Isaac T. Hopper
L. Maria Child

Part 4 out of 6

enough to turn back from vicious ways, into the paths of virtue and
usefulness, deserved even more respect than one who had never been

He afterward married a worthy young woman with a small property, which
enabled him to build a neat two-story brick house. He always remained
sober and industrious, and they lived in great comfort and

The younger brother likewise passed through his apprenticeship in a
manner very satisfactory to his friends; and at twenty-one years of age,
he also was introduced to the governor with testimonials of his good
conduct. He was united to a very respectable young woman, but died a few
years after his marriage.

Both these young men always cherished warm gratitude and strong
attachment for Isaac T. Hopper. They both regularly attended the
meetings of the Society of Friends, which had become pleasantly
associated in their minds with the good influences they had received
from their benefactor.

Friend Hopper was a strict disciplinarian while he was inspector, and it
was extremely difficult for the prisoners to deceive him by any artful
devices, or hypocritical pretences. But he was always in the habit of
talking with them in friendly style, inquiring into their history and
plans, sympathizing with their troubles and temptations, encouraging
them to reform, and promising to assist them if they would try to help
themselves. It was his custom to take a ramble in the country with his
children every Saturday afternoon. All who were old enough to walk
joined the troop. They always stopped at the prison, and were well
pleased to deliver to the poor inmates, with their own small hands, such
little comforts as their father had provided for the purpose. He was
accustomed to say that there was not one among the convicts, however
desperate they might be, with whom he should be afraid to trust himself
alone at midnight with large sums of money in his pocket. An
acquaintance once cautioned him against a prisoner, whose temper was
extremely violent and revengeful, and who had been heard to swear that
he would take the life of some of the keepers. Soon after this warning,
Friend Hopper summoned the desperate fellow, and told him he was wanted
to pile a quantity of lumber in the cellar. He went down with him to
hold the light, and they remained more than an hour alone together, out
of hearing of everybody. When he told this to the man who had cautioned
him, he replied, "Well, I confess you have good courage. I wouldn't have
done it for the price of the prison and all the ground it stands upon;
for I do assure you he is a terrible fellow."

"I don't doubt he is," rejoined the courageous inspector; "but I knew he
wouldn't kill _me_. I have always been a friend to him, and he is aware
of it. What motive could he have for harming me?"

One of the prisoners, who had been convicted of man-slaughter, became
furious, in consequence of being threatened with a whipping. When they
attempted to bring him out of his dungeon to receive punishment, he
seized a knife and a club, rushed back again, and swore he would kill
the first person who came near him. Being a very strong man, and in a
state of madness, no one dared to approach him. They tried to starve him
into submission; but finding he was not to be subdued in that way, they
sent for Friend Hopper, as they were accustomed to do in all such
difficult emergencies. He went boldly into the cell, looked the
desperado calmly in the face, and said, "It is foolish for thee to
contend with the authorities. Thou wilt be compelled to yield at last. I
will inquire into thy case. If thou hast been unjustly dealt by, I
promise thee it shall be remedied." This kind and sensible remonstrance
had the desired effect. From that time forward, he had great influence
over the ferocious fellow, who was always willing to be guided by his
advice, and finally became one of the most reasonable and orderly
inmates of the prison.

I have heard Friend Hopper say that while he was inspector he aided and
encouraged about fifty young convicts, as nearly as he could recollect;
and all, except two, conducted in such a manner as to satisfy the
respectable citizens whom he had induced to employ them. He was a shrewd
observer of the countenances and manners of men, and doubtless that was
one reason why he was not often disappointed in those he trusted.

The humor which characterized his boyhood, remained with him in maturer
years, and often effervesced on the surface of his acquired gravity; as
will appear in the following anecdotes.

Upon a certain occasion, a man called on him with a due bill for twenty
dollars against an estate he had been employed to settle. Friend Hopper
put it away, saying he would examine it and attend to it as soon as he
had leisure. The man called again a short time after, and stated that he
had need of six dollars, and was willing to give a receipt for the whole
if that sum were advanced. This proposition excited suspicion, and the
administrator decided in his own mind that he would pay nothing till he
had examined the papers of the deceased. Searching carefully among
these, he found a receipt for the money, mentioning the identical items,
date, and circumstances of the transaction; stating that a due-bill had
been given and lost, and was to be restored by the creditor when found.
When the man called again for payment, Isaac said to him, in a quiet
way, "Friend Jones, I understand thou hast become pious lately."

He replied in a solemn tone, "Yes, thanks to the Lord Jesus, I have
found out the way of salvation."

"And thou hast been dipped I hear," continued the Quaker. "Dost thou
know James Hunter?"

Mr. Jones answered in the affirmative.

"Well, he also was dipped some time ago," rejoined Friend Hopper; "but
his neighbors say they didn't get the crown of his head under water. The
devil crept into the unbaptized part, and has been busy within him ever
since. I am afraid they didn't get _thee_ quite under water. I think
thou hadst better be dipped again."

As he spoke, he held up the receipt for twenty dollars. The countenance
of the professedly pious man became scarlet, and he disappeared

A Dutchman once called upon Friend Hopper, and said, "A tief have stole
mine goots. They tell me you can help me, may be." Upon inquiring the
when and the where, Friend Hopper concluded that the articles had been
stolen by a man whom he happened to know the police had taken up a few
hours previous. But being disposed to amuse himself, he inquired very
seriously, "What time of the moon was it, when thy goods were stolen?"
Having received information concerning that particular, he took a slate
and began to cipher diligently. After a while, he looked up, and
pronounced in a very oracular manner, "Thou wilt find thy goods."

"Shall I find mine goots?" exclaimed the delighted Dutchman; "and where
is de tief?"

"Art thou quite sure about the age of the moon?" inquired the pretended
magician. Being assured there was no mistake on that point, he ciphered
again for a few minutes, and then answered, "Thou wilt find the thief in
the hands of the police."

The Dutchman went away, evidently inspired with profound reverence.
Having found his goods and the thief, according to prediction, he
returned and asked for a private interview. "Tell me dat secret," said
he, "and I will pay you a heap of money."

"What secret?" inquired Friend Hopper.

"Tell me how you know I will find mine goots, and where I will find de
tief?" rejoined he.

"The plain truth is, I guessed it," was the reply; "because I had heard
there was a thief at the police office, with such goods as thou

"But what for you ask about de moon?" inquired the Dutchman. "You make
figures, and den you say, you will find your goots. You make figures
again, den you tell me where is de tief. I go, and find mine goots and
de tief, just as you say. Tell me how you do dat, and I will pay you a
heap of money."

Though repeatedly assured that it was done only for a joke, he went away
unsatisfied: and to the day of his death, he fully believed that the
facetious Quaker was a conjuror.

When Friend Hopper hired one of two houses where the back yards were
not separated, he found himself considerably incommoded by the
disorderly habits of his next neighbor. The dust and dirt daily swept
into the yard were allowed to accumulate there in a heap, which the wind
often scattered over the neater premises adjoining. The mistress of the
house was said to be of an irritable temper, likely to take offence if
asked to adopt a different system. He accordingly resolved upon a
course, which he thought might cure the evil without provoking a
dispute. One day, when he saw his neighbor in her kitchen, he called his
own domestic to come out into the yard. Pointing to the heap of dirt, he
exclaimed, loud enough to be heard in the next house, "Betsy, art thou
not ashamed to sweep dust and litter into such a heap. See how it is
blowing about our neighbor's yard! Art thou not ashamed of thyself?"

"I didn't sweep any dirt there," replied the girl. "They did it

"Pshaw! Pshaw! don't tell me that," rejoined he. "Our neighbor wouldn't
do such an untidy thing. I wonder she hasn't complained of thee before
now. Be more careful in future; for I should be very sorry to give her
any occasion to say she couldn't keep the yard clean on our account."

The domestic read his meaning in the roguish expression of his eye, and
she remained silent. The lesson took effect. The heap of dirt was soon
removed, and never appeared afterward.

Such a character as Isaac T. Hopper was of course well known throughout
the city where he lived. Every school-boy had heard something of his
doings, and as he walked the street, everybody recognized him, from the
chief justice to the chimney-sweep. His personal appearance was
calculated to attract attention, independent of other circumstances.
Joseph Bonaparte, who then resided at Bordentown, was attracted toward
him the first moment he saw him, on account of a strong resemblance to
his brother Napoleon. They often met in the steamboat going down the
Delaware, and on such occasions, the ex-king frequently pointed him out
as the most remarkable likeness of the emperor, that he had ever met in
Europe or America. He expressed the opinion that with Napoleon's uniform
on, he might be mistaken for him, even by his own household; and if he
were to appear thus in Paris, nothing could be easier than for him to
excite a revolution.

But the imperial throne, even if it had been directly offered to him,
would have proved no temptation to a soul like his. In some respects,
his character, as well as his person, strongly resembled Napoleon. But
his powerful will was remarkably under the control of conscience, and
his energy was tempered by an unusual share of benevolence. If the
other elements of his character had not been balanced by these two
qualities, he also might have been a skilful diplomatist, and a
successful leader of armies. Fortunately for himself and others, he had
a nobler ambition than that of making widows and orphans by wholesale
slaughter. The preceding anecdotes show how warmly he sympathized with
the poor, the oppressed, and the erring, without limitation of country,
creed, or complexion; and how diligently he labored in their behalf. But
from the great amount of public service that he rendered, it must not be
inferred that he neglected private duties. Perhaps no man was ever more
devotedly attached to wife and children than he was. His Sarah, as he
was wont to call her, was endowed with qualities well calculated to
retain a strong hold on the affections of a sensible and conscientious
man. Her kindly disposition, and the regular, simple habits of her life,
were favorable to the preservation of that beauty, which had won his
boyish admiration. Her wavy brown hair was softly shaded by the delicate
transparent muslin of her Quaker cap; her face had a tender and benign
expression; and her complexion was so clear, that an old gentleman, who
belonged to the Society of Friends, and who was of course not much
addicted to poetic comparisons, used to say he could never look at her
without thinking of the clear pink and white of a beautiful
conch-shell. She was scrupulously neat, and had something of that
chastened coquetry in dress, which is apt to characterize the handsome
women of her orderly sect. Her drab-colored gown, not high in the neck,
was bordered by a plain narrow tucker of fine muslin, visible under her
snow-white neckerchief. A white under-sleeve came just below the elbow,
where it terminated in a very narrow band, nicely stitched, and fastened
with two small silver buttons, connected by a chain. She was a very
industrious woman, and remarkably systematic in her household affairs;
thus she contrived to find time for everything, though burdened with the
care of a large and increasing family. The apprentices always sat at
table with them, and she maintained a perfect equality between them and
her own children. She said it was her wish to treat them precisely as
she would like to have _her_ boys treated, if _they_ should become
apprentices. On Sunday evenings, which they called First Day evenings,
the whole family assembled to hear Friend Hopper read portions of
scripture, or writings of the early Friends. On such occasions, the
mother often gave religious exhortations to the children and
apprentices, suited to the occurrences of the week, and the temptations
to which they were peculiarly subject. During the last eight years of
her life, she was a recommended minister of the Society of Friends, and
often preached at their meetings. Her manners were affable, and her
conversation peculiarly agreeable to young people. But she knew when
silence was seemly, and always restrained her discourse within the
limits of discretion. When any of her children talked more than was
useful, she was accustomed to administer this concise caution: "My dear,
it is a nice thing to say nothing, when thou hast nothing to say." Her
husband was proud of her, and always manifested great deference for her
opinion. She suffered much anxiety on account of the perils to which he
was often exposed in his contests with slaveholders and kidnappers; and
for many years, the thought was familiar to her mind that she might one
day see him brought home a corpse. While the yellow fever raged in
Philadelphia, she had the same anxiety concerning his fearless devotion
to the victims of that terrible disease, who were dying by hundreds
around them. But she had a large and sympathizing heart, and she never
sought to dissuade him from what he considered the path of duty. When
one of his brothers was stricken with the fever, and the family with
whom he resided were afraid to shelter him, she proposed to have him
brought under their own roof, where he was carefully nursed till he
died. She was more reluctant to listen to his urgent entreaties that she
would retire into the country with the children, and remain with them
beyond the reach of contagion; for her heart was divided between the
husband of her youth and the nurslings of her bosom. But his anxiety
concerning their children was so great, that she finally consented to
pursue the course most conducive to his peace of mind; and he was left
in the city with a colored domestic to superintend his household
affairs. Through this terrible ordeal of pestilence he passed unscathed,
though his ever ready sympathy brought him into frequent contact with
the dying and the dead.

