The Peabody Banquet in New York

South Danvers Wizard – April 3, 1867

“On Friday night, March 22d, Mr. George Peabody gave a private dinner to General and Mrs. Grant, and the Trustees of the Southern Educational Fund, at the Fifth Avenue Hotel in New York.  There was an unusual interest in the event, in consequence of the public curiosity respecting the administration of the munificent fund set apart by Mr. Peabody for educational purposes in the Southern States.

“That the banquet should have crowned the debates and discussions of the Trustees as well, and the public will be pleased to learn that the Board has come to results which are satisfactory in every respect, a full report of which may be expected early this week.  Mr. Peabody’s views have been consulted throughout, and the work to be done by the Trustees hereafter must speak for itself.

Ulysses S. Grant – Wikipedia

“At seven o’clock the party began to file into the hall to soft music.  Quite a crowd of ladies and gentlemen had assembled in the vestibule of the hotel, adjoining the dining room, and all looked on admiringly upon the proceedings, which were devoid of ostentation although quite imposing.  The banqueting hall was unadorned,, and the most republican simplicity prevailed among the surroundings of the table, which, however, had a smack of royalty about it never before seen in this country.  Two tables were spread lengthwise of the hall, and these were united at the upper end by a third leaving an open space in the center for the guests, and the servants who were to wait upon them.

David Farragut – Wikipedia

“Mr. Peabody occupied the center of the north table, with Admiral Farragut
 on his left and Mrs. General Grant on his right.  General Grant, Mrs. Farragut and Robert C. Winthrop were the vis-a-vis of Mr. Peabody, Admiral Farragut and Mrs. General Grant. Mr. Peabody personally attended to the arranging of the places for the guests, and the comfort of all was amply secured.  The table was richly ornamented by a service of silver procured expressly for the occasion from Paris.  This magnificent service of silver and gold, consisted of fifty pieces of exquisite designs and elaborate workmanship.  Several of them were copies of those used by the Emperor of the French on state occasions.  The centerpiece was an abundance, three feet in height, skillfully and ingeniously wrought, with Cupids, allegorical of commerce and agriculture.

“Another represented a fishing scene, of an emblematic character. In another was depicted the three graces sustaining a corbeille of flowers.  Upon the table there were ten candlesticks of solid silver and of various designs, artistically finished.  Upon one of the tables, was a service of gold, consisting of ten pieces, massive and beautifully wrought.  It is doubtful if a more splendid and costly service of plate has ever before placed upon a table in this country.  The pieces were of the Louis XV, and Louis XVI styles and were but recently imported by the house which furnished them to the hotel.

“The gorgeous decorations of the table were in perfect keeping with the costly viands and wines which had been prepared to gratify the palate.  When the lights were in full blaze the scene was indescribably beautiful.  The toilets of the ladies, brilliant with gems, reflected back the beauties of glittering silver and gold, and led on to dream for a moment of the glories of fairy land.  The officers of the army and navy appeared in full uniform, and taken altogether, the whole affair was in the highest degree imposing.  The viands prepared for the occasion were unsurpassed.

“Covers were laid for 73 persons, and the vacant seats at the table were occupied by gentlemen who had been invited, but whose names had not been placed upon the list till a late hour.

“Being a strictly private dinner, the toilets of the ladies were less elaborate than for ‘state occasions’.  Exquisite taste seemed to actuate them on the occasion, and the dresses and ornaments were rather elegant and simple.  Most of the ladies were married, and there was consequently more of the simplicity of a ‘family party’ than a ‘set dinner’, where show is the rule and simplicity the exception.

Robert C. Winthrop – Wikipedia

“After ample justice was done to the viands by the guests, Hon. Robert C. Winthrop opened the intellectual portion of the banquet in a very eloquent speech, eulogistic of the host of the evening, of whom he said:  ‘His deeds of munificence are far above the reach of any praises which it is in my power to utter.  Landing, as he did, here at New York, after a long absence in England, where he had already performed acts of charity without a precedent in the annals of the world, and which gave a new luster to the American name wherever that name is known.  Landing here, I say, on the first day of May last, his visit to his native country has been one continual May day of benevolence and beneficence.  There has been no Winter in his bounty.

