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ur assumed superiority to imitate the horror and wide-orbed consternation of Mr. Bumble and his parochial associates, on a similar occasion. Later, when the movement had got farther on, and he was invited to a convention on the subject, held at Newport, R. I., on Aug. 25, 1869, he replied thus explicitly and also wisely:-- Amesbury, Mass., 12th, 8th Month, 1869. I have received thy letter inviting me to attend the Convention in behalf of Woman's Suffrage, at Newport, R. I., on the 25th inst. I do not see how it is possible for me to accept the invitation; and, were I to do so, the state of my health would prevent me from taking such a part in the meeting as would relieve me from the responsibility of seeming to sanction anything in its action which might conflict with my own views of duty or policy. Yet I should do myself great injustice if I did not embrace this occasion to express my general sympathy with the movement. I have seen no good reason why mothers, wives, and dau
January 8th (search for this): chapter 8
in general was never better shown than in his prompt response to the announcement of certain limitations placed by George Peabody on the church built largely by his money in Georgetown, Mass. The facts were first brought to light by the New York Independent on Jan. 16, 1868, by the following statement:-- A Marred Memorial. Mr. George Peabody, the banker, gave money for the erection of the Memorial Church in Georgetown, Mass., the town of his birth. The church was dedicated on the 8th of January, with interesting exercises, one of the striking features of which was the singing of the following hymn, written for the occasion by John G. Whittier. . . . We venture to say that if the poet had known the conditions which the banker saw fit to impose on the Memorial Church, the poem would never have been written, and its author's name would never have been lent to the occasion. A correspondent of the Independent writes: Mr. Peabody says in his letter that the church shall never be use
January 30th (search for this): chapter 8
of the Independent writes: Mr. Peabody says in his letter that the church shall never be used for any lectures, discussions of political subjects, or other matters inconsistent with the gospel. I do not give his precise words, but this is the substance. The church will be deeded to the society on the express condition that neither Liberty nor Temperance, nor any other subject of Reform, shall ever be introduced into the pulpit. Mr. Whittier published a card in the Boston Transcript of Jan. 30, as follows:-- In writing the Hymn for the Memorial Church at Georgetown, the author, as his verses indicate, has sole reference to the tribute of a brother and sister to the memory of a departed mother,--a tribute which seemed and still seems to him, in itself considered, very beautiful and appropriate; but he has since seen, with surprise and sorrow, a letter read at the dedication, imposing certain extraordinary restrictions upon the society which is to occupy the house. It is due
July 13th (search for this): chapter 8
ch tended to the elevation of the labouring class. This I know well, for I lent a hand, when living in the next town, to an agitation for the Ten Hour Bill at Amesbury, and there are various references to it in his brief letters to me. A natural politician of the higher sort, he rejoiced in an effort to bring such a bill Vefore the state legislature, where it finally triumphed. Thus I find a letter, probably written in 1848, but imperfectly dated, as his letters often were: Amesbury, 13th, 7th mo. My dear Higginson: Thy letter was clearly to the purpose and was read at the Levee, and will be published this week in the Villager: -Thou will see by the Villager of last week what we are doing about the Ten Hour Law. That must be a point in our elections this fall — I think we can carry it through the next legislature. I hope thou will be able to go to the Dist. Convention at Lowell tomorrow. Our del. is instructed to go for thee as one of the delegates to Pittsburg. Don't ref
etter than any book. I wish thee could know how proudly and tenderly thee is loved and honoured by the best and wisest of the land. Pickard's Whittier, II. 603-04. Whittier was the only one of his immediate literary circle, except Fields the publisher, who unequivocally supported woman suffrage from the beginning of the agitation. It was of course easier for members of the Society of Friends to do this than for others, yet many Friends opposed it, even vehemently. He wrote as early as 1839, I go the whole length as regards the rights of women ; and he wrote again to the Woman's Suffrage Convention at Worcester, in 1850:-- Come what may, Nature is inexorable; she will reverse none of her laws at the bidding of male or female conventions; and men and women, with or without the right of suffrage, will continue to be men and women still. In the event of the repeal of certain ungenerous, not to say unmanly, enactments, limiting and abridging the rights and privileges of women,
