Some one having told Friend Hopper
of an apprentice who was cruelly treated, he caused investigation to be made, and took the lad under his own protection.
As he was much bent upon going to sea, he was placed in a respectable boarding-house for sailors, till a fitting opportunity could be found to gratify his inclination.
One day, a man in the employ of this boarding-house brought a bill to be paid for the lad. He was very ragged, but his manners were those of a gentleman, and his conversation showed that he had been well educated.
His appearance excited interest in Friend Hopper
's mind, and he inquired into his history.
He said his name was Levi Butler
; that he was of German extraction, and had been a wealthy merchant in Baltimore
, of the firm of Butler
He married a widow, who had considerable property, and several children.
After her death, he failed in business, and gave up all his own property, but took the precaution to secure all her property to her children.
His creditors were angry, and tried various ways to compel him to pay them with his wife's money.
He was imprisoned a long time.
He petitioned the Legislature for release, and the committee before whom the case was brought made a report in his favor, highly applauding his integrity in not involving his
own affairs with the property belonging to his wife's children, who had been intrusted to his care.
Poverty and persecution had broken down his spirits, and when he was discharged from prison he left Baltimore
and tried to obtain a situation as clerk in Philadelphia
He did not succeed in procuring employment.
His clothes became thread-bare, and he had no money to purchase a new suit.
In this situation, some people to whom he applied for employment treated him as if he were an impostor.
In a state of despair he went one day to drown himself.
But when he had put some heavy stones in his pocket to make him sink rapidly, he seemed to hear a voice calling to him to forbear; and looking up, he saw a man watching him. He hurried away to avoid questions, and passing by a sailor's boarding-house, he went in and offered to wait upon the boarders for his food.
They took him upon those terms; and the gentleman who had been accustomed to ride in his own carriage, and be waited upon by servants, now roasted oysters and went of errands for common seamen.
He was in this forlorn situation, when accident introduced him to Friend Hopper
He immediately furnished him with a suit of warm clothes; for the weather was cold, and his garments thin.
He employed him to post up his account-books, and finding that he did it in a very perfect
manner, he induced several of his friends to employ him in a similar way.
A brighter day was dawning for the unfortunate man, and perhaps he might have attained to comfortable independence, if his health had not failed.
But he had taken severe colds by thin clothing and exposure to inclement weather.
A rapid consumption came on, and he was soon entirely unable to work.
Under these circumstances, the best Friend Hopper
could do for him was to secure peculiar privileges at the alms-house, and surround him with all the little comforts that help to alleviate illness.
He visited him very often, until the day of his death, and his sympathy and kind attentions were always received with heartfelt gratitude.