‘The storms and snows of New England, which have regard around him with more than their wonted severity have not been able to repress or chill – have stimulated (___ ? ) pathway through our land has been a perfect Milky Way, leaving a reliance on the historic page as enduring as this of the sky above us.  And this last, best, largest, noblest, crowning gift for aiding the work of education in the desolate South, has, above all others, touched and thrilled every heart in the land; and there is, at least, one of its trustees – I think I can speak of them all – who regards his association with that gift as the highest honor of his life.  

‘It was once said on some occasion by my illustrious friend, the late Daniel Webster, in that terse and impressive language, in which he excelled almost all other men – that is an inquiry was made as to what America had ever contributed to the world, it was enough to say that she had contributed the character of George Washington.  And we, of this day and generation, may now answer to that inquiry, that she has not only contributed the character of George Washington, but also the example of George Peabody. And, let me add, that if some American Thackeray should hereafter spring up to compose a series of lectures or of essays on the American Georges, he will be able to trade in them elements of true nobility, of real royalty, such as have rarely, adorned the lives of those who have wielded the scepter of earthly sovereignty in my land or age.’

“Mr. Peabody replied as follows:  ‘Ladies and Gentlemen – I feel most deeply grateful to the trustees for the very kind resolutions they presented me, to Mr. Winthrop for the complimentary manner in which he has proposed my health, and to you all I give my warmest thanks for the enthusiastic reception you have given to my name.  I have at times been placed in very honorable positions, but in no instance did I feel more highly honored than at this time by the presence around me, not only of the highest officers of our army and navy, deservedly renowned in both hemispheres – but by some of the most distinguished men of our nation, both North and South, whose happy union and pleasant intercourse I treat as an omen of the brighter day which I hope is soon to dawn upon our beloved country. (Applause)

‘I cannot refrain from expressing my satisfaction at the harmonious action of the gentlemen who have done me the honor, to act as my trustees, and at the happy auspices under which they have commenced their labors, which they have great confidence will be crowned by success.  Although I feel that this occasion should not be one of making speeches, one or two sentiments before we leave the table,   I will give.  Our Country, our Whole Country, its Chief Magistrate, its Congress, its Army and Navy, and the Commanders of them both, who are with us here this evening.’

“Here the applause was very warm and enthusiastic, and after, the band had played one or two national airs, Mr. Peabody continued, expressing the hope that her Majesty Queen Victoria would long live to rule over the country in which under Providence, he and others had prospered. He gave as a concluding toast. ‘The Country in which I have long lived and prospered, and its honored and beloved Queen.’

“The New York Times makes the following statement: It is understood that the Trustees during their sessions of the past week, have matured a plan of operations for administering the fund which Mr. Peabody has placed in their hands, which will probably be soon given to the public.  We believe the leading feature decided upon is that the first efforts shall be for the establishment of common schools throughout the Southern States, to be mainly in the hands of female teachers.  The practical organization and administration of the system has been committed to Dr. Sears, so well and so honorably known from his long and faithful devotion to the cause of common school education in the New England States.”


Mr. P Visits with his Sister

South Danvers Wizard – April 3, 1867

George Peabody
from the Georgetown Peabody Library

“Mr. Peabody, in company with his sister, Mrs. Daniels [Judith Peabody Russell Daniels], visited his native town on Saturday last, calling on many of his old friends, and making a visit to the Institute, in whose operations he manifests much interest.  