Besides this public calamity, which darkened the whole city for a time,
Friend Hopper shared the common lot of humanity in the sad experiences
of private life. Several of his children died at that attractive age,
when the bud of infancy is blooming into childhood. Relatives and
friends crossed the dark river to the unknown shore. On New Year's day,
1797, his mother departed from this world at fifty-six years old. In
1818, his father died at seventy-five years of age. His physical vigor
was remarkable. When he had weathered seventy winters, he went to visit
his eldest son, and being disappointed in meeting the stage to return,
as he expected, he walked home, a distance of twenty-eight miles. At
that advanced age, he could rest one hand on his cane and the other on a
fence, and leap over as easily as a boy. He had long flowing black hair,
which fell in ringlets on his shoulders; and when he died, it was
merely sprinkled with gray. When his private accounts were examined
after his decease, they revealed the fact that he had secretly expended
hundreds of dollars in paying the debts of poor people, or redeeming
their furniture when it was attached.

But though many dear ones dropped away from his side, as Friend Isaac
moved onward in his pilgrimage, many remained to sustain and cheer him.
Among his wife's brothers, his especial friend was John Tatum, who lived
in the vicinity of his native village. This worthy man had great
sympathy with the colored people, and often sheltered the fugitives whom
his brother-in-law had rescued. He was remarkable for his love of peace;
always preferring to suffer wrong rather than dispute. The influence of
this pacific disposition upon others was strikingly illustrated in the
case of two of his neighbors. They were respectable people, in easy
circumstances, and the families found much pleasure in frequent
intercourse with each other. But after a few years, one of the men
deemed that an intentional affront had been offered him by the other.
Instead of good-natured frankness on the occasion, he behaved in a
sullen manner, which provoked the other, and the result was that
eventually neither of them would speak when they met. Their fields
joined, and when they were on friendly terms, the boundary was marked
by a fence, which they alternately repaired. But when there was feud
between them, neither of them was willing to mend the other's fence. So
each one built a fence for himself, leaving a very narrow strip of land
between, which in process of time came to be generally known by the name
of Devil's Lane, in allusion to the bad temper that produced it. A brook
formed another portion of the boundary between their farms, and was
useful to both of them. But after they became enemies, if a freshet
occurred, each watched an opportunity to turn the water on the other's
land, by which much damage was mutually done. They were so much occupied
with injuring each other in every possible way, that they neglected
their farms and grew poorer and poorer. One of them became intemperate;
and everything about their premises began to wear an aspect of
desolation and decay. At last, one of the farms was sold to pay a
mortgage, and John Tatum, who was then about to be married, concluded to
purchase it. Many people warned him of the trouble he would have with a
quarrelsome and intemperate neighbor. But, after mature reflection, he
concluded to trust to the influence of a peaceful and kind example, and
accordingly purchased the farm.

Soon after he removed thither, he proposed to do away the Devil's Lane
by building a new fence on the boundary, entirely at his own expense.
His neighbor acceded to the proposition in a very surly manner, and for
a considerable time seemed determined to find, or make some occasion for
quarrel. But the young Quaker met all his provocations with forbearance,
and never missed an opportunity to oblige him. Good finally overcame
evil. The turbulent spirit, having nothing to excite it, gradually
subsided into calmness. In process of time, he evinced a disposition to
be kind and obliging also. Habits of temperance and industry returned,
and during the last years of his life he was considered a remarkably
good neighbor.

Friend Hopper's attachment to the religious society he had joined in
early life was quite as strong, perhaps even stronger, than his love of
kindred. The Yearly Meeting of Friends at Philadelphia was a season of
great satisfaction, and he delighted to have his house full of guests,
even to overflowing. On these occasions, he obeyed the impulses of his
generous nature by seeking out the least wealthy and distinguished, who
would be less likely than others to receive many invitations. In
addition to these, who were often personal strangers to him, he had his
own familiar and cherished friends. A day seldom passed without a visit
from Nicholas Wain, who had great respect and affection for him and his
wife, and delighted in their society. He cordially approved of their
consistency in carrying out their conscientious convictions into the
practices of daily life. Some of Isaac's relatives and friends thought
he devoted rather too much time and attention to philanthropic missions,
but Nicholas Wain always stood by him, a warm and faithful friend to the
last. He was a true gentleman, of courtly, pleasing manners, and amusing
conversation. Notwithstanding his weight of character, he was so playful
with the children, that his visits were always hailed by them, as
delightful opportunities for fun and frolic. He looked beneath the
surface of society, and had learned to estimate men and things according
to their real value, not by a conventional standard. His wife did not
regard the pomps and vanities of the world with precisely the same
degree of indifference that he did. She thought it would be suitable to
their wealth and station to have a footman behind her carriage. This
wish being frequently expressed, her husband at last promised to comply
with it. Accordingly, the next time the carriage was ordered, for the
purpose of making a stylish call, she was gratified to see a footman
mounted. When she arrived at her place of destination, the door of her
carriage was opened, and the steps let down in a very obsequious manner,
by the new servant; and great was her surprise and confusion, to
recognize in him her own husband!

Jacob Lindley, of Chester county, was another frequent visitor at Friend
Hopper's house; and many were the lively conversations they had
together. He was a preacher in the Society of Friends, and missed no
opportunity, either in public or private, to protest earnestly against
the sin of slavery. He often cautioned Friends against laying too much
stress on their own peculiar forms, while they professed to abjure
forms. He said he himself had once received a lesson on this subject,
which did him much good. Once, when he was seated in meeting, an
influential Friend walked in, dressed in a coat with large metal
buttons, which he had borrowed in consequence of a drenching rain! He
seated himself opposite to Jacob Lindley, who was so much disturbed by
the glittering buttons, that "his meeting did him no good." When the
congregation rose to depart, he felt constrained to go up to the Friend
who had so much troubled him, and inquire why he had so grievously
departed from the simplicity enjoined upon members of their Society. The
good man looked down upon his garments, and quietly replied, "I borrowed
the coat because my own was wet; and indeed, Jacob, I did not notice
what buttons were on it." Jacob shook his hand warmly, and said, "Thou
art a better Christian than I am, and I will learn of thee."

He often used to inculcate the same moral by relating another incident,
which happened in old times, when Quakers were accustomed to wear cocked
hats turned up at the sides. A Friend bought a hat of this description,
without observing that it was looped up with a button. As he sat in
meeting with his hat on, as usual, he observed many eyes directed toward
him, and some with a very sorrowful expression. He could not conjecture
a reason for this, till he happened to take off his hat and lay it
beside him. As soon as he noticed the button, he rose and said,
"Friends, if religion consists in a button, I wouldn't give a button for
it." Having delivered this short and pithy sermon, he seated himself,
and resumed the offending hat with the utmost composure.

Once, when Jacob Lindley was dining with Friend Hopper, the conversation
turned upon his religious experiences, and he related a circumstance to
which he said he very seldom alluded, and never without feelings of
solemnity and awe. Being seized with sudden and severe illness, his soul
left the body for several hours, during which time he saw visions of
heavenly glory, not to be described. When consciousness began to return,
he felt grieved that he was obliged to come back to this state of being,
and he was never after able to feel the same interest in terrestrial
things, that he had felt before he obtained this glimpse of the
spiritual world.

Arthur Howell was another intimate acquaintance of Friend Hopper. He was
a currier in Philadelphia, a preacher in the Society of Friends,
characterized by kindly feelings, and a very tender conscience. Upon
one occasion, he purchased from the captain of a vessel a quantity of
oil, which he afterward sold at an advanced price. Under these
circumstances, he thought the captain had not received so much as he
ought to have; and he gave him an additional dollar on every barrel.
This man was remarkable for spiritual-mindedness and the gift of
prophecy. It was no uncommon thing for him to relate occurrences which
were happening at the moment many miles distant, and to foretell the
arrival of people, or events, when there appeared to be no external
reasons on which to ground such expectations.

One Sunday morning, he was suddenly impelled to proceed to Germantown in
haste. As he approached the village, he met a funeral procession. He had
no knowledge whatever of the deceased; but it was suddenly revealed to
him that the occupant of the coffin before him was a woman whose life
had been saddened by the suspicion of a crime, which she never
committed. The impression became very strong on his mind that she wished
him to make certain statements at her funeral. Accordingly, he followed
the procession, and when they arrived at the meeting-house, he entered
and listened to the prayer delivered by her pastor. When the customary
services were finished, Arthur Howell rose, and asked permission to
speak. "I did not know the deceased, even by name," said he. "But it is
given me to say, that she suffered much and unjustly. Her neighbors
generally suspected her of a crime, which she did not commit; and in a
few weeks from this time, it will be made clearly manifest to the world
that she was innocent. A few hours before her death, she talked on this
subject with the clergyman who attended upon her, and who is now
present; and it is given me to declare the communication she made to him
upon that occasion."

He then proceeded to relate the particulars of the interview; to which
the clergyman listened with evident astonishment. When the communication
was finished, he said, "I don't know who this man is, or how he has
obtained information on this subject; but certain it is, he has
repeated, word for word, a conversation which I supposed was known only
to myself and the deceased."

The woman in question had gone out in the fields one day, with her
infant in her arms, and she returned without it. She said she had laid
it down on a heap of dry leaves, while she went to pick a few flowers;
and when she returned, the baby was gone. The fields and woods were
searched in vain, and neighbors began to whisper that she had committed
infanticide. Then rumors arose that she was dissatisfied with her
marriage; that her heart remained with a young man to whom she was
previously engaged; and that her brain was affected by this secret
unhappiness. She was never publicly accused; partly because there was no
evidence against her, and partly because it was supposed that if she did
commit the crime, it must have been owing to aberration of mind. But she
became aware of the whisperings against her, and the consciousness of
being an object of suspicion, combined with the mysterious disappearance
of her child, cast a heavy cloud over her life, and made her appear more
and more unlike her former self. This she confided to her clergyman, in
the interview shortly preceding her death; and she likewise told him
that the young man, to whom she had been engaged, had never forgiven her
for not marrying him.

A few weeks after her decease, this young man confessed that he had
stolen the babe. He had followed the mother, unobserved by her, and had
seen her lay the sleeping infant on its bed of leaves. As he gazed upon
it, a mingled feeling of jealousy and revenge took possession of his
soul. In obedience to a sudden impulse, he seized the babe, and carried
it off hastily. He subsequently conveyed it to a distant village, and
placed it out to nurse, under an assumed name and history. The child was
found alive and well, at the place he indicated. Thus the mother's
innocence was made clearly manifest to the world, as the Quaker
preacher had predicted at her funeral.

I often heard Friend Hopper relate this anecdote, and he always said
that he could vouch for the truth of it; and for several other similar
things in connection with the ministry of his friend Arthur.

A singular case of inward perception likewise occurred in the experience
of his own mother. In her Diary, which is still preserved in the family,
she describes a visit to some of her children in Philadelphia, and adds:
"Soon after this, the Lord showed me that I should lose a son. It was
often told me, though without sound of words. Nothing could be more
intelligible than this still, small voice. It said, Thou wilt lose a
son; and he is a pleasant child."

Her son James resided with relatives in Philadelphia, and often went to
bathe in the Delaware. On one of these occasions, soon after his
mother's visit, a friend who went with him sank in the water, and James
lost his own life by efforts to save him. A messenger was sent to inform
his parents, who lived at the distance of eight miles. While he staid in
the house, reluctant to do his mournful errand, the mother was seized
with sudden dread, and heard the inward voice saying, "James is
drowned." She said abruptly to the messenger, "Thou hast come to tell me
that my son James is drowned. Oh, how did it happen?" He was much
surprised, and asked why she thought so. She could give no explanation
of it, except that it had been suddenly revealed to her mind.

