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Amos Bronson Alcott (search for this): chapter 6
bly, 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 unreasonably chaste. I well remember that the contrary was predicted and expect
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
William R. Alger (search for this): chapter 6
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; 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
Americans (search for this): chapter 6
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 could be happy in any other company; and the other book was Mrs. Lydia Maria Child's Appeal for that Class of Americans called Africans. This little work, for all its cumbrous 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
John Andrew (search for this): chapter 6
emed every moment to be on the point of becoming a star, but never did. He enlisted as a private soldier and died in hospital, where he had been detailed as nurse. The other had been educated at West Point, and had served in the Florida Indian wars; he was strikingly handsome and mercilessly opinionated; he commanded the first regiment of heavy artillery raised in Massachusetts, did much for the defense 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 fascinati
Jane Andrews (search for this): chapter 6
ommittee 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 coadjutors had been trained in a remarkably good school, the Putnam Free School, ke
Augustus Aspinwall (search for this): chapter 6
class firmly believed, that any step toward emancipation would lead to instant and formidable insurrection. It was in this sincere but deluded belief that such men mobbed Garrison. When I once spoke with admiration of that reformer to Mr. Augustus Aspinwall, a frequent guest at my uncle's house, he replied with perfect gentleness, sipping his wine, It may be as you say. I never saw him, but I always supposed him to be a fellow who ought to be hung. Mr. Aspinwall was a beautiful old man, whoMr. Aspinwall was a beautiful old man, who cultivated the finest roses to be found near Boston; he had the most placid voice, the sweetest courtesy, and the most 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 w
as a candidate before the First Religious Society at Newburyport, a church two hundred years old, then ostensibly of the Unitarian faith, but bearing no denominational name. Receiving a farther invitation after trial, I went there to begin my professional career, if such it could properly be called. There was something very characteristic of my mother in a little incident which happened in connection with my first visit to Newburyport. I had retained enough affection for the opinion of Boston drawing-rooms to have devised for myself a well-cut overcoat of gray tweed, with a cap of the same material trimmed with fur. My elder sisters naturally admired me in this garb, but implored me not to wear it to Newburyport. So unclerical, they said; it would ruin my prospects. Let him wear it, by all means, said 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
Fredrika Bremer (search for this): chapter 6
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 reference to the Greek text. Some verses were contributed by me, as well as by my sister Louisa, at 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
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
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