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MASSACHUSETTS HISTORICAL SOCIETY,
ELECTED APRIL 12, 1855.
Committee of Publication for the Present Volume.
LUCIUS R. PAIGE.
Hon. Josiah Quincy, LL.D.
Hon. Peley W. Chandler, A.M.
Rev. William B. Stevens, M.D., D.D.
ORDER OF THEIR ELECTION.*
Benjamin Silliman, M.D., LL.D.
* The above list is believed to contain the names of all the Corresponding Members now living. The names of those who have ceased to be Corresponding Members by moving into the State, are of course omitted.
MEMOIR OF SAMUEL APPLETON,
FOUNDER OF THE APPLETON PUBLISHING FUND.
BY SAMUEL K. LOTHROP, D.D.
COMMERCIAL BIOGRAPHY is a department of literature in which we have fewer books than might be written for the benefit and instruction of the world. Of the lives of statesmen, poets, artists, literary, military, and professional men of all sorts, we have enough, but of eminent and successful merchants, men who have made commerce the sphere of their extensive activity and usefulness, we have few permanent records. Even the writers of fiction, whose object is to combine amusement with instruction, seldom make a merchant the hero of their tale; yet commerce has had its heroes, its saints, and martyrs, — men who, along its dusty paths, in its busy counting-houses, amid its varied enterprises, have exhibited the noblest qualities of intellect and of heart. Few of the departments of life are more full of interest and incident, or more rich in instructive exhibitions of character. Directly connected with all that helps to adorn, embellish, or elevate social life, and promote the world's progress,
its records, if searched and revealed, would present probably as noble specimens of our common humanity as the bar, the pulpit, the senate-chamber, the armies or navies of the world, or any of the paths of literary or professional occupation. We should find there men as thoroughly developed, intellectually and morally, - men who to a keen
sagacity, a far-reaching penetration, a clear judgment, a mind large and comprehensive in its grasp, have added the qualities of a bold energy and an indomitable perseverance in enterprise, an integrity that could withstand the fiercest temptations, make all sacrifices, and endure all losses but the loss of honor, and a large-hearted benevolence which used wealth for noble purposes, listened with sympathy to every appeal of humanity in its individual sufferings, and met with generous aid every effort to sustain or advance the great public interests and institutions of society. To these men, these noble and benevolent merchants, literature, learning, science, humanity in all the instrumentalities that would promote its progress, in all the institutions that would alleviate its sufferings, owes a debt which cannot be too gratefully acknowledged.
One of these men it is alike our duty and our privilege to commemorate in this volume, by some brief notice of his life and character.
The late SAMUEL APPLETON, for so many years an eminently successful and eminently useful merchant of Boston, was born at New Ipswich, N. H., June 22, 1766. His first American ancestor was Samuel Appleton, born in 1586 at Little Waldingfield, Suffolk County, England, in which county the family had held estates for many generations, and were persons of great respectability and influence. In the collection of the Harleian Manuscripts at the British Museum there is a genealogy of the family, tracing Samuel of Little Waldingfield directly to John Appleton, who died in 1412, and making it probable that he was descended from William de Appleton, who died in 1326. The name Appleton, signifying orchard, is of Saxon origin, and is found applied to places before the Norman Conquest; after that event, it is found applied to persons, but always with a Norman Christian name, such as William, Henry, &c., prefixed. The family, therefore,