Full Text Archive logoFull Text Archive — Free Classic E-books

Sunny Memories of Foreign Lands V2 by Harriet Beecher Stowe

Part 2 out of 7

Adobe PDF icon
Download this document as a .pdf
File size: 0.8 MB
What's this? light bulb idea Many people prefer to read off-line or to print out text and read from the real printed page. Others want to carry documents around with them on their mobile phones and read while they are on the move. We have created .pdf files of all out documents to accommodate all these groups of people. We recommend that you download .pdfs onto your mobile phone when it is connected to a WiFi connection for reading off-line.

of state organization; and, when this is tempered, in individuals,
with the elements of gentleness and compassion, and enforced by that
energy and indomitable perseverance which are characteristic of the
Anglo-Saxon mind, they form a style of philanthropy peculiarly
efficient. In short, the Anglo-Saxon is efficient, in whatever he sets
himself about, whether in crushing the weak or lifting them up.

Thomas Clarkson was born in a day when good, pious people imported
cargoes of slaves from Africa, as one of the regular Christianized
modes of gaining a subsistence and providing for themselves and their
households. It was a thing that every body was doing, and every body
thought they had a right to do. It was supposed that all the sugar,
molasses, and rum in the world were dependent on stealing men, women,
and children, and could be got in no other way; and as to consume
sugar, molasses, and rum, were evidently the chief ends of human
existence, it followed that men, women, and children must be stolen to
the end of time.

Some good people, when they now and then heard an appalling story of
the cruelties practised in the slave ship, declared that it was really
too bad, sympathetically remarked, "What a sorrowful world we live
in!" stirred their sugar into their tea, and went on as before,
because, what was there to do?--"Hadn't every body always done it? and
if they didn't do it, wouldn't somebody else?"

It is true that for many years individuals at different times had
remonstrated, written treatises, poems, stories, and movements had
been made by some religious bodies, particularly the Quakers, but the
opposition had amounted to nothing practically efficient.

The attention of Clarkson was first turned to the subject by having it
given out as the theme for a prize composition in his college class,
he being at that time a sprightly young man, about twenty-four years
of age. He entered into the investigation with no other purpose than
to see what he could make of it as a college theme.

He says of himself, "I had expected pleasure from the invention of
arguments, from the arrangement of them, from the putting of them
together, and from the thought, in the interim, that I was engaged in
an innocent contest for literary honor; but all my pleasures were
damped by the facts which were now continually before me."

"It was but one gloomy subject from morning till night; in the daytime
I was uneasy, in the night I had little rest; I sometimes never closed
my eyelids for grief."

It became not now so much a trial for academical reputation as to
write a work which should be useful to Africa. It is not surprising
that a work written under the force of such feelings should have
gained the prize, as it did. Clarkson was summoned from London to
Cambridge, to deliver his prize essay publicly. He says of himself, on
returning to London, "The subject of it almost wholly engrossed my
thoughts. I became at times very seriously affected while on the road.
I stopped my horse occasionally, dismounted, and walked."

"I frequently tried to persuade myself that the contents of my essay
could not be true; but the more I reflected on the authorities on
which they were founded, the more I gave them credit. Coming in sight
of Wade's Mill, in Hertfordshire, I sat down disconsolate on the turf
by the roadside, and held my horse. Here a thought came into my mind,
that if the contents of the essay were true, it was time that somebody
should see these calamities to an end."

These reflections, as it appears, were put off for a while, but
returned again.

This young and noble heart was of a kind that could not comfort itself
so easily for a brother's sorrow as many do.

He says of himself, "In the course of the autumn of the same year, I
walked frequently into the woods, that I might think of the subject in
solitude, and find relief to my mind there; but there the question
still recurred, 'Are these things true?' Still, the answer followed as
instantaneously, 'They are;' still the result accompanied it--surely
some person should interfere. I began to envy those who had seats in
Parliament, riches, and widely-extended connections, which would
enable them to take up this cause.

"Finding scarcely any one, at the time, who thought of it, I was
turned frequently to myself; but here many difficulties arose. It
struck me, among others, that a young man only twenty-four years of
age could not have that solid judgment, or that knowledge of men,
manners, and things, which were requisite to qualify him to undertake
a task of such magnitude and importance; and with whom was I to unite?
I believed, also, that it looked so much like one of the feigned
labors of Hercules, that my understanding would be suspected if I
proposed it."

He, however, resolved to do something for the cause by translating his
essay from Latin into English, enlarging and presenting it to the
public. Immediately on the publication of this essay he discovered, to
his astonishment and delight, that he was not the only one who had
been interested in this subject.

Being invited to the house of William Dillwyn, one of these friends to
the cause, he says, "How surprised was I to learn, in the course of
our conversation, of the labors of Granville Sharp, of the writings of
Ramsey, and of the controversy in which the latter was engaged! of all
which I had hitherto known nothing. How surprised was I to learn that
William Dillwyn had, two years before, associated himself with five
others for the purpose of enlightening the public mind on this great

"How astonished was I to find that a society had been formed in
America for the same object! These thoughts almost overpowered me. My
mind was overwhelmed by the thought that I had been providentially
directed to this house; the finger of Providence was beginning to be
discernible, and that the daystar of African liberty was rising."

After this he associated with many friends of the cause, and at last
it became evident that, in order to effect any thing, he must
sacrifice all other prospects in life, and devote himself exclusively
to this work.

He says, after mentioning reasons which prevented all his associates
from doing this, "I could look, therefore, to no person but myself;
and the question was, whether I was prepared to make the sacrifice. In
favor of the undertaking, I urged to myself that never was any cause,
which had been taken up by man, in any country or in any age, so great
and important; that never was there one in which so much misery was
heard to cry for redress; that never was there one in which so much
good could be done; never one in which the duty of Christian charity
could be so extensively exercised; never one more worthy of the
devotion of a whole life towards it; and that, if a man thought
properly, he ought to rejoice to have been called into existence, if
he were only permitted to become an instrument in forwarding it in any
part of its progress.

"Against these sentiments, on the other hand, I had to urge that I had
been designed for the church; that I had already advanced as far as
deacon's orders in it; that my prospects there on account of my
connections were then brilliant; that, by appearing to desert my
profession, my family would be dissatisfied, if not unhappy. These
thoughts pressed upon me, and rendered the conflict difficult.

"But the sacrifice of my prospects staggered me, I own, the most. When
the other objections which I have related occurred to me, my
enthusiasm instantly, like a flash of lightning, consumed them; but
this stuck to me, and troubled me. I had ambition. I had a thirst
after worldly interest and honors, and I could not extinguish it at
once. I was more than two hours in solitude under this painful
conflict. At length I yielded, not because I saw any reasonable
prospect of success in my new undertaking,--for all cool-headed and
cool-hearted men would have pronounced against it,--but in obedience,
I believe, to a higher Power. And I can say, that both on the moment
of this resolution and for some time afterwards, I had more sublime
and happy feelings than at any former period of my life."

In order to show how this enterprise was looked upon and talked of
very commonly by the majority of men in those times, we will extract
the following passage from Boswell's Life of Johnson, in which Bozzy
thus enters his solemn protest: "The wild and dangerous attempt, which
has for some time been persisted in, to obtain an act of our
legislature to abolish so very important and necessary a branch of
commercial interest, must have been crushed at once, had not the
insignificance of the zealots, who vainly took the lead in it, made
the vast body of planters, merchants, and others, whose immense
properties are involved in that trade, reasonably enough suppose that
there could be no danger. The encouragement which the attempt has
received excites my wonder and indignation; and though some men of
superior abilities have supported it, whether from a love of temporary
popularity when prosperous, or a love of general mischief when
desperate, my opinion is unshaken.

"To abolish a _status_ which in all ages God has sanctioned, and
man has continued, would not only be robbery to an innumerable class
of our fellow-subjects, but it would be extreme cruelty to the African
savages, a portion of whom it saves from massacre or intolerable
bondage in their own country, and introduces into a much happier state
of life; especially now, when their passage to the West Indies, and
their treatment there, is humanely regulated. To abolish this trade
would be to '--shut the gates of mercy on mankind.'"

One of the first steps of Clarkson and his associates was the
formation of a committee of twelve persons, for the collection and
dissemination of information on the subject.

The contest now began in earnest, a contest as sublime as any the
world ever saw.

The abolition controversy more fully aroused the virtue, the talent,
and the religion of the great English nation, than any other event or
crisis which ever occurred.

Wilberforce was the leader of the question in Parliament. The other
members of the antislavery committee performed those labors which were
necessary out of it.

This labor consisted principally in the collection of evidence with
regard to the traffic, and the presentation of it before the public
mind. In this labor Clarkson was particularly engaged. The subject was
hemmed in with the same difficulties that now beset the antislavery
cause in America. Those who knew most about it were precisely those
whose interest it was to prevent inquiry. An immense moneyed interest
was arrayed against investigation, and was determined to suppress the
agitation of the subject. Owing to this powerful pressure, many, who
were in possession of facts which would bear upon this subject,
refused to communicate them; and often, after a long and wearisome
journey in search of an individual who could throw light upon the
subject, Clarkson had the mortification to find his lips sealed by
interest or timidity. As usual, the cause of oppression was defended
by the most impudent lying; the slave trade was asserted to be the
latest revised edition of philanthropy. It was said that the poor
African, the slave of miserable oppression in his own country, was
wafted by it to an asylum in a Christian land; that the middle passage
was to the poor negro a perfect Elysium, infinitely happier than any
thing he had ever known in his own country. All this was said while
manacles, and handcuffs, and thumbscrews, and instruments to force
open the mouth, were a regular part of the stock for a slave ship, and
were hanging in the shop windows of Liverpool for sale.

For Clarkson's attention was first called to these things by observing
them in the shop window, and on inquiring the use of one of them, the
man informed him that many times negroes were sulky, and tried to
starve themselves to death, and this instrument was used to force open
their jaws.

Of Clarkson's labor in this investigation some idea may be gathered
from his own words, when, stating that for a season he was compelled
to retire from the cause, he thus speaks:--

"As far as I myself was concerned, all exertion was then over. The
nervous system was almost shattered to pieces. Both my memory and my
hearing failed me. Sudden dizzinesses seized my head. A confused
singing in the ear followed me wherever I went. On going to bed the
very stairs seemed to dance up and down under me, so that, misplacing
my foot, I sometimes fell. Talking, too, if it continued but half an
hour, exhausted me so that profuse perspiration followed, and the same
effect was produced even by an active exertion of the mind for the
like time.

