Skip to main content

We will keep fighting for all libraries - stand with us!

Full text of "South Danvers Observer. 1,no. 1"

See other formats

Volume 1, Issue 1 
July 5, 1851 

The South Danve 

rs Observer 

George Peabody’s Dinner a Triumph! 

The South Danvers Observer 
is published quarterly. 

Written and published by 
Nancy Barthelemy 

Inside this issue: 

Mr. Peabody, 2 

American Ambassador 

Mr. Peabody’s Aid Goes Beyond 2 


“National Disgrace" turned to 2 

Victory by Peabody 

George Peabody’s Concern for 3 

those in South Danvers 

Peabody’s Generosity Extends 3 

beyond his Family 

Mr. Peabody’s Next Dinner 4 

July 5, 1851— It has been no 
secret that tensions between the 
Americans visiting London for the 
Great Exhibition and the British 
have been at an all time high. 

The American exhibitors had 
to bear under the ridicule of both 
British and American press when 
they arrived in London without 
enough funds to properly display 
their wares. 

No stranger to hosting U.S.- 
British friendship dinners in the 
past, Mr. George Peabody 
decided to hold one on the 
grandest scale ever. All with the 
hope it would ease the animosity 
between his fellow citizens and 
the residents of London. 

But the date chosen, July 4, 
was one no one could ignore. To 
the Americans, it is the most 
patriotic of days. To the British, 
it is a tasteless reminder of what 
was lost. 

And when Mr. Peabody 
approached his long time friend, 
Abbott Lawrence, the U. S. 
Minister to Britain, he was told 
not to expect anyone to attend. 

balls,” Emily Mary Lamb Temple, 
the Viscountess Palmerston was 
heard to say. Her words were 
certain to doom Mr. Peabody’s 
upcoming event. 

Upon hearing this, Mr. 
Lawrence advised his friend it 
would be best to exclude the 
British when planning his 

But acting with the same 
confidence which has guided him 
throughout his life and has 
brought him so much success, 
Mr. Peabody consulted with the 
Duke of Wellington. 

endorsement that Mr. Peabody 
went forth with his plans. 

More than a thousand guests 
were invited. Over eight 
hundred stayed for dinner. 

Among those who attended 
were the Baroness Angela 
Georgina Burdett-Coutts, Joseph 
Paxton who designed the Crystal 
Palace for the World’s Fair, 
members of Parliament, the 
Lord Mayor and Lady Mayoress 
of London and, of course, the 
Duke of Wellington. 

It was Mr. Peabody’s great 
honor to introduce His Grace, 
Arthur Wellesley Wellington to 
the Honorable Mr. Abbott 
Lawrence. Few will forget how 
the band struck up “See The 
Conquering Hero Comes” as 
they met or the rousing 
applause from all who were 

And with His Grace, the Duke 
of Wellington’s pronouncement 
he had a good time, Mr. 
Peabody’s place as an “eminent 
American merchant,” has been 

“The fashionables are tired of 

“Good idea!” the Duke was 
known to say and it was with that 

The Great Exhibition 

When Henry Cole, a 
member of the Royal Society 
of Art, returned from the Paris 
Exposition in 1849, he met 
with Prince Albert, the 
president of the Society, to 
suggest London host an 
Industrial Exposition of All 

Once it was approved and 
Hyde Park chosen as the site, 
Joseph Paxton’s remarkable 
design for a “Crystal Palace” 

was chosen. The building 
extended across twenty acres of 
land and allowed for trees to be 
included inside the building. 

Not all were enthralled with the 
choice. One member of the House 
of Commons was reported to say 
“It is the greatest trash.. .it is 
meant to bring down prices .. .and 
to pave the way for the 
establishment of cheap and nasty 

He was proved wrong. 

When it opened on May 1 of 

this year, thousands of visitors 
flocked to the fair. Exhibits 
depicting the art and architecture 
of the past are included as well 
as the wonders of technology 

The Crystal Palace is able to 
hold 13,000 exhibits from all 
parts of the world, including our 
own American displays and those 
of as far away as Australia and 
New Zealand. 

Page 2 

George Peabody Has Long Been An Unofficial 
American Ambassador To Great Britain 


V A 

“Whereas George Peabody, 
then of Maryland, now of 
London, negotiated a loan 
for this state and refused 
to apply for compensation 
allowed him; because he 
was unwilling to add to 
the burden of Maryland 
when she was in need — 

It is unanimously resolved 
by the General Assembly 
of Maryland to tender the 
thanks of the State to Mr. 
George Peabody.” 

Maryland Resolution to 
George Peabody, 

March 7, 1848 

When George Peabody left from 
New York in February , 1837, little 
did he know he wouldn’t return to 
his home for almost twenty years. 

He had been elected by the 
State of Maryland as one of three 
Commissioners to sell the state’s 
bonds. These bonds, amounting to 
$8 million were to be sold in 
Europe to finance both the 
Chesapeake and Ohio Canal and 
the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad. 
Fellow Commissioners, John 
Buchanan and Thomas Emory, 
joined Peabody in London in 
August of 1837. 

