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“Mr. Samuel Winship declared, That, on Sunday before said battle, said Royal went in his coach to Boston, and took with him a pair of pistols and a carabine, but for what end he did not know, nor never heard ; that, at the same time, he left in his house two firearms, which Mr. Poor, some days after, carried to Watertown.
“ Captain Isaac Hall declared, That, the winter before said battle, he went to settle accounts with said Royal, at his house; and that said Royal showed him his arms and accoutrements (which were in very good order), and told him that he determined to stand for his country, &c.
“Mr. Billings said, That he heard Captain Jenks say, that, a day or two before said battle, Colonel Royal sent for him, and desired him to go to Salem, and procure him a passage to Antigua in a vessel bound there; and that he (said Jenks) would have gone, but the battle prevented him.”
To this testimony may be added that of Colonel Royal himself. In a letter to Dr. Tufts, dated “ Kensington, April 12, 1779,” he says:
“ I doubt not you, and Mr. Hall, and the rest of my friends, will do all in your power to procure me liberty from the General Court to return home as soon as my health will admit of.”
He vindicated his character against the charge of treachery to his country; and, in another letter, dated August 22, 1779, says :
“ When I was in the General Court, I made the public good my aim in every thing that I endeavored to do, which I think every man ought to.”
Mere fright should not be considered as constituting Toryism. A true Tory must have had a force of reason and sense of right wholly inconsistent with cowardice. Colonel Royal's force of mind was not sufficient to make him a strong enemy of any thing. He is mentioned in Curwen's letters; and there Mr. George A. Ward speaks of him thus:
“ Hon. Isaac Royal, of Medford, was remarked by every one for his timidity; he halted between two opinions, respecting the Revolution, until the cannonading at Lexington drove him to Newburyport, and then to Halifax; and, after living some time in retirement, he embarked for Europe. He was a proscribed refugee; and his estate, since that of Jacob Tidd, Esq., was confiscated. He died of small-pox, in England, October, 1781. His bounty laid the first professorship of law at Cambridge; and a legacy of plate to the first church in Medford shows that his regard for his country was not weakened by distance nor seared by proscription. He bequeathed more than two thousand acres of land, in Granby and Royalton, in Worcester County, for the establishment of the aforesaid professorship. He was, for twenty-two years, a member of the Council. His virtues and popularity at first saved his estate, as his name was not included with those of his sons-in-law, Sir William Pepperell and George Erving, in the Conspirator's Act;' but, on the representation of the Selectmen of Medford that he went voluntarily to our enemies,' his property was forfeited and taken under the Confiscation Act. He made bequests to Medford and Worcester, and legacies to the clergymen. While a member of the House of Representatives, he presented the chandelier which adorns its hall.
“George Erving, Esq., merchant, of Boston, who married one of Colonel Royal's daughters, was a refugee included in the Conspirator's Act. He died in London, Jan. 16, 1806, aged 70.
" General Sir William Pepperell, baronet, was born at Kittery Point, Maine, in 1696. He died at Kittery, June 6, 1759.
“ Colonel Royal was appointed one of the · Mandamus Council. lors' for this Province by his Majesty, Aug. 9, 1794; but he did not take the oath of office."
1743: He gave Charlestown £100, which was used to build a parsonage. While Representative, he returned to the town treasury his salary. In 1745, he gave £80 to the school on Charlestown Neck.
By his will, he gave to Medford one hundred acres of land in Granby (South Hadley)," for the use and better support" of the common schools of the town. This Granby farm was sold, 1788, for one hundred dollars, to Mr. Richard Hall.
Generosity was native with him, and shone the salient feature of his character. He loved to give, and loved to speak of it, and loved the reputation of it. Hospitality, too, was almost a passion with him. No house in the Colony was more open to friends ; no gentleman gave better dinners, or drank costlier wines. As a master, he was kind to his slaves; charitable to the poor, and friendly to everybody. He kept a daily journal, minutely descriptive of every visitor, topic, and incident, and even descended to recording what slippers he wore, how much tar-water he drank, and when he went to bed! He was a strict observer of religious forms, and a generous supporter of Christian institutions. He was a Tory against his will. It was the frailty of his blood more than the fault of his judgment. Not that he loved the Colo
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nies less, but that he feared England more. He wanted that unbending, hickory toughness which the times required. New England needed men who were as splinters from her own granite hills; and he was not one of that type.
His gift of two thousand acres of land to Harvard College, to found a Professorship of Law, was by his last will. His words concerning his gift are:
“To be appropriated towards the endowing a Professorship of Law in said College, or a Professorship of Physic or Anatomy, whichever the Corporation and Overseers of said College shall judge best for its benefit; and they shall have full power to sell said lands, and put the money out to interest, the income whereof shall be for the aforesaid purpose."
These funds were left to accumulate till 1815, when it was deemed expedient to establish a Professorship of Law. The next year, the Chief Justice of the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts, Hon. Isaac Parker, was elected, bearing the title, “Royall Professor of Law.”