"These disorders had been brought on by degrees, in consequence of the
severe labors necessarily attached to the promotion of the cause. For
seven years I had a correspondence to maintain with four hundred
persons, with my own hand; I had some book or other annually to write
in behalf of the cause. In this time I had travelled more than thirty-five
thousand miles in search of evidence, and a great part of these journeys
in the night. All this time my mind had been on the stretch. It had been
bent, too, to this one subject, for I had not even leisure to attend to my
own concerns. The various instances of barbarity which had come
successively to my knowledge, within this period, had vexed, harassed,
and afflicted it. The wound which these had produced was rendered still
deeper by those cruel disappointments before related, which arose from
the reiterated refusals of persons to give their testimony, after I had
travelled hundreds of miles in quest of them. But the severest stroke was
that inflicted by the persecution, begun and pursued by persons interested
in the continuance of the trade, of such witnesses as had been examined
against them, and whom, on account of their dependent situation in life,
it was most easy to oppress. As I had been the means of bringing these
forward on these occasions, they naturally came to me, when thus
persecuted, as the author of their miseries and their ruin. From their
supplications and wants it would have been ungenerous and ungrateful
to have fled. These different circumstances, by acting together, had at
length brought me into the situation just mentioned; and I was, therefore,
obliged, though very reluctantly, to be borne out of the field where I had
placed the great honor and glory of my life."

I may as well add here that a Mr. Whitbread, to whom Clarkson
mentioned this latter cause of distress, generously offered to repair
the pecuniary losses of all who had suffered in this cause. One
anecdote will be a specimen of the energy with which Clarkson pursued
evidence. It had been very strenuously asserted and maintained that
the subjects of the slave trade were only such unfortunates as had
become prisoners of war, and who, if not carried out of the country in
this manner, would be exposed to death or some more dreadful doom in
their own country. This was one of those stories which nobody
believed, and yet was particularly useful in the hands of the
opposition, because it was difficult legally to disprove it. It was
perfectly well known that in very many cases slave traders made direct
incursions into the country, kidnapped and carried off the inhabitants
of whole villages; but the question was, how to establish it. A
gentleman whom Clarkson accidentally met on one of his journeys
informed him that he had been in company, about a year before, with a
sailor, a very respectable-looking young man, who had actually been
engaged in one of these expeditions; he had spent half an hour with
him at an inn; he described his person, but knew nothing of his name
or the place of his abode; all he knew was, that he belonged to a ship
of war in ordinary, but knew nothing of the port. Clarkson determined
that this man should be produced as a witness, and knew no better way
than to go personally to all the ships in ordinary, until the
individual was found. He actually visited every seaport town, and
boarded every ship, till in the very _last_ port, and on the very
_last_ ship, which remained, the individual was found, and found
to be possessed of just the facts and information which were
necessary. By the labors of Clarkson and his contemporaries an
incredible excitement was produced throughout all England. The
pictures and models of slave ships, accounts of the cruelties
practised in the trade, were circulated with an industry which left
not a man, woman, or child in England uninstructed. In disseminating
information, and in awakening feeling and conscience, the women of
England were particularly earnest, and labored with that whole-hearted
devotion which characterizes the sex.

It seems that after the committee had published the facts, and sent
them to every town in England, Clarkson followed them up by journeying
to all the places, to see that they were read and attended to. Of the
state of feeling at this time Clarkson gives the following account:--

"And first I may observe, that there was no town through which I
passed in which there was not some one individual who had left off the
use of sugar. In the smaller towns there were from ten to fifty, by
estimation, and in the larger from two to five hundred, who made this
sacrifice to virtue. These were of all ranks and parties. Hich and
poor, churchmen and dissenters, had adopted the measure. Even grocers
had left off trading in the article in some places. In gentlemen's
families, where the master had set the example, the servants had often
voluntarily followed it; and even children, who were capable of
understanding the history of the sufferings of the Africans, excluded,
with the most virtuous resolution, the sweets, to which they had been
accustomed, from their lips. By the best computation I was able to
make, from notes taken down in my journey, no fewer than three hundred
thousand persons had abandoned the use of sugar." It was the reality,
depth, and earnestness of the public feeling, thus aroused, which
pressed with resistless force upon the government; for the government
of England yields to popular demands quite as readily as that of

After years of protracted struggle, the victory was at last won. The
slave trade was finally abolished through all the British empire; and
not only so, but the English nation committed, with the whole force of
its national influence, to seek the abolition of the slave trade in
all the nations of the earth. But the wave of feeling did not rest
there; the investigations had brought before the English conscience
the horrors and abominations of slavery itself, and the agitation
never ceased till slavery was finally abolished through all the
British provinces. At this time the religious mind and conscience of
England gained, through this very struggle, a power which it never has
lost. The principle adopted by them was the same so sublimely adopted
by the church in America in reference to the foreign missionary cause:
"The field is the world." They saw and felt that, as the example and
practice of England had been powerful in giving sanction to this evil,
and particularly in introducing it into America, there was the
greatest reason why she should never intermit her efforts till the
wrong was righted throughout the earth.

Clarkson, to his last day, never ceased to be interested in the
subject, and took the warmest interest in all movements for the
abolition of slavery in America.

At the Ipswich depot we were met by a venerable lady, the daughter of
Clarkson's associate, William Dillwyn. She seemed overjoyed to meet
us, and took us at once into her carriage, and entertained us all our
way to the hall by anecdotes and incidents of Clarkson and his times.
She read me a manuscript letter from him, written at a very advanced
age, in which he speaks with the utmost ardor and enthusiasm of the
first antislavery movements of Cassius M. Clay in Kentucky. She
described him to me as a cheerful, companionable being, frank and
simple-hearted, and with a good deal of quiet humor.

It is remarkable of him that, with such intense feeling for human
suffering as he had, and worn down and exhausted as he was by the
dreadful miseries and sorrows with which he was constantly obliged to
be familiar, he never yielded to a spirit of bitterness or

The narrative which he gives is as calm and unimpassioned, and as free
from any trait of this kind, as the narratives of the evangelists.
Thus riding and talking, we at last arrived at the hall.

The old stone house, the moat, the draw bridge, all spoke of days of
violence long gone by, when no man was safe except within fortified
walls, and every man's house literally had to be his castle.

To me it was interesting as the dwelling of a conqueror, as one who
had not wrestled with flesh and blood merely, but with principalities
and powers, and the rulers of the darkness of this world, and who had
overcome, as his great Master did before him, by faith, and prayer,
and labor.

We were received with much cordiality by the widow of Clarkson, now in
her eighty-fourth year. She has been a woman of great energy and
vigor, and an efficient co-laborer in his plans of benevolence.

She is now quite feeble. I was placed under the care of a respectable
female servant, who forthwith installed me in a large chamber
overlooking the court yard, which had been Clarkson's own room; the
room where, for years, many of his most important labors had been
conducted, and from whence his soul had ascended to the reward of the

The servant who attended me seemed to be quite a superior woman, like
many of the servants in respectable English families. She had grown up
in the family, and was identified with it; its ruling aims and
purposes had become hers. She had been the personal attendant of
Clarkson, and his nurse during his last sickness; she had evidently
understood, and been interested in his plans; and the veneration with
which she therefore spoke of him had the sanction of intelligent

A daughter of Clarkson, who was married to a neighboring clergyman,
with her husband, was also present on this day.

After dinner we rode out to see the old church, in whose enclosure the
remains of Clarkson repose. It was just such a still, quiet, mossy old
church as you have read of in story books, with the graveyard spread
all around it, like a thoughtful mother, who watches the resting of
her children.

The grass in the yard was long and green, and the daisy, which, in
other places, lies like a little button on the ground, here had a
richer fringe of crimson, and a stalk about six inches high. It is, I
well know, the vital influence from the slumbering dust beneath which
gives the richness to this grass and these flowers; but let not that
be a painful thought; let it rather cheer us, that beauty should
spring from ashes, and life smile brighter from the near presence of
death. The grave of Clarkson is near the church, enclosed by a
railing, and marked by a simple white marble slab; it is carefully
tended, and planted with flowers. In the church was an old book of
records, and among other curious inscriptions was one recording how a
pious committee of old Noll's army had been there, knocking off
saints' noses, and otherwise purging the church from the relics of

Near by the church was the parsonage, the home of my friends, a neat,
pleasant, sequestered dwelling, of about the style of a New England
country parsonage.

The effect of the whole together was inexpressibly beautiful to me.
For a wonder, it was a pleasant day, and this is a thing always to be
thankfully acknowledged in England. The calm stillness of the
afternoon, the seclusion of the whole place, the silence only broken
by the cawing of the rooks, the ancient church, the mossy graves with
their flowers and green grass, the sunshine and the tree shadows, all
seemed to mingle together in a kind of hazy dream of peacefulness and
rest. How natural it is to say of some place sheltered, simple, cool,
and retired, here one might find peace, as if peace came from without,
and not from within. In the shadiest and stillest places may be the
most turbulent hearts; and there are hearts which, through the busiest
scenes, carry with them unchanging peace. As we were walking back, we
passed many cottages of the poor.

I noticed, with particular pleasure, the invariable flower garden
attached to each. Some pansies in one of them attracted my attention
by their peculiar beauty, so very large and richly colored. On being
introduced to the owner of them, she, with cheerful alacrity, offered
me some of the finest. I do not doubt of there being suffering and
misery in the agricultural population of England, but still there are
multitudes of cottages which are really very pleasant objects, as were
all these. The cottagers had that bright, rosy look of health which we
seldom see in America, and appeared to be both polite and

In the evening we had quite a gathering of friends from the
neighborhood--intelligent, sensible, earnest people, who had grown up
in the love of the antislavery cause as into religion. The subject of
conversation was, "The duty of English people to free themselves from
any participation in American slavery, by taking means to encourage
the production of free cotton in the British provinces."

It is no more impossible or improbable that something effective may be
done in this way than that the slave trade should have been abolished.
Every great movement seems an impossibility at first. There is no end
to the number of things declared and proved impossible which have been
done already, so that this may become something yet.

Mrs. Clarkson had retired from the room early; after a while she sent
for me to her sitting room. The faithful attendant of whom I spoke was
with her. She wished to show me some relics of her husband, his watch
and seals, some of his papers and manuscripts; among these was the
identical prize essay with which he began his career, and a commentary
on the Gospels, which he had written with great care, for the use of
his grandson. His seal attracted my attention--it was that kneeling
figure of the negro, with clasped hands, which was at first adopted as
the badge of the cause, when every means was being made use of to
arouse the public mind and keep the subject before the public. Mr.
Wedgwood, the celebrated porcelain manufacturer, designed a cameo,
with this representation, which was much worn as an ornament by
ladies. It was engraved on the seal of the Antislavery Society, and
was used by its members in sealing all their letters. This of
Clarkson's was handsomely engraved on a large, old-fashioned
carnelian; and surely, if we look with emotion on the sword of a
departed hero,--which, at best, we can consider only as a necessary
evil,--we may look with unmingled pleasure on this memorial of a
bloodless victory.

When I retired to my room for the night I could not but feel that the
place was hallowed: unceasing prayer had there been offered for the
enslaved and wronged race of Africa by that noble and brotherly heart.
I could not but feel that those prayers had had a wider reach than the
mere extinction of slavery in one land or country, and that their
benign influence would not cease while a slave was left upon the face
of the earth.


