« PreviousContinue »
Abel Rudhall, in Gloucester, England; a gift to the church from friends in the Old World. It was hung in 1744. The composition of the bells is still the wonder of founders, and their clearness and power the admiration of all who bear them. The smallest is six hundred pounds in weight and the largest fifteen hundred and forty-five, and upon each bell there is a message of some sort, in the quaint old style of long ago. One of them says, “ This peal of bells is the gift of a number of generous persons to Christ Church, in Boston, N. E., 1744, R.A.” Another, “We are the first ring of bells ever cast for the British Empire in North America;'' and another, “Since generosity has opened our mouths, our tongues shall sing aloud of his praise."
Belfry pigeons have made themselves at home in the old tower, and create strange
noises moving among the rafters. If you • NAVE AND ORGAN, AS DECORATED FOR APRIL 18, 1875. visit the church as a stranger, you will
doubtless first have drunken deep of that On the modest arch above the door there is a fountain of memories collected by the late Mr. simple tablet with the indication, “ Christ Church. Drake. Any one will tell you that you must read 1723.” Many with noble names, burned as with “ Drake's Memories" before you know Boston; fire into the history of our country,-many before and you may shudder, as you pass through the and many since the beacon-lights went out, - low chamber intersected by its eight bell-ropes, have entered beneath that low arch.
that cut the air like threads of a spider's web, Before you is the inner door to the church, and and find yourself creeping up into the dimpess to the left a low door opening upon the stairway and dust of that belfry tower, recalling Drake's that leads to the belfry. Will you climb ? The statement that a belief has been very popularly way up is very narrow but not very straight; the held that this chime you are approaching has view from the upper balcony, however, commands the power of dispelling evil spirits ! But Mr. the Charles River, Charlestown, Bunker Hill, Drake was mistaken in that statement, as also Breed's Hill, and the Bunker Hill Monument, in the sentence which follows, in which he so with all their historic surroundings. It was there eloquently asserts, " The same bells still hang in that several of the British officers stood to watch the belfry, but few have ever heard their caroling the battle of Bunker Hill. And the old belfry of a quiet Sabbath. There they still hang, voicetoo; you would miss much to go away without less and forgotten, waxing in years like the old seeing that—the dusty, cobwebbed belfry, where church itself.” The bells do carol on, notwiththe famous old chime hangs on the great wooden standing, on Lord's Day and Christmas and New wheels. After the service, you will wish to wander Year's, besides the other ordinary times of ringing. through Copp's Hill Cemetery ; every one who It was only forty-six years before this church visits Christ church goes up there after service. was founded that the first service was permitted in Then you will hear the chime, and the tones will New England, after the recognized order of the sound to you all the sweeter for having seen the Church of England. The first churchmen coming cluster of British bells hanging in that merry, over from the Old World found that those brave dusty contiguity.
pioneers who had fled from religious persecution The chime came from the far-famed foundry of and dictation to establish themselves with their
grand motto, “ Freedom to worship God !" had heartily with his most influential church members passed a law making it a criminal offense to to instigate a subscription for a new church to be observe the English form, or own a Church of built at the north end. England book of prayer, and had even gone so The Right Honorable Earl of Thanet headed far as to impose a fine of five shillings upon any the list with ninety pounds. His Excellency one who should dare to recognize Christmas Day. Not till 1677, on receiving a second command from the king, did they cease to punish any minister convicted of “repeating written prayers.” In 1689 a little wooden chapel was built on the site of the present King's chapel, and in 1722 there was such a de mand for more room that the rector of King's chapel joined
Francis Nicholson, Governor of South Carolina, gave sixty-nine pounds, five cedar posts, and sixty-five planks, “ freight free." In the list of subscribers there are also the names of the Hon. Lady Blackett, Peter Faneuil, Leonard Vassall, and several from Antigua and
THE MATHER TOMB, COPP's Hill. .
Barbadoes. The entire collection amounted to a design to hang hatts on." An old fellow was two thousand one hundred and eighty-four pounds, paid three pounds a year to keep the boys in the and the pews sold for twelve hundred and thirty gallery in order, and the vestry voted to impose a pounds.
fine upon any member “who doth not appear On the fifteenth of April, 1723, the Rev. Sam- within two hours after the time set for a meeting." uel Miles, incumbent of King's chapel, officiated Above the illuminated text in the chancel, dimly in laying the first stone, closing a most impressive seen beyond the shivering shadows that fill the ceremony with the words, “May the gates of nave, where the light falls softly down about the hell never prevail against it !" On the twenty- altar, one reads the dedication of a century and a ninth of December of the same year the church half ago, “ This is none other than the house of was opened, though not completed, and the Rev. God, and this is the gate of heaven." Above Timothy Cutler, D.D., formerly President of this is a heavy drapery in dark oil colors, with the Yale College, preached the first sermon of his golden halo crowning the oval. Below it is the long pastorate from the text (Isaiah lvi. 7), “For “descent of the Holy Spirit,” the dove above mine house shall be called a house of prayer for three little cherubs with fat little faces and tiny all people."
