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The engraving opposite is inserted by request, and chiefly for the gratification of the missionaries abroad, who will have heard, with almost universal regret, of the removal of the Board from its well-remembered House in Pemberton Square, and who cannot, for the present at least, soothe their disappointment by an inspection of its new and equally pleasant quarters in the Congregational House.
It has fallen to missionaries before now to hear that, their parents having deceased, the old homestead has gone into the hands of strangers; and no wonder if sometimes they feel as if a sacrilege had been committed, and wish that the old ties which bound them to a very pleasant past might have been allowed to remain unsevered. The fathers of the Board have gone, and the brothers at home have parted with the homestead without much reference to the old-time sympathies and affections of their brethren abroad. It is not the object of this article to explain and defend the removal which was thought advisable on the whole, and which has now been accomplished. Rather, as the missionaries turn to bid a reluctant good-by to the old home, would we join them in hearty appreciation of all that endeared it to them and to the church.
There was scarcely a room in the former house that was not hallowed by its own peculiar associations. Not, certainly, the office of publication, from which the Board spoke to the churches, from which was sent forth the Missionary Herald, and in earlier times the “ Day-spring,” and the “ Journal of Missions.” Not, certainly, the packing-room, from which many a parcel has gone forth to gladden the hearts of missionaries abroad, and where many a missionary has eased the breaking up of home ties by busy thoughts of preparation of luggage for the long sea-voyage. There was also the narrow office of the Treasurer, where the annual accounts were prepared for the eyes of admiring auditors, and where the power centered that commanded the never-failing honor of foreign bankers. There was the audience-room of the Treasurer, where men have consulted about making large donations or large bequests; and there were the rooms of the Secretaries, where young men and women came to offer more than money - to give themselves to the work. From those Secretaries' rooms what words of cheer have gone forth to the missions in the promise of coming help.
From those rooms, also, have gone forth what words of disappointment, on the announcement that no help could be found! From those rooms have gone forth assurances of sympathy and prayer words of comfort and consolation to the afflicted; for it was there, when there was death or disaster abroad, that the first wave of sorrow broke upon these shores. Between the Secretaries' rooms, on the second floor, was the office of the general Clerk, or, as it has been familiarly called, of late, “Mr. Chapin's room," a cozy place to wait for the Secretary's leisure, and a good place, considering its relation to the correspondence and the foreign mails, to feel the heart-beat of the great machine. Then there was the room of the Prudential Committee, not often open to the public view, but the array of books which covered the walls to the ceiling, looked every Tuesday afternoon upon a remarkable scene - a few active business men, and a few busy ministers, giving their time to the consideration of the interests of Christ's kingdom in benighted Africa, and Asia, and the islands of the Pacific. The missionaries have felt that they had an appreciative and generous Committee. There were few carefully-prepared estimates which were not met by abundant appropriations. There were few well considered requests that were not cheerfully granted. The Editor's sanctum was also there, and was a place where missionaries might be assured that their communications were a good deal more likely to be cut down than by the Prudential Committee. There was also the Museum, stocked with photographs and grotesque curiosities, less interesting to the missionaries than to their friends at home. And there was, latterly, the crowded little room of the Woman's Board, reminding one of Mr. Webster's remark about the State of New Hampshire - "a good place to move away from."
The present quarters of the Board are too new for the purpose of history or sentiment. The hammer of the carpenter still disturbs our devotions, and the scent of the painter's brush dispels reflection. But the processes have begun which are to render the present house as dear to the friends of missions as the former. Here will large and increasing offerings be made, of both money and men, as the church increasingly comprehends its opportunities and its duty. Here men and women have already offered themselves for the foreign service of the church ; hither missionaries have begun to return on furlough ; and from here others still have already set forth to their fields of labor.
The new rooms have been in a manner consecrated by various memorials brought from the former house — familiar desks, book-cases, maps, pictures, inkstands, the copying-press. You may see, al-o, in the open safes, the bound volumes of correspondence, well guarded treasures, which carry back the history of this enterprise through the time of Anderson and Evarts to Worcester, and through Goodell, Stoddard, and Fisk, to Judson, Newell, and Gordon Hall.
Troja fuit. But the glorious past of the Board shall, with God's blessing, prove an inspiration, both at home and abroad, to a still more glorious future. Given the same length of time, and memories shall cluster around this house as precious as of the house which we have so recently and reluctantly left.
A map of a few neighboring streets is here given, which will indicate the location of the Congregational House with reference to the old Missionary House and to certain public buildings, as the State House and the Tremont House.
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It remains, with the help of the engraving, to point out the position of the various rooms.
Beginning near the left of the picture, with the portion of the house roofed with a low tower, the first room of the first floor is the packing-room row but deep room, fronting on Somerset Street. It has a window and a door upon the street, beside the window, which, on account of an angle of the house, looks directly towards us in the picture. Beneath this room is a basement for the storage of boxes, etc. Above the packing-room, upon the second floor, is the office of the “Congregationalist,” and upon the third floor Mr. Chapin's room. Here two ladies are employed as copyists.
The next room of the first floor, with two windows upon Somerset Street, beside the window looking toward us from the second angle, is the room of Mr. Hutchins and the Missionary Herald. The entrance is immediately to the right, by the main entrance to the house from Somerset Street. From this room, also, “Life and Light,” and the “Echoes,” are distributed, all occupying pretty diligently the time of six ladies for perhaps ten days of the month. Directly over this room, on the second floor, is the spacious office of the Treasurer, and on the third floor the room of the Prudential Committee. Above the entrance to the house from No. 1 Somerset Street, on the second floor, and leading out of the Treasurer's office before mentioned, is Mr. Ward's private room, where the bay-window is seen in the picture. Above this, upon the third floor, is the Editor's sanctum, where Mr. Worcester may be usually found. Adjoining Mr. Worcester's room, and occupying the corner of the house, with two windows upon Somerset Street and two upon Beacon Street, is the room of Secretary Clark, and further on the right — two windows on Beacon Street - the room of Secretary Treat. These two rooms connect by folding-doors.