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Title: Personal Sketches and Tributes

Author: John Greenleaf Whittier

Release date: December 1, 2005 [eBook #9592]
Most recently updated: January 2, 2021

Language: English


This eBook was produced by David Widger







Charles T. Torrey, an able young Congregational clergyman, died May 9, 1846, in the state's prison of Maryland, for the offence of aiding slaves to escape from bondage. His funeral in Boston, attended by thousands, was a most impressive occasion. The following is an extract from an article written for the Essex Transcript:—

Some seven years ago, we saw Charles T. Torrey for the first time. His wife was leaning on his arm,—young, loving, and beautiful; the heart that saw them blessed them. Since that time, we have known him as a most energetic and zealous advocate of the anti-slavery cause. He had fine talents, improved by learning and observation, a clear, intensely active intellect, and a heart full of sympathy and genial humanity. It was with strange and bitter feelings that we bent over his coffin and looked upon his still face. The pity which we had felt for him in his long sufferings gave place to indignation against his murderers. Hateful beyond the power of expression seemed the tyranny which had murdered him with the slow torture of the dungeon. May God forgive us, if for the moment we felt like grasping His dread prerogative of vengeance. As we passed out of the hall, a friend grasped our hand hard, his eye flashing through its tears, with a stern reflection of our own emotions, while he whispered through his pressed lips: "It is enough to turn every anti- slavery heart into steel." Our blood boiled; we longed to see the wicked apologists of slavery—the blasphemous defenders of it in Church and State—led up to the coffin of our murdered brother, and there made to feel that their hands had aided in riveting the chain upon those still limbs, and in shutting out from those cold lips the free breath of heaven.

A long procession followed his remains to their resting-place at Mount Auburn. A monument to his memory will be raised in that cemetery, in the midst of the green beauty of the scenery which he loved in life, and side by side with the honored dead of Massachusetts. Thither let the friends of humanity go to gather fresh strength from the memory of the martyr. There let the slaveholder stand, and as he reads the record of the enduring marble commune with his own heart, and feel that sorrow which worketh repentance.

The young, the beautiful, the brave!—he is safe now from the malice of his enemies. Nothing can harm him more. His work for the poor and helpless was well and nobly done. In the wild woods of Canada, around many a happy fireside and holy family altar, his name is on the lips of God's poor. He put his soul in their souls' stead; he gave his life for those who had no claim on his love save that of human brotherhood. How poor, how pitiful and paltry, seem our labors! How small and mean our trials and sacrifices! May the spirit of the dead be with us, and infuse into our hearts something of his own deep sympathy, his hatred of injustice, his strong faith and heroic endurance. May that spirit be gladdened in its present sphere by the increased zeal and faithfulness of the friends he has left behind.


A letter to Robert C. Waterston.

Amesbury, 27th 1st Month, 1865.

I acknowledge through thee the invitation of the standing committee of the Massachusetts Historical Society to be present at a special meeting of the Society for the purpose of paying a tribute to the memory of our late illustrious associate, Edward Everett.

It is a matter of deep regret to me that the state of my health will not permit me to be with you on an occasion of so much interest.

It is most fitting that the members of the Historical Society of Massachusetts should add their tribute to those which have been already offered by all sects, parties, and associations to the name and fame of their late associate. He was himself a maker of history, and part and parcel of all the noble charities and humanizing influences of his State and time.

When the grave closed over him who added new lustre to the old and honored name of Quincy, all eyes instinctively turned to Edward Everett as the last of that venerated class of patriotic civilians who, outliving all dissent and jealousy and party prejudice, held their reputation by the secure tenure of the universal appreciation of its worth as a common treasure of the republic. It is not for me to pronounce his eulogy. Others, better qualified by their intimate acquaintance with him, have done and will do justice to his learning, eloquence, varied culture, and social virtues. My secluded country life has afforded me few opportunities of personal intercourse with him, while my pronounced radicalism on the great question which has divided popular feeling rendered our political paths widely divergent. Both of us early saw the danger which threatened the country. In the language of the prophet, we "saw the sword coining upon the land," but while he believed in the possibility of averting it by concession and compromise, I, on the contrary, as firmly believed that such a course could only strengthen and confirm what I regarded as a gigantic conspiracy against the rights and liberties, the union and the life, of the nation.

Recent events have certainly not tended to change this belief on my part; but in looking over the past, while I see little or nothing to retract in the matter of opinion, I am saddened by the reflection that through the very intensity of my convictions I may have done injustice to the motives of those with whom I differed. As respects Edward Everett, it seems to me that only within the last four years I have truly known him.

In that brief period, crowded as it is with a whole life-work of consecration to the union, freedom, and glory of his country, he not only commanded respect and reverence, but concentrated upon himself in a most remarkable degree the love of all loyal and generous hearts. We have seen, in these years of trial, very great sacrifices offered upon the altar of patriotism,—wealth, ease, home, love, life itself. But Edward Everett did more than this: he laid on that altar not only his time, talents, and culture, but his pride of opinion, his long-cherished views of policy, his personal and political predilections and prejudices, his constitutional fastidiousness of conservatism, and the carefully elaborated symmetry of his public reputation. With a rare and noble magnanimity, he met, without hesitation, the demand of the great occasion. Breaking away from all the besetments of custom and association, he forgot the things that are behind, and, with an eye single to present duty, pressed forward towards the mark of the high calling of Divine Providence in the events of our time. All honor to him! If we mourn that he is now beyond the reach of our poor human praise, let us reverently trust that he has received that higher plaudit: "Well done, thou good and faithful servant!"

When I last met him, as my colleague in the Electoral College of Massachusetts, his look of health and vigor seemed to promise us many years of his wisdom and usefulness. On greeting him I felt impelled to express my admiration and grateful appreciation of his patriotic labors; and I shall never forget how readily and gracefully he turned attention from himself to the great cause in which we had a common interest, and expressed his thankfulness that he had still a country to serve.

To keep green the memory of such a man is at once a privilege and a duty. That stainless life of seventy years is a priceless legacy. His hands were pure. The shadow of suspicion never fell on him. If he erred in his opinions (and that he did so he had the Christian grace and courage to own), no selfish interest weighed in the scale of his judgment against truth.

As our thoughts follow him to his last resting-place, we are sadly reminded of his own touching lines, written many years ago at Florence. The name he has left behind is none the less "pure" that instead of being "humble," as he then anticipated, it is on the lips of grateful millions, and written ineffaceable on the record of his country's trial and triumph:—

         "Yet not for me when I shall fall asleep
          Shall Santa Croce's lamps their vigils keep.
          Beyond the main in Auburn's quiet shade,
          With those I loved and love my couch be made;
          Spring's pendant branches o'er the hillock wave,
          And morning's dewdrops glisten on my grave,
          While Heaven's great arch shall rise above my bed,
          When Santa Croce's crumbles on her dead,—
          Unknown to erring or to suffering fame,
          So may I leave a pure though humble name."

