Biographical memoir of William M. Goodrich, Organ-builder
|BIOGRAPHICAL MEMOIR OF WILLIAM M. GOODRICH, ORGAN-BUILDER (1834)|
|Reprint from The New-England Magazine, Band 6. 1834, Page 25-45.|
Goodrich: William M. (* 21. July 1777 in Templeton, Worcester County, Massachusetts; † 15. September 1833) a Musician, singing Master, Organ builder.
BIOGRAPHICAL MEMOIR OF WILLIAM M. GOODRICH,
PERSONS, remarkable for ingenuity or enterprize, who originate useful inventions and improvements, or who introduce and establish new branches of business and of the. mechanic arts, may be ranked among our most useful citizens. They contribute, in an eminent degree, to the public prosperity, and to the rapid advance of the nation, not only in wealth and power, but in those attributes, which command influence and respect among the nations of Europe.
To this class of citizens may justly be referred the late Mr. WILLIAM M. GOODRICH, whose sudden and unexpected death took place in September last. He was well and extensively known as an ingenious, self-taught mechanic, and particularly as an excellent organ-builder. His- instruments are to. be found in the churches in every part of the Union, and even far beyond its limits. They are celebrated for their superiority of tone, and are allowed not to be inferior to those of foreign manufacture.
Mr. Goodrich may be considered as the parent of organ-building in New-England, if not in America. Not that he was the first who undertook to construct organs here, such as they were, but because he first brought the art to perfection, firmly established it in this country, and thus superseded the necessity of importing this noble and expensive instrument from-Europe. He commenced the business of constructing church-organs, about the year 1805. His establishment was in Boston, where he remained till May, 1828. He then purchased a spacious and convenient building in East-Cambridge, a little beyond Craigie's Bridge, to which he removed, and in* which he continued his business until his death.
Mr. William M. Goodrich was born on the 21st of July, 1777, in Templeton, Massachusetts. His father, Mr. Ebenezer Goodrich, was a respectable farmer in that town. William, the subject of this memoir, was not bred to any trade or profession. He derived very few advantages from education. He was emphatically a-self-taught and a self-made man. Naturally ingenious and inventive, he made himself, while a boy, familiar with the use of tools, particularly those of the goldsmith and the joiner. He even assumed, untaught, the cleaning and repairing of clocks and watches. If any thing was required to be done, of which no one in the vicinity was capable, it was immediately said, that " William Goodrich could do it," and resort was had to him.
There was then, and is still, living in Templeton, a very ingenious mechanic, Mr. Eli Bruce, now nearly seventy years of age. He was bred a cooper ; but he taught himself several other mechanic arts. He was an excellent mason, cleaned clocks and watches, and made good clocks of brass. He has also invented and made several useful machines. Mr. Bruce had been employed, on account of his ingenuity, to assist Dr. Josiah Leavitt, of Sterling, in constructing a small organ, with wooden pipes. After his return to Templeton, he constructed a similar instrument for himself. While employed in building it, he was frequently visited by Mr. Goodrich, then a young man, (p26) whose curiosity was naturally excited, as well by the novelty as the nature of the instrument. It was, probably, from the impulse thus given to the mind of Mr. Goodrich, followed by other collateral circumstances, that he afterwards undertook the same business, which has been so important in its results. The occupation of Mr. Bruce, as a clock-maker, might also have suggested to a mind naturally inclined to ingenious mechanism, like that of Mr. Goodrich, the employment of cleaning and repairing clocks and watches.
Mr. Goodrich was curious and inquisitive, not only in mechanics, but in other branches of knowledge ; and he studied and investigated whatever attracted his interest with great perseverance and attention. He had originally a fine musical ear. In early life he improved this faculty, both by study and practice, and he was ever afterwards extremely fond of good music. He taught singing-schools in some of the country towns, and, on one occasion, a school for martial music. This union of the mechanical and the musical taste and faculties naturally led him, when opportunity offered, to undertake the construction of organs. It was the united love of these arts, which constantly urged him on, made him overcome every difficulty, and raised him to that height of excellence, which he finally attained.
While yet a resident in the country, he came across a small volume, entitled, " An Essay on Tune." With this and his violin, he shut himself in his chamber, and for a week abstracted his attention from all other pursuits. He read, studied, and made experiments. This book opened an entirely new field to his enraptured vision. He discovered theories, of which, before, he had not the slightest conception. He, for a time, became wholly absorbed in them ; and the circumstance, of accidentally meeting with this book, was the means of initiating him into some of those mysteries of musical science, which were afterwards highly beneficial to him.
About the year 1798, Mr. Goodrich was a while employed in the workshop of Mr. Pratt, of Winchester, N. H. who had undertaken to construct a small organ with wooden pipes. Here he obtained some further acquaintance with the rudiments of organ-building, and learned to make and to voice wooden pipes. He remained with Mr. Pratt only a few months. The little knowledge of the art, which Mr. Pratt then possessed, was, I am told, principally acquired from Mr. Eli Bruce, of Templeton, to whom allusion has already been made.
The relations and early friends of Mr. Goodrich state, that the period of his first coming to Boston was about the year 1799.s This visit was partly, perhaps, on business, but probably more for the purpose of seeing the place, and of viewing and investigating things, of which he wished to obtain a knowledge. Professing to know something of organ-building, little as it was, and having a taste both for music and mechanics, he soon formed an acquaintance with a few
- The time and occasion of Mr. Goodrich's first coming to Boston, is a little uncertain. In giving the writer some account of tile early part of his life, he fixed the summer of 1803 as the beginning of his residence here, in the employment of Mr. Benjamin Dearborn ; and the latter part of that year as the time of his being with Captain Witherle, at work upon his organ. He mentioned returning home in 1804, and coming hack in May of the same year, to join Mr. Crehore at Milton, as la stated in the memoir. It is pretty evident, however, that he came to Boston us early as 1799. Most of the dates, contained in this account of his life, were given by Mr. Goodrich to the writer, altogether from memory. It Is possible, therefore, that some portion of them may not be strictly accurate.
(p27) persons, whose inclinations and pursuits corresponded with his own. Captain Joshua Witherle, residing in Boston, was in possession of a largo chamber-organ, which had been built by Jenneys, an engraver, of Boston, for his own use. Captain Witherle had commanded an artillery company of militia from Boston, in the expedition against Shays, and having then suffered from the inclemency of the weather, was now an invalid, confined principally to his own house. Mr. Goodrich became acquainted with him, probably from the circumstance of his having this organ, and was invited to become an inmate of his dwelling, for the purpose of aiding Captain Witherle in making improvements in the organ. The invitation was accepted ; and after returning home for a short time, Mr. Goodrich took up his residence with Captain Witherle.
