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[314] his life, but by degrees it preyed upon his spirits and his health. In the long evenings his fireside was lonely. Although his walls were hung with pictures and mementos of home and travel, and his shelves filled with his favorite authors, their silent voices failed to give him the companionship he craved. If he had been married, the daily labors of the farm would have been cheered by hopes that reached beyond the harvest of the fields, and his loneliness relieved by objects of deeper interest. He finally wrote to a friend:—

Of all disappointments, I have learned that no young man who has not firm health and a wife can go into our farming country and give himself up to the pursuits of agriculture. My farm is for sale. Of the requisites mentioned above, I have neither the first nor second. I have only failed because my health was not improved as I expected, and because I was not made to live deprived of all society. In our country life I find that, if one has not the last-mentioned article (a wife) in his own home, he must be content to live pretty much in solitude. Of love and enjoyment of the occupation and the delightful freedom of country life, no one can have more than I.

The autumn of 1859 at length arrived. The country was generally depressed. A gloomy uncertainty prevailed at the North, and the progress of events was watched with painful anxiety. In his early manhood James had given little thought to the political strifes, or even to the general movement of public affairs. But later he had become aroused by the teachings of Theodore Parker, and his attention was strongly drawn to the condition of the Southern States. When he saw plainly the outrages of the system of slavery, he hesitated no longer, but from that moment gave his earnest heart to the work, feeling that all he could give and all he could do towards the freedom of the slave he was bound by his duty to God and humanity to offer.

Clear and strong as were these convictions, and sympathizing as he did with the high motives and heroism of Captain John Brown (though not approving of his course of action), he attended the meeting in commemoration of his death, held in

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