Congratulating the Society on the prospect of the speedy consummation of the great objects of our associate's labors,—the peace and permanent union of our country,—

I am very truly thy friend.



One after another, those foremost in the antislavery conflict of the last half century are rapidly passing away. The grave has just closed over all that was mortal of Salmon P. Chase, the kingliest of men, a statesman second to no other in our history, too great and pure for the Presidency, yet leaving behind him a record which any incumbent of that station might envy,—and now the telegraph brings us the tidings of the death of Lewis Tappan, of Brooklyn, so long and so honorably identified with the anti- slavery cause, and with every philanthropic and Christian enterprise. He was a native of Massachusetts, born at Northampton in 1788, of Puritan lineage,—one of a family remarkable for integrity, decision of character, and intellectual ability. At the very outset, in company with his brother Arthur, he devoted his time, talents, wealth, and social position to the righteous but unpopular cause of Emancipation, and became, in consequence, a mark for the persecution which followed such devotion. His business was crippled, his name cast out as evil, his dwelling sacked, and his furniture dragged into the street and burned. Yet he never, in the darkest hour, faltered or hesitated for a moment. He knew he was right, and that the end would justify him; one of the cheerfullest of men, he was strong where others were weak, hopeful where others despaired. He was wise in counsel, and prompt in action; like Tennyson's Sir Galahad,

              "His strength was as the strength of ten,
               Because his heart was pure."

I met him for the first time forty years ago, at the convention which formed the American Anti-Slavery Society, where I chanced to sit by him as one of the secretaries. Myself young and inexperienced, I remember how profoundly I was impressed by his cool self-possession, clearness of perception, and wonderful executive ability. Had he devoted himself to party politics with half the zeal which he manifested in behalf of those who had no votes to give and no honors to bestow, he could have reached the highest offices in the land. He chose his course, knowing all that he renounced, and he chose it wisely. He never, at least, regretted it.

And now, at the ripe age of eighty-five years, the brave old man has passed onward to the higher life, having outlived here all hatred, abuse, and misrepresentation, having seen the great work of Emancipation completed, and white men and black men equal before the law. I saw him for the last time three years ago, when he was preparing his valuable biography of his beloved brother Arthur. Age had begun to tell upon his constitution, but his intellectual force was not abated. The old, pleasant laugh and playful humor remained. He looked forward to the close of life hopefully, even cheerfully, as he called to mind the dear friends who had passed on before him, to await his coming.

Of the sixty-three signers of the Anti-Slavery Declaration at the Philadelphia Convention in 1833, probably not more than eight or ten are now living.

              "As clouds that rake the mountain summits,
               As waves that know no guiding hand,
               So swift has brother followed brother
               From sunshine to the sunless land."

Yet it is a noteworthy fact that the oldest member of that convention, David Thurston, D. D., of Maine, lived to see the slaves emancipated, and to mingle his voice of thanksgiving with the bells that rang in the day of universal freedom.


Read at the memorial meeting in Tremont Temple, Boston, January 10, 1879.

I am not able to attend the memorial meeting in Tremont Temple on the 10th instant, but my heart responds to any testimonial appreciative of the intellectual achievements and the noble and manly life of Bayard Taylor. More than thirty years have intervened between my first meeting him in the fresh bloom of his youth and hope and honorable ambition, and my last parting with him under the elms of Boston Common, after our visit to Richard H. Dana, on the occasion of the ninetieth anniversary of that honored father of American poetry, still living to lament the death of his younger disciple and friend. How much he has accomplished in these years! The most industrious of men, slowly, patiently, under many disadvantages, he built up his splendid reputation. Traveller, editor, novelist, translator, diplomatist, and through all and above all poet, what he was he owed wholly to himself. His native honesty was satisfied with no half tasks. He finished as he went, and always said and did his best.

It is perhaps too early to assign him his place in American literature. His picturesque books of travel, his Oriental lyrics, his Pennsylvanian idyls, his Centennial ode, the pastoral beauty and Christian sweetness of Lars, and the high argument and rhythmic marvel of Deukalion are sureties of the permanence of his reputation. But at this moment my thoughts dwell rather upon the man than the author. The calamity of his death, felt in both hemispheres, is to me and to all who intimately knew and loved him a heavy personal loss. Under the shadow of this bereavement, in the inner circle of mourning, we sorrow most of all that we shall see his face no more, and long for "the touch of a vanished hand, and the sound of a voice that is still."


Read at the dedication of the Channing Memorial Church at Newport, R. I.

DANVERS, MASS., 3d Mo., 13, 1880.

I scarcely need say that I yield to no one in love and reverence for the great and good man whose memory, outliving all prejudices of creed, sect, and party, is the common legacy of Christendom. As the years go on, the value of that legacy will be more and more felt; not so much, perhaps, in doctrine as in spirit, in those utterances of a devout soul which are above and beyond the affirmation or negation of dogma.

His ethical severity and Christian tenderness; his hatred of wrong and oppression, with love and pity for the wrong-doer; his noble pleas for self-culture, temperance, peace, and purity; and above all, his precept and example of unquestioning obedience to duty and the voice of God in his soul, can never become obsolete. It is very fitting that his memory should be especially cherished with that of Hopkins and Berkeley in the beautiful island to which the common residence of those worthies has lent additional charms and interest.


A letter written to W. H. B. Currier, of Amesbury, Mass.

DANVERS, MASS., 9th Mo., 24, 1881.

I regret that it is not in my power to join the citizens of Amesbury and Salisbury in the memorial services on the occasion of the death of our lamented President. But in heart and sympathy I am with you. I share the great sorrow which overshadows the land; I fully appreciate the irretrievable loss. But it seems to me that the occasion is one for thankfulness as well as grief.

Through all the stages of the solemn tragedy which has just closed with the death of our noblest and best, I have felt that the Divine Providence was overruling the mighty affliction,—that the patient sufferer at Washington was drawing with cords of sympathy all sections and parties nearer to each other. And now, when South and North, Democrat and Republican, Radical and Conservative, lift their voices in one unbroken accord of lamentation; when I see how, in spite of the greed of gain, the lust of office, the strifes and narrowness of party politics, the great heart of the nation proves sound and loyal, I feel a new hope for the republic, I have a firmer faith in its stability. It is said that no man liveth and no man dieth to himself; and the pure and noble life of Garfield, and his slow, long martyrdom, so bravely borne in view of all, are, I believe, bearing for us as a people "the peaceable fruits of righteousness." We are stronger, wiser, better, for them.

