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Isaac T. Hopper by L. Maria Child

Part 5 out of 6

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business, and who, even according to _your_ understanding of the
term, had done no evil; a young man of fair reputation, with
numerous near relatives and friends to mourn over the barbarous
deed; would you have been guiltless? I think the just witness in
your consciences would answer No.

"I have long deplored the evils of slavery, and my sympathy has
often been much excited for the master, as well as the slave. I am
aware of the difficulties attending the system, and I should
rejoice if I could aid in devising some mode of relief, that would
satisfy the claims of justice and humanity, and at the same time be
acceptable to the inhabitants of the South.

"It is certainly cause of deep regret that the Southern people
suffer their angry passions to become so highly excited on this
subject, which, of all others, ought to be calmly considered. For
it remains a truth that 'the wrath of man worketh not the
righteousness of God,' neither can it open his eyes to see in what
his best interest consists. O, that your ears may be open to the
voice of wisdom before it is too late! The language of an eminent
statesman, who was a slaveholder, often occurs to me: 'I tremble
for my country when I reflect that God is just, and that his
justice will not sleep forever.' Surely we have high authority for
believing that 'For the crying of the poor, and the sighing of the
needy, God will arise.' I hope I shall not be suspected of
entertaining hostile or unkind feelings toward the people of the
South, when I say that I believe slavery must and will be
abolished. As sure as God is merciful and good, it is an evil that
cannot endure forever.

"An inspired apostle says, that our gracious Creator 'hath made of
one blood all nations of men;' and our Saviour gave this
commandment: 'As ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to
them likewise.' If we believe these declarations, and I hope none
doubt their authority, I should think reasoning unnecessary to
convince us that to oppress and enslave our fellow men cannot be
pleasing to Him, who is just and equal in all his ways.

"My concern for the welfare of my fellow men is not confined to
color, or circumscribed by geographical lines. I can never see
human suffering without feeling compassion, and I would always
gladly alleviate it, if I had it in my power. I remember that we
are all, without distinction of color or locality, children of the
same Universal Parent, who delights to see the human family dwell
together in peace and harmony. I am strongly inclined to the
opinion that the proceedings of that portion of the inhabitants of
the North who are called abolitionists, would not produce so much
agitation and excitement at the South, if the people there felt
entirely satisfied that slavery was justifiable in the sight of
infinite purity and justice. An eminent minister of the Gospel,
about the middle of the seventeenth century, often urged upon the
attention of people this emphatic injunction: 'Mind the light!'
'All things that are reproved are made manifest by the light; for
whatsoever doth make manifest is light.' Now, if this light, or
spirit of truth, 'a manifestation of which is given to every man to
profit withal,' should be found testifying in your consciences
against injustice and oppression, regard its admonitions! It will
let none remain at ease in their sins. It will justify for well
doing; but to those who rebel against it, and disregard its
reproofs, it will become the 'worm that dieth not, and the fire
that is not quenched.'

"I am aware that complaints are often made, because obstacles are
thrown in the way of Southerners reclaiming their fugitive slaves.
But bring the matter home to yourselves. Suppose a white man
resided among you, who, for a series of years, had conducted with
sobriety, industry, and probity, and had given frequent evidence of
the kindness of his heart, by a disposition to oblige whenever
opportunity offered; suppose he had a wife and children dependent
upon him, and supported them comfortably and respectably; could you
see that man dragged from his bed, and from the bosom of his
family, in the dead time of night, manacled, and hurried away into
a distant part of the country, where his family could never see him
again, and where they knew he must linger out a miserable
existence, more intolerable than death, amid the horrors of
slavery? I ask whether you could witness all this, without the most
poignant grief? This is no picture of the fancy. It is a sober
reality. The only difference is, the men thus treated are black.
But in my view, this does not diminish the horrors of such cruel
deeds. Can it be expected then, that the citizens of this state, or
indeed of any other, would witness all this, without instituting
the severest scrutiny into the legality of the proceedings? More
especially, when it is known that the persons employed in this
nefarious business of hunting up fugitive slaves are men destitute
of principle, whose hearts are callous as flint, and who would send
a free man into bondage with as little compunction as they would a
slave, if they could do it with impunity.

"Of latter time, we hear much said about a dissolution of the
Union. Far better, in my view, that this should take place, if it
can be effected without violence, than to remain as we are; when a
peaceable citizen cannot enter your territory on his own lawful
business, without the risk of being murdered by a ruthless mob.

"With reverent thankfulness to Him, who numbers the hairs of our
heads, without whose notice not even a sparrow falls to the
ground, and to whose providence I consider myself indebted for the
redemption of my beloved son from the hands of barbarians, permit
me again to say that I feel sincerely grateful to thee and others,
who kindly lent aid, though late, in rescuing him from the violence
of unreasonable and wicked men, who sought his life without a
cause. I may never have it in my power to do either of you
personally a kindness; but some other member of the great family of
mankind may need assistance in a way that I can relieve him. If
this should be the case, I hope I shall not fail to embrace the

"With fervent desires that the beneficent Creator and Father of the
Universe may open the eyes of all to see that 'the fast which he
hath chosen is to loose the bands of wickedness, to undo the heavy
burdens and to let the oppressed go free, and that ye break every

"I am thy sincere friend,


Soon after the circumstances above related, the mayor of New-York
revoked the warrant of the marshal, who had been so conspicuous in the
outrage. This step was taken in consequence of his own admissions
concerning his conduct.

In 1837, a little incident occurred, which may be interesting to those
who are curious concerning phrenology. At a small social party in
New-York, a discussion arose on that subject; and, as usual, some were
disposed to believe and others to ridicule. At last the disputants
proposed to test the question by careful experiment. Friend Hopper was
one of the party, and they asked him to have his head examined by the
well-known O.S. Fowler. Having a good-natured willingness to gratify
their curiosity, he consented. It was agreed that he should not speak
during the operation, lest the tones of his voice might serve as an
index of his character. It was further stipulated that no person in the
room should give any indication by which the phrenologist might be
enabled to judge whether he was supposed to be speaking correctly or
not. The next day, Mr. Fowler was introduced blindfolded into a room,
where Isaac T. Hopper was seated with the party of the preceding
evening. Having passed his hands over the strongly developed head, he
made the following statement, which was taken down by a rapid writer, as
the words fell from his lips.

"The first and strongest manifestation of this character is efficiency.
Not one man in a thousand is capable of accomplishing so much. The
strong points are very strong; the weak points are weak; so that he is
an eccentric and peculiar character.

"The pole-star of his character is moral courage.

"He has very little reverence, and stands in no awe of the powers that
be. He pays no regard to forms or ceremonies, or established customs, in
church or state. He renders no homage to great names, such as D.D.;
L.L.D.; or Excellency. He treats his fellow men with kindness and
affection, but not with sufficient respect and courtesy.

"He is emphatically republican in feeling and character. He makes
himself free and familiar with every one. He often lets himself down too
much. This constitutes a radical defect in his character.

"He will assert and maintain human rights and liberty at every hazard.
In this cause, he will stake anything, or suffer anything. This
constitutes the leading feature of his character. Every other element is
blended into this.

"I should consider him a very cautious man in fact, though in appearance
he is very imprudent; especially in remarks on moral subjects.

"He is too apt to denounce those whom he considers in error; to apply
opprobrious epithets and censure in the strongest terms, and the boldest

"I have seldom, if ever, met with a larger organ of conscientiousness.

"Nothing so much delights him as to advocate and propagate moral
principles; no matter how unpopular the principles may be.

"He has very little credulity.

"He is one of the closest observers of men and things anywhere to be
found. He sees, as it were by intuition everything that passes around
him, and understands just when and where to take men and things; just
how and where to say things with effect; and in all he says, he speaks
directly to the point.

"He says and does a great many severe and cutting things. If anybody
else said and did such things, they would at once get into hot water;
but he says and does them in such a manner, that even his enemies, and
those against whom his censures are aimed, cannot be offended with him.
He is always on the verge of difficulty, but never _in_ difficulty.

"He is hated mainly by those not personally acquainted with him. A
personal interview, even with his greatest enemies, generally removes
enmity; because of the smoothness and easiness of his manners.

"He has at command a great amount of well-digested information on almost
every subject, and makes admirable use of his knowledge. He has a great
many facts, and always brings them in their right place. His general
memory of particulars, incidents, places, and words, is really

"But he has a weak memory concerning names, dates, numbers, and colors.
He never recognizes persons by their dress, or by the color of anything
pertaining to them.

"He tells a story admirably, and acts it out to the life. He makes a
great deal of fun, and keeps others in a roar of laughter, while he is
sober himself. For his fun, he is as much indebted to the manner as to
the matter. He makes his jokes mainly by happy comparisons, striking
illustrations, and the imitative power with which he expresses them.

"He possesses a great amount of native talent, but it is so admirably
distributed, that he appears to have more than he actually possesses.

"His attachment to his friends is remarkably strong and ardent. But he
will associate with none except those whose moral characters are

"He expects and anticipates a great deal; enters largely into things;
takes hold of every measure with spirit; and is always overwhelmed with
business. Move where he will, he cannot be otherwise than a
distinguished man."

That this description was remarkably accurate in most particulars will
be obvious to those who have read the preceding anecdotes. It is not
true, however, that he was enthusiastic in character, or that he had the
appearance of being so. He was far too practical and self-possessed, to
have the reputation of being "half crazy," even among those who are
prone to regard everything as insane that is out of the common course.
Neither do I think he was accustomed to "let himself down too much;" for
according to my radical ideas, a man _cannot_ "let himself down," who
"associates only with those whose moral characters are unimpeachable."
It is true that he was pleasant and playful in conversation with all
classes of people; but he was remarkably free from any tinge of
vulgarity. It is true, also, that he was totally and entirely
unconscious of any such thing as distinctions of rank. I have been
acquainted with many theoretical democrats, and with not a few who tried
to be democratic, from kind feelings-and principles of justice; but
Friend Hopper and Francis Jackson of Boston are the only two men I ever
met, who were born democrats; who could not help it, if they tried; and
who would not know _how_ to try; so completely did they, by nature,
ignore all artificial distinctions. Of course, I do not use the word
democrat in its limited party sense, but to express their perfect
unconsciousness that any man was considered to be above them, or any man
beneath them. If Friend Hopper encountered his wood-sawyer, after a
considerable absence, he would shake hands warmly, and give him a
cordial welcome. If the English Prince had called upon him, he would
have met with the same friendly reception, and would probably have been
accosted something after this fashion: "How art thou, friend Albert?
They tell me thou art amiable and kindly disposed toward the people; and
I am glad to see thee." Those who observe the parting advice given by
Isaac's mother, when he went to serve his apprenticeship in
Philadelphia, will easily infer that this peculiarity was hereditary.
Some men, who rise above their original position, either in character or
fortune, endeavor to conceal their early history. Others obtrude it upon
all occasions, in order to magnify themselves by a contrast between what
they have been and what they are. But he did neither the one nor the
other. The subject did not occupy his thoughts. He spoke of having been
a tailor, whenever it came naturally in his way, but never for the sake
of doing so. His having been born in a hen-house was a mere external
accident in his eyes; and in the same light he regarded the fact that
Victoria was born in a palace. What was the spiritual condition of the
two at any given age, was the only thing that seemed to him of real

His steadfastness in maintaining moral principles, "however unpopular
those principles might be," was severely tried in the autumn of 1838. At
a late hour in the night, two colored men came to his house, and one
introduced the other as a stranger in the city, who had need of a
lodging. Friend Hopper of course conjectured that he might be a fugitive
slave; and this conjecture was confirmed the next morning. The stranger
was a mulatto, about twenty-two years old, and called himself Thomas
Hughes. According to his own account, he was the son of a wealthy
planter in Virginia, who sold his mother with himself and his twin
sister when they were eleven months old. His mother and sister were
subsequently sold, but he could never ascertain where they were sent.
When he was about thirteen, he was purchased by the son of his first
master. Being hardly dealt with by this relative, he one day
remonstrated with him for treating his own brother with so much
severity. This was, of course, deemed a great piece of insolence in a
bondman, and he was punished by being sold to a speculator, carried off
hand-cuffed, with his feet tied under the horse's belly, and finally
shipped for Louisiana with a coffle of five hundred slaves. He was
bought by a gambler, who took him to Louisville, Kentucky. When he had
lived there three years, his master, having lost large sums of money,
told him he should be obliged to sell him. Thomas had meanwhile
ascertained that his father had removed to Kentucky, and was still a
very wealthy man. He obtained permission to go and see him, with the
hope that he would purchase him and set him free. Accordingly, he
called upon him, and told him that he was Thomas, the son of his slave
Rachel, who had always assured him that he was his father. The rich
planter did not deny poor Rachel's assertion, but in answer to her son's
inquiries, he plainly manifested that he neither knew nor cared who had
bought her, or to what part of the country she had been sent. Thomas
represented his own miserable condition, in being sold from one to
another, and subject to the will of whoever happened to be his owner. He
intreated his father to purchase him, with a view to manumission; but
himself and his proposition were both treated with supreme contempt.
Thus rejected by his father, and unable to discover any traces of his
mother, he returned disheartened to Louisville, and was soon after sent
to New-Orleans to be sold. Mr. John P. Darg, a speculator in slaves,
bought him; and he soon after married a girl named Mary, who belonged to
his new master. Mr. Darg went to New-York, to visit some relatives, and
took Thomas with him. It was only a few days after their arrival in the
city, that the slave left him, and went to Isaac T. Hopper to ask a
lodging. When he acknowledged that he was a fugitive, intending to take
refuge in Canada, it was deemed imprudent for him to remain under the
roof of a person so widely known as an abolitionist; but a very
benevolent and intelligent Quaker lady, near eighty years old, named
Margaret Shoemaker, gladly gave him shelter.