Captain Witherle had been a pewterer, and had afterwards worked in copper and brass. Possessing this knowledge, he taught Mr. Goodrich so much of his art as was necessary for the construction of metal pipes; and they, together, proceeded to make their proposed alterations in the organ. They, among other things, put a twelfth and fifteenth and a trumpet stop into it; and Mr. Goodrich thought that they finally succeeded in making it a pretty good instrument. There were, however, different opinions about these alterations, and some considered them altogether for the worse. One advantage, at least, resulted from them. Mr. Goodrich, by this means, became acquainted with the art of casting and soldering pewter and brass, and of constructing metal pipes for organs.
Captain Witherle had a son, then about one-or-two-and-twenty, a brass-founder, employed at that time, or not long after, in making copper nails, used in newly coppering the frigate Constitution. Mr. Goodrich was sometimes employed in his shop, and at other times he was occupied with the father, at his house, in the amusement of working upon the organ. He continued, when in town, to reside chiefly with Captain Witherle, during the principal part of four or five years.
After the first year or two, he was occasionally absent, for several months, from Boston. He was, for a number of weeks, with Mr. John Mycall, at Newburyport, repairing and tuning his organ. He taught singing-schools in Harvard, Groton, and other towns. He constructed, in conjunction with Mr. Baldwin, a fire-engine, at Groton. He was, at one period, probably in 1803, in the employment of Mr. Benjamin Dearborn, the maker and inventor of the patent balance, who was then engaged in perfecting a new gold balance for the banks. But, except in these cases, his residence was mostly with Captain Witherle, sometimes at work for him or his son, sometimes idle, and sometimes tuning piano-fortes, or otherwise miscellaneously employed. During this period of four or five years, he had no work-shop of his own.*
Mr. Goodrich, when he became afterwards prosperously established, always spoke with gratitude of the kindness which he had experienced from Captain Witherle and his family; of the assistance which they had rendered|him, and of the knowledge which he had obtained while
- This account of the early residence^ of Mr. Goodrich In Boston, was derived principally from the son of Captain Witherle, now living in this city. Mr. Mallet confidently asserts, that Mr. Goodrich, immediately after his first coming to Boston, resided a considerable time (one or two years) with him. There is some uncertainty concerning this period of four or five years.
(p28) with them, in the working of metals, so important to him in after life. He also acknowledged the obligations he was under to Mr. Mallet, of whom we are now about to speak
A residence in Boston naturally led Mr. Goodrich to the churches. His taste, both for music and mechanics, directed his immediate attention to the church-organs. Mr. Mallet, now of Charlestown, near Boston, and organist to the Catholic church there, was then organist at Dr. Kirkland's church, in Summer-street. Mr. Goodrich obtained an early introduction to him; and Mr. Mallet, with his naturally liberal and friendly feelings, extended to him the assistance which he desired, took him into his organ, and displayed to him the mysteries of its interior, to his inexpressible gratification.
Mr. Mallet was then the principal or only person in Boston, who tuned piano-fortes. Having one or two in his house, which Mr. Goodrich frequented, and in which he for some time resided, his attention was attracted while Mr. Mallet was tuning them, and he obtained permission to attempt the tuning an old one. Here, his accurate musical ear, and his former attention to the study of tune and temperament, were important to him, and he tuned the piano-forte to the satisfaction and surprise of Mr. Mallet. He was, from that time, at the recommendation of Mr. Mallet, frequently employed in Boston, to tune similar instruments. He also tuned .the church-organ, to which Mr. Mallet was attached. This led to his being engaged to put in order and tune an organized piano-forte, belonging to Mr. Preble. The result was perfectly satisfactory to Mr. Preble, and he expressed himself highly pleased with the manner in which it was effected. As there was then but little acquaintance with the internal mechanism of musical instruments of this kind in Boston, the successful efforts of Mr. Goodrich, in these cases, attracted some attention, and considerably increased his reputation for ingenuity. He also, as Mr. Mallet says, while residing with him, organized a piano-forte belonging to Mr. Mallet.
In the early part of 1804, Mr. Goodrich returned to Templeton. He taught a music school, for some months, either there, or in some other country town. It was probably at this time, that he superintended a singing-school in Groton, or constructed a fire-engine there.
In May, 1804, Mr. Goodrich returned to Boston, and, immediately after, formed a connexion with Mr. Benjamin Crehore, of Milton, in the manufacture of piano-fortes in that place. This partnership, however, subsisted only for a few months. At this time, Mr. Goodrich's brother, Ebenezer, then grown to manhood, came to Boston, and was induced to enter into the employment of the concern, and to learn the business in which they wore engaged.
In November, 1804, the partnership with Mr. Crehore was dissolved, and Mr. Goodrich, with his brother, soon after returned to Boston, where he took a shop, at or near the junction of Cambridge and Chamber-streets. This year, he constructed an organized pianoforte for Mr. Minot, and also a small chamber-organ.
About this time, Bishop Chevereux was desirous of obtaining an organ for the Catholic Church, in Boston. Mr. Goodrich's friend Mallet, being a Catholic and an organist, was consulted of course. He told the bishop, that he knew a man who could build them an (p29) organ, but that he would not be responsible for its goodness. Mr. Goodrich was introduced by Mr. Mallet to the bishop, and was engaged to build the organ. This was his first church-organ. It was begun early in 1805, and was finished and put up in 1806. When, in 1822, he supplied this church with a larger organ, the first was received by him in part payment. This was afterwards sold to Mr. Green's society, in Malden, where it continued till two or three years since, when it was disposed of to the Episcopal society, in Somersworth, New-Hampshire.
In 1806, Mr. Goodrich repaired and tuned the English-built organ, in Brattle-Street church. This was the first time he ever entered a church organ, other than his own, for the purpose of making repairs. It was then, it is presumed, that the original old fashioned single bellows was taken out, and a new one, of the double kind, substituted.
This year, also, Mr. Goodrich constructed an organ for Mr. Gannett's church, at Cambridgeport, which was finished and put up, in January, 1807. This was somewhat singular in its form. The music loft or gallery was in the rear of the pulpit, behind which there was a window. The organ was in two parts. One half was situated on one side of the pulpit window, and the other half on the other side, giving the appearance of a common organ cut in two, with the parts separated from each other. This organ, in 1828, was received in part payment for a new one, built by Mr. Goodrich, and was afterwards entirely destroyed by him. It was a poor instrument.
In 1807, he built an organ for Mr. Samuel Cabot, jun. and another for a church in Walpole, N. H. He also repaired the English organ, in King's Chapel, and put up an English organ in the Episcopal church, at Portsmouth, N. H.