I have heard and read many such stories of Quakers, which seem too well
authenticated to admit of doubt. They themselves refer all such cases to
"the inward light;" and that phrase, as they understand it, conveys a
satisfactory explanation to their minds. I leave psychologists to settle
the question as they can.

Those who are well acquainted with Quaker views, are aware that by "the
inward light," they signify something higher and more comprehensive than
conscience. They regard it as the voice of God in the soul, which will
always guard man from evil, and guide him into truth, if reverently
listened to, in stillness of the passions, and obedience of the will.
These strong impressions on individual minds constitute their only call
and consecration to the ministry, and have directed' them in the
application of moral principles to a variety of subjects, such as
intemperance, war, and slavery. Men and women were impelled by the
interior monitor to go about preaching on these topics, until their
individual views became what are called "leading testimonies" in the
Society. The abjuration of slavery was one of their earliest
"testimonies." There was much preaching against it in their public
meetings, and many committees were appointed to expostulate in private
with those who held slaves. At an early period, it became an established
rule of discipline for the Society to disown any member, who refused to
manumit his bondmen.

Friend Hopper used to tell an interesting anecdote in connection with
these committees. In the course of their visits, they concluded to pass
by one of their members, who held only one slave, and he was very old.
He was too infirm to earn his own living, and as he was very kindly
treated, they supposed he would have no wish for freedom. But Isaac
Jackson, one of the committee, a very benevolent and conscientious man,
had a strong impression on his mind that duty required him not to omit
this case. He accordingly went alone to the master, and stated how the
subject appeared to him, in the inward light of his own soul. The Friend
was not easily convinced. He brought forward many reasons for not
emancipating his slave; and one of the strongest was that the man was
too feeble to labor for his own support, and therefore freedom would be
of no value to him. Isaac Jackson replied, "He labored for thee without
wages, while he had strength, and it is thy duty to support him now.
Whether he would value freedom or not, is a question he alone is
competent to decide."

These friendly remonstrances produced such effect, that the master
agreed to manumit his bondman, and give a written obligation that he
should be comfortably supported during the remainder of his life, by him
or his heirs. When the papers were prepared the slave was called into
the parlor, and Isaac Jackson inquired, "Would'st thou like to be free?"
He promptly answered that he should. The Friend suggested that he was
now too feeble to labor much, and inquired how he would manage to obtain
a living. The old man meekly replied, "Providence has been kind to me
thus far; and I am willing to trust him the rest of my life."

Isaac Jackson then held up the papers and said, "Thou art a free man.
Thy master has manumitted thee, and promised to maintain thee as long as
thou mayest live."

This was so unexpected, that the aged bondman was completely overcome.
For a few moments, he remained in profound silence; then, with a sudden
impulse, he fell on his knees, and poured forth a short and fervent
prayer of thanksgiving to his Heavenly Father, for prolonging his life
till he had the happiness to feel himself a free man.

The master and his adviser were both surprised and affected by this
eloquent outburst of grateful feeling. The poor old servant had seemed
so comfortable and contented, that no one supposed freedom was of great
importance to him. But, as honest Isaac Jackson observed, _he_ alone was
competent to decide _that_ question.

Quakers consider "the inward light" as a guide not merely in cases
involving moral principles, but also in the regulation of external
affairs; and in the annals of their Society, are some remarkable
instances of dangers avoided by the help of this internal monitor.

Friend Hopper used to mention a case where a strong impression had been
made on his own mind, without his being able to assign any adequate
reason for it. A young man, descended from a highly respectable Quaker
family in New-Jersey, went to South Carolina and entered into business.
He married there, and as his wife did not belong to the Society of
Friends, he was of course disowned. After some years of commercial
success, he failed, and went to Philadelphia, where Friend Hopper became
acquainted with him, and formed an opinion not unfavorable. When he had
been in that city some time, he mentioned that his wife owned land in
Carolina, which he was very desirous to cultivate, but was prevented by
conscientious scruples concerning slave-labor. He said if he could
induce some colored people from Philadelphia to go there and work for
him as free laborers, it would be an advantage to him, and a benefit to
them. He urged Friend Hopper to exert his influence over them to
convince them that such precautions could be taken, as would prevent any
danger of their being reduced to slavery; saying that if he would
consent to do so, he doubtless could obtain as many laborers as he
wanted. The plan appeared feasible, and Friend Hopper was inclined to
assist him in carrying it into execution. Soon after, two colored men
called upon him, and said they were ready to go, provided he thought
well of the project. Nothing had occurred to change his opinion of the
man, or to excite distrust concerning his agricultural scheme. But an
impression came upon his mind that the laborers had better not go; an
impression so strong, that he thought it right to be influenced by it.
He accordingly told them he had thought well of the plan, but his views
had changed, and he advised them to remain where they were. This greatly
surprised the man who wished to employ them, and he called to
expostulate on the subject; repeating his statement concerning the great
advantage they would derive from entering into his service.

"There is no use in arguing the matter," replied Friend Hopper. "I have
no cause whatever to suspect thee of any dishonest or dishonorable
intentions; but there is on my mind an impression of danger, so powerful
that I cannot conscientiously have any agency in inducing colored
laborers to go with thee."

Not succeeding in his project, the bankrupt merchant went to New-Jersey
for a time, to reside with his father, who was a worthy and influential
member of the Society of Friends. An innocent, good natured old colored
man, a fugitive from Virginia, had for some time been employed to work
on the farm, and the family had become much attached to him. The son who
had returned from Carolina was very friendly with this simple-hearted
old servant, and easily gained his confidence. When he had learned his
story, he offered to write to his master, and enable him to purchase his
freedom for a sum which he could gradually repay by labor. The fugitive
was exceedingly grateful, and put himself completely in his power by a
full statement of all particulars. The false-hearted man did indeed
write to the master; and the poor old slave was soon after arrested and
carried to Philadelphia in irons. Friend Hopper was sent for, and went
to see him in prison. With groans and sobs, the captive told how
wickedly he had been deceived. "I thought he was a Quaker, and so I
trusted him," said he. "But I saw my master's agent pay him fifty
dollars for betraying me."

Friend Hopper assured him that the deceiver was not a Quaker; and that
he did not believe any Quaker on the face of the earth would do such an
unjust and cruel deed. He could devise no means to rescue the sufferer;
and with an aching heart he was compelled to see him carried off into
slavery, without being able to offer any other solace than an
affectionate farewell.

The conduct of this base hypocrite proved that the warning presentiment
against him had not been without foundation. Grieved and indignant at
the wrong he had done to a helpless and unoffending fellow-creature,
Friend Hopper wrote to him as follows: "Yesterday, I visited the poor
old man in prison, whom thou hast so perfidiously betrayed. Gloomy and
hopeless as his case is, I would prefer it to thine. Thou hast received
fifty dollars as the reward of thy treachery; but what good can it do
thee? Canst thou lay down thy head at night, without feeling the sharp
goadings of a guilty conscience? Canst thou ask forgiveness of thy sins
of our Heavenly Father, whom thou hast so grievously insulted by thy
hypocrisy? Judas betrayed his master for thirty pieces of silver, and
afterward hung himself. Thou hast betrayed thy brother for fifty; and if
thy conscience is not seared, as with hot iron, thy compunction must be
great. I feel no disposition to upbraid thee. I have no doubt thy own
heart does that sufficiently; for our beneficent Creator will not suffer
any to be at ease in their sins. Thy friend, I.T.H."

The worthy old Quaker in New-Jersey was not aware of his son's
villainous conduct until some time after. When the circumstances were
made known to the family they were exceedingly mortified and afflicted.

Friend Hopper used to tell another story, which forms a beautiful
contrast to the foregoing painful narrative. I repeat it, because it
illustrates the tenderness of spirit, which has so peculiarly
characterized the Society of Friends, and because I hope it may fall
like dew on hearts parched by vindictive feelings. Charles Carey lived
near Philadelphia, in a comfortable house with a few acres of pasture
adjoining. A young horse, apparently healthy, though lean, was one day
offered him in the market for fifty dollars. The cheapness tempted him
to purchase; for he thought the clover of his pastures would soon put
the animal in good condition, and enable him to sell him at an advanced
price. He was too poor to command the required sum himself, but he
borrowed it of a friend. The horse, being well fed and lightly worked,
soon became a noble looking animal, and was taken to the city for sale.
But scarcely had he entered the market, when a stranger stepped up and
claimed him as his property, recently stolen. Charles Carey's son, who
had charge of the animal, was taken before a magistrate. Isaac T. Hopper
was sent for, and easily proved that the character of the young man and
his father was above all suspicion. But the stranger produced
satisfactory evidence that he was the rightful owner of the horse, which
was accordingly delivered up to him. When Charles Carey heard the
unwelcome news, he quietly remarked, "It is hard for me to lose the
money; but I am glad the man has recovered his property."

About a year afterward, having occasion to go to a tavern in
Philadelphia, he saw a man in the bar-room, whom he at once recognized
as the person who had sold him the horse. He walked up to him, and
inquired whether he remembered the transaction. Being answered in the
affirmative, he said, "I am the man who bought that horse. Didst thou
know he was stolen?" With a stupified manner and a faltering voice, the
stranger answered, "Yes."

"Come along with me, then," said Charles; "and I will put thee where
thou wilt not steal another horse very soon."

The thief resigned himself to his fate with a sort of hopeless
indifference. But before they reached the magistrate's office, the voice
within began to plead gently with the Quaker, and turned him from the
sternness of his purpose. "I am a poor man," said he, "and thou hast
greatly injured me. I cannot afford to lose fifty dollars; but to
prosecute thee will not compensate me for the loss. Go thy way, and
conduct thyself honestly in future."

The man seemed amazed. He stood for a moment, hesitating and confused;
then walked slowly away. But after taking a few steps, he turned back
and said, "Where can I find you, if I should ever be able to make
restitution for the wrong I have done?"

Charles replied, "I trust thou dost not intend to jest with me, after
all the trouble thou hast caused me?"

"No, indeed I do not," answered the stranger. "I hope to repay you, some
time or other."

"Very well," rejoined the Friend, "if thou ever hast anything for me,
thou canst leave it with Isaac T. Hopper, at the corner of Walnut and
Dock-streets." Thus they parted, and never met again.

About a year after, Friend Hopper found a letter on his desk, addressed
to Charles Carey. When it was delivered to him, he was surprised to find
that it came from the man who had stolen the horse, and contained twenty
dollars. A few months later, another letter containing the same sum, was
left in the same way. Not long after, a third letter arrived, enclosing
twenty dollars; the whole forming a sum sufficient to repay both
principal and interest of the money which the kind-hearted Quaker had
lost by his dishonesty.

This last letter stated that the writer had no thoughts of stealing the
horse ten minutes before he did it. After he had sold him, he was so
haunted by remorse and fear of detection, that life became a burthen to
him, and he cared not what became of him. But when he was arrested, and
so unexpectedly set at liberty, the crushing weight was taken from him.
He felt inspired by fresh courage, and sustained by the hope of making
some atonement for what he had done. He made strenuous efforts to
improve his condition, and succeeded. He was then teaching school, was
assessor of the township where he resided, and no one suspected that he
had ever committed a dishonest action.

The good man, to whom this epistle was addressed, read it with moistened
eyes, and felt that the reward of righteousness is peace.

For many years after Isaac T. Hopper joined the Society of Friends, a
spirit of peace and of kindly communion prevailed among them. No sect
has ever arisen which so nearly approached the character of primitive
christianity, in all relations with each other and with their fellow
men. But as soon as the early christians were relieved from persecution,
they began to persecute each other; and so it was with the Quakers.
Having become established and respected by the world, the humble and
self-denying spirit which at the outset renounced and contended with the
world gradually departed. Many of them were rich, and not unfrequently
their fortunes were acquired by trading with slave-holders. Such men
were well satisfied to have the testimonies of their spiritual
forefathers against slavery read over among themselves, at stated
seasons; but they felt little sympathy with those of their
cotemporaries, who considered it a duty to remonstrate publicly and
freely with all who were connected with the iniquitous system.