“He also visited the old shop of his friend, Capt. Sylvester Proctor, where he received the first rudiments of his commercial education.    In his calls upon old acquaintances, he did not forget Mr. Samuel Very, more familiarly known as ‘Blind Sam’, to whose fiddle he was formerly accustomed to dance to the favorite air of Gilseroy.  Mr. Very was very glad to see Mr. Peabody, and together, they brought up many reminiscences of old times. Blind Sam, who is now full four score, was a very marked character in our town, as will be attested by all of our people who remember him in his prime of life.  His soirees were always well attended, especially at ‘lection time, and were doubtless as much enjoyed as more modern balls and assemblies of greater pretension.

“Mr. Peabody appears in excellent health and feels that his mission to his native country has been fully accomplished in carrying out the plans which, after much thought, he formed before he left England.  His last great gift, devoted to the educational interests of the most destitute portion of our country, had caused him some anxiety as to its practical workings, but there is now abundant reason for believing in its entire success.  It promises not only to be successful in itself, but to operate as a stimulus to exertion on the part of the beneficiaries of the donation.

“The Queen’s Miniature Portrait may be expected to be ready for delivery to Mr. Peabody in the course of a week or ten days.  It has been finished for some time; and, at the earnest desire of the Royal family and the British public, Mr. Peabody has consented to let it remain in England on exhibition.  It has been warmly admired by the royal household as a perfect picture of Her Majesty as she now is, and its exhibition there, has created much sensation.  The cost of this picture is estimated as high as $30,000, a most munificent gift to a deserving recipient.  It will probably reach him through the British embassy.  Its final destination is well understood to be the strong room of the Peabody Institute, when the proposed enlargement is completed.  Mr. Peabody has a deep interest in the proper preservation of this and other testimonials with which he has been honored by governments and corporations.  These are the evidences as well as the rewards of his great fame as a benefactor of mankind, and it is here that they will be sought in all coming time, by generations to whom tradition and records will have transmitted his honored name.

“He will take passage for England about the first of May on board the Scotia, Capt. Judkins, the same vessel and commander with whom he came to this country a year ago.  Many will regret his departure, and he will be followed by the benison of thousands, and all will look wishfully forward to the time when he will again return to pass his remaining years in his native land.”


(From the Newburyport Herald)
South Danvers Wizard – February 27, 1867

“Mr. Peabody, who previous to his removal to England, resided a short time in Newburyport has presented to the public library of that city the sum of $15,000 to be held in trust for the perpetual support and enlargement of the library.  The Newburyport Herald contains the correspondence which announces and acknowledges the gift.  The Herald says:  “No private person ever lived who today places so many people under obligations to his munificence, nor can the number ever be less for his benefactions will pass from generation to generation unimpaired.  We know of no purpose to which he could have made this generous donation, or it would have been more beneficial to this entire community for the present and the future than now.”

South Danvers Wizard – March 6, 1867

“It has been well known for some time that Mr. Peabody had under consideration such an endowment of the Essex Institute, as would place it in an independent pecuniary condition, and enable it to add largely to its means of usefulness.  The letter announcing the gift and its conditions has been published and the trustees therein named have formally accepted the gift in behalf of the Institute. $140,000 is the munificent sum given by Mr. Peabody for the purposes of this trust.  Francis Peabody, Esq., Geo. Peabody Russell, Esq., Henry Wheatland,  and A.C. Goodell, Jr.  are the resident trustees.

“Forty thousand dollars of the amount is to be applied to the purchase of land in the city of Salem, the purchase of the hall of the East Indian Marine Society, and the erection, fitting up and furnishing of such buildings thereon as shall be necessary for the purposes of the trust.  One Hundred Thousand Dollars is to be forever kept invested by the trustees and their successors as a permanent fund, and only the income thereof is to be used for the purposes of the trust.  In case $40,000 is found an inadequate sum for the erection of the necessary buildings etc., a portion of the income of the principal fund is to be employed for that purpose.