This year, or perhaps in the latter part of 1806, Mr. Goodrich accidentally formed an acquaintance with Mr. Thomas Appleton, now an eminent organ-builder in Boston. It was owing to this acquaintance, that Mr. Appleton thought of learning and carrying on the business, by which so many churches have been supplied with excellent organs. He was then about one-and-twenty, having served an apprenticeship with a cabinet-maker. Intending to set up this business, he had imported a lathe from England; but his ill health preventing his beginning immediately, he sold the lathe to Mr. Goodrich. This produced an acquaintance between them ; and Mr. Appleton, being at leisure, was very frequently in Mr. Goodrich's shop. On the restoration of his health, some time in the year 1807, Mr. Appleton became a regular workman and companion with Mr. Goodrich, both in the shop and the family. This arrangement continued uninterrupted till September, 1811. During this time, Mr. Appleton married the sister of Mr. Goodrich, which rendered the connexion between Goodrich and Appleton still more intimate.
In 1808, (or possibly 1807,) Mr. Goodrich repaired an organ in Christ Church, putting into it new pipes mostly, instead of the old ones. This organ was originally built in Boston, in 1752, by Mr. Thomas Johnston. Mr. Goodrich also repaired, this year, the English organ in Trinity church ; and during the years 1808 and 1809, tuned and repaired a great number of piano-fortes. In the spring of 1809, he removed his business from Cambridge-street, to a shop in Somerset-place. (p30) In 1810, he built an organ for Dr. Channing's church, in Federalstreet, which, however, was not entirely completed and put up, till 1811. This organ is now, with some additions and alterations, in the Catholic church in Franklin-street.
In June, 1811, Maelzel's Pan Harmonicon was brought to Boston, from Europe, and Mr. Goodrich was employed in putting it up, and in exhibiting it. In September, 1811, it was taken down, and removed to New-York, where it was put up for exhibition. In doing this, also, Mr. Goodrich was employed It was afterwards removed to other cities; and Mr. Goodiich was absent from Boston till June, 1812. There was due him, as he said, for services and expenses in this business, a balance of six hundred dollars, none of which he ever obtained.
On leaving Boston, in 1811, he left Mr. Appleton in possession of his shop and tools. On his return, in 1812, he found that Mr. Appleton had, soon after he left him, formed a connexion in business with Mr. Babcock, and two Messrs. Hayts, under the firm of Hayts, Babcock &. Appleton. This was a large establishment, situated in Milkstreet, nearly opposite the Old South church, for the manufacture of organs and piano-fortes. The building is now occupied as a furniture ware-house. Mr. Goodrich entered into the employment of this concern, and attended to the finishing, voicing, and tuning a churchorgan and several chamber-organs, which were in progress. While there, he built a chamber-organ for Mr. S. Bean.
In 1813, Mr. Goodtich took a small shop near the State-House, and built a chamber organ for Hart, the musician. It is now in a church at Reading. In 1814, he constructed an organized piano-forte for a gentleman in the West-Indies.
In June, 1815, Mr. Goodrich gave up his shop, and went again into Hayts, Babcock, &, Appleton's establishment, under a new arrangement. But, in the October following, this company failed, and the concern was transferred to the firm of Mackay & Co. in which Mr. Goodrich himself became a partner. In consequence of various embarrassments and misfortunes, this concern underwent a great variety of transformations, in which Mr. Goodrich always remained a partner, till the latter part of 1820, when the establishment was entirely broken up, and a separation of all the parties took place.
While Mr. Goodrich was connected with this establishment, which was over five years, they finished the following organs, viz : six chamberorgans, which went to the southern states; one church-organ for Charleston, S. C.; one for Mr. Edes's church, Providence; one for Wilmington, N. C.; one for Mr. Walker's church, Charlestown, Mass. (which has recently been removed and sold for a church in Calais, Me. and a new and larger one, built by Mr. Goodrich, has been put in its place,—the last which he ever finished;) one for the Episcopal church in Pawtucket; one for Dr. Payson's church in Portland; one for Springfield, Mass.; and one for the Congregational church in Dedham, now Mr. Lamson's. These eight church-organs were alike, or nearly so, and the price of each was one thousand dollars. The company also built, during that time, two church-organs, with three rows of keys, one for Savannah and one for New-Orleans;—also, an organ for Church Green, now Mr. Young's church, in Summer-street; and one for the Handel and Hadyn Society, which was removed and sold (p31) last year, when their present large organ, made by Mr. Appleton, was put up.
After the concern of Mackay &, Co. had discontinued business, Mr. Goodrich remained awhile in the building they had occupied, and built there a new organ for Christ Church, in Salem-street, Boston, putting it into the case of the old one. This organ was finished and put up, early in 1821. For it he had twelve hundred dollars and the internal parts of the old instrument.
Mr. Appleton, after the breaking up of the Milk-street concern, in the latter part of 1820, took a shop by himself, and commenced an organ for Dr. Porter's church in Roxbury. Mr. Ebenezer Goodrich had separated from his brother, and taken a shop alone, about the latter part of the year 1807. They were now, all three, pursuing the business of organ-building separately, and so continued, independent of each other, ever after. Mr. Ebenezer Goodrich manulactured, principally, chamber-organs. The subject of this memoir and Mr. Appleton, confined themselves chiefly to the construction of churchorgans.
After finishing the organ for Christ Church, Mr. Goodrich took a small shop back of Boylston Market, to which he removed his tools and materials. A person was employed by him here, in making organ-pipes ; but Mr. Goodrich himself, in pursuance of a previous agreement, set out for Montreal, to tune and put in order a large new organ, made by Elliot, which had been imported from London, and put up in the Cathedral of the Episcopal church, a year or two before. During this excursion, he tuned and repaired the organ in the Catholic Cathedral, and the organs in some other Catholic churches in Canada, and thus became known to several of the Catholic priests. He made other acquaintances and friends there; and afterwards, when the great Catholic Cathedral at Montreal was built, he received encouragement, that when they were ready to have constructed a large organ, suitable for that magnificent edifice, he would be employed to build it. He always cherished the hope of such an event, and had probably completed in his mind the whole plan, dimensions, and arrangement of such an instrument. Nothing could possibly have afforded him so much gratification, as the opportunity of exercising his skill in building an organ on the grand scale which was contemplated, and of thus immortalizing his name and reputation. Of this he only enjoyed the hope, but did not, to the gteat regret of his friends, live to embrace the reality.
In May, or June, 1821, after his return from Canada, Mr. Goodrich removed into a building in Harlaem-place, contiguous to the circus, erected, for his use, by Mr. J. Child, in which he continued till May, 1828. The first organ he built here, was for Dr. Channing's church, in Federal-street. This he began in 1821, and finished in 1822. By agreement, he was to have fifteen hundred dollars for it in cash, on its being put up in the church, and also the old organ formerly built by him. The funds were raised by subscription ; but, in consequence of the failure of the person who acted as treasurer, just as the organ was finished and put up, payment was not duly made. After much delay and waste of time, he obtained, as he says, only part of the sum due, and finally suffered a very serious loss. He always expressed a strong (p32) dissatisfaction with the result of this affair. The old organ, after its being thoroughly refitted, and with some alterations and additions, was sold to the Catholic church, in Franklin-street, as was before stated. In 18*2:2, he also built a church-organ, which was put up in St. Paul's church, to be used till he should complete their large organ, which was contracted for in 1821. This organ was afterwards purchased for the church in Essex-street.
