THE PENNSYLVANIA MAGAZINE OF HISTORY AND BIOGRAPHY.
Vol. XXVI, No. 14,
VOL. XXVI, No. 22.
THE SOCIETY OF THE SONS OF SAINT TAMMANY OF PHILADELPHIA.
BY FRANCIS VON A. CABEEN.
The Continental money at this time had risen to two hundred and twenty dollars of it to one dollar of hard money, and we are led to believe that our Whig friends had little of either kind to invest in public dinners. In this connection we wish to call the reader's attention to a curious notice in the Journal (Freeman's Journal, May 9, 1781.) of "A Society of Gentlemen," who proposed to punish all those people who had settled or offered to settle debts contracted in hard money in the depreciated paper money by publishing their names in the papers. The article closes with "by order of the society, John Fielding, Secretary." Who they were we cannot say, but the sentiments expressed are very similar to those held by our friends of the Tammany Society.
The fifth anniversary of Independence Day was celebrated by a cold collation given to the officers of the allied armies at the State-House. The account of it says, "No doubt every Whig will rejoice on the happy occasion, and every Tory, when he views the situation of his friends the British must hang his head and before the next it is highly probable will hang himself." (Ibid, July 4, 1781.) It is not within the scope of our history to give all the public festivities that took place this year; but there is one account of an entertainment which we think worthy of insertion, for the reason that it is exactly in line with what the Saint Tammany Society did themselves a few years later.
On the 17th instant about forty-two Indian chiefs and warriors waited upon his Excellency the Minister of France (Freeman s Journal, October 3, 1781.) He offered them various presents, which they received with great pleasure, and after having exchanged the following speeches, they sat down to dinner, where they behaved with cheerfulness and affability, and expressed by their toasts and conversation their great attachment to Congress and their sincere friendship for the French nation. His Excellency said,
"Brothers, Sachems and Warriors of the Oneidas, Tuscaroras, and Cachnewagues.Open your ears and hear what I have to say to you as the representative of your old friend and father the King of France. BrotherIt gives me great pleasure to see you face to face after your long journey. I thank the Great Spirit for giving us this opportunity of speaking together at this place; I hope the road will soon be open and freed from briars and thorns, that you may safely travel to and from the great council fire kindled at Philadelphia by the United States of America, the friends and allies of the King your father. BrotherI have no doubt the council fire will burn brighter the longer it continues, and for this end we must all strive together and heap so much wood upon it, that it will reach the skies and be seen and felt by all the nations, giving light and warmth to our friends and striking our enemies with terror, and threatening their destruction. BrotherAs your Father and the United States of America have joined their councils and arms in one common cause, they have now but one head and one heart, and they have bound themselves together by a strong covenant of chain which no power on earth is able to break. The King your father regards with sincere friendship all those who take hold of the covenant chain. He therefore will take particular pleasure in showing his esteem for such faithful friends to the cause of France and America as those of the Oneidas, Tuscaroras and Cachnewagues, who have submitted even to abandon their country rather than have their eyes blinded like many of your Indian brethren by British arts and deceitful practices. Brother I advise you to continue to hold fast this chain of friendship, and keep your part of it free from all rust, making it so bright, that none can look upon it whose eyes are not strong and clear and their intentions honest, without being covered with shame and confusion. Brother You may rest assured that the King your father has sent powerful succours to the assistance of his beloved friends the United States of America, and from our joint endeavours with the blessing of God, we have reason to hope for the most prosperous end of the war. We will then tie our covenant chain to a mountain, so that it will hold fast forever and bind our two nations and all their friends together as long as the sun and moon endure. BrotherI beg your acceptance of a few articles which I present as a small token of my esteem and which I give to make the countenances of your wise men more cheerful, and sharpen the tomahawks of your warriors that they may fight manfully against our common enemy. BrotherI wish you a safe and speedy return to your families, and I pray the Almighty to cover your heads with his holy protection, that you and your children's children may sit down under the shade of your own trees and smoke your pipes in peace, growing to your own grounds like a strong oak which shall take such deep root that no storm shall hereafter be able to blow it down. But all the nations shall gather under its branches for shelter and shall hang up their belts on its boughs, and being no more deceived by our enemies shall be ruled by the wisdom of your counsellors, as long as the stars remain in the Heavens or the rivers flow."
Answer of the Indian chief Arara (or Grasshopper) to his Excellency the Minister of France:
"FatherWe have heard thy words and we shall repeat them to our warriors, to our women and to our children, and we shall bring them thy presents. We have seen with joy the union subsisting between the sons of our father that lives on the other side of the great lake, and our brethren the inhabitants of the United States. FatherWe have tied to a mountain of rock the chain that binds us to thee, nothing is able to break it, and we shall keep it clean from rust that it may last as long as the stars of the firmament. FatherWhile we stayed in our habitations at Schenectady we saw little beautiful birds that came to us, and acquainted us with what they had seen on the other side of the great lake. They have told us that our father and our mother are beloved by their children but that they had not yet got a son who might at once become our father and the father of their great family. Tell him that we hope they will soon be blessed with a son, whom the children of our children will call their father. FatherWhen the French and English buried their hatchets in a hole as deep as the great lake, when they broke their fire locks after the last war, the French Governor assembled us and told us the following words: Take this wampum and preserve carefully these hatchets. Be always the faithful friends of your father the King of France. He is obliged to leave you to-day, and he advises you to live in peace with the King of England; but if ever he treats you in a manner contrary to the laws of justice, the King of France your father, or his warriors will come to assist you by another road. FatherWe see that thou hast not deceived us; we shall maintain the fires of our councils in a constant friendship, with our father, and inform our friends of what we have seen and heard."
Here the Indian chief took out of a bag a large wampum, on the extremities of which were the name of Louis and the figure of two hatchets. He presented them to the Chevalier de la Luzerne, that he might examine them.
While the newspapers did not give any account of our Philadelphia Sons of Saint Tammany having a dinner, there is in the possession of the Historical Society of Pennsylvania an original paper showing the organization, by-laws, etc., of a Sons of Saint Tammany organized in New Jersey on May 1 of this year. We give a copy of this document, which follows closely the Philadelphia Society:
" The Constitution of the New Jersey Society of the Sons of St. Tamminy No. 1.
