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Rufus Leighton (search for this): chapter 6
ent 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 also that of Professor Alpheus Crosby, one of the best schol
Samuel Sewall (search for this): chapter 6
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 against slavery, called The selling of Joseph, the first protest against slavery in Massachusetts, he himself testified, six years later, Amidst the frowns and hard words I have met with for this Undertaking, it is no small refreshment to me that I can have the Learned Reverend and Aged Mr. Higginson for my Abetter. This was my ancestor, the Rev. John Higginson, of Salem, then ninety years old; but my own strongest impulse came incidentally from m
Bayard Taylor (search for this): chapter 6
friends live in New England; I must have a larger field, and more of the appliances and even luxuries of existence. This recalls what the latest biographer of Bayard Taylor has said of him: The men of New England were satisfied with plain homes and simple living, and were content with the small incomes of professional life. TayloTaylor had other aims. . . . Involved in the expense of Cedarcroft, he never knew the enormous value of freedom. There was nothing intrinsically wrong in the impulse of either, but the ambition brought failure to both, though Taylor, with the tradition of a Quaker ancestry, and with less of perilous personal fascination, escaped theTaylor, with the tradition of a Quaker ancestry, and with less of 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
J. H. Green (search for this): chapter 6
iastic 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 no effect, and I was glad to abandon them. It seems, in looking back, a curious escapade for one who had a natural dislike for all stimulants and narcotics and had felt no temptation of that kind; I probably indulged the hope of s
Francis James Child (search for this): chapter 6
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 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 frie
Convers Francis (search for this): chapter 6
, and dyspeptics. This, being interpreted, really meant that the young men there assembled were launched on that wave of liberal thought which, under Emerson and Parker, was rapidly submerging the old landmarks. For myself, I was wholly given over to the newer phase of thought, and after a year of unchartered freedom was ready to concentrate my reading a little and follow the few appointed lines of study which the school then required. The teachers were men quite worth knowing; and Dr. Convers Francis, especially, had a noted library and as dangerous a love of miscellaneous reading as my own. Accordingly, during the first year I kept up that perilous habit, and at the end of this 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 transl
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 unreasonably chaste. I well remember that the contrary was predicted and expected by cynics, and the utter failure of their prophecies was the best tribute to the essential purity of the time. It was, like all seething periods, at least among the Anglo-Saxon race, a time of high moral purpose; and the anti-slavery movement, reaching its climax after the passage of the Fugitive Slave Law, was about to bring such qualities to a test. This agitation, at any rate, was so far the leader in the reforms of the day that it brought to a focus all their picturesque ingredients. There were women who sat tranquilly knitting through a whole anti-slavery convention, however exciting, and who had that look of prolonged and self-controlled patience which we
Maria Lowell (search for this): chapter 6
es, Landor's Gebir and Imaginary conversations. Maria Lowell lent me also Landor's Pentameron, a book with exrarely went to any house there, except sometimes to Lowell's, where his sweet wife now presided over the upper she could; always cruising like Admiral Van Tromp, Lowell said, with a broom at her mast-head. She had fittes was for their first child, whose early death both Lowell and Longfellow mourned in song. The Lowells sometig an evening there with Ole Bull and John Weiss. Dr. Lowell, the father, was yet living, always beneficent anequaled among them all for natural brilliancy; even Lowell was not his peer. Nor can I be convinced that he wburn curls and somewhat tangled tempestuous beard. Lowell, whose own bearded condition marked his initiation s, nothing had been left for me to do. Fortunately, Lowell had already gone far in the same direction, under t he agreed that, by way of reprieve, I should go to Lowell and induce Josiah G. Abbott, then a young lawyer, t
A. Oakey Hall (search for this): chapter 6
radical young Unitarian 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 against whom there was then, justly or unjustly, some prejudice. I expressed surprise and perhaps regret; and he said frankly, It is the parting of the ways with me, and I feel it to be necessary. I have made up my mind that I cannot live the simple and moderate life you and my other friends live in New England; I must have a larger field, and more of the appliances and even luxuries of existence. This recalls what the latest biographer of Bayard Taylor has said of him: The
Ralph Waldo Emerson (search for this): chapter 6
interpreted, really meant that the young men there assembled were launched on that wave of liberal thought which, under Emerson and Parker, was rapidly submerging the old landmarks. For myself, I was wholly given over to the newer phase of thoughtreceived 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 thoften a source of obvious inconvenience: they defied chairmen, scaled platforms, out-roared exhorters. Some of them, as Emerson says, devoted themselves to the worrying of clergymen; proclaiming a gospel of freedom, I have heard them boast of havinjoyous serenity which now seems a part of the discipline of the Salvation lassies. There were always present those whom Emerson tersely classified as men with beards; this style, now familiar, being then an utter novelty, not tolerated in business
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