A strong and earnest preacher, by the name of Elias Hicks, made himself
more offensive than others in this respect. He appears to have been a
very just and conscientious man, with great reverence for God, and
exceedingly little for human authority. Everywhere, in public and in
private, he lifted up his voice against the sin of slavery. He would eat
no sugar that was made by slaves, and wear no garment which he supposed
to have been produced by unpaid labor. In a remarkable manner, he showed
this "ruling passion strong in death." A few hours before he departed
from this world, his friends, seeing him shiver, placed a comfortable
over him. He felt of it with his feeble hands, and made a strong effort
to push it away. When they again drew it up over his shoulders, he
manifested the same symptoms of abhorrence. One of them, who began to
conjecture the cause, inquired, "Dost thou dislike it because it is made
of cotton?" He was too far gone to speak, but he moved his head in token
of assent. When they removed the article of slave produce, and
substituted a woolen blanket, he remained quiet, and passed away in

He was accustomed to say, "It takes _live_ fish to swim _up_ stream;"
and unquestionably he and his friend Isaac T. Hopper were both very much
alive. The quiet boldness of this man was altogether unmanageable. In
Virginia or Carolina, he preached more earnestly and directly against
slavery, than he did in New-York or Pennsylvania; for the simple reason
that it seemed to be more needed there. Upon one of these occasions, a
slaveholder who went to hear him from curiosity, left the meeting in
great wrath, swearing he would blow out that fellow's brains if he
ventured near his plantation. When the preacher heard of this threat, he
put on his hat and proceeded straightway to the forbidden place. In
answer to his inquiries, a slave informed him that his master was then
at dinner, but would see him in a short time. He seated himself and
waited patiently until the planter entered the room. With a calm and
dignified manner, he thus addressed him: "I understand thou hast
threatened to blow out the brains of Elias Hicks, if he comes upon thy
plantation. I am Elias Hicks."

The Virginian acknowledged that he did make such a threat, and said he
considered it perfectly justifiable to do such a deed, when a man came
to preach rebellion to his slaves.

"I came to preach the Gospel, which inculcates forgiveness of injuries
upon slaves as well as upon other men," replied the Quaker. "But tell
me, if thou canst, how this Gospel can be _truly_ preached, without
showing the slaves that they _are_ injured, and thus making a man of thy
sentiments feel as if they were encouraged in rebellion."

This led to a long argument, maintained in the most friendly spirit. At
parting, the slaveholder shook hands with the preacher, and invited him
to come again. His visits were renewed, and six months after, the
Virginian emancipated all his slaves.

When preaching in the free states, he earnestly called upon all to
abstain from slave-produce, and thus in a measure wash their own hands
from participation in a system of abominable wickedness and cruelty. His
zeal on this subject annoyed some of his brethren, but they could not
make him amenable to discipline for it; for these views were in
accordance with the earliest and strongest testimonies of the Society of
Friends; moreover, it would have been discreditable to acknowledge
_such_ a ground of offence. But the secret dissatisfaction showed itself
in a disposition to find fault with him. Charges were brought against
his doctrines. He was accused of denying the authority of Scripture, and
the divinity of Christ.

It was a departure from the original basis of the Society to assume any
standard whatsoever concerning creeds. It is true that the early Quakers
wrote volumes of controversy against many of the prevailing opinions of
their day; such as the doctrine of predestination, and of salvation
depending upon faith, rather than upon works. All the customary external
observances, such as holy days, baptism, and the Lord's Supper, they
considered as belonging to a less spiritual age, and that the time had
come for them to be done away. Concerning the Trinity, there appears to
have been difference of opinion among them from the earliest time. When
George Fox expressed a fear that William Penn had gone too far in
defending "the true unity of God," Penn replied that he had never heard
any one speak more plainly concerning the manhood of Christ, than George
Fox himself. Penn was imprisoned in the Tower for "rejecting the mystery
of the Trinity," in a book called "The Sandy Foundation Shaken." He
afterward wrote "Innocency with her Open Face," regarded by some as a
compromise, which procured his release. But though various popular
doctrines naturally came in their way, and challenged discussion, while
they were endeavoring to introduce a new order of things, the
characteristic feature of their movement was attention to practical
righteousness rather than theological tenets. They did not require their
members to profess faith in any creed. They had but one single bond of
union; and that was the belief that every man ought to be guided in his
actions, and in the interpretation of Scripture, by the light within his
own soul. Their history shows that they mainly used this light to guide
them in the application of moral principles. Upon the priesthood, in
every form, they made unsparing warfare; believing that the gifts of the
Spirit ought never to be paid with money. They appointed committees to
visit the sick, the afflicted, and the destitute, and to superintend
marriages and funerals. The farmer, the shoemaker, the physician, or the
merchant, followed his vocation diligently, and whenever the Spirit
moved him to exhort his brethren, he did so. The "First, and Fifth Day"
of the week, called by other denominations Sunday and Thursday, were set
apart by them for religious meetings. Women were placed on an equality
with men, by being admitted to this free Gospel ministry, and appointed
on committees with men, to regulate the affairs of the Society. They
abjured war under all circumstances, and suffered great persecution
rather than pay military taxes. They early discouraged the distillation
or use of spirituous liquors, and disowned any of their members who
distilled them from grain. Protests against slavery were among their
most earnest testimonies, and it was early made a rule of discipline
that no member of the Society should hold slaves. When the Quakers
first arose, it was a custom in England, as it still is on the continent
of Europe, to say _thou_ to an inferior, or equal, and _you_ to a
superior. They saw in this custom an infringement of the great law of
human brotherhood; and because they would "call no man master," they
said _thou_ to every person, without distinction of rank. To the
conservatives of their day, this spiritual democracy seemed like
deliberate contempt of authority; and as such, deserving of severe
punishment. More strenuously than all other things, they denied the
right of any set of men to prescribe a creed for others. The only
authority they recognized was "the light within;" and for freedom to
follow this, they were always ready to suffer or to die.

On all these subjects, there could be no doubt that Elias Hicks was a
Quaker of the old genuine stamp. But he differed from many others in
some of his theological views. He considered Christ as "the only Son of
the most high God;" but he denied that "the _outward person_," which
suffered on Calvary was properly the Son of God. He attached less
importance to miracles, than did many of his brethren. He said he had
learned more of his own soul, and had clearer revelations of God and
duty, while following his plough, than from all the books he had ever
read. He reverenced the Bible as a record of divine power and goodness,
but did not consider a knowledge of it essential to salvation; for he
supposed that a Hindoo or an African, who never heard of the Scriptures,
or of Christ, might become truly a child of God, if he humbly and
sincerely followed the divine light within, given to every human soul,
according to the measure of its faithfulness.

Many of his brethren, whose views assimilated more with orthodox
opinions, accused him of having departed from the principles of early
Friends. But his predecessors had been guided only by the light within;
and he followed the same guide, without deciding beforehand precisely
how far it might lead him. This principle, if sincerely adopted and
consistently applied, would obviously lead to large and liberal results,
sufficient for the progressive growth of all coming ages. It was so
generally admitted to be the one definite bond of union among early
Friends, that the right of Elias Hicks to utter his own convictions,
whether they were in accordance with others or not, would probably never
have been questioned, if some influential members of the Society had not
assumed more power than was delegated to them; thereby constituting
themselves a kind of ecclesiastical tribunal. It is the nature of such
authority to seek enlargement of its boundaries, by encroaching more and
more on individual freedom.

The friends of Elias Hicks did not adopt his views or the views of any
other man as a standard of opinion. On the subject of the Trinity, for
instance, there were various shadings of opinion among them. The
probability seems to be that the influence of Unitarian sects, and of
Orthodox sects had, in the course of years, gradually glided in among
the Quakers, and more or less fashioned their theological opinions,
though themselves were unconscious of it; as we all are of the
surrounding air we are constantly inhaling.

But it was not the Unitarianism of Elias Hicks that his adherents fought
for, or considered it necessary to adopt. They simply contended for his
right to express his own convictions, and denied the authority of any
man, or body of men, to judge his preaching by the assumed standard of
any creed. Therefore, the real ground of the struggle seems to have been
resistance to ecclesiastical power; though theological opinions
unavoidably became intertwisted with it. It was a new form of the old
battle, perpetually renewed ever since the world began, between
authority and individual freedom.

The agitation, which had for some time been heaving under the surface,
is said to have been brought into open manifestation by a sermon which
Elias Hicks preached against the use of slave produce, in 1819. A bitter
warfare followed. Those who refused to denounce his opinions were
accused of being infidels and separatists; and they called their
accusers bigoted and intolerant. With regard to disputed doctrines, both
claimed to find sufficient authority in the writings of early Friends;
and each side charged the other with mutilating and misrepresenting
those writings. As usual in theological controversies, the skein became
more and more entangled, till there was no way left but to cut it in
two. In 1827 and 1828, a separation took place in the Yearly Meetings of
Philadelphia, New-York, and several other places. Thenceforth, the
members were divided into two distinct sects. In some places the friends
of Elias Hicks were far the more numerous. In others, his opponents had
a majority. Each party claimed to be the genuine Society of Friends, and
denied the other's right to retain the title. The opponents of Elias
Hicks called themselves "Orthodox Friends," and named his adherents
"Hicksites." The latter repudiated the title, because they did not
acknowledge him as their standard of belief, though they loved and
reverenced his character, and stood by him as the representative of
liberty of conscience. They called themselves "Friends," and the others
"the Orthodox."

The question which was the genuine Society of Friends was more important
than it would seem to a mere looker on; for large pecuniary interests
were involved therein. It is well known that Quakers form a sort of
commonwealth by themselves, within the civil commonwealth by which they
are governed. They pay the public school-tax, and in addition build
their own school-houses, and employ teachers of their own Society. They
support their own poor, while they pay the same pauper tax as other
citizens. They have burying grounds apart from others, because they have
conscientious scruples concerning monuments and epitaphs. Of course, the
question which of the two contending parties was the true Society of
Friends involved the question who owned the meeting-houses, the burying
grounds, and the school funds. The friends of Elias Hicks offered to
divide the property, according to the relative numbers of each party;
but those called Orthodox refused to accept the proposition. Lawsuits
were brought in various parts of the country. What a bitter state of
animosity existed may be conjectured from the fact that the "Orthodox"
in Philadelphia refused to allow "Hicksites" to bury their dead in the
ground belonging to the undivided Society of Friends. On the occasion of
funerals, they refused to deliver up the key; and after their opponents
had remonstrated in vain, they forced the lock.

I believe in almost every instance, where the "Hicksites" were a
majority, and thus had a claim to the larger share of property, they
offered to divide in proportion to the relative numbers of the two
parties. After the separation in New-York, they renewed this offer,
which had once been rejected; and the "Orthodox" finally agreed to
accept a stipulated sum for their interest in the property. The Friends
called "Hicksites" numbered in the whole more than seventy thousand.

Quakers in England generally took part against Elias Hicks and his
friends. Some, who were styled "The Evangelical Party," went much beyond
their brethren in conformity with the prevailing denominations of
Christians called Orthodox. Many of them considered a knowledge of the
letter of Scripture essential to salvation; and some even approved of
baptism by water; a singular departure from the total abrogation of
external rites, which characterized Quakerism from the beginning.
William and Mary Howitt, the well known and highly popular English
writers, were born members of this religious Society. In an article
concerning the Hicksite controversy, written for the London Christian
Advocate, the former says: "My opinion is, that Friends will see cause
to repent the excision of that great portion of their own body, on the
plea of heretical opinions. By sanctioning it, they are bound, if they
act impartially and consistently, to expel others also for heterodox
opinions. This comes of violating the sacred liberty of conscience; of
allowing ourselves to be infected with the leaven of a blind zeal,
instead of the broad philanthropy of Christ. Is there no better
alternative? Yes. To adopt the principle of William Penn; to allow
freedom of opinion; and while we permit the Evangelical party to hold
_their_ favorite notions, so long as they consent to conform to our
system of public worship, to confess that we have acted harshly to the
Hicksites, and open our arms to all who are sincere in their faith, and
orderly in their conduct."