"That we will meet annually on the first day of May for the celebration of our Saint at such place as shall be notified by the President in the public prints: Provided however that if any of the days appointed for the convening of the society should happen to be the Sabbath it will be postponed until the Monday following.
"That on the first of May annually the members of the Society shall meet to choose a President, Vice President & thirteen members for the council, three of whom shall he a quorum, to meet at such times & places as the President shall direct to transact the business of the Society as invested in them by these articles.
"That the President & Council on the 2nd of May annually shall elect a secretary & Treasurer for the society.
"That the Council shall have the power of admitting new members, constituting them Sons of St. Tamminy & issuing certificates to them under the seal of the society & sign of the President attested by the Secretary: Provided that no person be admitted as a member but such as is of good report.
"That any member who shall behave in a disorderly & disgraceful manner shall be suspended or expelled the society by a majority of members at their annual meeting.
"That every person at his admittance pay into the Treasury the sum of four dollars; and that every member pay therein annually the sum one Dollar.
"That the Council shall have the ordering and disposal of the public money with rendering a satisfactory account to the society annually or the last of May: Provided also that all charitable donations shall first extend to the poor of the society.
"That the Treasurer on the first day of May annually shall lay his accounts properly adjusted before the Council for liquidation.
"That any article of the Constitution shall be subject to alteration or addition for two years by a majority of voices at the annual meeting on the 1st of May; but after that time they will not be subject to any alteration but shall be subject to addition.
"That every person at his admittance into the Society subscribe to the above articles.
"Signed on the 1st Day of May 1782.
"J. N. CUMMING, President
"EBEN ELMER, Secretary
"VINER VANZANDT, Counsel
"W. HELMS, Counsel
"LR. HALSEY, Counsel
Nath'l Bowman Sam'el Seely Ben. Osmun John Hopper Derick Lane Sam. Reading A. Weymon Sam. Conn John Pintard Wm. Anderson Mos. G. Elmer Jacob Harris Sam'l M. Shute John Reucastle (?) Francis Luse Absalom Martin G. Mead Jona. Forman John Bishop Jos. Breck A. Brooks Peter Faulkner Nathan Wilkison John Blair Jacob Flyer Wm. Tuttle Jere'h Ballard Jona. Holmes Jno. Holmes Edmund D. Thomas Abr. Stout John Peck Wm. Piatt Wm. Kersey"
Many reasons may be given as to why our friends did not have a public celebration this year on the anniversary of their patron's day, but the real reason seems to us to have been a reluctance on their part to compete with the elegant affairs given by the French officials or the entertainments ordered by Congress. They also may have felt that their celebration, being of a purely American character, would hardly seem gracious at a time when their country was being assisted in its battles by a people that did not speak their language, some of whom even had just then for the first time set foot upon this continent. If the surrender of Cornwallis had taken place in April of this year instead of in October, we think that our followers of the brave old Indian would have revived the well-known custom of their aboriginal fathers, of having a feast after they had vanquished an enemy.
The general condition of the country in the year 1782 is so well stated in a newspaper, dated May 8, that we give it at length:
"A correspondent observes that though the advices from New York most clearly indicate a very great change in the sentiments and councils of our enemy, gentlemen of the best information see with some concern that the reports and expectations are greatly exaggerated. Independence is not acknowledged, as many have hastily supposed, nor is there any declared intention of withdrawing the troops from this country, which were the explicit terms held out by Congress as previous requisites to a negotiation at a time when consistent with our engagements to our great ally, we could have entered into a treaty; but the ground is now changed in that respect; eventual engagements are become permanent; and giving the utmost stretch to our hopes of relief we cannot suppose Great Britain seriously means to treat with us in America, but on terms utterly inconsistent with our interest and honour. Prudence and policy both dictate to us not to relax in any preparation, but while we wish for peace to be provided for war. In fact there are too many concurrent circumstances to leave us in doubt that the British Ministry are endeavouring to sow discord among us, to weaken the happy confidence subsisting between us and our ally and that aim by the arts of corruption to effect what arms have failed to accomplish. Suspicion under these circumstances is wisdom and especially if we reflect that if Great Britain really means fairly the path of negotiation in Europe is too plain to be missed, but by design. Whenever she is disposed to acknowledge our independence we have Ministers there to treat in concert with those of our ally and that acknowledgment being made the great object of the war between her and France is at an end. But the truth is that she still flatters herself with the delusive hope of retaining our dependence in some degree and at all events to detach us from the alliance. By comparing all accounts there is reason to expect a third set of olive branches commissioners from Britain gifted with a double portion of lying deceitful and equivocal spirit that actuated Governor Johnstone and the evil beasts that accompanied him to America."
The situation might be summed up by saying that the community folded its hands and waited for peace. Where we should expect to meet an account of our Society in May, we find in its place a long description of the celebration (Independent Gazetteer, May 18, 1782; Freeman s Journal, May 15, 1782.) held in honor of the birth of the Dauphin of France, which was announced formally to Congress by the French Minister, after which a dinner was given at the City Tavern (Situated on west side of Second Street, north of Walnut, west corner of present Gold Street.) at 5 P.M. by Congress, with the usual thirteen toasts, and followed in the evening by fireworks on the State-House Green. The celebration of the Fourth of July this year was as follows: (Independent, July 6, 1782.)
"The Anniversary of the Declaration of Independence was celebrated here in the true Republican style, as if every vestige of Monarchical Trappings was done away. . . . An elegant cold collation was provided at the house of the President of Congress, where a number of gentlemen without formality partook of the fare; and were plentifully regaled with the best of liquors about 1 o clock P.M. The Federal salute was fired by a detachment of Artillery on the State House Green, several companies of gentlemen assembled in different parts of the city and spent the day and evening with that heart-felt joy which impregnated every principled breast on the glorious occasion."
That our patriotic Sons were still an active force in the community is shown by the following poem which appeared in one of the newspapers of this year. They also may have been one of the "several companies of gentlemen" mentioned above.
"The Prophecy of King Tammany.
