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tion by the richer men of large bodies of land. No one might, without the permission of the majority of the freemen, "put in his estate above five hundred pounds to require accómodations proportionable in any divisions of land,” while "the poor- . est planter, perhaps worth ten pounds or less, could have land “proportionable" to an estate of fifty pounds. The brotherly, if not democratic, spirit thus shown would probably incline Whitfield to seek simplicity and avoid ostentation in his own domestic arrangements.

Nevertheless the question as to the height of the room remains an open one. Mr. Isham, looking on the tradition with favor, is yet constrained to say, “As regards the great questions of the house, the alterations have no real evidence to offer."

In such circumstances a restoration in the proper sense was impracticable because no one could be said to know what to restore. But it was both practicable and necessary to prepare the interior for the uses of the Historical Museum which the trustees were required by the legislature of Connecticut to establish in the Whitfield house. This involved the opening of an exhibition room as large, and likewise as attractive, as the conditions permitted. To destroy anything ancient in constructing a room intended for the reception and preservation of ancient things would have been as absurd as it would have been monstrous, but the modern partitions and floor might be destroyed without scruple. The tradition haunting the house, its oldest tenant, summoned us to do just this and the house refused to supply incredulous science with any exorcism for banishing or silencing its tenant. The testimony of hundreds of colonial houses to the colonial habit of building "low between joists” was weighty, but could scarcely outweigh the belief of several generations, derived, it is most likely, from the knowledge of an earlier generation, that this particular house was otherwise built, added to the fact that the colonist who built it might have seen lofty halls by the score in ancient English dwellings, and the fact that the fireplace and chimney which this colonist built bear a degree of testimony to his apparent preference for antiquated forms. A more practical, if not more

weighty objection to tearing away the upper floor was the inconvenience, to say no more, of sacrificing half the floor space available at the time. But more space would be available later, and the dignity and attractiveness which might be secured in a rather lofty apartment carried the day in favor of height.

But could this long, high room, even if it should have dignity, have legitimately any other kind of attractiveness? The bits of plaster found clinging to the old stonework of the north wall make it probable that at first this end of the original room presented the aspect, picturesque, perhaps, but not beautiful, of rough plastering on rough stones. When the room was lengthened (if it was), this might have been covered by a wainscot or hangings or both. But if Whitfield, as I have suggested, desired to set an example of simplicity and economy, then the chances seem to be that his large hall was characterized by the very rude simplicity of bare, uneven walls. In 1632, or earlier, Governor Winthrop himself condemned costly wainscots as a bad example "in the beginning of a plantation.”* On the other hand, not only must Mr. Whitfield have been familiar with handsome oak panelling in England, and very possibly under his father's roof, but close at hand in New Haven, then famous for its expensive houses, there seems to have been some fine oak wainscoting of “the best of joiner's work, and Governor Eaton's great house, furnished with hangings of different colors (as with tapestry for the beds), in the upper rooms, may well have had a wainscoted hall and parlor below stairs. And since it was not seemly to lodge the commonwealth of Connecticut in something a good deal like a barn, and since an oak wainscot would illustrate some interiors which could have been found by the middle of the seventeenth century in what is now Connecticut, and since Mr. Whitfield was rich enough to have had such adornments had he wished, the chief exhibition room of the Historical Museum was furnished with a simple oak panelling of a pattern to be seen in the room itself in various photographs of English interiors of Whitfield's period and even of his county

Savage's Winthrop, ed. 1853, i, 88. + Stiles, History of Judges, pp. 64, 66, and N. H. Prob. Rec.; quot. in Isham and Brown's Early Conn. Houses, pp. 97-111, 287-296.

of Surrey. A wainscot covering the whole wall would have been too costly, as would tapestry or leather hangings. Accordingly green burlap, as having a sort of neutral character and easily to be replaced by something else, was used above the woodwork. Even this might suggest in a modest way the hangings in Governor Eaton's "greene chamber” where Whitfield may have slept. To place the stairs, patterned after ancient examples, in the space occupied by the ancient stairwell, and to open a fireplace in the south chimney such as must in early times have faced the great one at the north end, came as near being restoration as the case admitted of. The new fireplace, it is true, had to be smaller than the old one because the south chimney, a modern one, is smaller than the other. On the other hand, a feature of the larger English halls, the gallery for musicians, was almost reproduced unintentionally when a railing was placed for safety on that side of the small entry at the head of the stairs which faces the larger room, at a considerable height above the floor of the latter. This gives very much the effect of a gallery, though at the side instead of the end of the apartment, as in the old halls. It has to be acknowledged that the somewhat ornate room looks rather out of keeping with the rude fireplace which is by far its most important feature and which is worth immeasurably more than any amount of grace ful decoration. But sooner or later this hall could reasonably be expected to be occupied by handsome old furniture and the walls to be hung with pictures, even more sadly out of keeping with an ungainly environment. And the old fireplace, a priceless possession, would justify itself even in a palace, like a king in rusty armor standing in the midst of bowing or kneeling courtiers in silk and velvet.