Peabody Museum, Salem

“The museum and collections are next provided for, and such surplus of income as may remain is to be used as follows.  Seven twelfths thereof to the department of the Physical Sciences and Practical Technology, and five-twelfths thereof to the department of the Natural Sciences; but they … may change the application and direction of the whole of said income as they may deem most conducive to the Interest of Science and Learning in the County of Essex.”

South Danvers Wizard -March 13, 1867

“Mr. George Peabody, intending soon to leave for England, deems it a duty due to himself to inform all those who, during his visit of  ten months in his native country, have written to him asking loans of money, donations to literary institutions, subscriptions to churches, public charities, etc., or assistance to themselves or others, that the great number of the communications had rendered it impossible for him to read or answer, or even to open them in person.  The latter duty has, therefore, been assigned confidentially to others.  And as many of the writers have requested that their applications should be kept secret, Mr. Peabody would state that he has this day caused these letters, amounting to nearly four thousand, to be burnt in his presence, thus relieving their apprehensions and his own responsibility.”

March 7, 1867


Mr P surprised the party-goers gathered for the town’s annual celebration of his birth. Same night, he crashes the first annual Peabody High School Association reunion.

South Danvers Wizard – February 20, 1867

“The thirteenth annual festival in honor of the birthday of GEORGE PEABODY took place on Monday evening, at Simonds’ Hotel.  About forty gentlemen were present and joined in the festivities of the occasion.  The supper, which was furnished by Mr. Washington Simonds, the pleasant landlord of the hotel, was as good as the market could supply and ingenuity and taste prepare.

Salem City Directory 1864

“The interest in the occasion rose to enthusiasm when it became known that Mr. Peabody had arrived from New York and would honor the entertainment with his presence.  He arrived at about ten o’clock – accompanied by Thomas E. Proctor, Esq., of the Committee of Arrangements, and Geo. P. Russell, Esq. of Salem.  Mr. Peabody was presented to the company in the parlor of the hotel, and, after a brief interview, proceeded to the supper room.  Hon. B.C. Perkins acted as the chairman of the evening. After the guests entered the hall, and before they were seated, Mr. Perkins spoke as follows: ‘Gentlemen, – Before being seated let us congratulate ourselves upon this most agreeable surprise – the appearance of our distinguished and beloved guest, Mr. Peabody. And, sir, (addressing Mr. Peabody,) we assure you that we, each one and all of us, without formality, welcome you in the very fullness of our hearts to this festive board in honor of your seventy-second birthday.’

“Mr. Peabody, in reply to the welcome of the chairman, tendered to that gentleman and the company, his sincerest thanks for the manner in which he had been received.  He had, he said, often heard of these festive occasions in honor of his birthday, and had often wished he might be present.  He remarked that he was somewhat fatigued, having passed the previous night, with the exception of two hours, in the society of friends in New York and in the laborious correspondence incident to the departure of the foreign mail.  He had not received the invitation to be present which had been sent to him.  He supposed the letter was with some 150 others which were forwarded to him from Willard Hotel, Washington.  It was not probably, he said, that he should have been present, had he not met Mr. Proctor at Framingham, who kindly urged him to meet his fellow townsmen on this occasion.  He expressed his warm affection for his native town and the associations of his youth, and said that though he might differ with some of his townsmen on political subjects, he could respect them quite as much.  He respected the man, whatever his opinions, provided they are honestly entertained.  Such, he said, was his rule in his intercourse with all classes of people.

