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John Higginson (search for this): chapter 6
s, 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 my mother. It happened that my father, in his office of steward of the college, was also patron, as it was called, having charge of the affairs of the more distant students, usually from the Southern States. This led to pleasant friendships with their families, and to occasional visits paid by my parents, traveling in their own conveyance. Being once driven from place to place by an intelligent
Francis A. Walker (search for this): chapter 6
invariable impulse to attract and charm. I am told — for I had utterly forgotten it — that I myself said of him in those days, He could not stop to buy an apple of an old woman on the sidewalk without leaving her with the impression that she alone had really touched his heart. I have known many gifted men on both sides of the Atlantic, but I still regard Hurlbert as unequaled among them all for natural brilliancy; even Lowell was not his peer. Nor can I be convinced that he was-as President Walker once said to me, when I urged Hurlbert's appointment, about 1850, as professor of history at Harvard--a worthless fellow. Among many things which were selfish and unscrupulous there must have been something deeper to have called out the warm affection created by him in both sexes. I strongly suspect that if, after twenty years of noninter-course, he had written to me to come and nurse him in illness, I should have left all and gone. Whatever may have been his want of moral principle,
sociate of all that was most reputable in the town, in virtue of my functions; and also, by a fatality in temperament, of all that was most radical. There prevailed then a phrase, the Sisterhood of Reforms, indicating a variety of social and physiological theories of which one was expected to accept all, if any. This I learned soon after my arrival, through the surprise expressed by some of my more radical friends at my unacquaintance with a certain family of factory operatives known as the Briggs girls. Not know the Briggs girls? I should think you would certainly know them. Work in the Globe Mills; interested in all the reforms; bathe in cold water every morning; one of 'em is a Grahamite, ing a disciple of vegetarianism; that faith being then a conspicuous part of the Sisterhood of Reforms, but one against which I had been solemnly warned by William Henry Channing, who had made experiment of it while living as city missionary in New York city. He had gone, it seemed, to a boar
Henry James (search for this): chapter 6
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 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, reach
ing years at the latter, graduating successively at the Law School and the Divinity School, and finally taking his degree in the undergraduate department at what seemed to us a ripe old age. Another tonic in the way of cultured companionship was that of James Elliot Cabot, fresh from a German university,--then a rare experience,--he being, however, most un-German in clearness and terseness. I remember that when I complained to him of not understanding Kant's Critique of pure reason, in English, he answered tranquilly that he could not; that having read it twice in German he had thought he comprehended it, but that Meiklejohn's translation was beyond making out. These men were not in the Divinity School, but I met their equals there. The leading men of a college class gravitated then as naturally to the Divinity 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;
D. F. Strauss (search for this): chapter 6
n 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 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 Faller
Alexander (search for this): chapter 6
rous 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 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
Samuel Longfellow (search for this): chapter 6
reiligrath, 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 thein, 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 revie 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 aas 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 calstly 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 c
Edward Tuckerman (search for this): chapter 6
r in summer. There was then an attention paid to the art of swimming such as is not now observable; the college maintained large bath-houses where now are coalyards, and we used to jump or dive from the roofs, perhaps twenty feet high; we had a Danish student named Stallknecht, who could swim a third of the way across the river under water, and we vainly tried to emulate him. In winter there was skating on Fresh Pond. I must not forget to add that at all seasons I took long walks with Edward Tuckerman, then the most interesting man about Cambridge, leading a life which seemed to us like that of an Oxford don, and already at work on his Latin treatise on lichens. His room was a delightful place to visit,--a large chamber in a rambling old house, with three separate reading-tables, one for botany, one for the study of Coleridge, and one for the Greek drama. He was the simplest-hearted of men, shy, near-sighted, and lovable; the tragedy of whose life was that his cruel father had sent
Harriet Prescott (search for this): chapter 6
h. This time was spent in writing for newspapers, 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
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