With him it is well. His mission fulfilled, he goes to his grave by the Lakeside honored and lamented as man never was before. The whole world mourns him. There is no speech nor language where the voice of his praise is not heard. About his grave gather, with heads uncovered, the vast brotherhood of man.

And with us it is well, also. We are nearer a united people than ever before. We are at peace with all; our future is full of promise; our industrial and financial condition is hopeful. God grant that, while our material interests prosper, the moral and spiritual influence of the occasion may be permanently felt; that the solemn sacrament of Sorrow, whereof we have been made partakers, may be blest to the promotion of the righteousness which exalteth a nation.


In 1882 a collection of the Letters of Lydia Maria Child was published, for which I wrote the following sketch, as an introduction:—

In presenting to the public this memorial volume, its compilers deemed that a brief biographical introduction was necessary; and as a labor of love I have not been able to refuse their request to prepare it.

Lydia Maria Francis was born in Medford, Massachusetts, February 11, 1802. Her father, Convers Francis, was a worthy and substantial citizen of that town. Her brother, Convers Francis, afterwards theological professor in Harvard College, was some years older than herself, and assisted her in her early home studies, though, with the perversity of an elder brother, he sometimes mystified her in answering her questions. Once, when she wished to know what was meant by Milton's "raven down of darkness," which was made to smile when smoothed, he explained that it was only the fur of a black cat, which sparkled when stroked! Later in life this brother wrote of her, "She has been a dear, good sister to me would that I had been half as good a brother to her." Her earliest teacher was an aged spinster, known in the village as "Marm Betty," painfully shy, and with many oddities of person and manner, the never- forgotten calamity of whose life was that Governor Brooks once saw her drinking out of the nose of her tea-kettle. Her school was in her bedroom, always untidy, and she was a constant chewer of tobacco but the children were fond of her, and Maria and her father always carried her a good Sunday dinner. Thomas W. Higginson, in Eminent Women of the Age, mentions in this connection that, according to an established custom, on the night before Thanksgiving "all the humble friends of the Francis household—Marm Betty, the washerwoman, wood-sawyer, and journeymen, some twenty or thirty in all—were summoned to a preliminary entertainment. They there partook of an immense chicken pie, pumpkin pie made in milk- pans, and heaps of doughnuts. They feasted in the large, old-fashioned kitchen, and went away loaded with crackers and bread and pies, not forgetting 'turnovers' for the children. Such plain application of the doctrine that it is more blessed to give than receive may have done more to mould the character of Lydia Maria Child of maturer years than all the faithful labors of good Dr. Osgood, to whom she and her brother used to repeat the Assembly's catechism once a month."

Her education was limited to the public schools, with the exception of one year at a private seminary in her native town. From a note by her brother, Dr. Francis, we learn that when twelve years of age she went to Norridgewock, Maine, where her married sister resided. At Dr. Brown's, in Skowhegan, she first read Waverley. She was greatly excited, and exclaimed, as she laid down the book, "Why cannot I write a novel?" She remained in Norridgewock and vicinity for several years, and on her return to Massachusetts took up her abode with her brother at Watertown. He encouraged her literary tastes, and it was in his study that she commenced her first story, Hobomok, which she published in the twenty- first year of her age. The success it met with induced her to give to the public, soon after, The Rebels: a Tale of the Revolution, which was at once received into popular favor, and ran rapidly through several editions. Then followed in close succession The Mother's Book, running through eight American editions, twelve English, and one German, The Girl's Book, the History of Women, and the Frugal Housewife, of which thirty-five editions were published. Her Juvenile Miscellany was commenced in 1826.

It is not too much to say that half a century ago she was the most popular literary woman in the United States. She had published historical novels of unquestioned power of description and characterization, and was widely and favorably known as the editor of the Juvenile Miscellany, which was probably the first periodical in the English tongue devoted exclusively to children, and to which she was by far the largest contributor. Some of the tales and poems from her pen were extensively copied and greatly admired. It was at this period that the North American Review, the highest literary authority of the country, said of her, "We are not sure that any woman of our country could outrank Mrs. Child. This lady has been long before the public as an author with much success. And she well deserves it, for in all her works nothing can be found which does not commend itself, by its tone of healthy morality and good sense. Few female writers, if any, have done more or better things for our literature in the lighter or graver departments."

Comparatively young, she had placed herself in the front rank of American authorship. Her books and her magazine had a large circulation, and were affording her a comfortable income, at a time when the rewards of authorship were uncertain and at the best scanty.

In 1828 she married David Lee Child, Esq., a young and able lawyer, and took up her residence in Boston. In 1831-32 both became deeply interested in the subject of slavery, through the writings and personal influence of William Lloyd Garrison. Her husband, a member of the Massachusetts legislature and editor of the Massachusetts Journal, had, at an earlier date, denounced the project of the dismemberment of Mexico for the purpose of strengthening and extending American slavery. He was one of the earliest members of the New England Anti-Slavery Society, and his outspoken hostility to the peculiar institution greatly and unfavorably affected his interests as a lawyer. In 1832 he addressed a series of able letters on slavery and the slave-trade to Edward S. Abdy, a prominent English philanthropist. In 1836 he published in Philadelphia ten strongly written articles on the same subject. He visited England and France in 1837, and while in Paris addressed an elaborate memoir to the Societe pour l'Abolition d'Esclavage, and a paper on the same subject to the editor of the Eclectic Review, in London. To his facts and arguments John Quincy Adams was much indebted in the speeches which he delivered in Congress on the Texas question.

In 1833 the American Anti-Slavery Society was formed by a convention in Philadelphia. Its numbers were small, and it was everywhere spoken against. It was at this time that Lydia Maria Child startled the country by the publication of her noble Appeal in Behalf of that Class of Americans called Africans. It is quite impossible for any one of the present generation to imagine the popular surprise and indignation which the book called forth, or how entirely its author cut herself off from the favor and sympathy of a large number of those who had previously delighted to do her honor. Social and literary circles, which had been proud of her presence, closed their doors against her. The sale of her books, the subscriptions to her magazine, fell off to a ruinous extent. She knew all she was hazarding, and made the great sacrifice, prepared for all the consequences which followed. In the preface to her book she says, "I am fully aware of the unpopularity of the task I have undertaken; but though I expect ridicule and censure, I do not fear them. A few years hence, the opinion of the world will be a matter in which I have not even the most transient interest; but this book will be abroad on its mission of humanity long after the hand that wrote it is mingling with the dust. Should it be the means of advancing, even one single hour, the inevitable progress of truth and justice, I would not exchange the consciousness for all Rothschild's wealth or Sir Walter's fame."