As the adherents of Elias Hicks at that time represented freedom of
conscience, of course Isaac T. Hopper belonged to that party, and
advocated it with characteristic zeal. In fact, he seems to have been
the Napoleon of the battle. It was not in his nature intentionally to
misrepresent any man; and even when the controversy was raging most
furiously, I believe there never was a time when he would not willingly
have acknowledged a mistake the moment he perceived it. But his
temperament was such, that wherever he deemed a principle of truth,
justice, or freedom was at stake, he could never quit an adversary till
he had demolished him completely, and _convinced_ him that he was
demolished; though he often felt great personal kindness toward the
individual thus prostrated, and was always willing to render him any
friendly service. He used to say that his resistance in this controversy
was principally roused by the disposition which he saw manifested "to
crush worthy, innocent Friends, for mere difference of opinion;" and no
one, who knew him well, could doubt that on this subject, as on others,
he was impelled by a sincere love of truth and justice. But neither he
nor any other person ever entered the lists of theological controversy
without paying dearly for the encounter. Perpetual strife grieved and
disturbed his own spirit, while his energy, perseverance, and bluntness
of speech, gained him many enemies. Wherever this unfortunate sectarian
schism was introduced, it divided families, and burst asunder the bonds
of friendship. For a long time, they seemed to be a Society of Enemies,
instead of a Society of Friends. In this respect, no one suffered more
acutely than Isaac T. Hopper. It was his nature to form very strong
friendships; and at this painful juncture, many whom he had long loved
and trusted, parted from him. Among them was his cousin Joseph Whitall,
who had embraced Quakerism at the same period of life, who had been the
friend of his boyhood, and the cherished companion of later years. They
had no personal altercation, but their intimacy gradually cooled off,
and they became as strangers.

He had encountered other difficulties also, at a former period of his
life, the shadows of which still lay across his path. About twelve or
fifteen years after his marriage, his health began to fail. His
vigorous frame pined away to a mere shadow, and he was supposed to be
in a consumption. At the same time, he found himself involved in
pecuniary difficulties, the burden of which weighed very heavily upon
him, for many reasons. His strong sense of justice made it painful for
him to owe debts he could not pay. He had an exceeding love of imparting
to others, and these pecuniary impediments tied down his large soul with
a thousand lilliputian cords. He had an honest pride of independence,
which chafed under any obligation that could be avoided. His strong
attachment to the Society of Friends rendered him sensitive to their
opinion; and at that period their rules were exceedingly strict
concerning any of their members, who contracted debts they were unable
to pay. People are always ready to censure a man who is unprosperous in
worldly affairs; and if his character is such as to render him
prominent, he is all the more likely to be handled harshly. Of these
trials Friend Hopper had a large share, and they disturbed him
exceedingly; but the consciousness of upright intentions kept him from
sinking under the weight that pressed upon him.

He was always a very industrious man, and whatever he did was well done.
But the fact was, the claims upon his time and attention were too
numerous to be met by any one mortal man. He had a large family to
support, and during many years his house was a home for poor Quakers,
and others, from far and near. He had much business to transact in the
Society of Friends, of which he was then an influential and highly
respected member. He was one of the founders and secretary of a society
for the employment of the poor; overseer of the Benezet school for
colored children; teacher, without recompense, in a free school for
colored adults; inspector of the prison, without a salary; member of a
fire-company; guardian of abused apprentices; the lawyer and protector
of slaves and colored people, upon all occasions. When pestilence was
raging, he was devoted to the sick. The poor were continually calling
upon him to plead with importunate landlords and creditors. He was not
unfrequently employed to settle estates involved in difficulties, which
others were afraid to undertake. He had occasional applications to exert
influence over the insane, for which he had peculiar tact. When he heard
of a man beginning to form habits likely to prove injurious to himself
or his family, he would go to him, whether his rank were high or low,
and have private conversations with him. He would tell him some story,
or suppose some case, and finally make him feel, "Thou art the man." He
had a great gift in that way, and the exertion of it sometimes
seasonably recalled those who were sliding into dangerous paths.

When one reflects upon the time that must have been bestowed on all
these avocations, do his pecuniary embarrassments require any further
explanation? A member of his own Society summed up the case very justly
in few words. Hearing him censured by certain individuals, she replied,
"The whole amount of it is this:--the Bible requires us to love our
neighbor as well as ourselves; and Friend Isaac has loved them better."

These straitened circumstances continued during the remainder of his
residence in Philadelphia; and his family stood by him nobly through the
trial. Household expenses were reduced within the smallest possible
limits. His wife opened a tea-store, as an available means of increasing
their income. The simple dignity of her manners, and her pleasing way of
talking, attracted many ladies, even among the fashionable, who liked to
chat with the handsome Quaker matron, while they were purchasing
household stores. The elder daughters taught school, and took upon
themselves double duty in the charge of a large family of younger
children. How much they loved and honored their father, was indicated by
their zealous efforts to assist and sustain him. I have heard him tell,
with much emotion, how one of them slipped some of her earnings into his
pocket, while he slept in his arm-chair. She was anxious to save him
from the pain of being unable to meet necessary expenses, and at the
same time to keep him ignorant of the source whence relief came.

His spirit of independence never bent under the pressure of misfortune.
He was willing to deprive himself of everything, except the simplest
necessaries of life; but he struggled manfully against incurring
obligations. There was a Quaker fund for the gratuitous education of
children; but when he was urged to avail himself of it, he declined,
because he thought such funds ought to be reserved for those whose
necessities were greater than his own.

The government added its exactions to other pecuniary annoyances; but it
had no power to warp the inflexibility of his principles. He had always
refused to pay the militia tax, because, in common with all
conscientious Quakers, he considered it wrong to do anything for the
support of war. It seems no more than just that a sect, who pay a double
school-tax, and a double pauper-tax, and who almost never occasion the
state any expense by their crimes, should be excused for believing
themselves bound to obey the injunction of Jesus, to return good for
evil; but politicians have decided that practical Christianity is not
always consistent with the duty of citizens. Accordingly, when Friend
Hopper refused to pay for guns and swords, to shoot and stab his fellow
men, they seized his goods to pay the tax. The articles chosen were
often of much greater value than their demand, and were sacrificed by a
hurried and careless sale. His wife had received a handsome outfit from
her father, at the time of her marriage; but she was destined to see one
article of furniture after another seized to pay the military fines,
which were alike abhorrent to her heart and her conscience. Among these
articles, was a looking glass, of an unusually large and clear plate,
which was valuable as property, and dear to her as a bridal gift from
her parents. She could not see it carried off by the officer, to meet
the expenses of military reviews, without a sigh--perhaps a tear. But
she was not a woman ever to imply a wish to have her husband compromise
his principles.

Thus bearing up bravely against the pelting storms of life, he went on,
hand in hand with his beloved Sarah. But at last, he was called to part
with the steady friend and pleasant companion of his brightest and his
darkest hours. She passed from him into the spiritual world on the
eighteenth of the Sixth Month, (June,) 1822, in the forty-seventh year
of her age. She suffered much from the wasting pains of severe
dyspepsia; but religious hope and faith enabled her to endure all her
trials with resignation, and to view the approach of death with cheerful
serenity of soul. Toward the close of her life, the freshness of her
complexion was injured by continual suffering; but though pale, she
remained a handsome woman to the last. During her long illness, she
received innumerable marks of respect and affection from friends and
neighbors; for she was beloved by all who knew her. A short time before
her death, she offered the following prayer for the dear ones she was so
soon to leave; "O Lord, permit me to ask thy blessing for this family.
Thy favor is better than all the world can give. For want of keeping
close to thy counsel, my soul has often been pierced with sorrow. Pity
my weakness. Look thou from heaven, and forgive. Enable me, I beseech
thee, to renew my covenant, and so to live under the influence of thy
Holy Spirit, as to keep it. Preserve me in the hour of temptation. Thou
alone knowest how prone I am to err on the right side and on the left.
Bless the children! O Lord, visit and re-visit their tender minds. Lead
them in the paths of uprightness, for thy name's sake. I ask not riches
nor honor for them; but an inheritance in thy ever-blessed truth." She
left nine children, the youngest but six years old, to mourn the loss of
a most tender careful and self-sacrificing mother.

While her bereaved husband was still under the shadow of this great
grief, he was called to part with his son Isaac, who in little more than
a year, followed his mother, at the early age of fifteen. He was a
sedate gentle lad, and had always been a very pleasant child to his
parents. His father cherished his memory with great tenderness, and
seldom spoke of him without expressing his conviction that if he had
lived he would have become a highly acceptable minister in the Society
of Friends; a destiny which would have been more agreeable to his
parental feelings, than having a son President of the United States.

Soon after this melancholy event, Friend Hopper went to Maryland, to
visit two sisters who resided there. He was accompanied in this journey
by his wife's brother, David Tatum. At an inn where they stopped for
refreshment, the following characteristic incident occurred: A colored
girl brought in a pitcher of water. "Art thou a slave?" said Friend
Hopper. When she answered in the affirmative, he started up and
exclaimed, "It is against my principles to be waited upon by a slave."
His more timid brother-in-law inquired, in a low tone of voice, whether
he were aware that the mistress was within hearing. "To be sure I am,"
answered Isaac aloud. "What would be the use of saying it, if she were
_not_ within hearing?" He then emptied the pitcher of water, and went
out to the well to re-fill it for himself. Seeing the landlady stare at
these proceedings, he explained to her that he thought it wrong to avail
himself of unpaid labor. In reply, she complained of the ingratitude of
slaves, and the hard condition of their masters. "It is very
inconvenient to live so near a free state," said she. "I had sixteen
slaves; but ten of them have run away, and I expect the rest will soon

"I hope they will," said Isaac. "I am sure I would run away, if I were a

At first, she was disposed to be offended; but he reasoned the matter
with her, in a quiet and friendly manner, and they parted on very civil
terms. David Tatum often used to tell this anecdote, after they returned
home; and he generally added, "I never again will travel in a Southern
state with brother Isaac; for I am sure it would be at the risk of my

Time soothes all afflictions; and those who have dearly loved their
first companion are sometimes more likely than others to form a second
connexion; for the simple reason that they cannot learn to do without
the happiness to which they have been accustomed. There was an intimate
friend of the family, a member of the same religious Society, named
Hannah Attmore. She was a gentle and quiet person, of an innocent and
very pleasing countenance. Her father, a worthy and tender spirited man,
had been an intimate friend of Isaac T. Hopper, and always sympathized
with his efforts for the oppressed. A strong attachment had likewise
existed between her and Friend Hopper's wife; and during her frequent
visits to the house, it was her pleasure to volunteer assistance in the
numerous household cares. The fact that his Sarah had great esteem for
her, was doubtless a strong attraction to the widower. His suit was
favorably received, and they were married on the fourth of the second
month, (February) 1824. She was considerably younger than her
bridegroom; but vigorous health and elastic spirits had preserved his
youthful appearance, while her sober dress and grave deportment, made
her seem older than she really was. She became the mother of four
children, two of whom died in early childhood. Little Thomas, who ended
his brief career in three years and a half, was always remembered by his
parents, and other members of the family, as a remarkably bright,
precocious child, beautiful as an infant angel.

It has been already stated that the schism in the Society of Friends
introduced much controversy concerning the theological opinions of its
founders. There was consequently an increased demand for their writings,
and the branch called "Hicksites" felt the need of a bookstore. Friend
Hopper's business had never been congenial to his character, and of late
years it had become less profitable. A large number of his wealthiest
customers were "Orthodox;" and when he took part with Elias Hicks, they
ceased to patronize him. He was perfectly aware that such would be the
result; but whenever it was necessary to choose between his principles
and prosperity, he invariably followed what he believed to be the truth.
He was considered a suitable person to superintend the proposed
bookstore, and as the state of his financial affairs rendered a change
desirable, he concluded to accede to the proposition of his friends. For
that purpose, he removed to the city of New-York in 1829.