DEAR C.:--

We returned to London, and found Mr. S. and Joseph Sturge waiting for
us at the depot. We dined with Mr. Sturge. It seems that Mr. S.'s
speech upon the subject of cotton has created some considerable
disturbance, different papers declaring themselves for or against it
with a good deal of vivacity.

After dinner Mr. Sturge desired me very much to go into the meeting of
the women; for it seems that, at the time of the yearly meeting among
the Friends, the men and women both have their separate meetings for
attending to business. The aspect of the meeting was very
interesting--so many placid, amiable faces, shaded by plain Quaker
bonnets; so many neat white handkerchiefs, folded across peaceful
bosoms. Either a large number of very pretty women wear the Quaker
dress, or it is quite becoming in its effect.

There are some things in the mode of speaking among the Friends,
particularly in their public meetings, which do not strike me
agreeably, and to which I think it would take me some time to become
accustomed; such as a kind of intoning somewhat similar to the manner
in which the church service is performed in cathedrals. It is a
curious fact that religious exercises, in all ages and countries, have
inclined to this form of expression. It appears in the cantilation of
the synagogue, the service of the cathedral, the prayers of the
Covenanter and the Puritan.

There were a table and writing materials in this meeting, and a circle
of from fifty to a hundred ladies. One of those upon the platform
requested me to express to them my opinion on free labor. In a few
words I told them I considered myself upon that subject more a learner
than a teacher, but that I was deeply interested in what I had learned
upon this subject since my travelling in England, and particularly
interested in the consistency and self-denial practised by their sect.

I have been quite amused with something which has happened lately. It
always has seemed to me that distinguished people here in England live
a remarkably out-door sort of life; and newspapers tell a vast deal
about people's concerns which it is not our custom to put into print
in America. Such, for instance, as where the Hon. Mr. A. is staying
now, and where he expects to go next; what her grace wore at the last
ball, and when the royal children rode out, and what they had on; and
whom Lord Such-a-one had to dinner; besides a large number of
particulars which probably never happen.

Could I have expected dear old England to make me so much one of the
family as to treat my humble fortunes in this same public manner? But
it is even so. This week the Times has informed the United Kingdom
that Mrs. Stowe is getting a new dress made!--the charming old
aristocratic Times, which every body declares is such a wicked paper,
and yet which they can no more do without than they can their
breakfast! What am I, and what is my father's house, that such
distinction should come upon me? I assure you, my dear, I feel myself
altogether too much flattered. There, side by side with speculations
on the eastern question, and conjectures with regard to the secret and
revealed will of the Emperor of Russia, news from her majesty's most
sacred retreat at Osborne, and the last debates in Parliament, comes
my brown silk dress! The Times has omitted the color; I had a great
mind to send him word about that. But you may tell the girls--for
probably the news will spread through the American papers--that it is
the brown Chinese silk which they put into my trunk, unmade, when I
was too ill to sit up and be fitted.

Mr. Times wants to know if Mrs. Stowe is aware what sort of a place
her dress is being made in, and there is a letter from a dressmaker's
apprentice stating that it is being made up piecemeal, in the most
shockingly distressed dens of London, by poor, miserable white slaves,
worse treated than the plantation slaves of America.

Now, Mrs. Stowe did not know any thing of this, but simply gave the
silk into the hands of a friend, and was in due time waited on in her
own apartment by a very respectable woman, who offered to make the
dress; and lo, this is the result! Since the publication of this
piece, I have received earnest missives, from various parts of the
country, begging me to interfere, hoping that I was not going to
patronize the white slavery of England, and that I would employ my
talents equally against oppression under every form. The person who
had been so unfortunate as to receive the weight of my public
patronage was in a very tragical state; protested her innocence of any
connection with dens, of any overworking of hands, &c., with as much
fervor as if I had been appointed on a committee of parliamentary
inquiry. Let my case be a warning to all philanthropists who may
happen to want clothes while they are in London. Some of my
correspondents seemed to think that I ought to publish a manifesto for
the benefit of distressed Great Britain, stating how I came to do it,
and all the circumstances, since they are quite sure I must have meant
well, and containing gentle cautions as to the disposal of my future
patronage in the dressmaking line.

Could these people only know in what sacred simplicity I had been
living in the State of Maine, where the only dressmaker of our circle
was an intelligent, refined, well-educated woman, who was considered
as the equal of us all, and whose spring and fall ministrations to our
wardrobe were regarded a double pleasure,--a friendly visit as well as
a domestic assistance,--I say, could they know all this, they would
see how guiltless I was in the matter. I verily never thought but that
the nice, pleasant person, who came to measure me for my silk, was
going to take it home and make it herself; it never occurred to me
that she was the head of an establishment.

And now, what am I to do? The Times seems to think that, in order to
be consistent, I ought to take up the conflict immediately; but, for
my part, I think otherwise. What an unreasonable creature! Does he
suppose me so lost to all due sense of humility as to take out of his
hands a cause which he is pleading so well? If the plantation slaves
had such a good friend as the Times, and if every over-worked female
cotton picker could write as clever letters as this dressmaker's
apprentice, and get them published in as influential papers, and
excite as general a sensation by them as this seems to have done, I
think I should feel that there was no need of my interfering in a work
so much better done. Unfortunately, our female cotton pickers do not
know how to read and write, and it is against the law to teach them;
and this instance shows that the law is a sagacious one, since,
doubtless, if they could read and write, most embarrassing
communications might be made.

Nothing shows more plainly, to my mind, than this letter, the
difference between the working class of England and the slave. The
free workman or workwoman of England or America, however poor, is
self-respecting; is, to some extent, clever and intelligent; is
determined to resist wrong, and, as this incident shows, has abundant
means for doing so.

When we shall see the columns of the Charleston Courier adorned with
communications from cotton pickers and slave seamstresses, we shall
then think the comparison a fair one. In fact, apart from the
whimsicality of the affair, and the little annoyance which one feels
at notoriety to which one is not accustomed, I consider the incident
as in some aspects a gratifying one, as showing how awake and active
are the sympathies of the British public with that much-oppressed
class of needlewomen.

Horace Greeley would be delighted could his labors in this line excite
a similar commotion in New York.

We dined to-day at the Duke of Argyle's. At dinner there were the
members of the family, the Duchess of Sutherland, Lord Carlisle, Lord
and Lady Blantyre, &c. The conversation flowed along in a very
agreeable channel. I told them the more I contemplated life in Great
Britain, the more I was struck with the contrast between the
comparative smallness of the territory and the vast power, physical,
moral, and intellectual, which it exerted in the world.

The Duchess of Sutherland added, that it was beautiful to observe how
gradually the idea of freedom had developed itself in the history of
the English nation, growing clearer and more distinct in every
successive century.

I might have added that the history of our own American republic is
but a continuation of the history of this development. The resistance
to the stamp act was of the same kind as the resistance to the ship
money; and in our revolutionary war there were as eloquent defences of
our principles and course heard in the British Parliament as echoed in
Faneuil Hall.

I conversed some with Lady Caroline Campbell, the duke's sister, with
regard to Scottish preaching and theology. She is a member of the Free
church, and attends, in London, Dr. Cumming's congregation. I derived
the impression from her remarks, that the style of preaching in
Scotland is more discriminating and doctrinal than in England. One who
studies the pictures given in Scott's novels must often have been
struck with the apparent similarity in the theologic training and
tastes of the laboring classes in New England and Scotland. The
hard-featured man, whom he describes in Rob Roy as following the
preacher so earnestly, keeping count of the doctrinal points on his
successive fingers, is one which can still be seen in the retired,
rural districts of New England; and I believe that this severe
intellectual discipline of the pulpit has been one of the greatest
means in forming that strong, self-sustaining character peculiar to
both countries.

The Duke of Argyle said that Chevalier Bunsen had been speaking to him
in relation to a college for colored people at Antigua, and inquired
my views respecting the emigration of colored people from America to
the West India islands. I told him my impression was, that Canada
would be a much better place to develop the energies of the race.
First, on account of its cold and bracing climate; second, because,
having never been a slave state, the white population there are more
thrifty and industrious, and of course the influence of such a
community was better adapted to form thrift arid industry in the

In the evening, some of the ladies alluded to the dressmaker's letter
in the Times. I inquired if there was nothing done for them as a class
in London, and some of them said,--

"O, Lord Shaftesbury can tell you all about it; he is president of the
society for their protection."

So I said to Lord Shaftesbury, playfully, "I thought, my lord, you had
reformed every thing here in London."

"Ah, indeed," he replied, "but this was not in one of my houses. I
preside over the West End."

He talked on the subject for some time with considerable energy; said
it was one of the most difficult he had ever attempted to regulate,
and promised to send me a few documents, which would show the measures
he had pursued. He said, however, that there was progress making; and
spoke of one establishment in particular, which had recently been
erected in London, and was admirably arranged with regard to
ventilation, being conducted in the most perfect manner.

Quite a number of distinguished persons were present this evening;
among others, Sir David Brewster, famed in the scientific world. He is
a fine-looking old gentleman, with silver-white hair, who seemed to be
on terms of great familiarity with the duke. He bears the character of
a decidedly religious man, and is an elder in the Free church.

Lord Mahon, the celebrated historian, was there, with his lady. He is
a young-looking man, of agreeable manners, and fluent in conversation.
This I gather from Mr. S., with whom he conversed very freely on our
historians, Prescott, Bancroft, and especially Dr. Sparks, his sharp
controversy with whom he seems to bear with great equanimity.

Lady Mahon is a handsome, interesting woman, with very pleasing

Mr. Gladstone was there also, one of the ablest and best men in the
kingdom. It is a commentary on his character that, although one of the
highest of the High church, we have never heard him spoken of, even
among dissenters, otherwise than as an excellent and highly
conscientious man. For a gentleman who has attained to such celebrity,
both in theology and politics, he looks remarkably young. He is tall,
with dark hair and eyes, a thoughtful, serious cast of countenance,
and is easy and agreeable in conversation.

On the whole, this was a very delightful evening.


DEAR C.:--

I will add to this a little sketch, derived from the documents sent me
by Lord Shaftesbury, of the movements in behalf of the milliners and
dressmakers in London for seven years past.

About thirteen years ago, in the year 1841, Lord Shaftesbury obtained
a parliamentary commission of inquiry into the employment of children
and young persons in various trades and manufactures. This commission,
among other things, was directed toward the millinery and dressmaking
trade. These commissioners elicited the following facts: that there
were fifteen hundred employers in this trade in London, and fifteen
thousand young people employed, besides a great number of journeywomen
who took the work home to their own houses. They discovered, also,
that during the London season, which occupied about four months of the
year, the regular hours of work were fifteen, but in many
establishments they were entirely unlimited,--the young women never
getting more than six hours for sleep, and often only two or three;
that frequently they worked all night and part of Sunday. They
discovered, also, that the rooms in which they worked and slept were
overcrowded, and deficient in ventilation; and that, in consequence of
all these causes, blindness, consumption, and multitudes of other
diseases carried thousands of them yearly to the grave.