"The Indian Chief who, fam'd of yore
Saw Europe's sons advent'ring here
Look'd sorrowing to the crowded shore,
And sighing dropt a tear:
He saw them half his world explore,
He saw them draw the shining blade,
He saw their hostile ranks display'd,
And cannons blazing thro' that shade,
Where only peace was known before.
"Ah what unequal arms! he cry'd,
How are thou fall'n my country s pride,
The rural sylvan reign!
Far from our pleasing shores to go
To Western Rivers, winding slow,
Is this the boon the Gods bestow?
What have we done, great patrons, say,
That strangers seize our woods away,
And drive us naked from our native plain?
Rage and revenge inspire my soul,
And passion burns without control
Hence strangers, to your native shore,
Far from our Indian shades retire.
Remove these Gods that vomit fire,
And stain with blood these ravag'd glades no more.
In vain I weep, in vain I sigh,
These strangers all our arms defy,
As they advance our chieftains die!
What can their hosts oppose?
The bow has lost its wonted spring,
The arrow faulters on the wing,
Nor carries ruin from the string
To end their being and our woes.
"Yes yesI see our nation bends;
The Gods no longer are our friends,
But why these weak complaints and sighs?
Are there not gardens in the West,
Where all our far fam'd Sachems rest?
I ll go an unexpected guest;
And the dark horrors of the way despise.
"Ev'n now the thundering peals draw nigh,
Tie theirs to triumph, ours to die!
But mark me, Christians, ere I go
Thou too shalt have thy share of woe,
The time rolls on, not moving slow,
When hostile squadrons for your blood shall come,
And ravage all your shore!
Your warriors and your children slay,
And some in dismal dungeons lay,
Or lead them captive far away,
To climes unknown, thro' seas untry'd before.
"When struggling long, at last with pain,
You brake a cruel tyrant's chain,
That never shall be joined again,
When half your foes are homeward fled,
And hosts on hosts in triumph fled,
And hundreds maim'd and thousands dead,
A timid race shall then succeed,
Shall slight the virtues of the firmer race,
That brought your tyrants to disgrace,
Shall give your honours to an odious train,
Who shunn'd all conflicts on the main,
And dar'd no battles on the plain,
Whose little souls sunk in the gloomy day,
When Virtues only could support the fray,
And sunshine friends keep off or ran away.
"So spoke the chief; and rais'd his funeral pyre
Around him soon the crackling flames ascend;
He smil'd amid the fervours of the fire,
To think his troubles were so near their end,.
Till the freed soul, her debt to nature paid,
Rose from the ashes that her prison made,
And sought the world unknown, and dark oblivion's shade. "
The above poem was directed at Congress, whose temporizing methods were greatly censured by all stanch Whigs, such as were members of the Saint Tammany Society.
The long-looked-for heralds of peace arrived in this country March 12, 1783, in the shape of a preliminary treaty, and on April 19 of this year there was a cessation of hostilities, just eight years after the battle of Lexington. (Hildreth's "History of the United States," vol. iii. p. 433.) In consequence of such a joyful state of affairs, our loyal Sons of Saint Tammany took occasion on May 1 to celebrate the event in a befitting style, as follows: . . . On Thursday May first many respected inhabitants of Philadelphia elated with the glorious proposals of peace and public happiness and desirous of reviving the former good old custom of the country in commemorating Tammany's Day assembled on the Banks of the Schuylkill dressed and distinguished in buck tails and feathers very expressive of the occasion." (Independent Gazetteer, May 3, 1783.) Thus starts one account, but a fuller one runs this way: (Freeman s Journal, May 7, 1783.)
"On Thursday last being the anniversary of the tutelar St. of Pennsylvania, the state flag was hoisted at Mr. Pole's seat on the Banks of Schuylkill; the flag of France was displayed on the right, and that of the States of Holland on the left; The flag staff of each was decorated with garlands suitable to the day. The constitutional Sons of Saint Tammany being collected to the number of two hundred and fifty and upwards, the day was celebrated according to the good old custom of our worthy forefathers. At noon thirteen Sachems or Chiefs were appointed and invested with supreme authority for the day. These having retired awhile to council returned and proclaimed that they had chosen a chief and a Secretarythat they had unanimously and firmly 'resolved to exercise to the utmost the authority committed to them to compel every man to do perfectly as he pleases during the day. Provided always nevertheless that he shall leave every other man to do so too; by which means it is confidently expected that peace and good order will be preserved; but if any man shall presume to do otherwise shall be heartily laughed at for his folly.' The Company gave three cheers the cannon fired and the band of music struck up St. Tammany's Day. The Secretary then produced the hatchet, reminded the warriors, hunters and young men that it had been war and was now peace; that like men we had struck that hatchet into the head of our enemy and he had submitted. He asked if they would bury it? The affirmative being agreed upon, it was interred in due form, each man casting a stone upon it. The cannon fired and the band played Yankee Doodle. The Secretary then reminded them of the good old custom used by our ancestors on like occasions of smoking the Calumet or pipe of peace, whereupon it was resolved it should then be done. A new calumet was produced, the bowl of which was a huge ram's horn gilded with thirteen stars; the stem had a reed six feet in length elegantly decorated with thirteen beautiful peacock feathers. This calumet was accepted with a general shout of joy and being filled and lighted was smoked not only by our chief and his Sachems, but also by all present. The cannon fired again and the band played Great Washington. In the mean time the treat of the day being prepared in a proper cabin set up for the purpose at the head of which was the portraiture of our bravo old saint with this well known motto Kawanio Chee Keeteru, above was an elegant design of the siege of Yorktown in front of which were his excellency General Washington and the Count de Rochambeau. The company having partaken of the feast in a style of freedom and cheerful simplicity that would have given a high relish to the homeliest fare, every countenance was enlivened with a glow of generous joy and every heart opened. The following thirteen toasts were drank.
