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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 wrote and printed a rather crude sonnet to Garrison; and my only sorrow was in feeling that, as Alexander lamented about his father Philip's conquests, nothing had been left for me to do. Fortunately, Lowell had already gone far in the same direction, under the influence of his wife; and her brother William, moreover, who had been for a time my schoolmate, had left all and devoted himself to anti-slavery lecturing. He it was who, when on a tour with Frederick Douglass at the West, was entertained with him at a house where there was but one spare bed. To some apologies by the hostess the ever ready and imperial Douglass an
F. W. J. Schelling (search for this): chapter 6
ent, a short-lived magazine edited by my cousin, William Henry Channing; the verses being afterward, to my great delight, reprinted by Professor Longfellow in his Estray. My first prose, also, had appeared in The present, -an enthusiastic review of Mrs. Child's Letters from New York, then eagerly read by us young Transcendentalists. I dipped ardently, about that time, into the easier aspects of German philosophy, reading Fichte's Bestimmung des Menschen (Destiny of Man) with delight, and Schelling's Vorlesungen über die Methode des Akademische Studiums (Lectures on Academical Study). The influence of these authors was also felt through Coleridge's Literary remains, of which I was very fond, and in Vital Dynamics, by Dr. Green, Coleridge's friend and physician. A more perilous book was De Quincey's Confessions of an English Opium-Eater, which doubtless created more of such slaves than it liberated: I myself was led to try some guarded experiments in that direction, which had happily
Alpheus Crosby (search for this): chapter 6
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 do with the courses of lectures and concerts, and superintended the annual Floral Processions which we
Edward Palmer (search for this): chapter 6
dy for intemperance; and the same man made, in 1837, in the New York Assembly, the first effort to secure to married women the property rights now generally conceded. All of us were familiar with the vain efforts of Garrison to enlist the clergy in the anti-slavery cause; and Stephen Foster, one of the stanchest of the early Abolitionists, habitually spoke of them as the Brotherhood of Thieves. Lawyers and doctors, too, fared hard with those enthusiasts, and merchants not much better; Edward Palmer writing against the use of money, and even such superior men as Alcott having sometimes a curious touch of the Harold Skimpole view of that convenience. It seems now rather remarkable that the institution of marriage did not come in for a share in the general laxity, but it did not; and it is to be observed that Henry James speaks rather scornfully of the Brook Farm community in this respect, as if its members must have been wanting in the courage of their convictions to remain so unrea
Thomas Herttell (search for this): chapter 6
ere rarely professed atheists, but against its perversions alone. It must be remembered that the visible church in New England was not then the practical and reformatory body which it is to-day, --the change in the Episcopal Church being the most noticeable of all,--but that it devoted itself very largely to the tithing of anise and cummin, as in Scripture times. Of the reforms prominent before the people, nearly all had originated outside the pulpit and even among avowed atheists. Thomas Herttell, a judge of the Marine Court of New York city, who belonged to that heretical class, was the first person in America, apparently, to write and print, in 1819, a strong appeal in behalf of total abstinence as the only remedy for intemperance; and the same man made, in 1837, in the New York Assembly, the first effort to secure to married women the property rights now generally conceded. All of us were familiar with the vain efforts of Garrison to enlist the clergy in the anti-slavery cau
bles, 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 held through all my theological studies a sunny view of the universe, which has lasted me as well, amid the storms of life, so far as I can se
Christian (search for this): chapter 6
re of reformatory action opened for me in an invitation to take charge of the Worcester Free Church, the first of several 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 firs
Louisa Stone (search for this): chapter 6
wspapers, teaching private 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 coa
-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 ever known, acquiring knowledge as by magic,passing easily for a Frenchman in France, an Italian in Italy, a Spaniard in Spanish countries; begi
Frederick Douglass (search for this): chapter 6
eady gone far in the same direction, under the influence of his wife; and her brother William, moreover, who had been for a time my schoolmate, had left all and devoted himself to anti-slavery lecturing. He it was who, when on a tour with Frederick Douglass at the West, was entertained with him at a house where there was but one spare bed. To some apologies by the hostess the ever ready and imperial Douglass answered, with superb dignity, Do not apologize, madam; I have not the slightest prejuDouglass answered, with superb dignity, Do not apologize, madam; I have not the slightest prejudice against color. This was the condition of things then prevailing around Boston; and when I went to live in Newburyport the same point of view soon presented itself in another form. The parish, which at first welcomed me, counted among its strongest supporters a group 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
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