In March, 1823, Mr. Goodrich undertook to complete, with the assistance of others, a Pan Harmonic on, in imitation of that of Maelzel. Mr. Savage, the proprietor of a Museum in Boylston Hall, had kept the latter for some time on exhibition in his Museum, and had made considerable progress in constructing one like it. After his death, it was determined to complete it. Mr. Goodrich was employed, and it was finished in May, 1824. From November, 1824, till sometime in 1825, he was chiefly employed in the exhibition of this instrument; but it was not productive, and, as he often stated, from the inability of his employers to fulfil their contract, he finally suffered a very serious loss. In 1824, between May and November, be also built a powerful chamber-organ, which was commenced for Dr. G. K. Jackson, then organist at Brattle-street church, but was finished, after his death, for Mr. John Sowden. This instrument has recently been exposed for sale at Mr. Cunningham's auction-rooms. In November, 1824, Mr. Goodrich voiced and tuned an organ, built by Mr. Appleton, for Mr. Parkman's church. This instrument is now in the Baptist church in Federal-street.
In 1825, he repaired and tuned the English organ in King's Chapel, to which he added a sub-bass. He also put into it a new bellows. This year, he also repaired the organ in Grace Church, New-York, and added to it a sub-bass. From August to December, this year, he built an organ for the Universalist church in Providence. He also built an organ for the Unitarian church in Portsmouth, which was finished and put up in March, 1825. Either some time in 1825, or after finishing the harmonicon in 1824, he made the organ part of an organized piano-forte, built by Babcock, for Miss Joy, a lady of Boston.
The St. Pauts Organ. In 1821, Mr. Goodrich had contracted to build an organ for St. Paul's church, and many of the pipes were made. But owing to some unpropitious circumstances, the society did not conclude to enter seriously upon the business, till May, 1826. In the mean time, several of the organs, before mentioned, were principally constructed from the pipes and other materials which had been prepared for this instrument. Mr. Goodrich began it anew in May, 1826, and finished it in February, 1827. The price was four thousand five hundred dollars. It has three rows of manual keys, and comprises three organs besides the pedals, viz. great organ, choir organ, and swell. It contains twenty-six stops, and about seventeen hundred pipes, including four reed-stops, viz. three trumpets and a hautboy. At that time, if not at present, it was the largest organ in this country, and was particularly remarkable for its open double-diapason pedal bass; a stop, which, till then, had not been introduced here. This is very heavy and powerful, and has not, even to this time, been exceeded, if equaled, in excellence. It (p33) extends to C below the manual keys. That in the Bowdoin-street organ, by Mr. Appleton, is carried down to G, an octave below the manuals. The bellows of the St. Paul's organ is six feet by twelve. The height of the case is twenty-eight feet, and its width in front is sixteen feet. Mr. Goodrich spared no pains to render this organ as good and as perfect as possible, and he was always proud of it. In several years practice and investigation since its completion, he has undoubtedly made improvements in many things; but the St. Paul's organ may justly be considered a noble and superior instrument, highly creditable to American talent and ingenuity.
In March, 1827, Mr. Goodrich commenced two organs, nearly alike, one of which was sold to the old Congregational society, in Cambridge, then Dr. Holmes's. It was put up in the old church, near the College, in October, 1827, but has recently been removed to the new church, built by that society, opposite the college buildings. The other was finished for and put up in Mr. Gannett's church, at Cambridgeport, about March, 1828. The old organ, built by him, in 1806, was received in part payment for this, and was entirely destroyed as worthless, as was before stated. *
In May, 1828, Mr. Goodrich removed to a spacious building, in East-Cambridge, (Lechmere Point,) which he had just purchased and repaired, and in which he afterwards continued his business until his death. The first organ he built here was for the Episcopal church, in Lowell, which was completed and put up in September, 1828. He commenced, the same year, the Park-street church organ, which was finished and put up in the winter of 1829—30. The price was two thousand dollars. The lone of this organ is remarkably fine ; but the instrument is not, perhaps, sufficiently large and powerful, for an edifice of the dimensions of Park-street church. Circumstances occasioned an unusual form, and a complicated arrangement of the action, in this organ. The organ gallery not being sufficiently deep, and there being a door through the wall back of it into a vestry, which it was desirous to preserve unobstructed, the organ was made uncommonly wide in front, with a passage-way through the centre. The keys are on one side, within this passage-way; and the action is carried to a much greater distance, and in a more complicated manner, than is necessary in organs of the usual construction.
In 1828, or 1829, he also constructed the organ-part of an organized piano-forte, made by Babcock, for Mr. Caleb Eddy.
Immediately after finishing the Park-street organ, in 1829, Mr. Goodrich commenced two organs, nearly alike, one of them expressly, and according to contract, for the church of Mr. Crosby, in Charlestown, New-Hampshire. This was finished and put up in October, 1829. The price, according to agreement, was one thousand dollars; but the subscribers liberally presented him with one hundred dollars in addition. The other organ was purchased for the orthodox congregational society, in Dover, New-Hampshire, (then Mr. Winslow's,) and was put up in December, 1829. The price paid was eleven hundred dollars.
In February, 1830, Mr. Goodrich commenced two organs nearly like the two last, with the addition of a trumpet. One of them was purchased by Mr. Flint's (formerly Dr. Bentley's) society, in Salem, (p34) and was finished and put up in the church, in Februrary, 1831. The other was sold to the Congregational society (Mr. Swift's) in Nantucket, and was put up in June, 1S31. The price was fourteen hundred dollars. He also, in 1830, built an organ, smaller than the usual size, but with two rows of keys, for the Unitarian church, (Mr. Green's,) at East-Cambridge, where he and his family usually attended public worship. It was put up in August of that year.
In the summer of 1831, after the last three organs were all completed and put up, he repaired and tuned various organs in Boston, Salem, Cambridge, &c. to some of which he added pedal keys. In September, of the same year, he began a small church-organ, with one row of keys, and the case of pine, which was afterwards purchased for the Episcopal church, in Pittsfield. The treble was enclosed in a swell case; but he disliked this plan, as he found it impossible to voice the pipes so as to give them, at the same time, a good tone and sufficient power. He never before nor afterwards constructed one of this kind.
At the beginning of 1832, Mr. Goodrich commenced four organs, of moderate size, and nearly similar, with two rows of keys, the price of each to be one thousand dollars. The first was purchased by the Congregational society, (Dr. Gray's,) at Jamaica Plain, in Roxbury, which was finished and put up in July of that year. The second was sold to the First Baptist society in Lowell, and was put up in the following August. The third was purchased by the Unitarian society in Templeton, (Massachusetts,) and was put up in October or November of the same year. The other, making the fourth, was taken by the Unitarian society in Sudbury, (Massachusetts,) and was finished and put up in May, 1833, or about that time.
