was ever made to gather them together, combine them in a volume, and present them in an intelligible and compact form for the information of the general public, or for the more limited purpose of being used by the lover of antiquarian research, or the student of American Revolutionary history.
Had they been, we believe they would in a remarkable degree have sustained the opinion expressed by Mr. Webster
in the extract from the speech which we have quoted at the commencement of this chapter, and to which, in a great part, this volume owes its origin.
But, whatever matters of historical interest the town records of the Revolutionary era may contain, they must be deficient in many important and interesting facts which are intimately connected with those of our own, and which will be found in the pages of this volume, but not in so full and perfect a manner as we could have wished, yet sufficiently full to give the reader an intelligent idea of what was done.
And in this regard we would refer in an especial manner to the services rendered and the work performed by the women of Massachusetts
in behalf of the soldiers.
The women of the Revolution did much, and doubtless had the will to have done more; but they did not possess the means, either pecuniary or practical, which the women of our day possessed.
In their day the railroad and the telegraph were unknown; yet to these agencies we are indebted, not only for the rapid transportation of our soldiers and the early transmission of important information during the late war, but in a primary degree for the Christian
and Sanitary Commissions, and the local auxiliary associations which were organized in almost every city and town in Massachusetts
, and, we may add, by nearly every religious society in the Commonwealth
These auxiliary societies, adopting in most instances the appropriate name of ‘Soldiers' Aid Societies,’ were composed entirely of patriotic and Christian women; and their purpose was to furnish medicines, delicacies, underclothing, books, newspapers, and other useful material for the bodily and spiritual comfort of the sick and wounded in the hospitals, and for the healthy and able-bodied on the battle-field and in the camp.
The value and extent of these contributions can never