Thenceforth her life was a battle; a constant rowing hard against the stream of popular prejudice and hatred. And through it all—pecuniary privation, loss of friends and position, the painfulness of being suddenly thrust from "the still air of delightful studies" into the bitterest and sternest controversy of the age—she bore herself with patience, fortitude, and unshaken reliance upon the justice and ultimate triumph of the cause she had espoused. Her pen was never idle. Wherever there was a brave word to be spoken, her voice was heard, and never without effect. It is not exaggeration to say that no man or woman at that period rendered more substantial service to the cause of freedom, or made such a "great renunciation" in doing it.

A practical philanthropist, she had the courage of her convictions, and from the first was no mere closet moralist or sentimental bewailer of the woes of humanity. She was the Samaritan stooping over the wounded Jew. She calmly and unflinchingly took her place by the side, of the despised slave and free man of color, and in word and act protested against the cruel prejudice which shut out its victims from the rights and privileges of American citizens. Her philanthropy had no taint of fanaticism; throughout the long struggle, in which she was a prominent actor, she kept her fine sense of humor, good taste, and sensibility to the beautiful in art and nature.

The opposition she met with from those who had shared her confidence and friendship was of course keenly felt, but her kindly and genial disposition remained unsoured. She rarely spoke of her personal trials, and never posed as a martyr. The nearest approach to anything like complaint is in the following lines, the date of which I have not been able to ascertain:—


               Few in the days of early youth
               Trusted like me in love and truth.
               I've learned sad lessons from the years,
               But slowly, and with many tears;
               For God made me to kindly view
               The world that I am passing through.

               Though kindness and forbearance long
               Must meet ingratitude and wrong,
               I still would bless my fellow-men,
               And trust them though deceived again.
               God help me still to kindly view
               The world that I am passing through.

               From all that fate has brought to me
               I strive to learn humility,
               And trust in Him who rules above,
               Whose universal law is love.
               Thus only can I kindly view
               The world that I am passing through.

               When I approach the setting sun,
               And feel my journey well-nigh done,
               May Earth be veiled in genial light,
               And her last smile to me seem bright.
               Help me till then to kindly view
               The world that I am passing through.

               And all who tempt a trusting heart
               From faith and hope to drift apart,
               May they themselves be spared the pain
               Of losing power to trust again.
               God help us all to kindly view
               The world that we are passing through.

While faithful to the great duty which she felt was laid upon her in an especial manner, she was by no means a reformer of one idea, but her interest was manifested in every question affecting the welfare of humanity. Peace, temperance, education, prison reform, and equality of civil rights, irrespective of sex, engaged her attention. Under all the disadvantages of her estrangement from popular favor, her charming Greek romance of Philothea and her Lives of Madame Roland and the Baroness de Stael proved that her literary ability had lost nothing of its strength, and that the hand which penned such terrible rebukes had still kept its delicate touch, and gracefully yielded to the inspiration of fancy and art. While engaged with her husband in the editorial supervision of the Anti-Slavery Standard, she wrote her admirable Letters from New York; humorous, eloquent, and picturesque, but still humanitarian in tone, which extorted the praise of even a pro-slavery community. Her great work, in three octavo volumes, The Progress of Religious Ideas, belongs, in part, to that period. It is an attempt to represent in a candid, unprejudiced manner the rise and progress of the great religions of the world, and their ethical relations to each other. She availed herself of, and carefully studied, the authorities at that time accessible, and the result is creditable to her scholarship, industry, and conscientiousness. If, in her desire to do justice to the religions of Buddha and Mohammed, in which she has been followed by Maurice, Max Muller, and Dean Stanley, she seems at times to dwell upon the best and overlook the darker features of those systems, her concluding reflections should vindicate her from the charge of undervaluing the Christian faith, or of lack of reverent appreciation of its founder. In the closing chapter of her work, in which the large charity and broad sympathies of her nature are manifest, she thus turns with words of love, warm from the heart, to Him whose Sermon on the Mount includes most that is good and true and vital in the religions and philosophies of the world:—

"It was reserved for Him to heal the brokenhearted, to preach a gospel to the poor, to say, 'Her sins, which are many, are forgiven, for she loved much.' Nearly two thousand years have passed away since these words of love and pity were uttered, yet when I read them my eyes fill with tears. I thank Thee, O Heavenly Father, for all the messengers thou hast sent to man; but, above all, I thank Thee for Him, thy beloved Son! Pure lily blossom of the centuries, taking root in the lowliest depths, and receiving the light and warmth of heaven in its golden heart! All that the pious have felt, all that poets have said, all that artists have done, with their manifold forms of beauty, to represent the ministry of Jesus, are but feeble expressions of the great debt we owe Him who is even now curing the lame, restoring sight to the blind, and raising the dead in that spiritual sense wherein all miracle is true."

During her stay in New York, as editor of the Anti-Slavery Standard, she found a pleasant home at the residence of the genial philanthropist, Isaac T. Hopper, whose remarkable life she afterwards wrote. Her portrayal of this extraordinary man, so brave, so humorous, so tender and faithful to his convictions of duty, is one of the most readable pieces of biography in English literature. Thomas Wentworth Higginson, in a discriminating paper published in 1869, speaks of her eight years' sojourn in New York as the most interesting and satisfactory period of her whole life. "She was placed where her sympathetic nature found abundant outlet and occupation. Dwelling in a house where disinterestedness and noble labor were as daily breath, she had great opportunities. There was no mere alms-giving; but sin and sorrow must be brought home to the fireside and the heart; the fugitive slave, the drunkard, the outcast woman, must be the chosen guests of the abode,— must be taken, and held, and loved into reformation or hope."

It would be a very imperfect representation of Maria Child which regarded her only from a literary point of view. She was wise in counsel; and men like Charles Sumner, Henry Wilson, Salmon P. Chase, and Governor Andrew availed themselves of her foresight and sound judgment of men and measures. Her pen was busy with correspondence, and whenever a true man or a good cause needed encouragement, she was prompt to give it. Her donations for benevolent causes and beneficent reforms were constant and liberal; and only those who knew her intimately could understand the cheerful and unintermitted self-denial which alone enabled her to make them. She did her work as far as possible out of sight, without noise or pretension. Her time, talents, and money were held not as her own, but a trust from the Eternal Father for the benefit of His suffering children. Her plain, cheap dress was glorified by the generous motive for which she wore it. Whether in the crowded city among the sin-sick and starving, or among the poor and afflicted in the neighborhood of her country home, no story of suffering and need, capable of alleviation, ever reached her without immediate sympathy and corresponding action. Lowell, one of her warmest admirers, in his Fable for Critics has beautifully portrayed her abounding benevolence:—

     "There comes Philothea, her face all aglow:
     She has just been dividing some poor creature's woe,
     And can't tell which pleases her most, to relieve
     His want, or his story to hear and believe.
     No doubt against many deep griefs she prevails,
     For her ear is the refuge of destitute tales;
     She knows well that silence is sorrow's best food,
     And that talking draws off from the heart its black blood."