November, 1840 AD (search for this): chapter 8
rls, but now in another shape, as capitalists, shall in all love and peace eat these up as before. Emerson, Life and letters in New England. It was not possible for Whittier, with his temperament and principles, to keep himself aloof from these seething agitations; and he showed both the courage of Quakerism and its guarded moderation in encountering the new problems and their advocates. This is visible, for instance, in such letters as the following: To Ann E. Wendell. Lynn, 11th mo., 1840. I was in Boston this week, and looked in twice upon the queer gathering of heterogeneous spirits at the Chardon Street chapel assembled under a call issued by Maria W. Chapman, Abby Kelley, and others, to discuss the subjects of the Sabbath, ministry, and church organisations, and some twenty other collateral subjects. When I was present the chapel was crowded, a motley-opinioned company, from the Calvinist of the straitest sect to the infidel and scoffer. Half of the forenoon of
lood and training, he had also in his blood the instincts of labour, which tended to the elevation of the labouring class. This I know well, for I lent a hand, when living in the next town, to an agitation for the Ten Hour Bill at Amesbury, and there are various references to it in his brief letters to me. A natural politician of the higher sort, he rejoiced in an effort to bring such a bill Vefore the state legislature, where it finally triumphed. Thus I find a letter, probably written in 1848, but imperfectly dated, as his letters often were: Amesbury, 13th, 7th mo. My dear Higginson: Thy letter was clearly to the purpose and was read at the Levee, and will be published this week in the Villager: -Thou will see by the Villager of last week what we are doing about the Ten Hour Law. That must be a point in our elections this fall — I think we can carry it through the next legislature. I hope thou will be able to go to the Dist. Convention at Lowell tomorrow. Our del. is ins
Pickard's Whittier, II. 603-04. Whittier was the only one of his immediate literary circle, except Fields the publisher, who unequivocally supported woman suffrage from the beginning of the agitation. It was of course easier for members of the Society of Friends to do this than for others, yet many Friends opposed it, even vehemently. He wrote as early as 1839, I go the whole length as regards the rights of women ; and he wrote again to the Woman's Suffrage Convention at Worcester, in 1850:-- Come what may, Nature is inexorable; she will reverse none of her laws at the bidding of male or female conventions; and men and women, with or without the right of suffrage, will continue to be men and women still. In the event of the repeal of certain ungenerous, not to say unmanly, enactments, limiting and abridging the rights and privileges of women, we may safely confide in the adaptive powers of Nature. She will take care of the new fact in her own way, and reconcile it to the
ils of the strike which led to this ten-hour agitation, and they are as follows:-- Your memory of Mr. Whittier's position in regard to strikes is correct. At the time of the Derby turnout, or strike, at Amesbary, which was many years ago, in 1852 I think, Mr. Whittier was in full sympathy with the strikers. I think the particulars of the turnout were given quite fully by C. D. Wright. At that time, all the people who were employed in the mills were a very intelligent class of operatives,ity of his language finds its ample apology in the reluctant confession of one of the most eminent Romish priests, the eloquent and devoted Father Ventura. And he added a similar reproach in The Prisoners at Naples, and in The peace of Europe, 1852. As to the temperance movement, it seems a little amusing to find Whittier taking for the theme of his first prose newspaper article, Robert Burns, and for his second subject, on the following week, Temperance. These appeared in the Haverhill
March 9th, 1867 AD (search for this): chapter 8
al, something apart from the real object and aim of my life; and whatever of favour they have found with the public has come to me as a grateful surprise, rather than as an expected reward. As I have never staked all on the chances of authorship, I have been spared the pain of disappointment and the temptation to envy those, who, as men of letters, deservedly occupy a higher place in the popular estimation than I have ever aspired to. Truly your friend, John G. Whittier. Amesbury, 9th, 3d mo., 1867. It is known that in the same conscientious spirit he was unwilling to insert in his Songs of three centuries Mrs. Howe's Battle hymn of the republic, but as he wrote to his assistant editor, I got over my Quaker scruples, or rather stifled them, and put in the Battle hymn. He adds that he cannot do justice to Campbell's works in this series, but we can't print his war pieces, and so we will let him slide. One of his points of prominence was naturally his position as a member
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