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almost everybody performed manual labor, and when therefore there were no working classes, nor, speaking broadly, any classes. This was not the original state of things, when Whitfield, belonging to the class of gentlefolk, never performed manual labor; when a New Haven husbandman testified with some temper that he and his associates were looked down on as “mean men” because they worked with their hands, and when, on the other hand, sundry Guilford yeomen, called on to settle the wilderness beyond East River (now Madison), asked that Mr. Leete might be sent with them in order that they might have "one of better quality" for a leader. Nor did the later conditions, which led one of the writers of the Federalist to speak of Connecticut as “the most popular,” that is the most democratic, "state" in the union, preclude either the existence or the frank recognition of gentlefolk, or the presence, everywhere felt, of an aristocracy. It was one of the best aristocracies that the world ever saw, if not the best (and a good aristocracy is a very good thing indeed), for the reason that the government of Connecticut was, as Senator Lodge once told us, probably one of the best that the world ever saw. For the best men were almost uniformly elevated to high office; the first President Dwight declares, for example, that no demagogue had ever made his way into the governor's council (which corresponded, in a general way, to our present senate), or into any office in the gift of the commonwealth at large.*

And these men, being proved by experiment to be the best men, were usually kept in office by annual elections as long as they would serve, and if their sons inherited their strength of mind and purity of character they were likely to succeed their fathers. And a free and most democratic society spontaneously produced its own aristocracy (homemade as became Connecticut, and as is always best), in the form of a governing class, which yet was not a class, for its members were seldom much richer than their neighbors, with whom they mingled for the most part as essentially equals and among whom they often had at least first cousins. Some of them, of course,

SO

* Travels, i, 261.

!

were of the blood of the early leaders, the gentry of the towns first settled, and, if circumstances were propitious, they preserved much of their inheritance in the graces of an aristocracy, without, thanks to democracy, the frequent bad manners of aristocrats. Much of this is illustrated by the fact that early in the eighteenth century a Connecticut governor reminded the earl of Bellomont of an English nobleman, and the fact that late in that century a Maryland lieutenant was "acquitted with honor” of the charge of disrespect to a Connecticut general because most of the court doubted whether any degree of insolence towards officers, whom nothing but epaulets distinguished from their men, was unbecoming in an officer who was a gentleman. It appears on reflection that this result was rather creditable to the bringing up of the Connecticut rank and file, and that the Connecticut general, however rustic his breeding may have been, could not possibly have been less a gentleman, and was probably a better soldier than the subaltern who insulted him and the superior officers who winked at the insult. Intelligent and sensible people will set a high value on graceful manners, and thank the men and women who can supply a standard of fine courtesy. But our fathers were wise enough to know that good manners are a branch of good morals and to be grateful to those who had grounded them in both by diligent instruction in the Fifth Commandinent.

In the Museum are to be seen a few, as yet too few, niemorials of colonial gentility, as also of colonial scholarship. There is the great wainscot chair of Governor Leete, a less imposing chair of Governor Saltonstall, a roundabout chair of John Hart, first minister of East Guilford and long regarded as the first graduate of Yale college, a patch-box which comes originally from a branch of the Wolcotts, with a tiny mirror under its lid to show the lady whether the patches were in their places on her cheek or her chin, and the triangular wooden hat-box in which Captain Nathaniel Johnson (who by the way, married a descendant of Theophilus Eaton) kept his cocked hat. His more distinguished brother, Samuel Johnson of Stratford and King's College, appears in a manuscript lecture on logic, read to his pupils in New Haven, in 1717, when he was not yet one and twenty, and who happened, just then, to constitute the entire resident faculty of the college; and also in a definition of geology given by him incidentally in 1730, and then as correct as it was comprehensive, and which embraced, among other subjects of terrestrial inquiry, optics, navigation and music.