When Friend Hopper went to his place of business, after parting with the
colored stranger, he saw an advertisement in a newspaper called the Sun,
offering one thousand dollars reward for the apprehension and return of
a mulatto man, who had stolen seven or eight thousand dollars from a
house in Varick-street. A proportionate reward was offered for the
recovery of any part of the money. Though no names were mentioned, he
had reason to conjecture that Thomas Hughes might be the mulatto in
question. He accordingly sought him out, read the advertisement to him,
and inquired whether he had stolen anything from his master. He denied
having committed any theft, and said the pretence that he had done so
was a mere trick, often resorted to by slaveholders, when they wanted to
catch a runaway slave. That this remark was true, Friend Hopper knew
very well by his own experience; he therefore concluded it was likely
that Thomas was not guilty. He expressed this conviction in conversation
on the subject with Barney Corse, a benevolent member of the Society of
Friends, who was kindly disposed toward the colored people. In
compliance with Friend Hopper's request, that gentleman waited upon the
editor of the Sun, accompanied by a lawyer, and was assured that a large
amount of money really had been stolen from Mr. Darg, and that if he
could recover it, he was willing to give a pledge for the manumission of
the slave, beside paying the promised reward to whoever would enable him
to get possession of the money. Barney Corse called upon Mr. Darg, who
promptly confirmed the statement made by the editor in his name. The
Friend then promised that he, and others who were interested for the
slave, would do their utmost to obtain tidings of the money, and see it
safely restored, on those conditions; but he expressly stipulated that
he could not do it otherwise, because he had conscientious scruples,
which would prevent him, in all cases, from helping to return a fugitive
slave to his master.

It is to be observed that the promise of manumission was given as the
highest bribe that could be offered to induce the slave to refund the
money he had taken; for though in argument slaveholders generally
maintain that their slaves have no desire for freedom, they are never
known to _act_ upon that supposition. In this case, the offer served a
double purpose; for it stimulated the benevolent zeal of Friend Hopper
and Barney Corse, and induced the fugitive to confess what he had done.
He still denied that he had any intention of stealing, but declared that
he took the money merely to obtain power over his master, hoping that
the promise to restore it would secure his manumission. It is
impossible to tell whether he spoke truth or not; for poor Thomas had
been educated in a bad school of morals. Sold by his father, abused by
his brother, and for years compelled to do the bidding of gamblers and
slave-speculators, how could he be expected to have very clear
perceptions of right and wrong? The circumstances of the case, however,
seem to render it rather probable that he really was impelled by the
motive which he assigned for his conduct. Mr. Darg declared that he had
previously considered him an honest and faithful servant; that he was in
the habit of trusting him with the key of his trunk, and frequently sent
him to it for money. The bank-bills he had purloined were placed in the
hands of two colored men in New-York, because, as he said, he could not
return them himself, but must necessarily employ somebody to do it for
him, in the intended process of negotiating for his freedom.

Friend Hopper, his son-in-law James S. Gibbons, and Barney Corse, were
very earnest to recover the money, for the best of reasons. In the first
place, they greatly desired to secure the manumission of the slave. In
the second place, the honesty of their characters led them to wish that
the master should recover what was his own. In both instances, they
wished to restore stolen property to the rightful owner; to Thomas
Hughes the free use of his own faculties and limbs, which had been
stolen from him, and to Mr. Darg the money that had been purloined from
him. It is not likely that the Southerner would have ever regained any
portion of the amount stolen, had it not been for their exertions. But,
by careful and judicious management, they soon recovered nearly six
thousand dollars, which was immediately placed in one of the principal
banks of the city, with a full statement of the circumstances of the
case to the cashier. Over one thousand more was heard of as having been
deposited with a colored man in Albany. Friend Hopper proposed that
Barney Corse should go in pursuit of it, accompanied by the colored man
who sent it there. He agreed to do so; but he deemed it prudent to have
a previous interview with Mr. Darg, to obtain his written promise to
manumit Thomas, to pay the necessary expenses of the journey, and to
exonerate from criminal prosecution any person or persons connected with
the robbery, provided that assurance proved necessary in order to get
possession of the money. All this being satisfactorily accomplished, he
went to Albany and brought back the sum said to have been deposited
there. Ten or fourteen hundred dollars were still wanting to complete
the amount, which Mr. Darg said he had lost; but they had hopes of
obtaining that also, by confronting various individuals, who had become
involved with this complicated affair. Meanwhile, Barney Corse and
James S. Gibbons called upon Mr. Darg to inform him of the amount
recovered and safely deposited in the bank, and to pay him the sum
brought from Albany. Instead of giving the deed of manumission, which
had been his own voluntary offer at the outset, and which he knew had
been the impelling motive to exertion, Mr. Darg had two police-officers
in an adjoining room to arrest Barney Corse for having stolen money in
his possession. He was of course astonished at such an ungrateful return
for his services, but at once expressed his readiness to go before any
magistrate that might be named.

It would not be easy to give an adequate idea of the storm of
persecution that followed. Popular prejudice against abolitionists was
then raging with uncommon fury; and police-officers and editors availed
themselves of it to the utmost to excite hostility against individuals,
who had been actuated by a kind motive, and who had proceeded with
perfect openness throughout the whole affair. The newspapers of the city
were pro-slavery, almost without exception. The idea of sending
abolitionists to the State Prison was a glorious prospect, over which
they exulted mightily. They represented that Thomas had been enticed
from his master by these pretended philanthropists, who had advised him
to steal the money, as a cunning mode of obtaining manumission. As for
the accused, all they asked was a speedy and thorough investigation of
their conduct. The case was however postponed from week to week, and
offers were made meanwhile to compromise the matter, if Barney Corse
would pay the balance of the lost money. He had wealthy connexions, and
perhaps the prosecutors hoped to extort money from them, to avoid the
disgrace of a trial. But Barney Corse was far from wishing to avoid a

At this juncture of affairs, Friend Hopper took a step, which raised a
great clamor among his enemies, and puzzled some of his friends at the
time, because they did not understand his motives. He sued Mr. Darg for
the promised reward of one thousand dollars. He had several reasons for
this proceeding. In the first place, the newspapers continually pointed
him out as a man over whose head a criminal prosecution was pending;
while he had at the same time had good reason to believe that his
accusers would never venture to meet him before a court of justice; and
a proper regard for his own character made him resolved to obtain a
legal investigation of his conduct by some process. In the second place,
Mr. Darg had subjected Barney Corse to a great deal of trouble and
expense; and Friend Hopper thought it no more than fair that expenses
caused by his own treachery should be paid from his own pocket. In the
third place, David Ruggles, a worthy colored man, no way implicated in
the transaction, had been arrested, and was likely to be involved in
expense. In the fourth place, the police officers, who advised the
arrest of Barney Corse, made themselves very conspicuous in the
persecution. He believed they had been actuated by a desire to obtain
the reward for themselves; and as they had no just claim to it, he
determined to defeat them in this attempt. He therefore sued for the
reward himself, though he never intended to use a dollar of it. This was
manifested at the time, by a declaration in the newspapers, that if he
recovered the reward, he would give all over the expenses to some
benevolent society. It was frequently intimated to him that there should
be no further proceedings against him, if he would withdraw this suit;
but he constantly replied that a trial was what he wanted. Finding all
overtures rejected, a complaint was laid before the Grand Jury; and such
was the state of popular prejudice, that twelve out of nineteen of that
body concurred in finding a bill against men of excellent moral
character, without any real evidence to sustain the charge. Barney Corse
had never taken measures to prevent the arrest of Thomas Hughes. He
simply declined to render any assistance. He believed that he was under
no legal obligation to do otherwise; and he knew for a certainty that he
was under no moral obligation; because conscience would not allow him
to aid in returning a runaway slave to his master. Nevertheless, he and
Isaac T. Hopper, and James S. Gibbons, were indicted for "feloniously
receiving, harboring, aiding and maintaining said Thomas, in order that
he might escape from arrest, and avoid conviction and punishment."
Friend Hopper was advised that he might avail himself of some technical
defects in the indictment; but he declined doing it; always insisting
that a public investigation was what he wanted.

The trial was carried on in the same spirit that characterized the
previous proceedings. A colored man, known to have had dishonest
possession of a portion of the lost money, was admitted to testify, on
two successive trials, against Barney Corse, who had always sustained a
fair character. The District Attorney talked to the jury of "the
necessity of appeasing the South." As if convicting an honest and
kind-hearted Quaker of being accomplice in a felony could do anything
toward settling the questions that divided North and South on the
subject of slavery! One of the jury declared that he never would acquit
an abolitionist. Mr. Darg testified of himself during the trial, that he
never intended to manumit Thomas, and had made the promise merely as a
means of obtaining his money. The newspapers spoke as if the guilt of
the accused was not to be doubted, and informed the jury that the
public expected them to convict these men.

In fact, the storm lowered so darkly, that some friends of the
persecuted individuals began to feel uneasy. But Friend Hopper's mind
was perfectly undisturbed. Highly respectable lawyers offered to conduct
the cause for him; but he gratefully declined, saying he preferred to
manage it for himself. He informed the court that he presumed they
understood the law, and he was quite sure that he understood the facts;
therefore, he saw no need of a lawyer between them. The Court of
Sessions was held every month, and he appeared before it at almost every
term, to demand a trial. At last, in January 1840, when the hearing had
been delayed fifteen months, he gave notice that unless he was tried
during that term, he should appear on the last day of it, and request
that a _nolle prosequi_ should be ordered. The trial not coming on, he
appeared accordingly, and made a very animated speech, in which he dwelt
with deserved severity on the evils of the police system, and on the
efforts of a corrupt press to pervert the public mind. He said he did
not make these remarks to excite sympathy. He was not there to ask for
mercy, but to demand justice. "And I would have you all to understand
distinctly," continued the brave old man, "that I have no wish to evade
the charge against me for being an abolitionist. I _am_ an
abolitionist. In that, I am charged truly. I have been an abolitionist
from my early years, and I always expect to remain so. For this, I am
prosecuted and persecuted. I most sincerely believe that slavery is the
greatest sin the Lord Almighty ever suffered to exist upon this earth.
As sure as God is good and just, he will put an end to it; and all
opposition will be in vain. As regards myself, I can only say, that
having lived three-score and nearly ten years, with a character that
placed me above suspicion in such matters as have been urged against me,
I cannot now forego the principles which have always influenced my
conduct in relation to slavery. Neither force on the one hand, nor
persuasion on the other, will ever alter my course of action."

