fitted to serve prisoners as a chaplain than to deal with the complex questions of prison discipline.1
He took a certain interest in prisoners, but lacked industry and any large comprehension of his subject.
The foreign advocates of the separate system sometimes accused him of wilful perversion.
They however exaggerated his offences, which seem to have been those only of narrow partisanship, indolence, and a slovenly way of writing.
Dr. Samuel G. Howe
, who always took kindly to new ideas and schemes, had become a convert to the Pennsylvania
system, and was irritated by Dwight
's mode of treating it in the successive reports of the Society.
It was through pressure from Howe
was drawn into a controversy where he became the principal antagonist against Dwight
and his party; and it was under his friend's inspiration that he assumed the aggressive style which marked some of his addresses.
The treasurer of the Society, who appears to have been in full sympathy with its secretary, was Samuel A. Eliot
, who has already been mentioned,—one of the representative men of the city, connected by blood and marriage with several of its best known families, a merchant, treasurer of Harvard College, and interested in charities and education.
His temperament was not suited to public discussion; nor Was he familiar enough with the subject to be able to cope with Sumner
He was of a type of men, then dominant in the society and politics of the city, which has been described in the opening chapter of this volume.
Looking at things from his point of view, it is not strange that one of his character and associations should have resented Sumner
's and Howe
's intrusion into the formal proceedings of the Society, and have met them in an impatient and offensive way; or that when thus met, Sumner
should have been more personal and aggressive with him than the narrow question at issue seemed to justify.
It will be seen that Eliot
's set came quickly to his support, even without the slightest interest in the question, whenever they were needed to checkmate the two radicals.
the contest, which was kept up for three years in Park Street Church and Tremont Temple, has been well remembered by all who witnessed it; and it remains an episode in the history of the city