In illustrating the history of the commonwealth some emphasis has designedly been given to its less known passages. This illustration (not to speak of a few books which we hope will grow into many) is for the most part very simple and inexpensive, for there have been scarcely any funds for the purchase of such objects as we would gladly have obtained. There is as yet no endowment and the state appropriations serve chiefly for current expenses and urgent improvements. To make sure of going back far enough in history, there is a plate, sent us from England, and showing the arrowheads used by neolithic man before Britain had become an island, procured for comparison with those used by the race from whom our fathers bought our territory. The progress which followed is curiously exhibited in a stone axe lying beside an English-made tomahawk, testifying to the growth of peaceful (and profitable) trade. There are certain mementoes of the Tories, illustrative of the good that was in them, and was rather prodigally given away in the persons of the exiles who founded New Brunswick and Ontario. There are maps, mostly homemade and to be replaced, it may be hoped, by better ones some day, showing Connecticut before the charter, when it included a large part of Long Island and had an Atlantic coast; and Connecticut after the charter, when as far as the king's word availed, it stretched across the continent and had a Pacific coast; and a Connecticut town named Westmoreland, belonging to Litchfield county in 1774, and bringing in the Susquehanna and the Delaware to be sisters of the Housatonic and the Naugatuck.

But I must close abruptly with a word of acknowledgment, spoken not in forgetfulness of many other most generous contributors, but as an act of simple justice to a company of ladies who, as an organization and as individuals have, next to the state itself, done most to create and equip the Museum, the Connecticut Society of the Colonial Dames of America. After giving nearly one-tenth of the purchase money, they paid more than two-thirds of the cost of the recent changes, while members of the society have made very valuable additions to the collections, and two of them have rendered services, some of which can hardly be over-estimated, on the board of trustees. Thus daughters of Whitfield and Davenport and Hooker, of Leete and Eaton and Haynes, have with others provided a fair chamber for our Little Mother in which she may dwell for coming centuries in the grave, spiritual beauty of her most strenuous youth. And by that fireside, which is an altar, none of whatever creed will forbid her to confess the enduring Power which makes for righteousness in her own creed, already recited for centuries, Qui transtulit sustinet.*

* The necessary revision of this paper has been made difficult by the writer's impaired health. He has particularly to regret that he could not get access to his notes, stored for two or three years in closets and elsewhere, without too much physical effort, and is therefore able to furnish very few references, and to make but scanty acknowledgment of valuable assistance.

THE LOST DUKEDOM, OR THE STORY OF

THE PIERREPONT CLAIM. *

By JAMES KINGSLEY BLAKE, LL.B.

[Read March 26, 1906.]

It has been my good fortune last summer to have had the opportunity of reading over a collection of ancient letters, some of them written more than two centuries ago, which tell of the endeavors of certain pre-revolutionary members of the New Haven family of Pierreponts to establish a claim to the titles, dignities and hereditaments pertaining to the British Dukedom of Kingston.

These letters were originally preserved, I have no doubt, because it was supposed they would be of value as evidence if the matter should ever be legally determined, but while they still remain of great interest to a casual antiquary or genealogist, they are no longer cherished by their possessors as possible mag

* The letters referred to in the following paper, with the exception of the last one to the Rev. Eleazar Wheelock, are in possession of Mr. Henry E. Pierrepont of Columbia Heights, Brooklyn, N. Y.

The letter to Mr. Wheelock, not included in this collection, is found, with two others, copied into a book belonging to Dr. John Pierrepont C. Foster of New Haven, which states that the originals, in 1852, were in the possession of Rev. John Pierrepont of Medford, Mass.

I have not as yet been able to discover whether, as a matter of law, the Kingston title, or any part of the Pierrepont estates in England, were so entailed as to require their descent to the eldest male heir, but it is evident that James Pierrepont believed that some such rule prevailed, and since it does not appear that his claim was ever disputed by those to whom he propounded it, whether in England or America, I have for the purpose of my tale assumed that he was right in his supposition, and have ventured for that reason, in my paper, to call the prize which slipped from his grasp, what from his point of view it was,-A Lost Dukedom!

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