little wings appearing in three little niches; the The little church is before you! A puritanic work of the artist Johnson. Below them is the oblong, only seventy feet by fifty, and thirty feet conception of the Lord breaking the bread and high, surrounded on three sides by a broad gallery blessing the wine, by Mr. Penniman. The face about twenty feet from the floor. It is altogether of the Saviour, while not so strong as some that puritanic, but also so thoroughly English that have a much wider fame, is one of the most tender there seems very good grounds for the assertion and loving in its delicate delineation, one of the that it was modeled after designs by Sir Christo sweetest to look upon and study for years, and pher Wren. It is but slightly changed from its one of the truest realizations of the ideal head that appearance when first completed. Then there brush ever put upon canvas. Below this there are were three aisles and the pews were square; now four oblong tablets illuminated in old text. The there are but two and the pews are long. These inner ones are comparatively modern, filling the pews were originally sold to the highest bidder, place that was previously the door leading from and all affairs that came before the church were the vestry to the pulpit; but the outer ones were settled by a vote of the pews. Only one vote originally placed there. was allowed to each, and no non-holder had a During the first years of its life, the church had voice. In 1726 the vestry voted that a new pew but a single silver cup in its communion service. be built on the north side of the altar for Mr. It is the smaller of the two chalices, upon which Miles, “he paying as much for said pew as any are the words, “The gift of Captain Thomas other person." Then they voted that a pew be Tudor to Christ Church, in Boston, 1724." Then built for the use of Captain Wells, “ranging with the gold and silver received at the regular collecCaptain Temple's," and a few years later a very tions were set aside for the purpose of increasing large pew was constructed and handsomely lined, the plate, and after the offerings of Thanksgiving “ being supplied with six prayer.books, for the use Day, November 13, 1729, had been added, the of the gentleman of Honduras who sent gifts of whole amount was melted down and cast into the log-wood to the parish."
two flagons marked “Belonging to Christ Church, The pulpit then stood on the north side of the Boston, New England, 1729." Every one of the middle aisle, perched at a level with the gallery many pieces of the present service bears an inand balanced upon the same “ Prince of Wales scription and the donor's name. One of the two feathers' that now support it. But the feathers | flagons, the large chalice, and the receiving-plate were then above the reading-desk, and the read- are of especial interest as “ The gift of His Majesty, ing-desk itself above the desk of the clerk, who King George II., to Christ Church, at Boston, in was a very important personage in those early days. New England, at the request of his Excellency
There were certified orders hung about the Governor Belcher, 1733." In 1786 this entire church to the effect that “no naills nor pinns be service of plate was pledged for the debts of the put in the pillars nor the front of the gallerys with church, but was fortunately redeemed without loss,
Besides the plate, King George II. presented to gallery. And there, looking down upon us from the church the large folio Bible and the two folio over the fence, we recognize the benign face of prayer-books, bound in Turkey leather, that are our father Washington. It is that famous marble now in use, and “twelve other prayer-books bust—the first one that was made of Washington bound in calf, with book-marks made of the ribbon —that was cut from life by an Italian artist whose worn by the Legion of Honor and decorated with name has unfortunately perished before his fame. gold fringe, an altar piece, cushions, carpets, It was presented to the church by Shubael Bell, damask, and two surplices of fine Holland." and was carried in state in the procession at the
The royal Bible and Turkey-covered prayer death of the first President. As a work of art, it books were consigned to a closet when party may not be astonishing, but it certainly is not feeling rose too high for them, but later they were bad. It is strong and bold; full of character brought out again. The royal coats of arms and i and energy. It looks like a leader, while it lacks the objectionable parts in one of the prayer-books have been pasted over, while in the other the American form was printed in exact imitation of the rest of the book and inserted entire in the old covers. The Bible was printed in Oxford, in 1717, and is a remarkable specimen of typography and a most valuable collection of old engravings; while among bibliographers it is widely known as one of the famous “ vinegar Bibles," on account of an error in the page-heading of the twentieth chapter of Luke, which reads, “The parables of the vinegar.” There are red lines running perpendicularly through the centre of each page and horizontal lines beneath each page-heading in both Bible and prayer-book that are the work of pen and ink.