1. St. Tammany and the Constitution of Pennsylvania Kawanio Chee Keeteru. 2. The United States. May the thirteen stars shine with underived lustre, and the thirteen stripes be a terror to tyrants forever. 3. Louis the XVI, the defender of the rights of mankind, and the French Nation. May the lily and the laurel flourish together as long as the stars shine. 4. The States of Holland. 5. General Washington and the army. May justice gratitude and respect amply repay their services and sufferings. 6. The officers, soldiers and seamen of the army and navy of France, who have fought in the cause of America. May their blood which has been spilt and intermingled with ours be a lasting cement of mutual interest. 7. May the enemies of America never be restored to her confidence. 8. The immortal memory of those worthies who have fallen by the savage hand of Britain; whether in the field, in jails, on the ocean, or on board their infectious and loathsome prison ships. Can the tears of repenting Britons! wash from their flag the stain of such precious blood? 9. Freedom to those, in every part of the world, who dare contend for it. 10. The friends of liberty in Ireland. May the harp be tuned to independence and be touched by skillful hands. 11. The yeomanry of the land. May those who have been Whigs in the worst of times duly respect themselves. 12. Free commerce with the world. 13. 'Virtue liberty and independence.' May America be an Asylum to the oppressed of all countries throughout all ages.
"At the giving of each toast the cannon fired, and the whole company gave three cheers, but when General Washington and the army were named they swelled spontaneously to thirteen, and upon naming 'the friends of liberty in Ireland' and the 'tuning of the harp to independence' the Sons of St. Tammany anticipating the day in which the brave Sons of St. Patrick shall be free and happy as ourselves burst into thirteen shouts of joy, and the band struck up 'St. Patrick s Day in the morning.'
"When the toasts were ended our chief sung the first stanza of the original song in praise of St. Tammany, and the remainder was sung with great spirit by Mr. Leacock.
"Song for St. Tamminy s Day.
"The Old Song.
Of Andrew, of Patrick, of David, & George,
What mighty achievements we hear!
While no one relates great Tammany's feats,
Although more heroic by far, my brave boys,
Although more heroic by far.
These heroes fought only as fancy inspired,
As by their own stories we find;
Whilst Tammany, he fought only to free,
From cruel oppression mankind, my brave boys,
From cruel oppression mankind.
"When our country was young and our numbers were few
To our fathers his friendship was shown,
(For he e'er would oppose whom he took for his foes),
And made our misfortunes his own, my brave boys,
And he made our misfortunes his own.
"At length growing old and quite worn out with years,
As history doth truly proclaim,
His wigwam was fired, he nobly expired,
And flew to the skies in a flame, my brave boys,
And flew to the skies in a flame.
"Other songs in honour of our Saint were likewise sung. The warriors were so highly pleased with the gaiety and spirit of our chief that they bore him on their shoulders from the green into his cabin amidst the shouts of all present. After sunset the colours were struck by a signal from the cannon; our chief, his sachems and warriors marched into the city in proper file; the band playing 'St. Tammany's Day' before them. They saluted the Minister of France, and proceeded to the Coffee House, where giving three cheers every man returned in peace to his own house."
It is well to call attention to the fact that the above account says that the chief and his sachems were dressed in "buck skins and feathers," for, as we have seen by Eddis's letters from Annapolis in 1771, it was then the custom in Maryland on May Day to celebrate Tammany's memory; therefore, in Pennsylvania it must have been followed long before the celebration took root in what was then far-off Maryland. Our Sons were merely returning to the early customs of the followers of the brave old saint, which evidently had been omitted when the Society was first formed, as no mention is made of them by any of their chroniclers from 1772 up to this occasion. The site of this jollification was at what was known in those days as Mr. Pole's seat on the Schuylkill, though the property was owned by Mr. D. Beveridge, and was so designated in the accounts of this Society's proceedings three years later. It was situated on the west bank of the river, between what was then known as the Upper Ferry bridge, now called Callowhill Street bridge, and the lower end of the Fairmount locks. The extent of the property was twenty-nine acres, and it was shaped like a triangle, with the river for a base. Beveridge's house is one of the houses that are marked on Varley's Map. The reason for its being called Pole's was that Edward Pole had on the river banks of this property a place where sportsmen could obtain all the facilities for indulging in their pastimes, such as boats, fishing-tackle, etc. Pole's advertisement was one of the most prominent in the papers of the day, and at his place of business in the city he sold all kinds of fishing-tackle, guns, etc. Pole was, of course, a member of the organization, and most likely one of the organizers of the feast. We have seen that Pole was the Secretary of the Constitutional Society, and probably was chosen on this occasion to fill the same office for the Sons. From the very detailed account which appears in the Freeman's Journal, we are satisfied that its owner, Mr. Francis Bailey, was one of this goodly company, for he certainly subscribed to their ideas in every way. We fortunately are able to give the reader a short account of the singer of the "original song." He was a Mr. John Leacock, and a member of the Schuylkill Fishing Company, having held the office of coroner in that organization. He was born in 1729, married October 7, 1771, to Miss Martha Ogilby, died November 16, 1802, and was buried in Christ Church-yard. He was one of the signers of the Non-Importation resolution of 1765, and in 1777 he owned a vineyard in Lower Merion, Philadelphia County, and set up a lottery for the encouragement of the vine. He also held the office of coroner of the city of Philadelphia from 1785 up to the time of his death, and was the owner of a house of entertainment on Water Street, between Arch and Race. (History Schuylkill Fishing Company, p. 366; Philadelphia Directory, 1790.) He was unquestionably a man of prominence, and, from his having been selected to render the song of the day, he must have had some reputation as a vocalist. Our "Buck Skins" certainly were great believers in democracy of a very broad character, as shown by the announcement for their guidance for the day.
Their adherence to State rights is evident, for the State flag was given the post of honor, flanked on either side by the flags of France and Holland, and nothing is said of any United States flag being erected upon the ground. Their first toast further shows their predilections, for it was to Tammany (a Pennsylvanian) and the Constitution of Pennsylvania, while the second place on their list was held by the United States. However, they, like the rest of the people, had caught "the epidemic frenzy" of the supreme sovereignty of the separate States, (Hamilton, vol. 1. p. 403.) which was cured in great measure by that able address of General Washington to the Governors of the several States after his surrender of his commission as commander-in-chief. While closing this year's account of our Society, it is worth while to note that ten days later than the above meeting, on the banks of the Hudson, was organized another society," The Order of the Cincinnati,"to which our Sons were later on in their existence much opposed.
