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Baltimore, Md. (Maryland, United States) (search for this): chapter 6
up of retired seacap-tains who had traded with Charleston and New Orleans, and more than one of whom had found himself obliged, after sailing from a Southern port, to put back in order to eject some runaway slave from his lower hold. All their prejudices ran in one direction, and their view of the case differed from that of Boston society only as a rope's end differs from a rapier. One of them, perhaps the quietest, was the very Francis Todd who had caused the imprisonment of Garrison at Baltimore. It happened, besides, that the one political hero and favorite son of Newburyport, Caleb Cushing-for of Garrison himself they only felt ashamed — was at that moment fighting slavery's battles in the Mexican war. It now seems to me strange that, under all these circumstances, I held my place for two years and a half. Of course it cannot be claimed that I showed unvarying tact; indeed, I can now see that it was quite otherwise; but it was a case where tact counted for little; in fact,
Mexico (Mexico) (search for this): chapter 6
from his lower hold. All their prejudices ran in one direction, and their view of the case differed from that of Boston society only as a rope's end differs from a rapier. One of them, perhaps the quietest, was the very Francis Todd who had caused the imprisonment of Garrison at Baltimore. It happened, besides, that the one political hero and favorite son of Newburyport, Caleb Cushing-for of Garrison himself they only felt ashamed — was at that moment fighting slavery's battles in the Mexican war. It now seems to me strange that, under all these circumstances, I held my place for two years and a half. Of course it cannot be claimed that I showed unvarying tact; indeed, I can now see that it was quite otherwise; but it was a case where tact counted for little; in fact, I think my sea-captains did not wholly dislike my plainness of speech, though they felt bound to discipline it; and moreover the whole younger community was on my side. It did not help the matter that I let mysel
China (China) (search for this): chapter 6
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 in a remarkably good school, the Putnam Free School, kept by William H. Wells, a celebrated teacher; and I had his hearty cooperation, and a
Alford (Massachusetts, United States) (search for this): chapter 6
oks 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 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 ref
Merrimack (United States) (search for this): chapter 6
d 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 lingering worldly vanity. The younger people expected some pleasant admixture of heresy about me, and it might as well begin in this way as in any other. Henry C. Wright, afterward a prominent Abolitionist, had lost his parish, a few miles above Newburyport, for the alleged indecorum of swimming across the Merrimack River. My first actual proposal of innovation was in a less secular line, but was equally formidable. It was that I should be ordained as Theodore Parker had been, by the society itself: and this all the more because my ancestor, Francis Higginson, had been ordained in that way — the first of all New England ordinations — in 1629. To this the society readily assented, at least so far as that there should be no ordaining council, and there was none. William Henry Channing preached one o
Essex County (Massachusetts, United States) (search for this): chapter 6
en 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 do with the courses of lectures and concerts, and superintended the annual Floral Processions which were then a pretty feature of the Fourth of July in Essex County. On the whole, perhaps, I was as acceptable a citizen of the town as could be reasonably expected of one who had preached himself out of his pulpit. I supposed myself to have given up preaching forever, and recalled the experience of my ancestor, the Puritan divine, Francis Higginson, who, when he had left his church-living at Leicester, England, in 1620, continued to lecture to all comers. But a new sphere of reformatory action opened for me in an invitation to take charge of the Wo
Worcester (Massachusetts, United States) (search for this): chapter 6
such organizations that sprang up about that time under the influence of Theodore Parker's Boston society, which was their prototype. These organizations were all more or less of the Jerusalem wildcat description — this being the phrase by which a Lynn shoemaker described one of them — with no church membership or communion service, not calling themselves specifically Christian, but resembling the ethical societies of the present day, with a shade more of specifically religious aspect. Worcester was at that time a seething centre of all the reforms, and I found myself almost in fashion, at least with the unfashionable; my evening congregations were the largest in the city, and the men and women who surrounded me — now almost all passed away — were leaders in public movements in that growing community. Before my transfer, however, I went up to Boston on my first fugitive slave foray, as it might be called,--not the Anthony Burns affair, but the Thomas Sims case, which preceded it
Centre Harbor (Maine, United States) (search for this): chapter 6
an divine, and ending it as a defender of despotism. He was also for a time a Roman Catholic, but died in the Church of England. The turning-point of Hurlbert's life occurred, for me at least, when I met him once, to my great delight, at Centre Harbor, I being on my way to the White Mountains and he returning thence. We had several hours together, and went out on the lake for a long chat. He told me that he had decided to go to New York and enter the office of A. Oakey Hall, a lawyer agaf perilous personal fascination, escaped the moral deterioration and the social scandals which beset Hurlbert, as well as his utter renunciation of all his early convictions. Yet the charm always remained in Hurlbert's case. When we met at Centre Harbor, I remember, he was summoned from dinner on some question about stage arrangements; and the moment he had shut the door a lady of cultivated appearance got up hastily from her chair and came round where I was sitting. She said breathlessly,
Oriental (Oklahoma, United States) (search for this): chapter 6
se of Washington in the early days of the Civil War, and resigned his commission when Governor Andrew refused to see justice done — as he thought-to one of his subordinates. His name was William Batcheldor Greene. But 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
Sorrento (Italy) (search for this): chapter 6
ire ready for me in my room on my return from a journey. I think it was on that very evening that he read aloud to me from Krummacher's Parables, a book then much liked among us,--selecting that fine tale describing the gradual downfall of a youth of unbounded aspirations, which the author sums up with the terse conclusion, But the name of that youth is not mentioned among the poets of Greece. It was thus with Hurlbert when he died, although his few poems in Putnam's magazine --Borodino, Sorrento, and the like — seemed to us the dawn of a wholly new genius; and I remember that when the cool and keen-sighted Whittier read his Gan Eden, he said to me that one who had written that could write anything he pleased. Yet the name of the youth was not mentioned among the poets; and the utter indifference with which the announcement of his death was received was a tragic epitaph upon a wasted life. Thanks to a fortunate home training and the subsequent influence of Emerson and Parker, I
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