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[176] the “Convention of friends of universal reform” in Boston, Emerson says of that gathering:--

If the assembly was disorderly, it was picturesque. Madmen, madwomen, men with beards, Dunkers, Muggletonians, Come-outers, Groaners, Agrarians, Seventh-Day Baptists, Quakers, Abolitionists, Calvinists, Unitarians, and Philosophers — all came successively to the top.

Dial, III. 101

Having myself attended similar meetings soon after, I can certify that this is not an exaggeration, but, on the contrary, a plain, unvarnished tale. It is to be remembered, too, that all this stir came upon a society whose previous habit of life was decidedly soberer and better ordered than that of to-day; stricter in observance, more conventional in costume. There could hardly be a better illustration of this fact than when Emerson includes in his enumeration of eccentricities “men witli beards;” for I can well remember when Charles Burleigh was charged with blasphemy, because his flowing locks and handsome untrimmed beard was thought to resemble — as very likely he intended — the pictures of Jesus Christ ; and when Lowell was thought to have formally announced a daring impulse of radicalism, after he, too, had eschewed the razor. The only memorial we retain unchanged from that picturesque period is in some stray member of the “Hutchinson family” who still comes before the public with now whitening locks and vast collar that needs no

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Ralph Waldo Emerson (2)
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