Internet Archive Book Image

“The company were then seated and an hour was spent in the enjoyment of the good things of the table.  Mr. Perkins introduced the intellectual repast of the evening, as follows: ‘Gentlemen, – Fifteen years ago, I think it was, we were congratulating ourselves that we lived in a town which gave birth to George Peabody, and very properly did we do so; but since that time, thanks to that generosity that has regarded no locality – not even continents nor nationalities – we have seen that liberal hand bestowing upon the cause of morality and education everywhere, the accumulations of a life of industry – so that, however proper it may be for us to congratulate ourselves that we live in this favored town, how much more fitting, how much more significant that the world should congratulate itself that, seventy-two years ago today, there was born such a man as George Peabody?  And gentlemen, how gratifying it must be to him, that his munificence has everywhere been received in the spirit of the giver, for, among the rich and the poor, among the educated and the ignorant, the name of Mr. Peabody finds a warmer welcome than the name of any other man, however much laden political or military honors.  And is not this the lesson of his great work – that deeds of charity and unselfish munificence stand higher today upon the scroll of fame than the highest political honors or military prowess – and now, gentlemen, let me offer to our distinguished guest the sentiment of our hearts, in which you all will join.  May his life long be spared to enjoy the love of those hearts which he has gladdened by his munificent generosity.’

“At the conclusion of the chairman’s speech, Mr. Peabody again expressed the pleasure it afforded him to be present at this festive meeting, saying he felt proud of his origin. He remarked that he was of humble birth but of respectable parentage.  He was quite young when he left here, but had always retained a strong affection for the place of his birth and his early education.  He spoke of his business career as one of abundant success and said he was deeply impressed with gratitude to his Heavenly Father, by whom his exertions had been so greatly prospered.  In regard to his bestowments since he had been in the country, he said they were the result of intentions formed long ago, from careful thought and observation.  He desired to acknowledge his obligations to that kind Providence, by whose wisdom he felt he had been guided in the disposal as well as in the acquisition of his fortune.  Having again expressed his sincere thanks for the kind manner with which he had been received, he retired, the whole company rising amid cheers and the greatest enthusiasm.

…“The party broke up shortly after midnight, and was pronounced by all present one of the most successful reunions which has occurred for years.  Mr. Peabody’s presence greatly contributed of course to the interest of the occasion.  But the entertainment was perfect in all those details which come under the management of the Committee of Arrangements, and upon which the comfort and pleasure of the guests so much depend.  Mr. Peabody announced his intention of sailing for England the first of May and also his expectation to return in two or three years.  He will have the warmest wishes of his friends in South Danvers for his health and long life, and a hearty and deep felt welcome when he shall see fit to honor them with another visit.”

South Danvers Wizard – February 20, 1867

“The first annual reunion of the Peabody High School Association was held at the Town Hall on Monday evening.  The exercises of the evening were introduced with a few well chosen remarks from the President of the Association, Geo. A. Osborn, Jr.  The literary exercises of the evening were as follows:  Oration by Henry Wardwell of the class of ’56; Poem, written by Miss Fanny Osborne and read by Theodore S. Osborne; remarks by Messrs. Thompson, Babson and Dame, present and past teachers, concluding with an ode written for the occasion by Miss Sarah E. Perkins.  The oration of Mr. Wardwell was a finished production, and well delivered, teaching more especially, upon the duties of the male graduates of the school to our country in present time of trial.  He paid an eloquent tribute to those of the school who had volunteered during the late war and had fallen when defending our nation’s flag.  “The poem was a pleasing affair, descriptive of the feelings of a child upon its entrance on a school life and the anxieties consequent upon promotion from the lower to the highest departments, closing with many pleasant allusions to the time spent in the High School.  The exercises of the evening were interspersed with excellent selections by Parsons & Upton’s Quadrille Band, who also furnished music for dancing.  The literary exercises being concluded, a short time was spent in a discussion of the excellent supper furnished by caterer Cassell, of Salem. The latter part of the evening was spent in dancing and social intercourse.

“At about half past eleven it was announced that George Peabody, Esq. would visit the hall and all returned from the dance hall to the school room above, where he was received with unbounded enthusiasm.  After an eloquent introduction from the President, Mr. Peabody arose and addressed the audience as follows:

‘My young friends, it gives me great pleasure to meet you again.  I cannot easily find words to express my thanks for the compliment paid me by this friendly observance of my birthday.  Both here, and in the assembly from which I have just come, my fellow-townsmen seem delighted to do me too much honor for the little I have been able to do for them.  Your president informs me that it is eighteen years since the first class entered the school, and now in judging by those before me, it has accomplished a good work, which I trust will continue through many generations.  If I have been instrumental in this work,  I find my reward in your happiness and thanks.  My great fatigue must be my apology for the brevity of these remarks.  I shall be pleased to take you one and all by the hand, perhaps for the last time upon this visit, though I trust I shall be spared to meet you again in two or three years.  Let me again in closing, thank you for your kind remembrance.’