Mr. Peabody arrived in England 
on Feb. 13, 1837. As had 
happened in his previous four 
voyages to Europe, he suffered 
greatly and arrived unwell. 

It didn’t take long for his health 
to return, however. And when it 
did, he went to work with a passion 
to accomplish his goal. 

Times were bad. The Panic of 
1837 was in full swing. The 
standing of American credit and 
the reputation of American 
business in Europe was at an all 
time low. 

Mr. Peabody’s first order of 
business was to save the Liverpool 
firm of William and James Brown, 
which was the source of his own 
credit in Europe. He did it by 
traveling over five hundred miles in 
five days to conduct as many face 
to face meetings as he could. 

And with his tireless efforts, the 
firm of William and James Brown 

was saved. This was only the 
first step he took to 
demonstrate the honor of 
the Americans to the British. 

With his fellow 
Commissioners from 
Maryland, Peabody went first 
to Paris and then Amsterdam 
to sell the bonds. They were 
unsuccessful. Emory and 
Buchanan gave up and 
returned to the U. S. the 
following October. 

With the Maryland 
legislature under pressure 
not to pay interest on the 
bonds, Peabody’s task was 
nearly impossible. And when 
at last he did manage to sell 
the Chesapeake and Ohio 
Canal portion of the bonds, 
he did so at a very low price. 
He was blamed for that, 
especially when soon after 
the price of Maryland’s 
bonds rose. 

But without all of his hard 
work, Maryland wouldn’t 
have been able to maintain 
her credit in Europe. And 
because Maryland was still 
struggling financially, 

Peabody didn’t seek to 
collect the $60,000 
commission which was his 
due for the sale. 

It wasn’t until 1847, when 
Maryland emerged from the 
depression and could begin 
taxing its citizens, that the 
state began to pay interest 
on the bonds. And it was 

then that it came to light that 
Peabody never asked for or 
received his commission. 

Through those years, 
Peabody demonstrated to 
every wary European that 
Americans could be trusted. 
His insistence that Maryland 
would honor the bonds, his 
determination to save the firm 
of William and James Brown 
and his continual work which 
changed from import-export 
business to that of a bond 
and investment banker, 
Peabody showed that trust in 
Americans would not be 

In this way, he always 
acted in our country’s best 
interests. When Maryland 
couldn’t honor the interest on 
its bonds, Mr. Peabody 
insisted to all those who 
doubted, it was only because 
times were bad. But that 
once things turned around, 
Maryland could be counted on 
to honor its debts. 

With his colleagues and 
business associates, he 
further proved American 
goodwill by fair dealings and 
with gifts from his native land. 
These could be anything from 
hickory nuts to hominy or 
apples or Boston crackers. 

And these, along with his 
words and practice, 
demonstrated to all those he 
met the nature of the land he 
called home. 

“A National Disgrace" Turned To Victory by Mr. Peabody 

■J Li 

r 'i 

“ Every American 
connected with the 
Exhibition owes a debt 
of gratitude to 

Mr. George Peabody. ” 

New York State agent 
Benjamin Pierce 

L_ A 

It is well known by now 
just what our own George 
Peabody has done to spare 
our country further 

Mr. Edward Riddle, the 
commissioner appointed by 
our government to oversee 
this project, arrived in 
London to discover he had 
no money with which to 
create a display appropriate 
for the American exhibit. 

With 40,000 square feet 
of space provided for the 
Americans in the Crystal 
Palace, the pieces 
comprising our exhibit were 
too sparse to provide much 
interest. Our nation’s pride 
was at stake. And hearing 
of the problem, Mr. 

Peabody quietly 
approached Mr. Abbott 
Lawrence with 3,00 pounds 
or $15,000 to assist in the 


In all, our country contributed 
599 exhibits, which included 
Hiram Powers statue, “The Greek 
Slave,” Colt revolvers, Richard 
Hoe’s printing press, Albert 
Hobb’s unpickable lock and Cyrus 
Hall McCormick’s reapers. 

And because of our very own 
Mr. Peabody’s generosity, they 
were shown to the best 

Page 3 

George Peabody's Concern For His Native Country 
Isn't Confined to Just Those Visiting London. 







r N 

“Life at any time 
is uncertain and 
more so at the 
advanced age of 
yourself and 
wife. I have 
therefore written 
to you both to let 
you know you 
are not forgotten 
and to express a 
hope that our 
lives may be 
spared to meet 
again in this 
world. ” 


Peabody’s letter 
to Captain 
Sylvester Proctor 

L A 

As poor as his beginnings were, 
there is nothing humble about 
George Peabody’s efforts to put his 
country in the best light possible. 