The next record of our Society is found in two newspapers of 1784, in precisely the same words, as follows: (Pennsylvania Packet, May 6, and Freeman's Journal, May 5, 1784.)
"On Saturday the first of May, the Sons of St. Tammany met at Mr. Poole's seat on Schuylkill in order to celebrate the day. The State flag was hoisted in the centre and those of France and the United Netherlands on the right and left, decorated with garlands suitable to the occasion. Upon the discharge of three cannon, the colours were displayed and the festival began. The chief and sachems were elected council fire kindledthe law of liberty proclaimedthe calumet was smoked, and the dance to the calabash performed. When the feast was prepared, and the Sons of St. Tammany seated, intelligence was received that General Washington had just arrived in the city. One of the company with a voice of exultation cried out 'General Washington is arrived huzza,' no sooner was the voice heard than the air was rent by a general cry of 'General Washington is arrived huzza.' The sentence was drank as a toast, and 'encore! encore!' being heard on every side a second bumper was filled, and the wigwam again shook with 'General Washington is arrived huzza.' The ceremony of the feast being ended and the company seated on the grass, the following thirteen toasts were drank, under the discharge of the artillery, and with music adapted to each, viz.
1. St. Tammany, and the day, music St. Tammany. 2. The United StatesMay the benign influence of the thirteen stars be shed in every quarter of the worldMusic Yankee Doodle. 3. Louis XVI the defender of the rights of mankind. May his people be as happy as he is great and good. Broglio's March. 4. The United Netherlands. Washington's March. 5. George WashingtonClinton's retreat. 6. The citizen soldiers of America, and the Army and Navy of FranceCapture of Cornwallis. 7. The Militia of PennsylvaniaLevan's Cotillion. 8. Our friends who have fallen in the war, may they live forever in the hearts of a free and grateful people. Rosalind's Castle. 9. The best Whigs in the worst of times. Sweet Hope. 10. Encreasing lustre to the stars of America, and unfading bloom to the lilies of France. Stoney Point and Broglio s March. 11. May the people of Ireland enjoy the freedom of Americans. St. Patrick's day in the morning. 12. Free trade in American bottoms and peace with all the world. Washington's resignation. 13. The land we live in, and our free constitution. Kawanio Chee Keeteru (i.e. : These God has given us, and we will defend them). Music Liberty Hall."
"St. Tammany's song being sung, a gentleman in a complete powwow dress appeared and performed a maneta dance. The dress was at once ludicrous and terrible, but the character was well supported and the dance performed with great spirit. The company having learned that General Washington dined with the financier general, (Robert Morris's house, on Market Street, between Fifth and Sixth, next to corner of Fifth, on south side.Philadelphia Directory, 1785.) they marched with the music before them to his door, where they halted, and gave his excellency thirteen, cheers, and at the same time thirteen cannon were fired on the banks of the Schuylkill, then passing on to the houses of the Ministers of France (M. de Marbois, Penn (Water) Street, between Pine and South Streets. Ibid.) and the United Netherlands, (Francis Van Berckel, 276 High Street (Market).Ibid.) they gave each of them seven cheers, and retired each man to his own home. Having spent the day in the most perfect harmony, every man determined to do his best to perpetuate the name of St. Tammany, who had so kindly and cordially welcomed our ancestors to this fruitful country."
In this era of skepticism and carping criticism of the patriots who made this great nation it is pleasant to find from the foregoing account such a spontaneous outburst of enthusiasm over the greatest patriot of them all, our venerated Washington. We notice from the order of the toasts upon this occasion that the State is not as prominent as it had been the previous year, and that the United States seem to be more in evidence. This change in sentiment was one that Washington strove for with all his personal influence, for he saw that peace had not been formally declared before British interests were at work trying by inciting jealousy between the different States to bring about the disintegration of the confederacy. (Sparks, vol. ix. pp. 12, 13.) In June of this year we find our "Friends of the Constitution" once more calling their members together "to prevent," as they say, "a change in the fundamentals of our excellent government." (Freeman's Journal, June 16, 1784.) There is also a notice later in the year that "the St. Tammany Fire Company meet at the house of Captain John Barker on Friday 1st October next at 7 o'clock in the evening." Whether this company was composed only of members of the Sons of Saint Tammany or not we cannot say, for the above is the only notice we find of their existence. (Ibid., September 29.)
The Philadelphia City Directory of 1785 gives Captain John Barker as "inn-keeper and taylor," at the sign of St. Tammany, on Arch Street, between Second and Third
(To be continued.)
THE SOCIETY OF THE SONS OF SAINT TAMMANY OF PHILADELPHIA.
VOL. XXVI, No. 22.
BY FRANCIS VON A. CABEEN
The account of the celebration of Saint Tammany s Day, which took place on Monday, May 21, 1785, is as follows:
"On Monday last, the Sons of St. Tammany (Pennsylvania Packet, May 5, 1785; Freeman's Journal, May 2, 1785; Mercury, May 6, 1785.) celebrated the anniversary of their Saint, at Mr. Beveridge's seat on the Banks of the Schuylkill. At 12 o clock the flag of the United States ornamented with a fine figure of St. Tammany drawn by Mr. Wright, was displayed in the centre, that of France on the right, and that of Holland on the left. The Chief and Sachems of last year then appeared, grounded the ensigns of authority, and mixed with their brethren, upon which a brother came forward, reminded the nation of the presence of their Saint, and that they had neither chief nor councellors. Whereupon they unanimously re-elected their old chief, and such of their former councellors as were present, adding as many new as completed the number thirteen. The compliments of his excellency, Gen'l. Washington for the attention and respect paid him last year, being communicated by the Secretary, produced thirteen cheers, which came from the heart. The unlimited authority of the Sachem to do good to his children was acknowledged, the old law which commands every man to do as he pleases being proclaimed and obedience on pain of compulsion, the festivity of the day began and continued throughout with that perfect liberty which feels no restraint than affection and respect towards each other which eminently distinguishes the Sons of Saint. No healths were drank nor any court made to great men having no ambition to be greater, they determined not to be less than their fellow citizens. Among the great number of Songs which were sung as St. Tammany's due, the old song was sung with great spirit . . ." The following ode was also composed:
"Ode for Saint Tammany's Day, May 1st, 1785.