These facts being made public to the English nation, a society was
formed in London in 1843, called the Association for The Aid of
Milliners and Dressmakers. The president of this society is the Earl
of Shaftesbury; the vice presidents are twenty gentlemen of the most
influential position. Besides this there is a committee of ladies, and
a committee of gentlemen. At the head of the committee of ladies
stands the name of the Duchess of Sutherland, with seventeen others,
among whom we notice the Countess of Shaftesbury, Countess of
Ellesmere, Lady Robert Grosvenor, and others of the upper London
sphere. The subscription list of donations to the society is headed by
the queen and royal family.

The features of the plan which the society undertook to carry out were
briefly these:--

First, they opened a registration office, where all young persons
desiring employment in the dressmaking trade might enroll their names
free of expense, and thus come in a manner under the care of the
association. From the young people thus enrolled, they engaged to
supply to the principals of dressmaking establishments extra
assistants in periods of uncommon pressure, so that they should not be
under the necessity of overtaxing their workwomen. This assistance is
extended only to those houses which will observe the moderate hours
recommended by the association.

In the second place, an arrangement is made by which the young persons
thus registered are entitled to the best of medical advice at any
time, for the sum of five shillings per year. Three physicians and two
consulting surgeons are connected with the association.

In the third place, models of simple and cheap modes of ventilation
are kept at all times at the office of the society, and all the
influence of the association is used to induce employers to place them
in the work and sleeping rooms.

Fourth, a kind of savings bank has been instituted, in which the
workwomen are encouraged to deposit small earnings on good interest.

This is the plan of the society, and as to its results I have at hand
the report for 1851, from which you can gather some particulars of its
practical workings. They say, "Eight years have elapsed since this
association was established, during which a most gratifying change has
been wrought in respect to the mode of conducting the dressmaking and
millinery business.

"Without overstepping the strict limits of truth, it may be affirmed
that the larger part of the good thus achieved is attributable to the
influence and unceasing efforts of this society. The general result,
so far as the metropolis is concerned, may be thus stated: First, the
hours of work, speaking generally, now rarely exceed twelve, whereas
formerly sixteen, seventeen, and even eighteen hours were not unusual.

"Second, the young persons are rarely kept up all night, which was
formerly not an unusual occurrence.

"Third, labor on the Lord's day, it is confidently believed, has been
entirely abrogated.

"Under the old system the health and constitution of many of the young
people were irretrievably destroyed. At present permanent loss of
health is rarely entailed, and even when sickness does from any cause
arise, skilful and prompt advice and medicine are provided at a
moderate charge by the association.

"In addition to these and similar ameliorations, other and more
important changes have been effected. Among the heads of
establishments, as the committee are happy to know and most willing to
record, more elevated views of the duties and responsibilities,
inseparable from employers, have secured to the association the
zealous cooperation of numerous and influential principals, without
whose aid the efforts of the last few years would have been often
impeded, or even in many instances defeated. Nor have the young
persons engaged in the dressmaking and millinery business remained
uninfluenced amidst the general improvement. Finding that a strenuous
effort was in progress to promote their physical and moral welfare,
and that increased industry on their part would be rewarded by
diminished hours of work, the assistants have become more attentive,
the workrooms are better managed, and both parties, relieved from a
system which was oppressive to all and really beneficial to none, have
recognized the fundamental truth, that in no industrial pursuit is
there any real incompatibility between the interests, rightfully
interpreted, of the employer and the employed. Although not generally
known, evils scarcely less serious than those formerly prevalent in
the metropolis were not uncommon in the manufacturing towns and
fashionable watering-places. It is obviously impracticable to
ascertain to what extent the efforts of the association have been
attended with success in the provinces; but a rule has been
established that in no instance shall the cooperation of the office,
in providing assistants, be extended to any establishment in which the
hours of work are known to exceed those laid down by the association.
On these conditions the principals of many country establishments have
for several years been supplied; latterly, indeed, owing to the great
efficiency of the manager, Miss Newton, and to the general
satisfaction thus created, these applications have so much increased
as to constitute a principal part of the business of the office; and
with the increase the influence of the association has been
proportionally extended."

This, as you perceive, was the report for 1851. Lord Shaftesbury has
kindly handed me the first proof of the report for 1853, from which I
will send you a few extracts.

After the publication of the letter from the ladies of England to the
ladies of America, much was said in the Times and other newspapers
with regard to the condition of the dressmakers. These things are what
are alluded to in the commencement of the report. They say,--

"In presenting their annual report, the committees would in the first
place refer to the public notice that has lately been directed to the
mode in which the dressmaking and millinery business is conducted:
this they feel to be due both to the association and to those
employers who have cooperated in the good work of improvement. It has
been stated in former reports, that since the first establishment of
this society, in the year 1843, and essentially through its influence,
great ameliorations have been secured; that the inordinate hours of
work formerly prevalent had, speaking generally, been greatly reduced;
that Sunday labor had been abolished; that the young people were
rarely kept up all night; and that, as a consequence of these
improvements, there had been a marked decrease of serious sickness.

"At the present moment, in consequence of the statements that have
appeared in the public journals, and in order to guard against
misconceptions, the committees are anxious to announce that they
perceive no reason for withdrawing any of their preceding statements--
the latest, equally with former investigations, indicating the great
improvement effected in recent years. The manager at the office has
been instructed to make express inquiries of the young dressmakers
themselves; and the result distinctly proves that, on the whole, there
has been a marked diminution in the hours of work.

"The report of Mr. Trouncer, the medical officer who has attended the
larger number of the young persons for whom advice has been provided
by the association, is equally satisfactory. This gentleman, after
alluding to the great evils in regard to health inflicted in former
years, remarks that these have, through the instrumentality of the
association, been greatly ameliorated; that as regards consumption,--
although the nature of the employment itself, however modified by
kindness, has a tendency to develop the disease where the
predisposition exists,--he is happy to state that the average number
of cases, even in the incipient stage, has not been so great as might,
from the circumstances, have been anticipated; that during the last
two years, out of about two hundred and fifty cases of sickness, no
death has occurred; and that but in a few instances only has it been
necessary to advise a total cessation of business. Mr. Trouncer adds
--and this is a statement which the committees have much pleasure in
announcing--that, in the majority of the West End houses, the
principals have, in cases of sickness, acted the part of parents,
evincing, in some instances, even more care than the young persons

"In addition to these satisfactory and reliable statements, it is a
matter of simple justice to state that many houses of business have
cooperated with the association in reducing the hours of work, in
improving the workrooms and sleeping apartments, and generally in
promoting the comfort of those in their employ. Some employers have
also very creditably, and at considerable expense, exerted themselves
to secure a good system of ventilation--a subject to which the
committees attach great importance, both as regards the health and
comfort of those employed.

"It is not, by these statements, intended to be said that all
requiring amendment has been corrected. In their last report the
committees remarked that some few houses of business systematically
persisted in exacting excessive labor from their assistants; and they
regret to state that this observation is still applicable. The
important subject of ventilation is still much neglected, and there is
reason to apprehend that the sleeping apartments are often much
overcrowded. Another and a more prevailing evil relates to the time
allowed for meals: this is often altogether insufficient, and strongly
contrasted with the custom in other industrial pursuits, in which one
hour for dinner, and half an hour for breakfast or tea, as the case
may be, is the usual allowance. In an occupation so sedentary as
dressmaking, and especially in the case of young females, hurried
meals are most injurious, and are a frequent cause of deranged health.
It is also the painful duty of the committees to state that in some
establishments, according to the medical report, the principals, in
cases of sickness, will neither allow the young people an opportunity
of calling on the medical officer for his advice, nor permit that
gentleman to visit them at the place of business. The evils resulting
from this absence of all proper feeling are so obvious that it is
hoped this public rebuke will in future obviate the necessity of
recurring to so painful a topic."

The committee after this proceed to publish the following declaration,
signed by fifty-three of the West End dressmakers:--

"'We, the undersigned principals of millinery and dress-making
establishments at the West End of London, having observed in the
newspapers statements of excessive labor in our business, feel called
upon, in self-defence, to make the following public statement,
especially as we have reason to believe that some of the assertions
contained in the letters published in the newspapers are not wholly

"'1. During the greater portion of the year we do not require the
young people in our establishments to work more than twelve hours,
inclusive of one hour and a half for meals: from March to July we
require them to work thirteen hours and a half, allowing during that
time one hour's rest for dinner, and half an hour's rest for tea.

"'2. It has been our object to provide suitable sleeping
accommodations, and to avoid overcrowding.

"'3. In no case do we require work on Sundays, or all night.

"'4. The food we supply is of the best quality, and unlimited in

Five of these dressmakers, whose names are designated by stars, signed
with the understanding that on rare occasions the hours might possibly
be exceeded.

The remarks which the committee make, considering that it has upon its
list the most influential and distinguished ladies of the London
world, are, I think, worth attention, as showing the strong moral
influence which must thus be brought to bear, both on the trade and on
fashionable society, by this association. They first remark, with
regard to those employers who signed with the reservation alluded to,
that they have every reason to believe that the feeling which prompted
this qualification is to be respected, as it originated in a
determination not to undertake more than they honestly intended to

They say of the document, on the whole, that, though not realizing all
the views of the association, it must be regarded as creditable to
those who have signed it, since it indicates the most important
advance yet made towards the improvement of the dressmaking and
millinery business. The committees then go on to express a most
decided opinion, first, that the hours of work in the dressmaking
trade ought not to exceed ten per diem; second, that during the
fashionable season ladies should employ sufficient time for the
execution of their orders.

The influence of this association, as will be seen, has extended all
over England. In Manchester a paper, signed by three thousand ladies,
was presented to the principals of the establishments, desiring them
to adopt the rules of the London association.

I mentioned, in a former letter, that the lady mayoress of London, and
the ladies of the city, held a meeting on the subject only a short
time since, with a view of carrying the same improvement through all
the establishments of that part of London. The lady mayoress and five
others of this meeting consented to add their names to the committee,
so that it now represents the whole of London. The Bishop of London
and several of the clergy extend their patronage to the association.


DEAR S.:--

The next day we went to hear a sermon in behalf of the ragged schools,
by the Archbishop of Canterbury. The children who attended the ragged
schools of that particular district were seated in the gallery, each
side of the organ. As this was the Sunday appropriated to the
exercise, all three of the creeds were read--the Apostles',
Athanasian, and Nicene; all which the little things repeated after the
archbishop, with great decorum, and probably with the same amount of
understanding that we, when children, had of the Assembly's Catechism.

The venerable archbishop was ushered into the pulpit by beadles, with
gold lace cocked hats, striking the ground majestically with their
long staves of office. His sermon, however, was as simple, clear, and
beautiful an exposition of the duty of practical Christianity towards
the outcast and erring as I ever heard. He said that, should we find a
young child wandering away from its home and friends, we should
instinctively feel it our duty to restore the little wanderer; and
such, he said, is the duty we owe to all these young outcasts, who had
strayed from the home of their heavenly Father.

