Elizur Wright's work for the Middlesex Fells.
No man, however gifted, sets his pen to work for right against might or mammon with any great chance of becoming anything but poorer, and in 1839, after seven crowded years of such work in the anti-slavery cause, two events occurred which brought Mr. Wright
so near destitution that for a number of years his life was a hand-to-hand fight with the wolf at his door.
In 1837, while secretary of the American Anti-Slavery Society in New York, he chanced, at De Behr
's repository of foreign books, to come upon a cheap copy of La Fontaine
's Fables in the French
, with some 200 wood cuts in it. His little son, he tells us in his introduction to his translations, was just ‘beginning to feel the intellectual magnetism of pictures,’ and, to please him, he bought the book.
The pictures alone, however, were not enough to satisfy the child; he must have the stories, too; and from putting them into English by word of mouth, the father became quite as fascinated as the child; and finding no English version, ‘resolved to cheat sleep of an hour every morning till there should be one.’
A year later, at the call of the ‘political action’ abolitionists, of Which he was one, he left the national society to become editor in Boston
of the Massachusetts Abolitionist
, the state organ of his party.
The committee under which he acted, however, did not feel sustained in employing him a second year.
As they were poor as well as prudent, they were also unsustained in paying him fully for the first.
In this strait, the publication of the fables, the music and merit of which had