     "The pole, science tells us, the magnet controls,
     But she is a magnet to emigrant Poles,
     And folks with a mission that nobody knows
     Throng thickly about her as bees round a rose.
     She can fill up the carets in such, make their scope
     Converge to some focus of rational hope,
     And, with sympathies fresh as the morning, their gall
     Can transmute into honey,—but this is not all;
     Not only for those she has solace; O, say,
     Vice's desperate nursling adrift in Broadway,
     Who clingest, with all that is left of thee human,
     To the last slender spar from the wreck of the woman,
     Hast thou not found one shore where those tired, drooping feet
     Could reach firm mother-earth, one full heart on whose beat
     The soothed head in silence reposing could hear
     The chimes of far childhood throb back on the ear?"

     "Ah, there's many a beam from the fountain of day
     That, to reach us unclouded, must pass, on its way,
     Through the soul of a woman, and hers is wide ope
     To the influence of Heaven as the blue eyes of Hope;
     Yes, a great heart is hers, one that dares to go in
     To the prison, the slave-hut, the alleys of sin,
     And to bring into each, or to find there, some line
     Of the never completely out-trampled divine;
     If her heart at high floods swamps her brain now and then,
     'T is but richer for that when the tide ebbs again,
     As, after old Nile has subsided, his plain
     Overflows with a second broad deluge of grain;
     What a wealth would it bring to the narrow and sour,
     Could they be as a Child but for one little hour!"

After leaving New York, her husband and herself took up their residence in the rural town of Wayland, Mass. Their house, plain and unpretentious, had a wide and pleasant outlook; a flower garden, carefully tended by her own hands, in front, and on the side a fruit orchard and vegetable garden, under the special care of her husband. The house was always neat, with some appearance of unostentatious decoration, evincing at once the artistic taste of the hostess and the conscientious economy which forbade its indulgence to any great extent. Her home was somewhat apart from the lines of rapid travel, and her hospitality was in a great measure confined to old and intimate friends, while her visits to the city were brief and infrequent. A friend of hers, who had ample opportunities for a full knowledge of her home-life, says, "The domestic happiness of Mr. and Mrs. Child seemed to me perfect. Their sympathies, their admiration of all things good, and their hearty hatred of all things mean and evil were in entire unison. Mr. Child shared his wife's enthusiasms, and was very proud of her. Their affection, never paraded, was always manifest. After Mr. Child's death, Mrs. Child, in speaking of the future life, said, 'I believe it would be of small value to me if I were not united to him.'"

In this connection I cannot forbear to give an extract from some reminiscences of her husband, which she left among her papers, which, better than any words of mine, will convey an idea of their simple and beautiful home-life:—

"In 1852 we made a humble home in Wayland, Mass., where we spent twenty- two pleasant years entirely alone, without any domestic, mutually serving each other, and dependent upon each other for intellectual companionship. I always depended on his richly stored mind, which was able and ready to furnish needed information on any subject. He was my walking dictionary of many languages, my Universal Encyclopaedia.

"In his old age he was as affectionate and devoted as when the lover of my youth; nay, he manifested even more tenderness. He was often singing,—

               "'There's nothing half so sweet in life
               As Love's old dream.'

"Very often, when he passed by me, he would lay his hand softly on my head and murmur, 'Carum caput.' . . . But what I remember with the most tender gratitude is his uniform patience and forbearance with my faults. . . . He never would see anything but the bright side of my character. He always insisted upon thinking that whatever I said was the wisest and the wittiest, and that whatever I did was the best. The simplest little jeu d'esprit of mine seemed to him wonderfully witty. Once, when he said, 'I wish for your sake, dear, I were as rich as Croesus,' I answered, 'You are Croesus, for you are king of Lydia.' How often he used to quote that!

"His mind was unclouded to the last. He had a passion for philology, and only eight hours before he passed away he was searching out the derivation of a word."

Her well-stored mind and fine conversational gifts made her company always desirable. No one who listened to her can forget the earnest eloquence with which she used to dwell upon the evidences, from history, tradition, and experience, of the superhuman and supernatural; or with what eager interest she detected in the mysteries of the old religions of the world the germs of a purer faith and a holier hope. She loved to listen, as in St. Pierre's symposium of The Coffee-House of Surat, to the confessions of faith of all sects and schools of philosophy, Christian and pagan, and gather from them the consoling truth that our Father has nowhere left his children without some witness of Himself. She loved the old mystics, and lingered with curious interest and sympathy over the writings of Bohme, Swedenborg, Molinos, and Woolman. Yet this marked speculative tendency seemed not in the slightest degree to affect her practical activities. Her mysticism and realism ran in close parallel lines without interfering with each other.

With strong rationalistic tendencies from education and conviction, she found herself in spiritual accord with the pious introversion of Thomas a Kempis and Madame Guion. She was fond of Christmas Eve stories, of warnings, signs, and spiritual intimations, her half belief in which sometimes seemed like credulity to her auditors. James Russell Lowell, in his tender tribute to her, playfully alludes to this characteristic:—

          "She has such a musical taste that she 'll go
          Any distance to hear one who draws a long bow.
          She will swallow a wonder by mere might and main."

In 1859 the descent of John Brown upon Harper's Ferry, and his capture, trial, and death, startled the nation. When the news reached her that the misguided but noble old man lay desperately wounded in prison, alone and unfriended, she wrote him a letter, under cover of one to Governor Wise, asking permission to go and nurse and care for him. The expected arrival of Captain Brown's wife made her generous offer unnecessary. The prisoner wrote her, thanking her, and asking her to help his family, a request with which she faithfully complied. With his letter came one from Governor Wise, in courteous reproval of her sympathy for John Brown. To this she responded in an able and effective manner. Her reply found its way from Virginia to the New York Tribune, and soon after Mrs. Mason, of King George's County, wife of Senator Mason, the author of the infamous Fugitive Slave Law, wrote her a vehement letter, commencing with threats of future damnation, and ending with assuring her that "no Southerner, after reading her letter to Governor Wise, ought to read a line of her composition, or touch a magazine which bore her name in its list of contributors." To this she wrote a calm, dignified reply, declining to dwell on the fierce invectives of her assailant, and wishing her well here and hereafter. She would not debate the specific merits or demerits of a man whose body was in charge of the courts, and whose reputation was sure to be in charge of posterity. "Men," she continues, "are of small consequence in comparison with principles, and the principle for which John Brown died is the question at issue between us." These letters were soon published in pamphlet form, and had the immense circulation of 300,000 copies.