There is a little gallery clinging to the rear wall of the church, half-way up between the main gallery and the roof. You can hardly discover it even when you know that it is there. The only entrance COMMUNION SERVICE ARRANGED ON THE ALTAR TABLE. is through a low door opening from the tower behind the organ, and there, upon narrow that sort of “cherry-tree' halo that modern planks, so cramped that even the shortest legs artists insist upon throwing about the head of could not have bent to them without difficulty, Washington, and the square rigid jaw that was so without any King George cushions or even un- painfully exaggerated by a set of ill-fitting false planed boards for backs, the blacks and slaves of teeth. There are any number of records and early days, and of not very long ago, were obliged legends attesting to the accuracy of this likeness. to sit in humble and constant recognition of their When Lafayette first entered the church, he looked innate and undoubted degradation, if they either at it, and is said to have exclaimed, with tears in desired or were obliged to worship the God of all his eyes, "Why, there is my dear old friend !” in the church where the first signal-lights of free- The organ was placed there in 1759, but, like the dom and liberty were hung.
tree and truth, it has not even the general odor of To the right of the altar is a high and ungainly mild decay. Through its first year of duty it was wooden fence shutting off the farther corner of in the hands of a native of Boston, who was well the church, making an ugly little vestry under the educated in the profession, but who, for the sake of the church, gave his services gratis. Every puny little gas-jets by which they are now surone was delighted with his skill, and, thus en-rounded, while they remember in their uselessness couraged, he ventured to suggest a small salary for how the water in the modern meter has sometimes the second year. This so enraged the authorities run low, or ice formed in the supply-pipe, and of the church that with the customary gratitude they have been called out again for their unfailing they only waited till the first responsible man of light of other days. the congregation sailed for the Old World, to But the Boston Protestants thought the polished instruct him to bring back with him an organist, brass of their Catholic brothers too bright and “one who had some trade,-if possible a barber, gaudy for their puritanic modesty, so they cov—whom the congregation might improve in his ered the chandeliers with a preparation that in occupation."
color resembles the contents of an old snuff-box, Arranged before this organ, upon little spin- intended to represent a fashionable bronze. dling pedestals, like overgrown muezzin on Mo. And now, if you will, the crypt. The entrance hammedan minarets, are four gaudy little angels. | is through the Sunday-school-room, in the rear. Drake calls them cherubim. They are certainly | As you pass through the chapel, you will notice more like angels than mortals, at least, for they upon the wall a copy of Hunt's “Light of the are neither male nor female figures. They are World," "with the glory-crowned hair," standing dressed in carved robes of many brilliant colors with the glimmering lantern in his hand, “knockand are a little over two feet high, with chubby ing, knocking, ever knocking,” by the high wall, cheeks puffed out to their utmost capacity, and at that gate that is “ivy-gnarled and weed-bejanrosy lips pressed closely about the lips of long gled; dusty, rusty, and forgotten.” A short time wooden trumpets. Their hair falls in luxurious ago, an apparently well-educated gentleman, who masses over their shoulders, from which burst was accompanying several ladies through the heavily-feathered pinions in such an unfortunate church, stopped before this picture, and in all way as to leave no possibility for those little good faith suggested that it must be a likeness of creatures to undress without first taking off their Paul Revere waking up Robert Newman, to have wings.
him go and display the lanterns in the tower. These angels were presented to the church by a Ugh! You shiver! Of course you do, as certain Captain Grushea, who, in his privateer, the you look through the old iron gate down into the Queen of Hungary, amassed an immense fortune for long galleries of tombs. There is a double bank those early days. He once came upon a Spanish in the centre and a line entirely surrounding it, vessel on board of which he found these figures with a narrow gallery running between. The on their way to a Catholic church in Canada; shadows are denser than above, severed here and and because the booty was so large that he thought there by a narrow shaft of warm light in which it proper to make some return to the gods who the dust dances up and down as though it had had favored his stealing, or, more probably, because never heard of such a thing as attraction and there was no other way of disposing of this com- gravitation. And sometimes, all together, the paratively worthless part of his prize, he presented
nos comprometimen som mes, in genetia the
little particles will rush away into the shadows the figures to the church. Horrible things they and new ones come out of the shadows to take are, and why they are kept there is one of Lord their place. You may think it a spirit passing Dundreary's problems. Just at their feet a quaint down that way, and possibly you are right. There old clock is hung in the front rail of the organ are thirty tombs filled full of coffins; that is all. gallery.
There are large coffins and little ones, and all The ancient chandeliers hanging in the nave sorts and shapes of them. And they are piled in are another evidence of the munificence of Cap pell-mell upon each other till the vaults are nearly tain Grushea, and were taken while upon the same full. There are plain pine board coffins and faint trip to Canadian Catholics. They are suspended imitations of rich and costly hard-woods; but from the roof in the good old-fashioned way; a while the pine boards that have been on duty for triple tier of great brass balls and a double row of a century and a half are as sound as the day they long branching arms supporting unlighted tapers, were made into coffins, though every nail and screw bidding defiance to dust and frowning upon the has rusted out of them, the rose-wood and mahog