Immediately after this, in 1833, Mr. Goodrich commenced the building of two church-organs of larger size. They have, among other stops not contained in the last, a sesquialter, a trumpet or cremona, a bass to the swell, and a double-diapason pedal bass of moderate power. The first of these was purchased by the Unitarian society, (Mr. Walker's,) in Charlestown, Massachusetts, and was finished and put up in the latter part of August, 1833. The old organ, built by the Milkstreet concern, as was before mentioned, was received in part payment for the new one, and has since been purchased for a church in Calais, Maine. This new organ, now in Mr. Walker's church, was the last 'which Mr. Goodrich entirely finished. The other, which is similar to it, was engaged for a church, then building by a new orthodox Congregational society, called the " Winthrop Society," recently formed in Charlestown. It was almost completed, with the exception of voicing and tuning, when Mr. Goodrich was suddenly called away from all the concerns of this world. It has since been completed, and has been voiced and tuned by Mr. Appleton. It was put up, in the Winthrop church, early in November, 1833.
Mr. Goodrich had also, in progress, several chamber-organs, two of which were nearly completed. These two have since been finished, except voicing and tuning, by Messrs. Stevens and Gayetty, successors to Mr. Goodrich. They will be voiced and tuned, and then sold.
Mr. Goodrich died suddenly, in the afternoon of Sunday, September 15th, 1833. He had, two or three days previous, been serving on a (p35) jury, which had been kept up all night, in consequence of not agreeing on a verdict. He returned home considerably fatigued, and somewhat unwell. On the day of his death, however, he appeared to have recovered his usual state of health, or nearly so, and had been, that morning, to Charlestown, to see to something, which he had been told required his attention in the new organ in Mr. Walker's church. He afterwards returned, and at dinner time sat down to the table, as usual, with his family. He had just commenced carving a piece of meat, when it was perceived by others that the fork had fallen from his left hand, without his appearing to be sensible of it. Immediately after, in attempting to step from the table, he was about to fall, when he was caught in the arms of a person present. A direction being immediately given to send for a physician, Mr. Goodrich said that he thought it was not then necessary. His friends then undertook to assist him to his chamber, when he expressed a confidence of being able to walk up the stairs alone. His left limbs, however, were entirely palsied, though he did not appear (o be sensible of it. He also said, that something had struck him on the head. These were all, or nearly all, the words he uttered, from the time when he was first seized, till he expired, though he appeared to retain his senses during the greater portion of his short sickness. He had medical assistance immediately, and the usual remedies were applied; but he survived only four or five hours. A post mortem examination showed an effusion of blood and water in the brain, which was the undoubted cause of the apoplexy that terminated his life. Previous to his interment, a mould of the face was taken, from which several casts have been since made.
The last work, which Mr. Goodrich undertook, after finishing the organ for Mr. Walker's church, was to voice and tune a church-organ, with two rows of keys, built by Mr. Josiah H. Ware, of Medway, in this state, who had formerly, for several years, been in the employment of Mr. Goodrich. Mr. Goodrich had voiced and tuned all the stops, except the hautboythe swell, and the twelfth, fifteenth, and sesquialter in the Great Organ. He was engaged, when last in his working room, in fitting reeds to the hautboy pipes, one of which he had completed. This was the last labor to which he ever put his hand ; and when he left the apartment, it was with the intention, when he should next return to it, of finishing what he had then begun. What was thus left imperfect in this organ, has since been completed by another person.
The number of church organs, which have been enumerated in this memoir, as built by Mr. Goodrich, is thirty-eight. Of these, twelve were built by the Milk-street concern, and finished during his connexion with it. The rest, twenty-six in number, were constructed in his own shop, unconnected with any other person. Several chamber-organs, and organized piano-fortes, have been mentioned ; but it is probable that he made others not here enumerated. He also tuned, repaired, and altered numerous church-organs, not only in Boston, but in New-York, Canada, and various other places.
It is highly creditable to the present state of the art, and also to its rapid progress under Mr. Goodrich and his pupils, that, during the whole period of his being in the business, and notwithstanding the violent prejudice which, for a long time, existed against American manufactures, and in favor of every thing that was English, only three church (p36) organs were imported into Boston from abroad. These are, those in the West Boston and Chauncy-place churches, both constructed by Fruin, of London, but said not to be remarkable for excellence, and that in the Old South church, built by Elliot, of London, in 1822, which is allowed to be a very superior instrument. The latter, when it was set up in the church, in complete order, cost the society seven thousand one hundred and twenty-eight dollars. An organ, of the same size, containing the same stops, and equally well built in every part, might probably have been obtained here, at the same time, from one of our principal manufacturers, for less than three thousand dollars. There is, consequently, little probability that the number of foreign-built organs will be much increased in this city, or, indeed, in any part of the Union.
When Mr. Goodrich first undertook to construct organs, there were, it is believed, not more than three or four church-organs in Boston, and there were very few, indeed, in all New-England. There had existed a strong prejudice against them among all denominations of Christians, except Episcopalians. The Roman Catholics, it is believed, had no church in New-England, till long after the French revolution, and till the present Catholic church in Boston was built. The feeling of dislike to the church of England had.been carried to such a length by our forefathers, that, in all the Congregational churches, previous to the establishment of the Brattle-street church and society in 1699, " the reading of the scriptures, and the use of the Lord's prayer, were banished from the public services." Even in this church, which was the first to introduce the reading of the scriptures into the order of its services, and which had rendered itself obnoxious to all the other Congregational churches, by its liberality and its dangerous innovations, as they were then deemed, the proffered donation of an organ was declined.
It appears, by the records of the Brattle-street church and society, that, " July 24, 1713, the Rev. Mr. William Brattle, pastor of the church in Cambridge, signified, by a letter, the legacy of his brother, Thomas Brattle, Esq. lately deceased, of a pair of organs, which he dedicated and devoted to the praise and glory of God with us, if we should accept thereof, and within a year after his decease, procure a sober person, skilful to play thereon. The church, with all possible respect to the memory of our deceased friend and benefactor, voted, that they did not think it proper to use the same in the public worship of God." This church remained without an organ for more than ninety years after it was erected. But, on the 19th of December, 1790, it was voted unanimously, " that an organ be introduced into this society, as an assistant to the vocal music of psalmody, which is esteemed to be an important part of social worship." This organ was put up the second following year. It cost about five hundred pounds, and an expense of one hundred and twenty-eight pounds more was incurred in importing and putting it up in the church. It was built, if the writer has been correctly informed, by Dr. Green, of London. Mr. Goodrich considered it equal, in excellence, to any organ in Boston. It has only two rows of keys; but the stops of the swell are carried through, outside of the swell-box, so that the swell is, also, in effect, a choir-organ. This instrument now contains sixteen stops, (p37) and about one thousand pipes. A crcmona and sub-bass were, added to it, by Mr. Appleton, a few years since. This was the first organ erected in any Congregational church in Boston, and was undoubtedly the only one then contained in any church, not Episcopal, in New-England.