In 1867 she published A Romance of the Republic, a story of the days of slavery; powerful in its delineation of some of the saddest as well as the most dramatic conditions of master and slave in the Southern States. Her husband, who had been long an invalid, died in 1874. After his death her home, in winter especially, became a lonely one, and in 1877 she began to spend the cold months in Boston.

Her last publication was in 1878, when her Aspirations of the World, a book of selections, on moral and religious subjects, from the literature of all nations and times, was given to the public. The introduction, occupying fifty pages, shows, at threescore and ten, her mental vigor unabated, and is remarkable for its wise, philosophic tone and felicity of diction. It has the broad liberality of her more elaborate work on the same subject, and in the mellow light of life's sunset her words seem touched with a tender pathos and beauty. "All we poor mortals," she says, "are groping our way through paths that are dim with shadows; and we are all striving, with steps more or less stumbling, to follow some guiding star. As we travel on, beloved companions of our pilgrimage vanish from our sight, we know not whither; and our bereaved hearts utter cries of supplication for more light. We know not where Hermes Trismegistus lived, or who he was; but his voice sounds plaintively human, coming up from the depths of the ages, calling out, 'Thou art God! and thy man crieth these things unto Thee!' Thus closely allied in our sorrows and limitations, in our aspirations and hopes, surely we ought not to be separated in our sympathies. However various the names by which we call the Heavenly Father, if they are set to music by brotherly love, they can all be sung together."

Her interest in the welfare of the emancipated class at the South and of the ill-fated Indians of the West remained unabated, and she watched with great satisfaction the experiment of the education of both classes in General Armstrong's institution at Hampton, Va. She omitted no opportunity of aiding the greatest social reform of the age, which aims to make the civil and political rights of women equal to those of men. Her sympathies, to the last, went out instinctively to the wronged and weak. She used to excuse her vehemence in this respect by laughingly quoting lines from a poem entitled The Under Dog in the Fight:—

          "I know that the world, the great big world,
          Will never a moment stop
          To see which dog may be in the wrong,
          But will shout for the dog on top.

          "But for me, I never shall pause to ask
          Which dog may be in the right;
          For my heart will beat, while it beats at all,
          For the under dog in the fight."

I am indebted to a gentleman who was at one time a resident of Wayland, and who enjoyed her confidence and warm friendship, for the following impressions of her life in that place:—

"On one of the last beautiful Indian summer afternoons, closing the past year, I drove through Wayland, and was anew impressed with the charm of our friend's simple existence there. The tender beauty of the fading year seemed a reflection of her own gracious spirit; the lovely autumn of her life, whose golden atmosphere the frosts of sorrow and advancing age had only clarified and brightened.

"My earliest recollection of Mrs. Child in Wayland is of a gentle face leaning from the old stage window, smiling kindly down on the childish figures beneath her; and from that moment her gracious motherly presence has been closely associated with the charm of rural beauty in that village, which until very lately has been quite apart from the line of travel, and unspoiled by the rush and worry of our modern steam-car mode of living.

"Mrs. Child's life in the place made, indeed, an atmosphere of its own, a benison of peace and good-will, which was a noticeable feature to all who were acquainted with the social feeling of the little community, refined, as it was too, by the elevating influence of its distinguished pastor, Dr. Sears. Many are the acts of loving kindness and maternal care which could be chronicled of her residence there, were we permitted to do so; and numberless are the lives that have gathered their onward impulse from her helping hand. But it was all a confidence which she hardly betrayed to her inmost self, and I will not recall instances which might be her grandest eulogy. Her monument is builded in the hearts which knew her benefactions, and it will abide with 'the power that makes for righteousness.'

"One of the pleasantest elements of her life in Wayland was the high regard she won from the people of the village, who, proud of her literary attainment, valued yet more the noble womanhood of the friend who dwelt so modestly among them. The grandeur of her exalted personal character had, in part, eclipsed for them the qualities which made her fame with the world outside.

"The little house on the quiet by-road overlooked broad green meadows. The pond behind it, where bloom the lilies whose spotless purity may well symbolize her gentle spirit, is a sacred pool to her townsfolk. But perhaps the most fitting similitude of her life in Wayland was the quiet flow of the river, whose gentle curves make green her meadows, but whose powerful energy, joining the floods from distant mountains, moves, with resistless might, the busy shuttles of a hundred mills. She was too truthful to affect to welcome unwarrantable invaders of her peace, but no weary traveller on life's hard ways ever applied to her in vain. The little garden plot before her door was a sacred enclosure, not to be rudely intruded upon; but the flowers she tended with maternal care were no selfish possession, for her own enjoyment only, and many are the lives their sweetness has gladdened forever. So she lived among a singularly peaceful and intelligent community as one of themselves, industrious, wise, and happy; with a frugality whose motive of wider benevolence was in itself a homily and a benediction."

In my last interview with her, our conversation, as had often happened before, turned upon the great theme of the future life. She spoke, as I remember, calmly and not uncheerfully, but with the intense earnestness and reverent curiosity of one who felt already the shadow of the unseen world resting upon her.

Her death was sudden and quite unexpected. For some months she had been troubled with a rheumatic affection, but it was by no means regarded as serious. A friend, who visited her a few days before her departure, found her in a comfortable condition, apart from lameness. She talked of the coming election with much interest, and of her plans for the winter. On the morning of her death (October 20, 1880) she spoke of feeling remarkably well. Before leaving her chamber she complained of severe pain in the region of the heart. Help was called by her companion, but only reached her to witness her quiet passing away.

The funeral was, as befitted one like her, plain and simple. Many of her old friends were present, and Wendell Phillips paid an affecting and eloquent tribute to his old friend and anti-slavery coadjutor. He referred to the time when she accepted, with serene self-sacrifice, the obloquy which her Appeal had brought upon her, and noted, as one of the many ways in which popular hatred was manifested, the withdrawal from her of the privileges of the Boston Athenaeum. Her pallbearers were elderly, plain farmers in the neighborhood; and, led by the old white-haired undertaker, the procession wound its way to the not distant burial- ground, over the red and gold of fallen leaves, and tinder the half- clouded October sky. A lover of all beautiful things, she was, as her intimate friends knew, always delighted by the sight of rainbows, and used to so arrange prismatic glasses as to throw the colors on the walls of her room. Just after her body was consigned to the earth, a magnificent rainbow spanned with its are of glory the eastern sky.