"(Written by Tenxogrondi, a Delaware Chief.)
"Donna makoo makoonos!
Kuikoo donna znakoo;
"Ever sacred be this day,
Genial morn of rosy May.
"To Schuylkill's fair banks let us cheerful repair,
For pure is the aether, and fragrant the air;
Soft Zephyrs shall fan us, and eke thro' the grove,
The genius of Tammany shield us with love,
No foes shall intrude with inquisitive eye,
Our orgies, our dances, our mystries to spy.
"Adieu to your wives,
Come gird on your knives,
Your tomahawks, arrows and bows!
Your bodies besmear,
With oil of the bear,
And look undismay'd on your foes.
"Kindle up the council fires,
Lo! our Saint the flame inspires,
Whilst we pass the flowing bowl,
Let the smoky volumes roll,
From the calumet and pipe,
Of sweet Peace the welcome type,
Let our Sachems, healths go round,
Beat with nimble foot the ground;
Till the woods and hills reply,
Vocal mirth and symphony.
"Ever sacred be this day,
Genial morn of rosy May
"Now the hatchet we'll bury, since war is no more,
And peace with rich plenty revisits our shore;
To hunt the fleet stag o'er the mountains we'll run;
In sports we alone will employ the fell gun;
Our fields shall be cloath'd with gay heavens again,
And friendship will brighten the blood rusted chain
But should war call us forth then adieu to our glee,
Each shoulders his rifle and takes to his tree.
"Hail, Columbia Tutelar!
Tho' thy ashes distant are
Hid beneath the mountain side,
Or below the rapid tide:
Still thy warlike shade attends,
Smiling on thy filial friends;
Leads their dances, aids their pleasure,
Joys dispensing, without measure.
Now each Sachem join hands round the Liberty Pole
And briskly again pass the heart cheering bowl;
To Washington's mem'ry, the chief of our train,
The full flowing goblet, repeated we'll drain;
Then next to each chieftain, who fought, and who bled,
Let's sing a Requiem, and toast him, tho' dead.
"For Tammany's holy,
Let's fire a volley,
That hills, woods, and rocks may reply,
We'll found him in powder,
Still louder and louder,
Till echo shall rend the blue sky.
"Ever sacred be this day,
Genial morn of rosy May.
In volumes of smoke, and in spires of flame,
Our Tutelar flew to the spheres,
He left us his blessing, his weapons, his fame,
And hearth unacquainted with fears.
The shades of our ancestors cluster around,
To welcome our chief from the wars;
With laurels celestial his temples they bound,
Then thron'd him on high midst the stars.
"Sound the horns, ye tuneful choirs,
'Tis our Saint the notes inspires;
Brace the drums and make them roll,
Martial music charms the soul;
Soon, responsive to the chorus,
Tammany shall stand before us;
On the mossy velvet green,
Smiling on us, tho' unseen.
"Charge the bowl again with liquor,
Pass it briskly, pass it quicker;
Sachems, warriors, now advance,
Form the ring, begin the dance,
Music summons us to pleasure,
Mark the tune, and time the measure,
Full of mirth, and full of glee,
Thus conclude our jubilee.
"Ever sacred be this day,
Genial morn of rosy May.
Exeunt Omnes-Indian file.
"To Captains - Great Sachem and warriors:
TURKEY TAIL, and
Another account of the above event says, "Mr. Chief Justice McKean, Judge Bryan, and several other officers of State mixed with their brethren on this happy festival." (Independent Gazetteer, May 7, 1785.)
From the diary of Jacob Hiltzheimer is the following:
"Went to the St. Tammany Anniversary at David Beveridge's place over the Schuylkill, late Reese Meredith's. A large number of gentlemen collected, with tickets in their hats which cost 8 s. 4 d. but afforded us ample food and drink. The first thing done was the gentlemen formed a ring, and chose James Read Esq., their chief: Timothy Matlack, his Secretary and the following gentlemen the Chief Council; George Bryan, Plunket Fleeson, William Moore, Frederick Phile, Esqrs., General Daniel Heister, Colonels Coats, Dean, Will, Boyd, Wade, Proctor, and Jonathan Bayard Smith." (Hiltzheimer' s Diary, May 2, 1785.)
In order to give a clear idea of the kind of men that occupied high positions in this Society we give some short biographical sketches of those mentioned above:
Chief-Justice MeKean was a signer of the Declaration of Independence. Born in New London, Chester County, Pennsylvania, March 19, 1734; died in Philadelphia June 24, 1817. He was admitted to the bar before he was twenty-one years old, appointed Deputy Attorney-General of Sussex County a year later, and in 1757 was clerk of the Assembly. Was a member of the Assembly from 1752 to 1769. In 1774 was elected to the Stamp Act Congress, and from 1774 to 1783 was a member or the Continental Congress. He was Chief-Justice of Pennsylvania from 1777 until 1817.
George Bryan was born in Dublin, Ireland, in 1731; died in Philadelphia January 27, 1791. He came to this country in early life and was engaged some years in commercial pursuits in Philadelphia. He was a member of the Assembly, and in 1765 was a delegate to the Stamp Act Congress, in which he took an active part. He was Vice-President of the Supreme Executive Council of Pennsylvania from the period of the Declaration of Independence, and in March, 1778, was advanced to the Presidency. In November of that year he sent a message to the Assembly pressing upon its attention a bill proposed by the Council in 1777 for the gradual abolition of slavery in the State. In 1779 he was again elected to the Assembly, and on his motion the subject was referred to a committee of which he himself was a member, and he proposed a draft of a law for gradual emancipation. He was appointed a judge of the Supreme Court in 1780, and remained in that position until his death. In 1784 he was elected one of the Council of Censors. He strenuously opposed the adoption of the Federal Constitution.
James Read was born in Philadelphia; he went to Reading at an early period in its history, and, by appointment from the Provincial government, filled the county offices of prothonotary, recorder, register, clerk of the Orphans' Court and of the Court of Quarter Sessions continuously from the time of the organization of Berks County in 1752 till 1776. He was one of the first attorneys admitted to the bar at Reading, and also practiced his profession whilst filling the offices above named. He officiated as one of the justices of the county courts under the Provincial government, and served as a member of the Supreme Executive Council for two terms, from 1779 to 1782, and 1788 to 1791. Under the Constitution of 1776 he was elected, in 1783, to represent Berks County in the Council of Censors. The numerous positions filled by him indicate that he was a man of recognized ability.