There were two other church organs, of English make, in Boston, when Mr. Goodrich began. Trinity church contained one of moderate size, and there was a fine large instrument in King's Chapel.
The first Episcopal church in Boston, now commonly called The Stone Chapel, was founded in 1688. It appears, that it was first called Queen's Chapel; and afterwards, probably when it was rebuilt, the name was changed to King's Chapel. Its records show, that, in the summer of 1713, an organ, (not the present one) was presented to this church, by Thomas Brattle, Esq. which was put up in the church in March, 1714. About Christmas, that year, Mr. Edward Enstone arrived from London, and commenced his duties as organist, with a salary of £30, colonial currency. This was, undoubtedly, the first organ which was set up in any church in Boston. Its size and origin do not appear.
The fine large organ now in King's Chapel was purchased in London, in 1756, with funds raised by individuals belonging to the society. The original cost was five hundred pounds sterling, and the charges of importation, &c. were one hundred and thirty-seven pounds. There is a tradition, which cannot now be verified, that it was selected by Handel himself, by order of the king, George the First, and that it was not then a new instrument.
The organ was first used in public, on the second of September, 1756, as will appear from the following notice, taken from the Boston Gazette of August 30, 1756, printed by Edes & Gill. " We hear that the organ which lately arrived from London, by Capt. Farr, for King's Chapel in this town, will be opened on Thursday next, in the afternoon ; and that said organ (which contains a variety of curious stops never yet heard in these parts) is esteemed by the most eminent masters in England, to be equal, if not superior, to any of the same size in Europe. There will be a sermon, suitable to the occasion; prayers to begin at 4 o'clock."
The late Dr. G. K. Jackson declared this organ to be the best he had ever touched in America. Its chorus stops are, however, very numerous and powerful, compared with the fundamental stops. The great organ has, in addition to the stopt diapason, only one open diapason and trumpet ; yet, besides the principal, twelfth, fifteenth, and tierce (or seventeenth,) there are a cornet of four ranks, and a sesquialter of four ranks. This multiplication of the harmonics, especially the seventeenths, with a diapason so comparatively feeble, renders this organ, when played full, too harsh and discordant. It is therefore seldom played full ; and, when managed by an organist possessing good taste as well as skill, it is probably superior in effect, though not in power, to any organ in New-England. It has a great organ, choir organ, and swell, with three rows of keys. The long keys are black, and the short keys white, contrary to what is usual. The choir organ contains a vox-humana stop, the only one, probably, in North-America ; but it has no open diapason or dulciana. (p38) The stops are by no means numerous, there being only nineteen or twenty in all the three organs. The number of pipes, however, owing to the many small ones contained in the eight ranks of the cornet and sesquialter, is 1330. Dr. G. K. Jackson thought, that the full organ was deficient in the bass ; and, in consequence, a sub-bass was added, in 1825, by Mr. Goodrich, the subject of this memoir. He also, at the same time, put in a double bellows, similar in principle to the smith's bellows, in lieu of the old single ones, which were not unlike the common domestic bellows. The great age and excellence of this organ entitle it to the somewhat extended notice, which has here been given of it.
For the little knowledge of Trinity church organ, which the writer possesses, he is indebted to the verbal statement of a gentleman amateur, the son of a former rector. The old wooden church, lately replaced by a majestic edifice of rough granite, was built in 1734, which, it is presumed, is the year in which the society was formed. The organ was imported from London in 1737, and cost four hundred pounds sterling. It was then an old organ, and is said to have stood, previously, either in Salisbury cathedral, or in some other church in Salisbury. It is"of moderate size, with two rows of keys, and consists of a great organ and swell., When played full, it has a good body of tone, and all the stops mix well. But the solo stops, played as such, are not good, especially the reeds. This organ was put up again in the new edifice, where it still remains; but it is altogether insufficient in power, as well as in variety and excellence, for Trinity Church.
In the other Episcopal church in town, that in Salem-street, there was an organ, built in Boston, by Thomas Johnston, in 1752. It appears by the records of Christ Church, that this organ was originally built in imitation of that in Trinity Church. It had two rows of keys and a swell, and cost two hundred pounds lawful money. It had been depredated and injured during the revolutionary war, and was now, whatever it might once have been, a very poor instrument. There had been a former organ in this church, which was probably the first. The records state, that the society was offered, in 1736, by a person in Newport, an organ, for four hundred pounds. A committee was sent to examine it, and actually purchased it for three hundred pounds. This organ was put up in Christ Church, in October, 1736.
Besides these four church organs, if that in Christ Church may be considered one, there were two large chamber organs, of English construction, one in Dr. Kirkland's church in Summer-street, and one in the Old Brick, Mr. Emerson's church, which stood where " Joy's Building" now stands. The former was imported by a respectable merchant of Boston, Mr. Nathan Frazier, for his own use. It had two rows of keys, and was, therefore, what we should consider a very large instrument for individual use. The organist was Mr. Mallet, who then, and afterwards, extended his friendly assistance to Mr. Goodrich. That, in the Old Brick, was also a large chamber-organ, with one row of keys. It had a hautboy stop. This organ was afterwards, for some years, in Dr. Codman's church in Dorchester, and is now in the Episcopal church in Dedham. The First Universalist church, then Mr. Murray's, in Middle (now Hanover) street, probably contained a small chamber organ at that time. There was also a small (p39) imperfect organ in the Episcopal church in Cambridge. It is confidently believed, that there were no others, than those which have now been enumerated.
Thus, when Mr. Goodrich built his first church-organ, there were, in Boston, only three or four instruments, which could be justly termed church-organs, and only one other organ, of any kind, in all the adjoining towns. Since that time, these noble instruments have been multiplying, in a rapidly increasing ratio, throughout the United States, but more particularly in the northern states. In New-England, the prejudice against them has, within a few years, nearly subsided in almost every sect. The taste and the desire for them have become almost universal, and the demand for them is yearly increasing. This rapid improvement in musical taste, as well as in a liberal and important branch of manufacture, is mainly to be attributed, in its origin and progress, to Mr. Goodrich; to his ingenuity, perseverance, and enterprize, in pursuing and carrying to perfection in this city, the art of constructing church-organs, of any magnitude, and of any form and arrangement. Instead of the three or four before mentioned, there are now, in Boston, twenty-five or more, (besides numerous chamberorgans,) and twelve or more in four of the adjoining towns. These, with the exception of the English instruments which have been mentioned, and perhaps two or three others, were all constructed by Mr. Goodrich or Mr. Thomas Appleton. Many of their instruments are also scattered over New-England, and the southern states, even as far as New-Orleans; and some have been furnished, on orders from the West-India islands.