Ever ready to enthuse to all who 
know him of the honor of his native 
Americans and always willing to 
lend a helping hand to those who 
visit England, George Peabody’s 
hospitality has long been evident to 
any who have made his 

But this is not limited just to 
those who find themselves lonely or 
homesick for their native land. He 
has also asked often for news of his 
past friends and acquaintances 
from South Danvers. 

Most here remember 1835 when 
our town erected the Lexington 
Monument. When Mr. Peabody 
learned our town’s efforts to raise 

$1,000 had fallen short by 
$300, it was his generosity 
which made up the difference. 

And when the Great Fire on 
Sept. 22, 1843 destroyed 
much of our fair town, it was 
Mr. Peabody who not only 
donated 50 pounds to the town 
at large but also contributed 
$250 for the rebuilding of our 
South Congregational Church. 

He has especially been 
concerned of late with the 
welfare of two of our own 
native citizens, Captain and 
Mrs. Sylvester Proctor. 

Always conscious not to 
cause his former employer 
pain, he enquired through his 
sister, Mrs. Judith Dodge in 
1846 whether they were in any 
need. And when Mrs. Dodge 
informed her brother they were 
comfortable, he was gratified to 
learn that Captain and Mrs. 
Proctor “were enjoying a ‘green 
old age’ in good health and 
comfortable circumstances,” 

He sent them a gift of $50 
which was placed in the 
collection plate at church for 
the poor. 

But he just recently learned 
his old master was in debt 
and instructed his sister to 
pay their debts and find them 
a home where they could be 

For he told her, “I have not 
forgotten that both himself & 
Wife were kind and indulgent 
to me.” Though the “Religious 
and Moral principles,” Captain 
and Mrs. Proctor tried to pass 
on to Mr. Peabody “had little 
or no influence at the time.. .1 
have the satisfaction to think 
that at least a partial 
compliance with those good 
lessons ... Has in some 
measure led to my almost 
unexampled success in life.” 

Whether Mrs. Dodge 
passed onto her brother 
Captain Proctor’s high opinion 
of the boy who once worked 
for him is unknown. 

But we have heard through 
Sylvester Proctor Jr., that his 
father “often boasts of the 
smart boy that tended in his 
store some 40 years ago, who 
is now a merchant Prince in 
the great City of London.” 

George Peabody's Generosity Extends Beyond His Family 

The death of George 
Peabody’s father when he 
was sixteen was a severe 
blow to the Peabody family. 
They lost their home and 
were forced to separate 
and stay with various 

But George never gave 
up hope he could buy back 
the family home for his 
aging mother. 

And in 1817, when he 
was just 22, he succeeded. 
His concern for his family, 
however, didn’t end there. 

Since then, he has fully 

supported his mother and 
sisters and nieces and 
nephews, and has aided his 
brothers in their business 

By 1827, his largesse 
extended to charities, as well. 
Both the Baltimore General 
Dispensary and St. Mary’s 
Orphaline Female School were 
the recipient of his donations. 

His nephew, George 
Peabody, the son of his 
brother David, shared a letter 
he received from his uncle 
long ago in 1831. 

“Deprived, as I was, of the 

opportunity of obtaining anything 
more than the most common 
education I am, well qualified to 
estimate its value by the 
disadvantages I labour under in the 
society in which my business.. 
.frequently throws me.... and 
willingly would I now give twenty 
times the expense attending a good 
education.. .1 can only do to those 
that come under my care, as I could 
have wished circumstances had 
permitted others to have done by 

From all we have learned of 
those under his care, he has indeed 
fulfilled this promise to himself. 

And we have learned 
that in 1832, when he 
amended his will, he not 
only provided for his family 
but also planned on 
leaving $2,000 for 
education in Baltimore 
and $5,000 for schools in 
our very own South 

Perhaps the day will 
arrive—and not long in the 
future— when he will 
return to South Danvers 
and so allow us to 
demonstrate our pride in 
our very own native son. 

1. Quadrille V 



Summer Flowers. 

€|it Stnmnut lUinistrr 


12. Waltz 


Sturm Alursch, 


17. Polka* Vulsc As Galop London in 11151. 

J*ti\ <5co. CJtUlfVt 

- ** 

And his recent work 
George Peabody 
Handbook, A-Z. 

Almack’s Assembly Rooms, 

Location of George Peabody’s July 4, 1851 Dinner 

And to Franklin Parker 
and Betty June Parker 
for their 2005 work 
Philanthropist George 

George Peabody's Next Dinner 

Word has reached our ears that Mr. Peabody is considering hosting yet 
another dinner related to the Great Exhibition. 

This one shall not be held until the American exhibitors depart London 
for home. But the projection for this event will be sometime in October of 
this year. 

We look forward to hearing more about this anticipated event. 

U.S. Minister to 
Britain Abbott 
letter to George 

L A 


“Your idea of 
together the 
inhabitants of 
two of the 
greatest nations 
upon earth. . 
.was a most 
conception. ” 

My thanks go to Franklin 
Parker for his 
dissertation George 
Peabody, Founder of 
Modern Philanthropy,