« ZurückWeiter »
offices. The railroad depots for passengers and merchandise are very superior and commodious buildings, situated in the business part of the city. Providence has 48 churches and societies, 41 of which have houses of worship. The benevolent and literary institutions are numerous, and conducted
upon the most approved systems. The Butler Hospital for the Insane, having extensive grounds, was incorporated in 1844. The Atheneum has a valuable library of about 12,000 volumes. The Rhode Island Historical Society have valuable collections, in an appropriate and substantial building near the University. Besides this latter institution, the public schools, about 50 in number, are an honor to the city and state. The Yearly Meeting Boarding School occupies a lot in the E. part of the city, near the Dexter Asylum, is well endowed and prosperous. The manufactures of Providence and its vicinity, employ a capital of about $6,000,000. Numerous establishments are in the city for the manufacture of jewelry, several of which, it is stated, produce goods to the amount of a million of dollars annually. There are numerous foundries and machineshops, cotton, woolen, india-rubber mills, etc.; and almost all kinds of articles manufactured in America are produced here. The foreign commerce of Providence was formerly considerable, but since the introduction of manufacturing pursuits it has declined.
Providence was first settled by Roger Williams, and some others, in 1636. Mr. Williams, being persecuted for his religious opinions, was obliged to leave the colony of Massachusetts about the middle of January, and proceeded toward Narraganset Bay. The weather was severe and his sufferings great. He appears to have visited Osisamequin, the sachem of Pokanoket, who resided at Mount Hope, near Bristol. Regarding the Indians as the only proprietors, he purchased of the sachem a tract at Seekonk, where he reared a habitation. Seekonk being within the limits of Plymouth colony, Gov. Winslow, in a friendly letter to Mr. Williams, induced him to remove to the northern side of the Seekonk River, where he had the country free before him.
Mr. Williams, with five companions—Wm. Harris, John Smith, Joshua Verin, Thos. Angell and Francis Wickes-embarked in a canoe and proceeded down the stream. “As they approached the little cove near Tockwotten, now India Point, they were saluted by a company of Indians with the friendly interrogation, “ What Cheer,” a common English phrase which they had learned from the colonists.* At this spot they probably went on shore ; but they did not long remain there. They passed round India Point and Fox Point, and proceeded up the river, on the west side of the peninsula, to a spot near the mouth of the Moshassuck River. Tradition reports that Mr. Williams landed near a spring, which remains to this day. At this spot the settlement of Rhode Island commenced. To the town here founded, Mr. Williams, with his habitual piety, and in grateful remembrance of God's merciful providence to him in his distress, gave the name of PROVIDENCE."
Providence suffered great losses in King Philip's war, and during the Revolutionary contest, furnished her full quota of men and means in the struggle. At the time of the Stamp Act, the Sons of Liberty assembled
*Equivalent to the modern Horo do you do? The lands adjacent to this spot were called Whai Cheer, in memory of the occurrence.-Knoroler' Memoir of Roger Williams.
at the old tavern on the east side of the market-square, where the “What Cheer” House now stands, and planned their measures in opposition to the British ministry. From the balcony of this house the Declaration of Independence was read in 1776; here, on the market-square, a bonfire of tea was made, to show their disapprobation of taxation without representation, and through the Revolution this spot was the rallying place of Providence that nest of rebels against the king."
In June 1772 the British armed schooner, Gaspee, was destroyed by a party of persons from Providence, disguised as Indians, at a place since called Gaspee Point, about six miles below the town. The following narrative of this occurrence was written by Col. Ephraim Bowen, of Providence, who was then a youthfnl actor in the scene. We extract it from Watson's Annals :
“In the year 1772, the British government had stationed at Newport, Rhode Island, a sloop-of-war, with her tender, the schooner called the Gaspee, of eight guns, commanded by William Duddingston, a lieutenant in the British Navy, for the purpose of preventing the clandestine landing of articles subject to the payment of duty. The captain of this schooner made it his practice to stop and board all vessels entering or leaving the ports of Rhode Island, or leaving Newport for Providence.
