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[156] manumission made out in due form. At parting, the claimant said, with a very bitter smile, ‘I hope I may live to see you south of the Potomac some day.’

Friend Hopper replied, ‘Thou hadst better go home and repent of sins already committed, instead of meditating the commission of more.’

When telling this story in after years, he was wont to say, ‘I am aware that some will disapprove of the part I acted in that case; because they will regard it as inconsistent with the candor which men ought always to practice toward each other. I can only say that my own conscience has never condemned me for it. I could devise no other means to save the poor victim.’

Before we decide to blame Friend Hopper more than he blamed himself in this matter, it would be well to imagine how we ourselves should have felt, if we had been witnesses of the painful scene, instead of reading it in cool blood, after a lapse of years. If a handsome and modest woman stood before us with her weeping little ones, asking permission to lead a quiet and virtuous life, and a pitiless law was about to tear her from husband and children and consign her to the licentious tyrant from whom she had escaped, should we not be strongly tempted to evade such a law by any means that offered at the moment?

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Isaac T. Hopper (2)
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