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Cape Cod (Massachusetts, United States) (search for this): chapter 6
rs of state, as may be read in Mr. Rowland Robinson's delightful stories called Danvis Folks. Radicalism went with the smell of leather, and was especially active in such towns as Lynn and Abington, the centres of that trade. Even the least educated had recognized it in the form of the Second Advent delusion just then flourishing. All these influences combined to make the Come-Outer element very noticeable,--it being fearless, disinterested, and always self-asserting. It was abundant on Cape Cod, and the Cape Codders were a recognized subdivision at reform meetings. In such meetings or conventions these untaught disciples were often 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 having ascended into pulpits and trampled across their cushions before horrified ministers. This was not a protest
Charles Sumner (search for this): chapter 6
ns,--the kind of man who might have been shot in the doorway of his own chateau during the French Revolution. If it had come in his way, he would undoubtedly have seen Garrison executed, and would then have gone back to finish clearing his roses of snails and rose-beetles. The early history of the anti-slavery agitation cannot possibly be understood unless we comprehend this class of men who then ruled Boston opinion. I know of no book except the last two volumes of Pierce's Life of Charles Sumner which fully does justice to the way in which the anti-slavery 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 c
Thomas De Quincey (search for this): chapter 6
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 stimulating my imagination. My mother and sisters having now left Camb
Samuel Johnson (search for this): chapter 6
ivinity School as now to the Law School; even though, like myself, they passed to other pursuits afterward. I met there such men as Thomas Hill, afterward President of Harvard; Octavius B. Frothingham; William R. Alger; Samuel Longfellow and Samuel Johnson, who compiled at Divinity Hall their collection of hymns,--a volume called modestly A book of hymns, and more profanely named from its editors' familiar names The Sam book. Longfellow was one of the born saints, but with a breadth and manliness not always to be found in that class; he was also a genuine poet, like his elder brother, whose biographer he afterward became. Johnson, a man of brilliant gifts and much personal charm, is now best known by his later work on Oriental Religions. It is a curious fact that many of their youthful hymns as well as some of my own, appearing originally in this heterodox work, have long since found their way into the most orthodox and respectable collections. Two of the most interesting men
John Pierce (search for this): chapter 6
ost adamantine opinions,--the kind of man who might have been shot in the doorway of his own chateau during the French Revolution. If it had come in his way, he would undoubtedly have seen Garrison executed, and would then have gone back to finish clearing his roses of snails and rose-beetles. The early history of the anti-slavery agitation cannot possibly be understood unless we comprehend this class of men who then ruled Boston opinion. I know of no book except the last two volumes of Pierce's Life of Charles Sumner which fully does justice to the way in which the anti-slavery 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 i
eggshells still clung around them. My friend of later years, David Wasson, used to say that his health was ruined for life by two struggles: first by the way in which he got into the church during a revival, and then by the way he got out of it as a reformer. This I escaped, and came out in the end with the radical element so much stronger than the sacerdotal, that I took for the title of my address at the graduating exercises The clergy and reform. I remember that I had just been reading Horne's farthing epic of Orion, and had an ambitious sentence in my address, comparing the spirit of the age to that fabled being, first blinded, and then fixing his sightless eyes upon the sun that they might be set free once more. Probably it was crude enough, but Theodore Parker liked it, and so I felt as did the brave Xanthus, described by Landor, who only remembered that in the heat of the battle Pericles smiled on him. I was asked to preach as a candidate before the First Religious Society
Jesus Christ (search for this): chapter 6
s 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 or the professions, and of itself a committal to pronounced heresy. Partly as a result of this unwonted adornment, there were men who --as is indeed noticed in European Socialist meetings to-day-bore a marked resemblance to the accepted pictures of Jesus Christ. This trait was carried to an extent which the newspapers called blasphemous in Charles Burleigh,--a man of tall figure, benign face, and most persuasive tongue, wearing long auburn curls and somewhat tangled tempestuous beard. Lowell, whose own bearded condition marked his initiation into abolitionism, used to be amused when he went about with Burleigh and found himself jeered at as a new and still faltering disciple. Finally, there was the Hutchinson Family, with six or eight tall br
Miss Thoreau (search for this): chapter 6
e should be no ordaining council, and there was none. William Henry Channing preached one of his impassioned sermons, The gospel of to-day, and all went joyously on, youth at the prow and pleasure at the helm, not foreseeing the storms that were soon to gather, although any sagacious observer ought easily to have predicted them. It must be borne in mind that during all this period I was growing more, not less radical; my alienation from the established order was almost as great as that of Thoreau, though as yet I knew nothing of him except through The Dial. It must be remembered that two rather different elements combined to make up the so-called Transcendentalist body. There were the more refined votaries, who were indeed the most cultivated people of that time and place; but there was also a less educated contingent, known popularly as Come-Outers, --a name then as familiar and distinctive as is that of the Salvation Army to-day. These were developed largely by the anti-slave
Stephen Foster (search for this): chapter 6
ge 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 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 di
Francis Higginson (search for this): chapter 6
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 shors 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 my mother. 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 f
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