In the autumn of the following year, some disputed claims, which his
wife had on the estate of her maternal grandfather in Ireland, made it
necessary for him to visit that country. Experience had painfully
convinced him that theological controversy sometimes leads to personal
animosity; and that few people were so open and direct in their mode of
expressing hostility, as he himself was. Therefore, before going abroad,
he took the precaution to ask letters from citizens of various classes
and sects in Philadelphia; and he found no difficulty in obtaining them
from the most respectable and distinguished. Matthew Carey, the well
known philanthropist wrote as follows: "As you are about to visit my
native country, and have applied to me for a testimonial concerning your
character, I cheerfully comply with your request. I have been well
acquainted with you for about thirty-five years, and I can testify that,
during the whole of that time, you have been a perfect pest to our
Southern neighbors. A Southern gentleman could scarcely visit this city,
without having his slave taken from him by your instrumentality; so
that they dread you, as they do the devil." After enjoying a mutual
laugh over this epistle, another was written for the public, certifying
that he had known Isaac T. Hopper for many years as "a useful and
respectable citizen of the fairest character."

When Friend Hopper arrived in Ireland, he found many of the Quakers
prejudiced against him, and many untrue stories in circulation, as he
had expected. Sometimes, when he visited public places, he would
overhear people saying to each other, in a low voice, "That's Isaac T.
Hopper, who has given Friends so much trouble in America." A private
letter from an "Orthodox" Quaker in Philadelphia was copied and
circulated in all directions, greatly to his disadvantage. It
represented him as a man of sanctified appearance, but wholly unworthy
of credit; that business of a pecuniary nature was a mere pretence to
cover artful designs; his real object being to spread heretical
doctrines in Ireland, and thus sow dissension among Friends. In his
journal of this visit to a foreign land, Friend Hopper says: "It is
astonishing what strange ideas some of them have concerning me. They
have been informed that I can find stolen goods, and am often applied to
on such occasions. I think it would be no hard matter to make them
believe me a wizard." This was probably a serious version of his
pleasantry with the Dutchman about finding his goods by calculating the
age of the moon.

Many of the Irish Friends had formed from hearsay the most extravagant
misconceptions concerning the Friends called "Hicksites." They supposed
them to be outright infidels, and that the grossest immoralities were
tolerated among them; that they pointed loaded pistols at the "Orthodox"
brethren, and drove them out of their own meeting-houses by main force.
One of them expressed great surprise when Friend Hopper informed him
that they were in the constant habit of reading the Scriptures in their
families, and maintained among themselves the same discipline that had
always been used in the Society. Sometimes when he attended Quaker
meetings during the early portion of his visit, the ministers preached
at him, by cautioning young people to beware of the adversary, who was
now going about like a cunning serpent, in which form he was far more
dangerous, than when he assumed the appearance of a roaring lion. But
after a while, this tendency was rebuked by other preachers, who
inculcated forbearance in judging others; reminding their hearers that
the spirit of the Gospel always breathed peace and good will toward men.
As for Isaac himself, he behaved with characteristic openness. When a
stranger, in Quaker costume, introduced himself, and invited him to go
home and dine with him, he replied, "I am represented by some people as
a very bad man; and I do not wish to impose myself upon the hospitality
of strangers, without letting them know who I am."

The stranger assured him that he knew very well who he was, and cared
not a straw what opinions they accused him of; that he was going to have
a company of Friends at dinner, who wished to converse with him. He went
accordingly, and was received with true Irish hospitality and kindness.

Upon another occasion, a Quaker lady, who did not know he was a
"Hicksite," observed to him, "I suppose the Society of Friends are very
much thinned in America, since so many have gone off from them." He
replied, "It is always best to be candid. I belong to the party called
Hicksites, deists, and schismatics; and I suppose they are the ones to
whom thou hast alluded as having gone off from the Society. I should
like to talk with thee concerning the separation in America; for we have
been greatly misrepresented. But I came to this country solely on
business, and I have no wish to say or do anything that can unsettle the
mind, or wound the feelings of any Friend." She seemed very much
surprised, and for a minute or two covered her face with her hands. But
when the company broke up, some hours after, she followed him into the
entry, and cordially invited him to visit her. "What! canst thou
tolerate the company of a heretic?" he exclaimed. She replied with a
smile, "Yes, such a one as thou art."

In fact, wherever he had a chance to make himself known, prejudices
melted away under the influence of his frank and kindly manners. Some
people of other sects, as well of his own, took an interest in him for
the very reasons that caused distrust and dislike in others; viz:
because they had heard of him as the champion of perfect liberty of
conscience, who considered it unnecessary to bind men by any creed
whatsoever. Among these, he mentions in his journal, Professor Stokes of
Dublin, who relinquished a salary of two thousand eight hundred pounds a
year, because he could not conscientiously subscribe to the doctrine of
the Trinity. It was proposed to dismiss him from the college altogether;
but he demanded a hearing before the trustees and students. This
privilege could not be denied, without infringing the laws of the
institution; and deeming that such a discussion might prove injurious,
they concluded to retain him, on a salary of eight hundred pounds.
Friend Hopper describes him thus: "He is an intelligent and
liberal-minded man, and has a faculty of exposing the errors and
absurdities of the Athanasian Creed to much purpose. He was of a good
spirit, and I was much gratified with his company. He insisted upon
accompanying me home in the evening, and though I remonstrated against
it, on account of his advanced age, he attended me to the door of my

During this visit to Ireland, Friend Hopper was treated with great
hospitality and respect by many who were wealthy, and many who were not
wealthy; by members of the Society of Friends, and of various other
religious sects. He formed a high estimate of the Irish character, and
to the day of his death, always spoke with warm affection of the friends
he found there. In his journal, he often alludes with pleasure to the
children he met with, in families where he visited; for he was always
extremely partial to the young. Speaking of a visit to a gentleman in
the environs of Dublin, by the name of Wilson, he says: "I rose early
in the morning, and the eldest daughter, about ten or eleven years old,
very politely invited me to walk with her. We rambled about in the
pastures, and through beautiful groves of oak, beech and holly. The
little creature tried her very best to amuse me. She told me about the
birds and the hares, and other inhabitants of the woods. She inquired
whether I did not want very much to see my wife and children; and
exclaimed, 'How I should like to see you meet them! It would give you so
much pleasure!'" He speaks of a little girl in another family, who seemed
very much attracted toward him, and finally whispered to her father, "I
want to go and speak to that Friend." She was introduced accordingly,
and they had much pleasant chat together.

In one of the families where he visited, they told him an instructive
story concerning a Quaker who resided in Dublin, by the name of Joseph
Torrey. One day when he was passing through the streets, he saw a man
leading a horse, which was evidently much diseased. His compassionate
heart was pained by the sight, and he asked the man where he was going.
He replied, "The horse has the staggers, and I am going to sell him to
the carrion-butchers."

"Wilt thou sell him to me for a crown!" inquired Joseph. The man readily
assented, and the poor animal was led to the stable of his new friend,
where he was most kindly tended. Suitable remedies and careful treatment
soon restored him to health and beauty. One day, when Friend Torrey was
riding him in Phoenix Park, a gentleman looked very earnestly at the
horse, and at last inquired whether his owner would be willing to sell
him. "Perhaps I would," replied Joseph, "if I could get a very good
master for him."

"He so strongly resembles a favorite horse I once had, that I should
think he was the same, if I didn't know he was dead," rejoined the

"Did he die in thy stable?" inquired Joseph.

The gentleman replied, "No. He had the staggers very badly, and I sent
him to the carrion-butchers."

"I should be sorry to sell an animal to any man, who would send him to
the carrion-butchers because he was diseased," answered Joseph. "If thou
wert ill, how wouldst thou like to have thy throat cut, instead of being
kindly nursed?"

With some surprise, the gentleman inquired whether he intended to
compare him to a horse. "No," replied Joseph; "but animals have
feelings, as well as human beings; and when they are afflicted with
disease, they ought to be carefully attended. If I consent to sell thee
this horse, I shall exact a promise that thou wilt have him kindly
nursed when he is sick, and not send him to have his throat cut."

The gentleman readily promised all that was required, and said he should
consider himself very fortunate to obtain a horse that so much resembled
his old favorite. When he called the next day, to complete the bargain,
he inquired whether forty guineas would be a satisfactory price. The
conscientious Quaker answered, "I have good reason to believe the horse
was once thine; and I am willing to restore him to thee on the
conditions I have mentioned. I have saved him from the carrion-butchers,
but I will charge thee merely what I have expended for his food and
medicine. Let it be a lesson to thee to treat animals kindly, when they
are diseased. Never again send to the butchers a faithful servant, that
cannot plead for himself, and may, with proper attention, again become
useful to thee."

How little Friend Hopper was inclined to minister to aristocratic
prejudices, may be inferred from the following anecdote. One day, while
he was visiting a wealthy family in Dublin, a note was handed to him,
inviting him to dine the next day. When he read it aloud, his host
remarked, "Those people are very respectable, but not of the first
circles. They belong to our church, but not exactly to our set. Their
father was a mechanic."

"Well I am a mechanic myself," said Isaac. "Perhaps if thou hadst known
that fact, thou wouldst not have invited _me_?"

"Is it possible," exclaimed his host, "that a man of your information
and appearance can be a mechanic!"

"I followed the business of a tailor for many years," rejoined his
guest. "Look at my hands! Dost thou not see marks of the shears? Some of
the mayors of Philadelphia have been tailors. When I lived there, I
often walked the streets with the Chief Justice. It never occurred to me
that it was any honor, and I don't think it did to him."

Upon one occasion, Friend Hopper went into the Court of Chancery in
Dublin, and kept his hat on, according to Quaker custom. While he was
listening to the pleading, he noticed that a person who sat near the
Chancellor fixed his eyes upon him with a very stern expression. This
attracted the attention of lawyers and spectators, who also began to
look at him, Presently an officer tapped him on the shoulder, and said,
"Your hat, sir!"

"What's the matter with my hat?" he inquired.

"Take it off?" rejoined the officer. "You are in his Majesty Court of

"That is an honor I reserve for his Majesty's Master," he replied.
"Perhaps it is my shoes thou meanest?"

The officer seemed embarrassed, but said no more; and when the Friend
had stayed as long as he felt inclined, he quietly withdrew.

One day, when he was walking with a lawyer in Dublin, they passed the
Lord Lieutenant's castle. He expressed a wish to see the Council
Chamber, but was informed that it was not open to strangers. "I have a
mind to go and try," said he to his companion. "Wilt thou go with me?"

"No indeed," he replied; "and I would advise you not to go."

He marched in, however, with his broad beaver on, and found the Lord
Lieutenant surrounded by a number of gentleman. "I am an American," said
he. "I have heard a great deal about the Lord Lieutenant's castle, and
if it will give no offence, I should like very much to see it."

His lordship seemed surprised by this unceremonious introduction, but he
smiled, and said to a servant, "Show this American whatever he wishes to

He was conducted into various apartments, where he saw pictures,
statues, ancient armor, antique coins, and many other curious articles.
At parting, the master of the mansion was extremely polite, and gave him
much interesting information on a variety of topics. When he rejoined
his companion, who had agreed to wait for him at some appointed place,
he was met with the inquiry, "Well, what luck?"

"O, the best luck in the world," he replied, "I was treated with great

"Well certainly, Mr. Hopper, you are an extraordinary man," responded
the lawyer. "I wouldn't have ventured to try such an experiment."

At the expiration of four months, having completed the business which
rendered his presence in Ireland necessary, he made a short visit to
England, on his way home. There also his hat was objected to on several
occasions. While in Bristol, he asked permission to look at the interior
of the Cathedral. He had been walking about some little time, when a
rough-looking man said to him, in a very surly tone, "Take off your hat,

He replied very courteously, "I have asked permission to enter here to
gratify my curiosity as a stranger. I hope it is no offence."

"Take off your hat!" rejoined the rude man. "If you don't, I'll take it
off for you."

Friend Hopper leaned on his cane, looked him full in the face, and
answered very coolly, "If thou dost, I hope thou wilt send it to my
lodgings; for I shall have need of it this afternoon. I lodge at No. 35,
Lower Crescent, Clifton." The place designated was about a mile from the
Cathedral. The man stared at him, as if puzzled to decide whether he
were talking to an insane person, or not. When the imperturbable Quaker
had seen all he cared to see, he deliberately walked away.

At Westminster Abbey he paid the customary fee of two shillings sixpence
for admission. The door-keeper followed him, saying, "You must uncover
yourself, sir."