Timothy Matlack was born in Haddonfield, New Jersey, in 1730; died near Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, April 15, 1829. He had been a member of the Society of Friends, but at the beginning of the Revolution left it for that of the Free or "Fighting" Quakers, and is described by Christopher Marshall as "one of the most active spirits of the days of 17756." When he first wore his sword in the streets of Philadelphia, some of the orthodox Friends ridiculed him and inquired what its use was. "It is to defend my property and my liberty," he replied. In 1776 he was a member of the general Committee of Safety, and colonel of the battalion that served against the Delaware Tories, who in June of that year had cut off the land communication to Dover. He was a deputy with Benjamin Franklin, Thomas McKean, Colonel John Bayard, and others from Philadelphia, to attend the State Conference of June 14, 1776. In 178087 he was delegate from Pennsylvania to the Continental Congress, and for many years was Master of the Rolls of the State, residing in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, but on becoming prothonotary of one of the courts of Philadelphia he returned to that city. In 1783 the Committee of Safety of Philadelphia presented him with a silver urn "for his patriotic devotion to the cause of freedom, and the many services rendered by him through the struggle." With Benjamin Franklin, Robert Morris, and others he established and contributed funds to build the Free Quaker Meeting-House of Philadelphia. He lived to the age of more than ninety-nine years and retained his faculties to the last.
Plunket Fleeson was commissioned a Justice of the Court of Common Pleas and Quarter Sessions of the Peace and Orphans Court of Philadelphia on March 28, 1777, and Presiding Justice of the Court of Quarter Sessions on November 18, 1780. He was appointed Presiding Justice of the City Court, January 13, 1781, by the Executive Council, to hold his office during pleasure. He was in office in 1785, and is buried in Roxborough, Philadelphia. (Martin's Bench and Bar.)
William Moore was born, probably in Philadelphia, about 1735; died there July 24, 1793. His father, Robert, came to this country from the Isle of Man. The son began a mercantile career, and on December 11, 1776, was appointed by the Assembly on the Council of Safety, which, on March 13, 1777, placed him on the newly organized Board of War. In the same year he was chosen a delegate to the Continental Congress, but declined to serve. He became a member of the Supreme Executive Council of the State in 1779, was elected its Vice-President, and in 1781 was chosen President and proclaimed"Captain General and Commander-in-Chief in and over the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania." His term as Councillor expired in October, 1782, and the Constitution prohibited a re-election. In March, 1783, Governor Moore was commissioned a Judge of the High Court of Errors and Appeals, and was chosen a member of the Assembly in 1784. In February of that year he was made a director of the Bank of Pennsylvania, and in July was chairman of a meeting of the citizens of Philadelphia, convened to place the public debt on a permanent foundation. From 178489 he was a trustee of the University of Pennsylvania. His only daughter, Elizabeth, married the Marquis de Marbois, French chargé d'affaires in this country, who negotiated the treaty for the sale of Louisiana to the United States.
Frederick Phile was a doctor of medicine, and during the occupation of Philadelphia resided with Christopher Marshall's family at Lancaster. Marshall notes in his diary that he and Doctor Phile remained up until midnight celebrating the surrender of Burgoyne, which they heard of at Lancaster October 20,1777. On April 5, 1777, he took the oath of office as Naval Officer of Philadelphia; (his bondsmen were John Bayard and Isaac Howell), and he held the office until April 18, 1789. On his retirement the following resolution was passed:
"Resolved, That Frederick Phile, Esq., hath acted as Naval Officer for the Port of Philada., from April 5, 1777, till this present time, and hath executed the several duties of the said office with fidelity and to the satisfaction of the Board."
General Daniel Heister was born in Upper Salford township, Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, June 25, 1747; died March 8, 1804. In 1777 he was appointed colonel of the Fourth Battalion Philadelphia County Militia. His battalion, with others, was ordered to the defence of the Swedes Ford, situated just below Norristown, at the time of the battle of Brandywine. In 1782 he was promoted to a brigadier-generalship, and in 1784 was elected to represent Montgomery County in the Supreme Executive Council. (Perkiomen Region, by Henry S. Dotterer.)
Colonel Joseph Dean was the son of Rev. William Dean, a Presbyterian clergyman, and was born in Ballymena, County Antrim, Ireland, August 10, 1788; died September 9, 1793. He became a large importing merchant in Philadelphia previous to the Revolution, and was a signer of the non-importation resolutions. In December, 1776, he was appointed by the Assembly on the Committee of Safety, and on the organization of the Board of War, a member of that body. In January, 1781, the Supreme Executive Council appointed him one of the auditors "to settle and adjust the accounts of the books of this state in the service of the United States," and in October following a warden of the port of Philadelphia. In 1790 he was chosen auctioneer.
Colonel Alexander Boyd was ordered by the Council of Safety, in 1776, to report on the movements of the British from New York, which he did in a letter addressed to Mr. Thomas Wharton, Jr., President of that Board. On November 2, 1780, he was commissioned auctioneer for the Northern Liberties, and held this office until July 12, 1786, when he tendered his resignation. In 1782 he commanded a ranging company on the frontier.
Colonel Francis Wade. On May 18, 1779, Colonel Wade wrote to Colonel John Mitchell, from Wilmington, Delaware, that the British had landed and taken possession of Portsmouth, Virginia, and that they were four thousand strong; marching to Suffolk; thought to be on their way to Baltimore. He signed himself Deputy Quartermaster-General. On May 28, 1780, he wrote to President Reed from Wilmington, giving a very full account of a boat of the enemy making captures of small boats, such as fishing vessels, etc. He says "this boat is very long and light and rows with ten oars. They took a small schooner with clams but let her go on account of a sick man on board. They laughed at our armed schooner and boats, and did not let on to be under the least apprehension of danger from them."