In all that I have said thus far about the Henry Whitfield house I have really been talking about the State Historical Museum and its collections. For the house is the great feature of that and them, the choicest treasure of the institution, exclusively and securely its own. And the act of the legislature establishing the Museum was in a manner the announcement by our Little Mother, the commonwealth of Connecticut, of her

intention to do honor to Whitfield's dwelling by making herself a home at his fireside. The announcement was at first heeded almost unconsciously by those who had to introduce her into her domicile. The first entry in the manuscript catalogue is that of the gift, coming from the state capital, and sent by a member of the Governor's staff, of a letter written in 1781 by a Connecticut soldier who had commanded a brigade in the campaign against Burgoyne, and two of whose descendants, natives of Litchfield, have been very nearly the most famous of American men and women, and addressed to a state official, brother of a Connecticut signer of the Declaration of Independence, and nephews of an early head of Yale college, and one who, by pledging his personal credit to the state, helped to equip tủe expedition which under the Connecticut hero, Ethan Allen, took Ticonderoga. Next come two relics of the Charter Oak, another “Talking Oak,” , with a large part of what is most memorable in the commonwealth to tell us of. And it soon became an object of conscious and special effort to make the collections, which can never be very large, illustrative as far as possible of the history of the state and the life of its people. It was felt that this small institution could best justify its existence and prove its right to be called a state institution by thus limiting its scope. It can never enter into competition with a society like this, for example, even in the field in which they glean together, but it can aspire to have at least a distinctive character in virtue of what it forbears to glean in other fields. And undoubtedly there remain, in spite of the zeal of associated and individual collectors, busy at their task for generations, enough objects of historical interest in garrets and cellars and barns, and in beautiful old colonial parlors, to fill the Whitfield house several times over. Let me give an example of the way in which our slowly growing collections, still short of five hundred deposits, illustrate the early life of our people, their industry, their thrift, their ingenuity, in virtue of all which nobody employed another to do anything for him except what he could not do himself, which was very little. A certain series of deposits begins with a bundle of flax (which had to be raised on the premises for the purpose last year), lying on a flax brake, evidently homemade, and used to crush the hard parts of the stem. Next comes a very different implement, light and not ungraceful, a wooden flax-knife, which could easily have been made at home and which separated the larger fragments from the fibre. Then we have a hatchel, on which the skill of a craftsman was probably employed, and by which the fibre was farther cleansed and the flax freed from the tow. The result of these processes (with one or two others not illustrated as yet) is shown in a mass of flax prepared for spinning more than seventy years ago. The flax-wheel follows, the wheel itself made by the wheelwright, who in those days was commonly near at hand, but the frame probably constructed on the farm, while the four curved branches of the distaff were joined at one end in the woods by nature, at the other end by anybody who could tie a string. With the wheel goes the cup in which the spinner's fingers must be moistened, and of which two forms are on exhibition, both chiefly of nature's making. One is a small gourd from the garden, which the boy who picked it could finish with his knife; the other, rather less primitive because brought within reach by the progress of New England commerce, the shell of a cocoanut, but also prepared for duty at the wheel in a domestic factory. Next to the spinning-wheel and its appurtenances there is a reel for winding the linen thread into skeins; then swifts for winding the skeins into balls; a quill-wheel for transferring the balls by another winding to the quills, or bobbins, which were to be slipped into the shuttle for weaving; specimens of quills and a couple of shuttles as representatives of the loom, itself too large to be exhibited ;* and finally a linen napkin which the weaver had left half woven when he dropped his shuttle one day and picked up his musket and marched away, perhaps to Bunker Hill, to finish his work when he came home.

This series, not yet quite complete, takes us into a past when manufactures were still not much more than a branch of agriculture, when almost anybody could do almost anything, when

* But since procured and placed with a variety of the homelier deposits in the spacious attic, now well lighted.

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