One of the New-York papers, commenting on this speech, at the time,
states that "the old gentleman was listened to very attentively. He was
composed, dignified, and clear in his manner, and evidently had much
effect on the court and a large number of spectators. He certainly
needed no counsel to aid him."

The court ordered a _nolle prosequi_ to be entered, and the defendants
were all discharged. The suit for the reward proceeded no further. David
Ruggles had been early discharged, and the whole case had been
completely before the public in pamphlet form; therefore the principal
objects for urging it no longer existed.

Though the friends of human freedom made reasonable allowance for a man
brought up under such demoralizing influences as Thomas Hughes had been,
they of course felt less confidence in him, than they would have done
had he sought to obtain liberty by some more commendable process. Being
aware of this, he returned to his master, not long after he acknowledged
the theft. At one time, it was proposed to send him back to the South;
but he swore that he would cut his throat rather than return into
slavery. The best lawyers declared their opinion that he was legally
entitled to freedom, in consequence of his master's written promise to
manumit him if the money were restored; consequently some difficulties
would have attended any attempt to coerce him. He was tried on an
indictment for grand larceny, convicted, and sentenced to the State
Prison for two years; the shortest term allowed for the offence charged
against him. Through the whole course of the affair, he proved himself
to be a very irresolute and unreliable character. At one time, he said
that: his master was a notorious gambler; then he denied that he ever
said so; then he affirmed that his first statement was true, though he
had been frightened into contradicting it. When his time was out at Sing
Sing, he expressed to Friend Hopper and others his determination to
remain at the North; but after an interview with Mr. Darg, he consented
to return to the South with him. Although he was thus wavering in
character, he could never be persuaded to say that any abolitionist
advised him to take his master's money. He always declared that no white
man knew anything about it, until after he had placed it out of his own
hands; and that the friends who were willing to aid him in procuring his
manumission had always expressed their regret that he had committed such
a wrong action. He deserved praise for his consistency on this point;
for he had the offer of being exempted from prosecution himself, and
used as a witness, if he would say they advised him to steal the money.

When Thomas Hughes consented to return to the South with Mr. Darg, it
was with the full understanding that he went as a free man, consenting
to be his servant. This he expressed during his last interview with
Friend Hopper, in Mr. Darg's presence. But the newspapers represented
that he had voluntarily gone back into slavery; and such was their
exultation over his supposed choice, that a person unacquainted with the
history of our republic might have inferred that the heroes of the
revolution fought and died mainly for the purpose of convincing their
posterity of the superior advantages of slavery over freedom. However,
it was not long before Thomas returned to New-York, and told the
following story: "A short time before my release from prison, Mr. Darg
brought my wife to see me, and told me we should both be free and enjoy
each other's society as long as we lived, if I would go with him. He
said I should suffer here at the North; for the abolitionists would do
nothing for me. I went with him solely with the hope of living with
Mary. I thought if he attempted to hold me as a slave, we would both run
away, the first opportunity. He told me we should meet Mary in
Washington; but when we arrived in Baltimore, he shut me up in jail, and
told me Mary was sold, and carried off South. I cannot describe how I
felt. I never expect to see her again. He asked me if I consented to
come with him on Mary's account, or on his own account. I thought it
would make it better for me to say on his account; and I said so. I hope
the Lord will forgive me for telling a falsehood. When I had been in
jail some time, he called to see me, and said that as I did not come
with him on account of my wife, he would not sell me; that I should be
free, and he would try to buy Mary for me."

Thomas said he was informed that certain people in New-York wrote to Mr.
Darg, advising him not to sell him, because the abolitionists predicted
that he would do so; and he thought that was the reason why he was not
sold. If this supposition was correct, it is a great pity that his
master was not induced by some better motive to avoid an evil action.
Thomas uniformly spoke of Mrs. Darg with respect and gratitude. He said,
"She was always very kind to me and Mary. I know she did not want to
have me sold, or to have Mary sold; for I believe she loved her. I feel
very sorry that I could not live with her and be free; but I had rather
live in the State Prison all my life than to be a slave."

I never heard what became of Thomas. Friend Shoemaker used to tell me,
years afterward, how she secreted him, and rejoiced in the deed. I heard
the good lady, when more than ninety years old, just before her death,
talk the matter over; and her kindly, intelligent countenance smiled all
over, as she recounted how she had contrived to dodge the police, and
avoid being a witness in the case. The Fugitive Slave Law would be of no
avail to tyrants, if all the women at the North had as much moral
courage, and were as benevolent and quick-witted as she was.

Those who were most active in persecuting Friend Hopper and Barney Corse
convinced the public, by their subsequent disreputable career, that they
were not men whose word could be relied upon.

Dr. R.W. Moore, of Philadelphia, in a letter to Friend Hopper concerning
this troublesome case, says: "I am aware thou hast passed through many
trials in the prosecution of this matter. Condemned by the world,
censured by some of thy friends, and discouraged by the weak, thou hast
had much to bear. But thou hast been able to foil thy enemies, and to
pass through the flames without the smell of fire on thy garments. Thy
Christian firmness is an example to us all. It reminds one of those
ancient Quakers, who, knowing themselves in the right, suffered wrongs
rather than compromise their principles. For the sake of mankind, I am
sorry there are not more such characters among us. They would do more to
exalt our principles, than a host of the professors of the present day."

A year or two later, another incident occurred, which excited similar
exultation among New-York editors, that a human being had been so wise
as to prefer slavery to freedom; and there was about as much cause for
such exultation as there had been in the case of Thomas Hughes.

Mrs. Burke of New-Orleans went to New-York to visit a relative by the
name of Morgan. She brought a slave to attend upon her, and took great
care to prevent her becoming acquainted with the colored people. I don't
know how city editors would account for this extreme caution,
consistently with their ideas of the blessedness of slavery. They might
argue that there was danger free colored people would be so attracted by
her charming pictures of bondage, that they would emigrate to the South
in larger numbers than would supply the slave-markets, and thus occasion
some depression in an honorable branch of trade in this republic.
However they might please to explain it, the simple fact was, Mrs. Burke
did not allow her slave to go into the street. Of course, she must have
had some other motive than the idea that _freedom_ could be attractive
to her. The colored people became aware of the careful constraint
imposed upon the woman, and they informed the abolitionists. Thinking it
right that slaves should be made aware of their legal claim to freedom,
when brought or sent into the free states, with knowledge and consent of
their masters, they applied to Judge Oakley for a writ of _habeas
corpus,_ by virtue of which the girl was brought before him. While she
was in waiting, Friend Hopper heard of the circumstance, and immediately
proceeded to the court-room. There he found Mr. Morgan and one of his
southern friends talking busily with the slave. The woman appeared
frightened and undecided, as is often the case, under such
circumstances. Those who wished her to return to the South plied her
with fair promises. They represented abolitionists as a set of
kidnappers, who seized colored strangers under friendly pretences, and
nobody could tell what became of them afterward. It was urged that her
condition would be most miserable with the "free niggers" of the North,
even if the abolitionists did not sell her, or spirit her away to some
unknown region.

On the other hand, the colored people, who had assembled about the
court-room, were very eager to rescue her from slavery. She did not
understand their motives, or those of the abolitionists; for they had
been diligently misrepresented to her. "What do they want to do it
_for_?" she asked, with a perplexed air. "What will they do with me?"
She was afraid there was some selfish motive concealed. She dared not
trust the professions of strangers, whose characters had been so
unfavorably represented. Friend Hopper found her in this confused state
of mind. The Southerner was very willing to speak _for_ her. He gave
assurance that she did not want her freedom; that she desired to return
to the South; and that she had been in no respect distrained of her
liberty in the city of New-York.

"Thou art a very respectable looking man," said Friend Hopper; "but I
have known slaveholders, of even more genteel appearance than thou art,
tell gross falsehoods where a slave was in question. I tell thee
plainly, that I have no confidence in slaveholders, in any such case. I
have had too much acquaintance with them. I know their game too well."

The Southerner said something about its being both mean and wrong to
come between master and servant.

"Such may be thy opinion," replied Friend Hopper; "but my views of duty
differ from thine in this matter." Then turning to the woman, he said,
"By the laws here, thou art free. No man has a right to make thee a
slave again. Thou mayest stay at the North, or go back to New-Orleans,
just as thou choosest."

The Southerner here interposed to say, "Mind what that old gentleman
says. You can go back to New-Orleans, to your husband, if you prefer to

"But let me tell thee," said Friend Hopper to the woman, "that if thou
stayest here, thou wilt be free; but if they carry thee back, they may
sell thee away from thy husband. Dost thou wish to be free?"

The tears gushed from her eyes in full flood, and she replied earnestly,
"I do want to be free. To be _sure I_ do want to be free; but then I
want to go to my husband."

Mr. Morgan and his Southern friend grew excited. With an angry glance at
the old gentleman, the latter exclaimed, "I only wish we had you in
New-Orleans! We'd hang you up in twenty-four hours."

"Then you are a set of savages," replied Friend Hopper.

"_You_ are a set of thieves," retorted he.

"Well, savages may be thieves also," rejoined the abolitionist, with a
significant smile.

"You are no gentleman," responded the other, in an irritated tone.

"I don't profess to be a gentleman," answered the impassive Quaker. "But
I am an honest old man; and perhaps that will do as well."

This remark occasioned a general smile. Indeed it was pleasant to
observe, throughout this scene in the court-room, that popular sympathy
was altogether on the side of freedom. It was a strange blind instinct
on the part of the people, considering how diligently they had been
instructed otherwise by pulpit and press; but so it was.

When the slave was summoned into the judge's room, Friend Hopper
followed; being extremely desirous to have her understand her position
clearly. He found Mr. Morgan and his Southern friend in close and
earnest conversation with her. When he attempted to approach her, he was
unceremoniously shoved aside, with the remark, "Don't push me away!"

"I did not push thee," said Friend Hopper; "and see that thou dost not
push _me_!" He then inquired of the woman if he had rightly understood
that her husband was free. She replied in the affirmative. "Then let me
tell thee," said the kind-hearted old gentleman, "that we will send for
him, and obtain employment for him here, if it is thy choice to

Again she wept, and repeated, "I do want to be free." But she was
evidently bewildered and distrustful, and did not know how to understand
the opposite professions that were made to her.

On representation of the claimant's friends, Judge Oakley adjourned the
case till the next morning; telling the woman she was at liberty to go
with whom she pleased. The colored people had assembled in considerable
numbers, and were a good deal excited. Experience led them to suppose
that she would either be cajoled into consenting to return to slavery,
or else secretly packed off to New-Orleans, if she were left in Southern
hands. They accordingly made haste to hustle her away. But their
well-intended zeal terrified the poor bewildered creature, and she
escaped from them, and went back to her mistress.

The pro-slavery papers chuckled, as they always do, when some poor
ignorant victim is deceived by false representation, alarmed by an
excitement that she does not comprehend, afraid that strangers are not
telling her the truth, or that they have not the power to protect her;
and in continual terror of future punishment, if she should attempt to
take her freedom, and yet be unable to maintain it. Great is the triumph
of republicans, when, under such trying circumstances, _one_ poor
bewildered wretch goes back to slavery; but of the _hundreds_, who every
month take their freedom, through fire and flood, and all manner of
deadly perils, they are as silent as the grave.

In the spring of 1841, I went to New-York to edit the Anti-Slavery
Standard, and took up my abode with the family of Isaac T. Hopper. The
zealous theological controversy among Friends naturally subsided after
the separation between the opposing parties had become an old and
settled fact. Consequently the demand for Quaker books diminished more
and more. The Anti-Slavery Society, at that time, needed a Treasurer and
Book-Agent; and Friend Hopper was proposed as a suitable person for that
office. As only a small portion of his time was occupied with the sale
of books he had on hand, he concluded to accept the proposition. He was
then nearly seventy years old; but he appeared at least twenty years
younger, in person and manners. His firm, elastic step seemed like a
vigorous man of fifty. He would spring from the Bowery cars, while they
were in motion, with as much agility as a lad of fourteen. His hair was
not even sprinkled with gray. It looked so black and glossy, that a
young lady, who was introduced to him, said she thought he wore a wig
unnaturally dark for his age. It was a favorite joke of his to make
strangers believe he wore a wig; and they were not easily satisfied
that he spoke in jest, until they examined his head.