After the sermon they took up a collection; and when we went into the
vestry to speak to the archbishop, we saw him surrounded by the church
wardens, counting over the money.

I noticed in the back part of the church a number of children in
tattered garments, with rather a forlorn and wild appearance, and was
told that these were those who had just been introduced into the
school, and had not been there long enough to come under its modifying
influences. We were told that they were always thus torn and forlorn
in their appearance at first, but that they gradually took pains to
make themselves respectable. The archbishop said, pleasantly, "When
they return to their right mind they appear _clothed_, also, and
sitting at the feet of Jesus."

The archbishop sent me afterwards a beautiful edition of his sermons
on Christian charity, embracing a series of discourses on various
topics of practical benevolence, relating to the elevation and
christianization of the masses. They are written with the same purity
of style, and show the same devout and benevolent spirit with his
other writings.

My thoughts were much saddened to-day by the news, which I received
this week, of the death of Mary Edmonson. It is not for her that I
could weep; for she died as calmly and serenely as she lived,
resigning her soul into the hands of her Savior. What I do weep for
is, that under the flag of my country--and that country a Christian
one--such a life as Mary's could have been lived, and so little said
or done about it.

In the afternoon I went to the deanery of St. Paul's--a retired
building in a deep court opposite the cathedral. After a brief
conversation with Mr. and Mrs. Milman, we went to the cathedral. I had
never seen it before, and was much impressed with the majesty and
grace of the interior. Nevertheless, the Italian style of
architecture, with all its elegance, fails to affect me equally with
the Gothic. The very rudeness of the latter, a something inchoate and
unfinished, is significant of matter struggling with religious ideas
too vast to be fully expressed. Even as in the ancient Scriptures
there are ideas which seem to overtask the powers of human language. I
sat down with Mrs. M. in one of the little compartments, or
_stalls,_ as they are called, into which the galleries are
divided, and which are richly carved in black oak. The whole service
was chanted by a choir expressly trained for the purpose. Some of the
performers are boys of about thirteen years, and of beautiful
countenances. There is a peculiar manner of reading the service
practised in the cathedrals, which is called "intoning." It is a
plaintive, rhythmical chant, with as strong an unction of the nasal as
ever prevailed in a Quaker or Methodist meeting. I cannot exactly
understand why Episcopacy threw out the slur of "nasal twang" as one
of the peculiarities of the conventicle, when it is in full force in
the most approved seats of church orthodoxy. I listened to all in as
uncritical and sympathetic a spirit as possible, giving myself up to
be lifted by the music as high as it could waft me. To one thus
listening, it is impossible to criticize with severity; for, unless
positively offensive, any music becomes beautiful by the power of
sympathy and association. After service we listened to a short sermon
from the Rev. Mr. Villiers, fervent, affectionate, and evangelical in
spirit, and much in the general style of sermonizing which I have
already described.

Monday morning, May 23. We went to breakfast at Mr. Cobden's. Mr. C.
is a man of slender frame, rather under than over the middle size,
with great ease of manner, and flexibility of movement, and the most
frank, fascinating smile. His appearance is a sufficient account of
his popularity, for he seems to be one of those men who carry about
them an atmosphere of vivacity and social exhilaration. We had a very
pleasant and social time, discussing and comparing things in England
and America. Mr. Cobden assured us that he had had curious calls from
Americans, sometimes. Once an editor of a small village paper called,
who had been making a tour through the rural districts of England. He
said that he had asked some mowers how they were prospering. They
answered, "We ain't prosperin'; we're hayin'." Said Cobden,

"I told the man, 'Now don't you go home and publish that in your
paper;' but he did, nevertheless, and sent me over the paper with the
story in it." I might have comforted him with many a similar anecdote
of Americans, as for example, the man who was dead set against a
tariff, "'cause he knew if they once got it, they'd run the old thing
right through his farm;" or those immortal Pennsylvania Dutchmen, who,
to this day, it is said, give in all their votes under the solemn
conviction that they are upholding General Jackson's administration.

The conversation turned on the question of the cultivation of cotton
by free labor. The importance of this great measure was fully
appreciated by Mr. Cobden, as it must be by all. The difficulties to
be overcome in establishing the movement were no less clearly seen,
and ably pointed out. On the whole, the comparison of views was not
only interesting in a high degree, but to us, at least, eminently
profitable. We ventured to augur favorably to the cause from the
indications of that interview.

From this breakfast we returned to dine at Surrey parsonage; and,
after dinner, attended Miss Greenfield's concert at Stafford House.
Mr. S. could not attend on account of so soon leaving town.

The concert room was the brilliant and picturesque hall I have before
described to you. It looked more picture-like and dreamy than ever.
The piano was on the flat stairway just below the broad central
landing. It was a grand piano, standing end outward, and perfectly
_banked up_ among hothouse flowers, so that only its gilded top
was visible. Sir George Smart presided. The choicest of the
_élite_ were there. Ladies in demi-toilet and bonneted. Miss
Greenfield stood among the singers on the staircase, and excited a
sympathetic murmur among the audience. She is not handsome, but looked
very well. She has a pleasing dark face, wore a black velvet headdress
and white carnelian earrings, a black mohr antique silk, made high in
the neck, with white lace falling sleeves and white gloves. A certain
gentleness of manner and self-possession, the result of the universal
kindness shown her, sat well upon her. Chevalier Bunsen, the Prussian
ambassador, sat by me. He looked at her with much interest. "Are the
race often as good looking?" he said. I said, "She is not handsome,
compared with many, though I confess she looks uncommonly well

Among the company present I noticed the beautiful Marchioness of
Stafford. I have spoken of her once before; but it is difficult to
describe her, there is something so perfectly simple, yet elegant, in
her appearance; but it has cut itself like a cameo in my memory--a
figure under the middle size, perfectly moulded, dressed simply in
black, a beautiful head, hair _à la Madonna_, ornamented by a
band of gold coins on black velvet: a band of the same kind encircling
her throat is the only relief to the severe simplicity of her dress.

The singing was beautiful. Six of the most cultivated glee singers of
London sang, among other things, "Spring's delights are now
returning," and "Where the bee sucks there lurk I." The duchess said,"
These glees are peculiarly English." It was indeed delightful to hear
Shakspeare's aerial words made vocal within the walls of this fairy
palace. The duchess has a strong nationality; and nationality, always
interesting, never appears in so captivating a form as when it
expresses itself through a beautiful and cultivated woman. One likes
to see a person identifying one's self with a country, and she
embraces England, with its history, its strength, its splendor, its
moral power, with an evident pride and affection which I love to see.

Miss Greenfield's turn for singing now came, and there was profound
attention. Her voice, with its keen, searching fire, its penetrating
vibrant quality, its _"timbre"_ as the French have it, cut its
way like a Damascus blade to the heart. It was the more touching from
occasional rusticities and artistic defects, which showed that she had
received no culture from art.

She sang the ballad, "Old folks at home," giving one verse in the
soprano, and another in the tenor voice.

As she stood partially concealed by the piano Chevalier Bunsen thought
that the tenor part was performed by one of the gentlemen. He was
perfectly astonished when he discovered that it was by her. This was
rapturously encored. Between the parts Sir George took her to the
piano, and tried her voice by skips, striking notes here and there at
random, without connection, from D in alt to A first space in bass
clef: she followed with unerring precision, striking the sound nearly
at the same instant his finger touched the key. This brought out a
burst of applause.

After the concert we walked through the rooms. The effect of the
groups of people sauntering through the hall or looking down from the
galleries was picture-like. Two of the duke's Highland pipers, in full
costume, playing their bagpipes, now made their appearance, and began
to promenade the halls, playing. Their dress reminds me, in its
effect, of that of our American Indians, and their playing is wild and
barbaric. It had a striking effect among these wide halls and
corridors. There is nothing poetic connected with the history and
position of the family of which the fair owner of the halls does not
feel the power, and which she cannot use with artistic skill in
heightening the enchantments of an entertainment.

Rev. S. R. Ward attracted attention in the company, as a full-blooded
African--tall enough for a palm tree. I observed him in conversation
with lords, dukes, and ambassadors, sustaining himself modestly, but
with self-possession. All who converse with him are satisfied that
there is no native difference between the African and other men.

The duchess took me to look at a model of Dunrobin--their castle on
the Sutherland estate. It is in the old French chateau style in
general architecture, something like the print of Glamis. It is
curious that the French architecture has obtained in Scotland. Her
grace kindly invited me to visit Dunrobin on my return to Scotland in
the autumn, taking it after Inverary. This will be delightful. That
Scottish coast I love almost like my own country.

Lord Shaftesbury was there. He came and spoke to us after the concert.
Speaking of Miss Greenfield, he said, "I consider the use of these
halls for the encouragement of an outcast race, a _consecration_.
This is the true use of wealth and splendor when it is employed to
raise up and encourage the despised and forgotten."

In the evening, though very weary, C. persuaded me to accept an
invitation to hear the Creation, at Exeter Hall, performed by the
London Sacred Harmonic Society. They had kindly reserved a gallery for
us, and when we went in Mr. Surman, the founder and for twenty years
conductor of the society, presented me with a beautifully bound copy
of the Creation.

Having never heard it before, I could not compare the performance with
others. I heard it as I should hear a poem read, simply thinking of
the author's ideas, and not of the style of reading. Haydn I was
thinking of,--the bright, brilliant, cheerful Haydn,--who, when
complained of for making church music into dancing tunes, replied,
"When I think of God my soul is always so full of joy that I want to
dance!" This Creation is a descriptive poem--the garden parts unite
Thomson and Milton's style--the whole effect pastoral, yet brilliant.
I was never more animated. I had had a new experience; it is worth
while to know nothing to have such a fresh sensation.

The next day, Tuesday, May 24, we went to lunch with Miss R., at
Oxford Terrace. Among a number of distinguished guests was Lady Byron,
with whom I had a few moments of deeply interesting conversation. No
engravings that ever have been circulated of her in America do any
justice to her appearance. She is of a slight figure, formed with
exceeding delicacy, and her whole form, face, dress, and air unite to
make an impression of a character singularly dignified, gentle, pure,
and yet strong. No words addressed to me in any conversation hitherto
have made their way to my inner soul with such force as a few remarks
dropped by her on the present religious aspect of England--remarks of
such a quality as one seldom hears.

Lady Byron's whole course, I have learned, has been one made venerable
by consistent, active benevolence. I was happy to find in her the
patroness of our American outcasts, William and Ellen Crafts. She had
received them into the schools of her daughter, Lady Lovelace, at
Occum, and now spoke in the highest terms of their character and
proficiency in study. The story of their misfortunes, united with
their reputation for worth, had produced such an impression on the
simple country people, that they always respectfully touch their hats
when meeting them. Ellen, she says, has become mother of a most
beautiful child, and their friends are now making an effort to put
them into some little business by which they may obtain a support.

