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Lydia Maria Child (search for this): chapter 6
movement drew a line of cleavage through all Boston society, leaving most of the more powerful or wealthy families on the conservative side. What finally determined me in the other direction was the immediate influence of two books, both by women. One of these was Miss Martineau's tract, The Martyr age in America, portraying the work of the Abolitionists with such force and eloquence that it seemed as if no generous youth could be happy in any other company; and the other book was Mrs. Lydia Maria Child's Appeal for that Class of Americans called Africans. This little work, for all its cumbrous title, was so wonderfully clear, compact, and convincing, it covered all its points so well and was so absolutely free from all unfairness or shrill invective, that it joined with Miss Martineau's less modulated strains to make me an Abolitionist. This was, it must be remembered, some years before the publication of Uncle Tom's cabin. I longed to be counted worthy of such companionship; I
William Whewell (search for this): chapter 6
is time stayed out of the school for another year of freedom, returning only for the necessary final terms. There had just been a large accession of books at the college library, and from that and the Francis collection I had a full supply. I read Comte and Fourier, Strauss's Life of Jesus (a French translation), and bought by economy a fine folio copy of Cudworth's Intellectual system, on which I used to browse at all odd hours — keeping it open on a standing desk. I read Mill's Logic, Whewell's Inductive sciences, Landor's Gebir and Imaginary conversations. Maria Lowell lent me also Landor's Pentameron, a book with exquisite passages; Alford's poems, then new, and, as she said, valuable for their simplicity; and the fiery German lays of Hoffmann von Fallersleben, some of which I translated, as was also the case with poems from Ruckert and Freiligrath, besides making a beginning at a version of the Swedish epic Frithiof's Saga, which Longfellow admired, and of Fredrika Bremer's
John Weiss (search for this): chapter 6
d. She had fitted the rooms with pretty devices, and rocked her baby in a cradle fashioned from a barrel cut lengthways, placed on rockers, and upholstered by herself. At its foot she painted three spears as the Lowell crest and three lilies for her own, with the motto Puritas Potestas. This was for their first child, whose early death both Lowell and Longfellow mourned in song. The Lowells sometimes saw company in a modest way, and I remember spending an evening there with Ole Bull and John Weiss. Dr. Lowell, the father, was yet living, always beneficent and attractive; he still sometimes preached in the college chapel, and won all undergraduate hearts by providing only fifteen-minute sermons. If I belonged in the first two categories of Dr. Palfrey's classification of the Divinity School, I happily kept clear of the third, never having been a dyspeptic, though I lived literally on bread and milk during the greater part of a year, for purposes of necessary economy and the buyi
R. C. Winthrop (search for this): chapter 6
all these companionships were wholly secondary to one which was for me most memorable, and brought joy for a few years and sorrow for many. Going through the doors of Divinity Hall I met one day a young man so handsome in his dark beauty that he seemed like a picturesque Oriental; slender, keen-eyed, raven-haired, he arrested the eye and the heart like some fascinating girl. This was William Hurlbert (originally Hurlbut), afterward the hero of successive novels,--Kingsley's Two years ago, Winthrop's Cecil Dreeme, and my own Malbone, --as well as of actual events stranger than any novels. He was the breaker, so report said, of many hearts, the disappointer of many high hopes,--and this in two continents; he was the most variously gifted and accomplished man I have ever known, acquiring knowledge as by magic,passing easily for a Frenchman in France, an Italian in Italy, a Spaniard in Spanish countries; beginning his career as a radical young Unitarian divine, and ending it as a defend
William H. Wells (search for this): chapter 6
of The seven little sisters, a book which has been translated into Chinese and Japanese); her sister Caroline, afterward Mrs. Rufus Leighton (author of Life at Puget sound, ) and others not their inferiors, though their names were not to be found in print. I have never encountered elsewhere so noteworthy a group of young women, and all that period of work is a delightful reminiscence. My youthful coadjutors had been trained in a remarkably good school, the Putnam Free School, kept by William H. Wells, a celebrated teacher; and I had his hearty cooperation, and also that of Professor Alpheus Crosby, one of the best scholars in New England, and then resident in Newburyport. With his aid I established a series of prizes for the best prose and poetry written by the young people of the town; and the first evidence given of the unusual talents of Harriet Prescott Spofford was in a very daring and original essay on Hamlet, written at sixteen, and gaining the first prize. I had also to d