The roguery of his boyhood had subsided into a love of little
mischievous tricks; and the playful tone of humor, that rippled through
his conversation, frequently reminded me of the Cheeryble Brothers, so
admirably described by Dickens. If some one rang at the door, and
inquired for Mr. Hopper, he always answered, "There is no such person
lives here." If the stranger urged that he had been directed by a man
who said he knew Mr. Hopper, he would persevere in saying, "There must
be some mistake. No such person lives here." At last, when the
disappointed visitor turned to go away, he would call out, "Perhaps thou
means Isaac T. Hopper? That is _my_ name."

Being called upon to give a receipt to a Catholic priest for some money
deposited in his hands, he simply wrote "Received of John Smith." When
the priest had read it, he handed it back and said, "I am disbursing
other people's money, and shall be obliged to show this receipt;
therefore, I should like to have you write my name, the Reverend John
Smith." "I have conscientious scruples about using titles," replied
Friend Hopper. "However, I will try to oblige thee." He took another
slip of paper, and wrote, "Received of John Smith, who _calls_ himself
the Reverend." The priest smiled, and accepted the compromise; being
well aware that the pleasantry originated in no personal or sectarian

He always had something facetious to say to the people with whom he
traded. The oyster-men, the coal-men, and the women at the fruit-stalls
in his neighborhood, all knew him as a pleasant old gentleman, always
ready for a joke. One day, when he was buying some peaches, he said to
the woman, "A serious accident happened at our house last night. I
killed two robbers." "Dear me!" she exclaimed. "Were they young men, or
old convicts? Had they ever been in Sing Sing?" "I don't know about
that," replied he. "I should think they might have been by the noise
they made. But I despatched them before they had stolen much. The walls
are quite bloody." "Has a Coroner's inquest been called?" inquired the
woman. When he answered, "No," she lifted her hands in astonishment, and
exclaimed, "Well now, I do declare! If anybody else had done it, there
would have been a great fuss made about it; but you are a privileged
man, Mr. Hopper." When he was about to walk away, he turned round and
said, "I did not mention to thee that the robbers I killed were two
mosquitoes." The woman had a good laugh, and he came home as pleased as
a boy, to think how completely his serious manner had deceived her.

One day he went to a hosiery store, and said to the man, "I bought a
pair of stockings here yesterday. They looked very nice; but when I got
home, I found two large holes in them; and I have come for another pair.
The man summoned his wife, and informed her of what the gentleman had

"Bless me! Is it possible, sir?" she exclaimed.

"Yes," replied Friend Hopper, I found they had holes as large as my

"It is very strange," rejoined she; "for I am sure they were new. But if
you have brought them back, of course we will change them."

"O," said he, "upon examination, I concluded that the big holes were
made to put the feet in; and I liked the stockings so well, that I have
come to buy another pair."

At another time, he entered a crockery shop, where a young girl was
tending. He made up a very sorrowful face, and in whining tones, told
her that he was in trouble and needed help. She asked him to wait till
the gentleman came; but he continued to beseech that she would take
compassion on him. The girl began to be frightened by his importunity,
and looked anxiously toward the door. At last, the man of the shop came
in; and Friend Hopper said, "This young woman thinks she cannot help me
out of my trouble; but I think she can. The fact is, we are going to
have company, and so many of our tumblers are broken, that I came to
ask if she would sell me a few."

One day, when he was walking quickly up the Bowery, his foot slipped on
a piece of orange-peel, and he fell prostrate on the sidewalk. He
started up instantly, and turning to a young man behind him, he said,
"Couldst thou have done that any better?"

He very often mingled with affairs in the street, as he passed along.
One day, when he saw a man beating his horse brutally, he stepped up to
him and said, very seriously, "Dost thou know that some people think men
change into animals when they die?"

The stranger's attention was arrested by such an unexpected question,
and he answered that he never was acquainted with anybody who had that

"But some people do believe it," rejoined Friend Hopper; "and they also
believe that animals may become men. Now I am thinking if thou shouldst
ever be a horse, and that horse should ever be a man, with such a temper
as thine, the chance is thou wilt get some cruel beatings." Having thus
changed the current of his angry mood, he proceeded to expostulate with
him in a friendly way; and the poor beast was reprieved, for that time,
at least.

He could imitate the Irish brogue very perfectly; and it was a standing
jest with him to make every Irish stranger believe he was a countryman.
During his visit to Ireland, he had become so well acquainted with
various localities, that I believe he never in any instance failed to
deceive them, when he said, "Och! and sure I came from old Ireland
meself." After amusing himself in this way for a while, he would tell
them, "It is true I did come from Ireland; but, to confess the truth, I
went there first."

Once, when he saw two Irishmen fighting, he seized one of them by the
arm, and said, "I'm from ould Ireland. If thou _must_ fight, I'm the man
for thee. Thou hadst better let that poor fellow alone. I'm a dale
stouter than he is; and sure it would be braver to fight me." The man
thus accosted looked at him with surprise, for an instant, then burst
out laughing, threw his coat across his arm, and walked off.

Another time, when he found two Irishmen quarrelling, he stepped up and
inquired what was the matter. "He's got my prayer-book," exclaimed one
of them; "and I'll give him a bating for it; by St. Patrick, I will."
"Let me give thee a piece of advice," said Friend Hopper. "It's a very
hot day, and bating is warm work. I'm thinking thou had'st better put it
off till the cool o' the morning." The men, of course, became cooler
before they had done listening to this playful remonstrance.

Once, when he was travelling in the stage, they passed a number of
Irishmen with cart-loads of stones, to mend the road. Friend Hopper
suggested to the driver that he had better ask them to remove a very
large stone, which lay directly in the way and seemed dangerous. "It
will be of no use if I do," replied the driver. "They'll only curse me,
and tell me to go round the old road, over the hill; for the fact is,
this road is not fairly opened to the public yet." Friend Hopper jumped
out, and asked if they would turn that big stone aside. "And sure ye've
no business here at all," they replied. "Ye may jist go round by the
ould road." "Och!" said Friend Hopper, "and is this the way I'm trated
by my coontryman? I'm from Ireland meself; and sure I did'nt expect to
be trated so by my coontrymen in a strange coontry."

"And are ye from ould Ireland?" inquired they.

"Indade I am," he replied.

"And what part may ye be from?" said they.

"From Mount Mellick, Queen's County," rejoined he; and he began to talk
familiarly about the priest and the doctor there, till he got the
laborers into a real good humor, and they removed the stone with the
utmost alacrity. The passengers in the stage listened to this
conversation, and supposed that he was in reality an Irish Quaker. When
he returned to them and explained the joke, they had a hearty laugh over
his powers of mimicry.

His tricks with children were innumerable. They would often be lying in
wait for him in the street; and if he passed without noticing them, they
would sometimes pull at the skirts of his coat, to obtain the customary
attention. Occasionally, he would observe a little troop staring at him,
attracted by the singularity of his costume. Then, he would stop, face
about, stretch out his leg, and say, "Come now, boys! Come, and take a
good look!" It was his delight to steal up behind them, and tickle their
necks, while he made a loud squealing noise. The children, supposing
some animal had set upon them, would jump as if they had been shot. And
how he would laugh! When he met a boy with dirty face or hands, he would
stop him, and inquire if he ever studied chemistry. The boy, with a
wondering stare, would answer, "No." "Well then, I will teach thee how
to perform a curious chemical experiment," said Friend Hopper. "Go home,
take a piece of soap, put it in water, and rub it briskly on thy hands
and face. Thou hast no idea what a beautiful froth it will make, and how
much whiter thy skin will be. That's a chemical experiment. I advise
thee to try it."

The character of his wife was extremely modest and reserved; and he took
mischievous pleasure in telling strangers the story of their courtship
in a way that made her blush. "Dost thou know what Hannah answered, when
I asked if she would marry me?" said he. "I will tell thee how it was.
I was walking home with her one evening, soon after the death of her
mother, and I mentioned to her that as she was alone now, I supposed she
intended to make some change in her mode of living. When she said yes, I
told her I had been thinking it would be very pleasant to have her come
and live with me. 'That would suit me exactly,' said she. This prompt
reply made me suppose she might not have understood my meaning; and I
explained that I wanted to have her become a member of my family; but
she replied again, 'There is nothing I should like better.'"

The real fact was, the quiet and timid Hannah Attmore was not dreaming
of such a thing as a proposal of marriage. She supposed he spoke of
receiving her as a boarder in his family. When she at last perceived his
meaning, she slipped her arm out of his very quickly, and was too much
confused to utter a word. But it amused him to represent that she seized
the opportunity the moment it was offered.

There was one of the anti-slavery agents who did everything in a
dashing, wholesale style, and was very apt to give peremptory orders.
One day he wrote a letter on business, to which the following postscript
was appended: "Give the hands at your office a tremendous blowing up.
They need it." Friend Hopper briefly replied: "According to thy orders,
I have given the hands at our office a tremendous blowing up. They want
to know what it is for. Please inform me by return of mail."

When the Prison Association of New-York petitioned to be incorporated,
he went to Albany on business therewith connected. He was then a
stranger at the seat of government, though they afterward came to know
him well. When he was seated in the senate-chamber, a man came to him
and told him to take off his hat. He replied, "I had rather not. I am
accustomed to keep it on."

"But it is contrary to the rules," rejoined the officer. "I am ordered
to turn out any man who refuses to uncover his head."

The Quaker quietly responded, "Very well, friend, obey thy orders."

"Then, will you please to walk out, sir?" said the officer.

"No," replied Friend Hopper. "Didst thou not tell me thou wert ordered
to turn me out? Dost thou suppose I am going to do thy duty for thee?"

The officer looked embarrassed, and said, half smiling, "But how am I to
get you out?"

"Carry me out, to be sure," rejoined Friend Hopper. "I see no other

The officer went and whispered to the Speaker, who glanced at the
noble-looking old gentleman, and advised that he should be let alone.

Sometimes his jests conveyed cutting sarcasms. One day, when he was
riding in an omnibus, he opened a port-monnaie lined with red. A man
with very flaming visage, who was somewhat intoxicated, and therefore
very much inclined to be talkative, said, "Ah, that is a very gay
pocket-book for a Quaker to carry."

"Yes, it is very red," replied Friend Hopper; "but is not so red as thy
nose." The passengers all smiled, and the man seized the first
opportunity to make his escape.

A poor woman once entered an omnibus, which was nearly full, and stood
waiting for some one to make room. A proud-looking lady sat near Friend
Hopper, and he asked her to move a little, to accommodate the new comer.
But she looked very glum, and remained motionless. After examining her
countenance for an instant, he said, "If thy face often looks so, I
shouldn't like to have thee for a neighbor." The passengers exchanged
smiles at this rebuke, and the lady frowned still more deeply.

One of the jury in the Darg case was "a son of Abraham," rather
conspicuous for his prejudice against colored people. Some time after
the proceedings were dropped, Friend Hopper happened to meet him, and
entered into conversation on the subject. The Jew was very bitter
against "that rascally thief, Tom Hughes." "It does not become _thee_ to
be so very severe," said Friend Hopper; "for thy ancestors were slaves
in Egypt, and went off with the gold and silver jewels they borrowed of
their masters."

One day he met several of the Society of Friends, whom he had not seen
for some time. Among them was an Orthodox Friend, who was rather stiff
in his manners. The others shook hands with Isaac; but when he
approached "the Orthodox," he merely held out his finger.

"Why dost thou offer me thy finger?" said he.

"I don't allow people of certain principles to get very deep hold of
_me_," was the cold reply.

"Thou needest have no uneasiness on that score," rejoined Friend Hopper;
"for there never was anything deep in thee to get hold of."

The sense of justice, so conspicuous in boyhood, always remained a
distinguishing trait in his character. Once, after riding half a mile,
he perceived that he had got into the wrong omnibus. When he jumped out,
the driver called for pay; but he answered, "I don't owe thee anything.
I've been carried the wrong way." This troubled him afterward, when he
considered that he had used the carriage and horses, and that the
mistake was his own fault. He kept on the look-out for the driver, but
did not happen to see him again, until several weeks afterward. He
called to him to stop, and paid the sixpence.

