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Life in New Bedford a Hundred Years Ago

Excerpt from Life in New Bedford a Hundred Years Ago: A Chronicle of the Social, Religious and Commercial History of the Period as Recorded in a Diary Kept by Joseph R. Anthony The picture most familiar to the people of New Bedford is that of "Main Street," now Union street, a lithograph reproduced from a painting by William A. Wall. It affords a glimpse of the most pretentious neighborhood in the town as it existed a little more than a century ago. Once the picture adorned about every home in the village. When the period of the chromo came the old prints were displaced and many were destroyed. Within a few years old prints have come in vogue and the old New Bedford picture is eagerly sought. The print reveals in the foreground William Rotch in a chaise, the only one in the village at the time, a vehicle said to have been imported from England. Along the street is a row of buildings, a store, a blacksmith shop, the town pound, and last in the line, the old mansion of William Rotch, surrounded by a garden, with poplar trees along the roadside. A few traditions came down of social events in that early day, such as the visit of John de Marsiellac from Languedoc, who read the petition from William Rotch to the national assembly of France in reply to which Mirabeau, the president of the French national assembly, made a beautiful apostrophe to the Quakers - "I was present," wrote William Logan Fisher in a manuscript still in existence, "when he alighted from the stage at William Rotch's door and remember the earnest kisses which he bestowed upon the cheeks of that venerable man. There was General Lincoln of Revolutionary memory who received the sword of Cornwallis and led him out as a prisoner at Yorktown. There was Count Rochambeau Liancourt, Peter Grant of Italy and many others. The meagre records and traditions familiar to those who love the fascinating history of the rare old, fair old golden time, served to excite curiosity for further knowledge of the men and women of the village period. As we have looked at the stately Dutch cap mansions, indicative of caste and distinction, there has come eager curiosity for intimate knowledge of those who laid the corner stone of the structure, their social and business life, their joys and sorrows. We have craved to participate in an adventure such as Le Sage depicted in Asmodeus' flight. In the tale, "Le Diable Borteaux," "The Devil On Two Sticks," the spirit liberated from a bottle, takes Don Cleofas along, unroofs the buildings of a great city and entertains his companion with glimpses of those within, revealing their sufferings, transports and agitations. About the Publisher Forgotten Books publishes hundreds of thousands of rare and classic books. Find more at www.forgottenbooks.com This book is a reproduction of an important historical work. Forgotten Books uses state-of-the-art technology to digitally reconstruct the work, preserving the original format whilst repairing imperfections present in the aged copy. In rare cases, an imperfection in the original, such as a blemish or missing page, may be replicated in our edition. We do, however, repair the vast majority of imperfections successfully; any imperfections that remain are intentionally left to preserve the state of such historical works.
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