and Imaginary conversations. Maria Lowell lent me also Landor's Pentameron, a book with exquisite passages; Alford's poems, then new, and, as she said, valuable for their simplicity; and the fiery German lays of Hoffmann von Fallersleben, some of which I translated, as was also the case with poems from Ruckert and Freiligrath, besides making a beginning at a version of the Swedish epic Frithiof's Saga, which Longfellow admired, and of Fredrika Bremer's novel, The H — family. I returned to Homer and Dante in the originals, and read something of Plato in Cousin's French translation, with an occasional reference to the Greek text. Some verses were contributed by me, as well as by my sister Louisa, at various times, to The Harbinger, published at Brook Farm and edited by the late Charles A. Dana. My first poem, suggested by the fine copy of the Sistine Madonna which had been my housemate at Brookline, had, however, been printed in The present, a short-lived magazine edited by my c
te classes in different studies, serving on the school committee and organizing public evening schools, then a great novelty. The place was, and is, a manufacturing town, and I had a large and intelligent class of factory girls, mostly American, who came to my house for reading and study once a week. In this work I enlisted a set of young maidens of unusual ability, several of whom were afterward well known to the world: Harriet Prescott, afterward Mrs. Spofford; Louisa Stone, afterward Mrs. Hopkins (well known for her educational writings); Jane Andrews (author of The seven little sisters, a book which has been translated into Chinese and Japanese); her sister Caroline, afterward Mrs. Rufus Leighton (author of Life at Puget sound, ) and others not their inferiors, though their names were not to be found in print. I have never encountered elsewhere so noteworthy a group of young women, and all that period of work is a delightful reminiscence. My youthful coadjutors had been trained
as a candidate before the First Religious Society at Newburyport, a church two hundred years old, then ostensibly of the Unitarian faith, but bearing no denominational name. Receiving a farther invitation after trial, I went there to begin my professional career, if such it could properly be called. There was something very characteristic of my mother in a little incident which happened in connection with my first visit to Newburyport. I had retained enough affection for the opinion of Boston drawing-rooms to have devised for myself a well-cut overcoat of gray tweed, with a cap of the same material trimmed with fur. My elder sisters naturally admired me in this garb, but implored me not to wear it to Newburyport. So unclerical, they said; it would ruin my prospects. Let him wear it, by all means, said my wiser mother. If they cannot stand that clothing, they can never stand its wearer. Her opinion properly prevailed; and I was perhaps helped as much as hindered by this bit of
J. S. Mill (search for this): chapter 6
erent. All the ordinary objections to woman suffrage, as that women have not, in the phrase of old Theophilus Parsons, a sufficient acquired discretion, or that they are too impulsive, or that they cannot fight,--all these seem to me trivial; but it is necessary always to face the fact that this is the only great reform in which a minority, at least, of the very persons to be benefited are working actively on the other side. This, to my mind, only confirms its necessity, as showing that, as Mill says, the very nature of woman has been to some extent warped and enfeebled by prolonged subjugation, and must have time to recover itself. It was in the direction of the anti-slavery reform, however, that I felt the most immediate pricking of conscience, and it may be interesting, as a study of the period, to note what brought it about. There was, perhaps, some tendency that way in the blood, for I rejoice to recall the fact that after Judge Sewall, in 1700, had published his noted tract
Josiah G. Abbott (search for this): chapter 6
ree Soil party in 1848, and stumped the district, though in a hopeless minority. The nomination was Whittier's doing, partly to prevent that party from nominating him; and he agreed that, by way of reprieve, I should go to Lowell and induce Josiah G. Abbott, then a young lawyer, to stand in my place. Abbott's objection is worth recording: if elected, he said, he should immediately get into quarrels with the Southern members and have to fight duels, and this he could not conscientiously do. ThiAbbott's objection is worth recording: if elected, he said, he should immediately get into quarrels with the Southern members and have to fight duels, and this he could not conscientiously do. This was his ground of exemption. Years after, when he was an eminent judge in Boston and a very conservative Democrat, I once reminded him of this talk, and he said, I should feel just the same now. Having been, of course, defeated for Congress, as I had simply stood in a gap, I lived in Newburyport for more than two years longer, after giving up my parish. This time was spent in writing for newspapers, teaching private classes in different studies, serving on the school committee and organi
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