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Isaac T. Hopper   By: (1802-1880)

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ISAAC T. HOPPER

A True Life

BY

L. MARIA CHILD

1853

[Illustration: Isaac T. Hopper]

Thine was a soul with sympathy imbued, Broad as the earth, and as the heavens sublime; Thy godlike object, steadfastly pursued, To save thy race from misery and crime.

Garrison.

TO

HANNAH ATTMORE HOPPER,

WIDOW OF THE LATE

ISAAC T. HOPPER,

THIS VOLUME IS RESPECTFULLY AND AFFECTIONATELY INSCRIBED, BY HER GRATEFUL AND ATTACHED FRIEND,

L. MARIA CHILD.

PREFACE.

This biography differs from most works of the kind, in embracing fragments of so many lives. Friend Hopper lived almost entirely for others; and it is a striking illustration of the fact, that I have found it impossible to write his biography without having it consist largely of the adventures of other people.

I have not recounted his many good deeds for the mere purpose of eulogizing an honored friend. I have taken pleasure in preserving them in this form, because I cherish a hope that they may fall like good seed into many hearts, and bring forth future harvests in the great field of humanity.

Most of the strictly personal anecdotes fell from his lips in familiar and playful conversation with his sister, or his grand children, or his intimate friends, and I noted them down at the time, without his knowledge. In this way I caught them in a much more fresh and natural form, than I could have done if he had been conscious of the process.

The narratives and anecdotes of fugitive slaves, which form such a prominent portion of the book, were originally written by Friend Hopper himself, and published in newspapers, under the title of "Tales of Oppression." I have re modelled them all; partly because I wished to present them in a more concise form, and partly because the principal actor could be spoken of more freely by a third person, than he could speak of himself. Moreover, he had a more dramatic way of telling a story than he had of writing it; and I have tried to embody his unwritten style as nearly as I could remember it. Where ever incidents or expressions have been added to the published narratives, I have done it from recollection.

The facts, which were continually occurring within Friend Hopper's personal knowledge, corroborate the pictures of slavery drawn by Mrs. Stowe. Her descriptions are no more fictitious, than the narratives written by Friend Hopper. She has taken living characters and facts of every day occurrence, and combined them in a connected story, radiant with the light of genius, and warm with the glow of feeling. But is a landscape any the less real, because there is sunshine on it, to bring out every tint, and make every dew drop sparkle?

Who that reads the account here given of Daniel Benson, and William Anderson, can doubt that slaves are capable of as high moral excellence, as has ever been ascribed to them in any work of fiction? Who that reads Zeke, and the Quick Witted Slave, can pronounce them a stupid race, unfit for freedom? Who that reads the adventures of the Slave Mother, and of poor Manuel, a perpetual mourner for his enslaved children, can say that the bonds of nature are less strong with them, than with their more fortunate white brethren? Who can question the horrible tyranny under which they suffer, after reading The Tender Mercies of a Slaveholder, and the suicide of Romaine?

Friend Hopper labored zealously for many, many years; and thousands have applied their best energies of head and heart to the same great work; yet the slave power in this country is as strong as ever nay, stronger. Its car rolls on in triumph, and priests and politicians outdo each other in zeal to draw it along, over its prostrate victims. But, lo! from under its crushing wheels, up rises the bleeding spectre of Uncle Tom, and all the world turns to look at him! Verily, the slave power is strong; but God and truth are stronger.

CONTENTS.

GENERAL INDEX.

Allusions to his Parents. Anecdotes of Childhood... Continue reading book >>




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