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Charles Cotesworth Pinckney (search for this): chapter 3
hose years studying in Europe; and in the elder Dr. Holmes's house Charles Parsons and I often tumbled about in a library, -indeed, in the very same library where the Autocrat had himself performed the process he recommended. Under these circumstances it seems very natural that a child thus moulded should have drifted into a literary career. The period here described was one when children were taught to read very early, and this in all parts of our country. The celebrated General Charles Cotesworth Pinckney, in South Carolina, was reported by his mother in 1745 as beginning to spell before he is two years old; but he himself said, later, of this precocious teaching that it was sad stuff, and that by haste to make him a clever fellow he had very nearly become a stupid one. My mother made a memorandum in regard to my elder sister, She knows all her letters at three, and of me that at four I had already read a good many books. I still preserve a penciled note from a little playmat
J. T. Kirkland (search for this): chapter 3
ly Unitarian division, then pending, in the Congregational body; organized the Harvard Divinity School,--not then, as now, undenominational; and seems to have been for some years a sort of lay bishop among the Unitarian parishes, distributing young ministers to vacant churches without fear or favor. He liked to read theology, but was in no respect a scholar; indeed, Dr. Peabody says that, on receiving for the institution its first supply of Hebrew Bibles, my father went to the president, Dr. Kirkland, with some indignation, saying that the books must all be returned, since the careless printer had put all the title-pages at the wrong end. In his adversity as in his wealth, he was a man of boundless and somewhat impetuous kindness, and espoused with such ardor the cause of Miss Hannah Adams, the historian, against her rival in that profession, the Rev. Dr. Morse, that he was betrayed into a share in one or two vehement pamphlets, and very nearly into a law-suit. He died when I was n
John Lowell (search for this): chapter 3
oston merchants a permanent reputation; he was, indeed, frequently mentioned --as his cousin, John Lowell, wrote of himas the Howard or the Man of Ross of his day. I still possess a fine oil paintings? Landor's hero was not happier than my playmate, Charles Parsons, and myself, as we lay under Lowell's willows at the causey's end, after a day at Mount Auburn,--then Sweet Auburn still,to sort out the imagination. Sometimes I had companions, -my elder brother for a time, and his classmates, Lowell and Story. I remember treading along close behind them once, as they discussed Spenser's Faerieer high-bred look, and overflowing with fun and frolic, as indeed he was during his whole life. Lowell was at that time of much more ordinary appearance, short and freckled, and a secondary figure bearties, usually at Mount Auburn, and showed in the chilly May mornings that heroic courage which Lowell plaintively attributes to children on these occasions. But all this sporting with Amaryllis soo
rles Parsons and I often tumbled about in a library, -indeed, in the very same library where the Autocrat had himself performed the process he recommended. Under these circumstances it seems very natural that a child thus moulded should have drifted into a literary career. The period here described was one when children were taught to read very early, and this in all parts of our country. The celebrated General Charles Cotesworth Pinckney, in South Carolina, was reported by his mother in 1745 as beginning to spell before he is two years old; but he himself said, later, of this precocious teaching that it was sad stuff, and that by haste to make him a clever fellow he had very nearly become a stupid one. My mother made a memorandum in regard to my elder sister, She knows all her letters at three, and of me that at four I had already read a good many books. I still preserve a penciled note from a little playmate, the daughter of a professor, saying, I am glad you are six years ol
when I was nine years old, and my chief training came consequently from my mother and my aunt Miss Anne G. Storrow, then known to all the Cambridge world as Aunt Nancy, who was to my mother like a second self in the rearing of her children. My mother's early life was like a chapter in a romance. Captain Thomas Storrow, an English officer, being detained a prisoner in Portsmouth during that war, fell in love with a Portsmouth maiden, who adventurously married him at the age of seventeen, in 1777, and sailed with him to England. These were my mother's parents. The marriage had all the requisite elements of romance — youth, inexperience, two warring nations, and two deeply dissatisfied families. The bride, Anne Appleton, represented two of the best families in the then somewhat aristocratic province of New Hampshire, the Appletons and the Wentworths; the latter, in particular, holding their heads so high that they were declared by a wicked Portsmouth wit to speak habitually of Queen