On the 17th of June, 1772, Capt. Thos. Lindsey left Newport, in his packet, for Provi. dence, about noon, with the wind at north, and soon after, the Gaspee was under sail, in pursuit of Lindsey, and continued the chase as far as Namcut Point. Lindsey was standing easterly, with the tide on ebb, about two hours, when he hove about at the end of Nam. cut Point, and stood to the westward; and Duddingston, in close chase, changed his course and ran on the point near its end and grounded. Lindsey continued in his course up the river, and arrived at Providence about sunset, when he immediately informed Mr. John Brown of the situation of the Gaspee. Mr. John Brown, the founder of Brown University, and then one of the most extensive and energetic merchants in America, immediately resolved on her destruction, and he forthwith directed one of his trusty shipmasters to collect eight of the largest long-boats in the harbor, with five oars to each, to have the oarlocks well muffled to prevent noise, and to place them at Fenner's wharf, directly opposite to the dwelling of Mr. James Sabin. Soon after sunset, a man passed along the main street, beating a drum, and informing the inhabitants that the Gaspee was aground on Namcut Point, and inviting those persons who felt a disposition to go and destroy the troublesome vessel, to repair in the evening to Mr. James Sabin's house. About nine o'clock I took my father's gun, and my powder-horn and bullets, and went to Mr. Sabin's, and found it full of people, where I loaded my gun, and all remained there until ten o'clock, some casting bullets in the kitchen, and others making arrangements for departure, when orders were given to cross the street to Fenner's wharf and embark, which soon took place, and a sea-captain acted as steersman on each boat, of whom I recollect Capt. Abraham Whipple, Capt. John B. Hopkins (with whom I embarked), and Capt. Benjamin Dunn. A line from right to left was soon formed, with Capt. Whipple on the right, and Capt. Hopkins on the right of the left wing. The party thus proceeded until within about sixty yards of the Gaspee, when a sentinel hailed, “Who comes there ?" No answer. He hailed again, and no answer. In about a minute Duddingston mounted the starboard gunwale, in his shirt, and hailed, “Who comes there ?" No answer. He hailed again, when Capt. Whipple answered as follows: "I am the sheriff of the county of Kent; I have got a warrant to apprehend you ; so surrender, d-n you.”.
I took my seat on the thwart, near the larboard row-lock, with my gun by my right side, and facing forward. As soon as Duddingston began to hail, Joseph Bucklin, who was standing on the main thwart by my right side, said to me, "Ephe, reach me your gun, and I can kill that fellow !" I reached it to him accordingly, when, during Capt. Whipple's replying, Bucklin fired, and Duddingston fell; and Bucklin exclaimed, “I have killed the rascol !” In less time than a minute after Capt. Whipple's answer, the boats were alongside the Gaspee, and boarded without opposition. The men on deck retreated below as Duddingston entered the cabin.
As it was discovered that he was wounded, John Mawney, who had, for two or three years, been studying medicine and surgery, was ordered to go into the cabin and dress Duddingston's wound, and I was directed to assist him. On examination it was found the ball
took effect directly below the navel. Duddingston called for Mr. Dickinson to produce bandages and other necessaries for the dressing of the wound, and, when finished, orders were given to the schooner's company to collect their clothing and everything belonging to them, and to put them into the boats, as all of them were to be sent on shore. All were soon collected and put on board of the boats, including one of our boats.
They departed and landed Duddingston at the old still-house wharf at Pawtuxet, and put the chief into the house of Joseph Rhodes. Soon after, all the party were ordered to depart, leaving one boat for the leaders of the expedition, who soon set the vessel on fire, which consumed her to the water's edge.
The names of the most conspicuous actors are as follows, viz: Mr. John Brown, Capt. Abraham Whipple, John B. Hopkins, Benjamin Dunn, and five others whose names I have forgotten, and John Mawney, Benjamin Page, Joseph Bucklin, and Toupin Smith, my youthful companions, all of whom are dead- I believe every man of the party, excepting myself ; and my age is eighty-six this 29th day of August, 1839."
Western view of Brown University, Providence. The view annexed shows the appearance of the University buildings, from College street. The first building on the left is Hope College; the next south, having columns in front, is the Manning Hall; south of which is the University Hall. The building partially seen on the extreme right is the Rhode Island Hall.
The College of Rhode Island owes its origin to the exertions of the Rev. James Manning, a Baptist clergyman, a native of New Jersey, and graduate of Princeton College. Mr. Manning visited Newport, in 1763, for the purpose of securing to the Baptists then in the government the benefits of a learned institution. A charter was obtained from the general assembly, in 1764, for the college or university in the English colony of Rhode Island, and Providence Plantations, in New England, in America, with a provision that the trustees and fellows should at any time after be at liberty to give it a more particular name “in honor of the greatest and most distinguished benefactor."
The provisions of the charter give the predominance to the Baptist denomination. The president is supposed to be of that order, but Friends, Congregationalists and Episcopalians are represented in a minority of the trustees. In 1765, Mr. Manning was chosen the first president, and in
structed a few pupils at his residence, at Warren, where the first commencement was held, in 1769. A local contest for the seat of the college was terminated the next year, by the selection of Providence. The work of in-. struction went on with regularity until the revolutionary war, when a gap appears from 1777 to 1782. While the British retained possession of Rhode Island, Providence, then next in size and importance to Newport, was supposed to be peculiarly in danger. The town exhibited the appearance of a camp. The college building (now University Hall) was first used as quarters for the artillery, and the ground around it for a parade, and afterward as a hospital for the sick soldiery.
The college buildings, which are situated on the highest ground in the city, have superior accommodations. The library, which is in Manning Hall, is arranged in a very perfect manner, and contains about 23,000 volumes. The libraries of the two societies among the students have about 7,000 volumes in addition. Rhode Island Hall contains the cabinet, the chemical and philosophical apparatus, lecture rooms, etc. University and Hope College are for the accommodation of the students. In connection with the regular collegiate course of the university, an English and scientific course has been established for the benefit of those who do not propose to enter either of the learned professions. This course is arranged for a residence of either one or two years. The faculty consists of a president and six professors. This institution received its present name in 1804, in honor of Nicholas Brown, Esq., who died in Providence, Sept. 27, 1841, in the 73d year
age. a wealthy merchant, and a most munificent benefactor, having given to this university, in the course of 40 years, about $100,000. He also gave $10,000 to the Providence Atheneum, beside most liberal gifts to academies, colleges and churches in various parts of the country.