Mr. Ebenezer Goodrich, who left the shop of his brother William, and commenced the business on his own account, in or about the year 1807, says, that he has, since that time, constructed and sold one hundred and seven organs, and that he has ten others now in progress, in his shop. Of those which have been completed, only six had two rows of keys. Twenty others were put up in churches, but had only one row of keys. Eighty-one were chamber-organs, twenty-six of which had a reed-stop; but the greater part of the rest had probably only two or three stops.
Mr. Thomas Appleton has, at the request of the writer, furnished a schedule of the organs which he has constructed, since his separation, in 1820, from the Milk-street concern, in which he was a partner. The whole number, including two now in the shop unfinished, is thirty-eight. Of these, several were unusually large, with three rows of keys ; and most of the others were church-organs of the usual size. There were among them only six or eight chamber-organs. Even some of these were instruments of respectable power, and have been set up in small churches.
Thus, Mr. Goodrich, and two of those who were taught the business by him, have, alone, constructed and supplied the churches with seventy-four church-organs or more, properly so called, and many smaller ones which are used in churches, besides upwards of one hundred chamber-organs.
Mr. Goodrich first came to Boston, without any knowledge of the manner of constructing church-organs, or any intention of undertaking to build them. His early attempts were, consequently, rude and (p40) imperfect. Some of his first organs, he afterwards took back at a liberal price, in part payment for new ones, and he either wholly destroyed them, or altered them so thoroughly, that they might well be called new instruments. Others he voiced and tuned anew as they stood, rendering them as perfect as was practicable.
He was employed, soon after commencing business, to clean, repair, and put in tune, two of the three excellent English organs then in Boston, and afterwards others in other places. From the opportunities, which the making these repairs afforded him, he derived great and important advantages. His previous scales and plans, being mostly contrived by himself, were necessarily imperfect and incomplete. He now had the power of improving them. He carefully inspected the work of the best of these foreign organs minutely, observed the contrivance and arrangement of the several parts, and took the dimensions and proportions of the pipes and other portions of the interior. All, or most of these, he introduced, at various times, into his own organs, and, after due trial, adopted such as he deemed the best, for his own future use.
Another source of improvement, was a voluminous work upon organ building, which he fortunately learned was in possession of a gentleman of Boston, Mr. William Ropes, of whom he procured it on loan, and afterwards purchased it. This was, "L'Art du Factcur d'Orgucs, par D. Bedos dt, Celles," a large folio volume in French, with a great number of plates, published in 1766, by the French Academy of Bourdeaux, as the sixth volume of " Arts et Metiers," or Arts and Trades. This work contains the most minute descriptions, plans, drawings, and dimensions, of every part of the largest organs, according to the practice which then existed in France. The English have always been superior to the French, in the workmanship and tone of their organs. The plans and scales in this work were, therefore, not such as could be adopted literally and extensively by Mr. Goodrich; but to a mind like his, this volume afforded hints and suggestions, and furnished information on numerous points, which, in the then infancy of the art in this country, were of the utmost importance.
It may be well to remark here, en passant, upon the danger of entrusting unskillful persons to tune and repair organs, or, indeed, of admitting any one to the interior, when it can possibly be avoided. Even the best organists are generally unacquainted with the construction of their instrument. Mr. Goodrich once mentioned to the writer, that he altered the voicing of an excellent church-organ, in the early part of his business, which he had since exceedingly regretted, as he was convinced that it was a disadvantage rather than an improvement. The keys to the interior should always be kept by the committee who have charge of the organ, not by the organist; and if tuning or repairs are required, they should be done by a proper person, under suitable cautions and injunctions, and under the inspection of one of the committee. An unskilful or conceited person may, from the most laudable motives, alter and spoil the tone of an instrument, made and finished, perhaps, by one of the best and most celebrated organ-builders of Europe.
The mind of Mr. Goodrich was constantly active. He never, through life, slackened his exertions to attain additional information (p41) in his business. He was always awake to new inventions and improvements, and always sedulous to discover and adopt every thing of importance, which had not already been introduced. In the St. Paul's organ, he, for the first time here, added to the usual stops the great double-diapason pedal bass, of open wooden pipes, which he even then, as a first attempt, rendered so perfect and excellent, that they have not, to this time, been surpassed. He very early fitted a tremulant to some organ in New-Orleans, or one of the southern cities. He first introduced and annexed to an organ here, the little bellows-like appendage, sometimes called a winker, by which the action of the wind upon the pipes is rendered more regular and steady. He first adopted a valuable improvement, which lie had discovered in some recent English organs, in the form of the brass reeds and of the apertures over which they vibrate. In the Park-street organ, he introduced a supposed improvement in the double-diapason bass, suggested by an English publication, by which one pipe, by means of ventages. and stops or keys, produced two or three notes. There were some disadvantages or inconveniences in this plan, which rendered it afterwards necessary to remove these pipes, and to substitute others after the old mode. In his last organ, that which he left unfinished, there is a new plan with regard to the action and the wind-chest of the double-diapason, and the manner of conducting the wind to the pipes. Experience can only show, whether this or the former method is best. He had also collected. a great variety of the scales of pipes, showing their dimensions and proportions; some relating to various organs of his own making, and others to such of the best English organs in this country, as he had an opportunity of examining. These were lately sold, with his. books, tools, and materials of business, by order of the administrator.
Mr. Goodrich, as has been already observed, possessed, naturally, a good musical ear, which was improved by early and constant cultivation, till it was remarkable for its delicacy, with regard both to tune and tone. He had not resided long in Boston, before he acquired the art of tuning keyed instruments in great perfection. This he practised extensively, particularly with respect to piano-fortes, before he made much progress in the art of organ-building. Afterwards, the construction of organ-pipes and that modification or adaptation of the mouth of a pipe, which gives the proper quality of tone, and which i6 technically called voicing, gave constant exercise both to his mechanical ingenuity and his musical taste. It is upon this art of voicing, that the fine tone of an organ entirely depends ; and it is this which makes the principal difference between a good organ and a bad one. In this important art, Mr. Goodrich acquired, in this country, unrivaled and acknowledged superiority and excellence. In the merely mechanical parts of the instrument, the work of the cabinet-maker and the machinist, other builders may equal him, and may, perhaps, in some things, excel him; hut in this sine qua non of the accomplished organbuilder, the art, or rather the talent, of voicing and tuning, Mr. Goodrich stood in a manner alone, in this country, or, at least, without an equal. It is in this, that his loss will be most severely felt, and with most difficulty supplied.