, because I live in an alley. Tell him his soul lives in an alley. I was born in Cambridge, Massachusetts, on December 22,--1823, in a house built by my father at the head of what was then called Professors' Row, and is now Kirkland Street, --the street down which the provincial troops marched to the battle of Bunker Hill, after halting for prayer at the gambrel-roofed house where Dr. Oliver Wendell Holmes was born. My father's house — now occupied by Mrs. F. L. Batchelder--was begun in 1818, when the land was bought from Harvard College, whose official he had just become. Already the Scientific School and the Hemenway Gymnasium crowd upon it, and the university will doubtless, one of these days, engulf it once more. My father came of a line of Puritan clergymen, officials, militia officers, and latterly East India merchants, all dating back to the Rev. Francis Higginson, who landed at Salem in 1629, in charge of the first large party for the Massachusetts Bay Colony, and who m
1629, in charge of the first large party for the Massachusetts Bay Colony, and who made that historic farewell recorded by Cotton Mather, as his native shores faded away: We will not say, as the Separatists said, Farewell, Rome! Farewell, Babylon! But we will say, Farewell, dear England! Farewell, the Christian church in England, and all the Christian friends there! My father had been, like his father before him,--also named Stephen Higginson, and a member of the Continental Congress in 1783, --among the leading merchants of Boston, until Jefferson's embargo brought a great change in his fortunes. He had been unsurpassed in those generous philanthropies which have given Boston merchants a permanent reputation; he was, indeed, frequently mentioned --as his cousin, John Lowell, wrote of himas the Howard or the Man of Ross of his day. I still possess a fine oil painting of this last hero of Pope's lay, a picture sent anonymously to the house, during my father's life, with the insc
ry from Professor Benjamin Peirce. I forget where this especial sister studied English, but she wrote for me all the passages that were found worth applauding in my commencement oration. Yet it is a curious fact that I owe indirectly to a single remark made by my mother all the opening of my eyes to the intellectual disadvantages of her sex. There came to Cambridge a very accomplished stranger, Mrs. Rufus King, of Cincinnati, Ohio, -afterward Mrs. Peter,--who established herself there about 1837, directing the college training of a younger brother, two sons, and two nephews. No woman in Cambridge was so highly educated; and once, as she was making some criticisms at our house upon the inequalities between the sexes, my mother exclaimed in her ardent way, But only think, Mrs. King, what an education you have obtained. Yes, was the reply, but how did I obtain it? Then followed a tale almost as pathetic as that told in Mrs. Somerville's autobiography, of her own early struggles for k
hat no picture of the original Man of Ross remained in the village; and I was led to suspect that this might be one of the two portraits which were once there, but have disappeared. Mine is certainly not that engraved in the European magazine for 1786, but a far more attractive representation. My father retained warm friends in his adversity, who bought for him the land where the Cambridge house stood, and secured for him the position of steward of the college, the post now rechristened bursarn St. Andrews, in Campobello, then in Jamaica again, Captain Storrow having in the meantime resigned his commission, and having died at sea on his passage to Boston, in 1795. My mother, Louisa Storrow, had been born, meanwhile, at St. Andrews, in 1786. Among my mother's most vivid childish recollections was that of being led, a weeping child of nine, at the stately funeral of her father, who was buried in Boston with military and Masonic honors. After his death his young widow opened a priv
born. My father's house — now occupied by Mrs. F. L. Batchelder--was begun in 1818, when the land was bought from Harvard College, whose official he had just become. Already the Scientific School and the Hemenway Gymnasium crowd upon it, and the university will doubtless, one of these days, engulf it once more. My father came of a line of Puritan clergymen, officials, militia officers, and latterly East India merchants, all dating back to the Rev. Francis Higginson, who landed at Salem in 1629, in charge of the first large party for the Massachusetts Bay Colony, and who made that historic farewell recorded by Cotton Mather, as his native shores faded away: We will not say, as the Separatists said, Farewell, Rome! Farewell, Babylon! But we will say, Farewell, dear England! Farewell, the Christian church in England, and all the Christian friends there! My father had been, like his father before him,--also named Stephen Higginson, and a member of the Continental Congress in 1783
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