The first newspaper printed in Providence was the “ Providence Gazette and Country Journal,” the first number of which appeared on Wednesday, the 20th of Oct., 1762. The second number was printed on Saturday, Oct. 30, the day being changed, as the paper states, so “ that the gentlemen in Newport and other towns in the southern part of this government, or in Connecticut, who shall favor this undertaking, may receive their papers by the post. The following poetical advertisement is from the Providence Gazette of Nov. 19, 1796 : “ The author, Jonathan Cady,” says Judge Staples, in his Annals of Providence,' “ will long be remembered as a pains-taking, industrious, rhyming shoemaker. Among his cotemporaries, many there were who could claim higher honors as a poet, but few better entitled to the appellation of an honest man and good citizen."
ADVERTISEMENT. It may be wise to advertise,
Truly 'tis said, these heels are made The work is now in hand;
Within old Providence, He makes a heel, neat and genteel
Sold by wholesale, or at retail, As any in the land.
One dozen at twelve pence. Court, block and stick, made neat and sleek, The purchaser need go no further, None equal in the state ;
Only inquire of Bene Thurber, All those that view, may say 'tis true,
And he can show you where to stop, What I do here relate.
Because he lives close to my shop. But to be short, another sort
A bunch of grapes is Thurber's sign, Of heels are called spring,
A shoe and boot is made on mine. By John Smith made, this is his trade; My shop doth stand in Bowen's lane, He served and learned at Lynn.
And Jonathan Cady is my name. The next week some brother poetaster addressed the following distich to the rhyming cobbler :
" To Mr. Jonathan Cady
Make an end to your rhymes, close accounts with the past,
And take to your heels, and you'll speed well at last. The following appears as an advertisement in Oct., 1766 :
“ To be sold at public vendue, to the highest bidder, at the jail in Providence, on Wed. nesday, 15th of this inst., October, by the order of the superior court, pursuant to his sentence, one Joseph -, a stout, able bodied, active man, for the term of three years, to satisfy the damages and costs of this prosecution, and conviction for stealing sundry goods from Mr. Obadiah Sprague, of North Providence.
W. WHEATON, Sheriff.”
On the 22d and 230 days of September, 1815, Providence was visited with one of the most destructive and terrific storms on record.
“ The storm of rain commenced on the 22d from the N. E., moderate through the day, but at night the wind increased. On the morning of the 23d, the wind blew with increased severity from the east, and about nine, A. M., veered to E. S. E.; at 10, or before, to S. E., and from this time to half past 11, the storm was tremendous, and beyond, far beyond, any in the memory of any man living. Before 12, the wind veered to S. W., and greatly abated. “The ebb tide, commencing near an hour before the regular time of high water, relieved the minds of our inhabitants from their apprehension of a more overwhelming calamity.” “The damage by the extreme violence of the wind, extended to the driving from their anchors and fastenings all the vessels, save two or three that lay in the harbor and at the wharves; some against the bridge with such force as to open a free passage for others to follow to the northern extremity of the cove above the bridge, to the number of between thirty and forty, of various descriptions, from 500 tuns downward; “other ships and smaller vessels were lodged below the site of the bridge, on the wharves on each side of the river. Scarcely a store that stood below Weybosset bridge, on either side of the river, but what was damaged or entirely broken to pieces. Many houses and barns were blown down by the excessive violence of the wind, and many others removed or broken by the hight of the tide and violence of the waves; by which India Point bridge, and the east and lower end of Central bridge were carried off, and by their joint influence the Second Baptist Meeting-house, on the west side of the river, was destroyed from its foundation." “The wind alone blew down, unroofed and damaged many houses that stood out of the reach of the water." A number of persons were wounded, and two lost their lives, David Butler and Reuben Winslow. A sloop of sixty tuns floated across Weybosset street, and lodged in Pleasant street, her mast standing above, and she by the side of a three story house." The amount of damage in this town has never been ascertained, but was estimated to be nearly a million of dollars. The violence of the wind was such as to take up the spray of the seawater and waft it through the air to that degree as to appear on glass windows, salt to the taste, forty miles in the country, even to Worcester. On measuring the hight of the tide from a mark of the highest ever known to our oldest people, this tide of 1815, appeared to be seven feet and five inches higher than then." -Staples' Journals of the town of Providence.
The first election of city officers took place in April, 1832, and Samuel W. Bridham, Esq., was elected mayor. The population of Providence, at this period, was nearly 17,000. The increase of inhabitants, the consequent difficulty of holding town meetings, and the injudicious expenditure of public money, induced some of the freemen to propose a change in the form of the municipal government of the town. The freemen were nearly equally divided on this subject, and it is probable the town government would have existed some years longer, had it not been for “ the Riot,” which took place in Sept., 1831. The want of delegated power in the authorities of the town in a time of peril was illustrated. The history of this event is from a