The Early Years of the Saturday Club, 1855-1870

By Edward Waldo Emerson | Go to book overview
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Quotque aderant vates rebar adesse deos.1
And each inspired one here I'll count a god.

IT seems well in this chapter to tell, first, in what classes of men the original fourteen belonged; then, of the hostelry where they always met; and last, to try to describe them one by one.

Giving the men of letters, as most numerous, the first mention, there were four poets, one historian, one essayist, one biologist and geologist, one mathematician and astronomer, one classical scholar, one musical critic, one judge, two lawyers, and one banker. This classification is rude. Three of the poets were essayists; among the men of letters the professions were represented, for Holmes had been a practising physician, Emerson and Dwight had been clergymen. Lowell and Motley, later, represented their country in European Courts, and Dana refused such an opportunity; Judge Hoar became Attorney-General of the United States, and Felton became President of Harvard University, in which Agassiz, Longfellow, Lowell, and Peirce were professors. Peirce was the Superintendent of the Coast Survey. Ward, although the representative of a great English banking house, had marked artistic and literary gifts.

Very early, after the experimental gatherings at the Albion, the meeting-place where dinners were held was either the small front room on the second floor of "Parker's," or, when the Club grew larger, the large front room just west of it. The long windows looked out on the statue of Franklin, -- what a valuable member he would have made, had Time allowed it! -- in the open grounds of the City Hall.

This is the motto written on the first leaf of Emerson's notebook of his friends which he named Gulistan.


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