I could not but observe with regret the evident fragility of Lady
Byron's health; yet why should I regret it? Why wish to detain here
those whose home is evidently from hence, and who will only then fully
live when the shadow we call life is passed away?

Here, also, I was personally introduced to a lady with whom I had
passed many a dreamy hour of spiritual communion--Mrs. Jameson, whose
works on arts and artists were for years almost my only food for a
certain class of longings.

Mrs. Jameson is the most charming of critics, with the gift, often too
little prized, of discovering and pointing out beauties rather than
defects; beauties which we may often have passed unnoticed, but which,
when so pointed out, never again conceal themselves. This shows itself
particularly in her Characteristics of Shakspeare's Women, a critique
which only a true woman could have written.

She seemed rather surprised to find me inquiring about art and
artists. I asked her where one might go to study that subject most
profitably, and her answer was, in Munich.

By her side was Mrs. Chisholm, the author of those benevolent
movements for the emigrants, which I have mentioned to you. She is a
stout, practical looking woman, who impresses you with the idea of
perfect health, exuberant life, and an iron constitution. Her face
expresses decision, energy, and good sense. She is a woman of few
words, every moment of whose time seems precious.

One of her remarks struck me, from the quaint force with which it was
uttered. "I found," said she, "if we want any thing done, we must go
to work and _do_; it is of no use to talk, none whatever." It is
the secret of her life's success. Mrs. Chisholm first began by
_doing_ on a small scale what she wanted done, and people seeing
the result fell in with and helped her, but to have convinced them of
the feasibility of her plans by _talking_, without this practical
demonstration, would have been impossible.

At this _réunion_, also, was Mr. George Thompson, whom I had
never seen before, and many of the warmest friends of the slave.
During this visit I was taken ill, and obliged to return to Mr.
Gurney's, where I was indisposed during the remainder of the day, and
late in the evening drove home to Surrey parsonage.

The next evening, Wednesday, May 29, we attended an antislavery
_soirée_, at Willis's rooms, formerly known as Almack's; so at
least I was told. A number of large rooms were thrown open,
brilliantly lighted and adorned, and filled with throngs of people. In
the course of the evening we went upon the platform in the large hall,
where an address was presented by S. Bowley, Esq., of Gloucester. It
was one of the most beautiful, sensible, judicious, and Christian
addresses that could have been made, and I listened to it with
unmingled pleasure. In reply, Mr. S. took occasion still further to
explain his views with respect to the free-grown cotton movement in
England, and its bearings on the future progress of the cause of
freedom. [Footnote: We are happy to say that a large body of religious
persons in Great Britain have become favorable to these views. A
vigorous society has been established, combining India reform and free
cotton with the antislavery cause. The Earl of Albemarle made, while
we were in London, a vigorous India reform speech in the House of
Lords, and Messrs. Bright and Cobden are fully in for the same object
in the Commons. There is much hope in the movement.]

After the addresses we dispersed to different rooms, where refreshment
tables were bountifully laid out and adorned. By my side, at one end
of them, was a young female of pleasing exterior, with fine eyes,
delicate person, neatly dressed in white. She was introduced to me as
Ellen Crafts--a name memorable in Boston annals. Her husband, a
pleasant, intelligent young man, with handsome manners, was there
also. Had it not been for my introduction I could never have fancied
Ellen to have been any other than some English girl with rather a
paler cheek than common. She has very sweet manners, and uses
uncommonly correct and beautiful language. Let it not be supposed
that, with such witnesses as these among them, our English brethren
have derived their first practical knowledge of slavery from Uncle
Tom's Cabin. The mere knowledge that two such persons as William and
Ellen Crafts have been rated as merchantable commodities, in any
country but ours would be a sufficient comment on the system.

We retired early after a very agreeable evening.


May 28.


This morning Lord Shaftesbury came according to appointment, to take
me to see the Model Lodging Houses. He remarked that it would be
impossible to give me the full effect of seeing them, unless I could
first visit the dens of filth, disease, and degradation, in which the
poor of London formerly were lodged. With a good deal of satisfaction
he told me that the American minister, Mr. Ingersoll, previous to
leaving London, had requested the police to take him over the dirtiest
and most unwholesome parts of it, that he might see the lowest as well
as the highest sphere of London life. After this, however, the
policeman took him through the baths, wash houses, and model lodging
houses, which we were going to visit, and he expressed himself both
surprised and delighted with the improvement that had been made.

[Illustration: _of the facade of "The Model Lodging House."_]

We first visited the lodging house for single men in Charles Street,
Drury Lane. This was one of the first experiments made in this line,
and to effect the thing in the most economical manner possible, three
old houses were bought and thrown into one, and fitted up for the
purpose. On the ground floor we saw the superintendent's apartment,
and a large, long sitting room, furnished with benches and clean,
scoured tables, where the inmates were, some of them, reading books or
papers: the day being wet, perhaps, kept them from their work. In the
kitchen were ample cooking accommodations, and each inmate, as I
understand, cooks for himself. Lord Shaftesbury said, that--something
like a common table had been tried, but that it was found altogether
easier or more satisfactory for each one to suit himself. On this
floor, also, was a bathing room, and a well-selected library of useful
reading books, history, travels, &c. On the next floor were the
dormitories--a great hall divided by board partitions into little
sleeping cells about eight feet square, each containing a neat bed,
chair, and stand. The partition does not extend quite up to the wall,
and by this means while each inmate enjoys the privacy of a small
room, he has all the comfort of breathing the air of the whole hall.

A working man returning from his daily toil to this place, can first
enjoy the comfort of a bath; then, going into the kitchen, make his
cup of tea or coffee, and sitting down at one of the clean, scoured
tables in the sitting room, sip his tea, and look over a book. Or a
friendly company may prepare their supper and sit down to tea
together. Lord Shaftesbury said that the effect produced on the men by
such an arrangement was wonderful. They became decent, decorous, and
self-respecting. They passed rules of order for their community. They
subscribed for their library from their own earnings, and the books
are mostly of their own selection. "It is remarkable," said his
lordship, "that of their own accord they decided to reject every
profane, indecent, or immoral work. It showed," he said, "how strong
are the influences of the surroundings in reforming or ruining the
character." It should be remarked that all these advantages are
enjoyed for the same price charged by the most crowded and filthy of
lodging houses, namely, fourpence per night, or two shillings per
week. The building will accommodate eighty-two. The operation supports
itself handsomely.

I should remark, by the by, that in order to test more fully the
practicability of the thing, this was accomplished in one of the worst
neighborhoods in London.

From these we proceeded to view a more perfect specimen of the same
sort in the Model Lodging House of George Street, Bloomsbury Square, a
house which was built _de novo_, for the purpose of perfectly
illustrating the principle. This house accommodates one hundred and
four working men, and combines every thing essential or valuable in
such an establishment--complete ventilation and drainage; the use of a
distinct living room; a kitchen and a wash house, a bath, and an ample
supply of water, and all the conveniences which, while promoting the
physical comfort of the inmates, tend to increase their self-respect,
and elevate them in the scale of moral and intellectual beings. The
arrangement of the principal apartments are such as to insure economy
as well as domestic comfort, the kitchen and wash house being
furnished with every requisite convenience, including a bath supplied
with hot and cold water; also a separate and well-ventilated safe for
the food of each inmate. Under the care of the superintendent is a
small, but well-selected library.

The common room, thirty-three feet long, twenty-three feet wide, and
ten feet nine inches high, is paved with white tiles, laid on brick
arches, and on each side are two rows of tables with seats; at the
fireplace is a constant supply of hot water, and above it are the
rules of the establishment. The staircase, which occupies the centre
of the building, is of stone. The dormitories, eight in number, ten
feet high, are subdivided with movable wood partitions six feet nine
inches high; each compartment, enclosed by its own door, is fitted up
with a bed, chair, and clothes box. A shaft is carried up at the end
of every room, the ventilation through it being assisted by the
introduction of gas, which lights the apartment. A similar shaft is
carried up the staircase, supplying fresh air to the dormitories, with
a provision for warming it, if necessary. The washing closets on each
floor are fitted up with slate, having japanned iron basins, and water
laid on.

During the fearful ravages of the cholera in this immediate
neighborhood, not one case occurred in this house among its one
hundred and four inmates.

From this place we proceeded to one, if any thing, more interesting to
me. This was upon the same principle appropriated to the lodgment of
single women. When one considers the defenceless condition of single
women, who labor for their own subsistence in a large city, how easily
they are imposed upon and oppressed, and how quickly a constitution
may be destroyed for want of pure air, fresh water, and other common
necessaries of life, one fully appreciates the worth of a large and
beautiful building, which provides for this oppressed, fragile class.

The Thanksgiving Model Buildings at Port Pool Lane, Gray's Inn, are so
called because they were built with a thank-offering collected in the
various religious societies of London, as an appropriate expression of
their gratitude to God for the removal of the cholera. This block of
buildings has in it accommodations for twenty families, and one
hundred and twenty-eight single women; together with a public wash
house, and a large cellar, in which are stored away the goods of those
women who live by the huckster's trade.

The hundred and twenty-eight single women, of whom the majority are
supposed to be poor needlewomen, occupy sixty-four rooms in a building
of four stories, divided by a central staircase; a corridor on either
side forms a lobby to eight rooms, each twelve feet six inches long,
by nine feet six inches wide, sufficiently large for two persons. They
are fitted up with two bedsteads, a table, chairs, and a washing
stand. The charge is one shilling per week for each person, or two
shillings per room.

Lord Shaftesbury took me into one of the rooms, where was an aged
female partially bedridden, who maintained herself by sewing, The room
was the picture of neatness and comfort; a good supply of hot and cold
water was furnished in it. Her work was spread out by her upon the
bed, together with her Bible and hymn book; she looked cheerful and
comfortable. She seemed pleased to see Lord Shaftesbury, whom she had
evidently seen many times before, as his is a familiar countenance in
all these places. She expressed the most fervent thankfulness for the
quiet, order, and comfort of her pleasant lodgings, comparing them
very feelingly with what used to be her condition before any such
place had been provided.

[Illustration: _of a four story rectangular brick/masonry structure._]

From this place we drove to the Streatham Street Lodging House for
families, of which the following is an outside view. This building is,
in the first place, fire proof; in the second, the separation in the
parts belonging to different families is rendered complete and perfect
by the use of hollow brick for the partitions, which entirely
prevents, as I am told, the transmission of sound.

The accompanying print shows the plan of one tenement.