"Why, you refused to pay me, when I asked you," said the driver.

"I know I did," he replied; "but I repented of it afterward. I was in a
hurry then, and I did not reflect that the mistake was my fault, not
thine; and that I ought to pay for riding half a mile with thy horses,
though they did carry me the wrong way." The man laughed, and said he
didn't often meet with such conscientious passengers.

The tenacity of the old gentleman's memory was truly remarkable. He
often repeated letters, which he had written or received twenty years
before on some memorable occasion; and if opportunity occurred to
compare them with the originals, it would be found that he had scarcely
varied a word. He always maintained that he could distinctly remember
some things, which happened before he was two years old. One day, when
his parents were absent, and Polly was busy about her work, he sat
bolstered up in his cradle, when a sudden gust of wind blew a large
piece of paper through the entry. To his uneducated senses, it seemed to
be a living creature, and he screamed violently. It was several hours
before he recovered from his extreme terror. When his parents returned,
he tried to make them understand how a strange thing had come into the
house, and run, and jumped, and made a noise. But his lisping language
was so very imperfect, that they were unable to conjecture what had so
frightened him. For a long time after, he would break out into sudden
screams, whenever the remembrance came over him. At seventy-five years
old, he told me he remembered exactly how the paper then appeared to
him, and what sensations of terror it excited in his infant breast.

He had a large old-fashioned cow-bell, which was always rung to summon
the family to their meals. He resisted having one of more modern
construction, because he said that pleasantly reminded him of the time
when he was a boy, and used to drive the cows to pasture. Sometimes, he
rang it much longer than was necessary to summon the household. On such
occasions, I often observed him smiling while he stood shaking the bell;
and he would say, "I am thinking how Polly looked, when the cow kicked
her over; milk-pail and all. I can see it just as if it happened
yesterday. O, what fun it was!"

He often spoke of the first slave whose escape he managed, in the days
of his apprenticeship. He was wont to exclaim, "How well I remember the
anxious, imploring, look that poor fellow gave me, when I told him I
would be his friend! It rises up before me now. If I were a painter, I
could show it to thee."

But clearly above all other things, did he remember every look and tone
of his beloved Sarah; even in the days when they trudged to school
together, hand in hand. The recollection of this first love, closely
intertwined with his first religious impressions, was the only flowery
spot of romance in the old gentleman's very practical character. When he
was seventy years of age, he showed me a piece of writing she had copied
for him, when she was a girl of fourteen. It was preserved in the
self-same envelope, in which she sent it, and pinned with the same pin,
long since blackened by age. I said, "Be careful not to lose that pin."

"Lose it!" he exclaimed. "No money could tempt me to part with it. I
loved the very ground she trod upon."

He was never weary of eulogizing her comely looks, beautiful manners,
sound principles, and sensible conversation. The worthy companion of his
later life never seemed troubled by such remarks. She not only "listened
to a sister's praises with unwounded ear," but often added a heartfelt
tribute to the virtues of her departed friend.

It is very common for old people to grow careless about their personal
appearance, and their style of conversation; but Friend Hopper was
remarkably free from such faults. He was exceedingly pure in his mind,
and in his personal habits. He never alluded to any subject that was
unclean, never made any indelicate remark, or used any unseemly
expression. There was never the slightest occasion for young people to
feel uneasy concerning what he might say. However lively his mood might
be, his fun was always sure to be restrained by the nicest sense of
natural propriety. He shaved, and took a cold plunge-bath every day. Not
a particle of mud or dust was allowed to remain upon his garments. He
always insisted on blacking his own shoes; for it was one of his
principles not to be waited upon, while he was well enough to wait upon
himself. They were always as polished as japan; and every Saturday
night, his silver buckles were made as bright as a new dollar, in
readiness to go to meeting the next day. His dress was precisely like
that worn by William Penn. At the time I knew him, I believe he was the
only Quaker in the country, who had not departed from that model in the
slightest degree. It was in fact the dress of all English gentlemen, in
King Charles's time; and the only peculiarity of William Penn was, that
he wore it without embroidery or ornament of any kind, for the purpose
of protesting against the extravagance of the fashionable world.
Therefore, the _spirit_ of his intention and that of other early
Friends, would be preserved by wearing dress cut according to the
prevailing mode, but of plain materials, and entirely unornamented.
However, Friend Hopper was attached to the ancient costume from early
association, and he could not quite banish the idea that any change in
it would be a degree of conformity to the fashions of the world. The
long stockings, and small clothes buckled at the knee, were well adapted
to his finely formed limbs; and certainly he and his lady-like Hannah,
in their quaint garb of the olden time, formed a very agreeable picture.

He had no peculiarities with regard to eating or drinking. He always
followed the old-fashioned substantial mode of living, to which he had
been accustomed in youth, and of which moderation in all things was the
rule. For luxuries he had no taste. He thought very little about his
food; but when it was before him, he ate with the vigorous appetite
natural to strong health and very active habits. When his health failed
for a time in Philadelphia, and he seemed wasting away to a shadow, his
physician recommended tobacco. He found great benefit from it, and in
consequence of the habit then formed he became an inveterate smoker, and
continued so till he was past seventy years old.

Being out of health for a short time, at that period, the doctor told
him he thought smoking was not good for his complaint. He accordingly
discontinued the practice, and formed a resolution not to renew it. When
he recovered, it cost him a good deal of physical annoyance to conquer
the long-settled habit; but he had sufficient strength of mind to
persevere in the difficult task, and he never again used tobacco in any
form. Speaking of this to his son Edward, he said, "The fact is, whoever
cures himself of any selfish indulgence, becomes a better man. It may
seem strange that I should set out to improve at my age; but better late
than never."

He was eminently domestic in his character. Perhaps no man ever lived,
who better enjoyed staying at home. He loved to invite his
grand-children, and write them pleasant little notes about the
squirrel-pie, or some other rarity, which he had in preparation for
them. He seldom went out of his own family circle, except on urgent
business, or to attend to some call of humanity. He was always very
attentive in waiting upon his wife to meeting, or elsewhere, and spent a
large portion of his evenings in reading to her from the newspapers, or
some book of Travels, or the writings of early Friends. No man in the
country had such a complete Quaker library. He contrived to pick up
every rare old volume connected with the history of his sect. He had a
wonderful fondness and reverence for many of those books. They seemed to
stand to him in the place of old religious friends, who had parted from
his side in the journey of life. There, at least, he found Quakerism
that had not degenerated; that breathed the same spirit as of yore.

I presume that his religious opinions resembled those of Elias Hicks.
But I judged so mainly from incidental remarks; for he regarded
doctrines as of small importance, and considered theology an
unprofitable topic of conversation. Practical righteousness, manifested
in the daily affairs of life, was in his view the sum and substance of
religion. The doctrine of the Atonement never commended itself to his
reason, and his sense of justice was disturbed by the idea of the
innocent suffering for the guilty. He moreover thought it had a
pernicious tendency for men to rely on an abstract article of faith, to
save them from their sins. With the stern and gloomy sects, who are
peculiarly attracted by the character of Deity as delineated in the Old
Testament, he had no sympathy. The Infinite One was ever present to his
mind, as a loving Father to all his children, whether they happened to
call him by the name of Brama, Jehovah, God, or Allah.

He was strongly attached to the forms of Quakerism, as well as to the
principles. It troubled him, when some of his children changed their
mode of dress, and ceased to say _thee_ and _thou_. He groaned when one
of his daughters appeared before him with a black velvet bonnet, though
it was exceedingly simple in construction, and unornamented by feather
or ribbon. She was prepared for this reception, and tried to reconcile
him to the innovation by representing that a white or drab-colored silk
bonnet showed every stain, and was therefore very uneconomical for a
person of active habits. "Thy good mother was a very energetic woman,"
he replied; "but she found no difficulty in keeping her white bonnet as
nice as a new pin." His daughter urged that it required a great deal of
trouble to keep it so; and that she did not think dress was worth so
much trouble. But his groan was only softened into a sigh. The fashion
of the bonnet his Sarah had worn, in that beloved old meeting-house at
Woodbury, was consecrated in his memory; and to his mind, the outward
type also stood for an inward principle. I used to tell him that I found
something truly grand in the original motive for saying _thee_ and
_thou_; but it seemed to me that it had degenerated into a mere
hereditary habit, since the custom of applying _you_ exclusively to
superiors had vanished from the English language. He admitted the force
of this argument; but he deprecated a departure from their old forms,
because he considered it useful, especially to the young, to carry the
cross of being marked and set apart from the world. But though he was
thus strict in what he required of those who had been educated as
Quakers, he placed no barrier between himself and people of other sects.
He loved a righteous man, and sympathized with an unfortunate one,
without reference to his denomination. In fact, many of his warmest and
dearest friends were not members of his own religious society.

Early in life he formed an unfavorable opinion of the effect of capital
punishment. His uncle Tatum considered it a useful moral lesson to take
all his apprentices to hear the tragedy of George Barnwell, and to
witness public executions. On one of these occasions, he saw five men
hung at once. His habits of shrewd observation soon led him to conclude
that such spectacles generally had a very hardening and bad influence on
those who witnessed them, or heard them much talked about. In riper
years, his mind was deeply interested in the subject, and he read and
reflected upon it a great deal. The result of his investigations was a
settled conviction that executions did not tend to diminish crime, but
rather to increase it, by their demoralizing effect on the community. He
regarded them with abhorrence, as a barbarous custom, entirely out of
place in a civilized country and a Christian age.

Concerning the rights of women, he scarcely needed any new light from
modern theories; for, as a Quaker, he had been early accustomed to
practical equality between men and women in all the affairs of the
Society. He had always been in the habit of listening to them as
preachers, and of meeting them on committees with men, for education,
for the care of the poor, for missions to the Indians, and for financial
regulations. Therefore, it never occurred to him that there was anything
unseemly in a woman's using any gift with which God had endowed her, or
transacting any business, which she had the ability to do well.

After his removal to New-York, incidents now and then occurred, which
formed pleasant links with his previous life in Philadelphia. Sometimes
slaves, whom he had rescued many years before, or convicts, whom he had
encouraged to lead a better life, called to see him and express their
gratitude. Sometimes their children came to bless him. There was one old
colored woman, who never could meet him without embracing him. Although
these demonstrations were not always convenient, and did not partake of
the quiet character of Quaker discipline, he would never say anything to
repress the overflowings of her warm old heart. As one of his sons
passed through Bond-street, he saw an old colored man rubbing his
knees, and making the most lively gesticulations of delight. Being asked
what was the matter, he pointed across the street, and exclaimed, "O, if
I was only sure that was Friend Hopper of Philadelphia! If I was only
_sure_!" When told that he was not mistaken, he rushed up to the old
gentleman, threw his arms about his neck, and hugged him.

When I told him of Julia Pell, a colored Methodist preacher, whose
fervid untutored eloquence had produced an exciting effect on my mind,
he invited her to come and take tea with him. In the course of
conversation, he discovered that she was the daughter of Zeke, the slave
who outwitted his purchaser; as described in the preceding narratives.
It was quite an interesting event in her life to meet with the man who
had written her father's manumission papers, while she was in her
infancy. When the parting hour came, she said she felt moved to pray;
and dropping on her knees, she poured forth a brief but very earnest
prayer, at the close of which she said: "O Lord, I beseech thee to
shower down blessings on that good old man, whom thou hast raised up to
do such a blessed work for my down-trodden people."

Friend Hopper's fund of anecdotes, especially with regard to colored
people, was almost inexhaustible. He related them with so much
animation, that he was constantly called upon to repeat them, both at
public meetings and in private conversation; and they never failed to
excite lively interest. Every stranger, who was introduced to him, tried
to draw him out; and it was an easy matter; for he loved to oblige
people, and it is always pleasant for an old soldier to fight his
battles over again. In this readiness to recount his own exploits, there
was nothing that seemed like silly or obtrusive vanity. It often
reminded me of the following just remark in the Westminster Review,
applied to Jeremy Bentham: "The very egotism in which he occasionally
indulged was a manifestation of a _want_ of self-thought. This unpopular
failing is, after all, one of the characteristics of a natural and
simple mind. It requires much _thought_ about one's self to _avoid_
speaking of one's self."