“After personally greeting nearly every person in the room, Mr. Peabody returned to the hall below where dancing had been resumed.  Here he remained for awhile and seemed to enter into the spirit of the occasion as much as anyone present.  Shortly after Mr. Peabody’s withdrawal, the company dispersed to their homes.  All the arrangements for the evening were satisfactory, and the committee are deserving of much praise for the attention given to details.”


Geo.  Peabody and the President, 1867

(From the Washington Chronicle)
South Danvers Wizard – February 13, 1867

Andrew Johnson –

“President Johnson called upon Mr. Peabody at his rooms in Washington on Saturday. – The Washington Chronicle gives the following report of the interview:

“The President, being introduced by Mr. Winthrop, expressed his very great satisfaction at being enabled to greet Mr. Peabody, and his deep sense of that gentleman’s benevolence.  He considered it his duty, he said, to come as a private citizen and an American to thank him for this great national gift and to declare his confidence in the great results which would arise there from, especially as it was given at a time when the country was so divided.  He expressed his gratification at the fact that this country was so well represented abroad, – represented by such men as Mr. Peabody, a man whose name is revered there as here.  He closed by saying he was fully impressed with the fact that Mr. Peabody’s name would be honored in this present generation, and that the best results could not but flow from this munificent donation, even when the heads of some of the young gentlemen about him become gray.

“Mr. Peabody in a reply expressed his deep sense of the honor conferred upon him by the visit, and said that he should always estimate it as one of the greatest honors of his life.  In referring to a remark in regard to the donation being made at a time so opportune, he assured the President, that he was sure, as he had always been, that the country would soon be restored to harmony, and that no discord or ill-feeling would prevail between sections.  Referring to a remark made by the President in regard to the relation between England and the United States, he said that whatever might have been the course of England in the past, the present desire, from Queen down to peers of realm, and down through all the masses of the people, was that good will and friendly relations might exist, and that old wounds might be healed.  He felt sure that within five years from the present time all discontent will be stilled, and this country will be more powerful and prosperous than ever before.  In conclusion he again thanked the President for the honor paid him, and said that he should ever remember the visit with much pleasure.”

Mr P starts the Peabody Education Fund, 1867


South Danvers Wizard – February 13 , 1867
“The following letter accompanied Mr. Peabody’s munificent gift for educational purposes in the South:

To the Hon. Robert C. Winthrop of Massachusetts, Hon. Hamilton Fish of New York, Rt. Rev. Charles P. McIlvaine of Ohio, Gen. U.S. Grant of the United States Army, Hon. Wm. C. Rives of Virginia, Hon. John H. Clifford of Massachusetts, Hon. Wm. Aiken of South Carolina, Wm. M. Evarts, Esq. of New York, Hon. Wm. A. Graham of North Carolina, Charles Macalister of Pennsylvania, Geo. A. Riggs, Esq. of Washington, Samuel Wetmore of New York, Edward A. Bradford, Esq. of Louisiana, Geo. N. Eaton of Maryland, and George Peabody Russell of Massachusetts:

Gentlemen:  I beg to address you on a subject which occupied my mind long before I left England, and in regard to which one at least of you – Hon. Mr. Winthrop – the honored and valued friend to whom I am so much indebted for cordial sympathy, careful consideration and wise counsel in this matter, will remember that I consulted him immediately upon my arrival in May last.  I refer to the education needs of those portions of our beloved and common country which have suffered from the destructive ravages and not less disastrous consequences of civil war.

