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Personal Sketches and Tributes, Part 2, from Volume VI., The Works of Whittier: Old Portraits and Modern Sketches   By: (1807-1892)

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PERSONAL SKETCHES AND TRIBUTES

BY

JOHN GREENLEAF WHITTIER

CONTENTS:

PERSONAL SKETCHES AND TRIBUTES. THE FUNERAL OF TORREY EDWARD EVERETT LEWIS TAPPAN BAYARD TAYLOR WILLIAM ELLERY CHANNING DEATH OF PRESIDENT GARFIELD LYDIA MARIA CHILD OLIVER WENDELL HOLMES LONGFELLOW OLD NEWBURY SCHOOLDAY REMEMBRANCES EDWIN PERCY WHIPPLE

PERSONAL SKETCHES AND TRIBUTES

THE FUNERAL OF TORREY.

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.

EDWARD EVERETT.

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... Continue reading book >>




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