"Uncover myself!" exclaimed the Friend, with an affectation of ignorant
simplicity. "What dost thou mean? Must I take off my coat?"

"Your coat!" responded the man, smiling. "No indeed. I mean your hat."

"And what should I take off my hat for?" he inquired.

"Because you are in a church, sir," answered the door-keeper.

"I see no church here," rejoined the Quaker. "Perhaps thou meanest the
house where the church assembles. I suppose thou art aware that it is
the _people_, not the _building_, that constitutes a church?"

The idea seemed new to the man, but he merely repeated, "You must take
off your hat, sir."

But the Friend again inquired, "What for? On account of these images?
Thou knowest Scripture commands us not to worship graven images."

The man persisted in saying that no person could be permitted to pass
through the church without uncovering his head. "Well friend," rejoined
Isaac, "I have some conscientious scruples on that subject; so give me
back my money, and I will go out."

The reverential habits of the door-keeper were not quite strong enough
to compel him to that sacrifice; and he walked away, without saying
anything more on the subject.

When Friend Hopper visited the House of Lords, he asked the
sergeant-at-arms if he might sit upon the throne. He replied, "No, sir.
No one but his majesty sits there."

"Wherein does his majesty differ from other men?" inquired he. "If his
head were cut off, wouldn't he die?"

"Certainly he would," replied the officer.

"So would an American," rejoined Friend Hopper. As he spoke, he stepped
up to the gilded railing that surrounded the throne, and tried to open
the gate. The officer told him it was locked. "Well won't the same key
that locked it unlock it?" inquired he. "Is this the key hanging here?"

Being informed that it was, he took it down and unlocked the gate. He
removed the satin covering from the throne, carefully dusted the railing
with his handkerchief, before he hung the satin over it, and then seated
himself in the royal chair. "Well," said he, "do I look anything like
his majesty?"

The man seemed embarrassed, but smiled as he answered, "Why, sir, you
certainly fill the throne very respectably."

There were several noblemen in the room, who seemed to be extremely
amused by these unusual proceedings.

At a place called Jordans, about twenty-two miles from London, he
visited the grave of William Penn.

In his journal, he says: "The ground is surrounded by a neat hedge, and
is kept in good order. I picked some grass and moss from the graves of
William Penn, Thomas Ellwood, and Isaac Pennington; and some ivy and
holly from the hedge; which I intend to take with me to America, as a
memorial of my visit. I entered the meeting-house, and sat on the
benches which had been occupied by George Fox, William Penn, and George
Whitehead, in years long since passed away. It brought those old
Friends so distinctly before the view of my mind, that my heart was
ready to exclaim, 'Surely this is no other than the house of God, and
this is the gate of heaven.' I cannot describe my feelings. The manly
and majestic features of George Fox, and the mournful yet benevolent
countenance of Isaac Pennington, seemed to rise before me. But this is
human weakness. Those men bore the burthen and heat of their own day;
they faithfully used the talents committed to their trust; and I doubt
not they are now reaping the reward given to faithful servants. It is
permitted us to love their memories, but not to idolize them. They could
deliver neither son or daughter by their righteousness; but only their
own souls."

"In the great city of London everything tended to satisfy me that the
state of our religious Society is generally very low. A light was once
kindled there, that illuminated distant lands. As I walked the streets,
I remembered the labors, the sufferings, and the final triumph of those
illustrious sons of the morning, George Fox, George Whitehead, William
Penn, and a host of others; men who loved not their lives in comparison
with the holy cause of truth and righteousness, in which they were
called to labor. These worthies have been succeeded by a generation, who
seem disposed to garnish the sepulchres of their fathers, and live upon
the fruit of their labors, without submitting to the power of that
Cross, which made them what they were. There appears to me to be much
formality and dryness among them; though there are a few who mourn,
almost without hope, over the desolation that has been made by the
world, the flesh, and the devil."

There were many poor emigrants on board the merchant ship, in which
Friend Hopper returned home. He soon established friendly communication
with them, and entered with sympathy into all their troubles. He made
frequent visits to the steerage during the long voyage, and always had
something comforting and cheering to say to the poor souls. There was a
clergyman on board, who also wished to benefit them, but he approached
them in an official way, to which they did not so readily respond. One
day, when he invited the emigrants to join him in prayer, an old Irish
woman replied, "I'd rather play a game o' cards, than hear you prache and
pray." She pointed to Friend Hopper, and added, "_He_ comes and stays
among us, and always spakes a word o' comfort, and does us some good.
But _you_ come and prache and pray, and then you are gone. One look from
that Quaker gintleman is worth all the praching and praying that be in

The vessel encountered a dense fog, and ran on a sand bank as they
approached the Jersey shore. A tremendous sea was rolling, and dashed
against the ship with such force, that she seemed every moment in
danger of being shattered into fragments. If there had been a violent
gale of wind, all must have been inevitably lost. The passengers were
generally in a state of extreme terror. Screams and groans were heard in
every direction. But Friend Hopper's mind was preserved in a state of
great equanimity. He entreated the people to be quiet, and try to keep
possession of their faculties, that they might be ready to do whatever
was best, in case of emergency. Seeing him so calm, they gathered
closely round him, as if they thought he had some power to save them.
There was a naval officer on board, whose frenzied state of feeling
vented itself in blasphemous language. Friend Hopper, who was always
disturbed by irreverent use of the name of Deity, was peculiarly shocked
by it under these solemn circumstances. He walked up to the officer, put
his hand on his shoulder, and looking him in the face, said, "From what
I have heard of thy military exploits, I supposed thou wert a brave man;
but here thou art pouring forth blasphemies, to keep up the appearance
of courage, while thy pale face and quivering lips show that thou art in
mortal fear. I am ashamed of thee. If thou hast no reverence for Deity
thyself, thou shouldst show some regard for the feelings of those who
have." The officer ceased swearing, and treated his adviser with marked
respect. A friendship was formed between them, which continued as long
as the captain lived.

The clergyman on board afterward said to Friend Hopper, "If any other
person had talked to him in that manner, he would have knocked him

In about two hours, the vessel floated off the sandbar and went safely
into the harbor of New-York. At the custom-house, the clergyman was in
some perplexity about a large quantity of books he had brought with him,
on which it was proposed to charge high duties. "Perhaps I can get them
through for thee," said Friend Hopper. "I will try." He went up to the
officer, and said, "Isn't it a rule of the custom-house not to charge a
man for the tools of his trade?" He replied that it was. "Then thou art
bound to let this priest's books pass free," rejoined the Friend.
"Preaching is the trade he gets his living by; and these books are the
tools he must use." The clergyman being aware of Quaker views with
regard to a paid ministry, seemed doubtful whether to be pleased or not,
with _such_ a mode of helping him out of difficulty. However, he took
the joke as good naturedly as it was offered, and the books passed free,
on the assurance that they were all for his own library.

Friend Hopper's bookstore in New-York was a place of great resort for
members of his own sect. His animated style of conversation, his
thousand and one anecdotes of runaway slaves, his descriptions of keen
encounters with the "Orthodox," in the process of separation, attracted
many listeners. His intelligence and well-known conscientiousness
commanded respect, and he was held in high estimation by his own branch
of the Society, though the opposite party naturally entertained a less
favorable opinion of the "Hicksite" champion. Such a character as he was
must necessarily always be a man of mark, with warm friends and bitter

His resemblance to Bonaparte attracted attention in New-York, as it had
done in Philadelphia. Not long after he removed to that city, there was
a dramatic representation at the Park Theatre, in which Placide
personated the French Emperor. While this play was attracting public
attention, the manager happened to meet Friend Hopper in the street. As
soon as he saw him, he exclaimed, "Here is Napoleon himself come back
again!" He remarked to some of his acquaintance that he would gladly
give that Quaker gentleman one hundred dollars a night, if he would
consent to appear on the stage in the costume of Bonaparte.

About this period northern hostility to slavery took a new form, more
bold and uncompromising than the old Abolition Societies. It demanded
the immediate and unconditional emancipation of every slave, in a voice
which has not yet been silenced, and never will be, while the
oppressive system continues to disgrace our country. Of course, Friend
Hopper could not otherwise than sympathize with any movement for the
abolition of slavery, based on pacific principles. Pictures and
pamphlets, published by the Anti-Slavery Society were offered for sale
in his book-store. During the popular excitement on this subject, in
1834, he was told that his store was about to be attacked by an
infuriated rabble, and he had better remove all such publications from
the window. "Dost thou think I am such a coward as to forsake my
principles, or conceal them, at the bidding of a mob?" said he.
Presently, another messenger came to announce that the mob were already
in progress, at the distance of a few streets. He was earnestly advised
at least to put up the shutters, that their attention might not be
attracted by the pictures. "I shall do no such thing," he replied. The
excited throng soon came pouring down the street, with loud and
discordant yells. Friend Hopper walked out and stood on the steps. The
mob stopped in front of his store. He looked calmly and firmly at them,
and they looked irresolutely at him, like a wild animal spell-bound by
the fixed gaze of a human eye. After a brief pause, they renewed their
yells, and some of their leaders called out, "Go on, to Rose-street!"
They obeyed these orders, and in the absent of Lewis Tappan, a
well-known abolitionist, they burst open his house, and destroyed his

In 1835, Judge Chinn, of Mississippi, visited New-York, and brought with
him a slave, said to have cost the large sum of fifteen hundred dollars.
A few days after their arrival in the city, the slave eloped, and a
reward of five hundred dollars was offered for his apprehension. Friend
Hopper knew nothing about him; but some mischievous person wrote a note
to Judge Chinn, stating that the fugitive was concealed at his store, in
Pearl-street. A warrant was procured and put into the hands of a
constable frequently employed in that base business. At that season of
the year, many Southerners were in the city to purchase goods. A number
of them accompanied the judge to Pearl-street, and distributed
themselves at short distances, in order to arrest the slave, in case he
attempted to escape. They preferred to search the store in the absence
of Friend Hopper, and watched nearly an hour for a favorable
opportunity. Meanwhile, he was entirely unconscious of their
proceedings; and having occasion to call at a house a few doors below,
he left the store for a short time in charge of one of his sons. As soon
as he was gone, four or five men rushed in. Not finding the object of
their pursuit, they jumped out of a back window, and began to search
some buildings in the rear. When people complained of such
unceremonious intrusion upon their premises, the constable excused
himself by saying they were trying to apprehend a felon. Friend Hopper's
son called out that it was a slave, not a felon, they were in search of;
for he heard them say so. This made the constable very angry; for, like
most slave-catchers, he was eager for the reward, but rather ashamed of
the services by which he sought to obtain it. He swore roundly, and one
of his party gave the young man a blow on his face.

Friend Hopper, being sent for, returned immediately; and for some time
after, he observed a respectable looking person occasionally peeping
into the store, and skulking out of sight as soon as he thought himself
observed. At last, he went to the door, and said, "My friend, if thou
hast business with me, come in and let me know what it is; but don't be
prying about my premises in that way." He walked off, and joined a group
of people, who seemed to be much excited. Friend Hopper followed, and
found they were the men who had been recently searching his store. He
said to their leader, "Art thou the impertinent fellow who has been
intruding upon my premises, in my absence?" The constable replied that
he had a warrant, and was determined to execute it. Though a stranger to
his countenance, Friend Hopper was well aware that he was noted for
hunting slaves, and being unable to disguise his abhorrence of the
odious business, he said, "Judas betrayed his master for thirty pieces
of silver; and for a like sum, I suppose thou wouldst seize thy brother
by the throat, and send him into interminable bondage. If thy conscience
were as susceptible of conviction as his was, thou wouldst do as he did;
and thus rid the community of an intolerable nuisance."

One of the Southerners repeated the word "Brother!" in a very sneering

"Yes," rejoined Friend Hopper, "I said brother."

He returned to his store, but was soon summoned into the street again,
by a complaint that the constable and his troop of slaveholders were
very roughly handling a colored man, saying he had no business to keep
in their vicinity. When Friend Hopper interfered, to prevent further
abuse, several of the Southerners pointed bowie-knives and pistols at
him. He told the constable it was his duty, as a police-officer, to
arrest those men for carrying deadly weapons and making such a turmoil
in the street; and he threatened to complain of him if he did not do it.
He complied very reluctantly, and of course the culprits escaped before
they reached the police-office.