With my advancing years my attachment to my native land have but become devoted.  My hope and faith in its successful and glorious future have grown brighter and stronger; and, now looking forward beyond my stay on earth, as may be permitted to one who has passed the limit of three score and ten years, I see our country united and prosperous, emerging from the clouds which still surround her, taking a higher rank among the nations and becoming richer and more powerful than ever before. But to make its prosperity more than superficial, her moral and mental development should keep pace with her material growth; and in those portions of our nation to which I have referred, the urgent and pressing physical needs of an almost impoverished people must for some years preclude them from making, by unaided effort, such advances in education and such progress in the diffusion of knowledge among all classes that every lover of his country must earnestly desire.

I feel most deeply, therefore, that it is the duty and privilege of the more favored and wealthy portions of our nation to assist those who are less fortunate; and with the wish to discharge, so far as I may be able, my own responsibility in this matter, as well as to gratify my desire to aid those to whom I am bound by so many ties of attachment and regard, to give to you, gentlemen, most of whom have been my personal and special friends, the sum of one million of dollars, to be by your successors held in trust, and the income thereof used and applied in your discretion for the promotion and encouragement of intellectual, moral or industrial education among the young of the more destitute portions of the Southwestern States of our Union, my purpose being that the benefits intended shall be distributed among the entire population, without other distinction than their needs and the opportunities of usefulness to them.  

Beside the income thus devised, I give you permission to use from the principal sum within the next two years an amount not exceeding forty percent.  In addition to this gift, I place in your hands bonds of the State of Mississippi issued to the Planter’s Bank, and commonly known as Planter’s Bank bonds, amounting with interest to about $1,100,000, the amount realized by you from which is to be added to and used for the purposes of this trust. These bonds were originally issued in payment for stock in that bank held by the State, and amounted in all to only $2,000,000.  For many years, the State received large dividends from the bank over and above the interest on these bonds. The State paid the interest without interruption till 1840, since which no interest has been paid except a payment of $100,000 which was found in the Treasury applicable to the payment of the coupons, and paid by a mandamus of the Supreme Court.  The validity of these bonds has never been questioned, and they must not be confounded with another issue of bonds made by the State to the Union Bank, the recognition of which has been a subject of controversy with a portion of the population of Mississippi.  

…The details and organization of the trust I leave with you, only requesting that Mr. Winthrop may be Chairman, and Gov. Fish and Bishop McIlvaine, Vice Chairman of your body.  And I give to you power to make all accessory by-laws and regulations, to obtain an act of incorporation, if any shall be found expedient, to provide for the expenses of the trustees, and of any agents appointed by them, and generally to do all such acts as may be necessary for carrying out the provisions of this trust.  All vacancies occurring in your number by death, resignation or otherwise, shall be filled by your election as soon as conveniently may be, and having in view an equality of representation as far as regards the Northern and Southern states.

I furthermore give to you the power, in case two-thirds of the Trustees shall at any time, after the lapse of thirty years, deem it expedient, to close this trust, and of the funds which at this time shall be in the hands of yourselves and your successors, to distribute not less than two thirds for such educational purposes as they may determine in the States for whose benefit the income is now appointed to be used; the remainder may be distributed by the Trustees for educational or literary purposes wherever they may deem it expedient.  In making this gift, I am aware that the fund derived from it can aid the States which I wish to benefit in their own exertions to diffuse the blessings of education and morality; but if this endowment shall encourage those now anxious for the light of knowledge and stimulate to new efforts the many good and noble men who cherish the highest purpose of placing our great country foremost, not only in power but in the intelligence and the virtue of her citizens, it will have accomplished all that I can hope.  With reverent recognition of the need of the blessing of a mighty God upon my gift and with the fervent prayer that under his guidance your counsels may be directed for the highest good of present and future generations in our beloved country, I am, gentlemen, with great respect,

