Our magazine was introduced to the world bearing on the cover of its first number a vignette of the portraiture of the ever honored and revered John Winthrop, first Governor of the Colony of Massachusetts Bay. The effigies expressed a countenance, features, and a tone of character in beautiful harmony with all that we know of the man, all that he was and did. Gravity and loftiness of soul, tempered by a mild and tender delicacy, depth of experience, resolution of purpose, native dignity, acquired wisdom, and an harmonious equipoise of the robust virtues and the winning graces have set their unmistakable tokens on those lineaments. That vignette, after renewing from month to month before our readers, for nearly four years, as gracious and fragrant a memory as can engage the love of a New-England heart, gave place, in the month of June, 1861, to the only emblem, no longer personal, which might claim to supplant it. The national flag, during a struggle which has seen its dignity insulted only to rouse and nerve the spirit which shall vindicate its glory, has displaced that bearded and ruffed portraiture.
The visitor to the Massachusetts State-House may see, hanging in its Senate-Chamber, tolerably well preserved on its canvas, what is believed, on trustworthy evidence, to be Vandyck’s own painting of Winthrop. Another portrait of him—not so agreeable to the eye, nor so faithful, we are sure, to the original, yet reputed to date from the lifetime of its subject—hangs in the Hall of the American Antiquarian Society at Worcester. Those of our readers who have not lovingly pored and paused over Mr. Savage’s elaborately illustrated edition of Governor Winthrop’s Journal do not know what a profitable pleasure invites them, whenever they shall have grace to avail themselves of it. But who that knows John Winthrop through such materials of memory and such fruits of high and noble service as up to this time have been accessible and extant here has not longed for, and will not most heartily welcome, a new contribution, coming by surprise, unlooked for, unhoped for even, but yielding, from the very fountain-head, the means of a most intimate converse with him in that period of his life till now wholly unrecorded for us? We had known his character as displayed here. We have now a most authentic and complete development of the process by which that character was moulded and built abroad. The President of the Massachusetts Historical Society has been privileged to do a service which, with most rare felicity, embraces his indebtedness to his own good name, to his official place, and to the city and State which have invested him with so many of their highest honors.