A few days after, as young Mr. Hopper was walking up Chatham-street, on
his way home in the evening, some unknown person came behind him,
knocked him down, and beat him in a most savage manner, so that he was
unable to leave his room for many days. No doubt was entertained that
this brutal attack was by one of the company who were on the search for
Judge Chinn's slave.

It was afterward rumored that the fugitive had arrived safely in Canada.
I never heard that he returned to the happy condition of slavery; though
his master predicted that he would do so, and said he never would have
been so foolish as to leave it, if it had not been for the false
representations of abolitionists.

In 1836, the hatred which Southerners bore to Friend Hopper's name was
manifested in a cruel and altogether unprovoked outrage on his son,
which caused the young man a great deal of suffering, and well nigh cost
him his life. John Hopper, Esq., now a lawyer in the city of New-York,
had occasion to go to the South on business. He remained in Charleston
about two months, during which time he was treated with courtesy in his
business relations, and received many kind attentions in the intercourse
of social life. One little incident that occurred during his visit
illustrates the tenacious attachment of Friends to their own mode of
worship. When he left home, his father had exhorted him to attend
Friends' meeting while he was in Charleston. He told him that a meeting
had been established there many years ago, but he supposed there were
not half a dozen members remaining, and probably they had no ministry;
for the original settlers had died, or left Carolina on account of their
testimony against slavery. But as Quakers believe that silent worship is
often more blessed to the soul, than the most eloquent preaching, he had
a strong desire that his son should attend the meeting constantly, even
if he found but two or three to unite with him. The young man promised
that he would do so. Accordingly, when he arrived in Charleston, he
inquired for the meeting-house, and was informed that it was well nigh
deserted. On the first day of the week, he went to the place designated,
and found a venerable, kind-looking Friend seated under the preachers'
gallery. In obedience to a signal from him, he took a seat by his side,
and they remained there in silence nearly two hours. Then the old man
turned and shook hands with him, as an indication that the meeting was
concluded, according to the custom of the Society of Friends. When he
found that he was talking to the son of Isaac T. Hopper, and that he had
promised to attend meeting there, during his stay in Charleston, he was
so much affected, that his eyes filled with tears. "Oh, I shall be glad
of thy company," said he; "for most of the time, this winter, I am here
all alone. My old friends and companions have all died, or moved away. I
come here twice on First days, and once on Fifth day, and sit all, all
alone, till I feel it right to leave the house and go home."

This lonely old worshipper once had an intimate friend, who for a long
time was his only companion in the silent meeting. At the close, they
shook hands and walked off together, enjoying a kindly chat on their way
home. Unfortunately, some difficulty afterward occurred between them,
which completely estranged them from each other. Both still clung to
their old place of worship. They took their accustomed seats, and
remained silent for a couple of hours; but they parted without shaking
hands, or speaking a single word. This alienation almost broke the old
man's heart. After awhile, he lost even, this shadow of companionship,
and there remained only "the voice within," and echoes of memory from
the empty benches.

While Mr. Hopper remained in Charleston, he went to the Quaker
meeting-house every Sunday, and rarely found any one there except the
persevering old Friend, who often invited him to go home with him. He
seemed to take great satisfaction in talking with him about his father,
and listening to what he had heard him say concerning the Society of
Friends. When the farewell hour came, he was much affected; for he felt
it not likely they would ever meet again; and the conversation of the
young stranger had formed a link between him and the Quakerism he loved
so well. The old man continued to sit alone under the preacher's gallery
till the house took fire and was burned to the ground. He died soon
after that event, at a very advanced age.

Another incident, which occurred during Mr. Hopper's stay in Charleston,
seemed exceedingly trivial at the time, but came very near producing
fatal consequences. One day, when a clergyman whom he visited was
showing him his library, he mentioned that his father had quite an
antiquarian taste for old documents connected with the Society of
Friends. At parting, the clergyman gave him several pamphlets for his
father, and among them happened to be a tract published by Friends in
Philadelphia, describing the colony at Sierra Leone, and giving an
account of the slave trade on the coast of Africa. He put the pamphlets
in his trunk, and started for Savannah, where he arrived on the
twenty-eighth of January. At the City Hotel, he unfortunately
encountered a marshal of the city of New-York, who was much employed in
catching runaway slaves, and of course sympathized with slaveholders. He
pointed the young stranger out, as a son of Isaac T. Hopper, the
notorious abolitionist. This information kindled a flame immediately,
and they began to discuss plans of vengeance. The traveller, not
dreaming of danger, retired to his room soon after supper. In a few
minutes, his door was forced open by a gang of intoxicated men, escorted
by the New-York marshal. They assailed him with a volley of blasphemous
language, struck him, kicked him, and spit in his face. They broke open
and rifled his trunk, and searched his pockets for abolition documents.
When they found the harmless little Quaker tract about the colony at
Sierra Leone, they screamed with exultation. They shouted, "Here is what
we wanted! Here is proof of abolitionism!" Some of them rushed out and
told the mob, who crowded the bar-room and entries, that they had found
a trunk full of abolition tracts. Others seized Mr. Hopper violently,
telling him to say his last prayers, and go with them. The proprietor of
the City Hotel was very naturally alarmed for the safety of the
building. He was in a great passion, and conjured them to carry their
victim down forthwith; saying he could do nothing with the mob below,
who were getting very impatient waiting for him. Turning to Mr. Hopper,
he said, "Young man, you are in a very unfortunate situation. You ought
never to have left your home. But it is your own doing; and you deserve
your fate." When appealed to for protection, he exclaimed, "Good God!
you must not appeal to me. This is a damned delicate business. I shall
not be able to protect my own property. But I will go for the mayor."

One of the bar-keeper's confidential friends sent him a slip of paper,
on which was written, "His only mode of escape is by the window;" and
the bar-keeper, who had previously shown himself decidedly unfriendly,
urged him again and again to profit by this advice. He occupied the
third story, and the street below his window was thronged with an
infuriated mob, thirsting and clamoring for his blood. In view of these
facts, it seems not very uncharitable to suppose that the advice was
given to make sure of his death, apparently by his own act, and thus
save the city of Savannah from the disgrace of the deed. Of the two
terrible alternatives, he preferred going down-stairs into the midst of
the angry mob, who were getting more and more maddened by liquor, having
taken forcible possession of the bar. He considered his fate inevitable,
and had made up his mind to die. But at the foot of the stairs, he was
met by the mayor and several aldermen, whose timely arrival saved his
life. After asking some questions, and receiving the assurance that he
came to Savannah solely on commercial business, the magistrates
accompanied Mr. Hopper to his room, and briefly examined his books and
papers. The mayor then went down and addressed the mob, assuring them
that he should be kept in custody during the night; that strict
investigation should be made, and if there was the slightest evidence of
his being an abolitionist, he should not be suffered to go at large.
The mayor and a large body of civil officers accompanied the prisoner to
the guard-house, and a number of citizens volunteered their services, to
strengthen the escort; but all their efforts scarcely sufficed to keep
him from the grasp of the infuriated multitude. He was placed in a
noisome cell, to await his trial, and the customary guard was increased
for his protection. Portions of the mob continued howling round the
prison all night, and the mayor was sent for several times to prevent
their bursting in. A gallows was erected, with a barrel of feathers and
a tub of tar in readiness under it, that they might amuse themselves
with their victim before they murdered him.

Next morning, at five o'clock, the prisoner was brought before the mayor
for further examination. Many of the mob followed him to the door of the
office to await the issue. The evidence was satisfactory that he
belonged to no anti-slavery society, and that his business in Savannah
had no connection whatever with that subject. As for the pamphlet about
Sierra Leone, the mayor said he considered that evidence in his favor;
because it was written in support of colonization. Before the
examination closed, there came a driving rain, which dispersed the mob
lying in wait round the building. Aided by this lucky storm their
destined victim passed out without being observed. At parting, the
mayor said to him, "Young man, you may consider it a miracle that you
have escaped with your life."

He took refuge on board the ship Angelique, bound for New-York, and was
received with much kindness and sympathy by Captain Nichols, the
commander. There was likewise a sailor on board, who happened to be one
of the many that owed a debt of gratitude to Friend Hopper; and he swore
he would shoot anybody that attempted to harm his son. In a short time,
a messenger came from the mayor to announce that the populace had
discovered where Mr. Hopper was secreted, and would probably attack the
vessel. In this emergency, the captain behaved nobly toward his hunted
fellow-citizen. He requested him to lie down flat in the bottom of a
boat, which he himself entered and conducted to a brig bound for
Providence. The captain was a New-England man, but having been long
engaged in Southern trade, his principles on the subject of slavery were
adapted to his interest. He gave the persecuted young traveller a most
ungracious reception, and said if he thought he was an abolitionist he
would send him directly back to Savannah. However, the representations
of Captain Nichols induced him to consent that he should be put on
board. They had a tedious passage of thirty-five days, during which
there was a long and violent storm, that seemed likely to wreck the
vessel. The mob had robbed Mr. Hopper of his money and clothing. He had
no comfortable garments to shield him from the severe cold, and his
hands and feet were frozen. At last, he arrived at Providence, and went
on board the steamer Benjamin Franklin, bound for New-York. There he had
the good fortune to meet with a colored waiter, whose father had been
redeemed from slavery by Friend Hopper's exertions. He was assiduously
devoted to the son of his benefactor, and did everything in his power to
alleviate his distressed condition.

When the traveller arrived at his home, he was so haggard and worn down
with danger and fatigue, that his family scarcely recognized him. His
father was much excited and deeply affected, when he heard what perils
he had gone through merely on account of his name. He soon after
addressed the following letter to the mayor of Savannah:

"New-York, 4th month, 18th, 1836.


"My object in addressing thee is to express my heartfelt gratitude
for thy exertions in saving the life of my son, which I have cause
to believe was in imminent peril, from the violence of unreasonable
men, while in your city a few weeks ago. I am informed that very
soon after his arrival in Savannah, the fact became known to a
marshal of this city, who was then there, and who, by his
misrepresentations, excited the rabble to a determination to
perpetrate the most inhuman outrage upon him, and in all
probability to take his life; and that preparations were made,
which, if carried into effect, would doubtless have produced that

"Tar and feathers, as a mode of punishment, I am inclined to think
is rather of modern invention; and I am doubtful whether they will
be more efficient than whipping, cutting off ears, the rack, the
halter, and the stake. Superstition and intolerance have long ago
called in all these to their aid, in suppressing reformation in
religion; but they were unable to accomplish the end designed; and
if I am not greatly mistaken, they would prove entirely
insufficient to stop the progress of emancipation.

"If it is the determination of the people of Savannah to deliver up
to a lawless and blood-thirsty mob every person coming among them
whose sentiments are opposed to slavery, I apprehend there are very
few at the North who would not be obnoxious to their hostility. For
I believe they all view slavery as an evil that must be abolished
at no very distant day. Would it not be well for the people of the
South to reflect upon the tendency of their conduct? Where such
aggressions upon humanity are committed, the slaves will naturally
inquire into the cause; and when they are informed that it is in
consequence of their oppressed and degraded condition, and that the
persons thus persecuted are charged with being their friends, they
cannot feel indifferent. One such scene as was witnessed in the
case of my son would tend more to excite a spirit of insurrection
and insubordination among them, than ten thousand 'incendiary
pamphlets,' not one word of which any of them could read. My son
went to Savannah solely on his own private business, without any
intention of interfering with the slaves, or with the subject of
slavery in any way. But even supposing the charge to have been
true, do not your laws award sufficient punishment? How could you
stand silently by, and witness proceedings that would put to blush
the Arab, or the untutored inhabitant of the wilderness in our own
country? The negroes, whom you affect to despise so much, would set
an example of benevolence and humanity, when on their own soil, if
a stranger came among them, which you cannot be prepared to
imitate, till you have made great improvements in civilization.

"The people of Savannah profess Christianity; but what avails
profession, where latitude is given to the vilest and most depraved
passions of the human heart? Suppose the mob had murdered my son; a
young man who went among you in the ordinary course of his


Back to Full Books