Colonel Benjamin Eyre was one of the three brothers Eyre, shipbuilders of Philadelphia, who built some of the first frigates for the government in the Revolutionary War, and all three of whom took an early and active part in that conflict. Benjamin G. Eyre was a volunteer aid de camp on the staff of General Washington, with the rank of colonel, during the Princeton and Trenton campaign in the winter of 17761777. He is on Trumbull's famous picture of Washington and staff at Princeton. He was engaged by the government on several occasions to oversee the building of boats, fortifications, gun-platforms, etc., and was with General Sullivan, in charge of a party of ship-carpenters, in the Newport expedition in 1778.
Colonel Thomas Proctor was born in Ireland in 1739; died in March, 1806. He raised and commanded the first and only regular organization of Pennsylvania artillery in the Revolution. In 1776 he was made major, and was so much thought of as an artillery officer that he was given command of the Continental artillery during General Knox's temporary absence. He participated in the battles of Brandywine and Germantown, and was with the army at Valley Forge. On April 21, 1780, he was commissioned by Congress colonel of the Fourth Battalion of Artillery. He was sheriff of Philadelphia County from October 20, 1783, to October 14, 1785, and was a prominent Mason., He was buried in St. Paul's Episcopal Church grounds, Philadelphia, and a monument was erected to his memory by the Carpenters' Association, of which he was a member from 1772 until his death.
Jonathan Bayard Smith was born in Philadelphia, February 21, 1742, and died there June 16, 1812. He was among the earliest of those who espoused the cause of independence, and was active in the Revolutionary struggle. In 1775 he was chosen secretary of the Committee of Safety, and in February, 1777, was elected by the Assembly a delegate to the Continental Congress, and a second time from April, 1777, to November, 1778. He was prothonotary of the Court of Common Pleas. In December, 1777, he presided at a public meeting in Philadelphia of" Real Whigs," by whom it was resolved, "That it be recommended to the Council of Safety that in the great emergency . . . every person between the age of 16 and 50 years be ordered under arms." During this year he was commissioned lieutenant-colonel of a battalion of Associators under Colonel John Bayard, who was Colonel Smith's brother-in-law, and later commanded a battalion. In 1778 he was appointed a Justice of the Court of Common Pleas, Quarter Sessions, and Orphans' Court, which position he held for many years.
Colonel William Coats was lieutenant-colonel of the First Battalion of City Militia, and on January 4, 1777, he reported to the Council of Safety, from Bristol, Pennsylvania, that General Washington had captured Princeton. Again, on August 16, 1777, he urged Timothy Matlack to forward certain commissions for some of the officers of his battalion, fearing that, as they had orders to march, said officers would not go without them, believing, as they did, that they were not officers without their commissions. He wrote from the camp at White Marsh to Matlack that he was trying to organize some artillery out of those men whose time was up, and desired money sent to him to help him do it. He ended his letter with, "Shall be glad if I am wanted to attend the House [Assembly]. You will please let me know by the return of Col. Dewees. Our enemies to the Constitution here say that, we can't make a house and that we have given up the constitution [State] ." On February 4, 1778, he was captured by the British, but was paroled in his civil as well as military capacity; and in 1779 he suggested that he be exchanged for Mr. John Foxcroft, who was formerly Postmaster-General. He was for many years lieutenant for Philadelphia County, and held that position at the time he attended this dinner.
Colonel William Will. In 177677 he organized a company known as Captain Will's Company of Associators. In 1777 he was made lieutenant-colonel of the First Battalion, also of the Third Battalion, of which Jacob Morgan was colonel, and which he afterwards commanded. On October 2, 1779, he was thanked in a letter by President Reed, of Pennsylvania, for his care of the salt which was under the supervision of the State, and later in the same month was informed that some one was selling salt contrary to law. On December 16, 1780, he informed President Reed of a "suspitious carracter," cleared for Boston, but thought bound for New York. He was a member of the Assembly in 1785.
We must not forget our diarist, Jacob Hiltzheimer.
During the war of independence he sided with the colonies, attached himself to the First Battalion City Militia, and was also connected with the Quarter Master's Department, in which he rendered valuable service to the army in the field. He became a prominent member of the Patriotic Association. As Street Commissioner for three years he discharged the duties of the office in a manner worthy the emulation of public servants at the present day. He was elected in 1786 a Representative of the city in the Assembly, and served eleven consecutive years, being chairman of the committee on claims and on other important committees.
That the men who were officers of the Saint Tammany Society this year were the most prominent in affairs we think we have shown by the foregoing short sketches of them: judges, generals, colonels, and civic officers, all occupying prominent positions in the community in which they lived. If we look carefully into their records we will see that many, if not all, were identified with the Constitutional Society or party whose object was the preservation of the State Constitution inviolate. ("The distinction was that the Republicans wanted an alteration in the Constitution. They wished to have a House of Representatives and a Senate. The other party (Constitutionalists) thought no alteration necessary." Autobiography of Charles Biddle, page 202.) Later in the year William Will and William Moore were on the Constitutional ticket for the Assembly, and at the same time Edward Pole was suggested as a candidate upon the same ticket. (Independent, September 17.) He, it will be remembered, was in earlier years the secretary of the Constitutional Society. We think, too, that the point made earlier in this history is maintained, that the Constitutional Society and Saint Tammany Society were so closely identified that it would at this late date be difficult to state the deference, if any, which existed between them. Party feeling ran very high at this period, and the language used by Oswald, in the Independent, against Bailey, in the Freeman's Journal, who espoused the constitutional side, was of such a character that we are unable to reproduce it here.
That the singer (Mr. John Leacock) at last year's dinner sang to some purpose is shown by the fact that he offered himself as a candidate for the position of coroner at the election held this year, and secured the office.
Our Society was now evidently in the heyday of prosperity and commanded a great deal of attention. An almanac printer advertises that there will be offered in Philadelphia and different towns through the State "Father Tammany's Almanac For the year of our Lord 1786," with a neat "engraving of Father Tammany Shooting a Deer." We also see by the Directory of this year (1785) that George Savell is inn-keeper at "St. Tammany's Wigwam," banks of Schuylkill near Race Street. This tavern was situated on the east bank of the river, and later became a noted meeting-place of the Society.
Proctor Table of Contents.