gave it up.
"I have been interesting myself on the early colonization of New Hampshire, and in doing so I have come in contact with the history of the explorers who have been mentioned today. Their characters have been rather disparaged on account of their slave trading, but probably they were no worse than others, as all Englishmen of that period dealt in slaves. I want to enforce one little fact that escaped the president–but perhaps he doesn't believe it–that Boston and Massachusetts are not the whole of New England and never were."
Mr. Sanborn outlined the possibilities if Gosnold, Gilbert and Tucker had established a colony at Cuttyhunk. "One of my ancestors came to Boston in 1632," he said, "but he got out as soon as he could. He went to Yarmouth, and later to New Hampshire, where he founded a town. Rev. John Wheelwright was not wanted in Boston, so he established a settlement at Exeter, N.H. My ancestor established the town of Hampton."
Mr. Sanborn told a story from the coast of Maine. "A Baptist minister went to the Maine coast, and went fishing with one of the natives. The fish began to bite immediately, but as fast as one was pulled up the skipper threw it away, saying, 'Don't want you, you Baptist.'
"The minister stood this as long as he could. Then he inquired: 'Captain Smith, why do you call Pollock Baptists?'
"'Cause they spile [sic–?spoil] soon as they come top of water.'"
Rev. Leonard W. Bacon of Assonet closed the speaking. He thanked the others for the opportunity of learning something. He had come unprepared in erudition and anecdotes, but would go back loaded to the water's edge. He offered his congratulations at the completion of a shaft that would welcome incomers from foreign lands with such a signal. "It will stand," he said, "like the Statue of Liberty, beckoning with a ready finger to Castle Garden and Tammany Hall; and invite immigrants to the cosmopolitan city of Boston."
After the exercises the guests were ferried back to the Genevieve, which sailed at 4:15, arriving here at 6 o'clock, after a smooth sail.
The shaft dedicated yesterday stands on the exact spot where stood Gosnold's fort and storehouse. The corner stone is presumed to have been taken from the remains of the original wall just as it was laid by the men of three centuries ago. All those stones have gone into the construction of the monument as well as hundreds of tons of others gathered from the vicinity. The work was in charge of Frank C. Bennett of this city, as contractor.
The committee from this city whose labors made the undertaking a success consisted of Charles S. Randall, Walton Ricketson and George Fox Tucker. The Cuttyhunk committee comprised Captain David P. Bosworth, Oscar P. Stetson, Josiah W. Tilton, Alonzo V. Veeder and J. H. Tilton.