This learned and worthy man gave a course of lectures immediately; and, when thus brought in contact with college and legal education, he suggested the establishment of a “ Law School at Cambridge.” This recommendation was joyfully greeted ; and, in 1817, the law school was established. Thus Colonel Royal was indirectly an originator of that school. Professor Parker held office for eleven years, and, in 1827, resigned. Hon. Asahel Stearns (brother of Dr. Stearns, of Medford) was then chosen, 1817, and served acceptably till 1829, when John Hooker Ashman succeeded. He died, in office, in 1833 ; and, in 1834, Hon. Simon Greenleaf was chosen, and performed his duties with eminent success. He resigned in 1848, and was succeeded by Hon. Theophilus Parsons, who is now in office.
These distinguished jurisconsults have each paid a tribute of respect to the memory of Colonel Royal, of Medford, and have recognized him as the primal cause of the establishment of a permanent school for that second of sciences, jurisprudence.
Colonel Isaac Royal was born, in the Island of Antigua, in 1719. The English had established themselves there as early as 1636. The father of our townsman, who gave his own Christian name to his son, possessed great wealth, and, turning his eyes to Massachusetts, purchased of Eliza
beth, widow of John Usher (Lieutenant-Governor), five hundred and four acres, three quarters, and twenty-three rods of land, for £10,350.7s. 9d., on the 26th December, 1732. The record runs thus:
“ This estate is bounded south-west on Menotomy Road; west, on land of Nathaniel Tufts, Aaron Cleveland, and John Tufts ; east, on the river and salt marsh of Captain Samuel Brooks in part, and part on river and salt marsh now improved by Josiah Whittemore; and south-east, on land of said Whittemore, lying on both sides of Medford or Mystic Road.”
Colonel Royal came here with his family in 1738. He died in Medford on Thursday, June 7, 1739, in the forenoon, was buried in Medford on Saturday, 10th inst., and was carried, the same night, to Dorchester, and there “buried in his marble tomb." His wife died April 21, 1747, and was buried from Colonel Oliver's house, in Dorchester. The tomb is entire at this time. His son, who seemed also to inherit his father's title of colonel, fixed his residence in the house now standing, and which is yet called the “Royal House.” It was built by Colonel Royal, into its present form, by enlarging the house built by Lieutenant-Governor Usher on that spot. A thick wall, running through its centre, shows the outer wall of the former building. Some diversities in the height of rooms indicate the same fact. Its exterior form is a copy of a nobleman's house in Antigua; and its present owner, Mrs. Tidd, has carefully preserved the form given to it by Colonel Royal. It was at first within the limits of Charlestown; and Colonel Royal was chosen Representative by that town nine years in succession, from 1743 to 1752. In 1752, he was promoted to a seat at the Council Board, and, for twenty-two years, performed his duties acceptably in that office.
When Harvard Hall was burnt, Jan. 24, 1764, and the entire library of the College destroyed, he contributed most generously for the purchase of another. The first mention of him in the Medford Records is May 8, 1754, when he was chosen Moderator in the town-meeting. For sixteen years, he was Chairman of the Board of Selectmen.
He died of small-pox, in England, in 1781, and was buried there. His wife died in 1770. Funeral sermon by Rev. Mr. Turell.
We have shown above how the virtues and hospitality of his character secured his estates from confiscation, when those of his sons-in-law, Mr. George Erving and Sir William Pepperell, were not spared. But when it was subsequently testified that “he had gone voluntarily to our enemies,” and his estates were therefore confiscated in 1778, he writes to Mr. Edmund Quincy, of Boston, 1779, complaining bitterly of this injustice, declaring that he had been prevented from returning to Medford solely by ill health. These acts of oppression, as viewed by him, did not weaken his attachment to this town; for in his will, made in London in 1779, he bequeathed generously to the clergymen of Medford, to the church, and the schools. Many valuable tokens he left to friends in Boston and to the town of Worcester.
His daughter Elizabeth, who married the second Sir William Pepperell, died on her passage to England, in 1775. Her husband died in London, in 1816, aged seventy.
Although Colonel Royal's property in Medford was confiscated in 1778, it was kept together, and well guarded by officers appointed by the Judge of Probate. By the act of 1777, the General Court empowered the Judge of Probate to nominate agents to take charge of the estates of absentees, with full power to keep and improve the same. Colonel Royal was an exception to the great body of royalists; and, although the General Court dealt with his property as with that of a voluntary absentee, they nevertheless considered that it might be restored on his return to Medford. The laws which took effect on Colonel Royal were as follows:
January, 1778:“ Resolved, To prevent any person from returning into this State, who left it as aforesaid, unless such return be by the leave of the General Court."
“ April 30, 1778: On petition of Simon Tufts. Resolved, That Simon Tufts, Esq., of Medford, be, and he hereby is, directed to deliver into the hands of the Committee of Correspondence, Inspection, &c., of the town of said Medford, all the estate of Isaac Royal, Esq., that he, the said Tufts, has in his hands, which he, the said Royal, left in the said town of Medford. And the said Committee of Medford are hereby directed to receive the same, and improve it in the best and most prudent manner they can agreeable to the resolves of this Court respecting absentees' estates.
“ And it is also resolved, That the several Committees of Correspondence, Inspection, &c., of such towns and plantations within this State, are directed to take possession of any estate in each town or plantation respectively that belonged to the said Isaac Royal when he left this State. And all such persons holding possession of any such estate are hereby directed to deliver possession thereof to such Committees respectively. And said Committee are further