The convention after two days session, adopted resolutions endorsing Mr. Brooks' views. At all the conventions Mr. Brooks attended and where he spoke, it
I sent copies of this circular, printed on letter paper, to each board of selectmen, each school committee, and each clergyman in the county, requesting clergymen to read it on the next Sunday to their people. Most of them read it. The circular was kindly noticed by the leading newspapers of the State. The large meeting-house of the First Parish in Plymouth was filled, and I opened the whole matter as clearly and strongly as I could, showing that the great work must begin by founding a State normal school in Plymouth County.I invited the audience to catechize me as much as they could about my views and plans, and they did so. The audience warmed themselves up, and Ichabod Morton, Esq., Deacon of the First Parish, rose and said, ‘Mr. President, I am glad to see this day. The work is well begun. The mass of facts now presented to us so plainly, prove conclusively the inestimable value of teachers' seminaries. Mr. Brooks says he wants the first one established in the Old Colony, and so do I, sir, and I will give one thousand dollars towards its establishment.’ I knew that the generous offer of this humble and pious man1 would do more for my cause than all my lectures, and I therefore secured a notice of it in every newspaper in Massachusetts. Thus my client, the Prussian stranger, began its journey from the Plymouth Rock.Address at Framingham.
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1 Hon. Wm. T. Davis of Plymouth has kindly furnished some facts about this enthusiastic coadjutor of Brooks. Ichabod Morton, born in Plymouth, was a descendant of George Morton, the father of Nathaniel, the first secretary of the Plymouth Colony. His education was slight, for he became engaged early in the work of life; first, as clerk in, and then keeper of, a country store. As he had learned something of surveying, he would at times survey wood lots. His store keeping led to an interest in vessels, first in the Grand Bank fishing, and afterwards with larger vessels in the coasting and West India trade. Like all traders, in his early days he sold rum and other liquors, but at the institution of the temperance movement in Plymouth, he advertised September 8, 1827, on behalf of his firm ‘That prolific mother of miseries, that giant foe to human happiness, shall no longer have a dwelling under our roof.’Feeling his own lack of early education, he was always advocating in town meeting increased appropriations for schools. He joined the anti-slavery movement in 1835, and when Brook Farm was established, he became a member and built a house there. His business interests at Plymouth naturally suffered by this, but he returned to them with more zeal than ever. He had six sons and a daughter, Mrs. Abby Morton Diaz, the author of the William Henry letters.
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