« AnteriorContinuar »
we like him better and better, the more we see of him and hear him talk. Our opinion of his intellectual powers and his moral qualities of course cannot be altered by any personal contact with the man. We have known him as the invisible soul behind the Tribune for years--and now we gaze upon--the Tribune made flesh and blood !
THURLOW WEED BROWN.
ONE of the most powerful advocates of the temperance cause is the man whose name heads this brief sketch. He is powerful in a somewhat peculiar way, not like Choate or Phillips, with the very highest order of eloquence, nor like Sumner, with a chastened, classical eloquence. He is powerful with the people. Upon a vast gathering of sturdy yeomen in one of “God's own temples,” he will make a most profound impression. He overflows with natural eloquence. He knows little of the schools of rhetoric, but he knows the human heart. His own is sensitive as a girl's. No wrong can be perpetrated upon one of his fellow-men without rousing his indignation. He knew in childhood what it was to suffer from intemperance of the nearest friends, and he grew up hating the traffickers in “liquid damnation" as he hated their father, the devil. He utters to the people before him words which burn-sentences which blaze with fire. They are not smooth, are not always elaborated, but they find their way to the hearts of his hearers.
The following extract from his “Temperance Tales and Hearthstone Reveries,” presents at one view the
causes of his temperance predilections, his direct and vigorous style, and his warm domestic attachments, as shown in the finest tribute to a mother which we have ever seen :
“ Lastly, we are against it for a mother's sake. To her we Ascribe the holiest of our temperance teachings, and to her history that deep and sleepless hatred of the rum traffic. A tear will come to your eye as we write of that hallowed name. She sits before us now, and we look with a holy love and a misty eye upon the locks fast silvering with gray. That idol has been shivered at your own hearth-side, but her temperance teachings and fervent prayers for her wayward boy will not, cannot be forgotten by him.
“A vision passes before us. There is a home, in New England, of happiness and comfort, and a lovely matron makes one of the links of the family circle. Again she stands at the altar, and weaves her destiny irrevocably with that of the man of her choice.
“ Years pass happily and swiftly by, and the young bride is a happy mother. Fresh blessings are added to the first, but in the mean time a shadow has fallen upon that heart and its home. A tempter has glided into the Eden, and wreathed its coils around the husband and father.
“ Other years go by, and ruin is in that home. The mother weeps and prays, and gathers more closely her children around her, as the storm bursts in its fury. Want, neglect, and abuse wring her aching heart. She fades vut like the autumn leaf, and with a crushed heart sinks to the rest of death, and is
borne to a pauper's grave; and ten brothers and sisters weep over the last home of one who can no longer shield them from hunger or the cruel blow.
“ An officer steps within the abode of poverty and wretch. edness, and drags away all to satisfy an execution in favor of the rumseller, who has swallowed the living of that family and placed the mother in her grave. The once high-minded, but now lost and imbruted father, sells the cow and riots the proceeds out at a drunkery, and leaves the children to the charities of friends.
“ A girl of fifteen summers toils in a factory until her heart and brain ache, and she turns away to the lone group at the desolate hearth, and sinks hungry to her fitful rest. The coldtongued bell breaks in upon short slumbers, and drives the slight and weary frame again to its bitter task. Saturday night finds her turning homeward with a feverish cheek and a heavy step. A father calls at the office of the superintendent, secures her earnings, and during the Sabbath squanders it all at the grog-shop with his boon companions!
“ The factory girl once idolized that father. But hunger, and poverty, and abuse, have taught her to hate him; and as he goes to the groggery in the morning, an involuntary prayer goes up from the child's heart that he will no more return. So accursing are the effects of rum!
“ Long and weary days pass away, and yet the factory girl toils, and at night gathers with her brothers and sisters gratefully around a loaf of brown bread. There is a jug of rum on the shelf, and an imbruted father slumbering on the hearth.
4-A dark and cheerless pathway opens to the factory girl.
“ The worse than orphans are driven out from the wretched home and scattered here and there as paupers, kept by the town. One little girl, a fair-haired, blue-eyed, beautiful creature of three summers, is taken by a family. Away in an entry-away, without sufficient clothing, hungry, and no eye but God's to look kindly down upon her, she dies in the winter night-dies cold, hungry, and covered with vermin !and the older sister could not even weep upon the child-pauper's grave, her of the fair hair and wild blue eye.
“ With the brand which society once cruelly affixed upon the brow of the drunkard's child, the factory girl entered into the great battle of life. Without education or friends, she was compelled to perform the most menial drudgery. The shadows that then clouded the sky of her youth have mingled with and darkened the happiness of after years. Her brothers grew up, and some of them followed in the footsteps of their father, and became drunkards. One was drowned near Albany. Another rests beneath a southern soil.
A younger one, a faultless model of manly beauty, and as noble in heart as in form, was taken by pirates at sea, and killed only when he towered the last of his crew upon the slippery decks, and his arms were hewn from his body. Two others wrestle now with an appetite which dogs their footsteps with remorseless craving, and but one lives the soul of manhood and honor.
“ Thus were those linked to her by the strongest ties that can bind us to each other, wrenched
away, and driven up and down the world. The father lived on a drunkard, and at a ripe old age died a drunkard by the roadside, and not a stone tells where he sleeps.