     The incident at her burial is alluded to in a sonnet written by
     William P. Andrews:—

          "Freedom! she knew thy summons, and obeyed
          That clarion voice as yet scarce heard of men;
          Gladly she joined thy red-cross service when
          Honor and wealth must at thy feet be laid
          Onward with faith undaunted, undismayed
          By threat or scorn, she toiled with hand and brain
          To make thy cause triumphant, till the chain
          Lay broken, and for her the freedmen prayed.
          Nor yet she faltered; in her tender care
          She took us all; and wheresoe'er she went,
          Blessings, and Faith, and Beauty followed there,
          E'en to the end, where she lay down content;
          And with the gold light of a life more fair,
          Twin bows of promise o'er her grave were blest."

The letters in this collection constitute but a small part of her large correspondence. They have been gathered up and arranged by the hands of dear relatives and friends as a fitting memorial of one who wrote from the heart as well as the head, and who held her literary reputation subordinate always to her philanthropic aim to lessen the sum of human suffering, and to make the world better for her living. If they sometimes show the heat and impatience of a zealous reformer, they may well be pardoned in consideration of the circumstances under which they were written, and of the natural indignation of a generous nature in view of wrong and oppression. If she touched with no very reverent hand the garment hem of dogmas, and held to the spirit of Scripture rather than its letter, it must be remembered that she lived in a time when the Bible was cited in defence of slavery, as it is now in Utah in support of polygamy; and she may well be excused for some degree of impatience with those who, in the tithing of mint and anise and cummin, neglected the weightier matters of the law of justice and mercy.

Of the men and women directly associated with the beloved subject of this sketch, but few are now left to recall her single-hearted devotion to apprehended duty, her unselfish generosity, her love of all beauty and harmony, and her trustful reverence, free from pretence and cant. It is not unlikely that the surviving sharers of her love and friendship may feel the inadequateness of this brief memorial, for I close it with the consciousness of having failed to fully delineate the picture which my memory holds of a wise and brave, but tender and loving woman, of whom it might well have been said, in the words of the old Hebrew text, "Many, daughters have done virtuously, but thou excellest them all."


On the occasion of the seventy-fifth birthday of Dr. Holmes The Critic of New York collected personal tributes from friends and admirers of that author. My own contribution was as follows:—

Poet, essayist, novelist, humorist, scientist, ripe scholar, and wise philosopher, if Dr. Holmes does not, at the present time, hold in popular estimation the first place in American literature, his rare versatility is the cause. In view of the inimitable prose writer, we forget the poet; in our admiration of his melodious verse, we lose sight of Elsie Venner and The Autocrat of the Breakfast Table. We laugh over his wit and humor, until, to use his own words,

     "We suspect the azure blossom that unfolds upon a shoot,
     As if Wisdom's old potato could not flourish at its root;"

and perhaps the next page melts us into tears by a pathos only equalled by that of Sterne's sick Lieutenant. He is Montaigne and Bacon under one hat. His varied qualities would suffice for the mental furnishing of half a dozen literary specialists.

To those who have enjoyed the privilege of his intimate acquaintance, the man himself is more than the author. His genial nature, entire freedom from jealousy or envy, quick tenderness, large charity, hatred of sham, pretence, and unreality, and his reverent sense of the eternal and permanent have secured for him something more and dearer than literary renown,—the love of all who know him. I might say much more: I could not say less. May his life be long in the land.

Amesbury, Mass., 8th Month, 18, 1884.


Written to the chairman of the committee of arrangements for unveiling the bust of Longfellow at Portland, Maine, on the poet's birthday, February 27, 1885.

I am sorry it is not in my power to accept the invitation of the committee to be present at the unveiling of the bust of Longfellow on the 27th instant, or to write anything worthy of the occasion in metrical form.

The gift of the Westminster Abbey committee cannot fail to add another strong tie of sympathy between two great English-speaking peoples. And never was gift more fitly bestowed. The city of Portland—the poet's birthplace, "beautiful for situation," looking from its hills on the scenery he loved so well, Deering's Oaks, the many-islanded bay and far inland mountains, delectable in sunset—needed this sculptured representation of her illustrious son, and may well testify her joy and gratitude at its reception, and repeat in so doing the words of the Hebrew prophet: "O man, greatly beloved! thou shalt stand in thy place."


Letter to Samuel J. Spalding, D. D., on the occasion of the celebration of the 250th anniversary of the settlement of Newbury.

MY DEAR FRIEND,—I am sorry that I cannot hope to be with you on the 250th anniversary of the settlement of old Newbury. Although I can hardly call myself a son of the ancient town, my grandmother, Sarah Greenleaf, of blessed memory, was its daughter, and I may therefore claim to be its grandson. Its genial and learned historian, Joshua Coffin, was my first school-teacher, and all my life I have lived in sight of its green hills and in hearing of its Sabbath bells. Its wealth of natural beauty has not been left unsung by its own poets, Hannah Gould, Mrs. Hopkins, George Lunt, and Edward A. Washburn, while Harriet Prescott Spofford's Plum Island Sound is as sweet and musical as Tennyson's Brook. Its history and legends are familiar to me. I seem to have known all its old worthies, whose descendants have helped to people a continent, and who have carried the name and memories of their birthplace to the Mexican gulf and across the Rocky Mountains to the shores of the Pacific. They were the best and selectest of Puritanism, brave, honest, God-fearing men and women; and if their creed in the lapse of time has lost something of its vigor, the influence of their ethical righteousness still endures. The prophecy of Samuel Sewall that Christians should be found in Newbury so long as pigeons shall roost on its oaks and Indian corn grows in Oldtown fields remains still true, and we trust will always remain so. Yet, as of old, the evil personage sometimes intrudes himself into company too good for him. It was said in the witchcraft trials of 1692 that Satan baptized his converts at Newbury Falls, the scene, probably, of one of Hawthorne's weird Twice Told Tales; and there is a tradition that, in the midst of a heated controversy between one of Newbury's painful ministers and his deacon, who (anticipating Garrison by a century) ventured to doubt the propriety of clerical slaveholding, the Adversary made his appearance in the shape of a black giant stalking through Byfield. It was never, I believe, definitely settled whether he was drawn there by the minister's zeal in defence of slavery or the deacon's irreverent denial of the minister's right and duty to curse Canaan in the person of his negro.