The skill and talent in voicing is most perceptible in listening to a (p42) single stop, intended to be often played by itself, or to two or three such stops, intended to be played together. These are called solo stops. The beauty of the tone, and the equanimity of each pipe in the loudness and quality of that tone, must be observed; and if two or three stops be united, their comparative loudness, and their quality of mingling with each other, must be noticed. For, when the full organ is played, and the loud chorus stops' are heard, the beauty or the defects of the solo stops will not be perceived ; and a very badly-voiced organ, when played full, will sometimes appear very well, the combined imperfections of all balancing, in some degree, each other, and concealing the separate defects of each. Here, Mr. Goodrich's talent and skill are remarkably conspicuous. His solo stops are beautiful, and mingle sweetly with each other. They are even, or equal in loudness. The excellence of his organs, and their superiority, are much more perceptible in the solo stops, than in the noise and crash of the full organ. His reed stops, such as the trumpet, hautboy, and cremona, which in most organs are harsh when played separately, are acknowledged to be excellent and unrivaled, whether employed alone or in combination.
Within a few years, a taste for noisy music has been introduced among us. Regularly educated performers on the piano-forte and organ have appeared here from Europe, some of whom have displayed their skill, in concerto playing, and in the difficulties of unmeaning execution. The full organ has therefore been put in constant requisition ; and the more loud, harsh, and noisy the instrument, the greater, of course, has been its effect. Solo stops, and consequently fine voicing, have thus, for the moment, lost their importance and due estimation. It would not be surprising, if carillons should come into fashion, and we should be stunned, for a time, with the eternal chiming of a Dutch city. But when this admiration of crash and noise shall subside, and a better taste shall resume its place, the beautiful solo stops of Mr. Goodrich's organs, and the harmonious mingling of his chorus stops, though they may< be less bold and obtrusive, will regain their former standing, and be valued according to their true merits.
High as the reputation of Mr. Goodrich justly stood in this department, his superiority was not confined alone to the art of voicing and tuning. He also possessed great ingenuity and skill in mechanics. His talent this way was conspicuous in the alterations and improvements which he was constantly making in the internal construction of his organs. He was so remarkable in this, that it has often been said, nothing could ever induce him to make two organs alike. Other builders prefer sameness. It requires less time, trouble, and expense, and is much more favorable to considerations of profit. But of this, Mr. Goodrich thought little ; his mind was intensely fixed on improvement, on something new, on variations from former and common plans ; though, as will sometimes be the case, his variations were, occasionally, not improvements. If, from the peculiar construction of a church, requiring an organ different from the common form and the usual internal arrangement, other builders declined a contract, Mr. Goodrich was always ready to undertake it. Apparent difficulties, and the pleasure of surmounting them, were only stimulants and inducements, in his mind, to assume what others had avoided. (p43) Mr. Goodrich was not only sedulous in the attainment of perfection in voicing and tuning, and in the internal machinery of the organ; he also had paid great attention to the relative proportions of the pipes, both with regard to the comparative length and diameter of each, proper for certain stops, and to the comparative diameters of the several pipes composing a stop. And not only these, but also the relative size of each stop, compared with each and every other stop, so that the combination of several or all the stops should produce the best possible effect. In the attainment of this object, he had expended much time and labor. The various scales for the construction of pipes, which he had selected and adopted in his latest organs, are the result of his labors and experiments in this way ; and, to a person qualified to understand and to take advantage of them, they would be of no small value.
It is an essential part of the character of men of genius and invention, that they are inclined to disregard old practices and customs, and to set light by that authority and long-established opinion, which the mass of mankind reverence so highly. Nothing is so fatal to originality of thinking, as this awe of authority, this sacred regard for custom and the opinions of others. When once this is surmounted, and we undertake to examine coolly and candidly the reason and foundation of things, we discover so much error and deception, so much that rests merely on custom and prejudice, that we are liable to distrust what we have not investigated and tried, and to place a very firm reliance on our own opinions and decisions. If this were not the case with a certain portion of mankind, there would be little invention or discovery, little progress and improvement, few new trains of thought, and a very limited range for enterprise and exertion. But this very quality, which is so beneficial and important, has a tendency, and perhaps an unavoidable one, to render persons opinionated. They are considered, by the world, to be obstinate. And it must be confessed, that men of genius sometimes firmly adhere to opinions, and long continue in them, when others, of little genius, but more plain, cool, and practical, easily perceive, or learn from experiment, that they are founded in error.
Mr. Goodrich was, by some, thought to be opinionated ; and perhaps, in some things, he was so. It is very possible, that he may have made alterations, and what he considered improvements, in various parts of the organ, a few of which may not be superior (perhaps may be inferior) to the old and common mode. But the many actual improvements which he made, his constant stretch of thought and inquiry, and his firmness and unabated perseverance, together with their many happy results, throw all defects of this kind, if they really existed, far into the shade. They are the price, which men of originality and genius must pay, for the extraordinary qualities with which nature has endued them.
The independence and commendable self-respect of Mr. Goodrich, appeared, in his declining to pay the fee, which is sometimes exacted by organists, for recommending an instrument. It is not, perhaps, generally known, that when musical teachers or professors are employed to select a good organ or piano-forte, for a scholar, or some other purchaser, it is customary for the maker and vender of an instrument (p44) to pay a commission to the musical gentleman, provided a sale be made in consequence of his recommendation. Mr. Goodrich, when applied to, refused to purchase the good will of such persons ; by which independent course, he undoubtedly procured their ill will, and sometimes, probably, a representation with regard to the character of his organs, which was any thing but favorable. In addition to this, it is possible that the unsuspecting purchaser may sometimes have become the proprietor of an inferior instrument, when a superior one might have been obtained from Mr. Goodrich, at a less price. His reply to such propositions was, that he intended his instruments should recommend themselves.
There was another characteristic of Mr. Goodrich, which is so generally attendant on genius, that .it has grown into a proverb. This is, an inattention to money concerns;—the want of that faculty, or of the disposition to exercise it, by which property is accumulated and retained. He was never anxious to be rich ; and he thought more of the lasting reputation he should secure, by finishing a superior instrument, than if the amount of clear profit which he should obtain by its sale. It was probably«from this cause, that he never acquired those strict habits of punctuality, which generally belong to men of thrift. He was exceedingly moderate in his prices, and very often, for the sake of improving the instrument, added, at his own expense, more than was required by the agreement. Being the first, and for many years alone, in the business, and having an extensive reputation, he possessed the means, with proper management, of accumulating a fortune. But this was an object he neglected or despised. His own habits, and those of bis family, were far from being expensive ; but he paid too little attention to money concerns; and, being friendly and liberal, too frequently suffered himself to be defrauded or imposed upon, by the artful and the idle. He left only a moderate property, where there should have been an independent fortune.
It was at first intended to include in this memoir, some account of the origin and progress of organ-building in New-England, and of those persons who attempted it previous to Mr. Goodrich ; but the length, to which this article has already been extended, renders it necessary to defer the execution of that intention, till the appearance of another number of the Magazine.