It has been already mentioned that Friend Hopper passed through a fiery
trial in his own religious society, during the progress of the schism
produced by the preaching of Elias Hicks. Fourteen years had elapsed
since the separation. The "Hicksite" branch had become an established
and respectable sect. In cities, many of them were largely engaged in
Southern trade. I have heard it stated that millions of money were thus
invested. They retained sympathy with the theological opinions of Elias
Hicks, but his rousing remonstrances against slavery would have been
generally very unwelcome to their ears. They cherished the names of
Anthony Benezet, John Woolman, and a host of other departed worthies,
whose labors in behalf of the colored people reflected honor on their
Society. But where was the need of being so active in the cause, as
Isaac T. Hopper was, and always had been? "The way did not open" for
_them_ to be so active; and why should _his_ zeal rebuke _their_
listlessness? Was it friendly, was it respectful in him, to do more than
his religious Society thought it necessary to do? It is astonishing how
troublesome a living soul proves to be, when they try to shut it up
within the narrow limits of a drowsy sect!

I had a friend in Boston, whose wealthy and aristocratic parents brought
him up according to the most approved model of genteel religion. He
learned the story of the Good Samaritan, and was early accustomed to
hear eulogies pronounced on the holy Jesus, who loved the poor, and
associated with the despised. When the boy became a man he joined the
Anti-Slavery Society, and openly avowed that he regarded Africans as
brethren of the great human family. His relatives were grieved to see
him pursuing such an injudicious and disrespectable course. Whereupon, a
witty reformer remarked, "They took most commendable pains to present
Jesus and the Good Samaritan as models of character, but they were
surprised to find that he had taken them at their word."

The case was somewhat similar with Isaac T. Hopper. He had imbibed
anti-slavery principles in full flood at the fountain of Quakerism.
Their best and greatest men were conspicuous as advocates of those
principles. Children were taught to revere those men, and their
testimonies were laid up in honorable preservation, to be quoted with
solemn formality on safe occasions. Friend Hopper acted as if these
professions were in good earnest; and thereby he disturbed his sect, as
my Boston friend troubled his family, when he made practical use of
their religious teaching.

That many of the modern Quakers should be blinded by bales of cotton,
heaped up between their souls and the divine light, is not remarkable;
for cotton is an impervious material. But it is a strange anomaly in
their history that any one among them should have considered himself
guided by the Spirit to undertake the especial mission of discouraging
sympathy with the enslaved. A minister belonging to that branch of the
Society called "Hicksites," who usually preached in Rose-street Meeting,
New-York, had imbibed very strong prejudices against all modern reforms:
and he manifested his aversion with a degree of excitement, in language,
tone, and gesture, very unusual in that quiet sect. Those who labored
in the cause of temperance, anti-slavery, or non-resistance, he was wont
to stigmatize as "hireling lecturers," "hireling book-agents," and
"emissaries of Satan." Soon after Thomas Hughes consented to return to
the South, in consequence of the fair professions of Mr. Darg, this
preacher chimed in with the exulting tones of the pro-slavery press, by
alluding to it in one of his public discourses as follows. After
speaking of the tendency of affliction to produce humility, he went on
to say, "As a slave, who had suffered the effects of his criminal
conduct, and been thus led to calm reflection, recently chose to go back
with this master into slavery, and endure all the evils of that
condition, notwithstanding his former experience of them, rather than
stay with those hypocritical workers of popular righteousness who had
interfered in his behalf. For my own part, I commend his choice. I had a
thousand times rather be a slave, and spend my days with slaveholders,
than to dwell in companionship with abolitionists."

The state of things among Quakers in the city of New-York may be
inferred from the fact that this minister was exceedingly popular, and
his style of preaching cordially approved by a majority of them. One of
the editors of the Anti-Slavery Standard, at that time, wrote a severe,
though by no means abusive article on the subject, headed "Rare
Specimen of a Quaker Preacher." This gave great offence, and Isaac T.
Hopper was very much blamed for it. He, and his son-in-law James S.
Gibbons, and his friend Charles Marriott, then belonged to the Executive
Committee of the Anti-Slavery Society; and it was assumed to be their
duty to have prevented the publication of the sarcastic article. Charles
Harriot was absent from the city when it was published, and Friend
Hopper did not see it till after it was in print. When they urged these
facts, and stated, moreover, that they had no right to dictate to the
editor what he should say, or what he should not say, they were told
that they ought to exculpate themselves by a public expression of their
disapprobation. But as they did not believe the editorial article
contained any mis-statement of facts, they could not conscientiously say
any thing that would satisfy the friends of the preacher. It would be
tedious to relate the difficulties that followed. There were visits from
overseers, and prolonged sessions of committees; a great deal of talking
_with_ the accused, and still more talking _about_ them. A strong
disposition was manifested to make capital against them out of the Darg
Case. Robert H. Morris, who was presiding Judge while that case was
pending, and afterward Mayor of New-York, had long known Friend Hopper,
and held him in much respect. When he was told that some sought to cast
imputations on his character, he was greatly surprised, and offered to
give favorable testimony in any form that might be desired. J.R.
Whiting, the District Attorney, expressed the same readiness; and
private misrepresentations were silenced by a published certificate from
them, testifying that throughout the affair Friend Hopper had merely
"exhibited a desire to procure the money for the master, and the
manumission of the slave."

The principal argument brought by Friends, against their members uniting
with Anti-Slavery Societies, was that they were thus led to mix
indiscriminately with people of other denominations, and brought into
contact with hireling clergymen. There seemed some inconsistency in this
objection, coming from the mouths of men who belonged to Rail Road
Corporations, and Bank Stock Companies, and who mingled constantly with
slaveholders in Southern trade; for the early testimonies of the Society
were quite as explicit against slavery, as against a paid ministry.
However, those of their members who were abolitionists were willing to
obviate this objection, if possible. They accordingly formed an
association among themselves, "for the relief of those held in slavery,
and the improvement of the free people of color." But when this
benevolent association asked for the use of Rose-street Meeting-house,
their request was not only refused, but condemned as disorderly.
Affairs were certainly in a very singular position. Both branches of the
Society of Friends were entirely inert on the subject of slavery. Both
expressed pity for the slave, but both agreed that "the way did not
open" for them to _do_ anything. If individual members were thus driven
to unite in action with other sects upon a subject which seemed to them
very important, they were called disorganizers. When they tried to
conciliate by forming an association composed of Quakers only, they were
told that "as the Society of Friends saw no way to move forward in this
concern, such associations appeared to reflect upon _them_;" implying
that they failed in discharging their duty as a religious body. What
could an earnest, direct character, like Isaac T. Hopper, do in the
midst of a sect thus situated? He proceeded as he always did. He walked
straight forward in what seemed to him the path of duty, and snapped all
the lilliputian cords with which they tried to bind him.

Being unable to obtain any apology from their offending members, the
Society proceeded to administer its discipline. A complaint was laid
before the Monthly Meeting of New-York, in which Isaac T. Hopper, James
S. Gibbons, and Charles Marriott, were accused of "being concerned in
the publication and support of a paper calculated to excite discord and
disunity among Friends." Friend Hopper published a statement,
characterised by his usual boldness, and disturbed his mind very little
about the result of their proceedings. April, 1842, he wrote thus, to
his daughter, Sarah H. Palmer, of Philadelphia: "During my late
indisposition, I was induced to enter into a close examination of my own
heart; and I could not find that I stood condemned there for the part I
have taken in the anti-slavery cause, which has brought upon me so much
censure from those 'who know not God, nor his son Jesus Christ. They
profess that they know God, but in works they deny him.' I have not yet
given up our Society as lost. I still live in the faith that it will see
better days. I often remember the testimony borne by that devoted and
dignified servant of the Lord, Mary Ridgeway; which was to this import:
'The Lord, in his infinite wisdom and mercy, has gathered this Society
to be a people, and has placed his name among them; and He has given
them noble testimonies to hold up to the nations; but if they prove
unfaithful, those testimonies will be given unto others, who may be
compared to the stones of the street; and _they_ will wear the crowns
that were intended for this people, who will be cast out, as salt that
has lost its savor.' We may plume ourselves upon being the _children_ of
Abraham, but in the days of solemn inquisition, which surely will come,
it will only add to our condemnation, because we have not done the
_works_ of Abraham."

"The Yearly Meeting will soon be upon us, when we shall have a final
decision in our cases. I feel perfectly resigned to the result, be it
what it may. Indeed, I have sometimes thought I should be happier _out_
of the Society than _in_ it. I should feel more at liberty to 'cry aloud
and spare not, to lift up my voice like a trumpet, and show the people
their transgressions, and the house of Jacob their sins.' I believe no
greater benefit could be conferred on the Society. There are yet many in
it who see and deplore its departure from primitive uprightness, but who
are afraid to come out as they ought against the evils that prevail in

An aged and very worthy Friend in Philadelphia, named Robert Moore, who
deeply sympathized with the wrongs of colored people, wrote to Friend
Hopper as follows: "From 1822 to 1827, we had many interesting
conversations in thy little front room, respecting the distracted state
of our Society, and the efforts made to sustain our much beloved brother
Elias Hicks, against those who were anxious for his downfall and
excommunication. This great excitement grew hotter till the separation
in 1827; we not being able to endure any longer the intolerance of the
party in power. Well, it appears that the persecuted have now, in their
turn, become persecutors; and those who went through the fire aforetime
are devoted to pass through it again. But, my dear friend, I hope thou
and all who are doomed to suffer for conscience sake, will stand firm,
and not deviate one inch from what you believe to be your duty. They may
cast you out of the synagogue, which I fear has become so corrupt that a
seat among them has ceased to be an honor, or in any way desirable; but
you will pass through the furnace unscathed. Not a hair of your heads
will be singed."

The ecclesiastical proceedings in this case were kept pending more than
a year, I think; being carried from the Monthly Meeting to the
Quarterly, and thence to the Yearly Meeting. Thirty-six Friends were
appointed a committee in the Yearly Meeting. They had six sessions, and
finally reported that, after patient deliberation, they found eighteen
of their number in favor of confirming the decision of the Quarterly
Meeting; fifteen for reversing it; and three who declined giving any
judgment in the case. Upon this report, the Yearly Meeting confirmed the
decision of the inferior tribunals; and Isaac T. Hopper, James S.
Gibbons, and Charles Marriott were excommunicated; in Quaker phrase,

I thus expressed myself at the time; and the lapse of ten years has not
changed my view of the case: Excommunication for _such_ causes will cut
off from the Society their truest, purest, and tenderest spirits. There
is Isaac T. Hopper, whose life has been one long chapter of benevolence,
an unblotted record of fair integrity. A man so exclusive in his
religious attachments that the principles of his Society are to his mind
identical with Christianity, and its minutest forms sacred from
innovation. A man whose name is first mentioned wherever Quakerism is
praised, or benevolence to the slave approved.

There is Charles Marriott, likewise widely known, and of high standing
in the Society; mild as a lamb, and tender-hearted as a child; one to
whom conflict with others is peculiarly painful, but who nevertheless,
when principles are at stake, can say, with the bold-hearted Luther,
"God help me! I cannot otherwise."

There is James S. Gibbons, a young man, and therefore less known; but
wherever known, prized for his extreme kindness of heart, his steadfast
honesty of purpose, his undisguised sincerity, and his unflinching
adherence to his own convictions of duty. A Society has need to be very
rich in moral excellence, that can afford to throw away three such

Protests and disclaimers against the disownment of these worthy men came
from several parts of the country, signed by Friends of high character;
and many private letters were addressed to them, expressive of sympathy
and approbation. Friend Hopper was always grateful for such marks of
respect and friendship; but his own conscience would have sustained him
without such aid. He had long felt a deep sadness whenever he was
reminded of the _spiritual_ separation between him and the religious
Society, whose preachers had exerted such salutary influence on his
youthful character; but the _external_ separation was of no consequence.
He attended meeting constantly, as he had ever done, and took his seat
on the bench under the preachers' gallery, facing the audience, where he
had always been accustomed to sit, when he was an honored member of the
Society. Charles Marriott, who was by temperament a much meeker man,
said to him one day, "The overseers have called upon me, to represent
the propriety of my taking another seat, under existing circumstances. I
expect they will call upon thee, to give the same advice."