Your humble servant,

Mr. P gifts funds to the local libraries he created, 1866

South Danvers Wizard – October 8, 1866
Georgetown, Sept. 22, 1866

To the Trustees of the Peabody Institute:

Gentlemen: – On visiting this country, there were few subjects on which I felt a deeper interest, than in the credit and success of the Institute at South Danvers and the Branch Library at Danvers. After close observation and careful inquiry, I am fully satisfied that these Institutions have proved of great benefit to my native town, and that with additional means at their command, their usefulness may be largely increased and extended. Accordingly, and with the same general purposes which prompted my original endowment, the spread of knowledge and morality among your inhabitants, I now propose to give to the Institute at South Danvers, in addition to what I have already given, the sum of One Hundred Thousand Dollars, and an additional sum of Forty Thousand Dollars to the Branch Library at Danvers, to meet the wants of the people there…

“My earnest wish to promote at all times a spirit of harmony and good will in society, my aversion to intolerance, bigotry and party rancor, and my enduring respect and love for the happy institutions of our prosperous republic, impel me to express the wish that the Institute I have proposed to you shall always be strictly guarded against the possibility of being made a theater for the dissemination or discussion of sectarian theology or party politics; that it shall never minister in any manner whatever to infidelity, to visionary theories of a pretended philosophy which may be aimed at the subversion of the approved morals of society; that it shall never lend its aid or influence to the propagation of opinions tending to create or encourage sectional jealousies in our happy country, or which may lead to the alienation of the people of one State or section of the Union from those of another. But that it shall be so conducted, throughout its whole career, as to teach political and religious charity, toleration, and beneficence, and prove itself to be, in all conditions and contingencies, the true friend of our inestimable Union, of the salutary institutions of our free government, and of liberty regulated by law.

These views, the force of which the recent unhappy troubles in this country have not impaired, but rather served to increase their weight and render them more impressive, I enjoin upon you and your successors forever for your invariable observance and enforcement in the administration of the duties confided to you. I would not have anything said or done, by or under the auspices of the Institute or within its walls. I would not have the lecture room any expression of opinions or speech or word, which should create unpleasant feelings or rankle in the breast of any one person, or set neighbor against neighbor, or do ought to disturb that kindly temper and social harmony which are most favorable to intellectual and moral culture and which it is my earnest desire to promote. Surely there may be one place, one retreat free from contention and strife which angry passions and vituperative debate shall not enter, – where there shall be agreement, sympathy and goodwill, – where the irritated temper and the fretted mind may find relief – where all, forgetting for a time their diverse opinions and conflicting views, may meet upon a common level and together unite in efforts for a higher nurture and a nobler life. Such a retreat I would establish and to secure this I would invoke your co-operation.

I have only one other suggestion to make. Her Majesty Queen Victoria has been pleased to do me the signal honor of writing to me a highly complimentary letter with her own hand, and tendering me the gift of her portrait. This is now being executed in enamel on a plate of gold by Her Majesty’s artists at London and will be forwarded to me during the present year. As a work of art, it will be unique, its intrinsic value will be great, and as an undeserved and too flattering personal testimonial and tribute, its worth to me and mine will be beyond the price. Of this letter of the Queen, her portrait, the gold boxes from the city of London, and other valued testimonials, I propose to make you and your successors the custodians.

In completing the arrangements for enlarging the Institute building, which I understand you are now making, I require of you to provide a strong room, with suitable safe, for the deposit and exhibitions of these valuables, which shall be secure against accident or violence, and which so far as human prudence can do, shalt preserve them uninjured for future generations.


Allow me, gentlemen, in closing, to recognize and thank you for the earnest labors by which you have striven to render my efforts in behalf of the people of my native town successful – to congratulate myself and you that these efforts and labors have thus far met with a return which should gratify the warmest anticipations; and to indulge the hope that, by the blessing of a kind Providence my joint endeavors may be crowned with great and abiding good results.
I am, with great respect,

Your humble servant