[Illustration: _of an apartment's plan (no scale)_:


Open gallery, five feet wide

:::XX:::::::-------:::::XX: :XX::::::::-------::::::::XX::::
:: +--+ +-------+:::::: entry :: ::
:: | | | |+--+:: :: ::
:: +--+ | H ||I |:: :: ::
:: F +-------++--+:: :: ::
:: :: :: :: ::
:: :: :: ::
XX:+ :: :: ::
: | L* :: E :: D C ::
XX:+:::::XX :: ::
:: :: :: ::
:: G :: :: ::
:: :: :: :: ::
XX: :XX: :XX: :XX ::
:: :: ::
:: :: ::
:: :: ::
:: XX:::::::::::::::::::::::XX::::
:: :: ::
:: :: ::
:: :: ::
:: :: ::
:: :: ::
:: :: ::
:: :: ::
:: :: ::
:: A :: B ::
:: :: ::
:: :: ::
:: :: ::
:: :: ::
:: :: ::
:: :: ::
:: ::
:: ::
:: ::
:: ::
:: :: ::

A Living room
B Bed room ASCII Key:
C Bed room
D Lobby :: Wall
E Scullery ::XX:: Wall intersection
F Water closet ::--:: Window
G Bed closet ::..:: Balcony
H Sink +----+ Fixture edge
I Meat safe
L Dust flue (*_not identified on original plan--location estimated
from author's description_)]

[Illustration: _of the multi-story brick/masonry structure with covered

By means of the sleeping closet adjoining the living room, each
dwelling affords three good sleeping apartments. The meat safe
preserves provisions. The dust flue is so arranged that all the
sweepings of the house, and all the refuse of the cookery, have only
to be thrown down to disappear forever; while the sink is supplied to
an unlimited extent with hot and cold water. These galleries, into
which every tenement opens, run round the inside of the hollow court
which the building encloses, and afford an admirable play-place for
the little children, out of the dangers and temptations of the street,
and in view of their respective mothers. The foregoing print,
representing the inner half of the quadrangle, shows the arrangement
of the galleries.

"Now," said Lord Shaftesbury, as he was showing me through these
tenements, which were models of neatness and good keeping, "you must
bear in mind that these are tenanted by the very people who once were
living in the dirtiest and filthiest lodging houses; people whom the
world said, it did no good to try to help; that they liked to be dirty
better than clean, and would be dirty under any circumstances."

He added the following anecdote to show the effect of poor lodgings in
degrading the character. A fine young man, of some considerable taste
and talent, obtained his living by designing patterns for wall paper.
A long and expensive illness so reduced his circumstances, that he was
obliged to remove to one of these low, filthy lodging houses already
alluded to. From that time he became an altered man; his wife said
that he lost all energy, all taste in designing, love of reading, and
fondness for his family; began to frequent drinking shops, and was
visibly on the road to ruin. Hearing of these lodging houses, he
succeeded in renting a tenement in one of them, for the same sum which
he had paid for the miserable dwelling. Under the influence of a neat,
airy, pleasant, domestic home, the man's better nature again awoke,
his health improved, he ceased to crave ardent spirits, and his former
ingenuity in his profession returned.

"Now, this shows," said Lord Shaftesbury, "that hundreds may have been
ruined simply by living in miserable dwellings." I looked into this
young man's tenement; it was not only neat, but ornamented with a
great variety of engravings tastefully disposed upon the wall. On my
expressing my pleasure in this circumstance, he added, "It is one of
the pleasantest features of the case, to notice how soon they began to
ornament their little dwellings; some have cages with singing birds,
and some pots of flowering plants; some, pictures and engravings."

"And are these buildings successful in a pecuniary point of view?" I
said. "Do they pay their own way?"

"Yes," he replied, "they do. I consider that these buildings, if they
have done nothing more, have established two points: first, that the
poor do not prefer dirt and disorder, where it is possible for them to
secure neatness and order; and second, that buildings with every
proper accommodation can be afforded at a price which will support an

Said I, "Are people imitating these lodging houses very rapidly?"

"To a great extent they are," he replied, "but not so much as I
desire. Buildings on these principles have been erected in the
principal towns of England and Scotland. The state of the miserable
dwellings, courts, alleys, &c., is the consequence of the neglect of
former days, when speculators and builders were allowed to do as they
liked, and run up hovels, where the working man, whose house must be
regulated, not by his choice, but by his work, was compelled then, as
he is now, to live, however narrow, unhealthy, or repulsive the place
might be. This was called 'the liberty of the subject.'" It has been
one of Lord Shaftesbury's most arduous parliamentary labors to bring
the lodging houses under governmental regulation. He told me that he
introduced a bill to this effect in the House of Commons, while a
member, as Lord Ashley, and that just as it had passed through the
House of Commons, he entered the House of Lords, as Lord Shaftesbury,
and so had the satisfaction of carrying the bill to its completion in
that house, where it passed in the year 1851. The provisions of this
bill require every keeper of a lodging house to register his name at
the Metropolitan Police Office, under a penalty of a fine of five
pounds for every lodger received before this is done. After having
given notice to the police, they are not allowed to receive lodgers
until the officers have inspected the house, to see whether it accords
with the required conditions. These conditions are, that the walls and
ceilings be whitewashed; that the floors, stairs, beds, and bed
clothes are clean; that there be some mode of ventilating every room;
that each house be provided with every accommodation for promoting
decency and neatness; that the drains and cesspools are perfect; the
yards properly paved, so as to run dry; and that each house has a
supply of water, with conveniences for cooking and washing; and
finally, that no person with an infectious disease is inhabiting the
house. It is enacted, moreover, that only so many shall be placed in a
room as shall be permitted by the commissioners of the police; and it
is made an indispensable condition to the fitness of a house, that the
proprietor should hang up in every room a card, properly signed by the
police inspector, stating the precise number who are allowed to be
lodged there. The law also strictly forbids persons of different sexes
occupying the same room, except in case of married people with
children under ten years of age: more than one married couple may not
inhabit the same apartment, without the provision of a screen to
secure privacy. It is also forbidden to use the kitchens, sculleries,
or cellars for sleeping rooms, unless specially permitted by the
police. The keeper of the house is required thoroughly to whitewash
the walls and ceilings twice a year, and to cleanse the drains and
cesspools whenever required by the police. In case of sickness, notice
must be immediately given to the police, and such measures pursued,
for preventing infection, as may be deemed judicious by the inspector.

The commissioner of police reports to the secretary of state
systematically as to the results of this system.

After looking at these things, we proceeded to view one of the model
washing houses, which had been erected for the convenience of poor
women. We entered a large hall, which was divided by low wood
partitions into small apartments, in each of which a woman was
washing. The whole process of washing clothes in two or three waters,
and boiling them, can be effected without moving from the spot, or
changing the tub. Each successive water is let out at the bottom,
while fresh is let on from the top. When the clothes are ready to be
boiled, a wooden cover is placed over them, and a stream of scalding
steam is directed into the tub, by turning a stop cock; this boils the
water in a few moments, effectually cleansing the clothes; they are
then whirled in a hollow cylinder till nearly dry, after which they
are drawn through two rollers covered with flannel, which presses
every remaining particle of water out of them. The clothes are then
hung upon frames, which shut into large closets, and are dried by
steam in a very short space of time.

Lord Shaftesbury, pointing out the partitions, said, "This is an
arrangement of delicacy to save their feelings: their clothes are
sometimes so old and shabby they do not want to show them, poor
things." I thought this feature worthy of special notice.

In addition to all these improvements for the laboring classes, very
large bathing establishments have been set up expressly for the use of
the working classes. To show the popularity and effectiveness of this
movement, five hundred and fifty thousand baths were given in three
houses during the year 1850. These bathing establishments for the
working classes are rapidly increasing in every part of the kingdom.

When we returned to our carriage after this survey, I remarked to Lord
Shaftesbury that the combined influence of these causes must have
wrought a considerable change in the city. He answered, with energy,
"You can have no idea. Whole streets and districts have been
revolutionized by it. The people who were formerly savage and
ferocious, because they supposed themselves despised and abandoned,
are now perfectly quiet and docile. I can assure you that Lady
Shaftesbury has walked alone, with no attendant but a little child,
through streets in London where, years ago, a well-dressed man could
not have passed safely without an escort of the police."

I said to him that I saw nothing now, with all the improvements they
were making throughout the kingdom, to prevent their working classes
from becoming quite as prosperous as ours, except the want of a
temperance reformation.

He assented with earnestness. He believed, he said, that the amount
spent in liquors of various kinds, which do no good, but much injury,
was enough to furnish every laborer's dwelling, not only with
comforts, but with elegances. "But then," he said, "one thing is to be
considered: a reform of the dwellings will do a great deal towards
promoting a temperance reformation. A man who lives in a close,
unwholesome dwelling, deprived of the natural stimulus of fresh air
and pure water, comes into a morbid and unhealthy state; he craves
stimulants to support the sinking of his vital powers, caused by these
unhealthy influences." There is certainly a great deal of truth in
this; and I think that, in America, we should add to the force of our
Maine law by adopting some of the restrictions of the Lodging House

I have addressed this letter to you, my dear cousin, on account of the
deep interest you have taken in the condition of the poor and
perishing in the city of New York. While making these examinations,
these questions occurred to my mind: Could our rich Christian men
employ their capital in a more evangelical manner, or more adorn the
city of New York, than by raiding a large and beautiful lodging house,
which should give the means of health, comfort, and vigor to thousands
of poor needlewomen? The same query may be repeated concerning all the
other lodging houses I have mentioned. Furthermore, should not a
movement for the registration and inspection of common lodging houses
keep pace with efforts to suppress the sale of spirits? The poison of
these dismal haunts creates a craving for stimulants, which constantly
tends to break over and evade law.



I wish in this letter to give you a brief view of the movements in
this country for the religious instruction and general education of
the masses. If we compare the tone of feeling now prevalent with that
existing but a few years back, we notice a striking change. No longer
ago than in the time of Lady Huntington we find a lady of quality
ingenuously confessing that her chief source of scepticism in regard
to Christianity was, that it actually seemed to imply that the
educated, the refined, the noble, must needs be saved by the same
Savior and the same gospel with the ignorant and debased working
classes. Traces of a similar style of feeling are discernible in the
letters of the polished correspondents of Hannah More. Robert Walpole
gayly intimates himself somewhat shocked at the idea that the nobility
and the vulgar should be equally subject to the restraints of the
Sabbath and the law of God--equally exposed to the sanctions of
endless retribution. And Young makes his high-born dame inquire,

"Shall pleasures of a short duration chain
A _lady's_ soul in everlasting pain?"

In broad contrast to this, all the modern popular movements in England
are based upon the recognition of the equal value of every human soul.
The Times, the most aristocratic paper in England, publishes letters
from needlewomen and dressmakers' apprentices, and reads grave
lectures to duchesses and countesses on their duties to their poor
sisters. One may fancy what a stir this would have made in the courtly
circles of the reign of George II. Fashionable literature now arrays
itself on the side of the working classes. The current of novel
writing is reversed. Instead of milliners and chambermaids being
bewitched with the adventures of countesses and dukes, we now have
fine lords and ladies hanging enchanted over the history of John the
Carrier, with his little Dot, dropping sympathetic tears into little
Charlie's wash tub, and pursuing the fortunes of a dressmaker's
apprentice, in company with poor Smike, and honest John Brodie and his
little Yorkshire wife. Punch laughs at every body but the work people;
and if, occasionally, he laughs at them, it is rather in a kindly way
than with any air of contempt. Then, Prince Albert visits model
lodging houses, and commands all the ingenuity of the kingdom to
expend itself in completing the ideal of a workman's cottage for the
great World's Fair. Lords deliver lydeum lectures; ladies patronize
ragged schools; committees of duchesses meliorate the condition of
needlewomen. In short, the great ship of the world has tacked, and
stands on another course.

