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INHERITANCE AND INFLUENCE
'plain and pathetick;' in prayer, 'apt and easy;' in charity, so large and just that he would not allow even the good in bad men to be forgotten; in scrvice to the unfortunate, the sick, the sorrowing, and the young, tender and faithful; is it wonder that he kept his church free from fanaticism and united and rational? How much he may have served to prepare for the changes that were to come when the Unitarian controversy broke out, we may imagine, though we can never know."
The history of any life must necessarily include the lives of many others. A friend once said to me, "No one can be a Christian alone." And in fact no human being leads an isolated life. One is as surely all the time acted upon by one's inheritance, surroundings, and companionship, as one reacts on these. In the condition to which she was born, the scenery amidst which she lived, the persons by whom she was surrounded, and the family traditions dear to her childhood, Anne Jean was peculiarly blessed; and I shall tell you all I know of them, because her personal individuality, though striking, was not more so than her quality of family and social affection.
My cousin, Dr. Estes Howe, writes of our grandfather, and the father of Anne Jean, the following sketch:
"Our grandfather I presume you do not remember, as you were so young when he died. He was a tall, large man, very erect and dignified in his look. Ilis face, as his picture shows, was very like his
son's, our uncle Edward's, in his later years. His countenance had the same benign look -a look which I think comes finally to the face of every one who leads, as he did, a life full of good will and good works. He was born as you know in 1757, and graduated at Harvard in 1775, being eighteen years old. He must have taken his degree at Concord, to which place the college was removed when the army were collected at Cambridge. The last time I saw him at Brush Hill was on the 4th of July, when I was a freshman, in 1829. He pointed out to me a wooden-bottomed armed chair as his college chair, and told me that he had only one coat all the time he was in college- this notwithstanding he was the son of a lady who was considered rich.
"He soon became a person of note at home, and was at the age of twenty-three a member of the convention that formed the constitution of the State of Massachusetts. He was married in 1785, and went to house-keeping on Milton Hill, where I believe all his children except my mother were born. She was born in Boston, in a house he inherited from his mother, near Brazer's Building, on State Street. In 1786, he bought a township of land in Maine, and called it Robbinston. He took several Milton families down, whose descendants Brewers, Voses, Briggs, &c. are still there. He built several vessels there, and continued in fact to work busily and earnestly over the enterprise till the day of his death. He always went there at least once a year,―a voyage that had to be made in a coasting vessel. His last visit was made only a couple of months before his death.
EDWARD HUTCHINSON ROBBINS
"The enterprise was not a profitable one; and what with that and the loss of several vessels by French privateers, he lost all his property, and about 1804 sold out at Milton Hill, and removed to Brush Hill, which place belonged in part to his wife, our grandmother; the other part belonging to her sister, Aunt Forbes, was purchased. And so the family ark rested there, where your mother and mine, and all the rest, grew up.
"Our grandfather was constantly in public life; and, in 1793, he was elected Speaker of the Massachusetts House of Representatives. His remarkable
memory for men and their faces, his knowledge about them, and his general popularity caused his re-election annually for nine years; at the end of which time he was chosen Lieutenant-governor, an office he continued to hold for seven years, soon after which he was appointed Judge of Probate. In this office he died.
"This last office gave special scope to his kindly qualities. The widows and orphans of the county found in him a sure and sympathizing friend and guardian, and his wonderful memory made him in a short time acquainted with the genealogy and business and property of the whole county.
"But you want to know what I remember of him. I remember him simply as one who always had a kind or thoughtful word for me when I met him; who seemed to be, as he was, most tenderly loved by his children, and very full of love for them. He was away from home almost every day, either over at Dedham or in Boston, and was very apt to be at
home rather late for tea. I recollect riding home from Boston more than once with him. He had a habit of talking to himself, and I was a little frightened at it, which he seemed to appreciate, for every now and then he would stop, whip up the horse, and begin talking to me; then very soon he would fall off into his own line of thought and talk to himself again. When my father died he was deeply grieved, and his heart seemed to be oppressed and full of sympathy for mother. I was at that time at school at North Andover; a few weeks after father's death, he drove up there in his chaise on Saturday night, a journey of twenty-five miles, and brought up Tracy to spend Sunday with me. He was then more than seventy, and I think few old gentlemen of that age would have made such an exertion for a school-boy; but it seemed so natural an act for him to do that it did not impress me then as it has since. But that was the way he passed through life; and although never prosperous in business, indeed sometimes really pinched by poverty, I think he had a very happy life, because he took so much pleasure in doing kindly acts, and he did so many of them.
"The last time I saw him was on his death-bed. He died at Aunt Mary Revere's, where he was ill about a month. A few days before his death I went in to see him, and he gave me a most affectionate parting benediction, with a few words of advice, which I have not followed so well as would have been for my benefit. This seems a meagre statement, and so it is. It is forty-five years since he died, and what is left to me of him is the impres
STOCKINGFUL OF SPANISH DOLLARS 23
sion of a noble, high-minded, affectionate man, whom I revered and loved. If I can leave as pleasant an impression upon the memories of my grandchildren I shall be happy."
I will not add much to the simple and beautiful statement of my cousin Estes about our grandfather, for I have only one recollection of him, as I was but six years old when he died. I recall one of his visits to Northampton, and his standing at our front door, where he took leave of my father and my uncle, Judge Howe. Although they were tall men, he towered above them, and there was something grand and majestic in his whole aspect; although nothing impressed one so much about him as the wealth of affection in his heart, which gave to his whole manner and bearing a warmth, cordiality, and sympathy one rarely sees so fully expressed.
I remember our brother, Stephen Brewer, who knew him well, speaking of him in the highest terms after I was a woman grown. I had so little recollection of him myself that it was delightful to me to hear him talk of grandfather. He told me once, that when he was a boy, a clerk in some store in Boston, where grandfather had placed him, the old gentleman walked in with a gray stocking in his hand, the foot of which was full of Spanish dollars. "Stephen, my little man," said he, "take care of this for me; it's a new stocking, and my daughter Cassy knit it for me." So Stephen put it away, and grandfather forgot it from that hour. But, three months later, he came into the store in much afflic