"I expect they _won't_," was Isaac's laconic reply; and they never did.

His daughter, Abby H. Gibbons, soon after resigned membership in the
Monthly Meeting of New-York for herself and her children; and his sons
Josiah and John did the same. The grounds stated were that "the meeting
had manifestly departed from the original principles and testimonies of
the Society of Friends; that the plainest principles of civil and
religious freedom had been violated in the whole proceedings in relation
to their father; and that the overseers had prepared an official
document calculated to produce false impressions with regard to him;
accusing him of 'grossly reproachful conduct' in the well known Darg
Case; whereas there was abundant evidence before the public that his
proceedings in that case were influenced by the purest and most
disinterested motives."

The Philadelphia Ledger, after stating that the Society of Friends in
New-York had disowned some of their prominent members for being
connected, directly or indirectly, with an Abolition Journal, added the
following remark: "This seems rather singular; for we had supposed that
Friends were favorably inclined toward the abolition of slavery. But
many of their members are highly respectable merchants, extensively
engaged in Southern trade. We are informed that they are determined to
discountenance all pragmatic interference with the legal and
constitutional rights of their brethren at the South. The Quakers have
always been distinguished for minding their own business, and permitting
others to attend to theirs. They would be the last people to meddle with
the rights of _property_."

The Boston Times quoted the paragraph from the Philadelphia Ledger, with
the additional remark, "There is no logician like money."

Whether Friends in New-York felt flattered by these eulogiums, I know
not; but they appear to have been well deserved.

In 1842 and the year following, Friend Hopper travelled more than usual.
In August '42, he visited his native place, after an absence of twenty
years. He and his wife were accompanied from Philadelphia by his son
Edward and his daughter Sarah H. Palmer. Of course, the haunts of his
boyhood had undergone many changes. Panther's Bridge had disappeared,
and Rabbit Swamp and Turkey Causeway no longer looked like the same
places. He visited his father's house, then occupied by strangers, and
found the ruins of his great-grandfather's dwelling. Down by the
pleasant old creek, shaded with large walnut trees and cedars, stood the
tombs of many of his relatives; and at Woodbury were the graves of his
father and mother, and the parents of his wife. Every spot had something
interesting to say of the past. His eyes brightened, and his tongue
became voluble with a thousand memories. Had I been present to listen to
him then, I should doubtless have been enabled to add considerably to my
stock of early anecdotes. He seemed to have brought away from this visit
a peculiarly vivid recollection of "poor crazy Joe Gibson." This
demented being was sometimes easily controlled, and willing to be
useful; at other times, he was perfectly furious and ungovernable. Few
people knew how to manage him; but Isaac's parents acquired great
influence over him by their uniform system of forbearance and
tenderness; their own good sense and benevolence having suggested the
ideas which regulate the treatment of insanity at the present period.
The day spent in Woodbury and its vicinity was a bright spot in Friend
Hopper's life, to which he always reverted with a kind of saddened
pleasure. The heat of the season had been tempered by floating clouds,
and when they returned to Philadelphia, there was a faint rainbow in the
east. He looked lovingly upon it, and said, "These clouds seem to have
followed us all day, on purpose to make everything more pleasant."

In the course of the same month he accepted an invitation to attend the
Anti-Slavery Convention at Norristown, Pennsylvania. His appearance
there was quite an event. Many friends of the cause, who were strangers
to him, were curious to obtain a sight of him, and to hear him address
the meeting. Charles C. Burleigh, in an eloquent letter to the
Convention, says: "I am glad to hear that Isaac T. Hopper is to be
present. That tried old veteran, with his eye undimmed, his natural
strength unabated, his resolute look, and calm determined manner, before
which the blustering kidnapper, and the self-important oppressor have so
often quailed! With the scars of a hundred battles, and the wreaths of
an hundred victories in this glorious warfare. With his example of half
a century's active service in this holy cause, and his still faithful
adherence to it, through evil as well as good report, and in the face of
opposition as bitter as sectarian bigotry can stir up. Persecution
cannot bow the head, which seventy winters could not blanch, nor the
terrors of excommunication chill the heart, in which age could not
freeze the kindly flow of warm philanthropy."

I think it was not long after this excursion that his sister Sarah came
from Maryland to visit him. She was a pleasant, sensible matron, much
respected by all who knew her. I noted down at the time several
anecdotes of childhood and youth, which bubbled up in the course of
conversations between her and her brother. In her character the
hereditary trait of benevolence was manifested in a form somewhat
different from his. She had no children of her own, but she brought up,
on her husband's farm, nineteen poor boys and girls, and gave most of
them a trade. Nearly all of them turned out well.

In the winters of 1842 and '43, Friend Hopper complied with urgent
invitations to visit the Anti-Slavery Fair, in Boston; and seldom has a
warmer welcome been given to any man. As soon as he appeared in Amory
Hall, he was always surrounded by a circle of lively girls attracted by
his frank manners, his thousand little pleasantries, and his keen
enjoyment of young society. A friend of mine used to say that when she
saw them clustering round him, in furs and feathered bonnets, listening
to his words so attentively, she often thought it would make as fine a
picture as William Penn explaining his treaty to the Indians.

Ellis Gray Loring in a letter to me, says: "We greatly enjoyed Friend
Hopper's visit. You cannot conceive how everybody was delighted with
him; particularly all our gay young set; James Russell Lowell, William
W. Story, and the like. The old gentleman seemed very happy; receiving
from all hands evidence of the true respect in which he is held." Mrs.
Loring, writing to his son John, says: "We have had a most delightful
visit from your father. Our respect, wonder, and love for him increased
daily. I am sure he must have received some pleasure, he bestowed so
much. We feel his friendship to be a great acquisition."

Samuel J. May wrote to me: "I cannot tell you how much I was charmed by
my interview with Friend Hopper. To me, it was worth more than all the
Fair beside. Give my most affectionate respects to him. He very kindly
invited me to make his house my home when I next come to New-York; and I
am impatient for the time to arrive, that I may accept his invitation."

Edmund Quincy, writing to Friend Hopper's daughter, Mrs. Gibbons, says:
"You cannot think how glad we were to see the dear old man. He spent a
night with me, to my great contentment, and that of my wife; and to the
no small edification of our little boy, to whom breeches and buckles
were a great curiosity. My Irish gardener looked at them with reverence;
having probably seen nothing so aristocratic, since he left the old
country. I love those relics of past time. The Quakers were not so much
out, when they censured their members for turning _sans culottes_. Think
of Isaac T. Hopper in a pair of pantaloons strapped under his feet!
There is heresy in the very idea. But, costume apart, we were as glad to
see Father Hopper, as if he had been our real father in the flesh. I
hope he had a right good time. If he had not, I am sure it was not for
want of being made much of. I trust his visits to Boston will grow into
one of our domestic institutions."

In the old gentleman's account of his visit to the Fair, he says: "I was
struck with the extreme propriety with which everything was conducted,
and with the universal harmony and good-will that prevailed among the
numerous friends of the cause, who had collected from all parts of the
old Commonwealth, on this interesting occasion. Many of the most
distinguished citizens were purchasers, and appeared highly gratified,
though not connected with the anti-slavery cause. Lord Morpeth, late
Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, attended frequently, made some presents to
the Fair, and purchased several articles. I would call him by his
Christian name, if I knew it; for it is plain enough that he was not
baptized, 'Lord'. His manners were extremely friendly and agreeable, and
he expressed himself highly pleased with the exhibition. I had an
interesting conversation with him on the subject of slavery;
particularly in relation to the Amistad captives, and the case of the

"I had an opportunity to make a valuable addition to my collection of
the works of ancient Friends. On the book-table, I found that rare old
volume, 'The Way Cast Up,' written by George Keith, while in unity with
the Society. I took it home with me to my chamber; and as I glanced over
it, my mind was moved to a painful retrospect of the Society of Friends
in its original state, when its members were at liberty to follow the
light, as manifested to them in the silence and secrecy of their own
souls. I seemed to see them entering places appointed for worship by
various professors, and there testifying against idolatry, superstition,
and a mercenary priesthood. I saw them entering the courts, calling upon
judges and lawyers to do justice. I saw them receive contumely and
abuse, as a reward for these acts of dedication. My imagination
followed them to loathsome dungeons, where many of them died a lingering
death. I saw the blood trickling from the lacerated backs of innocent
men and women. I saw William Robinson, Marmaduke Stevenson, Mary Dyer,
and William Leddra, pass through the streets of Boston, pinioned, and
with halters about their necks, on the way to execution; yet rejoicing
that they were found worthy to suffer, even unto death, for their
fidelity to Christ; sustained through those last bitter moments by an
approving conscience and the favor of God.

"I now see the inhabitants of that same city surpassed by none on the
globe, for liberality, candor, and benevolence. I see them taking the
lead of very many of the descendants of the martyrs referred to, in many
things, and at an immeasurable distance. I compared the state of the
Society of Friends in the olden time with what it now is. In some
sections of the country, they, in their turn, have become persecutors.
Not with dungeons, halter, and fire; for those modes of punishment have
gone by; but by ejecting their members from religious fellowship, and
defaming their characters for doing that which they conscientiously
believe is required at their hands; casting out their names as
evil-doers for honestly endeavoring to support one of the most dignified
testimonies ever given to the Society of Friends to hold up before a
sinful world. These reflections pained me deeply; for all the
convictions of my soul, and all my early religious recollections, bind
me fast to the principles of Friends; and I cannot but mourn to see how
the world has shorn them of their strength. I spent nearly a sleepless
night, and was baptized with my tears."

"In the morning, my mind was in some degree reassured with the hope that
there are yet left, throughout the land, 'seven thousand in Israel, all
the knees which have not bowed unto Baal, and every mouth which has not
kissed him;' and that among these shall yet 'arise judges, as at the
first, and counsellors, and lawgivers, as in the beginning.' My soul
longeth for the coming of that day, more than for the increase of corn,
and wine, and oil."

In the Spring of 1843, Friend Hopper visited Rhode Island, and Bucks
County, in Pennsylvania, to address the people in behalf of the
enslaved. He was accompanied by Lucinda Wilmarth, a very intelligent and
kind-hearted young person, who sometimes spoke on the same subject.
After she returned to her home in Massachusetts, she wrote as follows,
to the venerable companion of her mission; "Dear Father Hopper, I see by
the papers that Samuel Johnson has gone home. I well remember our call
upon him, on the second Sunday morning of our sojourn in that land of
roses. I also remember his radiant and peaceful countenance, which told
of a life well spent, and of calm and hopeful anticipations of the
future. I love to dwell upon my visit to Pennsylvania. I never saw
happier or more lovely homes. Never visited dwellings where those little
household divinities, goodness, order, and cheerfulness, held more
universal sway. I was enabled to view men and things from an entirely
new point of view. I had previously seen nothing of Quakerism, except in
a narrow orthodox form, with which I had no sympathy. I was much pleased
with the apparent freedom and philanthropy of the Friends I met there. I
know not whether it was their peculiar _ism_, that made them so
comparatively free and liberal. Perhaps I unconsciously assigned to
their Quakerism what merely belonged to their manhood. But the fact is,
they came nearer to realizing the ideal of Quakerism, associated in my
mind with Fox and Penn, than any people I have ever seen.

"I stopped at Providence on my way home. As soon as I entered Isaac
Hale's door, little Alice began to skip with joy, as she did that day
when we returned so unexpectedly to dine; but the next moment, she
looked down the stair-case, and exclaimed in a most anxious tone, 'Why
_did'nt_ Grandfather Hopper come? What _did_ you come alone for? What
_shall_ I do?' On my arrival home, the first noisy greetings of my
little brothers and sisters had scarcely subsided, before they began to
inquire, 'Why did'nt your _other_ father come, too?' They complained
that you had not written a single 'Tale of Oppression' for the Standard
since you were here. But a week after, my little sister came running
with an open newspaper in her hand, exclaiming, 'Father Hopper has made
another story!' She has named her doll for your little grand-daughter,
Lucy Gibbons, because you used to talk about her; and every day she
reads the book you gave her."