Old Newbury has sometimes been spoken of as ultra-conservative and hostile to new ideas and progress, but this is not warranted by its history. More than two centuries ago, when Major Pike, just across the river, stood up and denounced in open town meeting the law against freedom of conscience and worship, and was in consequence fined and outlawed, some of Newbury's best citizens stood bravely by him. The town took no part in the witchcraft horror, and got none of its old women and town charges hanged for witches, "Goody" Morse had the spirit rappings in her house two hundred years earlier than the Fox girls did, and somewhat later a Newbury minister, in wig and knee-buckles, rode, Bible in hand, over to Hampton to lay a ghost who had materialized himself and was stamping up and down stairs in his military boots.

Newbury's ingenious citizen, Jacob Perkins, in drawing out diseases with his metallic tractors, was quite as successful as modern "faith and mind" doctors. The Quakers, whipped at Hampton on one hand and at Salem on the other, went back and forth unmolested in Newbury, for they could make no impression on its iron-clad orthodoxy. Whitefield set the example, since followed by the Salvation Army, of preaching in its streets, and now lies buried under one of its churches with almost the honors of sainthood. William Lloyd Garrison was born in Newbury. The town must be regarded as the Alpha and Omega of anti-slavery agitation, beginning with its abolition deacon and ending with Garrison. Puritanism, here as elsewhere, had a flavor of radicalism; it had its humorous side, and its ministers did not hesitate to use wit and sarcasm, like Elijah before the priests of Baal. As, for instance, the wise and learned clergyman, Puritan of the Puritans, beloved and reverenced by all, who has just laid down the burden of his nearly one hundred years, startled and shamed his brother ministers who were zealously for the enforcement of the Fugitive Slave Law, by preparing for them a form of prayer for use while engaged in catching runaway slaves.

I have, I fear, dwelt too long upon the story and tradition of the old town, which will doubtless be better told by the orator of the day. The theme is to me full of interest. Among the blessings which I would gratefully own is the fact that my lot has been cast in the beautiful valley of the Merrimac, within sight of Newbury steeples, Plum Island, and Crane Neck and Pipe Stave hills.

Let me, in closing, pay something of the debt I have owed from boyhood, by expressing a sentiment in which I trust every son of the ancient town will unite: Joshua Coffin, historian of Newbury, teacher, scholar, and antiquarian, and one of the earliest advocates of slave emancipation. May his memory be kept green, to use the words of Judge Sewall, "so long as Plum island keeps its post and a sturgeon leaps in Merrimac River."

Amesbury, 6th Month, 1885.


     To Rev. Charles Wingate, Hon. James H. Carleton, Thomas B. Garland,
     Esq., Committee of Students of Haverhill Academy:

DEAR FRIENDS,—I was most agreeably surprised last evening by receiving your carefully prepared and beautiful Haverhill Academy Album, containing the photographs of a large number of my old friends and schoolmates. I know of nothing which could have given me more pleasure. If the faces represented are not so unlined and ruddy as those which greeted each other at the old academy, on the pleasant summer mornings so long ago, when life was before us, with its boundless horizon of possibilities, yet, as I look over them, I see that, on the whole, Time has not been hard with us, but has touched us gently. The hieroglyphics he has traced upon us may, indeed, reveal something of the cares, trials, and sorrows incident to humanity, but they also tell of generous endeavor, beneficent labor, developed character, and the slow, sure victories of patience and fortitude. I turn to them with the proud satisfaction of feeling that I have been highly favored in my early companions, and that I have not been disappointed in my school friendships. The two years spent at the academy I have always reckoned among the happiest of my life, though I have abundant reason for gratitude that, in the long, intervening years, I have been blessed beyond my deserving.

It has been our privilege to live in an eventful period, and to witness wonderful changes since we conned our lessons together. How little we then dreamed of the steam car, electric telegraph, and telephone! We studied the history and geography of a world only half explored. Our country was an unsolved mystery. "The Great American Desert" was an awful blank on our school maps. We have since passed through the terrible ordeal of civil war, which has liberated enslaved millions, and made the union of the States an established fact, and no longer a doubtful theory. If life is to be measured not so much by years as by thoughts, emotion, knowledge, action, and its opportunity of a free exercise of all our powers and faculties, we may congratulate ourselves upon really outliving the venerable patriarchs. For myself, I would not exchange a decade of my own life for a century of the Middle Ages, or a "cycle of Cathay."

Let me, gentlemen, return my heartiest thanks to you, and to all who have interested themselves in the preparation of the Academy Album, and assure you of my sincere wishes for your health and happiness.

OAK KNOLL, DANVERS, 12th Month, 25, 1885.


I have been pained to learn of the decease of nay friend of many years, Edwin P. Whipple. Death, however expected, is always something of a surprise, and in his case I was not prepared for it by knowing of any serious failure of his health. With the possible exception of Lowell and Matthew Arnold, he was the ablest critical essayist of his time, and the place he has left will not be readily filled.

Scarcely inferior to Macaulay in brilliance of diction and graphic portraiture, he was freer from prejudice and passion, and more loyal to the truth of fact and history. He was a thoroughly honest man. He wrote with conscience always at his elbow, and never sacrificed his real convictions for the sake of epigram and antithesis. He instinctively took the right side of the questions that came before him for decision, even when by so doing he ranked himself with the unpopular minority. He had the manliest hatred of hypocrisy and meanness; but if his language had at times the severity of justice, it was never merciless. He "set down naught in malice."

Never blind to faults, he had a quick and sympathetic eye for any real excellence or evidence of reserved strength in the author under discussion.

He was a modest man, sinking his own personality out of sight, and he always seemed to me more interested in the success of others than in his own. Many of his literary contemporaries have had reason to thank him not only for his cordial recognition and generous praise, but for the firm and yet kindly hand which pointed out deficiencies and errors of taste and judgment. As one of those who have found pleasure and profit in his writings in the past, I would gratefully commend them to the generation which survives him. His Literature of the Age of Elizabeth is deservedly popular, but there are none of his Essays which will not repay a careful study. "What works of Mr. Baxter shall I read?" asked Boswell of Dr. Johnson. "Read any of them," was the answer, "for they are all good."

He will have an honored place in the history of American literature. But I cannot now dwell upon his authorship while thinking of him as the beloved member of a literary circle now, alas sadly broken. I recall the wise, genial companion and faithful friend of nearly half a century, the memory of whose words and acts of kindness moistens my eyes as I write.

It is the inevitable sorrow of age that one's companions must drop away on the right hand and the left with increasing frequency, until we are compelled to ask with Wordsworth,—

"Who next shall fall and disappear?"

But in the case of him who has just passed from us, we have the satisfaction of knowing that his life-work has been well and faithfully done, and that he leaves behind him only friends.

DANVERS, 6th Month, 18, 1886.