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Editor's Note


Before Newport became a fashionable summer resort, it was a gathering place for scientists, intellectuals, and artists, including a group of progressive New England landscape painters, including William Morris Hunt and John La Farge. Lesser known within this group was John Chandler Bancroft, the son of historian and diplomat George Bancroft, who maintained his summer residence at "Roseclyffe" in Newport. As an artist, John Chandler Bancroft's application of scientific theories of color and light to his painting helped influence a generation of artists, including La Farge, Winslow Homer, and Thomas Eakins. Perhaps frustrated with his inability to translate effectively his theories to his own painting, Bancroft turned to business and became wealthy through his investments in the Calumet and He1ca mines in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. He was also one of the first collectors of Japanese prints, amassing a large collection that now resides in the Worcester Art Museum. Despite these accomplishments, he is barely remembered today. Also in this issue is an article by the Society's Librarian, Bertram Lippincott III, about "The Rhode Island Settlers of Monmouth County, New Jersey." In the 1660s, a group of about eighty first and second generation Rhode Island settlers pulled up stakes and moved to the marshes and plains of East Jersey. The reasons for this are tied to the mobility of early settlers of Rhode Island and their persistent desire to seek land, economic opportunity, and freedom of worship. The Monmouth patent guaranteed rights to its new settlers, including "liberty of conscience," a reminder that the ability to practice faith according to one's own beliefs was an important idea in the shaping of early America. Barely twenty-five years after the establishment of this principle in Rhode Island, it was being spread successfully by its adherents.