The beginning of this great humanitarian movement in England was
undoubtedly the struggle of Clarkson, Wilberforce, and their
associates, for the overthrow of the slave trade. In that struggle the
religious democratic element was brought to bear for years upon the
mind of Parliament. The negro, most degraded of men, was taken up, and
for years made to agitate British society on the simple ground that he
had a human soul.

Of course the religious obligations of society to _every_ human
soul were involved in the discussion. It educated Parliament, it
educated the community. Parliament became accustomed to hearing the
simple principles of the gospel asserted in its halls as of binding
force. The community were trained in habits of efficient benevolent
action, which they have never lost. The use of tracts, of committees,
of female cooperation, of voluntary association, and all the
appliances of organized reform were discovered and successfully
developed. The triumphant victory then achieved, moreover, became the
pledge of future conquests in every department of reform. Concerning
the movements for the elevation of the masses, Lord Shaftesbury has
kindly furnished me with a few brief memoranda, set down as nearly as
possible in chronological order.

In the first place, there has been reform of the poor laws. So corrupt
had this system become, that a distinct caste had well nigh sprung
into permanent existence, families having been known to subsist in
idleness for five generations solely by means of skilful appropriation
of public and private charities.

The law giving to paupers the preference in all cases where any public
work was to be done, operated badly. Good workmen might starve for
want of work: by declaring themselves paupers they obtained
employment. Thus, virtually, a bounty was offered to pauperism. His
lordship remarks,--

"There have been sad defects, no doubt, and some harshness, under the
new system; but the general result has been excellent; and, in many
instances, the system has been reduced to practice in a truly
patriarchal spirit. The great difficulty and the great failure are
found in the right and safe occupation of children who are trained in
these workhouses, of which so much has been said."

In the second place, the treatment of the insane has received a
thorough investigation. This began, in 1828, by a committee of
inquiry, moved for by Mr. Gordon.

An almost incredible amount of suffering and horrible barbarity was
thus brought to light. For the most part it appeared that the
treatment of the insane had been conducted on the old, absurd idea
which cuts them off from humanity, and reduces them below the level of
the brutes. The regimen in private madhouses was such that Lord
Shaftesbury remarked of them, in a speech on the subject, "I have said
before, and now say again, that should it please God to visit me with
such an affliction, I would greatly prefer the treatment of paupers,
in an establishment like that of the Surrey Asylum, to the treatment
of the rich in almost any one of these receptacles."

Instances are recorded of individuals who were exhumed from cells
where they had existed without clothing or cleansing, as was
ascertained, _for years after they had entirely recovered the
exercise of sound reason_. Lord Shaftesbury procured the passage of
bills securing the thorough supervision of these institutions by
competent visiting committees, and the seasonable dismissal of all who
were pronounced cured; and the adoption for the pauper insane of a
judicious course of remedial treatment.

The third step was the passage of the ten hour factory bill. This took
nearly eighteen years of labor and unceasing activity in Parliament
and in the provinces. Its operation affects full half a million of
actual workers, and, if the families be included, nearly two millions
of persons, young and old. Two thirds as many as the southern slaves.

It is needless to enlarge on the horrible disclosures in reference to
the factory operatives, made during this investigation. England never
shuddered with a deeper thrill at the unveiling of American slavery
than did all America at this unveiling of the white-labor slavery of
England. In reading the speeches of Lord Shaftesbury, one sees, that,
in presenting this subject, he had to encounter the same opposition
and obloquy which now beset those in America who seek the abolition of

In the beginning of one of his speeches, his lordship says, "Nearly
eleven years have now elapsed since I first made the proposition to
the house which I shall renew this night. Never, at any time, have I
felt greater apprehension, or even anxiety. Not through any fear of
personal defeat; for disappointment is 'the badge of our tribe;' but
because I know well the hostility that I have aroused, and the certain
issues of indiscretion on my part affecting the welfare of those who
have so long confided their hopes and interests to my charge." One may
justly wonder on what conceivable grounds any could possibly oppose
the advocate of a measure like this. He was opposed on the same ground
that Clarkson was resisted in seeking the abolition of the slave
trade. As Boswell said that "to abolish the slave trade would be to
shut the gates of mercy on mankind," so the advocates of eighteen
hours labor in factories said that the ten hour system would diminish
produce, lower wages, and bring starvation on the workmen. His
lordship was denounced as an incendiary, a meddling fanatic,
interfering with the rights of masters, and desiring to exalt his own
order by destroying the prosperity of the manufacturers.

In the conclusion of one of his speeches he says, "Sir, it may not be
given me to pass over this Jordan; other and better men have preceded
me, and I entered into their labors; other and better men will follow
me, and enter into mine; but this consolation I shall ever continue to
enjoy--that, amidst much injustice and somewhat of calumny, we have at
last 'lighted such a candle in England as, by God's blessing, shall
never be put out.'"

The next effort was to regulate the labor of children in the calico
and print works. The great unhealthiness of the work, and the tender
age of the children employed,--some even as young as four years--were
fully disclosed. An extract from his lordship's remarks on this
subject will show that human nature takes the same course in all
countries: "Sir, in the various discussions on these kindred subjects,
there has been a perpetual endeavor to drive us from the point under
debate, and taunt us with a narrow and one-sided humanity. I was told
there were far greater evils than those I had assailed--that I had
left untouched much worse things. It was in vain to reply that no one
could grapple with the whole at once; my opponents on the ten hour
bill sent me to the collieries; when I invaded the collieries I was
referred to the print works; from the print works I know not to what I
shall be sent; for what can be worse? Sir, it has been said to me,
more than once, 'Where will you stop?' I reply, Nowhere, so long as
any portion of this mighty evil remains to be removed. I confess that
my desire and ambition are to bring all the laboring children of this
empire within the reach and opportunities of education, within the
sphere of useful and happy citizens. I am ready, so far as my services
are of any value, to devote what little I have of energy, and all the
remainder of my life, to the accomplishment of this end. The labor
would be great, and the anxieties very heavy; but I fear neither one
nor the other. I fear nothing but defeat."

From the allusion, above, to the colliery effort, it would seem that
the act for removing women and children from the coalpits preceded the
reform of the printworks. Concerning the result of these various
enterprises, he says, "The present state of things may be told in few
words. Full fifty thousand children under thirteen years of age attend
school every day. None are worked more than seven, generally only six,
hours in the day. Those above thirteen and under eighteen, and all
women, are limited to ten hours and a half, exclusive of the time for
meals. The work begins at six in the morning and ends at six in the
evening. Saturday's labor ends at four o'clock, and there is no work
on Sunday. The printworks are brought under regulation, and the women
and children removed from the coalpits." His lordship adds, "The
report of inspectors which I send you will give you a faint picture of
the physical, social, and moral good that has resulted. I may safely
say of these measures, that God has blessed them far beyond my
expectation, and almost equal to my heart's desire."

The next great benevolent movement is the ragged school system. From a
miserable hole in Field Lane, they have grown up to a hundred and
sixteen in number. Of these Lord Shaftesbury says, "They have
produced--I speak seriously--some of the most beautiful fruits that
ever grew upon the tree of life. I believe that from the teachers and
from the children, though many are now gone to their rest, might have
been, and might still be, selected some of the most pure, simple,
affectionate specimens of Christianity the world ever saw." Growing
out of the ragged school is an institution of most interesting
character, called "a place for repentance." It had its origin in the
efforts of a young man, a Mr. Nash, to reform two of his pupils. They
said they wished to be honest, but had nothing to eat, and _must_
steal to live. Though poor himself, he invited them to his humble
abode, and shared with them his living. Other pupils, hearing of this,
desired to join with them, and become honest too. Soon he had six.
Now, the _honest_ scholars in the ragged school, seeing what was
going on, of their own accord began to share their bread with this
little band, and to contribute their pennies. Gradually the number
increased. Benevolent individuals noticed it, and supplies flowed in,
until at last it has grown to be an establishment in which several
hundreds are seeking reformation. To prevent imposition, a rigid
probation is prescribed. Fourteen days the applicant feeds on bread
and water, in solitary confinement, with the door unfastened, so that
he can depart at any moment. If he goes through with that ordeal it is
thought he really wants to be honest, and he is admitted a member.
After sufficient time spent in the institution to form correct habits,
assistance is given him to emigrate to some of the colonies, to
commence life, as it were, anew. Lord Shaftesbury has taken a deep
interest in this establishment; and among other affecting letters
received from its colonists in Australia, is one to him, commencing,
"Kind Lord Ashley," in which the boy says, "I wish your lordship would
send out more boys, and use your influence to convert all the prisons
into ragged schools. As soon as I get a farm I shall call it after
your name."

A little anecdote related by Mr. Nash shows the grateful feelings of
the inmates of this institution. A number of them were very desirous
to have a print of Lord Shaftesbury, to hang up in their sitting room.
Mr. Nash told them he knew of no way in which they could earn the
money, except by giving up something from their daily allowance of
food. This they cheerfully agreed to do. A benevolent gentleman
offered to purchase the picture and present it to them; but they
unanimously declined. They wanted it to be their own, they said, and
they could not feel that it was so unless they did something for it

Connected with the ragged school, also, is a movement for establishing
what are called ragged churches--a system of simple, gratuitous
religious instruction, which goes out to seek those who feel too poor
and degraded to be willing to enter the churches.

Another of the great movements in England is the institution of the
Laborer's Friend Society, under the patronage of the most
distinguished personages. Its principal object has been the promotion
of allotments of land in the country, to be cultivated by the
peasantry after their day's labor, thus adding to their day's wages
the produce of their fields and gardens. It has been instrumental,
first and last, of establishing nearly four hundred thousand of these
allotments. It publishes, also, a monthly paper, called the Laborer's
Friend, in which all subjects relative to the elevation of the working
classes receive a full discussion.

In consequence of all these movements, the dwellings of the laboring
classes throughout Great Britain are receiving much attention; so
that, if matters progress for a few years as they have done, the
cottages of the working people will be excelled by none in the world.

Another great movement is the repeal of the corn laws, the benefit of
which is too obvious to need comment.

What has been doing for milliners and dressmakers, for the reform
lodging houses, and for the supply of baths and wash houses, I have
shown at length in former letters. I will add that the city of London
has the services of one hundred and twenty city missionaries.

There is a great multiplication of churches, and of clergymen to labor
in the more populous districts. The Pastoral Aid Society and the
Scripture Reading Society are both extensive and fruitful laborers for
the service of the mass of the people.

There has also been a public health act, by which towns and villages

Book of the day:
Facebook Google Reddit StumbleUpon Twitter Pinterest