Friend Hopper found great satisfaction in the perusal of the above
letter, not only on account of his great regard for the writer, but
because many of the Friends in Bucks County were the delight of his
heart. He was always telling me that if I wanted to see the best farms,
the best Quakers, and the most comfortable homes in the world, I must go
to Bucks County. In his descriptions, it was a blooming land of peace
and plenty, approaching as near to an earthly paradise, as could be
reasonably expected.

At the commencement of 1845, the American Anti-Slavery Society made some
changes in their office at New-York, by which the duties of editor and
treasurer, were performed by the same person; consequently Friend
Hopper's services were no longer needed. When he retired from the office
he had held during four years, the Society unanimously voted him thanks
for the fidelity with which he had discharged the duties entrusted to

At that time, several intelligent and benevolent gentlemen in the city
of New-York were much interested in the condition of criminals
discharged from prisons, without money, without friends, and with a
character so blasted, that it was exceedingly difficult to procure
employment. However sincerely desirous such persons might be to lead a
better life, it seemed almost impossible for them to carry their good
resolutions into practice. The inconsiderate harshness of society forced
them back into dishonest courses, even when it was contrary to their own
inclinations. That this was a fruitful source of crime, and consequently
a great increase of expense to the state, no one could doubt who
candidly examined the subject. To meet the wants of this class of
sufferers, it was proposed to form a Prison Association, whose business
it should be to inquire into individual cases, and extend such sympathy
and assistance as circumstances required. This subject had occupied
Friend Hopper's mind almost as early as the wrongs of the slave. He
attended the meetings, and felt a lively interest in the discussions, in
which he often took part. The editor of the New-York Evening Mirror,
alluding to one of these occasions, says: "When Mr. Hopper rose to offer
some remarks, we thought the burst of applause which greeted the quaint
old man, (in the very costume of Franklin) was a spontaneous homage to
goodness; and we thanked God and took courage for poor human nature."

His well-known benevolence, his peculiar tact in managing wayward
characters, his undoubted integrity, and his long experience in such
matters, naturally suggested the idea that he was more suitable than any
other person to be Agent of the Association. It was a situation
extremely well-adapted to his character, and if his limited
circumstances would have permitted, he would have been right glad to
have discharged its duties gratuitously. He named three hundred dollars
a year, as sufficient addition to his income, and the duties were
performed with as much diligence and zeal, as if the recompence had been
thousands. Although he was then seventy-four years old, his hand-writing
was firm and even, and very legible. He kept a Diary of every day's
transactions, and a Register of all the discharged convicts who applied
for assistance; with a monthly record of such information as could be
obtained of their character and condition, from time to time. The neat
and accurate manner in which these books were kept was really surprising
in so old a man. The amount of walking he did, to attend to the business
of the Association, was likewise remarkable. Not one in ten thousand,
who had lived so many years, could have endured so much fatigue.

In his labors in behalf of this class of unfortunate people he was
essentially aided by Abby H. Gibbons, who resided nearer to him than his
other daughters, and who had the same affectionate zeal to sustain him,
that she had manifested by secretly slipping a portion of her earnings
into his pocket, in the days of her girlhood. She was as vigilant and
active in behalf of the women discharged from prison, as her father was
in behalf of the men. Through the exertions of herself and other
benevolent women, an asylum for these poor outcasts, called THE HOME,
was established and sustained. Friend Hopper took a deep interest in
that institution, and frequently went there on Sunday evening, with his
wife and daughters, to talk with the inmates in a manner most likely to
soothe and encourage them. They were accustomed to call him "Father
Hopper," and always came to him for advice when they were in trouble.

When the Prison Association petitioned to be incorporated, it
encountered a great deal of opposition, on the ground that it would be
likely to interfere with the authority of the State over prisons. During
two winters, Friend Hopper went to Albany frequently to sustain the
measure. He commanded respect and attention, by the good sense of his
remarks, his dignified manner, and readiness of utterance. The
Legislature were more inclined to have confidence in him, because he was
known to be a benevolent, conscientious Quaker, entirely unconnected
with party politics. In fact, the measure was carried mainly by the
exertion of his personal influence. He sustained the petition of the
Association in a speech before the Legislature, which excited much
attention, and made a deep impression on those who heard it. Judge
Edmonds, who was one of the speakers on the same occasion, often alluded
to it as a remarkable address. He said, "It elicited more applause, and
did more to carry the end in view, than anything that was said by more
practised public speakers. His eloquence was simple and direct, but most
effective. If he was humorous, his audience were full of laughter; if
solemn, a deathlike stillness reigned; if pathetic, tears flowed all
around him. He seemed unconscious of his power in this respect, but I
have heard him many times before large assemblies at our Anniversaries,
and in the chapel of the State Prison, and I have been struck, over and
over again, with the remarkable sway he had over the minds of those whom
he addressed."

The business of the Association made it necessary for Friend Hopper to
visit that city many times afterward. He came to be so well known there,
and was held in such high respect, that whenever he made his appearance
in the halls of legislation, the Speaker sent a messenger to invite him
to take a seat near his own.

He often applied to the Governor to exert his pardoning power, where he
thought there were mitigating circumstances attending the commission of
a crime; or where the mind and health of a prisoner seemed breaking
down; or where a long course of good conduct seemed deserving of reward.
When Governor Young had become sufficiently acquainted with him to form
a just estimate of his character, he said to him, "Friend Hopper, I will
pardon any convict, whom you say you conscientiously believe I ought to
pardon. If I err at all, I prefer that it should be on the side of
mercy. But so many cases press upon my attention, and it is so difficult
to examine them all thoroughly, that it is a great relief to find a man
in whose judgment and integrity I have such perfect confidence, as I
have in yours." On the occasion of one of these applications for mercy,
the following quaint correspondence passed between him and the Governor:

"Esteemed Friend,

"John Young:

"You mayst think this mode of address rather too familiar; but as it
is the spontaneous effusion of my heart, and entirely congenial
with my feelings, I hope thou wilt hold me excused. Permit me to
embrace this opportunity to congratulate thee upon thy accession
to the office of Chief Magistrate of the State. I have confidence
its duties will be faithfully performed. I rejoice that thou hast
had independence enough to restore to liberty, and to their
families, those infatuated men called Anti-Renters. Some, who live
under the old dispensation, that demanded 'an eye for an eye, and a
tooth for a tooth,' will doubtless censure this act of justice and
mercy. But another class will be glad; those who have embraced the
Christian faith, and live under the benign influence of its spirit,
which enjoins forgiveness of injuries. The approbation of such,
accompanied with an approving conscience, will, I trust, more than
counterbalance any censure that may arise on the occasion.

"The object I particularly have in view in addressing thee now, is,
to call thy attention to the case of Allen Lee, who was sentenced
to twelve years' imprisonment for horse-stealing, in Westchester
County. He has served for eleven years and two months of that time.
It is his first offence, and he has conducted well during his
confinement. His health is much impaired, and he has several times
had a slight haemorrhage of the lungs. Allen's father was a regular
teamster in the army during all the revolutionary war. Though poor,
he has always sustained a fair reputation. He is now ninety years
old, and he is extremely anxious to behold the face of his son.
Permit me, most respectfully, but earnestly, to ask thy early
attention to this case. The old man is confined to his bed, and so
low, that he cannot continue many weeks. Unless Allen is very soon
released, there is no probability that he will ever see him. I have
no self-interested motives in this matter, but am influenced solely
by considerations of humanity. With sincere desires for thy health
and happiness, I am very respectfully thy friend,


Governor Young promptly replied as follows.

"My worthy friend, Isaac T. Hopper,

"I have often thought of thee since we last met. I have received
thy letter; and because thou hast written to me, and because I know
that what thou writest is always truth, and that the old man,
before he lays him down to die, may behold the face of his son, I
will restore Allen to his kindred. When thou comest to Albany, I
pray thee to come and see me. Very respectfully thy friend, JOHN

The monitor within frequently impelled Friend Hopper to address the
assembled convicts at Sing Sing, on Sunday. The officers of the
establishment were very willing to open the way for him; for according
to the testimony of Mr. Harman Eldridge, the warden, "With all his
kindness, and the encouragement he was always ready to give, he was
guarded and cautious in the extreme, that nothing should be said to
conflict with the discipline of the prison." His exhortations rendered
the prisoners more docile, and stimulated them to exertion by keeping
hope alive in their hearts. On such occasions, I have been told that a
large portion of his unhappy audience were frequently moved to tears;
and the warmth of their grateful feelings was often manifested by
eagerly pressing forward to shake hands with him, whenever they received
permission to do so. The friendly counsel he gave on such occasions
sometimes produced a permanent effect on their characters. In a letter
to his daughter Susan, he says: "One of these poor fellows attacked the
life of the keeper, and I soon after had a private interview with him.
He received what I said kindly, but declared that he could not govern
his temper. He said he had no ill-will toward the keeper; that what he
did was done in a gust of passion, and he could not help it. I tried to
convince him that he had power to control his temper, if he would only
exercise it. A year and a half afterward, on First Day, after meeting,
he asked permission to speak to me. He then told me he was convinced
that what I had said to him was true; for he had not given way to anger
since I talked to him on the subject. He showed me many certificates
from the keepers, all testifying to his good conduct. I hardly ever saw
a man more changed than he is."

I often heard my good old friend describe these scenes in the Prison
Chapel, with much emotion. He used to say, the feeling of confidence and
safety which prevailed, was sometimes presented to his mind in forcible
contrast with the state of things in Philadelphia, in 1787, as related
by his worthy friend, Dr. William Rogers, who was on the committee of
the first Society formed in this country "for relieving the miseries of
public prisons." That kind-hearted and conscientious clergyman proposed
to address some religious exhortation to the prisoners, on Sunday. But
the keeper was so unfriendly to the exertion of such influence, that he
assured him his life would be in peril, and the prisoners would
doubtless escape, to rob and murder the citizens. When an order was
granted by the sheriff for the performance of religious services, he
obeyed it very reluctantly; and he actually had a loaded cannon mounted
near the clergyman, and a man standing ready with a lighted match all
the time he was preaching. His audience were arranged in a solid column,
directly in front of the cannon's mouth. This is supposed to have been
the first sermon addressed to the assembled inmates of a State Prison in
this country.

Notwithstanding Friend Hopper's extreme benevolence, he was rarely
imposed upon. He made it a rule to give very little money to discharged
convicts. He paid their board till employment could be obtained, and
when they wished to go to their families, in distant places, he procured
free passage for them in steamboats or cars; which his influence with
captains and conductors enabled him to do very easily. If they wanted to
work at a trade, he purchased tools, and hired a shop, when
circumstances seemed to warrant such expenditure. After they became well
established in business, they were expected to repay these loans, for
the benefit of others in the same unfortunate condition they had been.
Of course, some who expected to receive money whenever they told a
pitiful story, were disappointed and vexed by these prudential
regulations. Among the old gentleman's letters, I find one containing
these expressions: "When I heard you talk in the Prison Chapel, I
thought there was something for the man that had once left the path of
honesty to hope for from his fellow-men; but I find that I was greatly
mistaken. You are men of words. You can do the wind-work first rate. But
when a man wants a little assistance to get work, and get an honest
living, you are not there. Now I wish to know where your philanthropy

But such instances were exceptions. As a general rule, gratitude was
manifested for the assistance rendered in time of need; though it was
always limited to the urgent necessities of the case. One day, the
following letter, enclosing a dollar bill for the Association, was
addressed to Isaac T. Hopper: "Should the humble mite here enclosed be
the means of doing one-sixteenth part the good to any poor convict that
the sixteenth of a dollar has done for me, which I received through your
hands more than once, when I was destitute of money or friends, then I
shall have my heart's desire. With the blessing of God, I remain your
most humble debtor."

From the numerous cases under Friend Hopper's care, while Agent of the
Prison Association, I will select a few; but I shall disguise the names,
because the individuals are living, and I should be sorry to wound their
feelings by any unnecessary exposure of past delinquences.

C.R. about twenty-nine years old, called at the office, and said he had
been lately released from Moyamensing prison; having been sentenced for
two years, on account of selling stolen goods. When Friend Hopper
inquired whether it was his first offence, he frankly answered, "No. I

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